The Boy Allies with Uncle Sams Cruisers
Ensign Robert L. Drake
Part 3 out of 4
"In this case, it chances to be a German ship," said Captain Jack.
Frank looked incredulous.
"What? Didn't you know the Germans had established a naval base far to
the north of this island?" asked Captain Jack. "It's there their
raiders put in supplies. There are also a dozen submarines. As a
matter of fact though, the Kaiser is a submarine shy. That's the one I
'cut out' about five months ago."
Frank listened to this tale with wide-open eyes.
"If you're fighting the Germans, I'm with you," he said.
Captain Jack shook his head.
"Just when necessary," he said quietly. "This time it chances to be a
German I shall attack. I wouldn't hesitate if it were American or
British. I am fighting for my own ends only. I am a pirate."
Frank gazed in unconcealed wonder at this young man who thus openly set
at naught the laws of nations and of civilization; but he was not
greatly surprised at the pirate's announcement that there was a German
submarine base in the Atlantic. This had long been suspected in
Washington and allied countries, but fast cruisers sent to scour the
waters had been unable to find the hiding place.
Captain Jack continued:
"You see, I'm not asking you to join me under false pretenses. I could
tell you I am fighting Germany, attack a German ship and you would
believe me; but that is not the truth. In fact, I hesitate even to
attack this German ship. Should my hiding place be discovered, the
Germans would make short work of me."
"So would American or British warships," said Frank.
"I'm not so sure. If pursued by them I would appeal to the Germans for
aid. They would welcome me as a kindred spirit -- they are no better
than pirates, you know."
"Oh, I know it, all right," Frank agreed. "In fact, I have found that
they are not as good as most pirates, though, I am not what you would
call well acquainted with the pirate family. By the way, where are
Captain Jack considered.
"I guess there is no need for me to remain silent on that point," he
said at last. "There is little likelihood that you will be able to
reveal my hiding place. This island, to give it the name of the
Germans who hold forth here, is Kaiserland. It is out of the regular
channel of navigation from South America and is uncharted. I stumbled
upon it by accident.
"Shipwrecked, as were you, with fifty men from a South American freight
ship, we dragged ourselves ashore here. We discovered the German base
while hunting signs of human habitation. It was then I conceived the
idea of seizing one of the German vessels. My men were with me -- it
was a rough lot we carried on that freight ship. I seemed to have more
brains -- or you can call it imagination -- than the rest, so I became
the leader as a natural result.
"I won't burden you with the details of how we captured the submarine.
The best proof that we succeeded, however, is that you are board it
right now. I had all kinds of men among my followers, even the
wireless operator. He rigged up a wireless station farther inland.
There, I picked up many messages the world would be glad to hear."
"Did you ever stop to think," said Frank," of what benefit you could be
to the United States and her allies?"
"I have," returned Captain Jack, "but I have concluded that I can be of
more use to myself. So far I have sunk but three vessels and in each
case I have set passengers and crew safely adrift in the regular
channel, where they were sure to be picked up. There will be some
great tales when they reach home. They probably will blame their
misfortune on the Germans.
"But there is nothing I could do for the United States now without
inviting my own destruction. I have gone beyond the pale, and the
punishment for piracy, you know, is death. But come, I am wasting
time. Again I ask will you be my first lieutenant and join me in my
dash after this German raider."
Frank considered deeply for long minutes. At last he said: "I cannot
accept your offer to become a pirate, but I will do this: I will take
part in your attack on the German, for I consider any German engaged in
this war beyond the pale of civilization. If it is necessary to become
a pirate to help win this war, then I will become a pirate, always
remembering myself that I shall break none of the laws of nations and
that I shall take every effort to succor the unfortunate."
"Good!" exclaimed Captain Jack. "Well spoken!"
"But," continued Frank, "I want you to understand that I wish no part
of the prize and that my association with you ends when the German
raider has been disposed of."
"Very good!" declared Captain Jack. "So be it. And your men here, I
take it, are of the same mind?"
"We are, sir," said Timothy and Allen in a single voice.
They seemed to have lost all desire to become pirates in reality.
"You may consider yourselves at liberty, then," said Captain Jack, with
a wave of his hand. "By the way," this to Frank, "do you know anything
of the mechanism of a submarine?"
"A trifle," said Frank quietly. "I neglected to tell you that I hold a
lieutenant's commission in the British navy."
"What!" cried Captain Jack, who could scarcely believe his ears.
"Exactly," said Frank, "and as such I have seen considerable active
service beneath the sea as well as upon its surface."
"So much the better," declared Captain Jack. "You will be all the more
valuable. I need not fear to trust my ship in your hands."
At this moment there came sounds of confusion from above.
"Something wrong," said Captain Jack, and dashed away.
Frank and the two sailors followed more slowly. Captain Jack met them
at the foot of the ladder that led on deck. He was laughing.
