Monday, February 06, 2006

Jonathan Roker, Space Pirate

Space. Vast. Breathtaking. Trillions of beautiful stars swirled in billions of galaxies, igniting in the hearts of nebulas and dying in the vivid fireworks of super-nova explosions. Black holes lured giant suns into fiery dances of eons, and galactic cores poured forth geysers of radioactivity like cosmic mountain springs.

A lone vessel drifted through the silent beauty. The cabin lights were out, and a single occupant stared deep into the crystalline wonder of the cosmos. He drew a gentle breath, his lips quivering in emotion, and in hushed tones gave voice to his blossoming sense of awe.

“Aw! What the hell happened to the lights?”

Captain Jonathan Roker, nearly invisible in his black clothes in the black cabin in the black spaceship in the black void of space, pounded the light switch irritably, hoping that noise and violence would allow him to avoid patient and intelligent troubleshooting.

It wasn’t working.

“The Galactic Power Company is registering a Bill 404 Error,” a female, digitized voice informed him calmly. A six-inch hologram of a red-haired woman appeared over the lifeless console. The blue glow surrounding her was the only source of artificial light.

“A what?”

“Bill 404 Error: Payment Not Found. You didn’t pay your power bill.”

“My power bill? But this is deep space! This is my ship!”

“Your ship, yes—a ship that is networked to the GPC through the subspace connection and a ship running on a GPC nuclear power core. You’re responsible for monthly payments of five micro-credits per gigawatt.” The holographic woman paused a moment to scrutinize the frantic captain. “You did read the Terms and Conditions, right?”

“What the hell would I do that for?”

“Well, if you had, then you’d have been paying your bills for the last six months, and you wouldn’t find yourself drifting without power, light years away from the nearest dock.”

Roker grumbled irritably under his breath.

“Fine. What’s my balance, Crimson?”

“Three-hundred and fifty-two credits,” she replied smartly. “You are also facing disconnection from Galactic Water. And Air.”


“I would recommend you pay that bill promptly.”

Roker glared at the tiny woman. She smiled.

“I don’t have the money,” he groaned, slumping into his chair. The chair took up all the free space in the cockpit—it was a leather recliner, custom installed and several sizes too large for the cramped space.

“I have researched a few solutions to your problem.”

“Lets hear ‘em.”

“One: stop breathing.”


“Two: get rescued.”


“Three: sell video feed to Hot’n’Sweaty Space Pirates.”

Roker shuddered.

“And four?”

“There isn’t a four.”

Crimson beamed.


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