Barrett’s Privateers – Unrepentant Sinner XII

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Fiction | 79 comments



“Smart people in our line of work stay away from the Feds, you know,” Jean Barrett complained.  She, Indira Krishnavanrna, Sassy Miroslava and Mickie Watanabe were standing in a corridor on the Fleet spacedock, staring at the big double doors leading to the Confederate Bureau of Investigation offices.

“No disagreement,” the Exec said. “But you have to admit, this is an exception.”

“Sure enough,” the two younger girls agreed at once.

“Well,” Barrett muttered, “Might as well go in.”

The doors slid silently open as they walked through. Inside the doors was a desk, and behind the desk was a slight, dark man in a dark gray suit.

“Well,” the CBI agent said, “what can I do for you folks?”

“Who do we talk to about reporting a slave-running operation?” Barrett asked.

“A what? Did you say slavers? Are you serious?”

“Serious as a heart attack. I’m Jean Barrett, Captain of the SS Shade Tree.  This is my Executive Officer, and my two crew members here were prisoners of the slavers.”

“How’d they get away?”

“We went in and took them back,” Barrett growled.

“The hell you say. I don’t suppose you’d want to tell me how?”

“We asked nicely.”

“I bet you did.” The dark man stood up. “Come back and talk to Special Agent Griffith – he’s the Missing Persons Liaison, I think he’ll be real interested to talk to you.”

“Lead on,” Barrett encouraged him. “We’ve got a lot to tell him and not much time. There are four girls down planetside that can tell you a lot more. They’ve all agreed to testify, and I’ve got their names and comm codes for you.”

“Follow me,” the Fed said, and led the way into the CBI offices.


Mountain View

Gomp took Tim McNeal with him to the surface, to escort the four girls home. Both Security men wore normal street clothes, with only a small concealed sidearm each; they didn’t expect any trouble.

“OK, three of you live here in Mountain View, one in Rangely, right?” Gomp said as they stepped off the Skyhook bus.

The girls all nodded.

“McNeal, go call in a hack. We’ll see you to your doors, girls. Captain’s already notified your families that you’re all home and safe, so I expect you’ll have people waiting on you.”

Mira Toler laid her hand on Gomp’s arm. “I don’t know how to thank you enough,” she said. “Without you and your Captain, who knows where we’d have ended up?  Slaves to some miner on an asteroid with no name, probably.”

“Well, that didn’t happen.” Gomp looked at the girl. “Listen, there will always be people like that Dotsero out there. That doesn’t mean that people in general aren’t pretty decent. You girls will probably never be able to forget these last few weeks, but don’t let it affect you. Don’t let it hang over your heads. You’ve got lives to live; go live them. Look ahead, not back.”

Tim McNeal stared at his boss; Gomp normally wasn’t much given to philosophizing.

“You’re right,” Toler agreed. “We should look ahead.” The other girls nodded agreement. “But you’ll forgive us if we’re grateful to you anyway. You all risked your lives for us, and we’ll never forget that.” She stood on tiptoe and kissed Gomp on a stubbled cheek.

“Well.” Gomp spluttered, coughed and turned red. “Let’s get you girls home. McNeal, what are you grinning at? Get your ass out there and get us a hack, already!”

Tim McNeal, smiling broadly, turned and went out into the sunshine of a bright Mountain View morning.


Titan’s Belt

“Engineering reports the star drive repaired and operational, Captain Polston.”

Jane Polston spun her Bridge chair around to face the Brookes’ Navigation station. She was thinking rapidly. “Get me a course for Halifax,” she ordered. “Best possible trajectory.”

“Halifax, aye,” the Navigation tech answered. “Plotting now.”

Good thing those damned pirates missed that cache of parts, Polston reflected. We’ll meet them again, and next time, the shoe’s going to be on the other foot.

Nobody had objected to her assuming command and ownership of the antiquated Brookes on receiving word of the nuclear explosion at Brickstown. She hadn’t expected anyone would; nobody would probably object to her newly-appointed second-in-command taking things over is she got herself killed, either.  Things were like that, living life on the rim as the crew of the Brookes did.

“Clearance to leave the station, Captain,” Helm reported.

