Episode 815: Black Pearl, Black Flag

by Susanne Schwager - Part 1 of 4

"Bad times for actresses," Penny Parker thought out loud.

Once again she had reached a point in her life where she had to accept every offered job just to make a living; however, this time rescue was near. Her manager had made arrangements for Penny to play the leading woman in a TV commercial. Now at the set, Penny was no longer sure whether or not this commercial would contribute to her career. The leading lady had to flirt with the leading man, whose only interest, according to the script, was a grape jelly sandwich. The marketing company had chosen an historic background for this commercial. The leading man was dressed like a pirate captain of the late 17th century. Penny played the governor's niece, who had been kidnapped by the pirate and tried to convince the man to let her go. A really stupid plot, Penny thought, but she was in need of money, so she agreed.

* * *

When she first arrived at the set, she had enjoyed dressing up like the ladies of that time period with all those underskirts, bustiers, corsets, and so on. The hairdresser styled her hair the Victorian way and Penny was allowed to wear a magnificent necklace, obviously fashion jewelry, but that was not important. When she left her dressing room, she was already feeling like a princess, but this feeling disappeared when she caught sight of the leading man. He was a small, slim man, wearing black trousers and a white antique shirt with wide sleeves and big collars. A sword clung to the belt he carried around his shoulder. He wore an eye patch and gave Penny a greasy smile when he saw her. Then he kissed her hand elegantly. Penny recalled this pattern of behavior as she remembered her job at the musical production "Cleo Rocks." She had been fascinated by the French director who - after all - turned out to be Murdoc, the guy who was always planning to take revenge on MacGyver, using every means available. No one had ever found Murdoc's corpse. Murdoc had been burned, had fallen off a mountain, was shot and shocked and lost in an underground pool, but they believed he was still alive, waiting for the right moment to kill MacGyver. When Penny looked into the pirate's eye, she had nearly the same perception she had had with Murdoc. She tried to pull her hand back, but he held it fast.

"Come closer, baby. We'll spend some pleasant days together on this stage. I am interested in good team work. What about you?"

In reply, Penny kicked the man in the shin, trying to escape his grip. "Don't touch me, you fool."

"Ho! Ho! You want to resist me?" the pirate continued.

Before Penny was able to reply to this, the director clapped his hands. "Okay, folks. Save your energy for the job. Can we start now? I would like to see how you move."

The dress rehearsal lasted the entire day. The whole time Penny cautiously observed the pirate.

When Penny returned home, her head was aching and her throat was dry. She went to the bathroom to get an aspirin and a glass of water. Then she lay down on the couch, reaching out for the phone. She dialed Mac's number, but her call was answered by his machine. She waited until Mac's voice finished the obligatory announcement and then she left a message.

"Mac, it's me. Penny. I wonder if Murdoc is around again. Would like to see you. Please. Bye."

Then Penny snuggled up to her blanket and fell asleep.

* * *

They had tied her hands behind her, covering her eyes with a blindfold. Someone pushed her down some steep wooden stairs. Her heels scratched over the wooden floor. A massive door was opened. Then her hands were untied. She heard the door locked behind her. She rubbed her wrists and pushed the blindfold up to her forehead and looked around. She was aboard a ship. A big ship, it seemed. Maybe a brig, she thought. When her eyes had grown accustomed to the dim light, she saw a man standing near the window in the room. He turned and released a greasy grin.

"Welcome, Mylady. I am glad you could arrange to meet me." He came closer. "I would like to introduce myself. Captain Murdoc, Mylady, your servant." He laughed when he saw that she backed away.

"Don't touch me. I am Penelope Parker, the niece of Governor Thornton. My uncle will kill you if he catches you."

Captain Murdoc laughed again. "This will be an interesting fight. A one-eyed man against a man with less vision in both eyes. Wonder who will win. Hope it'll be me. If your uncle wants to avoid a fight with me, he'll simply have to pay for you, sweetie. Until then, you'll stay close to me. We will spend a nice time together, you and I."

Lady Penelope felt an urgent need to spit. When she hit Captain Murdoc's eye, he wiped it and then hit her on the cheek and called the guards.

"Take this wildcat down to the store room to calm down."

Captain Murdoc returned to the stern of the main deck. He searched the horizon with his telescope. Sailing under half sails, Captain Murdoc's brig headed for Port Royal, where the English government had its headquarters. Captain Murdoc knew that the governor owned a treasure of exquisite beauty and he longed to possess it. Once he tried to fight for it. Now he would be in the position to propose a deal: Lady Penelope for the Black Pearl.

Suddenly the man in the crow's nest gave the alert signal, pointing westward. On the horizon he had discovered some white spots, obviously sails. Captain Murdoc took his telescope, trying to find out which type of ship it was. Some minutes later he smiled with malicious joy.

"All crew members prepare to attack. Shift course to 270 . All sails hoisted. It's a Spanish galley. Pull down the black flag and hoist the Spanish one."

***

It had always been easy to surprise the Spanish. Because the pirate brig closed up to the Spanish galley from the east with the sun at its back, the Spanish captain failed to realize in time that it was an attack. The Spanish ship was carrying a heavy load and though they used slaves to make the ship faster, Captain Murdoc's brig soon came closer.

The Spanish captain was not in the position to fight. So he gave the order to outrun the attacking boat. For the slaves, this meant rowing harder. The guards paced along the aisle, swinging their whips. To the left and right of the aisle, the slaves were sitting on wooden benches in groups of four, each one pulling the oar to avoid being hit by the whip. Their bloody backs were covered with sweat. Some of them were hardly able to do what they were ordered, but they gnashed their teeth and kept on rowing.

"What's going on up there?" a tall, athletic man asked.

He still had a muscular body. A newcomer. Sweat had made the strands of his long blond hair wet.

"Don't ask," his neighbor murmured. "It will be bad for us anyway. Either a cannonball will kill us or the attackers will do it by hand."

"Maybe they are English?"

"No idea. Maybe. But then tell me, why are we running? Spain is not at war with England right now. This is a legal galley. The trial to make us slaves is based on Spanish law. We're prisoners. The English are sending their prisoners to quarries. The Spanish use them to run their ships."

"My trial was a farce. Someone framed me and they didn't allow me to give proof of my innocence."

Meanwhile the guard returned. The whip made both men stop talking and go on rowing. Both men resigned to their fate. The newcomer peeked over his shoulder to find a way to escape, but obviously there was none.

"Try to slow down rowing," he murmured.

The old man at his left side shook his head. That would lead to nothing. It never had. Slowly, the pirate brig closed on the Spanish galley. Captain Murdoc gave the command to load the cannons, but to keep them hidden behind the gun flaps. Then he told the gun master to load the bow cannon. Captain Murdoc decided to fire the first shot himself.

The cannon ball destroyed the stern part of the galley near water level. The galley began to suck water. The ship slowed down because no one was rowing, no matter how hard the guards hit the prisoners. The following gun shots, fired by the pirate crew, blasted the masts and sails of the Spanish ship to pieces. Now it was no longer able to maneuver into a position to fire back. When the magazine exploded, the Spanish captain gave up. He gave the order to hoist the white flag. The brig came alongside the galley. They dropped the civilian flag and showed their real face: the black flag with the white skull.

End Part 1 - Go to Part 2

Story and original characters are copyright 1998 by Susanne Schwager. MacGyver and related characters are the property of Paramount Pictures Television and Winkler/Rich Productions. This is a work of fan fiction and is not intended to infringe upon those rights.

Reproduction or redistribution of this story by any means, electronic or otherwise, is prohibited. This story is archived at the MacGyver Virtual Seasons Web site at http://macvs.awardspace.com/