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Thief of Time (2/3)

Title: Thief of Time 2
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Eight Fitz, OC
Word Count: 7237
Rating: G (I believe)
Notes: This follows and earlier story Crossroads where I had an original character meet the Doctor's fourth incarnation. I intend to have him meet all the incarnations. I also make references to an earlier story involving them which can be found In the The TOC Files titled "Time and Tide". You don't need to know what happened there to follow this. Enjoy!
Disclaimer The Doctor, Fitz, and the TARDIS belong to the BBC. Alan and Ryan Kelly, and Shannon Flynn are mine.




Alan gingerly entered the man's mind and immediately felt small and lost. He looked out through the man's eyes and guessed they were in the surgery. Fitting, since he was a doctor. There was a sudden change of atmosphere as the man discovered his presence and effectively pushed him out.

He drew a deep breath and opened his eyes. "He knows," he said slowly. "He's on the way here."

At that very moment the cabin door opened and the new ship's doctor stood there, scowling. "That was a major invasion of privacy. I could have you brought up on charges of psychic trespass."

Psychic trespass? What was this guy thinking? Still a little dizzy, Alan tried to stand to confront this accusation. "I haven't the vaguest idea of what you're talking about, sir!"

"Yes, explain this intrusion," demanded Shannon.

The two men walked into the room, closing the door behind them. "No need to attract any further attention, is there?" said the doctor. He walked forward and faced Alan across the desk.
"I know you're the only one here able to do that to me."

"Do what?" questioned Ryan, feigning ignorance. "Speak plain, man."

The man leaned forward. "An outright show of such gifts would be considered witchcraft, a crime punishable by death. However, one ignorant of such laws would not hesitate to use them. And since these laws are so well-known to the populace, one would have to be from another time to be so unaware."

"And what made you think of us?" asked Alan, staring the man in the face.

"Because I know you, Colonel, and I've seen you use your powers before."

Alan was at a loss for words. The man knew he was from the future, his rank, and the fact that he had "abilities". But who is he? He thought further on the matter. He has to be someone with his own form of time travel. Outside the TOC, there's nothing in my time so that would have to mean it was later, my own future, a place I've been once before. God, what a headache. There had been another time traveler then, one whose machine was disguised as an old British police box. What did he call it again? The TARDIS. And he went by... "Doctor."

"I knew you'd catch on," he grinned.

"Alan, what is going on here?" asked Ryan. "Do you know him?"

"I'm not quite sure."

The Doctor reached into a jacket pocket and pulled out a crumpled paper bag. "Jelly baby? As I recall, red was the color of choice."

Alan couldn't believe this. "What's going on? You can't be the same man. You look nothing like him."

The Doctor sighed as if this were something he had been asked many times. "I'm a Time Lord and we have the ability to regenerate our bodies when we come near death. The one you met before was my fourth incarnation. This," he motioned to himself, "is number eight. Simple, really."

"So, you're the same man with a different body," said Shannon slowly. She looked at Ryan. "Just the opposite of you."

Ryan gave a crooked grin. "Yeah. I kept the body and changed the names." He turned to the Doctor. "So how did you and my brother meet?"

"He never told you? Let's just say it was someplace neither one of us visited by choice. We worked together and discovered a way out."

"What kind of answer is that?"

"The only one you'll get right now. The where and how we met isn't important. From what I understand, this Wildfire character is not of this time either." The members of the TOC exchanged glances. "Have I missed something?"

Alan knew instinctively that he was telling the truth about being the Doctor and knew that he could be trusted with the truth. "Yes, Wildfire was from the future."

"'Was?'" questioned Fitz, trying to take part in the conversation. "I thought he was still out there."

"We know this man calling himself Wildfire isn't the same one we encountered before. When Morgan told us that 'Wildfire' was still around, we knew we had to find out why and hope he doesn't have the same weapons."

"You defeated him in a previous encounter?"

"Yes, but he escaped."

"Then how do you know it's not the same guy?" asked Fitz.

"Because I was Wildfire," claimed Ryan a little reluctantly.

"I'm sure the story behind that is long, like they usually are. Let me ask you, are you positive this Wildfire isn't you?"

"I only did it the one time and I know I wouldn't revert to that in the future."

"Are you sure you didn't leave any of your stuff behind?" asked Shannon. "I know you had a lot of it in your cabin alone."

"Are you nuts? Of course I cleared it out."

"So there's no way this man has future technology?" questioned the Doctor.

"Not from me," declared Ryan.

