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Into the Fire was published by McKagan Productions

Into the Fire is a play by Jeremiah Garland. It is a war drama centred around the Spanish invasion of France in 1745, and the rag-tag team of British soldiers assigned with the ungodly task of freeing the Queen and liberating France. It is completely fictional.

Into the Fire
ItF
Author Jeremiah Garland
Illustrator Jeremiah Garland
Publication date 8 May, 2016
Published by McKagan Productions
Publication Order
Preceded by
None
Followed by
To be announced

Major Characters

Britain

  • Andrew Mallace – Valiant commander and current Lord Chancellor. Determined to the cause, he is tasked with assembling and leading a rag-tag platoon of fighters to rescue the disposed Queen of France.
  • John "Jack" Pistol – Highly-distinguished ex-veteran leading a life of recklessness and petty crime. For his past reputation as a war hero, he is sought after by Mallace.
  • Jonathan "Johnny" O'Reilly – A young, timid junior officer, he is recruited to Mallace's cause for his promising talent as a soldier and leader.
  • Jeremiah Garland – A former soldier and politician, and an old friend of Mallace. Now a scholar teaching university, he is enlisted for his knowledge of the French country and language.
  • Christopher "Hermit" Crane – A highly-trained marksman and assassin, who leads a life of solitude following his dischargement. Though considered by some to be psychotic, he nonetheless shows humbleness and loyalty to any cause.
  • Caddius "Cad" Bane – A legendary ex-general and a loyal countryman. He is called out of his fifteen year retirement to join the platoon, due to his reputation as a skilful tactician, though old age hinders his fighting abilities.
  • Benjamin Macmorgan – Britain's War Minister who allots the duty of assembling a task force to Mallace.
  • Jonathan Goldtimbers – Prime Minister of Britain. Concerned by the events in France, he is quick to act in finding a possible solution, but is sceptical towards Benjamin's proposal.
  • Matthew Faye – First Lord of the Admiralty and head of the British Navy. Smug and arrogant, he has little faith in the team, promising a quick and destructive invasion of France when the squad fails.

France

  • Queen Roberta – The courageous Queen of France, who became the first woman to solely rule France following the unexpected death of her husband. Loyal to the people of France, she refuses to flee during the Spanish invasion.
  • Duke of Orleans – The Queen's brother and heir to the throne of France. Since the eve of the invasion, he has been missing, with neither side aware of his location.
  • Jacques Fauconcieux – The daring leader of the "Frères de Candide", an armed underground resistance movement dedicated to the liberation of France from the Spanish and the restoration of the Queen.
  • Father Péronne – A Parisian bishop and patriot opposed to Spanish occupation. He uses church money to help fund Fauconcieux's organisation.
  • Richard Luther – A French statesman and highly-devoted civil servant. He is reputedly the Queen's most trusted adviser, confidant, and friend.

Spain

  • Simón Tomas de Santos – The ruthless, corrupt, and tyrannical generalissimo of the Spanish army. A close relative of the King of Spain, he is installed as the viceroy of France after the fall of Paris.
  • El Degollador – A masked, silent assassin and executioner. Cruel and spectre-like, he is de Santos's right-hand man, often responsible for carrying out his dirty work.
  • Georges Voiléviter – A corrupt and greedy French nobleman, he betrays his queen and sides with the Spanish invaders, for which he is given great power in the new government.

Other

  • Richard Cannonwalker – A famed pirate captain and the fearless leader of a notorious gang based in Le Havre. Through his respect to the cause, he decides to aid the British task force.
  • Finn Hamm – A renowned pirate and smuggler, he is tasked with sneaking the platoon into France. He is later revealed to be the helmsman and second-in-command of Cannonwalker's crew.
  • Zoomer – A high-ranking member of Cannonwalker's pirate crew. When not plundering at sea, he is a petty thief and pickpocket known for his running speed, from whence he (presumably) gets his name.

Many more to be added as the story progresses

ACT I

SCENE I

Queen ROBERTA I, the first queen of France following the unexpected death of her late husband the King, who perished without an heir in line, stands on the balcony of the royal palace of Versailles overlooking the French countryside, gazing into the night. To her left the lights of Paris could barely be seen on the horizon, breaking through the black sky. She has a troubled look upon her face and is clearly contemplating a solution. Just then, the door to the veranda opens and a man's voice interrupts. It is RICHARD LUTHER, an adviser of the queen. He speaks timidly.

Luther: My apologies, Your Majesty... I've just gotten word from the front... The Spanish have successfully taken Limoges. General Pallas has been routed once again... And still, no word from your brother, the Duke of Orleans. We think he may have escaped to Besançon, but we're not sure, My Lady...

ROBERTA bows her head and sighs in disappointment. LUTHER continues nervously.

Luther: Is the-there anything I can do for you, My Lady? We-We've just now sent for Monsieur Lautreux, I can ready a carriage for Paris so you may speak to him...? Or perhaps some tea, My Lady...? Oui, some tea to calm the nerves would be fine, wouldn't you say, My Lady? I'll retrieve the butler at once then, My Lady, it will be just a minute, I –

Roberta: Go home, Richard.

Luther: My Lady?

Roberta: There is not much time. France has given us all the time she could. Now it is up to us. (She turns to RICHARD LUTHER) Go home to Marie. Pack whatever you need and get to Reims. You two will be safe there.

Luther: B-But My Lady, what about yourself? Should we not get you to Reims as well? They are coming up fast, My Lady... Very fast indeed!

Roberta: And a leader does not abandon her people in the face of destruction. You go on, Monsieur Luther. It will relieve me to know you, at least, are safe. When the time is right, come forth and do your part for France, for she has done her part tonight. Now, be on your way. Bonne nuit, mon ami, et vive la France.

Luther: Oui, of course My Lady.

At this, RICHARD LUTHER sternly salutes and turns to exit. ROBERTA resumes examining the night from the balcony rail, when in the far-off distance, in the dark of night, she could barely make out the flash of guns and the thunder of cannon.

SCENE II

The sound of cannon-fire escalates and segues into a very different scene: a training ground in broad daylight, 200 miles away. At the Hyde Park Barracks in London, lines of British regulars in bright red uniforms practice their standard formations and musketry, as captains with raised sabres shout instructions. From the second storey commandant's office, ANDREW MALLACE gazes from the window and watches the soldiers absent-mindedly. At a large nearby desk, a bespectacled BENJAMIN MACMORGAN is busy reading an official report, a cigar hanging out of his mouth.

Benjamin: Horrid, horrid business. Absolutely ghastly. Who would have thought it would have come to this? I know we weren't exactly getting along swimmingly with our neighbours across the Channel, but this is nothing short of a bloody crisis.

He slams the papers down on the desk, revealing, in large block font, the words PARIS FALLS, QUEEN CAPTURED. He disposes his cigar.

Benjamin: It's sheer madness. I suppose this is what we get for letting those Spanish bastards mull around for too long. This is what I've been telling the saps at the admiralty! We need more bloody restraint on the continent so we don't wind up in this sort of mire! Andrew! Are you well listening to me?

ANDREW turns dreamily from the window to face BENJAMIN, and takes a second to collect himself.

Andrew: Mm. My apologies, Benjy. I was elsewhere. It is very troubling, indeed.

Benjamin: Ever since that bastard Philip V came to the throne, Spain's mowed down every weakened state within a stone's throw. First Sardinia, then Naples, Milan – but France?! Good God!

Andrew: The question is what are we to do about this? Surely they won't turn their heads to us much longer.

Benjamin: I'm afraid that given the circumstances, our options are very limited. But we simply must intervene!

Andrew: And Goldtimbers would approve of that? At such a time?

Benjamin: (contemplating) No... No, not all out war. We can't afford that. But I do have a plan, Andrew.

Andrew: As you always do...

Benjamin: Surely you must know there's a reason why I have called you here this morning.

Andrew: You mean you didn't want to just catch up with an old mate? You sadden me, Benjy.

Benjamin: I think you'll forgive me when you see what I have for you.

Grinning, BENJAMIN stands up, reaches into his inner coat pocket and produces a small slip of paper. He hands it to ANDREW, who immediately begins to scrutinise it.

Andrew: What on earth is it?

Benjamin: Those (he motions to the slip) are the five names of the five gentlemen I want you to track down. They are how we're going to win this.

Andrew: I–I'm not sure I entirely understand...

BENJAMIN puts his hand on ANDREW's shoulder and leads him over to the window of the office overlooking the main training ground.

Benjamin: You see these soldiers, Andrew? Do you see how well they train? How well they hold and fire their musket? This is the pride of Britain right here. For centuries our little island has conquered foes near and far through the might of our arms and the stomps of our boots. That is how one wins wars. That is what we could do to those bastards across the Channel. If we invaded France tomorrow morning, we could march through Paris by noon and have those Spanish rats running for the hills before tea. But at what cost? The lives of tens of thousands of young men? Another city left in ruins? The time's are changing, Andrew. We can't afford another war, politically or morally. What we're doing (grins) is creating an alternative method.

Andrew: You're putting together a task force?

Benjamin: Sometimes all it takes are a few good men with a love for their country to win the bloodiest of battles.

ANDREW contemplates this and glares out the window. Finally he turns and scrutinises the list of names one more time.

Andrew: So let me get this straight... You want me to track down these five men, and ask them to drop what they're doing and join a suicide squad, just so you can lead them into a hostile, occupied, war-torn nation in the unlikely hopes of freeing the captured queen and restoring her to her throne?

Benjamin: Of course not, Andrew, don't be absurd! ... You are going to lead them.

ANDREW sighs.

Andrew: And I don't suppose it's too late for me to say no?

Benjamin: We all must do out part, Andrew. You're the best England has got. You're the only one for this job. The men on that list, hand-picked myself, are all courageous in their own right, but they need a strong leader, Mr. Mallace.

After a moment of hesitation and consideration, ANDREW finally extends his arm and firmly shakes BENJAMIN's hand.

Andrew: Right then, I suppose I should get started.

He glares down once more at the list of names.

