Chapter 17 - The Captain

"What do you mean, 'hand over the maps'? What right do you have to tell me what to do?"

Dr. Trevelyan was, after all, a man in a noble profession. He looked over his half-moon glasses disdainfully at the besmirched, scarred, scruffy sailor who stood at the doorway brandishing a cutlass at him - a man he was sure he had last seen locked securely away in the brig, pending punishment for mutiny. The doctor's hand subtly sought out the handle of a drawer, in which he knew he kept a loaded pistol. Man of healing or not, when it came down to it, he would shoot this man like a dog if he had to…

"Cap'n's orders. Not your cap'n," he added, registering the doctor's puzzled look as he thought of Bellamy. "Our proper cap'n. He said, 'tell the good doctor 'e can exchange the charts to the island for the safety o' Missus Turner an' her young whelp.'"

The doctor's hand paused on the drawer handle. Mrs. Turner and young Master Will…

The sailor looked at him with blank, bloodshot eyes. Demnable, self-assured, nasty little cur, he thought to himself. Give me a chance and I'll blast your brains right out for using a woman and child's lives as pawns… you and your demned "cap'n"… His hand left the drawer's handle; he instead picked up a bundle of papers from the centre of the table and strode haughtily to the door, where the ruffian waited complacently, sword in hand.

"Fine. But if I'm to bargain, I shall do it in person." Holding together the edges of his tattered pride, he passed through the door jamb with complete disregard for the menace of the bared weapon. The sailor let him pass unmolested, but followed with the sword's tip hovering at his back. He strolled from the quarterdeck with a leisurely tread, disconcern disguising defiance. His composure faltered as he reached the main deck and saw the strange gathering that had assembled there.

The mutineers were indeed free, and loitered among members of the still-loyal crew, their casual mien belied by the weapons they kept trained on their former crewmates, who watched the scene with numerous variations of disapproval on their respective faces. Mrs. Turner was wearing a sulky look and a thick rope around her wrists. Her son was wearing a matching restraint; they eyed the doctor dolefully as he approached. The reason for their submission was immediately obvious - aimed at them was the largest firearm the doctor had ever laid eyes on. Its barrel was at least as long as a rifle with bayonet attached, and twice as thick, made of solid cast-iron. If the shot it fired was as large as its barrel indicated, the doctor calculated, the pellets must be an inch at least in diameter, more like miniature cannonballs…

The man who held this gargantuan flintlock easily braced against the crook of his arm was just as remarkable, though the doctor had encountered him at least three times a day every day since they had put out to sea, and had never witnessed him in such a threatening pose. He had shed his usual leather apron and kerchief in favour of a moth-eaten frockcoat with a sumptuous watered-silk lining and embroidered lapels, obviously torn - quite literally in places - from the back of a nobleman who had assuredly long since departed the world at this devil's hand. An equally worn-out tricorner adorned with once-costly, now bedraggled ostrich plumes sat upon his black head of locks, only lightly grizzled here and there with a hint of grey. The face, though slightly eroded by wild weather and hardship and half-hidden by a scraggy black beard, was quite handsome in an unrefined way, with a beak-like hooked nose, hard lines and shrewd eyes which had been until now dulled somewhat with false cheer, but which were now strikingly evident. Most obvious upon his person, however, was the stout metal peg that protruded from his rent-off left trouser leg in place of his previous wooden stump; it was hung with rows of leather which were studded with pieces of shot, the reels terminating at his hip where a contraption looking somewhat like the inner workings of a clock was mounted, a crank sticking from its side as though the man were a large wind-up child's toy. But what a monstrous figure this was, lacking all the endearing joviality this countenance had once possessed; seeing the doctor appraise his weapon and its bearing on the Turners apprehensively, the former ship's cook and quartermaster, 'Long' John Silver, bared his namesake metallic smile in a wolfish grin.

"Quite a different course I'm servin' up now, ain't it, my good doctor, Your Highness." The last words were interlaced with mockery. "Didn't you know?" Silver's perceptive, crafty eyes had noticed a flicker of surprise pass over the doctor's face. "This here is Madame Turner, now drink-dispenser and slop-clearer at the Benbow Inn in Port Royal, but once, she was Pirate Lord – or rather, Pirate Lady - of the South China Sea, and the faithful wife of the former Davy Jones himself."

