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An Old Pirate's Party [Pirates II]

This is for the civilized life category. And I know that bit mentions a recent return to the civilized life but this is a pirate who's been living it for a while. I still think it works. Just something light and fun for me to write out before the next chapter of Spellslinger. Enjoy!
Stories
Isaac looked up into the sky of his home and wondered why it was he bothered coming to parties anymore. They’d lost their thrill and fun years ago. But at the very least it gave him a reason to venture forth from his mansion. He gazed up at the night sky from the veranda of… some lord’s estate. He had forgotten who owned the place. While the parties might have grown old and dull to him the night sky still had the same beauty. Orbiting a somewhat distant blue purple gas giant known as Jauvive that had trapped a ring of ice rocks the moon of Tortova had a wonderful view. It was just nearing the point where the sun had set, but Jauvive still kept the sky relatively light and one could see the glimmer of the ice in orbit.
But Tortova wasn’t just known for it’s beautiful sky. It was much better known for its perfect position in the system to reach many important trade routes, and being just one of dozens of moons around Jauvive that provided all sorts of safe havens and hidden ports for entrepreneurial ship captains. Or rather it used to. Isaac sighed as he thought of how things had changed. Now there was a full time naval presence in the area. The moons were all mapped and charted. The lanes were patrolled and guided. The golden age of adventure was dead. And most of his old friends with it.
Isaac had gotten out at the top but he couldn’t help but feel like he should have just gone out in a blaze of glory instead of… fading away in dull parties for dull people. As he set his hand on the hilt of his sword he smirked at the thought that hardly anyone even brought blades to parties anymore. When was the last time he’d been in a duel over the love of a woman? Or the insult of a spilled drink? When was the last time he’d even seen a duel? He shook his head slowly and kept watching the ice rings above him. Maybe he’d go home early and pass out drinking one of those old bottles of Space Kraken Rum he had. But before he could leave he heard someone speak up to his side.
“Uhm… Excuse me.” He turned then and looked over, and then down. Before him was a Cauchon girl, perhaps twelve or thirteen. They made him think of a cross between a cat and a bird. They had triangular ears atop their head, cat like eyes, and mostly a fine coat of fur, but their tails were bright colorful plumes like that of a bird and they had wing like webbing that ran under their arms. Though they couldn’t fly he’d seen them glide. His firstmate for most of his illustrious career had been one. But these days so many of them hide away their tails and wings under fancy clothes that fit in better with the aristocracy of Tortova. Such as this one in a fancy pink dress that probably made her look twice as big as she really was. She didn’t look comfortable in it either.
“What can I do for you child?” He asked and then took his hat off with a flourish as he bowed before her. “Captain Isaac De Nullepart at your service. Imperial Navy. Retired.” He winked at her as her eyes seemed to light up like he hadn’t seen in so very long.
“Aren’t you… uhm…” She fidgeted with her fingers as she stammered a little. “Aren’t you Captain Nowhere? Ghost of Jauvive?” When she asked that he grinned wide, many of his holoteeth glimmering in the dim light. They were considered gaudy and passe these days by most of the high class but they’d been all the rage in his prime.
He pressed a finger to his lips then and made a soft shhh. “Don’t tell anyone. They all think I was just some old icy void dog. But you’ve got a good eye to you.” He grinned at her once more.
“Did you really lose your arm to a giant crag snapper?” She asked and he chuckled as he held out his left hand letting her see his synthetic fingers.
“Just the fingers. The bastard tried to eat the my favorite navigator! Couldn’t allow that now could I?” He teased. She was looking up at him with a mixture of awe and wonder that he hadn’t seen in… how long had it been? He looked at her and then out over Lord Whatshisface’s personal garden over the back of his estate and waved out over it. “I once dueled Baron Ventenia out here you know. Back when he owned this place.”
“Just before you cut out his eye and stole his wife!” She finished for him which made him chuckle.
“She wasn’t his wife, and since no one belongs to anyone but themselves I didn’t steal her from anyone.” He corrected.
“Which is why you destroyed the Royal Bank’s Debt Holder’s Office on Porosau! And then slipped between the rings to make your escape when they called the whole fleet after you!” As she rattled off some of his past work he could only chuckle and grin once more.
“Allegedly my dear. Allegedly. After all what pirate would destroy so much money rather than steal it for himself?” He asked.
“B-because everyone can be from nowhere. Everyone can start life new! All they need do is join your crew!” He smirked as she used his old slogan to get more crewmembers when he was in port. “You were born a bastard and… oh. I’m sorry.” She realized what she’d said and he just laughed.
