Max and the Pirate of the Seven Seas
Max the Third:
Max and The Pirate of the Seven Seas
A GreatDingo Short Story
In Whateley Academy
“Excuse me gentlebeings, I would like to ask a question or two, if you don’t mind.”
The boys sitting at the table all jumped in surprise at not just the voice, but also at the pointy end of what appeared to be a Norton’s 3 lbs. 2oz. 26 inch heavy duty shear with high-grade aircraft aluminum handles and center oiler bolt, for improved performance, being put into into the table for the boy carrying it to lean on.
Despite all being freshmen with not even a month at the school behind them, they all recognized the blonde sophomore with the shirt half untucked, the smiley adorned backpack and the goofy expression on his face.
The crazy guy with the chainsaw!
Only, the chainsaw seemed to have been replaced with the pair of hedge shears he was now leaning on.
“Uh, yeah…?” The first freshman ventured hesitantly.
Max smiled at the the boy; “Great, I was just sitting, over there, and I could not but help overhear you talking about something that sounded like a D&D story. Could I perhaps persuade you to repeat that story to me, or maybe tell me where you got it from?”
He looked at each of them expectantly. They all still seemed a bit rattled from his sudden, and frankly not very diplomatic intrusion into their group.
One of the boys raised a hand and Max looked directly at him; “You know, you don’t have to raise your hand. This isn’t a school. Wait, this is a school, but it’s out for today. Nevermind, yes?”
“Did...did you just call us gentlebeings? Also, what’s with the...” The boy nodded at the shears. The others nodded slightly.
Max also nodded at the shears; “Oh, that’s Britney. And why did I call you gentlebeings? Well, none of you are hardly old enough to be men, besides, it’s from Valerian comic book.” Max said, expecting his answer to assuage any doubts about him addressing them as “beings”.
“Oh...okay, I guess. Uh, what was the question again?” The first boy asked. Max nodded, but a so far quiet boy answered first; “Well, it was a funny D&D story from Dragon Magazine.”
Max smiled broadly;
“Dragon Magazine? Please, explain in greater detail.”
Skipping across the quad, Max headed straight Beck Library. Once inside, he turned to the librarian, who acknowledged him just with a raised eyebrow in his direction;
“Hello Miss Librarian, hobby magazines?” He asked.
The librarian pointed down the row of shelves and Max thanked her and immediately headed towards the indicated location.
The library had an extensive collection of magazine subscriptions, everything from home DIY’s to knitting and crocheting. As he poured over the various magazines he stopped, for just a few seconds, to inspect an arborist tool magazine; “Interesting, very interesting,” before moving on.
Finally, he had the correct issue of Dragon Magazine in hand and quickly leafed through it to the page number the freshmen had told him.
Taking the story in, he read it several times while muttering to himself.
“This is...this is the most brilliant, most genius idea in the history of magic! And it’s not mine. Disappointing is what it is!”
He read the story again and pulled out his notebook; “Let’s see, I’ll need...Chemistry books, a book on...yes, and...and...Hmmm.” He continued talking to himself for several minutes, scribbling his ideas and plans in his notebook. His continued rambling carried across the section of the library and several students, especially those more familiar with his previous escapades eyed him with perhaps just a hint of nervousness.
“But how do I…hmmm.” He leaned back in his chair and finally noticed the stares. He smiled and waved; “Hi, would any of you happen to have an idea about how to…”
He stopped mid-sentence when he saw a group of students, the Secret Squirrel Club, move past, a few rows down.
Getting up, Max smiled even more broadly; “Nevermind, carry on.” He picked up his notebook and the magazine and headed for the books he had determined he would need, singing;
“There’s a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move makes another chance he takes
Odds are he won’t live to see tomorrow
Secret agent man, secret agent man…”
Edward Samson, aka Jeckel, the officer in charge of Range Four for the day walked down the line, inspecting the students, a few of whom were using their powers, and their weapons, techniques and any mistakes they might make when he noticed a new student enter the range.
