Siderial was munching on something that looked as if it tasted like the carpet, looking quite ill. There was an unconscious man whose slack facial features were lined as if he had been doing nothing but smoking for the past ten years. There was a girl with spider legs, a woman with scarlet skin, and several other strange persons standing about. Most of them looked up expectantly when he entered, though he had to clear his throat loudly to hush a few of them, who apparently still thought the captain was a demon frog. This foppishly dressed young man with the unkempt hair was not registering as authority. Yet.
He wanted to yell, "What the bloody hell is going on?" or perhaps "All of you, into the brig this goddamned second!"
However, that would be a very poor move, since the rest of his crew were eaten by and/or became zombies. He cringed. Gourmet Jim's news was definitely best given to him in secret as it had been; he had taken nearly ten minutes just to get through the shock. It was not as if he had particularly liked any of them, but he could trust them, and he knew they and their habits very well. Apparently, the lot of them happened to either be in taverns or unconscious on the dock when Blink and Siderial had warped back on the Black Hole, and the crew he thought was manning the engines was actually an entirely different set of uninvited guests, whom he would have to acquaint himself with as they fled.
Or rather, partially invited, he amended as he thought about the flyers. Dammit, holding a piece of paper doesn't make you hired, he thought with more than a touch of snarkiness.
"Well," he said, forcing a smile. "For those of you new on the ship, allow me to explain why we are all going to get along until next port, and the rules that we are going to use to facilitate that happy relationship.
"First of all, there was a bit of necromancy back there, and now the purveyors of that fine, odorous art have been equipped with hundreds, possibly thousands, of zombie pirates and vessels on which to place them. I probably do not need to explain to you that makes this area of space extremely dangerous to those of us who are living, or in the case of the Grand Sorceror Afanasy, really close to it. At the next port, we can sort out who wants to stay and who wants to go, but for now, there is only one way any of you are getting chucked overboard, and that is by breaking my rules.
"This isn't the kind of pirate ship that runs on a vote, and it never has been. This is my ship, and if you crew it, I owe you my gratitude but not my leniency. The first rule is, No fighting on the ship. If you've a tiff with another crew member, you bloody well hold it in until we're on land, and then you can duel to the death if you feel the need. But this is our home, and fighting could do anything from scratch the wood to blow a hole through the hull, and that'd be mighty unfair to those of us who have better tempers.
"ANYONE fighting will be THROWN OFF, no matter where we are. I have never been more serious, and I will take no excuses.2 If I can keep from slitting Afanasy's throat, you can certainly keep from throwing a punch at someone whose lips loosen up after too much rum." With this, the captain threw a curious glance at the weakened Siderial. That story will be luscious, he thought with an inward sigh.
"The second rule is, Follow orders obediently from your superiors. I can see just by looking over you lot that some of you are not used to being trifled with, but that doesn't mean you ought to be trifling with those in command. Your First Mate," he said, swallowing as he filled the post on the spot with the most trustworthy person he could think of, "Is that gunslinging faery over there munching on the cardboard, or whatever it is he has. Bloody hell, what IS that, Siderial?" he asked, wrinkling his nose. He shook his head and waved his hand limply before the faery could answer.
"Third rule is, Loot is split evenly amongst the crew. Whatever we take, everyone gets a cut, whether they actually helped fight or not. The cook isn't expected to go out and risk his throat for you, but he makes your damn food, so you'll share with him and not hold a grudge over it. Same goes for the doctor, er, when we have one, and the mechanic."
Blink took a deep breath.3 "Siderial apparently has been in a scuffle; I'll not ask about it, since it was definitely pre-rules announcement. Just keep in mind it's not to happen again--that's your first mate, and anyone treating him any less than proper is going overboard from this point on."
He shared a dark look out over his accidental crew, and when sure they understood, nodded, his face relaxing into its normal hint of a smile.
"Right. Well, I've not met most of you," he said, failing to keep the withering sarcasm out of his voice, "So if you could just go round the room and tell me who you are, how you got on my ship, and what you're good at, we'll make a stab at working together as a crew and getting the hell out of zombie pirate infested space. In fact, come to that, I haven't much idea where we are going, so tack on a suggested destination to your introduction, if you please."
He waited, leaning on the helm with one eyebrow cocked in askance at the silent faces.
1 Okay look, gimme a break. :P Hahaha. I am going to try my best not to be gone so long again! Shit happens. ;)
2 Including "But I paid $5 for this account!" There are plenty of reasons for not fighting--use your imagination to keep your character under control.
3 Sorry for this long post, but I had to get all these in here :)