This picture was taken at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Skulls and crossbones are very popular... the lady in the middle is Her Royal Highness,  the Princess Royal, Anne (one of the less annoying royals. )

Or, for the curious among you:

"Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal, Mrs Timothy Laurence, Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, Royal Fellow of the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, Canadian Forces Decoration, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu, Trinity Cross, Decoration for Honour of Merit, Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland, Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown, Grand Cross of the Order of the House of Orange, Order of the Yugoslav Flag, 1st Class."

Good grief.
Re-reading CHAPTER 2 before starting this one might be helpful, but it's not mandatory.


"Ne vante pas le gué avant de l'avoir passé."
Never praise a ford before you've crossed it.

"Ship ahead! Ship ahead!" came the warning from the crow's nest of the Joyful Molly.

"Shut up already, d'you think I'm deaf and blind? Seen that wreck ages ago!" Logan yelled. He scratched his beard and turned to the First Mate who came running towards the helm.

"Captain! Captain! It's-" he began, but Logan cut him off.

"Yes, yes, I know. I'll be damned - the Black Pearl! Now Jack Sparrow's lost his mind completely."

"Captain, we have a-"

"Clear the deck for action and man the guns! We'll fire a broadside! Can't wait to see that sparrow swim!"

"Captain, that's what I'm tryin' to tell you! We can't fire!"

"What d'you mean, you can't fire! Too daft to light the fuse?"

"There's no powder!"

"No powder? What are you talkin' about? Powder magazine should be well stocked, this is a bloody man-of-war, after all!"

"Aye, powder magazine well stocked, but without powder! There's nothin' in the barrels but flour!"


"Aye, Captain! They got bleedin' flour in the powder barrels!"

"Sabotage!" Logan screamed, and he was right. Many, many sea miles away, the person responsible for this unlucky incident sat over a game of Whist with Lord Cutler Beckett who, had he known about it, would have probably drowned Anne Norrington in the tea pot.

"Shite," Logan muttered. "Not a chance in hell to get out of here without powder."

"What are we goin' to do now, Captain?" the First Mate asked.

Logan shrugged.

"What we always do when we're in a hopeless situation and need to play for time: Parley. Jack Sparrow's a half-witted fool; he won't kill us."

"What about them prisoners, Captain?"

Logan rubbed his chin.

"Bring them up here. Who knows, maybe they could be useful. I need somethin' to bargain with."

The mate disappeared, only to return soon after, completely flabbergasted.

"They're gone, Captain! Both of 'em!"

"Gone? How can they be gone? This is a ship, not a bloody brothel, with people comin' and leavin' as they please!"

"Well, they're gone! Farnett's down there, quite dead, his neck's been snapped! My bets are on the ginger one for that, he's been one crazy dog. They must have jumped overboard, or they hide somewhere!"

This, Longneck Logan decided, was not a good day.

"What the hell are you standin' there gawpin', you idiots! Go find the two! They must be here, those gits can't even swim!"

Meanwhile, the Black Pearl approached the Joyful Molly with increasing speed. Logan began to feel rather uncomfortable. The news delivered to him soon after that neither hair nor hide of Norrington and Gillette could be found didn't improve his mood at all.

"We have to-" he began, but a shot across the bows of the Joyful Molly cut him off. She reared and rolled, almost throwing him off his feet.

"Damn you, Jack Sparrow," Logan muttered, then he turned to his First Mate. "Get me that bloody speakin' trumpet already!"

"Aye, Captain. Does this mean Parley?"

"Aye. Flour, my arse. I'll never hear the end of it."

* * *

Parley was quick and painless, though terribly embarrassing for Captain Logan. Jack cheerfully promised to tell the flour-story in every tavern he'd frequent for the rest of his life and make Logan the laughing stock of the Caribbean.

"They'll call you Pat-A-Cake Logan in future," he grinned. "Maybe you should reconsider your career and open a bakery?"

"Maybe you should just shut your trap?"

