The Origins of Phineas Bogg
A/N: Over the year I have developed my own 'canon' for Bogg's family with my Voyager's Aide Series. I liked that history so much that I incorporated a little of it into this one. However, I made a few changes. This is just one realization of the history of Phineas Bogg which sticks somewhat to the show canon of his past pirate life. (Whatever little mention there was of it in the series)
Chapter 1: A new life to lead
An uninhabited island in the Bahamas, 1693
"My name is Phineas Bogg. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
The distraught young man's blade glided across the pirate's neck. His heart pulsed and beads of sweat glistened upon his tortured face. His candid blue eyed-gaze looked up for a moment and fell upon the body of his father. The ocean waves bore a silent witness as they lapped to the shore and swirled over Jeremiah Bogg's still form. Phineas' composure weakened and the sword trembled. He nicked the pirate and drew a small stream of blood.
"Go on then, boy! Do it! You won! You've beaten me down fair and now is thy chance, do it, lest ye be a coward!"
Phineas raised his sword high above the murderer's heart. The steady influence of his father's wisdom invaded his thoughts.
"My son, many men have fallen and will fall by following the bidding of their treacherous hearts. Do not kill for the sake of the sport or for unjust gain; neither kill for unbridled revenge, because that belongs unto the Lord. I have taught you what is noble and just. I endeavored to train your heart to follow an honorable path…"
Phineas' breath went ragged and he bellowed a shout of rage. He tossed his sword alongside the fraught pirate. Phineas ran away and dropped to the sand beside his father. He cradled him upon his lap and let out a wail as he hugged his body close.
"No! No! No! Why?" He screamed to the top of his lungs. "You were all I had left! Papa…Papa, don't leave me!"
He could not control his sobs and he rocked with his father. He didn't want to go on, he wanted to die with him, here on this desolate Island. The bodies of both Jeremiah's faithful sailors and enemy pirates alike lay strewn across the beach. They marred the white sands with spilled blood. Within the last hour a massacre on both land and sea had ensued, from which neither group were victorious. Jeremiah had taken a wild sword thrust meant for his son's heart, into his own. Struck down in the prime of his life, he died with Phineas' name upon his lips.
Fourteen-year-old Phineas had lost the only remaining one of his kin. His mother Sonora and younger sister Joanna were the two beautiful women that were the complement of the Bogg family. They had passed away three years earlier when a bout of Typhoid fever broke out across their Village of Breezy Point, England. It was a devastating blow to father and son and their lives were forever altered.
Jeremiah Bogg gave up his Manor and sold his belongings. He immediately took his son into the seafaring and exhilarating life of a Privateer. Jeremiah was the distinguished, young Captain of the warship, 'Voyager' and led numerous and successful raids on enemy fleets and vessels. He protected merchant trade for the neighboring realms. However, as many Privateers often did, Jeremiah never fell into the debased life of piracy. He was Phineas' guiding light and anchor and they were inseparable in the ensuing years of their business. His father was immortal in his eyes, and always would be. Phineas could not bear to dishonor him.
He did not hear the pirate approach him, nor did he flinch when his gnarled hand touched his shoulder.
"That be the finest act of mercy I've ever seen. You and your father have proven to be true men of the sea. It not be fitting for ya to stay on this God forsaken Island and rot. Come with us."
"What should I expect from you?" Phineas demanded. "You have destroyed me." He turned to the pirate in youthful defiance. "You have taken away all I hold dear. My father was right, you pirates have not an ounce of honor in you!"
The pirate clasped his shoulder harder and shook him to the harsh reality of his situation. "Then prove him wrong, lad! Prove that a pirate can have a heart! Do you really want to die here? Is that what he be wantin' for ya? All that he held precious, that he gave the best years of his life to, gone to waste because of pity? He died so you could live! Be the man he wanted ye to be! I see the fight in ya, Join us laddie! Join us and live to see another day!"
