William Brand

The Watch Dog

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Dinwiddie brought the Cutter easily alongside of the ship, and Roche hooked onto the main chains. All hands clambered up the side of the 'Dog, then the fresh hands climbed down into the now vacant boat. Mr. Warren took the tiller and Andrew Smith into the bow, releasing the main chains when Mr. Warren gave the order and off they headed to take up where the boat had left off...

Soon Mr. Smith was chanting the depths read from throwing the leadline, and the others were learning, as the last bunch had, small craft seamanship...

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::Finally reaching topside Eric and I both, with tankards full of a double ration, walk to where Mr. Lasseter stands. Looking across the sea we can see the grey clouds growing ominously larger and bearing down towards us.

Cupping his hands and yelling to Mr. Ciaran atop the mast, "EHH!! MR.CIARAN, WOD YE DO TA 'R WEATHER. 'TIS NOT MUCH SUN LEFT MATE . . . ."

Mr Ciaran peers down and looks towards the booming voice of the sergeant-at-arms and finds Mr. Franklin now looking towards the horizon. As Eric walks to the gun'le, I approach our Quartermaster with the armoury log now in hand . . . .

"Mr. Lasseter, a word sah, at yer leave . . "

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"Aye, Master Pew.... Mr. Badger! I must attend ta somat, send word iffn' ye needs ta... Master Pew, walk with me..."

He turned and started a slow walk forward towards the stairs to the waist. Down they went and when they reached the cannon named Sofia he stopped and turned to Mr. Pew.

"Now, what's ye need ta speak about?"

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"Mr. Flint an' Mr Franklin wit some o' the lads have right cleaned up tha armoury. . . .gots tha muskets oiled down and many o' the blades sharpened. We are in need o' a forge though ta gets some of tha heavier work needed done to some o' tha arms. Some may e'en be used fer firewood . . . But I'd like ta discuss wit ye tha possibility o' getting some more o' that crew trained in tha long muskets once we reach shore an' get some basic defenses set up an all . . ."

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Mr. Lasseter listened to what Pew said and nodded...

"Very Goode... excellent work.... Aye, we plan on some kind a fortifications ashore once we get situated... once we know th' lay o' th' land, as it were... Mayhaps we c'n shift some cannon ashore as well... Tho, I prefer if we aquire more cannons ta do tha'...."

He began to walk again, his head angled up and his jaw set in a thoughtful pose...

"As fer a forge... Mr. Hawks'll be more'n able ta manage it with some help... Lets hope there be proper fuel fer his fires in th' island fer repairin' what's needed..."

Stopping at the stairs onto the forecastle, he leaned against the rail.

"An' as fer practice wi' long arms... once th' Cap'n returns ta th' deck... we c'n shoot off th' ship, movin' targets..."

He turned and looked at the island, noticing some rocky outcrops and sparce trees.

"There'd be one spot fer a bastion..." He said while pointing to the area...

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"Aye, sah."

Mr. Lasseter and I stand for a long moment looking at the lay of the land, each determining the best place for fortifications . . .discussing weather and it's impact on the island, what seems like the lack of wood on the island, and the ability to build an earthworks to successfully support several cannon.

Moving to the larboard gun'le we spy the crew in the Cutter continue their survey of the waters. Pulling another sip from my tankard, the slightest drizzle begins to fall as the sky continues to darken over the Watch Dog.

"'ow are tha lads doin' wit tha soundings?"

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Mr. Lasseter noticed the spitting of rain as well and shifted his sight skyward, the clouds were grey and somewhat billowy. A sure sign that this would be a dampening, not a squall or worse.

"Th' lads 'r doin' a fine job wi' th' soundin's... should be all th' way 'round th' island afore dusk... I s'pect we gonna scout out a beach head this eve, an' do much more serveyin' on th' morrow... fresh start in th' morn... And, as you well know, we gonna 'ave a party off ta Los Hermanos isles fer ta look fer Ilex's stash...."

He smiled about the prospect of finding what small fortune she had stashed away, hoping it was more coin than anything, or something easily converted to ready funds. He wiped the water from his forehead with his left hand,

"Aright... I'm gonna head aft, get m' rain gear on... you too, no use gettin' soaked an' chilled..."

