When Eva and I announced our engagement, our friend Viv wanted to know how it happened. The resulting email exchange, and her theory as to the details. With her kind permission, the full story:
You have to tell us how it happened! Or else I'll start making shit up with robots, monkeys, pirates and ninjas.
"Or else" is generally used to prefix threats, not promises of awesomeness. :-)
Viv rose to the challenge. The following is copyright 2007 Viv, and is reproduced with permission:
The harsh spray of sea water hit Captain "Evil Eye" Eva Schiffer in the face as she clung to the mast of her ship.
"Captain, we've taken severe hits from the Lord Shojo's forces!" shouted her first mate. "We have to surrender the scientist."
Captain Schiffer eyed the cabin where the famed steampunk engineer and mad scientist Alan De Smet sat, chained to his bed.
"Never!" she shouted. "He's our prisoner and we need him to finish making our ultimate weapon!"
Not to mention, she thought to herself, for the past few weeks that he was held prisoner, they both had fallen in love. He enjoyed the open freedom of the sea, while she loved his intellect and general dorky sense of humor.
Meanwhile in his cabin, Scientist De Smet pondered over his future. While the Lord Shojo had offered him everything he needed for his work and research, he felt like a prisoner -- unable to leave the compound, the scientist was forced to make weapons for the Lord Shojo.
Ironically, it was being kidnapped by the pirate queen that make Scientist De Smet feel alive for the first time in a long while. He enjoyed the open seas and the ability to move around at free will. Not to mention, he also enjoyed Captain Schiffer's company also.
As he ruminated whether to return to the compound and his workshop, a ninja came crashing through the window.
"Scientist De Smet," the ninja bowed respectfully. "We must leave now. The Lord Shojo is planning to destroy this ship and kill Evil Eye Schiffer. We must go."
Scientist De Smet bowed back to the ninja. "I'm sorry," he said, surprising himself. "I can't do that."
"What do you mean?"
Scientist De Smet shook his head. "I'm not returning to the compound."
"Then your penalty is death." The ninja drew his kitana.
"Not on my ship," said Captain Schiffer as she opened the door to the cabin. "Hands off my prisoner."
The ninja lunged for the pirate queen, but she quickly drew her rapier and deflected his attempt to stab her. The boat rocked and rolled unsteadily as the storm got more intense.
Scientist De Smet watched as the two fought, neither one seeming to get the higher ground until the boat lurched suddenly. The ninja lost his balance and toppled to the ground.
Captain Schiffer went in for the killing blow.
"Wait!" shouted Scientist De Smet. "Don't kill him."
"Why not?" Captain Schiffer looked exasperated at him.
"I want him to send a message to the Lord Shojo." Scientist De Smet rummaged through his things and produced a tiny robot and handed it to the ninja.
"You have been bested by the pirate queen," he told the ninja. "You should leave now with your life, while you still can. Take this robot to the Lord Shojo. It's my last project for him."
The ninja bowed and swiftly exited the cabin through the window.
"Why did you do that?" Captain Schiffer asked.
But before the scientist could answer, a cannon shot roared through the ship.
"Captain!" shouted the first mate. "We've taken heavy damages. They're also firing rabid monkeys at the boat. The monkeys are attacking the crew! What do we do?"
Captain Schiffer sighed unhappily. It was obvious they were outnumbered and outgunned, but she hated to leave The Digital Changeling behind. "Abandon ship," she yelled. "Move as fast as you can, destroy everything."
The first mate nodded sadly and yelled the instructions to everyone.
Captain Schiffer stalked to the scientist, unlocked his chains and grabbed his wrist. "Come on," she said. "We need to get moving. With luck, the Lord Shojo will think we're dead and stop pursuit."
Scientist De Smet nodded and together, the couple headed below deck. There, the crew (or what was left of it) was assembled before the scientist's project -- a submarine.
Everyone boarded with haste and soon they were away from the ship. Captain Schiffer watched sadly as the boat, now ablaze and covered in angry monkeys, began to sink into the water.
"We'll need to stop somewhere and get supplies and lay low for a bit," she ruminated.
"Well, we could pose as a respectable couple and friends until you get enough money to buy another ship," Scientist De Smet suggested.
Captain Schiffer stared at him for a second. She thought she knew what he was suggesting, but didn't dare speak it.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Marry me," the scientist replied. "I've never felt so free as on your ship, with you. I don't want to go back to the compound and would rather spend the rest of my life scrabbling around, raiding ships and dodging ninjas and rabid monkeys to be with you."
Captain Schiffer appeared to mull it over for a bit. "OK," she said, her face breaking out into a smile. "But you've got to improve your cooking skills."
The scientist grabbed the pirate queen and kissed her as the crew cheered.
Pulling away, Captain Schiffer looked at her first mate. "Steer this ship to the nearest pirate isle," she said.
He saluted, "Aye captain."
The Lord Shojo watched as the Digital Changling slowly sank. Twas a pity, he thought, but she made the mistake of attacking his compound and taking his most valuable employee.
The ninja leaped onto his ship. Bowing before the Lord Shojo, the ninja presented him with the tiny robot.
"Scientist De Smet sends his regrets that he will not be returning to your employ," the ninja stated.
"What?" The Lord Shojo stared at the tiny robot.
"He chose to remain on the ship."
"Pity that," the Lord Shojo toyed with the robot. "At least he died with his secrets."
Spotting the little red button on the back of the robot, the Lord Shojo pressed it.
The shock wave from the explosion rocked the submarine, which was a safe distance away.
"Did you feel something?" Captain Schiffer glanced at her finace.
"What?" Scientist De Smet looked innocent as he adjusted his glasses. "Oh that. I suppose the Lord Shojo got my resignation letter."