"Have you forgotten how much profit we gained in the middle east?" Nate chimed in as the crew stood gathered around their captain in the galley. Charlotte had been sitting there for the last fifteen minutes, letting the crew ask their questions.  "Are you saying that your hidden agenda-"

        "Listen, I'm-" 

        " Maybe you should stop talking about yourself and begin thinking about your crew." Ara said with a quiet calm that made Charlotte inwardly disturbed. 

       "Did Zachary and Sam's disappearances have anything to do with this?" The room went silent as Marcus stepped forward. Ara sat up straight from where she was leaning against the the stove behind the captain. The first mate walked forward, looking to Marcus but then when she came to the Captain's side, turned to her, her face close, her arms crossed. The captain continued to stand perpendicular to her angry right hand girl. 

       "You would never in your dreams-"

       "No," 

        "you would ne-"

       "Arabella, no." 

       "Let me finish!" Ara yelled, "You would never in your dreams imagine what we'll do to you if we found out that they're dead."   It was now completely clear that Charlotte Bennet had lost the trust of each and every crew mate. Even Mercurian who failed to show up at this meeting. 

       "I'll explain everything right here and right now." Charlotte began. She crew waited silently with impatient looks that stared her down like a juicy piece of meat. "When ships were only found on the ground, there were pirates who would make certain alliances that allowed them to almost control the seven seas. These were the seven pirate lords. Today we have the same deal but in the sky. The sky isn't split into seven sections. But there are areas and territories that certain pirates rule." 

      "What, like kings? Isn't that a little against our ideology?" Ara interrupted. Charlotte shrugged and thought for a moment. 

     "Well no. There are no rules in the sky. But these pirate lords have taken over because they are ruthless, they are smart, they make business look like a breeze, they're strong, and most of all, they are the most terrifying. Not only that but if you cross them, you will die, and you will die violently." Charlotte darted her eyes around. 

    "I think I'd certainly be angry if someone came to steal my treasure. Does what your trying to do somehow not count as crossing a pirate lord?" Ara piped in with a hint of sarcastic frustration to her voice. 

    "Which is why it was so secret. If anyone were to interrogate my crew or if we had a spy come in, I wouldn't want our secret to leak out so easily." 

     "You mean your secret." Dario said. "But now it doesn't matter."

     "I mean, personally, I'm hurt." Joseph added in lightly. 

     "Right, we should take a vote." Ezra suggested.

     "On what?" Asked the Captain and Ara sighed irritably.

       "On this new dangerous pursuit. We need to discuss everything and make sure we're clear on a plan so that when we go to that meeting with Captain Cortez, we know what we're saying." She explained. "Alright," Now Arabella turned to the rest of the crew. "Let's take thirty minutes to recollect."

       "Thirty minutes?" Michelle asked, stepping forward. "Why are we waiting so long?"

       "We each need to think about the situation carefully before we discuss it further. It will just make things go smoothly. Captain, I'd like to speak to you in private, if I may."

        And so, everyone scattered from the galley, leaving Ara and Charlotte in private.  "Why didn't you tell me?" she asked once the last person shut the door. Charlotte sat down at one of the wooden tables while Ara stood with crossed arms, her chin up attentively. When there was no reply, her face lowered and so did she, sitting across from her captain. "So who exactly are these pirate lords?" 

       "Captain Alfonso of the A.S Monstro, Captain Meiling of the Bloody Lotus, Captain Kijani of the Cypress, Captain Roja of La Estrella Negro, Captain Lije of the P.A.S Apex, Captain Arlette of the A.S. Hermes' Sandal, and Captain Waseem Fakher of El Buraq. But the treasure we are after is a secret stash that has been kept between Captain Alfonso, Captain Meiling, and Captain Lije."  Ara shook her head slowly. "Stop that." Charlotte ordered and Ara kept her head still.

      "Did you even think tho through? When and if we get this treasure, what will these pirate lords, with so many alliances, do to us?" She asked. "They won't just let their treasure slip away. They'll track us down."

      "So we'll tire them out or fight back. We can always fight back, Ara. When a pirate lord is killed, the captain who kills them takes their place. It's tradition." Charlotte leaned forward as Ara went to stand and grabbed her hand. "This is a risk I see hope in."  Ara opened her mouth immediately, but it took longer than that to form the words in her head and then say them. 

      "What?" Charlotte asked. 

      "I've been hunted by the queen since I woke up on this goddamn ship." She pulled her hand violently away from her captain stood there, angry. "Hell, forget me, most of this crew is being hunted by the law and you ask us to both run from the law and the unlawful. Where do you go when you are running from the entire world?" She'd had it. "I'm tired of running!" 

      "Running comes with the occupation." Charlotte said but Ara shook her head. 

      "That doesn't mean we should provoke it. I'll not die of a stupid decision." She said vehemently and walked, storming out of the galley with the door slamming behind her. Charlotte put her head in the palm of her hand and pondered hard. It was a risk, yes, but so is pirating in the first place. That night, as the crew of the S.S Silver Widow gathered in the galley, Charlotte sweated anxiously. "All in favor of the captain's decision, say aye."  

      "aye." it came in a chorus from the group as though one individual was speaking through many mouths.  aye. The decision was made.  

     

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