He turned aft and headed to his cabin, rearranged himself to put on his Wesket, then oilskins. Donning his old hat, he made his way out, pausing before the door to the Surgeon's quarters, then continuing back out into the waist and up onto the quarter...

"Mr. Badger, go get yer weather gear on, I'll take th' wheel. Ms. Smith, when 'e returns, you do th' same..."

Mr. Badger knuckled his forelock and turned the wheel over to the QuarterMaster. It had been some time since he had handled the wheel personally, yet it felt as if it had just been yesterday. Past memories refreshed themselves in his mind as he made minor adjustments. All too soon Mr. Badger was back and the wheel turned over, so he headed to record soundings as Ms. Smith went below...

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July 18, 1704 - Aboard the Watch Dog

Five bells of the Afternoon Watch

Mister Badger called after Miss Smith as she went below, "Best rouse the Captain, lass."

Her head nodded as she disappeared, but any response she may have made was lost under the sound of rain as it swelled a moment on the weather decks. She made her way to a modest sea chest filled with belongings which were just as modest. She rifled through her few possessions until she found her seldom used heavy weather gear. Harold Press had given it to her in trade during the Danzig storm for what he had called "three grand favors".

The first of these favors came in the form of tailoring, for much of Harold's clothes were worn past modesty and he begged her the favor of a good shirt. She chose to make it from the yardage of one of her good skirts. This had much embarrassed Harold and he claimed that her cloth was too good for a working sailor. Still, Tudor was pragmatic. She needed far less skirts aboard the Watch Dog. Slops were the order of the day and so Harold had taken the shirt gratefully.

The second favor had come in the form of a glass of wine. Harold had once promised a dying friend to drink him a toast every year on the anniversary of his death and Harold had found himself with no wine on that day whereby he might keep the oath. He had implored Miss Smith to fetch him something worthy of a toast and she had managed him a small glass from the Captain's table.

The Captain was not in the habit of much drink and often failed to drink what was his full measured portion. Tudor had brought a half drained cup to Mister Press, hoping it would serve, but admitted to him that the glass was but the remains of the Captain's unfinished glass. Harold had smiled then and said, "What the Cap'n 'as deigned to touch is not beneath a working man's scrut'ny."

She had noted then with what reverence he took the cup in hand. He was as solemn then as any parishioner, taking the unfinished cup like a sacrament to his departed friend. He raised it and spoke a small litany.

"There is no 'eav'n, but your company. There is no 'ell, but your absence. 'ere's to you, Jason."

Not knowing what to say in the face of this small ceremony, Tudor had asked him what the third favor should be. He had smiled and said most matter-of-factly, "Friendship".

She thought of this as she donned the weather gear that was almost too large for her frame. Making her way aft and up again, she went to wake the Captain with warm food and news from above.

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"Afternoon, Mr. Gage." Tudor greeted the cook as she made her way into the galley, to which he looked up and nodded to her. With ease of familiarity, Tudor made her way around the room retrieving a tray and tankard, filling the one with fresh brewed coffee. With a smile, Gage handed her a plate of food filled to capacity with fresh fish, potatos and a few fresh baked biscuts. With a nod of thanks, Tudor finished filling the tray, and headed towards the captain's cabin.

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The rain made recording the soundings a bit difficult, as Mr. Lasseter had to keep the parchment and ink dry, otherwise all the work would be nothing but inkstains washed around in the logbook. He rigged an edge of his oilskins as a tarp over the table, which kept out most of the rain, yet let in enough light for ease of writing. It was slightly awkward, but as the information was necessary, he continued in this fashion.

The rain stayed in its moderate state, it fell hard enough to soak you through in ten minutes, but it was warm enough that most of the crew ignored it and did not seek shelter. Dorian looked up into the crow's nest and wondered how they were up there. Being up in the rigging, in the wind and rain with no shelter, was much different than down here on deck.

"Send word for... for one o' th' powder monkeys! Godfrey! Aye, Send word fer Patrick Godfrey!"

The QuarterMaster's request was relayed into the waist and down into the crews quarters. Soon young Patrick came bustling aft, onto the quarterdeck.

