Many years ago when buccaneers sailed the seven seas, a pirate named Rottenbeard traversed the ocean, looting ships, plundering towns, and hunting for buried treasure. He spread so much rottenness across the sea, that he went down in history as the most feared pirate that ever lived. Even to this day his story is told, still striking fear in the hearts of whoever hears his name...

- - - -

CHAPTER 1

Between the clear blue skies above, and the sparkling blue ocean below, two sailing ships sped across the sea, away from a seaside town. The captain of the fleet peered into his telescope, surveying the escaping vessel. The first thing to catch his eye was the giant black flag on the edge of the mast, billowing in the wind. In the center of the flag was a skull and crossbones, the skull bearing a frightening resemblance to the other ship's captain.

"Rottenbeard..." growled Captain John Harvey as he lowered the spyglass.

"Sir, should we fire cannons?" a soldier shouted from across the deck, breaking Captain Harvey out of his trance.

"Yes, let them have it!" he responded, clenching his fists and teeth. He looked back across the sea at Oceantown, his home. He would make sure Rottenbeard suffered greatly for stealing from them, as well as the countless other towns he had pillaged.

"Fire one!" a crewman shouted as he lit a cannon, and plugged his ears. The cannon blasted a cannonball high up into the sky.

Captain Harvey squinted his eyes from the sun as he tried to locate the cannonball. When he finally caught sight of it again, it was landing in the ocean, missing Rottenbeard by a mile.

"Curses." he muttered.

- - - - - - - - - -

"Shiver me timbers, yer gonna have to do better than that, landlubbers!" shouted Rottenbeard in a gruff voice at the pursuing vessel. He adjusted his long black jacket and pirate hat, then turned to the crewman behind him.

"Quicksail, get yerself down below and get that blasted machine of yours running!"

"Aye Aye captain". Quicksail replied, and rushed below deck without a second thought.

"Cap'n, they're firing again!" shouted Tricks, a female crew member up in the crow's nest.

Rottenbeard grinned in delight, and stroked his thick black beard. This was refreshing. They hadn't been chased like this in ages.

"Ahoy Zigzag, get ready for evasive action." he bellowed to his portly blonde crewman standing at the wheel.

"Yessir!" Zigzag eagerly replied, and tightened his blue bandana, ready for action.

As the navigator, Zigzag had gotten the ship out of trouble more times than he could count, earning his name from all the zigging and zagging he did to escape from danger.

The next cannonball had been fired and was now soaring through the air. It looked like it would be a direct hit this time.

Zigzag grunted and groaned, straining with all of his might as he turned the wheel, moving the ship just enough to avoid a direct hit.

"Blimey, that was close!" Tricks commented from above.

Rottenbeard looked into his spyglass at the pursuing ship, and noticed them loading yet another cannon. These blaggards were persistent.

"Avast, they be getting ready to fire again!" Rottenbeard informed the crew, his mind overflowing with attack patterns and escape maneuvers. His thoughts quickly turned back to Quicksail who was still down below with no results.

"Quicksail, hurry up lad, or we'll all be takin' a one way trip to Davy Jones locker!" yelled Rottenbeard through the floor, even though there was no way Quicksail could hear him.

Down below, Quicksail was rushing around his machine, rotating levers and winding gears, as smoke shot out of almost every opening. He ran his dark fingers through his bright orange hair, and breathed out some of the air he had been holding in.

"Almost got it!" grunted Quicksail, while winding a rather large lever.

Even though he supplied many useful inventions, this contraption was Quicksail's greatest contribution to the ship. It was the only one of it's kind, and gave Rottenbeard such incredible sailing speed, that no one had ever been able to come close to catching them.

Suddenly the machine began to sputter to life, and two giant propellers started turning underneath the ship.

"Ahoy mateys, we be quick sailin' now! " he shouted excitedly!

- - - - - - - - - -

Back on the pursuing ship, Captain Harvey was getting quite frustrated.

"Fire!" he shouted, and slammed his fist against the wooden railing of his ship.

The cannon fired for the third time, and Captain Harvey held the rail tightly, hoping that this would be the one. The shot that finally sunk Rottenbeard.

He watched as the cannonball soared into the air, a seemingly perfect shot. That is, it would have been. Out of nowhere, Rottenbeard's ship suddenly received a massive increase in speed, and shot across the sea, leaving a trail of violent waves behind them.

The cannonball that had all of John Harvey's hopes resting on it splashed in the water, directly where Rottenbeard's ship once stood.

"Curse that Rottenbeard, he's escaping, and at double our speed! How is this possible?" inquired a disappointed Captain Harvey as he straightened his red uniform, and fixed his dark greying hair.

His second in command came and stood next to him.

"We're not sure sir." he said. "It's rumored that his ship somehow runs on its own power."

"Preposterous." Captain Harvey scoffed.

"Should we continue pursuit captain?" the navigator asked.

Captain John Harvey sighed, and shook his head.

"No, turn round."

"Turn round?" the navigator asked, confusedly. "But sir!"

"But sir nothing." Captain Harvey told him sternly, then turned to his second in command. "He's tricky that Rottenbeard, but we'll nab him, just wait. He will NOT get away with this."

- - - - - - - - - -

"All clear cap'n, enemy ships retreating." reported Tricks from the crows nest.

"Yar har, we did it lads!" Rottenbeard chuckled, and dusted off his black and white striped pants. "Another town successfully pillaged."

"Not just any town cap'n, that was Oceantown." explained Pinchpenny in his usual nasally voice, as he came up from below decks. "The most heavily guarded town on the coast."

"Ay, ye be right laddie, and we snagged the booty before they even knew we was there!"

Rottenbeard knew that Pinchpenny had been hiding away in the cabins while the battle took place, counting all of the treasure. Since that was his job, Rottenbeard didn't give him any grief, even though he wasn't particularly fond of cowards.

"So when do we get our shares captain?" asked Tricks, as she climbed down from the crows nest. "I still haven't gotten me booty from the last two towns we looted."

"Ye be gettin' it when I feel like it, Tricks." snarled Rottenbeard. "Don't ask me again or you'll be walkin' the plank."

Tricks scrunched her face and took off her red pirate hat. She disliked how lazy her captain was about paying his crew, but knew that he always got around to giving it to them eventually.

Rottenbeard smirked. Tricks was a demanding member of his crew, but she made up for it with her cunning and craftiness. She had gotten them out of many a sticky situation with the contents of her bag of tricks that she carried. Not even Rottenbeard himself knew what was inside, and he didn't care to find out either. It was always more fun to be surprised.

"Thanks to Quicksail's new invention, no one can ever catch us!" exclaimed Zigzag between bites of his lunch. "We be the richest pirates that ever sailed the seven seas!"

Rottenbeard patted the young man on the back. Sometimes he got a little too excited for his own good, and he never seemed to stop eating.

"I think that's enough gabbin' me hearties." exclaimed Rottenbeard. "It's time we be celebrating!"

The crew cheered, and headed back to their posts.

"Zigzag, sail us to the nearest town." Rottenbeard ordered, and started to head below decks. "The drinks are on me this time, mateys."