Adiron by Ruby Dixon

Corsairs: Adiron





It’s not easy being a space pirate…

Actually, wait.

Yes it is. It’s keffing awesome.

The three va Sithai brothers — that’s us — cruise the universe looking for abandoned ships, treasure, and other pirate ships to rob. Right now, we’re on the hunt for the Buoyant Star, an abandoned cruiser rumored to have a massive treasure inside. The ship’s been found at the edge of an ice field at the far reaches of space.

That treasure? About to be all ours.

But the ship's not all that abandoned. The Star is crewed by a few lonely, attractive human females who are thoroughly grateful at being rescued…

Actually, wait.

They’re not grateful at all.

They’ve set us a trap, and their leader, a beautiful human female named Jade, gives me a smile just before she captures me.

It’s official. I’m in love.





1





ADIRON



It's so noisy in the V'tarr cantina that I can barely hear myself think. Not that there's a lot going on between my ears regularly, but there's a reedy instrument wailing just over my shoulder that's making it hard for me to concentrate. I kind of want to reach over and shove it down the musician's throat. I mean, my brother Mathiras wants us to create a diversion, but I'm not sure attacking an innocent musician will do anything other than make me look like a keffing ass.

A music-hating ass, to boot. And there's a lot of things you can be in the universe, but if you hate music, people look at you funny.

I scan the busy cantina for my other brother, Kaspar. He's still at the bar, leaning against it, trying to look oh-so-casual as he nurses a beer. He looks pissed, too, and I suspect that's my fault. We're not sitting together because we're trying to blend in with the locals on V'tarr Station. That's proving a little tricky considering we're the only two mesakkah in the entire damn cantina…

Our eyes meet and he gives me an impatient look.

Right. Diversion. We're supposed to create a scene without drawing attention to ourselves. Cause a little chaos in the cantina so the authorities will show up here and Mathiras can do some light-fingered work on the local records in search of mentions of the Buoyant Star, the long-lost ship we’ve been chasing these last two months. V’tarr's the biggest port in this far-flung system, and the most convenient re-fuel spot. If the V’tarrians haven't seen that particular ship, it means our search area is narrowed down by quite a bit. We’ll find our ship through process of elimination if nothing else.

Mathiras has the hard job—hacking into the V'tarrian systems and extracting the records without being noticed. Me, I just have to sit here and make a scene.

It's something I should be pretty good at. I'm not the brightest out of us three, but I'm pretty good with my fists. So, as I sit in my booth, I look for something to hit. Someone ugly. Doesn't matter the species. My fists are equal opportunity. I look around the place. It's dark, a little smoky, and crowded. The booths are spaced a good distance apart, allowing people to walk freely between them, and the bar curving along the far wall is shoulder to shoulder with males of every species…with one blatant exception. My brother, the mesakkah. Among them, Kaspar stands out like a sore thumb, and that's going to make it difficult for us to quietly make a scene and slip out.

"Hello there, handsome," a female voice trills.

Uh oh. I look up, and one of the cantina girls is smiling at me. She's one of the locals—the bird people with delicate yellow down covering their skin and legs that bend backward. Got a nice rack, though, and I smile at her. "Well hello to you."

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kaspar make a face and turn back toward the bar, no doubt thinking I'm distracted again. He should know me better, though. Females are nice to flirt with, but I'm not buying company. If I wanted to purchase the affection of a female, I'd be with Shaalyn at this moment.

The avian female beams at me, sliding into the booth to sit at my side. A friend sits across from her—another cantina girl, judging by the filmy outfit that leaves nothing to the imagination.

"You look like a male with a lot of credits," the avian female trills, brushing one of her breasts against my arm. Her hand touches mine, where I'm holding my drink, and it takes everything I have to keep smiling.

"Looks can be deceiving," I say easily, picking up my drink and shaking off her hand. I do a mock-toast to the ladies. "Mine is an empty wallet."

"Mmm, I don't think so." She leans over me, her breath smelling like ooli brew. Her tits are definitely pushing against my arm, no matter how much room I try to give her. On the other side, the female scoots around the circular booth and moves in my direction.

Trapped.

"A mesakkah on this end of the universe? You're not broke." Her friend giggles and touches my other arm while I shift uncomfortably. "You're a pirate, aren't you?"

I scoff. "Me?"

"Mmmhmm." They both eye me. "And pirates are never broke. You can buy a round." The one on my right taps the table, bringing up the drink request system.

I guess I can. I let them order, sipping my drink. Maybe I can find some interesting stuff out from them. Maybe they know something about some of the ships that come in. I glance over at Kaspar, who's still glaring in my direction, and I get a different idea, one for a diversion. "So, do you ladies entertain or do you just drink up a male's credits?"