pairing: Teddy Altman/Billy Kaplan
rating: ?? (possibly R)
plot/summary: Lieutenant Theodore ‘Teddy’ Altman had only ever heard stories of it. A dark red ship filled with a mysterious crew and a Captain that was more myth then human. But in his first week as newly promoted Lieutenant aboard the U.S.S AVENGER battleship, Teddy is faced with a world of scarlet, and meets first hand the reality behind the myth, and the man behind The Maximoff.
chapter 1 (2)
Theodore Altman’s boots thudded hard on the corridor’s steel grating, echoing noisily in the upper levels of the gang plank. He slicked his blond hair down as best he could while fighting on his regulation cap, returning distracted half-salutes to the men and women he rushed passed. At a time like this everyone had a place they needed to be, and right now, Teddy was needed in the ship’s main Control room.
“Lieutenant Altman! Glad you could join us!” Commander Tony Stark grinned at him as soon as the heavy doors slid open with a hiss and Teddy rushed up the platform steps.
“Sorry Commander Stark, sir.” he apologized, and was rewarded with a hearty slap on the back by his superior. Stark wasn’t a tall man, but he had a grip like iron and was quick to joke even in situations that would unsettle most military men.
“Don’t worry about it Ted, it’s only your first week as Lieutenant. And what a hell of a week you picked, we were just gearing up for the party all by ourselves.”
Beside Tony, a tall man with neatly combed blond hair and a chest covered in medals gave the commander a withering glare.
“Commander Stark could you try to treat this a little more seriously?” the man asked rhetorically, and Teddy immediately straightened up to give a formal salute.
“Captian Rogers, sir.”
Steve Rogers was the Captian of the navel ship U.S.S Avenger, and a man every crew member admired and looked up to. A man who, only days earlier, headed Teddy’s promotion ceremony and pinned double bars onto his uniform’s stiff collar. And now, here he was, standing with the ship’s bay windows stretched wide behind him in a back-drop of dark black. But in that blackness, between the pinpricks of distant stars, was another ship. Much smaller then the Avenger, but still quite an alarming sight.
“Sir… Is that…?” Teddy started, stepping closer to the thick glass that separated the airlocked station and the cold vacuum of space. The deep blackness was dotted with the bright shine of far-off stars, and the other ship, painted dark red and missing the standard registration code required on the port side. Captain Rogers nodded.
“The Maximoff, yes.”
Teddy nearly snapped his neck turning back to gape at his superior.
“The Maximoff, sir?! But.. sir, that’s only a story pilots tell to mess with the crew, it can’t be a real—”
“Lieutenant Altman I can tell you right now that that ship is real, and 20 minutes ago it sent a beacon, claiming that it would forcably come aboard the Avenger.” Captain Rogers said, leaning forward and pressing his palms against the main control panels. Teddy furrowed his brows and turned back toward the looming red ship. One he had only heard about in stories.
The Maximoff was a pirate ship.
The pirate ship.
It was a little ridiculous to think that, to this day, there were still bands of rebels and outlaws grouping together to steal, plunder, and generally cause mayhem for any form of controling Government, just like the old stories of the pirates on Earth’s oceans. Sure, it happened, and they weren’t exactly rare in theory, but there were never really any that posed that high a threat to Earth’s safety and well-being.
But the Maximoff… the Maximoff was different. Teddy had heard about it before, it was an older airship -probably one from the 2200’s- painted a dark scarlet. Its crew was a mystery, and therefore probably one of the best in the galaxy. Its Captain, however.. Everyone knew about the Captain of the Maximoff.
Teddy’s mother never told him the story more then once or twice as a child, she had never liked talking about what goes on beyond Earth’s atmosphere despite his interest in it (one of the reasons Teddy joined the Naval Space Force to begin with). However, even school children knew the name ‘Captain Maximoff’. Some said the ship was lead by a man with shocking white hair that could twist metal with only his mind, others went in a different more ridiculous route and said it was a woman so beautiful she could stun men with her looks and even alter the fabric of reality to suit her. But one day, years and years ago, there had been rumors of the ship and its Captian simply disappearing.
