The Doctor, Fitz, and the TARDIS belong to the BBC. Alan and Ryan Kelly, and Shannon Flynn are mine. I make references to an earlier story involving them which can be found In the "TOC Files" titled Time and Tide. You don't need to know what happened there to follow this. Enjoy!



Thief of Time

Procrastination is the thief of time---Edward Young, "Night Thoughts"

Alan looked over at the others as soon as they arrived. "OK, are we all set on what we're supposed to do?"

"Blend in until you find the woman who saved your life," commented his twin, Ryan.

"I understand why you want to find Amanda," replied Shannon, as she pushed her red hair our of her face, "but why did you bring us?"

"This was our first trip together, that's all. I just thought it would be interesting to come back after all that's happened."

"Only you would want to relive that." Shannon looked at the two brothers. "I felt like I was in the middle of a tug-of-war between you two."

"I'd like to think I have better control now," remarked Ryan

"So do I," grinned Alan. "So, are we ready to go see Port Royal?"

"Sure thing."

Making sure they looked proper for the 1600's with non descript shirts, pantaloons, and boots, they headed into Port Royal Jamaica, an infamous town and safe haven for pirates.

As it was evening, they saw many people dressed for a night out and felt grossly underdressed. "Shouldn't we have picked something more suitable?" asked Shannon as she fingered her plain dress.

"I didn't realize there would be a gala," defended Alan.

Ryan spotted a dark alley and dragged the others over. "Now, if I remember how this works, we just have to think of the type of clothing we want and the machine takes that into account. Yes?"

"Something like that, yes," answered Alan.

They each thought of formal wear and the clothes they wore shimmered and changed to a gown for Shannon and evening jackets for the brothers. "I have to ask Gil how this works," Ryan muttered in reference to the inventor of their machines.

"Gentlemen?"

They stood on either side of her and took an arm, escorting her to the mansion where everyone else was going.

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

The new governor of Jamaica looked out over the finest of Port Royal society. Most of them had questioned his appointment and recent knighthood, some even quite vocally, but that didn't stop them from eating his food or drinking his wine. Only a short time ago his name would have spread terror through the streets. Now? Doubtfulness and derision. He needed to prove he had made a clean cut from his past. There was one way to clear any doubts and that was to bring in the pirate known as Captain Wildfire, a name his own crew had given the blackguard months ago.

The governor spared himself a glimpse in the mirror. His wig was properly curled and lightly powdered, his mustache and beard neatly trimmed, and his clothes were of the most recent and highest fashion. He smiled inwardly. He had always had a fondness for fashion. It had made him the subject of many jokes, though none would dare to say so within his hearing. Now, his clothes fit in. He was respectable and he'd make these people see that.

A flash of red caught his eye and he sought it out. A woman who had her hair done with little or no artifice was rare. Was she so sure of herself that she needed no curls or jewels to adorn it? He approached and saw she wore a simple gown of deep forest green with lace trim. Her only item of jewelry was a simple medallion worn on a chain about her delicate neck. She was deep in conversation with two men who had their backs to him. She looked up when she heard his footsteps and he was struck by a sense of familiarity. The two men then turned and it was his turn to be surprised.

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

Alan turned and saw Captain Henry Morgan, feared all over the Caribbean until he—and the British Navy—caught him. "Hello Captain." The little snippets of conversations he had heard suddenly made sense. "Or should I say Acting Governor?"

"Kelly." Morgan then looked at Shannon. "And this is your sister. Looking lovelier than I remembered, m'dear."

"You are too kind, governor," Shannon replied, a sarcastic tinge to her voice as she dropped a curtsey. She stood and glared at the man who had been her captor.

"And who is this?"

"Ah, forgive my manners. Captain Henry Morgan, allow me to introduce my brother, Ryan Kelly. Ryan, this is Henry Morgan, acting governor of Jamaica."

"An honor, sir. I've heard so much about you." Ryan shook his hand like any admirer would.

Morgan looked at the newcomer. Another one? The Fates are surely laughing at me tonight. "Why were you not with your brother and sister when I met them last?"

"I was engaged in other pursuits," Ryan answered after a slight pause. Morgan had met him before, though the man wouldn't remember as he had a different face then, and name.

Alan eyed the throng, gauging the reactions of the people. "Seems you have a number of supporters," he remarked.

"A number of diners, more like. They still don't trust me and think I held some sway over the king in order for this appointment. However, he knows I have experience in this area of the world, and with the Spanish acting up again, he sent me."

"It takes a thief to catch a thief, eh?" said Shannon.

"Perhaps." He looked at them. "I'm glad you are here. I had tried to reach you, but no one knew where you disappeared to."

"You tried to reach us? Why?"

"You are the reason I am here. If you hadn't caught me, I could be dead or rotting somewhere."

"Yeah, well, it's thanks to Wildfire that we even caught you and won the fight when we did."

Morgan became serious again. "I'd like to speak with you tomorrow. Where are you staying?"

"We only just arrived," said Ryan. "We haven't got rooms."

"Then you shall stay here. I'll have rooms prepared. Enjoy yourselves." He walked off into the crowd.

"Well, that was interesting," said Shannon. "What brought that on?"

"He's taking this governor thing seriously. I can't believe how well he accepted our presence here," said Alan. "I thought he would have wanted to kill us."

"What he said was true," put in Shannon. "We are responsible in a way for him even being here."

"Did you see the look on his face when you mentioned Wildfire? I think that's what made him clam up."

"Yeah, you're just impressed that he's still that scared of you."

"You've got to admit it's amazing that he's still this affected from only after one encounter."

"I wonder what he wants to talk about," mused Shannon.

"We'll find out in the morning." Alan finished his wine. "Let's mingle, shall we?"

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

The following morning Shannon woke to the morning sun streaming through the windows of her room. The bed was so luxurious; she didn't want to get up. She was in Jamaica after all, a vacation of sorts. Why did she have to get up? Then she remembered that Morgan wanted to talk to them about something. She got up quickly and, after using the chamber pot, changed into a pair of black trousers, an oversized white shirt, and boots. She tied her hair back with a slim piece of ribbon then checked her reflection in the mirror. She may have looked prettier in the dress, but this outfit was more functional. She left the room and met the others in the hall

"How did you sleep?" Ryan asked her.

"Wonderful."

"Morgan should be downstairs. Let's see what it was he wanted to talk about." Alan led the way downstairs

He entered the dining room first and greeted his host. "Good morning, captain."

"Good morning, Mr. Kelly. I trust you slept well." He motioned for Alan to take a seat.

"Like a baby. I'd like to thank you for letting us stay the night."

"Yes, well, I did have ulterior motives." From the hall he heard a laugh that nearly chilled him. He had heard that laugh once before when the Satisfaction had been attacked. He looked to the door expecting to see his nightmare but only saw Kelly's brother and sister.

"Good morning, sir," said Ryan.

"Governor, is there something wrong?" questioned Shannon.

"No, I'm fine, thank you." He shook his head to clear the memory. He looked at Shannon's outfit. "Why the change, Miss Kelly?"

Shannon smiled. "I find that trousers are easier, my lord, especially when with my brothers."

"Yes, I can imagine that. If you would like to help yourselves to breakfast, I'll explain my proposal." He watched as they loaded their plates and filled their glasses. "I need your help in freeing the seas of a pirate."

Alan nearly choked on his eggs. "You need our help to get rid of a pirate?"

"What about the navy ships you can request?" put in Shannon. "We aren't professionals."

"You brought me in so I thought you'd be the best to bring him in."

"And who is this pirate?" questioned Ryan.

"Captain Wildfire."

It was Ryan's turn to choke. "Wildfire? But he's…he's…"

"Notorious and deadly, I know. I've sent many a ship after him already and they've all been destroyed."

"Tell us more about him," said Alan. "We only had that one encounter."

"As have I, but he has become more active in recent months. He has attacked ships of all flags that come within his path, as well as attacking villages and ports in the Caribbean. No one has been able to catch him, let alone arrest him."

"So there is no one who knows what he looks like?" asked Shannon.

"Aside from us in this room and some of the crew of the Satisfaction, I don't think so. At least none that have come forward."

"Too scared or dead," stated Ryan.

"Exactly."

"And you expect the three of us to go up against him?" Alan was incredulous.

"You have the experience. Besides, you're the only ones who have beaten him." Morgan looked at the three of them, waiting for an answer.

"Well, we did beat him," said Shannon with a sly glance at Ryan. "And perhaps have some inside knowledge on how he works."

Ryan grinned. "I would agree to that. Could be an interesting adventure."

Alan faced Morgan. "I guess we're going."

"Wonderful. I have a crewed ship waiting in the harbor." He stood.

"You knew we were going to accept, didn't you?"

"You are born adventurers and I knew you could not resist a challenge." He smiled. "When you're ready, I'll take you to the ship."

