A popular discussion on various sites deals with the subject of Ninjas versus Pirates, as in which group would prevail in a theoretical confrontation. While I hold cowboys would make short work of either, I did not hesitate to enter into the discussion at the Skepticality forum.
After a few back and forth on the subject, I wrote the following for Rino, the daughter of a member of the forum and a member herself. She insisted Ninjas would easily best even the fiercest pirates . . . poor deluded girl.
Anyway, for a half hour effort, I don’t think it’s too bad, and I thought people here might appreciate it. As a side, I’m rather fond of this short story as it was fun to write.
Finally, upon posting the story I was immediately informed of various historical fallacies with regards to Ninja tactics. I claim artistic license and point to numerous movies from which I drew inspiration.
The following is from the recovered records of The Shark, feared pirate ship of the Pacific.
“Get the captain!”
The words of the First Mate startled the slumbering pirate. He looked about, jumped up, and with a hasty “Ay-yai,” he lumbered toward the Captain’s quarters. At the door, the pirate hesitated. No one liked dealing with the Captain, and he was no exception. A couple of slow breaths, then one big one, and he knocked.
“Come,” came the muffled reply.
The pirate hesitated, and then opened the door. In the room, a single candle was waging a valiant, but losing battle with the darkness. He could just make out the Captain standing by the big window framing the back of the ship. He gingerly closed the door and turned, his eyes beginning to adjust to the low light.
“The First Mate . . . ” he did not get to finish.
“I see her.” The Captain’s voice wavered but continued, “it’s a Ninja ship. Wake the boys, man the guns, and break out the close-quarter weapons.”
“Ay-yai!” The pirate turned to leave, but the Captain spoke again.
“She’s flying the Rino flag. Those are the most vicious, deadly, and ruthless killers. If they get on board, we’ll not likely survive. The only chance we have is to fight in groups.”
The Captain turned and faced the pirate, who took an involuntary step back.
“One thing; tell everyone not to shoot right at them. Those little suckers watch your trigger finger and dodge one way or the other when you shoot. As they pull the trigger, have the men shift their aim slightly left or right. They’ll have a fifty-fifty chance of hitting them.”
The captain advanced toward the pirate who would have taken another step back had his back not been against the door. The Captain continued, looking straight into the pirate’s eyes.
“They are quick. If you let them get close the last thing you’ll see is the flash of their blade, and your own body standing there as your head rolls on the deck!”
The Captain held the man’s gaze, then abruptly turned and went back to the window. The candle chose that moment to give up its battle, and the darkness engulfed the room. The pirate stood a few moments, turned, and then fumbled for the door latch.
Once outside, he slowly let his foul breath out. “Don’t know them, but I’d rather face them Ninjas than the Captain any day!” he thought as he hurried to deliver the Captain’s instructions.
The pirate ship was a flurry of activity. Lanterns lighted to rob the Ninjas of the shadows they loved so much. Barrel tops and bottoms fashioned into crude shields against the annoying pointed stars they liked to throw, and the cannon made ready. All the while the black Ninja ship closed in.
“Hard to port!!” Yelled the first mate. “Drop sails and man the guns!”
The big ship turned broadside to the advancing Ninja ship. Its decreasing speed helped steady the ship, and the gunners took aim. Years of practice let them compensate for the speed differential and rocking of the deck. One after another, the cannons roared, each immediately being reloaded and readied for another shot.
A cheer went up from the crew, as the incendiary shots, shrapnel and cannon balls literally began to shred the advancing Ninja ship. Relentlessly, the barrage continued, as shot after shot rained down on the crippled and sinking Ninja ship.
“Look!!” a pirate yelled, arm outstretched, pointing at the bow of the Ninja ship. Some twenty dark figures could be seen jumping into the waters . . . and then running on the crest of the waves.
“That can’t be!” yelled one of the now terrified pirates! “They’re running on water!!”
“Man your muskets and pistols!” yelled the first mate, “Don’t let them reach the ship, or we are lost!!”
Fear drove the pirates to the sides, shooting at the advancing, zigzagging dark figures seemingly gliding atop the waves. Fear caused most to miss with both their first and second volleys. A few stouthearted pirates heeded the advice of the captain, randomly shifting their guns as they shot. Still, four Ninjas reached the ship, and as one, vaulted over the heads of the pirates to land silently in the middle of the ship’s deck. Two landed dead, having been shot by the two pirates who were avid duck hunters, and used to shooting birds on the wing.
That left two Ninjas, and thirty pirates. The pirates stared at the black-clad ninjas. The only things they could see clearly were each Ninja’s eyes, and the small pink heart-shaped emblem on their chest . . . the Rino emblem.
With a roar, the pirates all attacked at once. They had been told of entire crews slaughtered as they stupidly attacked Ninjas one at the time. Both ninjas leapt, but a pirate grabbed a booth of one of the Ninjas, and pulled him down. A blur of a short blade and he was the first of the thirty pirates to die.
The battle was swift and ferocious, but in the end a lone Ninja stood amongst the bodies of thirty pirates and that of his comrade. His eyes caught a slight movement. There, from one of the partially open doors; a small movement, and a sharp intake of breath. In a blur of motion, he was at the door, kicking it as he flew through the opening.
Rolling to a standing fighting stance, he saw a young girl, barely a teen, staring at him with big eyes as she cowered in the corner. Her dress was torn, and she clutched at the fabric as if for protection. The ninja looked about. His keen hearing and training told him no one else was in the room. He slowly advanced to the girl, senses tuned for any danger.
The girl drew a breath, and made herself smaller against the wall. The Ninja stopped a few feet away. His eyes took in the sight of her cowering. Still silent, he extended a hand. The girl hesitated, and then slowly reached out. The Ninja reached for her hand, and as they grasped each other, braced to pull the girl upright. She came right up, as if she had no weight at all . . . and kept coming, her body right up to the Ninja’s own dark shape. His eyes focused on hers, now mere inches away, and then slowly closed as he slumped silently onto the floor, the handle of a stiletto knife protruding from under his chin.
Captain Nicky, the dreaded teen-pirate of the Pacific, turned and walked out onto to the deck of her ship. “Damn Ninjas!” She swore, looking at the carnage. “Third time this year! . . . I’m going to need a new crew.”
Copyright E. J. D’Alise, 2007