Shielding her eyes against the glare of tropical sunlight, Cass gazed over the promenade deck’s railings and down into the churning waters below.

“I only suggested it in the hope that he'd get fucked up by the propellers,” she grumbled, slowly shaking her head in disbelief “but he's actually doing it”

“Doing what?” Jade asked, joining her to watch Kingston drift past as the ship slowly turned.

“Defying the laws of physics”


“Well, how else would you describe a couple hundred kilos of cyborg moving a hundred ton rudder?”

Jade shrugged “It does seem a little...”

“Impossible? I – Whoa...” the ship yawed violently as the keel scraped the bedrock below “Shit” Cassandra's knuckles whitened on the handrail as she fought back a sudden wave of nausea “I fucking hate boats”

“It’s a ship”

“Whatever” Cass burped and rubbed her chest with a balled up fist “Fucking things”

“Moan, moan, moan” Jade grinned at her “You make a terrible patient”

“Well, someone’s got to keep you doctors on your toes – Oh, fuck!”

The ship lurched violently, sending detritus sliding across the deck, as the stern ground into the shallows; the ship listing hard as it came to a shuddering halt on a sandbank.

“Hmm – I'm no expert,” Jade murmured as she peered down into the slowly subsiding, silty waters “but I think we’ve just run aground”

“At least we’ve stopped bobbing around” Cass turned and leaned back against the railings, her eyes squinting against the bright sunlight. “All we have to do now, is find the crown prince and kill him”

Jade wrinkled her nose “Isn’t that a bit...” she shrugged.

“It'll screw Brittany's direct line of succession”

Unhappy at the prospect of yet another death on their hands, Jade shook her head. This was something they all needed to discuss together as a group, so instead of arguing the point she let it drop. Cass might not like it, but she would at least acquiesce to Jay when it came down to it, so this was best saved for later.

She fanned herself with her hand “Can we get out of this sun? – I feel like I'm melting”

“Sure” Cass shrugged “I'm too hot in this damn thing as it is” she wafted opened the trench coat she was wearing (over very little else) and flapped it around her.

“Alright” yelled a voice “Which dickhead just ran us ag- Whoa...” Jay, striding out onto the deck, resplendent in his Captain’s uniform, momentarily forgot what he was about to say as he caught sight of what Cass was wearing beneath the coat “Wow”

Her laugh was musical “You like this?” she opened the coat and gave a little shimmy.


Pursing her lips, Jade glared between the two of them with an impatient sigh. The sooner they got it together, the better – At least then, she and everyone else wouldn’t have to put up with all the damned will-they-won’t-they flirting.

“I was just wondering where you had got to” Jade inclined her head towards Jay “Captain, is it?”

“Yeah" Jay shook himself as Cass wrapped the coat back around her. She’d been wearing fishnets and nipple tassels, for fuck's sake! “I've been coordinating our defence against those sky pirates”

“So why were we about to crash into Kingston?” Cass asked.

“We received a Morse code message from a warehouse on the docks, demanding a ransom for the hostages; I figured that ramming the Titanic into the source of the transmission would be an effective response”


“Well, it would have made a statement” Jay moved to join the two women at the railings and peered down into the subsiding waters below “How the hell did you manage to turn the ship?”

“I have absolutely no idea”

“Mecha-Jaxx” Jade supplied.


“Jaxx” Jade repeated as the bedraggled-looking cyborg clambered back up onto the deck some twenty or so metres away, dripping water and festooned in fronds of seaweed.

Jay raised his eyebrows “How is he here?”

“It’s one of those archiver weapons” Cass shrugged “The psychic link has put Eve in a coma”

“That doesn’t sound good”

“Greetings ally Chrysler” the cyborg intoned as it trudged, soggily towards them.

“What’s this about Eve being in a coma?” Jay demanded as it approached “Stand down, soldier”

“Negative” Mecha-Jaxx responded “The candy-ass threat has not yet been neutralised”

“The what?” Jay looked quizzically at Cass.

“He likes destroying ‘candy-asses’”


“That makes him sound like he’s into gay BDSM, yeah” Cass nodded “We’re hoping that eliminating the pirates will achieve his mission objectives and pull Eve out of her coma”

“Is there no other way?” Jay glanced at Jade

“It’s Archiver stuff” she shook her head “There’s no telling what I’m going to do to her if I go poking around”

“Then we see to the pirates”

Cass nodded “If it makes any difference, they captured several Dwarfers, as well as the crown prince of England”

“Who Cass, incidentally, wants dead” Jade interjected.

“Details” Cass airily waved the comment away.

Jay frowned “Seriously?”

“I’ll let you two to talk it through while I go find the others” Hurrying away below decks, Jade left them to continue the discussion, glad both to be out of the sun and to have avoided being involved in deciding whether or not to kill Prince Albert.

Watching Jade's retreating back, Jay turned back to Cass after a moment “So?”

“Oh, I don’t like it either” she grumbled “But he’s one of Brittany’s direct ancestors. It could even kill her”

“We’re talking about cold blooded murder here”

“Needs must”

“Cass - No”

“How many people have you killed or knowingly sent to their deaths in your time?”

“That’s different”

Turning to gaze out, across the bay towards Kingston, Cass let the trench coat partially slip from her shoulders and fanned herself with it in the heat “Is it?”

“Yes” Jay sounded affronted “It was always as a last resort”

“So is this – It’s not that much different; just one step removed”

“It’s still murder”

“Yeah, but...” Cass sagged against the railings “Oh, for fuck’s sake” she groaned “Yeah, you’re right”

“You already knew that” grinning, Jay clapped a friendly arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze.

“So, what are we going to do?”

“We’ll think of something” Jay let his hand fall.

“Same as always”

“It keeps it interesting”

Cass remained silent for a moment “I’m so tired of all of this”

“‘This’?” Jay asked.

“This – Living our lives like we do. I’m sick of fucking sky pirates and siege warfare; Hosts, killer hotels, Brittany and the fucking STCP. I’m sick of living my life like a hunted animal”

“We’re just playing the hand we’ve been dealt”

“Then let’s not” Cass abruptly turned to face Jay “Let’s just fuck it all off. The twenties aren’t a bad decade – We can use our knowledge and our skills to build a great life here. You and me.

“Hell, we can even take the time drive and go somewhen else – Do you fancy being William the Conqueror? – If we’re part of Brittany’s bloodline, there’s no way she can kill us! – We can beat her at her own game!”

For a few seconds, Jay almost looked like he was tempted but after a moment, he shook his head “We need to get our own back”

Cass turned away “Yeah, of course we do” There was a note of bitterness in her voice.

<tbc />

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