One thing I have learned about humans over the years is their willingness to kill and torment their own kind.

When humans are so inclined and predisposed to violence, they form bands and gangs to prey on the weak and innocent. Where the law is weak or unwilling to take action, these gangs flourish and act with impunity.

No more so than on the edge of civilised space, where the regular forces of the marines and navy are seldom seen. The Candor district is one such frontier, joined to the main body of the Autocracy by a thin tendril of stars, a slender route across two star systems. It is also a place of growing uncertainty and fear.

The waves of refugees from Illaria and the silence that followed, with the apparent routing of four Echolian cruisers by a single Lazloi merchant fuel the growing sense of foreboding.

Like flies attracted to dying flesh, it was inevitable that the band of cutthroats and renegades I have attached to would be drawn across that narrow road to take the easy pickings of desperate families and lone travellers. Temporary communities and townships where nobody knows or cares about each other are full of small valuables and a rich hunting ground for slavers and kidnappers.

Soon our large stock of cryogenic capsules will be full and our captain will make haste to the flesh markets of Acaphone VII and Seven Sisters. Those unfortunates that survive the trip will fetch a good price and live a wretched future.

While we await some supplies and fuel, the captain lets the crew play with the less valuable meats on offer. He seldom keeps anything for himself and few of them last long.

That is another thing I have noticed about humans. The abused and tormented when given the chance, are just as cruel and barbaric as those that own them.

The captain’s squeeze took great pleasure in the plight of the Treem we robbed today, laughing at their tears and pleads for mercy. Once a victim and a slave, she is no better than the other misfits that inhabit our stinking craft.

You wonder why I hang around with these dregs, these abusers, torturers and killers?

They are my kind of people.

-- Aerin Kaballa, Kal, aboard the pirate ship “Lovely Lola”.


Stephanie Petite 3 figure with Celeste, X-Style and Cygnus outfits, Sassy Hair. Michael 3 figures with LM Marauders outfit and Raw Art Dawg Men.

Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 5 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2

Return to the 2007 gallery

Updated: 17 June 2007

© Mark Hirst, 2000 - 2018