Fandom: Criminal Minds
Universe: Pirates of Pellinore (Part 1)
Characters/Pairing: Emily Prentiss, Spencer Reid - gen
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
Summary: Focus on the journey, and not the destination. Unfortunately, sometimes the journey is complicated by space pirates.
Notes: Written for the cm_crackfic February/March challenge. I demand that you all check it out. Find the link to the community on my profile page once I can be bothered to post it.
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A loud, harsh beeping sound woke Emily Prentiss from an otherwise blissful slumber.
Son of a bitch.
Why did it always have to happen while she was sleeping?
Nothing interesting ever seemed to happen during the long waking hours as they trudged across the universe. In the past month alone, she and Reid must have played at least a thousand games of chess, and just as many games of poker.
The cryo-unit was out of commission, which was half the reason they were going to Hyperion anyway.
'Reid?' she called out, eyes not yet free from the blur of having just woken up.
When he answered, it wasn't from his own quarters down the hall, it was over the intercom.
'There's some ship wreckage floating in amongst the asteroid field – looks like pirates.'
She swore. Of course, the quickest way to Hyperion had to be through the asteroid field, and the asteroid field just had to be infested with pirates.
'Have they seen us?'
Before he could give an answer, though, she heard the loud crack of an explosion, and the ship shook mercilessly. She grabbed a hold of the bed in an attempt to keep herself stable. Having to fix the ship was one thing. Dealing with concussions was another.
Shoot first and ask questions later seemed to be the order of the day.
Or rather, shoot first, and pillage and raze later.
She dressed quickly – if she was going to die today, then she wasn't about to die in her pajamas. Dark jeans went on first, followed by a white button-up shirt. Her vest she found at the bottom of the laundry hamper – without the leather barrier, the sword scabbard against her back would be a much greater discomfort. The scabbard itself was attached to the shoulder harness that hung at the end of the bed, accompanied by the belt holster that housed her Browning pistol.
Standard precautions in such a dangerous universe. If it wasn't pirates, it was fate, determined to fuck them over.
She finished lacing her knee high boots as another explosion rocked the ship. This time, she was able to recognize the sound of a concussion burst, which meant that whoever was attacking intended to incapacitate, not destroy.
If they were boarded, then she could at the very least attempt to fight them off.
'They're trying to hack the system,' came Reid's voice again. Emily swore. Guns and swords weren't the only weapons of pirates anymore. Somewhere along the way they'd learnt that it was so much easier to pillage when they shut down the engines remotely.
'Let the auto-pilot take care of dodging their shots.' She spoke into the throat mike that had been hastily clipped the collar of her shirt. 'Make sure they don't break through the firewalls.'
Technically speaking, they were equal partners in their venture – she had no authority to give him orders, save that that experience gave her. She'd picked the kid up from Callisto just over a year ago, and they'd been travelling together ever since.
One day, they'd make it to Olympus; city of the Gods, they called it. A breathtaking megacity, and the heart of the human empire, but most importantly, it was far, far away from home. Still, with a broken cryo-unit, and Hyperspace engines costing upwards of a hundred thousand credits, Olympus seemed like a lifetime away.
She didn't mind that as much as she thought she would. Focus on the journey, and not the destination.
The problem was, the journey was fraught with pirates, and monsters, and all other manner of obstacles. Sometimes, it was fun, and other times it was just plain frustrating.
She ran down to the cargo bay, hair slapping against her back. The cut was somewhat uneven, because drawing swords and keeping hairstyles intact did not go hand in hand. Reid said it added to the look of "space mercenary," but all Emily really cared about was that it was definitely a far cry from "Ambassador's daughter." She supposed he must have recognized her name – he didn't miss a trick, Spencer Reid – but he never really brought it up. For that, she was grateful.
There were two near simultaneous thuds, and the ship shook again. Not an explosion. Docking clamps. Evidently, the ship didn't have to be remotely shut down after all. Their pilot must have been pretty damn good to get the docking clamps to lock onto a moving ship. There was no time to reinforce the cargo – they'd be coming in through the docking bay within minutes.
'Focus on the airlock,' she yelled into the mike again, looking around to find something to push in front of the wide doors that connected the two bays. Pillagers or not, the pirates wouldn't risk blowing the doors open – not if they wanted to resell the ship on the black market. Outer hull breaches were one thing, but busted airlocks were bad for plunderers and plunderees alike. You could never be too careful. And that, of course, was the reason swordsmanship had risen so dramatically in the wake of space travel. One stray bullet could lead to explosive decompression.
On Grünwald, where Emily had been born, swordsmanship had been less about self-defense, and more about reinforcing one's status. Less about what was practical, and more about what looked good.
She'd learned a lot since then – mostly that enemies didn't play by the rules, and they sure as hell didn't give a crap about art form. It had taken a lot of scars to learn that much. Physical and mental scars.
She pushed the first crate up against the door with a grunt – she wouldn't be able to block their assault, but at the very least she might be able to funnel them. Fighting one pirate at a time was easier than fighting five.
'Docking bay doors are opening,' Reid said, his voice almost apologetic, and at the same time, absolutely unnecessary. She heard the low whirring sound, even through the airlock.
'You've still got time to get to a cruiser.' She spoke the words in her most persuasive voice, but she knew that it was moot.
'Like hell.' The words sounded so uncharacteristic – a stark dichotomy to his usually academic speech patterns. Emily wasn't the only one who had changed.
She pulled her sword from its scabbard with a soft sound. It was a good sword – one of the only things left over from her former life. Its blade was covered with the nicks and scratches of past battles, not all of which had ended favorably.
Her breath caught in her throat as the airlock doors started to open. She was vaguely aware of the sound of footsteps behind her, as Reid ran down the hallway to join the fight. They were outnumbered vastly, but that was never an excuse to give up.
And neither was a sword to the gut.
It hurt like a bitch. Steel met leather first, and then flesh. Emily let out an agonizing groan that would not be suppressed. She kicked her assailant in the shins with some force, and he fell backwards, taking his sword with him. She let her hand press into the wound, but tried like hell to ignore it as she thrust her own sword into the man's chest.
The act seemed to have expended all of Emily's energy, and she fell back onto her knees, fingers desperately trying to find purchase against her stomach as blood spilled out. The ship shook again.
'They're retreating!' Reid said excitedly, and the words barely broke through the veil of pain that had shrouded her mind. Reid knelt at her side, letting his own hands cover hers. She could see the fear in his hazel eyes. She blinked, and suddenly, he felt further away. 'It's the Valkyrie.' She heard the words, and yet, they almost seemed foreign. The Valkyrie – the only ones who would dare stand against the Pirates of the Pellinore Asteroid Belt. They were almost legendary, Aaron Hotchner and his band of fierce defenders of freedom.
Darkness bit at the edge of her vision, creeping in slowly. 'Valkyrie?' she managed to choke out, before losing herself to unconsciousness completely.
To Be Continued in Part Two of the Pirates of Pellinore "series" – Retreat.