Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. But if I did that would be so cool!

First Mate

He rolled the wooden eyeball between his thumb and forefinger. He was a Pirate Lord. He was a Pirate Lord with no crew, no ship, and only a few guineas to his name. His predecessors, the Lords of the Caspian Sea, were probably rolling over in their graves looking at their penniless heir.

His ship had been destroyed two years ago in a storm trying to run from authorities. And along with it went all his plunders and possessions. Somehow he had found his way to the Caribbean. He stopped first in the pirate haven of Nassau and then was able to get a working passage to Tortuga. It sickened him to have to stoop low to get a living like a beggar.

It should be as it was two years ago. Drinking gallons of rum and being surrounded by pretty wenches. Now he couldn't even buy more then one pint of grog and still hope for dinner.

Angry at this perversion of fate, he slammed his fist on the table. The Lords of the Caspian Sea would once again be on top or his name wasn't Hector Barbossa.

Slamming his fist had caused him to get many a glance from the other patrons. But the attention was once again taken from him as a second louder slammed resounded in the tavern near the entrance.

The doors had been swung wide into the walls. It had been unnecessary but effective way to make an entrance. In the threshold stood a dark haired man and decade or two younger then Barbossa himself. He gave a wide gold-toothed smile as he entered. A pretty red-headed wench called to him and waved, obviously glad to see him. He blew her a kiss.

The dark-haired man then just casually walked across the room and mounted a table. He stood on the table and fired his flintlock pistol into the air. Silence immediately fell in the tavern. The many bar fights stopped in mid-punch.

"I'm Captain Jack Sparrow, savvy, and I'm looking for a crew." With that he jumped back down to the floor, sauntered over to a table against the wall, laid out a book that would serve as a roster, and signaled for a bar girl to bring him a pint. Although from the way he was walking Barbossa thought the man had been drinking over his limit.

Other men thought so too and walked over to where this Jack Sparrow person was sitting and decided to join for an easy job. Well, Barbossa needed an easy job. He came into line behind the weathered man who was trying to join the crew.

"Name?" said Sparrow

"William Turner."

"What make you think you're worthy to crew the Black Pearl?"

Black Pearl?

"I've been sailing for eight years. I know my way around a ship, I'm a hard worker, and am good in a fight."

Captain Sparrow seemed to ponder this after having a large swig of rum. He was either considering this or the rum was making his head nod.

Barbossa nearly laughed at the expression on this Mr. Turner's face. It seemed to ask who am I signing on to serve?!

Suddenly, Sparrow sat up straight and told Turner, "I'm going to need an experienced man on my ship, Mr. Turner. Sign the roster and welcome to the Black Pearl. We sail at dawn." Turner wrote his name in rough letters of a man with little formal education and turned to leave. It was Barbossa's turn.

"Name?"

"Hector Barbossa."

"Mister Barbossa, do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death?"

Hector felt like rolling my eyes at the question. "Aye, Captain." Besides what would any sailor say to the question . . . No?

Jack eyed him, aware that he was just being told what he wanted to hear. "How have you been sailing, Mister Barbossa?"

"Long enough. I've been everywhere from here to the Caspian Sea."

"Caspian? I don't know why they call it a sea, it's just a giant lake!"

"Aye, sir." Despite appearing to be a drunken moron, you have to admit he isn't a complete idiot. Wait was that a negative mark on my interview? "Still plenty of water to sail, sir."

Jack shrugged. That was true. "Well, I could probably use another hand. Sign the roster, Mister Barbossa."

Barbossa wrote his name in graceful letters under Turner's rough, blocky ones. Jack took note of that.

"You seem like a learned man. Why are you joining a pirate crew as an ordinary sailor?"

What does he want, my life story? "Hard times call for hard work."

Jack nodded. Sparrow didn't know why he had taken an interest in this man, but he had. He couldn't put his finger on it. Barbossa had a commanding presence. His new crew would probably listen to Barbossa.

"Mister Barbossa, if you would have a drink with me." Of course, Barbossa didn't question free rum.

And so, instead of it being a quick interview like Turner before him, Barbossa was sitting with Jack interviewing other men. For the first time in months Barbossa drank more then one pint at a sitting, and even got to meet Jack Sparrow's lovely red-headed wench, Scarlet. For the first time in two years, fortune smiled on Hector Barbossa.

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Morning rose over the Caribbean. Hector Barbossa followed the rest of Captain Sparrow's recruits across the docks. That Turner fellow was in the group, along with two men who wouldn't stop arguing about nothing. Although on the outside Barbossa looked like the other men just looking for wages, he was happy. Once again he would be on a ship, have three square meals a day, and if Jack Sparrow wasn't lying, plenty of rum.

Barbossa made it to the end of the docks where Jack had told his new crew where they could find his ship. As it came into sight, Barbossa couldn't stop staring at the great galleon. The Black Pearl was a sight to behold. As her name stated, she was entirely black, including its sails. She looked sleek and fast. She could have come right off the shipyards.

Jack Sparrow was standing at the top of the gangplank, surveying his new crew. He caught Barbossa staring as he boarded the ship. "Beautiful, isn't she Mr. Barbossa?"

"Aye, Captain Sparrow." Barbossa hadn't actually even heard the question.

Jack smiled, "I've been sailing since I could walk, but this has been the one I want to go down with. She has speed and stealth. A man can make a great life on the sea."

"Captain, a ship isn't just to make a life to me, it is my life."

Jack nodded. His expression told Barbossa that he was completely understood.

"You and me both. You'd sell your soul for something like this?"

Barbossa wasn't sure what Jack meant. He was probably just looking for another compliment on his galleon. "My soul isn't worth this much, Captain."

"You'd be surprised on how far a soul can go," Jack mostly to himself but it wasn't lost to Barbossa who pondered on the statement.

Jack straightened and turned to Barbossa, "First Mate Barbossa, take the helm."

Barbossa did a double take. Did he say what I think he said? And like that Hector Barbossa was immediately promoted the first time he stepped on the Black Pearl. It took a moment for Barbossa to realize what he had said.

"Step to it, Mister Barbossa!"

"Aye, Captain Sparrow."

Barbossa strode up to the quarterdeck. His hand trailed on the railing. Barbossa's hands gripped the wheel of the helm and he looked out past the Black Pearl's bow out onto the blue Caribbean waters. It was almost as if he could feel the power of the ocean beneath him and he could almost smell the plunder the Pearl would bring in. At that moment Barbossa knew that this ship was a whole new start for him.

One day this ship will be mine.