And yet here Lt. Teddy Altman stood, staring at the hulking mass of deep red as it hovered a short distance from the government battle ship. Someone was piloting that thing, and whoever they were, they had absolutely no fear in attacking a military ship.
“So… What do we do?” Teddy asked, completely at a loss for this sort of situation. Procedure called for them to wait until the aggressor made their move, to which would probably meet with open fire until the enemy ship was destroyed. But the Maximoff was just hovering there, anchored half a dozen miles out, showing no signs of acting on the beacon they had sent.
“We returned a signal stating that we would open fire if they attempted hostilities. Considering they’re unregistered, we’re going to have to stick a tracking beacon on them until they can be brought in.” Commander Stark answered, rubbing the back of his neck, looking almost bored.
“They don’t seem to be doing anything, sir. Are you sure it was a recent message? It could just be a dead ship.” Teddy questioned, hoping that was the case.
“No, they’re in there alright, and they’ve got about 5 minutes before we engage regardless of a response.” Stark replied smugly. Teddy frowned, glancing at Captian Rogers who was otherwise occupied, giving orders to pilots.
An automated voice came over the ship’s P.A., alerting the crew of the imminent open fire. Teddy’s eyes dragged back to the red ship beyond the heavily reinforced glass bay windows.
The most peculiar feeling Teddy had ever felt suddenly crawled over his skin. It was strange, like a desire to move. He had felt it before, back on earth when he heard about Space Flight academies and the Galactic Navel Force. But now he was feeling it again, staring at that motionless ship and trying to see beyond its darkened windows.
The Avenger’s countdown rang loud in his ears, the robotic female voice listing off numbers getting lower and lower. Still, the unregistered ship did nothing, remaining anchored in prime targeting distance waiting to be fired on.
‘Artillery response in 10, 9, 8, 7-‘
Teddy spun around suddenly, his skin prickling for a reason he wasn’t sure of. Commander Stark was standing near Captain Rogers, both seeming to be unaware of the oddness in the air.
“Captian, Commander, sirs, something isn’t-“
‘-6, 5, 4, 3-‘
“Lieutenant Altman, there’s nothing to worry too much about, we’ve delt with Pirate vessels before, this will be over in a minute.”
“Commander Stark sir, I really thin-“
Teddy braced himself for the familiar electric throbbing sounds of the phaser canons. The air hummed with a static cling from the discharge, and Teddy watched with dilating pupils as two angry bright orange orbs of plasma shot toward the motionless Maximoff. Yet the ship did nothing, not even activating a defense shield to guard against the inevitable damage that was destined to demolish its port side hull. Teddy’s skin chilled, the hairs on the back of his neck raised with an eerie feeling. Something wasn’t right, why wasn’t it moving? Why was it just—
“What the hell..” Commander Stark’s murmur was drowned out by the crew’s collective exclamation of surprise. Teddy’s eyes wide and unblinking, trying to understand what had just happened.
In the flash of brilliant blue light, both the twin orbs of plasma torpedoes and the pirate ship Maximoff itself appeared to have suddenly… vanished.
The entire control room stared in silence at the empty bit of space before them, clear and unoccupied by the rogue ship. The Avenger hovered, the alarms still blaring loudly making Teddy’s ears ring. He felt himself move closer to the shield glass, eyes fixed on nothing, because nothing was there.
“Captain..” Teddy started before actually turning to look at Captain Roger’s face with it’s baffled expression. The Captain glanced at him, his expression now more serious then astonished.