“Thrusters back one-third. Get us out of here. Exec, how are we on supplies?”

“Not good,” her newly-appointed Executive officer replied. “I did the best I could with what money we had, but we’ll hit Halifax broke, low on water and damned hungry. You want to go any farther than that, we’ll make port eating each other.”

“That’s fine. I propose to sell this hog at Halifax. We’ll be in the market for something a little lighter, and little faster, and a little better armed.”

“And then?”

“And then, we find a new operating base. Somewhere outside the Confederacy. We rebuild, refit, and eventually… Eventually, we’ll see the Shade Tree again. And next time, it’s going to be different.”


To see more of Animal’s writing, visit his page at Crimson Dragon Publishing or Amazon.

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About The Author



Semi-notorious local political gadfly and general pain in the ass. I’m firmly convinced that the Earth and all its inhabitants were placed here for my personal amusement and entertainment, and I comport myself accordingly. Vote Animal/STEVE SMITH 2024!


  1. Sean

    We’ll be in the market for something a little lighter, and little faster, and a little better armed.

    That seems awfully ambitious when you’re broke.

    • ron73440

      Depends on how much she gets for the ship they are currently flying.

      • UnCivilServant

        “After depreciation and fees – pocket lint and a stick of gum.”

      • Sean

        the antiquated Brookes

        I propose to sell this hog at Halifax

        “I’d like to trade this ’88 Malibu in for a 2020 ‘Vette. Even trade.”

      • ron73440

        Maybe it’s more like an old semi, worth more for its hauling?

  2. kinnath


    • Animal

      Yes, in case anyone missed that un-subtle hint, we will be seeing Jane Polston and company again.

  3. juris imprudent

    Almost all loose ends nicely tied up.

  4. The Late P Brooks

    Novel legal concepts

    “Any probative value it arguably has is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues, and misleading the jury,” she wrote, further adding that any attempts by the defense to use the altered form to demonstrate the employees’ alleged political bias would have been “unduly prejudicial and invites (jury) nullification.”

    Dragging a bunch of lurid tangential-at-best testimony to muddy the waters and prejudice the jury isn’t standard judicial practice?

    • kinnath

      President Joe Biden’s son has pleaded not guilty to illegally buying and owning a gun while abusing illicit drugs.

      The law is use, not abuse.

      Noreika granted a request from special counsel David Weiss to block one of Hunter Biden’s expert witnesses from testifying. The defense had lined up a Columbia University-based psychiatrist who would’ve tried to poke holes in prosecutors’ assertions that Hunter Biden knew he was an addict in 2018 when he bought the gun that led to his indictment.

      Addiction or abuse are not relevant to the question of whether or not he illegally possessed a firearm and lied on the forms when buying the firearm.

      The media is running interference for the Biden’s. Again.

  5. juris imprudent

    You don’t look anything like John Banner to try to pull this off.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci distanced himself from his former adviser, Dr. David Morens, during his congressional testimony on Monday, repeatedly denying that he had any involvement in or knowledge of Morens’s efforts to evade transparency by conducting official business on his personal email account.

    Fauci sees bus coming, pushes someone else into its path, walks away whistling innocently.

  6. UnCivilServant

    DIY fix question. Real world.

    The latch on my front porch light fixture rusted out. To avoid a citation from the overly aggressive code inforcement fascists, I closed the cover with a screw (it hangs from the underside of the eave above the door). Now the bulb has burned out, and I have to change it. Given how slapdash the ‘put a screw in to make it look fixed’ solution was, I’m debating what to do. Biggest concern is that the light is above my front steps, so I have nowhere to stand a stool or ladder that is properly balanced for me to work on the fixture.

    Should I just change the bulb and put the screw back, kicking the can down the road?

    Attach some sort of external latch to the cover and the eave so that I can replace the bulb without having to take out a screw?

    Go the extra mile and figure out how the darn thing is attached and replace it? (I did not find the fastener during my previous examination when I finally decided on the screw)

    • ron73440

      You own the house, correct?

      In that case, I would fix it for real.

      • UnCivilServant

        Yes, I own the house outright.

