Joshua Johnson, Stanly Bromly's father-in-law, had to return to San Francisco to attend the memorial service for an old and dear friend of the family. His wife, Elizabeth was going with him, but Elizabeth, Stanly's wife was not going because her consumption was acting up again.
The Johnsons and the Bromlys had moved to San Diego from San Francisco because of the younger Elizabeth's illness. The doctors she consulted felt that the drier and warmer climate of San Diego would be better for her health. So far, for the most part, they had been correct. Nevertheless, Elizabeth was coughing again, so Stanly didn't want to take the chance on her getting worse.
The Johnsons decided to take a ship to San Francisco as the only way they could hope to get there in time for the memorial service, since they could not possibly make the journey in time for the funeral. They sailed on a coastal schooner which regularly made the trip between Colombia and San Francisco, mostly carrying gold seekers, but carrying other passengers as well. The ship also carried a small quantity of high-value freight.
Word came about 2 weeks later that the ship had been boarded by pirates based on the channel islands just west and north of Los Angeles. The passengers were being held for ransom. Any that weren't ransomed within 4 more weeks would be sold as slaves in China. A contact for paying the ransom in Los Angeles was supplied. The prisoners were to be released as soon as the ransom was paid.
Stanly hastily gathered the money for the ransom and rushed to Los Angeles to beat the deadline. He made it with a few days to spare and escorted his in-laws home to San Diego. However, Stanly Bromly was not one to stand still for this kind of outrage. He got all of the details he could from Joshua Johnson and made ready to visit the pirates on San Christabel Island.
Of course, none of his family wanted him to go, but Stanly could not be dissuaded. He considered this to be an attack on his honor as a gentleman which he could not ignore. His wife finally gave in when she saw that argument was hopeless.
Stanly gathered his kit which he had used in his fight with the Sidney Ducks and added some additional items he thought would be helpful on this adventure. Foremost was a hand grenade with a contact fuse of his own invention. All he had to do was arm it and throw it to produce a very satisfactory explosion. It was rigged so that it would explode no matter what angle it made on contact with a solid object, and it was sensitive enough to explode from an impact equivalent to being dropped about 10 feet.
Stanly took the next schooner to Los Angeles, half in hope that they would be attacked by the same pirates as before. No such luck, so he disembarked in Los Angeles and arranged to journey to San Christabel on his own. He bought a skiff suitable for crossing the channel; he had learned to sail small boats as a child in Virginia.
The skiff was larger than the minimum necessary to make the trip, just in case he needed the extra capacity for his return trip. Stanly loaded the skiff with his kit, plus plenty of food and water, and left after dark. His skiff was painted dark blue and the sail was also dark blue, so, when he was wearing his black "working clothes," Stanly and the boat were virtually invisible to the casual glance.
He reached San Christabel before dawn and sailed into a grotto accessible only from the water. He was running out of the dim light provided by the moon and stars just as he ran aground on a small sandy beach inside the grotto. Satisfied that he wouldn't be seen from the ocean, Stanly anchored to the beach and went to sleep.
Stanly slept the day through. He woke up and ate a quick breakfast before donning his kit of weapons and sailing out of the grotto in search of a convenient way to reach the pirates' stronghold. Actually, more than one band of pirates lived on the island, and Stanly, in a fit of civic virtue, decided to eliminate all of them. The truth of the matter was that he had no way of knowing which band of pirates was the one that had captured the Johnsons, so he would solve that conundrum by eliminating all of them.
Stanly planned to spend the first night looking the place over, before formulating a plan of attack. He needed to know how many pirate bands were on the island and how they were distributed. He also needed to know how formidable were their strongholds. He doubted that he could accomplish much by a head-on attack; he planned to use guile instead if brute force.
The first pirate group he found appeared to be so inept that he almost pitied them. They were a group of five men living on a disreputable hulk of a boat that looked more like a pile of flotsam than a serviceable ocean-going vessel. Stanly wondered how they survived as pirates, since their vessel certainly wouldn't intimidate anybody. Stanly shook his head and marked them for destruction the first night of his attack, since he could take them out in only a few minutes, but, for now, he needed to continue reconnoitering.
He sailed around the coast of the island for less than two miles when he found a much more prosperous-looking band of cutthroats. This looked like at least 30 men and a very large boat, almost a ship, tied up to an impressively built wharf. There was an associated warehouse right on the dock and 2 more buildings farther up the beach. One building looked like a jail and the other appeared to be a fort. This looked like it was probably the gang who had captured the Johnsons.
