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Æ Firestone's Crimea: Chapter 4


                                                 “High Tide" by Jonathan Trim, 2018



Little Niko wakes up, feeling the ground not sitting still but wavy.

It was making him dizzy and kept continuing,

so he opened the top of the box to have a peek.

He realized he was in a dark room full of boxes and cargo.


Niko slowly gets out of the box and observes the room.

He finds a stair that heads up to a door.

The boy slowly walks up and opens it,

then flash of light beams toward him.

Right there and now, Prince Niko discovers that he

is on a ship, not an ordinary boat but a military vessel,

a Russian one.


"Where in the world am I?"


"HEY, YOU!" Said a stranger.


In the ship was the Captain's quarters.

Luka and a few other men were next to the Captain at his desk.

The men were in a conversation until they were interrupted

when a sailor came to the Captain's quarters with the boy.


"Captain Sir, I've found an intruder; a boy."

"Niko?" said Luka, surprised.


The Captain replied. "Do you know this boy, Corporal Romanov?"

"Yes sir, my men and I helped him,

he was badly beaten-to-death at Abkhazia.

I assure you he's not a spy, Captain."


"What was this boy doing?" said the Captain to the sailor.


"He was sneaking around near the cargo room, sir."

The Captain looked at the boy and responded.


"If he's not a spy, then why young stranger are you

in my ship, especially near the cargo? 

Are you an Ottoman spy?"


"By the grace of God, no sir. I'm not supposed to be here..."


"Obviously." The Captain interrupted.


"...I was supposed to mail myself to Mingrelia,

but I took the wrong destination because I can't read.

I must go back to my homeland."


The Captain responded.


"Son, we can't turn the ship around; we must move forward.

We have supplies to deliver."


"Sir," Luka said and then whispered to his air.


The Captain said to Niko.


"Let's make a deal; I won't press charges on you,

unless you work for us until we arrive at our destination.

Do we have an agreement?"


"Looks like I have no choice. I'll do it." Niko replied.


"Excellent! Corporal Romanov will be responsible

for you until our voyage is complete.

My name is Captain Viktor Mikryukov, and this is my ship, The Chesma.

Remember, my ship, my rules, and respect the rules.

If you don't work, you don't eat!

When in Russia, do as the Russian does."


After Niko had done his cleaning and chores around the ship,

he took the rest of the night playing, Fortress chess,

a Russian 4-player variant of Chess.

The Little Prince was an expert at Chess,

but he got mawed in the game as he lost his pieces and

took his king from the throne.


Tired and frustrated by their version,

Niko played the regular version of Chess alone with Luka.


Luka spoke.

"So when you mean by you can't read, you mean you can't read Cyrillic?"


"I can speak your tongue but cannot read your script,

It looks like Latin and Greek had a child".


"I can never read Mingrelian; it looks like fancy cursive," Luka replied.


"Hey, at least I don't speak gibberish or write chicken scratch like Arabic⸮"


They both laughed and continued playing the game.


"What made you join the Imperial Army?" Niko asked.


"Let's just say...I had a gambling debt to pay off." Luka replied.


"Oh...I see."


"Who are you really, Niko?" Luka asked.


"I don't understand what you mean?"


"Something about you is different; you don't act like a normal peasant."


Niko looked at Luka, then looked down at the Chessboard,

and grabbed his Pawn piece as he was fidgety with his hand.


"I'm not a peasant; my name is Niko Dadaini, Prince of the Dadaini family."


"The Noble House of Mingrelia‽" Luka replied.


"Yes."


"What in the world a prince like you doing here in a place like this?"


"I got separated by Chechen tribes; it's a long story.

I must find a way back home, is there any way around?"


"Were headed to a place called Crimea,

a peninsula part of the Taurida Governorate.

There's a train station there; I'm not sure how far it goes,

but I'm afraid it will cost you an arm and a leg."


"I understand."

Niko holds his pawn up.

"I guess we're all pawns in this little game of life."

Niko puts it down, yawns, and says.

"I'm too tired to finish the game,

have a goodnight, Luka."


"Goodnight Niko" Luka replied.



In the mid-afternoon came a boom.

It woke up Niko thinking of doom.

Then Luka came to him with surprise.

"Niko get up; we got trouble!"


Both of them went upstairs to the deck.

Three 74-gun Ottoman steam frigates were present.

The Ertuğrul, the Şadiye, and the Heybet Nümâ.

The flagship was the Taif commanded by

an English Admiral Sir Adolphus Slade,

who was working with the Ottomans.





Slade was an experienced admiral in naval combat

and wanted to show what the steam frigates could do.


He spoke to his second-in-command."


"Lieutenant Uluç, prepare the guns."


"Yes, Admiral...

...Prepare the guns!."


Meanwhile, in the Chesma, Captain Mikryukov was calm and patient.

He spoke to his Captain Turov of the 2nd rank.


"Let them start the offense. then we start our defense."


"Yes, Captain" Turov replied.


The three frigates were getting closer to the Chesma,

inching closer to make the first move.


Lieutenant Uluç spoke to Admiral Slade.


"Admiral, we're in range."


"Good, tell them to fire."


The frigates began firing at the Chesma.


"FIRE AT WILL!" Captain Mikryukov yelled.


The Chesma fired their guns at the frigates

beginning to cause such severe damage to the metallic boats.

The cannonballs were piecing through the interior hall of the ships.


Captain Mikryukov spoke to his Captain Turov of the 2nd rank.


"Increase the speed; I don't want to engage any further, avoid them."


They increased the speed to bypass them as they continue to fire.


The Chesma fired 1,500 rounds, causing the three frigates to be in severe heavy damage.


Admiral Slade and Lieutenant Uluç observed this disaster and noticed what the Chesma was doing.


"Order the ships to retreat, and do not engage; Let them go."


"Yes, Admiral" Uluç replied.


As the Ottoman frigates retreated, the Chesma was continuing with its destination.


"Look at that sir; they're leaving!" Said the 2nd Captain.


"Never mess with Mother Russia!" Mikryukov replied.



To be Continued...


©2021 Æ Firestone



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