Samson, the Pirate Lupe: Lost Memories - Part
Captain Tactrick Silverfang stared in horror. He pointed his sword at the Kougra’s neck. A bare flicker of a smile seemed to cross his face before returning to a cold, hard and upset stare.
“I have no grandson,” he whispered menacingly. The orange Kougra laughed.
“You may want to rethink that,” he purred. “I’ve been looking for you for a long time-.”
“Why?” snapped Silverfang, pressing the sword up closer against the newcomer.
“Please!” the young Kougra scoffed. “Don’t be so suspicious! I’m here because I was tired of the old ship I was on. I was born and raised on it and I thought it was time for a change! I jumped and swam as far as I could. We recently destroyed a small ship as a test for our new weapons and I thought you would come to investigate.”
Fury bubbled in Samson’s heart.
“Mist Hunter!” he cried, throwing himself at the neopet. Darius jumped forward and restrained him, trying to force him to the floor. Samson was not taking any of this. He kept his burning gaze on the Kougra as he kicked the Lieutenant on his wounded side. The Uni shouted and crumpled to the ground. Free, the Lupe jumped and clawed the Kougra on the nose.
The Neopet barely flinched against the blow, looped his tail round Samson’s legs and gave him a swift uppercut, sending Samson to the ground. He was about to rip his claws across the Lupe's neck when Silverfang roared and kicked the Kougra claiming to be his grandson into the side of the ship.
“Hold him!” the Captain snarled, remaining in an animalistic pouncing pose in front of the felled Kougra. Lt. Draco grabbed Samson by the arms and pulled him away. Panting, the Lupe suddenly felt terrible remorse. He couldn’t believe what he did and he had never known such anger towards another pet before. Frightened, he looked at Lt. Darius. The Pirate Uni was deathly pale and struggled to stand as Matron Cardinal tried to help him up. Darius looked in Samson’s direction, but his eye showed sympathy rather than anger or hatred.
Tactrick Silverfang remained on all fours, his claws unsheathed, his sword dropped and his tail swishing in the air. He seemed to snap into the air as he spoke.
“You are a crewmember of the Mist Hunter! You are therefore this ship’s enemy! We have a right to throw you overboard!”
He snarled and prowled closer to the pet.
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” protested the Kougra. “Listen to me for one minute!” he said, indicating one minute with his paw. “I am no longer a part of Mist Hunter! I abandoned her to come to you!”
“You’re lying!” growled Silverfang. He was now backing the pet to the open part of the ship railing.
Samson had never seen this side of the Captain before. His eyes showed not only anger and disgust, but fear as well.
“No! Honestly! I’m not! Just let me explain! I’m Tiger Silverfang-.”
“You are no grandson of mine!” roared the Captain, raising his claws. “You do me insult by claiming to be mine! How did you know we would come?”
“She always said you had a curious nature!” Silverfang stopped in his tracks, his eyes flying wide open. He lowered his shaking claws. In Samson’s eyes, the Kougra suddenly looked very old.
“Who said that?” he hissed, slowly. “Who is she?”
Tiger smiled. He knew he had hit a weak spot. “My mother! Your daughter!” He raised his voice. “Vampra Silverfang!”
Tacktrick’s blood ran cold.
Samson watched a tear fall from one of his eyes and saw him physically back away from Tiger.
“My... My daughter. She’s alive?” The Captain barely whispered the words. He stood back up and took his sword from the floor. He seemed to stagger, but lifted his paw to stop Lt. Clara from running to his aid.
Samson watched as the emotional war raged in the Captain’s soul. This ship was silent, with only the loud and frightened heart beats of each crewmember proving that there was still life aboard the deck. Suddenly, Silverfang’s head whipped up and he stared in shock at Tiger.
“Take him to the brig!” he commanded. No one moved. He turned upon his crewmembers. “Do it!” he howled. Lt. Servill and Commander Darkwing grabbed the young Kougra’s shoulders and began to drag him below deck.
“You can’t do this to me!” he yelled. “I haven’t done anything to you! I came to join your ship! I’m your grandson! Let me go!” His cries faded away the further he went into the bowels of the S.M. The Captain didn’t even look at him.
Captain Silverfang swung round suddenly and marched furiously over to Samson.
