The Cyborg Ship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ten years ago, a princess was suppose to arrive in Ireland, but something happened to the ship, and the young girl and king were proclaimed "dead", leaving the throne to power hungry poloticians. What really happened on that fateful night? I'll tell you: pirates happened.

An epic prologue to my upcoming story: Ashling.

Submitted: August 20, 2012

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Submitted: August 20, 2012

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“Are you ready to see your mother again?”

The girl tore her gaze from the window, where an endless stretch of greyish skies and calm seas glittered back at her, and looked at her father standing beside her. His happy green eyes shined at her like the ocean and his smile sparkled like a king’s should. She didn’t smile back though, she was too upset. Not even her father’s reassuring grin could ease the pain.

“I don’t remember seeing her the first time,” she said, adjusting the large silver buttons on her black fleece coat.

His face contorted into an awkward expression that was probably supposed to be comforting but looked more along the lines of anxious, and this ended their conversation. He returned his gaze to the large digital clock projecting itself on the silver ship's wall counting down the time until they arrived at their destination. Her father had been acting so strange, when he wasn’t talking to her he always looked worried and was so fidgety. He usually kept himself clean-cut, but since they had boarded the ship he hadn’t shaved or changed his clothes, and when she woke up in the night he would be awake staring out the window or gone.

She returned her gaze to the porthole, watching the waves being gently moved around by the breeze. She found the ocean hypnotizing, or maybe it was just water in general. She always liked playing in the fountains at their palace in Granada but the maids always caught her and sent her back inside. She pressed her hand to the glass wanting to jump out the window, clothes and all, and go swimming, but her father wrapping his arm around her small shoulders pushed the fantasy away.

She suspected her mother’s home in Ireland wouldn’t be anything like the palace, based on the fact that her mother wasn’t royalty. She was just a beautiful baker who happened to win a prince’s heart through her beauty and delicious pies. He said her mother did move into the palace for a year after she had been born, but returned to Ireland after receiving a letter informing her of her grandmother’s death. There was no one else to take over her family’s bakery and she just couldn’t let it go. Her father had wanted and ment to go visit her with their daughter, but he had been crowned king and his duties kept them apart. So she became a ghost, someone she knew only existed from pictures and letters and now she was being forced to live with her.

Her father had said it was for safety reasons, but she couldn’t grasp how Ireland was safer than a palace filled with armed guarded and high concrete walls that she had tried scaling herself a hundred times. It was impossible. She didn’t want to go, she loved Granada, she loved the people there, and she loved her home and her servants, but most of all she loved her father, the man who had cared for her, who made her laugh, and protected her. She would miss him most of all.

“Your majesty,” a young sailor said approaching us. He stopped and bowed before proceeding, “The captain request your company in his quarters. I am to escort you there, immediately.”

The king scratched at the stubbles on his chin and nodded to the sailor. He turned to his daughter, “Would you like to come? You’ve been holed up on this level this whole trip.”

She nodded, excited to go up top and took her father’s finger in her small hand. He smiled, and then turned back to the sailor with a raised eyebrow. The sailor didn’t react just turned and started walking to the stairs and they followed. They walked up six flights of stairs before reaching the deck tiring the young princess, but her excitement outweighed her fatigue. She almost abandoned her father to run to the side of the ship and look down the large metal side, but stayed by his side instead. The deckhands all stopped for a minute to stare at them, whispering amongst each other. The boy they were following coughed loudly and they all returned to what they were doing. He led them to another flight of stairs across the deck that went down.

It led to a large room filled with more machinery than she had ever seen in her life. All kinds of colorful buttons, lights, and handles ran up and down the walls, all operated by more sophisticatedly dressed workers. In the middle of the room was a pure white desk, and sitting at it was the captain. He was a worn-looking old man with a stringy grey beard and saggy eyelids. He stood politely when we entered the room.

“Your highness, we have urgent matters to discuss, and-” he paused as his eyes fell on the small girl attached to the king’s side. “Oh, princess.”

She shifted uncomfortably, his eyes which had held determination had turned worrisome. “Is there a problem, Captain?”

