As the Endeavor waited for marching orders, Denstra looked out the window of her quarters. One of her spouses, Twansa the Succubus, was cooking and humming to herself. Their husbands were busy with their own jobs on the ship, so it was the two of them alone. Twansa’s tail was swinging from side to side slowly, a tell that she had something on her mind despite her happy humming. “…Do you ever worry about your past?” Denstra asked.
“What brought that on?” replied Twansa as she added some spices to the meal.
“Just…thinking about my own.” Twansa thought about the question as she stirred the pot of noodles.
“…I used to. I thought me being an orphan would turn people away from me. Heck, I thought me WANTING to be a Second Age Housewife would turn people away from me. Thank goodness you and our favorite boys proved me wrong on both counts.” She then started plating up the spaghetti and meatballs. “Lunch!” she called. Denstra made her way to the table and sat down while grabbing the cheese and shaking it all over her meal. She then handed it off to Twansa. The Succubus shook only a small amount, compared to the mountain of cheese on Denstra’s plate. “Something about your past bothering you now?” asked Twansa.
“…Someone, actually,” answered Denstra. “A woman that mistreated me is now a Privateer!”
“And under YOUR command, strictly speaking.”
“She hadn’t been punished enough, as I was! After I parted company, I turned myself in to Realmfleet, in some form of penance for what I had done. After that, I reconnected with my parents. When I came home, my other relatives were there! They screamed and heaped abuses at me, despite my parents trying everything in their power to stop them! They refused to stop, even ordering my parents to disown me! …As you can see, my parents refused, at the cost of their reputation. No one wanted to associate with someone with a daughter that was a pirate. So…I joined Realmfleet to continue my penance. I’m the master of my life, not Reb Rojam! …I’m the master of my fate, not Reb Rojam!”
“…Forgive me for sounding this way, but it sounds to me that, as long as you say nothing to her, she IS master of both.” Denstra looked in shock at Twansa. “I made the same mistake, believe it or not. Remember when you and the boys found me? I allowed the orphanage to make me believe that choosing to act as a Second Age Housewife makes me worthless and cheap. I only revealed my choices two years into our marriage, remember? It was when I opened up that I REALLY became the master of my fate and life. If you don’t do say something to Reb, she’ll ALWAYS control you.” Denstra considered her wife’s words as they ate their lunch.
“Approaching the island,” reported a Vampire helmsman.
“Set us down,” replied the helmsman’s Captain, a purple legged Cecaelia woman with a patch over her right eye. The ship set down near the Endeavor and deployed a landing ramp. Arsha approached the woman and shook her hand.
“Great to see you again, Captain Looden,” she greeted.
“The pleasure is all mine, Your Highness,” returned the Cecaelia woman, Patrica Looden. “I heard there was another Protectorate Pirate on their way here?”
“Indeed. And…here she comes now.” Patrica’s smile vanished as Reb approached them. She then curtsied.
“Good afternoon, Arsha,” purred Reb. “My apologies for this HEINOUS delay.”
“Arsha, if I might be so bold,” hissed Patrica, “why is that woman not in chains?! She should be manacled!”
“Your thoughts match my First Officer’s,” remarked Arsha.
“Denstra’s right! We both once served under her!”
“…You served under Reb?”
“Only for ONE job!” snarled Reb. “Quite frankly, I’m amazed her TATTERED ship is still flying. The last I saw of the Sailing Patch, she was on fire, a CHARRED hulk sinking beneath Over-realm waves.”
“A soldier from the Regalin Sea Merfolk kingdom found the ship,” answered Patrica, “saved my entire crew, and got the Royal Family to organize repair efforts to make it sky-worthy again.”
“We had a deal, she and I. I contracted her to deliver VALUABLE cargo on my behalf and she chose to dump it!”
“Liberate it! People aren’t cargo, Reb! I won’t be part of a kidnapping ring!” Patrica was looking at the ship Reb came in on.
“I don’t have the Black Money in my possession, DEAR Patrica.”
“Then what’s become of that ship?”
“It MUTINIED against me when it came to life!”
“It’s a Mechanica?”
“Aye! A Mechanica that threw in his lot with that VILE Dr. Borg! All thanks to what you did! Your ‘Good Deed’ cost me MIGHTILY, Patrica.”
“And you have spared me ANY possibility of being anything other than what I am. And, for that, I AM grateful.”
“Captains, I get that there’s bad blood between you two,” interjected Arsha, “but each second we spend here arguing gives Oyed more time to permanently outdistance us. Now, I have every confidence that we will prevail and you two will be rewarded with the high station you so desire.”
“Nay, to serve doth suffice, Your most GRACIOUS Highness,” replied Reb.
“You’re looking a little sick there, Rebby,” muttered Patrica.
“Yeah, a real bad case of Brown Noser Disease!”
“ENOUGH!” Arsha’s sudden shout startled the two privateers. “…Now, here’s what we’ll do; Reb and Partrica, you two are to remain here as backup for the external fight against the Manticores while I take a team inside their defenses to see why they’re pressuring the Sphinxes into serving Oyed and how they’re doing it. Aldarval has told me that I’m leaving the position of the mission’s Head Protectorate up to you two.” The two rivals looked at Arsha in horror.
“Er, my DEAR Arsha, is that REALLY wise?” asked Reb.
“Reb and I would probably kill each other over the position,” supplied Patrica.
“That is forbidden, both by Aldarval and I. You are ordered to settle the matter peacefully. No physical combat. Not even a small catfight is permitted. Understood?”
“…Understood, Your Highness,” grumbled Reb and Patrica. They then took one another’s hand and smiled while shaking them, but the smiles did NOT reach the eyes.