“…Right, scan the area. Radar report back any visuals!” He ordered. Teddy felt his skin prickle uncomfortably. It was more then a cloaking mechanism, more then a camouflage reflector that some of the newer ships were getting built in. This was different. The entire Maximoff disappeared in a second, along with the phaser canons that were headed directly for it. There was no technology existing at this level, none that Teddy had ever seen by any of the colonized planets technologies since joining the Navy. There was no way any Earthian or other known tech could hide an enitre damn ship in a blink of an eye.
Teddy spun around to his Captain and Commander.
“Sirs! The radar is useless, there is no way that was a cloaking mech!” he shouted. Stark gave him an appraising look that seemed way more intrigued then the situation called for.
“No?” It was almost as if he could not even hear the blaring ship alarms or see the flashing red combat strobes that were digging into Teddy’s brain. “Then how the hell did that just happen? Relax, Lieutenant Altman, they probably picked up some illegal radar jamming tech from some Unregistered colony scientist. I, for one, would like to see how it works so lets just focus on bringing them in.”
Captain Rogers hovered over the radar displays, his lips pursed and shaking his head. Teddy’s eyes couldn’t focus on more then one thing or another.
“Sir, the phaser canons disappeared as well, how can a cloaking device cancel out that much firepower?!” he urged, his boots thudding heavily on the steel grating of the main deck as he stomped over to the control panels to slam his hands down. Captain Rogers glanced at his clenched fists but then returned to the green glow of the radar. Commander Stark rested a rough palm on Teddy’s shoulder like he was an overreacting child.
“Relax, Lieutenant, this isn’t our first rodeo with pirates, alright? If it’s not some unregistered technology, what do you think they used? Magic?”
“Now that would just be silly wouldn’t it?”
Teddy saw the grin just as flashing red alarm lights were washed out with a brilliant flash of intense, consuming blue light filled the whole deck. He immediately shielded his eyes and felt himself thrown across the control room and crush painfully into one of the consoles. There was so much yelling and the alarms blared loudly. The blue light, like the one that had come before with the vanishing of the Maximoff, was glaring and crackling, making Teddy’s hair stand on end and his teeth grit against the feeling of it crawling over his skin.
“Ladies and Gentlemen!” Teddy’s hearing strained over the alarms, but he could hear this voice. Who the hell was it?
“If I could have your attention, this really wont take long.” Teddy twisted himself to face the direction of the shouting voice, his eyes cracking open and attempting to refocus after the blinding blue shot his pupils to hell. He could make out blurs of color; shapes of people. More people then were present seconds ago with colors much different from the dark uniform of navy blue military regimentals.
“We don’t plan on killing an- Oy…” a sigh. “Tommy, could you kill those damn alarms? I’m getting a migraine.”
A green blur shot out of Teddy’s peripheral vision and all at once the flashing red and blaring siren were shut off. Never had Teddy been more grateful for his fast recovery time, his head finally clearing up enough to focus on what the hell was happening.
“Alright, where was I.. Right, we don’t plan on killing any of you, so just stay on the ground and you’ll be able to continue your patrolling the galaxy for evil-doers or whatever it is you people do.”
Teddy dragged his eyes up, his vision still slightly distorted with the jarring his head took from slamming into the propulsion control panels. There was someone standing on the Flight Deck Units, walking along them like a catwalk. They blurred in and out of focus as they walked past Teddy’s position on the floor, looking up at the new crowd.
“Cap!” Commander Stark’s deep bark rang through the tense air, shooting through Teddy’s ears as he heard compressed laser pistols firing. He attempted to move himself out of the way, away from any accidental misfires. The minute he was on his feet, his vision was blocked by a blur of dark red crimson, soft and flowing.
“I wan’t everyone to sit down.”
There was another flash of brilliant blue, and Teddy’s face met the floor once again. Very, very hard. Judging from the dozens of solid thuds, everyone else was pulled down by the same invisible force as Teddy. Just what the hell weaponry did these people bring on board? And now the hell did they even get on board?!