"Bloody cur," Elizabeth spluttered through clenched teeth, and Doctor Trevelyan silently agreed with her. "I'm still Pirate Lord, still his faithful wife, and he's still the new Davy Jones, so if you think you can-"

"Hush now, poppet," Silver murmured, waggling the barrel of his gun warningly, pointing it at her son; glaring murderously, she was quiet, feeling that old, panic-inducing sense of helplessness wash over her like a king tide. "I think I'm the one who says what you can and can't do; I'm the one who makes the rules. Unless you want bullet holes through that fine skirt o' yours an' your little son's handsome tunic, you'd better play along." His smile widened, looking carnivorous, obviously enjoying his deadly game. Even his voice had changed; more syllables were left in their rightful places, and his former rambling way of speech was replaced with an incisive diatribe. "You were so complacent – you, a lone woman with all your protectors laid low, your husband absent and your lackey lying broken in a sick bed, and you felt safe. You never gave me a second glance. Your little son was fast chums with me. All them things they say about a woman's intuitive powers are obviously false. Be that as it may, I suppose it would be 'gentlemanly' of me to fill in the blanks; I have much information that may interest you." He brandished the gun grandly, enjoying his position of power, taunting them with it.

"First off, how easy it was to get that fool Bellamy to give me a last-minute berth on this ship; I could've carved up our supper's meat with the same bloodstained dirk I used to knife the previous cook in the back, and he'd have never been the wiser." He smirked as the doctor grimaced, looking slightly sick. He had travelled on the Lusitania before, and had known the previous cook. "Then I simply bided me time. Those knuckle-headed crewmates of mine jeopardized everything. They were ruddy impatient; they didn't follow my instructions to speak softly an' lay low, an' they paid the ultimate price for their insubordinance. I promised them positions as princes of the tides once I became king of all the seas – the new Davy Jones. And I will be. Oh yes," he countered Elizabeth's disbelieving shake of her head with a cutting smile. "I will be, for whether you help me or whether you end up floating down to the Locker in little pieces, I shall meet with that lovey-boy of yours sooner or later, and I will cut him down. He had no right to helm the Dutchman. That ship should've been mine. He had that glorious title unwittingly plunged into him, like the stab of a knife." He seemed to appreciate his own irony, savouring the pained expression on Elizabeth's face at the memory.

"I fought hard for that berth, ever since the kraken ripped me other leg off fifteen years ago." He tapped the top of his metal stump; it emitted a muted clang, sounding solid. "I swore that I would stab that bastard's heart one day and take what was due to me; changed me name to suit me purpose, taken from the customized weapon I got made over in the Indies by a master gunsmith. One leg a mite bit longer than the other, if you include it as part of a combined artillery more than six feet in length; a rifle with armour-piercing rounds for a crutch, and a bandolier-tree for a peg leg, with a mechanism that can reload the chamber in a mere three seconds, giving me an unprecedented twenty shots per minute. Only a gattling gun can rival such firepower. It was my weapon of choice for me personal vendetta; cost me a small fortune, but worth it, it was. What is a fortune when you can have the whole of the seven seas to play with? I never was one to sit upon me heels; I been a gentleman of fortune all me life, always preparing to take me next step along th' path to glory, always following a bigger prize. I assembled a crew with almost as much grand ambition as meself, rendered 'em faithful with promises of fail-proof success, hunted down the devil himself across the seven seas, and what happens? You, and your little soirée of Pirate Council friends, beat me to the kill, and your boy love puts a blade in the heart that was meant to be mine for the taking." His expression had turned from swarmy to stormy; it was a frightening look, one that previously could not have been imagined upon the well-meaning cook's friendly features. "But I'll do the same soon enough. As soon as you hand me those charts with the location of that island on 'em."

He looked expectantly at Dr. Trevelyan. His finger hovered over the trigger of his firearm. Elizabeth pulled her son back, trying to shield him; she stared down the barrel of the gun stoically, her face set, prepared to give what she had to to save the ones she loved…

Dr. Trevelyan bit his lip indecisively, looked apologetically at Elizabeth, then took a step forward, offering the bundle of maps. Long John leered triumphantly at Elizabeth's horror-struck expression – what she saw was the handing-over of her husband's life - and leaning the butt of the gun against his hip, its barrel still pointed at Elizabeth, he leaned over to take them.

