The tale of the HMS Anne
-No Use For a Name
"Life Sized Mirror"
Rev opened the door on the Captains room quietly. "Captain Yars?"
The tiger looked up from his writing. "Yes? I'm busy, can it wait?"
"Well, it's been waiting for a week." Rev said, closing the door behind him and removing his hat. "Isn't it usual custom to announce yourself to the ship's Captain if you can't ask for permission to board?"
"Not on this ship." Yars sneered back. "You've announced yourself, you're free to stay, and free to go about your business."
The rabbit watched Captain Yars scribbling on his book for a few moments. before he sat down in front of his desk. "Tell me, Captain. How much paperwork can a ship have that sails to no ports and has no goods to trade?"
"Look!" Yars yelled, slamming his paws on the table while standing up. "I have a lot of things to do today on this ship! You've told me you're here, you can carry on your business!" Yars sneered through his muzzle at the rabbit, who only shook his head and half closed his eyes.
"Too busy to even know your own crew?" Rev asked, shaking his head and standing up. "You have so many marvelous people on board, you should go about meeting them."
"What? And get offered sex every third step?" Yars leaned over the table. "I know my crew."
"Do you?" Rev asked, putting his hat back on. "I don't think you know them as well as you think." Rev walked to the door, then turned around. "Nor yourself." Yars stood behind his desk, fuming. "You know, if it were possible for one man to unfurl the sails I don't doubt any one of them would do it alone. But you know how sails are. They're heavy, clumsy, they never do exactly what you want them to do, and they need a crew to burden the load. And it's a lot easier to get a ship to sail smoothly when you have more than one person carrying the sail, you know. I have the quarters by the chapel, if you want to share the burden." He opened the door. "Good day, Captain Yars. A pleasure meeting you." Then he left.
The tiger growled to himself somewhat, then looked down to his log book. The pages were already shedding the letters he had written, Maria was placing them in the library for storage. That last part that Rev said stung the most. As he thought about it, he didn't know his new and growing crew anymore. He closed his log book, and left his cabin.
Rev was working on the sermon of this week. To his amazement, many of the men on board wanted to hear him talk. He decided that this week would cover a message of hope, and brotherhood. He didn't quite know what he was going to say, and was going through his Bible for inspiration. There was a knock on the door. "Yes?"
Captain Yars opened the door. "Permission to come inside?"
Rev looked up. "Well that depends on if you'll offer me sex every third step."
Yars shook his head as he walked in. "You were right. I don't know my crew anymore. It's changing."
"Does this bother you?" Rev asked, putting his Bible down.
"It bothers me when we get new crew members, yes." Yars said. Rev pointed to a chair, and the tiger sat down. "I still do not like my gilded cage, no matter how big it gets nor how many creatures are in it. We are a pressure cooker, it explodes regularly."
"I'm aware of the problems." Rev said. "I spent a day talking to the jackrats. They're very negative people."
"They're rats." Yars said. "We aren't men anymore. We are what we become."
"I don't agree." Rev said. "My appearance has changed, but I am still a man of my faith."
"Faith." Yars said with a scoff. "Whenever we take on more I see more proof that faith is unfounded."
"How do you mean?" Rev asked genuinely.
"When I first came on board this ship, I prayed for deliverance. I prayed for an escape. For two years I did this every night. Then when it didn't happen, I knew that I had been forsaken. We are all condemned to this purgatory on water." Yars tail flipped as he spoke.
Rev thought a moment, and leaned back in his chair. "When did you come aboard?"
"About fifteen years ago." Yars said with a sigh. "I was a part of a skeleton crew aboard the HMS Anne. We had been attacked already by a Spanish ship. We sunk her, but we were badly damaged. The Captain had flagged another ship, and we transferred the main crew to her. Which left just barely enough on board to bring the Anne home."
"Report!" cried out Captain Goetz.
"All hands safely off ship." Lieutenant Yars said. "If all goes to plan, we will be in port in a week."
"Good!" Goetz said. "Now the interesting part. Can we make it?"
