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Adventures Across the Starways - Chapter 17

"After that, all Sive knew was that she was falling. He had shot her."

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Sive had swiftly realized her only chance was to get up into the dark rafters and crossbeams the dancing poles were attached to. If she could reach the beams and hide behind them long enough maybe the Sargo police would get here soon . They could divert the pirates giving her a chance to disappear amongst the crowd.

She slowly turned to face the pirate. He was loosely pointing his gun at her as he walked towards her. She didn't move a muscle. The platform she was standing on was too high to jump up on giving her one option providing he didn't shoot her first. As he got close to the edge, he signaled her to climb down. She took a step keeping her fear in check. Suddenly she looked over at the front door with a surprised expression, hoping he would fall for her bluff. He did, glancing at the door long enough for Sive to kick him in the head. She instantly turned running at the pole while whispering to herself,

“You'll not take me so easily you piece of space garbage!”

With a curse Murdock shook his head taking a few steps back. Within seconds Sive was swinging and shimmying up the pole as fast as she could. She barely avoided an energy beam, but kept on moving, (Shit, he recovered quicker than I thought. Please.... just a few more seconds.)

He aimed one more time thinking, (She moves around that damn pole like a monkey.) She was nearly at the top breathing fast as she reached for the beam when suddenly her body froze and her hands went numb. After that, all Sive knew was that she was falling. He had shot her.

Murdock caught the stunned girl. She was all sweaty from her bursts of adrenalin and efforts to get away. He held her smiling at the beauty in his arms before he activated the transporter button on his wristband. They both disappeared as the Sargo authorities burst into the room.

When they materialized in the transporter room, Murdock looked down at the unconscious woman again. There was something about her, something that made him want to kiss her, he slowly brought his head to her's, kissing her before realizing what he was doing. Meanwhile, Sive's nanites had swiftly synchronized themselves to Murdock's DNA. Several hundred passed from her lips to his when he kissed her and more from her sweat through the pores of their skin. He lifted his head and saw Manta watching him a confused look on his face.

“Manta take this woman to the brig and put her in the holding cell next to Du Bois's.” He paused for a moment before adding, "And keep your hands to that?" Mantra who had been thinking along those lines nodded his head mumbling to himself as the captain handed her to him. Murdock then hit the com. panel and contacted the bridge, “Bridge this is Murdock, Darlla get this ship out of here, full warp!”

“Aye aye sir,” a female voice replied. He felt his ship vibrate slightly as it did every time it entered hyperspace. He proceeded to his quarters for a quick change of clothes He felt hot and uncomfortable wondering why he had kissed that annoying dancer. Shaking his head, he had more pressing matters to deal with. His mind focused on Fido. He had openly disobeyed his orders and challenged him. (I'll question Du Bois first, if I can get those credits for the woman then the men will come around and respect me. If Fido does anything else, I will have to deal with him… permanently.)

As Manta headed towards the brig, the woman started to come around. He glanced down at her. Blinking a few times, Sive looked around realizing she had been kidnapped and was on board a ship. She looked up at the man carrying her and smiled batting her eyes at him. She could see he was your typical ruffian pirate.

“Do you mind letting me walk beside you? This is very uncomfortable for me.”

Sive smiled seductively at him. He leered down at her squeezing her as he let her slide slowly down his body. Trying to keep her temper Sive moved in front of him putting her hands on each of his arms sweetly saying,

“Thank you so much!” as she kneed him in the groin. “Pig!”

As soon as he went down groaning in pain she was on the run. Only moments later Sive heard him growl, “Bitch” and knew she had better find a place to hide and fast.

Sive raced along the corridor until she saw the sign “Cargo Bay”. Glancing up and down the passageway to make sure the coast was clear she quickly opened the door and slipped inside. Looking around the vast area, she ran to the left where it wasn't well lighted and ducked behind a large crate. Trembling in fear, Sive knew if this guy caught her, she was in for the fight of her life. One didn't trifle with pirates and lived to tell the story.