In that moment, Will saw what he had been waiting for; he saw Silver's glance shift from him and his mother to the maps in the doctor's outstretched hand. In that precise moment, he darted forward, going for the unnoticed bucket of water that was on the deck nearby, left from when he himself had swabbed it that morning. Long John perceived him and brought his hand back to bear on his weapon, locking its muzzle on the boy dashing headlong towards him; but he moved too slow to keep up with the lad's actions. Will swung the bucket at him; it knocked the gun off-target, its load of shot whizzing harmlessly through the rigging; in the next second, both Long John and his weapon were doused with soapy water. Without pausing, Will dove forward, snatched the maps from the doctor's hand, and flew like a shot across the deck, heading for the stern. Long John, recovering his balance and cursing, whirled the crank at his side and brought the butt of the pistol to it; the series of cranks delivered a new load of shot into the gun's chamber in three seconds, just as he had promised. As Elizabeth and the doctor pounced upon him too late, he locked the muzzle on Will's receding back and pulled the trigger-

It clicked dully. The water had dampened the gun's powder; it would not catch and fire.

Cursing the mere boy who had thwarted him, Silver whirled and fell upon the doctor, who had been lunging for his firearm, bringing the weapon down upon the man's head; he went down with a groan. The barrel came swinging back and struck Elizabeth, temporarily stunning her. She heard a buzzing in her ears and her vision blurred. When she recovered and managed to look up, Silver was standing over her with a snarl and an upraised knife, his firearm slung uselessly across his back. He considered her for a moment, during which she glowered back at him; then he turned away, deciding a woman who had been knocked about and with her hands tied wasn't much of a threat. As she struggled to raise herself up on her bound arms, her head smarting, Silver lumbered off, moving with an alarming ease and dexterity on his mis-matched limbs, in the direction Will had gone.

"You rest there for a moment, Your Majesty," the ruffian said over his shoulder, "whilst I retrieve your delightful offspring. Then we'll settle down to business." His tone left no doubt in Elizabeth's mind as to the nature of this 'business'; it would be more than just threats. And he would be after more than just maps – she thought of the chest in her cabin and the key around her neck, knowing that if Long John threatened her son's life again, she wouldn't be able to defy him any longer, she would be forced to give him what he wanted, even though she knew very well what it would cost her in return… it would cost her her husband…

Elizabeth regained her feet and glanced about. Dr. Trevelyan was still down, a broad, but shallow cut upon his forehead and his glasses knocked askew. He'd keep for now; her prime concern was the life of her son. She wrestled with the bonds around her hands; one of Silver's allies, freshly freed from the brig, solved her dilemma by rushing her. Remembering what Tai-Huang had taught her, her body moving from physical memory faster than her mind could command her, she side-stepped the cutlass blade that came down and kicked out at his ankles, felling him easily; he hit his head on the deck with an audible thunk, knocked out cold. She snatched up the fallen blade and brandished it expertly. The other mutineers had considered a tied-up and bruised woman to be fair game; seeing her turn upon them menacingly with a handful of razor steel, perhaps remembering the cuts she had dealt them before and the men she had felled in the last mutiny, they lost heart and scattered like crabs before a sea eagle's outstretched claws. Elizabeth wasted no time in sawing awkwardly at her ropes, finally managing to free her by-now grazed and bloodied hands; then she raced across the deck after Will and Long John Silver.

She reached the quarter deck without seeing a sign of either of them and glanced around from the vantage point, searching frantically for any sign of him, pleading with unseen entities for him to be unharmed…

She heard a rope creaking under weight above her and looked up. She could just see Will perched upon the crow's nest, tinkering madly with the pistol she had insisted he carry in a hidden holster strapped above his knee; below him, Silver was swarming up the rigging at a fearful speed, the heaviness of his weaponry not seeming to bother him at all, his knife clenched firmly between his teeth. Elizabeth hovered fearfully. Will didn't seem to be able to fire his pistol – the powder in his own gun must've gotten wet when he hurled the bucket of water – and as soon as he came within throwing-range of Silver's knife, he would be fair game… She had nothing on hand save the sword, no projectile weapon that would take Silver down from this distance before he reached the crow's nest…

The idly-spinning helm caught her eye as did something beyond it, in the water before the ship's prow; the water was moving at a diagonal to the current, disrupted by something below its surface… shoals…

She remembered a plan she had concocted long ago to outrun pirates, a plan that had gone unused as the Black Pearl had caught up with the Interceptor…

She rushed to the helm, spinning it hard to starboard. The Lusitania turned; the shoals loomed ominously before her. As she sped closer and closer to them, Long John Silver climbed higher and higher, the distance between him and Will swiftly closing.


