"How about a volcanologist?" Sheldon said.
"It's a pirate party," Leonard replied.
"I could go as a geophysicist?"
"It's a pirate party."
"Some super hero costumes could work in this instance..."
"It's a pirate party!" Amy cut him off. The thin man, who was sitting in his spot surrounded by enthusiastic would-be pirates, crossed his arms defiantly. "I don't see why respectable scientists would want to dress up as pirates anyway," he huffed.
"Yeah," Penny asked, pulling a quizzical face. "Why does the Caltech party have a pirate theme?"
"The oceanic team have just returned from a successful mission to map underwater volcanoes," Howard explained.
"Ahhh," she replied with a curled lip, she wasn't about to ask a room full of brainiacs how you can have volcanoes under the ocean but hey!
"So what's the plan, Raj?" Leonard said.
"The plan is, we don't just go to the party as just any old sea rovers. No, we go as proper famous historical pirates," Raj said.
"I think that's a neat idea," Bernadette grinned excitedly.
Raj bounced to his feet and unzipped a large bag, which he'd left on Leonard's desk, pulling out two black pirate hats and waving one in Sheldon's direction. "To get us in the spirit," he grinned, which was met with a frown. "I've written a list of names on slips of paper. Each of you will draw a name from the hat, and that will be the pirate you will impersonate on the night."
"What about us girls?" Penny said.
"I think we should be pirates too, not just pirate floosies," Bernadette said.
"I agree," said Penny, "We can be sexy and badass."
"No problem, I have some female pirates names," Raj said, swapping out the folded notes from his pocket, with the ones in the second hat. "Who wants to go first, Leonard?" he suggested.
"Sure," Leonard said, reaching into the hat Raj offered him and reading the note aloud, "Black Bart, the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of privacy. Fearless and considered "pistol proof"." Leonard seemed very satisfied at this and grinned happily.
Howard stepped forward and picked out another note from the hat. "William Kidd, originally employed to hunt pirates but who suffered a terrible death when the hangman's rope broke twice. Owwww!" he whined, at his bad luck.
"I'll go," said Amy reaching into the other hat. "Rachel Wall. The first American-born female pirate, who set traps by faking vulnerability, luring her prey with murderous cunning. Cooool!"
Penny reached in next. "Anne Bonny. Renowned for her great beauty, she disguised herself as a boy and had a fierce and courageous spirit."
"Now that one really suits you," Leonard said.
"Who will I get?" Bernadette said, as she unfolded the piece of paper, "Grace O'Malley, rebel, seafarer and fearless leader, who challenged the turbulent politics of 16th century England and Ireland. Owww, how exciting."
Sheldon went next and grimaced at the paper in front of him, "Oh nooo, I'm Blackbeard… explanation unnecessary," he said flatly, refusing to read out the description like the others had. "I'm not wearing a beard."
"Oh Sheldon, just try to enjoy it," Amy groaned.
Finally, Raj took the last slip from the hat, "That just leaves me with Calico Jack. A flamboyant, charismatic but not wholly successful pirate, who was famous for being involved with Anne Bonny," he said, winking at Penny, "So that sort of makes Penny my pirate wife."
"Right." She did not seem impressed.
"So everyone, go away and research your character and then it's all hands hoay, me hearties!"
"Oh dear lord." Sheldon groaned.
A week later in the halls of Caltech, there gathered a rag-tag collection of unholy unfortunates. Unusually neat deckhands with lop-sided eye patches and nylon ruffles, filled the spaces with much noise and merriment. Geeky-looking Jack Sparrows lined the walls by the dozen and unlikely lasses in thigh-high boots, laced and plumed, were swishing and posing.
Then they arrived!
Black Bart, William Kidd, Rachel Wall, Anne Bonny, Grace O'Malley, Calico Jack and Blackbeard made an entrance and they stood in a row, accessing the competition. It was very clear that as they cut the finest and most menacing of figures, against the fakery already present. And none were finer, nor more menacing, than Blackbeard himself. It seems that for all Sheldon's objections, he had taken to the task of producing an authentic costume with great care. Wearing a glorious frock coat embroidered with gold thread, long leather boots, an open shirt to the waist and even the beard, which he'd originally refused to don. He was quite a sight, tall and magnificent, Blackbeard's eyes flashed with fiery distaste towards the party revelers.
