lliance vessel off the starboard bow!" the first mate yelled across the com system.
"I told you to never bother me on the Sabbath!" yelled the captain in reply.
"But she's igniting her cannons," replied the first mate, sounding intimidated.
Most of the crew aboard "The Almighty" were intimidated, if not out-right terrified of captain Isaiah. He had been known to make troublesome crew members walk the plank, which comprised of forcing the offender into a hull compartment then opening the outer hatch so they were sucked into space. If the captain was in a particularly bad mood, or simply impatient, he would skewer the unruly crew member upon the point of his sword. Yet for his bad temper, Captain Isaiah was often a generous and fair man. And in his own strange way, a very religious man. He kept the Sabbath, refusing all pirating and violence on that sacred day whenever possible. He could often be seen carrying around an old leather Bible, and he frequently quoted from it. He could read from the Bible in a way that made the hair stand up on one's neck, as if the Almighty God Himself was speaking through the fearsome man. He even named his ship after the God above, saying he could think of no better name for the vessel.
Captain Isaiah was an imposing man, not just from his rough demeanor, but his appearance immediately captured one's attention. He dressed in shimmering black clothing, from pants and shirt and jacket to his silky tri-cornered hat. His hair was red as the fires of hell, and his beard jutted straight out as if to impale anyone who got too close. He was over six feet tall, and his cold blue eyes stared down hard at the crewmembers, entertaining no foolishness.
"Ready all cannons," said the captain, taking his chair on the bridge. "What bloody blaggard has the folly to disturb my Sunday rest?"
"The uh, first mate sounded the call, captain," ventured a skinny helmsman. "I mean what ship dares disturb my rest on the Lord's day?" said the captain, throwing the helmsman a withering look. The helmsman had no chance to reply for the ship was rocked by laser cannon fire.
"Turrow!" yelled to captain to the dark-haired youth across the bridge who was studying a red and green glowing console. "Give 'em hell, cannon master!"
Turrow's nimble fingers danced across the console, causing the red and green lights to glow blue and yellow. The ship rocked slightly with the release of the cannon fire, and from the forward view screen orange glowing balls of light slammed into the enemy ship, causing a shower of sparks and explosions to light up the screen and the enemy vessel.
"Navigator! What is the status of yonder ship?"
"We struck her starboard engines, captain, and must have ignited energy cells on the starboard side as well, for she is now operating on reserve power, and the ship is listing to the right."
The captain pushed a com button on his large, blue chair. "Engineer?"
"Yes captain," came a metallic voice.
"Tell me, you old bucket of rust, what shape are we in?" The captain called the ship's robot engineer all sorts of names, mostly because he liked the robot so well. It always followed his orders without question, and as the captain liked to point out, on many occasions, at least old metal mouth is not a whoremonger, adulterer, thief, or drunkard like the rest of this crew!
"We have some minor hull damage, captain Isaiah. No other damage except for overheating of the third aft cannon. Though number five swivel gun on the ship's bow is malfunctioning," said Bot 879.
"Get a service droid to work on that swivel gun, and two more out on the hull."
Captain Isaiah sighed, then said to no one in particular, "Those devils will regret interfering with the Lord's day." He was silent a few moments, then asked his communications officer, an albino man with bright red eyes. "Hail those devils and see what they were about, firing on us like that."
"Aye captain," said the albino. Turning to the monitor in front of him, he spoke into the black headset that stood out starkly against his long, pale white hair. "Alliance ship, this is a freebooter, 'The Almighty'. Captain Isaiah wishes to know what the hell you had in mind by firing upon us and disturbing his Sabbath rest. I would caution you to consider well your reply, for the captain is in a saucy mood today."
The captain grinned at his communications officer. There was no one else on the ship who could push the captain like him, and interacting with the albino was nearly the only time captain Isaiah smiled, or tolerated humor. The captain listened for the response from the Alliance ship.
"Captain Isaiah, our captain, Will Pollard, wishes to offer our sincere apologies. He did not realize it was your ship. He has nothing but respect for you, and hopes that this situation can be resolved amenably. Also, our captain offers his apologies on disturbing your, uh, religious observance. Your piety is well known throughout the galaxy."
Jorum, the albino communicator, looked to captain Isaiah, a smirk on his face. The communication had come over the com system for all to hear.
"Tell captain Pollard to turn on his view screen and we will talk face to face," said Isaiah.
In a few moments the view screen lit up with a large balding man, sweating pouring from every orifice. "Captain Isaiah. Again let me say how sorry I am that our incompetent munitions officer acted rashly in firing upon you."
"Captain Pollard," said Isaiah, cutting him off, "are you trying to tell me that you have a mutiny on board? I can think of no other reason why a munitions officer would be firing at another ship without his captain's approval."
Captain Pollard changed the subject. "I will pay for any damages caused by this unfortunate event."
"I should say so," said Isaiah. Then turning, and speaking for the first time to his ship's accountant and supply officer, he said, "What would you estimate the damage is, keeping in mind aggravation to myself and the crew, undo stress, and wasted time." He threw a withering look at captain Pollard on the view screen, daring him to comment or complain. He didn't.
The ship's supply officer was a beauty, dark hair, green eyes, round in the right places, a smooth oval face, prominent lips, and a raspy voice that made the hair stand up on the necks of the pirates, including the captain. She said, "Ten thousand Alliance credits, or seven thousand in bar silver, or three thousand in bar gold." She clicked at the little black box in her hand, then added, "We might also manage a combination of these, and work something out if he has titanium or ship's crystals or solar cells."
Isaiah turned to the screen before him, after letting his eyes linger for just a moment upon the beauty of his ship's accountant. An irritated look passed his face, though whether from frustration at his unchecked desire for the lovely accountant, or anger at the red-faced captain Pollard--no one knew for sure except the captain. He awaited an answer from the Alliance captain regarding the calculations.
"That is quite fair," said Pollard hesitantly, "but I will need to contact my commander at the nearest Alliance port to get approval--"
Isaiah cut him off. "I'm not here to haggle, captain Pollard. I will give you one hour to make payment. If I don't receive payment in one hour, make sure your affairs are in order, my cannons are lit and anxious to fire. Remember," he added in a dangerous tone of voice, "you fired upon me, and my patience should not be tested. There will be no further communication between us, simply pay up, making arrangement with my ship's accountant, or kiss your sinful lives goodbye." He motioned for his communications officer to cut off the view screen and com.
Within forty minutes the correct combination of credits, titanium, and solar cells were supplied to The Almighty. Captain Isaiah spent the rest of the Sabbath in his cabin, meditating on the Holy Bible, and on life's great questions, but come Monday morning, he was ready for action.
He climbed the ladder to the bridge, ignored the heads that turned at his entry, and sat down in his great blue chair. "Sabbath's over boys and girls, it's time to for folks to pay their dues. The Almighty is riled and ready for action. Let's find some bloody blaggards and make them pay!"