Disclaimer: I don't own any of the POTC movie characters. And I probably never will. The Pennington family is mine, and they're pretty much the only characters that are.

The heavens were ripped asunder as rain poured from the clouds, swallowed by the Caribbean Sea and beating harshly the decks of a large ship that had the ill fortune of sailing into the storm, unaware. The vessel was violently tossed about by towering waves and fierce winds that tangled and tore the sails from the spars.

On deck, a young woman rushed out from her cabin, her raven locks loose as they tumbled down her back, though she was otherwise dressed and presentable. Within moments, she was soaked by the rain that pelted down mercilessly. As a wave crashed over the decks, she was swept off her feet, and carried across the wooden floorboards where she was saved an untimely demise by the railing.

"Charlotte!" a voice exclaimed. An older gentleman made his way to the young woman on feet that were accustomed to the rage of storms. He took her by the elbow and helped her stand. "Return to your cabin immediately! This is no place for a young woman!"

"The rocking is too great for me to rest at all; I would rather make myself useful!" she shouted, her words vying with those of the howling wind, cracking sails, and monstrous waves.

The man stared at the young woman. Determination filled her eyes, and he knew she would not be swayed. "Go down to the pumps!" he ordered, though several men were already there. Help was truly needed to free the sails, but he'd not have her scaling the ratlines dressed as she was, and needed so dearly in Port Royal. He dashed for the quarter deck as someone called for help there.

Charlotte stared after him, speechless as the wind whipped her hair about her face. To be told to work the pumps — two men could easily manage the task — when the mast themselves could be felled, was utter lunacy.

While one hand gripped the railing for balance, the other reached into her pocket. Charlotte revealed a small knife, the handle heavy and made of gold. The nicks and dents in both handle and blade attested to the fact that the dirk was a tool, not a mere ornament.

She looked around the ship, until her eyes rose aloft. Crewmen were busy hacking at ropes, freeing the mangled sails. By chance, her gaze fell on the bowsprit, dipping into and rising out of the waves, the flying jib tangled around it. Slowly, gripping the railing for support against the swaying and the waves, Charlotte made her way to the bow. Lifting her skirts, now heavy with water, she climbed over the railing and sat on the forepeak with both legs over one side of the beam.

As she leaned out to cut the ropes, the ship dipped and the bowsprit plunged into the water. The sea rose up to Charlotte as she lost her balance and fell forward. Panic swelled in her as she frantically grasped for the forepeak, her hand slipping on the wet wood but catching herself on the ropes. A wave crested at her waist, and then another at her chest. She used all of her upper-body strength to hoist herself back up on the forepeak.

Due to the tautness of the ropes and the sharpness of the blade, Charlotte easily sliced the rope and loosed the sail, which madly unwrapped itself from the wood. As she pocketed the knife, the sail lashed out and whipped her from the forepeak. Before she realized what was happening, Charlotte was hurled into the hungry sea, the waves swallowing her as the weight of her dress pulled her to the bottom of the ocean.