“No no. Quite right. A born bastard and a living bastard according to my enemies.” He teased. “I was cast out by my father-”
“And then dedicated your life to bringing him down and claiming his noble title as your own culminating in the infamous raid on the governor’s palace! Where you killed your evil brother and father and stole the title for yourself shortly before the equally famous Twilight Invasion of the Imperial Navy which many claimed you planned and guided! All the other captains were involved! Captain Dreadbot! Bloodblade Robert! Ironhide Irvek! Madame Lerau!” As she began to list off some of his old friends his smile slowly faded.
How many of them he’d lost. He’d negotiated a deal with the Imperials, trading treasure for title and gotten out of the game. But the others… well most of them hadn’t made the same sort of plans. They didn’t understand how different it would be when the Imperials invaded. Then the system was filled with standing navies and the increase of importance to the various nations involved meant pirates were getting pushed out. Used to be lone merchantmen fat with treasure from the Anzarin crusades, or even gold and silver from the mines of Platanuva.
Then they were coming in convoys. Then armed convoys. Then they didn’t need to stop to refuel or discharge around the gas giants as much, and all the safe routes through the moons were charted. The treasure fleets stopped, the gold and silver started being processed locally, and now the shipments were more about grain and ore than anything a pirate could easily use. For a brief wonderful period Isaac had been the right person, in the right place, doing what only he could have achieved. And now it was over. Never to return. “Captain Nowhere?” He returned to reality as she spoke and focused on her once more. She looked up at him with a worried expression. How long had he been standing there silent?
“My best friend for decades as Cauchon you know.” He said as he tried to figure out what to say to the girl.
“Rainbow Rick. He… I think he was my great uncle. But… my family doesn’t really want me asking about that sort of thing. They say it’s not polite anymore.” He laughed as she mentioned that and gave her a more focused look. “Is it true that Baron Ventenia hid jewelled flowers around his garden for both lovers and victims of his?” She asked and Isaac smiled once more.
“Now there was a son of a bitch with a sense of style. He insisted his ship had this incredibly intricate gold rose etched into the bow. I stole it. Twice. But yes… I’m sure there are still a few of those flowers out there.” He waved at the garden and the hedge maze in the distance. “Want to go find one?” He asked. She brightened up for a moment and then looked suddenly worried, her ears twitching about as she looked to either side and wrung her hands.
“I’m… I’m not supposed to leave the veranda… It’ll ruin my dress. It’s very expensive.” She said and Isaac looked around for a moment before picking up his rum and Tunac juice before splashing the drink all over the front of her dress. The green juice staining the pink fabric immediately as she gasped out.
“There. Dress is ruined. Let's go have an adventure.” He grinned at her and after a moment she nodded and turned around.
“Could you just grab that big string and pull?” She asked pointing to a knot that held the dress in place. He arched a brow but reached out and tugged, and as it came free she tucked her arms into the dress letting it fall to the ground as she revealed beneath it a small spacer suit like so many pirates wore in his day. He laughed at the site of the young girl wearing an oil stained greasy outfit like that but he noticed the bright rainbow plumes of her tail and as she stretched her arms out he could see she’d modified the sides of the suit to allow her wings room, her feathers shimmering in the light making an unmistakably familiar pattern to him.
“You’ve just got to be related to Rick.” He muttered and when she turned around she smiled up at him and saluted.
“Sophila Nul Jipa Rochelle reporting for duty Cap’n!” He took a moment to salute her back.
“Welcome aboard Rainbow Rochelle. Let’s find some treasure!” He turned and jumped over the edge of the veranda then waiting for her to quickly hop over and follow him as he rushed towards the garden in the distance feeling an energy he hadn’t experience in years. Possibly decades. As they got near the maze he stopped short. “Hold on First mate! I hear there are dangerous animals in these parts! They’ll tear you apart if you’re not careful!” He looked around then and pointed as he finally saw who he was looking for.
“There!” He whistled out and watched as the golden brown dog looked up, from his place in a fancy doghouse. Isaac couldn’t remember the lord’s name that owned this place now but he did remember his dog. “Look out! The vicious beast approaches!” Chance came running over then, excited at the sudden company. He jumped around a bit but didn’t try to climb on either of them, though he did lean up to lick at the girl’s face.
“Cap’n the beast has a taste for my flesh! What do we do?!” She gasped out as Isaac quickly picked up a stick.
“Never fear first mate! We’ll draw it away with this! The bane of terrible beasts everywhere!” He wagged the stick in the air for a moment to get the dog’s attention and then tossed it out into the garden. As Chance went running Isaac winked at Rochelle. “Now let's hide. It’ll confuse him something terrible.” She was laughing as they dashed into the maze then. Soon they’d found one of the old jeweled flowers and he’d broken it off at the base to give to her. They’d played around with the dangerous guard beast for a bit and then headed around the estate to the kitchen. It was time for him to show her a small taste of piracy.
