It was good to be home, she thought, as the shimmer of the transporter beam enfolding her faded away. Triona had decided to give her recovered ship a thorough going over and had spent a few extra days running through ship's systems before flying her home. Methos had gone on ahead on the Scotia. If given a choice, he always preferred to travel in a 'real' ship as opposed to one of Triona's 'tin cans'.
She realized it was the first time she was coming home from a mission with her child waiting for her. It was a new feeling, and it added another layer of happy expectation to her homecoming. Triona walked up the path to the home she shared with Methos and their daughter Lucia on an island in the Popcorn Archipelago, one of many archipelagos in the Vermilion Sea on their home planet of Imladris. Only the light of three of Imladris' four moons - Moria, Ithilien, and Lorien -- lit her way, a few hours before dawn. The shadow of the house stretched in front of her, a dim light coming from one of the windows the only illumination.
It had been nine months since Lucia's birth on Earth at their family's home in the mountains of Montana. A few months later, she and Methos had brought the baby home to Imladris, to live in the house he had built for Triona during their estrangement. It had been one of the happiest times in her nearly four centuries, and she had relished every moment. Finally, after years of discord between them, Triona felt that they had turned to a new chapter in their lives together. She knew how close she'd come to losing it all, and said a prayer of thanks every day that she had her marriage back.
Reaching the top of the path, she lightly climbed the short flight of steps to the door. As quietly as possible, she entered, practically tiptoeing down the hall to the nursery. A night-light cast a warm glow over the room as she made her way to the crib her daughter lay sleeping in. Gently, so as not to wake her, Triona rested her hand on Lucia's back, reassuring herself that all was well. Just as quietly, she backed out of the room, giving her sleeping daughter one last look before softly pulling the door to.
Deciding she didn't want to wake Methos up at this ungodly hour, Triona made her way to the opposite end of the house and her study. Sinking into the worn leather chair behind the desk, she accessed reports from her department heads, catching up on the mundane and boring details of being the Imladrin Defense Minister. She'd only been gone ten days, but the number of reports in the queue made it seem like she'd been gone months instead. But it had been worth it! Not only had she recovered her stolen prototype, but had captured the miscreants who'd taken it. They were now all safely locked away under the watchful eye of her cousin Stephanie, head of Imladrin Security, on the Moria moon.
Sighing, Triona stood, stretching. To hell with not waking Methos up. "I'll make it up to him," she said to herself, smiling.
"How about some fresh air?" Methos asked, entering the cozy sitting room that looked out onto the deck and the ocean beyond.
"Hmmm?" Triona queried absently, not looking up from the datapad she was staring at intently.
He flopped down next to her on the sofa, lifting her legs over his jean clad ones as he sat. "A walk, a stroll, a constitutional," he supplied helpfully, smirking as he stroked her bare legs under the skirt of the of the crimson Aldebaran silk dress she was wearing.
She peered at him from over the top of the handheld computer device. "Very amusing." Triona allowed herself to be momentarily distracted by how green his eyes were today. He should wear lavender more often, she thought absently, noting he was finally wearing the shirt she'd bought for him on Pacifica four years ago.
It was late in the afternoon, and she had just put Lucia down for a nap. Considering she hadn't gotten any sleep after waking Methos up earlier, she was thinking that a nap didn't sound like too bad an idea. But she'd decided that researching those that had stolen her ship was a better use of her time - especially the ringleader.
"They're not going anywhere, you know," Methos said, bringing her attention back to the matter at hand, gesturing at the datapad and the information he knew she perusing. "And isn't that what you have a staff for?" he asked for what must have been the thousandth time that year.
"Mmm-hmm, I know, I know. But I want to see this one through. Especially as the ringleader is an Immortal."
"Is he indeed? Now that's interesting," he allowed.
"I've been trying to see if we have anything on him, but so many Watcher records were lost during the War, that I'm not having much luck."
"What do you know so far?"
"Only current information, I'm afraid. He's been a busy boy, let me tell you." She looked down at her datapad, and began to read aloud from it. "He's wanted by the Romulan *and* Klingon Empires, not to mention the Cardassians, the Ferrengi, and the Federation to boot. Let's see: piracy, smuggling, theft, espionage, arson, impersonating a Starfleet captain, impersonating a Romulan Legate, tax evasion..." Triona paused. "We could fund our treasury on the rewards being offered for his capture alone!"
