“Is it true what they say about the Captain?” asked Private Fry, his first time aboard Captain Raven’s ship.
“In what regards?” asked Boatswain Stephens for clarification as the men prepared the Treasure Seeker, a pirate ship known for its acquisitions (usually legally) of buried treasures.
“Can I ask about both rumors I have heard?” requested Private Fry.
“Have you only heard two?” joked Boatswain Stephens.
“Are there more than only two?” asked a concerned Private Fry.
“Why don’t you ask me your two questions and I’ll let you know if there are more you should concern yourself with?” reasoned Boatswain Stephens.
“Which should I ask first?” asked Private Fry.
“I don’t even know which two you have to ask about, so how could I possibly be expected to answer such a question as that?” responded Stephens logically.
“Is it true Captain Raven is the most skilled at finding treasures?” asked Fry, though it was clear that was not the more important of the two rumors.
“Is that truly your first question?” asked Stephens.
“Is it true that even though he is such a skilled treasure hunter, he has thus been unsuccessful at finding this particular treasure?” asked Fry.
“Is that your second question, or part of the first one still?” asked Stephens.
“Isn’t it also true that many others have sought this same treasure and all have failed?” continued Fry.
“I will tell you it’s true, but do you expect me to believe that’s what you really want to know?” chuckled Stephens.
“Is it that obvious?” asked Fry.
“Do you think you’re the first to ask me such things?” countered Stephens.
“So is it true?” asked Fry.
“Is that what I said?” teased Stephens.
“Are you not going to tell me?” asked a frustrated Private Fry.
“Are you going to actually ask me?” Boatswain Stephens continued to tease.
“Are you really going to make me ask if you already know what the question will be?” pleaded Fry.
“Don’t you think I have that right as your Boatswain?” Stephens pulled his rank card on the Private.
“Do you think I’m being insubordinate?” asked a nervous Fry.
“Is that what I said?” teased Stephens again.
“If you have been asked by many Privates and achieved the rank of Boatswain, can I assume you have been on many voyages?” asked Fry.
“Wouldn’t that be a logical deduction?” agreed Stephens.
“Have you always sailed under Captain Raven?” asked Fry.
“Why don’t you just ask me what you want to know about him?” urged Stephens.
“Is it true that he wants only questions in response to his questions and not answers?” asked Fry.
“Wouldn’t you assume as much by the tone of our very own conversation thus far?” asked Stephens.
“Would it be responsible for someone aboard a ship for the first time to make such an assumption?” reasoned Private Fry.
“Are you as smart a shiphand as you are at assessing Captains?” asked Stephens.
“Wouldn’t it be wise if I aspire to ascend the ranks as you have to be smart in many areas?” responded Fry logically.
“Would you like to know the answer to your question?” asked Stephens.
“Would I have asked if I didn’t want to know?” asked Fry.
“Are you crossing the line from smart to smart aleck?” asked an indignant Stephens.
“Wouldn’t that be unwise of someone aboard your ship for the first time?” asked Fry.
“Do you say this is my ship? Do you not know that a pirate ship belongs to the entire crew and not the Captain, nor the First Mate, nor the Quartermaster, nor the rest of the crew?” asked Stephens.
“Are you avoiding the question about the Captain or are you challenging my knowledge of Pirate Ship etiquette?” asked Fry for clarification.
“Should I assume you are familiar with Pirate Ship etiquette?” asked Stephens.
“Would you please just assume as such about me and answer about the Captain? Isn’t he set to arrive soon? Don’t you think I should know the answer before he arrives and we shove off?” pleaded Fry.
“It is true about the Captain only wishing to have responses in questions, and have you heard about the second part of the same rumor?” asked Boatswain Stephens.
“Do you mean that anyone not responding in questions shall be made to walk the plank?” confirmed Private Fry.
“Do you think that part is true?” quizzed Stephens.
“Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that if the Captain indeed has such an unorthodox conversational preference, and if someone were to violate said preference, that a punishment of the plank would be enforced upon said violators?” asked Fry.
“Do you think such punishment is fair?” asked Stephens.
“Is it my place to question the fairness of the Captain?” asked Fry.
“Even though all mates on a pirate ship have equal say in the operations of the ship?” tested Stephens.
“Would the Captain’s preference for communicating in only questions fall under the classification of ship operations which would need to be agreed upon by the crew under Pirate law?” countered Fry.
“Are you sure this is your first voyage under Captain Raven?” asked a proud Stephens.
“Is that the Captain now?” asked Fry, indicating to the ramp off the Port side of the Treasure Seeker.
“Isn’t he wearing the black Captain’s jacket and black tri-cornered Captain’s hat?” asked Stephens.