"If he doesn't have the weapon that made you Wildfire, how can he make people believe that he is?" asked Fitz.

"That's the $25,000 question," said Shannon. "Perhaps he's a good bluffer, making his crew believe he can do it."

"Or maybe he rigged up some illusion and made some show of power and scared the crew enough that just the threat of the weapon is enough," said Alan.

"Where are we headed?" asked the Doctor.

"Boca Grande Cay," said Shannon. "According to Ryan's 'experience', it's the ideal base of operations."

"Looks a logical place. If you should think of anything else, let me know, and I'll do the same."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the days passed aboard the Satisfaction, the men did any number of things to keep busy. Every piece of metal sparkled and the deck was bright from many cleanings. Fitz's hands were raw from scrubbing and he tried to gain sympathy from Shannon.

She smiled. "That's not going to work on me, Fitz. Alan and I had to swab the deck our first time around."

Fitz tried a different tack. "What happened that first time? The crew treats you and you guys like legends almost."

Shannon grinned. "I guess I'll have to start with how I met Alan." She told how Alan moved into her block of flats in Dublin 1989 and that they became good friends. She also related how Alan's enemy, Cameron James appeared out of nowhere and how she grabbed his arm and sent them back to the 1600s.

"That must have really thrown you. At least when I hooked up with the Doctor, I knew things were gonna be strange."

"He did tell me his story, but hearing it and experiencing it are two very different things."

"So how did you get involved with pirates?"

Shannon motioned for him to follow her to a spot where they wouldn't be in the way and warmed to her story. She told how they were drugged and forced to crew the Satisfaction under Morgan. She then related how Alan planned their escape and how it went wrong when it was discovered she was a girl. Alan fell overboard when the ship was shot at and she was locked in a cabin below and kept under guard.

Fitz watched as she told her story and was mesmerized by her face as the emotions crossed her face. I guess it's true that all the Irish are storytellers. He listened as she told of her capture by James, now acting as a pirate, who planned to use her as bait to trap Alan.

When he asked after Alan, she explained the story, as she knew it. He had fallen under the care of a beautiful young lady who treated him well and believed his story. She persuaded a captain in the Navy to take Alan and go after Morgan. They found the Satisfaction after Cameron's attack so it was easy to subdue. The Navy took Morgan and Alan was allowed to take the Satisfaction to go after her. The crew allowed Alan to go with them because they wanted their revenge on Cameron, the man they called Wildfire.

"I think I've heard the rest when we were in the tavern. The Satisfaction caught up with Wildfire, Alan swam over, rescued you, and the two of you began to attack from within."

"Yep. Unfortunately, Cameron escaped and plagued Alan and I for a few years."

"But I thought Alan's brother said that he was Wildfire."

"He was. It's a long story, but he was Cameron James. It was only a little while ago that they learned they were twins."

"Do you ever miss 1989?"

"Sometimes. I go back every once and awhile to visit my family. What about you? Do you miss your time?"

"1963? On occasion. I have no family left and never really had many friends. I guess that's why I'm cut out for traveling with the Doctor. No ties."

"So how did you meet up with the Doctor?"

"Nothing so exciting as how you began your time travel."

"Oh, come on. It's not a contest. I want to know how you started your travels."

Reluctantly, Fitz told how he was working in a flower shop when he first saw the Doctor and his then companion, Sam Jones. He told her of how his mother had been in a psychiatric ward where the doctor was using certain patients in an experiment as they had all were hosts of a self- regenerating leech that had been passed down through generations. The leeches had been programmed by an alien race, but the program had since become corrupted and was driving the hosts even more insane and giving them powers that could hurt humanity. The only way the Doctor could stop them was to kill them, including Fitz's mother.

"Oh, my God, Fitz. I'm so sorry. If I had known it was so painful, I wouldn't have made you tell me."

"It's all right. Oh, for a while there, I hated him for what he did, but traveling with the Doctor has helped me put everything into perspective."

"But I shouldn't have made you dredge up unhappy memories. I'm sorry. Will you be okay?"

"After a bit. It kind of felt good, talking to someone else about what happened. Made it seem less fantastic."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Taking a break from sanitizing the surgery, the Doctor went above for some fresh air. Looking at the blue sky and sea, he could almost believe this was a vacation. There was no war to prevent, no alien menace to stop. There still would be unavoidable deaths when the two ships met, but the burden felt a little lighter knowing that he wasn't the only one with the ability to halt this.

