Creative Corner: In the service of the Crown, part 2

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By Johnnie E. Templeton Jr.

The hidden bay of Coro was his destination, but he knew the trade winds could at anytime bring trouble. The northern boundary of South America was still lightly patrolled, and bandits occasionally attacked passing trade ships. Her Majesty Queen Sunruy had sent him warnings of the fact, but he knew no fear. The Royal Navy had run most of them out though so his voyage should be safe.

Stopping halfway to dock at the Coro spit trading post, he hoped he could find out if the passage was safe. The news he heard was very disheartening. Costa Rica, which had been defending itself from attacks from the crown, had assembled a huge armada to counter strike. All able captains were being drafted into service to defend against the onslaught.

Jack walked along the cobblestone, heading towards the local magistrates office. He could not sail from the bay without a Letter of Marque. His trusty Quartermaster Duncan walked at his side. Their pace showed the urgency of their resolve. They entered to find several men waiting.

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“Good evening gentlemen.” said the small plump man sitting at a desk near a door in the back. He had a quill in his hand and was occasionally jotting down this and that. He stopped as soon as he recognized who it was before him. “Sir Lucky Jack. You are the last person I thought to ever see, in this dreary little town.” He motioned to the back and they followed.

The door opened up into a smoke filled room. The magistrate could hardly be seen behind his desk smoking a cigar. “Ah gentlemen come in and sit. Ah Sir Lucky Jack, so good to see you again.” He immediately went to a window and opened it up. The smoke caught by a gentle breeze began to clear.

They sat down and looked at the magistrate who was clearly distraught. The wrinkles on his face were deep, and his eyes were swollen from lack of sleep. Jack broke the silence, ” I understand we are at war?” “Yes” came the reply. Jack continued, ” I understand your dilemma but I have a urgent mission, assigned by the Governor.”

There was a short pause. Then the magistrate spoke, ” I have no able captains in this town. If we are attacked we will surely fall.” Jack replied, ” Do you not have a garrison to protect you?” “Yes” he replied, “But they are leaderless.” “Leaderless, how can that be?” “He was killed a few days ago in a drunken brawl with some local pirates. The people here are too afraid to even leave their homes.”

Jack put his hand under his chin in contemplation then replied, ” Is there no Sergeant at arms?” The magistrate looked down, ” They all were killed. I had to take charge to send the filthy pirates back into the seas. I was able to capture one though.” A glimmer of hope crossed Jack’s face, ” You did? What did you find out?” He replied, ” Nothing he hung himself this morning.”

” Sounds to me like you do have a predicament.” ” Yes I do and do not know what to do. Plus this new war looming over the horizon.” Jack nodded, “Yes I’ve already encountered a Fleet a day ago. I sank three of the four ships but kept a small Frigate named the Killer Squid. They were a weak force, merely a trading fleet with a small escort. I have the captain detained.”

“Ah perfect maybe we can find out when and where the attack is going to be.” Jack with all earnest asked, ” Can I be about my business? I have a mission that must be completed. It is of the utmost importance.” After some time the magistrate answered, ” Give me the prisoner and I will find out what is going on, but without a captain of the guards I am defenseless.”

Jack knew what he was asking and didn’t want to agree but he knew it was going to be the only way of getting out of here and on with the mission. He agreed, ” You can borrow my master at arms. Shadow is his name and he is somewhat of a rogue, but will do till a replacement can be sent. In the meantime refit the Killer Squid.” The smile on the magistrate’s face was a clear sign of approval.

The magistrate had given a Letter of Marque to Jack, and he walked outside with the pair. They walked down the pathway to the dock. The Harbormaster was outside his office admiring the two ships moored. When he noticed them walking towards him he straightened up and saluted.

Jack continued down the dock and boarded Durango. He told his crew the plan and they set to stripping what they could off the Killer Squid. An extra mainsail, rope and some barrels of water and food. Jack left his Master at arms and a small platoon of marines. The shipyard across the bay was bustling with activity, as they prepared to refit the Killer Squid.



To be continued…