“Doesn’t matter,” he said as he came over and grabbed the pirate as he lifted him up to the Captain’s door as he pressed the man up against the panel to open up the Captain’s room before dropping the man on the ground as the impact knocked him out.
“Come,” a voice called from the interior of the room. Entering the room Jack would see a modern and plush office. Behind the desk on a communicator was a many flamboyantly dressed much like the captain from Disney’s Peter Pan complete with a hook for a hand and large black handlebar mustache.
Celina Rodriguez CTO
Jack stopped for a second as he looked at the man then over at Celina. “Okay… I don’t know what I expected… but this wasn’t it.” he said as he walked over the body of the man as he reached over the desk as he pulled the man over as he put his hand directly over his neck as he began to put pressure down. “Okay… the only time I am going to ask… where are we and how the hell do I get off this ship?” he asked waited to hear what the pirate captain would say.
“You don’t,” the man said as he felt not only his hat but also his wig slide of his head. The long dark curls tipped forward brushing Jack’s hand as the man hastily shoved it back on his head.
“Jack,” Celina rushed in holding the door jambs with both hand out of breath. Any other time, Ardashir might had busted out laughing seeing his fiancee with her hair askewed blowing in the breeze as her skirt whipped around her legs. The image would have been out of some dime store holonovel where the heroine was finally reaching her lover and he was about to sweep her into his arms for a kiss at sunset. Today however, her lover was not glistening with the sweat of a hard one truimph, shirt slightly torn, and a roguish look on his face. Today Jack just looked pissed. His shirt was gone but only due to him removing it to defend himself against the hordes of men stopping them from reaching here. The glistening chest of the dime story hero was replaced with grime, sweat, and dirt creating a patchwork of dark streaks on his body. Of all the things not matching the image was a thin trickle of blood from his split lip that had dribbled onto his chin. Someone had gotten in a lucky punch which would have annoyed Jack more than anything.
“Oh my god put that man down,” she moved into the room. Reaching out she braced the man half dangling from Jack’s grip that was more concerned about his head ware over the man about to make his day go from fantastic to an urban legend.
The scrabbling of his footsteps on the deck created a squeaking and scraping sound that was more comical than terrifying. “Thank you my young sea nymph,” he replied in a jaunty tone looking up at Celina. Jack still hadn’t released the man as Celina grunted trying to support the man trying to stand and pushing Jack back.
“Yeah I’d drop the sea nymph thing,” she looked up at Jack blowing a lock of hair out of her eyes as she looked back at Jack.
“Really,” the man looked Celina in the eye with a confused expression. “I thought it added to the fun and spice of the situation. You know helping everyone slide into the roles they have been assigned and should embrace. It’s not like you really have a choice. I mean look at him,” the man stopped struggling a bit and gazed up at Jack. “Those rippling muscles, well defined chest, that god like chisled chin,” the man with the bag wig and pirate hat had an almost dreamy, admiring quality to his voice.
“That’s it I’m drowning him…” Jack said as he walked past the man as he opened up the window hatch behind him.
Celina blinked twice and shook her head listening to the description of Jack from the man’s point of view. “I don’t think he is really in the mood and if you refer to him as Poseiden or Neptune I think he might actually kill you.” Ardashir Jack Creed had a fabulous sense of humor. In his personal life, those that knew him might even call the officer gregarious and fun, yet when on duty the man was as serious as a judge as her Abuelo called it. Right now Jack was way past serious and moving into the jury phase.
“We Persians killed the greeks cause we didn’t like Posideon, and Neptune is just the Roman’s rip-off… very unoriginal people… but I do feel like testing this theory of finding out if those blessed by Posideon can float…”
“Honey that is Adjutor, not Posideon,” she looked at Jack. Sensing Creed did not get her reference she leaned in slightly widening her eyes as if this was suddenly going to spark some deep seeded memory of who she was talking about. When a cloud of revelation did not swirl above his head making his eyes shine with the light of the knowledge she thought he would have remembered, Celina mumbled something in Spanish.
“Adjutor is the patron saint of swimmers, boaters, and drowning victims,” she stated as if this was common knowledge everyone knew. “How could you not remember that after the disaster of a boating excursion with my cousins Chewy, Fillippe, Juan, Juan, and Marco?”
“In his defense, I did not know that either Miss,” the pirate captain said as he dangled from his shirt still gripped in Jack’s hand. The tone was slightly garbled as the man tried to speak with the collar of his shirt pressing into his windpipe.
