Ah. Another afternoon…. He blew out a puff of wonderweed, humming to himself. Another white cloud drifting by…. Riggs formed his hands into a make-believe scope and peered through them at the sky. And another cloud. That one looked like a turkey leg. He giggled a little. Another perfect day.
He moved his make-believe scope down about the horizon of the cerulean ocean, casting it east and west. Nothing to see, nothing to see, Riggs yawned, as usual – wait.
What was that? Riggs scrambled to sit upward in the crow’s nest. A gull landed on the rim of the crow’s nest and cocked its white head at him. Normally, Riggs would enjoy the company, but he shooed the bird away as he patted at his faded vest for his real scope. The gull fluffed its feathers, gave Riggs a baleful look from a golden eye, then launched itself into the air and flapped away.
Ah. Riggs pulled out his scope and zoomed in on the northern horizon.
What the bloody hell was that….
He stared a bit longer and then whistled to himself. Riggs shoved his scope into his vest and leaned over the side of the crow’s nest. “Mutt! Mutt!”
As usual, the crew was surprised to see him. His actual name was Rigsby but he’d started off doing the rigging and been so good at climbing the ratlines, that he’d just taken the look-out station. Most men hated it, as there was no one to talk to, but Riggs, what they’d started calling him, was happy enough in the middle of the sun and the sky, looking out at the water above everyone else. They sent someone climbing up with a meal and some water, and kept him well supplied with wonderweed, so he had no complaints.
“Riggs? Whatsa matter, man?” Mutt yelled up from his station below Riggs.
Riggs yelled, “Get the Captain!”
When the crew heard Riggs call for the Captain, they always ceased activity for a moment.
“Call for the Captain!” Mutt screamed Riggs’s message back down.
After a time, Captain James D. Hartley himself appeared. The Captain shaded his weather-tanned face as he stared up with an intense blue-eyed gaze. The breeze riffled his gray beard. “Riggs! It’s important, is it?”
“Enemy ship, thirty clicks to port! War ship, Captain Hartley!”
Riggs had seen plenty of warships – pirate ships, especially – in his time aboard Captain Hartley’s ship. And the Royal Sea had seen more battles than Riggs thought it would survive, both in Banker’s Bay, and against his fellow pirates. But he had never seen a warship the size that gargantuan warship was.
Riggs waited for a few minutes as the Captain looked through his own scope, knowing Captain Hartley was shitting his pants at the sight of that beast.
Then the colors for Tortoreen were hoisted and the ship took a hard turn to starboard. No one could fight that bastard and expect to live.
“Good man, Riggs! Cove us!” And the Captain stalked off down the deck.
“Riggs, we headed for a cove – first sight of land you see, send us to cove. Think they saw us?” Mutt called up then.
Riggs shrugged. “Fuck if I know. I just hope there ain’t any more of them.” He peered again at the warship through his scope. Brand new warship, biggest ship he’d ever seen. Even Captain Hartley had said “Fuck it!” when he’d got a look at that ship and he’d seen plenty of warships in his time.
Riggs had never known the Captain to back down from a fight, but then, the Captain wasn’t stupid, neither, especially if there was more than one of that ship. They’d just sit a’cove and fish for a while, and let that massive beast, or fleet of beasts begone.