Story Time – The 1491 Mishap


November 1491, somewhere near the Bermuda Triangle the ship Myrmidon is battling with the very best Mother Nature has to offer.

“Strike the royals!” Captain Wormwood called out over the cacophony. “Strike the gallant and the…”

“You bastard”, Mate Jannings snarled, “You’ve killed us all.”

Captain Wormwood grinned malevolently and severed his head with a neat swing from his cutlass. He adjusted his hat, and shoved the body out of his way with his boot.

Sailmaster Colbert pointed two points to starboard, “North is this way. The hurricane is that way.”

“Reef the mainsail!” He commanded, “Abandon course! Point at the eye!”

Helmsman Goner shouted, “Aye!” and with fists of granite, he gripped the mahogany wheel and slowly, achingly turned the wheel.

The carpenter’s coal black cloak was flapping in the wind, and like an angel of death, he grabbed the collar of the recently departed Jannings, and dragged him to his quarters to be bled.

“Abandon course!” the captain shouted again. “Mr. Durnst, assist the helmsman!”

“Aye, Captain!” obeyed Quartermaster Durnst coming to the aid.

“Flynn and Jas, we need to get up in the rigging and secure the mainsail!”

Both men shouted aye. Flynn was the most agile on the crew, and Jas the strongest. Both men scrambled up the ladder, trying to secure half the mainsail in time. The wind blew as sheets and sheets of icy rain sliced through the air, stabbing the face and hands. The sea boiled, and the ship Breathless groaned and creaked in terrible agony. Men scrambled to secure the ropes.

A loose belaying pin broke loose and flew through the air. It smacked Durnst in the head. He slumped to the ground and became lodged under the mahogany handles of the ship’s wheel.

Captain Wormwood scrambled to the wheel, and dislodged Durnst, and lent his strength to laborious task of turning the ship towards the eye of the hurricane.

Suddenly a silence exploded drowning out the sound. The ship and the crew seemed suspended in time. The waves rested an inch before the crash. The wind became a breeze, and the rain a gentle mist. Captain Wormwood looked around in disbelief. The crew froze in place unsure of what to do.

Durnst groaned, and began to sit up holding his head. Blood was trailing down his head and dripped into his left eye. He wiped quickly to clear it.

A flash of light and on the deck stood a small man with a green polka dotted bow tie, green and grey pinstriped pants, and a white lab coat. His eyes were obscured by the strangest metallic looking glasses which covered his thin face. He had loose billows of hair curling and twirling with reckless abandon, and a very thin white mustache that hovered above his thin chapped lips. He spoke with an air of detachment.

“Please forgive us”, he said with no remorse in his voice. “We have deemed in necessary to cull this expedition, as the end game plays into a better scenario with another in mind.”

Captain Wormwood stood there slack jawed as his eyes reminded the man of cattle before the slaughter.

“Better scenario?” Durnst asked struggling to his feet.

“Yes, I’m delighted to report that the Siege of Granada is underway! Even as we speak, the last bastion of the great Moors is being whittled down. The expulsion of the Moor’s will set the stage for a great expedition, as a man named Christopher Columbus is destined to follow this path. I’m afraid the events were predetermined a long time ago.”

“What are you saying”, Captain Wormwood asked.

“This anomaly, you not the storm, was never supposed to happen”, the man replied calmly. He was holding a small silver rectangle in his hands, and was busy poking it with his finger.

The captain drew his sword, “Off my ship!”

“Oh yes”, the man agreed, “That is definitely our intention, but I need that man over there.” He pointed at Sailmaster Colbert.

“It’s my vacation!” Colbert objected.

“You know that I have no decision in this, Colbert”, the man replied with a shrug, “Besides, this charter is a doomed endeavor.”

“We could change history!” Colbert shrieked in anger. He drew his pistol. “We still will.”

The man didn’t bat an eyelash, “The project is terminated. Do you want to come back to HQ, or do you want to die with these men?”

“Die?” Durnst moaned. “Don’t kill us!”

“Again”, the man said pointing at him, “Not the person making the decision here.” To Colbert he said holding up the tablet, “The break is terminating in ten seconds. Are you coming?”

Colbert clenched his fist and look to shoot the man, but then sighed deeply as his shoulders sagged in defeat. He nodded numbly and walked over to the man.

“Now see here…” The captain shouted, but the man and Colbert were gone.

Lightning struck the ship. Flynn screamed and flew from the ladder into the gleaming white teeth of the jagged waves swallowing him in their icy maw. Jas was burnt to a cinder from the bolt that also ignited the wooden mast and the canvas of the mainsail.

“Fire on the mast!” the Captain shouted.

The ship began to swing about caught in a powerful vortex. Helmsman Goner was nowhere to be found as the unmanned wheel spun around and around. Men screamed as the fire spread rapidly. The ship was rocked by an enormous wave driving the captain to his knees. Through the smoke and the fire, the captain struggled to search for his crew. Suddenly another lightning strike illuminated a mountain of a wave crashing down on top of the tiny ship. Wood and metal were torn asunder as the captain and his crew was swallowed by the sea.

Meanwhile back at headquarters, Colbert and the man stood on the small circle that marked their entry point. The man turned towards Colbert and said, “The Triumvirate have called a meeting in 30 minutes, I would suggest you hit the fresher, and revamp your wardrobe to something a bit more formal.”

“They are that mad, eh?” Colbert asked.

“Rewriting history is not taken lightly’, the man said, “Men died.”

“Men that were already supposed to be dead’, Colbert snapped, “I saved them, and kept them separated for months as protocol dictates.”

“You were rewriting history”, the man laughed, “Who cares if you followed one of the protocols?”

“Well I guess there won’t be any more vacation days”, Colbert sighed.

“For any of us”, the man snapped, “You ruined it for us. New policy is going to restrict jumps for research only. Thanks a lot.”

“Sorry”, Colbert said softly.

“Just don’t expect anything on your birthday”, the man said.


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