Another time, another place.........

Commander Lee is in charge of the space vessel known as Intrepid. They wanted to call it the "Enterprise", but copyright laws prohibited that.

He has just led a manoeuvre through a wormhole. His craft and the crew are within less than an hour of reaching what has become known as Planet Pirates.
Wormhole travel enables space ships to travel millions of miles in a short time across the Universe.

Lee is an experienced and fit athletic man, a few years from early retirement. 

He now sits there in the leaders' area, admiring the vastness of the Universe.

He reflects on events ten years previously:
Lee had agreed to take charge of capturing a group of individuals, both men and women, who were called space pirates. The trial of those people ended up with all of them convicted, and Lee recalled the words of the Judge who sentenced them:

" Commander Lee, our society owes you great gratitude. These trials have now concluded that more than 100 of the most dangerous space pirates found guilty thanks to your efforts.
Thank you so much.
Space Piracy has become so prevalent that many of our space ships could never conduct themselves appropriately in recent years. The State will not tolerate such activities.
The prosecutor has suggested an unusual punishment, and after careful consideration, I have decided to accede to that request.
All those convicted are banished to the furthest Planet from here to spend the rest of their lives there.  They will work and conduct themselves in a way that conforms to the norms of our society and adherence to authority. All space travel for them is strictly prohibited. Any breach of these rules will cause the offender to be jailed in solitary confinement forever.
The offenders will be accompanied and controlled by a sufficient group of anti-space piracy protection officers and medics who will enforce the law. The Planet cannot be contacted or anyone on it until ten years have elapsed. At that time, a ship can go  to investigate progress."

It was only after some considerable time from the banishment of these so-called pirates that Commander Lee had discovered the true nature of his government's corruption. 
The authorities had invented false charges against the dissidents, including trumped-up and false allegations of damage to life and limb.
And Lee knew if he ever revealed the truth, that would be the end for him.

The governments controlled the media and had created the name 'Space Pirates' to get the public even more hostile towards them. And it turned out that unbeknown to the masses, the sentencing Judge was a business associate of some government officials, and he would profit from getting rid of these so-called villains.

And hence so it was:

 Ten years had passed, and Commander  Lee was in charge of visiting these innocent individuals.
What he really wanted to do was to apologise to them.

He also had a prime other reason to visit, as the woman he had always loved since his time at Astronaut training school happened to be the officer in charge of the Planet. She was widowed just before leaving, and she had a young son to rear. Her name was Sheila Silverstone, and many times she tried to persuade Lee the men were innocent, but he did not listen.
Now he knew differently.

In any event, back to the present:

He asked his second in command, called Wendy, to address the ship's crew before landing as he himself had no confidence to do so.

" Members of the party....arrival party that is my pleasure to give you final directions and orders before our beloved and respected Commander Lee lands to investigate how the culprits on Planet Pirates have rehabilitated, and I want to say...
"under the leadership and control of Captain Silverstone...a  brilliant and effective lead officer, we expect she will have reformed all the prisoners.

"We hope they have no more dissent or the wish to challenge more making decisions based  upon anything other than the good of our  people"
-These words made Lee grimace inwardly.

Yet as he grimaced, a burst of applause arose in the vessel, which may have inspired Wendy, but Lee knew it showed him that the government lies had deceived even his crew.

She continued her broadcast:
" Commander Lee will land alone in the  Arrival Space pod. He has ordered that any contact will be with me only. "

Suddenly the red lights flashed to indicate arrival soon, and the Commander swiftly moved to the space pod.
As soon as he had locked himself into his seat, the Pod jettisoned, heading downward for arrival.
Meanwhile, the command vessel headed took up a strategic position from the Planet. Lee had told Wendy there would be no contact with her until he decided it was time to do so.

Planet Piracy was tiny. It was the smallest known inhabited Planet in the Universe. But it had enough resources and a decent sun and a moon. As the pirates and guards originally numbered less than 150 people, there was more than enough land, water and crops to sustain life and any future population.

Captain Silverstone had messaged the coordinates, and soon the arrival pod landed safely.
With a heavy heart Commander Lee almost reluctantly but firmly open the exit door on the Pod.

 Would Sheila, his beloved, ever forgive him for his innocent complicity in the outrage of his government? 

How would these poor convicted souls cope on a planet that, whilst having ample resources, would nevertheless lack the sophistication of their previous world, albeit a corrupt one?

Lee slowly pushed the door open...  and was greeted by a hot and clear blue sky ... ...he descended the few stairs to the ground. He went along a red carpet where a welcoming party was waiting...

This welcoming group consisted of both genders. They all wore faded clothes, Smelling of salt. Loose white puffy shirts, with patches and rips in their attire. Everyone had on tight pants and mainly black boots. The upper part of the male bodies revealed hairy chests, and the women showed some cleavage...
Lee could barely contain himself... he thought to himself: Oh, my goodness, these innocents have become real pirates...they have gone completely mad !
The group suddenly burst into a shanty song with dancing and much laughter and rejoining...

