I was peering at a crudely drawn map of the known world when there was a knock on my cabin door. "Come in," I said loud enough to be heard from the other side of the heavy door. Dregor, my first mate, entered with a smug look on his face. I shook my head - not enough for him to see. I had told him to get that chip off his shoulder, but my words bounced off deaf ears.
"Captain, sir," Dregor said, snapping to attention.
"Dregor," I replied. I sighed before continuing, "I've told you that you may call me Jack."
"Doesn't seem right, sir."
I gave up; it was no use. "What can I do for you?"
Still in his stiff attention position, Dregor announced, "I am here to inform the captain that many of the crew are falling sick."
"First of all, Dregor," I replied, "at ease." He eased his body into a normal standing position. None of his muscles were going to pop anymore. As he stood there, I could tell that he had been drinking, his stance now too slouched. He had been over compenstating when he was at attention.
"Second, if you don't stop drinking, I will throw you overboard myself. The alcohol is not for your amusement." He nodded an acknowledgement. "Now, how many are sick?"
"Five, sir. And, ten other passangers."
I sighed. "We are going to have a serious case of scurvy on our hands if we aren't careful. Is there any fruit left?"
"We ran out of the normal reserves six days ago. The only thing left is the officer's reserve."
I knew there was going to be an objection coming, but I forged ahead anyway with invisible smile. "Then, we will have to ration those reserves and hope that --"
"But, Captain, that fruit is for the officers."
I brought my hand up, palm facing him. "I don't want to hear it. I only allowed you to have that reserve because I knew that it would extend our food. Who knew that this journey would take more than two months?"
"Yes, sir," Dregor sighed heavily.
"Besides," I continued, "we are the only officers. I'm sure your alcoholic belly can spear some."