"The crew we have left seems to think so." Yars said. He wiped his brow of sweat on his sleeve. "But, between you and me Captain, I'm more than a little worried about the repairs we've made so far. I think we may be sleeping on the top deck if we take on too much water."
Goetz let out a hearty laugh. "At least you can maintain your humor! I'll lay the order for hammocks on the deck if we need them. Meanwhile, prepare the sails."
"What's left of them, Captain! Aye Aye!" Yars sprung into action, getting his crew ready.
Yars twitched his ears and leaned back in his chair. "The other ships went before us, to prepare the workers for the ship and because we were too slow to keep up. It was the third day out that we spotted the Maria sailing at us, hard to starboard."
Rev nodded. "So what happened?"
"Captian!" the navigator cried out. "We're too far out to get help, we may be on our own."
Captain Goetz looked through the telescope himself, and looked over the ship. It was in good shape, and hoisted the "Jolly Roger". He cursed to himself. "It seems they want a fight men. How are the supplies?"
"We're low on cannonballs." Yars reported. "And powder. We have some pistols, a few rifles, but not much else. The last battle used up most of our supplies."
Goetz pursed his lips together. "Prepare for battle."
Rev nodded. "Can I assume it didn't go well?"
"Yes." Yars said, getting up to pour himself a glass of water. "The Maria rammed us. We had no ability to maneuver away. As badly damaged as The Anne was we could barely sail a straight line. We were sinking, and the Maria lowered ladders to us. At first we thought this was a show of compassion, until we came on board."
Yars climbed up to the top of the ladder, to be greeted by a blade point. He had expected that, but not what it was attached to. The rat man hissed at him as he slowly climbed over the railing. Without any words, what was left of the Anne's crew was rounded up, and placed on the aft deck.
A large rat man came out of the lower decks. He was dressed in blacks, starkly contrasting his pale skin. "I am Vermin, Captain of this ship. Who is the captain of your weak vessel?"
Goetz stepped forward without fear. "I am Captain Goetz, HMS Anne." He looked at Vermin defiantly.
"Not any more." Vermin spit out. "Now, you're going to be my little prisoners." Many of the Anne's survivors tried to make a break for it, to at least dive over the side. Other rat men stabbed them, and herded them into a circle. "One more outbreak like that, and I'll have you all killed. Is that clear?" The Anne's crew mumbled. "I see you don't take me seriously." Vermin pointed at Goetz. "Strip him."
Several rats descended on Goetz, using daggers and knives to cut his clothing off. They left him unscratched, but naked. Goetz looked to his men. "Stand fast men." he said, retaining some dignity in his voice. "We will not be intimidated."
"Oh, you will." Vermin said. "Rope him." The rats then expertly fastened ropes to Captain Goetz's arms and legs, and pulled the ropes taught. "You are going to learn a lesson in who's in charge here." Vermin held out a hand, and a whip was placed into it. He stepped back, and as his crew watched him Captain Goetz was whipped. And again. And again. And again. Repeatedly the whip found the bare flesh of the Captain as his blood flowed onto the wood.
Lieutenant Yars watched in horror as his Captain was being skinned by the whip. He looked at the guards around him, and started thinking of his options. If he tried, would he get to the Captain before they could kill him? Would his crew help him? Could he disarm the guard and get a weapon first?
Captain Goetz was in obvious agony, hanging by his wrists. He closed his eyes, and summoned every ounce of control to not scream in pain. "I want to hear a scream." Vermin hissed, bringing the whip down on the Captain. "I'll end this when I hear you scream!" After ten minutes of this torture, the Captain looked at his crew, pleading for strength from his men. Most of the crew looked down on the deck, defeated. The Captain was hit one more time, and wailed out a cry of agony before collapsing into his bonds.
Vermin coiled up the whip, dripping in the Captain's blood. "There, that was easy, wasn't it?" He motioned, and the Captain was dropped onto the deck with an unceremonious thud. Vermin walked around to look at the Captain, and knelt down next to him. "But, I really don't think you've really had the fight taken out of you yet. It took me too long to get that from you. You could have screamed, but you didn't. I'll have to break you personally." He stood up, and looked to his rats. "Prepare him."