"Eh, ever so charmin'. Now, old mate of mine, I have a question: would you happen to know anythin' of the whereabouts of one Captain James Norrington and his loyal First Lieutenant - Henry, Fred, John, Sam, Andrew, Thomas, what was it again - Gillette? Easy to identify, the two: one looks like a constipated greyhound, the other like a rabid Manchester terrier."

Logan shrugged.

"I don't know anythin' about captains and lieutenants. We're pirates, not a friggin' press gang."

"Tell me immediately where they are!" Will interrupted, aiming his sword at Logan. Jack rolled his eyes and quickly stepped between the upset young man and the pirate pirate.

"Please pardon the cabin boy. He's a bit upset, and who could blame him? Havin' to witness such outrageous lies! Now, we're on HMS Joyful Molly here, and unless you've joined the Royal Navy recently, you've got no place bein' on this ship, unlike Messrs. Norrington and Gillette. So, if you're here, and they're not, somethin' wrong, mate."

"Look at ye, Jack Sparrow - workin' for the bloody Navy! I always knew you're a disgrace of our trade," Logan said with disdain. "But now I see you're a disdain for our country as well!"

Jack aspirated on one of his rings and polished it on his coat.

"I'm not paid by the king, Logan, and I'll never be. I'm paid by Lord Cutler Beckett, who's a man of business just like you and me."

Logan blinked.

"What business d'you have with Lord Cutler bloody Beckett?"

Jack polished the second ring.

"Good business, mate. Very good business. Promised me the Joyful Molly and gold if I capture and kill you, with an extra bit of gold if I return non-commodore Borington and his coppernob. It's your luck I've got such a soft heart, Logan; I'll just maroon you and your merry men on the next available island."

"What? That bastard!"

"Who, the coppernob? Agreed, Mr. Gillette can be a bit of a pain in the neck, but callin' him names here..."

"Who cares for Gillette! I'm talkin' 'bout Beckett! The Molly, my arse - he's promised the ship to me, as a prize for capturin' it! And why is he payin' you to get the two gits back? Did he think you could make them tell where that bloody Turner-boy is? Good luck with that, the two idiots made an escape near the Caymans and went overboard! That aside, we half killed them and they didn't say boo, so I doubt you'd got anywhere with your methods!"

Jack looked over his shoulder and grinned at Will.

"See, Will my lad? That's how you make a bird sing. Torture is for brutes and people without imagination. Now we know for sure that dear ol' Beckett's behind all this."

Logan howled, cursed and swore when he realised that Jack had tricked him.

"Watch the language, Logan! There are ladies and blacksmiths present!"


"Aye, me. Face the facts, Logan, you did this all arseways, and should Cutler Beckett's men ever find you - eh. For the time bein', please enjoy the famous hospitality of the Royal Navy."

Jack mocked a bow.

"Lock them all up in the brig of the Black Pearl, Mr. Gibbs. We'll maroon them on the next suitable island we pass. And make sure they'll take two barrels of this very special gunpowder with them."

"Bastard," Logan growled.

"Ah, now you be kind, Logan, especially with the weevils. They're very likely the only company you and your mates will have for a long time."

"Cursed be you and the mother who's born you! We'll meet again, I swear!"

"Of course we will, and I shall wear a ribbon in my hair. Get that idiot out of my sight, Mr. Gibbs. And fumigate the place."

While the prisoners were locked away, Jack headed for Norrington's cabin in search for more information. Will and Elizabeth followed him, both looking agitated.

Jack wasn't too concerned with Logan's threats. He was concerned with Will's state of mind, though, and after exchanging a look with Elizabeth, he tried to talk some sense into him.

"There now, Will my lad. I'm sorry you had to learn such bad news, but at least they died at sea, that's somethin', and for all we know, your non-commodore didn't die alone, and he didn't rat on you, either. Now look, you take the Molly and some of my men and sail back to wherever it was you came from. Do with the ship as you please. Elizabeth and I will return to the Black Pearl, and we all continue with our lives. Agreed?"

