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Return of the Pirates (M) Jabba x Kreed

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Offline Jabbathejack

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Beckett held Hammond's gaze steadily, refusing to be intimidated by a one legged merchant. He regretted losing his temper and raising his voice, but uttering an apology at this moment would only serve to make him appear weak and he was not willing to do that. Not with a man like Hammond.

When he spoke again, Beckett's voice was calm, yet still cold.
"I appreciate your attempts to assist, Mr Hammond, but I wonder how you would have acted had the tables been turned? No matter, this has been a trying time for all. I hope your daughter has the sense to turn herself in."

"Good night, Mr Hammond. I hope I will see you both tomorrow."

Beckett gave a stiff bow and turned on his heel, heading back up towards his ship. Hunter grimaced and nodded at Hammond before he went to follow.


Offline Kreed

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Did he wonder? Really? Denver could think of some choice responses which would make a proud lordling struggling with his pride crumble and simmer even further. Was it worth the energy, however? Denver smiled politely until the boy finished. Yes. Yes it was.

"If the tables were turned, I would not be speaking to the girl's father. It's an island and there's one way off. It's like hunting foxes." He had little time to discuss however. Surely, with the boy's breeding, he'd gone on a fox hunt or two or was at least somewhat familiar. Smoking the bitch out was only a matter of time, especially since her income depended on sailing for wares.

He grunted in response to the Captain's farewells and gave a short nod to both him and his first mate, arms folding as he waited for them to pass. Scurvy wagged his stump tail at the men before resuming his sniffling and pawing at the deck. His master had yet to call him off, and he was determined to find the target he'd been tasked with.

When the men returned their ship and seemed to disappear for the night, Scurvy looked toward Denver and gave a quiet whine and a little hop at the planks of the dock. Slowly, Denver closed the gap between them and came to lean beside the small dog. His brow furrowed briefly in thought before he scooted the animal gently aside with his boot and muttered a "good boy". From within the depths of his lungs, the man summoned a generous glop of yellow mucus and aimed it expertly between the slats of the marina.

"You better grow some gills or be at home with your things packed tomorrow morning, Lucille," he grunted. "Because your boys answer to me and they're not letting you on that ship until that Cornish fop is off my back. You hear me?"

There was no reply, but Denver knew he didn't need one. He turned to leave. Below the decks, his daughter grimaced and hastily scrubbed the snot from her shoulder before dipping beneath the surface of the water, letting the cold brine wash over her and soothe her, suspending her in the darkness where she could float for a few moments before emerging again. Briefly, she listened to the sound of her father's footsteps - step-tap-hop, step-tap-hop - toward Les Loups and considered chasing him down. The image of the greying one-legged man, being overtaken by her as she emerged suddenly and dragged him into the water, flashed in and out of her mind in an instant. She shook it away; it would in the end only create far more problems.

What about a life boat from Beckett's ship? No. That wouldn't do. Surely, there was a significant increase to the vigilance aboard. Even if she could get a boat...there was no rowing to the nearest island. Not without several days of water and exceptional weather, both of which she had her doubts about obtaining in the heat of the moment. A few more schemes were swiftly nipped in the bud. It was becoming clear what she needed to do. She took in a big gulp of air and disappeared again under the water to swim back to land, well away from both Beckett and her father.


Offline Jabbathejack

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Beckett was only too glad to be able to retreat to his cabin, but sleep was elusive. He was far too angry to be able to relax enough. Instead, he lay in his bunk, staring at the ceiling, watching the ripples of light cast by the gentle lapping of the waves.

He could hear faintly the noise of his patrol as they returned to the ship and from the tone of the hushed voices, he knew that they had found little luck with retrieving their lost cargo.

Would Hammond assist him in locating his daughter? Beckett was not sure. Hammond might well seem like a callous bastard, but that did not mean that he would not protect his own flesh and blood. Beckett grimaced, knowing that he might well be forced to take the matter further.

The name Beckett could open a few doors, he knew, but that was a channel he was loathe to take. He would stand on his own two feet, away from the shadow of his father.

He was woken by the sunlight streaming in through his window. Beckett grimaced as he got up, wiping the sleep from his eyes. It had hardly been enough sleep, leaving him with a pounding headache and a sour mood.