The Anne's crew watched in horror as their captain was lifted up onto a railing, and toed down to it bent at the waist. "What's he doing?" "He's not." and other whispers of disbelief were heard. Finally, Captain Goetz was restrained, breathing hard, and bleeding profusely.
"Now, I will show you all my power on board this ship!" Vermin said, as he untied the strands from his pants. As he eyed Goetz, an erection pointed out from his sheath. The men gasped as they watched their Captain get impaled by the rat in one fast motion. Goetz screamed in pain as the rat forced himself into the man. In a very few strokes, the Anne's crew saw something that at first they couldn't believe. Their Captain looked up at them, and his face was getting longer. Soon his teeth became more pronounced as a tail snaked out from between his legs. Vermin grabbed the tail, and pulled it as it grew. Goetz screamed in agony as his nails grew into claws, and his body grew a coat of fur.
"OH yeah!" Vermin yelled out. "You'll be one of my rats now! As soon as I cum in you!" The rape lasted for agonizing minutes, and the Anne's crew could only watch in horror. Goetz's transformation was almost complete, as Vermin dug his claws into the raw flesh of the bound one, and he held on with all his might, climaxing into the now fully transformed rat. Vermin shuddered as the Anne's crew watched their captain's form stop shifting.
The crew looked at the spectacle, astonished. They couldn't believe what they just saw, let alone the circumstances. Their captain, a man a few moment before, was now a rat man. Was this to be all their fates? What sort of magic was this?
Vermin pulled out of the Captain, casing Goetz to snarl in pain. Venom's shaft was still dripping as he walked around in front of the bound rat. "Now, who's the Captain?" Goetz summoned all his strength, and spit into Vermin's face. Vermin wiped it off deliberately. "There's always one." He flashed his claws, and with a sheet of blood Goetz's throat was slashed. Captain Goetz tried to hold onto life, but in moments, he lost the fight, his lungs gurgling in blood as his body gave out.
Goetz's limp body hung on the railing as Vermin turned around to look at the shocked crew. He held up his hand, covered in their captains blood, then looked at the Anne's crew. "So, who's next?"
Yars sipped his water slowly. Rev took in a deep breath. "You were mad."
"I can't describe what I was." Yars said deliberately. "I was humiliated. I was infuriated. I was enraged. And I was mad at myself for not lifting a finger. And I felt something happen inside, my humanity let go." Yars looked out the window of the Rev's quarters. "All my military life had not prepared me for seeing that. I don't know what really happened, but in my mind I knew that I would rather die on my own terms than have that happen to me." Yars clenched a fist with his paw.
"So what did you do?" Rev asked.
Yars closed his eyes but stood with his head high. He took in a deep breath, and quietly replied "Something inhuman."
Lieutenant Yars clenched his fist in rage, looking right at Vermin. In that moment, he felt a power surge through his body. His eyes glinted in the sunlight as a change took place in him. From deep in his gut, he felt a growl, which escaped his lips in a full roar. One of the rat guards looked at him, unsure of what was happening. Yars pounced on him, placing his hands around it's throat and digging his fingers in.
Vermin looked at the struggle with an amused look. "Now now. You now you can't beat us, surrender yourselves now and…" He never finished his thought as Yars dug his claws into the rat, clenched his voice box, and pulled it out in one move. He stared in amazement at his blood soaked hand. The rat's knees buckled as his body collapsed with a river of blood pouring from the claw wound The moment of silence was deafening, until Vermin yelled "GET HIM!"
His adrenaline surging, Yars could feel the slashes on his sides as knives crossed his body over and over. The pain actually fed his rage, and gave him even more energy and power. As Yars's clothing was cut away from him, the Anne's crew gasped, seeing not blood, but black stripes all along the sides of his body. Yars let out a defiant roar, his muzzle formed to focus the sound. His rage fed him as his white paws turned red, slashing with his claws into another rat.
