I have no real idea when this was written. I think it was back before Prospect-L existed, when I was still on Senad, but that's as far as I
can narrow it down.
If I recall correctly, the discussion had turned to 'what would Jim Ellison be like as a pirate?' for some reason - and while I was preparing dinner, I wrote this. Why I wrote it in the first place is another story, and one at which I prefer not to look too closely. I probably read too many bodice rippers back when I was in junior high school.
(c) Beth H.
Captain James Ellison looked up from the navigational charts scattered over the small cabin table and breathed a quiet sigh. If he had only to deal with the everyday duties of an officer in His Majesty's Navy, Captain Ellison thought, this unfamiliar sensory confusion would surely not be assailing his system as it had been ever since he had been sent on this most secret of missions for the Ministry. But for the past eighteen months, Ellison had been forced to take on the role of a very different kind of captain indeed: the captain of a pirate ship.
"If only my father could see me now." Ellison thought bitterly, remembering the home he'd left behind. "He always feared I'd come to no good if I continued to chafe at the restrictions of 'decent society.'" Yet it was the fact that Ellison had so often fled his aristocratic father's iron-fisted authority in his youth - spending time with common workers and even the criminal class, in addition to fellow members of the military who were already far beneath his father's contempt - that made him so well suited to this assignment. There were few among the officer class who were both intelligent enough to ferret out the information needed to finally destroy the most feared pirate fleet in existence and also able to maintain the often-harsh facade that this piratical role required without losing himself in the process.
After so many months undercover, however, even Ellison was beginning to show the strain of living this double life. For the past few months, he'd noticed his senses becoming increasingly heightened - a condition that was becoming most alarming. Some days, even the gentle lapping of the waves against the side of the ship was more than his over-sensitive ears could take.
Still and all, Captain Ellison did occasionally find his newly heightened senses useful, particularly in such instances as now when he could hear trouble brewing in the form of a trio of threatening voices . . . and one very elevated heartbeat.
As Ellison reached the deck, he saw immediately what the difficulty was; some of the new men had evidently decided that their current state of boredom was sufficient excuse to turn their attentions toward the pretty young man named Blair whom Ellison had taken on as his cabin boy when the ship had last dropped anchor near Gibralter.
If asked, Ellison could not have said what made him bring an untested youth aboard this ship, particularly as the lad had admitted that he had no experience at sea, to say nothing of the fact that Blair's nature seemed far too open and gentle for this rough crew. And yet the young man had already proved to be a help to Captain Ellison in many ways and had even reached an accord of sorts with most of the older members of the pirate crew.
However, such was not the case with the new men.
"Come on, ducks, give yourself over to Uncle Frank, there's a good lad. You look pretty enough to eat, you do, and I says what kind of mate would keep another mate from such a lovely banquet, eh?"
"Frank, you know you don't really want to do this," said Blair, as he tried to extricate himself from the iron-grips of Frank's two associates.
"Don't want it? Oh, that's where you're wrong, my boy . . . I wants it, and you do too, if the rosy flush in your cheeks is anything to go by."
"I said no, Frank, and . . . ."
"Who are you to be saying 'no' to anything, boy? If I says you're mine, then mine you'll be if you know what's . . . ."
"If he knows what?" growled Ellison, reaching the men at last. "Unhand the boy now."
"I'm sorry, I am, Captain." said Frank, cringing before the angry glare of the man before him, "I didn't know he was your doxy."
"I'm not a do . . . ." began Blair, only to be cut off in mid sentence.
"And when was it that I started needing to explain myself to the likes of you? Take this man to the hole. Let's see if a few days down there will teach you something about poaching the property of your betters. And you, boy . . . back to my cabin where you belong!"
"But . . . ."
"Enough! I told you to stay in the cabin. Must I teach you the penalty for such disobedience?"
Blair looked down at the deck and mumbled something as Frank's two associates led Frank down to the hole under the watchful eye of the Captain's Moorish overseer. Ellison waited until all four men were out of hearing range and then took Blair's chin in his hand. He paused until the young man's blue eyes met his own and said quietly, "I am sorry if I frightened you, Blair. You must know this was all an act, and . . . ."
But Ellison was taken by surprise at the sound of Blair's gentle laughter. "Ah, captain, it's not that I'm not grateful for your interceding on my behalf, but . . . ."
"But what, Blair?"
"I was rather hoping you might still be willing to . . . um . . . teach me the penalty for disobedience."
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