Offline Kreed

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It did not take many moments longer in that warm, dark water for Denver's daughter to weigh all the options they had...mostly because they were truly limited. Les Loups and her crew, fiercely loyal and free-thinking as they were, were indebted monetarily and otherwise to Denver Hammond. Before they were her crew, they were Mongrels--scurvy pups at the heel of their one-legged master. They would not protect her.

The island is too small. She continued to deliberate as she swam to the other end of the marina and climbed the algae-slick pier toward the wooden dock above. Certainly no place for someone like me to hide. There was hardly any mistaking a tall, white-haired, tattooed sailor for another person, man or woman. The moon was sinking in the sky when she stood, drenched in her transparent nightgown, and wrung out the hem of her skirts as she began to wander along the marina with little care for her state of undress, leaving a glistening trail of sea water behind her.

The sky was turning from black to deep indigo with the early signs of dawn by the time she had finished the short walk home, and sand coated her ivory legs up to her mid calf. She had made up her mind. She would gather the coin she had squirelled away, and bribe a travelling merchant to get on the next ship out of Barbados. Surely, a lost and desperate beautiful young woman could convince at least one old sailor to provide a modicum of hospitality. She opened the door as quietly as she could, knowing that Scurvy would not bark at the sound of her familiar footfalls. She closed the door behind her and breathed a near-silent sigh of relief when the stillness of the house washed over her. Good. Surely, her father had gone back to sleep after his late-night adventure. She turned to move up the stairs and all but slammed herself against the door when she locked eyes with Denver, who sat wide awake on the counter of his store with a glass of indiscernable spirit in his fist.

"You have two options." His voice was level and quiet. Most of his body was relaxed, but there was a pulsing vein in his weathered brown temple and his jaw was clenched to a fine point. His stare didn't waver in the slightest. It was possible that he didn't even blink as he spoke. "Take the bags I have graciously packed for you and join me down by the docks this morning, or you will meet Captain Beckett and his men - and join them - dressed exactly as you are."

After a moment to recover, Akuma drew taller and sized the man up. "I can run circles around every last one of you. If you want me, I hope you intend to catch me."

"Darling", Denver barked out a quick laugh that turned into something of a cough. He whet his throat with his drink before setting it down with his left hand. His right hand moved to the countertop beside him, where Akuma seemed to notice for the first time that his pistol had been waiting. Denver's thumb toyed with the hammer, and he smiled with a toothy grin that many women had found inviting, but in Akuma caused a wave of cold nausea from throat to gut. "You can't run with no knees."

Her lips pursed and her throat bobbed once in a decisive swallow, but she remained where she stood, and brows furrowed in cynicism. "That seems a bit extreme. I'd be the one going to jail if the fine was unpaid."

"I would have called what I was doing a mercy killing", Denver responded. He did not lower his gun but neither did he draw it on his daughter. He simply toyed with it in his hand, as if he were looking at one of his many wares for sale and considering its worth. "I don't imagine you'd fair well in a cell, presenting as you are." He shook his head lightly and there was a twinkle of amusement in his steel blue eyes. "The minute they saw you, you'd be hanged."

Akuma's skin was pale - nearly white - but now it was ashen. Her lip twitched in anger, but she did not speak again. Denver's smile changed into the gentle-yet-patronizing smile of a disapproving but endeared father. He slowly lowered the gun but kept its weight in his hand. "You have two minutes to get dressed. I suggest wearing something comfortable, because I suspect you won't be changing again for a long time. Go."

And she did, with haste and steam nearly pouring from her ears, up the stairs and with the punctuation of a slamming bedroom door. Denver's smile faded into a thinly-veiled stormy expression. A darkness overtook his eyes. With luck, Beckett had not yet gone for law enforcement, but if he had...there was little to be done.


Offline Jabbathejack

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Beckett was awake with dawn, despite only having a few hours to rest. The events of the previous night had set him in a foul mood, one that his men noted and set to their duties with a will, hoping to avoid the wrath of their Captain.

Of course, the elusive Miss Hammond had not deigned to show herself back at their ship to make reparation, yet Beckett had not expected her to. If she was smart, she would be stowing away on board the next ship to leave the island, although if she were caught, that might not bode well for her.

Grimacing, Beckett took his hat and motioned to his first mate to accompany him; it was time to pay a visit to the governor's offices to lodge a formal complaint.

"Captain Beckett?" The governor's adjutant blinked in surprise, pushing his glasses up to the bridge of his nose where they immediately slipped down to their original position.