"They bleed!" Yars yelled, staring at his crew. The crew looked at the forming tiger in awe, his gold eyes shining in the light. "ATTACK!" The Anne crew snapped to the realization and leapt into action. The brawl was on. As Yars pushed forward, the power he felt began to overwhelm him, and he found himself enjoying the carnage he gave from his own claws. His muscles pumped and got larger with each move, with each blow given and each received. As his ears re-formed onto the tops of his head, he could hear moves behind him and could compensate. His hind paws shifted, and his legs became the explosive coils of a predator. His orange fur grew off set from the black stripes and white underbelly.
Yars continued to change as he fought, his thick hide protecting him from some of the attacks. Soon, both paws were covered in blood, and his body fur was stained deeply. His digigrade feet were also soaked as he walked over bodies and the wounded. By the time he reached Vermin, his muzzle was in a sneer, ears flat against his head, his whiskers tucked into his muzzle, and his tail thrashed from side to side. Yars climbed up to the rail Vermin still stood behind with purpose. His eyes never wavered from a predator's stare, never looking away from Vermin. He growled as he got closer "Now. You die."
Vermin dropped the whip, and picked up a dagger from his belt, and just motioned for Yars to come in. Yars led with his left, Vermin used his hand to push the tiger to the ground. Yars somehow knew the move was coming, and grabbed Vermin's left wrist as he went past. The two spun in place, tangling in each other, both wrestling for position. Vermin attempted to bring up his right hand, with the dagger, but couldn't get any power into the move. "I didn't know you cared." Vermin said with a grimace.
There was no answer, except Yars used his free paw to claw Vermin's face, digging in as deep as he could. The rat yelled in pain, his eye shredded in the socket by the tiger's claws. Yars could sense the kill of his prey, and pushed himself and the rat over the rail. They both fell onto the main deck, Yars taking a blow to the side from Vermin's knife. Yars then raised his knee into the crotch of the rat with all the force he could muster. Vermin screamed as Yars raked his hind claws along the rat's groin and sunk his claws in, ripping flesh from flesh. Vermin was in shock, and didn't have the faculties to move. Yars then pressed his powerful jaws into the throat of the rat to deliver the death bite. He could taste the fear, drunk on the power of his new form. The tiger clenched his jaws as tight as he could.
"But when I did that, nothing happened." Yars said bluntly. "I feel anything snap or break. I didn't cause him any real harm." Yars looked at the rabbit sitting across the room. "And the worst part of it all as that I was mad, because I could not kill him." He took in a deep breath. "I wanted his blood. I wanted to feed on his flesh. In that moment, I was an animal. I was not a man anymore, and I knew my life had changed."
"Why couldn't you harm him?" Rev asked, feeling self conscious.
"Has anyone explained the rules to you?" Rev nodded. "For the first half hour, you can be killed or injured. This happened just as 30 minutes ended. Had I been faster, I would have killed him." Yars sat down next to Rev again. "And I was mad that I could not do it. I knew I was hurting him with the bite, I could feel his screams but I couldn't kill him. But it wasn't enough." Yars looked idly at his paw, remembering. "I wanted more from him. And I took it."
Yars fists crashed down again and again on Vermin. "SCREAM YOU BASTARD!" Yars demanded. He had straddled Vermin's chest to pin him while he slammed his rage into the rat's face and muzzle. "SCREAM LIKE YOU MADE THE CAPTAIN SCREAM YOU BASTARD!" Blow after blow, hit after hit, the tiger focused all his anger into the face of the rat. All other fighting slowed down, and all focus was on the tiger and the rat. The rat wasn't moving, and the tiger was not stopping his attacks. He never noticed when everyone stopped, and the air was silent except for the tiger's screaming and the sickening sound of fists on bloody fur.
"Lieutenant!" Yars snapped out of his rage at the order, falling back on his military training. Yars still stared at Vermin, breathing hard, his hind claws still buried in the flesh of the rat. "You got him Lieutenant." Yars slowly looked up at one of the other officers, a man named Fred. "He's finished." Fred's facial features were rounder, his nose upturned and slightly blackened. Fred's ears had a definitive point to them as well. His body hair had also begin to brindle, giving a slightly mottled appearance. Yars took in the moment, using both paws to shove the rat to the ground still bleeding and unconscious.