Simon Bellamy had had enough. Two mutinies. Two. It was impossible, but it was nevertheless happening – and to him, no less. It was unbelievable, preposterous, uncultured – it just wasn't what civilized men did.

So he'd been smart. He had taken precautions. It had been surprisingly simpler than he had thought it would be. No one had paid him any attention since the first mutiny, anyway. It was outrageous. They had left him his old quarters, but they had completely reorganized his ship – putting the Turners in the doctor's quarters, the doctor in the Turner's quarters. The doctor and the Turners, they were the ones who had usurped his authority, the mutineers be damned. The doctor, he had thought, had been a man of honour, not one to go against the establishment. And those Turners – he rued the day he had ever set eyes on them. Nothing but trouble and disaster they had brought with them, hordes of brigands and disloyal behaviour. It must be because of them. He had never had such calamity on board his ship as he had upon this voyage. His ship be damned, it wasn't even his ship any more, he was done with this entire cruise, he would leave this band of murderers and associates of murderers to themselves next chance he got. So he had stealthily sneaked supplies into a jollyboat and let it float tethered behind the ship, a small getaway vessel at the ready. And it had been ready when the brigands had resurfaced; as soon as he had caught sight of bare cutlasses and glinting flintlocks through the windows of his quarters, he had shimmied uncomfortably down the tow rope, sustaining rope burn on his hands and dunking his coattails in the water in the process, and hauled off in his own private rowboat, heading in the direction of the nearest outlying island. He wasn't sorry to see his former ship's masts dwindling before him as he rowed, pulling awkwardly at the oars (it wasn't a captain's usual lot to be made to do this menial work, and he wasn't terribly good at it).

He was even less sorry when he heard a shot echoing out to him across the water. He pulled at the oars with new enthusiasm.


The day that had dawned was bleak in more ways than one. A dank grey mist hung over the water, making the more superstitious of men aboard, even some who had long since traded their morals for blood and gold, to cross themselves as a supernatural safeguard; more of them repeated the action when O'Brien was reported as having gone missing in the night and his flask of grog, empty and sloshed over the planks, was discovered at the stern, just next to the rail.

Some of the more cowardly crew members began to whisper among themselves: All those messages sent to the Locker, one couldn't play with fire near a powder magazine and not expect it to blow up in one's face… giving him so much warning before they tried to strike at him, drawing him out, it was little more than provoking him, which was sure to be suicide… with all the foolhardy steps Cap'n Silver had taken, there was little doubt as to what could be responsible for O'Brien's sudden, inexplicable disappearance… after all, this was a man undead, whose very underlings were the waves and tides themselves… even with the kraken long gone, it was said he could command the very sea itself to swallow ships whole…

The first man whom Andersen caught discussing such things was given a swift, resounding backhand across his jaw, and the others were warned that the next man to utter such nonsensical rubbish would have his tongue cut out. The men fell silent, but they eyed each other nervously, their unspoken thoughts nevertheless revealing themselves as a visible fear in their eyes. The man appointed to the crow's nest was doubly diligent, searching for black sails against the horizon.

He was taken as much unawares as the rest of the crew; he knew nothing until the water's surface suddenly exploded beside them as though a cannon had been dropped overboard, except that the surface broken not from above, but from within. Something dark and pointed rose not six feet from their portside like a knife thrust through linen. Taken at first as the gaping mouth of some deep-sea predator, they realized, with a jolt of icy fear sliding into their weaselly black guts, that it was the prow of a ship, adorned in macabre fashion with a grotesque figurehead - a winged Death.

Anamaria, peering at the ship's elegant silhouette through the galley's tiny porthole, breathed out reverently, almost in rapture. "Now that's a ship," she murmured to herself in utmost approval.