Phineas looked upon his father's pallid and strong countenance. Even in death, Jeremiah commanded dignity and esteem. He leaned forward and kissed the top of his head. He ignored the seawater that nipped his parched lips and gently brushed away the sand that matted Jeremiah's face. He tried to stop the flow of blood from his fatal wound.
"I love you, papa. I know that one day we shall meet again, we will all be together again in God's new world."
Phineas gazed at the sky, squinting into the harsh sunlight.
"Please…forgive me for what I'm about to do! I did not ask for this new life, nor do I want it…but I want to live! My father wanted me to thrive! Please Lord, help me…"
Phineas collapsed into another fit of tears before standing up on wobbly legs and facing the crew of pirates that had come to observe. Much to his surprise, they bowed their heads to pay respects.
"I will go with you, but first I must give him a proper burial."
The Pirate's heart was touched by the young man's integrity. He called his crew to board their ship and they carried away the plunder that Jeremiah had sought to claim to its rightful owners. Phineas methodically removed the tarpaulin from the mast of the marooned 'Voyager', along with thick ropes, and covered his father in his final shroud. After a small prayer he waded to the center of the boat and pulled the body with him.
"You always told me that a loyal Captain goes down with his ship, papa. This is the most fitting grave for you. I love you!"
Phineas had tied stones to his father's ankles and around his middle. Securing his grip on the rope, he dove under the water with the body, laying it to rest in the ruins of the Captain's Quarters. The waterlogged painting of his family still hung above him. Phineas refused to surface until he was sure his father's final resting place would not be compromised. He finally burst above the waves, swallowing mouthfuls of air. He swam to the side of the gigantic Brigantine ship. The pirates threw down a rope and Phineas shimmied to the top. He crawled onto the main deck and stared them all down.
"I do this because I have no choice, but I will never, ever become like any of you! I will not join in your games and frivolity, nor will I take part in your thievery and wanton lusts! I am my father's son and I will remain so until the day I die, be it tomorrow or be it when I'm a hundred. I surrender myself to you, but not out of fear. You can kill my body, but will not destroy my soul!"
The pirates all stared at him amazed, until one began to chuckle, then another, and still another, until they were one and all in a fit of hysterics. Phineas stomped his foot onto the hard wooden planks and tried to shout in reason above them.
"What is the matter with you? Did you not hear what I said? I will not take part in your lifestyle! I will never be a pirate! Never!"
"Look at im' a mere babe!"
"Put him to work in the bunghole!"
A coarse, redheaded pirate grabbed Phineas' hands and yanked them up for all to see. "As Lilly soft as there ever was! A dandy! Methinks he 'taint known the nether regions of a wench either! But there be time for that!"
This incited raucous laughter amongst the burly men. "He never dropped anchor in a lagoon that's for sure!"
Phineas wrenched himself free and rubbed his wrist. "You shut your filthy mouths! All of you! You all wouldn't know what it takes to be a real man! I'll say it again, I will never be one of you!"
Crow, a sinewy and short pirate of about thirty-five with a black mustache and red bandanna stepped forward with a slap to Phineas' back. Phineas fell forward onto his knees.
"That's right ye not be one of us! You're a scrawny runt as yet! But, tis good for ye to climb the rigging to the top of the Royal Yard! Climb it and climb it smartly me boy! No dallying! It is a test for all those who are to become pirates! That was some fancy footwork on the ropes you just did, laddie, but can you prove yourself up there?"
Phineas' gaze followed his tattooed arm until it landed on the main topmast. He gulped at the height, nearly a hundred and fifty feet above the ship. There were four levels with the Royal Yard being the final one. He leaped to his feet and rolled up his shirtsleeves.
"Is that all? What an easy feat! I'll show you!"
"Ha! If you climb it well, you get to climb it everyday, fifty times or more! You gets two choices, shimmy up the mainmast, or use the ratlines."