Manta paused by a com. panel, “Fucking bitch!” he growled again as he rubbed his sore balls. No wee lass was going to hurt him like that and get away with it, he drew his gun. He checked to make sure it was on stun as he knew if he vaporized the girl his captain would probably do the same to him. Should he call for help? Let the captain know she had escaped? That wouldn’t look good, not able to control a small woman almost half his size. He turned his wrist scanner on. “I'll find this bitch and make her sorry...real sorry!” he said grimly out loud before heading down the corridor on Sive’s trail.

He knew the corridor led to a cargo bay, “A good place to hide,” he chuckled to himself. His trusty scanner would pick her up when he got close. “When I find you, lass, you will pay!” he hissed.

Meanwhile Jason was being carried along by two men. The effects of the stun gun hadn’t lasted long. He wondered if it was because of the nanites. He had pretended to be unconscious until now. Without warning he launched upward elbowing both of the pirates in the face. He grabbed the first one's gun from his belt and stunned the two men before they could recover. There was a door just to the right of them. He opened it and carefully looked around, “Store room?” it was full of cases and boxes.

Jason rapidly dragged the two bodies into the room shut the door and shot the lock. (“That should hold them long enough for me to make my escape.) His next move was to get to the transporter room or a shuttle bay and get off this ship!. He had to get his ship back and find Sive. Hopefully she was on his ship in disguise staying away from Donnie.

Sive studied her surroundings. She knew she didn’t have long before the man would be looking in this area. Almost all the boxes were sealed and what she had found wasn’t useful. She had to keep calm, panic wasn't an option she could afford now. Suddenly she heard the door open,

“Where are you hiding bitch?” Manta called out in a sing song voice. He looked at the scanner there was a life sign, it flickered, (Stupid scanner!) he thought to himself as he banged it on his arm.

Sive took cover behind a crate, “I’m trapped!" she whispered. She closed her eyes and concentrated. She wished she was more deadly, like one of those large cats she had seen in her youth. Suddenly she felt the nanites changing her. Her skin itched and her body felt different, her hands felt strange, changing shape like the rest of her body. She chanced a peek, expecting to see what she didn't know. To her shock her hands had shrunk and were covered in fine black fur. She licked around long canine teeth. Looking down at herself, she noticed her clothes were hanging off her black furry body. (Oh my god, I have a tail!) she thought, as she realized she was some sort of huge feline cat.

Sive quietly growled as she caught the pirates scent. Her instincts took over. She crept around the corner away from the pirate and silently jumped onto the high stack of crates. With yellow eyes she watched the man from the shadows. She waited for him to get closer, readying herself to ambush him. She watched him turn the corner looking confused by the clothes she had left laying on the floor. She felt her powerful muscles tensing up ready to pounce. He paused looking around checking the device on his wrist. He even glanced right at her before looking at the device again hitting it with the butt of his gun.

Manta felt his skin prickle as if someone or something was watching him. He looked up again to see a large black shadow launch itself toward him. He saw the yellow of it's eyes and long sharp teeth. He didn’t even have time to scream as the panther struck, it's claws raking down his arm. He fell back smacking his head against the corner of a crate. The pirate fell unconscious to the ground, blood running down his arm and the back of his head onto the floor.

Sive sniffed the body. He was alive and in need of a shower but for now she was safe. With a satisfied look on her feline face she walked back towards the crate where her cast off clothing lay, the fur changing back into her skin. She pushed up with her arms so she was walking on her two legs, she could feel her teeth shrinking and returning to normal. In less then a minute she was Sive again. She noted her outfit was ripped but covered everything important. Looking over at Manta one more time she smiled,

“Your right I can be a bitch,” before casually taking his gun and leaving the cargo bay.

Murdock entered the brig. He still felt hot, and his skin was tingling, he couldn't help wondering if briefly, (What's wrong with me?) Then he looked over to the holding cells. To his shock there was no sign of Jason or the girl. His blood started to boil,

“YOU INCOMPETENT BASTARDS!” he shouted before storming out. He activated the com. panel in the hall “Manta report in,” there was no reply “Hudson, Stevenson, your location?” again there was no answer. Cursing a blue streak he activated the intruder alert protocol. “All men and women this is not a drill. Lock down the ship, the prisoners have escaped I want them found...NOW!”

