On the corner of Commercial and Fourier st, a window became darkened with green curtains as a tall, French beauty with a heavy ray gun at her hip held the door open for Captain Cortez.

   "You're Dominique," He scanned her.

   "Keep your eyes on your treasure island." She grimaced and he walked past her with a chuckle sitting lazily at a table where Charlotte sat with Arabella behind her, blond hair tucked behind her ears with a red bandana in her hair and her legs crossed as she leaned sideways on the wooden pole behind her captain.

   "My firstmate will be here shortly." He said without seeing the impatient stare carved into Charlotte's countenance. He pulled a shiny green apple out of his coat and bit into it with a clean crunch that could probably be heard from the third floor of the inn. In the mean time, while they waited for Emiliana to show up, Mrs. McCarthy poured tea for the captain of the Widow and her first mate. Ara sipped, the sweet flavor of pomegranate staining her taste buds when the other first mate strutted in, her figure moving like silk in the breeze. The tall woman sat next to her captain and leaned back into her chair as he did. Charlotte gave Ara an impatient look.

   "You're late." Ara said when she looked from her Captain to Emiliana. The woman shrugged.

   "I'm here though, aren't I?" She argued.

   "Next time we won't be civil about it." Ara replied. "Captain Bennet is not one to be taken advantage of." Emiliana tilted her head as she looked at Charlotte with a sort of curiosity that Ara couldn't really put her finger on. "Anyways," She said to break the silence, "let's move on to this invisible island. We need spies to go in and scout the area in order to -"

   "We already did that." Emiliana interrupted. Ara and Captain Bennet exchanged glances for a moment.

   "What do you mean?" Ara asked.

   "We found the floating island." Emiliana clarified.

   "And you didn't tell us."

   "We just did."

   "That's it." Ara drew her gun and the room jumped all at once, Emiliana flashing up to hold a blade at the other first mate's throat. The white tea cup Ara was holding crashed to the floor with its plate, hot,  deep magenta liquid splattering on the floor as Ara pressed the barrel of her revolver into the woman's forehead.

    "Porter, put it away."  Charlotte commanded. She ignored her though.

    "You better stop the smug talk because it's getting me riled and when I get riled people get hurt."

    "Well when you get riled around me, you get cut." The brown haired lass hissed. Captain Cortez mumbled something to her angrily.

    "If we're going to cooperate with you-" Ara said through clenched teeth.

    "Porter, I said put away the fucking gun!" Charlotte yelled. "I'll not have my first mate disobey me." The air in the room seemed to evaporate with the first mates' easing breaths as they returned to their sides of the table

   "It's an island in the sky. That's all we know." Emiliana told them. "We don't even know how or why it's floating. We don't know what security it has and when we sent two men in, neither of them returned. When we sent ten in, none came back. We know nothing." Ara looked to her captain. 

   "May i talk to you in private for a moment?" She asked. Charlotte looked to Cortez who shot a smirk back to her and she looked back to Ara, nodding and standing up. They left the spaniards there and went upstairs to one of the inn rooms. Ara kicked the door in and shut it up with a chair when Charlotte walked to the window, looking down on a dark alley way behind the tavern. "This is suicide." Ara said clearly and bluntly. 

    "No," replied Charlotte quietly and pensively. "We're not pulling out. The crew is excited now. We can't go back to looting worthless tea traders and silk merchants." 

    "Captain, the crew doesn't believe in this job any more than i do and trust me, my belief is low. There is no motivation and now we're going to run blindly into a death trap. You're out of your mind if you think we'll survive this." Arabella raised her voice. 

     "Think about how much treasure they have. Arabella, we could be pirate lords. A year or two ago, you would have been the first to back me up. What happened?" 

     "Captain, i didn't have anything to lose a year or two ago." She argued, "I feel a realy connection to this crew and I have friends outside of the pirate world now. Aurelian's still around. Hell, my mother is still well and alive in Boston.  Everyone in the rejected gear is-" 

     "Then leave." Charlotte said, turning slowly and looking at Ara. It was like a dagger sliding slowly in her chest. Charlotte stared ferociously almost, "You're free now. Your freedom is overdue." There was a silence that made the atmosphere so thick, it seemed palpable. "You used to be interesting and willing to do anything for a good kill or adventure. You've turned into this paranoid, safety freak." And then she said it. 

                          "I don't want you as my firstmate anymore."

  Ara only stared with a shaking head, watering eyes and a gaped mouth. 

     "Captain?" 

     "I want no trace of you by the time i return to the ship."

     "Charlotte." 

     "Get out." 

 

     It felt almost unnatural, turning and closing the door behind her. Ara stood in the hall, choking gasps coming from a panicked frown as if she had just been told that her captain had just been murdered. She almost dropped to her knees. They felt weak but she struggled with her instincts to have a mental breakdown and kept walking. She left, Dominique putting her arm on her shoulder on the way out. 

     "Where are you going?" She asked. Ara stared at her. "Arabella?" 

     "I'll see you back at the ship" She lied.

     The Rejected Gear was empty when she arrived with her things. 

    

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