"Sheldon your costume is incredible," Bernadette said.
"Thank ye lass, I take cosplay very seriously."
"Doesn't he look spectacular?" Amy gushed to Penny. "He borrowed a tunic coat from the local amateur dramatic society," she said proudly.
Penny nodded. She had to admit that her awkward friend looked disturbingly attractive, in a dark and deadly way. If she hadn't known who it was, this handsome version of the terrifying Blackbeard, would have turned her head. Other admiring eyes had also noticed the Captain and a young red headed postgrad-wench approached the group. "Is that you, Cooper?" she asked, "You look hawt!"
"Aye, tis warm in 'ere."
"I don't thing that's what she meant," Raj said and stepped forward to greet the redhead. "Don't you think my calico jacket is rather grand as well?" he suggested, doing a little swivel on his heels. Raj looked splendid and by far the most colorful in the room, mimicking the fashionably clad, Calico Jack.
"Sure," the pretty redhead replied, although her eyes never left Sheldon's face as she did so.
It didn't take Amy long to react to the threat, stepping in front of Blackbeard with a hand on the imitation pistol in her belt. She had opted for the pirate attire of Rachel Wall, and not the innocent distressed lady, which Wall used as bait to lure and capture ships. She had on a flowing white shirt, a waistcoat which she left daring open, as the clinching was a little too overly sexual for her and both a large holstered gun and dagger about her hips. The wild black wig and black liner about her small eyes created a rather frightening effect. Scowling darkly, she quickly sent the redhead packing. Amy felt a rush of pride, at the empowerment dressing as a privateer gave her. She rocked on her heels in triumph and bellowed. "Be gone," at the already departed post-grad.
"I could have been Blackbeard," Raj grumbled under his breath, as the redhead vanished from view.
"Let's get some drinks," Howard suggested, turning around to find his beautiful corseted wife dressed as Grace O'Malley, with her nose in a book. "Oww, did you have to bring that?" he whined.
"Did you know that Grace O'Malley fought a battle not long after giving birth? The woman was amazing," Bernadette said.
"Yes, so you keep telling everyone," he said. It was true that Bernadette had been talking about Grace O'Malley for days and to anyone who would listen. It had really captured her imagination. Being so small and sometimes being overlooked, she was fascinated by a woman who could live in such a dangerous world.
"But it's party time, not book club," he said, doing a little wiggling dance in front of her.
"Oh okay," she smiled and slipped the book into her satchel.
A plate passed by on the shoulder of a fetching wench. "Oh canapés" Raj cried, clicking his fingers at Anne Bonny. "Wifey, I'd like some nibbles."
"Get 'em yourself" Penny growled.
"I thought we were going to stay in character."
"I'll kick your ass, is that enough in character for you?"
"Haaaa," he chuckled nervously.
The room was filling up fast, much to Blackbeard's disgust. "It's far too crowded in here and if I were the real Blackbeard I'd be massacring you all." He said, dropping out of character briefly.
Leonard patted him on the shoulder, "Well, have fun," he said sarcastically and started to weave through the crowd with Penny close behind.
"Where are you going?" Raj called out to his 'pirate wife'.
"To cheat on you," she mocked, as she directed Leonard towards the bar.
"Wait for me," Raj said, frustrated by the fact Blackbeard was upstaging him, even though Calico Jack was supposed to be the ladies man of the group. He decided a young fox like himself, should leave the den and he'd heard there was a whole bunch of young new geobiology students coming to the party. "I'm going to mingle." He said, before disappearing into the crowd.
"Let's mingle as well. Let's go and play some of the pirate games, Sheldon." Amy suggested.
Annoyed by Sheldon's lack of enthusiasm, Amy huffed loudly. She couldn't wait to express her newfound sense of power. All Blackbeard seemed to want to do was stand about and glare. "Oh Sheldon, why can't you try to have fun and fit in."
"I be Blackbeard."
She rolled her eyes in frustration and decided to set forth without him. Howard and Bernadette were chatting amongst themselves and didn't notice Blackbeard had also disappeared.
"Evening loser," Kripke said, as he marched up to Howard. He had a stuffed parrot haphazardly sewn to the shoulder of his jacket.
"I see you brought a friend." Howard scoffed.
"Oh very funny. Who are you? Dead man walking?"