"One of his majesty's privateers?"
"Yes." Beckett frowned at the unexpected response. "I came to speak to the governor, if he is available?"

"Unfortunately not, however, I would be glad to hear you, Captain."
The man stood, smiling broadly as he motioned for him to sit. Hunter took up a position standing just behind his chair.
"How is your father? I had the honour of serving with him some years ago."

Beckett's heart sank, but he forced a smile nonetheless.
"He is doing well, I believe, sir. Although it has not been possible for me to return to visit for some years now. Thank you for your concern."
"I see." The adjutant seemed to be oblivious to the faint edge that had crept into Beckett's voice at the mention of his father. "Well, give him my best, please."

"Now, Captain, what can I do for you?"
"Sir, it grieves me to say this, but I have been wronged. My ship was broken into, my men were assaulted and the prisoners I had locked in my hold were released. Prisoners that had been captured in the service of his majesty, I might add."
"Who could have done this?" The adjutant frowned. "An enemy spy?"

Beckett shook his head.
"I do not know the movtive of the attack, but I have managed to find out that the perpetrator was a young woman, the daughter of one of the merchants on the island. I have approached her father to try and gain some resolution, but she appears to be in hiding. A sign of her guilt, beyond all doubt."

As expected, the adjutant seemed to be shocked that a young woman had committed such crimes.
"The governor's office does not normally involve itself in matters of petty crime, as I'm sure you understand, Captain. We are very busy. However..."

The adjutant paused, pushing up his glasses once more as he fixed Beckett with a calculating stare.
"Captain Beckett, I have a proposition for you..."

***

"That's a bad idea, Captain, I don't like it at all..."
Hunter frowned, following his Captain as they returned to the ship.
"Aye, it stinks like rotten fish, Richard, but what bloody choice do we have? We can't afford to just let this slide."

Beckett scowled, climbing up the ramp and onto the deck.
"Besides, he said there was a reward."

He glanced up, squinting at the bright sunlight; they'd lost a lot of time with this entire escapade. Beckett only hoped that it was worth it.

"Get her ready to sail, lads."


Offline Kreed

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It seemed they had arrived just in time. Denver and his daughter stepped toward The Plague with a speediness that was fuelled by short tempers. On the outside, they might have appeared well acquainted; the father, in need of support with his wooden leg, kept a grip on the upper arm of his daughter. A closer inspection revealed that his knuckles were whitened by the strength of his hold and that it was only this and their earlier conversation that kept her from straying or dragging her feet.

She had dressed well, but for travel, in French hunting outfit style and if not for her fair features, might have been mistaken as a young man. She wore her own hair in a tight plait down to nearly the small of her back beneath a brown french cavalier hat, deprived of its feather. Her blue single-breasted justacorps was well made and subtly decorated at the sleeves with bronze and ivory and at the neck with an off-white plain cravat in a simple knot. Underneath, she had discarded her petticoats in favor of slim-fitting breeches and stockings. Brown boots with a slight heel rose to her mid-calf to keep out the brine and made a tall woman even taller. A sword was belted at her hip and a pistol was holstered on her chest. In her free hand she held a modest trunk of luggage and carried a fiddle case on her back. The brim of her hat hid her expression as she tilted her head downward.

"Ahoy!" Denver called up. His voice was sharp and deep, a sharp contrast to the tired middle-aged man that had met the crew the previous night. "I need to speak to your Captain before you set sail. Tell him Denver Hammond sends for him."
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 08:06:19 AM by Kreed »


Offline Jabbathejack

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A face appeared, looking down over the side at the visitors before disappearing. A moment later Hunter appeared, beckoning them up onto the ship.

"Didn't think you'd make it. "

He glanced at the young woman, his expression grave; it was hard to believe that someone like this had managed to wreak so much havoc.

"Wait here. I'll let him know you're here."

The first mate headed across the deck and up the stairs to knock on the door to Beckett's study.

The rest of the crew regarded the pair with a thinly veiled hostility, giving them a wide berth as they went about their duties.

They were not kept waiting long; Hunter reemerged and motioned them over.

"Captain Beckett will see you."

The Captain's study was small, with just enough room for a desk and a couple of chairs, one of which was currently occupied by Beckett himself. On the far wall were cabinets where Beckett stored his charts.

Beckett looked up as they entered, Hunter taking up a position by the door. Beckett nodded to the older man, gesturing to the empty chair.

