Disclaimer: Treasure Planet and all characters presented in this story belong to Disney, and not me. I claim no ownership, and I receive no profit through this story. This is for my own enjoyment and yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah and all that other disclaimer prattle.
Author's Note: This is a story recounting the voyage to Treasure Planet through Captain Amelia's eyes. No—now, wait! Wait! Before you go away thinking 'Ah, this has already been done before—what was Courtesy thinking?' I want you to at least give it a chance. I've entertained thoughts of doing something like this before, and now I've finally posted it and I hope you'll approve. Please drop a review off after reading these two beginning chapters telling me what you think, and if enough of you feel it just isn't original enough for you, I'll quit pursuing it. Sound like a deal? Okay—we shake like so—and now, go ahead and read, and I hope you enjoy.
One more quick thing: if you recognize a few little details in this story, it's because it parallels the few little details in the story by Homeric-Simile called Argentums Perspicere (with Homeric-Simile's permission, naturally). But the little details are really the only thing that connects the two stories; The Captain's Papers certainly stands on its own.
The Captain's Papers
Chapter 1: Prologue, and The Legend of Flint's Trove
Since these fine gentlemen have asked me to write down the whole particulars of the voyage to Treasure Planet, holding nothing back except the true location of the place and exact route followed to get there, it can be little more than expected that I should comply the favor asked of me by my friends. The fine gentlemen of whom I speak deserve introduction to those who do not know them: Doctor Delbert Doppler, the financier of the voyage, has been most dedicated to the expedition's recount, as well as young James Hawkins, ship's boy, also has imprinted upon me the obligation of this documentation. As for me, I am Captain Amelia, hired as captain of the voyage to Treasure Planet by Doctor Doppler, and now the appointed narrator of this recount. I cannot tell you concisely what Doctor Doppler and Jim Hawkins have done to be of such importance to me; you must discover that, if it holds to your fancy, on your own.
This voyage began as most any voyage might begin for my first mate and me- my first mate, you must retain, being a Cragorian man named Mr. Arrow. He and I had allowed ourselves a few months on land, reposing after a long trade voyage to the distant Karian Abyss. We had taken up residence in a modest little inn on The Spaceport Cresentia, a port near the planet Montressor, hence known more widely as the 'Montressor Spaceport'. The planet Montressor I had never taken the time in visiting myself, but I knew it as it was charted- a mining planet- and, not having frequently dealt with Montressor's ore transport or line of trade, I had never felt the need to explore it. However, I busied myself by reading its newspaper, The Lookout's Report, during my repose, and found in the employment section an ad that called for an experienced captain for a 'top secret' interstellar expedition. I laughed at it outright, I remember, and for a bit of fun, I had Mr. Arrow look into it.
This, as you may have already imagined, was the exact space-captain query Doctor Doppler had placed for the Treasure Planet expedition, but little did I know it then. Yet, I shall never forget the next week when Mr. Arrow came back with the information about the advertisement I had so heartily demanded for my entertainment. I can recall the time of day and everything about it as if I were living it now: I had perched myself at a desktop near the window with some paperwork of common variety, pen and ink in due supply, in preparation to toll mine and Mr. Arrow's wages earned from the Karian Abyss importation. I had also just poured myself a small cup of tea—Earl Grey, I believe it was—to sip while I worked. The time was half-passed seven, and Montressor's sun had made it a good part of the way above the horizon of the Cresentia. There was a rapping at my door a few minutes after I had sat down to my vocation, and, monotonously, I called without a glance in the direction of the door for the person to enter.
Mr. Arrow was the one to appear at the threshold. He carried a sheet of paper with him, with two visible creases horizontally lining the body of it, in one hand, and a waxed envelope addressed to him in the other. He held up the letter. "It is to find a hoard of gold," he said at length.
I paused in my work and peered up at him. The letter remained stationed between his fingers in the air, Mr. Arrow motionless as I lifted my eyes to it. "What," I asked, "is to find a hoard of gold?"
He brought the letter down and tapped it with his rocklike fingers. "This," he said, beginning now to walk into the room, "this letter from an astrophysicist named Doctor Delbert Doppler plainly states that the expedition you had me look into is one that chases after treasure."
I leaned in my chair upon the backrest and reached for my tea. I said nothing, and he continued. "I realize, Captain, that I sound as if I misunderstood the man. Indeed, I felt I had myself, after my initial reading of his note. But after a second reading, and then a third to make doubly sure, I found I was not mistaken. Treasure. He thinks he has a map that leads to treasure."
I smiled at the notion from behind my teacup. Treasure has never been a very reliable thing to base voyages upon; one never knows when the map is a fraud, or how many people have already had at it and stolen away with the riches. Worst of all, it attracts the very dregs of society—people you can never be absolutely certain you can trust. Indeed, every independent space-captain with any head on his shoulders at all avoids such things as treasure hunts, and I silently wished this Doctor Doppler good luck in finding any space-captain with no head whatsoever.
"Surprise, surprise, Mr. Arrow," I said as I sat there, grinning away. "I told you this man's 'top secret' quest would bear some amusement for us. If you would indulge me, sir—what unlucky blackguard's gold is he chasing after? Blackbeard's? Captain Hook's?"
I shall own that I swallowed hard upon the tea that I had begun to take and tossed myself into a fit of coughing for utter surprise. Mr. Arrow could have named any one of a number of legendary troves stashed away—for I know a good deal of them from my crews and their favorite fairy-tales—and I would have taken it with a light-hearted laugh and forgotten it. But Flint's legendary trove was of a very different category.
