Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).


by Daniel Braum

Captain James and the Red Cassandra bore down on a merchant vessel reported to be carrying a King’s ransom in Spanish gold. Ever since they had retrofitted Cassandra with parts of the strange ship that fell from the sky, the seas were full of easy pickings and pirate life was good. The royal navies of Europe were no match for Red Cassandra’s new armor and firepower. James knocked back a swig of rum. His pirate ship was invincible.

He was almost ashamed at how easy plundering had become. Why had the occupants of the flying ship abandoned it? And where were they now?

The merchant vessel drifted into range. Easy. Too easy, James thought.

Ten navy ships crested the horizon. He could have given the order to fire on them but he wanted them to be close enough to see.

He waited till they approached and then gave the order.

Fire !

Beams of red light shot from Red Cassandra’s new cannons. The navy ships wooden hulls were neatly sliced in two with a series of satisfying hisses. Then the seas were alive with the sounds of panicked men, burning wood, and frigates filling with water on their way to Davy Jones’ locker.

“Aw, that was too easy, Captain,” first mate Rudolph said. “At least they could have fired on us. I like the sound of cannon balls bouncing harmlessly off Cassandra’s hull.”

As Rudolph spoke a shadow fell over them. The sky was cloudless and the rest of the sea was bathed in afternoon sun. James looked up. A giant sphere of shining metal hovered above.

Cassandra’s cannons shook in their casings and lifted into the air, ripping planks from the deck along with them. The new hull plating followed into the sky and disappeared into a hatch in the belly of the floating craft.

The strange spherical ship rose into the heavens.

James ordered the Cassandra to sail back into hiding. The navy was defeated today but they’d be back. He knew without their new weapons and armor the days of easy pillaging were numbered.

James watched the flying craft until he could see it no more.

Who were they, he wondered. Was life the same for a pirate up in the sky? Maybe somewhere, among the stars, there still was a place where a man could be free.


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