It was hard not to stop here, but he convinced himself to keep going. Stanly had gone about 3 miles before he found another pirate gang. This one appeared to be prosperous enough, but nowhere near the previous group. There appeared to be about 10 men in this gang, and their boat was smart and sharp. Yes, this was a gang well worth revisiting, but not tonight. He kept going.
He was nearly back to his starting point when he found the fourth party, and party was the right word. They had a roaring fire going and half a dozen naked women were dancing around it as 8 men cheered them on. As Stanly watched, one of the dancers appeared to stumble from exhaustion and an onlooker stood up and swung a long whip at her. He caught her on her bare breasts and drew blood and a scream of raw pain. This was more than Stanly could stand!
Stanly immediately ran his skiff onto the beach and ran close to the merrymakers. He paused and drew one of his throwing knives. He released the knife as the man with the whip drew back for another swing. The knife caught him in the chest and buried itself to the hilt.
The man gurgled some intelligible words and fell over on his face. Those of the other men who happened to notice the fall of the man apparently attributed the fall to too much drink and continued to party. Stanly realized that he was now committed, so he preceded to take out the rest of the buccaneers. The men were so drunk that they were really no problem, so he drew his short sword and waded in to chop them to pieces.
The women saw Stanly and screamed as he deftly removed the head of the nearest pirate. Stanly didn't pause, or even slow down, as he attacked the next man in line. This one he stabbed in the gut hard enough to have the point come out of the man's back. Stanly twisted the sword as he pushed at the man with his foot to force him off the sword. Three down, and five to go.
Stanly suddenly noticed that the last man in line had struggled to his feet and was pointing a pistol in Stanly's direction. Stanly wasn't worried about being shot by the drunken man, but he didn't want the sound of a gun shot. This might attract the attention of additional pirates from this band who could show up at an inconvenient time. Therefore, Stanly paused long enough in his sword play to use another of his throwing knives. This one caught the man in the throat and stopped him in his tracks. He, too, gurgled a bit, but had nothing coherent to say as he died.
Meanwhile, the man nearest to Stanly had enough time to get to his feet and draw a wicked looking knife. It was not comparable to Stanly's short sword, but would be completely effective if he could get a chance to use it. Stanly backed off a half-step to move out of range of the other man's knife and flicked his wrist. This caused his blade to rip through the muscles on the man's thigh. The man now had no support for his right side and toppled over. On his way down, Stanly flicked his wrist again, cutting the man's throat and nearly removing his head. Two more down, and three to go.
Stanly had two more of his throwing knives, but there were three opponents left. That meant he had to kill at least one of his remaining opponents with his sword. That shouldn't be a problem. He attacked the next man as he, too, tried to wield a knife. A knife in the hand of a drunken man has no chance against a sword in the hand of a sober killing machine. Stanly almost casually knocked the knife aside as he bore in on the hapless pirate. A decisive swing of the arm and the pirate had no head.
The next man had a more formidable weapon, a chunk of wood. If he could somehow force Stanly to use the edge of his sword against the wood, the pirate had a chance to disarm Stanly. This would be tricky, but it was the only chance the pirate had to save himself. He stabbed at Stanly's face with the wood as if it was a sword, forcing Stanly either to dodge or to strike at the wood with his sword. Stanly chose to strike with his sword, but used the flat instead of the edge. Stanly's sword slid down the piece of wood into the arm of the pirate. The man dropped the wood with a scream of pain which Stanly silenced with a stab into the pirate's chest. Seven down, and one to go!
The last man had time to arm himself with a more substantial weapon, a cutlass. The cutlass had a greater reach than Stanly's short sword, but was really a chopping weapon, not a stabbing weapon. Therefore, the wielder of the cutlass was forced to open up his guard as he tried to chop down on Stanly's head. Stanly reacted immediately to this opening and stepped close to the other man. Stanly jammed his sword into the other man's gut to the hilt before he could complete his upswing, much less, bring a chop down on Stanly.
Eight down, are there any more? Stanly looked around and saw no more viable enemies. The women were staring at Stanly as if seeing a demon incarnate. He said to them first in English, and then in Spanish, "Ladies, I am here to rescue you, not to harm you."
At this, all of the women rushed at him and smothered Stanly in hugs and kisses. Now, Stanly appreciated a naked woman hugging and kissing him as much as the next man, but there was still danger about. They were also jabbering at him in Spanish, so he said, in Spanish, "Quiet please, I need your help. Are there any other bad men around here that I need to kill?"
They all pointed to the large boat anchored offshore, but close by. Stanly was finally able to make out that two men had four women with them on the boat.
"Do you have any clothes?" Stanly asked the women. They shook their heads to say no. "In that case, take what you need from the dead men and wait for me here. I'll be back as soon as I can." He recovered his two throwing knives and returned to his skiff.
