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Old March 7th, 2004, 10:43 PM   #1
Aaron Hong
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Rangers of the Caribbean, Chapter 01

It's taken me long enough to develop this one, and it's because of that that we have a bleepin' lot of backstory to cover, but that will always be the case with a completely original sentai/PR show.

I now give you Rangers of the Caribbean, Pilot: The Curse of the Black Coins.




MICHAEL COPON as Sgt Malcolm Barone

JORGITO VARGAS JR as Paolo Ricardo

SASHA MITCHELL as Amanda Brady

TRACY LYNN CRUZ as Frances Montoya-Addams




Also starring

PAUL SCHRIER as John J Bulkmeier

JASON NARVY as Samuel Skullevich

ROBERT AXELROD as Captain 'Copperhand' Cray

and RUSSEL LAWRENCE as Lieutenant Charles Stanton

Inspired by the motion picture
and its accompanying soundtrack

Story and martial arts/stunt choreography by AARON HONG

The year is 1755.

The place is a fast growing port somewhere on the East Coast of the New World, or so it had come to be called ever since a certain Captain Columbus borrowed some ships and went on an aimless joyride.

In the time that passed since then - and in a rather sporadic fashion - the people of Europe in general came flocking to the new World, drawn its near limitless potential. As much as they had tapped into the New World and its resources, there would always be more, deep within the thick jungles and yey-distant mountains...

...and there would always be something to take all that away. Every paradise needed its serpent, and a land as great as the New World would only have something far more deadly in proportion.


Deep in the fog-locked ocean, something was moving along at a leisurely pace.

A massive cruise ship of the Montoya trading company, once a small enterprise, but now rapidly-growing after new blood revitalised its management. Another result of that new blood was eighteen-year-old Lady Francesca Montoya-Addams, peering over the bow of the ship, so named after her father, the otherwise ordinary Adam A Addams, fell for her mother, only child of the Montoya family, and wound up marrying into her family to preserve their bloodline.

Ironically, it was his street-smarts that helped Montoya regain its footing in the business, which should teach all and sundry that you can only think you know everything.

"You should really keep away from there, Miss Montoya," said the ship's captain, the fortysomething John Quincy Appleby. "Need I remind you that this vessel is currently sailing in some fairly dangerous waters, and not just from the weather conditions?"

"I'm sure I saw dolphins," said Francesca, half to herself.

"Miss Montoya, are you listening?" Captain Appleby repeated.

"It's true, isn't it?" said Francesca as she turned around, the endges of her massive pink dress unintentionally swabbing the decks. "There's pirates sailing these waters?"

"I wouldn't dare feed your fascination of pirates any more than you would on your own time, Miss Montoya," he replied. "In all my years of maritime experience I have never met a single person with as much taste for danger as you."

"Just curious, really."

"You may or may not know of what curiosity did to the cat," said Captain Appleby. "And you, my lady, have the equivalent of a fifty-foot sack, secured with chains, weighted with nine anchors and hurled into the Atlantic. A pride of lions' worth of curiosity."

Captain Appleby noticed at this point that Francesca's gaze had not shifted once since he started talking to her. She was staring into the fog, at an invisible point slightly off starboard, presumably at their destination.

"You're looking forward to seeing him again, aren't you?" asked Appleby.

"My relationship with Sergeant Malcolm Barone is my business and mine alone, captain," said Francesca defensively. It said a lot about her upbringing that she could pronounce the 'c' in captain in a very precise lowercase.

"Given his lineage and its connection with the family company's security, I dare say his decision not to take a position in our guard is our business," Captain Appleby added. "I've heard the stories too - what he's done for the city watch in the few months after he joined - he is exceptional, Miss Montoya, but ultimately very - ordinary."


At this point in time, all the way at the Montoya vessel's destination, Sergeant Malcolm Barone was engaged in something fairly ordinary.

With a fast growing port like New Yorkshire, security was a rapidly growing concern, and as such the image of a watchman in blue chasing down two robbers was quite ordinary indeed.

Adding to this was the two panting watchmen far, far behind Malcolm, looking ready to give up the chase.

"He's... all yours," wheezed the smaller of the two by about ninety pounds.

"Yeah... go get 'im," said the large one, with God's own effort.

Malcolm's mind was running entirely on adrenaline now, or it would if he'd ever learned what that was - he was the iconic strapping young man, with jet black hair and chiselled features that were more obvious after he'd lost his hat and cravat two streets back.

The robbers were within sight now. Twenty feet in front of them was the bustling fruit market, and Malcolm knew if he let them run into it they would be lost to him.

He unslung his rifle from his shoulders, gripping it by the barrel as he approached a man with a bushel of potatoes.

And with a wide swing he struck the topmost potato clean off the pile...

Flying thirty feet and striking one robber in the back of his head, bringing him down.

Just as Malcolm predicted, the other robber returned to his partner to retrieve their loot, slowing his escape. The loot in question was a shiny gold watch on a chain, which the robber stuffed into his pocket, before climbing to his feet...

And suddenly noticed that Malcom was already swinging his rifle in wide circles.

Releasing the firearm made it fly spinning towards the robber, and its buttstock connected perfectly with the centre of his forehead with a resounding CRACK.

And at long last, Malcolm's two partners caught up with him.


"Thank you so much, my good man," said the grateful old Mr Collins, as Malcom returned his watch. "You're a shining example of the city watch, you are..."

Malcom's two partners, Sergeant John Jacob Bulkmeier and Corporal Samuel Skullevich, watched in amusement as Malcolm handled the situation on his own, again. The old man went on his own ways eventually, and John J and Sam walked up to Malcolm, putting their hands on his shoulders.

"Good one there, makin' the rest of us look good at the same time, eh?" said John J with a big laugh and a tightened grip on Malcolm's shoulder.

"We're sorry we couldn't be there, but y'know..." said Sam, "you're the new one here, it's our job to make you look good by lettin' you have all the glory."

"I'm sure you were," Malcolm replied, knowing full well what really happened to them.

"'S bad enough you couldn't get that cushy job at the Montoya company, now you gotta run around New Yorkshire chasing down watch thieves," John J groaned. "You'd think with the Barones practically being the Montoya family guard you'd have a better chance of getting that position, eh?"

"Things aren't always that simple," said Malcolm, his Italian eyes looking downcast all of a sudden. "I mean you two should know, your families have a pretty elaborate connection too, don't you?"

"Oh, it's simpler than you'd think," said John J proudly. "Our ancestors first left Israel by stowing away on a military vessel. Two men with adventure on their minds. They got seperated, even had to change their names just to get around, but a couple hundred years later..."

John J and Sam slapped their arms around each other's shoulders.

"WE'RE BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!" they announced.

Malcolm sighed. "Your ancestors took the long way out of Israel and you two can't even run across one tiny port?"

"Fastest growing port in the New World, lad! Papers don't lie! Hey, get back here..."


Watchhouse quartermaster - or mistress - Amanda Brady looked up from Malcolm's rifle.

"Do you have any idea how long it takes to fix the buttstock after you do THIS to it?" she complained.

"Look, I'm sorry, but I was about to lose them," Malcolm replied. "You know how the watch frowns on having to fire these things within the city. They're even considering writing up a form we need to fill for every pellet we use."

"Don't remind me," Amanda replied, with a sigh that made the leather apron over her yellow tunic give off odd noises. "At least be careful. I don't want to find you with a full bag of pellets and about eight bonus ones lodged in your chest or something."

"OI!!" Malcolm snapped.

"All right, that's enough out of you two," said John J, as Sam broke them up. "The commander's giving us tomorrow off for this one, you'd think he'd notice all the manhours we'd put in by now. Malcolm, you remember the pub, right? My treat."

"Wait, what tomorrow off...?"

"C'mon." said Sam, leading Malcolm out of Amanda's forge. He wasn't the sharpest knife in the city watch drawer, but he knew a visibly hurt expression when he saw one, and Amanda fitted that pretty well.

"If I were you, lad, I'd worry about my rifle exploding in my face the day I do try to fire it," said John J. Malcolm said nothing about this, choosing instead to go straight to the locker room.

"It's true, isn't it?" said Sam. "She followed him here?"

"His father took a bullet for hers, so I hear," said John J. "Old Mr Brady took care of our Malcolm and Amanda after that, taught Amanda the fine art of blacksmithing, if that's the right term, and well - growing up together does that to a boy and girl."

"More to the girl, as it were," Sam added, as Malcolm stepped out of the locker room. He'd changed into standard civilian garb, a blue velvet coat and pants with white cravat, cuffs and socks, a nine-inch plait trailing from the back of his neck.

"Are we ready?" he asked.


Three Rangers and a handful of supporting cast down, but be patient, there's more...

Last edited by Aaron Hong; April 2nd, 2005 at 04:33 AM.
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Old March 8th, 2004, 02:48 AM   #2
Aaron Hong
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You can tell I'm working like mad to get this chapter over with. This time around we got the Red and Green Rangers making their appearance - kind of.


Salud was the name of the tavern, thanks to its Spanish ownership.

In any other city, the coppers would know better than to visit a pub at any time, but this particular establishment was special in that sense. Half its clientele were coppers - the owner himself used to serve with them, until pellets in both thighbones left him unfit for service. It didn't dim his outlook on life any - as he once put it, "there's nothing more important than knowing you can go someplace where a select few your name."

Malcolm had always been anti-alcohol by nature, but the pub owner, Carlos, was always ready for that - he'd imported something called sarsaparilla for what he called "los bambinos", and Malcolm took to it fairly well.

"He looks like he would need something stiffer to me," Carlos commented. "This a job-related thing or what?"

"You'd never believe it," said Sam between sipping his rum.

"After running this joint five years before you two walked your first beat? Try me," Carlos taunted.

"Our chief blacksmith is in love with him," John J blurted out. "Only he's always been interested in this other girl, but because of their differing social status he can never be with her, alas," John J stopped for another sip, "which brings him halfway across the world, here."