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

With the roar of the waves, the tall blue box materialized. One of the doors opened and a man who looked to be in his early thirties stepped out and breathed deep. "What wonderful sea air." He wore a dark green velvet jacket with tan trousers and his light brown hair fell in soft curls to his shoulders. But he, more than anyone, knew that appearances were deceiving.

"C'mon, Fitz!" he called back into the TARDIS. "You said you wanted to experience Earth's past without worry of war and I think I've managed that quite well."

A younger man joined the first and looked to be in his late twenties. He wore dark trousers and a collared short-sleeve shirt. He slung a jacket over his shoulder and squinted in the bright sun. "A bit of a tropical paradise, eh, Doctor?" He looked around, taking in the surf, sand, and lush vegetation. "Unsullied beaches, willing native girls, and no wars hanging over your head."

The Doctor shook his head at Fitz's simple needs. "Most likely all the natives are enslaved under one colonial power or another and there might be a skirmish or two as they stretch their muscles."

"One out of three, Doctor. We need to improve those odds."

The Doctor looked at Fitz's clothes. "I thought I told you to change into something appropriate?"

"I did. This is perfectly appropriate for Jamaica."

"In the 20th century, not the 17th. The TARDIS wardrobe will have something for you."

Fitz trudged back into the TARDIS and emerged fifteen minutes later wearing dark brown britches, a loose white shirt, and black boots. He had a matching jacket slung over his shoulder. "That better, Doctor?"

"Much. We don't need to draw attention to ourselves when most of the town is armed." The Doctor made sure the TARDIS was locked and the two men headed into Port Royal.

The streets were loud as the merchants going about their business competed with the patrons of the town's many pubs. This amazed Fitz even more so than his journeys with the Doctor to distant planets in the future. Those were just so fantastic that if he hadn't been there, he wouldn't have believed it. This, on the other hand, had already happened. It was history. He smiled. It looked like something out of those films his mother liked. His smile vanished.

A few catcalls caught his attention and he looked up to see scantily clad women showing their wares. "In broad daylight?"

"During the war with Spain, the buccaneers acted as privateers for the British Crown and Port Royal became the headquarters for raids against the Spanish. After the raids, the privateers would come in and squander their money on women and drink. When the money was gone, they were off on another raid." The Doctor warmed to his topic. "Now with the war over, the plantation owners saw they could make more money with the use of slaves and looked down on Port Royal. The new Lieutenant Governor also wanted to see the end of the 'immorality', which is rather ironic as he was once rather notorious himself." They stopped at the wharf and looked out at the ships in the harbor. "Soon, this will all be just a memory."

A clattering of hooves on the packed earth made them turn and get out of the way. A large open carriage approached. Inside was a flamboyant looking man and three lesser people, one of which was a woman. They stepped down and laughed with the rich man. "Who is that, Doctor?"

"That is Captain Sir Henry Morgan, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica and one-time pirate. I don't know the others." As the group passed where he and Fitz were standing, he got a better look. "I do know one of them," he said in surprise.

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

The three travelers stepped into the open carriage. Alan and Ryan took a seat facing the rear leaving Shannon to sit beside Morgan. She hadn't had much chance to sightsee on her last visit—being press-ganged onto a pirate ship kind of ruined things—so she took it all in.

From his position opposite, Alan watched Morgan the governor and could see only a few traces of Morgan the pirate. He smiled and waved at the people in the street, calling out greetings when he knew them by name.

A carriage approached them from the front. All Alan could see was the horses and driver. "Sir Henry, I was hoping I would see you today," said a lady's voice. "I want to apologize for my missing your gala last night due to an indisposition."

"In your condition, that is expected. Have you had any word of your husband?"

"No, Sir Henry. I was wondering if you had received any dispatches regarding his ship."

"I'm sorry to say I haven't. However, a ship is being prepared to go after Wildfire at this very moment." He motioned to the others. "Allow me to introduce the 'officers' of her crew, so to speak. This is Shannon, Ryan, and Alan Kelly. I've asked them to embark on this endeavor, as they are the only ones who have beaten the man."

The woman leaned forward and Alan could see her. It was Lady Amanda. She looked absolutely wonderful. She hid her stunned expression well. "Mr. Kelly and I are already acquainted, Sir Henry."

When she didn't elaborate further, Alan felt the need to. "She kept me out of prison and helped me to convince the Navy of my story." He then looked at Amanda. "I take it that the good captain is the missing husband in question."

"Yes. He went out after Wildfire a fortnight ago and there has been no word. I fear the worst."

"We'll do our best to find him for you," Alan promised. "After all, I do owe you my life."

"Thank you, Mr. Kelly."

"You must get home and rest, Lady Amanda. The matter is in good hands," said Morgan.

"I shall. A pleasure to meet you," she said to Ryan. "And to see you again, Miss Kelly." She told the coachman to drive on.

"I should have realized you knew the lady," commented Morgan. "Hargraves is not an easy man to convince, yet he treated you as an equal. Only Lady Amanda could have persuaded him to let you go along."

"Even so, he was still a little hesitant," said Alan as he remembered the officer's reaction to his claims.

"So where is this excursion taking us?" asked Shannon. "Where has Wildfire been seen?"

"I'll have the first officer fill you in on the details."

"We're not taking a position away from anyone, are we?" asked Ryan.

"He will be glad to see you." Alan looked at Morgan questioningly. "After all, you have faced Wildfire and survived. It will be a great boost of morale for the crew."

They turned the corner and were on the quayside. Workers went about their business unloading skiffs for the different merchants in the area, shouting at each other in a myriad of languages. The smell of fish and horse droppings mingled to make Shannon gag.

Ryan noticed and grinned. "Don't worry. Soon it'll just be fresh sea air."

Yeah, and a crew who probably thinks 'bath' is a dirty word. She smiled weakly.

"It does take some getting used to," agreed Morgan. He handed Alan his telescope. "Your ship is out there."

Alan took the spyglass and scanned the harbor. The name of one caused him to do a double take. "It can't be."

"What?" asked Shannon.

Alan lowered the telescope. "It's the Satisfaction."

"Really?" She looked at Morgan. "Your old ship?"

"What better way to say you are working for me?"

"It is most definitely an honor, sir, to captain your ship."

"But you already have, Mr. Kelly, last time you went after Wildfire."

Morgan walked with them to one of the many boats waiting to ferry passengers. "This is where I wish you good luck."

"You're not joining us on the Satisfaction?" asked Ryan.

"It would not look good for me to do so, Mr. Kelly. People would get the wrong impression."

"One that could ruin a possible future in politics," commented Alan.

"Exactly." He shook them each by hand. "I appreciate what you're doing for me. When you return, I'll hold the largest gala to celebrate your victory."

"Let's hope that trust is not misplaced," said Shannon as she stepped into the rowboat.

"I strongly doubt it is. Godspeed, my friends."

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

After Morgan's carriage drove away, Fitz headed for the dock. "C'mon, Doctor. Let's go."

"Fitz, wait. That ship was crewed by pirates loyal to Morgan. I don't want to strand us there without knowing what's going on."

"But you said you knew one of them."

"I do. All the more reason to be cautious. Alan Kelly was considered a hero in his time and there was a purpose to every mission. He wouldn't undertake something like this lightly."

"So?"

"So we try to learn what's going on. And when you want to learn from the locals…"

"You go to the local." Fitz grinned. "I think I'm gonna like this part."

The Doctor and Fitz entered one of the many taverns and found a table. The Doctor sat down as if he was having high tea at Fortnum and Mason's. He had the unique ability of acting like he belonged everywhere he went that Fitz found amazing and irritating at the same time. The patrons gave them a few harsh looks then whispered among themselves. Not soon after a very pretty barmaid came over. "And how can I help you, fine sirs?"

"Two pints of ale and something to eat. What do you suggest?"

"We have some fine beef pasties, said to be the best on the waterfront."

"Splendid!" beamed the Doctor. "Don't you agree, Fitz?"

"Oh, yeah, splendid," Fitz agreed, pulling his eyes away from the barmaid.

"Two pints and two pasties, my dear, and we'll get along like wildfire."

An unnatural hush settled over the room and the Doctor pretended not to know what he said.

"What's the matter?" asked Fitz. "It's only an innocent remark."

"You bein' new to the islands wouldn't know that 'wildfire' is not a word used lightly here," said a reedy man at the next table. "Wildfire is a pirate who attacks any ship, no matter what flag they fly."

"Any ship? Even passenger ships?" Fitz turned to face their neighbor.

"Especially those," added another man, joining the conversation. "More chance of good loot that way."

"Then my friend and I were lucky to have made it safely," said the Doctor. "But if the man is so notorious, why haven't we heard of him?"

"Would you want it put 'round that there is a madman out there attacking ships without rhyme or reason?"

"No, I suppose not." He leaned forward in his chair. "Tell us more."

"I think the first time was when he attacked the Satisfaction. That weakened the crew for the British navy and that's the main reason they got Morgan." The man drained his pint. "For some reason the crew got permission to go after Wildfire and headed off to the Bahamas."