"Nothing serious," he said. "Half a dozen of my men encountered three
strangers back on the island and there was a fight. Seems the
strangers had the better of the encounter, killing two of my, men and
wounding two more. Through some sort of a truce the strangers agreed
to accompany my men here, although they seem to have had the
Captain Jack made as if to mount the ladder. Frank stayed him.
"One minute," he said. "Chances are your captives are friends of mine,
my commander, and the fourth officer of the Albatross. Don't worry,"
as Captain Jack laid a hand to his revolver, "they are with me in
anything I do. But I thought we could have a little fun with them.
Take charge of them like the pirate chief you are and tell them you are
leaving their fate in the hands of your first officer."
"By Jove! Good!" cried Captain Jack, and he climbed on deck.
Frank led the way into what he made out was the pirate chief's cabin
and unceremoniously took possession.
A few moments later several figures descended the ladder and approached
the cabin. Frank caught Jack's voice.
"I was a fool to let these fellows get the upper hand," he said. "We
had the advantage back there in the forest and threw it away. No
telling what they will do with us. Make us walk the plank, maybe."
Frank got to his feet as Jack, Williams and Captain Glenn, closely
followed by Captain Jack, entered the little cabin. Jack espied him on
"Hello, Frank," he said, with a rueful smile.
"So they got you, too, eh?"
"No, they didn't get me," replied Frank, "but it seems we have got you,
"What's that?" demanded Jack, believing he had not heard aright.
"I say," declared Frank, "that we've got you. I'm second in command of
this pirate crew and I don't want you to forget it. You will address
me with civility."
"What's the joke?" asked Jack.
"No joke," returned Frank. "I'm the first officer of this submarine,
and Captain Jack -- that's your captor -- has left it to me to
pronounce sentence on the men who have killed two of our good pirates
and wounded two others."
"So you've joined the pirates?" said Jack, with a smile. "All right,
we await the sentence. What is it? Walk the plank?"
"No," said Frank, "the sentence is that you become members of our
"What," said Jack in mock seriousness, and supposing of course that
Frank was joking, "me a pirate? I guess not."
"Either that," said Frank, "or you shall be bound and securely guarded
until we have returned from an imminent cruise."
"Look here, Chadwick," interposed Captain Glenn at this point, "all
this probably is very funny and all that; but tell us the joke so we
can laugh too."
"I'm telling you that it's no joke," replied Frank. "I am asking you
whether, for the moment, you will all become pirates and fare forth
with Captain Jack and myself in search of adventure, riches and
"Germans?" said Jack, pricking up his ears.
"Sure, we'll fare forth with almost any one in search of Germans.
"First," said Frank, "I want you to meet Captain Jack, a true pirate.
Captain Jack, my friend and chum, Jack Templeton."
"Seems we've both got a regular name, anyhow, doesn't it," said Jack
Templeton, as he shook hands with Captain Jack.
"It does," returned the latter with a grin.
The two took stock of each other, each realizing in the moment their
hands met that before him stood an antagonist worthy of his steel.
Frank introduced the others. Then he explained the situation.
"Now do you think I have done right to join the expedition?" he asked.
"You have done right, yes," said Jack slowly, weighing each word, "if
you are sure you can trust our Captain Jack, here."
Captain Jack was on his feet with an angry gleam in his eyes, but Jack
did not quail. Before the look in the young Englishman's eye, the
pirate chief stepped back. Then he looked the lad squarely in the face
and extended his hand.
"You've my word that I will play square," he said quietly, and added
half ruefully, "The word of a pirate!"
"I accept it!" said Jack, and grasped the hand.
Jack now explained to the others how he and his two companions had
encountered the pirate forces in the forest.
"So after I fired at the treacherous pirate," he concluded, "we framed
up an agreement to come along with those able to walk. It's true we
held the upper hand at that moment, but we were strangers in a strange
land, so to speak, and we needed help. Besides, the man didn't explain
that they were pirates."
The attack upon the German raider was set for the next night when a
messenger from the wireless station in the woods apprised Captain Jack
of the approximate hour at which the German ship would pass a certain
That night the friends spent aboard the submarine at the bottom of the
harbor. The fact that the vessel submerged with the coming of darkness
accounted for its sudden appearance from nowhere the morning the
The following day was spent quietly ashore. Jack and Frank talked over
the decision they had reached to join the pirate forces against the
Germans and each felt certain that they were acting wisely and well.
"And what will Captain Jack do with us when we return?" asked Frank.
Jack shrugged his shoulders.
"It's hard to say," he replied. "However, there is no use worrying.
Let tomorrow take care of itself."
"Well," said Frank, "I'm going to secrete a couple of revolvers. I'm
not going to be shot down after this piece of work is done."
"Right," Jack agreed. "I'll do the same if I can and I'll pass the
word to Williams, Captain Glenn and the sailors."
Thus it was arranged.
It was two hours before dark the following day when, with Captain Jack
at the wheel and the Roger running submerged, the start was made to
intercept the German raider.
