The golden turtle

One go at a vignette on my pirate sisters idea

The winds whipped up against the wooden sailboat, cruising it along the dark shore. Cleopatra stood aft alongside her steersman while a young girl crouched in the bow looking for signs of rocks in the dark. They used no lamps so as not to give away their position to the residents of the shoreline.

Some would be considered friends of a sort, but too many would report them to one of their numerous enemies. The annoyance of having to engage in a skirmish during this particular mission wasn’t worth it, though the crew and her captain typically relished any fight.

Cleopatra was a daring pirate captain who roamed the two terrible lakes of Gemini, pillaging the coastal inhabitants of Lake Breech and protecting those of Lake Anterior who kept their taxes up to date and paid. She believed that it didn’t matter so much if people in general liked her, respected her, or neither. Long ago she determined that a wider appeal didn’t matter. It was only the hearts of those closest to you that did.

Whether it was effective or not, all her crew kept low to the deck, knowing their goal was near.

“Hold steady,” Cleopatra whispered to her steersman, “I can make out the outline ahead to starboard two points.”

The steersman nodded, remaining tight lipped and quiet. None of the crew who her the whisper on the quarterdeck could make out what she saw, but they obeyed and stayed ready.

Cleopatra stood up and pointed, “make ready the gear! Prize a’starboard!” She no lingered held to a whisper as they’d soon be gone.

The crew sprung to action, grappling hooks at the ready for some, posts manned by the right rigging for others and a few with guns pulled just in case. Now that the ship had come back to life and some lights from the shore cane on, they could all see what Cleopatra had seen from more than a kilometre away.

It was a great hulk of the prized submarine, The Golden Turtle, which had gone aground. The sub was smaller than Cleopatra’s ship, but with no other subs in the lakes and the manufacturers long dead along with their secrets.

With much shouting Cleopatra managed to get her crew to snare the Golden Turtle, but not without grinding her own ship to a standstill.

“Pull my friends! We need to get this tub back into the freedom of the waters. All available hands pick up some rope!” She shouted, joining in next to her first mate, Bahal.

Straining to loosen the Golden Turtle, Bahal gave Cleopatra a sideways glance. She knew what he was thinking – this is taking too long. He was right of course, though Cleopatra refused to give up. They had get going or they would loose their window.

The crew started to cheer as it was obvious the sub was loosening, but Bahal shouted, “keep your celebrations until we’re free and clear in the Anterior!”

They all grumbled and continued to pull until it was loosed in total. Before they could celebrate, Cleopatra and Bahal whipped the crew into shake to get the ship moving.

Cleopatra looked around and sighed a relief that no one had snuck up on them – not least her sister, Zelda. There was still love deep down, but in the latest years it was really only competition, fighting and vicious animosity. This sub was something they both coveted. It was the key to controlling the Gemini lakes without a whole fleet.

“That felt close,” Bahal said as he clasped Cleopatra’s arm, “I was certain the she was going to show up and ram us.”

“You and me both. We’re going to celebrate grandly as soon as we get through the strait.”

“You couldn’t see anything on the horizon right?”

“Nothing. She can come in quick my sister, but I always see her ship on the horizon before she gets too close.”

“Thank the Waters!”

Bahal began walking away to his rounds when he looked over the side of the ship aft to look at the Golden Turtle. Though when he looked he could only see the ropes hanging in the waters. He rushed back to Cleopatra, “I don’t want to alarm, but should the Duck be submerged?”

“I don’t know how. What do you mean?”

“Quick, come look.”

They both ran to the aft and looked down at the dragging ropes. Just as they straightened out to start shouting orders, there was a crash and a creak to port.

“Have we ran aground!?” Shouted Cleopatra.

Before her crew could respond, a voice screamed giddily from over port, “not aground my love, my dear! You have helped me greatly though and ran your dreams aground! Thanks for your help! I knew you’d come and dislodge us before long.”

Zelda stood with the hatch open, gloating in her own special way. Before Cleopatra could reach the port side and see her, Zelda had closed the hatch and submerged.

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