I’m kicking off a new story that’s just out of the blue and wacky. It’s connected to my first series about reality jumping witches, but this one is based in a poor reality where smugglers get stuff between realities behind the government’s back and the young heroine is interviewing to join a medical supplies smugglers crew.
It was based on the writer prompt found here: http://ryanlanz.com/2015/01/28/writing-prompts-pirates/ and I kind of love it. It’s urban fantasy but in a world where there’s a semi-communist government I’m basically having be like the USSR, but based in German culture in the US. And this world government answers to an overarching inter-reality government that’s very strict on what can be transported between realities, hence the pirate smugglers.
Really not sure where it’s going yet but it’s weird and off the wall from what I’ve already done while still tying in.
So here’s the first part, tell me what you think.
On The Path Of The Pirate:
“Why do you want this job?” the Captain asked, leaning forward and folding his hand on the desk. He wore the usual pirate uniform of black pants, boots and a silk shirt. The patch of the MedLauf gang, a snake wrapped around a staff, glowed like a silver sign on his sleeve.
He looked so out of place in the interview box, the side room the university’s career center put the less… legitimate interviews in. Its grey walls, concreate floor and no windows made it feel like a cell. Maybe it was supposed to since the people interviewing in here were likely to end up in one.
His name was Hans Gerstein and he looked like a Hans. At least two hundred centimeters, lanky with dark blond hair slicked back and brown eyes so dark they were almost black. He had the high cheekbones and strong nose of the Southern Brews.
“Well,” Talia paused, brushing a curl behind her ear and biting her lip like she was actually thinking about it. “Because I need a job,” just never seemed to go over well with recruiters, but especially not pirates. They wanted to know you wanted to be there. That you wanted to take this risk and do this for the love of the run and the stars, not the money.
Ha! Like anyone in their economy cared about anything but putting food on the table, preferably under a roof. And it wasn’t like anyone in the legitimate government hired anyone based on merit, it was all who you knew. A girl from the Great Birge Mountains who didn’t have connections outside the university wasn’t getting a job here. Everyone just kept telling her to go back home and get a job there.
And that wasn’t an option.
“Because I want to help people,” Talia said, looking down and grinning before meeting his eyes again. “As corny as that sounds. The medications we can get to the people of this reality, the resources we can get out of it and to plants in more developed ones. It’s good work. Worth doing, I think. And somebody has to. Someone has to risk it for our people.”
His thick lips twitched and she kept looking him in the eye, smile frozen in place. Repeat after me, I will not flirt with the interviewer, I will not flirt with the interviewer.
“You realize what will happen if you’re caught?”
She shrugged. “The Agency will throw me in one of their prisons, suck out my magic, maybe even change my memories and put me on their Earth to live as one of those clueless f…” She caught herself. Even with pirates, you didn’t swear during interviews. “People.”
“That’s not what you were about to say, was it?”
She grinned, looking down and it was all natural. “No, no it wasn’t. I caught myself though.”
“Ms. Hutch,” he shook his head. “You are obviously competent…”
“But I have no experience,” she finished for him. “I’m fresh out of university with no connections here or any reason not to go home. I have decent grades, but nothing spectacular. I have work experience in the service industry, but nothing to suggest I will be able to outwit governments, let alone have the wherewithal to not turn my shipmates in if I’m caught.”
He crossed his foot over his knee, doing that box thing guys always did with one leg crossed over the other that looked so uncomfortable. She crossed her knees and when he leaned back, so did she.
“Mr. Gerstein…” Talia paused. What was the best way to play this? “I don’t know how to smuggle, but no one does until they are taught. And people who already have experience tend to stay with their original crews. I’m new, yes, but if you hire me, I’m not going anywhere.
The reason I came to Coast for school was because this is where smugglers are. The portal in the Atlantic is the only one still open on this side of the world. If the one in the Mountains had stayed open, I would’ve worked out of there. But it was discovered and closed when I was eleven. My parents died from the plague just after that, weeks before the medicine got through all the government hoops. If I can save some kid from that, I’m going to.”
She took a deep breath like she’d been holding that in.
“You are so full of shit,” he said, throwing his head back and laughing. “You are good. Are your parents even dead?”
She shook her head, hiding a grin. “Hire me and find out.”
He stared at her a long minute, breathing though his nose like he could smell her truth.
Shit, what if he could?
“Okay, I’ll give you a shot. We start a run tomorrow.”
“Really!” She reached out to shake his hand. “You will not regret-”
“Ah.” He held up his hand, leaving hers frozen in midair. “We don’t just hire people. You have to go through the probationary period. You make it through that, then you’re in.”
“Okay.” She dropped her hand. Of course there was a training period for this kind of specialized work. That didn’t change anything. It meant she’d have to prove herself on the ship just like she would’ve had to before. “What does the probationary period entail?”
Captain Gerstein just grinned.