"There is probably no one near now," said Captain Jack, "but I am
running submerged because I think it is foolish to take chances."
"Will you have to submerge to launch your torpedoes?" asked Frank.
"I will in this case. Here's my plan: I want to hit the German in a
vulnerable and not a vital spot. I don't want her to sink, but I do
want to damage her so badly that the crew will abandon her. Then I can
go aboard and get whatever I want."
"I don't think so much of the second part of the program," said Jack.
"It would be all right, of course, if whatever is found was to be used
by nations at war with Germany, but by a --"
"Pirate," interposed Captain Jack, with a slight smile. "Why don't you
say it? You don't need to spare my feelings. I'm perfectly hardened,
I assure you."
"Well, I don't like the word," said Jack. "It has an ugly sound."
Captain Jack's face flushed and his hands clenched, but lie said
With the coming of nightfall, Captain Jack ordered the automatic pumps
to work, and as the water was forced from the tanks the submarine came
to the surface. Captain Jack motioned Jack and Frank to follow him on
The night was still. There was hardly a ripple on the sea.
"How much farther do we go?" asked Frank.
Captain Jack glanced at his pocket compass and then at his wrist
watch. "If I've calculated correctly," he replied, "we shall reach our
station within two hours. The German should be along within the next
sixty minutes. You fellows wait here a minute. I'm going below."
He left the two lads alone on deck, which was only a few feet above the
level of the ocean. The conning tower closed behind him. The same
thought flashed through the minds of both lads, but Frank gave it
"Wonder if he's going to submerge and let us be washed away?" he
Jack shrugged his shoulders again -- a habit he had.
"We should have thought of that sooner," he said. "It's too late now.
We'll have to wait and see."
But the vessel remained on an even keel and directly the conning tower
opened and Captain Jack emerged.
"Think I was going to run from under you?" he asked, with a smile.
"Such a thought had struck us, to tell the truth about it," said Jack.
"Don't worry," said Captain Jack, and added grimly, "at least not until
this night's work is over."
Neither Jack nor Frank felt called upon to reply to this remark. For
some moments the three stood in silence scanning the black expanse of
water as the submarine nosed gently along. Then Captain Jack broke the
"Let's go below," he said.
Two hours later Captain Jack again went on deck. He motioned to Frank
to follow him. In spite of the fact that Captain Glenn, a man of
proven experience, was aboard and that Jack had ranked above Frank on
the Albatross, the pirate chief still held to Frank for his first
"Chadwick," he said, "I shall leave the handling of the craft to you
when we go into action. I shall be busy with the torpedoes. Your
friend Templeton I will post at the periscope to get the range."
"Very good, sir," said Frank, saluting as though he were aboard a ship
of war and serving under a military officer.
Captain Jack poked his head down the hatchway and called to Jack, who
was stationed there:
"Stop the engines, Mr. Templeton."
"Very good, sir," was Jack's reply.
The submarine's progress was stopped. She rode gently on the waves
now, moving only with the tide. Captain Jack and Frank scanned the
distant and dark horizon for some sight of the raider.
"She'll come dark," said Captain Jack. "She won't dare show a light
for fear of being picked up; and I don't dare use my searchlight for
the same reason. She should be here now."
"Plans may have been changed," said Frank briefly.
"That's so, and still I hardly believe that is it. They were flashed,
you know, to a point on the South American coast, from which they are
relayed to Berlin. The German government, in spite of the efforts of
the Allies to prevent it, is still informed of every move this fleet in
far-off waters makes."
"It seems incredible," declared Frank.
"Nevertheless it's true. Is it any wonder a fellow who is playing as
safe as he can would lean toward Germany rather than the Allies. Also,
to my mind, it seems to be a case of Germany being the under dog and my
sympathies are naturally with that animal."
"It isn't that," said Frank. "The Allies, the United States included,
are not in this war to thrash any one. They're in this war to make the
world safe to live in. So long as Prussian militarism exists, there
will be no peace and no safety for any man, woman, or child in any
"You may be right," said Captain Jack, "and you may not be. Fact is, I
haven't bothered to give the matter much thought. My business has to
do with making money, and more particularly, at this moment, of
catching sight of the German at the earliest possible moment. She will
come close in this darkness before we are able to see her, and fast
work will be necessary then. We can't make much time in this
submarine, you know, and if we are not careful she'll run away from
"Trouble is," said Frank, "that she may be some distance away when she
passes this point. You can't tell exactly where she'll pass."
"That's it," said Captain Jack. "That's what I am worrying about."
"Well," said Frank, "she -- what's that?"
He broke off suddenly. A large shape loomed up in the darkness, some
"The raider!" cried Captain Jack. "Quick! Below!"
He sprang for the hatchway and dashed to the torpedo tubes. Frank
scrambled madly after him and took the wheel from the helmsman with
such promptness as to send the man sprawling.
"Get the range, Jack!" he cried.
