Duncan lets Bronwen know they’ve arrived at the place where Cassius is being kept. Because MacBeth is injured, she has to take Duncan. She lets him know that if she gets captured or hurt, he is to escape and in no circumstances is he to get killed. She takes Duncan inside as her ‘bounty’ but they are denied entrance without an I.D. or a bounty that’s really worth something. Bronwen returns with Duncan back to the ship, rather pissed off, where MacBeth is waiting. She realizes, he figured that’d probably happen. MacBeth would make a better bounty, but she’s not keen on the idea while he’s injured. Without much of a choice, they head backside now with MacBeth as the bounty and get easy passage.
They break out Cassius without a hitch, but on the way out someone spots MacBeth dressed as a guard and sends him off to “fetch the Shadowstar” from the cell. They have no choice but to separate. Cassius sends out a toaster that explodes, and they make it back to the ship. MacBeth doesn’t make it back to the ship with the rest of them, and Bronwen wants to go back and get him but Cassius takes over and tells Duncan to take off anyway. Duncan is still looking out for himself and does as Cassius orders, and Bronwen gives in simply because she’s out numbered and stomps off. Cassius works on the radio panel while he seems to be harassing Duncan for thinking his sister was hot. MacBeth is captured by McRaven. Bronwen and Cassius manage to catch where he’ll be taken over the radio, and come up with a plan.
Duncan: *Looks up as Bronwen enters.* Oh, hey, Cap’n! Sorry about the little er … miscommunication thing. I uh, tried to uh … get it working without, you know, breaking her but … *He sees the expression on her face.* Uh, anyways. News. We’re entering the orbit of that place you wanted to go to really badly.
Duncan: *Blinks!* Whoa now … Did you just say ‘kidnapping someone’? Like who …? *He points.* That. That’s Morgan’s place. You’re not gonna kidnap someone from her, are you?
Duncan: *Blinks! The Cap’n was bloody mad!* Mac! Can’t Mac go with you this time? I mean … he’s gone with you every time so far. Uh … Why break tradition?
Duncan: No … No, I’ll go! *He finally stammers. He doesn’t want to get left with Mac. Now if the Cap’n had been the one staying back, that would have been an entirely different matter.* Uh … Let me see if I can sort of fly under the radar … *He starts flicking switches and pressing buttons.* The ship is going on a very slow speed setting right now. If we play it cool and stay silent, we may be able to pass under the radar as floating debris. There are tons of those around here so no one should pay another one any mind.
Duncan: As soon as we pass those things right there. *He points to the satellites floating up ahead. A security satellite that requires all ships to identify themselves or be considered hostile and shot down.* We can switch to a faster speed and become just another small ship lost in the crowd.
Duncan: It’s one of her outposts. No one is really sure why it’s here but it is. If she’s beefed up security, we’re in deep shit.
Duncan: *Quickly nods! He’s nervous as hell and he’d probably agree to anything under the circumstances!* Bounty, right. *He says, eyes locked on the floating … thing … of doom ahead of them. His anxiety lessens only slightly when they pass by the satellites without a hitch …*
Duncan: *Another series of quick nods!* Escape, got it. *He says as he flicks the switches and presses the buttons again. The ship goes slightly faster, blending in with the many other ships coming and going.*
Duncan: *Leans forward over the control panel as they drift into the giant ship. He gulps.* … Can you blame me …?
Duncan: *Gulps!* Awh man … *He takes deep breaths. Cool. He had to play it cool. He got up and went to find the Cap’n.* Ah … Cap’n? I know you’re all hyped and all but uh … what’s the plan?
“Do you have your orders, Captain?” The woman on the screen, Mad Morgan herself, asked. “Yes, ma’am. We have tightened security. No ship goes in or out, no one comes or goes, that we do not know. We act discreetly and quietly and keep our eye on your guest.” The captain repeats, having memorized his orders to the letter. Mad Morgan smiled. “Yes, yes, you do,” she said just before she disappeared.
