Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Animal · #2093767
A retired pirate trains a group of buccaneers the secrets of Pirates
I was requested to do a pirate themed campfire, at first I wanted to do something based on the Pirates of the Caribbean film series but I remember that there was a video game series that started of a Pirate-wannabe training to be a pirate only to end up facing the most feared undead pirate ever to sail. That is Monkey Island series, No this campfire won't have the games protagonist, Guybrush Treepwood or the Atagonist, Le-Chuck. But a class of pirate wannabes trained by a pirate legend, as animals.
|Name: Josh Fastrak|
Bio: He comes from a family of Mariners, it runs in his blood to sail the ocean waves.
Personality: Always anxious to look for action no matter how exciting it is.
Reason he wants to be a pirate: It's because his father was one and his father before him and so on.
Josh entered the Pelican cove bar, located in the seediest part of the dock area, The customers looking eye him with nasty looks while the bartender, a warthog with a scar on his left cheek "Good afternoon, what can I get ya." Josh says "I was hoping there was a pirate around here looking for someone to join his crew." The locals just laughed "You want to be a pirate?" a Bear asks. The Warthog says "What's wrong with that Brutus?" Brutus just shrugged. The warthog then says "I know no pirates hiring crew members but I do know one that trains others to be pirates, perhaps you can try him?" Josh says "Sure, why not? Who is he and where can I find him." "It's Captain Finn Snapjaw, I'm sure you remember him. He's on his ship, The Maelstrom docked and the end of the pier." Josh says "Thanks for the info." He leaves the bar.
| Name: Ernest "Ernie" Leafeater|
Bio: He spent the first part of his life working at a desk, but the urge to adventure finally got the better of him.
Personality: Usually reasonable and practical, but at the same time sometimes experiencing urges to do something bold and possibly foolhardy.
Reason he wants to be a pirate: It was a sudden impulse one night when he was particularly disappointed with his life.
Ernie stood on the dock staring at the Maelstrom, the ship captained by the notorious Finn Snapjaw, supposedly a trainer of future pirates. Ernie couldn't believe he had gotten this far. He really should be at work at his boring job of pushing paper, sign this, sign that, check this, check that. But he had finally snapped...
And now he wanted to be a pirate and he didn't quite know how. Hopefully, Captain Finn Snapjaw had the answers.
Species: Kizin (Alien Humanoid Sabertooth cat)
Bio: Warrior for Kizin Empire on Glorious Conquest, the scout ship he was in suffered from a malfunction, causing him to crashland on this planet. Seeks a way back to the Empire, so he can continue his mission.
Personality: Sees those weaker than him as inferior, but respects those who can best him in a fight, or have done things that astonish him. A tough, and brutal, fighter, especially using his claws and teeth. Seeking to fulfill his warrior blood, decides to become whatever he can. He has only one issue - he doesn't like being on the water, and gets seasick, often. However, he won't let anyone call him a coward about it.
Diet: Raw meat - cooked meat makes him sick, and his body reacts to it like a toxin.
Cerow looked around. This place was a backwater place, even on this backwater planet. One thing he did know what that he needed a way to make money to buy supplies. The locals were the type to get suspicious if their neighbors disappeared, and looked to be the type who, in sufficient numbers, could kill one such as him, especially if said neighbor had ended up as his food.
Now was a time to stay low, and keep quiet. For the moment, people ignored him, but he'd need food, and soon.
|Josh ran towards the pier, he sees a large galleon in the background flying the Jolly Roger, he focuses on the colors, a black flag with an image of a shark with two crossed swords underneath, which means that's the Maelstrom he was focused on the top mast of the ship that he didn't see what's in front of him "Hey watch it, pay attention!" Josh got up and saw that he ran right into a large catlke creature(Cerow) "Sorry my fault." Before Josh continued towards the Maelstrom, the cat creature grabbed him "Not so fast, do you have any idea who you ran into?"|
|Name: Cyrus the Unsinkable|
Species: Yellow Bellied Sea Snake
Bio: Is an Orphan, His Mother died when he was very young, he has been living in the ocean for a while, Being a Marine Snake is Handy since he can take in some oxygen from his scales Seeks to be a Pirate since the world doesn't trust Snakes very much so he sees being a Pirate as the only way
Personality: While trying to live up to the stereotype of Snakes being evil, in actuality Cyrus does care about others if he helps some one he will try to claim it was for some selfish reason
Cyrus saw what looked like a Fight starting between a dirk-toothed feline and a Cheetah, he abhorred noise and mess so he slithered over and hissed "No fighting before first lesson! I have poisoned teeth and I'm not afraid to bite!"
|Ernie heard a lot of noise behind him on the dock so he turned around and looked. Two big cats and a snake seemed to be having some kind of argument. Ernie shivered. He wanted no part of THAT! There sure were some rough types down here on the docks. Not for the first time Ernie wondered if he was making a big mistake by seeking to become a pirate, but he sighed and trudged toward the gangplank of the Maelstrom. For now, that would be his fate.|
|Cerow growled, but a look in the reptile's eyes was all he needed. He looked at the other feline, and let go of him. "Call yourself lucky, for now."|
Species: Blue-And-Yellow Macaw
Bio: Used to be a pet bird in our world. His owner had a huge collection of pirate themed memorabilia. He even got to see pirate movies and documentaries. One day, Joe somehow (he can't remember the details) found himself in another universe that resembled the Golden Age of Piracy but with animals instead of humans.
Personality: Naive and edger. However, he isn't stupid and knows when to back off.
Reason he wants to be a pirate: He knows all about pirates, so he figures he might as well be one.
(I assume that these are anthro animals, right? If so, Joe also became an anthro.)
Joe could see the Maelstrom in the distance as he flew towards the ship. Ever since he found himself in this world, Joe had lived as a squatter doing the odd job here and there and eating whatever fruits, seeds, and nuts the local plants could provide. But now, an opportunity had come. If this Captain Finn Snapjaw was the real deal, he could finally put his knowledge of pirates into use.
As he flew closer, he noticed there was a group of animals. It looked like a snake had broken up a fight between two felines. He landed and approached the group. He said, "Hello, I'm Joe. Did I miss anything?" He still found it amazing he could talk for real and not just repeat what he had heard.
|Josh says "Just a small dispute between me and this big bruiser Joe. By the way, my name's Josh Fastrack son of 'Barnicle' Bill Fastrack." Cerow says "This big bruiser has a name, Cerow's the name and I'm not from around here." Ernie says "Ernest Leafeather, please call me Ernie." Cyrus says "I'm Cyrus the Unsinkable, now that we all introduced ourselves, can we get onboard?" Josh says "Don't have to ask me twice, let's go." As everone boarded the Maelstrom, they saw a mean looking Mako Shark dressed like a pirate captain, complete with an eyepatch on his right eye, you recognized him as Finn Snapjaw. "It appears I have visitors," he said, "Either your hear for my stories or you all wish to be pirates. Don't let my appearances scare you, I'm Finn Snapjaw, Captain of the Maelstrom." Josh says "I'm Josh Fastrack, not sure if you knew my father 'Barnicle' Bill Fastrack and I'm here to follow his footsteps."|
|Cyrus slithered towards the back of the...Class? Assuming these were lessons on Piracy and there were a few too many of them for this to be the standard apprenticeship "I'm Cyrus the Unsinkable." He said quietly "I'm also an orphan."|
|Captain Finn Snapjaw wasted no time getting down to basics. He held up a wicked-looking knife. "They don't say us pirates are cutthroats without reason. Each one of you will be expected to carry a big knife with you at all times. If you don't already own a knife, I have a nice selection for sale at reasonable prices in me Olde Student Pirate Shoppe. Argh!"|
Ernie made a mental note to buy a big knife.