"The missy Montoya, you mean?"

John J and Sam regurgitated their rum upon hearing Carlos say this.

"You even know about that?" Sam shrieked.

"So it's true, then. It runs in the family," said Carlos. "Don't let the kid hear this, but - when they say his dad, old Barone took a bullet for his partner, old Brady - they say it was suicide."

"...old Barone killed himself?" asked John J.

"Naah," Carlos replied."It was this hood that shot him. Only this was after he'd spent five years in the service of the old missy Montoya, only to have the love of his life marry one Adam A Addams."

"And old Brady...?" asked Sam.

"Here, look at this."

John J and Sam recoiled as Carlos put his foot on the bar lifted his pantleg, to show off the pellet scars from the shooting that ended his career in the Watch. Not that nobody knew that old story, but Carlos just loved grossing people out with his battle scars.

"Old Brady's scars were nothing like these," said Carlos. "Only one leg. Enough to terminate his service with the Montoya company. That's why he took to blacksmithing. Felt that with the right technology he could prevent that tragedy. You know pirates with their peg legs and hook hands?..."

"SSHH!!" went Sam, all of a sudden. "You don't want to talk about pirates around here!"

Time seemed to slow as a swarthy individual on the opposite end of the bar, wearing a red tunic and a bandana over a head full of dreadlocks, turned towards Sam and Carlos, as if he could somehow hear them.

"...well, they need to change those parts every now and then. The area around the wood and metal goes gangrenous, even if the parts were clean," Carlos explained. "Old Brady believed that there was an alloy so strong no pellet could go through, yet so silky that it could never make human flesh turn bad and reject it. And he's spend his entire lifetime trying to create that alloy."

John J and Sam stared at him for a few seconds.

"That," said John J, "has to be your most utterly ridiculous story ever."

While Carlos and John J started arguing, Malcolm was done with his first sarsaparilla, and about to start on a second when he noticed someone sitting at one of the tables. It wasn't the bright green velvet he wore, or his longish hair in a ponytail or even his sort of Asian appearance that made him so distinctive, it was something else...

"Paul...?" was Malcolm's first reaction. "Paolo Ricardo! Hey!!"

Poor Paul was in no shape to react - he'd gone straight for the rum, and not for celebratory reasons as it turned out. Malcolm wound up prying a mug out of his shaking hands.

"...never..." he whimpered. "I can never... map it..."

Malcolm sighed. "You still into cartography, then?"

Paul cried out loud. "They wouldn't believe me! All those scouts disappearing off the coast of Bermuda, the one place we've never been able to put on a map... and they wouldn't believe me!!"

"Umm... Paul..."

"I mean it's not like I'm the only one! Every mapmaker worth his salt won't even go near the area, the old seamen go on about curses and so on..." Paul stopped to inhale. "And now they're looking for a scapegoat... I could lose my job..." Paul grabbed Malcolm's collars. "I could lose my job, Malcolm... I could lose my job..."

Malcolm knew Paul to be passionate about his work, but it looked like that was turning against him. All Malcolm could really do was nod along and watch and wait as Paul slipped into unconsciousness. He was the most intelligent and well-read person Malcolm knew, but very insecure and vulnerable to pressure.

Most people let the pressure build up bit by bit, without ever knowing how to let it go. Some others somehow have the rare gift of simply not being there. There was a few out there, however, who could channel the slightest bit of pressure into the psychological equivalent of a pre-emptive strike.

The smoking gun in question was that swarthy individual at the bar, currently being prodded in the back repeatedly by a completely inebriated customer.

"You a pirate?... I said, are you a pirate?... You looks like a pirate..."

He turned around slowly - those dreadlocks were secured in a sort of messy ponytail, and that bandana went down to his eyebrows. He had the sort of very thin beard and moustache that curled towards each other on either side, but the single most striking thing about him was the vermillion under his eyes.

"I knew it. You'se a pirate," said the drunken one. "You got yer actual pirates with the burning fuses tied to their beards, and now you got this guy with the bloodshot eye makeup."

"Pirates who try to burn their own beards off should really consider a change of career, mate," said the red one, "and for your information, I'm just covering me sunspots, not trying to scare people."

"Heh. Lookit der pirate, youse lot!" the drunk yelled out. "You picked der wrong place, matey. Arrrrrr. This place's full o' coppers. If they knew it could get jer killed. Comin' here was suicide. Heh heh heh."

"With all due respect, you drunken pig," said the red one, "I'm not the one trying to piss off a pirate here."

"You've had more than enough, Mitch," yelled Carlos from his end of the bar. "And when morning comes around you're really going to regret it..."

"Bleedin' coppers can't even get things straight," Mitch growled. "Goin' to pubs while pirates walk the streets - Am I offendin' anyone here?! I'm jus' tryin' to do somethin' about the PIRATE!!"

"And now you're just embarassing yourself," said the red one with a laugh - a laugh just loud enough to get Malcolm's attention. He didn't even need to look up to recognise him.

"Finch... not you..."

"I got some cold water for you, Mitch, you'll thank me later trust me," said Carlos, bringing a jug of water to Mitch.

"Thanks," said Mitch, grabbing the jug. "An' I got somethin' for yew, pirate..."

It wasn't clear if Mitch made the first move, or if the red one had simply decided to end things on his own terms. It certainly wasn't clear just how it was going to end at the time.

But for one Peter Finch, it was the last straw.

Before Mitch had even started swinging the jug at Finch's head, he'd not only ducked below the incoming pottery, but executed a thrusting back kick that got Mitch in the gut, sending him flying. Finch even caught the jug on the way down, and splashed all the water into Mitch's face.

"You ever heard of a pirate doing that, mate?" asked Finch... whose expression changed as a few other burly drinkers, some half-soaked in water, walked towards him.

Finch reacted the only way he knew.

He held out the jug to catch the first incoming punch, and thug no. 1 realised too late that his fist was stuck inside it. Still gripping the jug handle, Finch warded off a blow from thug no. 2 and struck his face in retaliation, then ducked as thugs 3 and 4 swung barstools at his head.

He slid between thug 2's legs, pulling the jug and his fist behind him, and gave the whole array a hard tug that caused him to flip over and fall flat on the floor.

Thug 3 came at him with that stool but he stepped out of the way, going straight for thug 4 and gripping his arms. With a twist and a jerk he used 4's stool to block a few blows from 3, then swung the stool on 3's head, trapping him between its legs. A knee in 4's gut made him fall backward, and Finch raised the stool just enough to trap his head as well. A punch in his face made his head rebound against 3, making them both pass out.

Thug 2 had somehow gotten 3's stool by this time, and he swung downward in a move intended to crack Finch's skull... but failed as Finch spun to one side and delivered a telling elbow to 2's gut. The stool landed on the floor, and Finch moved aside just enough for 2 to fall over and land on it.

Mitch had conveniently recovered by now, approaching Finch with a broken bottle, but Finch had another odd move in mind - he grabbed the indisposed thug 2 and spun him around, making his legs flail at Mitch, before leaping into a roll on 2's back and spinning out into a solid kick into Mitch's face.

And finally, thug no. 1 tried to stand up, but failed miserably as thug 2 fell off that stool and onto him.

The next thing Finch heard was the click of a pistol, and his affronted stare met the barrel of one, in Malcolm's hand.

"Peter D Finch," said Malcolm. "I never thought you'd dream of returning to town."

"After all the other towns I've been to, what can I say. It's hard to keep track," Finch replied. "And that's just Finch to you, mate. Keeping our relationship on a professional level, eh?"

"...You know him?" John J asked.

"More than I'd like to," said Malcolm. "Get the badges out, boys. We're not off duty yet."

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Old March 8th, 2004, 09:30 PM   #3
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Just a quick bump...


It so happened that Amanda Brady was working rather late in the watchhouse. Not on Malcolm's rifle, though, she was fashioning a bladed weapon of her own design. It was a wicked triple-bladed affair that was intended to be a replacement for the current, fairly boring bayonet.

And it so happened that she was on her way out when she saw John J Bulkmeier and Samuel Skullevich drag a swarthy-looking pirate type back to the watchhouse, and decided to hang around a little, to satisfy her curiosity.


The doors were closed on Finch at last. It seemed a significant step in clearing out the scum and villainy of society, but it was still the tip of the iceberg.

Unknown to Finch, he only avoided the unwanted attention of the more notorious pirates because he gave the authorities something else to worry about. The exploits of the grandstanding, showboating, well-travelled pirate wannabe Peter Finch were a distraction to the actual level of piracy out there, and that was just from the times that people were left to tell...

Long story short - there's a difference between stealing hearts and ripping them clean out.


Somewhere in the ocean, a vessel not unlike the Montoya family cruiser was currently learning this the hard way.

The traditional pirate attack usually involves being approached from afar by a ship, flying a convenient skull-and-crossbones banner that screams out "hello, we're pirates, we've come to board your ship and take your gold and wom- I mean fruit, yo ho". In some cases they even fire their cannons a few times, though one must ask why any logical mind would want to sink the ship he is attempting to rob.

Sadly, the hundred-foot clipper of the White Star company had none of that to serve as warning. To begin with, it was a pitch-black night, which should say a lot. And the pirates swimming from a group of five sailboats had learned to stroke the water in time with the waves, so nobody heard them coming.

When the first throat was slit, it was already too late.


"So let me get this straight," said John J to Malcolm as they approached the holding cell. "You and that Finch character know each other?"

"I brought him in once, back when I was attached to the East India company," said Malcolm. "And that was it. He managed to escape from custody, and it's only because I'd returned to the unit that I haven't lost my badge for that incident. Some believe that he'd gotten into a fight with his alleged captain, Chris Cray, and escaped in the bloody mess that ensued."

"Alleged?" asked John J.

"Well, Finch was vehement in denying their connection," said Malcolm, as John J unlocked the heavy door to the holding cell, and the two watchmen stepped in.