Jack, with his eye to the periscope, called out sharply:
"Number three, torpedo."
Captain Jack himself sprang to the tube.
"Hold her as she is!" cried Jack. "Fire!"
Captain Jack, instead of touching off the torpedo, suddenly stepped
"I'm liable to sink her, and I don't want to do that," he said.
"Shoot, man!" cried Jack. "Shoot or she'll get away."
"Well, there is no use angering the Germans for nothing," said Captain
Jack. "They'll start a search for me. If I can't get the rich booty
aboard there is no reason for me to fire. No, I'll wait until some
other night, when I can be sure the shot will go where I intend it and
merely cripple her."
With a sudden angry cry, Jack hurled himself forward. Captain Jack had
stepped back some distance from the tube. He leaped, forward as he
realized the lad's intention. But he was too late.
There was a slight metallic click; that was all.
The torpedo sped on its errand of destruction. Jack whirled about in
time to meet the attack of the pirate chief. They grappled and went to
the deck with a crash.
JACK VS. JACK
Diabolical anger showed upon the face of Captain Jack as he grappled
with the young Englishman. The pirate chief held the advantage when
the two came together, for he had the impetus of his advance behind
him, while Jack was off his balance when they grappled. Therefore
Captain Jack was uppermost when they struck the deck.
Three members of the pirate crew -- all that were near at that moment
-- sprang forward to lend a hand to their leader. Then Frank took
charge of the situation. He produced two revolvers with a single
movement. Williams did likewise. Captain Glenn, always a sailor,
sprang to the wheel and put the submarine back on an even keel -- she
had been staggering when Frank released his hold. The sailors Timothy
and Allen were in another part of the vessel at the moment.
"Stand back!" cried Frank, and the pirates halted in their tracks.
Frank covered them with his two revolvers.
"Get their guns," the lad instructed Williams.
The latter obeyed and soon the three pirates were helpless.
In the meantime, Jack and Captain Jack, closely locked, were struggling
for mastery. Williams advanced to lend Jack a hand, but Frank motioned
him back. He had no fear of the outcome despite the fact that Captain
Jack seemed to have all the advantage.
"Let 'em alone, Williams!" the lad cried. "A thrashing will do the
pirate good; and he's about to get it."
Williams stood back, but he and Frank both held their automatics ready
for instant use, for they were determined to see fair play.
Jack was still underneath, but be had thrown both powerful arms around
the neck of the pirate captain and the latter, who had now got to his
knees, was struggling to break this hold. Jack held on grimly.
Suddenly Jack braced his feet against one side of the narrow corridor,
and still lying on his back, heaved mightily. The pirate chief,
powerful man though he was, went sailing in the air and his head struck
the opposite wall with a resounding crack.
Jack released his hold and sprang to his feet
The shock had momentarily stunned Captain Jack and Jack stood back,
waiting for the pirate to regain his senses. The man staggered to his
feet, brushed his hand across his face and then glared at Jack.
"A very pretty trick," he exclaimed, "but you won't catch me napping
He sprang toward Jack and aimed a vicious blow at the lad's face with
his right fist. Jack stepped nimbly aside and the blow went wide.
Before the pirate could recover his balance, Jack struck him a heavy
blow under the right ear. A less powerful man would have gone down
under the force of it, but Captain Jack simply shook his head angrily
and turned sharply to renew the attack. Nevertheless, this time he
advanced with greater caution.
For several moments the two stood at arm's length and sparred. In this
style of fighting, however, the young Englishman had all the better of
it and after he had landed several blows upon the pirate's face and
body, the latter rushed into a clinch.
Captain Jack had lost his first pangs of anger and was fighting more
coolly and carefully now. He realized after a few minutes that he had
met his match, and, he wasn't sure as yet, but, perhaps, his superior.
As the two struggled in each other's embrace, each seeking an advantage
without presenting an opening, Jack Templeton smiled and spoke.
"I've got you, Captain Jack," he said, "but I am ready to cry quits any
time you give the word."
Captain Jack made no reply, but only tried the harder to encircle
Jack's neck with his right arm.
Suddenly Jack freed his right arm, which had been pressed close to his
body by the pirate's left, and brought his fist up under Captain Jack's
chin. It was a powerful short-arm blow and the pirate chief staggered
back. Jack gave him no time to li ft his guard, but bored in.
Right and left, with all Jack's strength behind them, struck the
pirate, the first between the eyes and the second on the chin. Captain
Jack floundered back across the corridor.
Jack stopped in his tracks; then, pivoting on his heel, he shot out his
right with all his power. Captain Jack, struck again squarely upon the
point of the chin, crumpled tip without a word and lay still.
Jack stepped back and surveyed his fallen foe.
"Easier than I thought it would be," he said quietly. "Had he known
anything of boxing there might have been a different story to tell."
Frank stepped forward and took his friend's hand.