|Later, in his quarters, Cerow looked at his wtsai. It was the size of a short sword, and looked like what some called a Kris blade. Cerow smiled as he looked at the blade. It had belonged to his father, and his father before him. Only Kzinti with a Name could carry one, unless circumstances proved otherwise. It was an honor to have one, and thus had to be cared for. He sheathed the blade. Unlike the blades he'd seen, wtsai blades never had to be sharpened.|
Cerow looked out the window in his room. There was one thing he had to conquer above all others, even that small feline creature, the motions of the sea. Space was flat, with no waves, unlike the ocean. In space, death was instant, not so much on the sea. The sea was a different creature, as these people claimed it to be.
|Joe was also looking out the window of his room. He had never been on a boat before. It was all exciting.|
Still, he wondered how he was even brought to this universe. His recollection of that fateful day was still all a blur. The fact he was in a world of pirates couldn't have been mear coincidence given his upbringing.
Then another thought came to him. Did he have what it took to be a pirate? After all, knowing something about them and actually being one are two different things.
|Josh looked out his window and saw nothing but ocean, which means the Maelstrom is sailing somewhere, but he was so pre-occupied looking out the window that he didn't realize someone walked in. It was the captain himself. He got his attention by clearing his throat. "Captain?" Josh said. Finn said "I did know your father. 'Barnicle' Bill was not only a fine pirate, he was a good friend. My last job got me in trouble with some ruthless Pirate hunters, he risked his freedom for mine. Although, I can't play favorites on this, it's always nice to see someone filling in with the family legacy." "Where are we going?" "To a private island of mine, I got a training course there, it won't be easy but if you pass, there will be nothing you can't accomplish." "Hard or not, I'll give it my best."|
|Cyrus was asleep in his bed, he slept most of the time|
|The next morning the Maelstrom was still sailing towards Captain Finn Snapjaw's private island. The Captain held a casual learning session on deck.|
"And so that's how you tie the sheepshank knot. As pirates, ye will be expected to know all the basic knots. Now a word about eyepatches... They are completely optional. Now if ye be having but one eye, then an eyepatch will be handy. But for you two-eyed folks, wearing an eyepatch when you don't need one might be useful or not. A pirate don't do nothing artificial just to look good. But maybe an eyepatch will strike fear into some hearts, and that would be a good thing."
|"Tearing out their heart would do the job," said Cerow.|
|Joe was shocked by Cerow's statement and tried to change the subject. He said, "Um... Anything else to go over, Captain?"|
|Finn says "Let me explain what pirates do, we don't tear hearts out, although it does sound tempting. Allow me to explain how we Keelhaul our victims, or make them walk the plank."|
|Cyrus was beginning to feel nervous about the dirk toothed Cat|
|Finn tossed a piece of lumber on the deck. "This here is a plank for any of you landlubbers."|
Ernie raised his hand. "Uh, Captain? It's called a plank on land too."
Finn glared at him. "Don't interrupt me lessons, boy, unless you have a good question to ask. Now... what do we do with a plank? If you lay the plank from ship to shore, it's called a gang plank. But if you just hang it over the edge of the ship, it makes a good pathway to Davey Jones' Locker."
|"Shooting them would be quicker," said Cerow.|
Finn looked at him. "Have you ever killed anyone?"
Cerow removed a ring of metal from a belt loop. On it were several more rings, each of which was covered in what looked to be sections of skin, including ears, teeth, jaws, and a few other things. "Every Kzin is challenged by another Kzin, eventually. Winner takes everything, including the loser's ears. I've won every fight, and I have three mates back home, and six sons to carry on my line, and six daughters to give to worthy friends and allies. Members of other races have tried to kill me in combat, none successful. I've hunted some of the most dangerous animals on dozens of planets, none of which has killed me, and these are my proof of my victories over these creatures, as are my scars."
"What if someone called you a liar, and claimed them to be a fake?" Finn asked.
Cerow drew his wtsai blade, and pointed it right at the shark. "Then I'd take his life, and add part of him to my collection; in your case, it would be one of your teeth."
"I see," said Finn. "I do not doubt your past kills. Still, there is a lot more to being a pirate than just killing them."
"Do you eat them as well?" Cerow. "Some make good eating. Used to happen quite a bit actually, my kind would turn our defeated foes into nothing but slaves and food beasts. Then we met up with a creature that proved to be highly adaptable; it was furless, weak, and my kind enjoyed many early victories, but it learned, made weapons from anything, made plans, and soon, victories were not so easy, then they turned into defeats, and soon, we were forced to do something we've never done - ask these grasseaters for peace, and ask them not to harm our homeworld, or our mates and offspring, for these creatures proved to be more deadly than we were, for they were willing to destroy planets to kill us, which is something we rarely do ourselves."
"What were these creatures called?" Finn asked.
"Humans," said Cerow. "We'd thought them to be weak and helpless." He chuckled. "Turned out, they weren't so weak and helpless. Took several wars, and even the defection of some of our own on the worlds we lost, plus the slaves they liberated, but soon enough, they forced the Patriarch to agree to terms, which Kzin are now honor-bound to keep. Once a Kzin gives his word, he keeps it."
"What would those terms be?" Finn asked.
"Can't wage war, save for self-defense, can't kill humans, save for self-defense, can't eat humans, unless there's a lack of other food options, can't enslave humans, unless they are a criminal. These terms are even applied to members of other races, even those not specifically mentioned in the treaty, to include those not yet discovered at the time."
"So, essentially, you've been declawed," said Finn.
Cerow growled. "A Kzin's claws are always sharp, and so are their teeth."
"So, you trade your females as if they were property," said Finn, changing the subject.
"Most of them are not sentient like males are," said Cerow. "They are no better than animals. However, some are as intelligent as males, and humans have been using drugs to increase the intelligence in younger females."
"Why are they not intelligent?" Finn asked.
"Some say the Fanged God did it to punish them for a rebellion they did," said Cerow. "Some claim that the Priests tinkered with Kzin genetics to make females obedient to their mates, and to raise the offspring. Either way, most females are not intelligent, or at least, not that intelligent."
|Joe couldn't believe what he was hearing. This guy was an alien? Also, he did not expect to hear that humans existed in this universe.|
|Josh whispers to Cyrus "I'm glad you broke off that fight on the dock, he's beginning to scare me."|
|"In spite of my Poisoned Teeth I'm beginning to feel like jumping out of me own skin." Said Cyrus|
Soon it was lunchtime, Cyrus sits with Josh and Joe who seem all right with sitting with a Snake.
