A Penchant For Pirates

 

Wow, I won best novel. How special is that.

Thank you everyone!

Prologue

The captain reviewed the articles of his ship as he recorded them in the ships log.  This would be his first entry for this journey.  The vessel creaked and groaned as it gently rode the waves in the harbor as his quill was set to the pages of the log.

Article One- Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have one full share and a half in all prizes.  The Quartermaster, First Mate, shall have one share and a quarter.  In addition, the Surgeon shall be included in the above mentioned.

Article Two- If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the Company, he shall be marooned with one bottle of powder, one flask of water, one small arm, and shot.

Article Three- If any man shall steal any thing in the Company, or game, to the value of a gold piece, he shall be marooned or shot.

Article Four- If at any time we should meet another marooner, that man shall sign his Article without consent of our Company, and shall suffer such punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

Article Five- Any man that shall strike another, whilst these article are in force, shall receive Moses’s Law.  Forty stripes lacking one on the bare back.

Article Six- Any man that shall snap his Arms, or smoke tobacco in the hold, without a cap to his pipe, or carry a candle lighted without lanthorn, shall suffer the same punishment as in the previous article.

Article Seven- Any man that shall not keep his weapons clean, fit for an engagement, or neglect his business shall be cut off from his share, an suffer such other punishments as the Captain and Company think fit.

Article Eight- If any man shall lose a joint in time of engagement, he shall have 400 pieces of gold: if a limb 800.

Article Nine- If at any time you meet with a prudent woman, the man that offers to meddle with her, without her consent, shall suffer Death.

“Cap’n!” had been called down into the ship.  “The crew is comin’ aboard’!”

The Captain reviewed each article and began to go over the roster and duties of each.  His crew was hand selected by himself.  He would be sailing with a Letter Marque, giving him written permission to engage any ship that would offer a profitable booty.  The Letter Of Marque from the United States gave him free reign to attack English ships during this voyage.  This was his first sail as a privateer in an attempt to regain his family name and restore their fortune.  

As he reviewed the articles that his crewmates had signed, he began to record their positions and names in the logbook.  He began his entries and deliberated with much thought on each assignment. 

Quartermaster- Duties to entail the following- Distribution of all items; rations, powder, work, prize, and punishment.  Leads all boarding parties and keeps custody of all prize and booty. 

Determines what is worth taking and what is worth taking in conjunction with the Captain.  Shall dole out all punishments on the Captain’s order after a vote of the company. He and only he will administer all punishments with the consent of two.

Duty assigned to:  Alexander McLean

First Mate- Second in command to the Captain.  If I can not perform my duties or meet my obligations to my country or crew-

Duty assigned to: Howard Dorough.

Surgeon- The one man that I have pressed into service by value of family ties.  Service all the ill and injured.

Duty assigned to: Brian Littrell

The next entry made the Captain smile, “It is about time my young friend.  We have come a long way together and I have much more to teach you.  You will come of age on this voyage.  This is the last assignment that you, as an apprentice, should have to serve.  May it serve you well.”   It was a rare entry but the Captain made it known to record so that the young man would get a share and a quarter instead of his standard share.

Cook- To serve better food than old George.  Since you eat twice as much as any man and you do like to cook.

Duty assigned to: Nickolas Carter

“Cap’n,” a blonde head poked into his cabin. 

The captain leaned back in the old desk chair.  His arms stretched in the air.  “Yes Nick?” he answered with a hint of amusement in his voice.

“What’d ya give me?” the tall younger man entered the room.

The captain grinned even wider, “Come see for yourself.  This is your last obligated voyage with me.”

The man/boy skidded over the desk and rapidly read down the list.  “COOK!  COOK!  I don’t want the cook, I want first mate or Quartermaster!”

The captain’s apprentice was as red as a lobster heading for the boiling pot.  “You’re not ready for that yet.”  The captain closed the logbook; it was his final decision once the book was closed.

“That’s not fair, I worked hard to earn that appointment.”  He wanted the duty that he felt he could handle.

“Don’t whine Nick,” The captain headed out the door with his upset junior behind him.  Shaking his head as he took the stairs two at a time.  Hitting the deck, he took his place up at the wheel as he waited for the last of his seaman to board.

“But Cap’n,” the young one was if anything persistent.  He had been with the captain for six years now.  If he could rattle his cage long enough, the captain would usually give in just so he could be left alone.

The Captain ignored him as he posted the Duty roster to the mast.  Turning he addressed all the onlookers who were eager to get a glimpse.  “Gentlemen, I am your Captain.  Captain Kevin Richardson.  We set sail tonight, prepare this lovely lady to leave safe harbor.”

“A real captain names his ship,” Nick looked up at the crow’s nest.

“If you are bucking to go back to Cabin Boy, you are almost there.  Get to your duties son.  Old George died last week, there is something to be said for that.” 

Nick didn’t speak as he heard the Captains boots thud into the well worn boards of the ship’s deck.  Looking to the sky, a gull flew by.  “George you did me an injustice old man.  But you couldn’t cook anyway. You almost killed us twice with bad meat.”

Nick made his way to the galley and grumbled all the way down to the bowels of the boat.

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