A third man took up the tale. "The story goes that there was a brother and sister on the crew. The brother was shot an' fell overboard and the sister was discovered. Anyway, Wildfire took the girl and the brother was with the navy. 'E got the navy cap'n to let 'im take the Satisfaction to go after Wildfire and get 'is sister. They changed direction for Florida and found Wildfire's ship."

The first man continued. "The Satisfaction fired on Wildfire's ship and the man dove into the water and swam over to the ship and climbed the stern and saved his sister. He then began to attack from within and soon he faced Wildfire himself. They fought like they knew each other but soon Wildfire had the better of the brother and was about to land a killing blow when the sister fired at him, breaking his sword in half."

"So, what happened to Wildfire?" questioned Fitz.

"'E escaped somehow," said the third. "No one knows 'ow, 'xactly. But now 'e's back and Morgan's takin' it personally. 'E's sent out a number o' ships to get 'im and none 'ave come back."

"You never said why he's called Wildfire," said the Doctor.

"He had a pistol, one that had never been seen before. It shot fire from its barrel and had no trigger."

The Doctor was stunned. Someone here had a laser pistol! He could not show he believed such nonsense. "A pistol that shoots fire? Oh, please. How could you believe such a story?"

The man stared at them. "I was one of the crew. I saw it for myself."

This puts a totally different perspective on everything. "So, what happened to the brother and sister?"

"We dropped them off on Andros Island by some plantation and that was the last I saw of Alan and Shannon Kelly."

The Doctor couldn't help but looked stunned.

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

The skiff pulled alongside the Satisfaction and Ryan clambered up the rope ladder followed by Shannon and Alan. The men on deck stopped what chores they were doing and stared. Seeing a woman onboard, a few muttered curses. A large burly man walked over to them. "What're you doin' here?" he growled.

"We've been appointed to the Satisfaction by Lieutenant Governor Morgan to assist in the pursuit and capture of Wildfire," stated Alan in his most officious tone.

The man looked them over and saw only three upper-class fools trying to play at sailors. It was probably something Morgan was pressured into by those back in London. He gave himself a mental shrug and knew this would not be a good trip. "I'd best take ye to the captain, then."

They followed their guide below decks to the stern where the captain's quarters were located. Shannon took a deep breath as unpleasant memories assailed her.

"You okay?" asked Alan.

"I'll be all right. Thanks."

The man knocked on the door. "Cap'n, we've guests." He sneered the last word.

"Come in, Thorpe."

Thorpe opened the door and let the others in first. The cabin was rather spacious with a large desk as the central focus. There was a bunk against the wall and a few large chests scattered about. It was not as elegant as Shannon remembered, but then, this was a different captain from Morgan. The Satisfaction's captain was seated at the desk taking measurements with a compass from a sea chart. They waited patiently for him to be done.

He looked up from his calculations and Alan grinned in recognition at the thin man. "Jacko!"

Jacko looked up from his charts and stared at the newcomers with Thorpe. Two looked oddly familiar. Then he remembered the brother and sister who had been part of the crew and had saved the ship from a ruthless pirate three years ago. He smiled broadly and walked over to greet them. "Cap'n! Irish! It is you. How long have you been in Port Royal?"

"We got in last night and met up with Morgan at his party. This morning he asked us to help get Wildfire."

"I'm surprised he didn't tell me."

"He didn't know," said Shannon. "He was quite surprised to see us."

Ryan coughed not so subtly.

"I'm sorry," said Alan. "We got so caught up with seeing an old friend that I forgot to make the introductions. Jacko, this is our brother Ryan. Ryan, this is Jacko, our only ally on the Satisfaction last time around."

Ryan shook his hand. "You're the one who helped Alan save Shannon."

Jacko was surprised. "Yes, I was. How did you know?"

"They've told the story so many times, I feel like I was there."

"With Wildfire back, some of the men try to get free drinks in the taverns by telling how they were part of the crew that defeated him," confided Jacko. "Isn't that right, Thorpe?"

"Yes, sir," the big man answered with a grin. "No wonder I didn't recognize you," he told Alan and Shannon. "I pictured you different."

"Sorry if we disappoint," smiled Shannon.

"Don't think you ever could, miss."

"Why don't you see how things are going, Thorpe? We mean to sail with the tide."

"Yes, sir." Thorpe left.

"Let me show you the maps and see if we can track him down."

"Mark where all known attacks have been," said Ryan. "From there, we should be able to find where his base is."

Jacko took out a pencil and marked off a few spots. "There were some here in the Bahamas, off Hispaniola, near Cuba, and up near Florida."

The four stared at the marks. "Could be almost anywhere," said Shannon.

"I would think he would have to be somewhere in this general area," motioned Alan as he waved towards the northern Caribbean. He looked at Ryan. "Any ideas?"

Ryan glared at him knowing exactly why he was asked that question. He studied the map a bit closer. When he had been Wildfire for that brief time, he had worked out of the Florida Keys. "Here. It's remote enough, yet within range."

Shannon read the name of the island. "Boca Grande Key. How fitting."

Jacko ignored the sibling barbs and peered at the island and the surrounding sea. "It is ideal. I'll plot a course for it."

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

After getting over the surprise of hearing that Alan had been involved with pirates, the Doctor realized that, with what he knew about the man, it wasn't all that surprising. He was a man willing to jump into any adventure, even if it wasn't his own. He thought back to their other meeting and remembered how he had jumped in to assist when they had landed in the middle of a rivalry between two criminal masterminds. They soon learned that the city was part of a large role-playing game on a pleasure planet in the 40th century, well into the soldier's future. He received a great ego boost when he learned there was a world based solely on his exploits.[1]

Fitz saw the Doctor deep in thought and tried to restart the conversation. "And you're sure this man is the same as before?"

"How can I be when I haven't seen him? As far as I know, the only ones who could recognize him are those of his own crew and those who crewed the Satisfaction that day."

"So, this may not be the same man," reflected the Doctor.

"But who would want to do that?" asked Fitz.

"Someone who doesn't want to worry about building a fearful reputation. It comes with the name."

"That is true," agreed the former pirate. "He would have to sign on a new crew so no one could say he wasn't Wildfire."

"So, he could be one of the former crew," said Fitz.

"Quite possibly," agreed the Doctor. "He would know how the real Wildfire would have acted."

"Why're you guys askin' all these questions anyway?"

At a loss, Fitz looked at the Doctor. "We've been sent by London to check up on a few things here in Port Royal."

"Making sure Morgan doesn't mess up?"

"You could say that," said the Doctor.

"Why don't you just got to Government House and talk with him?"

"He won't act the way he normally would if he thinks he's being watched," put in Fitz. "Besides, we just saw him on the quay sending three people off to one of the ships."

"The Satisfaction," the Doctor supplied.

"Must be getting serious, sending the old girl on a mission like this." The three sat there in silence for a few moments. "I might be able to get you aboard the Satisfaction."

The Doctor looked at their new ally. "And how would you explain our presence? You can't very well tell them the truth."

"The crew could always use more men and a doctor is doubly welcome." He downed the remains of his drink. "We'd better hurry. If I know Morgan, the Satisfaction is under orders to sail on the tide."

The Doctor finished his drink and stood. "Then lead the way, Mr…"

"Matthews." He headed for the door. "C'mon, then."

The Doctor followed, and, after grabbing the pasties from the table, so did Fitz.

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

Jacko lead the way above decks and took his place on the quarterdeck by the rail, motioning for the travelers to join him. He spoke to the assembled crew. "We have been charged with a dangerous assignment, one from which we may not return. There is a pirate out there who has no respect for the laws of our Brotherhood. He attacks any ship that looks rich enough and pillages every shore town. Lieutenant Governor Morgan has directed us to end Wildfire's terror by any means possible."

"We beat him once and we can do it again!" called an older sailor from the rear.

Jacko smiled. "Indeed, we did, and that is why we have been given this task. For you men who were here before, you know who these people are," he said with a glance at the three. "You new men may have heard of them. Shannon, Alan, and Ryan Kelly." He waited as the names circulated through the crew's memory. "Treat them accordingly." He looked to Thorpe. "Prepare to weigh anchor."

"Ship to larboard!" called one of the men.

The crew lined the larboard rail and watched as the rowboat pulled alongside. The first to climb up had the tanned complexion of one used to outdoor activities. He spotted Jacko. "Permission to come aboard, sir?"

"Didn't expect to see you on this trip, Matthews," he said by way of greeting.

"Not planning to stay. Just brought two fresh faces for you." He looked back as his two companions clambered aboard. "Dr. John Smith and his friend, Fitz Kriener."

"A doctor, eh?" Jacko was intrigued. "I'm sure your services will be needed before this voyage is through," he told the Doctor. He then looked at Fitz. "And what do you do?"

"A bit of everything," said Fitz with a quick smile.

"I'm sure we'll be able to find something for you to do." Jacko looked at Matthews. "How did you meet them?"

