SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN MACTAGGART
EPISODE 2: LEARNING THE ROPES-PART 1
Written by Craig Black, Jake Elmer & Jordann William-Edwards
The Procyon System. Morning. 10:07, to be precise. Not that time had any real meaning in deep space. It certainly didn't to Alasdair Geddes, as he snoozed lazily in his cabin. He'd had a hard day yesterday, what with being captured by a gang of pirates, and then persuading them to release him from his dreary existence on Procyon VI. The Captain-one Jaws MacTaggart-had been only too happy to have Alasdair onboard her cruiser, the Stellar Typhoon.
Now he was tired, and really didn't want to get up. He didn't see any real reason to; he'd only just arrived, after all, and he didn't expect that Jaws would land any heavy duty work on him so soon. He was just going to sleep in, never mind what anyone else had in store for him. Let Kyoko do her work on her own today...
Kyoko. Alasdair's thoughts were quickly diverted. Kyoko was the Chief Engineer onboard the Stellar Typhoon, and she'd been the first face he'd met after regaining consciousness after the raid. If Alasdair was being honest, when he'd woken up, he'd thought he'd died and gone to heaven. There was just something Alasdair liked about this pretty little raccoon. Maybe it was her simple way of dressing, or the way she'd done her hair up in a ponytail. Perhaps it was her soft, gentle Japanese accent, or how sweetly and politely she spoke to him. Or maybe it was the glasses. Yeah, that was it. It was definitely the glasses. Maybe everything else about her as well, but mostly the glasses.
When Alasdair had been taken into the crew, he'd been made the Assistant Chief Engineer, which meant that he would be working alongside Kyoko maintaining the Typhoon. And Alasdair had decided then that, for now, he would keep his relationship with Kyoko strictly professional. It wouldn't do to find himself being distracted, especially this early into his new career.
Alasdair's thoughts were interrupted by someone knocking on his cabin door. He quickly covered himself up with his bed-sheets; he'd spent the night sleeping in the buff, since at the moment he literally had nothing but the clothes on his own back, and he didn't exactly want anyone seeing him in his present state.
"Aye? Aye, who is it?"
"It's just me, Alasdair-san. Kyoko. Are you still asleep?"
"Whit? Er, nae, Kyoko, aam awake. Aam jist nae up."
"Well, can I come in?"
Alasdair quickly hid himself under the bed-sheets. He wasn't too keen on letting Kyoko see him in his exposed state right now. He felt awkward enough talking to her when he was fully clothed...
"Er, aye, Kyoko. Ye can come in. But please excuse mah shyness. Aam nae exactly dressed!"
"Very well then, Alasdair-san. I promise I won't look!"
With that, the cabin door swung open, and Alasdair peeked out from the sheets to see Kyoko, resplendent in her usual shirt and bell-bottoms, and with her hair tied up in its usual ponytail. She was staring back at Alasdair, apparently ignorant of his current state of dress.
"Ohayō gozaimasu, Alasdair-san."
"Aye, er, guid morn. Lookin' as pretty as ever, Ah see."
"Thank you, Alasdair-san. I do try. You're looking pretty handsome yourself. Still in bed, I see."
"Weel, Ah thought eh'd hae a lie in thes morn. Ah did hae a bloody exhausting nicht yesterday, ye ken."
"I know...Exciting, though, wasn't it?"
"Aye, it was. Ah jist hope it doesnae happen again onie time suin. Especially the-day."
"I know. Captain-basan says someone's bringing up the rest of your stuff this afternoon."
"Och, that's stoatin. Unless it's Stanley that's bringing it. Ah cannae stain 'at bastard!"
"Well, uh, I think you're in luck then. It's not him. Captain-basan says he's an old mutual friend of her and Stanley-san. She thinks you might have met him before. I don't think you'll remember him, though. You were only little at the time."
"Yoo're reit thaur, Kyoko. Ah dinnae min'. Who is he?"
"Ah, you'll just have to wait and see! Now, come on. Captain-basan's waiting for you in the mess hall."
"Alrecht, I'll be thaur. Er, coods ye pass me mah clothes up frae th' bottom ay th' bed? Jist slide them under th' covers fur me."
"Of course, Alasdair-san."
Kyoko picked up Alasdair's clothes and quietly slid them under the covers. She then watched as Alasdair, still under the bed-sheets, struggled into his bell-bottoms. He then stuck a forepaw out.
