A lukewarm quart each of Wallsend’s Mordue Brewery Workie Ticket mellowed the majority of corsair captains, but the litre biersteins of flatulence inducing Carlsberg seemed to render the bellicose mercenaries more incalcitrant than ever. They belched out unreasonable demands and threatened to offer their services to king Charles if negotiations broke down.
“Mar amat!” A small, wrinkled, golden-skinned woman, with clusters of gold rings dragging each stretched ear lobe down onto her shoulders leaped up and began a high-pitched rant in an alien Asian tongue. She flailed her arms and jabbed a knobbled forefinger towards one unnerved mustelid in slightly threadbare plumb and gold finery.
“Who the hell is that?” Flo leaned over towards Rotskagg and whispered from behind her hand.
“That, my young valkyrie, be Kapten Nyai of the bisquine Bonnie Lass. She be a Sea Dayak and has never been known to utter a word except in her native language which be totally incomprehensible to her entirely Geordie crew. But then few can understand them either. Seems to work well for all concerned. They be contraband Newcastle Brown smugglers, and highly successful too. Hold fast there, Nyai!”
She glared and then sat, continuing to express her outrage under her breath. Rotskagg turned to the hireling soldiers:
“You will not be contacting our enemies. You will not be getting off this island without transport arranged through my friends here. In fact you will be lucky to leave this room if I give them the nod. We will now discuss a profit sharing contract that I am sure you will find agreeable. As for my captains, they are not going to turn down a chance to swashbuckle.”
“And where will all this swashbuckling get us, Mijnheer Blenkinsopp?”
Kapitein Dirk Blauvelt of de Kraken skippered the most heavily armed whale chaser on the New Barbary coast, sporting a 105mm howitzer in a forward turret with twin .50 calibre machine guns mounted on top. His support would carry considerable clout.
“Do ‘e really want the old days back, Royal Navy patrols, interference from Westminster? One glorious mad dash into the jaws of hell and we secure our reputations, our pirate coast and the gratitude of Larry for generations.” There was a spontaneous and resounding ‘hoorah’ from all but one of the corsair captains. Ernie Spinks, ex Yarmouth fisherman now skipper of the tiny piratical airship Albatross was more circumspect.
“Have we assessed the opposition?”
“Erm…” Slasher too, had been considering a course less perilous than a glorious mad dash into the jaws of anything; “We may perhaps discuss the finer details of strategy once a general agreement has been reached.”
“Too bloody true,” said Flo, pressing her head into her hands.
“Kushti. More ale all round landlord,” cried Rotskagg Blenkinsopp.