"In the ______. Got talking about Wildfire and mentioned you were on your way. They asked to be on your crew." He headed for the rail. "I'll leave them with you. Safe voyage, my friends!" Matthews climbed down to his waiting boat and rowed away.

As soon as Matthews was clear, the Satisfaction weighed anchor and unfurled her sails.

The Doctor and Fitz stood out of the way and watched as the sailors went about their duties. To Fitz it seemed that they were running about with no direction, yet knew that wasn't the case. When things slowed a little, he went to the rail and watched the coastline.

The Doctor joined him and took a deep breath of sea air. "Have you ever sailed before, Fitz?"

"I was on the Cutty Sark as a kid. Does that count?"

"Sorry to say it doesn't." He smiled. "Wait until you get used to the movement of the ship before you go below." Fitz looked at him questioningly, wondering if he had something planned. "Mal de mer, Fitz. If you don't have a strong stomach, being below decks makes it worse."

"Right." Fitz glanced up at the poop deck where the man that the Doctor said he knew was deep in conversation with the captain and two others. "When are you going to talk with him?"

"Not when we can be overheard. Perhaps later this evening. I think it's time we go check our quarters."

"Sure. If I start feeling queasy, I'll come back up."

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

From his position on the poop deck, Alan saw the Doctor and Fitz go below. He felt drawn to the older man for some strange, inexplicable reason. It wasn't until Shannon nudged him that he realized he missed part of the conversation. "What?"

"I just wanted your opinion on which route to take," said Jacko.

"As we're not familiar with these waters, I'd say you talk it over with your officers."

"Of course. I'll go do that. You're welcome to stay here or go down to my cabin if you wish." Jacko went down to the main deck where he consulted his men.

Ryan looked after him. "That's what I said, but I guess he needed to hear it from you."

"Sorry if he hurt your feelings," said Alan, "but, in his defense, he doesn't know you and I think he has placed me as the one in charge."

"It's all right," said Ryan. "What was it with you before? You just kind of spaced-out there."

"Sorry. It's about those two new guys. I don't think they're telling the truth."

"Spies?" questioned Shannon.

"I don't think they mean any harm. But there's something about the one in green velvet that is so familiar."

"Where do you remember seeing him?" asked Shannon.

"That's just it. It's not what he looks like that's familiar. It's more his attitude, his poise, his aura, for lack of a better word."

"So, what you're saying is even though you haven't met him before, you've met his type."

"That sounds about right. I just don't know who, where, or when."

"So let's try to narrow the possibilities," said Ryan. "Government? Military? Police?"

Alan thought for a moment, trying to sort out what it was about the man calling himself Dr. John Smith. "No, none of those."

"Why don't we go down to the cabin where we can have a bit of privacy- -"

"Shane! I'm shocked!" teased Ryan.

She ignored him. "Anyway, see if you can do a little mind meld, or whatever it's called."

"Could work," agreed Alan. "Give us some insight and see what he has planned."

The three went down to Jacko's cabin and Alan made himself comfortable in the great chair and concentrated his thoughts.

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

Fitz followed the Doctor as he made his way down into the depths. The Doctor then started to move forward to the bow. It was dark and Fitz lost his footing and walked into a box or two. The Doctor kept on like a cat and soon found an oil lamp hanging from a beam and lit it after fumbling through his pockets for a match.

The light illuminated the cabin that ran the width of the ship and almost the whole front end of the ship. Fitz saw some netting hanging from the hull. "Weird place for nets."

The Doctor smiled indulgently at his companion's lack of nautical knowledge. "That'll probably be your bed," he commented.

"What?"

"It's a hammock, Fitz. They leave them down during the day for free movement about the ship." He spotted an opening further ahead and took the lamp with him to explore.

"Hey, wait!" In his urgency, Fitz didn't spot a low-hanging beam. "Ow!"

"Watch out, the beams get lower the more forward you go."

"Thanks, Doctor," said Fitz as he rubbed his head.

He stood in the doorway because the room wasn't all that large. Off to one side was an array of tools whose use Fitz didn't want to contemplate. The Doctor gingerly touched a few and Fitz noticed rust stains. "What is this? Some sort of torture chamber?"

"In a manner of speaking. It's the surgery."

Fitz was horrified. To hear or read about it was one thing, but to see it firsthand was something else altogether. "Then they are lucky you'll be the doctor this trip." Getting no response, he walked into the room and looked the Doctor in the face. He was unblinking, staring forward. "Doctor?"

The Doctor blinked a few times and came out of his trance quickly. "That shouldn't have happened."

"What shouldn't have happened?"

"A psychic visit. Somebody literally tried to get inside my head." He turned and headed back to the main room.

"Do you know who?" questioned Fitz as he followed, not wanting to be left in the dark.

"I have an idea."

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

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 was he? He thought further on the matter. He had 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?"

None. 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 __________.

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 ________. 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 _______ so we should meet up in _______. 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!"

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

Fitz came to with one of the worst headaches he could remember. The Doctor was sure to have some little miracle cure if he could only find him. As his eyes focused, he wished they hadn't. There were bodies scattered about the deck and blood was starting to stain the wood. He staggered aft and, near the steps leading to the poop deck, he spotted Alan's body. He rushed forward and reached it about the same time as the other crewmembers came topside since they had been sequestered below.

They stood motionless in the doorway and Thorpe was the first to speak. "Christ! What happened?"

"I don't know. I was knocked out during the fight. My guess is we lost." He looked down at Alan. "And not just the battle." He looked at the wounded men and wondered where the Doctor was. It wasn't like him to leave men suffering. There was also no sign of Shannon. He remembered seeing her as he fought, but she must have left after he was knocked out.

Thorpe was thinking along the same lines as he called for the Doctor. "Someone get the sawbones! Also, search for the captain. He has to be here somewhere."

A few moments later a call from one of the crew brought Fitz and Thorpe running. Jacko had been found but he was dead. His once white shirt was now a bright crimson. The man looked up at Thorpe. "Looks like you're the captain now, what with Jacko and Alan dead."

Thorpe was stunned. Fitz could only guess that this was not how he wanted to become captain. "Let's see to the wounded and prepare the others for burial." He slowly walked to the rail.

Fitz walked back to where Alan lay and began to help with the wounded. As he bound one man's wounds, he confirmed Fitz's worst fears. "Wildfire took the doctor and Shane." He gave a half-hearted smile. "She fought him all the way. The doctor had to be taken by force."

"Sounds like him," murmured Fitz. "Take it easy," he told his patient. "You should be okay."

He heard strange noises from behind him and then saw his patient turn even whiter. He turned and felt his jaw drop. Sitting up in the corner was Alan Kelly looking none the worse for his "death".

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

Breathe, dammit! Breathe! Alan was having a hard time making his body respond to the slightest commands. He then began to coax it. I'll treat you better, I promise. Try not to let you get shot so many times. That did the trick because the next thing he remembered was taking a deep gulp of air. Sensation began to return. Man, why am I so achy? He opened his eyes and slowly sat up. Then it all came back. The ship had been attacked and his own brother had shot him. It could be worse; he could be dead. Judging by the look on Fitz's face, the crew thought he had been. Best to act like it's no big deal. "So, fill me in on what's happened."

Fitz told him that Shannon and the Doctor had been taken and that Jacko was dead. "Thorpe's taken over."

"Good. Are we following?"

"I don't know. His priority was the crew."

"All right. I think I need to talk to him." He grabbed the rail and pulled himself up. "Damn Ryan. Next time I get to kill him." He saw the acting captain and called him over. "Mr. Thorpe, I need to speak with you!"

Thorpe and some of the men he had been speaking with approached Alan, amazed expressions on their faces. "Mr. Kelly, we thought you were dead."

"A misdiagnosis, I assure you. I was merely unconscious. Fitz told me that you have been taking care of the crew, but what of the condition of the ship? Are we able to continue?"

"The hull is secure and the sails are in good condition. Jacko is dead."

"So Fitz told me." A picture of Amanda came into his head, and of her concern for her husband. "Did he have any family? Anyone who would want a funeral?"

"No one that I'm aware of."

"Then they'll all have burial at sea. We'll have to do it on the way."

"If only we could reach that island first," remarked Fitz.

"Short of praying, there's no way," said Thorpe.

"You forget, we have allies on that ship."

"Prisoners, more like."

"You forget my brother, Mr. Thorpe. All we need is a little old- fashioned sabotage. What would be the easiest thing for them to do just to slow the ship for a few hours?"

Thorpe thought for a moment. "There's the _________ that connects the wheel to the rudder. If someone can cut through that, it should keep the crew busy for a few hours."

"Perfect."

"Though how your brother is gonna know about this is beyond me."

"My brother and I have a tendency to think alike, Mr. Thorpe." And that's not just a figure of speech.

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

The men of the Phoenix were in high spirits as the pulled away from the Satisfaction. Granted, there was no loot taken, but it was still a victory, proving they were better than all those Morgan had sent against them.

