The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
The Part Where They Escape...
Archer entered the pirate ship, his steps slow and his heart heavy. At this moment he could see no escape for himself, and to make matters worse, his friend Sousha was with him.
“Hurry up,” Big Bully snarled. The large pirate was directly behind them and Archer could feel the heat of his breath on the back of his neck.
Archer and Sousha walked single file through the belly of the ship and only hesitated for a moment when the pirate yelled at them to take the stairs.
“We’re headed for the bridge.”
Sousha was too small to climb the steps on her own so Archer pulled her up onto his shoulders and began the climb.
“Don’t look down,” he whispered.
Sousha squeezed his shoulders and giggled as if she was having the time of her life. Maybe she doesn’t know how bad things are, Archer thought. Maybe she thinks this is all a game. With a heavy heart he continued along until he reached the top level of the ship.
He wished this were all a bad dream. Even if it meant a month’s worth of grounding. And working in the kitchen with cook McDaniels. Heck, he’d even clean all the bathrooms for like a week. Maybe.
“Over there,” Big Bully said, shoving Archer.
Sousha slid from his shoulders and glanced around curiously. She began to hum a tune, her large eyes widening as she turned in a full circle. When she spied the massive observation window that ran the entire length of the bridge, she clapped her hands and ran toward it. She climbed on top of the control board before anyone could stop her.
“Get that little maggot off of there,” Big Bully threatened.
Archer nodded and moved toward his little friend. Her nose was now plastered to the front of the window. In fact it was squished flat as she gazed down upon the jungle below.
“Sousha,” Archer whispered. “Please come down.”
His little pointy-ear smiled when she turned to him and she bent forward. “We will win,” she said, patting him on the shoulder. “We will win.”
She nodded her head slightly and Archer glanced out the window, his eyes widening when he spied the steady stream of baby spiders, along with the creepy-crawly army, moving along either side of the ship.
She jumped back down and grabbed Archer’s hand, smiling up at the nasty pirate. His face was contorted into a heavy frown. He pointed his weapon at them and motioned them toward the long bench to his side.
“No,” he said when Archer tried to pass him. “Just her.”
When Sousha settled herself on the bench Big Bully glared at Archer. “I’m without a crew and that’s all your fault. Once in space I can use the auto-pilot to get us to the slave planet, but to take off I’m going to need your help. And I don’t think I need to tell you what will happen to that creature if you don’t help me.”
Archer nodded.
“Now, what do you know about manual lift off?”
Archer shook his head. “Uh, I’ve practiced it on the play deck.”
Big Bully leered at him. “Well this isn’t a practice and I expect you to do your job and to do it well or…”
“What was that?” Big Bully snarled.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
The ship began to shake as more and more ‘thumps’ were heard. They were coming from the top of the ship and Archer moved to Sousha, more afraid than ever because the pirate was so angry, his face was almost purple.
Sousha began her sing-song again, this time her voice loud and electrified.
“Shut her up,” Big Bully shouted, eyes wild as he turned in a full circle. His weapon was pointed right at Archer and Sousha, but pointy-ears slipped from her perch, her voice louder.
The thumps got louder. Heavier.
And just as Big Bully raised his weapon in the air, she turned on the speed and zipped around the room. She was so fast that Archer could barely see her, and he recalled how fast she’d been when he’d first met her.
“Ouch,” Big Bully roared.
Sousha giggled, but again was running so fast they couldn’t see her. The pirate was holding his face, and his anger was so great that Archer moved back even more.
Archer heard a dull thud and once again the pirate snarled and howled in pain, and this time an old shoe had been thrown at him.
Big Bully took one more step forward, but then Dash zipped into the room, his eyes flashing red, yellow and blue. He beeped and whirred and circled the pirate at least ten times and when he stopped and retreated to Archer’s side, the pirate was all tied up.
“Dash!” Archer squealed. “How did you get onto the ship?”
His bot floated a few paces away. “I explained to the crew the probability of surviving on this planet as opposed to leaving this solar system and never returning.”
“They decided pretty quick that they were much better off elsewhere.” Del smiled as she hopped up onto the main bridge. “I’ve never seen so many men fold that quickly.”
Big Bully tried to speak but Sousha jumped up and stuffed an apple into his mouth. Archer had no idea where the apple came from and he didn’t care. He was just glad that all of his friends were safe.
“So what now?” Del asked.
“What do you mean?” Archer replied.
She shrugged. “Well, we can command this ship ourselves and escort the pirates out of this solar system. We can drop them off at the slave planet and…”
“But how will I find my father? He’s on his way back here. I just know it and if we leave he might not find out in time.” Archer’s throat closed up. How many days had it been? “I could never see him again.”
“That’s what I thought you’d say,” Del replied with a smile. “We’ve got plan B. Go find it, Dash.”
His bot zipped past him just as three creepy crawlies pushed the crew up onto the bridge. The pirates looked scared and Archer didn’t blame them. He knew the creepy crawlies were on his side, but still….THEY WERE CREEPY.
“Remember. He goes to the slave planet and you need to find new work. Work that doesn’t have you stealing for profit.” Del looked fierce as she gave the order.
“I’m taking over,” one of the pirates said and then nodded toward Big Bully. “Put him in the hold.”
Three pirates shuffled over to the their former leader and led him away. The pirate tried to yell and scream but the apple prevented him from doing anything other than making weird noises from his throat.
Dash suddenly appeared with a large metal box in tow.
“What’s that?” Archer asked.
“Plan B,” Del said with a smile. “Okay guys. We can leave.”
The pirates moved aside and let Sousha by. Then Del followed, Dash and Archer. Archer had just taken one step down the stairs that led to the hold when one of the pirates poked his head over the edge.
“What about these unnatural creatures?” he asked, his voice fearful.
“Well,” Archer said taking another step down. “I supposed they’re sticking around to make sure that you hold up your end of the bargain.”
“But,” the pirate stuttered. “That wasn’t part of the deal.”
“It was,” Del said from behind Archer. “We just didn’t tell you.”
The four of them excited the ship and Del’s father wrapped her into his arms. The entire top of the ship was covered with baby spiders and with one signal from Magnar they scurried over the edge and jumped to the jungle floor. Without stopping they continued in a long line and headed for the trees, disappearing as quickly as they’d come.
Archer and his friends moved back, blanketed on both sides by Sousha’s people. They watched as the engines fired on the pirate ship and they moved away when the heat of the engines blew across the clearing.
The pirate ship slowly moved into the air, hovering for just a moment, and in that moment Archer spied one of the creepy crawlies in the window. He waved. And then the ship shot straight up about twenty feet and less than five seconds was nothing but a plume of smoke in the sky.
He stared at it for a long time, not sure how he felt about things. “So,” he said slowly turning to Dash and Del. “What’s plan B exactly?”
Del bent forward and opened up the metal box. A state of the art communications device was stored inside. It was military.
“The range on this will be so huge,” Archer said excitedly.
“I know,” Del said. “My dad knew they had it.”
Choked up, Archer had to take a moment before he could speak. “We can try to contact my father. This might reach the Reamus.”
“Yes,” Del’s father said, a smile on his face. “We just have to find the right frequency to reach whatever system they slipped into once they entered the worm hole. And once they tap into that frequency they can follow it back to us.”
“How long will that take?”
Del’s father’s face fell a bit. “Well, son. That’s the thing. We just don’t know. It could take a day or a week or month….”
Archer’s heart sank. “It could take years,” he whispered.
Sousha grabbed his hand. “Don’t be sad,” she said. “Everything will be all right.”
Archer tried to smile but it fell short.
“Come on,” Del said softly. “Let’s go and figure this thing out.”
Archer followed his friends into the jungle and he prayed with all of his heart that he would see his father soon. And when he did he would wrap his arms around him and tell him that he loved him.
He just hoped he got that chance.
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