My name is Marina and I am seventeen years old; I do not have a last name. I do not have a last name because I am an orphan; that is one thing that is wrong with me. I never understood why, but people's eyes seem to grow colder when they say the word, 'orphan.' Like we are the plague of the world because we do not have parents to care for us.
Aside from being an orphan, which is apparently horrible enough, several other things are wrong with me. I am a mute, and communicate with my hands and written words. I cannot cook, nor can I sew. I am unsure what is in style at the present, or in the past for that matter. I am afraid of neither bugs nor any animal, but I do admit a shiver when I think of how I could have been a victim to sharks. I cannot ride sidesaddle, cannot play an instrument. I have never been to finishing school, and I do not understand what 'proper lady' insinuates, for I am simply me.
There are many more things wrong with me, and I wish not to go on. However, despite the horrors of what I cannot do, I can do other things quite well. I can steer a ship, fix and maintain a working engine. I have been trained to fight, and I never fall without one. I call no man master, though people often call my caretaker just that. I am to be the Captain of an amazing ship when my Captain retires. I will inherit his science, which I actually understand. I am friend to my Captains workers, and rightly so. I love training, my daggers, and strengthening my body. I have dreams of surpassing even my Captain and proving I am just as capable as any.
In the end, what is wrong with me and what is not means little to me. I am who I am, and that is all I care to be.
"Marina, it is time." Captain was in my bedroom door, filling its frame with his own. I smiled and shut my deep red stained, leather-bound journal. The same one he had given me for my past day of birth, the day I turned seventeen. Why I have yet to use it until now, I cannot tell you, but right now, it just felt right. The time to use it was now.
I followed him matching stride, dressed in the white Indian garb of his crew. The only difference was that I wore a headdress, a small hat with fabric surrounding it to hide my face and long brown hair. Down the halls we walked, side by side we went without problem. Chatting of simple things, like how the ship held and of our current state of health. I spoke with my hands, while he read and replied by word of mouth. I was chiefly mute, my senses in proper tact.
We passed several workers, all of which I knew by name, and I made point to wave at all. A labyrinth of halls later we met Captain's first mate at the entrance, and left the Nautilus. Down the slopping connection onto the dock, and into the Automobile we traveled. For now, I could sit in the back comfortably, with no restraints on my movements. I knew that would not last past this ride, and tried my hardest to enjoy this temporary freedom. Sitting there in the car, I still felt the same thrill I had the first time I rode in the Automobile. There was nothing better that knowing you could easily beat anything that came across your path with its speed…
Through England's crowded street we rode, dark and damp cobblestone surrounded us. An English summer indeed, who ever heard of a rainy summer? I shook my head for the unfortunate British, and looked at the unimpressive building were the meeting was to be held. It looked the same as all the other buildings surrounding it.
With black umbrella in hand, I opened the car door and quickly defended myself against the soft rain around us. Captain had his first mate take 'his lady' away, which basically meant it would be stared at for a time as Ishmael drove it around. I held the umbrella high over both our heads as we walked towards the building, careful to make sure Captain was the most covered. He raised an eyebrow at me, making me smile as I tilted the umbrella more over myself as well.
Inside the building we were lead to a room, empty, except for one man. He introduced himself as 'M,' perhaps for morose? He certainly came on that way seeing as he kept the lights dim. Why he did, I could not guess. However, I could still hear the disdain in his voice when he asked about me. If only I could speak, I would have put that man in his place. My wish was heard to deft ears however, and I could do nothing but stare as my Captain spoke, "My apprentice," he told M, and M stared.
"I'm afraid he cannot be here for the meeting," M stated, for my disguise had fooled him. It was not as though I had a choice though. Captain knew what people would think should they know he had a young woman apprentice, and had explained it to me. Neither of us wanted any thinking that, so we had both agreed to dress me as a boy. Only outside though, aboard the ship, I was every bit the woman I was, for the crew knew the truth. They knew the Captain had saved me from open waters and-though I dared not say it for fear of rejection- morally adopted me as his own kin. For that day when he found me to now, Captain had become my protector, and defended me now.
"If my apprentice cannot stay, then neither shall I," he turned towards the door and looked at me, "Come," he ordered. I nodded, but before either of us could take a step, M cried, "Wait! If those are your terms they are accepted, I must imagine the boy will always be with you whether he separates from you now or not and shall learn all anyway. So you both must stay for the good of all!"
I was grateful my grin was hidden as Captain accepted. We stood still against the wall, waiting for the others. As we did, I could swear I saw files shift on the table. Did a page just turn on its own? I stared at the spot, but nothing more happened. I looked up at the ceiling of the room, unimpressive. Or maybe I had become spoiled and now even the impressive was not perceived so, either way, as we waited silently for the members to arrive I became stricken by one fact:
Staring at a ceiling had become more entertaining than waiting for members of an elite group set to save the world.
Perhaps I should add that to the list of what is wrong…