Categories > Cartoons > Skyland > Antigua

Chapter 3

by hyperpsychomaniac 2 reviews

The rest of the crew wonder where Cortes has gotten off to.

Category: Skyland - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Published: 2007-04-09 - Updated: 2007-04-09 - 2112 words

"Mahad went where?!"

"Looking for Cortes..." said Cheng.

Wayan groaned and leaned back against Cheng's console.

"He should've waited for someone to go with him!" Dahlia growled. "Now we'll have two people to look for..."

"We don't need to look for anyone," cut in Wayan.

"But something could've happened to them..." said Lena.

"Something hasn't. Mahad will find that out soon enough. They'll both be back here by tomorrow sometime, I guess. Trust me."

"I don't understand..." said Cheng.

"Good," said Wayan, perhaps too harshly. "Look, just trust me. They're fine. We should all just get some rest; it's getting late. Night everybody." He headed out the bridge door, rather quickly.

Cheng and Lena exchanged looks.

"Something is seriously wrong with this block," grumbled Cheng. "It's making everyone go all weird."

Dahlia half heard him, but she was staring out the door after Wayan. Something was definitely bothering him. And she didn't like not knowing what was going on. She followed him out.


He was nearly to the stairs that led off the deck. But he stopped and turned around, giving her a tired smile. "Yeah?"

"Okay... I understand if there's something you don't want Cheng and Lena to know... but I think I'd like to know, seeing as we're going totally against what we'd normally do in this situation..."

Wayan sighed. "Yeah, okay. We don't need to go looking for Cortes, because I've got a fairly good idea where he is."

"And that would be..."

Wayan sighed again. "Promise me you won't tell Cortes I told you this?"


"He left to get a part. He didn't come back. My guess is that he's at Antigua's main brothel, which is the one and only brothel he'll visit, but he visits it every time he comes here."

Dahlia stared at Wayan. Then she blinked. Then she blinked again. "He what?"

"He's at..."

"Okay, okay, I got it..." She seemed stuck for a moment over whether to get angry or not. She just ended up looking confused. "Why? Cortes doesn't exactly seem the kind of guy to go to a place like that."

"I don't think he really is..."

"Never the less, he's there," Dahlia pointed out.


"That's why both of you don't like this block. You found out last time we were here."

"Sure did."

"He bother to tell you why he was there?" Dahlia prodded. She was getting a little annoyed at Wayan's reluctance.

Wayan leaned against the railing. "He did. He knows he shouldn't be doing it, Dahlia. I just think he's gotten to the point where he doesn't know how to stop himself."

"He had to choose to do it the first time at least."

Wayan sighed, and looked at Dahlia, finally deciding to spill. "He said the first time he went... well it was right after Marcus disappeared and the rebellion got all but destroyed. I suppose it hit him pretty hard. And I guess you do things you wouldn't normally consider when you think you've lost it all. He came here, went to the brothel... tried to forget. Then when he came to Antigua again, he went back. Same thing the next time..."

"That's... not quite an excuse..."

"He's still only human."

"I guess so."

"But he somehow thinks he's not. He wouldn't think of asking someone to help keep him away from there..." Wayan trailed off. "Cortes only tells you what you need to know."

"I guess. And now Mahad's gone after him."

"He'll be okay. He'll just get a nasty shock."

"Yeah. You sure it's best just to let them find their own way back?"

"Cortes is going to be annoyed enough with Mahad coming to get him. He doesn't need his whole crew."

"Then I hope Mahad can deal with wherever he finds him."

"And I hope he can do a better job than I did helping Cortes," Wayan added, leaning on the railing and looking over the darkened repair station.

Dahlia didn't have a reply to that, so she just joined Wayan by the railing in silence.


Mahad trailed after Cortes through the streets of Antigua. For someone who said he couldn't walk away, he was walking pretty fast. Cortes suddenly stopped, and Mahad managed to catch up with him. A bus whooshed in front of both of them along the road. It continued down the street, leaving the road clear, but Cortes didn't start moving again.

"Um... Cortes," started Mahad.

"I took a cab here," grumbled Cortes. He looked up at the street sign on the corner. "I don't know where we are."

"Er... neither do I."

Cortes sighed, stepped back from the curb and sat on a nearby bench. Mahad saw it was a bus stop before coming and joining him. "Guess we could wait for a bus..." He looked at the tattered bus schedule posted next to the bench. "... for more than an hour." He yawned and leaned backwards, stretching.

Cortes continued to stare out at some point in the middle of the street. "I didn't mean to drag you out here in the middle of the night, Mahad," he finally said.

"Ah... forget it. I was bored anyway," said Mahad quickly.

Cortes gave him a look that said he didn't like that sort of answer, and then continued staring back out into the street.

Mahad shut his mouth. Cortes didn't even seem in the mood to yell at him. "Cortes..."

"What, Mahad?"

Mahad paused. He wasn't sure what he had intended to say. Then he thought about the Saint Nazaire, and the hole in its side. "About what happened to the Saint Nazaire... I didn't mean for it to get damaged. I just thought we could get that water carrier."

Cortes continued to stare out into the street for a few more seconds before he replied. "I didn't tell you to leave it alone just to spoil your fun."