“Jack, babe can you um,” she gestured with her head for him to release the grip he had on the man and the turning to the man continued to speak. “And how about you answer whatever the hell he asked you before I got here. Jack is generally not the type to repeat himself....especially when he is in a mood like this.” Celina pushed a chunk of hair out of her eyes grunting slightly as she stood up adjusting her shirt. Jack would know the tone intimately. It was the tone she took when Celina thought Jack was over reacting to something or sightly annoying her with his present course of action.
Jack set the man down looking at Celina.
“Oh…oh of course,” the man took the time to straighten himself up before standing proudly in front of Jack with his hands on his hips and a jaunty grin over his face. “You were chartered to be given the Shangai Delight Experience.” The tone in the man’s voice was full of pride as his face beamed with the expression of someone happy and excited.
Any other time the term Shangai Delight Experience would have sparked interest, curiosity, and a slightly veiled smile as her mind contemplated what that experience actually was for an individual; however, right now there was only one thing to do in response. Raising her hand to the chest she tapped her chest, tummy, then shoulder to shoulder before clasping her hands to say a prayer to Erasmus of Formia. Glancing at Jack she rolled her eyes and waved him off. “Don’t start. It’s to Erasmus of Form who is the patron saint of sailors and abdominal pain. You might know him as St. Elmo and we got nothing but sailors and stomach aches,” she crossed her arms annoyed.
Celina Rodriguez....not a sea nymph
“Look, I’m tired… my fists hurt… and I am pretty sure I got Gorn blood on me and I feel like it might be acidic…” Jack said as he grabbed the Captain’s shirts as he began to pull him close to wipe some of them off. “What the hell is the Shanghai Delight Experience? Don’t make me angry…” he said as he threw the man to the ground with a scowl. “And why the hell are we on a boat? Who pirates on boats? What is this black sails?” he said as he took a deep breath as he sat on top of the pool table as he looked around at the room. “Is Jack Sparrow gonna pop out next?” he said as he looked over at Celina.
It was at this moment Jack felt the weight of the room and the crawling, whimpering, and crying people whom he had just attacked to free them didn’t come off quite as menacing as they had when he had woken up from his drugged state. “Cesar…” he said as he looked over at Celina. “I swear to Allah if this is Cesar’s doing I will drown him instead I swear.” he said as he looked over at the Captain.
“Who” the man said clearly acting as if he had no idea who the name belonged to.
“Does the name Cesar Rodriguez ring a bell? Medium height, slightly pudgy… won’t shut up despite how often you threaten to kill him?” he asked as he got off the table as he began to help up the Gorn woman he had knocked out from before who just seemed to be waking. He dusted her off as he mimed sorry as looked behind him finding some smooshed cake on the table that he had used to throw at someone as he offered it to her.
Celina felt a knot form in her stomach. As she thought back on all the events of the past twenty four hours, the one common demonator was they had not been in any real risk the more she thought about it.
Rubbing his chin, the pirate captain feigned confusion but had a twinkle in his eye. “Cesar…Cesar Rod…ri....guez,” he said the name slowly as if it were a puzzle or mystery. “Did you say Cesar Rod…ri…quez,” the man repeated as if Jack were slow, deaf, or completely clueless.
“Oh lord, you know that’s what I said… I can take fingers off, they pop really easy off… what… do… you.... know.” Jack said as he said as he grabbed the man as he hoisted him up and splayed his hand across the table. “Quick Lina, get that pie slicer it’ll due in a pinch.” Jack said as he had gotten to the breaking point of his patience.
“Really,” she rolled her eyes moving to look at a few of the papers that were scattered on the floor from when Jack pulled the man bodily over the desk. “Are you Commander Jack Creed or Captain Jack Sparrow. I just need to know how to answer the for inquiry,” she spoke as she concentrated more on reading the brochures than the man’s plight with losing digits.
“Fine… fine… but I am telling you people talk people when they are missing parts.” Jack said as he let go of the Captain as he let him get settled as he began pacing. “Cesar Rodriguez and if you play dumb one more time, there is nothing that firey latina can do to save your sorry ass.”
“Well, there is no need to get so physical,” Tobias murmured in a calm tone. “You and I are the same. Masters of illusion, men of intrigue, magicians to mere men.” Leaning forward slightly he looked Jack in the eye. “Cesar told me all about you,” he winked and then gave Celina a side glance. “You are not wanting me to blow my secret wad and get my hands messy like you did in that back ally on Orion in that deal gone bad with Juan, Lopez, and Fernando where they had you pinned to the wall with no escape in sight huh?”
Celina could not hold it back. The laughter shook her entire body. She wanted to help Tobias, she really did but there was no hope for the man. Leaning back she put a hand on her stomach not even trying to control herself. “That is how Cesar is describing the event. No wonder we are in this mess.”
