Okay, I forced it through. Time for major edits/revisions/etc. I hope it’s not as awful as I think it is.
Oh, and I made The Muse his compass last night.
Jack swallowed a mouthful of rum. Still good, even if it was a bit cloudy. He swished the rum around in the bottle, holding it up to the flickering light of his small lantern. Jack wrinkled his nose in mild distaste. Good but not that good, with a slightly sour aftertaste. Adulterated. He shrugged and downed another swig before lodging the bottle between his feet. Picking up the oars, he continued rowing toward the docks. Darkness had come quickly, settling over the town of Kingston with a blanket of clouds to hide the moon. Jack sighed and reached for the bottle again.
Firelight flickered in the distance and he could see some movement on the piers. No one should be there, he thought, but decided that he had to chance it anyway. It wasn’t worth the wrath of the Wolfe. Jack could make out at least two figures on the docks ahead. He grabbed the bottle and stood slowly to get a better look. The ocean was calm in the harbor and carelessly, he set the bottle on the railing, still holding onto the neck. The next wave, however, jostled the longboat, and losing his grip on the rum, the bottle landed with a splash in the water as Jack tumbled backwards onto the bench.
He cursed loudly and leaned over the side, his eyes searching in the darkness. Jack could not see the bottle and reached down trying to feel for it, but to no avail. Heaving a sigh and sitting up, he abandoned his exercise in futility, righted the boat, and rowed hard for the pier ahead.
Quickly approaching, Jack noticed two uniformed guardsmen positioned near a pile of goods waiting to be picked up and loaded. “They must have been the figures I saw earlier,” he muttered to himself. He straightened his collar and ran a hand through wild hair in a vain attempt to tame it. Jack stared at them and they back at him. “Goodevening gentlemen,” he said with a respectful nod and a sloppy salute.
One of the guards nodded back, a bored expression on an equally bland face. “’evening, lad. What are you doing out here at this hour?” The guard’s companion picked up his head, and looked Jack over a few times, sizing him up.
Jack’s eyes shifted from one man to the next. “Picking up the shipment, of course. I must say, I certainly did not expect that it would be protected. The captain, of course will be pleased. I’ll let him know, of course. There may be something extra in it for you.”
The guard who has spoken smiled mirthfully. “The captain sent you to collect the goods, did he? And how, I wonder, does Beckett expect you to get all this into that boat all by yourself?”
“Well, yes, to collect them, and it really isn’t that difficult, you know. Nothing here appears to be unwieldy, really. It’s more a matter of… Now I don’t know wh-“ Jack knelt , fumbling around for a rope to tie the boat to the pier.
The guard cut him off. “Never you worry about it. I thought we’d be up here until morning. But you promise to put in a good word for us and we’ll help you load up here.” He grabbed the end of the rope from Jack and helped secure the longboat. “You too,” he nudged his partner.
Jack wanted to ask who Beckett was, but something made him hold his tongue. When the goods were loaded, he waved goodbye and rowed back out through the middle of the harbor. He signaled his ship with the lantern and upon receiving a response, brought the goods in. Easy as pie.
The gentleman stepped into the office head held high and posture perfect, with nary a glance for the liveried Negro servant holding the French glass doors open for him. Came to a halt a few paces inside the room, booted tread muffled by the silk carpets covering a polished hardwood floor, and waited, hands clasped behind his back, to be recognized. His clothes, while several years out of fashion, were impeccable.
Behind the desk, Richard de Vere, Esquire, continued to write, his quill scratching across parchment, pausing occasionally to dip into the bottle of ink sitting by his elbow. Sunlight, fading but still strong, cast his profile into sharp relief; catching on the pair of gold rimmed spectacles perched on the end of his nose whenever he tilted his head in thought. Seconds ticked by until, letter finished, de Vere lifted it and blew gently over the ink to dry it. Only after the letter had been folded and sealed with the East India Trading Company signet did he raise his eyes to the waiting man. “Mister Cutler Beckett?”