"You're some scrapper, all right," he said, "but what are we going to
"Well," said Jack, "we seem to be in command of this submarine. I vote
that we appropriate it for the British navy."
"Or the American navy," added Frank.
"Whichever you say," said Jack.
"In the meantime," said Williams dryly, "it might be well to tie up our
"Right you are," said Jack. "Frank, you see to that, will you? I want
to go on deck and see whether my torpedo struck home."
Without waiting for a reply he mounted the ladder.
Frank turned to look about for strong cord with which to bind the
pirate captain. As he did so he was startled by a cry from Captain
Glenn at the wheel. He had replaced his revolvers, but now his hands
dropped to them. Before he could draw, however, strong hands drew him
back. Williams also was suddenly attacked from behind.
Captain Glenn released the wheel, but before he could produce a weapon,
he found himself looking down the barrel of a shining automatic held by
a member of the pirate crew.
What had happened was this: While Jack had struggled with the pirate
chief, several members of the crew had watched the struggle from the
safety of the darkened corridor. They had made no effort to interfere
while Frank and Williams stood guard with their revolvers, but when
Jack went on deck and Frank and Williams put away their weapons they
crept close and sprang when the moment was propitious.
Frank struggled desperately, but hands held him tight. So with
Williams. A moment later both were securely bound, and the pirates
then gave their attention to Captain Glenn, who also was safely tied
While these proceedings were going on Captain Jack opened his eyes.
He took in the situation clearly and got to his feet. He approached
"It seems," he said quietly, "that we have resumed our former status.
Once more I am the captor and you are my prisoners. Where's
"On deck, Captain," said one of the pirates.
"Good!" said Captain Jack. "Four of you station yourselves at the
ladder there and grab him when he comes down."
The pirates followed instructions. To Frank Captain Jack said:
"I would advise you not to cry out when he descends. If you do it may
be necessary to shoot him."
Frank realized the value of this reasoning and promised to say
nothing. Williams and Captain Glenn also signified their intention to
Meanwhile, Jack, on deck, scanned the sea through the blackness in an
effort to pick up the German raider if she still remained afloat. As
his eyes became accustomed to the darkness, he saw what he believed was
a mass of wreckage some distance away. Gradually the shape in the
water became more distinct.
It was indeed the wreckage of the German raider that Jack beheld there
in the darkness.
"Pretty good shooting, Jack, old boy," the lad told himself. "Can't
tell whether the crew went down or has made off in the boats. However,
there is nothing we can do for them. Guess I'd better be getting back
He descended the ladder.
As he stepped from the bottom rung, many hands seized him from behind
and he was carried to the deck. Jack struck out with both hands and
kicked with both feet. Grunts told him that several of these blows had
found their mark.
But the odds against him were too great. Gradually he was borne back
and at last, it seemed to the lad, many men sat on his chest. He heard
the voice of Captain Jack:
"Bind him securely, men."
Jack quit struggling and lay still.
Two minutes later he was securely bound and permitted to stand.
Captain Jack grinned at him.
"He laughs best who laughs last," he quoted, with a smile.
"So he does," Jack agreed, "but I don't think this is the last laugh."
"Well," said Captain Jack, "you've been on deck, did your torpedo go
"It did," said Jack quietly.
"That means," said Captain Jack, "that I probably shall have trouble
with the Germans on Kaiserland. They won't rest until they clear up
the mystery. I ought to have you shot."
"Suit yourself," said Jack briefly.
For a moment the pirate chief eyed the lad angrily. Then he said:
"I'll decide on your punishment later. Meanwhile, we'll get back to
It was the afternoon following return of the submarine to the harbor
of, Kaiserland. Frank, Jack, Captain Glenn and Williams found
themselves the center of a body of armed men. They were marching
Frank hailed Captain Jack, who marched near the head of the
"Where are you taking us?" he demanded.
"I'd thought about turning you over to the Germans," replied Captain
Jack, dropping back and falling in alongside Frank.
"I guess you won't do that," said Frank.
"Why won't I?"
"Because it wouldn't be healthy for you. The Germans would think you
had a hand in the sinking of the raider."
"Well, you're right, I guess, so I won't turn you over to the Germans
right now. But I've a nice little place away back in the forest, where
I think you will be safe enough until it is time for me to leave this
island for good."
"So you have decided to give up piracy, eh?" asked Frank.
"Almost. One more good haul and I'll have enough to keep me in plenty
the rest of my days. My men, too, will be provided for. Why should we
keep this up, when we are sure to be caught sooner or later?"
"I'm glad you've seen the light; but if you'll take my advice, you'll
quit this business without waiting for the next haul, as you term it."
Captain Jack shook his head.
"No," he said, "I'm decided on that."
"By the way," said Frank, "where is this place you are taking us?"
