The Ship on the Horizon
The following post was from my original blog on ronincyberpunk.com, it is archived here for posterity purposes
Ian bent over the edge of the crow's nest as he spied the ship on the horizon, "Captain! Ship off the starboard!" It was too far to tell anything more than that. He pulled himself back into the nest and sat with his back to the shallow wall.
Ian was lazy. Absolutely 100% lazy, he would have spot the ship 15 minutes earlier had he been keeping a constant look out but instead he was sitting up here nodding off and did his occasional search of the horizon.
He used to get all jittery and excited with the possibility of combat but now it bored him, The Immortal hadn't gone to battle in weeks, instead it had found merchant after merchant who might take off trying to outrun them before it eventually gave up and surrendered the plunder.
Captain Davis stood behind the steersman and looked to the horizon, the sun to his back he could see the miniature white sails filled with the wind as the ship sailed towards them. Looking upward Cicero looked past the crow's nest and examined his flag, the openly threatening red billowed in the wind.
Other pirates fly fake flags of peace of merchants, luring victim ships in and then feigning weakness or trouble to get them to pull along side, when it's too late the ships are drawn close and boarded. Captain Davis didn't need this trick. Let them spy his flag, the pure crimson red belying his true purpose – and let them run. Let them put their fate to the chase.
A small smile creased his face, a smile most of the crew knew. The smile of the hunt. Turning on his heel he spoke crisply to the steersman, "Bring her about, begin tacking towards that ship. I want her identified before she turns about." The steersman nodded and smoothly began bringing the ship about. Cicero turned and began bellowing orders, "Katja, I want you to identify that ship and if it is anything but a naval vessel with an armada behind it – I want it."
"Aye Captain," Katja nodded and turned to the crew. Her form was what many would consider beautiful, lithe and strong yet her demeanor squashed any hopes the men on the ship had. She was dominant; the only person who she respected was the Captain and the crew knew it. "Prepare for the battle you Sea dogs!" And with that it was official. The crew let loose a howl as one and the deck was enveloped in the commotion of the preparations for the coming battle.
Ian pulled himself back up out of the crow's nest and pulled out the spy glass, fumbling with it he found the ship, now substantially closer due to the fact they were rushing towards each other, the Immortal tacking it's way closer to the oncoming ship. And then he saw the flag.
"Aye! The ship is the British Royal Navy!" He squinted into the spy glass and tried to read the title off the bow. "Prayâ€¦ Pray-tor-ian" He closed the spy glass and jumped out of the crows nest, grabbing the rope he slid down to the deck. His small form was mousy compared to the rest of the crew, his eyes were small and brown, his hair black. Running across the deck and ran up to the Captain's door and rapped on it several times, rubbing his knuckles afterwards having rapped a bit too hard.
Captain Davis sat in his Quarters writing in the log, his quill pen moving smoothly over the paper as the ship rocked and creaked with the sound of it passing through the waves. He always wrote an entry before battle. Who knew if this would be his last. He knew it wouldn't be. He couldn't die yet. Not yet. He continued to write after hearing the rap at his door. His crew knew better than to bother him at this stage of preparation. So he ignored the knock.
Katja spied that weasel of a man standing in front of the Captain's doors. "You!" She marched over to him and stood next to him, her tanned skin and well formed face glared at him, "Do you realize what you just did?!" She was irate, this ship ran perfectly because she had trained this crew within an inch of perfection. And here he was breaking one of the most well known traditions and rules of the ship. Don't interrupt the Captain before a battle. As she went through this mental rant she finally tuned back into what Ian was saying:
"â€¦Royal Navy, The Praetorian!!! Don't you understand? It's Her Majesty's vessel!!!" He was shivering he was so excited – no he was probably nervous. Scared he might get a cannon ball through his crow's nest. So this presented an interesting question, up to this point the Captain had avoided enraging the British Royal Navy – having dodged a few of their ships and not engaged one yet. But he had been in the mood for a plunder today. Do we continue on course? Or perhaps the weasel was right – ask the Captain.
To be continued next Thursday, as always
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