“Sir.” Beckett inclined his head in a polite bow. “You requested my presence?”
De Vere ignored the question; his fingers touched the edges of a piece of paper on his desk, correspondence he’d received a few days ago. “Lord Whittington gives you high recommendations indeed.”
“Sir,” Beckett said again, with another slightly deferential nod.
Richard de Vere’s lips twisted in amusement and distaste. “Lord Whittington is a fool.” He leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers in front of him and raising an eyebrow. A heavy gold ring adorned his left hand. There was no response from Beckett, neither emotion nor movement. “In any case, there is a shipment of spices from our factory here in Jamaica which requires escort to St. Kitts. They’re a special commission for the governor’s wife, who is a close personal friend of our very own Director Hudson. I expect you to see that these goods are delivered on time and in good order. You understand?”
“Yes, sir,” Beckett said, confident. “You can rely on me.”
“Hmph,” de Vere grunted. “The ship’s not expected to make port until early tomorrow. I want you underway as soon as she’s resupplied.” He waved a hand in a curt dismissal, cutting off any further words Beckett might have had.
Beckett strode out of the offices of the East India Trading Company struggling to keep his temper in check. Catching sight of several red-coated guards, he snapped his fingers at them. “You, men, attend me. I want the shipment of spices that’s going out tomorrow to be taken down to pier four so they can be loaded as soon as the ship arrives.”
The men exchanged looks, and one of them said, tentatively, “Begging your pardon, sir, but if we leave the goods out overnight, there’s a fair chance some of the dock rats’ll make off with them.”
Beckett sneered. “Then I suggest you post a watch. That is what we’re paying you for, isn’t it? I shouldn’t expect guarding a pile of boxes to be beyond your capabilities.” He started to turn away; stopped. “And don’t think to help yourself to a bit of the product, either; if the weight’s off by so much as an ounce the difference will come out of your pay.” Gauging that his words had impressed the seriousness of the situation upon them, he nodded smartly, and headed off to pack his own effects.
“But we’re supposed to be off-duty in an hour…” The protest drifted after him, ignored.
Dusk, and the Morning Zephyr had finally anchored just outside the port. Captain Armand Wolfe let out a long sigh as he stepped out of his quarters on to the deck. It had been a fair run, he thought, looking out over the clear blue water. No mishaps, intended or accidental, and just this one last stop before he could make the deliveries, collect the pay, and go home to spend a quiet month alone with his wife and daughter. The things he did for love. But they were only two of many: the sea, his crew. The good Lord knew they needed a break as well, and they would have it soon enough. He had been away too long and yet he knew that as soon as he set foot upon the land his heart would pine again for the sea, the rolling waves, frothing against the sides of the Morning Zephyr. His ship. Wolfe smiled to himself. How funny life truly was sometimes.
He looked up and saw the moon glowing brightly in the darkening sky. This was it, the last job to be done. He glanced at his notebook. Where was the boy? He quickly looked over at the deckhands finishing up for the night. A game of cards, drink, music, and dance, but the boy was nowhere to be seen, and the longboat still waiting for him. It was frustrating, yet he couldn’t help but smile inwardly. Although the boy, as he called him was nearly a man, he would always think of him as “the boy.” He wasn’t even quite sure why. Turning back the way he came, Wolfe headed below deck.
“Now where have you gone, my pretty ones? Come out, come out, right here, come on.”
Wolfe listened to the one-sided prattle with amusement, espying the boy leaning over a wine cask, the toes of his boots barely touching the ground. “Johnathan, I found your stash last week.”
The boy straightened himself up quickly to attention. If a touch on the short side, the boy was slender and well-proportioned with regular, slightly angular features. “Jack, sir.” He corrected with a large grin and a slight gesture of deference.
“Shouldn’t you be somewhere right now?” Wolfe inquired with careful intonation.
