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Adrift

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Adrift.

Dewi couldn’t believe she was actually adrift. Particularly not in space and not while De Nederlander’s fuel cells were showing almost full. She knew there were members of the fleet as well as independent spacers who had nicknamed this area of the system the Sargasso Sea and others who compared it to the Bermuda Triangle. Both were references to old Earth legends. The Sargasso Sea—where the winds would stop blowing and the sea would be as still and smooth as polished glass; a place where a ship could be left stranded until her crew had perished from starvation and exposure. The Bermuda Triangle—where ships simply vanished and no traces could ever be found. Both places said to be cursed, just as some spacers where claiming this area was.

She glanced again at the power readings on her console. Internal power was still good, so she and her passenger didn’t have to worry about starvation or exposure. Air shouldn’t be a problem either. She leaned back in her chair and looked out at the empty space in front of her. She only had one choice now; let the ship drift until she was picked up or until De Nederlander was out of this area and able to travel under her own power again.

Normally she wouldn’t have taken this route, legends about curses, or not, there was something about this area of the system that caused a ship’s engines to shut down and no one had figured out what it was. However, her passenger had insisted on taking this specific route and had paid her extra for doing so.

Dewi glanced again at the positioning scanner. “Wait a minute,” she said. “This can’t be correct.” She called up the chart showing her planned route, they matched. “We shouldn’t be in the Sargasso yet,” she said. “What’s going on?”

Everything matched the few stories of ships that had lost power and been rescued, but De Nederlander was still several hours from where she expected to skirt the edge of the Sargasso Sea.

She hesitated as she reached for the emergency beacon. The last reports she had seen indicated a group of pirates had taken up residence in this area of the system. If those reports were as accurate as the updated charts then she had nothing to worry about. She shook her head to clear it. “Pirates.” She laughed as she activated the beacon.

Dewi stood and stretched. All of the controls were locked and there was nothing she could do for now. The computer would alert her if someone responded to the emergency beacon. For now, all she could do was wait and make sure her passenger was okay. She paused and looked up at the sword hanging over the doorway. Her grandfather had given it to her for luck when she first started her courier service. He claimed the sword had been in their family for generations—going back to Earth and had once belonged to some long dead ancestor who had been captain of a ship lost at sea. The way her grandfather told the story, the sword had mysteriously arrived in the post, with no information on how or from where it had been sent, a few years after the ship had been declared lost. Since then, everyone in her family who captained a sailing vessel had carried the sword. No one else had been lost so the sword had come to be a symbol of luck for the Fokke family.

Her father had not wanted her to have the sword, because she had broken from tradition and decided to pilot a small space vessel instead of taking over his ship and continuing the family business on Nieuw Amsterdam. To tell the truth, she had been surprised he didn’t disown her for abandoning the sea, but she was his only child and he could never stay mad at her for long.

She shook her head, she didn’t believe in luck, anymore than she believed it was some mystical curse that affected this area of the system. Curses, legends and pirates, she thought. At least there is some humor to be found in the situation. She shook her head as she walked down the corridor to the passenger cabins.