Fred helped him stand up, and Yars looked down at Vermin. He took in a deep breath, and winced at the pain in his side. "You're bleeding." Fred said.
"I know." Yars replied. "Is it bad?"
"No." Fred said. Yars looked at the dagger, soaked in blood. His blood. He knew that Fred was probably lying to keep him from panicking, but he didn't really care anymore. There were things to do before he bled to death.
He then turned to look at the form of what was his Captain. He looked to his crew, numb to the world. "Help me take the Captain down." Several others, now in various states of transformation, removed the ropes and brought Captain Goetz's body to rest on the deck with great respect. With the exception of the open wounds on his back, he was almost indistinguishable to the other dead rats on board. The Anne's crew had already rounded up the other rat men.
"What should we do with them?" Frank asked.
Yars looked at the crew, and then at Fred. "We should find the brig." Yars said, catching his breath. "And put them into it. We can figure out who needs medical attention after that."
"They obviously didn't stay there." Rev said. "I met Vermin on the first day I was on board."
Yars shook his head. "We couldn't keep them there, Maria is a big ship and we needed the crew. But they sat in there for a few months. When we found the brig, we discovered the Maria's original crew there. Vermin had locked them up for a week before they found us limping to port. The rats assumed we would surrender, and let them take us."
"Why didn't you?" Rev asked.
"Queen and country." Yars said. "At least that's what I tell myself." Yars sat back down. "I only fought back when Vermin killed my Captain. To this day, I can't help but think that if I had acted sooner, he would be alive."
Rev thought about that a moment. "He meant that much to you?"
Yars nodded. "He was the first I served under as an officer, he taught me many lessons. I looked to him as a mentor, not just my captain. I just wish his last hadn't cost him his life."
Rev let that sit a moment, then finally asked "So you became captain of this ship then?"
"No." Yars said. "When we freed the crew we found the captain of the Maria, and began asking questions."
"We took them on two weeks ago." Rose said, twitching her long ear. "We thought they would fit right in, until they all changed into the rats. When they figured out they couldn't die, they overpowered us. They took over the ship, put us all down in the cells, and took over."
Yars nodded. "I would like to ask permission to remain on board, until we can get to a port. I seemed to have changed into this… body… But the men who haven't may want to try to…" The tiger looked into the horse's eyes, and saw a moment of heart break. "You know something I don't?"
"We have a lot to discuss." Rose said softly. "Your permission to remain on board is, unfortunately, granted."
"We talked well into the night." Yars said. "The rules, the story of Maria, the ship's logs, the hierarchy of command, it was all explained to me. We also decided on a few methods of dealing with new crew members." Yars sighed. "It may seem barbaric to lock up the pirates in the brig, but if we let them run the ship, and they realized they can not be harmed, they would do what Vermin did. Use force to take the ship over. Maria eventually has a way of changing the minds of men, and they lose some of their fight after some time." Yars looked into his glass. "Some, anyway. Many of the jackrats never lose it all. I think that's Vermin's doing."
Rev nodded. "And myself? Why wasn't I in the brig?"
"My guess is Maria did that." Yars said. "When the Jezzibelle was absorbed into the Maria, you were in the Jezzibelle. Since Maria couldn't use you to build her ship, she placed you into a room. Vermin smelled fresh meat, and went in to find you." Rev raised an eyebrow. "I told you before, I know my crew. And when Vermin does something, I hear about it. For some reason he has the ability to create more rats, it doesn't matter who, but it seems that anyone he takes becomes a rat like him. It's why the jackrats are so prominent."
"Why did you release him?" Rev asked. "If he's so dangerous…"
"He is, but I also put a fear into him." Yars said. "My first day on board and I took an eye, crushed then severed one of his testicles, and beat him to unconsciousness in front of his old crew of pirates." Yars smiled to himself. "I made an impression on him. We've had our… disagreements. And I've put him back into line more than a few times." Yars looked to the ground, then back up to the rabbit. "And I've enjoyed each and every time I have. I feel the bloodlust, and I always feel like I can tear him to ribbons. And I've tried. How I am now is a façade. It's not real. What is real is my heart, and my heart is one of an animal."
