Author: Rae Roberts PM
Scheming villains; dastardly plots; not one but two young girls aboard the Black Pearl; it's enough to make Mr. Gibbs lose what's left of his sanity.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure - Chapters: 28 - Words: 46,246 - Reviews: 38 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-09-05 - Published: 09-20-03 - id: 1527254
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Pirates ! A pirate ship to starboard ," came the cry from the crow's nest. "All hands on deck !" the command soon followed. The crew rushed to their positions. The little knot of passengers huddled by the rail, watching the approaching ship anxiously. She was just a tiny dot on the horizon, but gaining fast.
The captain of the Steadfast strode by, bellowing orders. "Get below," he ordered the passengers curtly.
One of the men grabbed his arm. "Can't you outrun her ? I thought the Steadfast was a fast ship."
The captain jerked his arm out of the man's grasp. "Aye, the Steadfast is quick, but that ship there is the fastest vessel I've ever laid eyes on. There's no way we can outrun her. We'll have to fight." His eyes traveled over the anxious knot of passengers. "Safest place for you is below. You'll only be in the way on deck." He looked up sharply as the boy in the crow's nest shouted again.
"Cap'n ! It's…it's the Black Pearl !
"The Black Pearl !" The passengers gaped at one another, horrified. The captain's face turned white. Terrified murmurs could be heard across the deck. "The Pearl ! Fastest ship on the sea – a cursed ship ! I heard they take no prisoners. Her captain's mad. I heard he killed twenty Royal Navy Marines with his bare hands !"
One passenger whirled and headed aft to the cabins. The others milled about, too frightened to obey the captain's order to go below. The captain, frantically rallying his crew, had no more time to spare for any of them.
The pirate ship drew closer. Now all could see the dreaded black hull, the grinning Jolly Rodger flying from the main mast. The captain stood on the deck, his eyes narrowed. He was not a cowardly man by any means, but his heart pounded in his throat. As he stared at the approaching ship, he knew he was facing death.
Suddenly, he felt a hand tug his sleeve. Turning, he glared. "I told you, get below," he snapped. The passenger was holding something out to him. He dismissed it, turned away.
"Wait. This may be our salvation," the passenger insisted, thrusting the item at him urgently. The captain looked down. In his hands was a bundle of deep blue silk. A flag ? "Lower the colors," the passenger commanded. "Run that up the flag pole. Hurry !"
The captain shook out the flag, looked closer at it. It wasn't a flag at all, but a woman's gown, or perhaps a child's. The skirt was creased. Obviously it had lain folded away for a long time. His lip curled. "You're mad," he said.
"Do as I say, man, before it's too late. You have nothing to lose."
That was true. The captain flung the gown to one of the sailors and curtly gave the order. Within minutes, the blue silk fluttered in the wind at the top of the mast. Every man aboard the Steadfast waited tensely as the Black Pearl approached.
She was within firing range. The cannons did not fire. The Pearl sailed closer. "She's going to pass within twenty yards of us," the captain breathed, amazed. He looked down at his passenger with new respect, then gaped at the pirate vessel through his spyglass. The passengers and crew of the Steadfast lined up along the rail, staring at the ship as it drew ever closer. The crew of the Black Pearl was crowded along the rail of their own ship, watching. The captain of the merchant ship could see the captain of the Black Pearl, the notorious Captain "Mad Jack" Sparrow, leaning casually at the rail of the poop deck, looking at the Steadfast through his own brass spyglass. Within moments the two ships were close enough that no spyglasses were needed. The two crews stared as the ships passed, literally close enough that the men could look into one another's eyes. The crew of the Steadfast was tense, uncomprehending. The crew of the Pearl grinned mockingly at them.
The captain gaped as his strange passenger waved wildly, smiling from ear to ear. He looked back over at the pirate ship. Her captain lounged at ease against the rail. As his eyes fell on the waving passenger, his lips curved in a grin. He stood up straight and lifted his right hand to the brim of his black cocked hat in a salute. He held that salute as he met the passenger's eyes across the waves. Then the hand snapped back to his side.
"Mad Jack" Sparrow slouched back against the rail and favored the captain of the Steadfast with a sneer. Faster than any mundane ship could possibly sail, the Black Pearl drew away from them and soon disappeared over the horizon.