Sive opened her eyes to darkness, blinking a couple of times. She snarled silently to herself. “You bastard!”
She desperately pushed several buttons before frustration took over and she started hitting the controls. Nothing happened and she screamed out loud in frustration. She was trapped. She had no choice but to talk to the beast,
"Murdock, listen to me. I can't open the damn door! I destroyed the control panel! Even if I could find it in the dark, I can't open it.” Sive breathed deeply, before remembering she had little air to spare. “You bastard! Turn the systems back on! If I die, you won't ever find out who I really am! I know your wondering how I got on your ship."
In the suffocating darkness, Sive clenched her fists digging her nails into her palms. She took shallow breaths trying to calm down. She stayed in the Captain's chair realizing there was no point moving since she was totally disoriented now. She hoped Murdock would rather have her alive than dead. A shiver went down her back as she waited to hear his voice.
Time passed, the temperature was dropping, and it was getting harder to breathe. “What a low life,” she thought to herself as she ground her teeth, wrapped her arms around herself and closed her eyes, “I hope I'm not going to die here in the dark... gasping for air.” She moaned quietly to herself, thinking about what she would do to Murdock if she ever got a chance.
Murdock smiled smugly. He waited for two minutes knowing the air would be getting thin. He coughed to let the young woman know he was still there before speaking,
"Girl I can reconnect the air." He paused letting those words sink in before adding, "But you have to do something for me. The cutting torch is still a few minutes away, who knows what state you will be in by then. If you help me now, I will turn the life support back on."
He looked back as the elevator opened and a greenish looking Ben carrying a cutting torch stepped out. Murdock couldn't help but feel sorry for the big guy.
"Good man!” Murdock said in a low voice as he took the heavy equipment from Ben. “I know Fido made you and the crew sick. Believe me he will get his. Now guard the elevator, no one gets past you until I order it."
Sive was thinking about Murdock's offer. She was starting to feel dizzy now, hyperventilating wasn't helping, but she couldn't seem to stop herself. She hung onto the arms of the chair so she wouldn't slide off. Closing her eyes for a moment, she cried out in defeat,
"You win captain… what do you want? Hurry up damn you, before I black out!"
Murdock for the first time was in charge and fully intended to keep it,
"I want you to remove the power cell from your gun. To do this, you have to unscrew the nozzle. Try not to shoot yourself. I'll be watching.”
Murdock reconnected the two wires in the panel and the emergency lights lit up the bridge. He stared intently at the woman, a grim smile on his face. Whoever the hell she was he had her now. He had questions, and she was going to answer all of them or he would strangle her pretty little neck!
Meanwhile, Jason was starting to enjoy the flight. He had found some eatable food rations and the computer had some music stored in its data banks. Still, he had a lot to think about. He was still worried about Sive and hoped she had made it back to his ship. He also hoped his ship was still on the planet Sargo. He formed plans as he manually navigated. He would still have to deal with Donny and once that was done, finding a new engineer would be at the top of his to-do list. He sighed and shook his head, life since he met Sive had become way more complicated than he would have ever dreamed or liked for that matter.
Sive blinked as the pale emergency lights came on. Once her eyes had adjusted, she found herself looking up at the image of a grimly smiling Murdock. How she hated this man!
Using her anger, she started to unscrew the nozzle with her trembling fingers. It was so cold that she could see her own breath. Having the lights on again did help to make her feel less alone, but she knew the air hadn't improved. Once the nozzle had been removed she lifted her eyebrow her eyes sparkled with loathing. Her nanites were trying to fight the cold, but they couldn’t operate properly without her blood being oxygenated properly.
She tipped the gun, and the power cell slid out. The room was starting to spin. She held the gun out showing it to Murdock before yanking the power cell out, snapping the wire, so it was useless. She looked at his image with malice as she threw the cell and the gun to the floor.
Sive knew she was beaten. Her nanites were already slowing down, and the feeling of cold was creeping back into her body. Most of the nanites were working to keep her brain going. It was so cold in the room now. She knew she didn't have much time before she finally blacked out.
