There is much that has been said, and written, I am sure, of such a woman as Sophia Von Strumpf D'Azure McCharraigin. What words have been used to describe her face, her form, her charisma and impression of character upon the men and women of this wide mortal world?
Trollop. Tramp. Tart. I know more--I've got a thesaurus in my cabin.
She must have sensed my gaze---actually she might have noticed the stares of more than a few of the crew who had come updeck by now. Her head and body suddenly pulled up like an afronted mermaid on the prow of a ship, and she lifted her nose as if she'd gotten a whiff of Mrs. Burnside's Pig 'n Pea Surprise casserole that we forgot in the larder.
"You needn't look at me that way," she declared, "I am not dressed this way to please myself--nor any ill-mannered sailor!"
She finished the last statement with frosty glare that visibly deflated the spirits of our abashed male (and some of our female) crew members. But, then she she took another deep breath to speak and all they all seemed to feel better.
"In our recent adventures in Morocco, I used this costume to infiltrate the secret outpost of the Sheikh Al-Bwahaha, procurer of innocent young girls for slave trade, maker of salacious and fiendish instruments and devices for the most base of human desires, and designer of naughty salt and pepper shakers for indiscriminate discriminating hostesses of the European elite.
"My purpose in penetrating the perverse potentate's pleasure praetorium was not only to rescue a young lady--who even now claim sanctuary within the the Clockwork Caledonian--no, indeed, I was on a mission to find in his possession such artifacts and books or ancient lore that will rend the very fabric of the current scientific knowledge of this modern world!"
"You was doing fine in that first part with your perverseness and potentating, but the rest of that sentence didn't have no P in it.
"Nanny...plug your piehole."
Mistress Sofia tossed back her luxuriant mane (ain't it always?), and continued.
"We extracted information from the Sheikh's henchmen regarding two scientific discoveries. One of these involved a rare meteoric ore. This metal has astounding potential--well, simple seafarers as yourselves cannot comprehend how this metal will affect mankind's destiny to explore and travel. This will take us far beyond the limits of the oceans, and into the skies!" She paused and refocused on the assembled crew of the Tortuga.
"That ore found its way to an irreputable merchant in the port of Valle de Cuarzo. And we...extracted...information from him that you absconded with a good amount of that precious metal."
"Well," I replied, "I was on that shopping trip, and I can guarantee that there was no metal, ore, rocks, or even junk jewelry in that cart."
"Ah!" Her eyes were glowing again. "The ore had been refined, so to speak, by the Sheikh's metalworkers. It was flattened and drawn into fine, flat threads--much like gold thread. For the purposes of smuggling it was sewn into the lace of silk...garments. The sort worn by ladies of lesser reputation--which leads us naturally to your crew.
"Now then. In the name of Science--and my ships awfully big guns--stand and deliver your unmentionables!"
This could not be! Relinquishing our dainty bits would demoralize the crew. It would violate our freedom.
Hell, the wearing of delicate silks was the only dispensation allowed by Master Tar to avoid the requisite daily salt water swim ("oh, but Master Tar, the salt does tear up my pretty lacey bits so...see, if you look closely...") .
Bloody hell, the Ambassador. I'm not dealing with her if we loose our knickers. I'll not leave my cabin until the new moon, if that happens. I pull the cutlass from the scabbard at my hip.
"By Neptune's Nipples, ladies, we'll fight for our frippery. She says she has guns, but I haven't seen them yet! We've got a full crew and she's only got her nursemaid--Master Tar, orders to board that clockwork toy?!"