        I’m mostly worried about falling down because of the awkward position of the fixture and the lack of a solid place to put a ladder. I’ve replaced interior light fixtured before. Oh, I should figure out which breaker that light is on…

      • kinnath

        This is the kind of project where I pay someone else to do the work.

        Falling down and getting hurt is no longer an option as a senior citizen.

      • Mojeaux

        To add to Ron’s advice: If you don’t intend to move, get the tools you need to fix your house.

        Get a telescoping step ladder (one that can be shorter on one side than the other) or something like this or this.

      • UnCivilServant

        To be honest, the look of those terrify me. And I have been heavier than the max load on that first one (though not currently, thankfully).

        I was actually thinking of that type of ladder that can be set up as sort of psuedo-scaffolding. Don’t have a link on hand. But I’d have to be sure it’d work with he layout of my porch/sidewalk. (The darn sidewalk is sloped away from the house, which adds another wrinkle to figuring out the best kit to use)

      • Mojeaux

        For things that frighten you, hire it out.

      • UnCivilServant

        I can’t even get people to show up and quote me on concrete repairs. I’m just glad no one stole the 2×10 that’s covering up the hole in the back step. (Different door from this problem)

      • R.J.

        I agree with Mojo. Hire it out if you have concerns.

      • SDF-7

        Yeah — UCS’s predicament raises a concern I’ve had more than once over the last few years… how do y’all find a decent handyman / contractor for such things? My parents have gone through like 5 over the last decade (they move away / to different careers whenever they find a decent one), and I’ve “borrowed” theirs once or twice… but being a work-from-homebody, it is hard to have any connections to know who might actually show up and do the work in the community.

        And no, I’m not going to go down to the liquor store here in town or the closest Home Depot and find undocumented labor hanging out by their trucks, even if they might do a good job.

        Just wondering.

      • Mojeaux

        So, I needed someone to come out and put some shutters up on a brick facade. I did not feel like buying an impact drill. I just looked up “handyman near me” or something, and called them.

        There are whole companies that only do handyman work, no matter how simple.

        Warning: They are not cheap, and they usually charge per hour with an hour minimum, so have a list of things you want done.

        If that doesn’t get you anything, call home remodeling companies and ask for references.

      • Fourscore

        You can make that same device that’s in Moj’s picture with your current step ladder, use the 2 X 10 as scaffolding. The svelte UCS will have no problem.

        I used that to put in a flourescent fixture in the stairway.

        Install a sodium fixture that comes on at dark., bulb should last 30 years.

      • UnCivilServant

        Yes, Gustave, that was the type I was thinking of.

    • Grummun

      If it was me…

      Get a Stanley Fat Max sawhorse. I’ve got four, they have been super useful over the years. Stand sawhorse on sidewalk, use adjustable legs to get top of sawhorse close to elevation of porch. Get three or four 2x8s. Stretch 2x8s from porch to sawhorse, creating a platform that should be wide enough and stable enough to support a regular step ladder. If you’re worried about the 2x8s shifting while you’re on the ladder, get a ratchet strap to lash them together. Or a piece of 1×4 crossways to the 2x8s and run some screws through it.

  7. kinnath

    Thank you for the great conclusion to the story.

    I look forward to the next one.

    • UnCivilServant

      I don’t know when Animal’s next work is slated to release, but starting the 17th, the Monday lunch fiction slot will be Usurped by ME! Muahahahahahaha!

      • ron73440

        When did Animal start his Monday fiction?

        It’s been a long time, so thank you very much Animal.

        Really enjoyed all of your stories.

      • kinnath

        I look forward to reading your story.

      • Animal

        I have been usurped! Usurped, I say!

        Seriously, though: I look forward to reading your work, UCS, and I can tell you all that you haven’t seen the last of Captain Jean Barrett and her crew. Or me, for that matter.

    • Animal

      There’s one more segment.

  8. juris imprudent

    Hunter really is a gift that keeps on giving. If the Republicans had anyone other than Trump there wouldn’t be any question of who is inaugurated next January. Even Trump rises above this.

    • Gustave Lytton

      If the Republicans had anyone other than Trump there wouldn’t be any question of who is inaugurated next January.

