February 9, 2003

By Michael Strickland


[Another work in progress. —Ed.]

Staphylococcus. An appropriate name for such a small yet lethal ship. Danilo watched as a blast from its forward battery vaporized the communications array of Henry David Thoreau, the merchant vessel he'd been aboard till two minutes ago. "Don't fire until you see the name on its hull," was the order. But the man who gave that order had been blasted into his component ions, along with the bridge of the Thoreau, long before the small scout ship had reached visual range.

Glancing down at the console, Danilo checked the EmCon settings for the hundredth time. After the hell he survived to reach the lifepod, he wasn't about to let a stray electron betray his position. Why abandon a burning ship in the first place if the enemy found your lifepod just minutes later?

He carefully tuned the radio to receive-only, searching for any communications from the Staphylococcus. Passing 6.66 gHz, the thick accent of Franish suddenly coated his eardrums. "Ne un tirazo pas. Je creo que touts sont muertos."

Cortés DaGuerre.

At the sound of the voice, Danilo's heart sank into the pit of his stomach, where it began marinating in a stew of adrenaline-tinged despair. How had the pirate found him so quickly? A glance out the viewport revealed plasma venting from the Thoreau's port side. Plasmaand 100 barrels of Dalian bourbon. DaGuerre's Dalian bourbon. If he was mad enough over the theft of the liquor to chase down Danilo, he wasn't going to be any happier when he found out his own ship blew it out into space.

Danilo reached up and pulled the headset off. So this was it. Better to get it over with here than back on Dalia Prime. He was as ready as he'd ever be. And maybejust maybehe could use DaGuerre's fury to his advantage. Much like using a charging boxer's momentum against him.

With a last glance out at the Thoreau, Danilo deactivated the EmCon system. The lifepod now glittered like a Christmas tree on any sensors within half a light year.

Come and get me.


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Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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2/8: Morning Cup of Kofi
2/7: Game Over
2/6: The Eagle Never Landed
2/5: Pope: Potter No Problem
2/4: Time for Another Rewrite
2/3: A Matter of Opinions
2/2: Suicidal Bravado
2/1: Godspeed, Columbia

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