There sat Finch himself, behind a table covered in all sorts of junk that Sam was currently sifting through.

"...Sam, what is all that?" asked Malcolm.

"We recovered his belongings as well. They're in our custody the moment he is, that's procedure, I believe," Sam explained.

Malcolm started picking through the junk randomly as John J stared down at Finch. The lighting in the cell was a lot better, and you could make out the relatively good condition of his clothing despite his piratey reputation, a few tattoos here and there, and what looked like the beginnings of a scar on the bridge of his nose.

"Peter D Finch," said John J in his condescending voice. "What's the D stand for anyhow?"

"Delighted to be here," said Finch, earning a whack in the face.

"Hang on a second," said John J, pulling off Finch's bandana - revealing a hideous star-like scar in the middle of his forehead, a sight that gave everyone pause.

"Ye gods," said Sam. "What in creation is that about?!"

"No doubt he tried to burn off his pirate brand after the company burned it on him," said Malcolm.

"They only branded the captain that time," said Finch. "You were there; we all testified against him. I did not have any contact with a pirate branding thingy."

"I'm sure," Malcolm commented.

"...item, clothing, silk shirts, two," said Sam as he wrote on a form. "You stole these, didn't you boy?"

"A gift from a very beautiful Oriental woman," said Finch. "Though I did steal something from her first, heh heh..."

"...item, bent wooden stick..."

"Apparently you've never been to Australia," said Finch, suddenly pronouncing his A's with more passion.

"....what the hell is this?"

Sam pulled something out of a leather scabbard - a knife about a foot long, which would have been longer if it was straight. The edge was on the inside of the curve, and the blade was wide and fat, as if it had been left under a very merciless sun for too long.

"Got that from the world's most dangerous mountain climbers," Finch replied

"...ah, here we are. The piece of resistance, heh..."

John J snatched the item from Sam. "That's piece de resistance, Sam... hmmm... item, vermillion stick. The truth is out." He laughed at Finch, who responded with a forced grin.

"Well then," Sam announced, "I trust you will remember this as the day that Peter Finch almost escaped."

He took a few seconds to notice the incredulous looks from Malcolm and John J.

"And I hope you noticed that it is not yet midnight," said Finch. "You'll be chasing me again soon enough, Sammy boy."


In a moment of movie-style plot convenience, the slamming of the bars on Finch coincided with the stomp of a heavy leather boot on a wooden chest overladen with gold.

"Take the food too," said the pirate wearing that boot, as he watched his men sack the burning White Star clipper. With the flames behind him it was nigh impossible to make out any features he might have had, save the leather armor he wore over an old shirt, a tarnished saber in a scabbard hanging from his belt, and - not as surprising as it should be - a large iron gaff where his right hand ought to be, screwed onto a metal mount locked around the wristbone.

"Pickins' be a bit slim this quarter," his first mate commented. "This the only full-size vessel we've raided out of, I believe four this month."

"I know," the captain growled.

"But what about the Montoya vessel, cap'n?" asked the first mate. "They've been on a nice steady course to New Yorkshire all this time, they're owned by the fastest growin' company in these three-and-a-half of the Seven Seas, cap'n, they're ripe for the pickin', I tells ye."

"Aye," said the captain. "Suggestion duly noted, Mr Crabb... but with a company as big as Montoya..."

He raised that iron gaff, tarnished as it was, yet it gleamed in the light of the flames, in a menacing way.

"...you wanna milk 'er for what ye can."

"...Aye, cap'n Cray."

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Old March 9th, 2004, 11:13 PM   #4
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I'm aware that this is going at a snail's pace, but it has nothing to do with last-minute research or the frivolous addition of references and details. No, it really is that long.


The definition of piracy has been somewhat stretched over the years. In another day and age it may simply refer to the plagiarism of intellectual property, especially for profit, but that would scarcely hint at what piracy used to mean.

Good people get pushed to nomadic sea-life for any number of reasons, but it's what they do with that newfound freedom that deems them as pirates. That, by its most basic definition, is what a ship is - freedom. The ability to go anywhere, in the good graces of weather and supplies. The ability to evade those bound to the land by their inability to understand this freedom. The lack of any moral binding except to a fifty-foot wood-and-brass construction.

That kind of power could corrupt any man.


"I hear you brought in a real celebrity today," said Amanda to Malcolm, as he walked through the watchhouse's main office.

"Don't tell me you've actually heard of Peter Finch," said Malcolm.

"The near-pirate who's wet his feet in all seven seas? You'd be surprised at the rumors," Amanda replied. "He's even got relics from all over the world on his person, doesn't he?"

"It's an impressive collection, yes," Malcolm mused. "Don't let that mar your impression of him any. He is a backstabbing thief and trouble incarnate. Couldn't even stay in town over two hours without getting into a fight."

"Doesn't old Mitch pick on everybody anyway?" asked Amanda. "After Disberg bought out the Sabin company where he worked, and his boss had to lay off everyone, he's been drinking ever since..."

Malcolm could only think of one way to get the conversation back on topic. "...Near-pirate?"

"They say he served under captain Cray this one time..." Amanda began.

"And only one time," said Malcolm. "We'd laid an ambush for Cray and his lot, Finch was just unlucky to be on his ship then..."

Malcolm leaned a little closer to Amanda, and his tones changed.

"...but he took it hard enough to stage a mutiny against Cray. Right there in the cell. They even banded together and escaped... killing all the cell guards."

Amanda went pale. "But what about Cray...?"

"Beaten in combat against Finch. That's how he convinced them to rebel. And kill."

Amanda had never seen the current look on Malcolm's face before, but somehow she was expecting it. "You really want to get him, don't you?"

"Hopefully," Malcolm replied, his face loosening up a little. "We can't hold him for more than a night for inciting violence, but when that White Star vessel comes into port with the updated criminal records from the East India company... he'll be begging for that cell."


Fortunately for John J and Sam, the next morning's coppers came early enough to relieve them.

To be more accurate though, replace "relieve" with "awaken", and you'd have the full explanation for Finch's big fat grin as the new guard looked into his cell, and saw him.

"Who's that?" asked one of them.

"Peter Finch," Sam replied. "Really, he is."

The second new guard rattled his truncheon on the bars, and Finch didn't react.

"Good likeness," he joked.

"Hey, cram it, you!" John J snarled. "That's the Finch they say can walk day and night for half a week just to cross the French border, for all you know he doesn't need sleep. Isn't that right, boy?"

Again, Finch didn't react.

"Hey, I'm talkin' to you!..."

John J extended a truncheon through the bars and pushed Finch, in the middle of that scar on his forehead, and all four coppers got a shock when Finch tipped over and fell on the floor, his eyes rolling up in a ghastly manner.

"Guess he needed his sleep after all," Sam chuckled.

"He was plannin' on you two fallin' asleep first, wasn't he?" asked the second copper. "Plannin' to escape."

"So this is good for us?" asked John J.


And fortunately for Malcolm, he'd gotten his sleep for the night, in the comfort of his own home. The whole business with having the day off was false after all, so Malcolm had to get into uniform and be on the road by six in the morning.

Rather than check in at the watchhouse though, he made his way to the harbor. There was some nice clear weather looking down on him, and not too much activity on the docks save the unloading of two fishing boats. There were several other vessels already sitting around, which Malcolm scanned consistently.

"No White Star liner...?"

"You haven't changed a bit, you know?" said a female voice behind him. "Never ever learned how to make a girl feel welcome."

Malcom had a shock as he turned around, and saw the one thing he wasn't expecting.

"...Miss Montoya?!"

"How many times must I ask you to call me Frances?" said Lady Francesca Montoya-Addams, with a knowing look in her eyes. "Oh, never mind that. It's great to see you too."

"I expect he feels likewise," said Captain Appleby, approaching from behind Francesca. "Not particularly professional of you, is it, coming all the way here in the morning for our Lady Montoya?"

"Not now, Quincy," said Frances through her teeth.

"Actually I am here on business," Malcolm replied. "There should be a White Star liner due today, with confidential documents of a very official nature indeed."

"White Star liner, you say?" said Captain Appleby. "It seems your presence is not so unnecessary after all, Sergeant Barone."

Malcolm wasn't sure of what he meant, up until he noticed two stretchers being carried off the Montoya vessel.

"The White Star liner was attacked by pirates last night," said Captain Appleby. "Those two are the only survivors."

Malcolm could only stare at the stretchers as they were loaded into a waiting carriage, going pale as the reality hit him.

"Malcolm! I can't believe you're still here!"

The reality did not hit Malcom quite so hard that he could completely ignore Amanda Brady as she rushed up to him.

"Those two are..." Malcolm began.

"White Star survivors. I know. We need you back at the watch house right now, we've got some urgent business. Milady," said Amanda in way of greeting to Francesca, while dragging Malcolm away - not without a derisive look at Francesca, though.

"Pirates have no love for pirate records," said Malcolm to himself.

"Yes," said Amanda, in reply, while dragging him away.

"But that means..."



The back door of the watch house swung open, as Peter Finch strode out with all his baggage in hand. With no criminal record to back them up, the coppers could not hold him any longer than the minimum requirement, and as a result they had become the first policemen ever to release a known criminal on technicalities.

"Told you you'd be chasing me down again," said Finch, with an even fatter grin on his face. "So sorry about the White Star liner. These things happen, y'know?"

"How DARE you..."

"Tut tut, officer," said the proudly defiant Finch, waving a finger in Malcolm's face. "I was in your custody the whole time, remember? I say, by god it feels good to be in the clear for once. I gotta try it again."

"Yes," said Malcolm, his voice taking on an edge that made the other coppers back off a little. "Try that again. Please."

"Look, Mel," said Finch in closing, "I am genuinely sorry about the White Star liner. I know for a fact that real pirates never go that far. Killing every one? Burning the ship down? Makes it harder to rob that ship again later on, don't you think?"