“Never have I seen such a lack of self restraint on this ship!” he yowled. “For that and injuring a Lieutenant you shall be flogged two dozen times! The penalty for striking a superior is normally death or marooning but,” he sighed, “under the circumstances, your punishment will be less severe.” He scowled at the Lupe for a moment and did a half-turn. “After your flogging, you are to go to the brig and keep guard of Tiger Silv-.” He couldn’t bring himself to say the name. “The young Kougra until dusk tomorrow. Is that understood?”
“You will not get the same leniency next time!”
The old Kougra’s shoulders sagged and he stalked back into his cabin, closely followed by the Commander. The crew knew this was a serious matter when the Captain turned and snapped at the Erie not to follow him and slammed the door in his beak.
Draco then took his paws from Samson’s arms, but put one on his shoulder.
“Come along boy,” he said sadly. “I’ve finished with Dagoon. Let’s get your flogging over with.”
“Yeah,” muttered Samson. “Can I have a minute?” He nodded to Darius, who hadn’t left the deck yet.
Lt. Draco agreed and let him go, but remained waiting by the stairs.
Lt. Darius sat on a pile of crate in almost the same state as when Samson had found him after the raid. The Lupe felt terrible. Slowly, he padded over to the injured Uni.
“I... I’m sorry, Lt. Darius. There was no excuse for what I did.”
The Lieutenant smiled, his eye slightly cloudy. “Don’t worry, Swiftpaw,” he rasped. “I would have-.” He gasped and flinched as Matron Cardinal tightened the new bandage.
Lt. Darius sighed. “I would have done the same in your position.” He swallowed slightly. “Go and see Matron Cardinal after your punishment. She has something that will help keep the pain bearable.”
Samson nodded, bowed to both Lt. Darius and the Matron and returned to Lt. Draco for his flogging.
“Oh! Stop your whining!” snapped Matron Cardinal as she slapped another burning hot and wet cloth onto Samson’s bruised back. “I’ve had patients who didn’t complain this much when they had a wood fragment stuck in their leg!”
“But it hurts!” cried Samson.
“Well, what did you expect? Did you think you’d be hit by pillows?”
“No, but... AAARRRGGHHH!!!” Matron Cardinal had just dumped icy water onto his back.
“You can live through it, Swiftpaw,” grumbled Lt. Darius who lay in one of the sick beds.
“Get back to sleep, Lieutenant!” snapped Cardinal. “How do you honestly expect to recover when you’re up and about all the time?”
“How do you honestly expect me to sleep with the racket your patient is making?”
“Keep it down, the pair of you!” shouted Hailey from her hammock. “I swear, it's like listening to an old married couple!”
The sick bay came under a joyful silence until the Matron yanked the new cloth off of Samson’s back.
“Alright, kid, you’re free to do your duty.”
“Oh, great. I get to spend the day with the pirate who killed my parents,” snarled Samson venomously. Lt. Darius sighed.
“Don’t think about it that way, Swiftpaw,” he said. “We don’t want you in this position again, especially not when we are going to try and engage the Mist Hunter in combat.
“What?” shouted Hailey, poking out from her hammock. “Are you serious?”
“As serious as I normally am.”
“But, that’s a death trap! The Captain’s taking us right into the foggy sea! We’ll be sitting ducks!” Darius shook his head.
“I know, but nothing can stop him now. He hasn’t seen his daughter for decades. He’s not going to abandon his one chance to save her or find out what’s happened to her.”
“Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!” moaned Samson as the Kyrii helped him to stand. “What sort of a guard does Silverfang expect me to make? I could barely hold my own against Tiger before. What am I supposed to do if he attacks?”
“He won’t attack,” said Cardinal, handing the Lupe a sword. “And if he does, just prey that your adrenaline will act as the best pain killer you’ve ever had.”
Samson slowly padded down to the bottom of the ship to a much darker and colder cabin. The brig’s three cells were separated with thick barriers of wood that touched the low ceiling and were sealed with cold, black, wrought iron bars. As the Lupe approached the water soaked door, he heard quiet snarling and snapping voices. He put his ear against the door.
“You can’t do this!” snarled one. The voice was too low to tell who it was.
“Just watch me!” snarled the other. It was unrecognisable for the same reason.
“You’ll never get away with it. The Captain will destroy you.”
“I’m offering you the chance to be the new Commander.”
