NationStates Jolt Archive

Dishonorable Scum of the Caribbean

27-11-2003, 00:26
The Dishonorable Scum Archives
Episode Two: Dishonorable Scum of the Caribbean

Isle of Tortuga, the Caribbean
The Age of Piracy
Wednesday Evening

The Isle of Tortuga was famous for two things: pirates, and cheap taverns. Historians have speculated that these two facts are not coincidental, since pirates are known to like cheap taverns. However, the question inevitably degenerates into a heated argument, with much broken furniture and angered shouts of "Correlation does not imply causation, you fool!" But that is of little relevance to this tale.

What is relevant is the fact that, on an island known for cheap taverns, the Blind Parrot was the cheapest. It was the cheapest because is served the worst rum. Only pirates who were truly down on their luck and in search of the least expensive path to drunken oblivion would drink the swill that the Blind Parrot served.

In the interests of taste, we will not speak of the women who served the rum at the Blind Parrot, other than to say that most of them at least made an effort to wash and trim their beards daily.

In any event, our tale begins one Wednesday evening towards the end of the Age of Piracy, when an extremely strange man walked into the Blind Parrot. He was more than seven feet tall, and completely bald, with orange skin and pointed ears. He was dressed head to toe in black. His fingernails were black, and appeared to be more like claws than ordinary nails. When he smiled, he revealed a mouth full of wicked-looking pointed teeth.

Now, while the clientele of the Blind Parrot was used to peculiar characters, this one was far more peculiar than most. While the stranger appeared to be unarmed, the few men in the room who were not unconscious edged out of his way. As he looked around the room, scanning the face of each man in it, most of them decided that they had urgent business in Jamaica, and left in a hurry.

The demonic-looking man shrugged his shoulders, and approached the bartender. They looked each other over, and each of them privately thought that the other was without doubt the ugliest man on Tortuga.

Finally the tall stranger spoke. "I'm looking for the Dread Pirate Roberts," he said, in a voice that sounded like the wind blowing across a field of razor blades.

"Over there, in the corner," the bartender said, in a voice that sounded like an incredibly sexy woman whispering erotic suggestions to her lover.

The tall stranger blinked, and examined the bartender more closely. What his eyes told him was, without doubt, "ugly man", but his ears kept insisting on "sexy woman".

After a moment's consideration, he decided that it was irrelevant. He had seen stranger things, after all. "But Ishmael really ought to get a look at this man. Woman. Whatever," he thought to himself.

Then he turned his attention to the pirate in the corner. He was dressed in black from head to toe, with a mask covering his face, and had long curly black hair and a black moustache. He wore an ornate rapier on one hip. And he was lying with his head in a pool of spilled rum on the table.

"That's the Dread Pirate Roberts?" he asked, incredulous.

The bartender nodded. "That's him, all right," he (she?) said. "Well, a Dread Pirate Roberts, anyway. We get a lot of them around here."

The tall stranger shrugged. "Well, if he's the one..." he muttered, and walked over to the corner table. "Wake up," he hissed, and banged his fist on the table.

The alleged Roberts slowly raised his head from the table. "Hello", he said, in a slurred, vaguely Spanish accent. "I am the Dread Pirate Roberts. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

"Aren't you getting your lines mixed up?" the tall stranger asked.

"Oh, right, I already killed the man who killed my father, so that cannot be you," Roberts conceded, swaying drunkenly in his seat. "It was something else, then. What was it you did that I have to kill you for?"

"You are the captain of the pirate ship Revenge, are you not?" asked the tall man.

"Right, that was it! I remember now," Roberts announced. "You stole my ship! Prepare to die!"

"No, I didn't steal your ship," the tall man replied.

Roberts then looked more closely at the man he was speaking with, making an effort to focus his eyes. He tilted his head back, and then back further, as he raised his eyes to look the stranger in the face.

"No, it was not you," Roberts finally admitted. "I would have remembered if it was you. It was some other man who stole my ship. Someone shorter, and not so orange."