"As if pirates could be capable of that level of thinking," Sam seethed.

"Ah, that's where you're wrong," said Finch. "Have you ever heard of Morgan and Bartholomew? The first seafarers never to heed any authority? They were the ones who formed the Brethren, the first pirate community, and they established the Code that all pirates must honor in their memory. Well, most of them do, in any case. Again, sorry about the White Star."

"We know, we know," the coppers groaned. Finch replaced his bandana on his head after clasping it to his heart so many times. For no apparent reason he drew his bent knife, making all the coppers reach for their weapons, until they saw him checking his reflection in the blade.

"Well then," said Finch, twirling his weapon once before replacing it in the leather scabbard now strapped to his arm, "I shall bid ye a dew and buena vista, or something, and be off to seek my fortune. Or possibly the fortune of others, heh heh... Fare well."

Finch turned on his heel and started strolling down the lane - he faked a dash for a second, just to watch the coppers' reactions and sneer at them, but eventually he disappeared up the lane at a comfortable pace.

"He's a character, he is," said Sam.

"I would'na give him that dignity," said John J.

"We'd best get to the hospital," said Malcolm. "The survivors must be questioned. Like it or not, fellows, Finch has a point - this massacre is unlike any pirate attack I have ever heard of. You two have the watchhouse; John, Sam, you're with me. Let's go."

Last edited by Aaron Hong; April 28th, 2004 at 09:18 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 03:45 AM   #5
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Again with the dragging out of the story...


There was an average amount of activity at the hospital, with about ten people moving in and out at the time that Malcolm, John J and Sam entered the massive waiting hall. Rows of wooden benches lined the walls, and two counters manned by nurses provided the administrative support.

"...no, you can't see them right now," said the nurse to Malcolm. "They're convalescing from their injuries, and..."

"But we're here on business," Malcolm pleaded. "New Yorkshire Watch, see, on this badge?"

"I can see your badge quite well," came the reply.

"Precisely, that's why..."

"Hello," said Frances from behind, giving Malcolm his third big shock of the working day.

"Miss Montoya?" said Malcolm. "Why are you here too?"

"I'm visiting those poor men," she replied. "It was my people who rescued them after all. It's my responsibility to return them to White Star in as good a condition as this hospital can get them in, isn't that right, nurse?"

"Of course it is," said the nurse in reply. "You may proceed."

Malcolm's expression changed as Frances was allowed into the wards.

"It's nice to be rich," said Sam under his breath, as someone else approached the counter. A total of three someones this time, all in an imposing black uniform that made the watchmen's navy blues look positively pale.

"We come on business, from Her Majesty's Royal Navy," announced their apparent leader, a tall man with immaculately-groomed black hair, brandishing a warrant.

"All right then. You may proceed," said the nurse, as Malcolm's expression changed yet again.

"Why in god's name does EVERYONE ELSE get to go in? Hey, what's the meaning of this?" Sam complained out loud, making the apparent leader turn around.

"Sergeant Barone," he said to Malcolm in way of greeting. His right hand seemed to act independently of his person as it waved his men on.

"Lieutenant Stanton," Malcolm replied. "You haven't answered my man's question."

"All acts of piracy are under the Royal Navy's jurisdiction, not a city watch," Stanton explained. "I seriously doubt you could be of help in any case. You couldn't even keep one pirate in your cells."

In an instant Malcolm raised both arms to restrain John J and Sam.

"One pirate didn't do that to the White Star vessel," said Malcolm. "And I hope for your sake that you aren't reduced to two survivors as well."

"I'm sure," said Stanton, in a completely different tone, and went inside. There was nothing left for Malcolm and his men to do but sit and wait, really, and that was what they did. Only Malcolm himself decided to stop for a bit and look at the paintings on the walls. Those failed to be entertaining after all of ten seconds.

"...ye gods..." said a familiar voice. "I gotta watch what I drink."

"Paul?" said Malcolm, turning to his once studious, now studiously hungover friend, slouched on a nearby bench. "You went to a hospital for a hangover?!"

"Much better now, though," said Paul, who had a wet towel on hand to cover his face. "Who knew hangover medicine even existed."

"It's commonly called water, Paul," said Malcolm. "You really can't handle stress very well, can you?"

"You're one to talk," Paul replied. "They're saying some very nasty things about you in the wake of the Peter Finch debacle."

"Amazing how fast word gets out," said Malcolm.

"Not as amazing as the speed it grows into a fifty-foot monster," Paul added, and the two laughed.

"Honestly, are you better now?" asked Malcolm.

"Still gonna lose my job," said Paul, "but no worries. I'm thinking of seeking my fortune elsewhere. Maybe as a navigator on some trading vessel."

"...but you never did get your sea-legs, did you?" asked Malcolm.

"Shouldn't be that hard," said Paul, looking like he was in a world of his own. "I've always wanted to travel. See how accurate my mapwork really is."

"...Paul, you used to throw up from horseriding," said Malcolm. "And if you need medication for a hangover... look, what I'm trying to say is..."

"I know what you're trying to say," said Paul, as if reminding Malcolm which of them both had studied more. "And I've been away from danger, out of action and avoiding risk far too long. It's time for a change. I don't want to wake up one day and realise the true love of my life has walked away and never..." Paul stopped as he read Malcolm's expression. "I'm sorry."

"It would never have worked between us," said Malcolm half to himself, looking down the corridor as Francesca talked to the Royal Navy soldiers. "And even if it could - she's like that with all her social contacts, it's not like she'd treat me any different..."

"Then maybe you haven't been reading into her reactions very well, have you?" asked Paul.

"Psst," hissed Amanda, which had the completely unexpected effect of making Malcolm and Paul jump.

"Ye gods, woman, what is it now?!" said Malcolm.

"If you're serious about getting answers from those White Star survivors," said Amanda, even as Paul directed a very pointed stare at Malcolm, "I got another idea..."


Against his better judgement, Malcolm (with Paul in tow, for some reason) followed Amanda out of the waiting hall, around the east wing of the hospital, and over to the rear wall of the wards where the White Star survivors were kept under observation.

"How is this going to help us if we can't actually ask them anything?" asked Malcolm.

"Observe them. Use your detective skills, or something," said Amanda. "All I know is metals and how they work, which is why I suggested this..."

The males went silent as Amanda knocked the hinges of a gate with a chisel a few times, before lifting the gate out of its hinges and pulling it out of the bolt.

"You're a security threat in breeches, you are," Paul commented as Amanda led them onward and inward.


"They just came out of nowhere... we turned around and they were on the deck... hacking, and slashing..." the seaman whimpered as the Royal Navy officers listened and nodded along. "I don't know how they got there... they..."

"They swam," said the other. "We didn't see their ship until it came closer... it was this big mess of wood and bronze, is all I remember..."

"It's all right. Take your time," said the officer with the quill and notebook.

"How soon do you think they can go home, honestly?" Frances asked Lieutenant Stanton.

"They've been under a lot of trauma," Stanton replied, "and I honestly do not see them getting well by the end of the week. Are you thinking of footing the hospital bill?"

"I believe White Star already has a contract with this hospital, so that's covered," said Frances, "and that's only when the two of them can be identified."

By this time, Malcolm, Paul and Amanda were standing in the corridor, listening in carefully. It didn't help a bit that they heard the same things that the Navy folks were hearing anyway, what with being within earshot, and Paul, thinking his time had been wasted, shot a look at the deep-in-thought Malcolm.

"Whoever they are, they must have had pretty high positions on the ship," said Stanton. Frances shot a look at the very bedraggled duo - they were dirty and unshaven, and one had an old scar from his face down to his chest.

"You don't say," she said eventually.

"No, seriously," said Stanton. "The pirates saved their bullets for these two. Those nasty grazes on their heads could only have come from guns."

And Paul was the first to notice Malcolm's eyes light up.

"Yes, I see them - or the bandages on them, at least," said Frances. "Strange, you'd think the pirates would have better aim..."

And Paul had another shock as Malcolm drew his pistol and barged into the room.


"There were no survivors! THESE TWO ARE FAKES!!"

The Navy officers could only look up in shock as both patients shot upright in a blink - one of them had buried two knives up to the hilt in two of the officers' chests, while the other had an arm around Frances and a knife to her neck. Stanton had drawn his pistol, but it was too late.

"Three Royal Navy officers and it took a bloody copper to work it out," taunted the one with Frances. "How did you know?"

"Everyone else died and you got away with pellet grazes?" said Malcolm. "Tried to blow off your pirate brands, more likely. Just the way a pirate would think."

"Good one, Malcolm," Stanton commented.

"SHUT UP!" roared the other pirate. "You two, guns on the floor or Lady Montoya parlays with the conquistadors!"

"What now? You're in charge," Malcolm taunted at Stanton.

"Shut up," Stanton growled while lowering his gun. Malcolm did likewise.

"Your turn to talk," said Malcolm. "All this trouble just for Lady Montoya? Why?"

"Well, we..."

"Shut up and take the guns!" the first pirate snapped, and the second one concealed his knives, going for the firearms. "It seems you are no longer in a position to make demands, officers," he continued, "and it seems, rather, that we are. A gun, Mister Jones, if you may."

Jones pointed one of the guns at his partner's head.


"Sorry, Smith," said an apologetic Jones, lowering the gun to Frances' head, and allowing Smith to wrap his free hand around it.

"Much better," said Smith, concealing his knife. "I think the first of our demands is a pretty easy one."

Malcolm had to elbow Stanton to make him step aside, as the pirates took their hostage into the corridor and towards the front of the building.

"Right in the middle of the city," said Amanda, as the pirates approached the exit. "I thought we were due for another pirate attack."

"Was Finch your first clue?" asked Paul.


Finch found himself sneezing into his gruel, for some reason. His attention was drawn elsewhere, though, as the commotion outside the diner started growing, and decided to take a look.

"That's a pirate ship out there! What the heck are the Navy doing?!"

