Debrief: Anomaly #0091 (The Queen Anne's Revenge)

Arriving back at the steel shell building on the beach that served as their makeshift headquarters, Agent Zero gave his men a little time to change clothes, unwind, and begin to process what they had experienced. He stood in the doorway, looking out over the vast, dark ocean, wondering if there were other ghost ships, other spirits who didn't know they had died, other...anomalies to investigate.

"You good, boss?" Spartan asked, loosely draping an arm around Zero's shoulders.

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. It just makes you wonder, y'know?"

"I think I'm trackin' you, but, what exactly do you mean?"

"Think about the millions of square miles of ocean out there. Think about all the ships that rest at the bottom. Think about all the men...and the women and children...who went down with them."

"Eh, you can't think like that. When it's our time, it's our time."

"It's not that, Spartan. Death waits for no man. I came to grips with that a long time ago. But this...this ghost loop. Had Blackbeard been out there being f*cked up by that same miserable storm for 300 years? I mean, can you even imagine that?"

"Well, I'd have to figure it would be almost as bad as working with you everyday," Spartan said with a grin. His boss chuckled.

"Yeah, well. Believe me. You ain't gonna live 300 years, kid. Especially if you keep talkin' sh*t."

The men shared a laugh and a handshake.

Zero turned to face the rest of the team.

"Alright, debrief guys. Stay on your racks. This is gonna be very informal. Charon. Why don't you start by telling the rest of us what the bloody hell just happened."

"This is a tough one, Chief," Charon began. "Cutting to the chase, the incarnation of Blackbeard we encountered was a disembodied spirit."

"A ghost," Spartan interjected.

"Exactly. He exists on a plane different from our own. But he was able to manifest to us for a whole host of reasons.

"Spirits often use the energy of the living to help them manifest. Chief, when you and Spartan were involved in the fire fight, your energy level was off the charts. The adrenaline, the focus, the blood pumping, everything was in overdrive."

"So that's why we could see him too, not just you?" Zero asked.

"I think so. Of course, when I arrived top side, I knew that's what was happening. And as powerful as this manifestation was, I'll sleep like a baby tonight."

"What happened to the rest of the crew?" Lyons asked, having heard the full story on the way back.

"That's a good question. I think most of them realized they had died when the ship initially sunk. The rest...well...let's just say Zero and Spartan made sure they knew it was time to cross over."

"But if the rounds they were firing went through the Chief without causing any damage, why wouldn't our rounds have done the same with them?" Spartan asked.

"Chief, what did you see when Blackbeard fired at you?" Charon asked, trying to answer a question with a question.

"I mean...I saw the smoke, the ball, I knew it um...It was bad. A lot of things flashed in front of my eyes that I'd rather not talk about."

"No worries," Charon said. "You thought you were a goner."

"I did."

"Same deal for the crew. When you guys fired on them, they knew they should be dead, and I think that allowed them to understand that they were."

"So why was the ship physical, but the men were not? Ships don't have souls."

"Well, that one's a little tougher to answer. The Captain, the crew, and the Queen Anne's Revenge all existed in a plane -- or dimension -- different than ours. Sometimes those dimensions intertwine. But I really can't explain why the ship was so real but the Captain was a spirit."

"When you handed him the watch, he was able to hold it." Spartan said shaking his head in a bit of disbelief at Charon.

"Yes. Spartan, the things that I do are not magic. They're not illusions. Remember when I told you I didn't use flash paper to spark that fire in my hand?"

"Of course."

"I created it in your plane. On your level of understanding. I created the watch in the Captain's plane. Hence his ability to take it when I handed it to him."

"That's incredible," Spartan said, clearly beginning to let go of some of his skepticism.

"Charon, what's next for the Captain?" Zero asked.

"He'll cross over. Every faith tradition has their own understanding of what that means. For some people it's heaven. For some it's the Pearly Gates. For some it's reincarnation. That's not my call to make. But when he crosses, the agony of living that storm for 300 years will be over for good."

"I've always wondered, is there a white light?" Lyons asked.

"As far as what I see when someone crosses? Yes."

"So you're certain the Captain is...home...as the two of you put it." Zero said, buttoning things up.

"Yes sir."

"Excellent. Thank you.

"Gentlemen, you should be extremely proud of what you accomplished today. I don't know that there's anything more heroic than giving rest to a soul that's been tortured for 300 years. Sleep well. We'll be going wheels up at 0800."

The Chief turned and stepped out the door. He walked slowly across the beach to the edge of the water. Reaching into a pocket in his black BDU pants, he pulled out a silver pocket watch. He gently wiped the cover off, and paused to gaze at the engraving. It was a picture of the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Taking two quick steps he threw it with all of his might. It splashed into the ocean and quickly sank.

"Strong winds at your back, Captain."

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