Liza interviews the character Sanah
from the book
Pirate Bound by Carysa Locke
Liza: So Sanah, I hear you joined a bunch of ruthless pirates to protect your kid sister. Can you explain that? From my view, that sounds like a really bad idea.
Sanah: When you have no good options, you can find yourself desperate enough to try almost anything. But the truth is, we didn’t have much of a choice. I took Nayla and ran as far from our brother and his plans as I could – and it happened to put us right into the path of the pirates. Honestly, I expected the worst from them! You’ve heard the stories, I’m sure, so you know the whole Commonwealth thinks they are these savage monsters who kill anyone who gets in their way. Leave no survivors, and all of that. Actually, for pirates, they’re pretty fair. They offered us their protection in exchange for making our home with them, and I wasn’t in a position to refuse.
Liza: Tell me more about these pirates? Are any of them sexy and playful?
Sanah: Hmm. That’s a dangerous question! I’m of course a bit biased, since I clearly think Dem is very sexy…and despite what everyone else thinks, he can be surprisingly playful sometimes, but only in private. He’s not the sort of man who likes everyone knowing his business, and when you live with a bunch of telepaths, it can be hard to keep any privacy.
As for everyone else – yes, there are definitely some sexy pirates! I don’t know how Cannon is still single, even with their shortage of available women. You’d think he’d have his pick, being the pirate king. Maybe being an empath, it’s difficult for him to form those relationships. I know all about that from personal experience. And Dem has a brother, Treon, who is too sexy for his own good. He also needs to learn boundaries when it comes to being playful. He’s a powerful telepath, and he likes mind games a little too well. I hope someday some woman puts him in place. And I hope I’m there to see it when it happens.
Liza: Why do they have such a bad reputation?
Sanah: Great question! I think there are a lot of reasons for that. One, they’re Talented, and the Commonwealth as a whole is pretty afraid of people with psychic gifts. They remember how those gifts were used during the Territory Wars. Two, there’s been a lot of propaganda from the Commonwealth leaders, feeding into the populace’s fears. And three, they are, after all, pirates. They really do take ships and plunder colonies. But they don’t kill civilians, and they don’t leave wanton destruction in their wake. Really, they’re more like a rebel military force than pirates, I think.
Liza: Are you getting the same bad reputation by hanging about with them?
Sanah: (Laughs.) Oh, I’m sure my reputation is in complete tatters, what there was of it. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve topped the Commonwealth’s Most Wanted list as a traitor at this point. But you know what? The only reputation I have that matters is with my new family. I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.
Liza: What happened to their world?
Sanah: The pirates never had a home world, exactly. They were originally created in a lab as soldiers for the wars. When several of the warlords started using clones to fill out their armies, the central systems had to fight back with something that could counter those numbers. They engineered the first Talented, and made them into an elite fighting force. And then when the war was won, they discarded them and outlawed Talent as “too dangerous” to allow amongst the regular populace. A lot of the Talented fled to fringe space in whatever ships they had – that was the first generation of pirates.
Liza: I understand you and your sister have special talents as well. Can you tell me more about how you acquired it and how you use it?
Sanah: Just like the pirates, we were born with our abilities. Our family is descended from the Talented who chose not to flee the Commonwealth. Instead, they went underground, and formed their own secret organization, Veritas. Those Talented started manipulating things from behind the scenes, and some believe today they even influence the monarchy itself.
Liza: Are there any secrets you are keeping from your pirates?
Sanah: No. Not anymore. I did that when I first came aboard their flagship, Nemesis. That was a mistake that might have cost me everything – might have cost me Dem. I don’t keep any secrets from him now.
Liza: Who would you rather bed: Pirate Dem or Johnny Depp?
Sanah: That’s not even a contest. I’ve looked up some ancient archival footage of this Johnny Depp person, and while he is definitely attractive, he’s no Dem. (Dreamy smile.) And I doubt he has all of Dem’s…talents.
Dem wanted Sanah to feel comfortable with her surroundings, so he started with the basics. He showed her the gym, the galley, the bar, and then took her to where her interests would be most aligned, the lab facilities. He could tell the quality of their equipment surprised her. She stopped beside their cloning module, running her fingers reverently along the top of it.
“I never thought I would see one of these again, much less get to work with one.”
“It’s the centerpiece of much of our research,” said a new voice.
Dem had tracked his approach. He wasn’t surprised to turn and see a man wearing a white lab coat standing at a polite distance.