“Jeeze, that was a little rough, don’t you think?” a woman’s voice chimed from somewhere behind Teddy, and he rolled his head to the mass of red above him on the control panels.
“Yeah yeah, so I don’t have it 100%, gimme a break. Anyway where was I? Oh right!” that voice sounded young, was this person Teddy’s age..? He wished he could see, wished he could get up, reach his gun, anything.
“Alright, sorry about that boys and girls, like I was saying, we really won’t be long.” boot steps tread lightly past Teddy and he felt his heart hammering. He could move.
“Who are you?!” Captain Rogers called out, Teddy could hear his controlled anger. A military man worth looking up to, never losing his cool even in a bizarre situation. “This is an Earthian Naval ship the U.S.S Avenger, we’re not carrying anything you can sell off.”
The blurry red cloaked individual strode past Teddy again, and his fingers twitched toward the gun holster at his hip ever so slightly.
“Calm down, Captain! I know all about this ship, pride of Earth’s navy and all that. I don’t want anything that belongs to the Government, don’t you worry.”
The person was almost skipping, their steps so light as they walked past again. Teddy could barely breathe. He was moving slowly, not daring to give himself away before he had a chance to act, waiting for the precise moment.
“Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. We only really came for one thing, we’ll get out of your hair once we have it. You won’t even miss it, trust me.”
“Trust a pirate!” Commander Stark scoffed loudly, and Teddy was grateful for his superiors distraction, because the butt of his gun was just about in his palm, and unfocused vision or not he knew no one was looking at him. Perfect.
“Won’t take my word as a pirate huh?” The intruder halted in his steps, positioned almost directly above Teddy’s place on the floor. His blond hair was slick against his forehead with sweat, his breathing even and trained, despite the pounding of his heart against his rib cage.
“Then how about you take my word as a Maxim—”
Teddy was on his feet in a second, hand outstretched and fist full of dark red fabric as he pulled backward as hard as he could. The boy, because he seemed to be just that, yelped as he was hurled backwards into the steel grating of the floor. Teddy thrusted the pirate down and slammed his knee downward against his ribs, receiving a heavy, choking cough. Something dark green and silver blurred into Teddy’s range and somehow, without thinking about it, he struck outwards, feeling the heavy impact like a high speed car crash against his arm. Someone very fast and very stupid had just met Theodore ‘Hulkling’ Altman’s signature clothesline, and was now groaning on the floor a few feet away.
Teddy pressed the barrel of his fully charged laser discharge firearm to his new detainee’s temple, and finally, his eyes could focus in.
It really was just a boy.
A young man, doubtfully any older then Teddy was pinned under his knee, a dark red, slightly worn-out cloak billowed around him. Pale skin and short dark curls of hair that whisked around a metal head plate formed across the man’s forehead. And looking directly into Teddy’s own eyes, were a set of honey colored brown that looked just as amazed as Teddy felt.
“My name is Lieutenant Theodore Altman, and you’re on my ship.” Teddy decalred, keeping his gun pressed fully against the other’s head. The control room went completely silent and Teddy could feel the stares. He was completely unsure who was crew and who was pirate at this point, but his main objective was keeping this pirate pinned and not going anywhere. The young man just stared at him for a moment, then grinned broadly.
“Nice to meet you, Lieutenant! My name is Billy Kaplan, Captain of the Maximoff. What a coincidence, Lieutenant, you’re about to be on mine.”
Teddy’s pupils dilated, and the light brown eyes looking up at him brightened into a brilliant blue. The sapphire light, that illuminated everything to a blinding degree, filled his vision. There was a warm, thick sensation, and the feeling of hands clasped tightly on his forearms, although he couldn’t see anything with the blue light enveloping his vision. He could hear words being repeated, shouts, and laser discharges that faded out and disappeared.
Teddy’s eyes clentched shut as the soft, blue light -that somehow wasn’t a light at all- filled his mind and swallowed him up completely.