Title: A Minor Detour, Part 3
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: “Oooooooor,” the voice cut in again, and Arthur’s heart sank with each second it drew out the vowel, “I could kill you and sell your ship for parts.”
Word Count: 932
Prompt: #212: Donate-A-Prompt (Charm from brunettepet)
Author's Notes: Part 1 | Part 2
“Arthur—” Merlin started to whisper, glancing nervously around the bridge.
“Shut up, Merlin,” Arthur hissed back. “Shut up for once in your life, for the love of stardust, and let me do the talking.”
Normally Merlin would have played off the rebuke with a joke, but Arthur seemed to really mean it this time. The only thing that stopped that from hurting Merlin’s feelings was the fact that Arthur also appeared extremely agitated, more unsettled than Merlin had ever seen him before—and they’d just been discussing their probable future of starving, suffocating, and/or murdering each other to death.
Straightening in his chair and facing the viewscreen, even though there was no visual link up, Arthur hailed their mysterious voice. “I am Captain—”
“Don’t care,” the voice interrupted. It didn’t say anything else, though, so he tried again.
“We’ve found ourselves in a bit of distress, so if you’d be able to assist us—”
“Oooooooor,” the voice cut in again, and Arthur’s heart sank with each second it drew out the vowel, “I could kill you and sell your ship for parts.”
And that was exactly what Arthur had been afraid of. Anyone who was A. this far out in the middle of nowhere while B. not following any of the accepted protocols for greeting strange ships or C. introducing themselves was more likely to be trouble than help. Then there was D., and this was really the most important, Arthur really didn’t like the sound of that snide, calculating voice taking over his ship.
True, it would have been worse if it had been the Albion and not this little shuttle, but it was still his. This scavenging interloper had no right to it or any of his systems as long as he was alive—which, as just mentioned, probably wasn’t going to be very much longer.
As he tried to come up with a threat convincing enough to buy them some time even though it would be pretty clear they couldn’t back it up, Merlin spoke up. He sounded entirely too cheerful for the situation.
“I mean, you could do that, sure,” he said as though it were a reasonable and not at all suicidal thing to say. He ignored Arthur’s best glare, which he had inherited from the Commander and had cowed much braver men than he, and went on, “But that seems like a whole lot of work on your part, when instead you could just wait for us to die all on our own.”
“Merlin, if you’re trying to be helpful, let me assure you it’s not working.”
Merlin ignored Arthur, because Merlin had a plan and his plans were always better than Arthur’s. His captain never admitted that, either taking the credit or chalking it up to dumb luck, but Merlin had long since given up on that fight.
“But that could take days,” the voice said thoughtfully, “and my time is more valuable than that. No, I think it’s best to just off you ourselves.”
“Sure, sure,” Merlin agreed easily, “you’re right. It’s a pretty good little shuttle, lots of new gizmos and gadgets. You’ll get a lot for it. It’s definitely worth risking the wrath of Camelot.”
There was a very derisive snort at that. “For one little shuttle with two idiots who got themselves stranded out here? Assuming they even figure out what happened to you, honestly, I’m doing them a favor by getting rid of you. I’m sure they’d be better off not paying and feeding you.”
“Oh, yeah, the ship’s totally expendable. And Commander Pendragon would probably pay you even more than this hunk is worth just to be free of me.” Merlin dodged Arthur, who had lunged out of his chair in an attempt to throttle him. Skirting circles around a console to keep it between him and Arthur, he added, “He’s a little more attached to his son, though.”
Arthur froze as the voice’s interest perked up. “I’m sorry, what now?”
“Oh, that’s right.” Merlin smirked at Arthur, though he still didn’t dare come out from behind the steel barricade. “We didn’t quite finish our introductions! I’m First Whatever You Don’t Really Care, and he’s Captain Arthur Pendragon of the Albion.”
The speakers were silent and for a moment Arthur thought Merlin had actually succeeded in driving them off. He supposed it made sense that his name had that effect, though. Now they were back to their original dilemma of imminent demise, though. Then the entire shuttle shook as alarms started blaring.
“I hope you’re happy, Merlin,” Arthur snarled as they were drawn helplessly towards the heart of an unknown but clearly unfriendly ship they still couldn’t see. “We don’t even have a weapons cache on this useless bucket!”
Merlin was grinning like the idiot he was. “I really am, Arthur. I’m so very happy."
“Yes, I can see why you’re so thrilled,” Arthur bit back. “After all, we’re just about to be captured and held hostage by some murderous scrap vulture, that sounds like a great adventure to me!”
“Arthur.” Merlin was obnoxiously smug as he looked at Arthur like a slow child. “What’s the most important part of effectively ransoming a hostage?”
“Oh, I don’t know, willingness to inflict violent bodily harm and suffering?”
“Keeping them alive, smeghead. Food, Arthur. Oxygen. Heat.”
“That’s a very odd way of pronouncing Thank you for charming your way out of my assured death, Merlin. You should really practice your enunciation.”
Merlin sounded so very hopeful that it was even more satisfying than usual to order, “Shut up.”