“I couldn’t do my work without it.” Tall and lean, with a tousle of black hair, dark skin, and brown eyes that sparked with interest, Mahesh was not unhandsome. He smiled at Sanah. Stepping closer to her, he took her hand warmly between his in greeting.
Something went through Dem like a current of electricity, a feeling he couldn’t identify, that jolted his nerves like adrenaline and hazed his mind. It was gone less than a second later, washed away by a familiar quiet that left empty detachment in its wake. Cold and still, Dem watched Sanah laugh at something Mahesh said, and he felt nothing.
The two scientists quickly fell into an easy conversation, Sanah asking questions about how cloning fit into Mahesh’s research, he more than willing to answer them to a level of detail that would have bored most people. Dem wasn’t bored. He passed the time mapping out all the ways he could kill Mahesh, and timed each of them. The other man’s shields were impressive enough that a mental assault would most likely be less efficient than a physical attack by four-point-six seconds. Which meant Mahesh would die from a broken neck.
He had just concluded this when the other man glanced over at him, the conversation having taken a turn toward secrets Sanah didn’t yet know. Mahesh was looking for permission to delve lightly into those secrets, but instead what he saw in Dem froze him where he stood. His skin took on an ashen pallor, and he backed slowly away from Sanah.
“I-I’m sorry. Work, you know. I have work to get back to. Very important.” When he backed into a table, jostling the contents and knocking a container to the floor, he turned and hurried from the room without bothering to pick it up.
Sanah watched this with confusion furrowing her brow.
“That was odd,” she said, stepping forward to pick up the fallen container herself. She placed it back onto the table. “He didn’t seem like the skittish type.” Turning toward Dem as she spoke, she went silent and still. Seconds passed while she stood and said nothing, carefully watching Dem.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. I won’t hurt you.
But he lied. He could kill her with a thought between one breath and the next.
“I’m not afraid,” she said, her voice steady. “You promised you would protect me.”
He remembered his promise.
She took a step toward him, and then another. He did not move, just watched as she approached him, watched as she extended a hand and carefully, deliberately curled her fingers around his. The touch sent another of those electric shocks through him. This time, the nameless emotion broke through the icy calm of the killer within, suffusing him with warmth.
His fingers closed convulsively around hers, tighter than he meant them to. She gasped, and he instantly released her.
“Don’t apologize,” she said. “I’m not sure what just happened here, but you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Yes. Yes, he had. He’d allowed the most dangerous part of himself loose in her presence, without a reason. Mahesh was no threat. If necessary, Dem could subdue him without resorting to either of his more deadly Talents. Something had happened to trigger the lethal side of his nature, and Dem did not understand what it had been. He didn’t lose control like that. Not since he was a child.
He sent for one of his dogs.
“Dem? Are you all right?”
The irony that she would be concerned about him was not lost on him.
“You should go to the infirmary,” he said. “Doc is expecting you, as is your sister.”
The door opened, and Blaine stepped in.
You will take her to the infirmary, Dem told him, and then escort her back to her quarters. Contact me when that occurs.
Dem did not look at Sanah again. Not even when she called his name and moved to intercept him as he strode out the door. Dem trusted Blaine to handle it, and indeed, he heard the irritation in Sanah’s voice as the door closed behind him. “What are you doing? Get out of my way.”
What the hell just happened? Dem was not surprised by Cannon’s sudden contact. Very little happened on this ship that the pirate king was not aware of.
I don’t know.
Are you an immediate threat to anyone?
Are you sure? Cannon did not sound convinced. Because I don’t think we’ve ever had a Killer experience jealousy before. I’m not sure what that will look like, but it can’t be good.
Dem stopped dead in the middle of the corridor. Jealousy?
Yeah, you know, that feeling that made you want to rip out Mahesh’s spine?
No. Killers do not feel.
Okay, so here’s where I tell you not to argue with the empath. You are jealous. And you better deal with it before someone dies.
Carysa Locke is the pseudonym for writing team Carysa Locke and MaLea Holt, two best friends who have been creating imaginary worlds together for more than twenty years. The worlds they write in exist first as roleplaying games, where much of the bare bones of world building and character development take place. Carysa is a high school English teacher, and MaLea helps support families with special needs children. You might say, they work as super heroes in their day jobs!
Their obsession with pirates and adventure goes back many years, when they started another hobby together – costuming. They regularly attend Ren-faires and Pirate Festivals. They currently reside in the Pacific Northwest with their families, where they still routinely roleplay and costume together, when they aren’t too busy working on the next novel.