Barrett’s Privateers – Unrepentant Sinner XIII

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Fiction | 40 comments



Hector Gomp surprised his Captain and the Exec by showing up at the shuttle in impeccable Marine blues.  A white service cap gleamed on his close-cropped head. He looked at the small view screen on the bulkhead next to the shuttle port, to see Earth turning slowly.

“Ready,” he said at last.

“Let’s go.”

The three of them boarded the shuttle. Gomp took the controls, setting their destination for Kenai, Alaska – for Colonel Augustus Feller’s childhood home. As they descended, the glittering Pacific Ocean and the green expanse of Alaska gradually spread out below them. The town itself lay under a bank of clouds; Barrett and Krishnavarna watched silently as Gomp guided the shuttle through the gray mists.  After a few minutes of blind flight, they dropped through the clouds to see the coast before them.

Kenai had never been a large town, and the exodus of many of Earth’s younger generation for the new horizons of the Confederacy had left it a tiny Alaskan coastal village with no more than a thousand residents. The town rarely saw traffic from orbit, so I was a surprise for the landing field’s personnel when a call for landing clearance came in from an orbital shuttle:  “Kenai Ground, this is SS Shade Tree landing shuttle, requesting grounding clearance.”

Shade Tree shuttle,” a startled controller replied. “Clearance granted; you are cleared to land on Pad Four. Current temperature is eight degrees, winds sixteen kph north by northwest. Approach path vector forty-five.”

“Roger that, Kenai Ground. Beginning our approach.”

Both controllers working in the Kenai Field tower stood up to watch the dull gray shape of an old Navy surplus shuttle float down, through the overcast, to settle to earth – the Earth – on Pad Four.  The hatch opened, and three figures stepped out into the damp, chill air and walked to the terminal.

“We need to get to Cook Inlet,” Captain Barrett said to the clerk who cleared them through what passed for entry control at Kenai.

“Easy,” the clerk said. “It’s about half a kilometer southwest of here – when you leave the field, just follow South Spruce street to Kenai Avenue, and you’ll see the inlet right there at the foot of the bluff.”

“Thank you,” Barrett said.

A short time later, the three walked across the final street and down a steep set of stairs to see the sea before them.  Under a leaden gray sky, the waters of Cook Inlet lapped at the sands of the narrow beach. A tern flew overhead, riding the chilly offshore wind.

Hector Gomp walked to the water’s edge, followed closely by Captain Barrett and Indira Krishnavarna.  Gomp reached into a pocket, pulled out the Colonel’s dog tags and the datachip, still on the silver chain.

“He was a hero,” Gomp said after a moment. “I don’t think there’s a Marine alive that would disagree.”

“He was that,” Krishnavarna agreed with real feeling.

“Yes,” Captain Barrett said, “and he went out a hero.”

“He wouldn’t have wanted to die in a hospital,” Gomp said. His voice was hoarse now. “He wouldn’t have wanted to die in a bed. He wasn’t that kind of man. Colonel Feller would have wanted to go out fighting.” He looked up at the gray, scudding clouds. “And he did. He went out like a Marine.”

The three stood silently for a moment, looking at the water. Far out, a whale blew a spout of mist into the chilly air.

“We brought you home, Colonel,” Gomp said to the tumbling sky. “I kept my promise. We brought you home.”

Gomp drew back his arm and, with a snap, threw the dog tags and datachip out into the dark waters of the inlet.

“We brought you home,” he said softly, one last time.


The Shade Tree

“Cleared to leave orbit, Captain.”

“Good. New course zero –forty, maneuvering thrusters ahead full.”

“Zero-forty, thrusters ahead full,” Helm repeated. “Sixteen minutes to space buoy.”

“Very well. Say goodbye to Earth, people.” Captain Barrett looked up to see Gomp walk onto the Bridge, dressed again in his old black workout suit.

“Feeling better?” Barrett asked her Security Chief.

“Yeah,” Gomp said. He smiled. “Yeah, Cap’n, I am.”

“Well,” Barrett said, “that’s good.”

“Feeling pretty good, I fact,” Gomp continued. “I think I’ve learned something important.”

“You’re not thinking of going back in the Corps, are you?” Barrett asked with some alarm.