Phineas kept up a bold front. "That's nothing for me! I'll…use the ratlines."
Crow laughed aloud. "Me loves this boy's spunk! Just remember, if you fall, you be lucky to land in the sea and drown, no pirate here can pluck ye quick enough. Though the ocean is calm now. The fall alone may snap yer little neck."
Phineas jumped onto the foothold and grabbed the ropes. He looked at them full of determination.
"I don't need help, the sea is my home. I can swim very well!"
He proceeded to climb. He kept his focus on the Topsails; to look down would have caused fear to seize him. When the pirates saw his dexterity, they cheered him on.
"Fair winds me boy!"
"Look at 'im, he's a bloomin' monkey!"
"More like a squirrel he is!"
"I can barely see his legs, he moves them so fast!"
"I think Crow has lost his position! Let the boy do it!"
Within a half hour Phineas had climbed to the Royal Yard and down again, panting with intense exertion. He would find out later that he beat many first climb records of the other pirates. He would never admit how torturous it was. Every time the ship took a dive he stopped his ascent and clung to the ratline for dear life. The ocean teased him with sprays of water. When the winds blew, every tiny movement was intensified on the top, as if the ship would pitch him into the depths of the sea. Phineas was like a mere rag doll. The winds sent him soaring through the air and he grappled for his life.
He stood before them and balled his aching hands into fists to soothe the blisters that had formed. His tension was so great that his fingernails tore into his skin. His feet were inflamed from scraping against the ropes and his body quivered from top to bottom. The pirates crowded around him and let out a loud 'Huzzah!' Phineas smiled weakened and even though the feeling of victory crept upon him, he would not fall prey to their schemes or wiles. He was going to remain, as he was, a Bogg, a man of honor.
1699: Aboard the 'Excelsior' in the North Sea
"Harder, Phin! Harder! Me grandmum can bring em' down in half the time!"
"Damn, Smithy, you poxed bilge rat! Shut up before I slice yer neck!"
Phineas' muscles bulged and his arm shook with all the strength he had. He was engaged in a final round of arm wrestling with Jock, the biggest and strongest man aboard the ship. Twice he had been defeated, but Phineas was relentless for the win. His large eyes were intent on the action at hand, and his consorts were of little help with their oaths and jeers. Jock smiled. His pure white teeth were a sharp contrast to his blackened skin, which was marred with deep scars from the cat o' nine tails and flogs.
"Give it up Phin…you'll never win you addled, bilge sucking swab!" Jock said, his words laden with a heavy African accent.
"Yes I will, you filthy, son of a biscuit eater!"
Jock's dark eyes narrowed and he exerted more pressure on Phineas' forearm. "What did you call me? Do not be talkin' about me mum like that!"
"I…say it…as I…see it! That's exactly what you are! The bastard boy of a swarthy wench!"
Phineas' insults gave him the edge that he anticipated. Jock's pride distracted him and down his arm went, slamming into the table until the wood cracked in two places. Every pirate let out a holler and Phineas dropped his hand. He bounded up with his fists in the air. Jock gritted his teeth and hung his head, his stalwart frame heaved. Phineas slapped his back with a conceited smirk.
"Don't be offended, Jock! You know I had to beat you some day, it was all in fun! I know you're not the son of a biscuit eater, and tis no matter to me if yer mum be swarthy or blue toned!"
Everyone laughed with good mood, and drank from the last few cases of grog. Their ship was finally going land off the coast of the Netherlands and the pirates hoped for a three month long reprieve of rest and relaxation. Captain Jagger and his crew had acquired a new situation, but he had to meet his employer to discuss the details and get his ship refurbished.
Phineas hopped to the quarterdeck and clutched the rail. He gazed across the sea with a large grin. His heart soared with anticipation for their stay in this country; he had heard many positive things about Holland and its people. He brushed back his shaggy dark blonde hair and it landed in place just atop his shoulders. He ran his tongue across his teeth. He was still furious over chipping his front tooth and breaking his nose during a rough mêlée in France the year before. He cracked his knuckles and stretched out his well-developed arms, trying to loosen up.