His thoughts then moved on to Alan Kelly. What he had told Fitz when they had first arrived was true: the man was a hero. He cast his mind back to the research he had done after their last meeting. He had graduated with the highest percentage in the history of the Military Academy, was a top-notch fighter pilot, and also climbed the promotional ladder in near- record time. With all the accolades, he still remained down-to-earth and preferred spending time with friends over attending galas. A man after my own hearts.

"Doctor?"

He turned to see Alan as the man tossed him a coin. The Doctor snatched it out of the air and looked at the guinea. He looked over at Alan's grinning face and smiled in return. "I was thinking how nice it was going after a mundane villain for a change, instead of some megalomaniac bent on taking over the world."

"I can't say I've ever faced one of those outside the Military. I take it you see a lot of those."

"Unfortunately, yes. It seems that I always either arrive in the middle of trouble, or it raises its ugly head soon after."

"You seem none the worse for it."

"Though I've probably gone through at least twice as many regenerations than others of my age."

"Well, I can't say anything about that, but if you're anything like me, you need action, though an occasional vacation wouldn't go amiss."

"That sounds about right."

"This guy Fitz seems okay," said Alan as he saw the man with Shannon. "Quite a change from that kid who was with you last time. What was his name again?"

"Adric," the Doctor said softly. Memories of the young Alzarian floated through his mind.

"Yeah, Adric. How is he?"

"He's dead."

Open foot, insert mouth. "God, I'm sorry. I didn't realize."

"It's all right, Alan."

"So you tell them what to expect traveling with you?"

"For the most part, our meetings give a hint of what's to come. Knowing what I do, I shouldn't encourage friendship, but I know they are what keep me sane, keep everything I do in perspective."

"What kept me going in the beginning were revenge and the thought of getting back home. Shannon made me take part in the journey and not just think on my destination."

The Doctor listened as Alan told of how he and Shannon met and their previous pirate encounter. The man seemed to have the devil's own luck. "You created a bit of a mystery about yourself," he said. "It's no wonder the crew still seems a little in awe of you."

"Maybe it was just that I took on Morgan and Cameron so close together."

"Speaking of Cameron, where is your brother?"

"I think he's talking strategy with Jacko."

"And you're not taking part?"

"Ryan's the schemer in the family. He can relate better to the piratical mind."

"Did you find it hard to trust him after all that had gone before?"

"At first, I did question myself when I'd ask him to do something, but I have no qualms now."

The Doctor found this man to be so refreshing in his attitudes and beliefs. There was a touch of naïveté that was so appealing after coming face-to-face with so much cynicism. This would be someone he wouldn't mind traveling with at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ryan found Jacko and asked what his plan was to encounter Wildfire.

"A surprise attack on his base would be preferred, but I strongly doubt that will happen. We'll either have to wait until he goes to sea, or draw him out somehow."

"The bait would have to be something irresistible," mused Ryan. One of the crew approached Jacko with something that needed his immediate attention. "Go on. I'll think of something he can't pass up."

Jacko left the cabin and Ryan looked about, making sure he had what he needed before activating the machine on his wrist.

He reappeared in his quarters where he grabbed a few items that would greatly improve the odds of success in this mission before heading back to the 17th century.

Instead of going back to the Satisfaction, he went to Boca Grande Key. His unsanctioned mission hinged on the pirates' gullibility and the efficiency of Gil's gadgets. Remembering the recent holographic additions to the machine, he had programmed it with the features he had been born with; those of Cameron James. Armed with a laser pistol, Wildfire-the real Wildfire-would sail again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the Doctor had gone below decks to continue his work on the surgery, Alan strolled the deck, stopping to speak with the men as he passed. He looked over to the poop deck and saw Jacko. I guess he and Ryan are done. I wonder why Ryan didn't come find me. He made his way to the captain. "So, did you and Ryan have a productive chat?"

"We had to cut it short as something deserved my attention. He said he would think of something. When I was finally able to go back, he was gone."

"Gone?" Alan hadn't seen Ryan on deck so maybe he was below. For some reason, he felt very uneasy about the whole situation. "What were you talking about before you were called away?"

"Our options to get Wildfire were to either wait for him to reach open sea, or to lure him out somehow."

"Wonderful," Alan groaned.

"Anything the matter?"

"Hopefully not. I just think my brother has something up his sleeve he's not telling me."

"What can he do on the ship?"

Nothing. That's why I'm afraid he's gone. "You're right, of course. I'll take another look around." Alan took another turn around the deck, ending up by Shannon and Fitz. "Have either of you seen Ryan?"

"Not since this morning," said Shannon.