"Thank you for coming, Mr Hammond. I'm glad that we have a chance to sort out this mess in an amicable fashion."

***

"Get a move on, you sorry bunch of bastards."

The pirate spat at them, grabbing Joe's shoulder and giving him a hard shove. Joe stumbled forwards, barely able to keep his balance with his wrists shackled tightly.

The battle had been hard and Joe bore the marks, with a few large bruises visible on his face and his lip split. He was lucky he hadn't been more gravely injured; a fair few of them had been killed, but Joe had surrendered when it had become clear that they would not win this battle.

Behind the fresh marks, there were others visible; the yellowing mark of older bruises that were still healing from when he had last annoyed his commanding officer, but that man was now dead, hacked down by their attackers.

Now, Joe stood with around a dozen men, shackled to each other, lined up on the deck to wait. What they were waiting for, he wasn't sure. Joe grimaced; they were probably going to be assessed to see who was worth keeping to sell and who was due to be flung overboard instead.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 04:25:08 PM by Jabbathejack »


Offline Kreed

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"Didn't think you'd make it.

"Well", said the young woman, "I would hate for you to be wrong..."

Despite the confidence of her dismissal, she didn't go beyond a half-turn away from the ship. Denver held her firmly in place, and his jaw set in a determined silence. His steel blue eyes stared forward seemingly into nothingness as they waited to be summoned. The moment father and daughter entered the Captain's quarters, Denver's expression transformed from icy acerbity into a tired and lukewarm, almost kindly face. It aged him, but not with any added frailty - rather, it gave the air of a sort of well-meaning, fatherly gentle giant. Akuma was, of course, all-too familiar.

"Absolutely, Captain..." Denver spoke with a soft, but articulate drawl. He was slow to sit, and hard on his landing, but he adjusted as though it were a typical inconvenience for him. A missing leg, as it were, often had a profound affect on the balance, prosthetic or not. Beside him, his daughter stood with jaw clenched and teeth all but bared in a lip-curl in distaste. She did not immediately motion to remove her hat,  but with a second-nature lazy swat of the back of the hand to her side, she stiffened and removed her hat and held it in her white-knuckled hands at her lap.

"My most sincere apologies regarding the loss of your cargo. As a fellow merchant, I understand that every haul greatly affects our livelihood. This said... I'm afraid I don't have the means to afford repayment at this time." Denver paused but only for a moment; he was a fine craftsman of speech, not giving the captain long enough to be too upset, but not picking up so quickly that it suggested remotely that he was panicking. "I considered offering you an approximate value of my own goods, but that would leave you with the trouble of selling, and it would take me many months of collecting to come close to the price of so many slaves."

"I want to provide you with some form of repayment immediately. It wouldn't do to have you waiting, and to press upon you the burden of replaying your cargo. I am prepared to offer you a fraction of my stock at present, and my daughter's skills - and her loyalty - so long as you might see fit to undue what grievances she has caused."

***

"This one will do... this one--no. No, no. Far too decorated. I can't afford that degree of loyalty on this ship. ... And you bring me this? He's practically dead as we speak."

A voice rough and crackling, but unmistakably female, crept closer and closer to Joe Fulbeck accompanied by the sounds of heeled foot-steps and the rattling of chains. In a most disorganized fashion, the garland of shackled men was stretched out to form a queue. It was then that the pirate crew was quiet for a moment, almost in communal thought. Slowly, the footsteps continued.

Like a shark skirting around the bow, Captain Molly Simons came into view. She was not the first nor most powerful of female pirates, but she was one of the few that not only lead her own crew, but did so without significant effort to hide her gender. It is true that she dressed as a man in a red justacorps and in long breeches, but she also adorned herself with a well-fashioned corset and pieces of fine jewellery. Her hair - a black mass of long curls - rivalled many French-made wigs of the era with its ringlets draped on her shoulders and down her back. Much more of her thick mane was tied back with a silken bow beneath a leather tricorn, well-worn and faded from days under a relentless sun.

She paused when she came to Joe and studied him quietly. Her round eyes, a pale grey-blue, seemed unsettlingly almost violet in colour and were - if not for her round, high cheeks - the most prominent feature of her pale face. This was a lady who showed fair breeding by her noble features, and - though presumably in her thirties - seemed to have avoided more than a handful of scars and sun damage to her complexion, though a portion of her left brow did not allow hair to grow due to either a burn or an old gash.

