Part 24

Part the Twenty Fourth: Hope Sees the Depths of Damnation

Hope Harvey swallowed as she continued to read the articles under which the Raging Gale sailed:

III.      The Captain and Quartermaster to receive two shares of prize: the sailing master and master gunner, one share and a half, and any other party with important duties one and a quarter share.

“And I would be considered a ‘party with important duties,’ then?” Hope asked.
“Aye,” Sanders replied.  “That ye would, as musician.”
Hope read on:
IV.      The man that first sees Sail on the horizon from a prize shall be entitled to an extra share from any treasure so seized from the action over and above those granted above.

“Over and above that granted as a musician?” Hope asked.

Sanders laughed.  “If ye can see a sail from deck before the lookout, ye may.  Just don’t be so emboldened that ye try to sing from up in the rigging.”

Hope looked up at the rigging and considered how much it would hurt to fall from the top of the yard arm onto the deck… 

V.      Every man shall be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes.  If they defrauded the crew of any common treasure to the value of a Peso in any form, that man shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.

VI.      Every man shall see the lights and candles put out at dusk, or shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.  If any man after that hour still remained inclined for drinking, he shall to do it on the open deck.

“And what kind of punishments are meted out?” asked Hope.

“Osei,” Sanders asked her quartermaster, “when did we make Haagen kiss the gunner’s daughter for that open candle?”

“Two months ago,” he replied, “right before he fell in sight of San Juan.”

Hope thought a moment about asking for details, but instead pressed on with reading the articles:

VII.      Every man shall keep his arms clean and fit for service, or shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.

“But I have no arms,” said Hope, not realizing until too late she said aloud something she hadn’t meant to.

“Then ye’ll be better at keeping them clean than the rest,” said Sanders with a laugh.

Hope continued:

VIII.      If any man were to desert his ship or quarters in battle, he shall be punished with marooning.

“Marooning?” asked Hope.

“It be where we leave a man at low tide on a sliver of land,” said Sanders, “with a pistol and a decent bit of rum.  He have enough time to think through whether he be doing himself in quickly, or to wait for the tide to rise and have the sea claim him.”

Hope considered fully how horrible such a fate would be; how having to hope for God’s mercy had so far been of little comfort, what ending up in such a place in the end would mean in those final horrible seconds…

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