"They're letting it pass. Aww bollocks... damned pirates got a hostage, that's why..."

"Not my bloody problem, Finch sails beneath no flag," Finch mumbled to himself in a singsong fashion as he finished his lunch... and got a second shock as a scream pierced his ears. He leaped to his feet and ran towards the diner door, struggling to look over the passersby's heads...

"Not those two," Finch muttered, recognising the two pirates backing down the road. Their hostage was not that familiar, but her scream was... and her fair skin and blonde hair also fought for purchase in Finch's seldom-active attention.

And won.

"Damn my lust for creamy female flesh," Finch growled, as he started grabbing his belongings.

Last edited by Aaron Hong; April 28th, 2004 at 09:23 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 04:54 AM   #6
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Aw dude! I love this! ^_^
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Old March 10th, 2004, 05:12 AM   #7
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Re: Rangers Of The Caribbean, Episode 01

Originally posted by Aaron Hong
It's taken me long enough to develop this one, and it's because of that that we have a bleepin' lot of backstory to cover, but that will always be the case with a completely original sentai/PR show.

I now give you Rangers of the Caribbean, Pilot: The Curse of the Black Coins.
Few notes on the picture: Firstly, put it in an URL link, please (like I have above). The image is so big and expands the window so much that the rest of the post is a pain in the arse to read.

Secondly, the Rangers might work better with Phantom style hoods (in their colours, natch) with black masks, rather than the more modern helmets.

Other that that, he picture looks great.

I haven't had chance to read through the actual story yet, but I'll tell you what I think once I do.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 06:10 AM   #8
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Re: Re: Rangers Of The Caribbean, Episode 01

Originally posted by cassius335
Few notes on the picture: Firstly, put it in an URL link, please (like I have above). The image is so big and expands the window so much that the rest of the post is a pain in the arse to read.

Secondly, the Rangers might work better with Phantom style hoods (in their colours, natch) with black masks, rather than the more modern helmets.

Other that that, he picture looks great.

I haven't had chance to read through the actual story yet, but I'll tell you what I think once I do.
I fixed that pic with a smaller version. I was waiting for a few more comments before doing somehting about that, honest.

As for the helmets, I'm giving the Rangers what you might call the "traditional" origins, complete with a Zordon and Alpha equivalent, so the helmets are staying. They're much better protection, too. It just wouldn't be Power Rangers without those... though if you've read the story thus far it's not Power Rangers yet, either.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 08:22 PM   #9
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Time to get the story moving. There's a lot going down this time, and it's all one big scene so take your time with this one. Ready?


"This is all our fault," John J lamented as Malcolm had to drag him down the road. "We were right there and we let them take the lady Montoya and slip through our fingers..."

"For the last time, John, there was nothing any of us could do. I should know," said Malcolm, with a lot of effort - John J Bulkmeier's weight approached two hundred pounds, and he was not the best person to have to drag around in an emergency.

By the time they reached the main road to the docks, the two pirates with their gun to Frances' head were enough to keep every copper and Royal Navy soldier at bay. But what really grabbed Malcolm's attention was something else - a menacing black-and-bronze vessel, sitting in the harbor like it owned the place.

"A bloody pirate ship," said Amanda. "So they'd planned this all along."

"Look at the Spanish styling on that thing," said Paul. "No wonder the White Star never heard it coming, that keel'd cut through the waves like a cleaver through cheese."

"Good one, Paul," said Malcolm. "Identifying the ship is done, now we have to identify the perpetrators - oh, I'm sorry, that would be... your jurisdiction, wouldn't it?"

Stanton seethed at this, but said nothing.

"...we don't wanna see nobody between us and the Salamanca," yelled Smith above the crowd, "or we'll be makin' our own red carpet with the missy Montoya's blood!"

"Ooh, good one," Jones commented, but Smith was beyond tired of disciplining him now.

"Hey... 'Rusty' Jones? 'Salty' Smith?" said a completely new voice from within the crowd - Malcolm, Amanda and Paul found themselves going completely quiet as Peter Finch himself pushed his way through the crowd, conveniently standing between the pirates and their ship, the Salamanca, as he started waving to them. "Remember me?"

"...Actually, no," said Smith, after studying Finch for a few seconds. "Why should we remember you?"

"...oh no, Finch you idiot, don't..." Malcolm muttered.

"Then maybe you remember this."

Without any warning Finch ripped off his bandana, revealing to all and sundry that hideous scar in the middle of his forehead. The effect was enough to make everyone on the street gasp, and Finch knew he'd gotten it just right when he saw two old folks pass out.

It was a lot harder for the crowd to make out the current expression on the pirates' face, but Malcolm knew how to pick up on a cue, and started moving.

"...Peter Finch," said Salty Smith. "And I was wondering what kind of providence would make you show your face again."

"The same kind that let me keep my sight, despite this little..." said Finch, indicating the scar.

"Of course," said Rusty Jones. "The cap'n didn't get off that easily, though..."

"Wait a minute," said John J. "If Finch led the captain's men to mutiny - where'd he get these other men?"

"...and where'd Amanda run off to?" asked Paul.


"Why'd you have to come along?" asked Malcolm at a whisper.

"Your fellow coppers were indisposed and I couldn't bloody well let you do this alone," said Amanda, also at a whisper. "And who told you to take both John and Sam's guns? Those things aren't designed for two-hand fire, I should know..."

"Be quiet," said Malcolm. "Finch has always been that - a distraction. Well, he's my distraction now."


"Why on earth are you doing this?" asked Frances.

"I couldn't resist your lovely screaming voice," Finch replied. "Honestly, where is he? On his new ship?"

"You've got a lot of nerve, Finch," said Smith. "We'll cast anchor off the coast of Australia, you said! That cluster of corals won't do smack to our ship, you said! WELL IT BLOODY WELL DID!!"

"Please don't yell so loud with my ear this close to your mouth," asked Frances.

"But you got yourselves a new one out of it, didn't you?" said Finch, waving his hands generally to indicate the Salamanca.

"You were never anything but talk, Finch," said Jones. "Well, we're holdin' the guns and it's our turn to talk, ye hear? And we say back off!"

"Then I invoke the right to parlay. Take me in her place," Finch offered... and went quiet immediately, as Jones' gun clicked in his direction.

"Do you honestly think that the code could possibly apply now?" said Smith. "It's the poppet we're after, not some stupid settlement..."

"Then you're getting neither," said Malcolm, stepping out of the crowd with both pistols on the pirates' heads. "Doesn't matter whose weapons you draw - when you draw your weapons you give us the right to draw ours, that's what your vaunted code says, doesn't it Finch?"

"If I knew what vaunted meant I would agree," said Finch.

"Now take the gun off Frances," said Malcolm, which gave Frances a bit of a shock, more from what Malcolm said than from the gun actually leaving her head.

"What about Finch?" asked Jones.

"Oh, you can keep your gun on Finch," said Malcolm.


"Just a joke," said Malcolm reassuringly. "I mean, if you can't joke around with a pirate's life, what can you joke around with?"

A sudden, loud rustle from the sails of the Salamanca almost diverted Malcolm's attention entirely.

"Can't sent you on one stupid errand, can I?" roared a hideous pirate running down the gangplank, wearing leather armor on a black tunic, and a spiked ball permanently locked on his right hand. "Have to do every damned thing myself!"

"Cap'n Cray!" said Finch, with arms wide open. "I - OOUUFF!!"

With a single swing, 'Copperhand' Cray sent his mace-hand directly into Finch's gut, sending him flying.

And Malcolm had no time to react as Salty Smith and Rusty Jones raised their guns on him, and fired...

Amanda screamed and lunged into Malcolm as two pellets bored into both their bodies.

And Cray put Frances out cold with a backhanded slap.

"Get her to the ship, ye scurvy swabbs!" Cray growled, as he leveled his mace-hand on the incoming Navy soldiers, and reached for it with his good hand. The soldiers failed to work out what Cray had in mind by the time he wound the cord around his fingers, and learned the hard way as Cray ripped the cord out, igniting a fistful of black powder inside the mace's mounting, sending the macehead shooting forward like a cannonball.

Three soldiers went down as Cray pulled a lug nut to drop the cannon apparatus and make a run for the Salamanca, its sails full and already on the move. They hurled a rope to Cray, who grabbed it with his good hand and hung on as he was pulled onto the deck.

And the remaining Royal Navy soldiers could only fire their rifles at the Salamanca as it pulled out of dock, with unnatural speed.

"Sarge!!" yelled Sam as he and John J rushed to Malcolm's aid. "Ye gods, are you all right?"

"Mostly," said Malcolm through a mist of pain. "Amanda, what on earth were you thinking?"

"The girl could have died for you," said Finch from his corner. "And if you can't see the reason for that you deserve a second shot."

"Shut up, pirate!" snapped Stanton, with a telling blow to Finch's head, as John J helped Amanda to her feet.

"Finch speaks up for me," said Amanda to herself. "I have officially seen everything."

"We have to get you back to the hospital, sarge..." said Sam, but Malcolm pulled himself out of the corporal's arms, choosing instead to approach Stanton and look him squarely in the eye.

"Now," he began, "what does Her Majesty's Royal Navy propose to do about THAT?!"

"This is a truly regrettable turn of events," said Stanton. "But we have learned that these pirates are driven less by greed and more to challenging the authorities, through acts that incite nothing but terror..."

"And what are you planning to do?!" yelled Malcolm. "Wait till they crash a ship into the Trade Center?!"

"Amanda, please hold still," John J pleaded while tying up a makeshift bandage on the young blacksmith.

"Cray must have had some incredible resources to construct this thing," said Amanda to herself, studying the cannon mechanism Cray ditched earlier. "Unless that ship of his could contain a full-size forge and workshop, he must have an island hideout somewhere."

"Good. We're making progress," said Malcolm, with a derisive look at Stanton... and stopped to look at Finch.

