The Blind Wonder
Member No.: 1,191
Joined: 16-June 11
An explosion rocked the ship, sending her slamming into a wall. The woman cursed but kept moving, feeling herself for injuries as she went. Nothing felt broken, but there would definitely be bruises in the morning…if she made it to the morning. The way things were going, that was looking less and less likely. But she would not let herself start doubting. The ship’s crew was comprised of the best, most capable people she had ever met. They could survive anything as long as they worked together and had a fearless leader to keep them moving.
The Dread Pirate Rhona Cego, known to her enemies as the Sightless Terror, burst onto the upper deck of her vessel, the Gallant Knight. “Gŏu zá zhong!* What the rutt was that?” she called to the room in general, looking for an immediate answer, she didn’t care who from. The first mate was quick to answer. ”Not sure, Cap! Some kind of missile, maybe. It came at us too fast for me to tell.” That didn’t satisfy the captain, who gave the man a glare. ”You’re not sure, Sam? Really? Because it looks to me like that ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng* has his guns trained on us and means to take this ship. What are you, blind?”
That elicited laughter from everyone present, even the man being mocked. ”Of course, Cap,” he muttered through his laughter. ”If that’s what you saw, then that must be what’s going on. I’ll try to work on getting my eyesight as good as yours.”
”See that you do,” Rhona replied with a grin, turning to face forward again. Her sightless eyes gazed out of the large glass screen at the front of the ship, which had been installed as a birthday gift from the crew on her birthday some months ago. Sam, rubbing a recently punched shoulder, tears of mirth streaming down his face, had explained that the whole crew had pitched in to buy the screen since they knew how much their captain liked looking out at the blackness of space. That had earned him another punch, this time square in his face. He’d taken it as he always did, with a smile and muttered thanks. The first mate may have been in pain, but he could see the Cap’ trying not to smile—the whole crew could, and knew their gift was appreciated. The celebration had lasted long into the night, and would not soon be forgotten.
Now, though, no one was celebrating. The crew collectively stumbled as another explosion rocked the ship. Rhona recovered quickly, gripping a handrail for support. ”What now?!” she shouted. The reply was, once again, instant. ”That was definitely a missile, Cap!” one of the other crew members, Lily, reported. ”Our left engine is stalled. We’re dead in the air and their moving in. Looks like they’re going to try to board us.”
The Captain grinned at that. ”Morons,” she pronounced. ”They’d be better off blowing us up from a distance. Well, this is good. I haven’t gotten to hit anything in a while. My arms could use the exercise.” Though she couldn’t see it, Rhona knew her whole crew was smiling along with her. Her skill at repelling boarders unarmed was legendary, and apparently the idiots in the other ship had decided to see if the stories were true. Fine by her. She’d send the rutters to the Black.
The crew was used to being invaded, and all knew what part to play. The engineers would stay where they were doing their best to get the ship able to move again, but the rest went to the armory to get ready to repel their would-be tenants. As the first mate passed the captain he called out to her. ”You want anything, Cap? Sword, pistol, anything?” The captain spoke with a smile on her face and in her voice. “And leave myself defenseless? You must be joking.” The words were different every time, but the exchange was the one constant in their life of villainy—well, that and victory.
Slipping into her role in the performance that was to begin soon, Rhona left the upper deck to descend to the cargo bay, where their new friends would soon be knocking. She was on the stairs when the two ships met, forcing to clutch the railing to avoid breaking her neck. The woman quickened her pace, not wanting to miss any of the action. She reached the cargo bay and joined Sam on the catwalk that looped around the room, speaking as soon as she reached the man. “How many we got?”
Sam spoke slowly, his focus on the scope of the rifle in his hands.”A good number, Cap. Looks like thirty, maybe forty. They want this ship badly.”
”Well they’re not gonna get it,” Rhona replied, her tone calm. “Do me a favor and let them in, will you? Don’t want to keep our guests waiting.”
”Aye aye, Cap,” the first mate replied, hitting a button to his left which caused the doors of the cargo bay to slowly slide apart, leaving the invaders exposed and very confused. The first of the boarding party stepped into the ship and was immediately dropped by Sam’s rifle. As the man crumpled to the ground, his allies let out a loud cry and surged forward, pouring into the cargo bay as one big mob, guns aimed up at the catwalk where the crew of the Gallant Knight sat waiting. Just like that, the battle began.
Rhona dodged and weaved as she moved, bullets whizzing by her and pinging off the wall behind her. The pirate paid them no mind, her whole being focused on the single goal of getting to the ground. Sure, she could leave the fighting to her crew and their guns, but that would be absolutely no fun. These rutters were trying to take her ship. It was only polite that she personally see them off.
The woman’s arms were moving as soon as she hit the floor, fists of fury finding any and all targets they could. The captain smiled every time her flailing limbs connected with another body and sent the other reeling away clutching themselves in pain. She heard shouting, and knew that several members of her crew had entered the melee with her, not wanting to let their leader get all the action. She didn’t pay that much attention, though, not while there were still butts to kick.
All too soon she heard a cry of, ”Retreat!” The teenager threw one last punch, then let the defeated invaders run back to their own ship, shouting after them. “Tell everyone you meet that you were crushed by the Sightless Terror!” She followed the fleeing pirates to the doors of the cargo bay, laughing as she pressed the button to close and seal the doors. That done, she turned back to her crew, who gave a loud cheer that echoed through the cavernous room again and again, marking yet another victory. Rhona joined in the cheer, but then was immediately back to business. “Sam, how’s the engine?”
”Ready to go, Cap, though we should probably get some repairs done next time we hit the dirt.”
The captain nodded, not able to keep her lips from curving upward. “Will do, Sam. Now, how’s about we have ourselves a little party? Your birthday’s coming up, right? I owe you a special gift…” The whole crew laughed as they rushed to obey their captain’s latest order. The Dread Pirate’s rule was secure once more. Things were back to normal, and life was good.
Rhona woke suddenly, shifting around a bit while she figured out where she was. Her hand found a source of heat, and she remembered. She was in her bed on the Serenade, her favorite person in the ‘Verse lying asleep next to her. The girl settled her head against the pillow, blind eyes on the ceiling, mind on her dream. “The Sightless Terror,” she muttered to herself. She liked the sound of that. Maybe she should tell Joe to only address her by that title from now on. It would make introductions a lot more impressive. Smiling, the teen twisted her body and curled up against Joe’s back, closing her eyes once more. In a few minutes she had slipped back into her imagination to continue her reign as queen of the Black.
And in the morning, when Joe complained that his arm felt sore and looked bruised, she just smiled and said nothing.
* Gŏu zá zhong—son of a bitch
* Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng—frog-riding bastard