Skeleton Crew

A well-placed kick into Kanti’s stomach dropped him back to the deck, grasping his gut and gasping for breath.
“If you ever utter the phrase skeleton crew again, I promise that I will find out,” Captain Ateri said calmly.
“And when I do, I will rip chunks of you out with my bare paws ... and toss them into the recycler one by one ... until all that remains of you ... is your blood in my fur ... and your screams in my ears.”

But the captain is the least of Kanti’s concerns. A huge monster named Commissioner Sarsuk thinks the crew of the White Flower II is out of control, and that executing Kanti publicly - a slow, messy execution - is the perfect recipe for getting the ship back under his clawed thumb.

Now Kanti is living in terror - a slave raised believing himself free, a criminal even before his birth.

Everyone thinks he’s someone he isn’t: a playboy reduced to working at the dump, a spiteful son trying to make amends ...

... and perhaps even an excuse to recycle every last officer, crewman, and cub on board.