"These accomodations are vile, Captain Jones."

Beckett indifferently watched the wreckage of the Antigone's Vengence-now only reduced to slivers of wood,
rope, and bobbing corpses-slowly sink beneath the waves.

Beckett was unmoved by the pleading of the dying men who had been plucked from the ocean's wrath. Jones never saved any out of a sense of mercy, or compassion.
No, the wretch who thought himself to be saved would find himself face to face with a monster offering a one hundred year reprieve from the inevidable. Jones only allowed a breath for an answer, with the only two outcomes-a slit throat or a newly damned soul for the Dutchman. On this particular night, Jones was incensed, both by the lack of survivors, and the humiliation of the Dutchman being used to ferry Beckett where he wished.

Indeed, Beckett had strode aboard the deck primly. Calmly, Beckett dictated the orders to Mercer to hold aloft the one thing that could bring Jones into submission.

With a grim nod, Mercer cupped the still pulsating heart in his clenched fist. Sneering, he squeezed the thing and relished the deep flinching wince that Jones could not conceal.

Beckett's silken purr was infuriating, as he stared at the Dutchman's deck with distaste. Mercer only bobbed his head in agreement as he warily watched the crew, hand curled over his pistol and the sneer bitter with promise. Suddenly, he hefted the sack holding Jone's heart high, and clubbed it against the rotting wood.

Jones shuddered as if stabbed,nearly falling and snarling in helpless rage. Mercer only met his eyes with a menacing dare and the pistol cocked towards the heart.

Jones only grunted in answer, eying Beckett with barely concealed hatred. There was only the seething, loathing silence, as Jones' tentacles twitched in aggitation.

Beckett graced them all with a knowing smirk. "Captain Jones, I think that you would be grateful for the new crew members that I graciously provided you with the sinking of the Antigone."

"There were naught left alive, save for one of the King's men. And he opted for death rather than the hundred years. Said he knew where his soul was goin, and thanked meh for sendin' em on his way."

Jones spat, irritably.

Beckett sniffed at that. "Hardly surprising. I, too, have come across those with questionable sensibilities, but deeply held religious convictions. It is strange, but I have observed they do not flinch at the threat of death."

And, he sipped his tea, primly. "However, if you do feel the pressing need for more crew members, why not simply sink another ship? Surely you can find one."

Beckett recoiled when Jones' lipless mouth curled into a wicked smirk. "Aye. We have."

Jack's voice was a soft snarl. "What the bloody hell were you thinking striking an accord with Beckett?"

Norrington's answer was both regal, and chilling. "I would hardly consider what transpired between Beckett and I to be an accord,
Sparrow. The only choice I had in the matter was to either board that miserable dingy at gunpoint, or watch Beckett shoot my crewmen, one by one. I know that such regard for others is a foreign concept to you, and I do not expect you to understand."

Something flickered in Jack's eyes, as he sat back to resume his irritating scrutiny. Norrington only returned his glower, as he stood rigid and waiting for the pirate to speak.

Jack smirked, gave his rum a heft to his lips, and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "Former Commodore, what we have here amongst ourselves is a quagmire..nay, a gordian knot of issues that I've not had enough rum to even begin to untie. What were the terms of your non-consentual accord, then? That you'd simply sail away and bring ol' Jack in, willin' and quite happy to face the noose or worse? Long odds, aye?Mate, that's thick, even for you."

Norrington's glower slid to ice. "The impossibility of such a thing was never in question, Sparrow. I honestly believed that Beckett simply cast me out on the water with the intention of me facing a slow death from hunger or thirst."

Jack snorted at that. "And were that the case, mate, he never would have sent ye out with provision enough to last several weeks on said open water. And, Becky was gracious enough to provide you with a former crew member of the Pearl as a you not find the implications of that to be a bit...troubling?"

"Troubling implications are the least of my worries, Sparrow. I am a member of the British Royal Navy at the mercy of pirates. I have lost a vessel in the King's employ, and all the men I sailed with are either dead or imprisoned by Beckett. I tell you the truth when I say that any treachery I was a part of was completely out of my hands."

Jack narrowed his eyes as he took another sip of the bottle. "And the amusing irony in your tale of woe is that you wouldn't be here at all if you weren't so rash as to try and sink my Pearl. Funny ol' world, isn't it?"

Norrington only sighed, curtly. "If you are through with tormenting me, I would know what you intend to do with me."

Jack gave him a wicked smirk. "I would hardly consider being aboard the finest ship in the Main in the most pleasant company to be had- torment, former commodore. And the fact that I've neither ordered ye flayed nor flogged should give you a bit of credence when I tell you that I've the charitable notion to let you live."

Norrington did not seem to be amused, as he only rolled his eyes tiredly and resumed his slump in the brig. "Sparrow, it would be far more merciful if you shot me now."

Jack chuckled darkly at that. "Now, now, former commodore. As you no doubt have an incessant and irrefutable need to state the obvious, allow me. You're in the company and at the mercy of pirates who frankly find you bloody irritating. Believe me, I'm sorely tempted to shoot ye just to get you to shut it."

Jack paused, and answered Norrington's flinch with a glittering grin. "But, fret not, mate. I've a brilliant solution. I imagine that our dear friend, Governor Swann would be most happy to have your pleasant countenence back in Port Royal, and I'd be ecstatic to see the last of you myself. Indeed, why kill you when I can simply ransom you?'

The bright suggestion was met with Norrington's rigid snarl, heaved out through clenched teeth.


Jack's cheer was abruptly replaced with that calculating squint, and far too much awareness. Norrington actually trembled as he raised those pale, ravaged eyes, and snarled out, "I will not return to Port Royal, Sparrow. And if you intend to present me to Governor Swann, you shall be presenting him with my corpse."

Jack's lip curled into a rebuffed pout. "Mayhaps you don't quite understand the concept of being a hostage, but it means that you've not got a choice in the matter."

Norrington only grimaced, and seemed about to spit back a reply when the Pearl suddenly groaned in warning. Abruptly, she arched high and slammed down so hard that Jack nearly toppled.

Norrington had only avoided the fall by clawing at the brig's bars. Jack winced as he felt the dull thud of a blow thundering through the Pearl's core.

The ship quivered, as Norrington drew a shuddering breath. He was pale and wide-eyed as he stared at Jack and saw the dark eyes filled with fear.