Monday, November 24, 2008



We sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar today without much incident. We had to take it slow so we didn't collide with the ships in the shipping channels. The Spanish and Italian navies did a good job keeping the looky-loos back from our path. Finally out in the open ocean, we could open her back up to full speed. Once again we plowed through the ocean like a runaway comet slicing open the sea like Moses.

Somewhere off the North Coast of Spain we slowed down and joined up with a low slung freighter. A troop of fresh Pirates clambered aboard, apparently replacements for the men we had lost in the raid. The new Pirates greeted our current crew warmly, excited to be part of this deadly voyage. They offloaded fresh supplies from their ship onto ours, including a great number of weapons. It seemed like an entire Pirate Army had invaded our ship. We quickly ran out of cabin space for them, so they began erecting makeshift campsites right on the floor of the Palace.

"With these men, we can invade any city," explained Xyllan to Carrie, a wild look in his eye. "No power can stand against us. We zap them, and then take over the city. All the countries of the world will tremble before us. First we will destroy London, and then New York."

Carrie gleamed at him. "Do you trust these men? Have you worked with them before?"

"Some of them. These are not your trained Marines, so they are a bit rowdy and wild. That's the kind of chaos we want to bring to the civilized masses."

I had resumed my post up in the control room. It didn't take longer than an hour after we finished loading before I heard shouting and screaming coming from the cafe area. It still hurt too much to strap my shotgun on my back or my sword around my waist but I still carried it with me. I made sure it was loaded before I ran down to the cafe.

The new pirates were arguing over something. I cringed when I spotted Julia in the center of the altercation, being yanked both ways by the men.

"I saw her first," snarled one in a French accent. "She's mine."

"You let her go, she's my trophy," said a German. Both seemed gruff and burly, plastered with tattoos and piercings, long tangled hair draped over their shoulders.

Julia screamed and struggled to escape, kicking at the men's legs.

"Leave her the fuck alone," I cried, pumping the gun to load a cartridge in the chamber. The men stopped their bickering and turned to face me.

"Who the hell are you," cried the Frenchman, grasping Julia tightly.

"Let the girl go," I repeated, aiming the weapon his their general direction. 

"He's da Captain of this ship, you better listen to him," warned Julia.

"You? Captain?" A few of the men laughed at me. Okay, well, with my loose white billowy shirt and pants over the bandages I probably looked more like an effeminate zombie than a Captain. I raised the gun to my chest and looked down the site.

"As an Officer of this ship, it is my right to have each and every one of you run off the plank. Who wants to go first? You? You?"

The pirates backed up a step. Julia finally broke free and ran behind me. "Shoot them! Shoot them!"

I continued, waving her off, "You men will behave yourselves aboard this ship. Any rapes, murders, or tortures of any kind will result in your expulsion from this ship. Do any of you care to question my authority? Good. Now clean up this mess or I'll confine you to the brig." We don't have a brig. Yet.

Surprisingly, the Pirates didn't immediately charge me and beat me up. My entire body shook with adrenaline and fear as I turned to escort Julia back to the safety of the control room. Misty had been resting in our cabin, but she must have just returned or heard something, because she stood not 10 feet behind me. She grabbed Julia's hand and escorted her back to the center. Xyllan came up to me and put a hand on my chest.

"Well 'Captain,'" he hissed, "threatening my men are we? You had better keep your wenches under control, because these men know no rules but the fist and the sword, and they take what they want. For you own safety I suggest you find more secure quarters. These men don't like orders, and they don't like people who overstep their authority. Watch your back."

"Keep your men under control," yelled Misty, but Xyllan ignored her as he walked away.

Back in the control room, Carrie seemed oblivious to everything. She pored over maps and charts, as well as financial statements and complex transactions. "Dammit to Hell," she cursed. "Mother fuckers!"

I didn't respond, figuring why rile her up more than necessary. I heard her get on the phone and begin to yell and scream to someone on the other end. "What do you mean, seized? I trusted you! I am not a goddamn terrorist, how dare they put me on a blacklist. We run a clean operation here. And what do you mean, everything? What about the gold? Dammit! You're supposed to protect me!"