This student, dressed more less like any other male student, except with his shirt half untucked and a tricorn hat, carried a backpack, a pair of hedge shears strapped to the aforementioned pack and what looked like an old fashioned flintlock musket.
“What in the world…” Jeckel muttered to himself.
The student looked around a few moments before his eyes settled on Jeckel. He smiled broadly and waved, heading towards the range officer.
“Hello Mr. Range officer, my name’s Max and I would like to test out my newest holdout. I assume you’d like a demonstration, and whatnot before I begin?” He held out the musket. It was made of wood, iron and a few other materials Jeckel could not identify. It also had what looked like runes along the length of the barrel and the stock.
“Indeed, yes I do. And it’s Corporal Samson to you, boy.” He pointed to the table.
Max nodded and headed there as well;
“That’s okay with me, Corporal Samson, though Mr. M accepted being called Mister as well. But I suppose it doesn’t make much difference to me. Here ya go, Corporal Samson, my very own musket!” Max held the rifle out and Jeckel accepted it, inspecting it more closely.
“As far as I can tell, this looks like and old fashioned musket, but I suspect these runes tell a different story. But I don’t see why you’re here, and not at Range Two?”
Max pulled out a pouch and, with a heavy thud, dropped it on the table.
“If you’ll allow me to demonstrate?” He pointed to a vacant spot on the firing range.
Jeckel thought it over a few seconds and then shrugged. He had heard a few stories about this student but he had yet to see anything that was not par for the course at the school.
“Very well, but unless there’s any magical fingerwiggling required for using the musket, I’ll be the first to test it.”
Max nodded his assent; “Agreed.”
At the vacant spot, Max held out a powderhorn for Jeckel; “Okay Corporal Samson, how to load a musket, step one!
“First you pour the powder into this measure,” Jeckel, familiar with the process of loading a musket accepted the horn and did as instructed. This was a school, after all,
“then you pour the powder charge down the barrel of the musket.” Max pulled a small cylindrical device and, with it, picked out a bullet from the pouch; “Then we place the bullet on the muzzle of the gun and use this, I guess loading stick is a good enough word, to shove it down the barrel and pack it in place atop the powder charge.”
Again, Jeckel followed the student’s instructions, he did notice a rather significant increase in weight; “What’s with the weight.” He asked, still packing the bullet in.
“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll see. Okay, so now you use this finer grain powder,” he held out a second powderhorn, “and pour it into the pan of the musket. Then you pull back the hammer, close the frizzen and the cann...the rifle is ready to fire. Easy.”
Jeckel stopped; “Did you just say cannon?”
Max, using his head, pointed down the range; “Finish loading and shoot, Mr. Samson.”
“Boy, did you just say cannon?” Jeckel asked again, more forcefully.
This time, with his finger, Max pointed at another student further down; “I’ve seen Bunker carry around a Bazooka on campus, don’t point fingers at me!
“Finish loading and shoot. Also, there might be a bit of a recoil.”
“You said cannon?!” Jeckel asked a third time, though he did finish the loading process. With a suspicious eye on Max, he raised the musket to his shoulder and took aim.
“And yes,” Max said, “I did say cannon.”
Jeckel pulled back the trigger and the musket fired. A loud boom sounded and the musket delivered a hard kick to Jeckel’s shoulder. The bullet flew away and immediately expanded to the size of a large cannonball upon leaving the muzzle. It struck the target with considerable force, completely obliterating the cardboard cutout and leaving a sizable dent in the wall behind.
The entire range went silent as the other students looked towards Jeckel and Max. A few utterances of “Crazy guy” and “Nutjob” could be heard.
Jeckel carefully put the rifle on the table in the shooting cage. “So, a cannon, huh?”
Max smiled widely; “Yes, a cannon. Aside from a few runes, the essence infused powder and the bullets, this is otherwise a more or less standard musket. Sure, the firing mechanism is made from stronger metal than you would have in the 17th century. But yeah, I basically made a cannon out of a musket. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to try it out myself?”
