By: Geri Kittrell

(action of this story takes place 6 months or less ago)


The bridge crew of the privateering vessel, The Morrigan’s Rogue, set her down gently in the private docking bay as ordered by Captain Blackthorn. They were still quite confused by the past two weeks events, their captain had remained secluded in his office for many hours each day, which was most unusual. He had also ordered them to make for the rim territory of Balgriggan, an Imperial held planet. He had given the precise co-ordinates for their travel and docking but had offered no other explanation.

His mood of late was wonderfully good; one could almost describe it as giddy. Although, to a man, they were quite curious, none had dared ask questions. They trusted and respected their captain too much for that. Most of them had

been with him since the start of his career and many had been his father’s men and had watched him grow to manhood. Alaric Blackthorn was one of those few privateers whose crew actually loved him like a brother.

Once the landing had been completed, Captain Blackthorn and his wife Sorcha were the first down the ramp. He stood there, suppressing the giggles and he hugged his wife close to him. As the crew circled around him, waiting for further orders, he laughed and announced

"WELCOME HOME, welcome to the peninsula of Baratar and to Blackthorn Cove".

Sorcha and the crew was astounded, they’d heard the word HOME. They stood speechless for a few minutes letting his announcement sink in. Sorcha was the first to try to speak, "Wh.., How, why?"

They stood looking at a massive, elegant, manorial estate. Alaric turned to face all of them and replied, "I finalized the deal two weeks ago, and did you not wonder why I spent so much time in my office? Do you like it? After being treated to highway robbery worthy of a pirate, at the hands of the Imperial ship repair facility, I knew I had to prevent that from happening again. This place is equipped with our own repair facilities." As he let them toward the main house, which looked like a small palace, he continued. "Besides, you all know how your captain like his comforts. We will be Well secluded here and have our privacy. We can dock much of our fleet here -at the same time, if need be."

The chief navigator gestured with both arms spread wide, and asked, "You bought all this?" "Aye lad, I did." Replied Blackthorn. We can only see part of the estate from here. The repair facility is behind that grove of trees to the left, and there are lush gardens and fountains to the right. The cove is behind the house."

When they entered the main house, they were once again speechless; the grandeur of it was overwhelming. It was nearly as opulent as what they’d experienced on the ISD EMPRESS when they took her maiden cruise.

It was a manor worthy of any noble-born aristocrat. Many of the walls were covered in rich paneling and there were expensive tiles, carpets and marble covering the floors. Toward the rear of the entrance foyer, there was a huge double staircase with ornate iron banisters. The furnishings looked to be very comfortable but VERY expensive. Sorcha’s eyes seemed to grow wider at each new thing she saw, her squeals of delight nearly intoxicated her husband who had always treated her as a queen. Finally she commented, "It’s very lovely and I would love to have fine things like these, but the movers are sure to come take it to the new owners, aren’t they?"

Captain Blackthorn kissed her hand, which he’d been holding and spoke softly to her. "It comes furnished, my love. Everything you see here is now ours, I thought it’d be far less expensive than turning you loose in the shops." She

Started to object but soon laughed as she realized he was teasing, besides, she knew he was right. She kissed him as he added; "From what I hear of Her Majesty’s shopping exploits only she could best you in that field."

The crew dissolves into laughter, they’d seen Sorcha in action, when she boarded captured ships as part of the boarding party, she carefully selected the trinkets and things she would claim as booty. She always looked as if she were shopping in a portside boutique even though she was relieving their prey of their goods.

Finally, after a thorough tour of the main house, guesthouses and gardens, Alaric led his crew back to the house and to the dining room for a celebratory meal. The

huge dining table was a dark black with flecks of silver and gold throughout. The thickly padded upholstered armchairs were done in a rich black and gold brocade fabric and the floor was a deep green marble. The ship’s cook had

found the kitchen completely stocked as was the wine cellar and pantry, Blackthorn had had everything seen to, not missing any detail. As they were eating, one of the gunners asked, "well now Capt’n, whose gonna keep this place clean and in good repair, ain’t any of us would know the first thing ‘bout that sorta work?" All eyes were focused on the captain at that moment, for they had all thought of the same thing, who indeed?

"Well, don’t look at me, I’m no galley servant. We’ll see to hiring some tomorrow. I’m sure we can manage for a few days anyway. We’ll get cooks, cleaners and gardeners and anything else we need. After all, we want to be well cared for do we not?" At that, they all laughed for several minutes. They knew they were probably the most comfort loving privateers in the galaxy.

After the meal, they spent the next couple of hours moving their personal belongings into the quarters they’d each claimed and settled down for a good night’s sleep.

A few hours later, one by one, the privateers quietly

Crept to the familiar surroundings of the ship. When they woke the next morning they were relieved that they’d all done it so no one man would feel foolish. They conspired to

Keep their nighttime wanderings a secret from the captain so he wouldn’t think them displeased with his new acquisition. That is, until they heard the soft muffled voices coming from the Captain’s quarters, he’d done it too. Alaric called the crew to his quarters and pretended to be offended, he couldn’t contain his laughter for long however and finally admitted, "Well, I guess it’s going to take some getting used to, we’ve never lived in a house."

The young cabin brats spoke in unison, "Aye, Cap’n. But

Blackthorn Cove, be the grandest portside base inna galaxy."

Blackthorn hugged the children and winked at the crew and added, "Aye, but let’s keep it secret if we can, we don’t want the rest of the galaxy thinking we’ve gone soft."

They all dissolved into laughter as they went to explore

The ship repair facilities, which, they’d been assured, were ‘state of the art’.

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