Howard had taken a more comical approach to his character. It was said that poor William Kidd had been unjustly tried and executed for privacy and had met his end unfairly. So Howard chose to depict those final hours. He wore ghostly face paint, a scraggy torn frock coat, ripped trousers on his thin legs and a hangman's noose around his neck, to represent Kidd's ghastly end. "William Kidd. So yeah… dead man walking."
"Cool," Kripke said. "Take a look at this." He pulled a sword from a holster on his back and presented it to Howard.
Some time later, Leonard and Penny were milling around, chatting to his colleagues. The blonde had her hair hidden under a lovely brown wig and was nursing a glass of wine. It was going down fast. There had many compliments on their costumes and Leonard spent some time explaining to each and every person, just how he put his outfit together, the long journeys he had to take to traders who "weren't even online," the research and the alterations to the length of the pants. All his chatter was being to bore Penny a little so when he was repeating the exact same story to Bert, about the pants being too long, she added. "Black Bart was probably a lot taller!"
"Yes, I suppose he was," Bert agreed.
Leonard's lips tightened in irritation. "But you do look good," she quickly added.
"Oh my, but don't you look the part?" Bert said, admiring Penny's curves and the tiny waist drawn in by a leather bodice. Leonard grinned proudly at her side, which irritated her even more.
The crowd was in a very upbeat mood and very soon there was dancing, more pirate games and people joking around. Anne Bonny glanced around for her friends. She saw Howard and Kripke wander pass. They'd been having a detailed discussion on sword making and decided to practice a few moves. Pretty soon there was a clashing of plastic swords and a small crowd of nerdy rovers gathered to egg them on. "Go Howard!" Penny called out.
Bernadette seemed to have started a conversation with Professor Siebert. "Did you know there are several songs written about Grace O'Malley?" she overheard her say.
Amy was rushing about, screeching and threatening loudly, with a horde of male pirates. She seemed to be having a blast. "I cut ye down, like the dogs ye are!" she yelled.
Even Raj looked happy, with a girl on each arm, she saw him heading towards the swimming pools with them.
Penny felt a nagging restlessness, brought on by the fact she knew where everyone was, except Blackbeard. As the hours went by, she found herself hemmed in by a horde of nattering science pirates who seemed to have taken a shine to the beautiful, Anne Bonny. Their ringleader, a rather thin looking fellow in a Captain's hat and stripped tee-shirt, kept talked to her whilst his eyes grazed over her figure. She didn't know any of them and they seem oblivious to the wedding ring, which she kept trying to display, by holding her wine glass up high. She gulped down the remainder of wine and before they could offer to get her another, she made her escape. But she hadn't gone far when a young maid touched her arm. "Have you seen Blackbeard?" she asked.
Deciding to weave her way back to Leonard, she was stopped by another girl on the way. "Do you know where Blackbeard is?"
Penny frowned at this, when she turned around Leonard was there, with a fresh glass of white wine, which he handed to her. "Isn't this great fun?" he said.
"Yeah, I'm having a good time but have you noticed how much attention Sheldon's getting. All these women keep asking about him."
"Sheldon? I haven't seen him since we arrived."
"Neither have I but it looks like he's quite a hit with the ladies," she said. Leonard laughed, as though she were making a joke but Penny felt a sharp pinch of jealously. Although she told herself that she was only protecting her friends' interests, she really didn't like Sheldon being noticed by other women at all. "Do you think I should look for him?" She suggested.
"Noooo, he'll be fine."
"But Amy might get upset."
Leonard turned to see the brunette fighting machine, who was engaged in playing pranks on the number of pirate-geologists. She couldn't have looked happier, the Rachel Wall persona had awakened Amy's ego and she was fully engaged in game play.
"She looks okay." Leonard quite rightly remarked.
Penny smiled thinly but had an eye out for Blackbeard. "I'm going to the bathroom," she said and handed the glass back to him. But she wasn't going to the bathroom; she was going in search of Sheldon. A search that was going to take her sometime, as there were hundreds of students and faculty at the party. The campus was so big that after a while, she wasn't sure what sections she'd already looked in. Feeling woozy with wine, she sat down on a bench outside and watched the partygoers go by and was about to give up, when a pixie-faced wench spoke to her.
"Hello Penny, I'm Kirsty."
"Just wondering if you know where Blackbeard and his other wives went?"
"Sorry, his what?"
"Other wives. I went to get a drink and he's moved rooms again."
