Part the Two Hundred Ninetieth: The Plan Is Revealed
“We need to be quick about it,” Hope said to the crew of the Black Swallow, who now gave her their full attention, “for time is short.”
“What are you saying?” Mason asked.
“What we have to do,” Hope continued as she stared to stern at her pursuers, “must be done before the Casa gets out of the bay. If she gets to open water, she’ll be less vulnerable than she is now. It will also guarantee our success if she cannot respond as quickly to us.”
“But how are we going to stop her? Didn’t you hear Mr. Jukes say that we’d need a much bigger gun to use all our powder?”
“I did hear him say that. And I also hear him say, as well, that all of our powder stands a good chance of sending the Casa to the bottom. And that, right there, is the more important fact.”
“So where are we going to get the gun for that shot?” Mason asked.
“We don’t need it. All we need is the shot, which we have. One shot, which in one great burst should send her to the bottom, or at least dissuade her from following us.”
“I don’t follow. How would we deliver this shot without a gun? You can’t possibly mean just dumping all the powder overboard and lighting it as it flew in the wind, could you?”
“Tell me,” Hope asked Jukes, “would that be able to contain the powder properly if packed with enough care?” pointing to the jib with a hole shot in it.
“I don’t see the point of that question-” Mason started to say.
“But I think I do,” said Jukes, his eyes widening with realization. “It should pack it all in tight enough that with a spark, it would all go off at once.”
“You’re not- She’s not suggesting our ship be alit to explode, is she?”
“Don’t be silly, man,” said Jukes, who then asked Hope, “You’re not being silly, are you?”
“Of course I would not suggest sacrificing the ship,” she replied. “I mean to use the launch to deliver the fatal blow.”
“Of course, yes. We use the launch, which should hold all our powder, and with the sail to pack it in would make an effective shell.”
“Leaving us with nothing to fire our guns with should we run have a hostile encounter,” noted Redhanded Jack.
“A minor worry compared to having the Casa continually following us,” said Hope. “And one we can avoid if we keep our heads upon our shoulders.”
“Skeptical as I was before this as to our chances,” said Jukes, “I feel our fortunes are now looking up.”
“I have a question,” said Mullins. “How will you set off this bomb?”
“I’m assuming some sort of fuse,” said Jukes. “Something that would burn as the launch drifted close enough to cause the damage.”
“And how do we make sure that the launch will get close enough to damage the Casa before it explodes?”
At that, all eyes turned to Hope, who took a deep breath before she said what needed to be said, as terrible as it was…
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