Categories > Cartoons > Skyland > Antigua0 Reviews
Cortes has dissapeared, and Mahad decides to go looking for him.
"I am so bored..." said Mahad; he finished the sentence off with a yawn.
"Probably because you've done nothing," offered Lena.
"Neither have you."
"I went and talked to Cheng an hour ago."
"Well, I think I've been up here long enough to say I've finished cleaning the deck..." Mahad stood up, and stretched.
"Forgetting, or course, that the deck is still dirty..." muttered Lena.
"I'm going to go tell Cortes I've finished."
"He's going to ask you if you've learned your lesson. What are you going to tell him?"
Mahad sighed. "Do what he says, I suppose. Even if it is stupid. I mean, come on, it's just one lousy engine!"
Lena rolled her eyes. "You'd better phrase it a little bit better than that..."
Mahad waved her off, and made his way off the Saint Nazaire. It was already late in the afternoon. A lot of the repair station workers looked like they were getting ready to knock off. He wondered how happy Cortes would be about that. But Cortes wasn't yelling. In fact, Mahad couldn't even find him. He eventually saw Wayan, though. He was up on the scaffolding that had been erected next to the Saint Nazaire's left engine.
Mahad stood on the floor of the repair station, looking up, and for the first time really got a good look at the engine. When he'd flown in on the Hyperion it had just looked like it was spitting a bit of smoke. But now most of the panelling on its side had been removed, and he could see that they'd taken out the reactor. There wasn't much left inside the shell. A new reactor sat up on the scaffolding, seeming almost too shiny to go inside the rusted hull of the Saint Nazaire.
"Oops..." said Mahad. The new reactor looked expensive. Perhaps Cortes had known the Saint Nazaire couldn't handle so many patrollers.
Mahad swallowed, and started climbing the ladder that would take him up to Wayan. He was suddenly rethinking the whole 'one lousy engine' thing. "Hey, Wayan..." he said when he reached the top.
"What? Oh, Mahad. Hi." Wayan turned back to the engine and poked a spanner inside.
"Um... do think that you can actually get anything done with that without any help?"
Wayan sighed. He seemed tired. "Probably not."
"But I suppose Cortes wants it done as fast as possible. Have you seen him?"
"Still not back yet?"
"... no, I suppose not. Where'd he go?"
"To get them to send that..." Wayan pointed over his shoulder at the engine reactor. He sighed. "It came... Cortes didn't..." He went back to pulling at something with the spanner, perhaps a little too roughly. "I suppose he figured the engine wasn't the only thing that needed a service..." A bolt suddenly flew out, bounced once on the scaffolding then rolled off the edge. It plinked as it hit the concrete somewhere below. "Dammit..."
"Pardon?" said Mahad.
Wayan sighed. "Never mind. He said he'd be back when they brought over the reactor. It came in over an hour ago."
"Isn't that bad? What if something happened to him?"
"Cortes can look after himself."
Mahad frowned. "I'm sure he can, but..."
"Just leave it, Mahad," Wayan snapped.
Mahad blinked. "You know, fine, I will. Goodbye, Wayan." He turned and headed down the ladder.
"Mahad..." Wayan started, but he was already gone. He sighed and turned back to the engine. Mahad would be fine.
It was just great, Mahad thought. Even Wayan was growling at him. And Wayan rarely, if ever, growled at anyone. Perhaps Dahlia was right; something about the block was upsetting both him and Cortes.
But what wasn't sitting right with Mahad was that Cortes seemed to have disappeared - and Wayan didn't seem to care. Yeah, Cortes could look after himself. But it was odd that if he'd been held up or anything that he hadn't radioed in.
"Hey, Cheng," said Mahad as he entered the bridge, "Has Cortes radioed in at all?"
Both Cheng and Lena were at the computer console in the middle of the bridge.
"No," Cheng answered. "Why?"
"Wayan said Cortes went off to get a part for the engine, but he hasn't got back yet. And he should've been back an hour ago."
"Okay... what did Wayan say we should do?"
Mahad frowned. "Actually... Wayan didn't seem particularly worried. Well, he did seem worried... but he said Cortes could look after himself."
"Yeah. That's why I think we need to try contact him. Would you be able to call his radio from here?"
"Sure, should be easy... give me a moment..." He began poking his console.
"You think something might've happened to him?" Lena asked.
"I don't know... it just seems weird."
"Cortes, come in..." Cheng said. The console fizzled back at him, trying to get a good connection. Then it stopped. Cheng blinked. "That's strange..."
"What happened?" asked Mahad.
"The signal cut out altogether..."
"He's somewhere with too much interference...?"
"No... then I'd still be getting static. It's like the unit's just been turned off."
"Maybe he did turn it off. Maybe he doesn't want to be contacted..." said Lena.
"Or something could've happened to him. Maybe someone else doesn't want him to be contacted. Like the Sphere," said Cheng. "He could be in trouble."
"Cheng's right. It might not have anything to do with the Sphere, but something could've happened. And Wayan's not going to do anything about it... Tell you what; I'm going to go look for him myself."
"How?" said Lena. "You have no idea where he is, and this is a big block."
"I can tell you where Cortes' radio last transmitted from," offered Cheng. "I'll overlay a map of Antigua so you know where to go." A map flicked up on the screen, complete with a flashing dot.
Mahad peered at it, memorising the street it was closest to, and the rough location. "Right, I'll go there and see if I can find him."
"Maybe you should wait for Dahlia," Cheng suggested. "Just in case you run into any trouble."
Mahad groaned. "No offence Cheng, but you pirates take too long thinking about how much trouble you're going to run into. I'll be fine." He turned and headed towards the door. "I'll catch you guys later."
"Just be careful, Mahad," Lena called after her brother.
Mahad slammed the door to the cab and stepped out onto the street. It hadn't taken him very long to get there, once he'd told the cab driver where to go to.
"Thanks for the ride."
"No problem. And kid... whatever you plan on doing here; just make sure you've thought it through, okay?"
"Eh...?" said Mahad, but the cab driver had already pulled away without waiting for a response. "That was weird..." Mahad scratched his head, and then dismissed the thought. He turned and surveyed the street.
"Now... if I remember correctly, that signal would've come from the third building along..." Mahad started walking up the street. It looked like he'd ended up in the night club strip of the block. What Cortes was doing here he didn't know. His mind started digressing, and wondering whether Cortes had been abducted by some sort of sleazy gang. He shook the thought out of his head, because it was stupid.
He got to the door of the building he had pinpointed, and put out his hand to open it. At the moment the other side of the door swung open to the outside. Two women walked out, and one of them said something, making the other laugh. Mahad didn't register what it was; because he was too busy looking at what they were wearing. Or rather what they weren't wearing.
"Careful, sweetie, you're blocking everyone's way," one of them said absent mindedly.
"Ah..." said Mahad. He watched them continue into the street and hail a cab. He blinked, and backed into the door he had intended to enter. He felt he shouldn't be staring. Not that he didn't normally look at girls, but something about looking at them when they seemed to be wearing next to nothing, and the fact that doing so seemed beyond his control, was bothering him.
The door swung shut in front of him, cutting off his view of the street. Well, that was one way to stop looking. He turned around and took in the room. In less than a second he'd realised that about half of its occupants were similarly dressed to the women in the street.
Mahad swallowed, suddenly realising what sort of establishment he'd walked into. His mind once again digressed on the thought that Cortes had been abducted, but this time those he imagined doing the abducting were wearing much less.
"Aw... I dropped my peanuts again..." the pretty young women looked up at him, an exaggerated pout on her lips.
"And I suppose you want to go get them, again?"
The woman grinned. "Can't let them go to waste..."
Cortes grunted as she suddenly shoved her hand into his lap, apparently looking for the few stray peanuts she'd 'accidentally' dropped there.
"Lynda, you're killing the peanut thing..." the woman on Cortes' left said.
Cortes shifted as Lynda's peanut search continued.
"Nope... that's not one... I am not! You don't mind do you, hot stuff?"
Cortes rolled his eyes. "I'd rather you didn't call me stuff like that..."
"Aw..." He got the pout again.
"Don't worry; he's just a little shy."
"But not too shy..." Cortes grinned, and then leaned over and kissed her.
"Score! Chris, you got the first kiss from the Scotsman!" exclaimed another woman. She came and plonked herself down next to Lynda, and handed Cortes a bottle. "Yo-ho and a bottle of rum, pirate. I think you could use just a little bit more..." She leaned over Lynda and ran her hands through his hair. "I just love this..."
"Will you stop playing with that?"
"Drink some more rum, and you won't mind. Trust me."
"Alright... if you really think you can handle me drunk..." Cortes grinned, lifted the bottle and took a swig.
"Yeah, go for it!"
Cortes let the liquid burn down his throat, and knew it was going to quench any objections that little voice in his head still had. Right now, he was beyond caring. He might as well enjoy himself.
The bottle slammed back down on the table and Cortes blinked back tears from his eyes. "This block has good rum..." And then he focused on something across the room. He blinked. Still there.
