Captain's Association: A Duo with Espero and Surcouf!
Ciao, Capitano. It’s been quite some time, hasn’t it?
I should say, neither Espero nor I are quite sure what the Naval War College had in mind when they invited both of us to meet you here today.
Perhaps, Surcouf, they thought that if they invited us at the same time, they’d only have to deal with one day’s worth of robberies, instead of two.
Or, possibly they hoped that we would be too busy attempting to outthieve one another’s possessions to bother with stealing from the Capitaine and ship.
Myopic, if true.
Either way, we’ve brought with us the latest Belle exchange which will take place during the war. We hope you enjoy it.
And should you hear any suspicious noises while reading the following story, rest assured - everything is fine.
Belle Duos: Espero and Surcouf
Captain: Just the Belles I was looking for.
Surcouf: The timing of this is interesting.
Espero: Capitano, Surcouf and I were just finishing our humble meals, but if you wish to join us, you would be more than welcome. I heard the cook made one of your favorite-
Captain: Stop right there, Espero.
Surcouf: Did the Capitaine just interrupt you?
Espero: I believe the Capitano just interrupted me.
Captain: I apologize for interrupting you, but I know your ways, Espero. One second I have urgent business to discuss with you, and the next…
Surcouf: You’re eating a delicious pie?
Captain: And missing my wristwatch.
Espero: Well then, Capitano, tell me. What is your urgent business?
Captain: I have a fountain pen, one which once belonged to Julian Corbett, the naval strategist. It’s missing. And considering the two of you have well-documented issues with kleptomania…
Surcouf: Ha! You lost! What a shame, Espero. I would have thought you better than this.
Captain: … Lost?
Espero: Don’t you try that with me, Surcouf. You stole it, the Capitano noticed, and now you’re trying to shift the blame. Everyone knows you’d rather cheat than lose a contest.
Surcouf: I’ll grant you that, Espero. But upon what little honor I have, I swear that I was not the one to steal the Capitaine’s precious pen.
Captain: Hold on! Just, for one second, please.
Espero: … We might have said too much.
Surcouf: You think?
Captain: Did I hear you say the word… contest?
Captain: Out with it. Now.
Espero: Are you sure I can’t interest you in some pie first?
Captain: Oh, good grief. Surcouf, what’s the bottom line?
Surcouf: Espero and I made a contest of stealing things from your quarters. Whatever item you noticed missing first, its thief was the loser.
Surcouf: Judging by that particular facial expression, would you guess the Capitaine to be more flabbergasted or indignant?
Espero: I think exasperated likely hits closest to home.
Captain: You think? How long has this been going on?
Surcouf: A while.
Espero: Just a little while.
Surcouf: And it was all in good fun.
Espero: Really, Capitano, I think it was for the fleet’s benefit. We were able to hone certain skills of our that otherwise…
Captain: No. No, no, no.
Surcouf: I do think the Capitaine interrupted you again.
Espero: It looks as if it’s becoming an unfortunate habit.
Captain: Well if you think I’m going to apologize a second time, you can think again!
Espero: There’s that indignation you were looking for earlier.
Surcouf: I like my capitaines passionate. I can’t say that I mind.
Captain: What did the two of you steal?
Captain: I’d appreciate an answer, preferably before the vein in my forehead bursts.
Surcouf: You know that beautiful brass sextant you purchased a while back?
Espero: And after her success with the sextant, I felt it only right that I also steal a navigational tool. So that silver compass of yours has been in my possession for some time.
Surcouf: For my second theft, I wanted to see if a missing personal item would escape your notice. So, that old photograph of your childhood you keep tucked away in your desk? It is in my possession.
Espero: Then, I made off with that first edition of Moby Dick that you own.
Surcouf: Which, really Capitaine, you ought to look into less clichéd sorts of literature.
Surcouf: Anyway, then I stumbled upon that love letter that had been left for you by you-know-who…
Espero: And I stole your journal.
Surcouf: It was you that stole the journal?
Espero: Just earlier today, actually. The Capitano almost caught me, too.
Surcouf: What’s inside? Anything particularly juic-
Surcouf: Is there anything you would like to say?
1: No, that's all right. I'm really just delaying you both while your quarters are ransacked.
2: You should both know that you've each taken one item that's booby-trapped. I'm not telling you which.
3: I'm settling this now. Espero wins. Surcouf, you've been utterly defeated. Shamed, some might say.
4: I'm settling this now. Surcouf wins. Espero, I hope you can accept total, abject defeat with good grace.
5: I have a fountain pen, one which once belonged to Julian Corbett, the naval strategist. It’s missing. And considering the two of you have very well-documented issues with kleptomania…
Why Espero, it does look as if you managed to get away with my cigarette case.
Indeed… and is that my box of ammunition you’re holding behind your back?
I would say so.
Well, Capitaine, we do hope you’ve enjoyed today’s exchange.
We certainly have.
As always, you’re welcome to vote for your preferred ending to the above story.
Personally, I can’t wait to see how everything will play out. I wonder what happened to that fountain pen of the Capitaine’s?
Time will tell... if the Capitano’s lucky.