Will jumped up and swiped some maps off the table.

"No! He's not dead! He didn't go through all this just to die! He's out there, somewhere, waiting for me! I know it, Jack! I promised to bring James home, and I'll be true to my word!"


"Let's discuss how to split the crew, Jack. We can meet up later on after we've returned from the Cayman Islands."

"The Caym- Will, what the hell are you talkin' about?"

"That's where they went overboard, Logan said. They jumped overboard because they knew they were close to shore."

Jack sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Will my lad. I understand that you're upset. But see some sense. Not even Gillette, who I consider two tins of powder short of a wig, would do such a crazy thing. There's a snowflake's chance in hell they could have made it, especially not if we consider that they were both injured."

"Jack, we have to go to the Caymans!"

"And I say we don't!" Jack thundered, and hit his fist on the table. "And I'm the captain here, savvy?"

"You are not the captain of the Joyful Molly! The captain of the Joyful Molly is James Norrington!"

"No he isn't, not now!"

Elizabeth stood up and went to Will, putting her hand on his shoulder. He looked at her, devastated.

"But you do understand me, Elizabeth, don't you? Please tell me you do."

She gave him a sympathetic smile.

"I know, Will. I know. And I understand. But Will - Jack is right. As terrible as it is, we have to accept the fact that James Norrington is dead."

Will shook her hand off, his lips a thin line. Never before had she seen Will Turner so angry, and so determined.

"Fine. You two just go and give up on him, as usual! Running and hiding after you got what you wanted, isn't it? Take everything and give nothing back! But I don't need you! I'll find him, and if I have to swim back to the Caymans!"

Will stormed out of the cabin, slamming the door. Elizabeth wanted to cry, but she couldn't; she felt numb.

"I can't say that I blame him," she said, more to herself than to Jack. "They're all gone. James, Will, my father. And all this because I couldn't make up my mind. I'm bad luck, Jack. Better keep away from me."

Jack looked at her for a while, then he stood up.

"Things happen. It wasn't your fault. And it's not a matter of makin' up your mind, luv. It's a matter of admittin' that you've made a decision and stickin' to it, even if it's not what everybody and their dogs expect you to do."

He reached out, took her hand and pulled her close.

"Life is full of decisions, Elizabeth. Most of them are ugly, and sometimes, they are downright wrong. I've made decisions that got my best friends killed. I can't change it, that's the way life is. Now you have to make a decision. Will you finally admit who and what you are and tell the world to go to hell if they don't like it?"

She looked up to him.

"You mean deciding me for you, yes?"

"Aye. Out with it, petal. Tell me now and here that you're willin' to sail with me to the end of the world and won't mind endin' up on the gallows one fine day next to me. That's what I want. Pirate, remember? I take what I can and won't give it back."

He was despicable. And dirty. He looked ridiculous with those beads and braids and eccentric behaviour. He was very likely half-crazy and surrounded by murderers and thieves. She should find herself a nice young gentleman, get married, have a couple of children and be a fine lady just like her mother had been.

"There must be a third option," she muttered. Jack grinned and kissed her, and he wasn't surprised at all when she didn't run away.

* * *

Ragetti's random notes: it's in fact true that most of the seaman serving in the Royal Navy of the 18th century (and that includes the officers!) couldn't swim. It wasn't considered to be necessary. Fishermen were at advantage there, for they had learned that skill early on. When a ship was doomed to sink, there was panic, and the crew usually raided the rum stocks and got completely drunk so they wouldn't be conscious anymore when they drowned.

The picture to go with this chapter shows a real "Jolly Roger" - the pirate flag you see in every movie of the genre. However, in reality, each pirate had his own, personal flag. They weren't sold off the peg.

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Dramatis Personae
The Stories
CHAPTER 15: Parley And Flour
by Molly Joyful