Summary: Wherein which Jack has not a clue where he is, and is called a Morporkian.
Disclaimer: Disney or Terry Pratchett owns these characters and the setting in which they live.
Notes: catslash is making me break one of my Cardinal Rules of Ficcing, and there aren't that many. She's asked me for a +gasp+ crossover between Pirates of the Caribbean and Discworld. And quite apart from the sheer logistics of this undertaking, writing decent Discfic is challenge enough. So here I present the prologue of this fic; it will, as with Midsummer, progress slowly.
Laws of Probability
Jack Sparrow loved the ocean as much as or more than any man ever had, but even he was prepared to admit that one patch of empty sea looked much like every other. It was the places where the sea wasn't empty that showed the shape of her, and Jack knew her islands and bays remarkably better than he knew the back of his hand.
Which made the entire bloody continent that had sprung up where bare mid-Atlantic should be . . . well, it made it very interesting.
Like any man of his day would, Jack made the rational assumption that this was the lost continent of Atlantis. It certainly fit the bill in that it had risen in the proper alliterative ocean, in a place where no continent should be. Upon closer scrutiny, though, he scrapped that notion. Whatever he'd imagined for a re-emerged Atlantis, it included at least slight dampness. This shore had the look of a place that had been the ocean's bone-dry other half for eons. It looked, actually, quite like the wrong end of Africa.
Which led to the logical question: What was I drinking while we went 'round the Ivory Coast, and how much is left?
But as the Black Pearl's crew lowered canvas to sail crossways to the wind, Captain Sparrow came to doubt even the improbable speculation that he'd just lost several months of sailing. He'd been all up and down the coast of Africa, and never seen that particular mountain range or that immense, solitary river.
Gibbs wouldn't look Anamaria in the eyes for a week; he only tossed her sideways glances full of disapproval and muttered. Bad luck to have a woman aboard, and what witchery she'd so obviously wrought!
The more popular theory, though, was that the storm they'd only weeks ago escaped had brought them spinning 'round to South America. There were said to be bloody great deserts once through the bloody great jungle, and perhaps these wastelands stretched all the way to the shore.
As they sighted distant ships, though, pirate blood got the better of their doubts. Best to board one and then find out where the hell they'd landed. Anamaria could speak the Spanish tongue, and Jack was almost comprehensible in French, so unless they'd come upon the Dutch they'd have the situation in hand.
These ships, like the continent, were unfamiliar on closer inspection. They had a queer shape that would've been reminiscent of a trireme if any of the pirates had ever clapped eyes on a trireme, but only one line of slots for oars on either side. The sails were also strange; the main sails were just off of square, and the long, skinny fore-and-aft sails looked to be designed to look sleek, not to guide the ship. Between the motley lot of them, the pirates had seen just about every vessel from Mexico to Cipangu, but this one was more foreign than funny yellow rice.
Fortunately, the pirate ship made exactly the same impression, and they only had to shoot one person before the crew was inclined to cooperate. They handed over their gold and silk with rebellious looks on their Indian-brown faces, and muttered amongst themselves.
It was at this point that the plan hit an unexpected snag--far from being Spanish or even French, their language sounded nearer to Arabic, and Captain Jack Sparrow called out over his crew for someone who at least knew what the merchants' curses meant.
At the sound of his voice, the chief merchant's eyes went suddenly bright. "A Morporkian pirate!" he shouted to his men, who hissed in unison.
Jack paused. He'd been called a lot of things in a lot of languages, but "Morporkian" was a new one, and he called Gibbs up to confer. If anyone knew pork, it was Joshamee Gibbs.
He looked at the dark-skinned traders, who knelt sullenly in neat little rows, and then whispered rather loudly to Gibbs, "Have you ever been called a Morporkian, Mr. Gibbs?"
"Can't say that I have, Captain."
Jack Sparrow sighed, rolling his eyes. "All right, then--where am I?" he asked, hands on his hips and chin lifted smartly. Old Norrington himself couldn't've done better.
The chief merchant looked startled. "Can't you tell, man? Klatch! And I suppose you plan to show me that 'Pirates' Guild license' and say that the government justifies your crimes? I will be sending a most severe note to Prince Casimir about the Morporkian threat in these waters!"
At this, Jack scratched his head. Apparently, "Morporkian" was some type of nationality.
And this nationality entirely supported piracy.
Jack was beginning to like . . . wherever he was.
"No Guild license yet, love. But y'see . . . my crew and I have lost our way, and we'll be liberating your navigator. We'll have the ambassador bring 'im back to you as good as new, and be seeing you again when we're legitimate, savvy?"
A little man in far too many sashes stood and came to kneel in front of the pirates. "I will take you to Ankh-Morpork, O Captain," he murmured.
"Gibbs! Return one chest for the loan of their navigator. We're going to Ankh-Morpork!"
And, though the crew erupted in cheers, Jack wondered what on Earth had happened to the Caribbean.
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