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Pirates Round Robin

Chapter 4

By Jason Fraser

The alien looked defiantly back at Chris, then clacked one of his claws. Four of his fellow pirates rushed forward, securing Mel and even the furiously-struggling Chris.

"You're not going anywhere." The alien leaned forward, breathing his fetid breath in Chris' face, a claw around the man's tender neck.

Chris gulped. "I...hadn't thought about it."

The alien moved on to Mel, who was trying desperately to hold back a shriek. "Pretty," he said, and snapped off a lock of her hair.

That did it.

Mel screamed.

"Argh!" the alien restraining Mel exclaimed, cringing from the sudden aural impact of Mel's high-pitched scream. This, however, did not change the alien's determined grip on Mel's lithe frame, in fact, it strengthened it somewhat.

Mel stopped screaming. "Let us go!" she shouted, after catching her breath, "What do you want with us? We have nothing of value!"

The alien cackled, "Nothing of value? Bah! We know you have the crystal. I want it."

"Crystal? What crystal?" Mel tried to sound innocent.

"You know, Mel, the one we found..." Chris interrupted, but he soon stopped talking after noticing the uncharacteristic steely look from Mel.

The alien pirate turned to Chris, "You have the crystal?" it asked threateningly.

Chris looked at Mel, the glance clearly portraying one thought, 'What will I do?'

Mel looked back, and mouthed, 'try to lie,' the alien holding Mel didn't notice, too interested in stroking Mel's red curly hair and muttering "pretty" under it's breath.

Chris quickly took in Mel's silent advice and spoke defiantly at the alien leader, "It's on our ship, the Nosferatu II."

"You are lying, but no matter, my associates will enjoy extracting the information from you." The alien replied and motioned to his associates, who led Mel and Chris away.

"Is no bang-bang?" several Sloathes from the upper galleries cautiously asked.

The Reklonian looked up at them, then turned back to the controls, "Apparently not," he said half to himself. "Krimda, operate the scanners, see if you can find out what that ship is doing."

"Is Aye! Aye! Acting-captain hominid," Krimda replied somewhat happily, as he used a pseudo-hand to operate the scanner controls.

The viewscreen zoomed in on the other ship while it was being scanned, providing the Reklonian the opportunity to obtain a closer look at the mystery vessel. "What's it doing?" he asked, after staring at the image for several minutes.

"Is not doing nothing, just sit there." Krimda replied. "is no more guns shooting at we, is nothing."

The Reklonian considered this, "Herm, I want you to move to a higher orbit above Tazhyrym." He ordered.

"Aye! Aye!" muttered the Pahkar half-heartedly, not really enjoying the life of a pirate. Herm operated the helm controls, and moved the Nosferatu II to a higher orbit.

On the viewscreen, the other ship moved out of sight, then soon after moved back into range. It had copied the Nosferatu's movement.

"Hmmm... interesting."

Grinker and Lathra watched their captains confrontation with the aliens from the safety of their hiding places. After Mel and Chris were led away, they both cautiously came out of hiding.

"Is yuck-yuck pretend-move things caught captain and Cwej hominids, what to do?" Lathra asked.

"We catch the yuck-things and keel-haul them!" Grinter replied heroically, and moved in the direction the aliens took Mel and Chris, Lathra followed.

They both kept up with the leading group, remaining a few metres behind them. Until the aliens stopped, of course.

"Is wondering, why yuck-yuck pretend-move things stop moving?" Lathra asked.

"Is not know." Grinter replied as he shrugged, disturbing the parrot-analogue on his pseudo-shoulder...

Mel and Chris had walked for what seemed a long time, but in reality, was only a few minutes. They looked at each other, struggled in their respective grips, all to no avail. Mel had an idea however, delay them until help can arrive.

"Where are you taking us?" Mel ventured.

The alien leader stopped and turned to face Mel, while motioning his associates to stop. "You are being taken to be interrogated, you _will_ tell us the exact location of the crystal."

"What do you want with the crystal?" Chris asked.

"The crystal which you possess, somewhere, is called the Crystal of Power, it allows the person who possesses it a substantial amount of energy." The leader answered

"And I suppose you want this 'power' to take over the universe?" Chris retorted, gaining confidence.

"Of course, what else?" the alien deadpanned.

"Herm, move back to original orbit." The Reklonian ordered.

"Aye! Aye! Sir" the Pakhar responded and operated the helm controls. The Nosferatu II moved back to it's original orbit. As expected, the other ship followed suit.

"Hmmm.. . even more interesting."

"Is playing ha-ha game!" came another Sloathe keckle from the upper levels.

"You are quite right." The Reklonian muttered, seemingly annoyed by the constant heckling, he did not appreciate the upper level's Sloathes in the same way that Mel and Cwej did.

"Looks like it's time to make contact with this 'ship'" The Reklonian announced. "Krimda, hail this ship."

"Is starting chit-chat-thing?" Krimda asked, looking back at the acting-captain.

The Reklonian nodded, Krimda operated the communications console.

The communications console bleeped and the viewscreen's image changed...

The figure watches from a distance, looking at the group of pirates, Mel and Chris and smiles. 'I shall have to reveal myself soon...'