Cyrus told them stories of what he had seen on his travels "One time...In the Revolutionary War of the Warm Lands I saw a White Tailed Deer approach an Enemy Ship, he pulled down his pants and exposed his fluffy white rear, shouting obscenities, the ship hurled two cannonballs, one hit a shop the other hit a bunch of boxes, the Buck pulled his britches back up and walked away never once looking back."
|Ernie stood at the back of the ship gazing longingly in the direction from which they had come. Oh, what a mistake he had made. And now he was on the ship headed for an island where who knew what hell would greet him and there was no way to go home. He wiped his eye. To cry would be a big mistake. He could imagine what the others would say if they saw that.|
He heaved his shoulders with a big sigh. There was nothing to do but make the best of it and hope one of the cut throats didn't kill him in his sleep. He sat down next to Cyrus and Josh and Joe and listened to their tall tales. Or maybe they were true stories. It was hard to tell.
|As for Cerow, he ate alone. Kizin always ate alone, unless it had been a shared kill. Kzin never ate together, just in case someone had something better than them, which could cause a fight, which could prove fatal. There was also the smell of cooked meat to avoid; the scent made him feel like puking. He remembered a story about a kzin cub that had once been captured, and raised, by humans. Hap, as the humans called him, had been captured during one of the first attempts to invade Earth; his sire had been the equivalent of an Admiral, and thus had had his own harem. Humans, using trickery, managed to board the ship, and had tried to take kzin cubs, to raise, to see how they could alter them, and make them be like humans. Hap had been the only one to make it - the rest having been killed by their mothers, or by the boarders on accident. The leader of the boarders became something like a surrogate father, and a female scientest that the boarder was close to, became something of a mother to Hap. However, while the boarder and scientist were accepting of the wilder nature of the kzin cub, though they had tried to channel the energy towards other less destructive things, the scientist's superior had wanted to turn Hap into something like a human in kzin form, and had tried to feed the cub cooked meat, to wean him off of his 'savage instincts'. The cooked meat had acted like a toxin instead, and Hap had thrown the meal up. The original plan for Hap had been to use him as an ambassador between kzin and humans, but the scientist, the boarder having been killed in another invasion attempt, had managed to get Hap's full freedom, and Hap was released on Wunderland, a human colony that had fallen to kzin, but had managed, after several decades, to regain its freedom, and the kzin had been allowed to live, providing that they agreed to the terms of a Truce. Hap's story was, eventually, published, in both Kzin language, and in several of the humans' languages, and it had, eventually, made its way to Kzinhome.|
Cerow frowned as he remembered the story; stranded among strangers, a kzin cub forced to grow up in the world of his race's enemies, and make his own way. Thing was, the humans had another story, about a woman that had been held captive by a soul kizn, who was something of a scientist. To say that her experiences were not pleasant was, an understatement. Even Cerow, and most kzin, would agree to that. Whereas most captives were tortured for information, or placed into simulated Hunt Parks, and then killed, and eaten, this human was experimented upon, and suffered in a manner that has highly cruel, and brutal. This human woman, who had a reputation that even a kzin warrior could admire, having killed over twenty kzin in combat, using primitive weapons, had been forced to become like a female kzin, with all knowledge of who she was erased from her memories. Then, this kzin scientist, who was only alive because of his faithful, and loyal, Jatok servants had kept the human from killing him, after he'd previously been imprisoned in stasis by his superiors for disobeying orders, used genetic samples from previous male captives, tried to breed obedient slaves from her. The results were mixed - intelligent males, dumb females.
Of course, if the story was true, said woman was, eventually, released by her kin, who had made a deal with this kzin, in saving him from being held captive by a rival kzin, and taking him to Kzinhome, where a human traitor had delivered the key to the human's hyperdrive engine, something the kzin scientist had been trying to figure out all along, as it was the hyperdrive that let humans travel anywhere within weeks, or months, instead of years, or decades, and had been critical in their victory over the kzin.
As for now though, while there was peace between kzin and humans, there were those seeking to provoke yet another war. Thing was, as the humans would say, kzin had a tendency to leap before they were ready, which had cost many battles, and all of the subsequent wars had been in human victories. However, while it took some time, Kzin were learners as well. It was said, by those who were pro-war, that it was time for kzin to regain its Empire, and defeat Humanity once and for all. Those who were pro-peace pointed out how trade was helping the kzin, how more colonies were opening up, and how, especially on human-occupied worlds, male kzin could easily find jobs in dangerous trades, which any kzin could respect, and make a lot of what humans called money, and care for their mates and offspring easily.
It had been on one of these jobs that Cerow, being part of a kzin-human exchange program, had been on patrol in a scout ship, alongside of a human, when the ship malfunctioned, somehow, and they'd crashlanded on this planet. The human was fatally injured, and the autodoc was ruined beyond repair, preventing him from saving the human's life. Before he died, the human had given Cerow something called his dogtags, and a pendent that had a picture of his mate and offspring, and charged him with returning the items to them, so that they'd know that their husband and father had been a brave man. Cerow agreed to this, and ended his co-pilot's suffering. At the time, there was a supply of rations, and while he could have used the fresh meat, he had instead dug a hole, and buried the human, though he'd had the decency to howl to the Fanged God, and the Bearded God, to let them know that a warrior was coming.
Cerow opened the pouch, and pulled out the dogtag; on it, in the human script, was Chris Hudson. Cerow shook his head. While a kzin had to earn his name, unless the situation proved that a temporary name was needed, like when working with humans, humans were always given names at birth. Cerow believed that this had to do with the fact that humans had weak noses, and needed labels to identify one another. Still, a name was powerful, and told a person's history.
|Joe felt comfortable with Josh and Cyrus. He wondered if he should tell the two about his past life as a pet.|
|Josh told Joe and Cyrus about his father 'Barnicle' Bill Fastrack, Cyrus says "That's quite a heritage. Question ie, what ever happened to your father?"|
|Josh sighed depressed, Cyrus could tell it was a sad story|
|Ernie felt inspired to tell his own story since there was so much sharing going on. "I was born in a swamp," the raccoon began, and all eyes turned toward him since he had been completely silent until that moment.|
"It was a big, hot swamp with gigantic plants and it was full of alligators and panthers and boa constrictors. There were all kinds of monstrous creatures to be afraid of."
Josh and Cyrus bristled at that remark, one being a snake and the other a cat as big as a panther. "All snakes are not monsters," Cyrus said.
"I'm sorry!" Ernie said, "I didn't mean it that way."
"But sometimes they are," said Joe, who being a bird understood perfectly what Ernie was talking about. Swamps and jungles could be very dangerous places. He had an uncle who was eaten by a crocodile. His uncle never saw it coming. The croc leaped ten feet out of the water to snatch him from a branch.
When Ernie fell silent, Joe said, "Go on, tell us your story then."
"Maybe later," Ernie said.
|Cerow came out of his room, and began prowling the deck of the ship. He'd been laying on his bed just a little beforehand, and his stomach didn't feel good. Strangely enough, once he got moving, his stomach began to settle. He'd heard about the phenomenon; seasickness. His body had felt that it was moving, but his eyes stated otherwise. It was strange; he'd never felt that way in space, though one was constantly moving one's body there, pressing buttons and monitoring displays, among other things. Here however, he wasn't doing anything.|
He stopped by the main mast, extended the claws on his hands and feet, and started climbing it, his claws digging into the wood. Eight feet tall, and five hundred pounds of pure killing machine, as the humans like to claim, climbed up to the, what was it, crowsnest, and he climbed in. When he got bored of looking, he'd have no trouble climbing back down; it was only sixty feet high. He'd climbed higher trees, like the redwoods, and sequoias, while in a place called California, although he'd gotten into a bit of trouble for damaging the bark, despite the fact that it already had a big hole at ground level, big enough that personal vehicles could use the road that someone had made through it.
