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Venus led the hesitant boy up across the creaking, wooden dock and to the gang plank.

"Up 'ya go, lad, time to earn your keep asea!" she said encouragingly, clapping him on the small, round shoulder.

Albrecht looked up at the bustling deck filled with all manner of rough seamen and women, and turned a hesitant look at Venus.

"Fucksake, boy! Go. You want me to take you back to Marjia and get one of the girls?"

He shook his head and stepped onto the gang plank. Several steps later the rolling of the ship nearly tumbled him off into the dangerous narrow water between the ship and the dock. Venus caught him with a smile, "Got, you boy. You'll get used to it soon enough."

As he set foot on the deck half the crew turned from their work to gawp.

"Belay that!" Bellowed their captain, "Mine. Mitts off, lessen I say otherwise."

She pointed to the her cabin door, "You, go clean." Wheeling around on her soft boots she ran a hard eye over her her, "Turn to! I want off this dock before the sun's over the yard arm!"

"Bo'sun! First Mate!"

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