"Same here," answered Fitz.

"Damn."

"Why? What's wrong?"

"I think he's taken things into his own hands." He related what he had learned from Jacko. "It's my guess that he's gone to Boca Grande Key himself to stir up the pirates."

"Why don't you just pop over there and get him?" questioned Fitz.

"And risk ruining what he's got going? No. I just wish he had told us."

"Would you have let him go?" asked Shannon.

"Probably not. Anyway, without knowing what he's done, we had better be on the lookout for sails." He turned to Fitz. "You might want to inform the Doctor."

"What about you?"

"I'm gonna check below one more time. If he's not there, I might be brought up on fratricide charges."

"Let me know!" called Shannon at his retreating back.

Alan waved his hand in acknowledgement as he walked away.

As he reached the door leading below, he received a telepathic message from his brother. [Alan, right now I know you want to kill me, but I felt this was the best way to go about it. I've infiltrated the pirates' base at Boca Grande and plan to lead them out to sea. As we get closer, I'll get you the coordinates.]

[Why didn't you tell me what you were planning?] Alan shot back. [That doesn't say much about my leadership skills if my men go off on their own.]

[This isn't a Military mission and you know it. Besides, you wouldn't have let me do it. I'll keep in contact with you as much as I can.]

[Ryan?] The contact was broken. "Oh, you are so dead."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After sending his message to Alan, Ryan crossed the tavern to the man who would introduce him to "Wildfire". He looked out at the drunken pirates as the dallied with some of the local "ladies". "Is Wildfire always this lenient?"

"Between sailings, yes. There is no killing allowed, of course, and there's to be nothing done that will reflect badly on the captain. The men are loyal to him and this just makes them respect him even more."

"Of course." He sipped on his ale. "So, does the captain come here, too?"

"Upon occasion. I think today might be one of those."

He nodded to the door and Ryan saw a young man enter, probably closer to twenty that he was himself. He walked toward the bar, exchanging a few remarks with the sailors, but there was something about his manner that went against the persona. Here he was, a respected, but feared, pirate captain at his home base, a place where he should be at his most relaxed, yet he was acting like he was the one in fear. Not exactly the image to project in this situation.

"So that's Wildfire. Not at all like I pictured. Are any of these men from the original crew?"

"No. There was one who wanted to join but the captain refused him."

"That's rather strange, don't you think? I mean, you would think he'd go for someone with experience, or those who knew how he worked."

"Put that way, yes, it does seem strange, but he must have his reasons."

I can guess what those are. "So, are you going to introduce us?"

The man picked up his mug and headed for the captain, Ryan right behind him. The man now calling himself Wildfire looked up as they approached. "Perkins. Is everything accounted for from our last excursion?"

"Yes, cap'n. Everything has been divvied as planned."

"Very good." He looked at Ryan. "And who's this?"

"I met him down at the docks after he got the better of Higgins and Dolittle."

Wildfire looked him over. "Two of my best men."

"Doesn't say much for your crew then, does it?"

Wildfire rose from his chair and glared at Ryan who maintained his calm. "You are either very brave or very stupid."

"A little of both, so I've been told. I came here with information. If you don't want it..."

"Why should I trust you? You could be with the Navy for all I know."

Ryan scoffed. "I've had the Navy chase after me as well. I have no love for them." He looked around the tavern. "I bet at least half the men in here are Navy deserters."

"At least half. So what's this information you have for me?"

"The Satisfaction is out looking for you."

"The Satisfaction?" Wildfire laughed. "We got the better of them last time, and that was with Morgan in charge."

So, you've done your homework. "Maybe so, but I hear that the guy who got you last time is onboard."

Wildfire looked blank. "What man? It was just the remainder of the crew."

"A man by the name of Alan Kelly. He had been part of the crew only because he had been pressed. He fell overboard and they thought him dead. He joined up with a Navy captain by the name of Hargraves and gave chase to the Satisfaction. You had already done your job but Kelly came after you because you had his sister."

"Ah, yes, the red haired vixen. She was quite a handful, as I remember."

How can you remember when they're not your memories? "So, am I free to stay, sir?"

"Just don't get in the way."

Ryan nodded his thanks to Perkins and walked out of the tavern into the sun. So that's the guy trying to fill my shoes? That's a laugh. He didn't even know about his own downfall. Hm, I wonder if that guy who tried to join the crew is still here.