“And what if I refuse?”
“You will be slain with the rest of the Captain’s supporters.” The next voice began to laugh.
“You coward! You would rather kill those ship hands than try and convince them to join you.”
“They won’t need much convincing if death is their only other option.”
“Don’t give me that ‘you are much better then this’ nonsense! All I need to do is kill the Captain and the rest of the crew will be too scared to touch me. In their minds, nothing but age could kill Captain Silverfang and that’s already started. Finishing him off will be a piece of cake.”
“So you think!”
“I’ve been training my whole life to take over this ship! The Captain is now emotionally weak. It won’t even be a hard fight.”
There was a break out of snarling and claws smashing against jail bars. Samson decided that it was time he went in.
He pushed open the door, which swung with a load creak, and the fighting stopped immediately. The Lupe stared at the two figures within the brig. On the inside of the middle cell behind the bars was Tiger Silverfang while on the outside was Dagoon Burnteye. They both stared at Samson with cold surprise.
“What are you doing here, Swiftpaw?” snapped Dagoon as Tiger retreated to the backbench of his cell.
“Not here to start a fight, Burnteye!” Samson retorted with equal malice. “I’m on guard duty, so get out!”
Dagoon hummed with laughter and padded slowly out of the brig. As he brushed past Samson, he gave the Lupe a hard push in the side, sending him into the wall. The Darigan Kougra chortled and finally left.
Grumbling, Samson stood back up and padded to his enemy’s cell.
Tiger Silverfang was lying stretched out upon a hard wooden bench. Samson glanced at him every so often to try and spot any weak points or old injuries that he could use to beat him if the opportunity arose. He only saw that Tiger was a lean, muscular individual that most likely possessed strengths both physically and mentally. His pelt was scruffy and bright orange with dark brown stripes streaking across his legs and back and his fur was a dark gold around his chest, stomach and eyebrows.
The young Kougra glanced at Samson with what the Lupe considered to be stolen eyes. Samson turned away and leant against the wall, holding his sword tightly.
“Funny,” Tiger purred. “Grandpa gets the victim to guard the murderer. That’s fitting.”
Samson didn’t respond. Tiger swished his tail around in the air, balancing a standing piece of straw on the end.
“Well, what’s your name?”
Still, the Kougra got no response.
“Look, we’re going to be here for ages, so let’s at least be civilized!”
Still, there was nothing. Samson’s hard eyes continued to stare at the wall.
“Fine. Have it your way.” Tiger turned over and stretched upon his bench like a cat. “Look, I didn’t want to fire on your ship. I was just doing my job-.”
“Now, with that comment you just lost the right to speak to me.”
“I didn’t have it in the first place, but that didn’t stop me.” Tiger smiled and padded over to the cage-like door, resting his front legs against the bars. “At least I know you’re not a mute. You may as well talk to me. I’m not going to get thrown off or killed any time soon. Gramps won’t allow it. If we can’t be friends we may as well give each other a bit of respect-.”
“Killers don’t deserve respect!”
“Oh, no? What about Captain Scarblade and other legendary pets of the sea? Don’t their names just fill you with fear? You wouldn’t talk to one of them like you are talking to me. You have respect for them and they’re killers.”
Samson swung round. And went up close to the cell.
“I’d only give them respect because they would be in a position to kill me without a second thought! You are behind bars! You can’t touch me!”
“Oh, no?” Tiger lifted his paw and flicked Samson on the nose. The Kougra doubled over, laughing.
“What’s wrong with you?” Samson snapped, recoiling back. “Are you insane?”
“I’d rather be happily insane than be mad with depression!” giggled Tiger. “When you see as much chaos as I have you tend to block it out as best you can.”
Samson rubbed his eyes as Tiger rolled around on the floor in a state of happy hysteria. This was going to be a long day.
It was a few minutes until Tiger spoke again.
“At least I’m better company than that Dagoon that came in here. He’s more insane then I am. I see he doesn’t like you.”
“At least he didn’t murder anyone close to me.”
“Can you quit with the whole ‘you’re a convict’ thing already! It was just another ship to loot. You’d know. You do the exact same thing on this ship.”
“We are not murderous cowards! We don’t sneak up on our victims like a spider! We don’t kill unless it’s absolutely necessary!”
“When is killing ever absolutely necessary?”
