Fog, unusually thick and chill for the warm waters of the Caribbean, wraps itself around the H.M.S. Interceptor. Her timbers groan at the slow pace as she drifts through the passage. Sails and rigging hang slack for want of wind. The air is still, almost stagnant, over this graveyard of ships.

A blue and orange parrot is perched on one of the drooping lines. It issues a squeaky and slurred bit of sailor jargon that pierces the calm.

"Get me to those sails. . ."

Will Turner, a strapping young blacksmith with dark hair and fair features stares down into the depths of Davie Jones' Locker, where he can see the mass of vessels this treacherous route has already claimed. Sharks ease around broken masts while schools of silvery fish flit through gapping holes in the rotting hulls. Seaweed grows on the older wrecks, but some look as though they might have been seaworthy just the day before.

Beside the youth, an older man stands at the gunwale. The remainder of his hair and his lamb-leg sideburns are salt-and-pepper, though they have started to favor the salt. His expression is solemn, as though attending a funeral. Other buccaneer hands stand farther back along the rail, all with the same sober face.

Gibbs, the man with the salty hair, speaks at length. His gruff voice is low, hushed.

"Puts a chill in the bones, how many honest sailors have been claimed by this passage."

As if to drive the point home, the timbers of the Interceptor give a particularly loud moan. It seems to the young landlubber that she creaks and groans in lament for her foundered sisters.

Will tears his gaze from the underwater burial ground and towards the stern. Jack Sparrow, the quirky pirate captain is posed placidly at the helm, eyes locked intently on his strange compass. His hands deftly turn the wheel to port, now starboard, now amidships.

"How is it," Will asks in the same low tones Gibbs had used before, "that Jack came by that compass?"

The old seadog follows Will's gaze to the skipper.

"Not a lot's known about Jack Sparrow 'fore he showed up in Tortuga," he responds, referring to the island of pirate refuge, "with a mind to go after the treasure of the Isla de Muerta. That was before I met him, back when he was captain of the Black Pearl."

"What?" Will's voice reveals his perplexity. He looks from Gibbs back to Jack. In his mind he tries to picture Jack leading such a dissolute company. Granted, he is sailing with a Tortugan Buccaneer crew himself, but they are nothing compared to Barbossa's vile cohorts. Now another thought comes to his mind: Jack had never told him. Why? Will quietly voices this last thought.

"He failed to mention that."

Gibbs notices the stress on Will's last word and takes the opportunity to launch into his colorful anecdote of the story.

Jack Sparrow conceals a smile underneath his dark mustache and keeps his eyes down on his compass that doesn't point north. His ears, however, still listen to his peculiar first mate divulge his commander's life story.

"Well, he plays things closer to the vest now," Gibb's gruff voice drifts back to him, "and a hard-learned lesson it was."

Aye, that it was, thinks Jack to himself. Unbidden, his mind drifts to a day ten years ago, a warm Caribbean night in Tortuga. . .

* * *

Author's notes: So, how does it sit with you so far? Please review. Suggestions/corrections are good as anything. I realize there's quite a bit of sailor jargon, so I'll try to help you landlubbers out as we go along.

Ships are made of *timbers*. The ropes they use to hold the sails in place are called the *rigging*. The ocean is often called *Davie Jones' Locker* by pirates. The *gunwale* is the uppermost railing on a ship. *Landlubbers* are people who have not been to sea, or are just fairly awkward on a ship. The rear of a ship is called the *stern*. The *helm* is a system consisting of wheel, rudder and tiller that allows the ship to be steered. *Port* means left (also sometimes called larboard). *Starboard* means right. *Amidships* means in the center of the ship, either from side to side or from bow (front) to stern (rear-see above). A *seadog* is a veteran of water-travel.

That's all for now, mates.