He looked around, his instincts searching for prey.
|Joe look at Cerow moving around the deck. It made him nervous.|
|Meanwhile, Josh was in his cabin sitting at his desk remembering his father he didn't know Captain Finn coming in "I know how you feel young Fastrack, but if it wasn't for his selfless action sacrificing his freedom for mine, I would've been the one hung at the gallows, not him." Josh says "Why did he do it? He knew he had a family to take care of, my mother was surprised this happened." Finn says "I'll answer that a bit later, right now I got to stop a certain alien feline who's currently on a hunt."|
|Cyrus was drinking massive amounts of water this day it was monstrously hot he thought this Ernie character was a lemur but he called himself a raccoon|
|Ernie lay in his bunk with his eyes closed. Why the hell did he say he was a raccoon? Was he that ashamed of being a babakoto? And the others weren't stupid. They probably knew what a raccoon looked like. But nobody said anything. Of course... it was always possible that none of them did know what a raccoon looked like.... Noooo, he had to assume they did know. He promised himself he would never say the word raccoon again.|
|Cerow looked down from the crow's nest, looked around, and saw nothing worth his attention. He then sat down, and got out a book. It was called Destiny's Forge, and it was about how one of the Patriarchs, before he became the Patriarch, had been the First-Born Son, Destined to be the next one, had been betrayed by his ambitious half-brother, and how the ensuing Civil War, plus the conflict with Humanity, had seriously weakened the Empire. The only reason that Patriarch Zree-Rrit managed to regain his birthright was because he had cooperated with the human female Ayla Cherenkova, who had taught him, and the outlaw clans that aided him, in the ways of guerrilla warfare - hit-and-run sneak attacks, who had proved her worth in directing the forces allied to him, even saving his life once. It was one of the things that Pro-Peace kzin would point to - kzin could learn from humans to be better fighters than they would otherwise, and would point out, time and time again, how the kzin victories were outnumbered by human victories. |
Cerow had always thought it strange; prior to encountering the kzin, Humanity, as a whole, had spent the last three centuries without any major conflict, practically forgetting about war, and even made stories about it to be illegal, even fictional ones, including those considered Fantasy and Science Fiction at the time. Then, they encountered kzin; within the space of a generation, humans went from relying on new technologies, some of which had been suppressed during its three hundred years of imposed peace, to having a fighting spirit that even exceeded the kzin fighting spirit at times. Prior to this, kzin had proved victorious over a forty thousand year period of warfare and conflict, though that was, according to some, because most other races had forgotten about warfare by the time they got into space, but kzin had stolen it from the starfish-like Jotok, which had hired them to act as a mercenary military force - which did not work out too well for the Jotok.
He then did some thinking; the people he'd met reminded him of Earth animals, and yet, they were different. Part of him wondered why.
|Time past. Eventually, the island was in sight. Joe was the first to spot it.|
|Josh was napping until he heard Joe shouting "Land ho land ho!" He looked out the window, "That must be Captain Finn's private island." He thought to himself, "Bring it on, I'm ready for any challenge you throw at me Captain."|
|Captain Finn's island had a bay that was deep enough to bring his ship into it. He had constructed a long pier out into the water where he could dock. There would be no rowing ashore in a landing boat.|
There was a lot of shouting and laughing as everyone walked down the gangplank and onto the pier. Despite their dreams of being pirates, it was good to have their feet on land again.
At least, that's what Ernie was thinking. He was more than glad to be on land again.
The air was warm and smelled of salt. The barracks where they would sleep was built out of cane poles and palm leaves. The ocean breeze went right through the walls which were just woven matts of leaves. Ernie's bunk was a hammock. He got in and immediately fell out again.
A sailor standing nearby laughed. "You'll get the hang of it. Wait until you fall out while you are sleeping. That will give you bad dreams!"
|Cerow looked at the beds. Worst thing that could happen would be that he'd be sleeping on the ground, which he'd done before, during training, while hunting, and during that one scrap with a bunch of renegade freebooters, when another of his ship had been seriously damaged, and he and Chris had been forced to crashland on Argus 5. Actually, sleeping on the ground wasn't too bad. |
Worst time he'd had sleeping was when he spent eight months in cold-sleep - no time passed in cold sleep, one could spend sixty years in cold sleep, especially prior to the discovery, and implementation, of hyperspace engines, traveling between the more distant planets, not knowing if you'd wake up on the other side. Sure, it wasn't so bad, if all you ever did was fight enemies of the Empire, but, if you'd had left a mate and offspring behind, your mate would be long dead, if not have been another male's mate for some of those decades. Your daughter would have been someone's mate, and you'd hope that the person had been a worthy warrior. Then, there was your son; you would hope that he hadn't dishonored the family line, had grown into a fine warrior, made a name for himself, gotten a mate, and now had offspring of his own.
At least now, one could leave their family in the care of a trusted friend, or a half-brother, who would see to their well-being, until you got back, and if he had fathered some offspring with your mate while you were away, well, sometimes that was part of the arrangement, for him to take care of her while she was in heat, and who would deny a good friend, or half-brother, to have a chance to have offspring of their own. Cerow had made such arrangements with a half-brother and two of his friends - they would care for his mates and offspring while he was away, and they were free to father offspring with his mates, at least until he returned. Then, when they went off on their own journeys, he'd return the favor, care for their mates and offspring while they were away, and father offspring with his friends' mates. Made things easier than the old way, which was to kill someone for their mates, that is if you hadn't otherwise earned the right to have a mate.
Cerow looked at the beds. Primitive, but, with the right material, they would do.
|Joshua tested his hammock and found it quite comfortable, good thing he knew how to stay in a hammock.|
|Cyrus was also in his hammock looking at Ernie and Joe, overall no one had given him much grief about being a Snake maybe the life of a Pirate was worthwhile after all|
|As they all rested in their hammocks, the gentle breeze from the ocean lulled Ernie into a sense of security and well-being. He decided to continue the tale of his existence...|
"I wasn't actually born in a swamp," he began, "but it was near a swamp. It was more like jungle. My parents were good middle-class people. My mom was a housewife, but my dad owned a small store that sold lots of things people needed, like needles and thread, and hammers and nails, and cloth, and there was even a candy counter, my favorite part of the store."
The combination of the warm breeze, the comfortable hammocks, and Ernie's droning monotone voice put all the rest of them to sleep, but Ernie continued on with his story, blissfully unaware that no one was listening.
|Cerow didn't much dream, instead, he remembered Chris. He remembered the first time they'd met. Pargen 9, a jungle-like place with plenty of dangerous animals for kzin hunters and warriors to prove themselves with, and a known renegade freebooter waypoint. |
Cerow, then known as Scout Pilot, had been patrolling the area, looking for sign of renegades, so that he could contact the Kzin Fleet, and perhaps see some action, and earn a name. Chris had also been in the area, patrolling, but neither had known that the other was there, so there was, naturally, a misunderstanding when both fired at what they thought was a hostile ship, damaging each other. Then, there was the misunderstanding after the crashlanding, where both had fought the other, before Chris fled from the fight, and Scout Pilot gave chase, until they ended up encountering a ferlon beast, an enormous creature with teeth and claws that could make a kzin jealous, which would kill anything it saw, and was always hungry. The pair were forced to work together in order to survive, trying to avoid it for several days, and then, using Chris's ingenuity to make a large primitive spear, and Scout Pilot's strength, they managed to slay the creature; there was plenty of meat on it that could be prepared to store for a long time, both by human and kzin methods of preserving meat. The ferlon, as humans would say, had forced the two to bury whatever hatchet they'd had, forging a bond that only those who fought side-by-side could understand, and while, even after he's gotten a partial name from the situation, Cerow still saw humans as weaker creatures, physically, he didn't see them as inferior, as a person.