“When you have no other choice!”
“There’s always a choice!”
“Oh yeah, like you’d know! You chose to kill my family and friends in cold blood!”
“It wasn’t my order!”
“But you obeyed it!”
The two pets stared at each other in stern silence.
“Why do you hate him?”
Tiger rolled his eyes. “Who else? Dagoon, of course!”
“He tried to hurt my friend. He tried to kill her!”
“Do you want to kill him?”
“Do you want to kill me?”
“Hah, hah! You can’t!” Tiger said mockingly.
“Are you going to be like this all day?” said Samson, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall again.
“There’s nothing else to do.”
“Do you suggest something else?” grumbled Tiger, lying back down on his bench.
“I could torture you.”
Tiger laughed. “You don’t have the guts and after the stunt you pulled, you don’t have the weapons.”
“I have my sword.”
Tiger raised a golden eyebrow. “I wouldn’t let you get that close to me.”
This time, Samson began to laugh.
“You see? I knew we could be civil.”
Samson immediately stopped laughing. There were another few minutes of silence.
“You asked my name. It's Samson Swiftpaw.”
Tiger sat up on his bench. “Hmmm. Swiftpaw. That’s a good hero name.”
“And Tiger Silverfang is a good name for a villain.”
“Touché.” Tiger thought for a moment. “I should start practicing my monologs.”
Samson couldn’t help but laugh.
“Do you want to kill Dagoon?” Tiger asked suddenly.
“Yes! But...” Samson trailed off. He thought about what he heard before he came in. “Why do you ask?”
“I can tell you how. Maybe I could even show you how to finish him off.”
Samson furrowed his brows. Did Tiger want to kill Dagoon to save the Captain, or did he want to kill Dagoon to get to the Captain? Either way, Samson couldn’t trust him.
“How?” he asked, cautiously.
“If Gramps orders you to guard me every day, then I can teach you how to sword fight and how to fight using martial arts.”
“You know martial arts?”
“Uh, huh. It’s a good thing to know if you find yourself disarmed. Now, all you have to do is open the cage-.”
Tiger charged and grabbed the bars with his paws as Samson turned around to leave.
“Oh, come on! Please? I’m not going to do anything! I’m trying to help you! Why won’t you trust me?”
Samson looked round. “Because you’ve killed in cold blood.”
“I haven’t! Honestly! I’ve had no choice!”
“I thought you said there was a choice?”
“Yeah, the other one was my own death. Fat chance I would choose that!”
“Oh, I don’t know. It would have saved us the trouble.”
“Come on! Give me a chance! I’m sure the Captain gave you one!”
“I didn’t claim to be his grandson.”
“But I am his grandson!”
“Do you really expect me to believe that?”
Tiger sighed and shook his head. “No,” he whispered. “But just trust me! What do I have to gain by killing you?”
“Ooh, I don’t know. The ship, its crew, and its weapons.”
“Oh, come on! I’m not going to kill my own grandfather! I ran away from a war ship! I wouldn’t go and join another one!”
“And what do I have to prove that!” snapped Samson. “Your word? I don’t think so.”
“Fine!” Tiger threw up his paws in surrender. “Fine, we’ll play it your way. You don’t have to open the cage.”
Samson sighed in relief.
“But at least let me tell you what I know. How good at you at playing by ear?”
Tiger Silverfang had now spent several days locked in the brig with only Samson, Hailey, Fox and sometimes his Grandfather for company. He was so well behaved that in the middle of the second week Captain Silverfang actually let him out to join the crew for their everyday jobs.
“So, what do I do if the enemy swipes upwards if I follow his bluff of a down sweep?” Samson asked. It was the middle of the day and he and Tiger had been working on tying massive saucer shaped lights onto the mast.
Tiger latched onto the rigging with his tail to balance and demonstrated with his paws and sword. He pushed his left paw upwards and made a sweep in mid air with is sword.
“But wouldn’t that move cut through your paw?” Samson pointed to Tiger’s out stretched left arm.
“Yeah, but it's better then letting someone cut through your life. Look at this.” He sheathed his sword and showed Samson the underside of his right paw. A long, brown scar was etched across the center pad.
“Wow!” exclaimed Fox, who was watching them from higher up the rigging. He slid down to them. Fox was very suspicious of Tiger at first, but had slowly warmed up to him, as had everyone on the ship. “How did you get that?” His red tail swished across the rope in interest.
