Voyages of the St. Veronica Ch. 04bychksng19©
No sooner had I released the poppet from her bonds then it became needful to refasten her. Alarms called from above warned of sail hailing into view on the horizon: perhaps a simple rumrunner, perhaps a ship of the line.
"Fair Bitch, I must interrupt our pleasures. My duties call. I leave you here, safe in my cabin, bound for your own protection. Be assured that you enjoy the protection of my officers and crew, no matter the outcome, while still they breathe.
"I am relaxing the arm bindings so you might rest in my bed until I return. And I shall." Showing her the location of hardtack and water and bringing out a covered thundermug, I left her intoxicating presence.
On the foredeck, I joined Jorge and chased Edwards below to rouse the crew and prepare for battle. Jorge handed me the glass, and I noted he'd had the ship swung to put our approaching foe in the moon's radiance. Eyeing the craft, I noted her neither to be a Pirate Hunter nor a battle frigate but a Dutch merchantman carrying only two masts and riding low in the water. Shining lights belowdecks proved her to be carrying passengers as well as cargo: such a ship would be armed, but lightly, and unwilling to do heavy battle. The fat Dutch master of the craft would sooner lose his cargo than his life, ship, or crew. Our empty hold would carry much booty.... and perhaps a few "passengers" as well.
Aboard the Dutch trader, the skipper was indeed sailing without great care. Unwilling to pay the costs of an armed companion ship, he believed cover of darkness would protect him as he dashed with full sail between ports. His lookout in the crow's nest had warned of sail upwind, but the incoming darkness of a cloudbank sheathed the St. Veronica in darkness. Returning to the company of his passengers, he stopped for some ale before reassuring them of a false alarm.
"Feel no fear, good people! We shall arrive safely to our destination. Fiddler! A merry tune for our guests!" And so he proceeded the intervening hours of St. Veronica's approach. By the time the tendrils of dawn light brightened the sky, the merchantman had almost been overtaken by the swift pirate craft.
Edwards and the gunners had been adjusting the angles of the gun mountings, meanwhile, to elevate them. Knowing we were after cargo and slaves, the cannons were loaded with chain-shot; this designed to rip sail and rend rope rather than seriously damage or sink the target. The crew, too, had been prepared. Armed with grapples and boathooks, they readied themselves to board once the trader had stopped running.
At that moment, Jorge fired the signal gun, sending a warning shot across the bow of their prey. Sudden panic was seen aboard the Dutch ship, the poor excuse for a Captain attempting to flee at last. Our superior speed, however allowed us abeam his craft quickly, and the chains tore his sheets and rigging. Coming about, I ordered three more broadsides. These fairly stopped her, having broken one mast and decapitated the other. Her Master had crewmen waving white, and lowering her colors. The "Holland Miss" was ours.
In moments we had grappled her alongside and boarded. The passengers poured out on deck at the encouragement of my crewmen, and were gathered together.
First I checked the crewmen, and found the typical for such a craft. Mostly too old or too young for battle, they sailed the "Holland Miss" for wages only. Climbing on the hold-cover, I addressed them.
"Men of the 'Holland Miss', I commend you on your wise choice to surrender. Although you will need to patch sails and fix your rigging, you and your ship will arrive safely at your destination. Some of your passengers will not be so lucky, nor will all your cargo arrive intact. Follow the direction of my officers and crew to help offload to my ship, and you'll have a fine tale to share on stormy nights." Edwards and my Third, verHalen, had been below and informed me of a cargo of fine spice, sugar, and brasswork. They'd grabbed the ship's chest as well; nearly 400 pieces of gold would accompany our booty. I set them about their work, and proceeded to look over the passengers.
Jorge smiled as I approached him, a fine sign. "Eleven women of age, and nine of salable age, Captain. Another three serving girls. The rest we leave here: no reason to waste food." Always the practical one. Looking closely, I noted another girl in boy's clothing, and had him add her to our prizes.
Lastly, we took all her powder and shot, and retrieved what we could of our chain shot. Soon enough the work was done; the last barrel of powder aboard, the last bale of sugar stowed and bound. Moving the captives in irons to the St. Veronica, we ungrappled and soon left the freighter behind.
Wailing women filled my main deck, each bound lying on a cannon until the doctors could check them. One was found to be a plague carrier; she was put on a raft with water and shade, where the currents would carry her back from whence she came. The other dozen would be fine merchandise... and solve a problem I'd faced as well.
Piping all men on deck, I once again raised my voice to address my crew.
"Good seamen! You have once again proven your mettle, and helped enrich us all. Careful searching by your shipmates discovered 400 pieces of gold in addition to the fine cargo and slavegirls. But I have a problem, crewmates! I need your advice. Will you help me?"
The crew shouted "Aye!" as one man, as I knew they would.
"Men, we have always shared all booty fairly, as we agreed when we chartered the St. Veronica. Yet I find myself unwilling to share today. We met Bitch yesterday, and she yet hangs bound in my cabin. Thus I offer you this in trade, men. I lay no claim to my share of the gold, and free access to the dozen women we have taken today, in exchange for declaring Bitch my personal booty. How say you?"
While I got a look of disappointment from Jorge, he joined in the shouted "AYE!" my crew honored me with. I cheered the men for their spirit, and we all cheered again together. Circling the deck once again to inspect our lucky dozen maids, I squeezed a tit here and stuck a thumb in a cunt there. The most beautiful, a dusky maid, smooth of skin and fully figured, I offered to my First Officer to begin the round. He turned to grin at me, and uttered a favorite phrase: "I see profit in this for me!" Assisting him in untying her from the gun, I led the cheer as he carried her to his cabin belowdecks.
Climbing stairs to the poopdeck aft, I assisted the Navigator in setting course away from sealanes and towards our meeting place with the barque on the morrow. The men and I shared laughter at the wenches still cannon-bound: though their struggles were mighty, none would escape their fates tonight. One lusty fellow could wait no longer; he was on his knees by a comely wench, whispering in her ear.
"Portugee!" I cried, for so he was called. "What words do you use to charm the bonnie lass?"
Turning his head for only a minute, he answered, "I tell her, Captain, of the length of my sword! At first she laughs. Then I show her, and the eyes grow big with surprise and wonder. I tell her how I shall use it, and she swoons!"
The crew roared with laughter. Those close enough spread the legs of the wench, and show all her arousal. Portugee nods with approval, and roughly shoves his 'sword' home. Never one to move slowly, he soon pops his load and moans his pleasure.
I ventured below, moving towards the pleasure awaiting me. Almost a day lost in waiting!