Gomp laughed. “No, Cap’n, I like it here. No, what I learned was something else. See,” his face grew serious, “too many folks worry about dying. They worry too much about how they’re going to die. Is this food bad for you, is this planet dangerous, is this ship safe? You’ve heard that kind of talk.”


“Well,” Gomp said, “As I see it – and as I think the Colonel saw it – is that it doesn’t really matter. Dying doesn’t matter. Everybody dies. Hopefully not too soon, but everybody does. How you die doesn’t matter.”

He looked at the stars showing on the main screen. “It’s how you live that’s important.”

“You know,” Barrett smiled, “I think you’re right.”

“So,” Gomp said, “where we off to, Cap’n?”

“The Rim,” Barrett said. “New colony, outside the Confederacy, they’re calling it Wilson. There should be some kind of work for us there.”

“Private corporation?”

“No – no corporation, no planetary government, just a few settlers looking to live outside the border.  Folks who want to escape Confederate notice for one reason or another.”

“Sounds like a shady kind of place,” Indira Krishnavarna observed. “Unaffiliated world, outside the Confederacy – probably every wanted criminal in the galaxy is either hiding there or heading there.”

“Exactly,” Barrett grinned. “I figure it’s just our kind of planet.” She looked up at the screen as the stars gave way to the unfathomable pattern of subspace.

“Sounds like fun,” Gomp said.

“I think so,” Barrett agreed. “Let’s go live a little.”


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. juris imprudent

    Glowing remains of villains, intrepid adventurers off for more, a man dies with the dignity he deserved.

    Is that a happy ending, or what?

  2. Sean

    Nice wrap up.

    • R.J.

      I second this!

  3. juris imprudent

    Sorry for dragging this over from the ded-thred, but I was out horseback riding while it ran its course. And actually this is kinda topical for Animal’s outlook expressed here.

    Alex sez …but if we can send the entire Obama administration to jail, I will consider that a huge win for us all.

    And you know that won’t happen, for both good reasons and bad. This is something you need to read.

    There are countless bureaucrats operating in America under they auspices that they serve the public trust. The vast majority don’t. In a word, they are failures. If they failed in the process of risking their own property or sacrificing their own labor, failure itself is retribution enough. For those who wield the unprecedented power of the United States Federal Government, retribution requires more. There are bureaucrats who make decisions every day that kill and harm Americans. When they make such decisions in accordance with lawful authority granted by the Constitution, that is bad enough, the very thought of losing being hateful to Americans. If, however, a bureaucrat usurps the authority of duly elected representatives of the American people, well, there is no hatred sufficient for such an individual. In such circumstances, it is not only legal to seek retribution, it is the duty of every American to seek it if we’re to be a distinct people worthy of self-governance.

    • Suthenboy

      I am going to the camps just for clicking that link, aren’t I?

      • juris imprudent

        We can keep each other company at least. Maybe we can get an entire building just for Glibs?

      • R.J.

        I’ll bring cake and balloons!

      • Gustave Lytton

        Clicked so I don’t get left out.

  4. juris imprudent

    Well shit, appears RC Dean was right – a fix is in.

    Hunter Biden’s defense attorneys argued the proposed jury instructions featured “overly expansive and amorphous” definitions of what it means to be a drug “user” and to “possess” a firearm and could deny their client a fair trial.

    • The Other Kevin

      The one time I was called for jury duty, it was for a black guy who was selling drugs and had a gun on him. This was his third strike, and he was potentially going away for a long time. If his lawyer had used that defense, they’d have laughed him out of the courtroom.

      This is akin to Clinton arguing the definition of “is”. We’ll see where this ends up.

    • Sean

      “Bitch set me up!” notably missing.

    • Bobarian LMD

      The fact that they’re choosing to charge the least egregious thing that was revealed in this sordid mess didn’t already tell you that?

      That this might actually end up undercutting a lot of the gun control agenda shows how bad they are at running a conspiracy, though.

      • Gustave Lytton

        That this might actually end up undercutting a lot of the gun control agenda

        Yes, I will try the veal and tip the waitress.

  5. Mojeaux

    I have trained XX well. She wants a Shirley Temple poke cake for her 21st birthday.