The event to which Tobias was referring sounded far seedier than it really was. Sure there were drugs involved and a ten-pound gunny selat but it was not like it was that illegal especially because it did occur on Orion.
Celina Rodriguez CTO
“Okay… this is how this is going to work… you are going to dock us where Cesar hired you… and I am going to leave… and not hurt you anymore…” Jack said as he grabbed the man by his shoulder as he righted him up. “Otherwise, I am gonna find out how many of those billards balls can get in your keister… if you understand my gist.” Jack said he began to drag the man to the center of the room as the others had begun to stand up.
“Really Jack,” Celina raised an eyebrow at him. “Why does it always go to keisters when men get mad? You don’t hear women mentioning that.” She was hot, tired, and now thinking about protecting her brother’s keister from Jack punting it all the way back to the spaceport and then into orbit.
“Oh I know he is just being jockular,” Tobias waved Celina off. The look on his face showed the man was far too stupid to see that Jack was deadly serious. “Cesar told me this strapping, chisel chested Iranian Ironman has quite the sense of humor. Cesar said that Jack would keep you guessing about which version of them you’re getting but don’t let his grumbly exterior phase me.”
“Do me a favor,” Celina cringed at the description of Jack by the man that was hanging to life by a thread. “Call him Jack. Just Jack. Heck if you feel a hankerin’ try sir but stop with the graphic depictions?”
“Absolutely. If he has a different moniker he would rather use I am fine with it,” Tobias happily agreed.
“Listen up, I’m the Captain now… isn’t that right Tobias?” Jack said as he began to twist the man’s arm behind his back.
“Well that is the one title I think,” Tobias began before Jack cut him off like a yammering cadet during an inspection.
“You heard the man,” said Jack as he shoved Tobias to the ground as he looked around at the crew. “Now… get me to port now or we can all go for round two and this time I won’t hold back,” Jack said as he cracked his neck before he began to crack his knuckles to get the point across.
Normally people sat up and took notice when Jack uttered a statement in his command tone. People turned their focus on him and dropped all other distractions: and yet this crew seemed to be totally ignoring him. Her eyes trailed the horizon but it did not take long to see what had the crew flummoxed. Two craft that were far more modern in design were speeding directly towards their archaic wooden clipper. Since no one was moving and just pointing and murmuring it did not strike Celina as something scary or ordinary. That means it had to be a surprise of some sort and rarely in her experience were surprises a good thing. Moving down the small set of stairs, she reached up around a crew members neck and brought down the pair of binoculars strapped to it. A small choking sound erupted before he moved his head with the strap to Celina’s level.
“Jack,” she held out her hand snapping her fingers rapidly to gain his attention. “Eleven and one,” she called out the coordinates on the horizon of the vessels that were becoming more into view. “Looks like we are going to have some company,” she yelled out. The three craft were light, small, and fast moving cutting across the water as if they were being chased. “Is this normal,” she asked the man.
“Not usually. We have the waterlines blocked off here for private use. Some rich guy bought up the channel and beach to do some kind of resort. Maybe it is his security teams,” he suggested putting a hand up to his eyes to block the sun.
“Then why aren’t they calling us,” she let go of the binoculars and looked up at Jack.
Taking the binoculars Jack looked at the ships approaching. They were fast, light, and not filled with fishing poles. “Bring the ship around and head for shore,” Jack began barking out orders feeling his guts knot up. Their course was set for an intercept. With no weapons and a crew that seemed more theatrical than mercenary, the only course of action was to try to make it back to shore.
The fully civilian crew did not react as fast as even the most novice cadets in the academy. Instead of snapping to duty, they continued to mull around the deck rubbing various body parts that had been impacted during the fight.
Grabbing the nearest man on his feet, Celina yanked his attention onto her. “He gave you an order. Move the ship to shore or we are going to be earning those Red Cross swimming badges for the long stroke,” she barked a repetition of Jack’s orders. By now the crew had started moving to the rail of the ship starting to put together that whatever was continuing to happen was not what they were told was going to happen.
“You heard him,” the man barked and began shouting out names sending the crew to their stations on the ship.
Moving up next to him , Celina didn’t ask questions. She waited for Jack to report. Some of it was training in starfleet. Some of it was just waiting to see what his assessment of the situation was.
“Those ships are closing in fast. They want something. I swear if Cesar,” he said lowering the binoculars and casting a glance at the woman beside him. It was t quite a scowl but it clearly wasn’t playful.
“Seriously,” she put her hands on her hips returning the gaze. “That is where you are going with this. You’re doing this now?”