Still breathing shallowly she had to think of something, some plan to turn this around for herself. Suddenly it hit her, “Pheromones! I need to produce pheromones!” she whispered to herself. She had done this before, but only once. That man had become putty in her hands. With the last of her reserves she quickly closed her eyes concentrating. Sive commanded her nanites into producing the pheromones sacrificing the remaining warmth and the ability to think, “Just stay conscious,” she whispered.
Murdock watched the woman intently. To his surprise, after she had thrown the weapon and power cell on the floor she had closed her eyes. She was breathing shallowly. Maybe she had passed out. Murdock turned on the cutter and started on the door.
As he worked, he kept glancing up at the monitor to see what she was doing. She hadn’t moved, and there was no change in her demeanor. Once he had finished cutting, he ordered engineering to reconnect the O cylinders and reboot the computer to get the life support back on-line.
The door fell inwards with one strong kick, air from the corridor immediately started to mix with the bridge air. Murdock stormed onto the bridge in triumph. He stopped, gun pointing at the small woman sitting in the captain's chair.
"Right.... I want you to tell me who you are and how you got on my ship!”
Sive took a deep gasping breath as the air entered her lungs. She breathed slowly for a few moments before opening her eyes and smiling up at the pirate. Just like a spider with her fly.
For some unfathomable reason, Murdock found his anger falling away. His body relaxed as he became very aware of her body. A smile spread across his lips. This woman was very attractive up close. In fact, he couldn't take his eyes off of her. He gazed at her curves causing him to lick his drying lips. He shook his head unsure what was happening as he lowered his gun.
"Talk to me, woman, or I will personally lock you up and throw the key out of the nearest airlock."
Sive cocked her head to the side as she continued to watch the man in front of her. She casually stretched her arms above her head as she smiled, causing more of the pheromones to drift off her body. Now that she had air, her nanites were back in full working order.
She carefully watched as Murdock's eyes dilated, his frown disappeared, and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed again. “You don’t need your gun Captain; I'm not going anywhere.” Sive replied seductively.
Murdock nodded and put his gun away breathing deeply smiling down at her. Sive nodded her head in satisfaction and had to admit he looked more attractive now he was calm and not trying to shoot her. She stretched her arms up and sighed like a cat. That's when she noticed her body started to heat up in reaction to his proximity. Her breathing quickened as her eyes zeroed in on his full lips. She frowned wondering, “Why am I reacting to him like this?”
She blinked as a thought occurred to her, "Could some of my nanites have transferred over to him? He touched me. Fuck! He kissed me!” She realized as she stared at him. Her lip curled. “This is not good. I'll have to keep a tight check on myself when he is near me. He must be compatible like Jason. If my nanites could adapt to this horrid pirate, they could adapt to more people. One in a billion my research showed."
"Yeah right!” She mumbled out loud before smiling up at Murdock again.
“One crisis at a time, the important thing is that I'm in the driver's seat for now. I should be able to persuade him to let me go. Once I'm out of range, the nanites will start to shut down. In a week and he will be back to his normal self....whatever that is!”
The air vents suddenly clicked on, blowing fresh air onto the bridge and removing what was left of the old. An idea entered Sive’s head as she smiled at the captain. He looked like he wanted to kiss her. She put her hand up as he bent down. He stopped and straightened up, a puzzled look on his handsome face. Getting up off the chair she went over to the nearest air vent put her arms up and concentrated on producing a ship-load of pheromones. She couldn't help but chuckle.
Glancing at Murdock, she noticed he continued to stare at her with lust. In Fido's voice, she commanded,
"Computer circulate the air from the bridge throughout the entire ship."
She knew they wouldn't affect everyone evenly. Some of the men would become mildly amorous; some would feel a real sexual urge, like the good captain here. While others would hardly be affected at all. It depended on body chemistry.
All the while Sive gave Murdock winks and smiles to keep him happy. With her pheromones now being pumped all over the ship, she went back to the captain's chair waiting to see what would happen. When Murdock put his hand out to touch her long silky hair, she brushed it away as she absently watched the monitors, keeping a tight rein on her emotions.
