Shanghaied

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, and Jewel’s Place

 

Shanghaied

The Dibolocos tossed Jamison to the floor and several of the officers on the bridge immediately drew their weapons, leveling them at him. He realized he still had his weapon in his hand. He set it on the floor beside him.

“Don’t surrender your weapon you fool, holster it.” The command came from one of the men standing over him.

So Jamison picked up the weapon and slipped it back into its place at his side.

“Stand up.”

Jamison obeyed.

All but one of the men around him also holstered their weapons. The one who had been speaking turned back to the Dibolocos. “Welcome back, Captain Lobokidos.”

The two stared at each other for a few seconds. Jamison knew there was a private conversation taking place. When the man glanced his way he knew the conversation was about him. As he waited he saw the room begin to darken, and knew he was in danger of collapsing. He wasn’t sure what was happening yet, and feared what might happen if he showed such weakness. So he willed himself strong and waited.

Eventually the officer turned to him and said to the man who had his weapon on him. “This is Jamison. He will be assigned to Tyler’s away team. He is unaligned thus far, treat him with caution. Deliver him to Tyler.”

At this he was led off the bridge, down a stairwell, and a couple of crowded decks. Jamison noted it must be a small ship. Finally they reached a series of barracks.  On the way in he noticed it was guarded like a containment cell, the force field was lowered just long enough to push him in, and then it was put back up again.

Inside the men gathered around to stare at him. All were armed, but none showed any sign of rank. A man pushed through the mob and walked towards Jamison. Without thinking about it, Jamison took a step back.

“That force field behind you is set to kill.” The man said it rather nonchalantly.

Now Jamison whirled around and instinctively backed away from the deadly barrier. Several men laughed. Jamison felt adrenaline clearing his vision and flaring his emotions.

“My name is Tyler. I am the leader of this group. We are on a pirate ship commanded by a Dibolocos who goes by the name Captain Lobokidos.”

“I’ve already met the Captain.” Jamison mumbled. A ripple of gasps and giggles went through the small band of men.

“Wait. You have met Captain Lobokidos? Are you lying to us?”

“No sir. He came into my sister’s place, snatched me from there and carried me to the bridge.”

“So your sister sold you into slavery?” Now all the men laughed.

Jamison wanted to argue. He wanted to defend her and declare her innocence, after all she had said there was nothing she could do about it. But yet he suspected there was at least a degree of truth to it. Captain Lobokidos somehow had a great deal of control over her.

Tyler ordered the men to disburse and mostly they complied. Not with military precision, their actions looked more like begrudging respect. Then he took Jamison to the rear of the cell. He ordered a man out of a bunk beside his own and told Jamison it was his now.

“I want you right here where I can keep an eye on you. If I get so much as a hint that you are a threat to my leadership of this team I will kill you in your sleep. Do we understand each other?”

Without waiting for an answer he gave something like a situation report that answered some of the questions Jamison had floating around in his head.

“This is an away team meaning when we overtake a mark, we are sent on board to secure its valuables. Sometimes we are told to take the ship to a port for resale; other times we simply strip it and blow it. But if we don’t follow orders, we are killed. Anyone who is a threat to the rest of the team is killed by the team. The Captain and crew do not care how many of us die. Do you understand me?”

Again he didn’t wait for a response.

“The display screen over there will show us the mark as it is located, and progress as it is disabled. When it’s time to go we will be sent by the transporter. All of the supplies we need are either transported in or more commonly shoved through the slot under the force field. For slaves we are treated pretty well. We often get our choice of the best weapons, the prettiest women on board the mark, and we are fed. You don’t want to mess this up. Do you understand me?”

Jamison didn’t answer at first because he expected him to keep going.

“Do you understand me!” Tyler was yelling, and a ripple of laughter went through the barracks.

“Yes sir!” Instinctively Jamison answered like he would a military commander. Tyler slapped the back of his hand across Jamison’s face.

“I am not a ‘sir.’ Call me Tyler.” He said it calmly, quietly, and Jamison noted the sound of defeat in his voice.

Tyler laid down on his bunk, leaving Jamison standing there for a minute. He looked around the room and as he did so many of the men immediately looked away. Two men standing together near the wall continued to leer at him.

Last thing he noticed was the display had a countdown written in large letters. 20:38:12 and counting down.

 

 

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