Duncan: *He wanted so badly to believe it was as simple as it sounded! So … he convinced himself that he believed it. He nodded.* Right. Info, grab, run. Do I … do I get any weapons this time?
Duncan: *Dashes off and returns … with a solar-powered screwdriver?! He shrugs.* It’s … the only thing I could uh … find … *He scratches his head with the screwdriver.* On short–Ow! *He winces as he accidentally turns it on and the thing starts drilling a hole into his scalp.*
Duncan: Ow! *He winces and barely manages to grab the gun she thrusts into his arms.* Okay … Okay … *As soon as her back was turned, he huffed.* Sheesh.
Outside, it’s business as usual. Security is, indeed, tight as there are men in uniforms all over the place and they are investigating everyone. There are guards at the doors, keeping watch, and making sure no one goes in or out until they are cleared by the guards making the rounds.
Duncan: *PULL! He nearly runs into her as he staggers in step behind her. He’s starting to have second thoughts about this idea …*
“Halt!” A soldier turns from investigating and waving off someone nearby and comes over to the disguised Bronwen and her “captive.” “State your name, business, and present I.D. tag.”
The soldier is not impressed! “No I.D., no passage. And if you want to bring a bounty, try bringing in someone worth bringing in. Until then, no admittance.” Then he moves on to investigate someone else.
Duncan: *Gets dragged back to the ship!* Hey! Oooff! *He only barely avoids eating the wall as he’s tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage!*
Duncan: *Comes up from behind Bronwen.* No … *He says, although he isn’t exactly sorry he couldn’t get her through. She’s mighty rough with that leash.* Hey, Mac, you wouldn’t happen to be popular with ol’ Morgan, would ya?
Duncan: *Phew. This was one time he didn’t envy Mac. He drops into the seat, grateful he was spared from taking part in this little adventure. He salutes.* I’ll be right here, waitin’ for you, Cap’n.
A different guard halts the two this time. He seems older than the first and gets right down to things. “Halt. I.D. and business.”
The guard moves and looks over Mac. He prods him with the butt of his gun, taking note of Mac clenching his jaw and not making a peep. “Hm.” He pulls something out of his belt. A portable computer that fits in his hand. “Computer, analyze captive.” The computer’s screen lights up. “Computer. Analyzing. Subject MacBeth. Status: Deserter. Last known position: First mate to Shadowstars.” The guard turns the computer off. “A traitor.” He gestures to the door. “Entrance granted. Drop him off down at the Cell-block and pick up your reward.”
The two of them finally get to a small room where a man behind a counter and some armed men wait. He motions for Bronwen to approach, already typing something up on the small notebook-sized device in his hand. “State your name and captive’s name.”
The man doesn’t even glance up from his device. “MacBeth, eh? Yes, we got word about him.” Tap. Tap tap on the screen. He gestures to the men beside him who approach. “Leave MacBeth with us and here is your credit.” Something pops out of the slot at the top of the device and he hands it over to Bronwen. A shiny plastic card filled with the credits for MacBeth’s capture.
The man still doesn’t glance up from his device. “We already have orders about this man.” He turns to the men who grab Mac. “Throw him with our little ‘guest’ until we get further instructions.” The men nod and escort Mac out of the room. However, they don’t go through the door behind the counter to the cell block and they don’t take the door Mac and Bronwen came through. They go through a side door requiring a special card key to get into.
The man finally does look up, looking at Bronwen warily. He could always use some credits. Morgan wasn’t the best employer and as long as the guy was breathing … Besides he was already screwed up. A few more injuries wouldn’t be easy to spot … “How much of those credits?”
25% was a nice chunk … but why stop there? “Fifty percent.”
The man doesn’t allow himself a smug grin. No, he was too professional for that. On cue, the two guards who took Mac away return and the man dismisses them for a bit. As soon as they’re gone, he motions for the credits. “I’ll take my cut now. I transfer my share to me while you go, do whatever you have to. You can get the rest when you return.”