Phineas didn't know what lay ahead for him, but he knew he had paid his dues. He slaved his way in five years from a lowly cabin boy scrubbing the bungholes and tossing the slop buckets, to a fine Buccaneer and comrade to most. The crew appreciated Phineas very much; he brought humor to them and even patiently taught them how to read from the Bible he carried. A few of them jokingly called him the 'Brotherman' whenever Sunday rolled around. Many of the older pirates regarded him as a son or nephew they left behind or never had.
Jock skulked up behind Phineas. He snapped a hemp tether and wrapped it across his neck. Phineas grabbed at it, but was pulled against Jock's chest, feeling the dark pirate's hot breath in his ear.
"I do not like you! I never liked you, you scurvy little sprog! You have shamed me for the last! I am going to make you dance the hempen jig!"
Phineas choked and kicked his legs. He managed to give Jock a firm blow to the shin with his boot heel and Jock slackened his grip. Phineas spun around and grabbed the rope. He tossed it into the sea. He punched Jock squarely in the mouth and ran away to the main deck where the other pirates were, oblivious to what had occurred. Phineas maneuvered his way amongst them. He took to the center with a spirited jig, trying not to show his fear.
"Come on! Strike up the music, me mateys!" Phineas clapped and whistled for old Mason to play his lively tunes on the hornpipe.
He felt Jock's venomous eyes on him the entire time as he danced his way through the crowd. Before he could resist, he was dragged down the hatch and into the hold. The assailant struck up the lantern and Phineas was greatly relieved to see Crow, the Captain's newly appointed Quartermaster.
"Don't talk, jus' listen. I have known this for weeks but Jock has put a blackspot on you!"
Phineas forced himself not to tremble. "Oh yeah? Now you tell me, Crow? I thought you were my confidante?"
"If I weren't lookin' out for ya, I wouldn't be here. There was no way of knowing when that blackie would strike you! He's cunning, Phin."
Phineas rubbed his neck. "He just tried to do me in before, nearly strangled me! I have done nothing to stoke him, but play a few games like everyone else!"
Crow lowered the lantern, his thin lips pursed firm. "Then you must not disregard 'im, he's out for your blood! I don't know what truly chafed him, but he wants ye dead real soon."
"I don't understand!"
"Forget it, and just watch ye back, obviously he's not above stickin' it to ya when you ain't lookin', me heartie! That blackguard is bitter toward all, but has chosen you to vent his wrath. Come, let's not make 'im get suspectin' of ye."
Phineas followed Crow up the stairwell with bitter complaints.
"Bat's breath! He has no right! Captain Jagger took him on from a sinking ship two months ago and this is the way he acts? He should 'ave been left to drown like the others! No quarter to him! I will not go down without a fight!"
Crow looked at him pitifully, but remained silent. The pirate life had certainly changed the young man from an honorable sailor's son to a swaggering cutthroat. It was only to be expected with the present company. However, Phineas proudly maintained his dignity most times. It was his youthful, rambunctious personality that often got him in trouble. He was a spitfire like no other that thrived on an audience and lived each day as if it was his last.
The bells for first dog watch rang and the pirates scattered from their reveling and back to their bunks or work areas. Phineas had the grueling task of reefing the sails as the wind picked up. He started to pull up the ropes, but was struck with the instinctive feeling that someone was watching him again. He curled his hand over the belaying pin that secured the rigging and removed it. Gooseflesh prickled up his spine and in a fit of desperation, he dove onto the deck. Just as he hit the floor, a foot long dagger embedded itself into the mast where he stood. Phineas rolled over and took a fighting stance.
"Alright, Jock! Step up and fight me like a man! I ain't afraid of you!"
