Only Disney owns or can make money on anything to do with Pirates of the Caribbean. I-just-borrowing-to-play-with-for-personal-entertainment-and-giving-back. Can I be any clearer? NO profit being made here by or for me!
Summary: Mystery and Adventure await Jack and his crew in this 'New World Journey'. Some characters and background story elements are from a previous story 'Aftermath', also by me. You might want to read that one first! For anyone who enjoyed 'Aftermath', I am sorry this took so long to get going! The story line had changed so much over the months that I have started over with this new title!
Action/Adventure Rated: MatureTeen for violence, innuendo and some language. Mild W/E pairing, J/A pairings.
CHAPTER ONE: THE JOURNAL OF DR. COOK
Doctor Cook entered the cabin near the front of the ship. Once this had been a storage room, but when he had come aboard, the ship's Captain had assigned him this room as his quarters. After the boxes and crates had been removed, it had only been a matter of persuading the spiders and occasional mouse to relocate.
At first, he had strongly suspected his assignment of quarters was the pirate captain's not-so-subtle form of discouraging him from staying on the ship. But if Jack Sparrow thought it was that easy to get him to head home early, then he had yet to learn a few things about Doctor Edmund Robertson Cook!
It wasn't a large area, being built into the bow of the ship as it was, so it had a triangular shape, and then divided into two separate rooms. One of them served as his quarters, the other served as Ana Maria's quarters as she was the first mate aboard the ship.
You could hear whoever was walking above you on the foredeck, but that wasn't so bad. Actually it more than served him adequately well and the one brief rainstorm they had come through had assured him that it didn't even leak! He sat down at the cherry wood writing desk beside the wall that faced the door, and lit the gleaming brass lantern.
From one of the many desk drawers, he took out quill and ink and the large red leather covered book that served as his personal journal. Not that he thought anyone would ever read it, but he enjoyed recording life aboard the notorious pirate ship, the Black Pearl. He glanced at the calendar on the wall beside him and frowned. Lord's Stars, was it the almost the end of September already?
It certainly hadn't seemed that long since he had first suggested he serve as the acting 'ship's physician' to earn his passage! Yes, he was accompanying Elizabeth and William Turner on they voyage because of the young lady's being with child - but said condition was not even yet apparent and so it wasn't as if she needed his services every day.
This trip to the Colonies was so the young man could visit with a master sword smith, and at the same time they could visit a few of Governor Swan's relatives for the holiday season. His presence was more of a safeguard than anything else. He might as well be useful since he was along for the trip. The crew at least seemed to approve of the idea of having a physician on board. Of course, they were pirates - not exactly the safest or most healthy profession of practice?
It's not like he was a 20 something year old student barely out of medical school who could hardly tell liver from lung - no, he would be 52 here next spring and had practiced his trade for a good 25 of those years. He was not the oldest man aboard the infamous ship, but he suspected he might just about be the oldest' beginning sailor' in the entire history of ocean travel. So, how did he come to be here and why? Well, pull up a chair some dark and stormy night and perhaps the good doctor will tell you a little story - but not here and now.
'September 21st .. it being the year of our Lord, 1692 and the very first day of autumn,' he added to the top of this page in the journal and then sat staring at it for a long moment. He smiled to himself, thinking about the last 3 weeks of their journey. There had been a few detours - but that was probably to be expected when you traveled with pirates.
'For the third week now Captain Jack's allowed me to conduct a full fledged sick call on Sunday morning. Luckily nothing serious to note this week - a pipe burn, a rash - put two stitches in one sliced thumb that will carry a nice scar but heal well. Gave out oranges to every man aboard the ship and even checked the well being of our 4 resident chickens and one lone mascot of a goat. We continue due west and a bit north - looks like we're headed to the Bahamas. I've never been there, but the crew seems to be smiling more and more every day as if they are pleased with our destination.' He wrote, and then set the quill in its holder.