She threw the satellite phone, almost hitting someone, and started pounding on her desk with her fists, her face bright red and somewhat sweaty. She turned to me. "Ross, we've got to move this thing. They're starting to grab my assets. I'm not out there moving them like I should be. The whole financial structure of this operation is unraveling. Some of our biggest contributors have cut deals and ratted me out. We've got to make them pay. No more delays, no more supplies. We've got to hit them where it hurts the most. Let's burn some fucking rubber."

"She can't take much more," I replied. "Any faster and we could shear off a propeller or melt the entire matrix. We've also come way too close to colliding with other ships. At this pace, we could destroy everything if we're not careful."

"Then fucking be careful but fucking move this pile of shit. I'll be in my cabin making calls if anyone needs me." She gathered up her satellite phone which hadn't broken and started off carrying a laptop. 

"Hey Carrie," I asked as she passed. "When you're off the bridge, am I actually in charge here? Of the ship? You've never made that clear."

Carrie looked at me and at the control room and huffed. "Sure, whatever. What does that kid call you? Captain? Go for it. As long as you stick to the plan. Just don't cross me. Even Captains can walk the plank. Now don't bother me any more."

I guess that's as official as these things get around here. Julia clapped quietly and gave me a thumbs-up. Rod rolled his eyes and shook his head.

So a little while ago the four of us huddled in our cabin. I had commandeered a small table and chairs so we didn't have to sit on the floor. Our door was solid enough, but not built to stop bullets. We had no other escape from our room. I began thinking about how I had gotten trapped and almost killed in my dorm at Kastle Klingon, and I didn't want to be in that situation, but this was about the only place where I felt we couldn't be overhead.

We had been teaching Julia the basics of Poker, with an old beat-up deck I had found. We used uncooked beans as our chips. While we played, we could talk.

"I think it's best we all stay in this room from now on," said Rod. "I've collected enough blankets to make a bed on the floor. We'll use my room to store stuff."

Julia seemed excited at the prospect of Rod sleeping over. "Settle down," I chided her. "He's just here to sleep. Nothing else."

"Dat's okay," she replied, beaming at Rod. "I'll make sure he's comfortable."

Rod thanked her politely but I sighed. She treats the man like a rock star or celebrity. Maybe I'm a little jealous some times.

Rod continued. "I also think that we need to start sleeping in shifts, in case anyone wants to start some trouble. What do you say I take first, then Alex, then Misty?"

Julia interjected, "me! I want a shift. Please?"

"You can share my shift," offered Misty. "We can keep each other company."

"Oh, okay, Miss Misty." She gave Rod some puppy dog eyes, hoping he would ask her as well but he concentrated on his cards and ignored her.

"I better hit the hay if I'm taking last shift," Misty said, yawning widely.

"Do you want me to leave this out for you," I asked, pointing at the laptop. "I'm typing up my blog during my shift. Hey, why don't you write something in it?"

Misty seemed shocked. "Me? What would I write?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. Anything. Just finish where I leave off, then hit this and my buddy Iap will publish it for us."

Misty agreed. So if she writes anything, it will be here:

Hi. This is Alex's friend Misty. I haven't done this before so bear with me. It's been pretty quiet tonight. We think most of those pirate types have been partying it up over in the dreadful Palace. Hopefully we've been all but forgotten.

I don't know if anyone out there reads this, or if Alex just likes to write things down. If so, I urge you consider this carefully. If you are anywhere in or near London, I suggest you evacuate immediately. I can't say what may happen, but it will be exceedingly unpleasant. Please use all haste to remove yourself from that area.

Well I don't have much else to say except that Alex has been a great friend, and I really appreciate what he's done for me. I know he's made some terrible mistakes in his past, but these experiences have brought out a new side in him, much more responsible and mature. Not that anyone can really escape a Chinese labor camp unchanged.

So if you read this, please take the proper precautions, and God bless all of you.
Posted: Monday, November 24, 2008 @ 10:45 PM

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