This was all Murdock needed, it was supposed to be an easy job to appease the men. How did it now turn into a manhunt? Some of his men were ready to mutiny as it was, and this fiasco was all he needed. His father had left him this ship, the thing was Murdock wasn’t as blood thirsty, preferring to rob and use stealth rather than shooting everybody on sight. He had replaced some of the crew with scientists and even had a new exo-biologist doctor on board. His ship was still respected. Unfortunately some of the older crew didn’t like the way he was running the family business. This mess could cost him and he knew it. He had to get on top of the situation quickly, recapture Jason and the girl and find out where that Doctor McCleod woman was hiding out. The credits he would get for her would go a long ways in placating his men.

Meanwhile, Jason was running down another corridor gun ready when the alarm sounded, he heard a furious Murdock ordering the ship on lock-down. “Sounds pissed, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” he whispered with a sneer.

Up ahead a door slid open. Two pirates were standing in a lift talking to each other. Jason didn’t flinch shooting them both before they realized what was happening. He swiftly entered it ignoring the two bodies and looked at the panel. It didn't have the usual markings on it. After a few moments he noticed a symbol of a ship on a button so pushed that hoping it would take him to a shuttle. The lift started moving downward, the direction he wanted to go.

When the door finally opened Jason stepped out of the lift. He was delighted to find himself in the shuttle bay. He smiled for a moment before noticing three armed pirates searching in and around the shuttles. He took cover behind a control station now wishing he had left the two unconscious pirates on the other deck. He glanced around noting an adjoining room less than three meters away. Keeping low Jason eased his way over. Once near the door, it slid open allowing him to enter. When he was inside it slid shut again. It was obviously a changing room,
“Hopefully, the search party has already checked this place,” he muttered softly. The way his luck had been going, he honestly doubted it.

Glancing around, he noticed a fair sized framed mirror. Jason stared at it remembering what Sive had told him. "OK Sive said, concentrate." Slowly his skin started to flicker and darken, his hair lengthened and also went darker. He could now see that he looked a little like one of the guards he had shot, the last one he had looked at. He concentrated harder thinking about the pirate. Slowly his features started to change. It wasn’t perfect, but he found he no longer looked like himself. He breathed slowly noting that changing appearances took a lot out of him, he wondered if Sive had the same problem. Now he needed a ship so he could get the hell out of here and search for her.

Jason exited the room and casually returned to the main area only to find a couple of the pirates arguing. The rest were standing around watching.

“There's no one here I tell you, just lock the ship down and let's go, it's chow time blast you!” A heavy set crewman growled rather flustered.

“You want Murdock to know you didn’t search the ship?” a smaller cleaner better-dressed man retorted while glancing down at his computer pad.

“Who's gonna tell him...YOU?” The first cried, all the others laughed before turning and leaving the room by a side door. Looking up from his pad the pirate watched in distaste as the last of the men left the shuttle bay. He muttered to himself,

“I should have stayed at my old lab job, I'm surrounded by idiots here!” not noticing Jason across the room

(At least they didn’t take the elevator!) Jason thought in relief as he made his way over towards the lone pirate.

“Useless fucking idiots, Murdock will hear about this!” the crewman continued to mumble to himself as Jason passed by him trying to look like he was hunting for intruders. The pirate suddenly looked up,

“Hey you...what are you doing here?” he asked Jason in a none too friendly manner.

“ was sent to help search the ship for intruders...what the hell do you think I'm doing?” Jason finished angrily.

The pirate shook his head in irritation before pointing his finger, “Yeah...yeah all right, search that shuttle over there. The door code is 464556.” He added referring to his pad.

Jason couldn’t believe his luck. He lost no time in getting over to the shuttle, punched in the code and smiled to himself as the door slid open. He looked back. The pirate was watching him with growing suspicion grumbling,

"I don't think I have ever seen that guy before." Bringing his gun up, he was about to order Jason to come back when Jason drew his blaster and stunned him. Without wasting any time, Jason entered the ship sealing the door behind him.

Murdock was getting more and more annoyed as he made his way to the bridge. No one had reported seeing anything and he was positive half of the men weren’t even looking. He had lost the respect of the men. He needed to find the prisoners quickly, find that damn scientist and exchange her for the reward. Jason was the key. He would know where the woman was hiding.