“Isn’t it true that Captains sometimes do not dress as Captains in order to test their crew and lure out traitors before setting out to sea?” asked Fry.
“Are you a traitor?” asked Stephens.
“Do I strike you as a traitor?” countered Fry.
“Do you think I would have been promoted to Boatswain if I didn’t assume anyone could be a potential traitor?” asked Stephens.
“Have you had many traitors on the Treasure Seeker?” asked Fry.
“How many do you think?” tested Stephens.
“Wouldn’t I be smart to assume that either there have been no traitors or that any traitors had been properly detected and dealt with since Captain Raven is still alive and well?” reasoned Private Fry.
“What would you deduce from that assumption?” asked Boatswain Stephens.
“Shouldn’t I deduce that it is not safe to be a traitor on board this ship?” asked Fry.
“Would you like to meet the Captain?” asked Stephens, satisfied Private Fry was not a traitor.
“Is it customary to meet the Captain so near to the beginning of a voyage?” asked Fry.
“Are you not as familiar with Pirate Ship etiquette as you previously led me to believe?” asked Stephens.
“Don’t the finer minutiae of etiquette differ from one Pirate Ship to another?” asked Fry.
“Do you think I would offer to introduce you to the Captain if etiquette did not allow it on the Treasure Seeker?” asked Stephens.
“Would you, if you could forgive my ignorance, introduce me to Captain Raven?” pleaded Fry.
“And you will not ask about his obsession with the treasure that is the reason for this voyage?” asked Stephens.
“Do you consider me that great a novice?” asked Fry.
“And you will not mention to the Captain that many others have sought this treasure but have failed?” asked Stephens.
“Why would I show such a lack of faith in the Captain?” asked Fry.
“Have you not heard of his obsession with this particular treasure?” asked Stephens.
“Have we not already established I have heard of it?” asked Fry.
“And that does not dissuade you from joining our ship?” confirmed Stephens.
“Are you going to introduce me to the Captain or not?’ demanded Fry.
“Are you ready?” asked Boatswain Stephens.
“Is anyone truly ready to meet such a legend?” asked Private Fry.
“Captain Raven?” called out Stephens to get the Captain’s attention as he made his rounds greeting the crew of his ship.
“Ah, Boatswain Stephens was it?” asked the Captain for confirmation.
“Have you forgotten me already?” joked Stephens with the Captain.
“Well, how long has it been since our last voyage?” asked the Captain.
“Haven’t we been at port too long with treasures out there waiting to be found?” asked Stephens.
“Do you think we’ll find it this time out?” asked the Captain.
“Would I be here with you if I thought otherwise?” confirmed Stephens.
“Right, and who is this man I’ve yet to meet?” asked the Captain of Private Fry.
“Oh, you mean me?” asked Fry.
“Are you not new to the ship? What is your name, Private?” asked the Captain.
“This is indeed my first time on your ship and the name is Private Fry,” responded Fry.
“Have you lost your mind?” pleaded an angry Stephens as the Captain simply turned his back and walked away from Fry.
“Will you come with us?” asked one of two large, hulking men who now stood on either side of Private Fry.
“Are you serious?” asked Fry.
“Do we look like we’re joking?” asked the other of the hulks.
“What’s going to happen to me?” asked a nervous Fry.
“Do you not know?” asked the first hulk.
“Did I not warn you?” asked Boatswain Stephens.
“You were serious?” asked Fry.
“Do you have any last words?” asked the second hulk ushering Fry along the plank.
“Do you think that’s a bad omen?” asked the Captain of Stephens minutes later, the crew now short one Private Fry.
“Haven’t we lost crew members before?” reasoned Stephens.
“Have we lost one before the voyage even began?” asked the Captain.
“Couldn’t that be a good thing?” asked Stephens.
“What do you mean?” asked a curious Captain.
“If we have done the same routine each time before our voyage for this treasure, yet come up short thus far, wouldn’t it stand to reason that changing our routine might bode well for us, the change being how early we make a first-time Private walk the plank?” asked Stephens.
“Would you like to be promoted to Quartermaster?” asked the Captain with a smile.
“Would anything make me happier?” asked Stephens.
“Will you gather the crew so I can make the announcement?” asked the Captain.
“Right now?” confirmed Stephens.
“Shouldn’t we do it before our voyage? Didn’t you say changing the routine could be a good omen?” asked the Captain.
“Isn’t it for smart decisions like this that you are the Captain?” asked Stephens.
“Quartermaster Stephens, would you give the command to hoist the mainsail?” ordered the Captain after Stephens was promoted in front of the crew.
“Crew of the Treasure Seeker, would you raise the mainsail and set a heading due west?” came the command from Stephens as they set off again in search of their elusive treasure.