Art:Write the New Oceanmasters
Write the New Oceanmasters was a familiar contest run in the Mariner's Muse section of the YPP forums during June 2005. Authors had a hard limit of 2500 words to relate a story detailing the how and why of the appearance of the new Ocean Masters. The stories coudl go into as much or as little detail into the fate of the lost OM, Eris. After three weeks of judging, Crystalclaws was awarded a grey monkey for her entry , reproduced in its entirety below. In addition, four runners-up each received a sloop prize.
Crystalclaws's winning entry
Room for Nine More
Nemo scratched his crotch, and stared at the ceiling thoughtfully. "Two days of interviewing, and no appointments yet?" he said.
Cleaver looked uncomfortable. "Third day lucky, eh? I've got high hopes for this bunch."
Poseidon brought a cup of coffee to the table and sat down with the other two. "Let's do it, then."
A rosy-cheeked woman, smiling and confident. The interviewing team introduced themselves, and asked her to tell them a little about herself.
"I just knew as soon as I saw the advert that this was the job for me. I'm perfect. No, really I am. You'd laugh, honest. I've got the experience and the right attitude, I just know it. And, do you know, everyone I've asked agrees? I was in the inn the other day, and I was saying about the job, and didn't people think I'd be just right, and they all agreed. Isn't that nice? I put a poll up on my crew forum, and they all voted that I'd be great, too. Says it all, really, I think."
A small red-haired girl was ushered in, and sat on the edge of the chair opposite them. "Oooh," she squeaked in excitement, "I can't believe it's really you! Oh my God, you're all totally way hotter than you looked on the screen. Uhoh, I think I wet myself?"
A young man next, with short dark hair. "Ahoy" he said, rather awkwardly.
Poseidon gestured to a dry chair, and started the discussion. "Thank you for coming. Can you tell me why you think you'd be a good OceanMaster?"
The applicant sniffed and sat up straight, confident. "I've been playing nearly a month, and I know all about the game now. I'm master or renowned in absolutely everything, and I'm already a Senior Officer. I think OceanMaster is the obvious next move for me, really."
Cleaver's head hit the table with a hollow thunk. "Please", he moaned, "please." The door opened again, and Poseidon just had time to hiss "Don't mention the liver!" to the other two, before an impressive man sat down opposite them, smiling.
"Liver?" said Nemo. "What about liver?"
The man stiffened and flushed, then recovered himself. "Well," he offered "think of it like this. I got caught thieving, I got punished, I've learned my lesson, and I'm ready for new things. And believe me, an ocean full of greenies, complaints and petitions is nothing compared to the whole rock and eagle thing, know what I mean?"
Cleaver grinned, and looked at the other two, who nodded slightly. "Well, uh" said Cleaver, checking the name on the paperwork, "Prometheus? I think we'd like to try you out."
The three of them stared in disbelief at the man coming through the door, a golden glow surrounding him, and glitter on his long white beard.
"Zeus. Scuppering Zeus. Again. What do you think you're doing here? How many times do I have to tell you that we're not going to hire you? Haven't you got enough to do without mucking with our game world?"
Zeus chuckled. "Ah, my dear chaps. I just had this cunning plan, you see. I was thinking that maybe I could appear on the docks in the form of a shower of doubloons, and make love to a beautiful wench. How does that sound?"
"Get out of here, you filthy old man. You're still under a court order after that whole business with Leda."
"Look, I know I got in trouble with my other account and that whole commodity exploit thing, but I think it must have been my little brother logging on while I was doing my studying, because..."
"I like the female rag skirts best, cos you can see right up their thighs and..."
A stunning woman was their next candidate. "Hello, my name is Bia. Nice to meet you all. I believe you have my resume?"
Cleaver looked through the paperwork. "This is a very impressive record you have. I think we'd all be very pleased to have you on the team." Poseidon coughed slightly.
"Er. This is Bia who, er, was the one who, er, chained..."
"Chained that thief Prometheus to the rock to have his liver pecked out by an eagle for eternity? Aye, that's me."
"Might that be awkward, given that we've just hired him?"
