Red wrapped the mooring line to keep the Rouge Wind from floating off into the air and cause irrevocable damage to docks and more importantly, itself. His brother, Darius scratched furiously at his chin. He had been trying to grow a beard out; for intimidation purposes he proclaimed. Darius grabbed the last crate and set it carefully on the docks. They’d out run three Royal Air Navy frigates and just barely slipped past the blockade to deliver this latest shipment.
The sound of two hundred plus pounds of man hitting the dock, brought Red’s hand to his saber. Marie, his childhood friend and first mate, wiped the blood off her rapier. One of the two men doing business with them clawed at his throat trying to hold his own blood in from spilling out.
“We agreed on 25,000. This is 19,000. I don’t take too kindly to this blatant assault on my intelligence and I have to tell the captain that you’re trying to fuck us out of 6,000, he will personally skull fuck you with his cutlass. Where is our other 6,000!?” She held her blade up to the second man, the contractor, who slowly reached into the back of his coach and withdrew a second chest. The coachman had a noticeable darkening of his trousers.
Marie set about counting the second chest, while Darius loaded the crates onto the coach. Red watched everything in silence, but made sure to make eye contact with the contractor as much as possible. The man was sweating profusely. Red pulled out his cutlass suddenly and with a flourish, the man audibly yelped, but Red paid him no mind as he produced a cloth from his coat and slowly and methodically wiped every inch of the blade.
“32,000. Mr. Willhelm we appreciate your business and the bonus you’ve supplied us. We look forward to your business in the future and do apologize for the death of your partner, but look at it this way; I hear you just inherited the last fifty percent of your company. We will be sure to send flowers. Ta-ta now,” Marie said in eloquent politeness as she waved him off. Mr. Willhelm scrambled to his coach; which, took off at full gallop with him still trying to climb aboard.
“That’s 8,000 a piece and 8,000 to the ship. That brings us to a total of 216,000 in the ships hold,” Red calculated, “That would be enough to purchase a decent ship, but I don’t know about you, but after desertion, extortion, assault, smuggling, and murder; I can’t imagine adding theft to our resumes would do us any worse. So, who’s feeling up for a little midnight stroll?”
“Ok last question before we do this,” Marie whispered, “Where are we going to get a crew to operate a ship of that caliber.” They were each stood on a cat-walk overlooking the building docks of the Royal Air Navy. They had walked right through to the docks in stolen uniforms. Red’s intimate knowledge of procedures and protocols of the Navy hadn’t slowed, but expedited their arrival to their current position.
“Keep your questions until the end of the class,” Red replied, “follow me and don’t open your mouths.” He lead them down the stairs of the catwalk and unto the main dock holding the new R.A.N. Assualt ship, the Lenne. As he approached the ship, the sailors standing guard snapped to attention, rendering him their salute. Red absentmindedly returned the salute and proceeded onto the ship itself.
One sailor’s eyes went wide, but the sailor next to him, also noticing Red quickly grabbed the man by the mouth and held him down. Both stared in fear, or amazement, or possibly a combination of the two, as red strolled up a set of stair and opened the hatch to the bridge.
The crew on the bridge snapped to attention yelling, “Officer on Deck.”
“Surprise inspection from Fleet Admiral Corven,” Red announced sharply, “Test flight protocols alpha through delta. Commissioning contingent upon successful completion of all checks and standards. Take her out.”
The crew stared at him blankly in disbelief. Red ground his teeth and his up lip crinkled in anger. The crew members looked at various other crew members looking for some unspoken confirmation.
“Aye, Aye Commander,” a young Lower Lieutenant finally answered, “All hands initiate test flight protocols alpha through delta.”
“Full Speed Ascent upon breach of open air,” Red ordered. The lieutenant looked visibly shaken, but relayed the order. Crew members scrambled both on the deck and bridge. Lines were pulled and the hiss of steam could be heard as sailed were unfurled and engines propelled them up into the air and forward out of the docks. Once they had completely cleared the building the ship’s engines went into full steam mode and lighter than air gases were converted and released into the belly of the ship. The ship hurled itself through the air and rose quickly into the clouds just as an alarm was sounded from the docks.
Red heard the sound at the same time as the Lieutenant. Red, Marie, and Darius produces six pistols all trained on the crew, when the door burst open with three sailors running in with rifles shouldered and aimed, squarely at the bridge crew.
“We’ve got you sir,” one sailor yelled to Red, “Faithful into death.”
“Good man,” Red nodded and then turned his attention to the lieutenant, “Me and my two companions not withstanding who is the first in command on this vessel. I swear to fucking god if you all engines stop I will blow your fucking brains all over this cabin Petty Officer, don’t be a fucking hero! Who is in command Lieutenant!?”
“Who is second?” Red bellowed pushing his pistol into the side of the lieutenants head.
The Lieutenant pointed to an Ensign standing near the navigations desk. Red squeezed the trigger shattering the man’s head across the Petty Officer who Red had just threatened. Red retrained his pistol on the Ensign who took a deep breath and tried to compose himself.
“Ensign…?” Red wondered aloud.
“Ensign Wallace sir.”
“Ensign Wallace,” Red repeated, “Are you confident in your ability to lead and your crew’s ability to fly this ship into the mouth of Hell?”
“It would seem we fly there now, and I do not doubt any man on this ship,” Wallace replied.
“I’d doubt the Lieutenant if I were you Ensign, he won’t be much in the way of help in his current condition,” Red advised.
“Noted, sir. Pray tell, What aim do you have for us,” Wallace inquired.
“I had need of a larger ship which I have commandeered, and now I find myself in need of a decent crew to fly her. I’ve three volunteers already, but that won’t bode well for this ship’s operations if they are the first and last. What say you? Does a life of piracy and the threat of constant and gory death suit your fancy?”
The ensign spoke slowly, steadily, and clearly, “Oh…God…Yes.”
“Petty Officer,” Red turned to the lead rifleman, “Round up any would be royalist and see they get the opportunity to defy gravity off the side of the ship. Oh, and on the off chance some miracle sees them sprout wings and fly, shoot them.”
Red turned to Marie, tucked his pistols away and said with a bow, “Class dismissed.”