      Unfortunately for Joe, they didn’t nominate any of those fabulous concession speech givers.

  9. Pope Jimbo

    Uffda. I’m going to link in the PM lynx too, but this is too juicy to wait on.

    Juror in the Feeding our Families scam trial dismissed. The FoF scam was where our newest neighbors from Somalia swindled the govt out of $250M that was supposed to feed kids during the lockdown.

    I am on hand for the last of the closing arguments scheduled for this morning in the first Feeding Our Future fraud trial. When Judge Brasel took the bench she announced that she had just learned of a juror contact at home last night and that the FBI was investigating. She further announced that she had excused the juror — juror number 52. Judge Brasel intends to voir dire the jury on other possible contacts and asked counsel to respond.
    Lead prosecutor Joe Thompson provided additional details. He described the contact as “completely beyond the pale.” He said a Somali woman had arrived at the juror’s home and left a bag of cash with a promise of more to come. The juror not being home, she left the cash with the juror’s father or father-in-law (I think). Thompson asked that the defendants now be detained and their cell phones taken into custody. The judge ordered that the defendants’ cell phones be turned to airplane mode and turned over to one of the FBI agents in the courtroom pending an application for search warrants.
    According to Thompson, the juror called 911 and the Spring Lake Park Police have taken custody of the cash — [the amount is $120,000]. It will be retrieved by the FBI.

    I hope the juror kept at least half the bribe and only reported the $120K.

    • SDF-7

      They just wanted to help the juror feed their family!

      • Fourscore

        It never stops, does it?

        Somali families like to keep a little cash in the house like when the pizza delivery guy shows up, etc.

    • Gustave Lytton

      Those poor immigrants. It’s just their cultural practice to bribe jurors.

      If they’re dropping $120K at one juror’s home, who else has been getting paid? I doubt that’s the only one.

      • Fourscore

        “By every damned vote you have to but I’m not paying for a landslide”

        Alleged to have been said in the WV primary by some Democrats’ father in 1960

  10. The Late P Brooks

    Go the extra mile and figure out how the darn thing is attached and replace it? (I did not find the fastener during my previous examination when I finally decided on the screw)

    I’m a big fan of motion detector porch lights. I’d consider replacing it with one that comes on automatically when you come home in the dark.

      • UnCivilServant

        I want one controlled by the switch in the wall inside my house.

        The wiring is not difficult, I just need to be sensible about basic precautions.

        It’s the fall risk that’s on my mind whenever I think about it, which wouldn’t change if attaching one of those to the same spot.

      • SDF-7

        Two adjustable / collapsible stepladders like Mojo mentioned with a wide thick slab of wood between them? (i.e. make your own scaffolding?)

        I also favor changing it out with a motion detecting fixture — that’s what I did for all the ones external to the house here, then I just leave the switch on (they only come on when it is dark enough and there’s motion, so why not?)

      • Fourscore

        I should have read more, Brooksie/Sean beat me to it.

        Figures, always late to the party

      • Fourscore

        …and SDF…

  11. The Late P Brooks

    No wiring involved!

    I actually found some bulbs with the motion detector built in (on Amazon), so I didn’t have to unnecessarily replace a working fixture.

  12. kinnath

    Unrealized losses in the US banking system are once again on the rise, according to new numbers from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    In its Quarterly Banking Profile report, the FDIC says banks are now saddled with more than half a trillion dollars in paper losses on their balance sheets, due largely to exposure to the residential real estate market.

    This is fine.

    • UnCivilServant

      “We’ll just tax them like unrealized gains”

    • kinnath

      Residential house pricing is up. Rents are up. Interest rates are up.

      And yet, commercial banks are running losses on these properties.

      Go Brandon!

  13. ron73440

    On an inflation note, I put new struts in my Saab this weekend.

    The video I followed had bought the exact same kit I used, but it was from 2021.

    He paid $500, I paid $665.

    • UnCivilServant

      I always new that a Saab makes you sob.

  14. The Late P Brooks


    Get some sheetrocker stilts.

    They can come in handy in many situations.

    • UnCivilServant

      You’re trying to get me killed.