"I know... I kind of realised when I really got to see what happened to the engine. I didn't know a couple S22's could cause the Saint Nazaire that much damage. I'm... sorry. It's just..." Mahad let the thought sit in his mind for a moment. He'd started on the Saint Nazaire because it was the only thing he could think of to say, but now he'd said it, holding the rest of his feelings in seemed almost impossible. "You guys spend half your time running from the Sphere! I know you think I just go around and shoot things because I think it's fun... which is probably true... but part of it is I can't... you can't just let them push everyone around! And you can't fight back unless you take some sort of risk."

"You don't think I know that, Mahad?" Cortes growled, turning and looking Mahad right in the eye. "If we could take the Sphere down now, we'd be in there without a moment's hesitation." From the look in his eyes, Mahad believed him. Cortes turned back to the street and sighed. "You're starting to sound like your father."

Mahad opened his mouth to reply, but then realised he had no idea whether that was supposed to be a compliment or an insult. He couldn't remember his father all that well. "What's that supposed to mean?" he finally asked.

"It means at least try understand whatever risk you decide to take. Believe it or not it can still blow up in your face no matter how much you believe you you're going to succeed."

"I don't get..."

"Just try keeping in mind what you could still lose, alright?"

Mahad was getting annoyed at Cortes being so obscure. "Like the freedom of Skyland if we do nothing?"

"No," Cortes growled.

"Well, you're going to have to be more specific. Because it just sounds like you're bad-mouthing my Dad because he's too much like me, or made one stupid mistake..."

"One mistake is not the death's of hundreds of people because they actually thought he was right!" Cortes shouted, cutting Mahad off.

"How is that his fault!?"

Cortes took a moment to calm down before replying. "It's always your fault when you're in charge."

Mahad paused. "I..." then he just sighed. "I'm sorry, alright?"

"Doesn't matter. At least we can replace an engine."

Mahad wondered exactly what he was thinking of that couldn't be replaced. He thought he knew what he was trying to get at, but he didn't dare ask. It wasn't like Cortes was frequently nice to him, so he wasn't entirely sure if what he had immediately thought of was what Cortes meant. A ship, an engine could be replaced. He couldn't if he got himself killed doing something Cortes thought was stupid. Whether it really was or not. Neither could those who'd been killed following his father.

Mahad sighed, and leaned back into the bench. "Look, Cortes... I'll try thinking before doing something... that might be stupid. Alright?"

"That'd be appreciated," Cortes replied. And then he added, as if he had to say it now otherwise he would be unable to: "And thanks. For not letting me go back."

Mahad shrugged. "Was still your choice. But no problem."

Cortes said nothing more, so Mahad thought it might be best to just wait for the bus.


Wayan looked out over the repair station from the deck of the Saint Nazaire. It was early morning and the repair station workers had only just started working on the engine again. He was thinking it was about time he went down there and made sure they were doing it right.

But then Cortes came up the stairway onto the deck. He slowed as he saw Wayan. "Morning, Wayan..."

Wayan looked at him for a few seconds, considering exactly what to say. "You're up early. Or did you only just get back...?"

Cortes sighed. "No, I got back late last night."

Wayan bit his lip and looked away, out over the repair station again.

"Not... like that," Cortes growled, realising Wayan had misinterpreted him. He came and stood next to him at the railing. "Nothing happened. Mahad found me early, and wouldn't leave until I left. We just got a little lost on the way back."

"Okay," said Wayan. "But you still went..."

"I know."

They both stood in silence for a moment.

"I talked to the head engineer," Cortes started. "They still need a few more parts... and they're still over the other side of the block..."


"I was going to ask you to get them."

Wayan paused, not saying anything.

"Look, Wayan. I already know if I go over there I probably can't stop myself. You know that. But I don't want to and I don't want to be a disappointment to my crew. The only way I can see how, is not going near that brothel again."

"Don't worry. I'll get them." Wayan stepped away from the railing, and then stopped and put a hand on Cortes' shoulder. "You're not a disappointment to your crew. Far from it." Then he turned and left down the stairs.

Cortes watched him leave; knowing trying to reply was pointless, as he had nothing to say. He was hoping that Wayan was right and wasn't just saying it to make him feel better. Either way, he was going to make sure everything that had happened on this block would be put in his past. You couldn't remove things from your past, but you could keep them out of your way. That was the best you could do and it would have to suffice. There were plenty of bigger things to worry about. He didn't need his moments of weakness on this block dragging him back. That and they reminded him of what he'd originally been trying to forget. Antigua provided a link straight back to twelve years ago, he didn't want to think about it in any clearer terms than that. A few days after, really, but close enough. Close enough that being on the block made him think of everything that happened that day. When everything fell apart. Maybe that was why he kept going back to the brothel. He was still trying to forget. At least he'd figured out it just didn't work. Aside from it being just plain wrong.

Cortes sighed, and pushed himself up off the railing. He looked out over the repair station. There were still things that needed getting down, and people that needed to be told to do them. It was time to move on.


A/n: Well, that's it. Hope I didn't do too much bashing with the moral mallet. That can be irritating... Reviewers get cookies. :P
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