Jordan was up in the crow's nest with the first mate, looking through a bring 'em near (telescope) for any other ships. In the distance, Jordan thought she saw a sail, and told the first mate, who cried, "Deck there!"
The Captain looked up and replied, "Deck here. What is it, Mr. Byrd?"
"There's a sail to the North-north-east, Cap'n."
"Can you see the flag?"
"Hm… No, I can't really see anything but red, blue, yellow, and brown."
"Hm, certainly isn't one of ours. Oh well."
The captain then ordered the cox's'n to go up and take his turn on watch, and the gunners to get the guns ready, just in case. After the Cox's'n had been there for one turn of the hourglass (a half-hour, really), he said, "It's a Charlton ship, sah! A forty-gun frigate-" A pop and flash of light from the frigate, and the cox's'n fell with a musketball in the throat. Captain Matthews feverishly told the bosun to pile on full sail, to attempt to run away. One shot, and the mizzenmast fell so it dragged it's sails in the water, slowing the ketch down considerably. The captain bellowed to the gunners, who had been standing at their posts, "Fire!"
BOOM said the frigate, and the ketch replied pop pop bang. The second shot from the frigate took part of the gunwhale with it to the bottom. The muskets from the frigate were wreaking havoc among the crew, who would rush to replace whoever was shot. The bosun howled, "Reef the main topsail!" before ducking into the cabin with the other officers. The ship's boys were still being used as powder monkeys. The frigate fired a broadside and turned back to the north-west. Puzzled, the captain looked out to assess the damage.
It had been a short but ferocious battle. No damage at all had been done to the frigate, but the sides had several holes in them and the mainmast had also gone by the board (fallen over the side). Men with axes chopped spars and yardarms off the masts for a potential jury-rig. Everyone took his turn at the pump and watch. The battle had been fought from about 2 o' clock to 3 o' clock, and they arrived in Aureolia streaked with sweat. They sold the ketch for wood and hired some more men to replace the ten or so lost in the battle with the frigate.
The now-reunited ship's boys sailed with their Captain. It had been about a year or so since the ship's boys had signed on, and they celebrated quietly.
The next day, a naval schooner sidled alongside, flying the flag of the Kingdom of Charlton. After the lieutenant that had been sent aboard to check for illegal cargo had swept the hold, he turned his back to walk across the plank to his ship when somebody shot him in the back and one of the barkentine's cannons fired, narrowly missing the schooner's mizzenmast, but ripping away a bit of the rigging. Another shot was better aimed, but it only nicked the top of the schooner's mainmast. Captain Matthews was standing just inside his cabin door and practicly screaming orders. "Fire a broadside!"
The barkentine's fifteen or so cannons fired an broadside, only ripping a hole just above the ship's waterline and practicly taking off the mizzenmast. The next shot was grapeshot from the schooner. All it did was scratch up the side and slay one of the gunners belowdecks. Jordan was looking back and forth feverishly for shelter when a musketball ripped by and ripped her sleeve. The next shot nearly hit her in the neck, so she lit out for the for'c'sle.
A bit of a storm had blown up, blinding the duelers. The captain, convinced that the schooner was lost, ordered the new cox's'n and the ship's boys stand on watch while everyone else slept or pumped.
Vincent, by far the smallest of the crew, had tied himself to the mast. The ship listed on her larboard side, sending crates and almost everything on the starboard side sliding over into the ocean. Vincent and Jordan had been standing next to each other and held on tight. Vincent's fingers slipped on the wet railing and fell into the ocean, yelling for help. The other ships boys cried, "Man overboard!" The cox's'n, who had been on the quarterdeck, ran over and tossed a rope towards where Vincent had last been seen, but he was lost. Everyone came out as the storm ended, and the Cox's'n related to the Captain how Vincent was gone. The captain nodded and turned his head as if looking for someone. His eyes lit on the carpenter and Roger and he bellowed, "Carpenter and you, Roger. Go see if anything needs repaired." Roger sniffed and headed off with the carpenter.
The next few days, Jordan continued 'the trick' as she called it, which meant changing clothes, taking bathes, and so forth belowdecks. One night after having to use her chamberpot, she decided to go up to the maindeck and look at the stars. It was a new moon, and she saw a lantern bob closer and closer until she saw Wyman holding it. He had apparently been on watch, and once he saw Jordan, his eyes opened wide and he started to call to the officer of the watch. Jordan had been focusing more on the stars than getting dressed, and managed to pull her shirt on before the officer of the watch came up (she had already put her pants on). The officer of the watch annoyingly asked, "What's the matter?…" Wyman replied that he was Wyman (the officer of the watch had forgotten his name) and said, "Jordan 'ere is a girl." The officer rolled his eyes and wanted to know how exactly did Wyman know? Wyman whispered something into the officer's ear, and the officer nodded and pretended that Jordan needed to go to her hammock. Jordan saw the two of them head towards the cabin.
A few days later, Malcolm ran in with a message that she was needed on the poopdeck right away. Curious, she ran out of the for'c'sle. The entire crew was gathered on the maindeck, but they parted and made an aisle once she appeared. From where she was standing, she could see the other ship's boys, Roger, almost as tall as the carpenter he was standing by, Malcolm, trying to wave to her, and Wyman, standing in the front row.
Captain Matthews shouted, "Now, I bring you together on a matter of great importance. Jordan here has been accused by Wyman the ship's boy as being a girl. I know she is, and I ask you what we should do with her." Jordan wondered how the Captain knew she was a girl, but dismissed that thought
And feverishly thought of what they would do with her. A smirking, tall topman suggested they throw her overboard. Several agreed, but one of the gunners said, "Is that would you would do to yer own children? How about dumping her at that one city were were at?" Almost everyone agreed with that and they disguised the ship as a peaceful merchant ship. Jordan was handed a small piece of paper shortly before she walked down the gangplank, and opened it to see that one of the ship's boys had written in a barely legible scrawl,
We wish you hadn't had to leave, but it had to happen.
Your brothers, Roger and Malcolm
Jordan turned to see Roger and Malcolm waving from the poop.