Benjamin: Ah! Allow me to give you a head start in your search. As fate would have it, I was paid a visit just this morning by the first man on your list. I believe he may still be here. (He opens the door to the office and shouts out.) Perkins! Yes, is Mr O'Reilly still here? Ah, yes, very good, send him in.

ANDREW examines the first name on the list. It is one he does not recognise: Jonathan Francis O'Reilly. After a minute or so, JOHNNY enters the office. He has light hair and a strong build, but looks very young, perhaps in his mid-late twenties. He has a slightly nervous look on his face and it is obvious he is intimidated. He speaks in a heavy Irish accent to BENJAMIN.

Johnny: Greetings again, minister. (He salutes sternly, which BENJAMIN returns.)

Benjamin: Yes, indeed, very fine to see you once more. I have called you here to follow-up on what we discussed earlier this morning. This is Lord Mallace, the man who will be coordinating your... er... rescue division. Andrew, may I introduce you to Corporal Jonathan O'Reilly. Commonly called Johnny.

Andrew: A pleasure, corporal.

JOHNNY extends his arm and eagerly shakes ANDREW's hand.

Johnny: Mallace? As in Andrew Mallace? The Lord chancellor, former general in the Caribbean Wars? It's a great, great, honour sir. A great honour indeed!

Andrew: Thank you for the kind words, corporal. I look forward to serving with you.

Johnny: Ah, well, with all due respect, general, this won't be the first time. I was with you when you sent those Spanish dogs running at St Vincent. Quite the spectacular victory! You right near won us the war, you did!

Andrew: Of course, forgive me corporal; it's been many years since St Vincent. Though – I must say – whilst I did lead the men, I was not the real hero of that battle! Nay, that proud distinction rightfully goes to... (He looks down at the list and examines a particular name.) ... Someone whom I fear is lost to the ages.

Benjamin: Andrew, we'll have a word about that another day. You must begin finding the other men on that list. We have leads, but the rest will be up to you and Corporal O'Reilly. (BENJAMIN rises from his desk, salutes the two, and heads towards the door) As for now, I must pay a visit to the prime minister's office, and run this little idea by him.

Andrew: You mean to say Goldtimbers hasn't approved this plan yet!?

Benjamin: Ah, well... I haven't had the chance to run it by him, no. But I haven't the slightest of doubt he will jump at the idea the second it leaves my lips!

SCENE III

Immediately cut to the prime minister's office, where BENJAMIN stands before Prime Minister JOHNNY GOLDTIMBERS.

Goldtimbers: Absolutely not!

Benjamin: Oh, Johnny, try to see reason! It's a good plan! Unorthodox, yes... but good!

Goldtimbers: I'm not happy with you, Benjamin. Not happy one bit. First there's that little stint you played in Stockholm –

Benjamin: Johnny, that Russian captain was a very convincing salesman and you know it!

Goldtimbers: – And now you expect me to approve rubbish ideas like this?? Where's the logic in it!?

Benjamin: (raising his voice) The logic is this, Johnny... Britain cannot afford another total war – you of all people should know that. This is our only alternative. If we don't act now, and let what's happening in Paris drag out, then we are next!

Voice: Says who?

Startled, Benjamin turns around. Leaning cross-armed against a wall in the corner of the office is Admiral MATTHEW FAYE.

Benjamin: What are you doing here, Faye?

Matthew: I've been here.

Benjamin: Well this doesn't concern you. You may leave.

Matthew: Actually, Macmorgan, it does concern me. And as First Lord of the Admiralty, I outrank you. I'll give the orders, thank you very much.

Benjamin: Bollocks! Johnny, inform him that Minister of War is the superior position.

Goldtimbers: Gentlemen, gentlemen... We're not going through this now. I've just received word that the French have taken Calais, and we've still no contact with the Duke of Orleans. There are simply too many other things on my mind to settle whatever feud is brewing now between you two.

Benjamin: Calais? That's the last of France...

MATTHEW walks slowly towards GOLDTIMBER's desk.

Matthew: Not to worry, Macmorgan. I've got the largest flotilla in the world anchored in the channel, ready to strike at a moment's notice. At your command, prime minister, we will commence the bombardment of the enemy-occupied territory. All the while a landing force will prepare to descend on Normandy.

Benjamin: And what good will that do?! We mustn't begin another war! I am telling you, Johnny, my way is the only way.

GOLDTIMBERS looks back and forth between the two, and momentarily considers both options.

Goldtimbers: Benjamin, show me the list.

BENJAMIN produces from his coat pocket a copy of the same list of five men to be recruited by Mallace. He hands it across the desk to GOLDTIMBERS, who scrutinises it.

Goldtimbers: Good God in Heaven! What do you call this?!

Benjamin: Johnny, I understand it is not exactly what you had in mind –

Goldtimbers: Not what I had in mind?? These men are worthless! You might as well send the nuns over at Aldgate and put them under the command of His Majesty's stable boy! They'd probably do a better job than these misfits!

MATTHEW begins to chuckle quietly to himself.

Benjamin: Well I'm afraid it's too late for that. I've already sent Mallace on his way. He's due back in London with the team assembled in a week's time.

Goldtimbers: Oh wonderful! You two worked together on this one! My Lord Chancellor and my War Minister! This is mutiny, plan and simple! And what do you suppose His Majesty will say when he finds out you've let a gang of ruffians depart for the most dangerous city in Europe in the attempt to free an imprisoned head of state?!

Benjamin: I suppose he won't be too happy, but he'll ultimately be thanking me when my men get her out of there and restore her to the throne. As will you.

Goldtimbers: I find your confidence nothing short of abhorring and distasteful... (He turns) Very well, Benjamin. Send them into the fire. But when they burn up, we'll know who to blame. And make no mistake; the minute your little plan fails, I'll be giving the go ahead to Admiral Faye here to coordinate and carry out a full invasion of France. He will be the one to clean up the mess you've made.

Benjamin: Of course sir. I'd expect nothing less. But you have my word: at the hands of my men, France is as good as saved.

BENJAMIN, keeping his demeanour, bows diligently to GOLDTIMBERS, and sternly salutes to a confused and disgusted MATTHEW before turning and leaving the office.

SCENE IV

ANDREW and JOHNNY sit in the back of a closed carriage. JOHNNY has fallen asleep on ANDREW's shoulder, and is snoring loudly. Finally, the carriage comes to a halt, and ANDREW nudges the snoring, drooling JOHNNY.

Andrew: For the love of god, O'Reilly, we're here. Spare me this coat at least.

Johnny: (lethargically) Ah... my apologies my lord...

The two step out of the carriage into a downpour of rain. They stand on a cobblestone street in a small town, and before them stands what appears to be a university. JOHNNY attempts, to no avail, to shield himself from the rain.

Andrew: (grinning) Welcome to Scotland, mate.

--------------

Inside the university, ANDREW and JOHNNY walk down a bustling corridor.

Johnny: You're sure this man can help us?

Andrew: Most definitely. He and I go way back. We served in the Caribbean together. He knows his stuff.

Johnny: Well, it's only that I wouldn't expect us to recruit soldiers in a university. Doesn't seem like the kind of work cut out for an academic.

Andrew: Then you, corporal, have not yet met Professor Garland.

The two come to a large wooden door. ANDREW knocks, and enters. Sitting at a desk is an older man, perhaps in his late 40s, with a clean-shaven face and a pair of spectacles. Busy writing, he does not look up from his work. He speaks in a rushed tone.

Jeremiah: I'm very sorry, but I haven't the time for this. I'm on a very tight deadline you see, and I – (He looks up to see ANDREW, who is standing in the doorway grinning.) – My God.

Andrew: It's been too long, Jeremiah.

JEREMIAH GARLAND rises from his desk and walks over to embrace ANDREW.

Jeremiah: Blooming heck, Andrew! Look at you! I wish you'd've written before coming up here, I'm absolutely buried right now. Ah! Where are my manners? Come in then! I'll pour us some tea! Will Darjeeling do? I'm afraid I'm all out of the Ceylon I know you use to like. You know, they say that tea –

Andrew: Jerry, may I introduce you to Corporal O'Reilly?

Jeremiah: Ah, right... How do you do my good man.

A somewhat confused JOHNNY hesitantly extends his arm and shakes with the rambling professor.

Andrew: Jeremiah here teaches economics, is that right...?

Jeremiah: Mercantilistic theory.

Andrew: Indeed. (To JOHNNY) He's the former Chancellor of the Exchequer under Walpole, first governor of Singapore, His Majesty's Ambassador to France, Hero of Nassau Port, et cetera, et cetera.

Johnny: It's a pleasure, Professor Garland.

Jeremiah: Oh, please, do call me Jerry. Only my pupils call me Professor Garland. You know, not four minutes ago I was sitting right here in my office going over the various theories and paradigms with one of my top students – er, a Mr Adam Smith. Quick as a whip! I do say, a student's mind is absolutely incredible! I've always said that –

Andrew: Johnny, would you be ever so kind as to give Professor Garland and myself a minute to jabber?

With a slight bow, JOHNNY steps out of the office and closes the door. JEREMIAH and ANDREW sit down at a small table in the former's office and sip a recently brewed pot of tea.

Jeremiah: Now then, how may I be of service to you, Mr Mallace?

Andrew: I do wish you'd call me 'Andrew', Jeremiah.

Jeremiah: Address His Majesty's Lord Chancellor by his christian name? Utter madness!

Andrew: Jerry, you haven't changed a bit. It seems like just yesterday we were taking down Spanish man-o-wars off of Antigua. You were a fine shot, lad, in that day.

Jeremiah: Aye! Fair times. But sadly those days are long gone. I do say, Andrew, I really feel I've met my true calling here. I don't think I'd leave this place for all the treasures in the Italian courts!

Andrew: I see...

Jeremiah: Now what was it you wished to speak about? Surely His Majesty's Lord Chancellor doesn't trek up to Scotland just for a cuppa tea and a friendly hello?

Andrew: Well.. no doubt you've heard the news from France, yes?

Jeremiah: Indeed. A troubling deal, that... It has something to do with your being here, then?