The servants inside jumped as Isaac kicked the door open and stepped in waving his electrosaber around in one hand and his plasma pistol in the other. “Yarrr! I’m Captain Nowhere and we’re here for the loot!”
“Yeah! We’re here for all the ice cream!” His new first mate called out as she waved a stick at them. As they stormed the kitchen Isaac made sure to press a Gold Bitcoin into the hand of each of the servants as he passed, waving about his sword and shouting a bit but not doing more than that as his partner in crime grabbed several cartons of ice cream from the freezer. As they retreated with their illgotten gains he snagged a bottle of rum as well and then bowed before the surprised and shocked staff.
“Don’t forget yer run in with the nefarious Captain Nowhere! Best be off about your lives thankin whatever ye believe in that I left ye all in one piece!” He bellowed with a laugh but then left a pouch of more Golden Bitcoins in the hand of the nearest waiter. “Spread em around. Twas all in good fun.”
He then joined his newfound crew outside on a bench in the garden. She had opened all the cartons and seemed to have tried all of them once or twice, and possibly had stuck her face into one of them based on how much was smeared around her muzzle. He chuckled at the sight and pulled the top off the bottle of rum with his teeth and took a swig. “Can I have some?” She asked, pointing at his bottle. He looked at it for a moment and then grinned, his holoteeth once more gleaming in the dark.
“Sure. But it’s a might bit strong.” He cautioned. She took it in both hands and slowly tilted it up, he doubted she got more than a taste of it before she pulled it away, coughing and sputtering. He laughed and patted her on the back with one hand, taking the bottle back with the other.
“It’s… good…” She whispered unconvincingly as she coughed and blinked away tears.
“Ah that it is.” He smiled and then took up one of the spoons she’d stolen to get a scoop of ice cream for himself. “Aaahhh chocolate and cinnamon with a hint of orange. One of my favorites. Used to be a time when it was damned hard to get any of those things. I remember stabbing a man for my very first banana.”
“I wanna be like you when I grow up. I wanna be a pirate.” Rochelle said but then Isaac frowned and shook his head.
“No you don’t. You might want to be like me in a way but not a pirate. Those days are over. And even when those days were still around it isn’t the life you think it was. See all my teeth?” He waved a hand at his holosmile. “There weren’t any dentist pirates. The old void rations were so hard we’d chip our teeth on them, or they might get rotten out by ivory worms. You have any idea what it’s like to feel a worm wriggling around in your gums?” He asked and saw her disgusted expression. “It’s not pleasant.”
“Well… but I mean what about all the adventure?” She asked.
“It was dangerous! You know why I made sure to make the people love me? Why I spent so much time killing tax collectors and destroying debt holders? Because I needed to keep recruiting new desperate idiots! I had hundreds of crew die under my command. Boarding ships, raiding ports? Deadly deadly work. To say nothing of the pirate hunters.” He shook his head then at some old memories and ran a hand along his right knee as it twinged from an old wound.
“Well you didn’t have anyone telling you what to do.” She insisted and he laughed.
“I did before I was captain. I worked my way up you know. Scrubbing decks, painting the hull, cleaning the weapons. Then I was firing the weapons and terrified every second of every battle. I obeyed orders until one day our captain died and for some reason everyone looked at me. That was more terrifying than any battle. All these people who elected me as captain? Like I had all the answers? How did that happen? And that freedom you likely think about? It comes with having no family. No connections. I’m guessing you don’t like being told to wear stuffy dresses and come to boring parties?”
“I hate them.” She agreed with a nod.
“Well, it’s likely cause your parents love you and think it’s in your best interest. I have no idea what your parents are like but let me tell you this. Cherish their love. Hug them often. Spend time with them. Do what you have to for now, but turn your situation to your advantage. Don’t try to rebel and run off. That will make them try to cling tighter. Make deals. See if they can teach you how to sail, or take you to museums where you can learn. The age of piracy is dead.” He sighed and shook his head. “As are most of my oldest dearest friends. Let an old pirate give you some advice. Try to make your excitement legally. You like adventure and exploration right? Well do you know how many old ruins dot these moons? How many wrecks need to be explored around this system?” He waved his hand at the sky.
“Lots?” She asked.
“Lots.” He agreed. “Get educated. Explore the old ruins in the name of preserving history. Start your own museum. Make your own path to adventure. Figure out your strength. Because you are strong. Strong in a way so few people are. You might not have the raw strength like Ironhide, or the speed of Captain Dreadbot, but I’m sure you’ve got something. But don’t hate the people around you who trade safety and comfort for excitement and adventure. Some people aren’t as brave as you or I.” He winked and ruffled up her hair.
“I just don’t like being told what to do all the time. And they never let me just… go run around and have fun.” She insisted.