I believe a bit of background is in order for you to fully understand the shock of Doctor Doppler's intended destination. As the story tells it, around one hundred years ago, a space-pirate by the name of Captain Nathaniel Flint, who could get away with limitlessly sized raids and thefts, ruled as one of the most notorious criminals the Etherium has ever known. Not because of what ship he drove or how massive his fleet was (in fact, he had but one crew and a rather small vessel), but rather of what he could do. This is what makes the legend seem such a fallacy: Captain Nathaniel Flint could disappear. Ship and all—he could make them all vanish "without a trace".
Of course, this was a ludicrous concept that most people should and did wave away as a complete lie. Especially when Flint disappeared entirely. Legend staked the claim that he died protecting his unspent trillions that he had hidden away on an uncharted planet. This drew the line between the reality of Flint and the exaggerations of Flint; history, as you might call it, turned into myth, which turned into legend, which finally turned into fantasy.
I call it history. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I put away my teacup, coughing a little, and echoed incredulously, "Flint's trove? Flint's trove?"
"Is he mad? Really, Mr. Arrow, is he a madman? Tell me, I can take it."
Mr. Arrow shook his head. "No, ma'am. My take on it is that he is simply excited. He seemed so in his letter."
I gave a last cough from my ill-swallowed tea in reply. Then I asked him, "Does he have a map?"
"He says he does, and I quote," and Mr. Arrow read aloud from the letter, "'it took a bit of luck and a great amount of danger to obtain it. But the map is one of genuineness, this I can promise you.' Captain, let me be the first to tell you, this map he has obtained is the biggest and cruelest con in the galaxy. However, it must also be the most convincing; it has effectively fooled Doctor Doppler."
I stared at Mr. Arrow with a vague expression, and then I raised my head and said dryly, "Mr. Arrow… I am in a position to believe that this map Doctor Doppler has obtained is one of the most obvious cons that either you or I have ever seen. Either way, the simple probability that it is counterfeit is... Well, leave that for the moment. Tell me, then, Mr. Arrow, how he obtained this map. Did he purchase it? Surely not—that should have told him immediately that it was a con."
"That is what I assumed myself, Captain," Mr. Arrow assured me, bringing the letter back up to look at it. "However, he did not buy it; on the contrary, it was a sort of a gift."
"Ah, then it is hoax!" I concluded loudly. "Who would give away such a thing as a treasure map? Not even a spoiling grandmother would…"
Mr. Arrow raised a hand. "Please, Captain, first let me finish," he insisted. "He states," and Mr. Arrow glanced at the letter, "…rather lengthily, Captain, that the map was bestowed upon a fifteen-year-old boy—"
"Yes, Captain. In his letter, he states the map was given to a young friend of his, James Hawkins, by an old spacer just before he died. At first they didn't know exactly what it was, says he, but later that night Jim—he must mean the lad Hawkins—opened it up and revealed it was indeed a map to Treasure Planet."
I again sat back in my chair. I cannot say my state of emotion was exactly exasperation, but I must say it was certainly some form of it. "A map to Treasure Planet," I murmured to myself, but loud enough for Mr. Arrow to hear, "what idiocy!"
"I suppose so, Captain."
"You suppose so, do you? It's ludicrous. It's criminal, it's so ludicrous."
"A real oddity, if I may, Captain."
"A real oddity. Yes. Definitely."
An oddity, certainly, I added silently to myself, but what an oddity! Treasure Planet! Treasure Planet, and Flint's legendary hoard, presented here to me as if it were right before my very nose, and if I reached out just enough – There! —it would be mine. Yes, it did seem all very easy, if the fallacy was actually the truth, and such a planet existed. Then, all I would have to do is follow a map and I would be the first captain since one hundred years to set foot on the place. It did seem a simple task for such an achievement.
Here, I cannot tell precisely what happened. Something in my mind fell, like a hammer, onto the small corner of my muse. Suddenly it was all too clear what I would do with Doppler's piece of information. I sat up again and turned back to my paperwork.
"Mr. Arrow. If you would please wave a reply before the Doctor's nose, you would be of exceeding help to me."
Mr. Arrow was thunderstruck, I believe. "Reply, Captain? But, you don't reply to these sorts of situations," he gestured with the note he still held in his hand, "unless you mean to accept them!"
"Precisely, Arrow. I'm glad to know you are so in tune with my habits- it shows me it's time to break them and gain new ones."
Mr. Arrow furrowed his brow. "Captain, you can't be serious. We cannot sail away to a planet we know is nonexistent using a map that we know is a horrid hoax! Let someone else get lost in space—"
"Oh, Mr. Arrow!" I turned round in my seat to face him again. "Really, where has your sense of adventure gone? We don't know that this planet is nonexistent. Who has the right to say Doppler's map is a farce, if no one knows for certain? Tell me the truth now, Arrow—aren't you the tiniest bit curious as to whether or not any of this might have some truth to it?"
Mr. Arrow sighed to himself. He glanced at the note he held in his hand, standing habitually in the position of attention. I suppose I knew right off that what I was proposing was betraying everything he held in his better judgment. However, the prospect of being the captain who brought a ship, a crew, a nutty astrophysicist, and especially a boy safely to and back home from the legendary Treasure Planet seemed to me too good to let slip away. Ludicrous as it all sounded, a certain hunch told me that this could have the potential of surfacing some wonderful things; all one had to do was depend on one's imagination. Mr. Arrow, however, was never much one for the imagination.
He looked at me. "I shall follow the orders my Captain deems… best," he said. I clapped my hands together. "There's a good man, Arrow! Now, if you'll tell that Doctor Doppler we're ready to cast off at any moment he is prepared to, all will be well at hand."
Mr. Arrow left me to my work in his usual, quiet civility, respectfully touching the rim of his ebony tri-cornered hat as he did so.