• Sando stood on the deck of his airship, her great black sails billowing as their Casmyr tree propelled them through the skies over the vast Gaian sea. It was a magnificent ship with an unfortunate name, The Tin Lizzie. In a rather silly move, he and his first mate decided who would name their fantastic new airship via a bet on whether or not Sando could beat their large, muscular (albeit stupid) cohort Tiny in an arm wrestling match. Now, Sando was the most feared pirate of the seven skies, charmer of all things skirt-wearing, definition of the words 'dastardly' and 'debonaire', but he was no match for the farm hand turned swashbuckler. He lost the match, which meant he not only had to pay for the plaque bearing his first mate's choice in name, but also to repair the three smashed walls and four hospital bills that resulted from Tiny's accidental game of 'toss the cap'n'.

    First Mate Ghee had laughed about it for a week straight after they had left port and still told the story whenever they docked. Sando had is revenge, though, when he managed to convince Tiny that Ghee had stolen his favourite home-baked cookie he'd been saving since he joined the crew six years prior. In reality, it had just mysteriously disappeared. Sando was reasonably certain it had gained sentience and slipped away last time they docked. Good riddance, he thought, at least the crew bunks won't smell like rotting peebo feeder anymore. What had been in that cookie?

    He was pulled from his thoughts as their lookout, Crow's Nest Pete, called down to him.

    “Cap'n Sando, thar's a floater in tha water thar!” he shouted.

    Floater?” Sando called back, “Pete, we're pirates not p--”

    “Nay, sir, it be a boat with'n a people in it!” Pete called back.


    “Aye sir, a people, all alonesome in a boat!”

    “Person, Pete, person.” Sando said, shaking his head. He took out his trusty spyglass and leaned over the side of the ship to get a look. Sure enough, below them in a rickety looking boat, drifting along, was a woman all in black. Why dressing all in black in the middle of the ocean under the beating sun was a good idea, Sando couldn't tell.

    “Take us in lower, Helmsman Joe!” Sando ordered. Joe obeyed, bringing them closer to the boat.

    “Ahoy down there! Any loot we can pillage?” he asked, only to be met with a bullet whizzing past his face and through his hair, severing one of his much beloved (and very dashing) dreadlocks as a reply.

    “Away with ya, pirate scum! Raider Shih is in no need of yer assistance!” the woman shouted, glaring up at him with a single red eye. The other was hidden behind a striped eye patch.

    Sando's bemoaning of his lost dreadlock was cut short as he, in his tanned, toned glory, was christened 'pirate scum' by someone arrogant enough to refer to herself in third person.

    “Pirate scum!” he said indignantly, “Me! You can talk to my crew like that, but call me pirate scum again and you'll lose your other eye!”

    “Raider Shih dares ya to come an' try... pirate scum.”

    Sando got one foot up on the side of the ship while growling “Why you little...” as “Raider Shih”'s expression shifted into a dangerous grin.

    “Raider Shih thinks ya have heart, pirate.” she said, “She has a... proposition for ya, if yer willin' to listen.”

    Sando stopped cold. “Oh?” he called.

    “Oh, aye.” the woman replied, standing in her boat, which rocked precariously and threatened to capsize with every movement. “Toss her a rope and she'll make it well worth yer while.”

    “Question.” Sando remarked.


    “Does Raider Shih have to constantly refer to herself in the third person?” he asked, “Also, do you do it consciously, or is it just a tick?”

    “Toss me a damn rope, sky rat.” she growled.

    To be continued...?
    (it all depends on the response I get!)