Andrew: I suppose there's no beating around it... We're going to get her out, Jeremiah. Aye, Queen Roberta. We can't afford to lose France. But we need you with us. Your knowledge of France and the language is first class. I know, it's a shaky shot at best, but we need somebody of your credentials there. It's me and a couple other lads – Corporal O'Reilly included – and we need you on board. We leave in a matter of days.

Jeremiah: I'm flattered, Andrew, really –

Andrew: Don't say that.

Jeremiah: Hmm?

Andrew: 'Flattered' is a word posh people use when they're about to turn down an offer.

Jeremiah: And you're not posh?

JEREMIAH sips his tea.

Andrew: Point is, lad, we could use your facility. I've already spoken to the headmaster, he's willing to let you go on leave. This is the safety of Europe we're talking about, Jeremiah! It's an impossible task, but if anybody can do it, it will be us.

JEREMIAH pondered the offer silently.

Andrew: If nothing else, consider this a favour for an old friend.

Jeremiah: Well... alright. But with St George as my witness, don't think for a minute that I'll be joining the company in a late-night debauchery with some Parisian drab. I'm very happy with Eleanor and I intend to come back in good consciousness!

Andrew: I wouldn't expect anything else. Let's head off then.

SCENE V

Meanwhile, in Paris, SIMÓN TOMAS DE SANTOS, the generalissimo of the Spanish army, emerges from the Palais-Royal in the heart of the city, on a balcony overlooking a mass of angry Parisians. Beside him is EL DEGOLLADOR, a dark-haired and masked assassin who serves as his right-hand officer. The French Tricolour waving above the palace has been replaced with the Spanish standard, and rows of Spanish soldiers are lined between the palace and the mass of people, muskets ready. DE SANTOS, in ceremonial military garb, stands on the balcony waving to his new subjects, to which the people of Paris respond with shouts of "Vive le France!" and "Mort à Philippe!". The Spanish general is a large, crude man with a rough grey beard and a scarred face. He raises his arms as means to silent the crowd, but to no avail. He addresses the crowd in a booming voice.

De Santos: Mesdames et messieurs de Paris! We are here not as your conquerors, but as liberators! We have come to bring about a new era of peace, liberty, and brotherhood! No longer must you squander in your indigence... We are here as your saviours from the tyrannical malice that once ruled these lands! At long last, the Bourbons are in France once more and we bring with us only prosperity! (struggling over the growing roar of the crowd) Cast your hostilities aside – we are not enemies! Viva la España!

At this, a bold Frenchman in the throng shouts "Va-t'en donc en enfer!" ("Go to hell!") to which the crowd erupts in approval. A large cobblestone pulled from the streets is then hurled at one of the Spanish guards outside the palace; a wooden carriage in the back of the square is overturned and set aflame; the crowd at once begins finding other projectiles and continues to hurl them at the Spanish garrison. A decorated Spanish soldier amongst the guard – assumingly the captain – looks to EL DEGOLLADOR standing atop the balcony. The assassin calmly nods his head, and the Spanish captain subsequently gives the order to open fire. A dozen or so French citizens fall to the ground as the line of Spanish soldiers open musket fire. Turmoil erupts as more French citizens begin to brawl with the Spanish guards, whilst others retreat.

--------------

Not far off, from the grand windows of the Louvre Palace, Queen ROBERTA watches on in sadness. She stands overlooking in a large marble room, with two armed Spanish guards standing on either side of her. She bows her head in sorrow, and is then marched away by the guards.

SCENE VI

ANDREW, JOHNNY, and JEREMIAH are all rowing a small dinghy in the middle of a harsh sea and a light grey sky of impenetrable mist. They are somewhere in the Outer Hebrides. Suddenly, a large mountainous island comes into view straight ahead.

Jeremiah: I must admit, Andrew, I never thought I'd be watching His Majesty's prim and proper lord chancellor rowing some worm-ridden rented dinghy through the mist of the Scottish isles. This is some mission you are dedicated to!

Andrew: Aye, well – Macmorgan's orders.

Jeremiah: Nonsense! I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday's afternoon, even if the cold freezes your hands to the oars. What say you, Mr O'Reilly?

Johnny: Me thinks we are lost, perhaps, my lords?

Andrew: Nay, see that isle up ahead? That'd be it. I'm sure of it. He's bound to be here.

Johnny: Well whoever he is, he sure's mad as hops to live out here.

The dinghy runs aground on the rocky island as the three men step out onto the shore. The entire island seems barren and void of any life, save the rough brown and grey figure of a small stone-and-thatch hut. Though the outside of the hut is lit by a single weak torch, it is hard to make out amidst the growing fog. The trio begin to ascend the sloped shore towards the hut.

Johnny: Who did you say this man was?

Andrew: Err... He's an old friend of ours. He served with us. Briefly.

Jeremiah: Aye. He's a bit rough around the edges – do keep care not to upset him, Mr O'Reilly. Any bloke who so much as looks at Hermit funnily is a poor sop.

Johnny: Right... Why do they call him Hermit?

Having approached the hut, ANDREW knocks twice on the door. A split second later, he looks to his right and quickly ducks his head. A large throwing knife is stuck in a wood board right where ANDREW was just standing, still quivering in place.

Jeremiah: He doesn't like company.

--------------

Inside the hut, a small fire burns as the three men sit at a table in close quarters. Crouched near the fire, HERMIT scoops something from a pot hanging over the fire into three bowls, and begins to distribute them amongst his guests. HERMIT is a very large, grisly man in rugged clothes. He has dark eyes and a long black beard.

Hermit: Sorry about the scare, Andrew. Nearly took your head off, I did!

Andrew: No worries, Chris. It's good to see you're as cautious as ever.

Hermit: Eh... Not so much cautious as pre-cautious... You'll never know if the next man knocking at your door is there to kill ya.

HERMIT places a bowl down in front of JOHNNY, who observes the thick, brown liquid inside the bowl with disgust. He looks toward JEREMIAH, who gives him a goading look that implies "you have to eat it". Hesistantly, JOHNNY begins scooping the brown liquid into his mouth.

Hermit: You'll have to forgive me, lads – it's not too often I have company. If I had known ya were stoppin' by, I'd've prepared us some proper skink! I s'pose this porpoise brain chowder will sate ye for now.

JOHNNY nearly gags.

Andrew: Nonsense, Hermit. It's delicious. Your hospitality is much appreciated, as usual.

Jeremiah: I have to ask, Chris, how are you holding up? Y'know, since the – err – incident?

Hermit: Taking it a day at a time. I do believe the scars've almost healed. It's been good livin' here, though. It feels right good to take in the sea air once more.

Johnny: What incident was that?

Hermit: Ah, the boy deserves to know. You're a soldier of the His Majesty, Mr O'Reilly? I was too. Captain of me own ship, for a while. 'Course didn't get as high up as Andrew and Jerry here, but they were good to serve under. Anyhoo, I was doing a bit o' field work in the mountains of Peru one autumn when I noticed I was being tailed the while by a couple o' Spanish rats. So how did I get rid of 'em? I went deep into an old silver mine and camped meself out there for nearly a fortnight. I noticed some o' the explosives left behind in the mine hadn't been properly dealt with, so when the buggers found me I had no choice but to blow the place up! Only there was more gunpowder 'an I expected... Barely got outta 'ere alive. Sadly the whole mountain came toppling down, takin' out a nearby village with it. When the War boys caught word back home, they treated it as a "massacre with purposeful intention" on me part, and deemed me messed up in the head... I was stripped of rank and thrown out without a second word to say... So I've been 'ere ever since.

Jeremiah: A real bloody shame, too. You were the best shot in the company.

Hermit: Aye... I 'ave to admit, I miss those days. There isn't much I wouldn't do to be back on those front lines, living that glory again.

Andrew: What if we told you we could do that for you, Chris?

Hermit: And how do you mean by that?

Andrew: The Queen of France has been taken hostage by the Spanish. We're going to get her out.

Hermit: We? You mean just you lads? A task force?

Andrew: Aye.

Hermit: With all due respect, Andrew – doesn't that seem a bit... foolhardy?

Andrew: (smiling) Which is exactly why we've come to you, Hermit.

Jeremiah: You're our best bet, mate.

Hermit: Hmm... Well... If the boys in London will 'ave me, I don't see why not. Just give a minute to pack me things and we'll shove off.

HERMIT turns around and opens a large cabinet near the table. A massive flood of firearms, grenades, daggers, sabres, hatchets, bludgeons, dirks, axes, broadswords, pikes, and other miscellaneous knick-knacks and torture devices come pouring out.

SCENE VII

Back at the palace square in Paris, Spanish soldiers work to douse the flames of a burning barricade and remove the casualties of the massacre; at least two dozen corpses of killed civilians are strewn about the square. JACQUES FAUCONCIEUX, a young, well-dressed man perhaps in his late twenties, walks silently about the ruined square, careful not to get in the way of the soldiers, examining each of the killed civilians. He is clearly saddened. Upon reaching the corpse of a young girl, he kneels and quietly offers a prayer in French.

JACQUES enters Notre-Dame Cathedral, abandoned at this time save a few devout citizens praying from the pews, and the rector seeing to various duties. He enters a confessional booth off to the side of the cathedral, and sits down. A slot opens; FATHER PÉRONNE sits on the other side of it, though his face can only be partially seen.

Jacques: Twenty-seven dead... I counted. That's nine more than last time. The city can't handle more of this display of brute force. When can you help us?

Péronne: You shouldn't be here, Jacques.

Jacques: Why?

Péronne: This is the first place they'll look for you. De Santos is relentless. He likely already has spies in every cafe and hotel from here to Strasbourg.

Jacques: I know that. But the cause is worth the risks. The cause we've worked so hard for up until now. So it begs the question, father, if you are still with us.

Péronne: You know I am, Jacques. You don't need to question the Church's loyalties. We will have the money to you and your men in due time... Only it is taking us longer than expected to get it to you without raising suspicion. Vial beasts, the Spaniards are! They have insulted the Church through their constant slandering and probing. Surely God will punish them for this.

Jacques: Not if France can punish them first.