"Perhaps. On the other hand, it'll certainly keep him on the straight and narrow."
Bia stared at each of them confidently. "Thank you. I'll start Monday. You'll want the next girl too, I assure you."
Clio was a slight, ethereal girl who made them feel warm and confident. She knew everything about the Oceans: the places, the people, the times. She could bring alive for them episodes in the game that they had near-forgotten. She remembered their own early times in the game, their wildly excited first days. She had the Oceans at her fingertips, and could make them real for each of them with just a few words. And throughout all, an air of quiet wisdom, of calm and control, of perspective. Bia was right. There was no way they could say no to having Clio around.
"What a remarkable experience!" said Poseidon, as she left the room.
Captain Cleaver nodded. "Aye, indeed. And just think what her knowledge of the Dewey decimal system could do to revolutionize the office filing." Nemo hit him over the head with a cushion.
"Ew! That cushion was damp!"
"Well, you see, I asked my Captain and she was like "oh my god, you'd be totally brilliant as an OceanMaster" and I was like "but are you sure?" and she was like "oh my god yes, you'd be great and you could rename all our ships" and I was like "oh my god, that's such a great idea", and she was like "yeah, isn't it though?" and I was like "wow, and I could give all my friends pets like those sweet little monkey things and those birds" and she was like "oh, I love you, can I have an octopus?" and I was like "yeah, sure, one of each if you want" and she was like "wow, I can't wait till you're an OceanMaster" and now I'm going to be, and I'm so excited and I..."
"I think justice and fair play is very important in a game like this. It's important that people know that the rules will be applied, and I'm prepared to take the burden of being one of the enforcers, distasteful though it might be to some people. Like the other day, there was this guy who upped his buy price by 1 poe for iron, right, and that meant that I had to raise my price too. That's just rude, but if I'd called him names for a week, I'd be the bad guy, right? As an OceanMaster, though, I really get the power to..."
Nemesis came straight across the room and stood in front of the desk. "I'm here because I like order, and I don't like people who disrupt it. I don't like cheats, I don't injustice, I don't like arrogance. I'm willing to put the time and effort in to make sure that those who hurt the game get what's coming to them. I'm not scared of them, I'm not scared of you, I'm not scared of anyone. Except a little bit of Artemis. But who isn't?"
Cleaver nodded, weakly. "And the, er, whip?" he asked.
"Just an accessory. Hardly use it. Hardly at all."
Cleaver glanced at Nemo, who said quietly "Her references are good."
"They'd have to be."
They stared at Nemesis, who smiled and softened. "Look, I'm not as bad as all that. I just feel it's easier to introduce my no-nonsense side first : it saves an awful lot of small talk."
They laughed in relief, and hired her, not entirely successful in the attempt to convince themselves that it had nothing to do with the whip.
Nemesis shot a look of good-humoured impatience at the man standing giggling on the other side of the door. He bumped into the door frame and apologised very sincerely to it before focussing, almost, on Nemesis. He tried to pull himself to something close to vertical, raised an eyebrow and drawled "Hey, how're YOU doin??" before weaving his way into the room and flinging himself in the approximate vicinity of a chair.
"You guys... you GUYS? you're just my bestest friends. I love you guys." He hiccoughed gently and grinned happily at them.
"Dionysus, what a pleasure. And what do you think you'd bring to the game as an OceanMaster?"
"I'm very good", he said, "extremely good, I should say, at the drinking game. I do like the drinking game."
"So I see."
"People like me; everything around me is a party. I make people happy and I make happy people. You like happy people, yes?"
"There you go then. I'm job for the perfect. Glad to help, glad to help" and he slid gracelessly off his chair and under the table, giggling into the carpet.
"How could we not?" said Nemo, helpless with laughter.
Eurydice sat patiently as they discussed her in loud stage whispers.
"She's a mortal, you know."
"Not human, at least. A dryad."
"Do you think she?ll cope with the others?"
"You kidding? Know who her husband was?". Whispers. "Cool!".
"Honey, you're in. Welcome aboard."
"Hee!" Eurydice smiled a gorgeous smile and danced out of the room.