Cerow placed his hand on the pouch containing Chris's items; he would return them to his family, or die trying.
|Joe lay in his hammock and fell asleep. The next morning, he and the rest of the trainees got a rude awakening. "RISE AND SHINE! YOUR TRAINING BEGINS TODAY!", shouted Captain Finn.|
|Josh was so startled by Finn's wake up call, he fell off his hammock and landed head first. He stood rubbing his head, "Okay, that was a little unexpected." He commented. "I wonder what exercises Finn has in store today?"|
|They all headed over the Finn Snapjaw|
|"Climbing the ropes!" said Captain Finn. "A good pirate can shimmy up them ropes faster than a jackleg screwhog can say pick me pot of peas, Petunia, and put some pork in it."|
For two hours they all had to run up and down the rope ladders hanging from the masts and then climb just a single rope hanging down. Ernie was surprisingly good at all that. After all, he came from a long line of tree dwellers, so climbing was nothing knew and he had hands that were completely adapted for it.
The cats and the snake also did well. The macaw couldn't resist the temptation just to fly up instead of climb.
"No! No! No!" Captain Finn would say. "I know ye can fly, but what if ye get your wings clipped? Climb the damn ropes. No flying!"
|Cerow had a relatively easy time. While his ancestors had hunted on plains similar to the Savannah of Earth, it had occasionally proven necessary to chase prey into trees, if only to chase them into a trap. Then, there were the times it was necessary to hide from a more dangerous predator, or avoid hostile tribes and military forces. Then, there was the humans - descendants of tree-dwellers, they would occasionally attack kzin forces from above during times of warfare, especially during the first war on Wunderland, when humans resorted to cowardly, yet effective, means of fighting their better armed foes, such as trip traps, which caused one warrior to fall, and release a large spike ball made of sharpened man-sized sticks, impaling the warrior behind the first. Occasionally, the first warrior had even fallen into a pit filled with the spikes himself.|
Cerow didn't really bother with the ropes, well, after the first few times doing it. Instead, he climbed up the mast, with his claws.
|Joe was embarrassed. He didn't mean to disregard Captain Finn. Still, he climbed the ropes, which was made a bit easier thanks to his talons.|
|Josh climb the ropes with ease. It was like climbing the jungle gym at the playground when he was a kid.|
|Just then they heard a rumbling sound that shook everyone to their core|
"Ye Gods!" Finn Snapjaw exclaimed "I think...I think the fire mountain is about to blow!"
|Ernie gulped. "Th-th-the fire mountain?"|
"Dormant volcano," said Captain Finn. "Damn thing has been sitting there quietly all these years and it decides to pick NOW when I'm giving me pirate classes to blow! Argh!"
"What should we do?" Ernie said.
"Everybody back on the ship!" yelled Captain Finn. "We'll ride this out in the water. Maybe it won't be much to it."
Ernie grabbed up his few belongings and ran toward the ship.
|Cerow ran towards the ship. As he did, he grabbed two of the slower members of the crew, and carried them on board. He didn't know their names, but they would know him.|
|Sorry EHH, but we can't wait any longer.|
As everyone boarded the ship, Captain Finn immediately sailed to the middle of the lagoon. Josh watched in horror as the training area is completely consumed in molten lava. Ernie asked, "That was close, but what do we do now captain?"
|"Well..." Said Captain Snapjaw "...Guess it's back to the drawing board for me as I try to reconfigure the lessons."|
|Ernie said to Cerow, "I saw you save those two crew members. You've got a bigger heart than you let on."|
Cerow growled, "Don't worry about my heart."
Ernie gulped and tiptoed away. He said to Joe, "Does this volcano thing mean we can all go back home now?"
"Ha!" Joe said. "Don't worry. Captain Finn will figure out a way to keep his pirate lessons going."
"Yippee," said Ernie with a deadpan expression.
|"There's always something to practice one's skills on," said Cerow. "Like a big fish. Or something more dangerous."|
|Sorry. I got obsessed with Dragon Age Inquisition for the past few days.|
Joe wondered what was going to happen next. He actually enjoyed the training.
|Captsin Finn "I never expect Fire Mountain to erupt, but fortunately that's not the only island I set up for training." Josh asks "There's another one? How far is it?"|
|"It is a few days from here." Said Snapjaw "Far off in the deep blue sea."|
Meanwhile Cyrus heard rumblings in the sea only he, a Marine Reptile could hear there was something happening under the water but he didn't know what
|Cyrus debated telling someone about the rumblings, but he didn't want anyone to think he was a crazy sea serpent who heard things no one else could hear.|
Ernie stood by the railing looking out to sea. It could be very beautiful sometimes, like at sunset when there was a mild breeze and the ship was sailing so smoothly through the water. That would be one advantage to being a pirate - the scenery. But then there were all the disadvantages. He shuddered. One day his tendency to make impulsive decisions was going to get him in trouble. In fact, maybe it already had.
|Cerow looked at the water. There was something off about it. The smell for one. The color for another. Then, there was the sound. Kizin had no fear, at least none they'd admit to an inferior, but when they got scared, things went wrong in a hurry. Humans had learned about this, and would try to take advantage of it when it happened.|
Cerow was fortunate enough to go through something called Fear Training, along with Chris, and several other humans. Many of the humans had been afraid of him, which made him proud in a small way, and have pride in this fear that these humans had of him. Then, he discovered his fear - he'd found himself in a clean room, very clean, and small, very small, and he was unable to hear, or smell, another living soul. In a way, Cerow was glad he'd been alone - while there were those who were cursed, or gifted, enough to be called Telepaths, all Kizin were sensitive enough to pick up each other's emotions, and another kizin would have picked up on his fear - he still wasn't sure if it had been the small room, the smell, or being alone, or all three - he was sure it wasn't being alone, though the fact that he couldn't detect a trace of another person, that could of done the trick, and kizin disliked cramped spaces on general principals, and the smell of disinfectant wasn't nice either - all three together, it could of triggered his fear.
As he'd learned, the first step towards conquering the enemy known as fear was admitting it, at least to yourself if no one else.
|Joe saw that Cyrus was nervous about something. He wondered if he should go over to the snake and talk about it.|
|Josh says "Did that eruption cause a seaquake Captain?"|
|"Let's hope not," said Captain Finn. "Do you know what a tsunami is? I'll tell you then. It's a wave, a really big wave. It can wipe out coastal cities."|
"That's big alright," Josh said. "And a seaquake can cause a tsunami?"
"Not always, but sometimes. And don't think we're safe on the ship. A big enough wave can turn this ship into a toy and sink it."
|"Unless you are far enough out to sea," said Cerow. "Be at least a mile away from land, and the ship will only rise, at most, the height of the average human. Ships bob up and down with the waves, providing that there isn't a big storm."|
"How do you know this?" Captain Finn asked.