Chris was attempting to trick the alien pirate into revealing their plans (a standard trait of travels with the Doctor, Mel noted). Mel noticed that the leader tended to keep a hand/claw on a pouch that hung from it's shoulder on a string. Mel's curiosity was piqued, and she thought of cunning ways to exploit this.

Unfortunately, Mel's skills in cunning were seriously lacking in originality, so she resorted to the old standby, the frontal attack.

"What's in the pouch that you are so determined to keep a hold of?" Mel ventured, her daring and confidence increasing in similar amounts to Chris Cwej.

It was the leader's turn to be surprised, slightly bemused at Mel's change in tactics, all it could say was, "Nothing, just some personal valuables."

Mel looked sceptical, "Are you sure that's all it is?"

"Yes, it's..." the alien stopped, it's momentarily bemused expression quickly changed into a somewhat gruesome snarl, "I am the one who is asking the questions!"

Mel could not help but grin, 'not a very convincing pirate, if that is what he is supposed to be.' She thought. 'He should be easy for Chris to tackle, if he had the chance.'

Little did Mel know, the chance that she wanted was about to happen.

Grinker and Lathra stayed a cautious distance away from Mel, Chris and the group of alien pirates, biding their time, waiting for their chance to assist their captain and first-mate.

"Is what to do, help captain Mel-hominid?" Lathra asked of Grinker.

"Wait real-thing Lathra, time will come for help."

The both of them waited in the distance, watching the group ahead of them, looking for their chance. It presented itself when the crystal started glowing.

"Is Lathra, hurry-hurry help Mel-hominid chop! chop!" Grinker morphed himself into his defensive mode and charged towards the group, Lathra hurrying behind.

The crystal, which remained in Chris's jacket pocket, apparently ignored, began to glow with a pinkish light. This had two main effects, one: it made Chris notice and remember the crystal, as it was beginning to warm up alarmingly, and two: it also glowed so much that the alien pirate leader noticed it, the fabric of Chris's jacket was insufficient to hide it.

The alien leader looked at Chris's jacket pocket in surprise. "So! You do have the crystal! Give it to me!" the alien roared.

"No! I won't give it to you!" Chris exclaimed, desperately looking at Mel for guidance.

Mel looked back at Cwej, her mind ticking over. "Take it out of your pocket," she said, seemingly in control.

Chris managed to free his left hand from the grip of the restraining alien behind him, and took the crystal from his pocket. The crystal was getting quite warm to the touch and the glow was still increasing.

"It's getting hot!" Chris exclaimed, "I don't think I can hold onto it for much longer!"

The alien glared at the crystal, his eyes widening. "Give the crystal to me! It's mine!" he shouted.

Mel looked back at the pouch. She noticed that whatever was inside it was also glowing, despite the alien's attempt to disguise the fact.

"Chris! Look at the leader's pouch! It's glowing too!" Mel said, gasping with surprise.

Chris looked at the crystal and then at the alien's pouch. They were both glowing with the same light.

"So! I thought you would catch on eventually," the alien leader announces taking something out from the pouch, an identical crystal, glowing with the same light as the one in Chris' hand.

Both crystals begin to move to one another, somehow attracted.

"Mel! The crystal in my hand is being attracted to the one that just came out of the pouch. I think there are connected in some way!" Chris exclaims.

"Well, I can see that! The main question now is, why?" Mel retorted.

That answer was left unanswered for the moment, as a loud cry came from the direction from where the group came. "IS CHARGE!!"

Both Chris and Mel looked behind them, "Looks like the cavalry has arrived." Chris quipped, grinning.

"This is the Nosferatu II, acting captain Rakaar speaking to unidentified ship. Please identify yourselves."

The viewscreen had changed, but unfortunately to just a screen full of static which buzzed around like a beehive.

"Is no picture! naughty-ship!" Krimda exclaimed.

"Well, looks like they can't talk, or they don't want to talk." Rakaar mused. "Most probably the latter."

A few moments later, Grinker and Lathra were upon the motley group of alien pirates, sending them scattering, apparently scared at Grinker's monster-like appearance. This had the effect of freeing Mel and Chris.

The alien leader, in its haste to run from the "apparent" attack (these pirates were _very_ dimwitted) dropped the second crystal. Mel quickly picked it up, mindful of the properties of both crystals.

Grinker, slightly tired, but very happy, looked at all the alien pirates scurrying, "Is Yo! Ho! Ho! Me keel-hauled scurvy dogs! Is jumpy happy!"

Mel couldn't help but smile at Grinker's enjoyment. "Thank you, Grinker, Lathra." Mel said, both happy and relieved at the same time.

"Is no problem for captain-Mel friend-hominid."

"Yes, thanks Grinker, Lathra." Chris added, slightly disappointed, "Though I could've handled them myself, given the chance."

Mel laughed, "So Chris, do you think you can handle two crystals?"

"I guess so."

"OK, here it is!" Mel called as she tossed the other crystal to Chris. Chris fumbled the catch and the two crystals met...

"Is look! Two become one!" Lathra exclaimed.

Indeed they had, before their eyes, the two crystals met and joined into one, with no visible join. The original crystal had doubled in size.

Mel looked at Chris, "Should that have happened?"

"I have no idea."

Unbeknownst to the foursome, another person walked up behind them, unnoticed.

"But I do..."

Part 5

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