It didn't take long for the pheromones to start affecting the crew. Sive saw some of the men and women smiling and chatting with each other. Others were even holding hands as they walked through the corridors. She even spotted a few couples kissing frantically; Sive couldn't help but chuckle in deep satisfaction.
Peering up at Murdock, she felt a surge of attraction causing her to tremble. She wanted to kiss him and could see he wanted to do the same. She needed more information about the ship and crew. “Get a hold of yourself girl!” she whispered to herself, disgusted. She realized he was producing pheromones as well, trying to counter hers. Lucky for her, she had way more nanites in her body and was stronger, more experienced. He didn't have a clue as to what was happening to his body.
"Captain why don't you sit next to me. Let's get to know one another? You said earlier you had questions."
Murdock smiled at the beautiful woman who sat in his chair. He couldn't remember why he had been so angry. He pulled up the com chair and sat there smiling his body heated up a few more notches. He leaned nearer needing to hear her voice again, to smell her scent, to kiss her lips.
In the medical bay, Zark was watching the humans intently. Some of the crew were behaving very strangely; they had big smiles on their faces. That was a huge change from their usual surly selves. He became intrigued.
He had joined Captain Murdock's crew only a few months ago, on the understanding that he could conduct a few experiments and study humans as long as he followed orders and didn’t experiment on the crew. He was an expert in exobiology in different races, humans particularly had always fascinated him. There had been an incident on his home world, with him having to leave before he had been arrested and punished. But that was another story. Joining this crew meant he could continue his research while avoiding the authorities. Thus, for a bit of medical knowledge and patching up any injuries that came about, he had many humans to observe.
He continued to watch the crew. Some were very ill having ingested the tainted stew. He had created an antidote. Unfortunately it was still going to take time before everyone felt better. In the last few minutes he also had noticed that a few of the humans were acting out of character. His assistant was humming to himself with a grin on his face, and the two guards at the end of the hall were kissing each other. Not all seemed affected, those just simply continued with their duties.
”Strange yet fascinating!” Zark remarked out loud as he started scanning the ship for airborne contagions. The results were very confusing. The air has been contaminated with concentrated human pheromones and a few microscopic nanites. "I wonder how that happened?" he mumbled to himself.
He repeated the procedure going for a deeper scan. After a few minutes, the results were on his screen. He noticed the strongest source for both the pheromones and nanites was coming from the bridge. He activated the computer entering his medical override code. "Computer, activate recycle air protocols. Seal the top five decks from the rest of the ship, Bio-Contamination One in effect. Commence making an antidote for the airborne human pheromones and nanites."
The computer complied, alarms sounded all over the ship as the air was expunged from the ship deck by deck until only the top five floors were affected. Zark picked up his medical kit and headed off to the bridge while the computer worked on an antidote for the pheromones.
Against her better judgment, Sive was just warming up to the Captain, her former anger towards him forgotten. Suddenly she heard the alarms go off with the announcement; "Bio-Contamination One."
Murdock blinked a few times his mind trying to process what was going on. So much for learning more about this man, she was out of time. Sive leaned over grabbing the front of his shirt with her fists. Pulling him towards her and kissed him soundly. She knew more nanites would enter him but would worry about that later.
Feeling his body relaxing against her as his arms went around her, she quickly slipped her hand into the inside of his jacket and grabbed his weapon, body tingling and breathing rapidly. Sive broke the kiss as she shoved him back crying, "Too bad you're a pirate, a girl could get used to kisses like that!"
Pointing the blaster at Murdock, she carefully eased herself off the chair. Sive swiftly backed towards the doorway as Murdock blinked confusedly at her retreating figure. Once she was sure the gun was on stun, she licked her slightly swollen lips, "I have to go now, who knows maybe we will meet again!"
With that said she shot Murdock. She sighed as she watched him fall to the floor unconscious.
Turning to the door, Sive glanced around only to see one big bruiser of a man laying and groaning on the floor. She recognized him from the mess hall. He was sick, and his breathing was shallow and fast. Sive felt a little guilty as she carefully passed the man and stepped into the lift.