He entered the bridge only to see Darlla sitting in the pilot chair, “Where's Fido isn’t he supposed to be on duty?” he growled. Darlla was a fine looking woman, she had long wavy dark hair that she liked to wear colorful scarves over. Her body was athletic with curves in all the right places. She had full sensuous lips that she had had permanently tinted in deep red on one of her shore leaves. Her big brown eyes were accented with a tattoo on her left cheek bone. When you looked at her outfit, there was no mistaking she was a pirate and proud of it. She was a very sensual woman as many crewmen including the captain could attest to.

Darlla smiled, her seductive smile but could see that Murdock wasn’t in a receptive mood. She had watched Fido storm off without saying where he was going. Darlla was hoping she could turn the men's general unease to her advantage, knowing how many of the men felt about the captain. She was flexible. If there was to be a change in leadership she planned on being on the winning side. Not that she didn’t like Murdock, she slept with him a couple of times a month just for the perks of being the captain's mistress. He wasn’t a bad lover but she knew it wasn’t serious. Just a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“Sorry captain, he left a while ago, didn't say where he was going.”

“Damn that man!” Murdock muttered to himself not bothering to lower his voice. “You have the bridge.” He ordered as he turned and left. Darlla smiled to herself. She was enjoying this and maybe just maybe she could turn this situation into a promotion for herself, possibly even second in command.

For the time being Sive had been able to avoid the few guards she had come across since parting ways with Manta. No one seemed to be searching for her even though an alarm had sounded and she had heard the captain shouting, “Intruder alert status”.

Still, she knew it was only a matter of time before her luck ran out, and every door she had tried seemed to be locked. Around the next corner, she came across the sign, "MESS HALL”. A mess hall wasn't a great hiding place, but she was running out of options. Hoping for the best she stepped up to the door. It slid smoothly open to reveal an empty room with a few round tables and chairs scattered around. Looking over her shoulder to see if anyone saw her, she boldly walked in looking for the kitchen area. Calling out in a deep gruff voice,

"Hey what's a mate got to do to get some grub around here?" She quickly moved towards the half-door that could only be the kitchen. A huge grumpy old guy came through wiping his hands on what must have been a white apron at one time. She raised her gun and with a grin stunned him. He went down like a ton of bricks, which she discovered was close to what he must have weighed. As she dragged his limp form back into the kitchen she couldn't help but wonder why she didn't shoot him inside the kitchen area.

Once inside, Sive looked around for a place to hide his bulky body. She spotted what had to be the storage room. Grasping him again she pulled him by the ankles until she finally had all of him in the small room. She fell against the wall trying to catch her breath, sweat pouring from her brow from her efforts. She swiftly searched for something to tie the man up with. She finally found some heavy cord-like material and trussed the beefy guy up like a turkey, stuffing a tea towel in his mouth for good measure.

Now it was time to change her appearance. She remembered the pirate who had killed her friend Zlanta, a flash of hatred crossed her face but soon faded. Most of the crew were large like the captain she needed to survive and that man was small enough for her to change into. Giving her the freedom to move around the ship. Moments later Sive was an exact replica of the man Murdock had called Fido. She breathed heavily, changing her appearance took a lot out of her, and doing it so many changes in such a short space of time was taking it's toll on her. As she caught her breath she spotted an outfit hanging on a hook beside the tins of whatever slop pirates ate. She glanced at the trussed up turkey/man thinking, (I suppose he is what passes for the chef on this so called spaceship!)

Reaching for the clothes she soon found they were a touch large but they would do. She swiftly slipped out of what was left of her dancer outfit and put on the long pants drawing the belt strings up tight. Then she pulled the T-shirt over her head, grimacing as she noted the clothes were none too clean smelling. She couldn't help but murmur, " Yewww...gross!" as her eyes watered. Taking a deep breath, she continued adjusting the clothes. Lastly, she needed shoes, looking around she saw a pair of old sneakers, grabbed them and slipped them on. Way too big but there was no other choice.

Suddenly she heard someone come into the mess hall. "The moment of truth," she whispered to herself.

Written by Kari
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