      • SDF-7

        If we were trying to get you killed we’d send you forum messages titled “Information vital to the arrest of one Mrs. H. Clinton”.

      • UnCivilServant

        And risk your own suicide?

    • SDF-7

      I forgot about those — but yeah, that seems like a plan too.

  15. The Late P Brooks

    how do y’all find a decent handyman / contractor for such things?

    I’m in the same boat. I have been obsessed with doing everything myself for my whole life, and I have yo admit I just can’t anymore. I parachuted in here with no contacts, and I need to find somebody to do some projects.

    I need some windows in my shop, for starters.

    • ZWAK came for the two-fisted tentacle-fighting, stayed for the crushing existential nihilism.

      When I was looking for someone to do some gardening stuff I just looked on Craigslist. Found half a dozen people offering what I wanted, called three, got estimates from two, and hired one that weekend.

      • Mojeaux

        That too! I’ve found a haul-away junk man on Craigslist.

      • ZWAK came for the two-fisted tentacle-fighting, stayed for the crushing existential nihilism.

        Yeah, I did that when I was moving out of a house years ago. Worked a charm as I was recovering from back surgery.

      • SDF-7

        I thought Craigslist was only for Winston’s Mom for the past decade or two. Darkweb stuff…. Guess not.

    • ZWAK came for the two-fisted tentacle-fighting, stayed for the crushing existential nihilism.

      And yeah, I was always a do-it-yourself type, and giving that up is hard. But, once you take the step, no problems. I still do wiring, and am slowly remodeling the upstairs bath, but things I don’t like doing get farmed out right quick.

      • Fourscore

        Welcome to the party!. I’ve got a neighbor working on the cabin, replacing siding and then scrape and paint. He kind of works his own schedule.

        It’s an admission to being old and weak. I did most everything before.

    • Pope Jimbo

      I like how he cited a study by another grifter as his “proof”.

      Why should I believe any study by a guy who is too scairt to debate vaxes with JFK Jr.? Especially with this excuse…

      When it comes to the push from RFK Jr. to debate, Hotez said that having a public debate with him “wouldn’t be productive,” being that they had already had several private discussions during the Trump presidency that fell flat.
      Hotez also thought it would send the wrong message, making it seem like “science was up for clever debate” when he says it isn’t.
      “I can’t think of any example where science was actually advanced through debate,” Hotez said. “I understand 18th-century enlightened philosophy is up for debate. I understand politics is up for debate, but not science.”

      I was hoping that the Donks would realize that Faucci has been exposed and would turn on him too.

      • Stinky Wizzleteats

        Of course science is up for debate, even within a given scientific paradigm the interpretation of results and the repercussions of policies based on those results is very much open to debate and discussion. Hotez is a well known sack of shit so I’d expect something like that from him.

      • creech

        A scientist who doesn’t believe science is a continual search for answers. What will they think of next?

      • Pope Jimbo

        To be fair, he might have worried that Joe Rogan would eat his lunch in a debate like when Rogan KO’ed NASA scientist Phil Plait in a debate on whether the moon landing was faked

      • Ted S.

        I think he’d crash and burn if he tried debating with JFK Jr.

  16. Fourscore

    Yeah, I saved several lives this morning by not driving.

  17. The Late P Brooks

    I bet I haven’t killed as many people as Foochy has.

    • Dr. Fronkensteen

      True, Between his failures in both the AIDS epidemic and Covid, he can be argued to be ranked as one of the worst mass murderers in American history minus the diseases that wiped out the Native Americans.

  18. The Late P Brooks

    He then pointed to studies, including one analysis by Dr. Peter Hotez, that shows “people who refuse to get vaccinated for any of a variety of reasons, [are] probably responsible for an additional 200,000—300,000 deaths in this country.”

    What is he even trying to say? Those unvaxxed people died because they were unvaxxed, or they Typhoid Mary-ed everybody around them because they were unvaxxed?

    • UnCivilServant

      The miasma of their ungoodthinkfullness killed the innocent around them.


  1. Animal’s Daily Nutbag News | Animal Magnetism - […] I get into this, check out the latest installment of Barrett’s Privateers – Unrepentant Sinner over at Glibertarians.  There…