Skull and Shackles
The Journal of Ezikial Hands, Journeyman Gunner Part Six
As we assembled to learn of our duties for the day, we learned that we were to be educated in the ways of Boarding by the Master Gunner. Having divided us by twos, Chopper and Reiko were to join the Master Gunner in a long boat whilst Feruzi and myself were to stay by the rail, to provide resistance to their boarding action.
Having declined to make a show it, we did pelt Reiko and Chopper with refuse, but failed to dislodge them. When our turn came, Feruzi and I were both dropped into the ocean as Chopper and Reiko, with the more than willing help of additional crew, much to the merriment of all concerned. Even I, as taciturn as I may be betimes, was moved to smile and enjoy the laughter, even though it was at my expense. Due to this joviality, and the excellent aim of the crew, I failed once again to attain the side of the ship via the rope.
Feruzi, taking a laughing exception to being dropped into the sea, had clambered aboard by the gunwales and pulled Chopper off bringing about another round of laugher from the crew.
Plugg, being a man sorely lacking in humor, called for Feruzi to be bashed with a rope for failing to complete the exercise, which in turn quelled any remaining merriment. Plugg was repaid for his lack of humor at the Bloody Hour when Feruzi, being a woman of fierce temperament and stout resolve, completely and utterly filed to be dismayed by her bashing. During this bashing, she even managed to provoke Scourge into lashing her with the cat for her mockery of his efforts to apply punishment.
After this, and for the next two days, nothing of note happened, save that those of us in opposition to Plugg were watched always, by the eyes of those looking for any and all excuse to apply punishment. We, not being raised to be complete fools, were wary enough to do our jobs competently and without slacking, that they could find no fault with us. Even though it was not warranted, we began to be assigned to those tasks that we found distasteful, and kept apart from each other as much as Plugg and Scourge could manage without being overt.
On the fifth day from our boarding training, I chanced to hear noised coming from the bilge, as I was about my duty as the ship’s rat catcher. Knowing that my ‘mate, Chopper had been assigned to work the pumps today, I made my way to see if he required assistance. Upon reaching the hatchway to the bilges, I noticed that a barrel of exceptional weight had been placed upon it. Recognizing the danger in this, and hearing the obvious noise of fighting from below, I hastened to remove the barrel and add my weight to Chopper’s side in whatever contretemps he was embroiled in.
Even being a man of less than equitable temper, I found myself truly enraged by the sight that awaited me, namely that of Maheem, one of Plugg’s favorites, readying to cut Chopper’s throat. I know not what words I bellowed in my rage, but I do remember that I pulled my pistol and made to shoot this Maheem fellow in the head.
Sadly, the pistol, being old and of uncertain temperament, misfired, and while making the usual noise and smoke, failed to expel the bullet in the manner it was designed to do.
Although I had failed to dispatch my foe, I had drawn his attention away from Chopper, and, in some haste, stepped away to gain room to use my blade. At this point of the proceedings, Reiko appeared behind me and demanded that Maheem, being named a murderer, drop his blade. This granted me time enough to unsheathe my own blade and apply my menace to hers, as well as regain some of my composure. The fool of a sailor did not relinquish the fight, but instead advanced and I attempted to make good my threat to remove him from this world, but only wounded him enough that Reiko was able to subdue him. This allowed me to move past the fool and to gain Chopper’s now limp and unconscious form from the bilges in order to find a healer to grant him succor.
Feruzi and Sandara arrived at this time, with what appeared to be the entire ships crew behind them. As we made way to the upper deck, Sandara managed to call upon some healing and Chopper began to recover, and, apparently, recover his sense of humor.
After being questioned by Plugg as to the occurrence below, and being saved by Reiko’s timely verbal intervention, it was determined that Maheem was indeed the instigator and that he would be keelhauled the next day.
At this time, I regard Reiko-san as one of my true shipmates, she having proved herself to us with her timely blade and words.
After an unrestful and worrisome night, where I explained my finding of the barrel and of the true events of Fipps’ death by Chopper’s hand, finally a ship was spotted and we made ready to pirate her.