'Craziness' thought Lee...through my complicity in arresting them, I have turned these people into raving loonies!!!
It took all Lees willpower not to jump back into the Pod.

Then suddenly, one of the welcoming group stepped forward,  An imposing man with a three-cornered hat, A motionless parrot on his shoulder.
"Blimey, welcome, boss!. my name is Blackbeard."

And then, in a slightly menacing yet friendly manner, he belted out with laughter as did the rest of the pirates; Lee detected a strong smell of rum. Blackbeard had overflowing gold around his waist and wore a gold chain with silver earrings in his pierced ears.
"come this way, Guvnor," said the man. He then proceeded to lead Lee along the red carpet to the entrance.

Above the entrance, the sign 'Welcome to Planet Pirate' was crossed out and written above it was the words 'This Planet is now called the......'.Lee did not have time to the last word. He was taken through a long corridor to a door marked 'Captain Silver.'..Lee thought they had failed to spell her name correctly.

Lee entered the room with Blackbeard, who then departed. Lee lifted his head, and his eyes met those of Sheila. He knew that their love was as strong as ever. 

Sheila was so beautiful: dressed in pirate-like leather trousers, a red waistcoat with satin sashes around it.
Her appearance resembled a Goddess. An Anne Bonny recreated.
Lee could not resist the words :
"Captain Silver, I presume?"

Shelia moved forward and kissed him on his cheeks and then passionately on the lips. The urge in Lee became strong; it was the first time in a long, long while.. and she then spoke softly but with great authority:

" My darling Lee...I know you would come to me, and I do forgive you as, like so many others, you were fooled and deceived by our leaders.
"The innocent victims in my charge came to this land with limited resources—men and women whose only crime was to fight against a corrupt government. At first, the only way they could survive mentally and physically was to adopt a Pirates dress and lifestyle.  But gradually, inhabitants of surrounding planets visited us, and they, like us, are captivated by the Pirate fashion. We dress and behave as we do... it's good for business..
"We have built factories and tourist sites, and we prosper by our success... a life of freedom, democracy and happiness.
Come, I will show you."

She led Lee to one side of the room. Outside, children were playing with great enjoyment and fighting with plastic swords. She took him to the other side of the room, and looking outside that window were men and women singing Shanty songs, enjoying their drinks, experiencing and loving their lives.

In the distance, there was a rum-making factory and further away another business designing and producing pirate clothing.
Sheila explained that their Planet had significantly prospered by making and selling to nearby civilisations who regularly arrived to purchase rum and pirated fashions.
He could see boats with names like 'Saladin' in the nearby harbour, with a queue of visitors from other worlds eager to get a glimpse of this fascinating life.

Commander Lee was almost speechless. For decades he had lived in a world that followed the rules, behaved somberly in conformity, did not challenge authority and complied with what was ordered by a corrupt government whose primary motive was to steal from its naive citizens to feather their own nests.
 Now he had arrived at a place where following the herd was not the usual practice—but living in a make-believe world inspire the dwellers and brought them fortunes in tourist revenue.

"But what about your son?" asked Commander Lee: "How does he handle this life?"
"My son knows no other life; he is  gloriously happy... wait ..she calls out loudly to another room " My  Pirate son William come to me!"
A moment later, a boy barely out of his teens enters the room, dressed like a pirate. He has rosy cheeks and smokey eyes. His face has make-up. He is holding hands with another boy and tells his mother:
" Hey Mum, I going out now. I am staying at Henry's place tonight". The two boys got closer together and left quickly.

Sheila says:
"My son is known in his piracy life as William Kidd, and his friend is Henry Morgan" But William's real name is David, he is 19.
" They live in this world where Planet Pirates means freedom to dress and behave as you please.  To work hard, but to enjoy life; the only way these innocent people could survive on this desolate outback was to create the fantasy-world of old-style pirate life.
 But now as they have prospered, they realise such a lifestyle brings joy, contentment and a lot of wealth."

Over the next few days, Lee, apart from intimate moments with Sheila,  learnt that Planet Pirate had developed community rules. They may be Pirates, but they are good ones: never steal from another pirate; work hard, be well rewarded, vote democratically, etc.
In all, these pirates had rules that later in their history would become known as 10 (or maybe 11) commandments...


Lee was so in love with Sheila. He knew for sure this Planet was the only place for him. He contacted the second in command, Wendy in the main vessel and announced he would stay indefinitely. 
He lied and said that all people on Planet Pirates included himself, were infected with a deadly virus; he named it Covid 19. 
He thought that sounded better than David 19.

 Lee ordered  Wendy that all contact between Planet Pirates and the old world was prohibited.

 Second-in-Command, Wendy obeyed her orders, as he appointed her the new leader of the vessel Intrepid; she and her crew flew back through the wormhole, never to return.

He had found paradise, and he knew it.
Later Lee discovered the missing word on the sign he saw after he had arrived, it read: "this planet is now called The Earth'. " 
And every night, the pirates sing together and in harmony and joy:

'The land of the free and the home of the brave'.








Submitted: May 13, 2021

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