March 15th, 2020

Rogue

The Gaps in the Map

   "But where's the chart of the area just east of here??" asked first mate John Blood gruffly, bracing himself against the chart table as the little brigantine the Streisand rolled in the large swells. The shadows of his face danced as the hanging lantern swung from its chain. The red tinted glass of the light cast everything in a surreal crimson glow.
   "Ahhr, don't you be worrying about that we're not going that a ways" responded Captain Greenbeard, whose name alluded to his somewhat mossy beard hygiene. He busied himself measuring distance on the chart with the brass dividers, walking the two points of the inverted V-shaped tool between the estimated location of their ship and an island north of them.
   "Yes but I see the other charts of the area but not that one. We do have it don't we?" growled the first mate
   "Yes, yes, don't capsize your coils over it." responded the captain. "Acklins Island should be just coming into sight at sunrise. Tell the boys on watch to keep a sharp eye out for it."
   John Blood continued to scrutinize the various islands indicated on the charts. The captain had laid out several charts to cover the area west, where some islands were indicated, and the chart they were just coming off south of their location, with the large island of Inagua they had just left, but he hadn't bothered to get out the chart just east of their purported destination. John pulled his thin scraggly dirty-blonde beard thoughtfully.
   Captain Greenbeard glared at him. "Just maintain a course of northwest by north till morning" he ordered. Blood nodded curtly and made his way back out to deck.
   Once Blood had left, Greenbeard leaned back in his chair. Blood's contempt was unmistakable. The fool didn't even try to hide it! He definitely must be confident he has the support of the majority of the crew for a mutiny, Greenbeard thought to himself. But they didn't know where he had hidden the treasure! Greenbeard chuckled a bit to himself.

   That old fool John blood thought to himself as he came out into the fresh night air on deck. A warm breeze pushed their little ship along under a sky full of stars. He scrutinized the current set of sails, and then told a nearby crewmember on watch to tighten the starboard foresheet. He's definitely buried the treasure on the section of chart he didn't have out he mused to himself as he made his way aft to the wheel. I'm pretty sure there's an island there...
   Standing beside the helmsman, he peered at the compass, which required some scrutiny to discern in the dim moonlight.
   "Just half a point to port Henry" he hissed at the helmsman, followed after about a minute "y'arr that's well." when he was satisfied with the course. Then he made his way to where a darkly dressed crewmember was barely visible leaning against the port shrouds.
   "Pssst hey Slim" he hissed while holding onto a shroud himself to brace against a roll
   "Y'arr John boy?" the sailor responded.
   "Do you think you could sneak into the main cabin and real sneaky like bring me a chart?"


   The next morning they sighted the island as the Captain had predicted, and they sailed into a broad cove the Captain knew of. John Blood had been wondering when the right time for his mutiny would be. He was not a stranger to bloody work but it could be messy, a lot of the crew were still loyal to him. So he couldn't believe his luck when the captain decided to go ashore himself with most of his most loyal crewmembers, to hunt some goats.
   The utter fool, he deserves what's coming to him! John Blood thought to himself as the longboat lowered away and started to pull to shore. He kept the crew at their usual tasks until the shore party beached their boat and disappeared into the foliage.
   He nodded to some of his most loyal supporters and then approached a curly haired crewmember:
   "Gary, get ye down to the forepeake to flake down the anchor cable"
   "We're bringing in the anchor already? But the captain--" the sailor began, but John Blood fixed him with such a salty stare that the man dutifully nodded and darted down below.
   Next he beckoned another crewmember over,
   "Knuckles, you and Fingers and Toes man the windlass to take in the anchor, but we're gonna do it real quiet like." He then designated two men to run aloft to loose the sails as soon as the anchor was away and took position at the bows where he could see the anchor cable descending into the clear Caribbean Sea. He was glad they had a thick hemp hawser for an anchor cable and not a chain, for exactly the reason of being able to raise it silently. He watched the expressions of those on deck as they realized what was happening. Some of those who weren't his loyal supporters looked shocked for a moment before realizing they were witnessing a fait accompli.

   As he had suspected, when he'd gotten his hands on the missing chart, though it wasn't clearly marked, he could make out the pin-pricks of the divider points headed East by North from their current position to a cove on the north-west end of Mayaguana Island, and it looked like just the subtlest mark on the shore probably indicated the exact place he'd find Captain Greenbeard's treasure. As the island they'd just marooned the captain on dwindled behind them he actually laughed out loud. In command of the ship at last!


   "Well there they go Captain" Ox said, shielding the sun out of his eyes with his hand
   "ahahaha I knew he'd fall for it" chortled Greenbeard. "he'll follow the route I pricked into that chart right into the unmarked reef!"
   "Shame to lose the ship though sir" said Thistle whistfully
   "Y'arr, but a sour crew. Hand me that shovel, we'll buy a better barky just as soon as we get back with this treasure"