"He has wives?"
"Yes six, or is it seven …"
"Well he moves rooms as he plunders different areas of the campus. And the women," she chuckled.
"Oh, I-I don't know where he is." Penny felt her throat dry up in surprise and the girl soon turned to leave, when a brunette who Penny instantly recognized came over. It was Mandy, the woman Leonard had kissed.
"He's plundering the biology lab in five minutes," Mandy excitedly told her pixie like friend. The girls giggled and started on their way.
Penny was dumbfounded. Sheldon would never plunder anything, or would he? Everyone knew he took cosplay very seriously, but it would be crazy to act out the characters role and be actually pirating the university. Except if she was honest, this sort of role play wasn't an impossibility, not for someone like Sheldon. "Oh crap," Penny said, and quickly decided to follow them.
They soon led her to the bio labs and she snuck into the dimly lit room behind them. Blackbeard was standing on top of a desk, a tankard of beer in one hand and a giggling lass, on the other. He had definitely been drinking heavily and was playing out his character to perfection. "Avast! the bio labs be mine, hand over ye booty and ye women," and he kissed her passionately as Penny gasped in shock. Flinging the lass away, he grabbed up another wench and kissed her with a force, she'd never seen Sheldon kiss anyone. Penny's jaw metaphorically hit on the floor. She watched in horror, as he was about to kiss Mandy when something inside her snapped. "SHELDON!" she screamed.
He paused his assaults and looked towards the sound. "Well, if it isn't Anne Bonny," he said. "Don't stand in me way lassie. I have ye riches, I'll have ye women."
"Isn't he fabulous," Mandy said.
Penny launched herself on to the desk, pushed Mandy off the table, grabbed Blackbeard by the arm, dragging him out of the room and into the empty corridor outside, to the disappointed groans of the wenches.
"Sheldon, what the hell are you doing?" You're kissing all those people and you're drunk." She raged, grabbing the tankard off him.
"Aye, ye be fine, Anne Bonny." He hushed.
"Sheldon this is serious." But he didn't seem to be listening, standing over her, eyes dark and terrible. It really did suit him and Penny was about to remark on how she never expected him to look that way, when she felt his kiss, bold as brass! He pressed his mouth down hard on hers.
When he pulled away, her eyes were wide with awe. All thoughts vanished as pure instinct took over; she flung her arms around his handsome neck and kissed him back. Their mouths were hot and hungry, their bodies pressed firmly together, Penny's leg was soon up round his waist and his hand was traveling up her thigh.
Oh my god, she wanted him!
Then someone opened a door nearby and gasping for air, and with one last shed of sense, she pulled him off her. Panicking and stunned by how much she enjoyed making out with him, how much she still wanted it, she steered Blackbeard towards the main hall. He was staggering slightly, as she pulled him along with one hand. Going back to where she had last seen the others, seemed like the only way to escape their desires. If they stayed where they were she knew what would happen. He mind was racing with confusion and lust as she contemplated how no earth she was going to tell Leonard. The touch of Sheldon's mouth still burned on her lips as they came through the entrance, into the now brightly lit up room, as people prepared to leave. They were not expecting the pandemonium that awaited…
Kripke and Howard were now on the floor after their sword fighting took an ugly turn. They were lashing out with hands and knees and Kripke had hold of Howard's noose and was pulling, "That's not fair." Howard squeaked.
"Just admit it!" Kripke yelled, "I'm the bettew piwate."
Finding Bernadette was no less disturbing. The small blonde had cornered Professor Seibert and was swaying lightly after a few too many screwdrivers, waving a book in the face of the poor terrified Professor and ranting. He looked as though he wanted to run but there was no getting away.
She then spotted Amy standing in the middle of the room, in her bra. The escalating pranks she played with the boys had ended up with her pirate shirt, being torn clean off her back. She was desperately trying to cover herself up with what was left of the waistcoat, until a shame-faced pirate offered her a skull and crossbones flag.
Raj was not too far away, he was completely dripping wet, from his head to toe. It didn't take her long to guess that he'd fallen into the pool, trying to impress the ladies. He was drying his hair off with a towel, which he'd somehow managed to acquire and sulking.
And then there was Leonard, dancing cheek to cheek with Alex, with his hand on her butt.
It took Penny a few short seconds to take in the devastation and then she backed Blackbeard out of the room and they slipped away...