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The Never Never Planet
Chapter Three


Peter, the Alphans and the lost boys devised their plan all the way down to the beach. Once there, Peter revealed a hidden boat which floated unseen behind some huge boulders and seaweed.

"We use it for fishing." Jimmie Bee explained, "And to pull pranks on the pirates."

He didn't elaborate and didn't have to. Children will be children.

The adults were given the honor of sitting in the small boat while the boys held onto its side, and Peter floated a little above them in the sky.

As they rowed, Koenig couldn't stop thinking how utterly odd the situation was. He and the others were actually being led into battle by a flying child! And, while Koenig was grateful for Peter's gift, he had a difficult time believing that it was reality. He expected to awaken from this bizarre dream at any moment.

Once they arrived at the JOLYY ROGER John, Alan, Maya and Sandra motioned to Peter and the boys. They were going to proceed down to the lower decks. Meanwhile, Peter would do an aerial reconnaissance and the children would wait for their cues. Peter had already told the Alphans that Hook never spent his casual time with the crew. He thought himself far better than they. So, he would probably have Helena in his cabin, trying to impress her with his well traveled demeanor.

John felt a little uncomfortable with the thought of Helena in Hook's clutches but was assured when remembering that the pirate truly wasn't as bright as he thought -- but Helena was. Dr. Russell was more than capable of taking care of herself.

"Watch out for the crew." was Peter's only parting shot. He took a long look at Sandra, seeming to want to tell her something more, but he quickly turned away and flew out of sight.

Once inside, John said: "There are three decks in the ship. One of the boys said that the bottom is their kitchen and bunk areas so we'll assume that Hook has Helena on the second deck."

They moved swiftly through the dark, feeling their way and awaiting for their eyes to become use to the lack of light. Their hands touched marble and polished wood, framed pictures and expensive vases. No doubt the booty from some unfortunate ship that got into Hook's way. It was a strong reminder that even though the Captain and his men were not scholars, they were deadly.

"I hear something." Maya said, stopping suddenly.

Alan ran into her but the contact wasn't hard enough to knock the Psychon over. "What is it?" he asked, steadying himself by holding her upper arms.

"I hear it too." Sandra said, "Someone's BREATHING. But it's not one of us."

Their eyes were quickly getting use to the dark and John thought he saw movement then a flicker of light up ahead. Under this light had been the figure of a human being, he was sure of it. John immediately thought of the odd flickers that had been associated with Peter Pan earlier, but he knew that was wrong. This light reminded him far more of a tiny Alpha issued flashlight.

"Helena?" he whispered.

"John, are you crazy?" Alan poked his shoulder, "That could be ..."

"John, is that you?" Helena whispered back, breathlessly.
The flashlight suddenly gleamed on a higher beam and she ran to them, "John! " She flung herself into his arms and they quickly kissed, grateful they were together again. "When I heard you whispering I thought it was his crew." Helena gasped, "But, he knows you're here, John! We have got to go before Hook wakes up." she urged, tugging his arm.

"I have half a dozen questions to ask you. " John said, "Including why Captain Hook is asleep but knows we are here, but I know we don't have the time so ..."

As the Alphans started back to retrace their steps, the deck was suddenly came alive with light and rough laughter.

"It's too late, Commander!" Hook stood before him, imposing, with many of his crew standing behind his uninjured form. To Helena, he said: "It will take much more than a china plate to the head to keep me unconscious, My Dear!" The Captain's men held weapons on the Alphans. "Come, let us go to the upper deck -- where Peter Pan must be awaiting your return."

*****

Captain Hook talked steadily, all the way up to the top deck of the Jolly Roger. "... and while it be true that I wish to explore other worlds, Neverland has become quite dull, I find myself wishing to do one last thing before my men and I leave these wretched seas..."

Koenig listened quietly as Hook babbled on about his victories and how he, the Commander of Moonbase ALpha, was the pirates' ticket to a more interesting life. John knew it was useless trying to explain the impossibility of what Hook demanded. Helena, he knew, had already tried but the pirate simply would not hear of it. John wondered what he'd do once Hook pressed him into attempting "his magic". He was sincerely convinced all Koenig had to do was snap his fingers and it would be done.

"We have much in common, Commander." Hook said, following his crew, "I know what it's like being an authority figure. Your people look up to you and expect you to make all of the right choices. Little do they know how difficult some decisions can be."