    • UnCivilServant

      Poke as in the Hawaiian dish involving raw fish?

      • JaimeRoberto (carnitas/spicy salsa)

        I get a poke every birthday.

      • UnCivilServant

        I see.

        I thought the idea of raw fish cake seemed wrong.

      • R.J.

        I learn something new everyday.

    • The Other Kevin

      Excellent choice, especially for summer. Nice and light, not overly sweet.

  6. The Late P Brooks

    Hunter Biden’s defense attorneys argued the proposed jury instructions featured “overly expansive and amorphous” definitions of what it means to be a drug “user” and to “possess” a firearm and could deny their client a fair trial.

    That should be left up to the individual jurors, just as long as they agree a crime of some sort was committed.

  7. Gustave Lytton

    From ded thred:

    juris imprudent on June 10, 2024 at 11:07 am
    Obama just carried forward W’s national security state. The guy wasn’t at all original in any of that.

    Nothing new underneath the sun, perhaps. W’s national security state was previously established or repurposed instruments and foiled wet dreams.

    • R.J.

      True, the national security state started with W. Bush. “New World Order.” If you don’t remember him saying it, you can listen to the song by Ministry. The uniparty started with the Bushes and has continued unabated. May a virulent pox strike both wings of the uniparty who wrecked our country. Obama took the tool he was given and added even more communism and hatred for the common man. I still can’t believe a man who hated this country so much was elected. But what were the alternatives? McCain and Romney? Good Lord. No wonder we have been screwed for so long.

      • slumbrew

        That’s H.W. Bush in the Ministry song. And the phrase goes back to Wilson.

  8. The Late P Brooks

    Towing the party lion

    the largest union in the state called Trump’s tax-free tips plan “a wild campaign promise from a convicted felon.”

    “For decades, the Culinary Union has fought for tipped workers’ rights and against unfair taxation,” said the state’s Culinary Workers Union Secretary-Treasurer, Ted Pappageorge, in a statement Sunday.

    ″Relief is definitely needed for tip earners, but Nevada workers are smart enough to know the difference between real solutions and wild campaign promises from a convicted felon,” Pappageorge said.

    Vote for Joe Biden, the guy who wants to make sure you pay income tax on the money you got from selling your grandfather’s bamboo fishing pole on Etsy.

    • The Other Kevin

      I hadn’t anticipated how how that “convicted felon” phrase was part of their plan. Now every time they mention his name, they say it. And they are actively trying to pass laws against “convicted felons” that are clearly aimed at Trump.

      It’s like throwing your own shit on a person, and then telling everyone what a bad person they are because they’re covered in shit.

      • Gustave Lytton

        Yep. Like convicted felons Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Gandhi, or Anwar Ibrahim.

      • Drake

        Nelson was a real deal terrorist.

    • Timeloose

      Old Al really hates him some Bush. He must have made 3 albums about W.

  9. The Late P Brooks

    W’s national security state was previously established or repurposed instruments and foiled wet dreams.

    A grab bag of rights usurpations dating back to Woodrow Wilson and beyond.

  10. The Late P Brooks

    I hadn’t anticipated how how that “convicted felon” phrase was part of their plan. Now every time they mention his name, they say it.

    Every goddam news story with Trump’s name in it has that boilerplate “convicted of 34 felonies” “disclosure” in it.

    • JaimeRoberto (carnitas/spicy salsa)

      It’s the new “without evidence”.

    • The Other Kevin

      It’s already getting old. But it’s also backfiring, based on the donations he’s getting, and the boost in some polls. To me it’s also a reminder of their lawfare. They might as well say “Person we targeted with bullshit charges Donald Trump.” I suspect I’m not alone in that.

      • Sean

        I suspect it will be largely dropped or changed before the end of summer.

      • Stinky Wizzleteats

        Framed innocent former President Donald Trump is what I hear. It’s all such transparent BS that most people have to be seeing through it.

      • Ted S.

        Political prisoner Donald Trump.

  11. Timeloose

    Serial plagiarist’s son was convicted of multiple federal firearms charges.

    • Gender Traitor

      Link, pls?

      • Timeloose

        Sorry not a actual news report, just pointing out what won’t happen.

      • slumbrew

        *schadenboner wilts*


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