The ghost ship rose up at an impossible angle from the depths, then slid serenely forward, drawing parallel with them, moving swiftly and coming to a dead stop when she drew perfectly level with them, bow to stern and stern to bow. The men upon the Walrus' deck gaped in dread-tinged awe; that was just impossible, no ship could move like that, as though the water carried her hither and thither in accordance with her helmsman's very thoughts…

Long had they coveted this ship; long had they known, from promises their captain had made, that it would be theirs one day. But now that they actually faced down the mythical Flying Dutchman, they didn't feel a hint of the self-assured superiority they had cultivated during all these years awaiting the promise's fulfilment; they felt only a horrible, terrifying shudder in the very marrow of their bones.

Some of the braver sailors, readily armed with swords and pistols and led by Andersen himself, approached the rail, scanning the Dutchman's deck for signs of him. They didn't have to look long. A large, black bird sailed through the rigging, easily weaving through the ropes with a hoarse cry, making some of the crew members remember some of the prayers they had been sure they had long since forgotten. The bird fluttered to a halt and perched upon the shoulder of a man they could make out as only a shadow against the glare reflected back at them within the encroaching fog, the ends of a bandanna fluttering like another set of wings at the nape of his neck, causing him to replicate in himself the appearance of his own masthead… a winged denizen of death…

The muzzle of every pistol on deck swivelled upon this figure, powder flaring, fingers poised warily over triggers. All knew that the new Davy Jones was just as invincible as the old one to wounds that would've proved fatal to a mortal man, but perhaps, if they used enough combined fire power…

"On my count!" Andersen declared, raising his sword to signal; fingers clench over triggers as their combined adrenaline rose, knowing their response to the order could be a matter of victory or defeat, life, or… possibly a fate worse than death at the hands of this man, this monster…

Andersen's voice did not reveal any inner misgivings he may have had; his voice did not quaver, as firm as ever as he counted down: "Three, two, on-"

There was the expected deafening rapport, but it didn't flare from the ten-score barrels that pointed at Capt. Will Turner; the rail of the Walrus exploded in a cloud of smoke and splinters, sending the shooters into instant disarray. A second cannon ball shattered a corner of the quarter deck.

"Ha ha, nice shot there!" 'Bootstrap' Bill Turner whooped at the bosun, who was on the other swivel-gun mounted on the Dutchman's quarterdeck, almost hidden from view by the plume of smoke issuing from the just-fired cannon's barrel.

"I have had a fair amount of experience with these things, you remember," the calm, almost laconic voice informed him. Bootstrap chuckled.

"Gibbs was always a fair marksman too. At least the Navy teaches you fellows something right!"

Missiles continued to pound the ship; her crew, caught unawares, their boarding party incapacitated by shrapnel and flying debris, could do little more than flail between the shots, trying to avoid getting their heads crushed in directly by a ball and knowing their ship was being crippled with every new explosion that shook it.

In the galley, Anamaria had thrown her apron over her head to shelter herself from the shower of dust and debris that filtered through the ceiling from the deck above. With every blast, she felt the entire ship tremble and rock in the water. "Bloomin' Hell!" she shrieked between clenched teeth as hunks of blasted wood fell around her.

At last the barrage of cannon balls stopped. An eerie silence followed, during which wood splinters silently rained down on the scene of desolation that had once been the ship's deck; barely a plank of wood above the bilges was still intact. The mast had been mashed to smithereens by several shots and toppled over. Andersen, his usually swarthy cheeks deadly pale and bleeding on one side where splinters were embedded in his face, looked around him in amazement. The ship, his beautiful ship… Capt. Silver had promised it to him as his own once the Dutchman had been taken as the fleet's flagship… and now it was in ruin, far beyond repair…

At least a third of the Walrus' crew had been laid low by the attack. The men who were still able to stagger to their feet did so uncertainly, gazing with glazed eyes at the devastation that had befallen them. No one spoke in this silent scene of grey tones as a combination of dust, powder and mist shrouded the two ships like the curtains of a mausoleum. Suddenly, in the silence, a hollow thump rang through the laden air. It was followed by another, then another; aboard the great predatory ship that had just bludgeoned its unwitting victim into submission, a figure emerged from the mists, proceeded by the ringing footsteps that heralded its approach. The men watch, unmoving, any thoughts left of fight quashed by the sinister sight. The infamous custodian of Davy Jones' Locker, Captain Turner, approached his ship's rail, stepped nimbly upon it, then stepped across the gap between the two ships and onto the Walrus, as easily as other men might walk along a smoothly-cobbled street.