What the hell was Mahad doing in a brothel? Cortes stood straight up.
"Hey!" exclaimed Lynda.
Cortes barely heard her. Mahad had seen him. He locked eyes with the boy. He'd let him know he wasn't happy. Then he'd go over there and tell him so. He had no right being here, he was still practically a kid.
Mahad gave him a look that he didn't recognise, then turned and hurried towards the door.
Cortes felt his patience snap. "Mahad!"
A few people turned and looked at him, but Mahad didn't. He may not have even heard him over the noise anyway.
"Who's your friend?" Chris asked. "He's sort of cute..."
Cortes looked down at her. "He's just a kid. I have to go." He pushed past her, and headed towards the still swinging doors. Mahad may not have known what he'd been getting into, but Cortes would make sure he never came to a place like this again.
He got out into the street and looked around. Mahad was walking down the side of the road at a fairly quick pace.
Cortes went after him. "Mahad! Stop right there."
Mahad stopped, turned around slowly. He didn't say anything; didn't try to make an excuse. He just turned around and looked at Cortes like he didn't trust him.
"What the hell were you doing in there!?" Cortes shouted. "You have no right to be here!"
"And you do?" Mahad asked, glaring back at him.
Cortes caught up with him and stopped a few feet away. "That doesn't give you the right to be there. What were you trying to do, have a bit of fun? It's not a game, Mahad!"
"You looked like you were having plenty of fun, Cortes."
"That is beside the point! You shouldn't be in there!"
"It's always beside the point!"
"Get back to the Saint Nazaire, Mahad! Now!"
Mahad stopped. "You want to know why I came here? I don't want to go into some stupid brothel. I came looking for /you/!"
Cortes was about to shout back, when his mind caught up with what Mahad had actually said. He hadn't been here for the same reason as him. And he'd walked in to find Cortes in there. The same as Wayan had last time, though luckily for Mahad it had not been as late in the night.
He shut his mouth, suddenly unsure of what to say.
"I thought something may have happened to you. But I guess Lena was right, you just didn't want to be found."
Part of Cortes' mind wanted to yell at Mahad, the other half, probably the half that wasn't yet affected by the alcohol, knew he had no reason to. "Go back to the Saint Nazaire, Mahad," he growled, his voice low. He was barely keeping the rage he felt, the rage he shouldn't have been feeling, inside.
Mahad realised he'd stopped yelling, and paused. "And what about you?" he finally asked. "You're not going to just stay around here, are you?"
"That's none of your concern..."
Mahad looked at him, disbelieving. "Of course it's my concern! If I wasn't concerned I wouldn't have come looking for you!"
"Well, you've found me. I'm fine. Now just go back, you don't want to be here. Trust me." Cortes turned away from Mahad, back towards the brothel. Hopefully the boy would just get the message and go away.
"You don't have to go back there..."
Cortes stopped. "Don't pretend you understand this..." he growled.
"I don't!" said Mahad quickly. "But... look, I didn't expect to see you in a place like that. I thought you were above that sort of stuff. You're... jeesh! You're the captain of the Saint Nazaire! Do you think the rest of your crew would want to see you in there?"
"Wayan already knows, Mahad. He seems to be able to deal with it. Maybe you should learn too."
"What about... what about Cheng?"
Cortes didn't have an answer for that.
"You wouldn't want him to see you in there."
"He's not going to see me in there!" Cortes shouted. How dare Mahad pull something like that out on him?!
"It doesn't matter what he sees!"
Cortes had all but run out of steam. He was still angry, but it was getting harder and harder to feel right about directing that anger at Mahad. Mahad was right, and he knew that. "Mahad..." he started, but then sighed and looked down at the ground. "You're right... but you don't understand this, and I can't just walk out of it. I've tried before."
"Why not? Just... that's all you have to do. Just get in cab and leave! Because I'm not going if you're not!"
Cortes glared back up at him, but was able to see through his anger enough to know Mahad was simply trying to help. He sighed, then just pushed past Mahad and started heading down the street. Part of him still wanted to go back. He just ignored it and kept putting one foot in front of the other.
"Um... are we going to take a cab?" said Mahad, hurrying up behind him.
"We're not taking a cab. We'll get back too quickly. And I doubt any crew wants to see their captain arriving back drunk either!" Cortes flung the rum bottle he still had in his hand at a nearby trash receptacle. It bounced off the metal lid, and shattered somewhere inside.
Mahad looked startled at the sudden burst of anger. "Ah... yeah, good idea..."