Péronne: Oui... And I will do my part, Monsieur Fauconcieux. You have my word. Have you spoken to Monsieur Luther lately?

Jacques: No. He has left Paris. I fear for his safety; they will be after him soon enough.

Péronne: Then there is nothing we can do but pray – for Monsieur Luther, for our Queen, and for the people of France.

Just then, shouting could be heard from inside the cathedral. JACQUES carefully opens the door to the confessional booth, and, peering out from the crack, sees two Spanish soldiers, muskets in hand, near the entrance. The cathedral's rector has approached them to speak to them, but is presently victim to their verbal harassment and light beatings. JACQUES closes the door.

Jacques: They're here for me.

Péronne: Then it's time you left. Escape through the back. I will see you tomorrow, monsieur.

SCENE VIII

A massive crowd gathers in a large pub in inner London. They are watching two men brawl and are cheering on enthusiastically as a four-piece band plays jovial music. One of the brawlers, JACK PISTOL, is an older yet rugged man with a rough, unkempt appearance. He holds in his hand a bottle of whiskey, which he chugs and throws to the ground before blocking the blow of his much larger foe. Anticipating and successfully evading several more punches, he then performs a flourish of heavy hits onto the brawny man before taking him to the ground. JACK stands up as his opponent lies knocked out. He raises his arms as the crowd cheers wildly. Then, two more scrappers emerge from the crowd to take on JACK, who once again easily prevails. He knocks one of the men into a wooden table, causing it to collapse, much to the crowd's fanatic approval. The obvious victor, admirers from the crowd embrace JACK and shower him in alcohol as the band continues to play. JACK, taking in the glory, is looking around the room when he recognises a familiar face; standing just inside the doorway of the pub, dressed in a conspicuous noble's coat and looking quite unadjusted to the strange surroundings is ANDREW MALLACE. Having witnessed the entire fight, ANDREW now stares heavily at JACK, who meets the glare.

--------------

JACK and ANDREW are now sitting at a secluded table in the very same pub, with several glasses of alchohol spread out in front of them.

Andrew: It's been too long, old chap. I trust you've been well?

Jack: If you consider spending my nights getting booted from taverns all across town and my days down at the docks begging each harbourmaster for a chance at a few pence 'well', then I suppose I'm doing very well.

Andrew: What a shame, Jack. Your credentials from the navy could land you almost any job down at Northwood, I'm sure of it. Have you a loan?

Jack: Cut the bunk, Mallace. His Majesty's Lord Chancellor doesn't stroll down to the East End to find a former regiment lad he hasn't seen in some twelve years to inquire about his banking history. Let me guess: Georgy's upset another one of the continentals and you're here to make sure I impress. Well, you're barmy is what you are. Compulsory service my arse. I'll die before I have to serve again.

JACK then reaches for a glass of liqour on the table and downs it in a matter of seconds, much to the amazement of ANDREW. He slams the glass hard on the wooden table.

Andrew: Listen here, Jack: the past twelve years have been busy ones. I did write to you – I did! numerous times! – but never did I see a reply. But the fact of the matter is I owe a great deal to the man who saved my life, and –

Jack: – and you'd like to repay me, at long last, with a free trip to God-knows-where to fire a musket at a line of colourful mainland bastards, aye?

Andrew: There's no war, Jack. At least, not yet. Here's what has happened: the Queen of France has been made prisoner in her own capital by the Spanish. I've been tasked with putting together a small force of men capable of breaking her out. We're trying to avoid war with Spain, presently, but we also need France's queen safe. As we speak, Garland and Crane are up in St Albans trying to cajole Caddius Bane into joining us. Remember them? We'll make a fine team, with a shot at the impossible. But we need you, Jack.

Jack: Old Bane's still kicking it? I expected him to pass a decade ago. Cheers to him.

Andrew: (Slightly annoyed) Jack... It's down to you mate. You make or break us.

Jack: Heh. And what makes you say that?

Andrew: St Vincent.

Jack: (Rolling his eyes) Good god, not this again...

Andrew: I've never seen more promise and loyalty in a soldier than I did that day, Jack. You saved my life, as well as every other poor sap on board. You're a natural leader with fine talent... Now, for Christ's sake put it to some use! You were a war hero, Jack!

Jack: At the cost of my sanity.

ANDREW looks down, unsure of what to say.

Jack: I'm sorry, Andy. You think I care for the Queen of France? I hardly give a rat's arse for my own bloody monarch! That was twelve years ago, Andy. Things have changed. I'm not a soldier.

Andrew: Then I'm sorry to hear that. I expected more from you, Jack.

A ragged man approaches the table.

Man: Ai, Jack. Ol'Cobham's lookin' for ye. He's angrier than a kickin' mare.

Jack: Excuse me, Andy.

JACK stands up and begins to walk towards the door with the other man, when ANDREW calls out from the table. JACK turns around.

Andrew: That's it then? You're going to walk out and go back to pilfering your next meal when not a day's trip away the leader of a great nation is locked away, and ours is probably next? That's how you repay all that Britain has done for you? What happened to fealty?

Irritated, JACK walks back over to the table and points a finger at ANDREW.

Jack: You as well as anybody should know that I fought for 'His Royal Majesty' once already. I gave everything I bloody-well could. Don't you talk to me about fealty, you goddam fop.

Andrew: Look at yourself man! When was the last night you slept in a bed? Or bought a hot meal with a schilling from your wallet? You could have gone on to great things, Jack! And now, now you have your chance! I can see it now: 'Jack Aloysius Pistol, the Saviour of France; the libérateur of Paris; the Protector of Christendom'. It's not too late for a second act, lad. Whatever you call this isn't healthy... (ANDREW motions at the numerous overturned glasses on the table as well as the whiskey-stained, torn clothing and crude, unkempt appearance of JACK) Now I know you've your mind made, but think of the glory...! Think of the glory, Jack. It's not too late. But if you're certain, very well: carry on your life in the fringes. Whatever makes you happy. Don't waste your time wondering what could've been.

ANDREW stands, puts on his ornate overcoat, and pushes in his chair. He looks at Jack disappointedly as he begins to walk out.

Andrew: I've a long walk. I'm sorry about this. I bid you well, Jack Pistol. God knows I do.

ANDREW leaves. JACK is left standing in the tavern.

SCENE IX

RICHARD LUTHER scrambles about his apartment in Reims, packing a small duffle bag with his effects and valuables. Though it is the middle of the night, he is dressed in a tricorn and a travelling coat. From a hidden drawer in his bedroom he removes a small sheathed knife and carefully conceals it in his inner coat pocket. Just then, a knock comes at his door. Expectedly, he goes to the door and opens it. A young French soldier stands in the doorway. He salutes.

Soldier: Evening, Monsieur Luther. General Dupont is here with an outfit of Her Majesty's soldiers. We will see you safely to Vienna, so that you may be reunited with your wife. Your bag, monsieur. The carriage is waiting for us just around the corner.

Luther: Very good, captain.

The two proceed down the dark avenue of the abandoned city and round a corner. Indeed, a two-horse carriage is waiting in place. However, strewn in front of the carriage are the corpses of four French soldiers; one, lying wide-eyed and bloodied at the foot of the carriage's wheels is General Dupont. Hovering over him is EL DEGOLLADOR, who menacingly wipes the blood from his sabre. The Spanish assassin glares up at LUTHER and the French soldier through the eye slits in his mask, and speaks in a metallic, hissing voice.

El Degollador: Monsieur Luther, a fair evening to you. Where might Her Majesty's top minister be going in such a hurry?

The French soldier escoting LUTHER nervously produces a flintlock from his side and, his arms shaking wildly, aims it at EL DEGOLLADOR.

Soldier: In the name of Her Majesty, s-stand down at once!

EL DEGOLLADOR sighs impatiently and at the snap of his fingers, two Spanish soldiers emerge from behind, seize the French soldier by either arm, and punch him in the gut, causing him to drop his firearm and fall to his knees. EL DEGOLLADOR casually strolls up to the Frenchman and, the other two soldiers still holding him by the arms, glares at him intently in the eyes. Then, in one fluid motion, the assassin slashes the French soldier's throat with his sabre. The soldier drops in a heap to the ground with a quick gasp, and is dead. EL DEGOLLADOR once again begins wiping his blade, as he slowly strolls over to a mortified LUTHER.

El Degollador: Such a shame... How many more men must die for their unjust cause? Your people, Monsieur Luther, are like wild dogs: they never learn to respect their masters. And when they fail to grasp the concept of obedience, they must be beaten. And even when they bite back hard, the master will always win, for he is the dominant species. Of course, that is not the fault of the dog; it is simply the nature of things. Don't you agree, Monsieur Luther?

EL DEGOLLADOR is now standing right in front of LUTHER, their faces only inches apart. LUTHER is panting heavily, and perhaps acting on impulse, quickly reaches into his pocket and produces his knife. He plunges it hard into EL DEGOLLADOR's upper shoulder. The masked assassin, after letting out a mild grunt, stares in awe at the knife protruding from his shoulder. He removes the knife and examines its small blade.

El Degollador: (chuckling lightly) You will have to do better.

In a sudden movement, EL DEGOLLADOR hits LUTHER hard across the face with the back of his gauntlet. LUTHER falls to the ground, blood pouring from his nose. The two Spanish soldiers standing by rush to force the French statesman off the ground. EL DEGOLLADOR meets LUTHER's eyes and motions to the open door of the carriage.

El Degollador: In you go, Monsieur Luther.