"I know who it was who stole your ship," the stranger said. "He stole something that belonged to me, too."

"What? He took something from you too? What a scoundrel this fellow is! Let me at him!" Roberts shouted, rising unsteadily to his feet and drawing his sword.

"Sit down, Roberts," the tall stranger ordered. "And sober up," he continued, snapping his fingers.

Suddenly Roberts blinked, and stopped swaying. His expression slowly changed from one of drunken rage to one of hung-over pain. "Oh, my head," he moaned. "What you do to me? Who are you, anyway? And what do you want with me?"

"My name is Igor," the tall man told him. "And, seeing as how we are both after the same man, I have a proposition for you."

"You know who this dishonorable scoundrel was who stole my ship?" Roberts asked.

"He's dishonorable scum," Igor corrected. "And while he may have stolen a ship from you, he stole an entire nation from me."

"An entire nation?" Roberts repeated, sounding impressed. "You have to admit, this dishonorable man, he does not think small."

"Have you ever heard of the Rogue Nation of Dishonorable Scum?" Igor suddenly asked.

"Well, I have heard the stories, of course," Roberts said. "Who has not? It is supposed to be on an island somewhere near the Bahamas, and ruled by a man who was so vile and evil that Hell itself would not take him. But it is just a story."

"It is not just a story," Igor countered. "It is a real place. And it rightfully belongs to me. It was granted to me by Torquemada himself, the Chief Injustice of Hell. But this man, who calls himself the Unspeakable One, stole it from me and moved it out of Hell."

Roberts looked over Igor, and then nodded. "Yes, you look like you might know something about Hell, at that. So, you say this man, this Unspeakable One, is the same man who stole my ship?"

"Since his nation is now an island, he needed a navy," Igor explained. "So he thought he would start with your ship. A black galleon, named Revenge, seemed like the perfect flagship for his fleet."

Roberts nodded again. "So, what is it that you propose, then?"

"That we work together," Igor said. "You help me get back my nation, I help you get back your ship."

Roberts looked thoughtful, nodding his head slowly. "That sounds like a fair deal to me," he said.

"Roberts," Igor said, his face spreading into a grin that revealed his razor-sharp fangs, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

To be continued...

The Dishonorable Scum Archives
Episode One: The Rogue Nation of Dishonorable Scum Goes to Hell (
27-11-2003, 01:46
"There is, of course, one problem," Roberts told Igor.

"And that is?" Igor asked.

"Well, you see, in order to get you your nation back, we need my ship," Roberts explained. "But in order to get my ship back, we need a ship. Which is what we don't have. To get a ship, first we have to have a ship. You see the problem?"

"And just why do we need a ship?"

Roberts laughed. "We're not going to get very far just sitting here on this island. How did you get here yourself, anyway?"

"Me? I flew," Igor said, and spread his black, leathery wings.

Roberts stared. He had thought the wings were a long black cape, until Igor spread them. "You... flew," he whispered. "Well, that's interesting. But I can't fly. I need a ship."

"I see," Igor replied. "But there are plenty of ships in the harbor here. Why not just take one of them?"

"But... those are pirate ships," Roberts protested.

"And a pirate ship is exactly what we need, isn't it?" Igor asked rhetorically.

"But that would be stealing," Roberts said.

Igor frowned. "Are you a pirate or aren't you?"

"I cannot steal from another pirate. It just isn't done," he explained. "Besides, I cannot sail the ship by myself. I need a crew. And no self-respecting pirate would serve aboard a ship I stole from another pirate."

"Well, can't you just find a few non-self-respecting pirates then?"

Roberts rolled his eyes. "They would mutiny at the first opportunity. I need a crew I can trust."

Igor sighed. "Well, if that's the way it is... Come with me," he commanded, and strode out of the Blind Parrot into the streets of Tortuga.

"Where are we going?" Roberts called out as he hurried to catch up with Igor.