"And does this criminal wunderkind have a name?" Methos asked curiously.
"He has several aliases, but currently he's using Robin Jackson." She looked at him. "Ring any bells?"
He shook his head slowly. "None that come to mind. Let me take a look," he said, extending his hand as Triona passed him the datapad. A look of disbelief crossed his face. "Pirate!" he exclaimed.
Cocking an eyebrow, she said, "I think we've established that."
"No, no, I mean he's an actual pirate. As in a 'Yo Ho Ho', 'Avast, Me Hearties', and 'Shiver Me Timbers', pirate!" Seeing her look of confusion, he added, "You've got Captain Jack Sparrow sitting in your brig!"
Triona digested the revelation. "Now isn't that something? I'd ask for his autograph if I didn't want him shot," she said wryly.
"Let's just say that when I was a little girl, I loved all things pirate related. I read about him for a school report and I thought he was quite dashing," she admitted.
"Jack will be thrilled." Triona snorted, taking Methos' comment as sarcasm. "No, really, he will." He elaborated, "Jack was always far too vain about his reputation. It's what got him killed - the first time, at least. He'll be over the moon to know his reputation lives on in the hearts of little girls everywhere."
Triona was now regretting confessing her girlhood crush to her grinning husband. "He would be if anyone were to tell him," she said pointedly. "And no one is, right?"
Methos didn't answer, just kept grinning like a loon while crossing his heart with one finger.
The next day, Triona decided it was time to meet the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow face to face. She wouldn't admit it to anyone, but part of her was rather tickled at the thought of meeting a real live pirate from the books of her childhood. But she also knew this man was an Immortal, and not to be underestimated or trifled with. If he had the chance to escape, he'd take it. Triona had to make sure she kept at least one move ahead of him. And it wouldn't be easy, if the stories about him were even half-true.
Deciding it would be more secure, she'd arranged to have him and his guards beamed directly into her office on Moria. Stephanie was very good at her job, and between the two of them, Jack Sparrow should be quite harmless while in their custody. Nothing for it then, they'd either thought of all eventualities, or they hadn't. "Commence with prisoner transfer protocol alpha zero two," she said to the computer.
"Confirmed," the ubiquitous female computer voice answered.
A few moments later, the soft whir of a transporter beam coalescing sounded through the large wood paneled office. A moment after that, two Imladrin Planetary Security personnel, along with their prisoner, appeared in the center of the room, six feet from where Triona sat at her cherry-wood desk. She considered her prisoner silently. He wasn't a tall man, but he was arresting nonetheless. His eyes were so dark a brown as to almost seem black with no pupil -- if Triona hadn't known better, she would have thought him to be Betazed. A complexion tanned a deep copper that only someone who had spent most of his life at sea in southern climes would have, high cheekbones, and silky dark brown hair that fell to just above his shoulders. But more than looks; he had a commanding presence -- even in the standard issue hot pink prisoner jumpsuit that he currently wore.
"Leave us," she ordered the guards quietly. Obeying with no comment, they left the room. Rising, she placed her fingertips on the edge of the desk, giving the other remaining occupant of the room her undivided attention. Though not in uniform today, Triona had dressed for the occasion in the twenty-fourth century version of the power suit: a long charcoal gray tunic styled jacket over a matching skirt that fell to a few inches above her ankle. Vaguely alien styled high-heeled boots of some unknown metallic green leather, which she'd found on her last trip to Romulus, were the only colour in her otherwise stark outfit. On the left breast of her jacket was a pin, the symbol of the Imladrin Planetary Union, an eight pointed platinum star set with a center emerald superimposed over an off center gold ring set at an angle. Her long honey-blonde hair was braided in many plaits and arranged in a complicated intertwining knot, accentuating her vampire pale complexion and high cheekbones.
They considered each other for an unknown space of time, until Triona broke the silence. "Captain Jack Sparrow, I presume?" she asked with a slight smile passing across her face. She walked around her desk, her heels clicking on the slate floor, to where her quarry stood, carefully schooling his expression to one of nonchalance with no reaction to her knowing his true identity.
"I don't believe I've had the pleasure...?" he said with just a touch of an English accent, as she came to stand in front of him.
