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Most users ever online was 29 on October 1st 2013, 12:09 am

    Tattered Sails

    ONI Operative

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    Post  zman007playr on February 3rd 2014, 8:37 am

    Tattered Sails

    A slight breeze blew through the air over the Caribbean.  Small waves lapped the side of the HMS Resolve, a 62-gun frigate in the Royal Navy.  The air was cool in the city of Kingston, a British controlled city in the West Indies.  Alone in the harbor, the British warship sat, poised to strike at the first sign of pirates.  Her mission was similar to that of many other warships sent the region to protect her majesty’s merchant ships from those who sail for themselves.  Dispatched with two sloops, smaller, more agile ships, each carrying twelve guns a-piece, the Resolve was not alone in her quest.  All was calm on this night, and whatever pirates were about, chose to sleep this night in their covens.  Moreover, the Resolve sat, waiting for her companion the HMS Dawn to return from her trip about the island.

    Outside of the calm and windless harbor, the small and agile HMS Dawn fidgeted with the finicky winds of the southern Atlantic.  The helmsman had to constantly tack and jibe to avoid sailing her into “irons”, or directly into the wind.  Sailors on deck were constantly about, tightening and loosening the sheets, adjusting to the ever-changing direction of the ship.  Just as the wind seemed to calm down, four bells sounded across the deck of the ship.  Four o’clock; the helmsman stepped back, leaving one hand to grip the wheel, and brought his gaze to the sky above.  It was a full moon out this night, and the sky was as clear as the sea was blue.  Emerging out from below, the captain of the Dawn walked to the aft castle and stood beside the helmsman.  “Quiet night tonight?” he asked his tone calm but firm.

    “The winds been a bit of a funny lass tonight.  But, not a sightin’ of anythin’ strange sir” he replied.  The moonlight illuminated the entirety of the deck and the Dawn’s crew, if anything was out, it could not hide.  The helmsman spoke up again, “Sir, did the Commodore ever say just what we’d be up against.  Are we looking for a little fishing boat strapped with some cannon or like, a bloody frigate?”

    “I’ve no idea lieutenant.  Pirates have taken many a good merchant ship in these waters.  I’d hope…” His sentence was cut short by shouting from the fo’c’sle.

    “Ship sighted larboard!  Three mast! Looks like a frigate” a sailor shouted.  
    “Colours?” The captain replied

    “I think they’re British sir! I can’t be-” a few muffled explosions sounded off in the distance, cutting the sailors thought off.

    “Cannon fire!” The captain shouted.  “Everyone down now!”

    Throughout the deck came shouts as the men dove to their bellies to avoid the incoming shot from the ship.

    “Why are they firing?!” One of the sailors shouted.  “Can’t they see the bloody colours!?”  

    Not a moment later splashes rang out as the full broadside of the frigate mostly missed the small profile of the sloop.  As the men steadied their selves, two more shots sounded.  As they neared the ship, an apparent whistling sound filled the air, and the shot came in higher than the first.  A moment later, a large CRACK was all the sailors heard as the shots found their mark.  Splinters flew everywhere as the cannon balls impacted into the sloop’s lone mast just feet above the deck, their momentum kept, and they sailed through the mast and over the aft of the ship.  

    The mast creaked and groaned as it swayed left and right, finally giving in, it fell over the starboard side of the ship, a mass of tangled rigging and sails followed it into the water.  The captain raised his head slightly.  “Damn chain shot,” he mumbled to himself.  Standing up, he steadied himself on the railing of the aft castle and shouted, “Beat to quarters men! Beat to quarters!”

    Below decks, the head of the few Royal marines aboard stood at the staircase to the deck, beating his drum to fully arouse the crew, as if the cannon fire was not enough.  The shouting on deck increased as the sailors and marines took their places on the gun wall.  Some members of the crew were preparing the cannons to fire while the rest armed themselves with muskets and cutlasses to repel any boarders, should they come.  The ship on the horizon now sailed into full view.  She was no larger than a brig yet, the strength of her broadside equated her to all but the largest of the frigates.  

    As she grew closer, certain details of the ship grew ever more apparent.  Her sails were pure white, but tattered.  Her hull appeared black as the night sky.  The figurehead at the bow resembled that of the grim reaper from legends of old, a robed and hooded figure wielding a large scythe.  The British flag the watchman had seen was now gone, replaced by the all too familiar “Jolly Roger”, pirates.  She pulled alongside the HMS Dawn’s starboard side, slowing to a halt as the crew pulled up the sails and tied them off.

