"Ship ahoy!" Ai calls out from the crow's nest.
On the stern deck, Captain Nonaka peers through a spyglass. Noting the other ship's flag, and other telling details, she says, "Merchant vessel. Could be carrying cash crops and other raw goods to Europe."
Izzy completes the thought by adding, "Or it could be coming from Europe, and transporting manufactured goods, luxuries, and liquid capital for use in the Caribbean."
"And liquid capital translates to 'gold and money,' right?" Commodore Nolaquen asks, just to be clear on the matter. "Because easily redistributable materials are worth more to us than furs and timber. Though we could make do with some sugar; Mimi hasn't had much to work with down in the galley lately…"
"Any sugar they'd be carrying wouldn't be processed yet," Izzy comments with a small grin, before replying more seriously, "But yes, a ship coming from Europe would be significantly more profitable to us."
Insert expectant silence.
"So…" Nolaquen eventually ventures, "…any guesses on which it is?"
Izzy holds a straight face. "Considering the fact that we're a goodly distance from land in any direction, and that the ship is headed towards the Bahamas… I'd wager it's from Europe."
"Oh, good," the Commodore says, pleased. "I guess that means it's worth our time." Then, raising his voice and turning to address the bustling crew below, the author yells, "Alright, people! We've got a fat, juicy target dead ahead—"
"This would actually require a course deviation of seventeen degrees…" Izzy interjects quietly.
"—and we're about to scoop it up from the rich waters of the Atlantic! So, guess what time it is!"
A collective sigh is his first response, soon followed by a reluctant, monotone chorus of, "Pillage, plunder, booty. Yar."
Davis can be heard muttering, "Next time, I come up with the inspiring cheer. Or at least our motto."
Yolei snorts. "Yeah, I don't think so. You'd have us starting out with, 'Prepare for trouble'…"
Standing above the small dispute, Nolaquen shakes his head in disappointment before shrugging. Clapping his hands together, he calls out, "Okay, get to it! Everyone, to your battle stations!"
As the crew scrambles—looking somewhat more enthusiastic now that they are free from the obligatory rallying cry—Rika asks pointedly, "What happened to the Isla de Tesoro? We decided to go after that instead of other ships, didn't we?"
"Sure," Nolaquen says as he clasps his hands behind his back, looking out at the defenseless ship before them, "but this is hardly out of our way. Plus, my cabin still looks a little bare. I'm hoping they have silk draperies on board, or something, because the only color I've got in my room is a bunch of LEGOs. I'm thinking some shades of rust and dark gold would go well with my sheets, though I suppose I could live with beige and a deep forest green."
Cue awkward silence.
"…that didn't come out right."
"Of course," Rika mutters, shaking her head. "It was supposed to sound much more ambitious and manly, right?"
"Yeah, that'll do. I knew I made you captain for a reason."
"I thought I was captain because…" Rika's eye twitches twice before she throws up her hands in surrender. "I give up. Let's just blast the ship and take their cargo, alright? Then we can get back to finding… buried treasure…"
"Fine by me," the Commodore grins, back in his element. You can assume this to mean either 'treasure hunting and general piracy' or 'annoying the heck out of his friends, coworkers, and bondservants.' Maybe both.
Rika groans and mashes her palms against her temples. "I really should have stayed at the mansion with Renamon…"
Soon enough, the poor, lonely merchant vessel is with The Dreamer's Ark's range. Striking a commanding pose, and pointing straight towards the Ark's prey with his index finger, Commodore Nolaquen cries out, "Torpedoes!"
The crew stops in the middle of its preparations and looks at its commander incredulously.
Nolaquen blinks several times before withdrawing. "Ah. My mistake. Captain Nonaka? I believe this is your domain, is it not?"
Sighing with renewed vigor, Rika takes the Commodore's place at the front of the stern and yells loudly, "Cannons!"
As the crew leaps to follow its captain's clear, easily understood, unambiguous, carry-out-able order, Nolaquen murmurs to himself, "Oh, yeah. Early nineteenth century and all that. My bad. I guess the rocket launcher I stored below deck is out of the question, then."