"Yes sir, Mr. Lasseter sir, you sent for me?"

Aye Bouyo... I want ye ta head ta th' galley, 'ave Mr. Gage fix two cover'd pails o' hot coffee, an' then you take 'em up ta th' lads in th' crow's nest..."

Patrick smiled at the task given him, stood straight and knuckled his forelock,

"Aye-aye Mr. Lasseter!"

And off he went, down to the galley. Ten minutes later he reappeared with two pails and made his way up the ratlines into the crows nest. He stayed in the rigging for a time, enjoying the view from the heights.

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"Arr, ye be a good man, Mister Godfrey," Ciaran said as he took a mug of the hot coffee fer himself and handed one to John. "Gramercy, mate".

"Quite a view ye got up here," Patrick replied.

"Aye, indeed. Tis the best view on the ship."

The rain did its best to soak the mates up in the riggin'. Ciaran was used to it. It be one's tendency to fight it at first, tryin' against common sense to stay dry. But after awhile, ye let go of that thought and jes let yerself get immersed. Once ye become one with it, the rain don't much bother ye. And this rain was warm, so it actually felt good after the sun's hot rays.

John McGuinty was tryin' to keep his spyglass dry and was constantly wipin' the ends with his wet shirt.

"Jes put it away, lad," the older lookout said. "It will do ye little good anyway, as the visibility be cut down by these clouds. Jes rely on yer eyes now, boy."

John did as Ciaran said and put his eyepiece away. Ciaran was right. Jes yer naked eye was better in this grey weather. John watched as the men aboard the Cutter continued their explorations. Soon ye figured they'd be headin' back to The Watch Dog, if the storm increased.

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::Arriving on the Watch Dog with not more than the clothes on my back and a few personal arms, I figured twas easier to strip down to the waist than to get everything soaking wet. After dropping off what damp clothes I had on in my cabin, I returned to the main deck to see where Mr. Lasseter may need a hand.

Making my way to his small table I hold up the edge of his oilskin,

"Need a 'and Mr. Lasseter?"

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The QuarterMaster looked up at the sound of Mr. Pew's voice and noticed his appearance. He smiled at this and nodded.

"I could use a hand... better yet, grab a hand 'r two, go get th' sun shade an' rig it o'er th' quarter here, it'll keep most o' th' rain off us..."

Mr. Pew shrugged, bobbed his head and went down into the waist, grabbed two lads and headed below... Dorian went back to recording the depths yelled out by the men in the chains, and occasionally looking around the ship. About a minute after six bells, Mr. Pew and company reappeared from below with a canvas roll. bringing it up to the quarterdeck, they opened it and rigged the sun shade over the heads of those on the quarter.

"Thankee Kindly Mr. Pew, Lads..."

Mr. Lasseter then shed his oilskins happy to be rid of the awkwardness...

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The Captain's Steward made here way aft and entered the Ward Room with a heavy laden tray. She placed it on the table, surprised to find not one single scroll, book or chart anywhere upon it. It was not uncommon for her to remove a great quantity of papers and tomes in an effort to make space for food. The Captain ate at such irregular intervals that she was ever interrupting his scribblings.

Overhead, there was a very weak roll of thunder. The only real thunder since the rain had begun. The air was so heavy with the perfume of rain that it quite overwhelmed the smell of the Watch Dog's old timbers.

When she was finished preparing the table she crept to the Captain's door and listened a moment, hearing nothing. All was quiet, but for the rain. She decided to take advantage of the officer's toilet while the Ward Room was empty. Like the head, cold air crept up from below, but it afforded a great deal more privacy, and she was glad for it. It also pitched a great deal less than the accommodations forward. It was a relatively warm and comfortable little room, despite it's function.

When she was finished, she went to the Captain's door and knocked. William was awake and at the door faster than most people. It was not uncommon for him to answer the door, rather than calling for any entrance. He stood in a loose shirt and slops, rubbing one eye with the flat of his hand.

"Mister Badger sends word that the storm is arrived."

William smiled at this since he could feel and hear the water on the Watch Dog. "Aye. Thank Mister Badger for me."