The man takes the card and forces Bronwen to wait as he slips the card back into the slot. He taps in a few things and then places it on the desk, probably as it transfers the credits. Then he steps forward and pulls his card key out. “Of course not, of course not …” He opens the first door for her and then hands the key to her. “There are a handful of doors between here and there. I am quite sure you can handle whatever comes in between.”
Cassius: *Meanwhile, poor Cassius is sitting locked away in what they have generously reffered to as a ‘room’ and is busy zapping some poor little machinery to death. It’s going to work, or he’s going to blow up this hole space station in the process.*
Cassius: *Of course, he assumes it’s guards bringing him more scraps for Morgan’s insane invention ideas, so he’s surprised to hear a groan from the floor. He glances over his shoulder with a sautering iron in hand and appears stunned!* …. MacBeth?
Cassius: *Cassius gave a churlish scowl and shook the sautering iron at him.* I told you not to call me Cassie, or I’d knock your block off. So I see your luck finally ran out, and Mad Morgan finally got the best of you, eh?
Cassius: *He blinked before he let out a round of roaring laughter!* You got some fool plan of busting me out, don’t you? I knew you’d lose it! Crashing right in to one o’ Morgan’s lairs. As a matter of fact, no, I don’t have any weapons lying around here, but I do have a mighty fine toaster that can cook us both up nice and crispy if I turn the button just right.
Cassius: Brownie? Ha, she’s haa.. huwah? *Suddenly as his laughing he started, his jaw dropped and he was staring blankly.* ….you’re screwing with me.
Cassius: …And you brought her HERE?! *It was lucky that Cassius wasn’t looking to beat a man when they were about to escape, though right about now he was thinking about taking up a violet swing!* Damnit, man! Couldn’t you have put a muzzle on her and locked her in a cargo container?!
Cassius: Shitcakes and hellfire! Don’t go sitting down now, we’ve got to get out of here before one of them goons catches wind of this crackpot jailbreak. *Cassius threw his sauter iron down on the table… then yanked it back up again. Along with that bit of machinery he was working on.* …Although on the pluside, we get to test this thing out.
Cassius: *He looked as stunned as a man could look. He shook his sauter iron at her too.* Red-headed maniac! You’re lucky MacBeth is right, I’m gonna *grummblegrummblecursethreat* and don’t you pull that grinning shit with me. *He lept off his chair, machine and iron in hand and stalked for the door. Not hesitating to grab his sister’s gun and march out after MacBeth.*
Cassius: *Cassius grunted as he snatched the helmet out of her hands and stuffed it over his head. It was a tight squeeze.. Uncomfortably tight, but he wasn’t going to mention that. The voice disguise mechanism, he found much too amusing.* That’s exactly what she had in mind. Let’s get going before some shmuck walks in here.
Cassius: *He shook his head, but followed his crazy sister. Leading MacBeth around by nose, she was, no doubt!* Though a man might’ve known better than to listen to this one, after all we told ya. *He grunted!*
Cassius: Don’t know how hard “Keep Brownie out of trouble.” could be for a man like yourself. She’s about the size of a pixie. *Grumbles Cassius back.*
They reach the outside but then notice that everyone is standing at attention. And every entrance/exit is blocked. As they search for a way out, the way they’d come into the stronghold opens to admit a man who is obviously in charge, escorted by a group of men more heavily armed than any they’d come across until now. “Quickly. Bring me the Shadowstar.” The trio are forced to duck into a corner to contemplate a plan.
Cassius: Clever planning, Brownie. You got an army ready to jump in and save us? *Growled, Cassius… but then he suddenly had an idea! He started tinkering with his little machine.*
Cassius: *Not looking up, he was pulling a screwdriver and a pair of pliers out of his pockets to make a few adjustments.* It’s a distraction. Shut up and give me a minute. *He tugs out a few wires and the thing starts ticking and glowing.*
Suddenly a voice rings out. “You there! You! In the back!” At first, it’s easy to ignore but then the guards turn to look at Mac still in his guard’s uniform. Fortunately Bronwen and Cassius are hidden by the shadows. “Yes, you! Go with the others and fetch Shadowstar at once!” Mac had only two options find a way out or play it safe for now.
