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Jim Tries Something Daring

Mister Scroop smiled at the two sharing the saucer with him. “Well, cabin boy, it worked to a charm. When Flint comes back he’s going to find most of the men are going to want his head on a pole.” This seemed to be borne out by the steady stream of curses coming over the communicator. “Telling them where to find the still living bodies of the pirates who’d seen the treasure destroyed convinced even the doubters. How can they doubt it with the four of them to back up the recordings.” He shook his head. “How’d you know they’d been stashed in the healing room?”

Jim shrugged. “I saw them in the corner of the room when I was first awoken there. I recognized two of them. Diane just confirmed it.” He leaned forward. “However, we can take advantage of this confusion. I bet my Dad has the Key stored in his cabin. If it’s coming up to power we need to get it back.”

Diane touched his arm. “He could’ve taken it with him, Jim.”

Jim shrugged again. “Then we’ll have to try something else, but I think he’ll have the Key locked up since deep down he doesn’t trust Flint. It’s what I’d do.” He turned to the spider alien. “Do you know where his quarters are, Mister Scroop?”

Mister Scroop grinned. “I like the way you think, boy.” He pointed over the side. “They’re in the tallest tower of course.”

Jim rolled his eyes. “Of course they’re there. Where’s Flint’s hangout?”

“On Anne’s Revenge. He trusts no one. That’s why he’s a successful Pirate Captain.” Mister Scroop replied.

“Who wants to be Galactic Emperor.” Jim snarled. “Let’s throw a monkey wrench in his plans.” He accelerated the saucer towards the tower.

“Monkey wrench?” Diane frowned. “I don’t know what that even is.” She looked at Mister Scroop who shook his head and shrugged.

Jim chuckled. “When you find out, you tell me. It means blow everything up in his face.”

“Now that I understand.” Mister Scroop chuckled.

They were soon flying over a pirate town that was boiling over like an anthill that someone had stuck a stick into and given a good jerk. Jim grinned. He’d been the one wielding the stick. There were screams and shouts and shots were being fired from one of the corner buildings. With cries of rage the mob swarmed them under. “Flint loyalists.” Mister Scroop said. “Looks like the last of them.” He pointed ahead of them. “The tower roof is clear. Set down there.”

Jim landed the saucer with a minimum of bumping and went around the side to help Diane out. She took the offered hand with a smile that set off flutters inside him. Damn it. He knew she hadn’t been born human but none of that seemed to matter now. Her eyes seemed deep enough to drown in. He snapped his eyes away when the saucer rose beside them with Mister Scroop at the controls. “What are you doing?” He shouted.

Mister Scroop grinned at him from a height of ten feet. “Our pact has ended. Boy.”

“I knew we shouldn’t have trusted him.” Jim cursed and started to draw his pistol. “Lousy, no good, back-stabbing.”

Diane wrapped her fingers around his as they closed over the gun butt and squeezed tight. “Just wait, Jim. Let’s see what he has to say.” She looked up at the spider alien. “We’re listening, Mister Scroop. You gave your word to rethink everything if we proved Flint was a liar and to work with us. What promises are we making to each other now?”

Mister Scroop who’d started to draw his own pistol in response to Jim’s actions cursed and threw his pistol back on the seat. “Damn you to the Thousand Hells, woman. Were you born on Thraxian so that you play me like one of the masters?”

“Never heard of it or been there. But it sounds like a place worth visiting.” She replied. “Well, Mister Scroop, we’re waiting.”

He leaned over the railing and looked down for a moment at the rioting streets below. “There is opportunity below for one bold enough to seize it. They will need leadership to take on Flint when he returns. It’ll be better for all of us if I provide that leadership instead of another no better than Flint or even worse. Right now I have a lot of credit from informing them of Flint’s plan. That credit will soon evaporate unless I use it. You two get the key. When we meet it will be as fellow warriors. My word of honor.” He sat back in the seat and dropped the saucer down towards the square below like a rock where it landed with a resounding crash.

“He really can’t fly.” Jim muttered. “All right.” He snapped at Diane. “How did you know he’d keep his word?”

“Jim, as a computer entity I replayed all the games that ever happened here and analyzed all the beings who came here to play or relax. As a human the details are lost to me but there were certain rules that stand out in my memory. The one for honor-pain societies was that a given word is never broken without total loss of face. One example from your, I mean, our now shared past would be the samurai. Think on what that means if you consider Mister Scroop in that light.”

“Diane, he killed Mister Arrow over a slight.” Jim protested.

“Once again.” She replied. “Think of the samurai. How were slights of honor dealt with?”

Jim gaped and then snapped his mouth shut. He looked over the railing where Mister Scroop was standing up in the battered saucer haranguing a growing group of pirates who were starting to cheer. He touched his forehead where Mister Scroop had once threatened to mark him for insulting him. “I’ve got some rethinking to do.” He muttered. He turned towards the stairwell. “Come on. We have a Key to find.”


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