“Welcom aboard, er…lieutenant,” came the greeting from near a lantern’s dim light. An appropriate piping accompanied the heavy boots’ tread onto the deck, little more than a whispered whistle against the rising wind.
“The captain?” queried the young officer.
“In the powder room, sir,” answered the same gruff voice.
“Right, thank y…what?”
“The powder room, sir,” was the polite reiteration before a harshly barked, “Oy, Thomas, hussle here, lad. Show the good lieutenant to the powder room, smartly now.”
A boy no more than ten appeared out of the darkness with a brisk salute, “If’n ye’ll follow me, sir.” A winding route took the boy and officer aft, down, forward, down, and aft again. The diminutive guide rapped on the heavy door and stood aside. He announced loudly as the door opened, “A lieutenant to see the cap’n!”
“Has he got papers?”
The boy looked at the officer who nodded at the boy who relayed the nod to the unseen figure inside.
“Hand ‘em in, and stand by. Cap’n is still counting.”