“You’re late.” I hear a harsh voice say as I sneak into the base. I turn and look. It’s my boss.
“I had to stop on the way here and fix my tire,” I lie.
“Sure you did, Lenny. Is it the same tire from last week?” I go to spout another lie, but he cuts me off. “Doesn’t matter. I need you on the ship now or we aren’t going to make it.” I run up the open ramp on the bottom of the spaceship. The crew is already inside and in their designated spots.
“Hello everybody! You ready to deliver some packages?” I yell while strolling to my captain’s chair. The crew groans. A woman walks up to me with a tablet in her hand.
“You have to stop being late, Lenny. They are going to demote you.” I look at her and smile.
“Look, Sarah, everything is fine. Don’t worry about it.” I say confidently. “Also, you’re supposed to call me Captain at work.”
She rolls her eyes, “Yes Captain.” She walks to the back of the ship. I can’t help but watch her the whole way. I sit in my chair and pull up my command system.
“Looks like we have thirty packages on the ninth moon of Trinity. Then sixty packages on Tricron Omega Six. What is the best route today, Gibbs?” I ask the younger man in the corner.
“We are going through the March section, then around Nib 3,” Gibbs says confidently while typing.
“Yeehaw! Let’s go!” I yell. The ship hovers off the ground. It tilts upward and shoots off into the sky, ascending towards the stars. I stand up and walk to the doorway in the back. On my way, I see Sarah. “Ms. Sarah, would you mind accompanying me to the break room?” I ask slyly. She looks at me.
“Why, of course, Captain,” she says sarcastically and rolls her eyes.
We walk through the doorway and down the hall. “Hey babe, chill out,” I say, grabbing her waist. She moves out of my grasp, turning towards me.
“Chill out? You’ve got to be kidding me.” She crosses her arms. “First, you bail on me last night, and then you’re late this morning. Again.”
“Look, I’m sorry about last night, but some things came up that I had to deal with.”
“Uh-huh,” she sighs. As I walk closer to her, the ship shakes abruptly. The emergency lights flash and the siren goes off. I grab her defensively.
“Captain! We need you on the floor!” The intercom wails. Grabbing Sarah’s hand, I quickly lead her back to the command floor.
We run through the doors. “What’s going on?” I yell over the siren.
“Pirates are trying to infiltrate the ship! They were waiting for us,” Gibbs shouts back.
“Sarah, go to your station,” I say, looking into her eyes. I’m nervous, but I try not to show it. The blood is rushing through my veins and my knees are weak.
“Captain, they are trying to communicate,” Gibbs says.
“Put them on!” The screen lights up with a picture of a rugged-faced alien.
The alien smirks and says, “It’s futile to resist. We will board soon. You can either give us the packages or we can do this the hard way.”
I try to keep calm. I smile and respond, “Why do you even want these packages? They are just monthly supplies. Nothing special.”
“That’s none of your business.”
I start to say something snarky but stop myself. I can’t have anyone getting hurt, especially Sarah. “Alight. You can have the packages, but you leave my crew alone.” Everyone on the ship gasps. “My people are worth more than some mail.”
“Good. Boys! Begin boarding!” I see a herd of other aliens walk behind their captain as the video turns off. The bridge shakes as we collide with their docking port.
“Captain, what are you doing?” One of the crew asks angrily.
I turn to her and say, “You think we can take them on? Then be my guest to die. I just want to keep everyone safe.”
“No. You want to keep Sarah safe.”
I turn and walk away. “They are coming. I need to greet them with hospitality.”
I get to the docking door, sighing to myself as I hit the button. It opens with a foul smell from the other side. The aliens are quite large with greyish skin.
“Oh, what a lovely ship you have here!” The pirate captain yells. “Sorry to disturb you. It will only take a second. Please, show my men the way.” He smiles with yellow and rotten teeth.
“Down the hall and to your right, last door on the left,” I say, pointing. They march behind me to the destination.
“Now, bring me to the command floor.”
“Why? That’s not part of the deal.”
The pirate captain laughs. He grabs me by the throat and picks me up. “I’ll find it myself then.” He lets go and I fall onto my hands and knees. I gasp for air and the captain kicks me in the stomach. I grab my stomach, collapsing. I look up and watch the alien walk out of sight. I lie on the floor for a few minutes. I know I have to get up, I have to make sure she’s ok. I struggle to get up. I get to my knees and start coughing. My throat is in so much pain. Finally, I finish standing up and start to the command floor.
When I get there, the pirate captain is already there in my chair. “Glad you could make it, Captain.”
I look at the grotesque alien.
“Well, you know it’s my ship, so I should be here,” I say in a hoarse voice.
“Exactly! That is why you are safe.”
“I always take at least one prisoner with me from a raid, but never the captain.”
My blood runs cold. I spin around and look at Sarah’s station. She is sitting there terrified. “I’m not going to let you take anyone.”
The pirate captain follows my gaze to her. “I see. Boys!” Two big aliens come running down the hall and onto the floor. “I want that one!” He points at Sarah.
“Lenny!” Sarah screams at me. I lunge for her, but the aliens are faster. They grab her and drag her out of the doors. I start to go after them, but something grabs me by the arm. I turn around. It’s the pirate captain.
“Sorry, but she’s mine now.” I struggle to break free, but the captain is much stronger.
“No! You can’t do this!” He throws me into my chair. It knocks the air out of my lungs.
“Never make a deal with a pirate.” The captain’s laughter fills my head as he leaves the room. My stomach feels sick and my mouth is dry.
“Sarah!” I scream as I come to. My eyes open wide. I’m in my room. I sit up and the dread fills my body. I hear a knock on the door. “Come in!” I shout.
Gibbs walks in and says, “You’re dreaming of her again, aren’t you?”
“It’s been two years, she’s gone. It’s not your fault.” He looks at me with sadness in his eyes.
“She could be out there! I should be looking for her!” I yell, standing up and throwing my pillow across the room. I know he just trying to help.
“You did. You’ve got to let go.” I sit down on the bed and cry. The tears stream down my cheeks and the devastation in my heart is heavy. I grab a small box from where my pillow was.
I open it and say, “A ring as beautiful as she is.” The metal and diamond shine from the moonlight coming in. “As long as I live, I will never rest until I find her. I can never let go.”