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  • Writer's pictureKL Forslund

NI13: Check the Batteries on the Emergency Lighting

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

Captain Raptor grew tired of waiting. The lighting in the hold was terrible, but his hat shielded him from the annoying LEDs in the ceiling. It was dark, and there was little to think about besides defeating Captain King and whether he was getting hat-feathers from wearing it all day and night, pressing into his slicked back feather crest. The party above deck was winding down. He heard thumps as crew slumped to sleep where they reclined or stood. Even the band petered out.

At least he could count on Rhona up in the crow’s nest, keeping a lookout for the Tyrant’s Revenge. They were sure to come across her. The kitchen was still busy cleaning dishes. He could hear Rhonda sobbing as she cleaned up from catering the party. The sobbing stopped, followed by a clattering of pans. Then a wail arose, jerking Captain Raptor to wakefulness. That was not typical for the crying Bronto sister. Something was wrong. His high speed reflexes kicked in as a tonfa whipped down from the ceiling, almost denting his snout, knocking his hat off.

The pair of ninjas who clung to the ceiling beam above him dropped down to the decking on either side of him.

Captain Raptor scooped his hat up and returned it to his head. “Huh, I guess I didn’t get new emergency lighting installed.”

One of the ninjas held a pair of tonfa, the predecessor to the modern police baton. The other wielded a long katana. It sliced toward the captain’s soft belly. He arched his back, The blade swept over his belly, a scales-width away. As the captain brought himself back to upright position, he raked his claws up the tonfa wielding ninja behind him, tearing through his black ninja uniform and his metal skin. The wounded ninja leaped back, buying Captain Raptor the moment he needed. He bolted up the stairs to his right, putting his surprised attackers behind him.

Above deck, Captain Raptor discovered a new surprise as he found his crew asleep. Small poison darts sticking out of each of them. Cera lay snoring in her deck chair, with four darts protruding, her drink with the little umbrella lay spilled on the deck. He saw faint blue lights approaching from the shadows on the opposite side of the deck. He heard the ninjas climbing the stairs, making no attempt to hide themselves. He glanced about, taking stock of his options while sprinting forward and leapt for a dangling rope from the sails.

A chorus of mechanical voices called out, “Surrender captain!”

Captain Raptor timed his swing and angle just right, and as he returned on the downswing, he positioned to plant both feet into the wounded ninja with the tonfas. His target went flying backward and fell over the railing. The captain landed on the railing. His quick reflexes and strong grip held him steady. The katana wielding ninja called out, “No! #42!”

Captain Raptor glanced at the overboard ninja #42 who was flailing and sinking. He looked back at the ninja on deck, saw him rush to the rail, looking for his comrade in arms, the fight forgotten. “I’ll be back,” was all the captain said as he turned toward the water and dove.

It was dark and cold as he hit the water, his eyes darting and scanning for a silhouette, something he could swim for that might be the sinking ninja. There, he saw a faint flash of blue. He swam for it, his lithe form cutting through the water. His paws bumped into wet fabric, he grabbed it and changed trajectory to swim for the surface. He broke the surface and pulled #42 up where he could better tread water.

A cold metallic voice called out, “Kill them!” Captain Raptor spun around, getting his bearings on his ship, with ten red-eyed ninjas looking down at him from the railing. He glanced at #42 and saw the ninja’s eyes were still blue. One of these things was not like the others.

Velociraptor instincts kicked in and he dove under, carrying the wounded ninja with him just as a swarm of shuriken struck where he had been.

A short swim later, Captain Raptor dragged #42 onto the beach. Wreckless Abandon wasn’t far off shore, but now she felt a million leagues away to the Captain. He collapsed onto the beach, his second time in as many days having lost his hat. The cold water had sapped his strength and seeing his crew taken down had sapped his spirit. Darkness overtook him.


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KL Forslund
KL Forslund
23 Eki 2019

Thanks for the feedback. I'll give it another read. Those pesky mistakes have a habit of hiding until publishing.


John Cryar
John Cryar
23 Eki 2019

Good morning Ken, just read your post NI13, my first exposure for this particular story. I'll be brief. Interesting story, a couple of sentences need attention, either missing a word or maybe my attempt to read it in three minutes missed something. I see from a recent post NI12 above - these guys/gals treat old people the same in the 'other Village' as we do in America . . . 'line up and . . . drop your valuables into this sack' - sounds like the normal shakedown/robbery works the same in all cultures.

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