"Er, thaur was a t-shirt an aw, Kyoko!"
"Oh, of course. You got me!" Kyoko said cheekily, passing Alasdair his shirt, "You know, I was going to be really naughty there, and just run off with your shirt."
"Weel, aam glad ye didna. Ye hud th' opportunity tae piss me aff, an' yet ye didna. Yoo're a nice lassie, Kyoko. A really nice lassie."
"Why, thank you, Alasdair-san...Is that you ready?"
"Och aye, jist gie me a moment tae gie mah specs oan."
At last, Alasdair stumbled out of the covers, and sat on the side of the bed. He looked rather scruffy, which wasn't surprising, as only a couple of days ago he'd been trudging around the bleak, rainy streets of Glenfalcons. He fumbled around for his glasses, found them, gave them a quick clean, and put them on. Then he got up, found his military jacket, and put that on as well.
"Reit, that's me sorted. Shaa we gang noo?"
"Yes, let's. This way, Alasdair-san."
Kyoko led Alasdair out of his cabin into the corridor, and then headed towards the mess hall. It wasn't too far, since the Stellar Typhoon wasn't all that big a ship, but it still took quite a while to reach the mess hall.
Alasdair looked around; the place did feel rather decrepit in places, but since this was a pirate ship, that didn't surprise him much. Nothing seemed to anymore. Anyway, there was something ominous and foreboding about the Typhoon. Alasdair felt like he'd walked onto the set of one of those cheap B-movies he always watched on TV. This place certainly felt like it was going to fall apart if anyone so much as breathed on it, Perhaps it was thanks to Kyoko that it hadn't...
Soon enough, Kyoko and Alasdair reached the mess hall. This was a fairly large room, but to Alasdair it felt no different from similar rooms in a lot of military vessels he'd read about. What set this one apart, though, were the various amenities included in it. Nothing special, just the usual break room fare; tables, coffee machine, vending machines, air hockey table, and a television.
This television seemed to be the main focal point at the moment, as Captain MacTaggart was sat at one of the tables, watching intently. Alasdair wasn't quite sure what she was watching, but it looked like some kind of comedy-drama. In any case, Jaws seemed to be quite interested in it.
"No, pay attention, you idiot!" she was saying to one of the characters on the screen, "That card's not from him. That's not his handwriting! Check the handwriting. Check the fucking handwriting...Nope, you're not listening, are you? Into the pond he goes, then...Again."
"So, what's the riveting story this time, Captain-basan?" Kyoko asked. It was only then that Jaws noticed her and Alasdair.
"What? Oh, morning Kyoko. Just another case of mistaken unfaithfulness. And another case of no common sense on her part. You'd have thought she'd recognise his handwriting."
"Obviously not, Captain-basan...Shall I leave Alasdair-san with you, then?"
"Yeah, please do. You'd better go and carry on with the repairs to CF-4."
"Hai, Captain-basan." And with that, Kyoko headed out of the mess hall towards her workshop, to collect her toolkit. Once she'd gone, Jaws called through to the galley.
"Blackmask, you got our coffee?!"
"Right here, Captain. Hold your horses." Blackmask appeared out of the galley, holding a large tray of coffee. She put it down on Jaws' table.
"Splendid. What about you, Alasdair? You for coffee?"
"Och, Ah hink I'll hae one an' aw. Aam nae really in th' mood for breakfast reit now."
"Suit yourself. Just gulp that down, and then I'll give you the guided tour."
Alasdair quickly finished his coffee (which, as coffee went, wasn't actually that bad), and then Jaws began the tour.
"Right, well, as you can see, this is the mess hall. You're welcome in here whenever you're not on duty, and feel free to use the galley facilities as well. Normally, we just have Blackmask here cook for us, but you're welcome to have a go as well."
"Och, yoo'll nae see me tryin' tae cook! Aw Ah can make ur pancakes, an' e'en 'en, ye shoods hae seen what happened th' lest time Ah tried!"
"Yes, I know. Your sister told me about that yesterday. Now, if you'll follow me along this way..."
Jaws led Alasdair out of the mess hall to continue the tour, leaving Blackmask with the television to herself.
Their first stop on the tour was the Factory Sector. This was where the Stellar Typhoon's ancillary craft could be repaired between battles. It contained all the equipment needed to keep everything working properly, and there were even facilities, Jaws said, to build new craft from scratch. Alasdair was most impressed, but he couldn't understand how a pirate cruiser could come to have such an area. He said so.