Stanly lowered the sail and rowed out to the anchored vessel. He tied his boat next to a boat already tied to the large boat and climbed aboard the larger boat by means of the rope ladder hanging over the side. Once aboard, Stanly drew his sword and looked around for any enemies. Not seeing any, he crept over to the ladder going below. He heard a man laughing and a woman screaming from one of the cabins just out of sight from his position.
Stanly cautiously descended the ladder and made his way toward the noise. It was coming from what he assumed to be the captain's cabin at the after end of the boat. He could hear one man laughing and another man grunting. There was the sound of four women crying as Stanly eased open the door. One naked man was on a bunk raping a naked woman while two women were cowering as far from the other man as they could get.
The second naked man was drinking from a liquor bottle while he was standing in front of a kneeling woman who was madly sucking on his cock. Stanly took his sap from his belt with his left hand and hit the standing man just over his left ear as hard as he could with the sap. The man fell on the woman who was so frightened that she kept right on sucking.
Stanly returned his sap to his belt and stabbed the other man in the side just below the ribs. He angled the blade up so that it pierced the man's diaphragm, his left lung, and his heart. The man was dead so quickly that he never knew what happened. He came unplugged from the woman as he fell to the deck.
Stanly shouted to the women, "LISTEN TO ME!" They all looked at him in fear and surprise. He said in a more normal voice, "I am here to rescue you. Do you have any clothes to wear?"
All the women stared at him stupidly for a minute, then one of the women said, "Those bastards have kept us naked for days. We don't have any clothes any more."
"In that case, look around this boat. I am sure that you can find something to wear. I'm going to sail this boat to Los Angeles, but I will need your help to do so. We'll sell the boat there, and you women can share the money. I'm coming back to kill the rest of the pirates on the island."
Again, Stanly was swamped by appreciative naked women who hugged and kissed him. He "endured" this treatment for a few minutes and then shooed them out to find clothes. While they were gone, Stanly assured himself that both pirates were dead.
A few minutes later, the four women came back, dressed in men's clothes. They were delighted to be assigned the task of throwing the two bodies over the side. Stanly ordered them to remain on board while he brought out the other women still on shore.
Once all the women were aboard, Stanly made sure that they had adequate clothes, and then assigned them various tasks to help him sail the boat to Los Angeles. Fortunately, they had a favorable wind and were anchored in the harbor before the sun rose. Stanly ordered the women to stay on board while he made the arrangements ashore.
He was back aboard before noon with 10 full sets of women's clothes which he distributed to the women with instructions to put them on. They went below and changed clothes. When they came back, he gave each of the women a bag containing gold coins, more money than any of them had ever seen. Stanly explained that he had decided to keep the boat for himself, and the money was to pay them for their share of the prize. He then sent them ashore on a small boat rowed by two men who operated a water taxi and had brought him out to the boat.
A short while later, the water taxi returned with 6 men Stanly had hired to be captain and crew for his new boat he dubbed "Elizabeth" in honor of his wife. Stanly had the new crew familiarize themselves with the Elizabeth while they sailed back to the same place on San Christabel where it had been anchored the day before. He hoped that this way he would not arouse suspicions if any of the other pirates saw the boat in a familiar place.
Stanly had no qualms about sailing the Elizabeth in broad daylight, since the other pirates would have seen the boat many times before. On the way to San Christabel, Stanly explained his plan for capturing or killing the other pirates. His captain and crew already knew that he planned to attack the other pirates and had agreed to help in exchange for a share of the prize money.
Stanly told them that he wanted to attack the inept pirates as soon as it got dark. Not because they were directly a threat to them, but because they might warn one of the other pirate gangs of their presence. Stanly proposed to sneak up on the five inepts by using the skiff and attack them in one bold rush. The other men laughed and agreed that it should be fun. Their 7 men should easily overpower the 5 pirates.
When it got hard dark, everybody piled into the skiff, and they sailed the short distance to the other cove. The five pirates were either so confident of their safety or so totally foolish that they had not bothered to establish a lookout. Stanly's crew arrived without being spotted and ran up on the shore unchallenged.
They were not interested in capturing anybody, so Stanly's men shouted as they charged. This gave the 5 pirates time to gather weapons, but they were no match for the ferocity of the charging sailors who had no sympathy for pirates. In no time, the 5 pirates were reduced to 5 corpses, and the sailors were looking around for something to loot.
The sailors even went over the mess of a boat and found nothing but one bottle of poor quality wine. As a matter of principle, they took the bottle with them back to the Elizabeth, and each had a few swallows of the wine before they pitched the empty bottle over the side.