    “Captain,” a voice shouted from the aft castle of the pirate ship.  “There be no need for bloodshed on this night.  Surrender any cargo ye have aboard and we shall let ye leave with your lives.”

    “This is a ship of her majesty’s navy!”  The captain of the Dawn shouted in return.  “In the name of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, I am placing you all under arrest!  Lay down your weapons and surrender the ship or we will be forced to execute you!”

    “Now see,” the pirate captain replied, in a much calmer voice.  “Its things like that that make my job difficult.  I did not want to kill ye, but now, I am afraid the hand of friendship has been turned away.  Gents, give no quarter!”  

    “Fire!”  The captain of the Dawn shouted.  The four guns that remained intact on the starboard side of her opened up, each shot solidly striking near the gun holes for the pirates’ cannons.  Wooden splinters embedded themselves into members of the pirate gun crews, killing some and wounding the rest.  On deck, grappling hooks flew over the side, landing on the decks, and hooking onto the Dawn’s gun wall.  Musket volleys flew back and forth between the crews, but it was of no use to the British crew, who was severely outnumbered.  Still they fought, as the pirates swung, and jumped over onto the decks.  The firefight soon turned into a bloodbath of clashing swords and deadly blunderbusses.  

    The captain and his helmsman stood valiantly on the quarterdeck of the sloop, holding their own against the pirates who had boarded.  The two experience swordsmen were more than a match for the few pirates who made their way back towards the helm.  For a few brief moments, it seemed that the Captain and his crew would be able to take the pirate crew, but then disaster struck as cannon fire became the only sound that anyone heard.  From the quarterdeck of the frigate, two pirates took up arms on the two swivel cannons mounted on the gun wall. Firing two bags of devastating grapeshot at the deck, the captain watched as a majority of his crew succumbed to the small, but deadly iron shot.  The first shot raked the forward battery, killing both the gunnery officers and all of the crews.  The second fired aft, taking out a fair number of the Royal Marines and the helmsman.  Left alone on the quarterdeck, the captain staggered backwards as the pirate captain and his men advanced along the deck of the HMS Dawn.  Firing a shot at the British captain’s leg, the pirate captain stepped forward.

    “Now see, look at all this blood on the deck of your ship.  All of this could have been avoided if you’d have just surrendered your cargo.”  He shouted back towards his crew, “What’s she got in her hold lads?”

    “Twenty barrels of gunpowder, a few bits o’ sail cloth and nothing else” sounded a voice from the hold.

    “See, what’s a few barrels of powder and some cloth to her royal highness?”

    “You’ll hang for this,” the captain sputtered, clutching his lower leg.  

    The pirate captain pulled out a second pistol and, without hesitation, fired a shot into the British Captain’s skull.  “Oh, and I suppose you’ll be taking me to the gallows then,” he said, letting out a roar of a laugh.  His crew behind him joined in on the chuckle.  “Take it all lads, and let’s send her to the briny deep!”  

    The pirates roared with excitement as they loaded their latest haul aboard their ship.  Pulling away, the swivel guns fired again, this time putting two standard cannon shots into the bow of the HMS Dawn.  The shots forced open a large gaping hole into her larboard bow, just at the water line. As the Dawn slowly sank beneath the waves, the pirate ship slunk away into the dark of night, leaving nothing but flotsam in her wake.
    Freelancer Operative

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    Post  Manny on February 3rd 2014, 5:40 pm

    A Pirate story?

    Shiver me timbers!
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    Post  zman007playr on February 5th 2014, 9:02 pm

    yeah lol, what do you think of it? I got bored during the super bowl and this is what resulted
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    Post  zman007playr on February 20th 2014, 8:10 pm

    lookout chapter two coming in:

    Chapter 1: Kingston

    Dawn rose over the harbor in the city of Kingston.  The city was abuzz with life as shops opened their doors to begin another day in the Caribbean.  It was a little after seven in the morning, but the heat of the day could still be felt in the harbor where the British sailors and Marines sat, waiting for the return of the HMS Dawn and what news she brought.  Sitting inside the captain’s cabin onboard the HMS Resolve, sat Commodore Richard Black.  He pondered over numerous naval charts and maps, constantly flipping between them as sweat beaded up on his forehead.  A few moments had passed before the heat of the cabin had become unbearable to him.  Standing up, he walked over to the large glass windows that covered a majority of the back wall of the cabin.  Opening them one by one, he sighed a long sigh of relief as a crisp sea breeze rushed past his face.  Looking out at the harbor, he saw the glories of the West Indies.  British merchant ships and local fishing boats frequented in and out of the harbor’s wide entrance.