The captain turned from them and said to himself in a low voice, “Oh, no. This is bad, very bad …the whole royal family could be....”

“Captain, will you please explain what’s going on?” The king asked with growing concern.

“I didn’t know how to tell you…” The man said still not facing us. He looked over his shoulder, “Its Nicolas. He- An hour ago he radioed the ship… and he ordered- He ordered me to kill you and the girl.”

The princess froze. She clutched her father’s side suddenly afraid and he wrapped an arm around her protectively. She looked up at him wide eyes, but he didn’t look at her. “And you refused?”

“Of course, if I hadn’t why would I be telling you this? But he said, he said if I wouldn’t he would send someone else to do it. We need to get you off this ship immediately,” the captain said tensely.

She felt her father’s arm tense around her, and heard him swallow. “Yes' somehow I knew this would be unavoidable.”

“Jack will take you down to the submarine and take you to your destination discretely and the rest of us will return to Grenada,” The captain said gesturing to the sailor who brought us there. He exchanged a worried glance with the princess. “You will arrive in Ireland safely, and I suggest you lay-”

They all heard it before it even hit the ship, she had heard it a thousand times before when she attended weapon demonstrations with her father. The loud droning noise that got louder as the cannon charged. The impact of the cannon ball rocked the whole ship knocking everyone to the floor and the girl’s head smacked into the floor with a painful blow.

The ship echoed with screams and shouting, while everyone in the captain’s quarters recovered. The captain pulled himself up using the side of his desk. “Jack, get them to the submarine! NOW!” He shouted orders at the men operating the equipment then ran outside.

Jack pulled the king to his feet, and then helped the princess. Blood darkened her already red hair. She felt dizzy and was unable to focus on Jack as he told them to follow him. Her father pulled her towards the exit and she followed on unsteady legs. The deck was in utter chaos. Men were screaming, scrabbling around, and fumbling with weapons. She looked over the side of the ship and saw it.

It was massive, the most gigantic ship she had ever seen in her life. It towered over their own vessel like a father to his son. It was built unlike any of the newer boats; half of it was still made of wood, where some parts were made of strong reinforced metals, it looked like a giant floating cyborg. Laser flew out of the monstrosity creating a brilliant show of red and green lights denigrating anything they touched, including people and the high-tech cannon sat gleaming in the sun waiting to be used again. Those weren’t the most intimidating features though. High above the enemy ship was a black flag flapping in the wind. Printed across it was the sure sign of death, a water-damaged skull and cross-swords. These weren’t just mercenaries, these were pirates.

A laser blasted a hole into the floor next to her, almost knocking her to the ground, but her father pulled her forward keeping her on her feet. As they pushed through the confusion, the whining screech that signaled the cannon were charging had begun again. The collision made the boat shake vigorously from side to side causing the three to smack into the side of the boat, along with some other sailors.

“They’re trying to blast through the bottom and damage the submarines! We need to move quickly!” Jack shouted over all the noise. The three raced to the steps as the pirates began to swing aboard killing the sailors by sword. They made it to the third flight before another cannon was fired at the bottom of the boat. The most troubling thing, though, was that the screams and shoats had begun to subside. She blamed it on the fact that they were getting farther from it, but her mind still wondered in the direction of the alternative: that the thugs had almost killed everyone. By the time they made it to the ninth level where the submarines were stored the ship had grown completely silent, the only noises came from the waves crashing against the boat.

The ninth level had been flooded, which ment the pirates had succeeded in blowing through the bottom, but Jack still held onto the hope that the submarines were still intact. They sloshed through the waist-high water, gaining speed and hope as the shiny unused submarines came into view alongside the silver canon ball that had shot through the metal wall. “Oh, thank the stars, we’ve made it! The submarines are intact, too. We might just make it out of here, your highness.”

“Don’t count your blessings, boy.”

We all turned, to face the man the voice had belonged to. He was tall, scruffy, and wore a crooked smile on his face. His face was unshaved and he had long blonde hair styled into a neat braid. He wore the captain’s coat and hat over his dirty clothes. There were two men behind him with pistols at their hips.

“Slippery Sam, what an honor,” Jack spat.