BLAM!

Turner's approach swayed to a halt; a shot had pierced him clean through the chest. He rocked backward upon his perch on the rail, then overbalanced, and toppled headlong into the drink. There was a splash as he hit the water, and a heavy silence afterwards. The men closest to the rail hesitantly leaned over to look; there was no sign of anything in the water, not so much as a ripple to show where the body had sank. Andersen, smoking pistol still in hand, stared at the empty air where the man had been seconds ago, and gave a hoarse bark of triumphant, almost delirious laughter. Their spirits restored, the rest of the crew shakily joined it.

That was it? The great Davy Jones felled by a single shot?!…

Suddenly Andersen stopped laughing. The rest of the crew grew abruptly silent as well, straining to hear what he had heard. A sound reached them, like a wave rushing over the shore… but they were miles from the nearest land-

The fog behind them slowly parted. The sound of rushing water increased to a roar; out of the gloom, a huge pillar of water approached, cresting but never toppling and breaking, hanging unnaturally twenty feet up in the air. Atop it stood William Turner, not a drop of moisture from his dip in the ocean still clinging to him, calmly riding the giant wave back towards the ship like a Roman general might have ridden a war chariot, swiftly and smoothly approaching. As the wave approached the ship's exposed hull and began to descend, he leapt; the wave sank into the deck, rending it open like a huge blade in a single blow. A second later, there was a flash of silver within the salt spray; two men fell beneath the twin blades that had swooped down upon them. Capt. Turner landed lightly upon the deck, a bloodied sword in each hand; wordlessly, he approached the clustered, terrified crew like a vengeful wraith. Like an oncoming Grim Reaper with scythe held high…

All thoughts of bravado were long forgotten. Even the bravest and most battle-confident of men backed away, concerned with nothing more than saving their already-battered skins. As the figure in black relentlessly bore down on them, they just as steadily retreated, crowding around the portside rail, futile though it was; there was no escape, nowhere else to go, save backward over the rail and straight down, down to the Locker… either way, it seemed an inevitable fate…

It was then that without warning, a long tentacle shot out of the water, coiled around a man's waist, and plucked him up, screaming and flailing, for a moment before plunging back into the water with him as violently as it had surfaced.

The men were too surprised and too horror-struck to react right away. B-but… they had thought that the kraken was dead…

Another tentacle descended upon them with a swoosh and closed around a pirate; he tried to run, to flail away from its reach, but it caught him up and wrapped around him. The other men realized with a start that they could still see their shipmate through his captor's grasp; the tentacle was transparent, its surface frothing slightly, like a pot of water set over a fire to boil. The tentacle was made of water.

The man it held tried to escape; he clawed madly at it, trying to break free. Handfuls of water came away, but to no avail; it was like trying to cut a waterfall with a sword, new liquid welled up to replace what had been lost. Then the tentacle closed around the man's head; he tried to scream, air bubbles issuing from his open mouth. Then he choked, convulsed, and fell limp; the tentacle unwound itself, dropping him wetly upon the deck. He had drowned where he had stood. The men scurried away from the rail, fearful of this new threat. Two of them walked straight into the path of Capt. Turner's blades.

On what was left of the Walrus' deck, pandemonium broke loose.


Author's Note: I'll finish it eventually, I swear!

Hello again. It's been a long time, I know, and I blame numerous factors. For a start, I am apparently better at starting stories than finishing them. I have been juggling about five stories at once for a while now, and this one fell into neglect - all stories more or less necessarily stop once uni starts up again. But I shall finish this someday. Promise. I've already spent more than a year on this, and I'll be demned if that year of my life goes to waste. We are fast approaching the climax of the tale, so I am more determined than ever to continue it.

To all those who have hung in there over that year, thank you very much for your patients. To new readers, I hope you enjoy it, old now though it is, and to all readers, stay tuned - there will be more. I swear upon my weaselly black guts, there will be more eventually. Even if it takes another year. ~ W.J.