"Northern end of the island," said Captain Jack. "Most of my men are
there. They'll guard you safe enough. In fact, I may say that the
place I am taking you is my headquarters. There I have my office, my
wireless apparatus and many other things. Oh, yes, you'll be safe
"Suit yourself," said Frank, "only remember that some day you will
answer for your crimes. By the way, what have you done with our two
"Done with them?" repeated Captain Jack. "I haven't done anything with
them. They have joined my band."
"Is that so?" returned Frank. "I was afraid of it. They told me they
would join if you gave them a chance, but I didn't believe it. Oh,
well, I guess they will swing along with the rest of you when the time
Captain Jack left Frank's side and moved to the head of the procession
again. He smiled at Jack as he passed. Apparently he bore no grudge
for the way the lad had maltreated him aboard the submarine.
"This Captain Jack is a pretty decent sort of a pirate," said Jack.
"Too bad he won't run straight."
"Decent or not," said Captain Glenn, "a pirate's a pirate, and if we
can manage to get out of his clutches it's up to us to do it."
"Right, sir," agreed Williams. "If we can get a couple of guns apiece
and get clear, I'll guarantee we can make considerable trouble for Mr.
Pirate before he nabs us again."
"We'll take advantage of the first opportunity that presents itself,"
said Frank, "no matter how small the chance of success may seem."
"And then what?" Jack wanted to know.
"We'll let the future take care of itself," said Captain Glenn
Darkness was falling when Captain Jack announced that they were nearing
the end of their journey.
"I'm glad of that," said Frank. "Hope there will be a good supper
"Don't you fret," laughed the pirate chief, "I'm not one of those
old-fashioned pirates who starved his captives to death."
"I'm glad to hear that, Captain," declared Jack.
"Hope you don't fatten us up too much before the feast, though."
Again Captain Jack laughed, but he made no reply.
Fifteen minutes later the four prisoners made out in the semi-darkness
what appeared to be a large stockade.
"Afraid of Indians, Captain?" asked Frank.
"No; Germans," was the response. "We built that wall the better to
defend ourselves if we are attacked."
"You're far-seeing, at all events," declared Jack.
Half a dozen men advanced from the enclosure to meet Captain Jack and
his party. The pirate chief saluted them and they greeted him
From the top of a wooded building inside the enclosure Frank made out a
large wireless aerial.
"Captain Jack is a modern pirate, all right," the lad told himself.
"Send Jackson to me," ordered Captain Jack, as he followed his
prisoners into the large wooden building.
A man left the room, but reappeared a few moments later, followed by a
man of extremely large stature.
"Jackson," said Captain Jack, and indicated the four captives with a
sweeping gesture, "these men are prisoners and I want them well
guarded. You'll lock them up in the strong room and post guards
outside. You will keep the keys to the door yourself. No one must
enter without my permission. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," replied Jackson.
"Good. Take them away, then."
Jackson motioned the prisoners to precede him through the door. As
Frank passed out, Captain Jack called:
"I'll do myself the pleasure of calling on you tomorrow."
The big building in which the prisoners found themselves was
partitioned off into a number of rooms. As they passed a door, Jack
heard a faint clicking.
"Wireless room there," he said aloud.
Frank nodded in the half light.
"That's where Captain Jack gets all his tips," he said.
At the end of a long hall, the prisoners brought up against a stout
door. Jackson advanced, produced a key and flung the door open.
"This will be your prison," he said. "You will find no windows, but I
will provide you with sufficient candles and matches. It will do no
good to try to escape as the door is of the stoutest oak; but even if
you did batter it down you would find guards without and the noise
would arouse the rest of us. You will find bunks inside."
"Are you going to leave us tied up like this?" demanded Frank,
extending his bound hands.
"Why, I guess there is no need of that," said Jackson.
He produced a knife and cut the cords. The prisoners entered the large
room. Jackson drew half a dozen candles and a quantity of matches from
his pocket. These he gave to Jack.
"Make yourselves as comfortable as possible," he said.
He shut the door and locked it from the outside.
With the candles lighting up the interior of the room, the prisoners
surveyed their surroundings. The room contained half a dozen hard
chairs and as many bunks. There was a single table. That was all.
"Not a very presentable place, if you ask me," declared Frank.
"But a first class prison," was Williams' comment.
All that night and the next day the prisoners remained there without
sight of a human face save that of Jackson who himself brought them
their meals. Captain Jack failed to keep his promise to call.
"I'm getting tired of this place," declared Frank, as he made ready for
bed the following night.
"Same here," said Jack, "but what are we going to do about it?"
The answer came from an unexpected source.
The stout door creaked slightly. A moment later the head of the sailor
Allen appeared within. He laid a finger to his lips and uttered a
"S-h-sh!" as he entered the room. Timothy appeared behind him.
From their pockets the two sailors produced twelve Colt automatics,
loaded, and an extra supply of ammunition. They motioned the prisoners
to help themselves.
"But why all this?" demanded Frank in a low voice. "I thought you
fellows had become pirates."
"So did we, sir," whispered Timothy, "but when we found they had locked
you up here we changed our minds."
