Legacy of the Sea: Chapter One, part two.
an excerpt from the journal of Thomas Pritchett.
“Bah,” I threw my hand at Martin now and walked away from him some, my boots tapping the metal deck of the Queen’s Hand.
Martin motioned at one of my men to lower the boat, and he slowly sank from view. I walked over to stand beside Giles Derrick, and my second officer Drake Anthony.
Drake was a tall man with dark skin and a set of long dreadlocks that he kept in a ponytail behind his head.
A shorter white man stood beside Drake. My third officer, Jared Hanes, who had short blonde hair and a fake left eye. His replacement eye was just a shade of blue lighter than his real eye, but it was hard to see from a distance.
“What’s our course now, Captain?” Drake asked me.
“Back to Nassau for now,” I said. “We’ll head over to make sure we sit in with the Stevens son and father, then we’ll go from there.”
I started for the command cabin, and Giles called out, “All hands lively! We make for Nassau!”
The day overhead was clear and cloudless, and I wore a pair of black pants with boots, and a light grey shirt that fell down to my elbows. My black hair was pushed off my head and my beard was cut short. Hanging under my arm was a silver revolver, the gun hanging tightly in the shoulder holster I wore.
Pulling open a door to the command cabin, I walked past my personal cabin, and Giles, Drake, and Jared all followed me up to the control bridge. “Where’s Travis?” I asked now, seeing my fourth officer was absent.
“Control room,” replied Jared. “Said he was finishing up a scan of the area.”
“What’s he scanning for?” I asked.
“Mines and submarines,” was Giles’ answer.
I chuckled now. “He’s paranoid, that man.”
“He’s cautious if nothing else,” Drake offered.
We reached the command bridge now, and I pulled the door open, and walked across the room to the Captains wheel. Giles, Drake and Jared all took their respectful positions in the room, and Giles got the ship ready to move.
“Submarines I can understand,” I said, “But mines? This isn’t the Bahamas in the 1700’s anymore. Mines are easy to see in water this clear. People aren’t stupid.”
“Some people are stupid,” Drake pointed out.
I felt myself snicker now, and my officers laughed.
“Where the hell is Travis at?” I asked again. My fourth officer Travis Mills was absent from his post as senior navigation officer, and the junior officer wasn’t anywhere either.
“Let’s just do this,” said Jared. I heard a whine as the intercom crackled over the bridge, and then Jared said, “fourth officer Travis Mills! Please get your ass to the bridge so we can set sail for Nassau! Travis Mills to the bridge, thank you!” his amplified voice carried over the bridge, and I heard a gust of laughter rise from the deck.
Giles and I were smiling now, and even Drake had a smirk on his face as he sat patiently at the radar panels. I kept one hand on the lever of the ships propeller engines, and the other hand on the small wheel of the ship, waiting for Giles to give us the go ahead.
Not a few seconds went by before I saw figure jogging across the deck of the Queen, and I chuckled. Giles glanced at me from his seat to my right, then we heard feet coming quickly up the stairs to the command cabin. Travis came through the doorway a second later a bit winded, but otherwise in high spirits.
“Evening Travis,” I greeted my fourth officer as he took his seat behind the navigation controls, and he nodded in response.
“Cap’n,” he breathed. A somewhat tall Canadian-American who had joined my crew a year after Giles, Travis had short crop of brown hair and a smooth face, with a small scar that ran down his bottom lip to his jaw.
“We’re ready to shove off Captain,” Giles said.
I put a hand to an intercom button, then said “All hands ready for Nassau!” taking my hand from the button, I put my hands on the engine controls, feeling the small skull that was designed into the left side of the lever. A small personal touch I had added to the Queen’s Hand to make her feel more unique.
“Let’s go,” I said. Pushing the engine lever forward, I felt the Queen jerk under my hands, but we moved forward with an easy and steady pace. The Queen’s Hand pulled away from Martin’s larger ship, and I sounded the horn as we left the older man’s company. I heard a return horn, and smiled.
My ship picked up speed quickly, and I found myself glad I had rebuilt the Queen the way I had. But then again, being a Pardoned Man did have it’s perks. Ah but I think I’m getting a bit ahead, so let me back up first, and tell you just why I fell into this line of work.
* * *
My grandfather and father were both pirates. I know, saying that in such a modern age almost seems like a joke, doesn’t it? Well it’s true.
My grandfather, Samuel Pritchett, and my father, Anthony Pritchett, had both been pirates, but they were a certain kind of pirate. A Pardoned Man was someone who had a desire to captain and crew a ship of his own, but not use said ship and crew to the standards that were in place. If such need arose in a man and he had the needed manpower and resources, he could consider joining with one of the many Pardon Man factions that was spread out across the world. The Nassau Naval Guard could help men like myself, Giles, Drake, and my other officers.
This Pardon Man deal doesn’t just go to any man either. You have to meet certain qualifications, show a certain degree of skill with Captaining a ship, and above all, know how to maintain order. A powerful ship is nothing in the hands of a powerless Captain, this was something I had learned quickly within the N.N.G. Just being able to call out orders on a ship wasn’t good enough to to get you a place as a Pardon Man. Having pirates as ancestors or relatives was also something you shouldn’t be proud of.
My father and grandfather had been Pardon Men for years and years before telling me about their positions. My grandfather was an old, shrewd man with a wrinkled face and a bad cough, thanks to years of smoking, and not to mention drinking. Of course, he never drank during traveling, but off ship he would drink to his heart’s content. He and all of his men were sober while they sailed, but when they were off ship and not under the constrains of an assignment, he and the crew of the R.B.N Dominique would drink as soon as they were on land, and then sleep off the drink until the next morning. After my father was born though, my grandfather let go of some of his wilder habits.
He didn’t stop sailing until he reached the age of seventy-nine, and even after that he would still sail with the new Captain of the Dominique, his original first officer named Brandon Howl. But eight years after my father was born, both Brandon and my grandfather were killed outside of Charleston, South Carolina in 1946. His crew attempted to sail the ship back into the North Atlantic Ocean, but were shot down and sunk by a group of bounty hunters.
My father was born in 1938 and came into the service of the Royal British Navy like my grandfather had. My father joined at the age of thirty-one and had his own crew and ship by the age of thirty-six, in just five years. His ship, the RBN Jacqueline, was named after my mother.
She never agreed to watching my father sail across the seas at a moments notice, and after I was born she put her foot down. My father was stubborn though, and sailed to his own hearts content, very rarely coming home to visit my mother and me. This had been when I was still a baby, in 1974, only after four months of my birth.
After twenty years in the service of the British- I still don’t know who my father had been working for- my father joined with a different Naval force, but I never found out who it was. He came home to visit my mother and me in Britain more often after joining his new faction, but he never disclosed much about what he was doing or where he was going.
One of the last times I saw my father was on my twenty-first birthday, but he had only shown up to tell me I was a good son, and then was gone.
I saw his ship mentioned in the newspapers for years after he had visited me on my birthday. By the time I was twenty-five, I had probably seen my father’s ship mentioned in the newspaper more than a thousand times, but the papers never mentioned my father or any of his crew by name. He was only ever called “The Captain of the pirating ship the Jacqueline.”
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