You will get where I got the second Captain's name from right away...
One week out of Glasgow, as the Centaur was lying becalmed off the southern coast of Ireland, McNeal was aroused from his thoughts by cries from the deck of “Sail ho! Two points off the port bow, and coming in quickly!”
Jumping out of his chair, McNeal rushed out on deck. “Can you see their flag?”
“Aye, sir! I can just make it out! It’s Captain Jack Maturin of the brotherhood!”
“Jack Maturin, eh? Pull alongside and ask if he’s not afraid to make the voyage to Richontor.”
At this, McNeal’s mate came up to him and asked “Really? I have never heard that you would ever share your wealth with any other captains.”
“I have never wished to travel to Richontor before this. I shall need all the men I can get to be sure that some survive. But do not worry. I do not plan to share the treasure with any but my own crew, as the laws dictate.”
By this time, the Centaur was within hailing distance of Maturin’s vessel, the Destroyer. Taking the speaking trumpet from the mate, McNeal called to the crew of the other ship. “Destroyer ho! I’ll have words with your Captain!”
At a sign of acknowledgement from the other ship, McNeal lowered the speaking trumpet and spoke to his mate once more. “Bring another bottle of the good wine to my cabin. Brandy, too if he won’t take the wine. And tell the cook to double my midday meal.”
Saluting, the mate left his captain’s presence to comply.
Only a minute later, McNeal spied the Destroyer’s cutter coming across the space between the ships. Scarcely another minute had passed before McNeal’s fellow captain, Jack Maturin, stood on the deck of the Centaur. Immediately, McNeal began making a show of enjoying Maturin’s presence. “Come, my friend! You must sit with me awhile in my cabin while we exchange our news. I trust you had a successful expedition?”
Maturin, who was slightly more than six feet in height, as thin as a man could be while retaining perfect health, and wore his light brown hair down to his shoulders, did not seem nearly as cheerful as McNeal. “I do not have the time for that now. I have come, not as a friend, but simply as a fellow captain of the brotherhood, for aid against a common enemy.”
“An enemy? What ship could oppose my Centaur? You are safe on board this ship, my friend.”
“How many guns do you carry?”
“At this moment, there are two British frigates of eighty guns chasing my ship. There they are now.”
At this, McNeal suddenly grew apprehensive. The Centaur can stand and fight against any one ship, mate, but two is not to her liking. We’d best cut and run.”
“What shall we do for my ship and men, though?”
“Nothing we can do. We’ll be surrounded and blown out the water if we tarry here. You can swim back to your ship if you like. Or stay aboard and sail for Richontor.” McNeal added slyly.
Richontor? The isle no one has ever come back alive from?”
“Exactly. There’s treasure for the taking by the first man to survive that isle. And I aim to be the man. But I’ll give you a share if you come along. Come into my cabin, where I can explain over a bottle of wine. Cut the cable, men!”
As McNeal’s crew began to set the sails to flee from the British men o’ war, their captain settled himself into his cabin with his reluctant guest, Jack Maturin. “Now, I tell you, man!” McNeal exclaimed as he opened the bottle of wine. “You must be of good cheer! You are a guest aboard the swiftest eighty gun frigate on the ocean. We will not be caught. And you are on your way to untold riches.”
Maturin remained sullen and morose. “You are keeping me as a captive. You forced me to remain here instead of returning to my own men in their time of need. Why should I be cheerful?”
“Must I remind you? You are bound for the riches of Richontor! If you will only stop complaining, you’ll be rich enough to forget that ship and get yourself anything you wish! Even a respectable life! A lot of money in the right places can do wonders!”
Heaving himself off of McNeal’s hammock, Maturin replied “If you must. Where is the brandy? I don’t take wine. Awful French swill.”
Producing a tankard which he had kept hidden, McNeal agreed “Precisely my opinion, my friend. I drink good Irish ale, and don’t tell my crew that I only pour this on my meat. The meat needs something to soften it up before it’s fit for my consumption.”
Nearly an hour later, after McNeal and Maturin had feasted on the best of the stores, Maturin’s mood improved visibly. “So, McNeal, you are bound for Richontor?”
“Yes. And I am going to bring back the treasure, too.”
“What makes you so sure that you will accomplish what so many others have failed to do?”
“Two reasons.” McNeal replied, after swallowing another swig of ale. “I am William McNeal, and I know something others don’t.” He leaned back slowly, allowing a wide smile to make its way across his face while Maturin watched silently. Suddenly Maturin grew curious and snapped at the bait which McNeal had left dangling in front of his face.
“What do you know, that the rest of us don’t know! It should be enough for you that you have command of the finest ship throughout the brotherhood!”
Rising from his chair, McNeal leaned forward and whispered a few words into Maturin’s ear. At the sound, Maturin grew cheerful once more. “Yes. Yes. It would be the summit of my career to succeed in such a feat. He is a popular man among the brotherhood. Too popular for us…. I’m with you to the death!”
Turning to go back on deck, McNeal thought to himself “To the death, yes. To the death of whom, we shall see…”