Part the One Hundred Ninetieth: Desperate Measures
Hope’s first thought, as the Spaniard held her arms at her sides and hoisted her a foot above the deck, was that if he wanted to do anything to her, he’d have to wait until the Gale fell to the galleon’s crew swarming over the deck.
The look in his eyes, however, made her question if he was patient enough to wait for that…
With furious abandon, she kicked him, hoping for something to happen to spare her, something-
The sound like a pummeled wine skin and the bulging of the Spaniard’s eyes gave Hope enough presence of mind to ready herself to drop to the deck. Her feet touched planking as her foe dropped to his knees, both hands over his nethers.
She brought up her foot and with a kick pushed him down and away. She backed up behind Charity again, who acknowledged her with a forced shriek.
In concert, the two women spun around, keeping their backs to each other. Hope’s halves of the rammer were like drumsticks in each hand, giving any Spaniard that got too close welts and bruises, while Charity’s blade left them with gashes.
“Estas perras son malas!” declared a Spaniard to one of his shipmates.
“Debemos castigadles!” said his compañero before the two of them rocked back on their heels, readying to lunge at them.
“This could get ugly,” said Hope.
“It’s not yet?” Charity replied-
Hope felt the explosion push her hair back, though the deck was not rocked by it. She saw the ear of the first Spaniard flicked off his head before she noticed the cloud rising behind him.
There was a wave of confusion as all combatants stopped to look around to figure out what had happened. The only people moving were Abigail, Goddard and Mesnil, rising from below the hatch to hurl grenades with short fuses at clumps of Spaniards on the deck.
Three more explosions sent shrapnel and confusion into the boarders. The Gale’s crew took advantage of the distraction to gather and form lines. Hope and Charity went to Soubise’s side to be part of the push.
Before the Spaniards could tighten their own ranks as well, another report rattled the deck. Parts of five Spaniards ran over the boarders, followed by chaos and confusion.
Hope looked up to see Osei over the swivel gun, mounted forward of the quarterdeck. He barely gave the gun time to allow the smoke to clear out of the barrel before he tilted her up to ready another round of grape.
“HAVE AT THE BASTARDS!” Abigail cried as she leapt from the hatch, sword drawn, edging on the crew.
The crew responded as one with a shared cry as they surged forth. Hope used her clubs to pummel three of the boarders as they fled the fury of the Gale.
Most of the Spaniards fell over the side between the ships in their panic, to be either crushed or drowned between them. The reduced numbers finding their way back to the galleon were pursued by their former prey, who soon overwhelmed them.
Just as Hope reached the foot of the gangway, a cheer rose as the Spaniards struck their colors.
Hope voice rose to join the cheer as she savored her victory, her finest yet…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan