"Welcome aboard my ship, gentlemen. The people I need to speak to now are your commanding officers.” There was silence. Brienne stared at the prisoners, and the prisoners stared back. Some openly defiant, others blank-faced or resentful. “Oh, come on now, gentlemen, who is in charge?” she asked again, wearily. Brienne sighed at the lack of response and fingered the restraints she held loosely in her right hand. “Do I need to remind you of the Stormlands habit of executing random individuals until a commanding officer steps up?” Brienne needed no reminders. It had turned her stomach as a cadet. She had other methods to secure cooperation, but first she needed to get her hands on whoever was in control of that ship. “You have two minutes, time starts…” A man stepped forward, breaking rank, followed shortly after by another. The first of the two men was slightly taller than his companion, broad shouldered with golden thick hair that brushed the collar of his tight-fitting black shirt. With a single look he communicated an air of superiority that annoyed Brienne instantly, exuding a confidence that no one —and more particularly at this moment in time, Brienne—was a threat to either himself or whatever business had brought him to the borders of Stormlands space despite the fact she had just shot his ship to pieces. The second man was just as lean and only an inch or so shorter than his arrogant shipmate, but with a shock of red blonde hair cut to fall no lower than his ears. He had bright hazel eyes that roamed the room continuously, and although he seemed to lack the supreme assurance of his colleague, Brienne could not miss the intelligent calculation in his gaze. These two were clearly trouble.
“So, Captain… er…?”
“Captain Tarth , I wish I could say it was a pleasure.” The golden-haired one smiled politely but the smile fell short of his incredibly green eyes. Brienne observed the expression on his face with a studied measure of detachment, aware that even his rather unpleasant smile had an unwelcome effect on her pulse. “Your reputation precedes you in these parts.” Brienne ignored his words. She knew she had a reputation. She had spent years fostering it. “And you are?”
“Lannister…and this my cousin, also called”—he turned to his companion—“Lannister. We would like to be returned to our ship immediately.”
Typical, just what she needed, a bunch of inbred Westerlanders!
Brienne found herself irritated by the fact the blond did not even give her a full name, even though he must know she was the commander of the vessel that had just captured his ship. He had also given no rank although his name sounded suspiciously familiar. “Our ship’s systems indicate several salvage pirates are already starting to circle our location. I would not be so keen to return to a crippled ship without the means to repair it if I were you.” She considered prompting him for a first name but decided against it. Brienne was not about to give him further opportunities to be clever at her expense. “Of course you can return to your ship shortly if you tell us your business in the area, and provide us with the relevant codes so we can check your story against your ship’s records,” Brienne replied crisply. “You may even find us generous enough to offer repairs and assistance.”
The second-in-command Lannister gave an unmistakeable snort of disbelief but the breathtakingly handsome, green eyed Lannister simply gave a small, humourless smile. “Both you and I know, Captain Tarth, that I am in no way obliged to comply. I was not in Stormlands controlled space when you attacked us, so I am perfectly within my rights to refuse you.”
“I pursued you from a restricted zone and have arrested you here because you are now in restricted space,” Brienne insisted, resisting the urge to raise her voice as she felt a flicker of annoyance lick at his calm intransigence. “Why had you crossed to that position within the border zone at all if not to cross into Stormlands space directly?” Jaime simply stood with folded arms. “If you have nothing to hide then you should have no problem with answering any questions we put to you,” Brienne persisted. No answer, so she turned to his companion,“So, have you anything to add to your colleague’s explanation?” A slow, lazy smile spread across the other man’s face as he simply added, “No. Jaime’s in charge.” Brienne took a deep breath. Perhaps it was simply too much to expect to capture a Westerlander privateer vessel, and gain a full confession from the crew all in one day.
Captain Brienne Tarth gave a long sigh and crooked a finger at the individual she now knew to be called Jaime Lannister, “Follow me,” she told him.
His friend went to follow, but Brienne stopped him with a hand to his chest.
“Not you,” she told him nodding at the tall scowling figure of Jaime Lannister by his side, “He’s the one I want.”