"Ah, well, this cruiser was actually built as an experimental prototype by the Stellar Federation back in the 70s," Jaws explained, "They were trying out some new ideas at the time, and this was one of them. The idea was that it'd be more efficient for a battlecruiser to be able to build, repair and maintain its own fighters while still out in space, as they wouldn't have to waste time returning to base to stock up on fighters."
"Ah see. Was it actually efficient?"
"No, not really. At least, not until the ship got stolen."
"Who stole it, loch?"
"Ah, I'll let our visitor explain that later. Now, as you can see, this area's working much better for us than it ever did for the Federation. See down there, they're working on one of the Capital Fighters. Me and my Elite Crew have one each. That one's CF-4, Kyoko's fighter craft. Used to be a patrol craft from the Hinode Division. She's fitted it up so that we can work it by radio control, and use it as a scout craft."
"Ah see. Er, whit dae ye mean by Elite Crew? Ah heard ye mention 'at earlier..."
"Oh, they're the people in my crew that work directly alongside me. You know, Leslie, Blackmask, Kyoko, yourself...Actually, that's just about it."
"Interesting. Whaur dae ye stair th' fighters an' 'at when they're nae being used?"
"Ah, now that's our next stop. Come this way. We'll take the lift..."
Jaws led Alasdair down to the lifts, and walked over to where another fighter had just been repaired. Jaws asked if they could hitch a lift down with it. The supervisor on duty seemed unsure, but seeing that this was the Captain, she didn't complain. She sent them down on the vehicle lift with the fighter.
The lift eventually stopped when it reached a large hangar several decks below the Factory Sector. As the repaired fighter was rolled off the lift, Jaws began to show Alasdair around the hangar.
"This is where we keep most of the fighters. We have special lifts which transport them to one of our launching bays, and we can usually get a fighter from here to the battlefield in less than five minutes. Three's our current record."
"Only three minutes? Wow, impressive. A lot ay th' auld Federation fighters tak fifteen minutes minimum tae get ready. Hoo many fighters dae ye hae in haur?"
"Oh, I'd say about twenty five. The Capital Fighters are in a separate hanger. That's our next stop."
When they reached the hangar where the Capital Fighters were kept, Jaws showed Alasdair around each fighter. Each fighter was different, and catered specifically to the needs of each Elite Crew member.
"We're expecting another Capital Fighter sometime soon," Jaws explained, "We'll be using it as a spare in case any of these ones are out of action."
"Aye, an' who'd be bringing it, 'en?"
"The same guy that's bringing your stuff," Jaws looked at her watch, "And he should be here any moment now. We'll head up to the bridge next and wait for him. Come on."
Alasdair had only had a brief glimpse of the Stellar Typhoon's bridge when he'd first arrived on the cruiser, but as Jaws led him in now, he was able to get a better look at it. The Federation influence in its design was obvious. There were the usual amenities you'd expect to find on the bridge of a battlecruiser. What caught Alasdair's eye was the large command chair in the centre.
"My personal throne," Jaws explained to Alasdair, "If I need to, I can carry out all my duties as Captain from this chair. Certain biological and stimulative functions notwithstanding, of course!"
"Aye, ay coorse." Alasdair said, realising what Jaws meant.
"Well, that's the main tour over for now. When we have the time, I'll show you some of the lesser known areas of the Typhoon."
"And knowing you, Captain," said a voice, "That's bound to be pretty much the whole ship."
Both Jaws and Alasdair looked to see Leslie Kennedy at one of the technical stations, adjusting some parameters.
"Yes, thank you, Leslie," said Jaws, "Any sign of our visitor yet?"
"No, we're still waiting for him. You did say 10:45, didn't you?"
"I did...What's keeping him? He's only coming from Procyon VI, for God's sake!"
"You never know, Captain. Commander Barratt's been hanging around Procyon for a while now. He could have...Hang on, a call's coming through."
"Okay, see to it, Leslie. That must be him now."
"Yes, Captain." Leslie went over to Jaws' command station and took a hold of a large microphone mounted on the side. "This is the Stellar Typhoon here, First Mate Kennedy speaking. How can I help?"
"Hello, Kennedy," said a deep, distinctly Scottish male voice on the other end, "Captain Finbar MacTaggart of the Stellar Monsoon here. I'm here with your new recruit's stuff."