Poseidon's phone rang, the ringtone a tinny little shanty that made the others wince. "Ahoy!" he boomed. "Oh, hi love. Yeah. Yep. Yeah, about that. We're running a bit late. Ye- No, not done yet. Nearly. Sure, soon, I promise. Ok, Ami. I know I did. I haven't forgotten. But I have to go. Bye. Yes, I do. No, I can't. Ugh. Ok, I love you too."
With dark tousled hair and a smile the size of Beta Island, Hypnos wandered into the room. He greeted Poseidon with every evidence of intense joy and surprise : "Dude." Likewise Cleaver -"Dude!". And Nemo : "Doooooood!" He shuffled contentedly in his seat. "Maaan, it's good to be here."
Cleaver's disapproving look faded, and a bemused grin took its place.
"I do feel quite mellow with you around."
Nemo sprawled across the table, yawning, and doodling flying elephants. Poseidon enjoyed the colours he could hear.
"You want to give me the job, man. It's totally the right thing to do."
Cleaver looked at the wibbly-wobbly page in front of him and nodded. "I want to give you the job. It's totally the right thing to do."
"Mate, listen. I don't even know why I'm here. Because you know and I know that you're not going to hire me, because I'm not one of your precious cronies. I'm not one of your in-crowd, am I? It's so unfair. It's one rule for them, one rule for me. Why are you even interviewing me? Needed some numbers to pad it out, did you, to make it look good? If you tell me different, you're just lying, you bunch of--"
"Ahoy, mate. Take a seat."
"Er, ok" replied the next man in the room.
"So, tell me, how long have you been playing Puzzle Pirates, and how broad is your experience in the game?"
"Well, er, I've been playing for just under a year, and I'm Captain of my crew, which formed back in Azure before I started. We manage a shop and two stalls, and I'm responsible for the Officer training in the crew. I help run events for my flag and crew, and I'm also a greeter. I'd say I have pretty good all-round experience in the game. Why do you ask?"
"Well, as you know, we're interviewing for OceanMasters, and it sounds like you've got a great background for it."
"OceanMaster? You've got to be kidding. I wouldn't do that if you paid me. Oh, ok. I wouldn't do that even if you paid me MORE. I was just looking for a toilet I could use, actually."
"...Well, I'm afraid, lass, that you probably don't have quite enough experience for this role. I'm sorry. Perhaps you could keep a look out for future recruitment rounds. Do you have any questions for us?" The girl looked tearful and a little resentful. "Aye, I do, actually. How do I collect the stuff on this bid ticket?"
A wait. Cleaver, Nemo and Poseidon waited, then looked at each other.
Again, a pause, this time followed by a polite cough from right in front of them.
"Good lord, sorry, didn't see you there."
Lelantos smiled. "I'm used to that."
"Well, let's take a look at your background then. Your complaint record's good. No problems. Not so much as a blackspot even through the Titan War. Quite an achievement."
Poseidon passed Cleaver a note. "Ahhh, yes. You come with a recommendation from Artemis; I understand that she's friends with your daughter? Well, that's excellent. I think we can certainly use you." Cleaver looked up from the note. "Hang on... where's he gone?"
"I'm afraid that's the lot. How have we done?"
"Eight job offers. Hmm."
"I really wanted to get nine people in place, and we've got no more suitable applicants. Should we go back over the others from today and see if we can find an addit-- What the--?"
A commotion was audible from the lobby, voices raised and angry footsteps. The door to their room flew open and there stood a vision of rage and beauty.
"Hot", breathed Nemo, spellbound. "Terrifying", muttered Cleaver. They looked at each other in disagreement, shrugged, agreed with the other.
"Terrifying", breathed Nemo. "Hot", muttered Cleaver.
"Er, guys" interrupted Poseidon, "this is my girlfriend Amphitrite. Have you met?"
They grinned manic grins and jumped up to shake her hand, mouthing "number nine, number nine" at Poseidon, who started, then smiled. He put an arm round her shoulders, and led her out of the room.
"Darling, you know how you said you were getting frustrated with being on your own in the house all the time? Let's talk part-time jobs..."