Jack ran a hand through his coarse dark hair. “Well, yes. At dusk. To row out to the port all by me onesies and to pick up one of the last two shipments for his most excellent Captain Armand James Wolfe and the Royale Merchants Trading Company. Unmarked merchandise, all of it, pier three, Port of Jamaica. And all of this while Mister Arnold and Mister Moorecraft transport the licensed goods. I do believe I got it all, although I had to get Stark very, very drunk before he would tell me the whole of it. What kind of steward do you keep that he gabs when he’s liquored? In any case,” Jack continued after an uncomfortable pause beneath the scrutiny of Wolfe’s flinty eyes, “whatever you’re up to, it’s no business of mine.”
“Very good,” Wolfe replied, smirking. “And have you been outside recently?”
“Was just going to do that, as soon as I find – well, you said you’ve found them, so not much point in me looking anymore, now is there?” He looked at the captain with large brown eyes, “You don’t have to answer that.”
Wolfe sighed audibly. “Arnold and Moorecraft took one of the boats out over half an hour ago to get their shipment. You should have been gone well before now. You realize, Mister Johnathan Sparrow, that I have taken you on here as a favor to your father, but it’s not a free ride, and the fact that I have known you for most of your life does not change the fact that I am running a ship here and expect all my men to comply. I am the Captain, and if you don’t learn that well enough soon, I’m going to leave you at the next port we find. Now I want you to go out there now and do what I told you to do. That’s an order.”
“Yes, sir.” Jack replied with a nod, slipping a flask into a pocket. Clearly Wolfe had not sniffed out all of his stash. He would have to find the rest of his rum before setting out
Should start at sea. Jack, up in the crow's nest, balanced precariously but completely at ease, humming a sea chantey, maybe fiddling with a bit of rope. A ship is sighted.
Scene 1: Jail (Rough Outline)
Jack, who’s starting to look a bit worse for wear, is still stuck in gaol. He’s got the other two prisoners (older, grisly men) in his cell listening spell-bound as he recounts a tale involving Sirens (mermaids? And giant sea turtles!), which is interrupted when two guards come to escort him to his trial. They drag him past Beckett, and Jack breaks away for a second to go over and be all friendly, but Beckett isn’t having any of it, and Jack’s dragged to (how were British courts set up during this time? Is there a jury?) Will have to find out. However, Jack should be “dead-on” during his part – he’s probably sober for once having spent the better part of 2 days in gaol.
Scene 2: Courthouse (Rough Outline)
Trial – judge is pronouncing sentence when Jack pipes up and points out that there’s nothing as saying that he was the one what stole the goods, is there? So the EI guards are called forward and questioned; they hem and haw, not wanting to admit they had helped Jack load the goods in the first place, and the judge, scowling, dismisses the case. Jack once again tries to be friendly to Beckett who stalks out with a muttered “this isn’t over between us”. Jack shrugs, and invites the EI guards for a round of drinks, on him. The guards agree, Jack slings an arm around one and steals his purse with the other. It’s dropped into one of his hidden pockets and off they go.
Scene 3: Pub (Rough Outline)
Fairly decent pub. Jack steers the discussion to what might have happened to the other pile of goods. Learns the original sellers reclaimed them. Flirts with bar maid, or rather gets molested. Jack does actually seem to get along with ladies at least the first time. It’s afterwards that they seem to despise him. But I like the thought of a young Jack being molested. Now the question becomes, does he have bad breath or is it all the rum on his breath that people hate so much? (meets Bootstrap Bill? Joins a card/dice game? Does jack gamble? We’ve never seen him with either dice or cards. Would he be any good? Cheat? Or are card tricks a non-pirate rogue skill like lockpicking. If he joins a game, obviously win or lose trouble occurs. Maybe bill could rescue him. Jack can get accused of cheating before the game really starts. He looks the sort that would, but I would be inclined to say benefit of the doubt and never make it clear whether or not he’s cheating. We can have William Turner come to his rescue. They can be about the same age even, although maybe William is a little older, and courting a pretty lady so he can have that son of his. William we’ll make an honest sailor. Heck, Jack should be anyway for the most part. But we should probably end up with William far in the future coming to sail with his buddy Jack and be part of the crew when Jack does his E.I. thing and gets pirate-branded by beckett. Savvy?)
