Just playing around with Chuck Chaykin and his pal a little bit more, I came up with this fun scenario. Mostly I just wanted to write Chuck fighting some space shark pirates.

Something that I haven’t really had to worry about before is how to handle character development and description for characters who I’ve already written about (and, hopefully, published). It’s something I’ll have to start thinking about if I keep writing about these two particular characters. I can’t assume that people have read a previous Chuck Chaykin story, so some basic retreading will be required. But at the same time, I won’t want to bore returning readers (hah!) with the same exposition every time.

I’m getting ahead of myself, of course. But it’s fun to imagine that someday that might be an issue.

I’ll need to finish polishing up “Telepath’s Lament” and get that submitted before really working on anything else, but this might make a fun flash piece some time. About 300 words so far, currently untitled. The last line is silly, so I apologize in advance.


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A single serrated tooth jutted from Valeria’s arm, just below the elbow. Blood poured around the jagged edges to pool on the deck plating. Other lacerations scored the rest of her arm. She held the arm close, squeezing just above the wound. Chaykin knelt beside her, dropping his pistol onto the pilot’s couch.

“You should go,” Val said through clenched teeth. “If they reach the engine room-“

“Don’t talk,” he said. He gently touched the tooth. He heard a shark intake of breath from the young woman, and a burst of pain impaled Chaykin’s mind. He reeled back and gripped a control panel to keep from collapsing.

Sorry, she said, her words just echoes in his head. He didn’t like it too much either. Only thing that saved me. She tilted her head and her lips tightened. Sometimes involuntary projection works out for the best.

“Yeah, okay,” said Chaykin. “Any idea how many there are?”

Val swallowed and closed her eyes. Chaykin imagined her mind roaming the corridors of the Rhiannon, searching out the Xook pirates that had boarded them. He knew she sometimes had trouble reading alien minds, but she should have no trouble locating them, even if it were jibberish.

Three of them, she said. Two are in the cargo hold. The one who attacked me is just down the hall, in the kitchen. And it’s not jibberish. His name is Selach. The other two are Squaline and Benthic. Squaline totally has a crush on Selach.

“I don’t need the soap opera.” Chaykin retrieved his gun and crouched near the door. “There’s-“

A first aid kit under the chair, I know.

Chaykin nodded. He barely even noticed her telepresence anymore. “Sit tight. Keep this door locked.”

What’s your plan?

Chaykin keyed off the pistol’s safety. “I’m gonna go punch ’em in the nose.”