"Now what?" asked Finch as Malcolm walked over to him, and started searching his belongings. "Hey, what are you doing! Oi! You need a warrant for that!"

"We searched you once, in the lockup. Technically this is taking place at the exact same time," said Malcolm, pulling out the two silk shirts from Finch's baggage. "Now, do you think you have an explanation for this design on your shirt?"

Malcolm was holding up the white shirt, which was immaculately clean, and the designs Malcolm pointed out seemed to originate from a sort of glyph to the left of the middle of the shirt back.

"...That's a map!" said Paul.

"To the old hideout, no doubt," said Malcolm. "To Cray's old hideout, isn't it?"

Finch snatched the shirt back. "These shirts hold special meaning for me," he said. "I barely even wear them. The dear girl who made them put the map there as a gesture, all I did was describe the area..."

"Then you will honor that meaning and use that knowlege to do some good for a change, will you not?" asked Malcolm. "You tried to save Frances a while ago. Look me in the eye and tell me you have no intention of finishing the job."

Finch could only return Malcolm's burning stare.

"Well then, it's either that or we imprison you on charges of consorting with pirates," said Malcolm in a much lighter tone.


"Finch, the entire city can bear witness to you conversing with the pirates," Malcolm explained.

"I was only distracting them!"

"Of course you were," said Malcolm. "And the level of familiarity you shared with them is very questionable indeed. Charlie, would you like to do the honors?"

Lieutenant Stanton looked affronted all of a sudden. "I don't take orders from coppers, Malcolm."

"Charlie?" said John J, already grinning.

"So let me get this straight," said Finch. "I now have the choice of being clapped in irons by the uniformed gorilla over there..."

"Hey!!" Stanton yelled.

"...and be taken to a cell to await my almost certain death," Finch continued, "or lead you and a select crew on a pursuit of Captain 'Copperhand' Cray and very certain death."

"If I may be so bold," Sam chipped in, "piracy is a hanging offence so that's very certain death on both counts."

"Ah," said Finch in way of reply. "I guess Hobson's choice is better than no choice at all, eh? Heh heh heh... I'll just consider this over lunch then..."

Finch turned towards the diner, but Malcolm and Sam's hands on his shoulders made him think otherwise.

Last edited by Aaron Hong; April 28th, 2004 at 09:32 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 09:36 PM   #10
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End of what is TECHNICALLY Episode 1...

I realise at this point that titling the thread "Episode 1" was a mistake. At the rate this story growing it could actually be seen as a three-part episode, a series pilot in the usual sense. I mean, Day of the Dino pt 1 can be seen as the series premiere for Dino Thunder, but bundle it with episodes up till Back in Black and you can safely call it the pilot story arc.

With that in mind, this is the end of Chapter 1, or should I say Episode 1. Send some feedback my way and I'll decide if Chapter 2 should get an "Episode 2" thread. If people want their annotations early I may consider it.


Under close observation by both New Yorkshire City Watchmen and Royal Navy soldiers, Peter D Finch was strolling casually down the docks, bringing to mind a kid in a candy store as he checked out the ships one by one.

"Ooh, this is nice," said Finch, stroking the keel of a yacht in an honestly disgusting manner.

"The Royal Navy is prepared to lend you a vessel in your pursuit of 'Copperhand' Cray," said Stanton, "and those are all berthed at the very last dock, right over..."

"This one," said Finch, choosing the Montoya vessel.

"...absolutely not," said Stanton, "Captain Appleby would never agree to..."

"Miss Montoya was under his charge, I believe," said Finch. "I dare say lending his ship to the cause would be the least he would do to get her back, don't you think?"

"Good point," said Paul.

"Moreover, these vessels are usually much better stocked than Royal Navy ones. Better financial backing, I suppose. I should know, I've sacked a few..."

"Yes?" asked Malcolm, in tones that shut Finch up in an instant.

"...Back to business," Finch announced eventually. "I have the ship and map; I now need a crew."

"Fine," said Stanton. "I need nine volunteers..."

"Oh, no no no no," said Finch. "Not you Royal Navy types. You're not after her for the same reasons as our good friend Malcolm Barone here," he added, with a hand on the shoulder of the City Watchman in question. "I find that in such times of urgency the stick far outweighs the carrot in getting the job done."

"...I honestly have no idea what that meant," John J commented.

"Then I'm going too," said Amanda, drawing everyone's attention. "You can't send a ship out without any kind of technical support."

"Ah, the watchhouse blacksmith. Always a pleasure," said Finch, and Amanda nodded to him. "And the mapmaker too."

"...Me?" said Paul.

"You recognised the map on my shirt at fifteen paces. That takes talent," said Finch. "Right!" With a sudden burst of energy, Finch leaped and grabbed the side of the Montoya vessel, vaulting over it and onto the deck. "Let's go and take back your lady love from Copperhand Cray and his accursed cronies, yo ho!"

"Right!" said Amanda and Paul, without really knowing why, as they dashed for the gangplank to board the ship the long way.


Malcolm stopped to turn around as John Jacob Bulkmeier and Samuel Skullevich approached him.

"You've barely had time to recover... and now you have to go off and do this..." said John J.

"You've been an inspiration to us from day one, sarge," said Sam. "I mean - look, what I'm trying to..."

Without saying anything, Malcolm wrapped both arms around his partners in a group hug.

"I'll miss you too," he said. "That's why I have every intention of coming back."

Patting their shoulders, Malcolm turned around and boarded the ship.

"Paul, bring me the compass and set it on the helm!" Finch yelled. "Malcolm, raise the sails! Amanda, the anchor is yours!"

Finch concentrated on spinning the helm as the masts turned, and the sails filled with the wind, pulling the ship out of the docks. Amanda demonstrated her little-known strength by pulling the anchor onto the deck with her bare hands, and giving Finch a thumbs-up.

"Now, lady and gentlemen," said Finch, "let us go hence - and spread some good will."
I don't expect anyone to get this one. "Spreading some good will" is my personal slang for kicking ass and taking names.

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Old March 10th, 2004, 09:59 PM   #11
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i have to honestly say, this is getting pretty good. keep it up
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Old March 11th, 2004, 07:16 AM   #12
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well, about the helmets... since the helmets go back to the 70s, I'd say they would have been around much farther back LOL
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Old March 11th, 2004, 08:32 AM   #13
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Originally posted by Avril
well, about the helmets... since the helmets go back to the 70s, I'd say they would have been around much farther back LOL
Way I see it, since I have a Zordon and Alpha planned for these guys I can give them the full treatment. Nothing half-done or hand-made, they'd be between Lost Galaxy (learned everything from scratch) and Lightspeed Rescue (government funding) in the way of resources and technical support. I'll let you guess what their Megazord is going to be like.

Oookay, I've decided to add on the rest of the story arc in this same thread. Helps with the following of the story. And believe me, it starts off with quite a bang...



Frances Montoya-Addams, her hands and feet tied together, lay still in the middle of the deck of the Salamanca, up until someone upturned a bottle of something vile on her face. The pirates laughed at her as she awoke, spluttering.

"What is that infernal concoction?" Frances yelled.

"Interesting choice of words," said Captain 'Copperhand' Cray. "I guess grog is not for everyone, especially for young shipping heiresses." The pirates laughed again as Cray tipped the remaining grog down his own throat.

"What do you want with me?" Frances demanded.

"Is it not obvious yet?" asked Cray. "Or are ye unable to imagine the ransom yer father would raise fer ye safe return?" The pirates laughed again, as if triggered by some Pavlovian response.

"How are you planning to get word to him?" asked Frances.

"By way of Her Majesty's Royal Navy, of course," said Cray with a mock salute. "Those mindless dogs won't try a thing when you're still on this ship."

"Pity," said Frances. "And all this time I held them in such high regard."

"I cannot say the same for me men," Cray warned, raising a wave of chuckles among the pirates. "However, I can assure ye of one thing..."

Frances watched Cray as he mounted a new weapon on his right arm - a double-bladed axe, looking mostly tarnished except for the edges.

"My lust for gold wages war daily with my lust for blood," said Cray, "and one or the other will be satisfied - no matter the cost."

Cray leered at Frances, mainly because he didn't have many other expressions, but the steel in his gaze took a ding when he noticed Frances staring back at him, with a look he'd never seen on a woman before. What disturbed him however was the fact that he'd seen that look dozens of times - every time he sacked a ship, and a random seaman of that vessel decided to do something about the situation, with no clue as to what was at risk...

"You wouldn't..."

In an instant Frances showed that she bloody well would, executing a beautiful backflip that snagged her bonds in Cray's axe-hand, and ripped them open. Cray could only stare dumbfounded as Frances landed on her toes, raised both arms in a graceful pose, and awaited his turn.

"Get 'er!!"

Two pirates charged at Frances, but she kicked their cutlasses out of their hands and clear overboard. A third pirate took a thrusting toe kick in his gut, knocking all the wind out of him, and a fourth was dealt two crescent kicks to the face, before Frances kicked his sword out of his hand and across the deck, pinning Rusty Jones by his shirt to the mainmast.

Salty Smith drew his pistol but that was it - Frances kicked the weapon out of his hand and went into a backflip, giving the weapon a second kick that sent it smacking into the head of Pirate no. 7. A reverse kick to Smith's head sent him reeling, as Frances spun herself into an elegant sitting position on the deck.

"...Where in damnation did you learn to do that?!" Cray growled.

"Madrid," said Frances. "Flamenco dance lessons."

"I hope ye spared the time for fencing lessons too," said Cray, hooking the sword that pinned Jones to the mainmast with his axe-hand, and pulling it out, sending it clattering on the deck at Frances' feet. "EN GARDE!"

Cray's personal gamble had paid off - Frances couldn't raise the sword in time, even with both hands, and Cray smacked it out of her hands with a spark-raising swipe of his axe-hand. A punch in her face from his good hand and a crushing elbow strike on her head landed her out cold for the second time that day.