The pirate captain had made it very clear that he didn't mind if the doctor saw to his crew, but that he himself would not be needing his services, no of course not! And so he'd given him space on a lower deck for his 'infirmary' and had allowed him to hold 'sick call' a few times here recently. The truth be told, so far the doctor had immensely enjoyed being an extra pair of hands wherever needed and the crew members had been at least fairly patient with his lack of experience.
It was indeed a motley assortment of men, and yes, one woman who made up the crew of the Black Pearl. There was the youngest of them all, a boy who could barely be called a man, by the name of Jeremy. The doctor would easily swear Jeremy could not be more than 17 and still in his 'first season' at sea.
Eager to please the lad was and seemed to follow Mr. Gibbs around quite loyally. Jeremy had managed to skewer his thumb with a rather nasty looking fishing hook here recently. God only knows what they intended on trying to catch out here in the ocean. He had decided against asking!
Then there was Mr. Cotton - the oldest of the crew. He guessed the man to be probably in his late 60s perhaps even - a quite remarkable feat for a pirate in and of itself! Of course the man couldn't tell him his age - and unfortunately the parrot was quite unable to count, as of yet anyway. Mr. Cotton was literally a story book of a life at sea with scars and scrapes, gouges and marks. Somehow he had managed to lose his tongue, but yet avoid anything otherwise life threatening. Either the man had a very good sense of impending danger or luck rode on his other shoulder opposite that colorful bird of his. He had given the man an herbal tea after noticing that the older sailor sometimes seemed a bit stiff in the damp early morning air.
Then came to mind Mr. Gregory Scott, but called 'Scotch' by his shipmates. Scotch was in his mid 30s or so. seemed extremely competent - but a bit on the unfriendly side. He was even more superstitious than Gibbs, if that were possible and for some reason seemed to carry an eternal frown on his features as well as a black cloud over his head, for everyone except his Captain. Jack Sparrow was the only one who seemed able to get the man to smile even the slightest bit.
Gruff and few of words the rugged man was, but an excellent cook of long experience. He took great care in his work, but god help the soul who tried to snitch something from the kitchen ahead of meal times! He'd taken after one poor sailor with a meat cleaver on only their second day out at sea! All for the sake of one piece of hard tack! And the reaction of the rest of the crew? Instead of interfere, they had instantly started laying wagers on whether Scotch would catch the poor miscreant!
It was the poor sailor that he'd put three stitches in that night. Not from the meat cleaver, but from when the man tried to escape the cleaver by going under the boom just as it started moving. Silly fool was lucky the thing hadn't taken his head off! After he'd stitched the poor idiots' head up, the fool had spent the rest of the night and all the next day in the brig for his crime. That had seemed to be a bit much to the doctor, but the rest of the crew thought the Captain had been lenient. However, seeing as the man had already received justice at the hands of the ship' boom itself they had seemed satisfied and the matter was long forgotten by now.
And the Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow. The doctor smiled. Jack was still a bit of a puzzle to him. He'd had one previous encounter with treating the pirate, so now of course the man avoided him like the very plague itself. He sighed slightly as he considered the book and turned back a few pages in his entries.
He'd made a list of past injuries of the crew that he thought might end up as health issues. Several had the misfortune to have managed to contract malaria in their lifetimes, but at least none showed signs of consumption. These were important things for him to know - he was after all in charge of their health and safety for the duration.
Nearly every one of them had been quite willing to talk with him once they realized all he wanted was to hear the astounding tale of how they'd managed to receive this scar or that missing finger. Except of course for the infamous captain himself. He knew the man carried several tattoos as well as the brand on his right arm, but how he had gotten the lightening- like branch of scars on his left he could not imagine. Of course, the round of lead shot the captain carried as a souvenir in his lung was far more likely to cause him problems than any scar upon skin ever would.
The ship's top deck watch's bell clanged softly, interrupting his thoughts, and he automatically counted the strikes.
'one two... three four.. five six... seven eight..' - it was 'eight bells' then as Gibbs would say, or, 8pm in the 'real world'.