Scene 4: Town (Rough Outline)
Jack goes looking (with Bill?) for original sellers. Finds them, but they demand more money. Jack doesn’t have any (lost it all last night gambling?). “Well, might be as there’s something else you could be doing for us in exchange.” Jack agrees.
Scene 5: Jungle (Rough Outline)
Jack (strolling) and Bill (struggling) are walking through jungle, Jack in the lead and holding a map, which he keeps turning as if not certain which way is supposed to be north. Bill catches up and asks “which way now” and Jack, not looking up from the map, points and says “that way” decisively, looks up, notices ‘that way’ is through a wide tree, turns 90 degree’s and says “this way” and starts off again.
Scene 6: Village (Rough Outline)
Jack and Bill (amazingly) reach a small native village. Drawing many a curious stare, they make their way to the hut of the chieftain, where Jack explains that they’ve been sent by buyers to solve whatever problem they’ve been having harvesting whatever crop it is that the buyers are buying. Despite some communication problems, the message is conveyed, and Jack and Bill are led a little ways outside of the village. The chief points to the ground, says something in his tongue (possibly a prayer), and leaves them. Jack and Bill exchange a glance, Bill shrugs, and they both peer down at the ground, where a large paw print is visible.
Scene 7: Jungle (Rough Outline)
I'm thinking they (well, Bill mostly) dig a pit, and then Jack has to lure the tiger to it (perhaps he lost a coin toss?).
"Here kitty kitty kitty. Here kitty kitty. Nice little kitty. Come to daddy."
They find the tiger and Jack beings luring it back towards the pit.
"Who's a pretty kitty? Yes, you are. Such a nice kitty. With such lovely striping."
"Jack, stop flirting with the damned thing and lead it a bit more to the right."
"Don't you listen to that mean boy, yer jest gorgeous, you are.” To Bill, “You know, they say that every tiger has a different pattern of stripes."
"I think that's zebras."
"Aye. It's zebras."
"I'd swear it was tigers. Well, we'll just have to catch a second tiger for the purposes of comparison."
“We are not catching another tiger. We haven’t even caught this one yet.”
Jack falls into pit? In any case, they catch the tiger and return.
Scene 8: Random Port (Rough Outline)
Jack is rowing back to his captain, now with the correct goods stowed in his longboat. Trade is made.
End (does this need to be split into 2 episodes?)
Scene 1: East India Trading Company Offices (Rough Draft)
He steps into the office head held high and posture perfect, with nary a glance for the liveried servant (I know this won’t go over well, but I have a feeling the servant should be black - I agree) holding the French glass doors open for him. Comes to a halt a few paces inside the room and waits, hands clasped behind his back, to be recognized. His clothes, while several years out of fashion, are impeccable - (need description of what would he be wearing).
Behind the desk, Richard de Vere, Esquire, continues to write, his quill scratching across parchment, pausing occasionally to dip the tip in the bottle of ink that sits by his elbow. The letter finished, he lifts it and blows gently to dry the ink. Only after it has been folded and sealed with the East India Trading Company signet does he turn his attention to the waiting man. “Mister Cutler Beckett?”
“Sir.” Beckett inclines his head in a polite bow. “You requested my presence?”
de Vere ignores the question; touches a piece of paper on his desk. “Lord Whittington gives you high recommendations indeed.”
“Sir,” Beckett says again with a slight deferential nod.
Richard de Vere’s lips twist in amusement and distaste. “Lord Whittington is a fool.” He leans back in his chair, steepling his fingers in front of him and raising an eyebrow. A heavy gold ring adorns his left hand. There is no response from Beckett, neither emotion nor movement. “In any case, there is a shipment of silk from our factory in Surat which requires escort to the port of Jamaica. The goods are a commission from the governor, a close personal friend of our very own Director Name2 (Wolfe? You should make suggestions too). I expect you to see that these goods are delivered on time and in good order. You understand?”