SCENE X

JACK PISTOL stands in a small, run-down apartment in the heart of East London. Aside from a bed, a small wardrobe, a table, and a black stove, the room is completely barren. The walls are peeling and moulding, and clouds of dust are seen floating in the early morning sunlight, shining through a small cracked window. Still in his ragged clothes, he kneels at his bed and pulls out from underneath it a small wooden chest. He sighs as he wipes the dust from its top. Unlatching it, he lifts the lid slowly and is surprised to see that its contents are in a good condition. Sitting at the top of the opened chest is a fine officer's pistol with hand-carved engravings. He holds it in his hand and admires it. He then removes a small steel dagger, and next to that, a tempered dragoon's sabre. Beneath the weapons are a collection of papers: two stacks of letters and a news clipping from the Daily Post. He reaches for the latter and observes it. The headline reads "ST VINCENT WON, WAR IS OVER" followed by the sub-heading "COMMODORE JOHN ALOYSIUS PISTOL SAVES BRITISH FLEET", and beneath that a rough etching of his own likeliness. Casting that aside he picks up the first stack of letters, all addressed from Mallace to him. The second stack were all written by Jack to Mallace, yet he never sent them. He nostalgically reads through them before putting them aside and pulling out the chest's final item: a well-pressed, bright red soldier's uniform. Carefully unfolding it, he lays it out on the floor and holds the jacket up into the light. He stands, and stares down at the crimson uniform in deep consideration.

SCENE XI

A carriage comes to a halt near the gate of Deptford Dockyard in London. ANDREW MALLACE emerges. Standing by the gate is JOHNNY O'REILLY, who meets ANDREW at the carriage, and escorts him toward the gate. Both men are wearing pressed, red uniforms.

Johnny: All the men are here, m'lord – General Bane arrived earlier this morning from Leicester. The prime minister will be stopping by to see us off, as well.

Andrew: Very good, corporal. Macmorgan should have secured a transport for us. We'll be well on our way.

Johnny: Sir? Anything the matter?

Andrew: Aye. We're a man short.

Johnny: Pistol?

Andrew: I must admit, the prospect of him joining us was a doubtful one. But he's his mind made and I've no intention to press him further. We'll have to make due... Corporal, are you quite alright? You're as white as a sheet.

Johnny: What? It's my complexion, m'lord, given to me by my Irish mother.

Andrew: No, you're shaking too.

Johnny: I don't mean to cast ill will on you, m'lord, but I'm nervous is all. We're to go into a hostile country to extract a queen taken prisoner in her own palace. It's not that I doubt your skills, m'lord, or those of the other men, but doesn't it all seem a bit... impossible?

They'd reach the gate to the dockyard.

Andrew: Of course it's impossible. But that does not hinder us. I'd rather die in the blaze of a Spanish musket line in some Parisian square than spend my days cooped behind a desk – and I expect as much will happen in this mission. But we do this for honour, corporal.

Johnny: Aye... honour, m'lord.

ANDREW looks the young corporal over.

Andrew: That uniform fits you well. You wear it proudly.

Johnny: I'll die in it, m'lord.

The two approach the dock. Standing in a circle are BENJAMIN, JEREMIAH, HERMIT, and CAD BANE, conversing. CAD is an older man, perhaps in his early sixties, with light grey hair and a worn yet bright face. All the men, sans BENJAMIN, are also in red soldiers' uniforms. A sizeable freight ship sits afloat behind them.

Benjamin: Ah, and here is our fearless leader! Mallace, I trust you remember Mr Caddius Bane?

Andrew: How does one forget the most brilliant mind to come out of the admiralty? Greetings, old friend. From the looks of it I'd assume country life has been good to you?

Cad: Very much so. I'm as surprised as anyone else here that Garland and Hermit talked me into coming here – but alas, I could not turn down one more chance to give my services for Crown and Country.

Andrew: Cad, you admirable sycophant. You haven't changed a bit. An honour to have you with us, old friend.

Benjamin: I suspect the prime minister to be here any minute. Begin preparations. Garland, go fetch the captain. And, er, Mallace, a quick word.

BENJAMIN pulls ANDREW aside and talks in a hushed tone.

Benjamin: For the love of God, man, where is Pistol? He's the key to this mission!

Andrew: He won't be joining us.

Benjamin: What?! How come?

Andrew: As I suspected. He's a lost cause, and a lost man.

Benjamin: Damn! Well it's too late to back out now. Goldtimbers is on his way. Listen, Andrew, these men are ready to fight and die for their King, but more importantly they are ready to fight and die for you. Nothing in this mission will be easy; nobody expects you back in England alive. Are you certain you are still willing to go through with this?

ANDREW does not answer. He turns to the rest of the men.

Andrew: I know you men expect to die in France. I do as well. Yet here we are, in uniform, flintlocks and sabres cleaned, ready to do our part and lose our lives. In this respect, men, we have already conquered death... And I can honestly say that in all my years of service I've never laid my eyes upon a more courageous and deserving group of gentlemen than the one that stands before me. Today, men, as we board and set sail for a world on the brink of destruction, remember that we did so for a just and honourable cause – we will be remembered for our sacrifice and our unwillingness to sit idly whilst an ally suffers at the hands of oppression... If we are to die, men, we die as heroes. We will perish in the name of Britain, of liberty, and of honour.

There is a brief silence as each of the men consider what Andrew has said. Then, a familiar voice breaks in from behind.

Jack: If you're quite done yet, I'd like to set sail whilst it's still light.

ANDREW turns to see JACK PISTOL standing behind him, leaning against a rail. He is clean-shaven and in full uniform.

Andrew: Pistol! What–

Jack: Please, you didn't think I'd let you fine gentlemen shove off and get yourselves killed without me? We've a queen to save.

ANDREW enthusiastically shakes JACK's hand. The two speak under their breath amidst the fanfare.

Andrew: What made you change your mind?

Jack: Consider it a favour to an old friend... He spoke wise words with which I couldn't argue. It's time for my second act. Plus, I've always fancied seeing Paris before I left this earth.

Andrew: Thank you, Jack.

Jack: Now let's see this motley crew you've assembled.

JACK walks over to JEREMIAH, HERMIT, CAD, and JOHNNY.

Jeremiah: An honour to have you with us, Jack! It's been too long.

Jack: Too long indeed, Guv. Godspeed to you!

Jeremiah: After all these years, I've still no idea why you call me that. Godspeed!

Jack: Hermit! Good to see you mate! Pray tell you won't pilfer my gunpowder for your rocket experiments again, will you?

Hermit: I suppose we'll have to wait and see, Monsieur Pistol.

Jack: You were always the life of the camp, that is for certain. Ah, Caddius! My god, man, retirement has treated you well. You don't look a year over 70!

Cad: Good to see you too, ya ol' bastard.

Jack: And you must be Corporal O'Reilly, yes? Pleased to meet you, I'm --

Johnny: Commodore John Aloysius Pistol of His Majesty's 3rd Corps of Colonial Marines, the Hero of St Vincent and recipient of the prestigious Order of Merit. It's a great, great, honour, sir.

JOHNNY diligently bowed, much to JACK's surprise. BENJAMIN approaches the group of men, flanked by an unfamiliar, rugged, dark-haired and grey-eyed man.

Benjamin: If you gentlemen are quite done with the introductions, there's someone else I'd like to introduce you too. (Motioning to the unfamiliar man) This is Captain Finn Hamm, a degenerate no-good common criminal, currently serving fourteen years in His Majesty's prison for various acts of theft, arson, smuggling, and piracy... He will be getting you safely into France.

Cad: We're being smuggled into France by a pirate?

Benjamin: Indeed, Mr Bane. Captain Hamm has been part of a smuggling operation here in the English Channel for several years. He has gotten more illicit cargo past our customs officials than Captain Kidd ever could manage. If he is that capable, then certainly he will be able to sneak six of His Majesty's soldiers into Le Havre. In return for his services to Crown and Country, we have agreed to reduce his sentence... to ten years.

FINN speaks in a low, almost raucous voice. He motioned to the large freight ship anchored at the dock behind the men.

Finn: She's a fine vessel. I had her brought in meself from Aruba. She still flies the Dutch colours as you can see, and she's registered to Rotterdam, so for all those Spanish bastards will know, I'm a lone Dutch merchant trying to capitalise on a chaotic shift in world affairs.

Jeremiah: So you're going to smuggle us in? As cargo?

Finn: What do you think the word 'smuggle' means?

Benjamin: The details of Captain Hamm's plan will be more greatly laid out as you reach Le Havre. Now, I need not say that you gentlemen must use extreme caution whilst traversing the countryside... Though it is only a day's journey from Le Havre to Paris there is no doubt the Spanish are patrolling that region.

Andrew: And what of Paris itself? Surely the city will be on lockdown. How are we to enter undetected?

Benjamin: Ah! I am glad you made that point, Andrew. I have already arranged for you all to meet up with a contact of mine, in the town of Saint-Germain, just outside the city gates. This person is a dear friend, and I trust they will navigate you safely into the city.

Andrew: Right, well, if there is nothing else...

Suddenly there is a blast of fanfare as an ornate carriage pulls through the dockyard gates, halting just feet from the men. An aide emerges first and announces the arrival of "His Excellency, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Giovanni Goldtimbers", at which point JOHNNY GOLDTIMBERS emerges from the carriage, well-dressed and with cane in hand. Flanking him, and looking all the more disgusted, is MATTHEW FAYE.

Goldtimbers: I must give you credit, Macmorgan, I did not actuality think you would succeed in drawing your – err – "team" together. Only if such luck will follow you across the Channel...

Benjamin: I can understand your scepticism, Johnny, but –

Goldtimbers: Scepticism – ha! That is putting it kindly my dear fellow. I see Pistol has joined you. Are you aware that he is wanted by His Majesty for several accounts of petty crime, and, amongst many other things, tax evasion?! Why, I should have this ruffian arrested, not give him my blessing!

Jack: With all due respect, your excellency, I am here on my own volition. If it is of any comfort to you, I do not plan on surviving my trip to Paris. It is, as you no doubt already know, a suicide mission. In the unlikely off-chance that I do return, I will be more than happy to hand myself over to your authority, and place myself behind the bars of His Majesty's most Protestant prisons... Fair?

Goldtimbers: (Annoyed) I am not convinced, Pistol. As for you, Mallace, I had expected you to speak out against this atrocity! What an elaborate joke this must be! A lord of the court, a juvenile, a professor, a psychopath, an old man, and a criminal! This is to be the men who save France is it?

Andrew: It's all said and done, Johnny. We embark for France now; all that remains to be seen is whether we sink or float.

