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If By Land or Sea Makes Three

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Captain Iago Moriarty was a pirate along the Spanish Main. That was being modest really. He ran the port of Tortuga and had an interest in some baker's dozen of ships. He dealt in information. He knew when merchant ships would be making their runs and what routes they intended to take.

He didn't sit behind the sidelines. Oh, no. He'd have been bored if he spent all his time on shore. Now he wasn't the biggest bruiser in his crew. His 1st Lieutenant Moran fit that bill, but his crew knew he'd as soon smile as slit their throats.

Life was sweet.

That was until a certain privateer with god be damned letters of marque from the British Crown started snatching plump prey right out of his paws.

So, it was inevitable that they should face off. How a barque with but half the guns that his Sea King had should end up breaching his hull was a mystery.

Worse yet was being tied up on his own deck and being confronted by an Omega woman for Christ's sake.

He said, "When your government turns on you, and they will; are you going to be pleading your belly?"

"I don't know," said Captain Jane Watson, tilting back her hat, "are you?"

Her ship's doctor, a pommy looking Omega with not an ounce of thump to her rump or rigging, looked up from pulling splinters from some poor sod's hide. "Captain Watson, I've asked you to restrict your jests to scientifically possible events."

"Ta," said Captain Watson with her hands on the doubled pistols in her belt. "But if I have to hear one more jackoff pirate ask me if I'm going to plead my belly, I'm going to get a bit annoyed."

They didn't have them walk the plank. For one thing they didn't do that in those parts. For another there was no prize money in that.

Captain Watson turned the pirates over to the crown's Beta representative, Mr. Holmes in Barbados. Betas were thought to be less likely to steal a cut. Not entirely the case in Captain Watson's experience.

Mr. Holmes said to Sherlock, "Mother has been asking after you. How shall I reply?"

"Eaten by kracken." Sherlock pulled her pouch of tobacco out of her sleeve and began pack her favourite clay pipe.

"Ah, well recovered from your fever of the winter, and the summer and spring before that, but still far too ill to return to England." Mr. Holmes nodded like the officious prick he was and had them sign paperwork for a goodly hour for their share of the prize money.

The prize was a good sum of money, and they took script good with the Bank of England rather walk around with it.

Jane started to ask Sherlock what she'd do with her share a half dozen times, but was afraid to blight the pleasant mood. Jane had done that well enough these nine months ago when she'd admitted in a moment maudlin weakness that she wished she could have a babe before she grew any more years older. That after years of privateering, she was beginning to wonder what it might be like to plant her feet on the ground. With no idea how such a change was to be done.

She linked her arm through Sherlock's. Their steps took them to the Jolly Mermaid, where they rented a room for the night and a hot bath for the afternoon. There was a package waiting for Sherlock, which was surprise enough, but they stayed there when they were in Bridgetown. A bottle of dark as molasses Mount Gay rum and a long soak. Sherlock's teeth clicked on the clay of her pipe, but she spent more time waving the end to some tune only she could hear than puffing away at it.

Finally Jane sent a splash at Sherlock. "You're quiet. I'd have expected you to be crowing with triumph. The ruse we used was your idea."

"Hmmm," was the only reply.

"What was in the package?" Jane splashed Sherlock again, trailing her foot below the water along the long line of Sherlock's legs.

"Ah…" Sherlock blinked and put the pipe in her mouth and pulled it out again. "Yes, the package." She blinked in one of those sudden storms that Jane loved to see. She sprang out of the tub, sending water splashing to the floor and was certainly a pleasant sight for Jane to see, if one of long acquaintance. She ripped it open and held in her hand a long thin cylinder attached to a delicate cage of looping shapes with a long handle beyond that.

Sherlock held it delicately in her slender hands. Always such a sensitive touch at whatever she did. Jane moved closer and tapped the tip of the thing. "What is it?"

Sherlock dipped it in the water and did something below the surface that had bubbles rising, then she held it up dripping. She gradually turned a screw at the base of the sphere and Jane laughed to see the loops shift and expand still forming a solid sphere, but twice again what it had been.

Sherlock said, "I should make a terrible parent, and have no skill as a farmer, but if a child is what you want, then I want to share that with you. It would be simpler just to find a sailor from the docks. We will still need someone to donate the seed for what we'd grow, but," Sherlock pressed a lever on the handle and water jetted out of the thing, she looked at Jane straight through, "I want to be the one to place that child in your belly."

Jane stood up and kissed Sherlock, because not to do so would have hurt too much. She whispered into her lover's lips, "Scientifically possible events?"

Sherlock put the thing down gently. "Where Nature supposes, humans propose new options." She climbed back into the bath and they made new waves. Crying out for each other like sea birds on a clear day who spot the shore.