“A gift from a ship invader. Its always better to learn from experience.” Tiger smiled and began to re-tie one of the ropes.
“Are you four nearly done yet?” growled Lt. Draco from above.
“Almost, Grandpa!” called Hailey who was at the bottom of the rigging.
“Swiftpaw, Arks, Silverfang! Get back to work!” snapped Lt. Darius. The Uni had made a quick recovery with only a small scar left on his flank.
For a solid week, everyone on the ship had worked flat out trying to prepare a good set of operable lights before sailing into the foggy sea. The week before, they had invaded a large supply ship that had become lost on the open ocean. It contained a wealth of technology, which the S.M. had pillaged and taken for their use. The inner hull of the ship had been reinforced with large metal plates, frost cannons had replaced a few of the normal cannons and they had set up some of the technology to construct a fully functioning force field around the ship. If the Mist Hunter attacked them, they would know about it without receiving any damage.
“All the lights are hooked up at the top!” yelled Fox from above.
“The last light is finished down here!” shouted Samson.
“The fuse box is wired and ready to go!” called Hailey from the stairs.
“Are we in a secluded area?” called the Captain to the front of the ship. He had been standing at the helm with Commander Darkwing, Lt. Servill, and ship hand Dagoon flying above. The Eyrie looked down into the water ahead of the ship. Swimming in front of the port were Coral, the Tyrannian Peophin and Minnie, the Maraquan Mynci. They both stuck their thumbs in the air.
“All clear, Captain!” called Darkwing when he had also received confirmation from Dagoon and Lt. Servill.
Captain Silverfang nodded. “Alright!” he called. “Switch on the power!”
Tiger smiled, jumped from the mast and skidded down the rigging to a pair of connecting plugs next to Hailey. “May I do the honours, Captain?”
Silverfang hesitated for a moment. It seemed to Samson that he still didn’t entirely trust his grandson. The old Kougra smiled.
“Go ahead.” Tiger showed a toothy grin.
“Let there be light!” he cried, snapping the two together.
The ship burst into life. Every mast was lit up with hundreds of saucer-like lights and the railings were lined with sheets of small bulbs, which sparkled with power. Two, large searchlights at the front shot wide beams of golden radiance across the turquoise sea surface and twirled about in the air thanks to Lt. Clara and Darius.
Cries of joy from every ship hand rose from the S.M. as it lit up like a Christmas tree, even in the light of the sun.
“Alright! Alright!” called the Captain. “Power down! We don’t want any unnecessary attraction!”
“Aye, aye, Gramps!” called Tiger. Captain Silverfang glowered at him. “Uh, I mean Captain.” He gave a sheepish laugh and pulled apart the plugs. One by one, the lights switched off and the ship dimmed.
“There’s no chance that we’ll get lost in the foggy sea now!” said Fox, sliding down to the bottom of the rigging to join Samson, Tiger and Hailey.
“And now there’s every chance that we’ll stand out like a sore thumb and be blasted on sight,” Hailey said with quiet cynicism. Her Grandfather glared at her as he passed.
“Yeah, but that’s why we set up that force field, so if they attack us, we’ll know where they are.”
Hailey gave a half-hearted nod just as a whistle blew. The Captain had summoned everyone onto deck. The old Kougra stood tall against the sunset with his paws behind his back.
“This has been a successful day and we shall sail into the foggy sea tonight and will most likely end up there at dawn tomorrow.” The ship pets gave a battle cheer, brandishing their weapons in the crisp late afternoon air. Silverfang silenced them with a wave of his paw.
“Therefore, we shall celebrate tonight with a feast and maybe a bit of friendly sparing to prepare us for tomorrows battle against the M.H.” There was another round of cheers that Silverfang didn’t settle. “Samson! Tiger! Dagoon! Help Rattigen with the meals!” he shouted from the upper deck. Samson nodded and ran on all fours with Tiger to the kitchen. Dagoon was already there, receiving orders from the mutant Xweetok.
“Come on guys!” he said. “This crew is hungry! We need to start preparing things right away! Dagoon, you get the dishes ready! Tiger, you fire up the stove and Samson, go and raid the food stores! It will be a busy night tonight.”
To be continued...