"Aye-aye, Captain." She gestured to the table and the food laid out upon it. "Mister Gage has prepared some local fare."

"Ahhh...fish. Excellent. Send him my compliments as well and please invite Mister Badger down from the weather. Is Mister Lasseter above?"

She nodded as she ladled warm food into a shallow bowl. "He's at the table on the Quarterdeck."

"Fine. Ask them both out of the rain and have them choose two more men aft for calling the soundings down the scuttle."

She nodded, going forward out the Ward Room door to deliver messages to Gage, Lasseter and Badger. He dressed quickly, pulling his hair back under a hat and stretching a spine put out of place by the hammock. He washed his face and hands in a basin provided by Tudor and placed himself before the hot food, taking the time to eat in a relaxed way he hadn't enjoyed since the Don's grand ball.

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The QuarterMaster continued the now routine of marking the depths hollered aft from the lads handling the leadlines when Ms. Smith made he reappearance. She informed all that the Captain had sent for Mr. Lasseter and Badger, with further instructions as how to continue the days work. Soon the wheel was turned over to Mr. Dinwiddie and young Geoffery Wayne was employed to comunicate the soundings down to the wardroom through the scuttle, where Mr. Lasseter and Badger had gone. Dorian greeted the Captain and spread the logbook on the table, placed the inkwell and pen and continued the scribblings. He occasionally set the pen down to serve himself and to fork a couple of bites into his mouth inbetween the calls from topside.

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July 18, 1704 - Aboard the Watch Dog

Between Seven and Eight Bells of the Afternoon Watch

The Captain, Quartermaster and Bosun spent the next hour in the company of fresh cooked fish and charts. Soundings taken at the bow were relayed back along the rails and down the aft scuttle to the Ward Room. As mouthfuls of food disappeared, notations of the surrounding waters appeared in matching sets of logbooks and on old charts.

Out in the open, everything was awash with a heavy rain. Those who had the watch duty of the afternoon, replenished what little water had been used already in their short voyage from La Margarita. Casks, flasks and barrels all came up empty and went down full. The duty of the day was light, so some were put to the task of washing and cleaning clothes, hammocks and pans sent out from the galley.

Mister Gage had caught a great variety of fish off the Larboard side of the 'Dog as she went. There seemed to be no short supply of them around these shores and it would go a long way to keeping the beef and other provisions from being used up too quickly. Even now, as he came out into the waist, he scanned the island blurred by rain and wondered if anything edible would be found there. For while the direct cause of scurvy would not be discovered for some time, the threat of it was ever present. This thought was ever on his mind, and while Mister Gage was no doctor, he recognized that as the ship's cook, variety proved to be the rule of the day in keeping up the general health of all aboard. He also knew, by a chance reading of one John Woodall*, that lemon juice was recommended as an aid against the dreaded ailment of scurvy, though he doubted lemon trees grew or could be made to grow on La Blanquilla. Still, he thought some substitute might be found. Even in the gloom of so much rain one could see cactus in all its varieties.

* Footnote - Two physicians who played an enormous role in decreasing the mortality from the disease of scurvy were John Woodall and James Lind. In 1617, Woodall wrote The Surgeon's Mate, which described scurvy and listed lemon juice as the cure. Woodall persuaded the East India Company to provide lemon juice for its sailors.

In 1747, Lind, an officer in the British Royal Navy, conducted a study on 12 patients with scurvy. He divided the patients into 6 groups of 2 and gave each group a different remedy. Only the group given oranges and lemons recovered. It took Lind 41 years to convince the British Royal Navy to implement his recommendation. The British used lime juice instead of lemon or orange juice to prevent the disease, and the sailors became known as limeys.

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::Watching Mr. Lasseter go below, Alan Woodington had the idea to rig up the sun shade upside down as to collect rainwater and have it run into the large freshwater barrels near the fo'c'stle. Several lads decide to make a race of it to see who could fill their barrels the quickest. Owen Monahan and Claude Marchande grabbed several rounds of extra stays that had been coiled about on the Quarterdeck. Paul Mooney and Manus Hingerty decide that several oars would be easier to pry and push the barrels forward rather than trying to drag them.

