Summary: Wherein which Ping encounters success in his inquiries, and Jack encounters the Watch.
Disclaimer: Disney or Terry Pratchett owns these characters and the setting in which they live, except for those whom I've patently invented.
Notes: catslash is entirely responsible for getting me to write a crossover.
Laws of Probability
"Good afternoon," he checked his notes, "Jibaud. I'm Corporal Ping--it's a dialect word meaning 'water-meadow' in my people's language."
"What does 'water-meadow' mean?" asked the Klatchian.
Ping paused. He'd never been asked that before. "It's . . . sort of a swamp," Ping floundered, "But it doesn't smell--"
"What is a swamp, Corporal Ping?" Jibaud asked.
Natural desire to clarify warred with inability to explain. "A swamp is--it's like mud, but grass and trees grow out of it . . . it smells awful, but a water-meadow doesn't, and it doesn't really have many trees, either . . .."
Finally, much-flustered, Ping retreated to the sheaf of relevant questions he'd compiled. "You are actually Jibaud the Klatchian, a navigator on the Hand of Isper?"
Jibaud nodded, eyes downcast. Ping scratched a brisk checkmark on his question sheet.
"Could you tell me about the circumstances of your capture?"
The Klatchian's wide, brown eyes never left the ground. "The lookout on my ship sighted another ship, one with black sails. We saw no pirate's flag or Morporkian flag, so we did not try to avoid it until it was too close to avoid. The captain of their ship did some strange magic with a silver tube and one of the . . . one of the . . . just a hole in his chest . . .." Jibaud collected his thoughts like an old auntie collected spilled buttons--slowly and carefully. "We were afraid of more magic, and we surrendered. They only took some of our merchandise, then said some strange words to us . . . then they began to speak Morporkian, and we knew them for what they were, but they had to ask to know that we were Klatchian. The captain asked for a navigator to take him to Ankh-Morpork--I was that navigator. He paid back a chest of gold for me, and when we came here, he took me to this embassy."
The sound of Ping's furiously scritching pen continued for a few moments, and then he looked up. "Paid back a chest of gold?"
Captain Jack Sparrow had no idea what the significance of Elm Street was. He had no way of knowing that it was the last barrier between the rest of the world and the Shades. And when he was shown out the back door of the guildhouse and into the alley at the back, he wasn't aware that he'd just been essentially thrown to the wolves.
Arguably, Black Griggs had grown up in the Shades, and so had the belief that they were an inherently survivable place if one knew to watch one's step.
But if one intends to argue, it also must be noted that Jack Sparrow had been in Ankh-Morpork for less than a day when he walked out the battered door and into the shadows of the alley.
If his exit hadn't directly coincided with the arrival of four members of the City Watch, things might have gone badly indeed for the captain.
Well . . . worse than they actually went. And as this was the Shades, that left quite a lot of room for misfortune to maneuver.
He adapted quickly.
When he'd found himself unexpectedly on a strange sea (he had yet to discover that he was quite a bit further away from the Caribbean than the vagaries of currents would account for) . . . when he'd found himself on the Circle Sea, he'd done the sensible thing and gone native. He'd even put Gibbs to work with some sets of old breeches and some newly pilfered cloth to make the Ankh-Morpork equivalent of a pirate flag.
He wasn't sure what the hippopotami were doing on the flag, but they had a skull between them, and there was little more pirate-like than that.
When he'd been captured by the law, he hadn't tried to make a break for it--he'd simply shown them his license and asked whether there was any establishment at all that sold rum within the city.
They hadn't let him go. But they had treated him like every other prisoner they took on their sweep of the alleys, and he was only under loose custody with a set of shoddy manacles on his wrists. Even if Will Turner hadn't taught him that cunning trick with the manacle pins, he would have been able to break free nearly unaided.
There was no reason to just yet, though. He hadn't committed any crimes since his last unlicensed raid, and Black Griggs had confided that it wasn't really a crime by strict interpretation of Klatchian law--it was tribute under duress and temporary slavery, and in fact the Klatchians owed Jack a chest of gold because their navigator had been returned. Griggs had a pirate's mind and a lawyer's books, and they made a dangerous combination.
As far as he could tell, the real situation was somewhere behind that giant wall of humanity . . . and other life forms . . . and other non-life-forms. The real situation was playing as street theatre; Jack wasn't even in the audience.
So Jack watched the City Watch, and adapted.
He'd never had trouble with dwarves--responsible folk who could be counted on to pull their own weight. And he had a bit of sympathy for the undead--though he wondered if that ramshackle fellow turned to full flesh by moonlight, since the sunlight showed him in rotting flesh and bone. The men made of living rock, though . . . they were giving him difficulty.
Especially the one who was holding a siege bow like a toy. Beside him, the great big one like a cliff face seemed harmless.
Yes, Jack Sparrow was going to just sit right here.
"A foreigner, sir."
Ping was out of breath and had his hands full of papers, and he was deep in the throes of that intense need to get all information out in the open so that he and the rest of the world were on equal terms. He thrust his notes at Vimes, who had been peering into the "Unread" box mistrustfully.
"The pirate who kidnapped a Klatchian--he's a foreigner."
Vimes was used to these kind of claims. "How do you know? Funny skin color? Wore a damn silly costume? Sand in his sandals?"
Corporal Ping took a deep breath and dropped his sheaf of papers into the "Unread" box. "No, sir--I've never seen him, though the navigator says that his costume was, er, strange. But he's not a Morporkian."
The level of the papers in the box was alarming. If a person were to come in here and be careless with a cigar . . .. "How do you know, Corporal?" Vimes might have been unaware that he was fingering his cigar case through his shirt. Perhaps.
"Because, sir . . . he stole money--"
"How long have you lived in Ankh-Morpork, Corporal?"
"--and gave some of it back."
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