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"Feast your eyes, Captain." Gibbs announced the next morning. The girls, Will, Jack and Gibbs were on the deck in Tortuga, Gibbs' promised crew lined up. "All of them, faithful hands before the mast. Every man worth his salt, and crazy to boot."
"So this is your able-bodied crew?" Will asked, looking down the line. Jack stopped in front of a man who had a blue and yellow parrot perched on his shoulder. The girls already knew him as Cotton.
"You, sailor!" Jack barked.
"Cotton, sir." Gibbs informed him.
"Mr Cotton, do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death?"
"I never know how he can say all that so fast!" Ella whispered to her friends.
"Because he's Captain Jack Sparrow!" Laurel whispered back, and the three girls had to stifle their giggles.
"Mr Cotton. Answer, man!" Jack growled when the man did not respond.
"He's a mute, sir." Gibbs told him. "Poor devil had his tongue cut out, so he trained the parrot to talk for him."
"How?" Sarah asked.
"No one's yet figured how." Gibbs shrugged. Jack took one step along so that he was in front of the parrot.
"Mr Cotton's parrot, same question."
"Wind in your sails! Wind in your sails!" the bird squawked.
"Mostly, we figure that means 'yes'." Gibbs said, seeing the confused looks on Jack and Will's faces. Jack nodded.
"Of course it does." He turned to Will. "Satisfied?" Will looked up and down the line.
"Well, you've proved they're mad." He said, quietly. Jack, too, looked up and down the line of potential crew members.
"And what's the benefit for us?" a voice called. The small group walked down to where the voice had come from; a person with their hat low over their eyes, hiding their face.
"Anamaria." Jack grinned, removing the hat. The girls bit their lips to stop themselves from laughing as Anamaria's hand reached out and slapped Jack.
"I suppose you didn't deserve that one either." Will said, more a statement than a question.
"No, that one I deserved." Jack admitted. Behind him, Anamaria nodded, smirking.
"You stole my boat!" she yelled as Jack turned back to face her.
"Actually…" she cut him off with a slap. "Borrowed. Borrowed without permission, but with every intention of bringing it back to you."
"But you didn't!" the woman ranted.
"You'll get another one." Jack smiled, trying to diffuse the situation.
"I will." She pointed her finger at him, glaring.
"A better one." Ella told her, eager to join in the conversation.
"A better one!" Jack agreed.
"That one." Will said, pointing out at the Interceptor.
"What one?" Jack asked, turning to look at Will who nodded in the direction of the ship. Jack looked around, immediately snapping his head back to look at Will. "That one?" he growled. Will nodded, pointedly. Jack considered for a moment, and then turned to Anamaria. "Aye. That one." He grinned, pointing at the Interceptor. "What say you?"
"Aye!" the woman agreed.
"Aye!" the crew chorused. They all turned and left to go and board the boat.
"Anchor's aweigh!" the parrot squawked. Anamaria glared at Jack as she stalked off.
"No no no, it's frightful bad luck to bring a woman aboard, sir."
"Excuse me?" Laurel raised an eyebrow. Gibbs looked at her and bit his lip.
"What I mean was it's frightful bad luck to have so many women aboard, sir." He glanced at Laurel, who was still frowning, not entirely happy with the correction.
"It would be far worse not to have her." Jack said, glancing at the sky as he followed the crew to the ship. Gibbs was still looking sheepishly at Laurel who had her hands on her hips. He coughed.
"Shall we?" he said, hastily turning to follow Jack to the Interceptor.
"This is even worse when you're living it!" Sarah shouted to her friends over the noise of the storm.
"Yeah, the film really doesn't do it justice!" Ella agreed, ducking to avoid little Marty who was hanging from a rope. Just as she ducked, however, a great wall of water crashed over the ship and knocked everyone to their feet.
"How can we sail to an island that nobody can find, with a compass that doesn't work?" Will yelled out to Gibbs as the pair got to their feet and resumed wrestling with a rope.
"Aye the compass doesn't point north…" Gibbs started.
"But we're not trying to find north, are we?" Laurel cut in, and Gibbs nodded and then left to go up to the helm to talk to Jack. The girls could only just hear Jack informing his first mate that they were catching up to the Black Pearl. But first, they had to get through this storm. The girls knew that they would, but it was hard to believe it as the ship was thrown about by the waves.
"I vote for sneaking down below deck until it passes!" Sarah said.
"No way! If we get caught we'll be deemed unreliable and then there's no way we'll be allowed to go to Isla de Muerta with Jack and Will!" Laurel shook her head, but just then Gibbs came back down from the helm.
"Cap'n wants a word with you ladies." He said, before rushing to help another crew member. The girls nodded as he turned and struggled to make it to the steps, and then struggled even more to climb them.
"Gibbs said you wanted a word?" Laurel was the first to reach the Captain.
"Aye. You three best go down below deck." Jack said, and Sarah gave the others an 'I told you so' look.
"No. We're more use up here, surely." Laurel protested.
"Aye, but it's not safe for a few lasses with no experience."
"We're quick learners."
"That may be so, but this ain't exactly the time to be teaching ye is it?"
"No buts. Captain's orders. Below deck, now. All of you!"
Ella and Sarah took hold of one of Laurel's arms each and marched her down below deck where they all sat clear of the steps so as not to get wet as the waves continued to crash over the ship.
"I can't believe we're stuck down here when we could be up there helping!"
"Oh Laurel put a sock in it would you?" Ella sighed.
"No! This is an insult…"
"He said it's for us to be safe." Sarah interrupted.
"Take it up with him when the storm clears, Laurel." Ella rolled her eyes and her friend finally stopped her rant.
"So, how are we going to get him to take us with him and Will tomorrow?" Sarah finally broke the silence.
"Just tell him we want to go too?" Ella suggested.
"That won't work. We have to be of some use to him." Laurel shook her head.
"Hmm yeah." Ella frowned. "What use will we be?"
"Well, we're small… and… um…" Sarah trailed off, unsure what else they would be able to do to help.
"We'll figure it out in the morning." Laurel said decisively when no one was able to come up with anything else. Her friends nodded and they continued to talk about less important issues, such as the mishaps that had happened when they were rehearsing their play.