Part 23 Chapter 15-Pirates

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I tried to forget my human body lying in my berth or on a deck chair, seemingly napping. My consciousness belonged to the water parting before me and slipped along my flanks, the wind on my prow, and the expansive and ever-shifting ocean waves. Distant blue mountains drew near and darken to green and white. The sea changed its tone, a higher frequency, a hum of tension. In the open Gulf, swells had rolled like sighing breath. Here, on the approach to the Narrows, currents churned. Turbulence surging against our hull, sucking at our keel, buffeting our flanks.

Here the ocean here was no longer green or blue, but milky gray. Glacial ice drifted. Along the shoreline, a chunk had melted into a lacework of pale blue and translucent white

Our forward movement slowed, and a request was sent from our bridge:

FNS Shewolf here. Request permission to travel through. Destination--Fennako City. Purpose--diplomatic transport.

Heave to. Await pilot craft, came the response.

Our rudder turned controlled by the helm. We held our position, seemingly treading water. Wavelets lapped our hull, an odd feeling as if the surface of the water were electric.

A cruiser sped toward us. My heart quickened; Comryez colors emblazoned her prow, bands of scarlet-and-yellow with the clown eyes of a puffin. If the Grandpa's stories were true, this was my father's clan. He had been one with Comryez Pass as I was one with Shewolf. We rode on his broad back.

FNS Shewolf, Comryez pilot here. At your five.

The cruiser turned, drew abeam, then pulsed forward. Through our figurehead eyes, we looked down on the cruiser.

Shewolf, follow closely and on my mark.

We trailed the pilot boat, moving or slowing as the pilot directed. Below the water we sensed a reef—the teeth and jaws of Blackmouth Comryez poised to crush our hull.

The song came to mind: All the little fish are mine, mine, mine. On the little ships I'll dine, dine, dine.

Water gleamed pewter under an overcast sky. Down the face of a mountain, a cascading waterfall split into myriad fountains pattering over jagged stone. The only plants were sprigs of greenery clinging to bare rock.

On our bridge, the navigation screen remained static. Our navigator, Gunnel, turned toward our camera eyes. He said, "Aye. Shewolf. No update yet. Comryez hasn't cleared our codes."

I knew each member of the crew now, our darling boys. We'd felt their hands on our helm guiding us through the deep waters and between dangerous shoals. We'd played cards with them, seen them win and lose, risk and bluff.

Comryez Spire here. Submission of registration is required.

Registration is sent.

We have your registration. Uh, is this correct? Shewolf is registered to Her Majesty Bekra Fennako? Deputy registration to Tyee Fennako? Am I speaking to Tyee Fennako?

This is Captain Alop Fennako. The registration to Tyee Fennako is a formality.

Would that be to Tyee Reolo Comryez?

Negative. Tyee Fennako is our assistant engineer. Tyee is his given name.

Stand by.

We waited with other vessels for Comryez permission and the tide.

Comryez command sent: Access denied. This registration appears to be irregular. Until this matter is resolved, access is denied.

Denied! How could they? We were the royal yacht.

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