"Rode through one on Earth, during a Training Exercise - Turned - Shit-Got-Real, as humans would say, Captain," said Cerow. "Had to sail back to help out with Disaster Recovery - the wave that hit the coast was over sixty feet tall, but our ship didn't feel a thing, and we weren't on a fancy vessel either."
|Joe was now seriously thinking about Cerow's constant references to humans. His world hadn't perfected intergalactic space travel yet. Did he travel to another planet in the future? An alternate universe? All of this made Joe's head spin.|
|Josh finds Cerow's logic all confusing, he's starting to get a headache trying to make sense of all this.|
|Under the sea the Fish People were gathering Cyrus could hear their voices|
|Mostly the Fish People were discussing food items, like worms and tiny clams.|
"The smaller the better," said a bottom feeder named Mouth. "Them tiny ones is the tastiest."
"Huh-uh!" said Scrapper. "Give me a big clam. They ain't enough meat on the tiny ones. You gots to eat a zillion of them. One big clam and you snack all day on it."
Cyrus was bored with listening to the fish talk. He hated clams. Worms were okay, but it was actually fish he found the tastiest. Wouldn't the Fish People be surprised to hear that?
Ernie stepped up beside him at the railing. "What do you think, Cyrus?"
"About what?" Cyrus said.
"About the volcano and the sea quake and how we might go to another island and do you like pirate school?"
|(If you want to know more about Cerow's race, I based them off of the Kzin from Larry Niven's Known Space series - I think I misspelled the race's name actually when I made Cerow. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kzin)|
Cerow noticed the bird-creature, known as Joe, looking at him. "What do you want?"
"How do you know about humans?" the macaw asked.
"My race has fought a few wars with them," said Cerow. "Encountered them in what humans call 2356 A.D. Kizin ship was searching for more worlds to conquer. Humans were searching for races to exchange ideas, and goods, with. Kizin located them, and tried to capture the ship, to see if the humans made good slaves, and livestock.Slight problem, Kizin ship was behind the Human ship, and humans turned on their plasma engine - the exhaust split the Kizin ship in half. Kizin all over were happy - someone who could actually fight as opposed to each other - most who discover space travel forget how to fight for some reason. As it turns out, the human government thought that it was a hoax, and we'd been made up, until they discovered evidence that that had been forgotten, or suppressed, for some centuries, like the fact that they weren't the peace-loving race they believed they were - seems they'd forgotten that they'd once been warriors, and had tried to eliminate those traits that warriors needed in combat. They rediscovered how to make weapons, and, as humans would say, gave my kind a run for our money. My kind had some early successes, conquering the colony known as Wunderland, but the humans fought back, and eventually forced the Patriarch to sign a treaty, though this took over fifty years of fighting to do so. Of course, peace doesn't always last long - there's always those renegades on either side, and those who seek war."
"So, what year is this to you?" Joe asked.
"Humans call it 3057 A.D.," said Cerow. "Been about 400 years since the last war with humanity, though there are those who try to start another."
|Joe decided that if he were to share his past life, it wouldn't be to the alien cat whose species had a bad time with humans.|
|Josh says "My past is clear and simple, my father was a pirate, so was my grandfather and my great grandfather. So I'm following my family bloodline. You got a problem with that?"|
|Cyrus said "I'm an orphan." He sighed "I've been living in the ocean for 12 years."|
|"Awwww," said Ernie. "An orphan! That must have been a tough life for you."|
|"It can be difficult for a cub to grow up without a sire to teach him the ways of life," said Cerow. "It's worse when there is no one to care for them. Plenty of cubs lost their sires in the wars - on Wunderland there's an orphanage that opened up to care for the cubs that had lost their sires. Plenty of adult Kizin had also lost their sons in the wars, and decided to follow the human tactic of caring for these unrelated cubs, if only to pass on the lessons they'd learned in their lives to the next generation. One such orphan, Valdmer-Ritt, who was the son of the late Planetary Governor, was raised by a mere Sergeant-ranked Kizin, became something of a leader of the Kizin on that planet, and was involved in politics, and encouraged the Kizin who had been left on that planet, for one reason or another, to become involved in the affairs of the population, because they were part of the population, and had a responsibility to help out their fellow Kizin. To that end, there is roughly a 3 to 7 ratio of kizin to humans involved in the politics on that planet. In fact, they've become a breed of their own, in a way - they are not as aggressive as most kizin, though our race as a whole isn't as aggressive as it used to be, and they rarely feel the urge to lash out when a human smiles at them."|
"When a human smiles at them?"
"Baring teeth is a sign of aggression to my kind, though I have a good sense of self-control around humans, who always seem to bare teeth at each other," said Cerow. "Still, one thing I have to say about my Wunderland kin is this, while they might not be as aggressive, they are still fierce warriors - anyone attacking their friends or family will end up dead, and their ears will end up on that kizin's rings." Cerow indicated his own trophy ring. "There are some things that will forever remain in our blood."
|Josh says "Try walking in my shoes, no offense but I may not have the same warrior lifestyle as you, but my childhood was no walk in the park. My father's reputation was well known then, not only was my mother dead set against me following dad's pirating footsteps, my school days was like hell."|
|"But at least you had a mother and a father," Cyrus said. "And school? I never knew it."|
Ernie sighed. "When I was a kid we would have had great envy for a kid who didn't have to go to school, but I know what you mean. It is a disadvantage now."
"It's hard to get any kind of decent job when you never went to school," Cyrus said.
"I had a decent job. Why I left it to become a pirate I do not know. I don't drink. I could not have been drunk. What would make someone in his right mind do something so foolish?"
"You don't know yet," Cyrus said. "It might be this is the life you always really wanted."
|Cerow looked out to sea. All this talk of families made him think of his mates and offspring, and that got him to thinking about Chris's family. His paw-like hand felt the pouch containing the human's dogtags, and the images of his family. He'd met them before, on Wunderland. Chris's wife and his son, and daughter, lived out in what humans called the Boonies, in a small settlement of less than a thousand people, including about a hundred kizin, total, surrounded by a wooden fence twice the height of a kizin - not that this would of kept a kizin out, or in, but, besides keeping livestock in the area, it helped against the threat of Morlock and Lesslock - strange creatures that were like some sort of mutant ape, and highly aggressive - it was said that, during the Occupation of Wunderland, while Kizin and Humans fought each other, those who found themselves trapped underground would, on occasion, team up with each other, against the common threat the Lesslocks and Morlocks posed, because, while there was a sense of respect between humans and kizin as worthy adversaries, the creatures of the caves attacked anyone who intruded with a ferocity that astonished kizins, and more than a few unaware, and foolish, warriors fell to their simple weapons of sharpened rock and sticks. The creatures themselves didn't make good eating to be worth hunting, as they lived off the trash in the caves.|
Thing was, while the creatures normally stuck to cave systems, they would come out at night, and when the war between Humans and Kizins was over, the creatures started attacking the villages that humans lived in and the caves that kizin refugees lived in. Humans fell to the creatures' aggressiveness, and Kizin fell to the numbers the creatures possessed. However, in areas that humans and kizin lived together, the villages survived - the kizin would use their own strength, claws, and teeth, plus natural ferocity, to buy the humans the time they needed to get their firearms, at which point, the kizin would fall back, get their wounds patched up quickly, and then jump back into the fray, usually wherever the creatures were thickest, and fighting was more difficult, each trying to kill more than the other. As for the creatures - while they used primitive scaling ladders made from bushes and trees to climb inside the stockade, climbing out proved impossible.
