Pirates of the Caribbean: Pursuing The Right Course

Disclaimer: Still don't own Pirates. But if I did own Norrington…well, read and find out.

The Dauntless, pride of the Royal Navy, surfed through the waters of the North Atlantic, having left the Arctic Ocean only yesterday. Its master and commander, Rear Admiral James Norrington, was in his cabin, brooding.

Two days ago, he and his armada of three ships was cut down to one when a gallivanting pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow robbed him of the Elizabeth and the Britannia. Since then, he'd remained here, eating little and drinking far more, just brooding.

Commodore Sparrow now, he supposed. Commanding three ships did that to a man.

Now the question was...now what?

He could pursue Sparrow, though with three on one odds, that was definitely not a wise choice.

He could return to Port Royal, though it would not be long before Royal edict forced him back to England for a swift demotion and shaming.

He could also just go back to England and get it over with now.

Or...he could turn pirate.

It was an option that he'd always considered since meeting Sparrow. He'd seen the ease and comfort he had in his life. Being able to go where he wanted, when he wanted, and have women practically drooling at his feet...or slapping him 'cross the face.

The problem was his crew. Many were loyal to him, yes, but more than a few of them placed their loyalty to the Crown first. And if he were to put it forward on this crew, chances were they'd have him hung for treason, so that option was out.

The last option was...resign his commission. However, he seriously did not want to do that. No matter what, he wanted to remain on the high seas, and he doubted that a disgraced former Admiral could get passage anywhere.

So he brooded and brooded for a time, until a man knocked at the door. He did not come in. "Admiral?" It was Gillette. "I thought you'd want to know sir...we've gotten the Elizabeth's men. We found Parker and his crew in a few lifeboats and brought them aboard." There was a pause, then... "Sir, have you come to a decision yet?"

There was no response from the Admiralty. He had told Gillette he'd come out with his decision, and that's what he planned to do.

"I'll leave you to it, sir." He listened to Gillette's footsteps recede. Then he pounded his fist into his desk.

Parker's presence complicated matters.

Captain Ulysses Parker was a former pirate. He'd been caught fairly early in his career. He'd only been a lad of 20, so they offered him a choice-hang, or devote his talents to the Royal Navy. It was not a difficult decision.

The problem was that Parker was verbally abusive, and not terribly skilled in sailing. He'd gotten better over years, but not much. There was a rumor flying about the Navy that he was still a pirate, using the cover of being in the Royal Navy to get him and his men some well-deserved pay; it was well-known that this was not the most well-paying job in the world.

But with a sizable crew of pirates aboard, the option of turning pirate himself was a whole new ballgame. He'd have a very real chance of getting away with it. If the Loyalists protested, there would very possibly be bloodshed, and that was not what he wanted on his ship.

But now that he could consider all of his options reasonably...

He thought for a long time, then removed something from his wall. He folded it up reverently, then opened his cabin door.

Gillette was on him almost immediately. "What's your plan of action?" When there was no response, Gillette spoke. "Sir?"

James was in his own world as he thought of a scene from not so long ago that Gillette's words triggered.

Governor Swann had stepped forward, and spoken. "Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy...piracy itself can be the right course?" His own reaction then had been to bow his head and smile.

He repeated the action now. "Gillette...assemble the crew, including Parker's men."

The commodore assembled the crew below the command deck, as the Admiralty leaned out to speak.

"This day has seen many things by all of us. A ship lost, its crew saved, and the Royal Navy..." He hesitated over the word, "suckered...by a pirate."

The men nodded their heads in agreement.

"Most of you here, including Captain Parker, have had experience with pirates. Right now, I am waiving all Navy rules. Please, as men, not sailors, speak." He bowed his head, and continued. "Have any of you ever thought about, or even been, pirates?"

There was evident hesitation in the ranks, and James began to doubt.

Then Parker stepped up. "Come on, lads, cop to it." Then he saw many of his own men and all of Parker's men raise their hands. "We've had to be pirates on several occasions. The Royal Navy is not the best at supplying, and the townsfolk were not welcoming at all."

He nodded, and then allowed Parker to step up next to him-in Gillette's usual place. "And how many of you would revert to that way if given opportunity?"

All hands remained raised, and a few more rose to the sky.

"Very well. Gentlemen," he turned and whispered something to Parker, and handed him the item. "It is time that we took our destinies into our own hands. Go where we will, live as we please, and love our livelihood." As he spoke, Parker took the British flag down, and strung something else to the ship's mast. "Set course for Tortuga." Gillette and a few sailors gasped while the rest, including Parker, cheered, as a Jolly Roger flew above the Dauntless. "We have a pirate to meet."