Jack had known her long enough to see her mouth getting ready to slip into the sultry but acid tongue of her people. The tip and her lips ready to roll out a string of words so profane but sounding like a song. “Don’t,” he leveled a finger at her. “We have rode chickens, waken up oiled and half naked on a beach from at best case was a fever dream and worst an orgy we don’t remember all becuase your brother said hey can you help me with something.”
Celina chewed her lip. Jack was not wrong. Whatever was going on Cesar did seem to have something to do with it even if unintentionally. “Okay I am not saying there isn’t a chance but,”
Maybe if she had been faster. Maybe if Tobias had not been standing so close to his cabin to heat the radio. Maybe if the stars aligned and for once Jack wasn’t as smart as he was handsome, Celina could have been right. “Hello. Hello,” Tobias yelled getting Jack and Celina’s attention. “There is someone on the approaching ships are asking for the sister of a Rodriguez?”
“Hah” Jack pointed a finger at her sternly and brought the binoculars back up to his face. “Tell me again this doesn’t have anything to do with your brother?”
Batting the finger away, Celina made her way up the steps and to Tobias. Ripping the comm badge from Tobias’ hand Celina cleared her throat before speaking. “Rodriguez,” she announced and waited for a reply.
Where is Cesar,” the voice growled on the other end. “We want our money. If he won’t give it to us we will take something that is important to him in return.” The accent was unremarkable which was a bonus. It also did not give Celina a clue as to who they were dealing with or how to prepare for them.
“Take a number and get in line behind my fiance who probably has far more reason to string him up that you,” Celina said glancing at Jack who was now moving about the deck of the ship barking out orders and giving commands. She had had half an idea of what he was trying to do but serious concerns about how it was going to work. They were not dealing with soldiers or even police. The people on the ship appeared to be civilians and even worse yet paid actors. None of this made any sense but maybe two gunboats barreling down on them would motivate the crew to pull together.
“Funny,” the voice replied. “We will see how funny you find it when we rip off your head and shove it down your Fuh,” the voice began a series of profanity that caused Celina to end the call.
Baby, we are about to have company,” Celina said over the rail handing the now disabled comm to Tobias.
“Just tell me. I am not going to be mad. Trust me… but it’s Cesar isn’t it?” Jack leaned his head towards Celina as if taunting her to deny it.
Celina bit her lip and shoved his shoulder hard. “Seriously we are going to do this now.”
“Yes…yes we are.” Jack followed her down from the ramp and to the main deck as people mulled about around them. “So baby, honey, sweetheart, love of my life…its Cesar right,” he followed her as Celina moved about the deck. He was not going to let her just brush this off under the ruse of attacking pirates. If they were going to go down for just that reason, he was going to make her last words that her brother was to blame for their latest predicament. Years of being with her had taught Jack that he was left to a few options he knew would grab her attention and force her to stop avoiding him. “Come on…you can tell daddy.”
“Ugh, that is so gross. Why why would you go there,” she wrinkled her nose up turning around to face Jack. She gave a slight wiggle as if trying to shake off when he said.
She also hated him for using one of the three things that always got her into a dander. She knew Jack did it to get her goat and it always worked. The half arsed smirk lining his face made Celina roll her eyes. “God I hate you. I mean I absolutely hate you at times,” she crossed her arms.
“Yeah yeah,” he rolled his hand indicating for her to speed it along. “Besides you brought that on yourself. Now you both made us feel like we need a shower so just admit it and I won’t have to skeeze you out again,” he crossed his arms well prepared to do whatever it took to get to the truth. That is what one learned in intelligence and he would employ any measure to achieve his goal.
“Okay fine they said Cesar but,” Celina started before Jack interrupted her.
“See I told you,” he leveled a finger at her. “Why do you always try to make me think he is not dicking us over,” Jack looked at her. He loved the woman in front of him with every fiber of his being. He would love her in this life and the next but that love did not necessarily extend to her family and definitely not to her brothers. Her brother’s he tolerated. Her mother and Abuelas he accepted. Celina’s father he tried to avoid and not for the typical reasons. Celina’s father just always wanted to sit on the patio and drink. Jack never understood why…until he met the rest of Celina’s family.
“Because he isn’t,” Celina replied handing Jack an end of a long thick rope. Using this to clothesline someone coming over the edge of the boat’s rails was ingenious if unconventional but that is where Jack thrived. He had a crew of twenty-five that were paid, actors. He needed to think outside of the box to pull this off. Dragging it to one of the masts, Celina handed it off and raised a hand to shelter her eyes watching the approaching boat get ever closer.
“Yeah so tie it off and when they come on board the idea is to cut it. It will act like a giant jump rope and just sweep them back off,” Jack explained for the tenth time.
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