Party's Over

“Agro! Stop!” I shouted from my position behind a pile of overturned furniture. My words cut through the fog of battle this time, and he stopped failing around. He dropped the tattered remains of his chair and his arms went limp.
“Sorry, Cap’n,” he rumbled, shamefaced.
“Not at all,” I said, as everyone else emerged from the wreckage, “looks like you saved us again, Agro.” Roger had the presence of mind to retrieve Captain Red’s pistols, which he handed to me.
“You’re still on my ship, Stormcrow,” said Red, with surprising calm. She looked around the remains of her cabin. “Well, I suppose I should have expected something like this. You understand I had to try,” she said, helping Ronnie back to her feet.
“I’m sorry, Cap’n,” said Agro, more desperately, starting to sway a little, “I’m sorry I spoiled the lovely dinner, but they was trying to get the treasure they was-”
“It’s ok, Agro,” I said, clapping his shoulder and looking him in the eye. “I’m not angry, my friend. You did well.”
“Treasure you say?” said Red, triumphantly.
“Oh please what else would we be looking for?”
“Yes, but this far east, and this close to the Forgotten Isles … you’ve found Green-Beard’s map.”
“And what if we have?”
“Let us join you. We can help you get it,” she said, eyes alight with excitement.
“We’ve been here before. As I remember it doesn’t end well.”
“As I said a moment ago, you’re still on my ship. My crew are right outside. You won’t make it back to the Heart unless I let you go.”
“Roger, I said, tucking her pistols into my belt “tell the nice lady why she’s going to let us go.”
“Do you know what a limpet mine is, Ma’am?” asked Roger with an apologetic smile. “They’re a terrible weapon what we picked up years ago in the far west. They’re a kind of sticky bomb what works under water. Well anyway, while we’ve been eatin’ your marvellous food, Doc and some of the lads have been planting them on the Scorpion’s hull. An’ if I’m not back on board the Heart before sunrise they’ll assume the worst and blow this ship out of the water.”
“Why you?” she asked, suspiciously.
“Because if the cap’n or Joe was late it might be because they got … distracted, an’ Agro sometimes can’t remember his own name. But the only explanation for me not gettin’ back is foul play. That’s why the cap’n brought me, Ma’am.”
“And what if you were imprisoned in my brig when the bombs went off?” she asked, working through the idea.
“We’d survive it and escape,” I said, “We always do.”
She nodded her beautiful head and smiled sadly, defeated. “You’re good, Karl. You’re very good.”
“That’s very nice to hear, my dear, such a shame we have to leave. You were pretty damn special yourself, as I remember.”
“You understand we’ll do all we can to beat you to the treasure.”
“It’ll take you days to find all the mines, and believe me you don’t want to follow me with them still attached to your ship.”
“This is not over, Karl,” she said through her teeth.
“I’d be disappointed if it was. Shall we?”



“But we ain’t got no limpet mines,” said the Doc when I told him the story. “How did young Roger even remember about them?”
“He says he was terrified by the idea of them and he thought they’d scare Captain Red as well. Luckily for us all he was right. Good lad is Roger. Quick under pressure. We should make better use of him, I think.”
“Maybe so,” said the Doc in a distracted tone, “but why are we sailing south?”
I sat behind my desk and opened a large leather tome. “Because the silks we stole from that Senufi trader will sell extremely well in Aramine. We have some other booty that will go well there, as I’m sure you are aware.”
“But the treasure…”
“Will still be there when we’ve finished in Aramine, and by then the Scorpion will be elsewhere causing trouble for someone else.”
“But what if someone else gets there first. There are items in that treasure that I must have, Captain.”
“The treasure has remained hidden for more than a century, and we have the only copy of the map, Doc. I promise you, we have time.”
“I hope you’re right,” he said darkly.
“I am. Now, at what range can the Heart detect another ship?”
That depends on the weather, Captain, Came the Broken Heart’s voice, reverberating up through my boots. But I will look out for the Scorpion. We will not be taken unawares.
“Very good,” I said with a sigh.
Do not worry, Captain. The lady is far from finished with you. Mark my words.