Friday, June 5, 2015

139 - Life gone Catawupus

Captain Kupepah checked his chronometer, tapped it to make sure it wasn’t stuck, glanced down to where four carrons were being checked and gun-seed powder being carefully loaded below. “Suh, Cap’n Aymberkromy signallin’,” the First Lieutenant said “Loaded ‘n ready, suh!”

Technically Fehinna didn’t have a large navy, their schooners ostensibly heavily armed merchanters, but this didn’t stop ‘former’ military officers from becoming ‘independent ship owners’.  The backers behind this sudden flood of slaves were the God-King’s High Priest and his war-like faction of priests and merchants.  The market had been booming this past several years and even if the preferred slaves from this benighted coast were the darker skinned ones for fieldwork, the candle-wax coloured blondies -- Fessas Arkans -- tended to be trained in all kinds of things the Priests were interested in; and ‘Haians’, even though they were real-people coloured.

“Let us hope that Aymberkromy is correct and not jumping the gun,” Kupepah said.  “These people have the bad taste to fight back when they're so naturally made to be slaves.  First, we’re gonna catch that unholy chase-ship of theirs and blow it out of the water.  If’n we cain’t do that with a dozen broad-sides betwixt us, then life has gone truly catawupus!”

“Yassuh, I reckon.”

“Get that last pallet fixed and we’re ready to spring our trap."

"Trap, Suh?"

The Cap'n smiled.  "Their line is slow, bein’ mostly them five-banked rowers ‘n rammers. We’ll be out t’ sea, when they come in… an’ they’re gonna.”

The First nodded encouragingly to his Captain. “When they fightin’ here with Cap’n Buonson, rooked in till the powder blows n’ sends a dozen t’ the bottom…” he grinned.  “We run like stripe-assed apes n’ draw out that damn hella-ship.”

“We get her twixt us… she fast by all report, straight-run, Suh.”

“And is probably a wallowing pig otherwise, so we’ll be more nimble on our feet and alternate rake hella out of her.”

“Sink her down and sail over her bits,” the First Lieutenant said, smugly.  “Ready tah go in a tick, Cap’n!”

“Carry on, First.”


“Admiral?” Minisalas looked up from his pens and compasses, as the Admiral sat, going over his battle plan one last time for the fourth baracoon.  It was a port with a sand-bar sheltering it and a fresh-water stream falling out of the rugged cliffs behind.

Admiral Inisen set his cup down. “Yes, Rikam?”

“I’ve been having nightmares about this gun-seed powder the Fehinnans have.  I haven’t seen how they could do it, but I can’t help thinking that if they could get a barrel of this under a ship they could blow a hole in her hull big enough to break her in half.”

Inisen stared at his inventor.  “Truly?  Hmmm. Well, we saw that building fly into the air and how big a hole that was blown into the ground…”

“Maybe we should be more careful of just going into their ports? I know I’m not a solas, but I can think of a dozen engines that they could build right quick that could kill a ship…”

“No, no. Good man!  Excellent!  Page!  Send over to the Eagle’s Talon and ask General Pasen to step over to consult? Page! Ask our Captain to signal ‘Slow! And ‘Captain’s conference’ two beads from now!”

Minisalas ducked his head and pulled out a clean sheet, clamped it to his desk and set his straight-edge along the bottom.  

“Yes, Admiral! Aye, Ser!” The pages ran off and he set his tongue between his teeth, hissing and whispering to himself, clattering pens and pencils between his fingers as he thought.  “Ship-killers… hmmm.”

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