Cassius: I can only work as fast as – Got it! *Cassius latched it’s cover back on and set his little toaster on the ground. It sprouted a set of wheels and started rolling on down the hall, around the corner and way out in to the main sector with a nice big group of men.* Get ready to run.
Duncan: *Meanwhile, Duncan was kicking back in the cockpit, having a pleasurable time of dozing off, daydreaming, and dozing off again. Oh yeah. He should be pathetic more often, especially if it means getting out of doing something dangerous.*
There’s not much time to question, as by the time the little rolling toaster makes it way in to the middle of the room there’s a sudden ginormous BOOM! Quite an impressive explosion! Not much fire and bloody death, but it was sure to send people and things flying in a shocking display of chaos!
Duncan: *The impact of the explosion literally knocks Duncan out of his seat! He lands with a heavy THUD! on the floor but as soon as he realizes it was an explosion, he jumps into his seat and starts the ship up. He’s about to escape–without even waiting for Bronwen or Mac!*
The visiting commander then goes through the handful of open doors to Cassius’ cell. When he discovers Cassius not to be inside, he mutters something under his breath and turns–
Duncan: C’mon, baby! Take Daddy home! *He murmurs as he presses buttons, flips switches, and pulls on the controls. The ship was purring but she wasn’t moving!*
Cassius: Don’t you have communicater links?! You staged a rescue without coms?! *Clearly, they were going to be captured and die. This was MacBeth’s fault for listening to his sister.*
Duncan: *Stops in the middle of trying to work his ship and whips his head around.* Cap’n? Hey! Don’t hurt my baby! *He quickly flicks the switch to open the door for her and waits on trying to fly out just yet.*
Cassius: He said he’d meet us at Dion. If we don’t fly out of here soon, we won’t be able to leave the station!
Duncan: Um … I don’t know who he is. But I totally agree. MacBeth is a grown man and can take care of himself. If he said he’s going to meet us somewhere, then who are we to judge?
Cassius: *Cassius wisely, or perhaps not so wisely, headlocked his sister under an arm and slapped a hand over her mouth. Biting, kicking and all.* Cassius Shadowstar, and new captain of this ship. Take off now, before we lose our opening.
Duncan: *Instantly quells!* Uh … Carry on then! I um, see no harm in just … waiting … *He starts tapping his feet restlessly.* To die …
Duncan: *Doesn’t have to tell him twice! Gee, why hadn’t he thought to do that once or twice! He starts that ship up and gets her up and away without a moment’s hesitation!*
The muzzle of a large gun greets Mac at the door and beyond that, an ugly face he could stand to be without. “Look what the Shadowstar dragged in …”
Cassius: *Cassius was practically rolling in the floor. Should’veseenthatcomingshould’veseenthatcoming!* he’s a… grown man… brownie… Uuggh…
The man holding Mac at gunpoint was one of the men who escorted the commander here. No sign of the rest of his squad as they come in sight to the door to the outside.
Duncan: Now, technically … I’m just watching out for myself. No sense in trying to rescue someone when it’ll only result in suicide. And … I need you to pay for the repairs for my ship.
Cassius: *Now that he got the wind back in his body, he was quickly staggering to his feet.* The man talks sense, Brownie. We can wait a ways out and see if he escaped, and if he hasn’t we can go back for him when it’s not likely to get us all killed! It was suicide enough busting in there once!
“Get up!” the guard growls and grabs him by the shoulder. He turns Mac over and for his trouble, gets a gun in his face and a new hole in his head. Fortunately, the din from outside is enough to muffle the noise. Just to be on the safe side though, Mac wastes no time in dragging the guard into the closest room or closet.*
Cassius: *Rubbing his head with an exasperated sigh, he watched her leave. She was going to pay him back for that later, he just knew it!* Uhkay…. If you can park us somewhere out in space that’s a safe distance, I can get to work on something to catch transmission signals. If they capture MacBeth, they’re bound to transmit out and let Morgan know. Then we’ll… think of something.
