Getting to Know the Captain

"Sorry, no we can't take the Jeep. We should be arriving inside a lecture hall, so I think getting the Jeep out of there would be a problem. Can't take guns, either. We're already have a potential problem with campus security, since we're using fake IDs without any forged database entries. If a guard asks to scan your ID, you're already in trouble. Just stick them on your jacket and hope no one notices you."

"Wait-no guns?" Doc asks, concerned. "What if the Captain here causes trouble?"

"I won't cause no trouble. I'm happy just to be getting off this ship," Mark replies.

"Take this," Dr. Ritenrong produces a small flashlight-like device. "It's a pain-gun, like the hover sentries use. They're legal on campus grounds, as they're non-lethal self-defense weapons. Don't worry, Veronica will pick us up as soon as we arrive, and you won't have to go unarmed for long."

"What about those old flint pistols? We are going to a lecture on 19th century culture, right? Maybe I'm brining one for show-and-tell."

"I suppose you could get away with it if it were bagged and tagged. The instant the bomb-sniffers smell gunpowder, though, you're gonna get stopped by security. It is a space station, you know, so they're really strict about explosives. Kinda defeats the purpose if you're using it to control Mark."

"Look, I'm not gonna try to escape. If we're goin' to a space station, where the heck is there for me to go, anyway?" Mark pleas.

"How can we trust you? Hell, you shot me the first time we met," Doc says.

"Hey, now, we hadn't met when I shot you. All I knew was that some greasy snake oil salesman and his dumb, hulking brother had beat the shit out of my men, broke a prisoner out of jail, and locked up the sheriff and judge. Hell, you threw a flash-bang at me and my lieutenants. If you hadn't been such a poor shot, I'd probably be dead."

"I set that off between us on purpose. I was hoping to scare you off," Doc argues.

"Son, not even a hundred injuns hootin' and hollerin' can scare me off a target."

Doc stares the man down. His ego is thick as a concrete wall. But ego is too transparent a barrier to hide emotions behind. Mark is scarred. He doesn't know what to make of this futuristic world. He's been a prisoner on this ship, despite the luxuries, and he wants to be free again. He'll run.

"He's gonna run," Doc says aloud.

"How do you know that?" asks Dr. Ritenrong.

"I can sense it. He's lying."

"Can you? Interesting." Steve is wandering off in though.

"Hey! I ain't no damn liar, boy," Mark insists, angrily.

"You might not think you are, but you are. You'll run. I can see the fear behind your eyes."

Mark is getting angry. "I ain't no liar and I ain't no coward, neither!" He stands up quickly. The hover sentry's red light starts flashing. He sits back down.

"What do we do with him?" Doc asks.

"Can we put him in stasis?" Steve replies.

Doc answers. "Not for three hundred years, we can't. After just fifty years there's a good chance of ice crystals forming in muscles or even brain tissue. After 360 we'll have to get him out of there with an ice scraper."

"We'll have to take him with us, then." Dr. Ritenrong

"Hey! I ain't gonna run!" Mark yells.

"Can we tie him up or something?" Doc asks.

"Too suspicious. We don't want to draw attention to ourselves. The instant we show up we're going to be on the station's sensors as extra life forms feeding off their life support. They're going to be looking for stowaways as soon as someone notices. If you're dragging someone around by a rope or shackles or even an electric tether they're going to notice, and getting you out of the brig will be difficult at best, especially since I don't have any credentials there, either. You're just going to have to stick close to him and make liberal use of that pain gun."

Mark continues to be upset. "Ain't you listenin' to me? There's no where for me to go. I've never even been to a university or a space station. If we gotta lay low from the guards, that's fine with me, too. I don't want to end up in no jail on a different damned space ship. I ain't gonna betray you."

Doc responds. "You better not. We're the only way you're going to get out of this mess you've gotten yourself into. Why the hell did you jump off Chesapeake, anyway?"

Mark thinks for a minute. "I don't know. I was curious. I saw the stars and Earth from above that day. I've spent many a night in the wilderness, looking up at the stars. Never did I think I'd be among them looking down. I knew you all were coming back here, and I wanted to see it again. It's a good thing I did, too, 'cause otherwise I'd have drowned or burned with the rest of the Chesapeake. So I'm sorry if I seem untrustworthy to you. It's because you've tried to kill me on more than one occasion already. Well, maybe just the once, but damned if that don't spark some animosity."

"Well, you did try to kill us first." Doc says.

"Maybe. But I ain't tryin' to kill you now, and I know I ain't gonna get anywhere if I don't do what I'm told."

"And what is it you want? Where do you want to go?" Dr. Ritenrong asks.

"Hell, I don't know. Excitement, adventure, and really wild things sounds pretty good to me. 'If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there.'"

"Lewis Carroll," Doc responds. "Wait. That won't be written for another thirty years."

"I know, I read it last week. I thought it would be more like the other one I read, Alice Does Dallas. Boy, was I wrong."

"You're a pig," spits Veronica, who has been quietly studying the way the humans were interacting.

"I suppose I am, sweetheart. What can I say? I like me some pussy."

She scoffs at him. "I don't think I can work with these men, professor."

"Well, you'll have three hundred sixty years without them. It's getting late, now, and we've got to be ready to go at 9 am tomorrow. Get some rest, gentlemen."


ERR said...

Doc uses Read Emotions, Chi -1
Doc Sense Movtive: 24 (11+13) vs. Mark Bluff 5 (6-1), Doc succeeds, XP+5

Doc said...

Let's Go!