    “No wonder pirates frequent these waters,” he thought.  “Lightly armed merchant ships with almost no real threat of capture; it’s a regular buffet of goods.”  Turning around, pacing back to his desk, and picked up a small folded parchment laying at the corner.  Opening it, he read and reread the words written down.

    Commodore Black,

    In the interest of her majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, it is a privilege to convey to you your newest assignment.  You are to take a small expedition to our colonies in the West Indies to assess the growing threat of pirate threats to our merchant ships.  For the voyage, you will command the frigate Resolve, one of the finest ships on the seven seas.  Along with her, two sloops, the Dawn, and the Splendor, will be under your command.  Your course of action depends on the threat level you deem to assess the pirates in those waters.  Should they pose a minor threat, you have the authority to attack and kill or capture these rouges and bring them to justice.  Likewise, should this be more than an isolated incident, you will have full right to sail back to England and bring this matter to myself and the admiralty.  Should it be deemed necessary, you will return with a fleet under your command.

    It is in this respect that I wish you God’s speed and good hunting Commodore.  
    Richard Tompkins

    Commodore Black held the orders tightly in his hand as he paced around his cabin.  “Should it be deemed necessary,” he thought.  “What the bloody hell does he mean should it be bloody necessary?”  Pacing back over towards the window, his attention grabbed by a large commotion in the harbor.  A small ship sailed into the mouth of the harbor, making full ahead, bells ringing.  “That’s the Splendor,” Commodore Black said aloud.  “What in blazes is she doing coming into port with such a racket?”  Grabbing his hat from a coatrack in the corner, he strode quickly out on the deck.  Almost as quick as his entrance to the outside air, Sergeant Major Phillip Morris, commander of the Royal Marines aboard the Resolve, ran up to Richard.

    “Sir!” The larger set man huffed, obviously struggling for breath.  “The…  The…” his sentences were nothing more than sporadic words in between his huffing and puffing.

    “Calm yourself Sergeant Major,” Richard calmly responded.  “Take a breath, and then tell me what is going on here.”  His eyes focused on the Marine, but he continuously flicked his gaze to the background to notice that the Splendor had found her way to the docks and had begun to tie off.  

    “It’s…it’s the pirates sir! They’ve stuck again last night.”  

    “Damn,” Richard replied, lowering his head.  “Which merchant did they rob this time?”

    Phillip’s eyes grew dim as he responded to the inquiry made by his commander.  “T’wasn’t a merchant robbery sir.  T’was and attack on a ship from Her Majesties Navy sir.  The Dawn and her good captain went down to the locker last night I’m afraid.  She left no survivors sir.”

    Richard’s face sunk, and a large lump formed in his throat.  Never before had pirates been so bold as to attack a warship of the Royal Navy.  “Are… Are you sure that the wreckage was from the Dawn?”  Beads of sweat formed upon his forehead, but now it was not from the heat.  “If they have started to pillage warships,” he thought.  “Then how long until they start attacking the colonies themselves?  How long until Britain’s interest here in the West Indies fall subject to the whims of these scoundrels?”  Gathering a little more of his wit, he re faced the Morris.

    “Bring me the Captain of the Splendor Sergeant Major.  I need to speak with him about the severity of this incident.”  

    “Right away sir” Morris said, popping up a crisp salute, to which Richard returned.  Turning on his heels, he ran down the gangplank of the Resolve and down the docks towards where the Splendor had moored herself.  The Commodore turned back towards the doors to his quarters and quickly slammed them shut behind him as he walked inside.  Settling down at his desk, he buried his face in his hands.  The thought of pirates beginning to start plundering warships and merchants alike terrified him.  “The world of law and order is crumbling around us.  Its structure weakened by these lawless vandals.”

    Slamming his fists down on the desk, he swept the charts and letters into the floor.  “I’ll not allow this to happen!  I’ll see to it that these men are brought to justice and hanged for their crimes against the crown!”  Just then, there came several knocks at the door.  “Enter,” he replied, composing himself again.  

    The door opened fully and Sergeant Major Morris strode in, this time he had managed to catch his breath before addressing the Commodore.  “Sir! Lieutenant Thomas Stilwell, as you requested.”

    “Thank you Sergeant Major, you are dismissed.”

    Morris popped a crisp salute followed by “Sir” and then left the room.

    “Lieutenant, do you know why I have called you here this morn’?”