Forbes approached Ryan. "Are you sure that was the right thing t' do, cap'n? Not sinkin' 'er?"

"Are you questioning my orders, Forbes?"

"Oh, no, sir. It's just that you seem diff'rent from before, is all."

"Victory can be won through strategy as well as the sword, Forbes. Too bad I won't be able to see Morgan's face when he receives the news."

"I'd like to see how the crew reacts without a captain," said Doyle, the man who had been Wildfire.

I'm sorry, Jacko! "We still have to be on guard. They might take it into their heads to seek revenge. I'm going to speak with our guests. Forbes, you take the helm."

"Aye, cap'n."

Ryan went down to his cabin and dismissed the guard. He then entered to see Shannon sitting at the desk with the Doctor comforting her. At his entry, her head jerked up and she glared at him with hatred he hadn't seen in some time. "You bastard! How could you do that?"

"Shannon will you be quiet? You'll blow everything." He turned off the holograph. "Does that help?"

"Yeah. I wanna make sure I beat up the right guy."

She made to lunge for him but the Doctor held her back. "Just listen to him."

"Thank you," Ryan told him. He then faced Shannon. "That was just to remind you that this whole thing is just an act. I'm not that man anymore. I took you two aboard because I needed allies."

"And killing Alan?"

"I told you, I didn't kill him."

Hey, guys. How're things there?

Alan!

Thank you for contacting when you did. I've been trying to convince her you're not dead.

Shane, I'm sorry we couldn't fill you in on the plan. We only came up with it when fighting.

You are determined to give me a heartattack, aren't you?

Not intentionally.

I'm sorry about Jacko, said Ryan. It was the other Wildfire, Jim Something.

I know you wouldn't've done anything like that. Anyway, I need you all to do a little sabotage. If you can hinder the sailing, the Satisfaction should be able to make it to Boca Grande first.

Attack the forces while split, eh? Good thinking, commented Shannon.

But what can we do that won't permanently damage the ship? questioned Ryan.

Alan relayed Thorpe's idea. As to how you go about it, that's your problem. Let me know how it goes.

The Doctor was looking at them both. "What did Alan have to say?"

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

Shannon shouldn't have been surprised that the Doctor knew about Alan. She had learned from Fitz—and observation—that the Doctor only acted like he didn't know or care what was going on outside his own sphere, but he heard and saw everything. She turned her blazing eyes on him. "You knew he was alive and didn't say anything?"

"I would never allow someone to experience such pain," he said softly. "I didn't suspect until Ryan made it clear that he was in full possession of his faculties." He looked to Ryan. "You are in full possession of your faculties?"

"As good as it gets, Doctor. Alan wants us to do a little work on the ship," Ryan informed him. He then related the idea.

"Where is it located?" asked Shannon.

"The aft hull," answered Ryan. "I can get there, no problem, but I can't cut through that rope myself. It's huge."

"If I might suggest, you go there to make sure it wasn't damaged in the battle. When you're alone, contact Shannon and we'll come help you. Of course, you'll tell the guards that we're to be left alone until further notice."

"You might want to scout for something to cut the rope," put in Shannon.

"Or," said Ryan slowly, "I could just use the laser to cut it."

"There's that, too."

"I'm surprised I didn't think of that," commented the Doctor.

"I almost forgot myself. You guys sit tight. I'll let you know when it's done." Ryan made for the door.

"Um, Ryan," started Shannon. He turned his head. "You might want to fix your face."

He grinned. "Thanks."

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

That night the Satisfaction arrived off Boca Grande and there was no sign of the Phoenix. Thorpe and the crew were stunned and wondered if Alan and his brother really did think alike,

Alan let them think whatever they wanted as long as it didn't stop them from doing their jobs. He walked up to Thorpe on the quarterdeck. "Have the crew lower a boat. Fitz and I are going to have a little fun."

"Why him?" questioned Thorpe. "There are more experienced men in the crew."

"Which means you'll need them all when the time arises. He'll be perfect for what I have in mind."

"If you're sure." They discussed the plan in detail before splitting up. Thorpe passed along the order and Alan went to find Fitz.

He found him below decks trying to teach the other men poker. He's not too bad. Just needs to cultivate a better poker face. He waited until Fitz took the hand before he spoke. "Fitz, we have been chosen for a mission."

A look of elation was quickly followed by one of apprehension. "What kind of mission?"

"A little reconnaissance, even the odds a little."

"Just the two of us against a bunch of pirates on their home turf? No thanks."

"If you'd rather remain here when the Phoenix arrives, I'll go find someone else." Alan made to leave, knowing full well that Fitz would follow.

"Since you put it that way…"

Once on the deck, they went to the port side where the boat had been lowered. Thorpe and some of the crew were waiting. "I hope you know what you're doing," Thorpe said to Alan as he climbed down to the boat.

"That makes two of us," muttered Fitz.

Alan ignored him. "Just stick to the plan and we should be fine."

He took the stern and Fitz the forward oars and they pushed off. Fitz tried to speak but Alan gave him a warning glance and shook his head. When they were a fair distance from the ship, Alan stopped and set new coordinates into his machine.

"What are you doing?" hissed Fitz.

"Saving us some rowing." He pushed the final button and the boat's hull scraped the beach.

Alan jumped out, followed by Fitz. The two men pulled the skiff onto the beach and secured it to a low tree branch. Alan then grabbed a satchel from under one of the seats and checked the contents to make sure that Thorpe had given him enough of what they had discussed.

Fitz came over and stared at his wrist. "So that's how you time travel?"

Alan remembered how he felt after the first time he had traveled. Granted, it had only been a few minutes into the future, but it had still been amazing. Fitz was acting like that even though he had traveled with the Doctor. "Yeah." He checked to see if they had been spotted.

"It's amazing that you have something that small that does the same thing as the TARDIS."

"Just think of this as the sports car model as opposed to the Doctor's camper van." He ducked behind a wall and motioned for Fitz to do the same. "We'll continue this conversation later."

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

If there is a later. Fitz checked to see if his weaponry was in place. Remembering that he was only to kill as a last resort, he was ready to bash a few heads. He looked over at Alan and could see that he seemed to be in his element. Well, the Doctor did say the man was a hero, and if reality was anything like fiction, it was this type of mission that made a hero.

Footsteps approached and Alan quickly peered over the top of the wall. He then motioned that there were two guards and Fitz was to take the one on the right. Fitz took a deep breath, and, on Alan's signal, clambered over the wall. The two men were looking away and never knew what hit them. Fitz lowered his pistol and tied the men up with rope from the satchel.

Alan checked the knots. "Nice job."

"The crew didn't want the sails to fall on their heads so I was drilled."

"Good thing. C'mon." Alan headed into the shadows.

Fitz grabbed the satchel with a sigh and followed. "What now?"

"We take out as many of the guards as we can. Also, there are prisoners somewhere we should try to free."

"And you have no idea where they are."

"Of course I do. They're in the jail. I just don't happen to know where that is." He turned and Fitz could see a flash of teeth. "I can find out, though."

"There's no need to—" Fitz protested.

"It's in the town center, two buildings down from the tavern. We'll have to be quick and quiet."

"Wonderful."

The two men crept along the perimeter of the island, gradually working their way inwards, knocking out each of the pirates they came across. The two worked in silence, a routine created from repetition. Soon they were outside the jail and Fitz found himself enjoying the adrenalin rush, which was unusual for him. He could see how some found it addictive. The only drawback for him was the possible final outcome.

Alan drew his sword before entering the jail. Fitz followed and saw there was only one guard, a near-empty pitcher of ale at his side. The man looked up groggily, reflexes dulled by drink.

Alan put his sword to the man's throat. "Fitz, grab the keys." Fitz took the large ring of keys dangling from the man's pocket. "Now, my good sir, you are going to show us the cells. One wrong move and you'll be breathing through a new hole."

The man stumbled forward and led the two down into the cellars. Stone walls lined both sides of a narrow passage. Wooden doors with small windows marked each of the cells. Alan watched their guide closely while Fitz unlocked the first door. Inside, sitting on a small cot, was a pale, gaunt man, his ragged uniform giving him the rank of captain in the British Navy. "Who are you?" he croaked.

"We're the good guys," Fitz answered.

The man stood slowly. "What of Wildfire?"

"He's not here," said Fitz as he helped the man outside.

Alan pushed the guard inside and locked it behind him. "He could be back any time. We have to do what we can with the men here before he arrives." He looked at the man. "Hargraves. Your wife sends her love."

"You've seen Amanda?"

"Briefly before Morgan sent us. I promised to bring you back. I think it's time we get moving." He tossed Fitz the keys. "Release the others, will you?"

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

It took the crew of the Phoenix a little over three hours to fix the ship and it was night by the time they reached Boca Grande. Ryan looked at the island and saw that no emergency fires were lit. It was time to work the next phase. "Forbes, bring up the prisoners. Jim, have a skiff prepared to take them ashore." Both men complied and soon Shannon and the Doctor were brought up. He could hear Shannon cursing the pirates all the way. "Miss Flynn, you always did have a temper." He looked to the Doctor. "If you value your friend's continued good health, you would do well to remind her to hold her tongue."