Goldtimbers: Indeed... Not much more could be said of this tragedy of Sophoclean proportions. God help you all...

GOLDTIMBERS turns and slowly makes his way back to the carriage. MATTHEW FAYE approaches BENJAMIN and speaks in an angered hush.

Matthew: Just remember what I said, Macmorgan. The minute we get word of your abysmal failure, I will be the one to swoop in and start the invasion. The glory will be mine.

ANDREW overhears this and approaches the two.

Andrew: Leave him alone, Faye.

Matthew: I'll speak to him how I please! I outrank him!

Andrew: And I outrank you. Now bugger off.

MATTHEW angrily turns and proceeds to the carriage. BENJAMIN and ANDREW begin walking with the rest of the men towards Finn's ship.

Benjamin: Thanks for that.

Andrew: Try not to get yourself drawn and quartered whilst we're gone, Benjamin.

Benjamin: I should be the one saying that to you.

The men have boarded the ship, and FINN has already assumed his position at the helm. The ship's bell rings to signal the time for departure.

Benjamin: I suppose this is it then, best of luck to you, Andrew.

Andrew: Godspeed, Benjamin.

The two salute diligently as ANDREW turns to climb aboard.

SCENE XII

Fighting has resumed in the Palace Square of Paris. Corpses are sprawled across the square, as are bits of wreckage, and hastily built barricades. The Parisian citizens, armed with stones, pitch forks, axes, and makeshift weapons, grapple with the Spanish garrison outside the Palais-Royale, but are repeatedly mowed down by the constant musket fire.

In the Louvre Palace, a short distance from the square, Queen ROBERTA watches intently from her window as throngs of Parisians are slaughtered by the superior Spanish force. Suddenly, Generalissimo SIMÓN TOMAS DE SANTOS and two guards appear behind her. ROBERTA turns to meet his fiery gaze.

Roberta: Your men are killing my people. Tell them to cease at once.

De Santos: (smirking) Your people, oh gracious queen, are killing themselves. If they learned obedience – how to respect and behave to their conquerors – then perhaps Paris would not be a city for the dead. Any man, woman, or child who speaks against me or the righteous Spanish cause will share the fate of all common traitors. They will be executed, brutally, on the spot. I will see to it in person. I, the true and rightful King of France.

Roberta: You will never be king!

DE SANTOS strikes her hard across the face, causing her to fall to the ground. She puts her hand to her brow and notices she is bleeding profusely.

Roberta: You're a monster...

DE SANTOS leans over her and talks in a venomous whisper.

De Santos: I am not a monster, my dear... I am the saviour of this wretched country, long spoilt by these ignorant sinners. I will bring light to this land, and draw the blood of all who stand in my path... And before I kill you, oh gracious queen, you will tell me at once where the Duke of Orleans is hiding. Please, I only ask now for your cooperation.

At this, ROBERTA gathers the strength to spit in DE SANTOS's face. Fuming with anger, DE SANTOS wipes it off, but hesitates. Suddenly changing his facial emotion, he decides not to strike her again, but rather chuckles lightly and, motioning to the two guards, leaves the room.

--------------

In the square, a small child in rugged clothes, DIDIER, runs amidst the brutal fighting, evading sabre blows and musket balls. He climbs over an overturned carriage and goes down an empty back alley shooting off from the square. Descending a narrow flight of stairs he comes to a wooden door well hidden from street view. He pounds vigorously on the door and enters. Inside, this building appears to be nothing more than a run-down stone cellar, barely lit and without a single window. However, after turning another corner the boy enters a large room dominated by a sizeable wooden table, upon which is spread an assortment of documents and weapons. Standing around the table are two dozen or so young Frenchmen, perhaps in their twenties, all wearing respectable clothing. Presently they are engaging in a heated and enthusiastic discussion. JACQUES FAUCONCIEUX stands at the head of the table. DIDIER shouts across to him.

Didier: Monsieur Fauconcieux! The people of Paris, they have rioted once more! There is a battle in the square! Dozens of Spanish regulars firing, and more reinforcements keep coming!

The room falls silent.

Jacques: Merci, Didier! Then (standing up on the table) now is our time to strike. I call upon you, Frères de Candide, Brothers of Truth, to do your part for Paris today. Father Péronne has provided us with these weapons lied out before you – now is our time to use them! No longer must we be prisoners in our own city, which we love so dearly. No longer will we stand by idly – let us fight!

At this, JACQUES raises a musket in one hand above his head, and holds a sabre in the other. The men in the room erupt in a patriotic cry, and begin shuffling for weapons. They flood out the door of the cellar and, ascending the steps to the alley, as luck would have it, are met by a column of eight Spanish regulars, patrolling the back streets. Taking the column by surprise, the Frenchmen tackle the Spanish soldiers, stabbing them. Following on this momentum they erupt into the main square, where the chaotic battle still ensues. Amidst cries of "Vive la France!" and "Vive Roberta!" the men engage with the soldiers. Firing his musket and taking down a Spanish cavalry captain, JACQUES engages in an intense duel with a Spanish officer, blocking his heavy blows with his sabre. After a lengthy fight, JACQUES manages to slash the officer in the hip, before killing him with a finishing slice to the chest. The atmosphere in the square has quickly changed due to the presence of the Frères de Candide, and all around the Spanish soldiers fall back to the palace. Producing a double-barrelled flintlock from his inner coat pocket, JACQUES takes aim and shoots a retreating soldier square in the back; without flinching, he fires again at a Spanish sniper in an overhead balcony, who plummets into the square. Raising his sabre once more, JACQUES yells for the men of the Frères de Candide to push forward, and begins charging towards the palace. However, he suddenly halts and glares off in the direction of the Louvre Palace. Standing in a window watching the battle, he sees Queen ROBERTA. The two make eye contact.

ACT II

SCENE I

On board Finn Hamm's cargo ship, which is currently in the middle of the English Channel, the men of the rescue squad are seeing to various activities on deck. HERMIT and JOHNNY are engaged in a game of chess, which has been set up on a barrel serving as a makeshift table; CAD watches on. FINN is at the helm, and ANDREW is standing next to him, engaged in conversation. Nearby, JEREMIAH is studying a map. On the lower deck, isolated from the rest, JACK is leaning over a side railing, staring intently at the passing waves.

Cad: (over JOHNNY's shoulder) Do be careful, Johnny... You never know with Hermit.

Johnny: Are you kidding? I've got his sorry arse cornered! He can contemplate this situation all he wants; the fact of the matter is no one can survive this move. The Prussian Gambit is infallible! He best be ready to pay up.

Hermit: Hmm...

Johnny: You know, Hermit, I accept payment in bank cheques as well.

In a flurry of hand movements, HERMIT moves one of his chess pieces to unexpectedly corner JOHNNY's king.

Hermit: Checkmate.

Johnny: ...

Cad: Oh, the Sicilian Countergambit! Absolutely brilliant!

Johnny: Err... well played, Hermit... Unfortunately, I haven't any cash on hand...

Hermit: No worries, I accept payment in bank cheques.

--------------

Andrew: ...And you're certain this plan will work? We won't all be arrested and executed the minute we step foot in Le Havre?

Finn: The key is not getting caught. And, I'm no clever military tactician like the rest of you, but it'd seem to me that, if you don't fancy getting caught, you'd best switch out those bright red lobster suits for something less... flamboyant.

Andrew: Aye, I figured the uniforms would cause an issue on a covert operation. But still the blokes at the Admiralty insisted we wear them. It's funny, isn't it, how in the absence of logic, we tend to still cling to the illogical.

Finn: It's all due to the blind faith you lot seem to have in a barmy excuse for a king. It's a silly concept, that of the king. I use to be just like you lot: paying my dues for crown and country, working my back numb to earn another badge on a clean uniform. Then the day came when I realised a lot more could be earned from a career of smuggling and piracy — both money and fame. It's a life of freedom that my kind lead. I wouldn't expect you to understand it.

Andrew: Aren't you currently serving a sentence of fourteen years, Captain Hamm?

Finn: And aren't you currently serving a sentence of... how long is a term as lord chancellor?

Andrew: My service to the crown is not a prison sentence. As current developments may prove, I'm ready to die for my country, as are these men under my command. You'll find that we are nothing more than patriots. Patriots dedicated to a worthy cause.

Finn: I wouldn't be so sure. That one there, the sulky lad (nodding towards JACK), I've heard the stories about him. And let me tell you, Lord Chancellor, once a criminal, always a criminal. I can tell he's decided his fate, and I'll be right bewildered if he changes it.

ANDREW looks at JACK, silently. Just then, JEREMIAH calls to him. ANDREW walks over to him, where he has laid out a large map on a crate.

Jeremiah: I've studied the region we'll be passing through, and it seems our only choice will be to pass through this area here (he motions on the map). From the port of Le Havre we'd do well to follow the highway east, passing through the city of Rouen, and from there it is a short distance to Saint-Germain, where we will meet Benjamin's contact. Assuming he can get us behind the city gates of Paris, we need to navigate our way to the centre of the city – I'm willing to wager that the Spaniards have the queen held up here, at the Louvre Palace (he makes a small circle in the city of Paris, indicating the palace).

Andrew: Are you quite sure of all this?

Jeremiah: Of course not. Usually for missions like this we have the lads from intelligence dig up whatever information they can. However, this time, we are going in blind as bats.

Andrew: Indeed... And what of the Spanish presence in the region?

Jeremiah: Heavy, most likely. I'd say we'd do well to avoid the main highways and cities, but no doubt they also have regular patrols in the forests surrounding Paris. This will not be easy.

Andrew: Hmm...

Jeremiah: Of course, you will also notice that starting from Le Havre and going through Paris is the River Seine (he motions to a long blue line meandering across the map). It might be worth our while to use the waterways to our advantage... so long as we find a river pilot.

Andrew: Certainly not Captain Hamm. I don't want to spend another minute longer than I have to aboard a vessel captained by some nefarious smuggler.

Finn: (from the helm) This "nefarious smuggler" is your only ticket into France, Lord Chancellor.

ANDREW is embarrassed that FINN heard him and, after a slight pause, turns once more to JEREMIAH and immediately changes the topic.