Walking with his thoughts, Ryan soon found himself at an isolated stretch of road that ran alongside the beach. There was a little cottage, not much more than a shack, and Ryan wondered what the occupant could have done to end up out here, banished from the pirate colony. A mutt came running over and barked, not in anger, but in excitement. He knelt and began to pet it. "You're a cute little bugger, aren't you?"

He heard the sound of a pistol being cocked. "Stand slowly and put your hands where I can see 'em," said a gruff voice. Ryan complied. "I told 'em down in the village I wanted nothing to do with 'em."

The voice sounded familiar and Ryan tried to place it. "If you want nothing to do with the pirates, what are you still doing here?"

"It's as good a place as any-when I'm left alone."

"I did come to this island because I had heard so much about Wildfire, but, after meeting him, I'm less than impressed."

"That ain't the real Wildfire. No one could ever come near him."

Ryan turned. "Thank you for the compliment."

The man dropped his gun. "My God! Cap'n!"

"So you decided to stay and keep an eye on things, eh, Forbes?"

"I really wasn't lying when I said this was as good a place as any. There's nothing back in England for me. But what are you doing? Are you going to tell the rest he's a fake?"

"Of course. What will make this even better is the fact that the Satisfaction has been sent to look for me."

"The Satisfaction?" Forbes chuckled. "This guy really has Morgan mad if he's sending his own ship."

"I will give the man credit for that. I just wonder why he couldn't create his own name and reputation."

"That's something you'll have to ask him."

"Believe me, I plan to." He looked Forbes over. "Get yourself ready. You've got yourself a job, Mr. Forbes."

"Aye, aye, Cap'n." Forbes grinned and headed back into the shack.

Ryan knelt down and spoke to the dog. "You can come, too."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The captain left the tavern thinking about that strange man Perkins had brought in. He shuddered as he remembered that gaze. The way the man looked at him was as if he knew. The news he had brought filled him with a strange mix of elation and fear. Elation due to the fact that he had done enough to make Morgan send his own ship and fear because there were men of that crew who knew the real Wildfire.

As he turned, he heard his name called in challenge. He turned to see the man from the tavern and a man who had tried to join his crew, a man who knew the truth.

"What can I do for you, gentlemen?"

"Oh, I think you know," said the first. "I can make this rather unpleasant if need be."

"Do you have any idea who you're talking to?"

"As a matter of fact, I don't. And I think that's a big part of the problem here. You say one thing yet I know the opposite is true."

"How dare you?" The man's smug attitude was infuriating. He could see the smirk on his face as he came closer.

"It's not a dare when I know the truth." He looked around to see a crowd gathering and spoke louder for his widening audience. "Yes, the truth. Has anyone ever questioned you about the two times you faced the Satisfaction?"

Damn! He knows! He's going to ruin everything I've planned! There's nothing I can do now to stop him without admitting guilt! He stood there as the man bombarded him with questions about things he had only heard of. The man had to have been one of the crew as well. He sighed. At least he had enhanced the reputation of Wildfire instead of tearing it to shreds.

"What? No answers? For some reason that doesn't surprise me. You see, only someone from that original crew, like me and Forbes here, would know what happened. I guess this ends your little game of pretend."

"Surely I can carry on using the name. As long as we continued what he started, what does it matter?"

"It matters to me." The man reached into a jacket pocket and pulled out a wand of some sort. He aimed it at the ground and a beam of bright light came forward and soon he was encircled in a ring of fire. "I don't like it when people take my name in vain."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had been three days since Alan had received the telepathic message from his brother and Fitz couldn't understand why they hadn't acted upon it. The ship could only be cleaned so many times and the crew was beginning to get restless, himself included. He had tried to hang out with the other members of the crew but it was as if they could sense he was different so he was never really treated like of them.

The Doctor spent most of his time either in the surgery or with Alan, probably comparing notes on the ins and outs of time travel. That left him with Shannon. A slow smile spread across his face. Not a bad prospect. He wondered if there was anything going on between her and Alan, but he was too afraid to broach the subject. Not that he didn't have a fun time with her just talking and singing. She had a wonderful voice and was trying to teach him some new songs by The Kinks.

He found her near the bow in their meeting place. "Any word from Ryan?" he asked.

"Not a peep. I would have felt it if he were contacting Alan. You're starting to get bored, aren't you?"

"I'm just not used to this much inactivity all at once. I just know it can't last."

"That's why I enjoy it while I can."

"That must be such a neat thing to have, being telepathic, I mean."

"Oh, it is, though we try not to use it so much else we become too dependent on it." She looked around the deck. "Where's the Doctor? I hardly ever see him."

