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In the late 90's or early aughts I bought a scifi compilation that included an amazing story about a group of space pirates that try to take over a ship. This ship's crew behaves and looks like the Hindu gods. I won't spoil the ending, and that is all the information I have on it. Can anyone help identify this story?

In the end,

the "gods" invite the pirates into the ship and defeat them after a sort of banquet. They go on with their travels, presumably to find other pirates to trap.

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I am certain that this is the novellette Guest Law by John C. Wright. It first appeared in July 1997 in Volume 21 (No. 7) of Asimov's Science Fiction. It was reprinted in 1998 in a collection called Year's Best SF 3 (published by HarperPrism), which is where you may have read it.

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In the novellette, space pirates attempt to commandeer a ship that was initially believed to be derelict. There is some debate amongst the pirates as to whether the derelict ship is a "religious ship". The pirates discover that ship's crew is still aboard, and are then invited to the ship for a feast.

The ship's crew are not mentioned explicitly to have the appearance of "Hindu gods", but we do have the following passage:

Here was the captain, floating at the focal point of an array of banners so that she looked like a Boddhisattva of Gaia in the center of a celestial rose.

Given the number of matching plot points and the time of publication, I suspect this is the work you are seeking.

  • 2
    @Anticool76: Please do let us know if this is correct. – Praxis Aug 31 '15 at 22:33

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