Chavez stared out at her, realizing that she was getting closer when one by one, the remaining lights blinked out. He ran to the ship’s bell and began ringing it furiously shouting for battle stations.
Captain Alvaro strode up to him followed by Isabel and Balsala, “What is the meaning of this?”
“She doused her lights, she is the Vengeance! She has been following us all day and now intends to attack us!”
Alvaro peered into the darkness and said nothing, infuriating Chavez.
“Give the order to douse your lights you fool, before she blows us out of the water!”
“We cannot sail without any lights at all, and if she does attack, how are my men to defend the ship in total darkness?” Alvaro said.
“They are capable of doing it! Do you want to wind up like La Velocidad? Douse the lights now before you get us all killed, or I will kill you where you stand and take control of this ship.” Chavez said staring at him, placing his hand on his sword.
“I would advise you to go to your quarters and lay on the deck.” Chavez said to Isabel. She turned and walked away toward her cabin as Balsala stood looking over the bow.
Alvaro walked forward shouting for all lights to be doused as the men grumbled and obeyed the orders. He came walking back holding the rail and found Chavez standing at the stern. “We cannot load our cannons like this, or reload them. The men will break their necks below, it is pitch black down there.”
“I do not want to hear any more of your sniffling and crying like a woman. The crew of the Vengeance is out there, hunting us right now and they do battle without lights as we know. Now do your duty and prepare for battle.”
Alvaro stood and looked at him incredulously for a moment then walked to the stairwell and groped his way down into the darkness to tell the men manning the cannons what their order were.
“This is insane, I cannot see my hand before my face down here! How will we reload?” one asked.
“You must just do the best that you can.” Alvaro told them.
Felipe and Andreas stood at the bow as the Vengeance cleaved silently through the water. The green trail of bioluminescence led the way like a beacon, a trail. “I never cease to be amazed that sea creatures can give off light when they are stirred by a ships wake.” Batu said.
Felipe smiled at him, “Just one of the thousands of wonders of the sea. We should be closing on them, keep a sharp lookout now.”
Batu’s eyes were very keen, he scanned the horizon and saw one low star fade, then recover shining. “There, five marks off of the starboard side, two hundred yards, they are turning back to get behind us.”
Jean Pierre scanned the darkness, “Where?”
“Right there, five marks off of the starboard bow, two hundred yards.”
“Ready the cannon deck.” Andreas told him. Batu and Jean Pierre slipped into the darkness.
Andreas went to stand at the base of the stairs where he could still hear Batu, Jean Pierre went below and told the men on the cannons, “Two hundred yards, six marks off of the starboard side on my mark.”
The men raised the cannons to the proper height, peering through the cannon doors, one said, “I see nothing.”
“Neither do I, but Batu says they are there, prepare to fire.”
All of the men looked through the cannon doors, “I see nothing!” the man repeated, “If we fire and they aren’t there, we will give away our position!” he said quietly.
"I see nothing either, but Batu says they are there, load!”
Alvaro had given the command to slow, then double back to try and elude or get behind the Vengeance. He now stood and stared out at the inky black sea with Chavez and Balsala. “How can they see anything in this darkness? Let alone hit a galleon with cannon fire?” he asked.
“They did pretty well with the frigate, obviously they have practiced this a lot.” Balsala said.
Batu called out to Andreas who repeated the command, “On my mark of three, one, two, three, fire!” he shouted. Andreas shouted the order, the short trimmed fuses were touched off in the darkness. All thirty of her guns thundered at once rocking the side to its port side.
Alvaro was watching, without warning orange and yellow fire spewed forth on their starboard side, many bright flashes of light. The rolling thunder of the cannons barreled across the water and the high pitched whistling of the approaching cannon balls grew louder.
“Take cover!” Alvaro shouted and dove to the deck with Balsala.
Chavez stood at the rail staring in the direction of the cannons, trying to see where they were. The rail blasted away in a hail of splinters. A large sliver of wood the size of a man’s finger lodged itself deeply into Chavez’s right eye. He screamed in agony, holding the large splinter of wood as blood and fluid ran down his face.
Aboard the Vengeance Andreas and Felipe stood at the rail listening to the cries of agony drift across the sea when they heard a man screaming, “Felipe! I will kill you I swear!”
“Chavez!” Felipe said, “We should not let him escape, we should kill him now that we have him.”
“No,” Andreas replied, we cannot risk attacking further with your mother, wife and son. They are still at risk and depending on us. It sounds as though we have gravely wounded him, that will have to do for now. We should just make our exit, your paths will cross again.”
Felipe stared out across the sea listening to Chavez scream in pain, “I agree, we have hurt him, that is enough for now.”
They sailed on as Chavez called out for the ship’s surgeon. They took him below and lit a small lantern. The surgeon tried to gently remove the large splinter as Chavez continued to scream. “It is lodged, probably in the small hole in the back of the eye socket. This is going to be painful. Lay down on the table.”
The surgeon had four men hold his arms and legs and placed a large stick in his mouth to bite on. He then pulled hard and had to wiggle the stick back and forth until it finally came free as Chavez screamed through gritted teeth, then passed out from the pain.
When he awoke his face was bandaged, the surgeon spoke to him. “I cannot clean all of the damaged tissue out of the socket as well as I need to. We will have to wait two days for it to putrefy to do it properly so it will not fester. If it does fester this close to your brain, it will kill you for certain.”
Two days later the eye began to smell foul as the tissue began to rot and the surgeon again had him come to his quarters. He instructed Chavez to lay on the table, then had his hands and feet tied down. He tied two blocks of wood on either side of his head, then tied his forehead down between them. He then dropped a dozen maggots into the socket as Chavez screamed and writhed. “They will only eat the rotten parts, they will clean the wound better than I could.“ He left the cabin and closed the door.