Jock laughed. "You should be, boy! Be very afraid! You'll never know when I'm out to strike."
"I'm a boy no longer, I'm a man! Why do you hate me, what have I done to ye?"
Jock circled him enraged. A few of the pirates scurried aboard deck to see the commotion, but they did not interfere.
"I want revenge!"
"For what?" Phineas demanded, keeping the belaying pin in front of him. "A few lousy wrestling games?"
"NO! I was sold into slavery because yer father and his scurvy Privateers commandeered the ship that was to be our freedom!"
"It was not the fault of my father that you were made a slave. You made it out alive didn't you? You ain't a slave now, are ye? Blame the tradesmen! Blame your tribal leaders! My father did his job and did it well! He was given a Letter of Marque from the Nation of England and paid to return the ship to its owner…that was all. He asked no questions as to the cargo! He had to fulfill his commission or face serious charges." Phineas blustered.
In truth, he didn't always know the ins and outs of his father's business affairs, and was just beginning to learn them. "As a matter of fact my family abhorred the slave trade, as do I! I don't want us to be enemies, Jock!"
Jock refused to listen to his reasoning and pulled his sword from his sheath.
"Well either way, he be at fault! And since he is already dead, you must pay!"
He ran forward, and Phineas jumped out of his way. Jock stumbled into the ledge and turned to make another attack. Phineas broke into a run across the entire length of the ship until he was smack against the bowsprit with no other escape. A thick rope hung over the edge and pulled it up from the water. Jock swung his sword and Phineas did a high jump over it. He took the rope and ran around the pirate, wrapping it across his waist.
"You are not going to kill me! I'm gonna keelhaul ya until ya can't stand straight!"
Jock lunged for Phineas, but he was quicker and missed his grasp. Phineas kicked him in his stomach and pounced upon him. He fastened him tight.
"I've made it a point to learn a good keelhauling knot!"
Jock moved violently against his restraints, but Phineas kept his knee upon his chest, threatening to crush it if he tried to escape. He lifted the larger man up and dragged him to the edge of the ship. The pirates crowded with fiery expectation. They would not physically help or hinder a fight but you could count on them to shout their wild curses and opinions.
"Do it, Phin! Keel him up good!"
"He deserves it! The no good colored!"
"Make his black hide feed the fish! Do it!"
On that note, all the pirates pumped their fists and weapons high and they chanted.
"Keel haul! Keel haul! Keel haul!"
"Kill him! Kill him!"
Phineas heart raced and his composure faltered. The last man that was keel hauled on the Excelsior was the Captain's previous Quartermaster, Smitty. He was literally shark bait when a great white smelled his injuries and tore him to pieces. Phineas remembered that he didn't want to watch the punishment, but he was grotesquely compelled. The pirate's screams of agony from the brutal lacerations of the ship barnacles echoed in his ears for weeks afterward. His mind flashed upon his father's body lying in the sand. Jeremiah had been an expert swordsman and marksman, but rarely used his skills, preferring to conduct himself with reasonableness and calm treaties. Phineas knew he would have shamed his father with his actions now. He ground his teeth and cried out irritated. He pulled Jock back from the ledge and kicked him to the planks.
"If it wasn't for my father's good influence, you would be dead now. You should be grateful to him!" Phineas spat by Jock's face. "If you dare try to harm me again, I will destroy you! Dead men tell no tales!"
Before Jock could reply, they all heard the resounding cry of 'Land Ho!' and the bells for port were rung. Phineas put out his hand, but Jock slapped it away.
"I don't need or want your help and I don't want your pity! You better watch yourself on this sojourn, Phineas Bogg!"
Jock clamored to his feet and tore the rope from off him. He strode below deck. The crew came around Phineas and congratulated him; though some were disappointed there was no execution of justice. Phineas went back to his work; they would reach land during the work night watch if all went well. He let out a deep breath and peered into the sunset, wondering what further adventures lay ahead.