Rating: PG13, Het/Gen
Summary: 18th century pirate meets 24th century justice and a very old mate. Has Jack Sparrow met his match?
Notes & Disclaimers: Finally, three years later, the trilogy is done. This will teach me to never call anything a trilogy ever again! I'm really quite fond of this one, so I hope you enjoy it. That being said, hopefully, it stands by itself enough that you can read this and understand what's going on even if you've never read the preceding two stories.
I've desperately wanted to write a story with Jack in it since PotC came out, so this is it. But definitely expect the good Captain to make future appearances! There are adventures afoot. My launching point was a short story my co-writer in this universe wrote, titled 'Drink Up'.
The title is from a favourite traditional Scots song of mine, 'Laddie Lie Near Me', specifically the Connie Dover version on the album, "Wishing Well". You can see the lyrics here.
I don't own anyone but Triona, Stephanie, and varied ship's crew -- like that's a surprise. Methos, LaCroix, Jack Sparrow; none of them are mine. Too damn bad to!
A sequel to "When Did Forever Die?".
This is rated around a PG13.
'Now We Are Met Again'
"I don't care, Captain! Do what you have to, and get my damn ship back! Is that clear?" Triona MacAlpine, Defense Minister of the Imladrin Planetary Union, commanded, glaring at the captain of the Sparta through the view screen from the command chair of her flagship, the Scotia.
"We're doing our best, ma'am. But the Alqualondë is one of the fastest ships..." Captain Montrose began to explain, fiddling distractedly at one of the small silver buttons that ran up his green uniform jacket in a triple row.
She cut him off. "I know how fast she is, Captain! I designed it!" Taking a deep calming breath, she paused. She knew Montrose was doing his best, but damn it all, the man just couldn't seem to think outside the box. Sometimes it was hard to believe he'd captained a ship in the Royal Navy in the days of sail -- Jack Aubrey, he was not. But the Immortal was a solid and reliable commander, even if he seemed to find the actions of his much younger superior baffling at times. "Whoever took it hasn't had time to familiarize themselves with the ship's operating system. That means we have an edge - for now. Speed isn't the only way to take down your prey."
Triona brought up a holographic display of the space the Sparta - and her stolen ship - were currently in. "There's a small debris field just inside the edge of this nebula." She toggled the controls, highlighting the area for Captain Montrose. "See? Right there."
"You think that's where he'll take her?" He peered at the display as if he were looking through spectacles. Triona had always thought he looked a little like a middle-aged Benjamin Franklin, so his expression completed the mental image.
"I would." Triona nodded, snapping off the holodisplay. She tugged at the banded collar of her jacket in irritation. She'd forgotten it was slightly too tight, and it was driving her crazy. "You only have to get close enough to transmit the override signal. Once you've done that, we've got them. They won't have time to figure out a way around the systems to get her started again." She straightened. "We'll be at your coordinates in one hour. You have your orders, Captain."
Dismissing the Captain, she ordered the communications officer to end transmission. Methos, who until now, had been standing behind the command area, moved forward. He was the only one on the command deck not in the dark opal green Imladrin Spacefleet uniform jacket and forest green pants. He was however dressed slightly more formally than was his usual habit, in an unadorned dark blue long sleeved tunic, black pants and boots.
Putting a light hand on her shoulder, he asked quietly, "Why are you taking this so personally? We've had ships pirated before. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last."
"Because it is personal this time," she said through clenched teeth. "I've had enough! The Orion Syndicate has tried to have me killed, attacked our trade routes and outer colonies, and I'm sick of it!"
"But you have good commanders whose job it is to deal with situations like this," he countered.
She shook her head. Methos had never really understood her emotional connection to her ships. Considering she didn't really understand herself sometimes, that wasn't too surprising, she guessed. "This isn't just any ship," she said quietly, glaring at him when he rolled his eyes. "Damn it, I mean it! I'm not talking about the years my team and I have put into designing it. I'm talking about the technology on her. There are innovations in the engine design alone that makes it more valuable than this cruiser!"
"You're telling me that your oversized pleasure yacht is more important than the flagship of the Imladrin fleet?" Triona bristled at 'oversized pleasure yacht', and would have erupted if not for being on the bridge. At her look of complete indignation, Methos couldn't restrain the laughter he'd been trying very hard to hold in.
"Oh, very funny." Triona turned away, pointedly ignoring her still laughing husband as she stood. "Commodore Arnisen, you have the bridge. Keep me informed of our status."
