Sea of Thieves

Unlike Ships in the Night

It's night time on the Sea of Thieves. I'm on an island. I'm carrying a chest back to the ship and I see a brig approaching. They'll be within cannon range in a minute. They have the wind. They have a good angle and will keep me in broadside for a long time as they run parallel to the beach. In fact, they're raising sails to increase time on target. Glints of reflected moonlight reveal that they're scannimg the shore with spyglasses and sniper rifles.

I drop the chest, run onto the sand, sword jump across half the beach, and- I swear it was by a single pixel- hit water deep enough to carry me rocketing toward a spammed ladder grab.

My ship is parked: anchor up, sails up, facing my preferred exit path. The beach is to port and Ronnie (that's my ship) is partially obscured behind a tall rock to starboard. There's a narrow channel between these seeming Scylla and Charybdis, but I can squeeze through without bottoming out if I keep Ronnie at quarter sail for a few seconds. While behind the rock, I can harpoon turn if I need catch the wind; moreover, the rock will block incoming fire, and stymie boarders when the bad guys are close enough.

They're not close enough yet, but they will be as soon as I come out from behind the rock. As soon as I clear the shallow water, I drop sails all the way, turn the wheel to the left a little- away from the rock- then jump over the wheel to get to the right harpoon. I tag the rock just above the water line and reel it in. Ronnie slews deeply but smoothly to the right, away from the island. I release the harpoon and run back to the wheel as Ronnie finishes the turn precipitously close to the rock, her sails billowing for a moment as she passes through the wind. She avoids collision, though, thanks to the bit of English I gave the wheel before manning the 'poon. We're bombing through the night waves, lit only by the moon.

Feeling mighty cocksure after my deft maneuvering, and with hands on the wheel, I assess the situation. The first thing I notice is that the harpoon turn was perfectly executed: I'm perpendicular to the shore as I intended. The second thing I realize is that the turn, though perfectly executed, was a terrible- just really a terrible, terrible- idea.

I was hoping they'd zip past the rock while I was going slowly and that after the turn I could position for some chain shots from the left side cannons. Fucking nope.

Instead, they ram me. I hear several holes pop below deck and an immediate gurgling sound as deep and throaty as if Ronnie had inhaled a lifetime, pack-a-day Pall Mall habit in an instant.

Their bowsprit arcs up, up, straight up above my starboard cannon. Transfixed and motionless, I follow its progress with my eyes as it towers above me. For a moment, it seems as if the whole brig might just keep going: first obscuring my sight as its bulk fills my vision, then slowly, as it floats away and grows smaller with distance, revealing the shimmering, aurora painted sky.

The fantasy is quickly dispelled when the bad guys drop from above- surely taking damage after falling so far from their deck to mine. No matter. They attack, en masse, and, as it's three to one, I die quickly.

I return from the Ferry to find they are bailing and repairing my ship. One of them is spamming "Sorry" and "Rolling on the deck laughing!" We're all doing happy pirate jumps around each other. "Everything is ok!" I pull out my drum and start playing. They all join in and, soon after, we part as friends.

I'm pretty sure they never even saw Ronnie until she was suddenly in front of them. Probably scared the crap out of them! Their attack was likely more "WTF?!" than actual aggression. While I was dead, I'm sure they looked around the ship and saw I had not much on it. Cooler heads prevailed and they decided to save Ronnie. They did, however, steal two pineapples and all my chain shot.

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