"Oh, don't look at me like that," said Cray to his crew. "You know the Code is more like guidelines, anyway." He looked down at Frances for a second. "Mister Smith, I'd like a boat ready to cast off, if you'd be so kind..."


In a matter of minutes, the Montoya vessel (Paolo Ricardo found out at one point that it was called the Conquistador) was well on its way out of the harbor. For some reason the Salamanca's ten-minute headstart had given it an incredible boost, as it remained frustratingly out of visual range.

Sergeant Malcolm Barone and quartermaster Amanda Brady looked around as the Conquistador sailed on. They weren't technically out at sea yet - the nearest land lay half a mile away at port and starboard, in the form of Brooklyn and Manhattan respectively.

"I've only seen this part of the harbor once," said Malcolm. "The city of Brooklyn was a mere clump of buildings then. And that beautiful river..."

"They need a bridge of some sort to make crossing that river easier," Paul pointed out.

Under Peter D Finch's order, Paul had pegged up the silk shirt to a makeshift clothesline to serve as a map. Finch never needed to use the shirt in that fashion before now, and it would scare his crew to know how often he'd worked the helm of a ship in any case.

"Can this thing go any faster?" asked Malcolm.

"If you like you could get out and push," said Finch. "Honestly, we're going as fast as we can, considering the amount of wind. For some obscure reason the harbor is letting out an ocean current that's helping us on our way considerably. See for yourself."

Malcolm approached the stern and looked over the edge - there was an unusual amount of waves lapping against the back of the ship, which was strange considering how most ships leave a wake when they move. Even Malcolm knew that.

"I'm doing all I can to stabilise her right now," said Finch. "Grab that rudder for me, will you?"

Malcolm had no time to react as the currents pushed the rudder flat against the stern and swung the handle into his gut with a loud WHAP.

"Good job," said Finch under breath.

"Finch! I'm making out something just off port bow!" Amanda yelled. Finch looked about his person for a telescope.

"All the things you collected all over the world and no telescope, Peter Finch?" asked Malcolm.

"Oh shut up," Finch growled, searching the deck for a few seconds before finding a sleek brass affair, with horses engraved along the length. "Stylish," he commented as he extended the telescope and looked through it.

"That's the Salamanca all right... and something else," said Finch. "They've deployed a boat, heading off starboard... Paolo!"

"Aye?" asked the mapmaker in question.

"What be the name of that island there?" asked Finch.

"Ellis Island, I think," said Paul.

"No, the smaller one on the left," said Finch. Paul took the telescope from him and peered through it.

"I have no idea - I don't think anybody bothered to name that one," said Paul. "Why in creation would they send a boat there?"

Nobody on the Conquistador knew Finch long enough to recognise the current look on his face, but the way he started turning the helm had their attention in an instant.

"Where are you turning the ship? The Salamanca is right there!" yelled Malcolm.

"They wouldn't send that boat out for no reason! I'm wagering that Cray's got something very unsavoury planned for the missy Montoya!" said Finch.


"Look here, copper," said Finch directly into Malcolm's face, "which of us sailed with Cray, and which of us was only concerned with clapping him in irons? Eh?"

"He's got a point," said Amanda. "That boat's rowing really hard and low on the waterline - it's carrying a fairly big load."

"And if the Salamanca gets away?" asked Malcolm.

"I have a better question for ye," said Finch. "Are we after the Salamanca - or Frances Montoya?"

Last edited by Aaron Hong; November 18th, 2004 at 04:25 AM.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 11:35 AM   #14
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Nice story. I love how you've set it up almost identical to Pirates of the Caribbean, and would like to see your Captain Cray used in some way in conjunction with the ultimate baddies of the series (the things that force your heroes to become Power Rangers). I'm not too sure about the helmets, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 01:07 PM   #15
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THIS IS SO GOOOD!!!!!!!!!!
This definently deserves a fic of the month nomination for March.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 01:36 PM   #16
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Very good. Keep it up!
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Old March 11th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #17
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Awesome. I just can't wait to see how they turn into rangers. Keep it up.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 09:48 PM   #18
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Originally posted by DigificWriter
Nice story. I love how you've set it up almost identical to Pirates of the Caribbean, and would like to see your Captain Cray used in some way in conjunction with the ultimate baddies of the series (the things that force your heroes to become Power Rangers).
Cray's role is practically confirmed there. Won't say too much, all I can say is that Cray's involvement won't last till the end of the pilot story arc.

I've had to break up this next bit into two parts so it seems a bit short. It's gonna be one action scene rolling into another, PR-style... kind of.


Despite 'Copperhand' Cray's stealthy approach to sacking vessels, he was currently very prominent indeed, standing over the prow of the rowboat that four of his crewmen were rowing on. This was a customised rowboat with cylinders instead of planks for seats, and he'd drilled his men in a new rowing method that involved hooking one's feet under the seat in front and leaning very far back to make each stroke, and the result was stealth's brother in arms - speed.
Cray is pioneering a form of racing rowboat here, something you need to live in Britain to recognise. These are very narrow boats with wheeled seats on rails and stirrups for the rowers' feet for maximum rowing power.
Something in the wind caught Cray's attention, and he looked up. It was the Conquistador, that Montoya trading vessel, looking very prominent indeed with its red and white sails and gleaming bronze.

"Bloody hell," said Cray to himself, and looked down at the unconscious Frances Montoya, curled at his feet. "I should demand a higher ransom for ye - but circumstances have alas changed," he added as he pulled up the sleeve on his weapon-arm to reveal yet another fancy attachment.

He raised it upright and pulled a latch, setting off a flare that shot into the sky.


"It's a signal! The captain's giving us a signal!" yelled the first pirate to see the smoking red pellet traverse the sky.

"What's going on?" asked Salty Smith. "Mister Crabb!"

"Well, what do ye know," said first mate Crabb, already holding a telescope. "We have company."

The pirates stared at each other.

"Well, what are ye standin' around for? You know the drill!" Crabb roared at the pirates. "Man the starboard cannons and prepare to fire!"


"Oh no," said Finch, looking at Cray's flare as it started falling again.

"Well, what does that mean?" asked Malcolm.

"I want all three of you to take a mast each!" Finch ordered. "Prepare to drop the sails! Now!"

"What's going on?!" Malcolm demanded, even as Paul and Amanda followed Finch's last instruction and took to the masts.

"That's Cray's emergency flare!" said Finch. "Look, I don't have time to explain and it's not like the sails are doing much work now. Just do it!!"

"Malcom, come on!" yelled Amanda, and Malcolm begrudgingly went to the mainmast. Finch had the helm in one hand as he raised the telescope to his eye with the other.

"C'mon, Cray... you could never resist a good target, you old sea-dog..."

The Salamanca turned to the right.


"FIRE!!" yelled first mate Crabb, and the Salamanca's starboard cannons, protruding from the hull and angled high, went off in a badly timed fashion...

A torrent of BOOMs jarred the ship as eight or ten cannonballs shot into the sky, descending towards the Conquistador...


"NOW!!" yelled Finch, and the Conquistador's sails began to fall at a liquid pace, as the cannonballs came near...

...and missed the sails and masts completely.

"...How did you know?!" asked a now incredulous Malcolm.

"He always overcompensates. It's the range," Finch explained. "Look, you're a copper, you've used a pistol before, you know how the pellet starts falling after something like a hundred paces, don't you?"

Noting the current expression on Malcolm's face, Finch gave up.

"We move on to Plan B, men. And lady," Finch added, touching his bandana with a look at Amanda. "This ship has cannons, has it not?"

"Yes, but only one row. The Salamanca is armed on both sides," said Paul.

"Even better," Finch replied. "I need all three of you to go down there and arrange all the cannons on the stern, pointing backwards. Now. Don't load 'em all."

Malcolm, Paul and Amanda found themselves staring at Finch all over again.

"Well?!" Finch screamed.


"Raise all cannons by 5 degrees!" Crabb ordered, his telescope still on his eye. "The fools still won't raise the sails... we can't miss, not this time..."

"Cannons aligned and loaded!" yelled Jones.



Amanda had to lift a few cannons off their wheeled mounts, to fit all the cannons in the stern like Finch ordered. She flipped open the two cannon windows on the stern, and spent a moment looking from them to the seven cannons currently pointed towards them.

"I don't know what he's thinking this time," said Paul. "There's not enough room to fire them all."

"There will be in a while," Amanda mused.

A wave of noise passed through the hull as the booms of the Salamanca's cannons hit the Conquistador first.

"Fire! Fire!!" yelled Finch, gripping the rudder and hanging on for dear life. Paul and Amanda looked at Malcolm as he secured the last of the cannons, but he had nothing to say this time.

So Amanda wound the cannons' cords around her arms, and pulled.


The rear of the Conquistador exploded as all seven cannons went off at once, and Finch steadied the rudder as the incredible burst of speed sent the ship pitching forward. The Salamanca's cannonballs missed as a result, hitting the water in the Conquistador's wake.

"He's hit the coast," said Finch to himself, watching Cray's rowboat through his telescope, and dropped it. WIth both hands he wrenched the tiller, turning the rudder and angling the Conquistador to the atoll off the coast of Ellis Island.


"I don't believe it," Crabb muttered. "They've blown their own ship open just to beat us to the atoll..."

"We have to turn 'er around, now!!" yelled Smith, trying to grab the helm of the Salamanca, but Crabb swatted him away.

"How long have you been behind the mast, boy?" Crabb snapped. "The sails are full, turning now would rip them off their moorings!"

Crabb loosened up visibly as he watched the Conquistador approach the atoll.

"Only one bloody pirate in the seven seas could think up a move like that," he seethed, his face going red as he started hyperventilating, before finally screaming out...


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Old March 11th, 2004, 09:54 PM   #19
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hell hath no fury like woman scorned.
hell hath no fury like a pirate scorned.
a woman pirate scorned is just about as bad as they get. just blabbering here. but keep it up!:p
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Old March 11th, 2004, 10:01 PM   #20
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Umm... right.

