Sarah Hawkins was leaning on the railing watching the stars drift by as the warp drive hummed softly. She was so glad to finally be out of the medical bay. Though she wasn’t cleared for a return for duty she had been told to get a reasonable amount of exercise and a lot of rest by Doctor Lillith and she’d decided to take it on deck. She was well aware of the big Dronian leaning against the wall behind her and knew she would not get rid of him easily now that he’d declared her his sister of the heart. She wondered if she would ever get rid of him and found that she really didn’t want him to leave. Later she would have to ask him for another star-song recording. It would be good to listen to when she retired. She noticed a new shadow detach itself from the darkness and with a wave to the Dronian walk up to the rail to join her.
“And how are you this glorious night, Mrs. Hawkins?” Long John Silver said as he cuddled Morph against his far cheek.
“Much, much better now.” She replied as she stretched out the kinks. “And I think after all we’ve been through, Mrs. Hawkins and Mister Silver are a little too formal for the like of us outside of duty hours. Don’t, you think?”
“Aye, you have the right of that, Sarah Hawkins.” He replied with a small grin.
“Just Sarah will do and what should I call you? Long John or just John?” She said as she returned his smile.
“I’ll leave that in your capable hands, Sarah.” He replied as he tucked a sleepy Morph into a coat pocket.
“I think I like John.” She said after a moment. “It’s simpler.” She leaned a little against the railing and said. “Shortly after we first met I believe you told me that the name of your ship that was destroyed by Flint’s men was the Mary Anne.”
“Aye, that I did.” He replied wearily.
“And my middle name is Mary Anne also.” She looked at him and raised an eyebrow. “Coincidence, my blood-thirsty rescuer?”
He looked at her for a long time as if seeking some answer in her eyes before he replied. “No.” He leaned back on the railing and tipped his hat back. “It’s a long tale, it is, Sarah, and it may be distressing. Do you think you’re strong enough to hear it yet?”
She considered this for a moment and then took his hand. “Come back to my recovery room and I’ll lie down while you tell it.”
“Sarah, I…” He stuttered in embarrassment.
“Oh, John, what a chivalrous attitude for a former pirate.” She gestured over at the Big Lizard who had stepped away from the wall. “For the last two weeks I’ve been away from my friend here only to use the necessities. We’ll be chaperoned. Better believe it.”
Silver looked over at the Big Lizard who grinned, showing several very sharp teeth. “I think we will be, I really do.” He replied.
The New Game
“Diane.” Jim said as he pointed the pistol at Mister Scroop. “What are you doing here?”
She pulled off the silver helmet and shook out her red hair before she grinned at him. “I took your advice and now I’ve joined the game.”
Her face almost took his breath away. It was so different from the image he’d become use to, more alive. Mister Scroop tried to take advantage of his preoccupation and started to get slowly to his feet. Jim frowned and pressed a button on the pistol and the laser whined. “Uhn, uh.” He said. Mister Scroop held up two claws and grinned sheepishly. Jim turned back to the smiling Diane. “My advice? And what would that have been?”
“That I could not emphasize with humans and understand them without being human myself.” She pivoted slowly in a circle with her arms outspread. “So here I am. Human.” She brought her hands up and clasped them under her chin in her excitement. “You were right. It’s so amazing. I can see and hear and touch. It’s so much more than when I was experiencing it riding inside you. The sky is bluer. The plants are greener. The scents are stronger.” She paused and wrinkled up her nose and pointed at Mister Scroop. “Especially from him.”
Jim gave a snort and a small grin touched the corner of his lips. “Yeah, he does have that effect on people.”
Mister Scroop snarled but made no move as Jim’s pistol never wavered from the target. Finally, cautiously Mister Scroop looked directly at them. “What are you going to do with me?”
Jim rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t know. We can’t just let you go, you’ll bring Flint down on us in minutes. And we can’t just stand here. I’m sure that robot will come looking.” He grinned maliciously. “The best thing we could do is shoot you.”
Mister Scroop was no coward. He thrust his jaw out. “Do it, cabin boy, but be sure you don’t miss, for if you do….” He let the statement speak for itself.
Diane came over and crouched down with her hands on her knees and looked straight at him. “What Jim needs is information which you can provide. You know everything about Flint and his plans.” It was not a question.
Mister Scroop shrugged. “Not everything. I’m not part of the inner circle. But what I know is a lot.” He smiled maliciously. “But I think you just ran out of time.”
“Mister Scroop, are you playing with your food? You know Captain Flint will be displeased.” The silver robot came around a corner in the path. He froze, taking in the three figures. He immediately brought his finger laser up.
Mister Scroop started to scramble to his feet and Jim shot him in a shoulder, knocking him back on the sand but before Jim could even turn Diane had thrown herself to the side and drawn her pistol. The robot’s beam missed and scattered sand in her face. Ignoring the pain from her watering eyes she fired a series of shots trying to make up for her blurry vision. The first and third missed but that didn’t matter as the second took him in his bucket shaped head.
Sputtering and hissing from electric discharges he pitched face forward into the sand. Diane got to her feet and after a glance to see that the robot was not getting up she got to her feet and turned with the pistol in her right hand. She pointed it at Mister Scroop whose mouth was hanging open. “I think we just bought ourselves an extension.”
Jim looked over at the robot and saw the car keys dangling from a hook on its side. “And I think Flint has just provided us with a ride too.”