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Episode 5 Part 11

By:  Wynn

“I’m on your trail now, Red Death.  Run while you can, because Bullet’s on the hunt!”

     Growling low, the pilot of the space ship idly reached out a hand and tapped a button on the console before him.  The screen before him flickered from a blank blue to black, displaying the words ‘Searching, please wait.”  Fingertips drummed against the console as Bullet stared intently at the screen, anxiously waiting the result.

     “Nathia.Net detects no ships matching the search parameters.  Would you like to do another search? ”

     Bullet’s growl became a frustrated bark as he slammed his fist down, banging it on the arm of his seat. “It’s been days since she left Earth!  She should have stopped somewhere by now!”  Pushing himself up from the command chair of the ship, he walked away from the cockpit and into his personal quarters, fuming the whole way.

     The tracking device Bullet had slipped onto the Red Death’s ship was programmed to respond to automatic queries from the Port Authority computers of whatever space-capable planet she stopped at.  The response would be broadcast at the same time as that of the ship’s, nearly impossible to pick up because of the ship’s own transmission.  Since his searches hadn’t found any such response yet, he was led to assume one of two things: either A, she hadn’t stopped at a space-ready planet yet, or B, the Red Death had looked past the dummy tracking device and found the real one he had planted in her hostage’s bag.  He desperately hoped it was the former, and if it was it wouldn’t surprise him.  He wouldn’t put it past her sort to pay a visit to a less civilized planet and terrorize the natives, just for fun.  Still, if she had found his tracer…his eyes narrowed.  Then he would just have to track her down once again.  Giving up was not an option.   

     Shoving the door of the small lavatory open, he stepped inside.  As he took off his glasses and fumbled with the sink, he glanced at his reflection distractedly. Bleary, reddened eyes met his gaze. ‘Geez, I look horrible.’ He cupped water into his hands, splashing it on his face in an effort to wake himself up.  The cold water seemed to help a little, allowing him to open his eyes fully and giving him a moment of clarity.  He ran a hand through his brown hair in a futile effort to calm it, and scratched at one canine ear.

      ‘How long have I been sitting there, just waiting?’ he pondered, stepping out of the lavatory and glancing at the clock on the wall in his room.  His eyes widened when he saw it. “It’s three in the morning!  I’ve been waiting for…” He tried to do the math, but hastily decided it would be better not to know.

     “Enough of this.  Time to turn in.” He paused after saying this, and walked back to the cockpit of his ship.  One last search wouldn’t hurt…

     ‘Searching, please wait.”

     “Nathia.Net detects no ships matching the search parameters.  Would you like to do another search?”

     At the reappearance of those words, words Bullet had seen dozens of times over the past few hours, the Nathian reached over and switched off the screen.  Glancing at the other controls, he turned on the sensor alarm; he wasn’t expecting company, but since he was sitting out in open space, a little caution wouldn’t hurt.  Giving the various status panels another cursory look-over, he turned off the lights in the cockpit and stepped back into the hall.

     He only made a couple of steps, almost making it to the door of his quarters, when the alarm rang.  Eyebrow raising in confusion, he turned back, turning the lights back on and slipping into his chair.

     “What’s up, Silverfang?  What’s the problem?”

     “Receiving emergency transmission: S.O.S., requesting police aid. Open channel?”

     Bullet read the screen, scratching his head. “Well, I’m out of my jurisdiction, but Nathian Guardsmen are considered Council-endorsed police forces…Silverfang, open the channel.”

     Bullet winced as a rather high-pitched voice blared from one of the speakers near his head. “This is the luxury cruiser Decadence!  We have been attacked by pirates and need immediate aid!  I repeat, this is-”

     Bullet swatted at a button on the console, cutting the voice short. “Pirates, hm?  This isn’t my business…” ‘Red Death, the pirate queen…yes, this sounds like something she would do, and its close enough to her last recorded heading.  A little fun on her jaunt through the galaxy, eh?  I have her now!’  Bullet’s smiled widely, displaying his fangs. “Silverfang, set course for those coordinates!  We’ve got a pirate to catch!” ‘And a lady to rescue…don’t forget that!’ his conscience chided him.

     Bullet smiled broadly as his ship’s engines thrummed to life.  He was awake now, that was certain.  Bullet was on the hunt once again.


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