Her eyes settled, after what seemed a very tense moment of consideration, on the yellow bruises on the man's arms. She hummed in thought before her eyes met his. "Were you press-ganged?" The Captain's voice was a dagger - quiet, discreet, but sharp and cold as steel. She did, however, appear to be somewhat patient as her posture was very much relaxed considering that a battle had just transpired.


Offline Jabbathejack

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Beckett nodded grimly; he had expected the merchant to stick to what he had said the night before. Whether he had the coin or not to cover the debt was beside the point, it was clear that he did not want to part with it; his daughter would bear the brunt of her own debt.

Beckett grimaced; he was not about to agree so easily.
"You assure me that she is a skilled sailor, but I have only your word on the fact. You're asking me to take on a person into my crew when they have already acted against me and assaulted members of my crew? I don't want the disruption that this will bring."

His cold, dark eyes turned to rest on the young woman in question. It was only the second time that they had met face to face and he found that what he now knew about her had changed how he saw her. It would not do to underestimate this one, knowing that she had injured two men, throwing a table at one and knocking the other clean out.

She remained silent throughout and Beckett noted her tension in how she stood and the way she held her hat; he wondered how much coercion had been needed just to bring her here.

"What do you have to offer in this matter?" Beckett addressed her directly.

***

Joe tensed as the Captain of the pirates approached, assessing the captives one by one. From the sounds of it, she did not seem to be too impressed with what she saw. Joe grimaced, expecting to be dismissed just as quickly as the others had been.

He kept his gaze staring directly in front of him; in the army, it was could often be seen as an insult to look a commanding officer in the eye, as if such an act was to put yourself on the same level.

She came to a stop before him, remaining silent for what was an awkwardly long time. Joe risked a glance and found that she was staring at him.

He blinked in surprise at her question; how had she known? Was it written across his face along with the bruises?

"I... Yes, ma'am. I'm a soldier. Taken from London a few months ago."

He fell silent, waiting to see what his fate would be.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 03:18:50 AM by Jabbathejack »


Offline Kreed

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"You not only have my word, Captain." If there were a polite way to protest, Denver seemed to have it down, little fatherly smile and all, "but also evidence of her own ship and crew, and I do believe that sword at your hip is one you purchased from our store yesterday, if I'm not mistaken. She got that from Islay."

He shifted his weight from one hip to the other; it was likely uncomfortable to put pressure on his bad leg for too long, especially with the weight of his prosthetic. Still, the man didn't let on other than the slight movement that he was growing impatient or uncomfortable; he maintained his perfectly pleasant demeanor regardless.

"Likewise, you've seen she's a formidable fighter and particularly crafty. A fine crewman to have on your side of a skirmish. Besides. Lovely singing voice. Good on a fiddle. Cooks decent. Knows her way 'round the cannons. Pretty versatile stuff, you know."

He went quiet, feeling as though he had efficiently made his case, however casually articulated. Akuma, by contrast, bristled. It took all she could to stand still in silence. When Beckett asked a direct question, that wall holding back her anger burst and it flowed out in a single sentence.

"A strong, well aimed kick to the teeth."

***

Molly considered Joe's answer, gaze settling on something in the sea, and turned it over several times in her head, like a cat batting around a mouse with a broken neck. Her head tilted slightly and after a moment's deliberation she gave a short, single decisive nod. Her eyes settled on Joe once more and her brows furrowed into something resembling a mixture of inquisitiveness, concern, and disappointment.

"It would appear to me that they did not treat you well. Home from the war, no doubt, and taken soon after settling back in."


Offline Jabbathejack

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Beckett dismissed Hammond's so called evidence with a light flick of his fingers; it would be impossible for him to verify something of that nature. How was he to know who acquired the goods as opposed to who merely sold them?

He raised an eyebrow at the young woman's outburst. Beckett turned back to her father.

"That just illustrates my point, sir. You expect me to welcome her into my crew with open arms yet she has hardly showed any sign that she will take my orders. I would a fool to agree to this. The answer is no."
--

Joe waited, feeling as if his heart were in his mouth. Those few moments, short though they were, felt like an eternity for Joe, with his life resting on the whim of a pirate captain.

He nodded grimly as she turned back to him.

"Earned myself a kicking on the first night for making my grievances known."

Yet here he was, facing the prospect of either being thrown to the fish or sold as a slave.