“Guess what? You’re a child. It’s going to happen. Learn to live with it for now. Bide your time. Like I said make deals with them. Be smart about it. Use the opportunity given to you by being born into a nice family that can attend boring yet fancy parties like this. Because let me tell you, being born a bastard is not nearly as fun as the stories and legends make it sound. You still have your flower?” He asked and she nodded, pulling the small silver and white gold flower from a pocket. Isaac had no idea if it was supposed to symbolize one of the old baron’s victims or lovers but really it didn’t matter.
“Should I put it back?” She asked and he shook his head.
“Keep it. Proof that if only for a night you were a part of Captain Nowhere’s crew.” He stood up then and set the bottle of rum back down on the bench. “Now come on. Let’s see if they’ve started sending out search parties for you.”
She sighed and set down her carton of ice cream as she got up to follow him back to the veranda of the estate. As they got close they could see a crowd assembled at the center of the veranda and he called out as he approached. “Looking for this one?”
“There you are! We were worried sick! You ruined your dress! And what’s all this!” A concerned Cauchon woman dashed forward and had already pulled a cloth from… well he wasn’t sure where she’d kept it in her dress but she was using it to clean the ice cream smudges from the girl’s mouth. “You’re in big trouble young lady!”
“I know…” Rocehlle accepted with a sigh.
“Now now, it wasn’t her idea. It was all mine. I take the blame. I accidentally spilled drink on her dress and thought it would be fun to show her the old garden. Don’t be too hard on her.” Isaac insisted. But he watched a man in a particularly fancy set of clothes push his way out through the crowd.
“Captain De Nullepart this behavior is unacceptable! I kept you on the guest list all these years out of respect for your position in this society’s history but this is just too much!” Isaac rolled his eyes as he looked at the clean shaven lord before him. His hair perfectly manicured, his hands soft and untested, his clothes not even ruffled.
“Now now, I am here to apologize. We had a bit of fun is all. No one got hurt.” He insisted.
“That changes nothing! I’m not sure I’ll ever let you onto my estate again!” When the lord said that Isaac just smirked and in a flash the crowd backed up with a gasp, his electroblade extended out, the point pressed against the lord’s throat. His eyes wide with fear as he could hear the soft hum of the blade as Isaac rubbed his thumb over the button to charge it.
“Kid. You don’t let me do anything. I do what I feel like. I’ve likely killed more men than you’ve ever met in your life. Are you strong?” He asked then and the lord frowned, looking confused.
“Am I…”
“Strong.” Isaac repeated. “Do you have any idea if you’re strong?”
“I… I don’t know how much I can lift…” The lord stammered out.
“Not physically! With those little twigs you call arms I can see you’re not some muscular giant. But it doesn’t matter because if someone asks you if you’re strong and you don’t immediately reply yes then the answer is no. You’re not. Because you’ve never had any reason to find out. You’ve never tested yourself. Well I have. And this little one here is a fraction of your age and she already knows she’s strong.” He waved at Rochelle. “Civilization is a gilded cage. A gilded cage where most of us agree to live. But you forget the door to the cage isn’t locked. It’s just difficult to open and close. But some of us are strong enough to open it and close it. To come and go as we please. Because it’s nice in this gilded cage isn’t it? It’s safe, and comfortable, and luxurious. But do you know what?” His question hung in the air for a few seconds before the crowd of worried aristocracy.
“What?” The lord finally asked.
“The cage will only be shaped by the people with the strength to bend the bars. And most of the time the people who want to leave that cage? They don’t hate the bars. They don’t hate the safety. They hate the people they share it with.” He pulled his blade away then and the lord gasped, rubbing his throat as Isaac sheathed his sword. But he pulled his trusty electrodagger from his boot and handed it to the Cauchon he figured was Rochelle’s mother. “Her strength isn’t in being a prim and proper wife to some lord. Help her find her strength and you’ll help her find her happiness.”
With that he rubbed the tip of his white beard and then removed his hat with a flourish, bowing before them all. “Now if you’ll all excuse me I’m going to go get drunk… and find out if Madame Lerau is still alive. I’d almost forgotten that being a true pirate is only partly about looting. It’s also about doing what I damn well please. So to hell with these boring parties anyway.” As he walked away from the stunned crowd he grabbed a waiter by the arm. “Tell all the servants, maids, waiters, cooks, chalets, valets, butlers, and people like that. I’m having a party at my estate. My treat. And we’re going to drink until none of us can walk. Is that busty wench really Miss Scarlet! I haven’t seen you since that night in Baron Ventenia’s bath house!”
He let go of the waiter before grabbing a nearby white haired housekeeper close as he tilted her back and kissed her before spinning her around as if dancing with her. He kissed her hand once she was back on her feet and winked. “Never looked better my dear.” He left her to blush and straighten out her uniform as he headed to the door, no one daring stop him. “Damn it’s good to be a pirate.”
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