Legacy of the Sea: Chapter One, Part One
Taken from the Journal of Thomas Pritchett
“That went better than I expected.”
“Are you saying you didn’t think I could do it?” turning, I glanced at Martin.
“I’m not saying that,” the man said. His weathered face wrinkled as he smirked at me, and his white hair was tugged playfully by the light breeze.
“Then what are you saying?” I asked. He and I walked to a small speedboat that was pulled onto the beach nearby. Sitting in the small boat were four other men, all carrying pistols and wearing light clothing. Martin and I walked to the speedboat, and a man with light brown hair guided the boat into the water, then sent us all off into the bright blue sea. Far off in the water were two large ships, one more dignified than the other.
“What’s your current plan?” I asked Martin over the hum of the boats small but noisy motor.
“I’m going back to Cuba for now,” was the older man’s reply, “I’ve business to attend to there that shouldn’t be missed.”
“Right,” I nodded.
“I hope that you’re going to report back to Carter,” Martin said.
“It would be smart if I went back to Carter wouldn’t it?” I smiled, “I’ll meet up with him once I’ve got a chance. There’s business of my own I need to handle.”
“Where is this business at?” Martin questioned.
“Nearby in Nassau,” was my reply. “I’m docking in the harbor, then my men and I are going to Palmdale to talk with the Steven's son.”
“The son of Jonathan Steven?” Martin asked.
“The Steven's son,” I repeated with a nod. “He’s visiting his father in Nassau for a few weeks, and I was asked to come sit in on a debate that the father and son are having.”
“Is isn’t another argument about the town is it?” asked Martin.
I picked up on the hint of annoyance in Martins voice and grinned.
“Sadly it is,” I replied. “John and his son are still unsettled about who’s going to run the town, although I’m favoring Jackson. Jonathan is seventy-four, and only getting older. Jackson, on the other hand, is only thirty eight, and he’s got years ahead of him to run that island they call a country. Leaving the town, its resources, and its delegates to Jackson would be easier than giving the town to the to delegates themselves.”
“Yes, and at the same time the delegates only know how to run the town under leadership. If you handed them a key to the city, they wouldn’t know what to do,” Martin said.
I nodded. The boat sped across the clear blue water back to the ships that were docked across the sea, and now I felt myself smile.
The Queen’s Hand had been my ship for the past twenty or so years and was something I held as more valuable than any amount of money. Sixty-three meters long and thirteen meters from left to right, the ship was built like a traditional pirate ship although in this modern age my ship was built of metal instead of wood, despite being fairly small.
It had cost a fortune to refit though. The bridge was built near the back of the Queen, two levels high with the Captain’s cabin on the bottom and the bridge serving as the top level. Behind the cabins was a small open deck that was home to four 50. caliber firing machine guns mounted on swivels. On the left and right side were eight anti-ship cannons that were fired by a two man crew, one man to load the round and another man to position the gun. The cannons were loaded by a back hatch that locked shut when a new shell was loaded, and when a round was fired, the back of the shell would drop out of the cannon when the hatch was opened. I had the guns specifically built and modified this way to give the crew fast firing and reloading times on the cannons, and I personally felt that cannons maned by hand were more effective than a machine or computer. On the bow of the Queen were two more 50. caliber guns.
On the second level of my ship were the crew quarters, kitchen, dinning area, ammunition storage, and the radar room. The third level was used for maintenance on the ship and was were most of the technical work was done. A maximum crew of around 180 men could crew the Queen’s Hand, although it only took 160 men to do it properly.
“Captain,” a man nearby pulled his hat down, and I looked at him.
“Drake mentioned a small group of boats he’d seen of the coast o' Nassau,” Giles explained. “When he went to find out what they were doing so close to home, he learned they had been sent from Port Au-Prince to load up on supplies.” He spoke with an Irish accent that matched his red hair and goatee and shifted in his seat.
“How many boats were there?” I asked.
“Just three small ones, not bigger than lobster boats,” Giles said, “and the head boat was maybe half the size of the Queen. Their CO was some fellow named Davis.”
“Keep watch on them,” I said, “and if they do anything suspicious we’ll investigate.”
“Aye,” Giles nodded.
“Maybe they were fisherman coming to drop of a load of seafood in the Port,” one man suggested.
“All the fisherman in Au-Prince don’t ever have to leave the shore,” other man joked.
I let my few crewmen to talk among themselves while the speedboat came to the hull of the Queen’s Hand. The other ship was taller than mine and longer, and I thought it was rightfully named the Mighty Storm. Martin’s destroyer-class warship that had been with him for the better part of twenty-eight years now was covered in metal plating on all sides, fronts and backs, and armed with enough firepower to tear down two given ships at a time. I had been involved with Martin during a few assignments before and knew that even my ship couldn’t out-gun the Mighty Storm.
The speedboat hit the side of the Queen, and my crew waited for the pulleys which were thrown over. Giles and another sailor snapped the hooks onto the front and back ends of the speedboat, and the small craft was pulled up.
“I hope you’ll think about what I said in Freeport,” Martin said.
“I’ll consider it,” was my reply. I heard Martin click his tongue, and I smiled.
The speedboat was up to the top deck of the Queen now, and my crew, and I stepped off the boat and onto the deck. The sun overhead was hot, and I wiped sweat away from my forehead. Martin cleared his throat, then pulled a small manila envelope form the inside pocket of his light grey dress jacket.
“What’s this?” I asked, but took the envelope anyway.
“Payment for Freeport,” Martin said.
“That fast?” I asked. I pulled the top of the envelope opened and looked inside.
“I had it with me while the mission was in progress,” Martin said.
“If you had know the money was with me, something tells me you might have not complied with the missions objectives.”
“And have you dock my pay?” I asked with a smirk. “Nice try, old man.”
“Watch who you’re calling old,” Martin said with a glare. He and I walked across the deck of my ship now, and Martin scratched his head, the sharp tips of his shoes clicking on the deck of the Queen.
“Thomas, I really would like you to think about joining us at the Royal Kings Guard,” Martin said.
“I said I’ll think about it.” My tone was sharper now, but I didn’t look at Martin. Across the deck, my men were readying a different speedboat to get Martin back to the Mighty Storm. “My position in the Nassau Naval Guard holds sway and power,” I continued, “And besides, they pay me handsomely for all the work I do.”
“The R.K.G could pay you even more,” Martin suggested.
“From a country three times my countries size?” I looked a Martin now, disbelief clear on my face. “I will consider your offer Martin, as I’ve said three times now. I’m not doubting your country would pay my men and me more than what we can make now, but sailing all the way to Britain just to get turned away from His Majesty doesn’t sound like much fun.”
“They won’t turn you away,” Martin said. “I’ve already mentioned them to you, and some of the Royal Guard has expressed a small interest in you.”
“So you’re telling men I don’t even know everything about me?” I looked at Martin now. He looked back at me, stopping by the side of my ship.
“What I told you wasn’t bad,” he said, “You could go far with the Guard, Thomas..."
More to come.