“Finally, a sailor with some manners, what a lovely surprise you are,” The man said with an Irish accent.

“You’re quite the opposite of that,” Jack said sharply.

“Clever tongue. Hold the smart mouth down,” he told the man to his left. Jack raised his fist to fight but the bandit punched him in the stomach before he could think to swing, and then pushed his face to the wall holding his arms behind his back. The man grinned sinisterly, then turned to the king and the princess, “my, my. The king… and the princess.”

“You’re here to kill me, I presume,” her father said in a calm voice.

“On the contrary, your majesty, my orders were to bring you and the girl back to Nicolas alive. What he does with you there… well I suppose your guess is as good as mine,” the pirate said.

“Did- Did Nicolas say anything else?” the king stuttered his mind tumbling with the reasons Nicolas would want them alive: to kill them himself, to watch it happen, maybe he’d lock them up and let them starve.

“He told me it didn’t matter what condition you showed up in,” The pirate said darkly, as if warning them to what should happen if they get on his bad side. “but, that’s it.”

“I see.”

“Well,” the pirate said with a back-popping stretch. “It’s been fun, but we really should get you to Nicolas so we can receive our pay. I’d rather do this the easy way, but force will be used if necessary, so what do you say, your highness?”

“I will go with you, but…”

“This isn’t a bargain, you either come or… you come. No secondary choices here,” the pirate said.

“I know, but as a dying wish… could you spare my little girl?” The king pleaded. The girl’s eyes grew wide, and her grip tightened on her father’s coat.

“No, daddy!”

The pirate sighed.

“You can tell him she died in the attack, he was going to kill her anyways, and then take her to Ireland. She has a mother there, named Branna, she runs a bakery in Dalkey.”

“I got a cousin there, I hate that woman,” one of the men who came with Slippery Sam said.

“Hm. Alright king, I don’t like doing anything that involves women or children. The girl will live,” The pirate agreed.

“And you’ll take her to Dalkey, right?” The king asked with asked suspiciously.

“Get him on the ship boys,” The pirate captain ordered without answering. The one man restraining Jack nodded, proceeding to slam Jack’s head into the wall and let him sink down in the water.

“Don’t worry sweetheart,” Her father told her. “Everything’s going to be alright.”

The two men grabbed him, and she held his coat tightly. Sam separated them, gently pushing her to the side. She watched them drag him away while her yelled back how much he loved her. Tears barreled down her cheek, and she cried out, “I love you too!”

Then he was gone, leaving her behind with the pirate captain and Jack. Jack, she ran past the pirate and pulled him out from under the water. He was unconscious, but not dead yet. A watery stream off blood ran down his face, she wiped it away with her thumb.

“Oh yeas, the smart mouth, what to do with him… any suggestions princess?”

“Don’t hurt him,” she said her voice small.

“Why not? He’s just a sailor, he couldn’t possibly mean anything to you.”

She thought about how he had tried to save them, risked his own life to save theirs when he could have fled and saved himself. She didn’t know him, but she felt responsible for him somehow. She pushed the hair off his dark forehead and said, “He’s my friend.”

“Alright, I’ll leave him here, that way you won’t have to watch him die when we completely sink the ship. How does that sound?”

“Can’t- Can’t we take him with us?” She asked.

The captain groaned, “Well, I could use an extra deckhand… Alright, I suppose we can keep the sailor, but only because you looked at me with those puppy-dog eyes.”

Sam moved over to them and picked up Jack’s limp body, stringing his arm over his shoulder. “Come on, girl.” He started to drag the boy to the stair and she followed, right behind him, not wanting to be on the ship when it sank. “You know, I’ve always wanted a little girl.”

She didn’t respond, he had just confirmed her worst fears. He wasn’t taking her to Ireland. She would be a pirate’s slave for the rest of her life and so would Jack. She looked through out one of the portholes of the ship watching the water sway. Maybe drowning wouldn’t be so bad, but she couldn’t possibly get away from Sam fast enough, especially not with Jack. She had condemned herself and her friend to a life of servitude.

She wrapped a small hand around one of Jack’s dark fingers. So young and their life was already over.

Author: DDav

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