Offline Kreed

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"She will follow your orders." Denver seemed quite adamant, compared to his relaxed nature just a moment ago. He sat up in his chair with a smile, but the air about him had shifted. There was a darkness -- one smooth, lazy tendril -- coiling about his presence like a low-lying fog. The man looked the Captain in the eye with an unwavering gaze, deceptively calm but in a way that was sort of poised and ready. Quasi-predatory, though not toward Beckett himself. Rather, like a cat who was watching a mouse in the far corner.

"If I tell her to follow your command, she will. She may scream, kick, and bite her way against every other bastard under the sun...but not me." He slowly shook his head, and slowly, the fog that hung around him lifted as he sat back as he had before. "If she had her way, she'd have made off in her ship by now and made it halfway to the Grenadines. She certainly wouldn't be helping out her old man with his medical expenses, the spoilt brat."

He gave a short, single raspy bark of a chuckle and idly scratched his hands one over the other. It sounded vaguely of sandpaper. "No, I have no doubts in my mind that she will do as I say...and, by extension, you. Because if she doesn't..." His eyes trailed up for the first time toward his daughter. She made no movement to meet his stare, focusing instead on trying to combust Captain Beckett's head with her glare.

"...She knows the consequences."


Offline Jabbathejack

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The young woman's gaze dd not change, seeming as if she wanted nothing more than to tear his head from his shoulders. Yet despite her obvious anger, she did not speak the sharp rebuke that Beckett expected to hear when Hammond gave his assurances.

Beckett knew control when he saw it; she might be seething with rage towards him, but her lack of reaction to Hammond's words spoke volumes, telling him far more than what Hammond had.

"That remains to be seen." Beckett replied softly, not taking his gaze from her even for an instant.

His instincts were to remain adamant and send them both away, taking whatever he could get for the inconvenience, yet he knew that he could not afford to take such a loss. Even if she was not as skilled as Hammond claimed, she would still be able to do something; of course, Beckett was thinking of the jobs that no sailor wanted to be left with.

"If you are to be a part of my crew, I need you to understand that I will make no allowances for you. You will pay for your mistakes, just as any man in my crew would."

He watched her intently, waiting for any telltale flicker of emotion, of fear. No doubt, a ship full of men would be a danger for a young woman, especially for one who had wronged them so severely. The promise of discipline would only add to those fears.

This was also a last chance to instil the gravity of the situation with her father, a last chance to save his own flesh and blood from the lash. Yet Beckett had a feeling that Hammond was not the sort of man to assist.


Offline Kreed

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For the first time since arriving, Denver's daughter spoke. It seemed she had resigned herself to her fate, but refused to do so without retaining every shred of dignity she could. She peered down at the Captain from her standing position with cold, unwavering pride.

"If you tried to make an exception, you would be promptly reprimanded." Her words were icicles in the Carribbean heat of Beckett's office, and they did not melt as she released them on the air. "You grossly underestimate me, Captain. Let me be clear," her words came slow and pointed, each syllable prickling with a negative energy punctuated by the point of her gritted teeth, "there is nothing you can do that will faze me."

"There's her motivation." Denver hummed, a smile playing at his lips. "Now you've given her a challenge. That settles it then, doesn't it?" He glanced up at his daughter, whose eyes did not move. She had dug them to the hilt into the Captain and twisted the handles, and was not so eager to let go just yet. Denver looked back at Beckett and smiled warmly, rubbing his palms together to create a sound not unlike a fine grained sandpaper. "Shall I draw up a contract?"


Offline Jabbathejack

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If not for the situation, Beckett would have laughed out loud. The thought of someone else, on his ship, reprimanding him for his actions. Instead, Beckett raised an eyebrow.

"Miss Hammond." He replied, his voice as icy as hers was. "You threw a table at one of my men and knocked out another. Believe me, I'm not going to underestimate you in the slightest."

The young woman might have been staring at him with enough venom to stun a whale, but even so, Beckett did not appear to be fazed. He turned away abruptly, fixing her father with his stare. Hammond's bright outlook seemed wholly out of place given the situation; Beckett felt that he had tried his best to dissuade him, to no avail. He had little choice.

Slowly, he reached into a drawer in his desk and pulled out a piece of paper and a quill, which he slid over to the older man, along with a bottle of ink that he kept on his desk.

"As you wish, Mr Hammond."