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An Otter You Can’t Refuse

by on March 24, 2015

Sal “Skipper” Carmine was an immensely practical otter. When an associate on Verin Prime told him of a way to enchant certain valuable objects so that they could always be found again, he didn’t stop to question it. He didn’t care whether it was really magic or tachyon particle displacement theory, so long as it worked.

He was careful, of course. Use a trick too often and people start figuring out how to beat it So he only used it on objects that were especially worth protecting, like for instance, the Orb of the Whangdoodle.

The trick worked, all right. If anyone anywhere so much as breathed the Orb’s name, two seconds later Sal Carmine would be there with a fully armed battle cruiser. This usually discouraged people talking about it.

He was unpleasantly surprised when he learned that someone had broken onto the casino starship Charlotte’s Moon intending to make off with the Orb. There was only one response. Blasting the starship itself into atoms, while unfortunate, would also deal with the upstarts who thought they could steal his stuff.

The starship reeled across the bridge’s viewscreen. Sal coldly watched it go.  All at once his first officer, a water vole of considerable criminal enterprise, approached him with a distressing report. It seemed someone had gotten aboard the ship. Sal nearly shot the water vole out of irritation, but thought better of it. Reliable associates were hard to come by, lately. Instead he turned to the viewscreen and punched in a command. To his astonishment, he saw a figure he recognized. Sal almost smiled.


Mr. Stamper had a very simple plan: blow up the ship. A grenade in the engine room, a big kaboom, a warp core breach, and that would be that.

Unfortunately the battle cruiser came equipped with top of the line internal teleporters. Energies flared around him. Quite suddenly he was on the bridge, whether he wanted to be there or not.

Sal Carmine rose from the captain’s chair. “Mr. Stamper,” he said. “Let’s be reasonable about this affair. We’re otters of sense, you and I.”

“Reasonable,” Mr. Stamper said. “You killed Natasha. Blew up her moon. That sound reasonable to you?”

“Which moon was that? In the course of business…you understand… nothing personal…”

Mr. Stamper glared. “Luca Three.”

Sal Carmine blinked. Several pieces came together. He turned to his water vole, and spoke a rapid sentence. The vole slid a data chip into a computer, and a picture flashed across the viewscreen.

It looked like her. So much so that Mr. Stamper almost believed it was. But… he knew that spaceport. She had never been there. Not with him. And she didn’t like Swirling Supernovas, she’d said so. “Who…”

“Mr. Stamper, perhaps you know my daughter, Bianca.”

“Your daughter.”

He didn’t know what to do. It was her. He knew her. More than any other otter in the universe, he knew her. Apparently, however, he hadn’t known her at all.

This story is part of the Angel and the Space Otter serial. Thanks for reading!

  1. Well, first of all, my son will be thrilled to see there is a moon named after him… Also, I love the intrigue here (and the explanation for what happens when the Orb is named), and that first paragraph about the water vole is pure Michael humour – understated and witty.

  2. Great, as always! 🙂

  3. Bianca needs a tv show.

    • I can maybe work that in the next installment, if you’d like. I imagine, with a history of faking her demise, Bianca has probably led an interesting television-worthy life. 🙂

  4. God, I’m such a sucker for noir juxtaposed wtih fantasy and/or spec fic. SUCH a sucker.

    • I’m finding I like comic noir fantasy spec fic myself. My first love is always superhero fiction, but this stuff is pretty fun too.

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