"He was in the surgery when I saw him. I think he's enjoying this too much."

"From what you've said about him, he deserves a little holiday."

"Guess you're right. I'm just so used to all hell breaking loose when we arrive somewhere."

"At least we knew what we were getting into," remarked Shannon. "Speaking of which, how are you with a sword?"

Fitz looked at her and wondered if he should impress her or tell the truth. "I do know how to use one, but I haven't had much experience."

"Okay, then, perhaps it's time for a lesson." She reached to the deck behind her and pulled out two nasty looking blades that were thicker than he imagined and had a slight curve. She handed one over.

Fitz lifted the blade in his hand. "This isn't what I expected."

"I thought as much. Rapiers were the swords of the nobles so the regular sailor didn't have one and had to make due. You can lunge and slash with these and cause a lot of damage." She stood beside him. "Just do what I do."

Fitz's lesson had begun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alan sat back in the chair in Jacko's former cabin. He had never been good at the waiting game, and now he had the added pressure of wondering what his brother was up to. He was strongly tempted to contact Ryan but then wondered how it would be received. So here he was, relegated to the sidelines. He had had some interesting conversations with the Doctor and worked out a little with the crew, but it just wasn't the same.

He pondered the map in front of him and tried to figure out where Ryan would ensure their confrontation. There were a number of areas that could fir the bill, most near islands that could be used for camouflage. However, until he heard from Ryan, all he could do was speculate.

Deciding to clear his head, Alan went on deck and was greeted by cheers from a crowd near the bow. He spotted the Doctor. "What's going on?"

"It appears that Shannon decided Fitz needed lessons in swordplay."

"How are they doing?"

"Well. Fitz just needs to control his temper because he leaves himself open."

"The main failing of first-timers," commented Alan. "He seems to be a quick learner."

"I think a large part of it is trying to impress the teacher."

"Oh, really?"

"Most definitely one of his weaknesses, that for the female form."

"It's only a weakness when you let it control you instead of the other way 'round."

"Exactly. I'm a believer in everything in moderation. You just have to know when to say when."

They watched as Shannon feinted left. Fitz fell for it and soon her sword was at his throat. The crew cheered and Shannon beamed with the attention. "Not bad for a first lesson," she told Fitz. "If we keep practicing, you should do well."

"You show quite a talent," said Alan, stepping forward. "You just need to hone your skills."

"And that's quite a compliment," put in Shannon. "He's a natural with a blade."

"Well, so's the Doctor," defended Fitz. "Or so I've heard."

"A duelist?" Alan looked at the unruffled man at his side. "I never would have thought it."

"I don't like to brag--" Fitz coughed and the Doctor glared at him. "But I have had a few opportunities in my travels to use a blade."

Alan was thrilled. This would be the closest he would come to sparring with Ryan. "Shall we show them how it's done?"

"Why not?" The Doctor removed his jacket and handed it to Shannon. Despite the fact that he had never taken it off, at least that anyone had seen, and the warm sun, there was no trace of perspiration. He took her sword and made a few test swings. "A good blade."

Alan took Fitz's and tossed it from hand to hand. "As is mine."

They stood opposite each other and saluted with their swords. They circled each other, neither wanting to be the one to go on the offensive. The crew began to take sides, each cheering on his own champion. After wearying of the inaction, Alan attacked to the Doctor's left and the swords clashed as the duel began. The two were evenly matched and seemed to be mirror images. Alan could feel the sweat dripping down his face, but didn't see any on the Doctor's. All his opponent did was occasionally shake his hair from his face. After a time, Alan could tell that the Doctor's stamina was inhuman. Every move was effectively blocked and countered so Alan tried to take better advantage of the few openings he was given.

This sudden change in tactics threw the Doctor off-balance, but not for long. "Very good, Colonel. Very good."

"Thanks, you're not so bad your-" His jaw dropped as the Doctor tossed the sword from his right to left hand.

"Shall we continue?"

"Isn't that a bit clichéd " Alan taunted.

"Where do you think they got it from?"

The fight continued and Alan began to tire but refused to throw in the towel. Until he sensed an "incoming message". Damn it! Not now! Alan raised his hands, bringing the fight to an end.

[Alan, you there?]

[No, this is the answering machine. Of course it's me. What's going on? I was in the middle of something.]

[We're just off Arch de Los Colorados. I have the crew living in fear of me. It's a wonderful feeling.]

[As long as it's only an act. We're near Isla de la Juventud so we should meet up in a few days. Keep us posted if your timetable changes.]