"To the docks," Igor said. "I'll just have to have Ishmael send us a ship."

"Who's Ishmael?" Roberts askec.

"An imp, and the best damned animation technician in Hell," Igor explained.

Roberts turned that one over in his mind a few times before deciding he didn't want any more explanations.

When they reached the Tortuga harbor, Roberts saw that a dense fog was rolling in from the open sea, propelled by a stiff, cold breeze. The pirate shook his head. After so many years at sea, he knew that fog was impossible in such weather conditions, and yet, there it was. The wind was cold as the grave, and carried an odor of decay on it.

Then he saw a ship emerge from the fog bank. It was a large galleon of a style that the Spanish had favored in the previous century for treasure ships. Its sails were black and tattered – in fact, they were more holes than canvas, and should not have been able to hold enough wind to move the great ship along. Shadowy shapes moved across the deck, turning the ship smoothly about without a sound. The unnaturally quiet ship sailed up to the dock where Igor and Roberts stood, and unseen hands tossed a line to Roberts. He quickly tied the line to the dock, and then stared as a gangplank was let down over the side to the dock by equally unseen hands.

Igor did not hesitate, but strode up the gangplank onto the deck of the ship. Roberts quickly followed.

As he stepped onto the deck of the ship, he gasped. There were men on the deck, or at least the shapes of men. But they were no more than skeletons. They moved about as if they had muscles to move their bones, and seemed to know how to work the ship, but they were clearly not among the living.

"A ship of the dead," Roberts muttered. "That's very interesting indeed."

Then a high-pitched, nasally voice called out from the quarterdeck. "Ahoy there, Igor!"

"Ishmael!" Igor said with a maniacal cackle in his voice. "What are you doing here?"

"I thought it might be fun to get out of the office for a while," the voice replied. "Besides, somebody has to make sure this crew gets back to Hell. Inhuman Resources says they're just on loan, and they want them back when you're finished."

Roberts stared into the darkness of the quarterdeck. What he saw there was a vaguely manlike shape, but much smaller, no more than three feet in height. It had pointed ears, a huge, projecting nose, and claws on its hands and feet - which, he noticed, had six fingers and toes each.

"Who's the man in black? Too skinny to be Johnny Cash," the strange creature asked Igor.

"Him? He's the Dread Pirate Roberts," Igor said.

"Oh, please," the imp sneered.

"Well, I am," Roberts protested.

"Or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof," Igor said. "Come on, Ish, it's not like it really matters if he's the real one or not. What matters is, our old friend the Unspeakable One stole his ship."

"So what's he doing here then?" Ishmael asked.

"Somebody's got to command this ship," Igor explained.

"Well, why is he just standing there with his mouth open then?" Ishmael spat. "Hey, you! Pirate boy! Get the ship under way already! We've got deadlines to meet! The Devil's work waits for no man, and all that. Get cracking!"

"Er, yes, ahem," Roberts sputtered. And then, finding his equilibrium, he called out, "All hands, prepare to unmoor ship! We're getting under way!"

Much to his surprise, the walking skeletons on the deck moved quickly to obey his orders. Within minutes, the ship was moving away from the dock and towards the mouth of the harbor.

"Strange," Roberts said. "The wind shifts with the ship."

"Special effects," the imp explained. "I coded it so that the ship generates its own wind. Pretty cool, eh, Blackbeard?"

"Black moustache," Roberts corrected.

"Whatever," Ishmael said. "So, where are we going?"

Roberts turned to the skeleton at the ship's wheel. "Set course for the island of Dishonorable Scum."

The ghostly ship turned silently towards the northeast, and sped up slightly. Roberts smiled despite himself. He might have been in command of a ship of dead men, on a course for an island that didn't exist, working for a man who claimed to come from Hell itself – but he was at sea again. "Things could be worse," he whispered.

"You got that right, bucko," Ishmael sneered. "You haven't met the Unspeakable One yet."

To be continued...