Cerow remembered his own encounter with the creatures - Chris's family had butchered a young goat for him to eat, and he was enjoying it when the alarm sounded. Chris had told his wife to take the kids to a safe spot, tossing her a hunting rifle, while he picked up his service weapons - he was smart enough to refrain from offering Cerow a weapon, as he'd had no need of one beyond his wtsai, and human weapons wouldn't have fitted his hands anyways. In a way, the fight had been wonderful - he'd easily killed two dozen of the creatures before the local kizin told him to fall back behind the now armed humans, who killed a fair number of the creatures, while some doctors tended to the few scratches the creatures had inflicted upon them, before springing back into the fighting. That was when he'd heard a scream - the place where the children had been hidden was being attacked. He'd managed to get to the location, where he'd found the kizin cubs fighting to protect their human friends - they were doing alright, but his appearance caused the creatures to attack him, as they regarded him to be the superior threat, which soon tipped the tide in the cubs' favor. He remembered afterwards, when the human parents tried to thank him for saving their offspring, he corrected them, and said that it was the cubs who were the real heroes, several of which now sported new trophy rings containing the ears of the creatures they'd slain. It had made the cubs feel proud - a trained warrior acknowledging them as fellow warriors.
Cerow sighed as he lifted the pouch up to his face; if it was the last thing he did, he'd see to it that Chris's family knew what happened, and got his possessions returned to them.
|Joe decided to tell his story but leave out the important details.|
Joe said, "Let's just say I lived a sheltered life. My... guardian was a fan of pirates and I gained that love as well. One day, I was taken from my normal life by forces beyond my control. I lived on that island until I heard Captain Finn was finding recruits."
|Captain Finn smiles, "Everyone has a quite an interesting background, now I'll tell you mine. Like you all, I started off as a trainee, my tutor was Captain Julius Kidd."|
|"The real Captain Kidd?" asked Ernie. "The famous one?"|
"Yes," said Captain Finn. "Are you a student of piratology?"
"I've read a few books about it," Ernie said.
"Books! Ha! You won't learn much about being a pirate from a book. But don't you worry, matey. I'll teach ye well with real hands-on experience."
|Cerow chuckled a bit, as he lowered the pouch. He was glad no one had asked him what was in it. It wasn't any of their concern that he had this duty to perform.|
|Joe was glad to hear that Ernie was in a similar situation like him.|
|Captain Finn sees a ship in the horizon, he takes out his spyglass and spots the insignia on the flag, "Uh oh, we better make a detour." Josh says "Is something wrong?" Captain Finn points to the ship in the horizon, "That ship belongs to my sworn enemy, Pirate Hunter Jake Scavenger. If he spots us, he'll hunt us down no matter where we go."|
|"What is Scavenger?" Asked Cyrus|
|"He's a pirate hunter," said Captain Finn. "You see, many of us pirates have a price on our heads and there is always some bold gent who wants to catch us and turn us in for the bounty money. Jake Scavenger is such a one."|
"We should fight him off," said Cerow. "That is the noble way."
"I agree," said Captain Finn, "and normally I would not cut and run, but you see, Jake Scavenger is no ordinary pirate hunter. He is very good at it. For instance, he undoubtedly has a second ship following far behind him. And we are only one ship. It would not be a fair fight."
"What if we engaged him now," Cerow asked, "before his second ship arrives?"
|"Well, his second ship trails him by half a day, just in case of trouble," said Finn. "If we move quick, it would be too late for them."|
|"Where do you want us stationed, Captain?", asked Joe.|
|Meanwhile on the Huntington(Jake Scavenger's ship), the lookout says "Ship ho! On the port bow!" Captain Jake Scavenger, a Peregrine Falcon, takes out his spy glass and looks through it and immediately recognizes it, "Well I'll be, IT"S THE MAELSTROM! First mate, message the Huntington II and send them towards us. We'll finally going to take on Captain Finn Snapjaw."|
|"Aye, aye, sir!" said First Mate Ben Greene, a sea gull. Jake Scavenger had a preference for birds as crew members, seeing as how it was impossible to drown them.|
Ben Greene flew back to the Huntington II and gave Captain Picklemouth, a pelican, the message from Jake Scavenger.
"At last!" said Captain Picklemouth, "some action! I get bored. Men! We're going to take a ship today! Look alert! Look hearty! And steady as she goes!"
On board the Maelstrom, Captain Finn put down his spyglass. There was a grim look on his face. "Sorry, boys, but we're going to have to fight for our freedom. Jake Scavenger is headed our way."
Ernie buried his face in his hands and prayed for survival. Then he took the sword that was offered to him by a crew member who said, "Do ye know how to use this?"
"Slash and thrust?" Ernie said.
"Them's the basics, alright. Good luck to ye, mate."
|Cerow looked at the enemy ship. "Captain, the enemy ship has three of those things you call masts. What would happen if one got damaged or destroyed?"|
"It would slow them down in the short term," said Finn. "Then, once they got to a safe location, they'd have to make repairs."
"Useful to know," said Cerow.
"Still, even with two masts, they'd be reasonably quick, and they have more than twice our guns, and thrice our numbers," said Finn. "In a straight-up fight, we'd lose."
Cerow grinned, a frightening sight. "Then, in that case, we don't fight fair. If we focus our weapons upon each of the masts, we can damage, if not destroy them. Then, we pound them from a distance, and when the other ship shows up, we shoot their masts as well."
Finn laughed. "Chain-shot! Two half-sized cannonballs with a length of chain between them. Useful against masts and rigging. Good thinking."
"Humans never fight fair," said Cerow. "Some of us Kizin are smart enough to learn how they do this, in case we have to fight another enemy in the future."
|Joe asked again, "Capatin, where do you want us stationed?"|
|Josh says "The better question is, I know you told us that Jake Scavenger has a second ship and he keeps it about a day away, but what if that second ship is closer then we thought?"|
|Cyrus heard the Fish in the Sea, and without thinking he asked them telepathically if they could delay scavengger|
|The fish pretended to be stupid, not that they were all that smart, but smarter than they were acting.|
"Ship?" said one old bass. "What ship? I don't see no ship."
Cyrus sent him a mind blast. "Don't play stupid with me, old timer. I also am a creature of the seas. This thing I am standing on is a ship. Do you see the other one off in the distance?"
"Yes, I see it."
"Can you delay it somehow?"
"Delay it!" said the bass. "It's a SHIP! How is a fish going to delay a ship?"
"I don't know," said Cyrus. "Haven't you ever done it before?"
"Haven't done it and never even considered doing it."
"Canons loaded, sir!" said the First Mate.
Finn looked around. "Prepare to fire!"
|Cerow looked at the others. "Do me a favor; try to not be sick, until after the battle. I can sense that several of you are nervous - Kizin are what some call latent telepaths - I can't read your mind, but I pick up on emotions fairly well. Just focus on yourself, and your own lives, and make sure that the other person doesn't take it."|
|On the Huntington, Captain Scavenger yells out "Man the cannons!" As the crew loads the cannons, something hits the ship causing most of the crew members drop the cannonballs before they were loaded and Jake looked around "What was that? Did we hit a rock?"|
|"I think..." Said The Sea Snake "...We just hit a Giant Whale."|
|Captain Scavenger rushed to look over the side of his ship. Was that the shadow of a giant creature in the water below? He couldn't be sure.|
Meanwhile, the cannonballs from Finn's ship began landing in the water around them and several of them landed on the ship itself tearing big holes in the deck.
