Skull and Shackles: Tides of Fortune

Interlude: The Mission

Posted by DarkRose16

Death is a relatively simple matter, as is ending another person’s life. After everything was said and done, after Chopper and Reiko gave Plugg a chance at life, his had still ended the same as his followers; all despite Chopper’s attempt at bringing the finale of this grand mutiny to a close with at least one of their opponent’s life moderately intact. It’s easy to kill, but living with the blood of another on your hands; that’s the hard part. But the living must continue moving forward after the passing of friend and foe alike, bearing the weight of their deaths as a burden, or in some cases perhaps just a light whisper, on the heart.

And Reiko did just that, organizing the remaining crew to help clear the ship of the dead, leaving only Owlbear’s corpse in Feruzi’s hands. Her lack of a full night’s rest in three days had her worn thin, but one thing needed to be resolved before she could rest easily. It had been clear that the crew wanted to know who would take over as Captain, but Reiko had subverted their immediate need for an answer, much as they had Plugg’s ambitions.

Once it’d finally calmed down, Reiko found Chopper, since the decision of who would become captain of this ship would seemingly come down to the two of them.

“Mr. Chopper… " He looked up with a sullen expression on his face. “I think it would be a good idea for us to have a conversation now. I realize that you are probably as tired as everyone else, but a decision needs to be made.” Reiko’s own fatigue was made clear by the circles under her eyes.

Continuing: “Before coming here, I spent about half a year on another pirate ship, as well as many other ships over the past three years, and the only reason I came aboard the Wormwood was to follow a lead on my brother. So I know I have the experience, but I do not have the desire to captain a ship at this point. Being the captain of a ship, pirate or otherwise, carries with it responsibilities that I am not prepared to carry. That being said, I will not leave these fine people hanging in limbo over this situation either.”

Chopper nodded slightly, thinking about his response. This was the first time Reiko had been so free with her words to him. “I wanted to be captain, but now… I’m not so sure.”

“What makes you say that?” Reiko had a glimmer of understanding as to what was bothering Chopper, but knew that things such as these were best worked out aloud. Letting oneself stew in what could have been was not the way to resolve such issues.

“Ruse… she basically undermined my authority back there. If I can not keep her actions in check, how can I hope to do the same of anyone’s?”

It was Reiko’s turn to nod, thinking how best to handle Chopper’s uncertainty. “Before that, Mr. Chopper, can I ask why did you want to be a pirate captain?”

“Slavery is a problem in Sargava… my homeland.” From what little Reiko knew of the Lost Colony, she surmised that the primary problem was that those native to the place were being taken and sold as slaves. Of course, the people of her homeland did not like slaves, and firmly distrusted anyone who had been one at any time in their past. Unlike her fellow Ushinawans, Reiko reserved her malice for the slavers who, with threat of punishment or death, forced others into servitude, rather than the slaves themselves, who made the choice to quietly remain slaves.

“I would eventually like to find a way into the Pirate Council. From there, I may be able to somehow weaken the council’s stranglehold on Sargava. That will bring about change and end the necessity for slavery.”

Reiko looked thoughtfully at Chopper as his gaze turned inward. She knew to choose her next words with care. Sitting down near him, she looked into the middle distance before speaking, “For my own reasons, I believe that your vision is an honorable one. But it is not something that can be accomplished in any short period of time, probably not even in our short time in this world. However, I do believe you can make a difference if you are willing to accept my help, all our help. My opinion on slavery, I’m quite sure, is different than your own. I do take exception to slavers though, and I would gladly dispose of such eyesores.”

Chopper looked over at her, her own gaze turned to meet his as he spoke, “Reiko, you had my back with the Plugg situation, and I appreciate that. I trust your honor, even if I don’t entirely understand your motivations.”

“My primary motivation, Mr. Chopper, is quite simple really: to find my brother. My philosophies are not quite as simple, and yet, they are. If you’d ever like to hear them, I’ll be more than happy to share, though I suspect that you won’t entirely approve or agree of them given your history of saving damsels in distress in the short time we’ve known each other.”

Reiko took a breath before continuing, not really giving Chopper an opportunity to comment just yet. “But that is neither here nor there at this point. Back to the subject of the Captainship of this vessel, I hope that you have taken what I’ve said thus far into consideration. Despite Ms. Feruzi’s transgression, the situation with Mr. Plugg was a sublime opportunity to show yourself as an authority figure, as well as to gauge the reactions of the remaining crew members with respect to that show. I believe that our remaining crew will most definitely respect you as their captain, and probably as a person too. But all that aside, Mr. Chopper, I think that you and I would make a great team. If you’ll accept the Captainship, I’ll gladly be your first mate.”

With a slight nod, Reiko continued to look at him, waiting for his acceptance or refusal of the proposed partnership. After a moment of silence from the both of them, Chopper finally spoke up. “Yeah, all right.”

With a firm nod, Reiko stood and extended her right hand to Chopper for a shake. “We can work out the details of our more immediate plans tomorrow, after we’ve both gotten a good night’s sleep. Do not hold the weight of a past that cannot be changed, but look forward towards our future. Good night, Captain Chopper.”

Reiko bowed deeply then turned to head down to her bunk for a much needed night of sleep. Some of the crew was still awake celebrating the successful mutiny, but Reiko ignored it all as she passed by and fell into peaceful oblivion as soon as her head hit the hammock.