Jeckel nodded, looking at the hole in the wall at the end of the range, at the rifle and finally at the student. “And there’s nothing else I need to know? No hidden surprises, no fireballs or anything?” He asked, apart from the cannon part, the musket did seem pretty straight forward, but while he had not seen any of the boy’s escapades, he had heard about some of them. Better to ask first, he figured, especially considering his sore shoulder.
“I shouldn’t think so. Like I said, a pretty standard musket, and both powderhorns are inscribed with magical runes, making the powder inside inert until it goes into the weapon itself, that’s what these specific runes are for.” He pointed at three runes on the musket.
Jeckel nodded again, it seemed the boy had designed this thing with safety in mind, he said as much; “I won’t pretend to understand how these magical, runes you say? work, but you appear to have thought this through. What was that device you used with the bullet?”
Max showed it to Jeckel, it was a small cylinder with runes inscribed, and a concave hole where the bullet would rest; “Well, the bullets, or cannonballs if you will, actually weigh 18 lbs. Just because they’re small in stature, they still weigh their actual weight. So this, with a few magical runes of my own creation, negates that weight and makes it easier to pick them up. I used the same runes for the pouch. Otherwise that would be quite...heavy…yeah.
“Oh, how did I solve the size, you ask? I had a bit of help from a Secret Squirrel. Little do they know I now have a way to make all their tiny holdouts pop out to full size whenever I want to. Hah, that’ll show them the next time they decide to meddle in my...Anyway, can I shoot now?”
Jeckel thought it over until he finally agreed; “Okay, I’ll sign off on this weapon. Follow range rules at all times and be aware that I am at all times watching you.
“Get to it.” Jeckel stepped back and headed back down the lane; “Alright students, back to work!”
Max, happy his enchantments worked, muttered a few words and swept his hands down his sides. A long brown coat seemingly appeared from out under the straps of his backpack. A pair of leather straps running over his shoulders to the coat belt, three braces of flintlock pistols, complete with runes along the barrel and handle, hanging on leather holsters.
He pulled the top pair, drew back both hammers and said; “The hills are alive with the sound of cannon fire!” Then he took aim and…
Mrs. Carson looked through the notes on her table, taking in the equations and runic schematics. They were quite thorough and easily beyond what a sophomore student on the school’s magic track should be capable of. She said as much;
“Mr. Powell, as usual, this is quite impressive work. I’m sure Ms. Grimes agree.” She nodded to the magical arts teacher standing to the side next to the Assistent Headmistress, Amelia Hartford. “Using basic chemistry, mathematics and metallurgy in combination with runic script, essence infused powder and Holdout’s size altering power. Quite impressive indeed. I assume that Holdout was unaware of what you intended to use this for? Yes, I’m sure he was.”
Opposite Ms. Grimes and Ms. Hartford were Security Chief Delarose and the Range Control Officer, Sergeant-Major Burlington-Smythe. Behind the student sitting in front of Mrs. Carson, hands cuffed, were two security officers.
“Mr. Powell, Max, what am I to do with you? As you have demonstrated on several occasions, you are an exceptionally gifted student, but your flagrant disregard for the school’s rules, not to mention range safety rules cannot just be overlooked. And assault? This is very unlike you.” Mrs. Carson listed the several infractions that were the cause for Max now sitting in her office with a pair of silvery bracelets.
He frowned; “Assault? I did no such thing, that’s an outrageous accusation!” He delivered his protest with his usual attitude whenever he complained about something.
Mrs. Carson held up the report; “Max, you broke the range officer’s, Corporal Samson, nose! This is serious.”
“What? That was entirely not my fault, he fell and banged his nose on the floor. You can’t blame me for that, you’d think that a marine would know to watch his step! Outrageous!”
Mrs. Carson, along with the security chief and the Sergeant-Major, frowned. She narrowed her eyes, thinking of the multitude of times she had been down this particular road with Max, knowing full well that she very likely would not be able to prove anything.