"Damn it!" Scavenger said. "Man the cannons! Return fire! Are ye going to let a bunch of scurvy pirates get the better of thee?"
|"Someone must of run-aground," said Finn. "His misfortune then, and our chance."|
|"I'll fly up to inspect the damage", said Joe.|
|As Joe flew up to the crow's nest, he clearly saw that there was no damage to the Maelstrom but he could see the other ship coming,|
As the Huntington II finally arrived, Captain Picklesmouth clearly saw that Captain Scavenger is in trouble. "Captain," one of the crew members says, "Where did all of these fish come from?" Captain Picklesmouth says "I don't know, but we are here to join in to the fight. Gunners, aim your cannons at that ship." He points to the Maelstrom.
|Captain Finn hopped up and down. "Things are looking bad, mates!" He glared at Cerow. "Why did I listen to you? I should have cut and run when me instinct told me to."|
"Settle down," Cerow said. "Don't lose your nerve now. The battle hasn't been decided yet."
"But only a fool could fail to see it will not be US who wins!"
|"Actually, we might still be able to," said Cerow. "The first enemy ship is stuck, and unable to move, whereas we and the second enemy ship can move. The solution is to keep the second ship either on the other side of the first ship, or between us and the first ship, meaning that only one ship will be firing at us at any given time, as the other might fear attacking their allies if the other ship is between them and us."|
Finn nodded at this. "You have a good point there."
"That and we can still take out their masts, at which point we can destroy them at our leisure," said Cerow. "Or, as much as I hate to suggest this, we could put on the appearance of retreating. If the second ship pursues, we might be able to turn our ship, and give them a full broadside of our cannons. Or, if they decide to help out their friends, we can still turn around, and take out their steering mechanisms."
"Where did you study your tactics?" Finn asked.
"Learned Water-borne Vessel Warfare tactics on Earth," said Cerow. "Humans have a long history of fighting on oceans, lakes, and rivers. They even had classes on it, just in case they were forced to practice it, for one reason or another. They even had simulated battles on it."
"Really? How well did you do?"
"My ship sank all the time, but only after I lead my crew to victory on at least two of the enemy vessels that the other school sent against us, including the Flagship of the enemy," said Cerow. "The Acting Captains had to give me their hats, as symbols of my victories over them."
"Your ships sank in these exercises?" Finn asked.
"We took theirs over, so it didn't matter too much," said Cerow. "Then we took over another ship."
"Anyone actually get killed?"
"Human military training is not like Kizin training, though Kizin training is less lethal than it used to be," said Cerow. "Life jackets, training weapons, and lifeboats, and the like were all required."
|Joe kept a close eye on the two enemy ships.|
|Josh noticed that the second ship pulled up against the first despite the fish around it. "I don't like this."|
|That was when a large whale rammed Scavenger's ship|
|"Did you see that?" Finn said.|
Cerow rubbed his chin. "Yes. It's peculiar that the sea creatures are attacking only Scavenger's vessel and not ours."
"Perhaps they have a particular hatred for him? I myself have never done anything to harm the creatures of the sea. I don't even like to eat fish."
"I do," said Cerow, "but it's a mystery why they attack him. Of course, it may be just chance. Perhaps we will be next. But in the meantime it does give us an opportunity to carry out my strategy."
"Which one?" said Finn.
|"We could destroy them, if you wish," said Cerow. "Or, we could board them, capture the ships, and have the makings of a fleet."|
"Capture the ships?" Finn asked.
"Humans tend to become very compliant after you take their captain hostage," said Cerow. "That and taking out half the crew helps."
"Maybe in your training battles with fake weapons," said Finn. "This is real life. Scavenger and his crew will be trying to kill whomever boards the ship."
"Good, I don't like easy tasks," said Cerow as he looked at his claws. "Takes 40 unarmed humans to kill one unarmed Kizin, and all forty of those humans would be dead. Weapons make the fight more even, and I have my wtsai with me." He drew his two foot long blade. "Do you wish for me to bring you this Scavenger's head, or would you prefer him alive?"
"Alive would be good," said Finn. "I don't want any unnecessary killing, if possible."
|Josh says, "Maybe we don't need to kill them, if those marine animals somehow attack that second ship, we can slip away while they'll all distracted."|
|"No!" said Cerow. "We are not running away. I will teach you would-be pirates how not to be cowards! Mr. Finn, if you would captain the ship, let's attack!"|
The orders were given, the sails were set, and a wary crew found themselves born on a strong breeze straight into the guns of Jack Scavenger's ship.
Fortunately, there was much confusion on Scavenger's ship, thanks to the sea craetures, and Finn's ship suffered minimal damage, not enough to sink it right away and that's what counted. Even Ernie got into the spirit of it as they all leaped over the railings or swung on ropes to land on the deck of Scavenger's ship, yelling and cursing and slashing left and right with their swords.
|(I'm going to do something of a cop-out, and basically rip off a scene from an episode of the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.)|
Suddenly, a grizzled soldier, looking a lot like R. Lee Ermey fills the screen.
"Alright! Due to the violent nature of the ongoing scene, I've been directed to show you something else. So sit down, shut up, and enjoy!"
"Well, now, I think the fighting is over. Let's take a look!"
The scene shifts back to the fighting, just as a sailor is tossed into a mast, smacking his head.
"Oops! I misread the signals! Don't ever do that! Had a buddy that did that once - his bathroom was demolished, along with the rest of his house! So, we'll show this until the battle is over. My god! You should see this!"
"Good news! The battle is safe enough to show it to you!"
Cerow kicks down a door, bringing him close to the enemy captain. The alien cat lifts up his trophy ring. "I'm going to add one of your feathers to this. I've never had such fun before."
"I saw what you did to my crew," Scavanger growled. "You tossed them left and right like they were nothing. Shame you're a pirate."
Cerow shrugged. "One has to make a living, somehow." He advanced into the room, his long knife at the ready, when something made him stop. From the corner of his eyes, he saw a curtain move. Positioning himself for a second attacker, he was somewhat surprised to see a smaller falcon, and was more surprised at what the small falcon said.
"Mommy, I'm having a nightmare. I keep hearing these loud noises."
Cerow looked at Scavanger. "You're a female?"
Scavenger glared at him. "Don't tell me you're one of those who claim that females can't fight!"
"I've met up with plenty of female warriors, but few who dress like males," said Cerow.
Scavenger looked at her outfit. "The Admiralty doesn't let females join the Navy, despite the fact that most female falcons are bigger than males. A female must be twice, if not thrice, the fighter a male is, just to get any amount of respect!"
Cerow sheathed his knife. "While I'd normally oblige you for a fight, despite your sex, your cub changes things. I'll go talk to my captain, and see if he'll make arrangements for you and your cub, as well as the rest of your crewbeasts, to be dropped off somewhere safe."
|As it turns out, the fight with Captain Scavenger was a test, to test everyone's mantle during a fight and everyone passed with flying colors, |
Captain Jackie Scavenger turns out to be an old girlfriend of Captain Finn who agreed to test his students as for them here's what the crew did.
Captain Josh Fastrak captained his own crew of cat pirates and like his father became an good but honest pirate.
Ernie earned his place as the most impulsive pirate who sailed the seas, his methods are seldom subtle but always has results.
Cyrus, captained his own ship and sometimes uses his gift of controlling sea creatures as a last resort to surprise his enemies.
Joe took over captaining Scavenger's crew. Even though he's short but everyone knows that big things come in small packages.
As for Cerow, he went back to his planet in which he earned his place, as a space pirate.
As for Captain Finn, due to his age. He died about 3 years later, gone but not forgotten as his student attended his funeral.