"Yes, ma'am," the tall, willowy redhead said smartly as she took the command chair vacated by Triona. Arianna Arnisen, one of Triona's most trusted and accomplished officers, was amongst a number of vampires that served in the Imladrin fleet. Margaretta Stamford, a vampire family member of Triona's - a 'granddaughter' of her own Master, Lucien LaCroix -- had brought her across just prior to WWIII. Arianna's husband, an Immortal, commanded a regiment of IPU marines on Imladris's Artatama colony.
Still chuckling quietly to himself, Methos followed Triona off the bridge, leaving the pursuit in the Commodore's very capable hands.
Triona gazed fondly at the holopic of her daughter Lucia that sat on the desk of her office on the Scotia. It had been taken just a few weeks before on the beach of their island home. The baby's intensely blue eyes, framed by red curls, looked up at her. It had been nearly a year since her birth, and this had been the first time Triona had been off planet since then.
Methos pulled her back against him, saying softly into her ear, "She's fine." The oldest Immortal had far more experience with babies than his wife did, having been married dozens of times over the millennia to widows with children. He was much more carefree than his wife was when it came to child rearing.
"I know she is, but I still miss her." She turned in his arms, looking up at him. "I'm sure Lucien is spoiling her rotten with me not there to curb his enthusiasm."
"Not to mention her aunts and the entire household staff."
"Look who's talking!"
"Me? Are you implying I spoil the child?"
"No, not implying." Triona leaned up, kissing him. "You're just an old softie," she whispered. It was true. Lucia had Methos wrapped around her little finger, and she didn't even know it yet.
Before Methos could respond, the comm whistled for attention. Commodore Arnisen's disembodied voice issued from hidden speakers, "Minister, we've reached the Sparta's coordinates, and Captain Montrose reports he has picked up the Alqualondë on sensors."
"Excellent, Commodore!" Triona replied with a hint of predatory anticipation in her voice, smoothing her long jacket. 'I'll come to the bridge shortly." She looked at Methos with a glint in her eye. "Whoever it is that took my ship is going to *very* sorry."
A few minutes later, Triona was once again in the command chair of the Scotia, Methos leaning negligently against the back, propped up with one elbow. She sat quietly as she digested Captain Montrose's report, tapping one booted foot against the base of her chair. When he was done, she said, "Very good, Captain. You have the situation under control. I leave the capture of the Alqualondë in your very capable hands."
Captain Montrose snapped to attention. "I am honoured by your trust in me, ma'am."
Triona firmly pushed away all mental images of Benjamin Franklin, suppressing a smile. "Not at all, Captain. It's why I have good people under my command after all." She knew Methos was smirking behind her. "MacAlpine out."
One hour passed, and then another, as the Sparta played cat-and-mouse with the unknown captor of the Alqualondë. Finally Triona's patience was rewarded as she listened to the audio coming from the Sparta. "To those on board the Alqualondë, this is ISV Sparta, your engines are nonfunctional, and your shields are down. Prepare to be boarded."
There was no response from the Alqualondë.
"Life signs?" Triona asked.
"Ten in total, ma'am. Seven humanoid, one Andorian, two Romulan," replied the security officer.
The Sparta hailed the Alqualondë once more with similar result.
"Open a channel to Captain Montrose," Triona ordered. "Captain, prepare a boarding party and await my signal." She turned to Commodore Arnisen. "They're armed and cornered, and I'd prefer them unable to fight back before we send our people in there."
"Agreed, Minister." Arnisen nodded. "What do you have in mind?"
Going to the science station, she pondered a moment before entering a series of commands into the terminal. "I've rerouted the energy conduit to the Alqualondë's shielding, and reversed the polarity. When I initiate, the shielding will act like a stun blast from a phaser, rendering the pirates unconscious." She paused a moment, before adding, "I think."
"You think?" Methos asked.
Triona galloped her fingers across the surface of the science station terminal. "It might kill them." Then she looked up. "But either way, it'll solve the immediate problem," she declared coolly.
Arnisen nodded, accepting her superior's statement without blinking an eye. "And once we have the ship secured?"
"Beam them to the brig on the Sparta - and secure them in separate cells. Secure the Alqualondë and bring it into our docking bay."
Arnisen nodded her understanding and proceeded to convey Triona's orders to the crew. "We're all ready here," she told the Imladrin Defense Minister. "And the Sparta awaits your signal."
"In five... four... three... two... one. Initiating sequence." Triona pressed the touchpad. "Report," she snapped out.
"Life signs are now dormant," the Scotia's science officer replied.
"Captain Montrose, board the Alqualondë," Commodore Arnisen ordered.
On to Part Two