Disclaimer: Don't own any of them, wish I did :)
Notes: Thanks to Chrysti (aka CLCurtis) and Katie (aka RainWithattitude) for all your help and support :)
01. Starting Over
Jack sighed, angry at himself for underestimating Maureen Epps. He should have guessed that she would somehow manage to scupper his plans to collect the souls of her crew, but he hadn't seen it coming. The moment she had broken the surface of the water in the engine room, harpoon gun in hand, he knew he was in big trouble. He was in no danger from her, but when she fired that bolt, and hit the trigger switch on the explosives, he'd lost everything he had spent forty years working for. The ship had exploded, releasing the souls onboard. Because they had been trapped on his ship for so long, and suffered at his hands, they had been given a reprieve and allowed to move on. So now he had to start all over again, and rebuild his collection. He knew if he didn't collect his quota, his boss would be furious with him, and there were worse things than being ferried into his employer's domain.
Once he had made his way back to port, knowing the liner Andrea had picked up Epps from the ocean, he had decided that the luxury liner would have to become his next ship. With both crew and passengers, the soul compliment was over one thousand, and he still had the souls of the most recent additions to his quota. He would have to work hard to gather the required number, but with cruise liners carrying more people now than they had at the time he had claimed the Lorelei and the Graza, he figured it shouldn't take him too long to complete his quota this time. As long as there were no more interruptions...
Standing on the dock, he watched as the paramedics bought Epps down on a stretcher. She looked terrible, but that wasn't surprising, given the ordeal she had been through. It wouldn't matter if she told everyone she met about what had happened, because Jack knew no-one would ever believe her wild story. As soon as they loaded the stretcher into the waiting ambulance, Jack signalled the crew of the Genesis to begin loading the gold onto the Andrea. Each of them knew better than to disobey him, and he watched them silently as they started up the ramp in pairs, a crate of gold carried between them. As the last crate began its journey into the cargo hold of the ship, Jack stepped onto the bottom of the ramp and paused. He turned to face the ambulance, seeing Epps laying inside. Her eyes widened in recognition and horror, and he saw her sit up, her hand outstretched towards him. Her cry was muffled but he heard it nonetheless, and he smiled sadistically at her. Raising his hand, he gave her a jaunty little salute and boarded the liner, following his cargo closely. He wanted to be sure that the Andrea's real crew saw how closely he guarded the crates, because he knew that human curiosity was a powerful thing, and it was his first weapon. Once the crew saw what lay nestled within the old wooden crates, he would have them falling over themselves to do whatever was required, so that they could possess the gold.
When he was sure enough of the crew had seen them loading the crates, he left the cargo hold and made his way towards his quarters. He was tired of the cheap clothes he had been forced to adopt as part of his pilot disguise, and wanted nothing more than a hot bath and a good meal, to wash away all traces of Epps and their encounter. Opening the door of his cabin, he smiled and looked around the spacious accommodation.
"Yes, this will do perfectly," he murmured to himself, closing the door and heading for the bathroom. He stripped off his pilot clothes and ran himself a hot bath, making the water as hot as it could possibly get. Immersing himself in the near boiling water, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to relax. Plans began to form in his mind as to how he would take the ship and claim the souls onboard...