"He's a bloody advice columnist. " Alan murmured beside John as they walked behind Hook. He received a knife jab, from an unfriendly pirate, in the ribs for his sarcastic comment.

When they arrived on the top deck, Hook moved passed a few of his men to take a good look, "What? NO Pan?" he observed, "The boy must be somewhere!" His expression turned slightly disturbed, "I do not wish to leave until I have had the pleasure of saying good-bye to DEAR Peter. I owe him SO much!" There was a rough edge to his tone that clearly showed Hook had plans for the boy, which did not include a hug or a handshake. "Come out, child!" he called.

When there was no response, his expression grew dark. The Captain turned to look beside him and grabbed the arm of the first female Alphan he saw. It was Sandra. "I will kill this girl," he said, drawing his sword - "unless you show yourself NOW, Pan!"

John and Alan moved forward but were held back by pirates.
"I'm here!" Peter called. He was floating above them, close to the Jolly Roger's crow's nest. "You better take your hands off of her or something bad is going to happen, Hook!"

"Something worse than what you've already done?!" Hook questioned with venom. "You and your boys have made me the butt of your jokes for far too long. None of the other children in Neverland have treated me so badly."

"They're afraid of you ..you OLD sea slug!"

"You're smug now, Pan, but just how amused will you be when I cut this pretty throat?" Hook asked and pulled Sandra closer to him, "Now, come down here before I forget myself and run her through!" He placed the blade perilously underneath Sandra's chin.

Peter suddenly looked unsure of himself and he slowly floated down onto the deck. "You're a cod fish and you'll always be a cod fish." he murmured with a pout. "I know you want either the Commander or me to send you away from here, but what else do you want ?"

Hook smiled and loosened his hold on Sandra. "I would have thought that easy to figure out. With the Commander here, what do I need with you?" Unexpectedly, he pushed Sandra into the grasps of another pirate and thrusts forward with his sword "DIE!"

The blade caught Peter in the shoulder, breaking skin but not puncturing anything vital. Peter was too quick to allow Hook such an advantage. A look of absolute bewilderment crossed Peter's face as he looked at the small droplets of blood which stained his brown shirt sleeve. His face turned red as he looked up at a gloating Hook.

When he opened his mouth, all knew the battle had started: "LOST BOYS, NOW!" he screamed.

They came from everywhere, holding knives and swords that seemed, somehow, far too old for them.

Helena, Maya and Sandra ran for cover as Alan and John were tossed swords and, like the boys, started to fight the pirates.

Hook peeled off his heavy outer coat and he fought Pan viscously. "Why don't you FLY, boy?! That's what you do best!"

"You know I'll never fly as long as you can't. I'm no coward!" Peter replied.

This was no child's game. Hook not only wanted to hurt Peter, but he wanted him dead, completely destroyed!

Helena noted, unlike the films produced in Peter's name, there were no light moments here. Peter and Hook, adversaries to the bitter end, were out for blood. Helena quickly shifted her gaze to the sopping wet Jimmie Bee who, like the other children, swung his long knife with skill. She found it difficult to believe that he was the same sweet, innocent child who had taken her to see beautiful flowers only a day before.

Maya did her best to focus and attempt a change but she was incapable, "Damn." she cursed in frustration with her lack of alteration.

Sandra, hiding with Helena and Maya behind barrels filled with gun powder, said: "We should be out there fighting with our men. It's not as if we're weak, defenseless women."

"Sahn, we have no weapons." Helena spoke succinctly, "We are in no position to demonstrate how liberated we are. The best we can do is stay out of the way and hope the men know what they're doing."

"Amen. " Maya offered. She was looking over the barrels, watching the pirates die as the boys {and men) stabbed at them, allowing their limp bodies to fall before them on the ship's damp deck.

Unlike the children's classic, blood flowed freely. The boys were well trained with their armament and seemed to know, instinctively, where to hit their victims where it would do them the most damage.

Maya grimaced when she noted another item that was probably left out of the book her Commander so cherished. When the pirates fell, tendons were cut and throats were slit. It was all so ghastly!

Helena heard Maya gasp and poked her head above a barrel to see what she took offense to.

It was at that moment that Jimmie M. Bee saw it ...and so did Helena.