[Will do. Oh, and don't be surprised if you see a familiar face.]

Alan slowly came out of it. A familiar face? Oh, Lord, that could only mean he's masquerading as Wildfire. "Well, we should be meeting up with the pirates in a few days. Ryan has taken over as their leader. Time to get busy."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ryan's most recent contact had stirred the crew into a blur of activity. Each of the cannons was cleaned and inspected to make sure there would be no unfortunate accidents in the heat of battle. Swords and knives were sharpened and pistols cleaned.

The Doctor double-checked his supplies and put bandages and some medicines in a bag that could be slung over his shoulder so he could give immediate attention. He had just finished when the cabin boy arrived to tell him that his presence was requested in the captain's cabin.

He arrived to find Alan and Jacko making battle plans. The Doctor wondered what he was doing there. What was that old saying? Too many cooks spoil the broth, though, in this case, it was more like too many captains lose the battle. Perhaps it was just some need to have outside approval of the plan.

"As I see it," Alan explained, "we know there's a possibility of a large portion of the men dying. To keep the numbers down, we have a number of the men stay below."

"Won't Wildfire be suspicious?" asked Jacko.

Alan opened his mouth to speak, but the Doctor answered first. "From what I understand, Wildfire's ego would attribute a small crew to overconfidence on Morgan's part. His ego will also be the reason why the men will be safe below. He'll want to leave the Satisfaction as a message to Morgan. There would be no proof of the deed without a ship."

"That's what I'm counting on," said Alan.

"The only problems I can see are deciding who goes below and keeping them there once the fighting starts. Otherwise, it could work."

"Good." Alan stood. "The running of the ship and the directing of the battle will fall to you, of course, Jacko. I'll only open my mouth when I see something dangerously important. Or at least try to."

"And what of Miss Flynn?" asked the Doctor. "Will she be able to contain herself?"

Alan smirked. "Sometimes that's a hard thing for her to do. She's come a long way since she began traveling with me. She can handle herself. I can have her stay close to Fitz if you'd like."

"Thank you. The more people who keep an eye on him, the better. I know he is doing better one-on-one, but in a battle situation against less than savory opponents, I'm not so sure."

"Fitz has become like one of the crew, Doctor," Jacko told him. "We'll all keep an eye out."

The Doctor was touched by how quickly they had been "adopted" by the sailors, a normally close-knit group, and one wary of strangers. Whether it was because of his own personality or his friendship with Alan, it didn't really matter. Otherwise it would have been a very unpleasant trip.

That had been days ago. Now they were just passing the westernmost tip of Cuba, the appointed rendezvous with Wildfire. The Doctor looked down on the ship from his position on the poop deck as the men went about their normal duties, weapons always within reach, however. The other men, after some protest, agreed to Alan's scheme and were now below decks. Part of him wished Fitz had been chosen to join them, but knew he would have found a way out of it.

The man in question was positioned next to Shannon at the mizzenmast, and for that the Doctor was thankful. He knew Shannon would keep an eye on Fitz without his knowing it. Fitz, of course, would try to impress himself on her and possibly fail miserably. From his short association with her aboard ship, the Doctor knew this woman was very different than the type Fitz was used to, even from their travels. He could see different aspects from former friends in her and knew that Alan was truly lucky in having her as a friend.

"Sail to starboard!" came the call from the rigging.

The men ran to the starboard side of the ship for their own glance at the oncoming ship. They could just see its bow clearing the shoreline. "Man the guns!" ordered Jacko. As the men rushed to follow the order, the captain peered through his telescope at the oncoming ship. Alan came running from where he had been watching at the bow. "Your brother's information has been good so far."

"I didn't doubt him for a minute." The tone of his voice said otherwise. "When will we be within range?"

"Minutes." Jacko turned to the Doctor. "You might want to stay on the quarter deck. That way they'd have to get through all of us before reaching you."

"I can handle myself, Captain, though I thank you for your concern. How can I administer to the men if I am in hiding?"

"I didn't think you would," said Alan. "Just don't do anything stupid."

"I'm usually the one saying that," commented the Doctor wryly.

"Well, now you know what it's like on the receiving end." They heard the blast of a cannon and felt its impact as the ball landed short in the water. "It's showtime!"

Jacko directed the ship alongside the pirates and the constant cannon fire deafened the Doctor and his eyes teared from the smoke. The two ships were then close enough for the crew of the Phoenix to board the Satisfaction. The pirates worked their way through the crew shooting and slicing, making it a near-massacre. The Doctor heard the screams of the wounded and did his best to ease their pain. It wasn't long before he had to join the fighting, albeit reluctantly. He had lost track of Fitz long ago and only hoped he was still alive. He couldn't bear losing someone else.