Andrew: Jerry, what do you make of Mr. Pistol there?

He motions to JACK, who is still leaning forward over the railing, staring lackadaisically into the sea.

Jeremiah: Err, well... I've known him since St Vincent – of course not to the same degree you did. He always struck me then as a good soldier. For what purpose he turned to the troubled lifestyle, I haven't the slightest clue. I see promise in him.

Andrew: Much promise indeed. The only question is: will he act? Or shall this promise forever remain so and nothing more?

Jeremiah: As in the words of a mediaeval Italian writer, "the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." Mr. Pistol does not seem like one to hesitate when faced with a great dilemma. He will do the right thing.

Andrew: Was that Machiavelli?

Jeremiah: Dante. You know, I've always said that the key to truly understanding Dante is to —

Finn: Oy, Mr. Lord Chancellor, we're not twenty leagues from Le Havre. You lot best get below deck, lest you want to be picked off by Spanish muskets the minute we reach the docks.

Andrew: (to Jeremiah) And thus we descend into Hell...

ANDREW, JEREMIAH, CAD, HERMIT, and JOHNNY make their way below deck.

SCENE II

In a large, stately office in the Palais-Royal in Paris, Generalissimo DE SANTOS looms over an ornate desk in the centre of the room. He is flanked on either side by two spear-wielding soldiers of the elite Spanish Imperial Guard. Standing before him, in front of the desk, is a well-dressed man in a white powdered wig. He is GEORGES VOILÉVITER, a French nobleman. The two are conversing, when suddenly the doors to the grand office swing open. A Spanish captain, flanked by two Spanish soldiers walk in. The soldiers are propping up a beaten and half-conscious RICHARD LUTHER. The soldiers release him, and he collapses to the floor. The captain kneels before DE SANTOS.

Captain: We have done as you wished, your majesty. Here is Queen Roberta's adviser.

De Santos: (chuckling) Very good, my loyal servant! Monsieur Luther, is it? I hope you did not kill him?

At this, RICHARD LUTHER, with great difficulty and heavy breathing, manages to stand up and looks DE SANTOS right in the eye.

Luther: I am not dead. It will take more than a few beatings from these connards to kill me.

De Santos: Monsieur Luther, please! That is no way to speak when in the presence of your superiors. I take it you know Monsieur Voiléviter, Comte de Bergerac?

GEORGES, with a smirk upon his face, steps toward LUTHER, who is puzzled to see a member of the French nobility here.

De Santos: Indeed, Monsieur Luther, Georges here will be taking your job. He is my new prime minister. From the very beginning of our invasion, he has proven to be a powerful ally of the Spanish crown.

Georges: It is true, Richard. But it is only politics! You of all people should know that – loyalty is not a free commodity, and is to be bought by the dominant bidder. I see the future of France in the Spanish occupation, and you should too. Besides, do not tell me you've ever felt any real loyalty to that imbecilic dog you call a queen.

Luther: Traitor!

LUTHER, filled with rage, raises his fist as if to strike GEORGES, but is immediately apprehended by the two Spanish soldiers behind him. The two imperial guards step forward and raise their spears to LUTHER's chest, but DE SANTOS raises his hand, motioning them to hold. GEORGES maintains a smug grin on his face.

De Santos: That'll do for now. Leave us.

The two soldiers release LUTHER, and follow the captain and GEORGES out of the office. Finally, the two imperial guards leave as well, leaving only LUTHER and DE SANTOS, still looming over the desk.

De Santos: Just last week, Monsieur Luther, you stood over this desk, offering your voice to a nation under your command. Now, you bleed on the floors of the office you once so proudly held. Now, your queen rots away as a prisoner in her own palace, and I have taken her spot. Is it not funny, monsieur, how quickly things can change?

Luther: You think you have taken her spot? All I see is a fraudulent usurper. A deranged beast of a man who will never succeed, so long as this country resists him.

De Santos: Oh come now, monsieur. Not you too. (he walks slowly around the desk and comes face to face with LUTHER) If you really wish to serve your country, all you must do is tell your rightful king, now, where the Duke of Orleans is hiding. Do this, and you will walk from here a freeman and a patriot!

LUTHER remains silent, and transfixes his eyes on DE SANTO's grey, maniacal eyes. After a brief silence, DE SANTOS sighs and reaches down toward his boot. He pulls from his boot a long, ornate dagger.

De Santos: Do you see this knife, Monsieur Luther? See how it shimmers in the light? It always amazes me how it never loses its shine, despite how many times I have had to use it.

LUTHER remains silent.

De Santos: It was given to me by my father, you know. He was the brother of the Spanish king, and, as that king had no children of his own, my father was next in line for his throne. And he would still be the rightful heir today, only one night I crept into his bedroom and, as he slept, used this knife to kill him. I watched my father bleed to death without consequence. Now I am the heir, and with that power I have conquered the largest nation in Europe. But it is ironic, isn't it? His very own knife, used to slit his very own throat. (he chuckles lightly) Now, of course, I always keep this knife on me – you never know when you might need to use it.

DE SANTOS raises the knife and presses it against LUTHER's throat. LUTHER is unfazed.

Luther: Kill me now, general, if it pleases you. My death will only rally others.

De Santos: (laughing maniacally) No, no, you are very right indeed Monsieur Luther! Nobody likes a martyr. Though take my word for it, monsieur, every day you continue to resist us, is another day you wish you were dead.

DE SANTOS sheathes his dagger back in his boot and, in a sudden motion, hits LUTHER across the head with the back of his hand. LUTHER collapses once more to the ground as DE SANTOS summons two Spanish soldiers into the office. They collect LUTHER from off of the ground.

De Santos: Monsieur Luther is done here. Take him at once to be imprisoned.

Guard 1: The palace dungeons, señor?

De Santos: No. The Bastille will do nicely.

SCENE III

The roar of cannonfire is overwhelming. They are accompanied by the blood-curtailing screams of dozens of soldiers. Together these two cacophonous noises gradually increase in volume, to the point they are deafening. Someone begins shouting his name — 'Jack! Jack!'

Just then, JACK PISTOL is shook from his daydream. He is still onboard Finn Hamm's cargo ship, staring off the side into the sea.

Andrew: Jack! We've reached Le Havre. We need to get below deck at once... Are you quite alright?

Jack: Erm... Yes. My apologies, Andrew.

Andrew: Jack, if this is about —

They are interrupted by various shouts and orders coming from a line of Spanish soldiers standing on the Le Havre docks, serving as the customs guards. JACK and ANDREW hurry below deck, with the others. The ship stops at the bustling dock, and FINN drops the gangway. A Spanish captain steps onto the ship and greets FINN. Six Spanish soldiers stand by on the docks, muskets in hand.

Finn: Ik spreek geen Spaans.

Captain: ¿Holandés, eh?

The Captain turns to the row of six soldiers and motions for them to come aboard. The six soldiers begin ascending the gangway onto the ship.

Captain: Mis hombres harán una búsqueda rápida de la nave. Es la rutina.

The six soldiers begin scouring the ship, whilst the Captain remains with FINN on the main deck. Eventually the six soldiers make their way below deck. A minute or so later, loud crashes and scuffling can be vaguely heard from below deck. The Captain bats a suspicious eye at FINN, but otherwise the two remain silent. After a few more minutes pass, ANDREW, JACK, JEREMIAH, CAD, JOHNNY, and HERMIT come up from below deck, wearing the white uniforms and holding the muskets previously donned by the Spanish soldiers. JEREMIAH leads the pack.

Jeremiah: El holandés es el único a bordo. Parece que no hay nada sospechoso en este bote, capitán.

Captain: ¿Y la carga?

Jeremiah: Solo sal, capitán.

Captain: Muy bien ... Ustedes son libres de irse.

Hermit: What did you tell him?

Jeremiah: It's salt.

ANDREW, JACK, JEREMIAH, HERMIT, CAD, and JOHNNY disembark the ship and continue down the docks into the town. Le Havre is a large, bustling port of classical French architecture. Amidst the merchants, sailors, and fishermen going about their daily business, rows of Spanish soldiers march through the winding streets of the occupied city, giving the otherwise peaceful and picturesque coastal town an authoritarian feel.

The group, still wearing the Spanish uniforms as means to blend in, walk down the main thoroughfare in the city. They pass by the large French Admiralty building. Upon its balcony stands EL DEGOLLADOR, flanked by two soldiers. The masked assassin glares down at the group of disguised British infiltrators, turns and whispers something to one of the soldiers, and leaves the balcony.

Johnny: How long must we keep these uniforms on? Mine is starting to smell.

Cad: Well, a man did die in it.

Andrew: This place is crawling with Spanish troops. We'd best keep these on until we're out of the city.

Jack: Everyone keep your wits about you. This place seems to be on edge. The bloody Spaniards have got these frogs more riled up than a German opera.

Andrew: But we need to pass through without attracting attention. It's important we don't get caught up in anything.

The group came to the main square of the city, where presently a large brawl was taking place between dozens of French civilians and a Spanish garrison, not unlike the ones in Paris. Using shovels, rocks, and other makeshift weapons, the French commoners attempted to fight off the Spanish soldiers, resulting in high casualties.

Andrew: We'd best find another way around — this is too risky for us.

Jack: Those soldiers are killing innocents! We have to help them!

Andrew: No, Jack—!

It was too late. JACK, still in uniform, plunges into the scuffle. Leaping over corpses, he begins brawling with various Spanish soldiers and repelling them away from the civilians, much to everyone's confusion. As one Spanish soldier is about to bayonet a young man lying defenceless on the cobblestones, JACK tackles the soldier to the ground, knocking him out cold. The young man thanks JACK and ran off. Another Spanish soldier faces JACK and exclaims '¡Rata borracha!' before throwing a fist at him. After countering several punches, JACK hits the soldier in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. Yet another Spanish soldier then attempts to swing a sabre at JACK, which he dodges. Following several more dodged sabre strikes, JACK knees the soldier in the gut and flips him to the ground. By this point ANDREW and the others have also entered the scuffle.

