Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Xyllan the Villain

Xyllan The Villain

Wow, I've really gotten behind in my posts. That last post took place on Sunday. As you can tell I finally got Internet access, spotty as it may be, and I've been trying to catch up as fast as I can.

Since Sunday, we've raided half a dozen ships. Needless to say I don't go on the raids anymore. Carrie's decided to head out towards the West Indian Ocean, where a lot of pirates are operating. She thinks we're missing the "good" action or something. We've been steaming away night and day, logging over 2500 miles a day, only stopping for the occasional raid on a merchant ship or to adjust or clean some part of the Singularity Matrix Drive. The most hideous stop was when we boarded some kind of pleasure craft. I think it might have been one of Xyllan's enemies, because we didn't zap them first. We just boarded and slaughtered the crew by hand, and did something terrible with the guests, especially the women. I don't want to dwell on it.

Speaking of Xyllan, he seems to be a kind of prodigious figure on the QC1. He clearly runs the day-to-day operation of the pirates, if you want to call it an operation. Carrie of course runs the place, but Xyllan keeps everyone in line. He's the first to have any women prisoners we bring aboard, he gets first pick of the loot, and seems to chafe whenever Carrie orders him to do something. A hulking dark-skinned man of Asian descent, he never wears sleeves and has every inch of his body covered with tattoos.

Today an incident occurred that really scared me. The four of us: Misty, Rod, Julia, and I, all sat together at a table as was our norm. The whole boat seemed to be broken up into little cliques: the Officers, which included us at times when Carrie needed help in the control room, the rest of the technical staff, the Pirates which they broke down along racial and cultural lines with the Southeast Asians separate from the Middle Easterners from the South Americans from the Europeans from the Somalis, the prostitutes, although they tried to align themselves with the pirate groups, and the hired help including cooks, maintenance and sanitation men, the wardrobe staff, and a few other random people who helped keep the boat afloat since the pirates seemed useless at everyday tasks.

We all huddled together and talked quietly. I gave up my black pirate outfit for something a little simpler: just jeans and a T-shirt. I still kept a bandanna since I hadn't had a shave nor haircut in months and I needed something to keep the hair out of my eyes. I kept the purloined shotgun on my back and a pocket full of shells. I uncovered a better sword, something an officer would carry, and strapped it to my waist. Misty also toned it back a bit, but she found a smart nautical-style dress with a bit of Asian-based embroidery in it. She looked a bit like something out of the sixties. Julia still insisted on wearing her colorful Chinese waiter outfit. And she fit the part, going back and yelling and screaming at the staff whenever our food arrived a touch late or wasn't prepared perfectly. I think we've found ourselves a future master chef. Sometimes she even threw out our food and cooked us her own tasty recipes. "You are cooking for Officers," she would scream. "Not dirty whores! You make this food right!"

Misty had gotten Julia to open up just a bit about her ordeal. Her parents had died a number of years ago, and she found herself shuttled between abusive or non-caring family members, or worse, abusive group homes until she ran away. A man offered her a job as a cleaning girl at a restaurant, as long as she did more than just cleaning. She ran away from that and wound up on a boat of some kind. This boat was raided by Xyllan's crew and she was one of the only survivors.

"She has no family to go back to," explained Misty to when Julia was out of earshot. "We can't just send her back to that awful situation."

"But we have to do this thing the right way, or we're no better than these pirates," I explained.

"Are we? Are we really any better than them," she asked. More than once she begged me to consider just jumping off during some down time, but I insisted we see this thing through. And we couldn't abandon Julia and Rod.

Speaking of Rod, I noticed a growing attachment between Julia and Rod. I think she might remind him of his little sister, but in her I see the beginnings of a schoolgirl crush. She always served him first, and always made sure he liked the food. If he didn't, then she would rain hellfire down on the kitchen staff. If I complained, she smiled sweetly and just insisted I try again, maybe I just need to "learn the flavors more."

As we returned to our quarters after dinner, a shadow fell across us. Xyllan blocked our way. He extended a finger towards Julia.

"That's mine," he stated. "You've stolen my property."

"No," I said calmly. "She's ours."

The man grabbed Julia by the wrist. "Well she's mine now."

I practically jumped on his arm, but he flung me off like a rag doll. Rod suffered the same fate. I grabbed for my shotgun but Xyllan grabbed for his, and we faced each other leveling our guns. Julia struggled and struggled to break free, beating on his massive chest with a tiny fist.

"Hey! Asshole," came a cry from above. Ellie stood up in her cage. I have to admit she's starting to look terrible, like a cave woman. Her hair lay limp and matted across her head, her body seemed blotched and dirty from food being tossed and poured on her, and her leather skirt and bra seemed to hang limply from her struggles. "Yeah, you, you fat pile of shit."

Xyllan backed up a few paces so he could keep an eye on me and respond to Ellie. "Shut the fuck up, whore! Or I will teach you proper manners."

"Pick on someone your own size, you yellow dog, you.." she launched into a tirade of international curses that I guess Xyllan understood because his face turned black. With a great heave Julia broke free and scrambled behind me into Misty's arms. Rod helped them move quickly away from the area that became flooded with onlookers.

Xyllan turned back to me. "Why don't we fight like me, like Pirates, you and me. Winner takes the girl."

The pirates began chanting, "fight, fight, fight!"

I looked up in the ring. So far it had only been used for sparring. Most of the "real" fights were settled out on the deck, the loser thrown overboard. Honestly I didn't like my chances. The guy looked like a pro wrestler.

"If you want a fight, I'll give you a fight," yelled Ellie, her eyes growing wild. "Beating Ross won't prove anything. I've killed hundreds of men with my bare hands. If you want a fight, I'll take you on."

Inwardly I blessed Ellie for taking the attention off of me. The chants grew louder, and many of the men would die to see Ellie get whipped, seeing how she verbally assaulted them every time they passed. They started searching for the mechanism to lift off Ellie's cage when Carrie pushed her way through the masses.

"What the fuck is going on," she raged, swatting and pushing at the men. "Get your asses back to your posts. There's not going to be any fights today. Xyllan, what the hell are you thinking? You know I sold that girl. Why do you have to make my job harder? Ross, get your ass out of here. Move it! And as for you, you bitch, I think it's time we cleaned you up."

After Carrie's back was turned, Xyllan flashed her the throat-cut sign. He seemed pretty pissed. He grabbed a couple men and conferred in low whispers, and glanced at me and Carrie a couple times. I have a bad feeling about this.

They wheeled over a hose and began spraying poor Ellie with high-power sea water. Being chained up, she could barely keep from drowning as they aimed at her head. Her garments became ripped and tattered, and after they were done she sat shivering and mostly naked in a pool of water that collected up there. The men gathered around and piled on the insults but she just stared straight ahead and trembled. With fear or rage I don't know.

Back in the cabin, Julia cried uncontrollable. Misty held her for a long time. I went over to Rod's room and played cards. Finally Misty arrived and brought me back. Julia lay up on our bed asleep. "That Xyllan fellow had better watch his back," threatened Misty, "because he's gotten on my last nerve. If he touches Julia again I don't know what I'll do."

I've left them for a moment to type up this entry. This boat is slowly eating away at what's left of our souls. Something has to change soon, because we're running really low on humanity.

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 10:51 PM

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