"You cannot force a friend to do anything," the Doctor replied. "You can only advise and hope they have the sense to follow it."

Shannon stopped her struggling. "The crew of the Satisfaction will come after you, Wildfire. You killed their captain and friends. You of all people should know what a powerful force revenge is."

"If they had been following us, they would have easily overtaken us by now. I think you should both enjoy these last moments of freedom. Lord only knows how long you'll be in the cells. Is the skiff ready, Forbes?"

"Aye, cap'n."

"Good." He turned to Jim. "You'll be in charge of unloading. We'll meet at the tavern."

"Cap'n." Jim saluted and watched as Ryan clambered down into the skiff with Forbes, another crewmember, and the prisoners.

The skiff arrived at the dock and Forbes jumped off first and scanned the area with his lantern. "No one here, sir."

"Must be at the tavern. That will have to stop." He reached his hand to Shannon who reluctantly accepted his help. "First we have to get these two locked away where I won't have to worry about them causing trouble."

The three pirates and two prisoners walked through the quiet town. "This ain't right, cap'n," said Forbes. "The men usually come runnin' when the ship comes into view."

"There must be some good entertainment going on," said the Doctor. "Otherwise, I don't think they would risk the ire of their captain."

Ryan smirked. "Yes, that's true." They arrived at the prison to see the front door open and no one on guard. "There had better be a good reason for this dereliction of duty." He pulled out a pistol and motioned for the sailor to go first.

The man proceeded slowly down the stairs followed by Forbes, the Doctor, Shannon, and Ryan. The cells were quiet, only the occasional snore breaking the silence. They walked along the passage, and Forbes peered into the cells to see the prisoners asleep on their cots. "All seems right here, cap'n."

"Ah, but appearances can be deceiving, can't they, 'Captain'." Alan stood by the steps, flanked by Hargraves and Fitz.

Ryan turned and acted surprised. "But you're dead! I shot you!"

"But did you stay to verify the fact? Your ego can be a deadly thing, Wildfire. Now let my sister and the Doctor go."

The pirates aimed their pistols at the men on the stairs. "Why would I do something like that when I can take you prisoner as well?"

"Perhaps due to the fact you are surrounded."

Ryan scoffed at this ploy until he saw the smile on Shannon's face as she looked over his shoulder. Risking a quick look himself, Ryan could see the other prisoners exit their cells, each one armed. With only one avenue open to him, he took it, grabbing Shannon by the arm and pulling her in front of him. "Now what will you do?"

"You couldn't think of anything more original? I mean, using her as a shield again?"

"Maybe he just missed my company," remarked Shannon.

"What did I say about keeping your mouth shut?" He looked at Alan. "Now you call your friends off and let us get out of here and maybe you'll be able to leave the island."

They stood there, waiting for a decision to be made. It was soon made for them as cannon fire echoed from the bay. Ryan jerked with the noise and Alan took advantage of the opening he was given and shot. Ryan simply stared at him before falling to the ground.

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

The Doctor looked down at the body lying in the dirt. The spreading bloodstain was very convincing but he knew it had to be a ruse as there was no telltale coppery smell.

"Doctor!"

He looked at Fitz and saw grey eyes gleaming from a dirty face. "You seem to have enjoyed your adventure."

"The madness must be contagious. I wouldn't do it by choice, however."

"Hargraves, take the men out and check the tavern. I think that's where the rest of the pirates are," said Alan.

"But what of Wildfire?"

"We'll take care of the body. We need proof after all."

After Hargraves and the other released prisoners left the cellar, the Doctor saw Ryan open one eye. "Clear?" he asked.

"For now." The Doctor helped him stand. "Is this how you release past tensions, killing each other?"

"I don't know about Alan, but I found it helpful." He switched off the holograph. "And that's the end of Wildfire."

"So now where do we go?" asked Shannon. "The tavern?"

"Alan and I got all the other pirates on patrol," said Fitz proudly. "We should be able to surround them easily.

The Doctor shook his head at this change in Fitz. He normally would be the one to suggest that they head in the opposite direction. I wonder how long it will last. "It sounds like the Satisfaction is exercising her guns on the Phoenix," he said aloud. "I hope one of them will remain seaworthy for our return."

"We always have their machines," said Fitz with a nod to Shannon, Alan, and Ryan.

"That wouldn't be a problem if it were just us," Shannon said. "But how could we explain it to Hargraves and the others?"

"Ah. Good point."

"OK. Let's go help the others." Alan led them upstairs.

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

The group crept from the jail to the tavern a few doors down. Shannon could see that it was well covered by the former prisoners. With a crowd like this, it definitely seemed like one of those Hollywood movies she had liked to curl up with on a rainy day. Only this time she wasn't playing the part of the damsel in distress. She was going to fight alongside the men and grinned at the thought. How did I get so bloodthirsty? Alan Kelly must be rubbing off on me.

"I want every way in and out of that building covered," Alan was saying. "Every door and window. Once we have them surrounded, they're sure to surrender."

"That easily?" questioned Hargraves.

"When they learn that Wildfire is dead and the Phoenix is under fire, they will."

Shannon took position near Fitz. Despite his having been with Alan, he was still a novice when it came to fighting like this. She didn't do such a good job on the Satisfaction and this would give her a second chance. It also would free up the others.

Fitz acknowledged her with a tight smile. Anxiety, most likely. "It shouldn't be as bad as on the ship," she said. "We have the advantage this time."

"That's good to know."

As soon as everyone was in position, Alan gave the signal and the tavern was charged. The pirates inside thought themselves save in their little haven and were drinking and openly fondling the barmaids. Shannon was one of the privileged few to be at the front door and she saw how slow the men were to react. Some put up a token resistance but they had no coordination, the drink having dulled their reflexes. Soon seeing they were outnumbered, they surrendered.

Alan turned to Shannon. "Told you so," he grinned.

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

Ryan looked at the pirates. "Take them to the jail," he ordered. The navy men looked at him as if he had sprouted a second head. "Unless you plan to keep them in here."

"And who are you?" questioned Hargraves. "You could be with them."

He turned to his brother. "Alan, would you care to explain?"

"Captain Hargraves, this is my brother Ryan. He infiltrated the pirates to help us."

Hargraves looked at him. "You should have told us that to begin with." He motioned to the others to take the pirates away. "Meet you in front of the jail, then." He followed the sailors to the jail.

"Well, that was fun," said Ryan. "We've accomplished the mission."

"Right. Wildfire is gone and we can bring your girlfriend her husband," Shannon teased Alan.

"She's not my girlfriend!" declared Alan. "You should know that."

"So now we head back to the ship, right?" asked Fitz. "If there's a ship still there."

"I'm sure there is," said Alan. He looked at his brother. "Shall we?"

"You guys go ahead. I'll catch you up." He watched them walk to the jail before heading in the opposite direction. He was on the edge of the village when he saw someone approaching. It was Jim. Of course, as Ryan, he wasn't supposed to know that. He pulled out his sword. "The rest of the pirates are captured and Wildfire is dead you might as well surrender."

Jim scoffed. "What were they to me but cheap labor? As for Wildfire being dead, I don't think that's quite true. I am looking at him." Ryan's face must have shown disbelief. "No, don't look at me like that. I know a holographic projection when I see one which means I am from the future as you are."

"And I'm supposed to open up to you? I feel more like killing you, or at the very least, severely maiming you."

"Are you trying to say that you are the only one who can play pirate? I'm sorry but I don't find that quite fair." He quickly reached into his pocket and shot Ryan with a laser before he could dive out of the way.

Ryan doubled over in pain. "What was that about being fair?" he managed.

Jim stood over him. "One man's fair is another man's foul." He then smashed the hilt of his sword onto Ryan's head.

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

What is keeping him?" questioned Alan. "I don't think what he had in mind would take this long."

"Let's give him a few more minutes," said Shannon.

"Have you tried, you know, contacting him?" asked Fitz, pointing at his head.

"Yes. No reply."

"We should go after him," said the Doctor. "After all this, I don't think he'd be ignoring you."

Alan turned to Hargraves. "There should be enough skiffs for all of you to reach the Satisfaction. Once aboard you can tell them what's going on."

"What about you?"

"There's the skiff Fitz and I used. It's big enough for us. Now get going." He watched Hargraves walk over to his men then turned his attention to the others. "Since we didn't see him pass this way, he must have been going in the other direction. We head that way, and, if necessary, we'll split up. The four of us will be able to find him quicker that way."

"You mean five, don't you?"

"Hargraves, I thought I told you to go with the others?"

"I am a captain in His Majesty's Navy and I don't take orders from civilians. Plus, I owe you and your brother my freedom. I am not leaving."