"Mister Pew, you will watch Monahan sir . . .I don't trust that gunner any further than I can throw 'im"

Owen Monahan heard his name and looked up to see Paul Mooney smiling broadly, "Paul, mate, ye 'er gonna hafta pry that oar out o' yer arse when we gets done wit ya." Both men let out a deep laugh which perked up Eric Franklin's ears. "This ought ta be a right fine spectacle, eh Mister Pew."

"Aye, Mister Franklin," gesturing to Eric to stand near, we whisper quietly parleying a small wager on Monahan and Marchande, while Eric chose Mooney and Hingerty.

"A'right gents, ye 'ave to the sounding of the eighth bell of the afternoon watch ta get as much o' barrels full as ye can . . ."

With a loud "Go!" Eric folds his arms and watches the men push and drag their barrels closer to the sun shade to get the most amount of rainwater possible into the barrels.

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July 18, 1704 - Aboard the Watch Dog

Eight Bells of the Afternoon Watch, First Dog Watch Begins

The sounding of the eighth bell of Afternoon Watch brought a groan from the sailors forward who were locked in a contest of labor. Friendly and not so friendly jibes passed between them as was want with sailors as they stowed or exchanged their work with the fresh watch coming on duty.

In the Ward Room, Captain Brand excused Mister Badger with his thanks for maintaining his post through long hours of concentration and effort. Mister Badger went gratefully from the room with little more than a tired smile and an 'Aye-Aye' made up of what strength he had left.

In the galley, Mister Gage had set upon the tiresome, but important task of drying fish for storage, content that fresh stores of that providence could be resupplied daily along these shores.

All was well aboard the Watch Dog as the two watches exchanged labor and hammocks, the fresh sailors coming up into the rain to take over at the barrels, lead lines and rigging, while the well worn, but content laborers of the afternoon retired below to drier clothes and drier quarters.

Just off the Watch Dog's starboard beam, between it and shore, the cutter was preparing to return in exchange for a fresh boat header and a few lead tossers. They had endured the rain, taking on no small quantity of water. This normally might have threatened the cutter, but the sea was relatively flat despite the downpour and neither Jim Warren or Andrew Smyth felt inclined to bail. Instead, they resolved to drain the water while against the 'Dog and were discussing this as they drew near to the light frigate.

Smyth, who was at Patricia's bow, noticed too late a great timber of planking barely kept at the water's surface by its own buoyancy lying directly in their path. The rain was coming down so heavily that anything not protruding from the water was masked by the spray. The cutter was moving at a fair clip when it thudded hard upon the timber and threw Andrew forward just as he was standing in the boat. He pitched clean over and into the water, sprawling out on the significant flotsam. It was wide and long enough to support him like a raft, but he still flailed a bit for purchase, too surprised not to.

Mister Warren was on his feet almost at once, carried forward a little by the unexpected lurch. He moved to the bow as easily as he might have through a market street, weaving past the single mast to investigate the situation.

Overhead and just off the cutter's larboard bow, the lookouts of the Watch Dog looked down upon this development. No one had noticed the timber in the shallows until Andrew's surprised cry had awoken them to it. Now, Ciaran, who was half way down the rigging and on his way to bed, echoed McGinty overhead.

"Man overboard! Hands and lines to the Starboard Rail!"

It was a cautionary cry. Mister Smyth was in no real danger, but the brevity of the lookouts demanded that they draw attention to the man in the water. Sharks had not been sighted anytime since coming to La Blanquilla and Smyth was a good swimmer, but the crew was at the rail in short order just the same.

The real danger lay in the damage to the cutter itself. The rough end of the broad debris had struck Patricia were the overlapping planking joined the stem of the small craft. A split too small to be dangerous in clearer weather, now threatened the water laden craft. Mister Warren, experienced with the launches of the 'Dog like no other aboard, assessed the danger and resolved it in short order. The water was shallow enough to make the loss of the boat nearly impossible, so instead of bailing, he took up the long line coiled in the stem and threw it to the reaching hands at the Watch Dog's waist. The crew hauled up on it hard, drawing the cutter past the debris as Andrew was helped into the boat by the Coxswain.