Duncan: *Gulps. Man, that was close! Way too close! This was the last time he ever serves under a female captain. Mark his words! He nods.* Will do. *Safe distance. Music to his ears.*
Cassius: *His hand moved down to rub his chin, as he was deep in thought.* She hasn’t shot you yet. That’s a good sign. Looked like she did a number on MacBeth, though. She give him all them scrapes and bruises?
Duncan: You have no idea how close I keep coming to that, man. *He shakes his head.* Ah … Those were from these strange alien dudes him and the Cap’n took down. They’re blinkin’ nuts, I tell you.
Cassius: MacBeth and Brownie, that had to be a sight. *Cassius wasn’t sure if he were amused or horrified at the thought. So, he pulled his tools out of his pockets and knealt down at the control panel to work on getting the system able to spy on local transmissions. An simple, but messy job!*
Duncan: Brownie …? *He sighs and shakes his head. Somehow he just couldn’t see a connection between such an adorable nickname and his hot but insane captain. The hot, insane captain that was going to flog his hide very soon!*
Cassius: Brownie. Because she’s so sweet. *Cassius snorted at his own joke.* Dion couldn’t say her name right, and it stuck. *He glanced from outside the controls and frowned.* You’re not thinking my little sister is hot, are you?
Duncan: *Blinks!* Hot?! Ah, no! Of course not! I mean, she’s beautiful, yes–but I could … *He quickly shakes his head.* I could never think of her–you know, that way …
Cassius: Liar. *Cassius returned to his working, rewiring some of the transmission controls and looping them to new switches on the main control panels.* I’d like to see my sister settled down and get married. You the marrying type, Duncan?
Duncan: *Gulps again. This is thin ice!* Uh … Sure, if I uh … met the right woman. I mean, not to say your sister isn’t everything a man could hope for but um … you know, someone who is uh … compatible with me …
The brown clad figure sporting the cannon-like firearm slung over his shoulder grins down at him. “Hello there, MacBeth. Fancy meeting you here.”
Cassius: I’m thinkinga man needs a good woman who knows her way around a ship, and has good family blood. …I got the panel ready to start reading signals. *Cassius crawled back up to his feet, stuffing his tools back in to his pocket. He flipped a switch on the top panel, allowing the sounds of various transmissions to start buzzing through the com.*
Duncan: Uh yeah … Exactly! Um, excuse me for a moment. *He takes this opportunity to steal away to some back room where he can put these thoughts of marriage–marriage of all things!–behind him!*
Duncan: Nothing! Nothing! Can’t a man just … want to go into the back room and uh … rest a bit! *He says, appearing even more highstrung than usual just before locking himself in his room.*
“Imagine my surprise when I find in the hunters’ log that someone has already claimed your bounty. And what are the chances of you being brought to this very place where I happened to be taking a rest stop?” He suddenly launches forward and swings the cannon again as if it was nothing but a golf club.
Cassius: I asked him if he was interested in marrying you. *He dropped in to the pilot’s chair and was trying to focus his attention on the transmissions.* Your Duncan, huh?
The man doesn’t seem to be in a hurry in the least bit. It’s as if he’s treating this all like a game. “How would you like to be taken to Morgan? Dead or alive?”
The man chuckles. “Your wit has not changed in the least.”
Cassius: Shush, I’m listening for news on MacBeth. *He waved a dismissive hand at her as he leaned closed to one of the control speakers.*
The man’s grin fades and he suddenly charges forward. This time he’s much faster than the last and he catches Mac in the gut with the cannon. As soon as Mac doubles over, his elbow goes up and comes slamming down on the part of Mac’s back where his neck meets his shoulders. Mac lands with a THUD! He looks down at him and touches the ear piece at his ear. “This is Duff McRaven. Lady Morgan, I have a little prize for you …”
“This is a classified frequency. How did you hack into it?” a voice cackles over the earpiece.