"How'd you get in?"
"Well," said Allen, grinning, "we were put on watch. Jackson appeared
a few minutes ago to see that everything was 0. K. Timothy, here,
bumped him over the head with the butt of his gun. Then we took the
key and opened the door. That's all, sir."
"You've done well," said Captain Glenn. "The next thing is to get out
"No difficulty there," said Allen. "Everybody is asleep."
"Let's go, then," said Frank.
Armed with two revolvers apiece, the six left the room quietly. They
were not accosted as they made their way through the darkened
building. They passed noiselessly into the stockade, but there they
found that the heavy gates were barred.
"Nothing to do but go over the top," whispered Frank.
Jack boosted Frank up. Sitting astride the wall, Frank lent the others
a helping hand and soon they were over the wall.
"Guess it's up to us to lose ourselves in the jungles," said Frank
dryly. "Come on."
The others followed. Five minutes later they were out of sight from
the stockade. They plunged into the darkness among the great trees.
CAPTURING THE WIRELESS STATION
Morning. As the first faint streak of light came streaming over the
treetops and dimly lighted the forest itself, Frank stirred his five
sleeping comrades with the toe of his boot.
"Time to get up," he said in a low voice to each.
Since midnight the lad had stood guard. There was little likelihood,
the friends knew, that their escape would be discovered before morning,
but it had been decided that watch should be kept nevertheless, Jack
had stood watch until midnight, after which Frank took up the vigil.
With all upon their feet now, Frank called a council of war.
"We've got to decide what to do," he said.
We've come away without as much as a bite to eat. It's likely that we
can rustle up something in the forest, also water to quench our
thirsts, but I'm in favor of more substantial food."
"What do you suggest, then?" asked Williams.
"Well," said Frank, "it's certain that our absence will be discovered
soon after daylight. Naturally they'll make a search for us, because
Captain Jack will not feel easy while we are at large. I figure that
he will scout the forest with the bulk of his men, leaving the
so-called fort lightly guarded. My plan would be to work back toward
the enemy, and when we hear them coming take shelter in the tops of
these big trees. When they have gone by, we'll come down and go to the
fort. There we'll get all the chow we want."
"That's not a bad plan," decided Jack, "but you haven't carried it far
"What do you mean?" asked Frank.
"Well," said Jack, "we can also take charge of the wireless room. You
know I have had some experience in wireless telegraphy. Maybe we can
pick up an American ship of war."
"By George! A good idea!" exclaimed Captain Glenn. "But we can't tell
them where we are."
"That's true, too," said Jack, "but we can fix our location so closely
that they should be able to find us."
"It's worth trying, anyhow," declared Williams.
"All right, then," said Jack. "We may as well be on the move."
Jack took the lead and they retraced the route they had traversed in
their flight through the night.
It seemed to all members of the party that they had walked for hours,
when Jack suddenly called a halt.
"Thought I heard voices," he said. "Guess we'd better play safe. Our
place now is up in the trees."
He scanned the big trees near by. A short distance away were two even
larger than the rest. Their branches were so thick that Jack felt sure
they would form a perfect screen.
"Let's climb," he said.
Jack clambered up the nearest tree. Captain Glenn and Williams
followed him. Frank, Timothy and Allen swung themselves into the
other. There, high up among the branches, they sat quietly, waiting.
Their patience was rewarded at last. An hour later, peeping from his
hiding place, Frank saw the familiar figure of Captain Jack. To right
and left his men were beating the brush in an effort to find the
fugitives. Each man carried a rifle ready for instant use.
Frank smiled to himself.
"You want to look up and not down," he said softly.
Captain Jack was exhorting his men to greater pains.
"Don't miss an inch of the ground," he shouted. "We're bound to find
them sooner or later. Five hundred dollars in gold to the man who
discovers them first. Keep working, men, and be careful."
The searchers passed directly beneath the trees in which the fugitives
were hiding. It would have been an easy matter for Frank or any of the
others to have killed Captain Jack and several of his men with a single
volley, but none could bring himself to shoot down a man in cold
blood. Besides, a single shot would have precipitated a battle, and
all the fugitives knew that their best chance of safety lay in avoiding
Directly beneath the tree in which Frank was hiding, Captain Jack
paused and lighted his pipe. Then, with a word to his men, he passed
The fugitives in the trees almost held their breath for fear they would
betray their hiding place. For an hour after the pirates had passed
they remained perfectly motionless, fearing that one or more men had
perhaps lagged behind.
Then Jack slid down the tree and the others followed him.
"Now for the fort," cried Jack.
The six made off through the woods as fast as possible. Just beyond
the trees at the edge of the clearing in which the fort stood, Jack,
who had appointed himself commander of the expedition, halted.
"I don't know whether the gate is locked or not," he said. "Chances
are, though, that it's not. Neither can we tell how many men are
within or whether they are on guard. I believe, however, that we will
be safe enough if we cross the clearing at a run. They won't hardly be
looking for us to come back."
