The wind whipped through Kitty?s hair as she looked at one of her ships. A smaller frigate built ship with eleven cannons port and starboard, along with two bow chase cannons. Twenty-four total guns, and all of them were being replaced with plasma cannons as she watched on. If she was going to go into pirate territory, she was going to ensure she was going to get her crew back alive. She had no need for prisoners and Georg was welcome to any loot.
Earlier in the week she had the ship scrubbed free of barnacles, any hint of damages were repaired, and all of the sails were replaced. She left nothing to chance. At Georg?s suggestion, the decks were flushed and evened out to better blend in with other pirate ships as well as lighten the load. She wasn?t planning on hauling any cargo beyond necessary supplies, so bulkheads below deck were removed as well to make the ship lighter and faster.
Her eyes slid to the side toward the head of brightly colored hair next to her. Traeline was scribbling notes on a clipboard and occasionally barking orders at the men working. Kitty couldn?t help but smile a bit at seeing how well Trae handled herself.
She looked back to the ship and tilted her head slightly so the younger Helston would hear her voice over the surrounding cacophony, ?When I get back, remind me to send a missive to Lord Z'ev Zayveon and let him know I?ll be looking to purchase more ships soon.?
Traeline nodded at Kitty?s words as she scribbled a bit more, ?Do you know how many and of what you?re getting yet??
?Not yet. Possibly a few galleons, but I?ll probably get a few more of these as well.? She pointed to the ship being worked on briefly before dropping her hand to her waist. Then she slowly turned and faced the group of men that were waiting there. Around one hundred men she gathered not only from her own ships, but from anywhere along the docks she could find men seeking work. The ship?s original crew had already been given the option of joining this mission. Some agreed to stay, some chose to fill in the spots on the other ships that were being vacated by those standing before her now.
She heaved a deep sigh and then pushed herself up to stand on top of a nearby pile of crates so she could get a better view of them. It was a rough rag-tag group, to be certain. Once Traeline had moved off down the pier to better oversee the work on the ship, Kitty motioned for the men to come closer so they could hear her.
As they got closer, she watched their faces. Slowly one of her eyebrows arched upwards before she spoke out loudly, ?If you men could possibly find the strength to stop staring at my chest long enough to listen to me, you might find what I have to say interesting.?
There were a series of coughs and mumbled apologies before several of the men cast their eyes down. The ones who were already quite familiar with working for Kitty got grins. Their eyes were on her face where they belonged.
She smirked faintly before she continued, ?I?ve asked all of you here because I need a crew for a very special task. Many of you are already familiar with the Admiral of my fleet, Horam JakChar. I have discovered that he is missing, and has been so for quite some time. I plan to go after him. This means going into pirate territory, posing as pirates ourselves.?
Glances were exchanged between several of the men. This sounded dangerous and it was obvious they weren?t sure they wanted to sign up for this. Kitty watched them for a couple breaths. ?Yes, it?s dangerous. Some of you might not survive. However, those of you who do survive, you will be paid mercenary wages. But... if you still wish to not take the risk, you are free to leave now.?
She fell silent as she waited to see who left and who remained. She was surprised to see only five men leave. None of them were those who currently worked for her. She patiently waited for those men to depart. Once they were gone, she looked to those who remained and smiled. ?I see I have some brave men before me. That?s exactly what I need.?
?Now, I?m going to warn you from the start. This ship is not armed with normal cannons. I have had them all replaced with plasma cannons. These things outright vaporize large holes in whatever they hit. This means they are not toys and must be handled very carefully. If any of you are already familiar with higher levels of technology, I need you to come forward and to stand behind me.? She pointed toward the mostly clear area behind her with one extended claw tipped finger.
By the time the shuffling of bodies was completed, she had thirteen men standing behind her. Ideally she needed twenty-four. One for each cannon. She looked to the remaining men in front of her, ?I need eleven more. Are any of you younger ones good with learning things mech-?
About that time Traeline had returned and was tugging Kitty down to whisper into her ear, causing the elder to cut herself off. Kitty gave her a dubious look, but Trae was insistent. The moredhel shook her head and then looked back to the gathered men. ?Alright. Is anyone good with video games??
Soon a number of younger men piled over to join those behind Kitty. Twenty-six total. Good. Extras in case someone got injured.
?Alright. You guys follow Traeline. She?ll teach you about the guns.? She pointed to her niece for them. Then she lifted that clawed finger with a smirk, ?And boys? I would suggest keeping your hands to yourselves. Otherwise she will leave you in too many pieces to be able to do much of anything but bleed to death. And I won?t stop her.?
The few experienced men just nodded, having already learned about Trae?s wrath from watching other men suffer the consequences. The newer ones eyed Trae warily as they followed the head of bright purples and blues toward the ship. Kitty watched them go with a smirk for a few seconds, then she turned to those who remained in front of her.
?Now I?m going to be honest. I know jack and squat about sailing a ship. This is why I put Captain Wickley Kellam in charge of deciding where the rest of you will be assigned. While I am in charge of this mission, Captain Wickely is in charge of this ship.? She lowered her gaze to the man in question. He was leaning against the crates Kitty was standing on, idly chewing on a toothpick. He had been working for Kitty for almost as long as she had a shipping fleet. Loyal to both her and Horam, not to mention a damn fine Captain, the very ship she was having altered for this mission was his baby. When she came to him and explained what she was planning, he agreed to it without hesitation.
?Captain, if you would be so kind as to take over?? She smiled at the man. He grunted and hauled himself up onto the crates next to Kitty. One of her clawed hands gave him a clap to his shoulder, and then she turned and hopped down. She hadn?t gotten two steps away before he was barking out orders to get the men sorted out.
She said nothing to anyone as she continued to walk away from the dock area, heading back toward House Helston. Once she was away from the noise of the wind, water, and men, she pulled out her phone and tapped the screen once. Soon the sound Bobby?s voice came through the speaker, ?Yes Kitty??
?Send a message to Commander Murshk. You might need to talk to Khoom to help get it to him. Tell him I need ten Ular that are comfortable being on a sea faring ship for several days by the time we set sail on Monday morning. Same pay rates as the balrogs mission.?
?The same? Are you sure? Pirates aren?t demons.?
?I?m trapping ten bears on a ship with almost one hundred men for who knows how many days to rescue one minotaur and hopefully his crew. I?m not giving them hazard pay. I?m giving them tolerance and patience pay.?
?Understood. Right away.?