McRaven smirks. “Does it matter? You might not have the little Shadowstar bastard anymore but perhaps a little consolation prize is in order. I believe you’ve been looking for a certain deserter. MacBeth.”
Cassius: Shut up a damned minute! *Cassius adjusted the setting buttons for the transmissions to focus in on the right one!*
Silence. “MacBeth, eh …” It is difficult to tell whether the voice is interested in him or not. “He … may … prove useful. I will give you every credit of his bounty. Where are you?”
“Now, now …” Seeing his little bounty stirring, he walks up to him and places the cannon against his back. The message is clear one move and there’d be a rather large hole in his body. “You can play your mind-games all you like but I know the company he keeps makes him worth more than his bounty. I want ten times his current bounty. And not a single coin less.”
Again, silence. “Very well. I like your style, Mr. McRaven. Ten times his current bounty. I want him in perfect condition, though. Not a single hair on his head harmed. If I’m going to pay so much, I want him to be worth it.”
The mercenary smirks. “Of course. Where would you like me to bring him?”
“Planet Grecia in the Delta Ora system. The city of Danaris. We can arrange a meeting once you arrive.” And suddenly the voice is gone and the transmission is over.
Cassius: Sounds like Morgan is on vacation. *Cassius was already keying in the data, flipping the com switch for Duncan.* Hey flyboy, we’re ready to move out. We need to get to Grecia and pickup a package.
Duncan: *Pokes his head out and finally walks out as if sensing it’s “all clear” from talk of marriage.* Package, huh? I think our little baby here can get us through. *He plops down into the pilot’s seat.* Isn’t that right? *He pats the control panel as he gets the ship running.*
Cassius: I’ll think of something when we get there. We sure as hell ain’t pulling no crackpot rescues like you did back there. *He eyed his sister with a concerned big brother scowl.* Morgan’s likely going to stay at her fancy smancy hotel.
Duncan: *Sweatdrops but keeps himself busy with the ship. He was going to get killed for sure and his poor ship … it was going to the scrap heap!*
Cassius: Teah that sounds like a great idea. Waltz in to another of Morgan’s fortresses and find yourself iced again, or worse! Shot full of holes. Then where will Duncan be. Up the creek without a wife.
Duncan: *So much for everything being clear! He hunches over the control panel and tries to make himself seem smaller.*
Duncan: Um … There’s a place all the mercs and bounty hunters go to sort of hang out and refuel. Chances are, McRaven will go there first before he gets to Danaris.
Cassius: *Cassius grinned, motioning his hands in Duncan’s direction.* There we go. A brilliant idea. As for disguises we’ll try something that isn’t so obviously…. Bronwenish. Really, Brownie… an alien bounty hunter? Even a two year old could see through that one.
Duncan: *Speechless! He’s not the smartest guy to grace the galaxy but he knows better than to get into this one!* Um … uh … *He pretends to be occupied with something on the control panel.*
Cassius: Duncan doesn’t know you like I know you, and Morgan’s massivly trained Shadowstar killing fleet of assassins know you. *Grinning still, he rocked back and forth on his heels.* You’ll like my idea, Brownie. It’s a killer.
Duncan: Uh … Ye–Yes, Cap’n! *He turns his attention back to flying. Phew! Maybe now he could get a break from this talk of marriage and such!*
Cassius: *Cassius pat Duncan’s shoulder consolingly.* ‘Course this disguise means she’ll prolly end up marrying some shlub we meat in Danaris, but I’ll try to put in a good word for you. *Chuckling under his breath, he left poor Duncan be, so he could work his magic!*
“Come on, Mackie. Don’t look so glum. You’re about to be reunited with Lady Morgan herself.” McRaven shackles Mac up and leads him into the small little hole reserved for prisoners.
“Never mention my son again.” Then the door slams shut and the locks are activated, leaving Mac alone.