Strange how many things on the pirate ship were shared in common with all ships - even ones of the British Navy. Or maybe they were just things in common with all ships everywhere. 8pm - and by the pirate's code, that meant it was time for lights out below deck. Any sailor who wanted to stay up either sat in the dark, or came up on deck for their entertainment. He blew out the lantern, left the book open to dry and then stepped out the door and into the rapidly descending night.
Already there was a small group of sailors gathered around a clutch of lanterns, crates drawn up to sit upon or up against. Several of them smiled at seeing him. Slowly more filtered up, someone bringing a harmonica and another a kazoo and one even some sort of flute-like type instrument. Then began the doctor's favorite part of the evenings; stories of old, tall tales and legends, all told with a grin by those who had lived them, or heard of others who supposedly had. He laughed along with the rest of them and smiled at the friendly teasing of the current story teller by his comrades.
He looked up when someone jostled him and gladly accepted the offered cup of coffee from the tray. He had to try hard not to choke at the gallant attempts of a 'jig' performed by two of the men to a cheerful tune offered up by the informal musicians. The ship erupted in laughter, but of a good natured kind and then rewarded their 'performers' with applause and whistles. As the night drew on it grew cooler and the stars brighter as now the more traditional songs were taught to yet another generation of sailors, much as they had been for centuries before.
The Doctor looked down the length of the ship to where the one light still could be seen to be burning in the Captain's cabin. Of course the Captain was the one officer not bidden to obey the order for lights out, but it was unusual for him to be busy so late in the evening. He slowly made his way over to Mr. Gibbs who was currently sharing an end of a crate with AnaMaria, both grinning broadly at the 'moral of the tale' that had just been told.
"Hey there Edmund! Need a warm up for that cup? We got just the thing right here!" Gibbs offered as he held up a bottle of rum and the doctor smiled and shook his head.
"No, that's quite alright! Last time I took you up on that little offer I had one part coffee to 6 parts rum and the most god-awful headache come morning -" he shot back and the older man grinned and shrugged. The doctor noticed the older sailor cast a glance back towards the Captain's cabin as well.
"What's Jack up to tonight?" Edmund asked and Gibbs frowned mildly.
"Not much that I know about. He said anything to you Ana?" he asked and she shook her head with a mild frown.
"I'll go see. That fool will give himself a headache if he's trying to look at those charts and books of his by the light of a lantern. Considerin' that I have first watch tonight an' I don't need him wandering around checking and rechecking every little thing - I'll just go see what he's up to." She said as she got up, taking her cup with her and Gibbs smiled after her.
When she hadn't returned after awhile the older sailor decided to go take a look-see of his own, not minding if the doctor tagged along. He paused at the door and knocked softly, only to find it ajar. It swung open some and he tapped on it as he pushed it the rest of the way open to find the man did indeed have the table before him covered with charts and papers of all assorted sizes and kinds with only one lantern lit to see them by. A sextant, rulers, protractor and calipers all rested here and there at hand. Currently however the pirate was sitting back in his chair, looking at her as if rather amused as she perched on the edge of his table and he sipped at her cup that he now held.
"We botherin' you Jack?" Gibbs asked and the pirate glanced over at him with a mild smile.
"No - I suppose not." He said as he pushed the papers aside some and pushed back his chair to park one booted foot on the table edge, his chair balanced back on its rear two legs as he lowered his head and rubbed at his forehead with his eyes closed.
"Too late to keep you from getting' that headache I see." Ana observed and he smiled a little, but didn't open his eyes. The doctor handed his cup to Gibbs, and then moved over behind the man, gently resting a hand on his shoulder. He tipped him forward so the other legs of the chair were on the floor as at the same time he gently rubbed at the man's neck and then across his shoulders, thumbs focused on the spot directly at the base of the pirate's head.
"Oh god." the pirate groaned in relief at first. Then he opened his eyes to set the cup on the table and saw her still on the table before him. He would have surely fallen over, chair and all, by how quickly he spun around to see who was behind him. Before he could even voice a protest the doctor turned him back to facing forward.