Yars used a paw to lift some fur from his arm. "This is real. This is what I am now. You know I still can't wear shoes because I doesn't feel right." Yars paused, and closed his eyes. "On the sail home on the Anne I was hoping to make it back home. My fiancé was waiting for me, and with my commission I knew I could afford the wedding we wanted. We would be married, I would sail but come home to her, she'd have my children, we could be happy together. But I know how sailing is. After two years even the most beloved start to look away. It's been almost fifteen years now. I wonder if she's married, if she has children, if she's happy with whoever she's with."
"Would you go to her?" Rev asked.
"In a heartbeat." Yars said, without hesitation. "But not like this. She wouldn't take an abomination of nature like me as her husband. My place is the jungle, or a zoo, not with her. I'm an animal, I can feel that within me."
Rev put his paw on the tiger's paw. "I understand about love lost. Possibly more than you can imagine. But I can tell you this." He looked into the tiger's golden eyes, directly. "Sometimes, you need to accept what the Lord has given you, and make the most out of what you have."
"I don't need religion." Yars said.
"It's not religion." Rev said. "It's advice, man to man." Yars opened his muzzle, and Rev interrupted "Fine, rabbit to tiger then."
Yars shook his head "You are a piece of work."
Rev grinned, sowing his bucked front teeth. "You should hear my sermons." They both laughed a little bit. "Well, you're laughing. That's more than Ironbar said I could do."
"You've talked to Frank?" Yars asked, his cracking voice betraying his cool demeanor.
"Oh yes!" Rev said. "Seems that you and him go far back! He spoke a lot about you, the lieutenant who aspired to be captain someday. It seems he misses the man he knew long ago, but not the man who runs this ship now." Yars nodded, his eyes closed, taking in what the rabbit was saying.
Later that night, Ironbar was laying in his bunk. The newest recruit ended up being a cat, not a dog like they all thought he would be. But the Jason was so playful when he changed the Howlers collectively fell in love with him. Ironbar didn't bring him into the crew, but the gray striped cat did spend time with him, teasing and pleasing the great dane while he did the same for the gray striped cat. For a new cat he had a lot of energy, and a wonderful muzzle for kissing and sucking. Ironbar looked around, and saw the new recruit was cuddled with the dalmatian named Duke, the two of them tied together, sleeping back to belly.
Ironbar was naked under his bed sheet as he closed his eyes. Ironbar was starting to doze off, when he heard a deep rumbling voice. "Aren't you supposed to salute when the Captain is on deck?"
The great dane opened his eyes slowly, and looked at the tiger standing in front of him. "Normally, I would think about it, but this is a no salute area. You know that." he said lazily. Ironbar shifted over, and the tiger sat down on the side of the bunk. "What are you doing down here? Don't you have a ship to run?"
"I do." Yars said. "But I think that I've been taking more time with Maria, and not my crew." Yars laid down next to Ironbar. "And it's probably time to rectify that."
Ironbar shifted to accommodate, and stroked the tiger's paw and forearm gently. "You talked to Rev, huh?"
Yars nodded. "I didn't realize how much I missed you until he pointed out that you missed me." Yars ran his paw over the chest of the great dane, feeling his muscles. "Sometimes you need that perspective to remember your priorities." Yars put his head on Ironbar's shoulder. "And remember where you need to be, not just where you have to be."
Ironbar smiled, while Yars purred softly. Ironbar began to unbutton the tiger's jacket, and gave him a soft kiss on the muzzle. "So do you think we can make up finally?"
Yars nodded. "I think we can, Frank. I'm willing to if you are." The dane nodded, and Yars nodded with him. Frank finished unbuttoning the tiger's jacket, then untied his pants, and hung them both on a hook next to the bunk. Yars pulled up the sheet, and the two nuzzled with each other fur to fur into the night.
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Being a work of fiction, none of the characters herin
are based on a real person (Save the narrator and one other person...)
And similarity to any person alive, dead, undead or unalive is coincidental,
totally. However, if you see yourself or someone you know in a character
be honored. You've been immortalised.