All the while, the various lookouts, including Ciaran who had rushed aloft again, sent down their various calls, alerted now to before unnoticed threats now perceived in the gloom.

"Two barrels off the larboard beam!"

"Debris two points off the Starboard bow!"

The Captain and Quartermaster joined the throng at the rail, adding their hands to the line.

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All hands that were aboard the Cutter scrabbled up the side of the ship, lightening the load and allowing those crew who were hauling on the bow line to actually lift the bow out of the water. All the rainwater shifted aft causing the stern to drop almost to flood in seawater.

"Hold fast, Lads! Rig th' tackles ta bring th' cutter aboard!"

Several of the crew broke off and did as commanded, soon the cutter was rigged and lifted out of the sea.

"Avast heavin'! Mr. Warren, help me tip th' water out o' th cutter..."

The cutter hung three feet from the surface, where Mr. Lasseter and Warren climbed down the side of the Watch Dog, reached over to stem and stern of the cutter and with some difficulty shifted her to allow the water to drain over the gunnel, splashing against the side of the ship. Once most of the water had drained, they allowed it to right itself.

"A'right, Heave away! Hansomely now!"

They climbed back on deck and Mr. Lasseter turned over the command of the operation to Mr. Warren. He then turned his attention to the debris in the water. Barrels and other flotsam were thick in the water surrounding the ship.

"Cap'n... looks ta me like wot be left of a wreck... what say you?"

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"Indeed, Mister Lasseter."

William surveyed the water ahead of the Watch Dog. The debris was small, but enough of it belied the loss of a ship, though there was not sufficient flotsam to determine its size, nor was there any immediate signs of a hulk or mass on any of the reefs ahead. Los Hermanos was near at hand, away to the East and South and a boat may have run aground there, sending these few remains Westward with the tide. It was also just as likely the bulk of the ship was gone below the waves.

William began barking orders to the various officers of the ship and Mister Badger appeared just in time for his, dressed only in a night shirt and slops.

"Mister Badger! Reef the Mainsail! Mister Lasseter, mark our position for soundings later, but keep the leads tossing for our own sake. Then have the barge swung out and prepared for transport if necessary. Mister Pew! I want six armed men of the watch! Muskets and pistols if you please! Hatchets and axes for the deck hands and mind the powder in all this rain."

Mister Warren reported to the Captain in short order. "Cap'n. Patricia's been divided in her seams at the stem. Not much damage there, but she'll need the Carpenter before she can be put to sea proper."

"How is our Mister Smyth?"

"He's fine, Cap'n. Nothing but bruises and scrapes and then only to his dignity."

"Thank you, Mister Warren. Rest is yours if you'll have it. If not, a meal and one bell's rest before you take the wheel."

"Aye, Cap'n."

They went to work and not one of them paused to satisfy their curiosity at the rail, even when Ciaran called out, "Body in the water! Abaft the Starboard beam!"

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"Mister Pew! I want six armed men of the watch! Muskets and pistols if you please! Hatchets and axes for the deck hands and mind the powder in all this rain."

"Right away sah!!"

"Monahan, Mooney, Hingerty, you lads wit me, I . . ."

"I'll fetch the blades Pew," Eric had already ran past before I could finish my sentence.

"Right, lads follow Mr. Franklin, retrieve the hatchets and axes . . "

"Alan, Claude, you two to the armoury 's well!"

Bounding down the ladder stairs to open the armoury, I continue directions to the 5 men, "Owen, Paul, Manus I want two axes each in yer hands, Eric, you take tha powder horn and wadding, KEEP IT DRY MATE- we know not what be 'round tha bend . . . "

Upon arrival to the door, I tell Alan and Claude to grab two brace each and two muskets . . .removing the shaded lantern from the desk in the cabin, I light it and hand it to Alan. . . .With a "POP" the lock drops and the room is instantly illuminated.

Each man grabs what they can carry and heads back out of the room and up the stairs without a word.

Eric grabs the powder and I take a brace of pistols for myself. Extinguishing the lantern, we close the door behind us and lock it soundly.

Owen and Paul dole out the axes to each available deck hand. Manus retains his as the arms reach the main deck. Alan and Claude hand both Mr. Mooney and Mr. Monahan a brace of pistols as they make their way to the Cap'n.