"Hush - I haven't touched you once since I came aboard this ship. You've been letting me tend to all the splinters and gashes and cuts and bruises for everyone else just fine. so just relax - good lord you're tense. Feels like your knots have knots back here. Are you upset about something?" he asked of the charts and the pirate shook his head as he apparently decided not to continue his objection to the other's touch.
"No, not really. We have another French merchant coming our way in about two more days if we stay on this course. Not really eager to see a French flag at the moment myself - but the boys would probably appreciate the fun." He remarked as he reached forward and slid a chart towards him. The doctor frowned mildly.
"How do you know its coming?" he asked as he continued to gently knead the man's knotted muscles and the one smiled.
"They always have a ship reaching port by the first of October here and this is where they come through. Usually there's 3 of them at least, spread out by a good 2 to three weeks. We took the one we found what, about 10, 11 days ago or so? They're delivering winter supplies and clothing and medical wares to different ports for the season before the seas get too rough." He said as he finally seemed to relax under the doctor's experienced touch, and Ana perked up.
"Winter clothes? We could sure use those Jack.. Some of the boys are new this season and don't have much more than the 2 shirts they been wearin' all summer. That last one had a lot of everyday supplies we needed, but it wasn't much on clothes an' such," She said and he nodded.
"That's exactly why I'm looking for the thing. Can't see the boys wearing much in the way of the silk we have down in the hold now. Some of the grain we'll keep, but silk?" He said ruefully with an absent gesture and the doctor frowned at him.
"We can't stop and just buy some warmer clothing?" he asked and Jack arched an eyebrow up at him incredulously and then gave him a rather mischievous gold toned smile.
"Umm - we do happen to be pirates sir, in case you've forgotten? I'm not buying anything I can get some other way. Besides, relax man; England, Spain, the Dutch, we're all allied with each other and at war with the French. It isn't exactly robbery on the high seas when you're at war with that country in the first place already. And it is a French merchant I'm expectin'." He said dismissingly with a loose wave of one hand, and the doctor frowned mildly.
"I doubt the French see it that way." He observed as he focused his thumbs on one area in particular and the pirate shifted a little so he could reach it easier.
"No, but I doubt they think too kindly of Commodore Norrington when he goes after them with the Dauntless either. Look at it this way Doc, when Norrington finds them, his objective is to take them prisoner and usually sink their ship. The men aboard it fight him, some of them die, some of his die, those that live end up being held someplace as prisoners of war in England or are ransomed back to their families. Either way it's not a very pleasant experience for them." He said, hands casually describing small currents in the air and the doctor nodded. Jack smiled a bit maliciously now.
"Now if we find them, I will give them the chance to just surrender first, I always do. If they resist that, we'll use my lovely long range cannons to put a few holes in their rigging and sails, maybe take out a mast or two. Most of them surrender at that point in time. If they don't well then there will be some closer action, but most merchants would rather surrender than fight you to the death." He said and both Gibbs and Ana nodded emphatically.
"We take their goods, leave them alive, with their ship, and they get to sail home and report us to their authorities and eventually they'll return with another shipment of goods. In reality, for the men on the ship, it's much better if they run into me than if they run into Norrington. They aren't equipped to fight him anymore than they are equipped to fight me! But I don't want them as prisoners anymore than they want to be prisoners, savvy?" The pirate told him with a rather smug look, one hand lazily tracing a path through the air as he spoke. The doctor smiled and nodded.
He did something in the man's shoulders, then grabbed him with one arm across his chest and one by his shoulder and half turned him abruptly. There was a loud cracking noise and the pirate startled violently and the one quickly let go and moved out of the pirate captain's reach.
"What the devil do you think you're doin' ye blasted pest of a -" Jack started in indignant protest, then stopped and moved his shoulder carefully with a surprised look up at the man behind him.
"Better?" the doctor asked as he came back closer and the pirate nodded with a still rather surprised look as the doctor rubbed at his shoulders a little more, being gentle with the one he'd gotten the 'crack' noise from.
"Much better. That's been sore for a long time. What did you do to me?" Jack asked curiously and the doctor chuckled as he pat him and moved away to reclaimed his cup from Gibbs.