Knowing there was no arguing with Hargraves, Alan led them down the road past the tavern. Near the edge of the town, Alan spotted something in the road. "Oh, God!" He ran forward, and, as he got closer, a dog came at him, hackles raised and barking. It wouldn't let him near. "Wonderful."

"Let me try." The Doctor slowly approached and the dog turned in his direction. "What's the matter, boy, eh?" he said soothingly. "We're here to help him." He slowly reached out his left hand, palm upwards, and allowed the dog to sniff. With his right hand, he reached for the scruff of the dog's neck and began to pet him. "That's a good boy." The dog's tail wagged furiously.

"Thanks, Doctor." Alan and Shannon rushed to Ryan. Alan felt his pulse and sighed in relief. He then turned him over and saw his chest. "Uh oh."

"What do you mean, 'uh oh'?" asked Fitz, joining them. "It's not good when you guys say uh oh."

"He was hit with a laser pistol."

"Any chance it was his own?"

"I'd have to check, but I don't think he'd let that happen."

Ryan groaned and slowly opened his eyes. "Christ! My chest!"

"What happened?" Shannon asked.

"It was Jim, you know, the fake Wildfire. It's weird, but he knew I was Wildfire. He also claimed to be from the future." He winced.

The Doctor came over and knelt down next to him. "From the future?" he repeated as he tested the area around the wound with his fingers. He looked to Alan. "Your knife, please." Alan handed it to him and the Doctor cut the material away from the wound It was red and raw but didn't look too serious to Alan's eye. "For now I'll bind it with damp cloths which should relieve the pain until we can get to some proper medication," he said as he opened his medical bag.

When the Doctor was done, Fitz and Alan helped him stand. "Think you can manage it?" Alan asked.

"If I don't do anything strenuous." He gave the dog a pat on the head.

"This has me nervous," stated Alan. "Someone else from the future who seems to be more of a hazard than Cameron was."

"There's Wildfire's house." Ryan pointed down the road. "He might be going there."

Alan looked at the Doctor. There was something he wasn't telling about this Jim character. Could he be another traveler like the Doctor? He hadn't questioned the Doctor's past before, but he might have to now.

"We'll go check it out. Just remember, he's armed and dangerous. We'd better go in pairs. Ryan, you go with Shannon. Doctor and Fitz. Hargraves, you're with me."

The dog trotted along behind.

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

Hargraves was having a hard time following their conversation. Kelly's brother was Wildfire? The man that was shot in the prison was different than the man that took his ship and both were called Wildfire. But how could he be here now looking different than in the prison? And who exactly was Alan Kelly? He was ignorant of the ways of the Navy and Army for that matter, yet he gave orders like an officer and Hargraves had to stop himself from saluting. Intelligence. That would explain it. What it couldn't explain was all this talk of the future. He would have a chance to question Kelly when they searched the house. He would make a point of it.

The stopped in front of the large wooden structure that "Wildfire" had used as his residence. The house was larger than expected for an out- of-the-way island such as this. "Some place," commented Shannon. "He must have been at this for some time."

"Or he just took it over," remarked Fitz. "He was a pirate after all."

"Instead of talking about the man's estate and how he came by it, don't you think we should go inside and look for him?" Hargraves was anxious to get the man who attacked his ship.

Alan looked at him. "Point taken." He and Ryan entered the house first, guns at the ready. They were followed by Shannon and the Doctor with Hargraves and Fitz in the rear. "OK, I suggest we each take a floor." They found some lanterns and lit them. "Let's go, Hargraves."

He followed the man up to the top floor where they began to search every nook, cranny, and crawlspace large enough to hide a man. "Kelly," he began, "was any of that said outside true?"

Alan turned and looked at him, the lantern casting half his face in shadow. "Would you believe it if it were?"

"I might after what I've seen."

"Then yes, it's true. I came back to check on how you and Amanda were then we got caught up with Morgan and his need to get Wildfire." He related the tale of how they came to be on the island. "If you want, we can help you create something more plausible. We've become experts." He grinned. "Well, nothing here. Hopefully the others are having better luck."

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



How are you feeling?" Shannon asked Ryan as she checked the kitchen cupboard.

"A little tender, but better since the Doctor bound it." He pulled aside a curtain from an alcove. "I don't know why I didn't notice anything about this guy."

"I don't know. Maybe he's being doing this a long time and knows to keep his mouth shut."

"C'mon, we all slip up. You don't think anyone'll understand you so it doesn't matter. And why didn't he do anything when I first confronted him?"

"Maybe he wanted something from you, or wanted to learn what you had in mind before he did anything."

"Could be." He cast the lantern light about the front room. "He's not down here."

"Let's go upstairs."

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

Laying his hands on anything that could hold a body, the Doctor searched through each room. As he rifled through "jim's" things, Ryan's description haunted him. What if "Jim" was a Time Lord? He had come across a few that desired the wealth and power being a pirate captain would bring. He began to tick them off in his head as he and Fitz checked the rooms. It wouldn't be the Rani as she would refuse to disguise herself as a male. The Master? No, it was too petty for him. A "quick fix" wouldn't do. He stopped. No, it couldn't be him, could it?

"Uh, Doctor, I think we've found him."

The Doctor followed Fitz's voice into what could only be the master bedroom. "Jim" was standing near the wardrobe.

"Stand away from that," Fitz ordered as he motioned with the pistol.

The man complied and looked at the Doctor. "Still traveling with Earthlings, I see."

"I trust them a sight more than I do our kind."

"I should have known it was you by that get-up. Always the same style despite the face."

"I can't say the same about you." The Doctor looked him over. "That's a far cry from what you wore the previous times we've met."

"You can't lead pirates in a monk's robe."

"Ah, yes. The pirates." Out of the corner of his eye, the Doctor saw Hargraves and Alan arrive. "Why pirates?"

"I needed to replenish my funds and gold is always marketable. The Caribbean is also warmer than that benighted ice world I was stranded on thanks to you."

The Doctor gave a little half-smile as he remembered taking the Monk's directional unit. "How did you replace that?"

"I heard a ship crash and went to explore. I fell into a crevasse and died of exposure. When I finally found the ship, it turned out to be equipped with a time drive. I took what was compatible and here I am."

A slow clapping started from the doorway. "A lovely story, but that doesn't explain why you became Wildfire?" asked Ryan.

The Monk looked past the Doctor and Fitz to the other time travelers. "The persona you created was too wonderful to pass up. When I first heard the story upon my arrival, I knew it would be perfect for what I had in mind."

"You just built on what he started," said Alan.

"I improved upon it," he preened.

What is he planning? He normally isn't so forthcoming about his plans. As he said, he was here to rebuild his finances after his "detour" but what did he plan to use the gold for? The Doctor pondered on this and thought it best to keep him talking, hoping he might reveal himself.

"Why didn't you use your laser on me when I declared myself as Wildfire?" demanded Ryan.

"As I said, I knew you were using a holographic projection unit which meant you weren't who you said you were. I knew you must have something planned, so I went along with it."

"And when you saw it was just to attack the Satisfaction?" questioned the Doctor.

"Oh, please. It was never just to attack the ship. When he brought you and the girl aboard and refused to sink it, I knew there was something more." He looked at Alan. "I guess that was to let you come here and attack. Nice death scene."

"He's been wanting to kill me for so long so I thought I'd let him. So you obviously left the Phoenix before the Satisfaction opened fire. Coming back for your treasure?"

"Among other things." He inched back to the wardrobe.

The dog, who had been trying to get free of Shannon's restraining hands, finally did so and launched himself at the Monk, the man who had hurt his friend. The Doctor rushed to pull the two apart, keeping free of the snapping jaws. The others joined him and soon the dog and the Monk were on opposite sides of the room.

"Good boy," Ryan whispered in its ear as he patted it.

"Now for you." The Doctor turned to see the Monk gone. He knew rushing the other TARDIS would be a waste. He just watched as it disappeared.

"I'm sorry, Doctor," said Shannon.

"That's all right. I'm sure we'll cross paths again."

Hargraves approached the spot where the wardrobe had stood. "It vanished." He looked at the others, stunned. "How can that be?"

"It's as I told you," Alan said. "We are from the future and that was his time machine, his conveyance, if you will."

"So, that can take him anywhere in time?"

"And anywhere," added Fitz. "The Doctor has one, too."

"Which is back on a Jamaican beach," said the Doctor.

"This is just too marvelous to comprehend," said Hargraves. "However, this will be something best kept to myself. I do not think anyone else will believe, except, perhaps Amanda."

Alan smiled. "Yes, I do believe she would."

While the others had been talking, Ryan had opened the large chest that stood at the foot of the bed. He pulled out clothing and tossed them to the floor. "Nothing."

"You didn't expect him to leave it here, did you?" said Alan. "He probably stashed the stuff in his TARDIS." He looked to the Doctor.

"More than likely. He had an easier time before when in an abandoned monastery, but here, anyone could have walked in."

"So how will you prove to Morgan that Wildfire's dead?" asked Fitz.