Andrew: Jack! Enough!

By this point the brawl in the square has ended, and the remaining French commoners are dispersed. The six Brits in Spanish uniform stand in the middle of the square, alongside dozens of Spanish soldiers. A Spanish commander steps toward JACK and began berating him.

Commander: ¿Quién es este borracho imbécil y por qué lucha contra mis hombres?

A young man — the same that JACK had just rescued — sneaks up behind JOHNNY and steals a small bag off his person.

Johnny: My wallet! Thief!

Commander: Debería colgar esta rata por traición!

Andrew: What is he saying? Garland?

Looking over his shoulder, ANDREW notices that JEREMIAH and JACK are running after JOHNNY, who has given chase to the pickpocket, leaving only CAD and HERMIT behind.

Andrew: Bloody hell...

SCENE IV

The chase continues for several minutes. JOHNNY pursues the pickpocket through the winding streets and back alleys of Le Havre, with JACK and JEREMIAH not far behind him. After hopping a cast-iron fence, the pickpocket runs into an old, dilapidated shipping warehouse along the city harbour. JOHNNY sprints in after him.

The interior of the warehouse resembles a large, open shipyard. In the centre of the massive room is a docking bay, upon which sits a fairly large ship, outfitted with several dozen cannons. It is blocked in by a large gate that presumably leads out into the Le Havre waterways. Several large barrels, crates, and other debris are scattered about the dimly-lit warehouse. The pickpocket enters the room, and immediately hides behind a large stack of crates. JOHNNY enters shortly thereafter.

Johnny: Thief! Where did he go?!

Within seconds, JACK and JEREMIAH run in behind JOHNNY.

Jeremiah: He's bound to be here somewhere. Wherever "here" is.

They stand and examine the large, seemingly empty room, when suddenly a large bearded man in drabby clothing wielding a cutlass appears from behind a crate and attempts to strike JOHNNY.

Jack: Johnny!

JACK quickly draws his sword and blocks the mysterious assailant's attack. The two engage in a brief yet very heated sword duel. JACK disarms the attacker, and points his sword straight at the man's chest. Before he can stab him, though, he looks around and notices that ten more mysterious men have emerged from hiding and have surrounded him. JEREMIAH is being held at gunpoint, whilst JOHNNY has a knife pressed to his throat. The mysterious assailant grins menacingly at JACK, revealing at least one golden tooth. Hesitantly, JACK backs away and drops his sword, before being apprehended by two men and forced onto his knee. The mysterious assailant pulls out a flintlock and aims it pointblank at an unflinching JACK.

Mysterious Assailant: It's a good day, boys! Three Spanish soldiers! Forget ransom money, I'd rather mount their bullet-riddled skulls on me ship.

Andrew: Wait! They're not Spaniards!

ANDREW, CAD, and HERMIT run into the warehouse. Several men surround and point their weapons at them upon their entry.

Mysterious Assailant: What do you mean they're not Spaniards? They're wearing the colours of Philip V, just as you are!

Andrew: We killed six Spanish soldiers to get these uniforms. We're Englishmen!

Mysterious Assailant: Englishmen, huh...? In that case, I'll be putting two bullets through your brain.

The gun-wielding assailant cocks his flintlock and prepares to shoot JACK when at the last second, FINN HAMM emerges from the group of mysterious men.

Finn: Wait a minute, Captain! I recognise these men. These are the lads I was telling ye about. Remember? The cooky bastards trying to rescue the queen? Ye don't think we should let 'em go?

Mysterious Assailant: And why should we do that? They're the ones intruding on me base. Besides, I'd only be doin' the inevitable — they think they can get into Paris unscathed? They be as good as dead anyhoo.

Finn: Well sure, Captain, we could stiff 'em now. But it's like ye said, Captain: they be dead men anyhoo. If we stiff 'em now, there be no money in it for us. But what if they succeed? Don't ye think there's a chance they'll reward us? You know, as a good deed and all?

Mysterious Assailant: A good deed? (to JACK) Tell me, are you a man of good deeds?

Jack: I am a man of my word. And I am good for my word when I say that if you let us — all six of us — walk away from here, we will return the favour.

Mysterious Assailant: And what favour could that possibly be? The riches of the French court? I have no need for such material things. (there is a slight pause) But very well. You are a man of your word. And you are lucky I very much value the word of my right-hand man here, Mr Hamm. Fortunately I'm in a good mood today, so I'll let you men walk.

He snaps his fingers and the other mysterious men lower their weapons. JEREMIAH and JOHNNY are released and JACK gets up from his knees.

Jack: Thank you. We are forever indebted to you, err... Mr....

Mysterious Assailant: Cannonwalker. Captain Richard Cannonwalker — but simply "Cannonwalker" to most. King of the Ninth Brethren Court and terror of these seas. (CANNONWALKER tips his tricorn hat). This is my crew. I see you've already met Mr Hamm.

Jack: We have. Ah, and I've met him as well! I saved this man's life minutes ago in the square. I believe he has something of ours.

Cannonwalker: Is that right? Zoomer!

The young pickpocket, ZOOMER, steps forward and tosses the wallet back to JOHNNY.

Zoomer: My apologies, Captain.

Cannonwalker: And my apologies to all of you. Any man willing to take up arms against these Spanish bastards is a friend of mine, British or otherwise. Though I fail to respect any king or queen, I understand your mission and respect it. Godspeed to you all!

Jack: Thank you again, Captain Cannonwalker.

JACK and CANNONWALKER begin to happily shake hands, when suddenly a defeaning crash from an explosion is heard, as dust and debris fill the room. The large wooden doors at the front of the warehouse had been blown open, and standing in their place is a cadre of twenty to thirty Spanish soldiers. Standing in a line formation, the soldiers open fire, and bullets rain down on the Pirates and Britons alike. Two pirates are immediately killed by the volley of fire.

Cannonwalker: Spaniards!

Andrew: Take cover!

ANDREW, JACK, JEREMIAH, CAD, HERMIT, JOHNNY, CANNONWALKER, FINN, ZOOMER, and the rest of the pirate crew immediately dive for their nearest barrel or cargo crate. The Brits, wielding their Spanish muskets, and the Pirates, wielding various flintlocks, repeaters, blunderbusses, and muskets, prep their weapons from the safety of their positions and immediately return fire on the Spanish line, which is now spilling into the warehouse. Five Spanish soldiers fall, but they continue to advance as the Pirates and Brits reload their firearms. The shootout continues for several minutes, until the Spanish troops are nearly among the Pirates and Brits. A massive melee occurs, during which time several more Spaniards fall, as well as a few Pirates from Cannonwalker's crew. HERMIT pulls from his coat pocket a grenade, which he lobs into the Spanish horde, killing eight. Despite many Spaniards being killed in the fight, more and more Spanish forces continue to pour into the warehouse.

Finn: Captain! There's no end to 'em! We can't hold 'em for long!

Cannonwalker: Aye! (shouting to his crew) To the ship! All men onboard the Black Warrior! (to ANDREW) You lot best come with us as well! There's no other way out of here!

ANDREW nods in agreement, and orders JACK, CAD, JOHNNY, JEREMIAH, and HERMIT to follow him onboard CANNONWALKER's ship, the Black Warrior.

Cannonwalker: Zoomer! Get those gates open now!

After killing one more Spanish soldier with his skilled swordsmanship, ZOOMER quickly obeys his Captain's orders and sprints to the far end of the warehouse, where he twists a large mechanism that operates the gate winch. The portcullis slowly begins to fall, causing a current to flow into the warehouse, allowing the hitherto immobile Black Warrior to suddenly gain speed. ZOOMER then jumps aboard the ship as it departs the warehouse. The other men onboard continue to return fire to the persisting Spanish soldiers. CANNONWALKER, standing on the command deck, looks toward FINN, who is at the helm.

Cannonwalker: Full speed ahead! Get us out of here!

The Black Warrior is now at full sail, as it leaves the warehouse and proceeds along the Le Havre waterways. Both the pirate crew and the British erupt in cheers as the ship goes out of firing range of the Spanish soldiers.

Cannonwalker: Save your celebrations, men! We're not out of this yet...

As FINN navigates the ship through a canal and onto the wide Seine River, everyone onboard realises what CANNONWALKER meant. Sitting at the mouth of the river, and currently pursuing the Black Warrior, is a much larger Spanish man-o-war. A chase ensues as the Spanish warship tails the pirate frigate, as the latter continues up-river. The Spanish ship begins opening fire on the Black Warrior.

Cad: They have us out-gunned and out-sailed! We're sitting ducks!

Cannonwalker: Not if we fight back... Finn! Turn us around!

After a vigorous turn of the helm, the Black Warrior makes a ninety degree turn, and its port side now faces the oncoming Spanish man-o-war. Pirate crewmembers on the main and lower decks man and load the ship's many cannons.

Cannonwalker: Open fire!

A massive broadside is fired from the Black Warrior, and hits the Spanish warship, but doesn't appear to do much damage, for it continues to approach at a ramming speed. The Pirates and Brits begin to panic.

Johnny: She's nearly upon us!

The Spanish warship is metres away from the Black Warrior, and batters it with heavy cannonfire. When a well-aimed bullet fired from a Spanish musket kills one of the pirate crew's gunners, JACK jumps in his place at the loaded cannon. This is his first time at a cannon since St Vincent, and a sense of dread begins to overtake him, which he struggles to fight.

Andrew: Jack! Take the shot!

JACK finally works up the courage and, adjusting the aim of the cannon, fires a single shot at the Spanish warship, which is now almost touching the pirate frigate. The cannonball, either by a stroke of luck or skill, strikes the main mast of the Spanish ship dead-on, causing it to splinter and collapse. The mast falls hard on the Spanish ship, killing several onboard and igniting the powder magazine. The Spanish ship erupts in flames and is now immobile.

Cannonwalker: Good shot! That was one in a million!

Jeremiah: After all these years, you still got it, Mr Pistol!

ANDREW is relieved. FINN abruptly turns the wheel once more and the Black Warrior heads off along the Seine River, in-land, toward Paris.

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