"A Dish Served Cold"
Chapter One – Just after "The Trial of Phineas Bogg."
"I used to love going to the beach, Bogg. But now it seems like I always have sand in my shoes."
Twelve year old Jeffrey Jones stood up and stretched, having re-laced his white Nikes. He brushed some sand from his lap and looked down the shore. "Could we at least get off the dunes and figure out why we're here?"
Phineas Bogg flashed him a lopsided grin. Once again, Jeff found himself wondering how this guy ever made it through a day as a pirate. He had a goofy side that seemed to get him into trouble more often than it got him out of it. "C'mon kid, it's not so bad. The wind in your hair, the waves breaking…there are a lot worse places to land."
Jeff knew that Bogg was in a fairly sunny mood anyway, after how the last few days had turned out. Things could have ended up much worse. As he watched Bogg shake some sand from his hair, he could understand why the older Voyager was keeping a positive spin on things. If the tribunal had turned out differently, Bogg might have ended up banished to a deserted island. Ending up at the beach probably would have been the equivalent of torture for Jeff if that had happened. At least, in the here and now, Bogg seemed to be enjoying himself. At least one of them was.
The midday sun glinted off the omni as Bogg pulled it from his belt in a smooth, almost fluid motion. He flipped it open and Jeff caught a glimpse of blinking red glow. "Eastern Australia, 1799. What do you think?" He offered Jeff a look at the display.
"Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that can help us. I just don't know that much about Australian history."
"That's a first. Aren't you supposed to be my guidebook?"
Jeff turned his face and clenched a fist. Didn't Bogg know how close they came to separation? How could he be so casual about it? Not wanting to say anything he might regret, he dug his toe into the sand before spinning away and starting to walk.
"Hey!" Bogg started after him. "What's the matter? It usually takes more than a little sand in your clothes to get you so riled up." Jeff kept walking. He wasn't ready to talk yet. As much as he liked to put on a show of being grown-up, he had to admit there were times when he couldn't control his emotions. It bugged him. He felt immature, childish. There were no other kids around to compare himself to, but from traveling through time and occasionally seeing "normal" kids, he felt torn. Sure, sometimes he wished for childhood experiences; but usually he just wanted to fast-forward to adulthood. If only the omni had a way to make him grow up faster. But since that didn't seem possible, he was left to figure things out on his own. Especially at times like these, when Bogg seemed clueless.
Finally, Bogg caught up and got in front of him. "What's gotten into you? We're back out in the field, together. Isn't that what you wanted?"
Jeff let out a breath. "You know I do." The anger at his mentor fizzled as he looked up into Bogg's caring face. Suddenly, he felt like he might cry. Which made him a little angry again, but not at Bogg. "But Drake is…out there!" He gestured wildly at the sea. "What are we going to do?"
Bogg tilted his head as he looked down and put a hand on Jeff's shoulder. He gave his best everything-will-be-okay face and said, "Jeffrey, don't worry. We don't have to do anything – that's not our job."
"It IS our job!" Jeff yelled as he stamped a foot into the sand. "Wherever that jerk goes, he's going to mess everything up! And did you forget that he has it in for you?"
"No, of course I didn't forget," Bogg replied, looking down the beach. "But Voyager Headquarters will have people out there looking for him."
"They should have banished him."
"They would have…"
"If he hadn't escaped," Jeff finished the thought. "We can't just let him get away, Bogg." He looked up with pleading eyes, and Bogg wanted to do something – anything – to help his friend. But there wasn't a whole lot to be done at this moment. Jeff was right; Drake was out there somewhere. Here in 1799 Australia however, the red light was their priority. They had to turn their attention to the task at hand.
"Jeff, you're right. Drake will be out there changing history. He won't just fade away – he will do whatever he thinks will serve his "cause." Wherever things are going off-course, there's a chance that Drake will be there. He can be found. He will be found. And if we find him together, I promise you we will stop him."
For a moment Jeffrey's eyes bored into his, and then the boy broke into a smile. "Maybe I'll find him first. I am faster than you, you know."
Bogg smiled back. "Oh, I don't think so – Jeffrey!" he yelled as Jeff took off into the vegetation beside the beach. As he sprinted to catch up, it crossed his mind that the kid really was fast. He hoped there weren't any predators out in the brush, or sudden cliffs to fall from, or…
"Bogg!" came the call from up ahead. Recognizing that tone of voice, Bogg strained to run faster. As much as he cared about Jeffrey, the kid had a knack for making him worry. Probably because he seemed to attract trouble like a magnet just as often as he fixed whatever red light they faced. "Bat's breath!" he hissed involuntarily as he rounded a bend, then nearly tumbled over as he came face to face with a group of soldiers with asian features. He saw Jeffrey on the ground, surrounded.
"You okay, kid?"
"Yeah, so far. I think I found our red light."