"We have eyewitness accounts," said Shannon.

"But no body," said Ryan. "We can tell him we burned it because the crew was superstitious about having it aboard. That should be believable."

"Is there anything we can bring that was his? A sword or something?" asked Hargraves. "Perhaps the pistol?"

"That would be too dangerous to leave, even if we removed the power pack," said the Doctor.

"He'll just have to settle for our word that he'll no longer be bothered by Wildfire," said Alan. "If he trusted us enough for this mission, he should trust us enough to say it's been completed."

"Good," said Shannon. "Let's head back for Port Royal. I'm dying for a soft bed and I'm sure the good captain is dying to see his wife."

They arrived on the Satisfaction and were greeted like conquering heroes. Thorpe even saluted Alan. "Welcome back. We thought you were goners when you didn't arrive with the others."

"We realized that one of Wildfire's top men was still on the island so we had to go after him."

Hargraves looked around the deck at the men gathered. "Where are the others from the prison?"

"They're crewing the Phoenix. It's safe enough to sail and there was no room here for them plus the pirate prisoners."

"What about the other pirates we locked up?" said Fitz.

"We can send a group to get them in the morning. It's not like they're going anywhere," Thorpe grinned. "We'll signal the Phoenix and let them know you're all right. You can join them tomorrow and captain the ship."

"Very good."

"Follow me, Hargraves, and we'll reintroduce your face to a razor," said Ryan as he took him down below. "Can't be reunited with your wife looking like that, eh?"

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

The Phoenix and Satisfaction arrived in Port Royal harbor ___ days later under the Union Jack. Word of their arrival was sent to the Governor's Mansion for soon Morgan was requesting permission to board. The crews lined up as if they were awaiting inspection He stepped onto the Satisfaction first. Thorpe stepped forward and saluted. "An honor, Sir Henry."

"Thorpe, isn't it? With you here, I take it that Jacko didn't make it."

"No, sir. Killed by one of Wildfire's men."

"Neither of which will bother you again," said Alan.

"Mr. Kelly! How wonderful to see you! I should not be surprised, however, as that is the reason I asked you to undertake this." He looked around the deck. "Where are your brother and sister?"

"Aboard the Phoenix. It needed a few extra hands."

"Is your brother acting as captain?"

"There was no need as we had a real one. I do hope you sent word to Lady Amanda of our return."

"Ah, no. I had no idea that you would be returning with Hargraves."

Alan could hear the underlying tone and wondered if Morgan had come to terms with the naval officer who had taken him into custody. "Then I guess they will have a reunion worthy of novels."

"What of the other pirates?"

"Locked in the hull of both ships," Thorpe informed him.

"I'll have soldiers help you transport them to the jail." He faced the crew. "Good job, men. Your king thanks you." He headed back to the ladder and his ship. "Will you join me, Mr. Kelly?"

Alan followed him to the side of the ship, then stopped and looked back to where the Doctor and Fitz were standing. He motioned for them to join him. "Sir Henry, these two men were invaluable in helping getting Wildfire. Is there any chance…"

The Doctor peered into the waiting boat, which was near full. "There's not enough room, Alan. We'll meet you onshore." He looked at Fitz. "What was the name of that tavern?"

"The __________," his friend supplied. "We'll have a few tankards waiting."

"If you're sure." Alan joined the others in the ship and sat back as he was rowed over to the Phoenix.

The reception there was ideally the same, but the crew seemed prouder, stood taller than their fellows on the Satisfaction. But then, these men had been sailors in the navy and prisoners of the pirates. This was a rewarding moment for all of them. Morgan walked along the line of the men until he stood in front of Hargraves. He returned the salute the captain was holding. "I am very impressed, Captain, and pleased to see your safe return. As soon as all the prisoners are taken ashore, you and your men may have leave."

"Thank you, Sir Henry." He smiled at the thought of seeing Amanda.

Sir Henry then turned to face the three travelers. "It seems I am in your debt once again."

"It was an honor, Sir Henry," said Shannon. "I quite enjoyed this little romp."

"We were glad to help," said Ryan. "We had a personal interest in this as well, considering the family history with regards to Wildfire."

"And you are all sure that he will not bother the Caribbean again?"

"Yes. He is dead and gone," confirmed Ryan.

"We wanted to bring the body as proof, but, well, the crew was a bit superstitious plus the stench would have been too overpowering over the course of our return," informed Alan.

"For such a feat, there must be some way I can repay you."

Alan looked at the others. "I'm sure we can think of something after a bath and a good night's sleep on a real bed."

"That I can help you with."

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

Fitz and the Doctor's arrival at the tavern was greeted by shouts of surprise. This meant that the Satisfaction had returned safely from its mission. Drinks were bought for them and the patrons sat enthralled as the Doctor related his part in the story.

"Isn't that right, Fitz?"

'Hunh? What? Sorry, I was thinking."

"I was telling them you saw more action than I did since I was a prisoner."

All eyes turned to Fitz. "I guess I did."

"C'mon, lad, tell us what happened!"

Fitz began his story after the battle at sea and all that happened leading up to the rescue of the prisoners in the pirates' jail. He had never experienced such adulation before—at least for something he actually did. He had spun tales for those who led rather dull lives and they had hung on every word. This audience was different. They lived with this type of thing everyday and were still engrossed. It was a very gratifying experience.

"So, 'ow did ye know wot t' do when ye were ashore?" questioned one of the barmaids.

"I basically followed Alan."

"Alan Kelly?" asked one of the men. "You mean he was there?"

Fitz still found it hard to believe that one man's name could wield so much influence. "He and his brother and sister are due to meet us here."

As if on cue, the Kelly brothers and Shannon chose that moment to enter the tavern. The spotlight shifted and Fitz was left on the peripheral once again. He watched as they handled the crowd deftly before joining him and the Doctor at the table.

"This might not have been such a good choice after all," commented the Doctor.

"Wouldn't have made much difference in a couple of days anyway," Alan told them. "Morgan has decided to throw a celebratory ball in our honor."

"Oh, that's wonderful," said Fitz with a touch of disappointment.

"When he said 'our', he meant you as well," Ryan said. "The crew of the Satisfaction as well as all the sailors who had been prisoners."

"Oh, how wonderful!" Fitz cheered considerably. He looked at his worn and dirty clothes. "Looks like a trip to the TARDIS wardrobe is in order."

"Not necessary," said Shannon. "We've talked Morgan into letting you guys join us in staying at the Governor's mansion, plus he will provide a tailor."

Fitz looked at the Doctor. "See what happens when you befriend a leader instead of ticking them off?"

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

Alan took a sip of his wine and looked about the ballroom. There wasn't much difference from a few months ago except perhaps the atmosphere of the gathering. Before there had been a sense of curiosity regarding Morgan and how he would handle himself. Now they knew he could master this governor thing. Granted, it more or less came down to delegation, but he needed respect in order for those on his payroll to do as he wanted without question.

Fitz seemed to be enjoying himself oogling all the women but never seeming to gain the courage to speak with them. The Doctor was engaged in conversation with a few medical scholars and Ryan was taking advantage of the situation, regaling all who would listen of their adventure.

He was then approached by Amanda and Hargraves. From what he could tell, it looked like she was eight months along. It was a good thing they did find Hargraves when they did. They did seem so in love. "Mr. Kelly, I want to thank you for rescuing Edward and bringing him home."

So the man's name was Edward. "You both helped me and so I was only returning the favor."

"And catching Wildfire?" questioned Hargraves.

"Yes, well, that was the goal of the mission, but I would have gone out of my way to find you since Lady Amanda remarked you had gone missing on your own attempt to bring him in."

"I knew there was more to you that day when you washed on the beach," smiled Amanda.

"Where is your sister?" questioned Hargraves.

"I don't know what's keeping her." He took another look at the doorway wondering when Shannon would make her appearance. She was never one to make a grand entrance or be fashionably late. Yes, getting dressed in this time took longer with all the extra layers, but this was getting ridiculous.

He decided to walk over to Fitz and bend the man's ear a little when he noticed him staring towards the entrance, mouth agape. Alan then noticed that Fitz wasn't the only one. He turned and saw a stunning redhead in an emerald gown. This couldn't be Shannon.

Fitz's eyes frogged.  Smooth. 

She entered the room and approached Alan. He quickly regained his composure and held his arm out. The other men soon joined them and plied her with compliments.

"What a magnificent gown," said the Doctor as his bright blue eyes crinkled.

"Um, Shannon, I was wondering if…well, if you would…"

"I'm sorry, Fitz, but I already have an escort." Alan was disappointed when she removed herself from his arm and latched onto the Doctor. "Shall we?" The Doctor grinned.  He nodded to her and escorted her fluidly onto the dance floor. He looked back over his shoulder as if to say Sorry, I can't help it.

Fitz's eyes grew larger as his mouth dropped open.  Ryan and Alan pat Fitz on the back.  









----------------------- [1] "Crossroads"