While Pan fought Hook, Mr. Smee was sneaking up behind the floating boy. Jimmie was positioned just behind the Captain, having just dispatched one of his crew, when Smee was seen crawling - so as not to make too much noise - behind Peter. He wanted to be careful not to arouse the boy's attention.

"Peter, look out!" Jimmie cried.

Pan moved just in time. Smee's sword came down in empty air.

Hook was infuriated. With a look of absolute derangement, he turned on Jimmie and slashed the child ruthlessly across the chest. He then smiled as he watched the boy drop to the deck.

Helena jumped up and screamed. It took both Maya and Sandra to hold her in place as she gaped, opened mouth, at the injured child. She wanted so desperately to go to Jimmie. However, she was not the only person affected by this thoughtless act of Hook's.

Pan, who had always showed a calm face, floated a bit above the deck and took in what had just happened to his soldier ...and best friend. Pan cried out in animal-like fury and grasped the stunned Hook's sword with lightening speed. He yanked hard, freeing it from the cruel pirate's hands. "Arrrgggg!" Peter screamed in anguish and brought the blade down on Hook's right wrist.

Only a few of Hook's men were now alive but those who remained would always remember that day they saw their Captain lose his hand to Peter Pan. The expletives and screams were as much from anger as agony. Hook fell prone on the deck and his crew, following a tradition as old as the sea itself, laid their swords down and took a few steps away from their enemy.

Helena jerked free from her friends and ran to Jimmie, examining the long blade gash across his heaving chest.
Koenig watched as a pensive Peter motioned for his men to get into the row boats provided by the Jolly Roger. The battle was over and this time Peter Pan had won. He was still shaken but seemed to relax when Helena looked up from her patient and smiled at him. Jimmie would be all right. Peter glanced at the pirates, who had decided to keep their distance, and said: "When your Captain is conscious tell him that from this moment on we will be at war ... and when given the opportunity I will kill him. Man to man."

Peter looked down at the unaware Hook. Even in this senseless state he knew enough to clutch onto his bleeding stump.

Finishing with Jimmie, Helena moved over to Hook but-was stopped by Peter.

"No, leave him to his men." he said and motioned her to follow John and Alan as they lifted Jimmie into a boat.

Helena almost argued but didn't. She felt very little sympathy for Hook and, as a doctor, felt guilty for the way she was so easily swayed.

As a last demonstration of contempt, Peter picked up Hook's lifeless, disembodied hand and tossed it over the side of the ship. The sharks - or crocodiles - would feast tonight.

******

"Helena, it's time to go." John whispered in her ear.

She nodded, "We've already said our good-byes. He's sleeping now." Helena hated the thought of leaving Jimmie behind. She even asked Jimmie if he would like to live with them on Alpha. Jimmie replied, during a brief moment of consciousness, that he couldn't leave Peter. Not yet. Some day, he was sure, he would return to where he belonged ...but he had no place on Alpha.

Reluctantly, Helena was forced to capitulate.

Still, John hated to see her cry and it broke his heart that he was unable to give Helena what Jimmie M. Bee, the child she never had, could.

Meanwhile, Peter stood with Maya and Sandra at the foot of their Eagle.

"I owe you an apology." Maya said to Pan, "For a long time I didn't trust you and thought ... Well, never mind what I thought. It was unfair."

"It's okay. " Peter allowed one of his rare smiles, "I wasn't too sure about any of you either." He accepted Maya's kiss on the cheek and turned his attention to Sandra as the Psychon walked up the ramp into their Eagle. "I really wish *you* didn't have to go." Peter said, "Listen, why don't you stay, Sahn? We could show you a fun time here! And I could take you back to Earth anytime you like."

Sandra, with kindness, touched his cheek, "I'm sorry. Peter. but not only is it unhealthy for me to be here but I'm just too old for Never Neverland ... no matter how pixish I might look."

Peter stared down at his feet, "I'll miss you." he said, dejected.

"And I'll miss you too. But here ..." Sandra pulled off her I.D. badge and gently passed it into Peter's hand. "It has a picture of me on it. Keep it."

Peter brought the badge up and he looked, with expression filled eyes, at her picture, "I'll cherish it always." he said.

With great tenderness, Sandra leaned forward and kissed Peter very carefully on the corner of his mouth. "Be good." she whispered and turned, walking away from him into the Eagle.

****


Epilogue