"Mister Pew and Mr Franklin are making their way topside now Cap'n", reports Alan Woodington to the Captain now leaning on the starboard rail.

The Captain turns to see each of the six men that went below are now armed and arrainging themselves about the deck. Each man vying for a clear shot of what be ahead, yet trying to shield their weapons from the rain that continues to fall . . .

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Mr. Lasseter bounded out of sight, into the wardroom to grab up the logbook, marked their last position and sounding, then headed through the door into the passageway to his cabin, stopped grabbed up his dragoons, checked them and hte sea service pistol on his belt for dry powder. He stuffed theem into his belt, headed out into the passage and knocked on the Surgeon's door, then pulled it open.

"We got wreckage in th' water, might be a shipwreck, might 'ave survivors..." he then pulled the door shut and haeded back into the wardroom, doffed his oilskins and headed up the companionway onto the quarterdeck just as Ciaran hollered that their was a body in the water. He dashed to the starboard rail and saw the body, floating face down in the slightly choppy water.

"Nay, 'e's a gonner..."

He scanned the area, seeing more flotsam but not more bodies...

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July 18, 1704 - Off the Eastern shore of La Blanquilla

Between one and two bells of the First Dog Watch

During the next hour the longboat was lowered over the side and it moved out ahead of the frigate with Mister Lasseter on the tiller and Robert Thatcher, Louis Morrell, Christopher Tucker and Jerrod Styles on the oars, along with Claude Marchande, Alan Woodington armed and James Whiting as a lookout forward. They proceeded the Watch Dog by nearly 100 yards and about two points of its starboard bow, scanning the water and shoreline as the went.

The rain played off a bit, thinning a little as they went. The air was as still as it had been, blowing in from the East as before. Any sound from La Blanquilla was dulled by the rain and carried away from them by the wind, for they had rounded the island on the North and were head almost due South. 'The White One', as the island was called, was reduced to a grey smear by the elements. As expected in this weather, no fires or lines of smoke appeared anywhere. No sign of life at all was seen anywhere ashore.

Back on the Watch Dog, William ordered the sounding of the tenth gun just before the second bell of the watch. The roar of 'His Grace' rolled out over the water and the quiet island. This was answered by the swivel gun on the longboat a few minutes later.

"Let us hope they don't mistake that for mere thunder." William said aloud to no one in particular, wondering if anyone had made land.

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Mr. Whiting called out the debris in the water ahead, and occasionally the QuarterMaster had Woodington and Marchande haul aboard a cask or firkin, as they were stores such as rum. Soon a cannon from the ship thundered, to which Mr. Lasseter had Marchande and Woodington load Pollux and return the signal, although weakly as compaired to the great gun... He had them reload the swivel, just to have it ready for the next round of signaling. Mr. Lasseter continued to divide his attention between steering the boat and scanning sea and shore. So far no large sections of hull or other items that might give an idea of the size of the ship that had shone themselves, just small splinters and shattered boards. The likes of which made him think that whatever had happened, it happened not so long ago.

"I'm thinkin' whereever th' ship wrecked, it musta 'appened last storm... mebee... three weeks past? Keep a sharp eye, Jemmy..."

"Aye, sir..." He replied as he scanned ahead, straining his vision through the mist of rain, wind, and water....

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The rain seemed endless but not as relentless as it had before easing some and calming somewhat seas that had been fercocious tossing the Watch Dog this way and that. Even the winds had screamed past her ears as she huddled ever alert, yet she had vastly enjoyed it. The rolling of the sea far below her, and at times held over for the ship had listed to and fro, had been both terrifying and filling her with an energy, effervescent and she nearly laughed aloud with delight. She loved a good storm but this had been her first time in the foremast during such an occurence and it had left her with a feeling that would not soon dissipate. But through it all she had kept a weather eye out for any and all things that could possibly be a threat. To keep from being tossed out she had sat keeping her legs through the openings and her hands on what passed for the rail, And she was vastly thankful it had not lightened much.

Still she was drenched from head to toe and at times shivered from the bite of the winds and she watched with a keen eye the actions below her of her crewmates as they took in the wreck

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