“It’s not just that, you violated range rules. You know that all new creations need to be tested by the range officer, or an equivalent teacher, before use. Care to explain these pistols?” She pointed to the leather straps holding the six flintlock pistols held by the Sergeant-Major.
“What about them? They’re exactly the same as the musket, I mean, aside from the size.”
Again, Mrs. Carson frowned, and this time she pinched her forehead as well, feeling a headache coming on.
“That, is not the point, Maximilian, as you well know. In any case, Sergeant-Major, Chief Delarose, please make sure those pistols and the musket along with any paraphernalia involved are moved to the back cage. Put them next to Mr. Powell’s, what did you call them? Dragonballs?”
Before either of the two could get answer her, Max loudly interrupted; “What? Why? How is that at all fair?” Angry outrage, or at least some kind of outrage, clear on his face as he held his hands out, looking at the faculty members, looking for support.
Chief Delarose was the only to respond as he eyed the handcuffs dangling from Max’s right arm.
“Hm? Oh, I’m so sorry.” Max grabbed the other cuff and reattached it to his left wrist. “Better?”
Mrs. Carson shook her head, and then pinched her nose again; “Mr. Powell, please return the handcuffs to the security officer.”
Max shrugged, removed the cuffs and turned around and handed them to one of the security officers behind him. The officer mumbled; “I hate magic,” under his breath.
The Headmistress continued; “Max, you were heard screaming, and I quote; 'Die cardboard cutout, die!' Why did you even make those pistols, I don’t-”
“Extra credit!” Max interjected.
“-see how they fit into your usual modus operandi, or is that the point?
“Yes, extra credit, I’m sure Ms. Grimes will agree.” She sighed; “You never seemed to take much punishment from being in the sewers and I don’t quite have the heart to inflict you upon Hawthorne. This is supposed to be punishment for you, not for them.”
Max smiled, remembering his detention in Hawthorne. He had enjoyed that immeasurably.
“Sweeping the ranges, for a month! And no more weapons.”
Max sputtered; “You want me to sweep the ranges and I can’t even use my handcannons? Are you just being particularly unfair today, or did Langley not-”
“ENOUGH! Enough. Mr. Powell, You’ve gotten away with quite enough today, with very little punishment. It would be best if you do not exacerbate your predicament.
"As to why these guns go into the back cage? Do I even need to explain? You made a flintlock pistol that shoots cannonballs! Not to mention the essence infused gunpowder. Granted, the powderhorns you've made alongside this are a creative solution, but I know you understand why these are entirely too dangerous weapons for the school to just let you walk around with them."
Max grunted and muttered; "Hrmpf, this school has kids walking around with bazookas and railguns, but make one little musket that shoots cannonballs and oh no, suddenly you've gone too far!
"What's next? No more tricolor ice cream? Can't put Hitler's brain in a Great White Shark?"
He noticed their confused looks; "And you call yourselves people of culture."
“No more complaints, Mr. Powell," Mrs. Carson directed; "now get out of here, you have detention to attend to.”
Before he could leave, however, Chief Delarose spoke up; “Excuse me, Headmistress, but how do we know he doesn’t have more of these ‘hand cannons’ in that bag of his?”
The Headmistress turned to Max; “That’s a good question, anything you would like to add, Mr. Powell?”
“Edward Teach had six pistols, or three brace of pistols, if you will.” He smiled his trademark goofy smile.
Folding her hands, inwardly pleased with the boys knowledge, Mrs. Carson remarked; “Indeed he did, but as we all know, you are not Captain Blackbeard.”
Max gestured and snapped with his right hand and stroked his chin with his left, a beard began growing; “Am I not?” He smiled widely as the beard grew longer.
Chief Delarose snorted and commented with derision in his voice; “That’s a blonde beard.” To which, Mrs. Carson chuckled slightly.
Max snorted back; “Ptth, everyone’s a critic!”