Well, this is the part where everything happens, even some hints to the origins of our Rangers' powers thrown in. The whole story's covered in fun references, not just to the Pirates movie, see if you can spot the big glaring one here.


Finch sneezed for the second time that day. Probably the wind, he told himself, as he looked over the bow of the Conquistador as it sped towards the atoll.

"Glad you could join us," he said to Malcolm, who'd just climbed onto the deck.

"Now what?" Malcolm asked, as Amanda and Paul lined up beside them.

"We're about to hit the beach rolling. No time to waste with gangplanks and all that," Finch warned. "You still with us?"

"Of course," Malcolm replied.


The keel of the Conquistador ran aground on the sand, and the inertia hurled the four off the deck...

...in an incredible display of agility, all four of them executed forward flips, landing feet first on the sand. Paul was the only one that needed to be helped up, though, as they started to run.

"Cray's boat is behind those rocks! Hurry!" yelled Finch, taking the lead as he dashed towards said rocks, and stepped off two of the smaller ones to vault over the top. Malcolm followed his cue, and Amanda did likewise, only she sat on the topmost rock to give the already breathless Paul a hand.

The waves had washed much of the sand from behind the rocks, putting Finch and company in ankle-deep seawater as they kept on running...


Finch had reached 'Copperhand' Cray at last, standing on the sandy beach of that atoll, with a pistol already leveled on Frances' head.

"FRANCES!!" yelled Malcolm as Finch restrained him.

"MALCOLM!!" yelled Frances, who didn't need any restraining - they'd clapped her in irons this time.

"All right, Cray, what's this about?" Finch asked. "Wasn't this whole deal a kidnapping from start to finish?"

"Peter D Finch," Cray growled. "I never would have thought you'd be the one leading the rescue mission..."

"It's my rescue mission, pirate," said Malcolm, stepping forward. "And I'm taking her back now."

"Oh, you don't quite understand what's happening, do you?" said Cray. "And Finch - you should know by now that kidnapping was never a pirate specialty. Our plan was to maroon her here with this pistol, and exchange the ransom for this island's bearings."

"Sounds feasible to me, what changed your mind?" asked Finch.

"Miss Montoya here has proven to be a very - special individual," said Cray. "In all my years behind the mast I have faced a few such - special individuals. People with the right amount of goodness within them to act on it. I see it in all of ye - that's why you all came to save her, isn't it?"

"What are you talking about?" asked Malcolm.

"They say that when you're at the mercy of an evil man, he'll gloat, and taunt, he'll relish the moment, and even drop his guard," said Cray, "but find youself at the mercy of a good man, and he'll kill you without a word. It's the honest ones you can't trust."

Finch had remained silent the whole time, letting Malcolm occupy Cray's attention - he'd been focusing his attention elsewhere.

The lapping of the waves on the coast had taken an unusual pattern - it was much stronger around himself and his new friends, but barely lapped more than two feet onto the sand. And most unusual of all was the way the waves could reach six feet in front of Frances, but fail to reach her at all.

And Finch remembered the lapping of the waves against the stern of the Conquistador.

"Kindness to one's foes is akin to cruelty to oneself," said Cray, as the pistol gave off a metallic click.

"You've done this before, haven't you?" said Finch out loud, drawing everyone's attention.

"Why do you ask?" asked Cray.

"Executing people on the coast. Not just this atoll, but elsewhere too, isn't that right Cray?" said Finch.

"...You're right," said Cray. "And your point?"

"Isn't there a thing you always did to hide your tracks?" asked Finch. "Especially the blood on the sand. Can't get that out without digging it out, and that'd leave a clue, wouldn't it?"

"True," said Cray. "How silly of me to forget. Missy, step into the seawater, if you will."

Frances shot a look of pure shock at Finch, who winked back at her as Cray pushed her at gunpoint towards the sea.

For the first time in her life, Frances had both her feet in seawater.

At the exact same time as Finch, Malcolm, Paul and Amanda.

Finch was the first one to feel it...

a ripple of power spread from all five of them and through the seawater, as time seemed to slow down. Cray couldn't see or feel any of it, but when he saw the look in Finch's eye, he knew immediately that something was wrong, and his finger tightened around the trigger...

...and a freak wave splashed at both Cray and Frances at the same time.

With no warning whatsoever, Finch reached for Malcolm's belt and pulled out his pistol, leveling it on Cray, and fired.

The shot went into Cray's good hand, which exploded in a shower of blood as he screamed, and his pistol flew into the air.

And Frances executed a perfect backflip, catching Cray's pistol and lowering it to the manacles around her feet as she went upside down over the falling Cray. A single shot severed the chain instantly.

"Ye gods, Frances?!" was all Malcolm could say after seeing that. Frances didn't waste time with saying anything, she just ran towards Malcolm and fell into his arms, as the injured Cray climbed to his feet.

"Don't you bloody dare!" roared Malcolm, as he and a suddenly rejuvenated Paul ran towards Cray, and both delivered spinning punches to his head.

Amanda and Frances nodded at each other, and dived in after Malcolm and Paul with thrusting kicks to Cray's body.

"FIIIINCH!!" Cray roared, in rage more than pain.

"Right away, cap'n!" Finch replied, and delivered the final blow in the form of a leaping spin kick to Cray's head...

...the five could only stand and watch as Cray fell flat on the sand, out cold.

"Finch, what were you..." Malcolm tried to say.

"No time for that now, they're on their way back," said Finch hurriedly as he started making his way around the rocks and back to the Conquistador. "We have to get her off the sand, and fast!"

"And how are we going to do that?!" yelled Malcolm as Finch climbed up the side of the ship and onto the deck again. He started looking around the deck, and found something - he picked it up and lifted it over the side of the Conquistador, dropping it onto the beach.

"That's the gangplank!" said Frances.

"Shove it under the keel and climb aboard, and quickly please," said Finch, before retreating below the deck. Malcolm had a slightly different concern - while Paul and Amanda worked on the gangplank, he ran around to the port side of the Conquistador and looked into the open sea.

"Oh no," he muttered to himself as the black sails of the Salamanca appeared through the sun's glare.

"COPPERS!! WE ARE LEAVING!!" Finch screamed from the bow, and Malcolm was forced to move. He approached the bow and leaped, with arms outstretched, and Amanda and Finch helped him aboard.

"...What is that thing?" asked Malcolm, looking at the massive triangular metal frame currently taking up part of the deck.

"You've never seen a brass monkey before?" said Finch in way of reply. "It's used to store the cannonballs. Obviously you think that all good seamen let their cannonballs roll back and forth across the lower deck on every voyage, don't you? Miss Brady, if you'd be so kind?"

Amanda nodded and tied the brass monkey to a rope, which went through a pulley on the mizzenmast and back down again.

"Now lift 'er up and wait for my signal," said Finch, running towards the bridge and searching for the telescope all over again. As Malcolm and Amanda pulled, the brass monkey rose two feet off the deck, but Finch, looking from the Salamanca to a point roughly behind the Conquistador, motioned them to pull harder.

"Please, maidens of the water," Finch muttered at prayer volume, "you helped us once, you can bloody well do it again... ohh yesss...."

As Malcolm secured the rope on the mizzenmast, Finch smiled as he saw an incoming wave, then made a pushing gesture with his hand, and Amanda caught on instantly.

"Swing it!" she yelled, and she gave the brass monkey a push. A small one at first, then she pushed harder each time it swung back, and slowly but surely it was swinging diagonally across the deck.

"Paul, give me a hand!" she yelled, and Paul joined her in pushing the brass monkey even harder. Soon it was peeking over the sides of the Conquistador, and our heroes kept pushing it harder each time, as Finch's huge wave rolled closer...


Amanda reached for Malcolm's belt and drew his sword, then swung it into the mizzenmast, severing the rope.

The brass monkey was released on the outward swing, spinning out of control and onto that gangplank.

And the wave crashing around the Conquistador, combined with the leverage of the brass monkey on the gangplank under the keel, freed the Conquistador from the beach and pulled it outwards into the open sea.

"...That was bloody incredible!" Paul marvelled. "I can't... How..."

"Quit gawking around and raise the sails! We're getting crosswinds now! GO!" Finch ordered, and Paul tripped over his own feet. It said a lot that you could hear Finch's exasperated sigh over the chaos, as Amanda started pulling the ropes to raise the sails.

"Look, Paolo. Heads up," said Finch. Paul turned to him, and raised his hands just in time to catch the telescope as it was thrown to him. "You want to make yourself useful? Climb up to the crow's nest and be our eyes."

Paul nodded eagerly, and started climbing the topgallant.

"...and stay out of the bloody way," Finch added at a near whisper. He hung on to the helm and started looking around himself - the backwash of the waves had the Conquistador moving in reverse, and only the right combination of air and water currents could pull them out of the scene without tearing the sails off the ship.

There was that ripple of power again. It came from the waterline up through the Conquistador this time, and everyone felt it.

Finch acted on instinct and spun the helm, turning the sails to the wind.

And a backwash from the far end of the atoll sent the Conquistador even further into the sea, as it turned around slowly, to sail with the winds.


Captain 'Copperhand' Cray climbed to his feet - he'd just regained consciousness, but the pain of all his injuries covered him like a mist that he could barely move or see in.

It wasn't that hard to make out Ellis Island or the Conquistador on the horizon, thanks to those red and white sails. Ironically, this was not the first time he'd observed that ship from afar - he knew Frances was on it, he'd made a plan, he'd waited for the opportune moment... and all it took was five youths, including the one he'd targeted, to take it all away.

Even more ironic was the fact that Peter Finch was now responsible for maiming both his hands.

"Damn you... Peter D Finch," Cray growled, raising his right arm. "DAMN YOU, FINCH! DAMN YOU!! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!"

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