A Trader and a Pirate walk into a bar…

Welcome to my blog as, once again, we host someone here today. I’ve got the privilege of showing off Scott Seldon’s newest book, Pirates of I’ab!

With three completed novels and a collection of short stories, I found it challenging to pick a excerpt that can stand on its own without too much explanation. I think this is probably the best one. The stage is easily set. Captain Ven Zaran is finishing out a contract for a fellow trader in a sector known for piracy. Ven isn’t easy to catch and has eluded the pirates and caught the attention of their leader. And now, from my upcoming release, Pirates of I’ab, the first face to face meeting of protagonist and antagonist.

Rather than waste their time on the return trip, Ven decided to see if there were any cargos in need of transport that were headed in their direction. As soon as the cargo hold was empty, he and Laren set off to cover the port bars to see of they could get any leads. It was worth an hour or two of inquiring.

Ven wasn’t having much luck in the bars he’d chosen to visit.

“I hear you are an independent trader,” A man said as he came up to him.

“I am. Are you looking to move a cargo?”

“I’m afraid no. I’ve been working for Sandisto Lines and I’m interested in moving to a more profitable position. Do you make good money as an independent?”

Something about the man disturbed Ven. He was about fifty with close-cropped hair and a prominent moustache. Something about his demeanor made Ven nervous.

“Yes, we make good money, but it is hard work. Like what I’m doing now. Do you know anyone where who has a cargo to move?”

“I’m afraid not. I’m just here on a commercial layover. Is being an independent more dangerous?”

“Not usually. It depends on where you do business. Like anything else, it can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.” Ven’s internal alarm was going off. Something about this man seemed familiar. Then it hit him and he went cold. That was exactly the hairstyle and moustache type that the pirate Jippol had worn. What had Jolar said, that Jippol copied everything that the Dolf did, even his look.

They were in a public place so Ven decided to bait him. A dangerous thing with this man’s reputation. “The most dangerous thing are the pirates. But if you play it right, even they aren’t anything to worry about.” Ven saw the color rise in the man’s faced and knew he was right. This was Ranmil X’lan, Dolf for the Pirates of I’ab.

“I’ve heard pirates can be pretty dangerous.”

“If you take a few precautions and have the right ship and crew, the pirates are pretty harmless, but you have run a profitable business to do that.”

“And you think you have the right business?”

“Oh yes. I have the best crew. I hired them because they are the best and they stay because I am the best captain in the business.” Ven didn’t usually brag, but he had heard some of his crew say it. He wouldn’t agree. He’d worked for Karnock and thought he was the best and still strived to be half as good as he’d been. But he knew making such a statement would just bug this pirate sitting in front of him.

He was right, he could seen the anger and frustration in the man’s eyes. “A little full of yourself, aren’t you?”

“If I wasn’t the best free trader out there, I wouldn’t have escaped from pirates so many times. I just had a run in with one of them on my way here.” Ven decided to go for a personal jab. “Whoever that was, they had to be a rookie they were so easy to get away from.”

Ven saw the man’s face virtually explode in anger. His face went dark red as his blood pressure built up. His body language spoke of rage ready to be released, but of a great deal of control keeping it in check. Ven had never seen someone so angry before and never would have imagined that he would be able to control it so completely. He finally spoke, his voice low and controlled, but without any sound of anger in it. “You tread on dangerous ground, Trader.”

“Then name is Ven, Ranmil.”

“I know your name. It’s not worth using.”

“Just the sort of stupid comment I’d expect from a pirate.”

Ranmil looked even more dangerous for a moment then suddenly relaxed. He looked at Ven for a long moment before a smile broke out on his face. “You think you can goad me into attacking you here. I have more self control than that.”

“Well, this is a public place, should we go elsewhere?”

“I have no interest in any sort of personal combat.”

“You don’t look like you are in any shape for it with that belly.”

Ranmil laughed at Ven’s continued attacks. “Oh trader,” he finally said. “You have a lot to learn. I am going to crush you. I’ll take every cargo you ever carry if I have to. You’ll be so known for losing cargos that no one will ever hire you. They’ll think you come visit me and then claim I attacked you. You’ll be finished.”

“That is a grandiose plan. I thought it wasn’t worth even knowing my name.”

“No, but I can’t have you flaunting my power in this sector.”

“I plan on leaving and never coming back.”

“It’s too late for that, trader.”

“Look, Ranmil. This conversation may be interesting to you, but I have business to take care of.”

“You amuse me, trader. Do you think you can actually escape me?”

“No, I have other plans. Right now I am due to leave. Since you’ve occupied my time and this bar is a dud, I’ll just take my empty ship back into space.”

“Fine. We’ll meet again. Next time don’t expect me to be nice.”

“I never have.” When Ranmil didn’t reply to that, Ven got up and left.

Scott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website (sites.google.com/site/scottrseldon/) for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold. Watch for his upcoming novel, Pirates of I’ab, at your favorite ebook retailer

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Trader and a Pirate walk into a bar…

  1. herminestrand

    Good, dialogue-rich passage. I was a bit surprised by the reference to space, as I’d thought this was set on earth, with seagoing vessels–it sure seemed that way. Two nits: (1) I think “anyone where” should be “anyone anywhere” and (2) instead of “strived” I would have used the dictionary word, “strove.” We all know how such little picky things make the trad-print snobs turn their noses up at all us self-pub indies, so hopefully those nits will be taken care of.

  2. That was another excellent post today. You make it look so easy. Thanks so much for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it very much. Have a wonderful day!

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