"That's fine, Finbar. You have our permission to dock in Launching Bay 03."
"Thanks, Kennedy. Tell Jaws I want to see her and the new guy when I get there."
"Okay, Finbar, I'll tell her. Over and out." Leslie put the microphone back down, "Captain, Finbar says he'd like to..."
"Yes, Leslie, I know what he said. I could hear him too!" Jaws turned to Alasdair, "Right, you. Come on. Our visitor's been dying to meet you."
"Er, okay. if ye insist...By th' way, I've been meaning tae ask. Hoo is it ye can understand mah patter?"
"Well, I think that should be obvious! Our visitor is from Procyon VI, same neck of the woods as you. And I do have a lot of Scottish people on my crew."
"Weel, thaur is 'at, Ah suppose. Who is uir visitor, anyway? Coz Kyoko says he's an auld mutual mukker ay ye an' mah uncle Stanley."
"Well, come along, and you'll see..."
Jaws and Alasdair reached the launching bay just as their visitor did. They arrived in a large shuttlecraft, which looked surprisingly clean and modern against the decrepit surroundings of the bay. The shuttlecraft was towing another ship behind it with its tractor beam, and as it entered the bay, Alasdair recognised it immediately.
"Bide a minute, that's mah transporter! Ah thought he was jist gonnae tak' aw mah stuff oot o' it, nae tak' th' whole bloody hin' wi' heem!"
"Apparently, he thought it was easier to do it this way. Can't really say I disagreed with him." said Jaws, as the two ships came to a halt. She ran over to the shuttlecraft, obviously looking forward to greeting her visitor. Alasdair could see out of the bay, and he noticed another cruiser floating alongside the Typhoon. It looked very similar, except for the name; Stellar Monsoon.
The shuttle door swung open just as Alasdair caught up with Jaws, and as he looked at the visitor, he felt rather awed by him. He was a tall, slender raccoon, with long hair, an eyepatch and a military uniform very much like a mix of his own and Jaws'. He looked very much like Jaws too, and if it wasn't for the hair colour, Alasdair could have easily mistaken him for a male version. As he stepped down, Jaws greeted the newcomer warmly.
"Hello, honey." she smiled sweetly at him.
"Aye, good morning to you too, Jaws. Erm, I got these for you..." And the raccoon handed Jaws a small bouquet of flowers.
"Aw, thanks, sweetie! You shouldn't have!" Jaws grinned idiotically at the bouquet, before leaning over and kissing the raccoon on the cheek. "I see you got here alright."
"Yeah, no hiccups for a change...Is this the new Assistant Chief Engineer?"
"Yes, this is...Actually, I'll let him introduce himself."
"Whit? Och, er, Geddes. Alasdair Geddes. an' ye ur...?"
"Oh, where are my manners? I'm Finbar MacTaggart, Captain of the Stellar Monsoon. Didn't Jaws tell you about me?"
"Nae, she didna. Nae much. She says we've mit afair, but Ah cannae recaa ever seein' ye."
"Well, you'd have probably only just been born at the time. See, me and your uncle Stanley have been best friends since primary school. We were in the same class together."
"Actually, Finbar," said Jaws, "Stanley went to school, and also made up excuses as to why you were never there!"
"Well, I was mastering big business, even back then. Which reminds me, I've got this lad's stuff here."
"And as a special bonus, I've got that Capital Fighter you were asking for. It should be reaching us any moment now."
"Oh, thank you, Fin. You're a darling." And Jaws hugged Finbar tightly. Alasdair had to stifle his gagging at this romancing going on close to him, but luckily they were interrupted by the new Capital Fighter arriving in the bay next to his transporter...
"Swatch at 'at! It's e'en mair ay a wreck than mah transporter!"
"Maybe so," said Finbar, "But I expect you and young Kyoko will make short work of it. Where is Kyoko, by the way?" he asked Jaws, "I'd been looking forward to seeing her again."
"She's supervising some repairs to CF-4 in the Factory Sector. We'll leave her be for now. Come on, help us get Alasdair's stuff into his cabin, and then I'll ask her to come up."
With that, the three of them set about moving Alasdair's belongings from his wrecked old freighter to his cabin, assisted by the terrier who'd brought in the Capital Fighter. It took the rest of the morning for them to finish, but they eventually shifted the last of it just before lunchtime.