“Yes, sir,” Beckett says, confident. “You can rely on me.”
Scene 2: Port of Jamaica (Rough Outline)
Ship, pulling into port, Beckett visible on deck. The sun is beginning to set as they dock. Beckett orders the crates of silk unloaded and guards set until they can be delivered in the morning. As he walks away from the pier, another ship can be seen tethered off-shore, the Merchant Ship (Highwind – I know, Final Fantasy, Zephyr? – There’s something I like about that too – HELP!!). Camera zooms in on ship where we see a young Jack Sparrow acting as deck hand. (descript – Not so dirty, maybe even go so far as mostly combed hair?? Not so drunk, and uhm, not suffering from overexposure to heat and sun – overall: less goofy, but just as witty and smart-mouthed
(Merchant or Smuggler’s?) ship, disguised as a shipping company (needs a name. could even be cheesy like “The Royale Trade Merchant Company” or some other combination of those words. Or perhaps a shipping company vessel that’s taken on some extra curricular for the money.
Young Jack (need an age range – 20ish? He has to be old enough yet young enough to be impressionable to an extent. We should definitely cover firsts, too…) gets important job from HIS Captain (Captain Z) to pick up goods at dock (Why Jack? Maybe we could actually reason that Jack seems wholesome enough to not be mistaken for the rogueish sort or that he’s apparently proven himself before. In which case we might want to make a reference to it)– the smuggled goods (I’m thinking cloths, expensive spices, stuff that the EITC would actually carry.) Meanwhile, another boat from the smuggler’s ship will go out to get the goods for their regular, licensed transport jobs.
Scene 3: Port of Jamaica (Rough Outline)
Unfortunately for Jack, he hasn’t yet learned his limits when it comes to rum – will he ever?. Jack rows out towards dock, drops bottle in a momentary drunken act of stupidity. While leaning over to get bottle, boat shifts course slightly for next pier, Jack straightens out and resumes rowing, now aimed at the wrong pier. Climbs out of boat and staggers into guards (the very same guards hired by Beckett. Jack does his Jack-thing and soon enough the guards are helping to load the East India goods into the rowboat/ dinghy/ something larger. Jack gives them a sloppy salute and heads back to his ship.'
Scene 4: Random port (Rough Outline)
Captain puts in at a small port a few days sail upshore, they meet the buyers (who?) who demand to see the goods. The goods are unpacked and revealed to be the wrong goods. (maybe a fight breaks out, hostages taken – no, that’s totally bad business. We’re not that unsavory yet…) Jack is sent back with the East India goods and told he'd better return with the right ones. (I can see Jack being pretty honorable. He is in a way and is a very poor pirate because he’s needy and needs people, even if he pretends he really doesn’t want any friends, but I’m rambling.)
Scene 5: Port of Jamaica (Rough Outline)
Jack rows back into port, muttering to himself. Goes to the original pier where HIS goods should be and finds them missing. Jack asks around, learns that the Captain of the East India ship is still in port and has turned out the guards looking for the thieves/pirates who stole his goods. Jack knows he needs to return the goods, but also knows if he tries to do it honestly he'll be arrested, so he devises the cunning plan of sneaking aboard the East India ship at night and returning them then. He almost pulls it off, but (something goes wrong – knocks over a lantern, trips over something unnaturally large and furry, becomes distracted by rum?) and he ends up caught by the same guards he'd persuaded into helping him. they drag him in front of Beckett, who has him thrown in gaol.
Jack’s story? He found the goods and knew who they belonged to so decided to return then, but was afraid of being arrested as the thief. He knows how well the law works – or so he claims. Where did he find them? Misplaced on HIS pier, pier A, and his own goods are in fact missing.
End Adventure the First