    Lieutenant Stilwell stared blankly at the Commodore for a brief moment before responding.  “Yes sir.  It is my belief that we have come upon the wreckage of our sister ship, the HMS Dawn.  About, oh I reckon it was about four o’clock we heard the sounds of cannon fire off our starboard bow.  Sounded very far off, but it sounded like some of our 12 pounders mixed with a lot of the 18-pounders.  One salvo each, definitely the sound of a pirate raid on some poor sod of a merchant.”

    Thomas swallowed hard as he continued his story.  “Only, when we followed the sound to its source, we stumbled upon a horrible sight.  We saw a great bit o’ flotsam in the water, some burning bits of plank and sail, and bodies sir.”

    “Bodies” Richard said with a noticeable sound of alarm in his voice.

    “Yes sir.  Bodies we a common sight among the wreckage of the ship.  Normally this sight is common, but they were sailors and Marines sir.  About thirty men were floating among the wreckage.  We can only assume that the rest of the crew was either taken captive or taken down with the ship.”

    Richard glared at the young lieutenant.  If ever there was a time for absolute truth, this was it. “You are sure that the remnants of this ship were that of the Dawn?  You realize my course of action depends solely on your word here?”

    “I do sir, and I am quite certain.  The Captain’s body was one of those found amongst the wreckage, along with her flag.   By the look of the scene, she’d been sunk about ten minutes before we arrived sir.”

    Lowering his gaze to his desk, Commodore Black let out a long and heartfelt sigh.  “So, the war on Britain has begun has it?  Well, we shall fight back these lawless criminals I dare say.  Lieutenant!”

    “Yes sir?” His reply was slightly quizzical, almost questioning what his commander had in store for these pirates.

    “Take the Splendor and get her ready to sail immediately.”  He raised his tone significantly and shouted, “Sergeant Major!”

    Not soon after, the doors of the cabin burst open, and in trotted Morris.  “You require me Commodore?”

    “Yes, now listen carefully Phillip, for in the sake of time I shall only convey to you these instructions once.  You are to go into town and gather the entire crew up immediately.  Take some of your boys from below if you must, but I need the entire crew of the Resolve on board and ready to make sail before the end of the day.  Can I count on you to get this done?”

    Phillip looked down at the floor for a brief moment, his eyes heavy with worry.  Grinding the heel of his boot into the rough wooden floor, he brought his gaze back up to the commodore.  “It’ll be tough sir, but I can get it done.  Don’t reckon many o’ the boys will be too happy to have they’re merrymaking cut so short, but I figure…”

    Richard slammed his fist into his desk, an action that caught both Thomas and Phillip by surprise.  “I don’t give a DAMN about their feelings right now Sergeant Major!”  His glare seemed to cut through both the men in his cabin like a knife.  “I’ll not tolerate dissention among my ranks upon the eve of what could be the largest disaster to ever fall upon the crown!  They will take up their posts by the mast, or they will hang!  Now I gave you an order Sergeant Major and I expect it followed to the letter.  Do I make myself clear?”

    Phillip swallowed very hard, and very loud.  He had never seen a fire like the one that engulfed the Commodore now.  “Yes sir.  I’ll…I’ll get right on it.”  Hurriedly he threw up a cursory salute and rushed out the door of the cabin, leaving LT Stilwell and the commodore alone.  

    “You really plan to sail back to England then sir?  An’ leave the colonies by themselves?”  All the while, that Richard had been bellowing, Thomas had been thinking through his rage.  “If you leave sir, an’ the pirates see, they’ll either cut you down or pillage the ‘ell out of everything here.  I think that seeing a frigate in these waters has frightened them a bit.  Hell, I say we toss caution aside an go get them! The Resolve is a strong ship she is, an’ the long nines will stop the rats ‘fore they can get away.”

    Commodore Black looked the Lieutenant dead in the eyes and grinned, a very wolfish grin.  “You think me to tuck tail and run so easily lieutenant.  Nay, these bastards wish to fight the Royal Navy, then a fight they shall get.  The Splendor will be the bait.  You and enough men to handle the sails will set sail on the same course as the Dawn.  Meanwhile, I and the crew of the Resolve will stand waiting to combat these pirates when they come to strike you.”

    Richard stood up and turned away from Thomas.  Pacing back over to the windows in the stern of the ship.  “Deception and surprise are her chief weapons in her war against us Lieutenant.  Tonight, we will rob her of them both.”

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    Post  Impanther on February 15th 2015, 11:04 pm

    zman007playr wrote:yeah lol, what do you think of it? I got bored during the super bowl and this is what resulted

    You should make this a Black Flag fic.

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      Current date/time is May 23rd 2019, 7:26 am