Through the smoke he saw Alan and another man fighting to the exclusion of all else. They were given a clear berth as they battled across the ship. At one point they were face-to-face, their swords crossed and immobile due to the equal pressure exerted by both men. The Doctor could see the men exchange words and Alan was thrown back. As he staggered to regain his footing, the man raised his left hand and shot a bolt of fire. Alan's body jerked and fell to the ground.

The man looked down and the still twitching body. "And now, I think this ship is ours."

The man-who could only be Wildfire-scanned the deck of the Satisfaction. "Easier than I thought it would be," he stated. "I guess Morgan thought he could get the better of me again." His eyes alighted on the Doctor. "You the sawbones?"

The Doctor stood. "I'm the Doctor, yes."

"Good. Gentlemen, escort our new ship's surgeon aboard the Phoenix."

"These men will die without my attention!" the Doctor protested as he was forced to the pirates' ship.

"They won't be suffering long, I assure you."

"Cap'n, lookee what we found."

Wildfire turned as two of his men dragged a struggling Shannon towards him. Her hair was disheveled and she sported a bleeding cut above her left eye. "Why, Mistress Kelly, you are a welcome sight. I knew your brother was aboard," he said as he motioned with his hand towards Alan's still body, "but you are a pleasant surprise." He spoke to the two men. "Take her with the doctor and lock them in my cabin for now."

"You complete slimeball!" shouted Shannon. "You've killed him!"

"I did what was necessary." He preceded them across the boarding plank.

"Shall we sink her now?" asked one of the men.

"No. We need Morgan to learn of this."

The Doctor heard no more of the conversation as he and Shannon were forced down the steps and into Wildfire's cabin. It was similar to that on the Satisfaction, just a bit more ornate. Shannon fell into the desk chair with a huge sigh. "Well, that was a major cock-up."

"So that was Ryan, the 'original' Wildfire? Hmmmm. Holographic projection?"

"Yeah. How could you tell?"

"When he was looking at me, I thought I saw a flicker."

"The machines can project whatever image is programmed. The first time we used it was to make ourselves appear to age as we kept revisiting the same people."

"I definitely need to meet this friend of yours. Sounds quite the genius."

Shannon smiled. "Oh, he is. He used to travel with Alan and I, but his work has taken over. Damn, how am I going to tell him?" She sat there, dejected and on the verge of tears.

The Doctor sat next to her and put a comforting arm about her shoulders. He couldn't seem to find the right words, but hoped his presence would be enough.

Shannon looked at him. "How could he do this to me again? He better be dead. If not, I'll kill him myself!"

>Part Three

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
dukesfreers
Sep. 7th, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
I love how this is shaping out... and the Doctor with a sword. Oh, I swoon!!! XD I'll say again that I really love your OC's. Nicely fleshed out and lots of detail. What I really enjoy is the combination of the sci-fi with the detail about the Age of Sail, the working of ships, etc. Do you have any interest in the Hornblower books/movies, because quite a bit of what you write (including the character, Matthews!) reminds me a LOT of Hornblower. Kudos!!!
jpgr
Sep. 7th, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
(This is my regular journal id) I have all the movies ad I've read a few of the books and yes, that's how I came up with Matthews! I'm glad you like how it's going and when I wrote my original fic with the pirates, I did do quite bit of research. Please feel free to follow the link to my original stories regarding the TOC.
iansmomesq
Sep. 7th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
(Aha this is my regular journal id, dukesfreers is my writing journal. Pleased to meet you. XD)

I'm a bit of a Hornblower/AoS nut AND an Eight fan (as you can tell from my writing LJ) so to have this combination in a realistic sense (you know, beyond the stories where Bush and the Doctor switch places, LOL) is just a breath of fresh air. So thank you.

Have you pimped this on eight_love? Simple reason is there are a LOT of other Who/AoS nuts out there who I think would eat this up.
jpgr
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
As you can see by now, I've friended both journals. Thanks for mentioning eight_love. I "applied" but if they don't accept me, you can fic rec me.
iansmomesq
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
You'll be accepted, don't worry. It's not exclusive. Just making sure there are no spammers. XD

*friending you back*
dukesfreers
Sep. 7th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
BTW if you feel like reading...

*plugs*

http://dukesfreers.livejournal.com/9326.html

*is naughty*
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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