She had to get off this ship and knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She changed her appearance again returning to the blond crewman. Activating the lift's com system, Sive leaned in and in Murdock's voice she said,
Straightening up Sive breathed slow and deep. She had fully recovered from the lack of oxygen, but her nanites were still feeling the strain. She didn’t usually use them this much. She needed a plan, a real plan. She knew this flying by the seat of her pants was going to end in disaster. She couldn't keep changing appearances, sooner or later she would run out of bodies to copy or worse, they would catch her, she had to get off this damn ship!
The lift took her down two decks to the living quarters. The officer's quarters were marked, and the doors voice activated. Sounding like Murdock Sive said, “Open,” the door slid open. She couldn’t believe her luck. Even though she was still in trouble, stuck on a pirate ship, she was surprised to find herself enjoying this cat and mouse game she found herself in.
Next, Sive activated the com, causing her voice to sound like Murdock’s again she ordered,
"INTRUDER ALERT, INTRUDER ALERT! A man disguised as Captain Murdock has been sighted in the upper level near the bridge. I want this man found and taken to the brig. Captain out!"
Sive smiled in great satisfaction. "That should cause him and the crew some problems. I need to keep them confused !"
With that taken care of she walked over to Murdock's bed and sat down to rest for a few minutes. She suddenly found herself tired, deep down tired. Murdock entered her mind, “Don’t think about that bloody pirate!” she mumbled to herself, but her whole body ached for him. She was hot and licked her lips as her hands slid over her body, In order to give the nanites and herself a rest she changed back to her female form. "I'll just lay here and rest my eyes for a few minutes." She mumbled again as she lay back on his bed. The bed reeked of his scent. Her thoughts turned to Murdock and what she wanted to do to him.
Thirty minutes later Sive awoke with a jerk, she hadn’t expected to fall asleep. But had to admit she felt a lot better. Her mind was now focused. She knew she had to get off this ship without seeing Murdock again. As she got up, she realized she had taken her clothes off, “Wow he really got in my head. Well, I may as well have a quick shower!” Once done she dried off and pulled her pants on. Frowning at the smelly shirt that she had been wearing, Sive dug around Murdock's bureau. Pulling out one of his workout t-shirts she slipped it on. "At least I smell better now."
She looked around Murdock's quarters. She walked around poking at various things as she thought about her next move. She wouldn’t be able to impersonate Murdock in person. He was way bigger than her. She was limited to individuals or things her size. “How am I going to get off this tub of a ship?” she asked herself.
Zark passed the unconscious Ben thinking, “These stupid humans, I told him to go to his quarters and rest. I need to see to the captain first. This man can wait.”
As he entered the bridge, he saw Murdock laying on the floor. He quickly scanned him and then checked his pulse. It was strong enough. Zark found from his medical scanner that he had been stunned. He looked down thoughtfully, "This is the real captain, so who ordered the intruder alert?" Zark’s ears were better than most. He had believed the voice over the com, was Captain Murdock's. That message could not have been given by this man.
He acted quickly giving Murdock a shot of adrenalin and some herbs from his home world, which would work as a natural stimulant. He knew the captain wouldn't be able to sleep for at least 48 hours. He was pretty sure he would rather be awakened now than left sleeping with an intruder running around loose.
Unlike most on the ship, Zark hadn't served under Murdock's father. He had respect for the captain and owed him a debt. Zark always paid his debts. He heard voices coming from outside the bridge.
Suddenly Fido staggered onto the bridge followed by five other pirates.
"Stand aside Zark!" Fido growled before swallowing hard, his skin looking rather greenish, "That man's an imposter, and we're taking his ass to the brig!"
Zark stood up replying, "Don't be stupid Fido, I have scanned him. This is the real Captain!"
Fido smirked as he nodded his head at one of his cronies. One of the bigger ones grabbed Zark and lifted him up.
"Unhand me," Zark squawked, arms flailing.
Fido laughed before grabbing the chair to stop himself from falling over. His stomach was still doing somersaults.
"Haul his ass to the brig along with the impostor here!" Fido shouted. "Then search the ship. If you find another Murdock or someone who looks like me or anyone who is acting out of character haul them to the brig as well!"
He sat in the captain's chair. "I'm taking over this ship!"