The crew of the Revenge knew they could not rest, knew they could not relent, the naval cruiser might have been sinking and the crew going down with it but the destroyer was hot on its tail and within range of striking.
Even with the crew of the Revenge on a rescue mission of their own, to save the Princess of Iceland from the evil dictator of Nuoro, and the Italian naval commander surviving the attack they would no more get a chance to plead their innocence than they would escape without taking out another ship of the Italian navy. For whatever reason the evil dictator had been able to convince the navy of the Revenge’s wrong doing Captain Bildgepoole knew there was no way of reversing that decision and fighting was his only option.
With only one rescue boat on the cruiser and its space quickly taken by the captain, the evil dictator and a small selection of crew the rest of the crew were left to fend for themselves in the water. Those that could clung to floating debris, the larger pieces of timber supporting several men at a time, all of them hoping to be saved when the destroyer defeated the pirate ship in its sights.
Of course the crew of the Revenge had different thoughts, they’d just taken out the naval cruiser and they were going to take out the destroyer before it had a chance to do the same to them. There was very little speak aboard the ship because each and every crew member knew his job and did it without conversation.
Powderkegs, those small barrels made by the Good Captain’s chemists and weaponry men which packed a punch few thought possible from such a small package, were loaded into the top deck of cannon and fired. At the same time iron balls each one heavier than most other pirate ship cannons could fire where loaded into the cannons on the lower deck and blasted toward the enemy.
Despite the heavy duty fire power of the Revenge they were not immune from enemy fire, the cannonballs might have been smaller and caused less damage with every hit but they still hit the ship. The Revenge was battle hardy, like the advancements in firepower they ships had been strengthened but a number of the crew were still racing around deck putting out small fires and tending to damage that needed to be fixed whatever else needed to be done to keep the ship sailing.
From the crows nest Eagle Eyed Eddie could see explosion after explosion aboard the naval destroyer as powderkegs blasted their way into the timber hull sending shards of splinters into the air and left flames licking the timbers hungry to catch alight something posing less resistance. He could also see cannonballs tearing their way through sails leaving a tattered mess of material dangling helplessly almost as if waiting for the flames to eat any of the ragged edges.
The hits from the naval destroyer were like lightning, never striking the same place twice, which made it harder for the crew aboard the Revenge to clean up after each strike. But the inaccuracies of such firepower was something the crew were used to, very few naval destroyers in the world had the accuracy of pirate ships, they relied on power and the brute force of the attack.
When the destroyer began firing smoke bombs the task aboard the Revenge got even harder. The acrid sting of the smoke in the eyes of the pirates brought on tears and the stale and dry taste of it made their throats feel like sand paper, but each pirate pushed on clearing the deck, retying and resplicing ropes and manning the pumps.
The rapid fire of powderkegs and cannon balls rained down upon the destroyer, the rapid succession of fire creating a thunderous crack that echoed loudly across the sea. The Italian Naval flag atop of the crows mast was sheered off at the mount taking the crows nest with it.
As Eagle Eyed Eddie watched his opposite in the crows nest of the destroyer fall toward the ocean he knew they had gained another advantage over the naval destroyer. But it wasn’t until he saw the center mast snap at the base he knew the battle was all but over.
There was a stampede of men aboard the destroyer, they had given up trying to put the fires out there was too many of them. Those who weren’t already fleeing for the life by diving into the flame covered waters surrounding the ship were running around defiantly repacking cannons or trying to keep the ship afloat. Most of them knew their battle was lost but they could not go down without giving the fight their all.
When the final shots were fired the naval cruiser was nothing but splintered wreckage floating on the sea and the destroyer was dead in the water and listing badly to the port side. The battle was won and Revenge sat high in the water her hull structurally intact but her front mast snapped and hanging over the port side rail. There was several fires still burning aboard the deck and her rear sail was tattered where a cannonball had gone through it near dead center.
Pirates busied themselves with their tasks at hand, the ship was sea worthy and would get them home, albeit with a slower average speed, providing the did not hit foul weather.
When the Princess emerged from below deck to see the damage sustained by the Revenge in the effort to rescue her from her captor she was both shocked and amazed, but above all she was thankful. She was in fact so thankful that before the ship had even turned towards the Strait of Gibraltar she was busying herself doing what she could to help the pirates clean up the mess.
Previous Pirate story here.