Again, the slight smile. "Defense Minister MacAlpine." She offered her hand.
"Now that's a cold title for such a lovely woman," he replied, taking her hand in his bound ones, lifting it to brush his lips across her fingers.
Raising her eyebrows and suppressing a smile, Triona gently extricated her hand from his grasp. "I don't think restraints are necessary, do you?" Stepping back, she said, "Computer, release prisoner restraints." A sift snick was heard as the pirate captain's cuffs released, falling to the ground.
Triona walked over to the bar at the far end of the room. "Drink?" she asked, looking over her shoulder at Jack.
"That's very civilised of you," he admitted. "Rum, if you have it," he added.
"Now why doesn't that surprise me?" she asked, bringing him a cut lead crystal tumbler of rum.
"Old habits, love," he said with a grin as he accepted the glass.
"Speaking of old habits - piracy seems to be one you haven't broken."
The man shrugged, tossing back his rum. He didn't immediately answer, seemingly fascinated with the play of light through the prisms of the crystal glass. Finally he said, "Man's got to make a living now, don't he?"
"Some might choose an honest one."
"Honesty is overrated," he shot back.
Triona didn't reply, walking back to the bar and the glass she'd left there. Picking it up, she took a sip, then set it back down on the black marble counter. Behind her, Jack silently retrieved the discarded restraints that had bound his wrists, secreting them under the sleeve of his jumpsuit.
Moving away from the bar, Triona turning, waved a hand at the decanter of rum. "Be my guest."
He stayed where he was. "Just what's your game, milady? This is all very fine and all." He looked around the elegantly appointed office with its nineteenth century antique furniture from Earth and the panoramic view offered by floor to ceiling windows across two thirds of the room. "But I'm your prisoner, and no amount of fine manners and excellent rum changes that, does it?"
"You're a smart man, Jack Sparrow," she said with no hint of mockery. "No it doesn't. I'll admit, I was curious to meet you for myself, the legendary pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. The man who sacked Nassau port without firing a shot, remembered in story and song."
"And now you have."
"And now I have," she agreed, nodding slightly.
"So what's it to be, love?" he asked, moving closer, setting his now empty glass on an adjacent side table. "Swords at dawn, and may the best Immortal win?" He continued conversationally, "I've no objection, mind. But it will be shame to separate such a lovely face from so pretty a neck."
Triona laughed, absently twisting at a silver bracelet around her left wrist. "Really Captain, I expected better than empty flattery from you."
"And false modesty doesn't become you, lass," he countered. "You know full well that you're a beautiful woman." She merely nodded, this time accepting the compliment. "And I'm quite sincere in my regret - if only we'd met under different circumstances. I'll take no pleasure in killing you."
"I appreciate your concern for my well being, Captain Sparrow. But you underestimate me, and you greatly misunderstand your current situation." She walked over to the windows that overlooked the moon's spaceport, the black plains behind, and in the pink horizon beyond, Imladris itself lay, along with two other of the system's moons. "All that you see beyond this glass was won with the blood and sweat of me and mine; this moon, the planet it orbits, and many other systems beyond; independent and autonomous of the Federation. Torn from the ashes of Earth after the War. Earlier, we spoke of old habits - do you honestly believe that the Game would have any place here? It has no place in the Imladrin Planetary Union." The light bantering was gone, replaced by the steely defense minister's cool tones.
Still the deep brown eyes were unreadable. Triona had to admire his composure.
"Then not swords at dawn." He shook his head slightly. "Then to what purpose do you keep me here?"
"You will be bound over for trial on the charge of piracy, amongst others. And we do have the traditional sentence here for that crime," she explained. The pirate paled at that. "Since no one was killed during the commission of your crime, I intend to ask the prosecutor to not seek the maximum sentence. But you can expect to spend many decades ahead on a prison colony, where you can contemplate an honest living upon your release."
"Do you think so?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"I know so, Captain Sparrow."
"You underestimate me, love."
In that moment, two things happened. Jack made his move, using the restraints he'd palmed earlier as a weapon. But mere seconds ahead of him, Triona deliberately snapped the bracelet she'd up to now been fiddling with. Bands of energy coalesced around her prisoner, immobilizing him.
As the beam of the transporter bore him away, he heard her say quietly, "No, I didn't, Captain Sparrow."
On to Part Three