The Pirates of Capella

It’s 2050, the Nebula Awards are taking place in orbit, and aliens have crashed the party.  What else can go wrong?

artemisArtemis Magazine
LRC Publications • Winter 2003

“[A] kind of gentle mystery, with a range of in-jokes and twists. . . . Bunnell knew exactly what expectations he was working against.”

Greg Beatty,

Read an Excerpt….

I instantly pushed my chair back and stood up — or would have, if my body had been working.  Instead, my hand tingled and I found myself unable to move.  A glance confirmed that Min was likewise frozen in her chair.  “If you say I told you so,” she said, “I’ll award you a life membership and put you in charge of the next five Nebula weekends.  At least.”

I swallowed, took a breath, and grinned weakly.  “A fate worse than death.”

Before I could expand on that thought, Chiricca spoke from over my shoulder.  “Your taste in human camouflage images is appalling,” she told Khorokirru.  “However, it’s also irrelevant.  Kindly turn over your carrier and come with us.”

Khorokirru’s faux-human eyebrows went up.  “And if I refuse?”

“We would regret resorting to violence,” Chiricca said silkily.  “These humans are entertaining.  However, we’ll do whatever is necessary to secure your cooperation.   Gloth?”  I managed to twist my head backward — the paralysis had only taken hold below the neck.  The imitation Englishman was pointing an oversized fountain pen at Min, who had turned a full-intensity glare on Gloth’s holographic face.

“You promised not to use blasters!” she told the alien fiercely.

The unreal English eyes didn’t blink.  “This is not a blaster,” Gloth said, its voice chill and calm.  “This is a micro-particulate molecular solvent spray tailored to affect organic targets.”

 “I hope that wasn’t meant to be reassuring,” Min said, with a nervous-sounding laugh.

“It was meant to induce cooperation,” retorted Chiricca, her attention still on Khorokirru.  “You have fifteen seconds to yield the carrier.”


Suddenly, a half-dozen voices were talking at once.  “That’s absolutely amazing!  Those are the outfits from ‘Consequences’, right?”

“I thought they stopped making the frames for those glasses thirty years ago!”

“We’re having a private party after the banquet, room W-416.  We’d love to have you come up.”