Izzy, still standing behind the wheel, palms his face.
Rika, meanwhile, is shouting forcibly, "Raise the Jolly Roger! Secure all loose cargo and equipment! Careful with that gunpowder, or I'll have you drying it out over the fire, Takashi!"
T.K. winces before hastily returning to his assigned task with a more deliberate motion; no way is he going to let a little wave spoil the gunpowder, oh no…
Nolaquen, meanwhile, watches the coordinated commotion with a pleased expression.
This expression slips a little as he spies a particular motion aboard the enemy ship.
"Um, Quartermaster Izzy?"
"Yes, Commodore?" Izzy asks, paying more mind to the act of bringing up the Ark alongside the merchant vessel.
"…we might be in for a little bit of trouble."
Izzy frowns at the anxious looking author before turning to face the merchant ship.
His expression soon expresses a similar loss of feel-good vibes.
"…should we turn tail and run now? Or is it too late?" he asks the author, dark eyes fixed on what was supposed to be an easy target.
"FIRE!" Rika cries, finally getting into the spirit of things and pumping her fist.
"Yeah, it's too late." The Commodore takes his feathered hat off his head and places it over his heart resignedly.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Cannons rock backwards against their ropes as balls of iron are launched through the air.
And, true to form, the cannon balls knock great chunks of wood out of the merchant vessel's hull, but as only seven cannons were fired in this first volley, the effectiveness of the entire attack depends upon the crew's ability to sustain this fire.
Unfortunately, the chance to do so is not given.
Now, the problem with this scenario is not so much the general incompetence or inexperience of the Ark's crew, nor the substandard weapons and supplies aboard said ship, but the fact that the merchant vessel is carrying passengers along with its regular shipment of cargo. And one passenger in particular does not appear happy to discover that his rest has been disturbed by marauding pirates.
So, he decides to take action.
On the deck of The Dreamer's Ark, Henry squints and shades his eyes with a hand. His eyes reflexively widen as he asks aloud, "Is… that…?"
Meanwhile, a theme song begins playing in the background.
Rika, distracted by the sudden music, mutters aloud, "What the heck?"
Kazu's face goes ashen as he sees a dark-garbed figure rising into the air above the merchant ship. "This is… this is…!"
"…" Tai holds it in for a moment longer. Then…
"…WTF?! SERIOUSLY! NOLAQUEN!!!"
Nolaquen scowls. "Don't look at me; for once, I had absolutely nothing to do with this."
Captain Nonaka's eye twitches. Then…
"HARD TO STARBOARD!"
The silvery nodachi called Masamune comes sweeping down, with a trail of chaotic magical energy streaming behind it.
Timbers, splinters, and crew members fly as The Dreamer's Ark peels away from its erstwhile prey, aided by the author, who is frantically trying to write himself and his crew out of their predicament using his handy dandy notebook.
"Let's see… slight damage to the bow and the mast… we can get by with losing three of the cannons…" Belatedly consulting the seventh edition damage charts strewn before him, Nolaquen amends, "Okay, have to keep this believable, so we lose five, plus half a month's supply of rations…"
Tapping his pen against his chin—and blatantly ignoring the alarmed cries of his crew, the screeching of rending wood, and the jeering laughs of the nearby merchants—the author says aloud, while he writes, "'Against all odds, we escape by falling into a raging maelstrom, which magically transports us far, far away from here'…"
A flurry of fresh screams alert the author to the sheer stupidity of this latest move.
"…oh, heck no…"
And The Dreamer's Ark slides bow first into a massive whirlpool before the waters fall towards the eye, encasing the pirate ship in a dark, watery grave.
A/N: Believe it… or not.
So yeah. I don't expect to see further updates to my fanfiction for the foreseeable future (I find my college time too short for it, really), but I actually had this written…more than a year ago. Yeesh. Well, if I don't write any serious shorts for a while, at least there's the possibility of having this little meta fiction going on the rare occasion that I have the time for some literary insanity. You'll notice it's a continuation of my disclaimers from DR, and I expect this is where they'll find their home should more of them spawn.
Enjoy the few moments of madness I've gifted you with.