"You're right, Templeton," said Captain Glenn.
"Let's be moving, then," said Frank impatiently. "Ready?" asked Jack,
looking the others over.
Every man held an automatic ready for action in each hand.
"All ready," said Williams.
"Then follow me!"
Jack dashed from the forest straight toward the fort. Spreading out a
trifle, so as to make as poor marks as possible should they be
discovered, the others dashed after him.
No one opposed their advance across the open and they reached the gate
without discovery here they halted a minute. Then Jack laid his
shoulder to the gate and pushed.
The gate flew open and the six rushed inside.
At the door to the fort itself stood a single figure. He took one look
at the men bearing down on him, fired at them without taking aim and
"Quick! Before he locks the door!" shouted Jack.
He leaped forward and succeeded in putting his foot in the door before
the man could close it.
"Lend me a hand here and force the door!" the lad cried.
Captain Glenn and Williams threw their weight against it. The door was
flung open. Jack ducked as he ran in and it was well that he did so.
There was a flash and a bullet sped over his head. Before the man
could fire again, Jack had closed with him and reversing his revolver
quickly, brought the butt down on the man's head with all his force.
The pirate toppled to the floor.
Jack jumped across the inert body. Frank was at his heels.
At the far end of the main room four men barred progress. Frank's
revolvers spoke sharply twice as he ran forward and two men dropped.
Jack felt a twinge of pain in his left side as he advanced and realized
that he had been hit. He did not falter, however. His own revolvers
spoke and the door to the next room was closed.
The room in which the six now found themselves was the main room in the
fort. Doors led off from three directions, one, as Jack knew, to the
"Guard the doors!" shouted Jack. "Shoot the first head you see!"
The others asked no questions but took their positions.
"Frank," said Jack, "we want to get into that wireless room. I don't
know how many men there may be in there. I'm going to break in the
door. You cover me."
Frank advanced and took position behind Jack.
The latter drew back a bit, then dashed at the door. It was of stout
oak, this door, but beneath Jack's weight, the lock was shattered.
As the lad plunged head foremost into the room, there were several
sharp flashes as revolvers spat at him. A bullet plowed through his
left shoulder, but he took no heed, nor did it even stop his rush.
At one side of the room stood three men with leveled revolvers. Into
these Jack pitched headlong before they could fire again.
On the opposite side of the room stood two more men. Frank, dashing
into the room right behind Jack, opened on these with his revolvers.
One dropped before he could return the lad's fire, but a bullet from
the second man's revolver grazed the lobe of Frank's right ear. But
the man never fired again. Another bullet from Frank's automatic
brought him to the floor.
Jack, when he pitched in among the three men, fired twice - once with
each revolver. The enemy also fired, but their nerves were so unsteady
at this unexpected rush that the bullets went wild.
Fighting was too close now to bring revolvers into play, so Jack used
his automatics as clubs.
A man toppled over before a powerful blow. Frank now came to Jack's
He poked his revolver into one man's back and commanded:
The command was obeyed on the instant. At the same moment the other
pirate, now clenched in Jack's powerful arms, cried out:
Jack released him. The two lads were now undisputed masters of the
field. They returned to the other room, pushing their captives out
ahead of them.
AN "S. 0. S." CALL
"By Jove, Jack," said Captain Glenn, as the lads and their prisoners
appeared, "that's what I call quick action. How many more men do you
suppose there are here now?"
"I don't know," was the lad's reply. "I'll ask our friends here." He
shook the man nearest him, roughly. "How many more men in the fort?"
This prisoner chanced to be the wireless operator, so he spoke
"No more, sir, I am sure," he said fearfully.
"Don't you lie to me," said Jack sternly.
"I'm not lying," protested the operator. "Ask Pedro there, if you do
not believe me."
Jack whirled on the second captive.
"How many?" he demanded of the South American.
"No more, senor," was the man's quaking response.
"Maybe not," said Jack, "but if I find you have not told me the truth,
it will be the worse for you. Captain Glenn, will you have these
fellows tied up? Then the rest of you stand guard at the door. See if
you can repair that outer door. Captain Jack and the others will be
back some time and we don't want to be taken by surprise. I'll have a
little session with the wireless."
"How about your wounds?" asked Williams.
"Scratches," replied Jack briefly. "I don't have time to bother with
them now. I'll have 'em fixed up later. Now you fellows do as I tell
The others recognized Jack's authority. The prisoners were bound and
locked in another room. Captain Glenn and Williams stood guard at the
door, that they might not be surprised by the return of the pirates.
Frank started a tour of inspection with the an announcement that he
would gather whatever firearms he could find and make sure there were
no pirates in the fort. He also bound up the men who had been wounded
in the fighting. The dead men he laid on cots until such time as they
could be given burial.
Jack took the operator's seat in the wireless room and adjusted the
receiver to his head. Then he began to experiment with the key.
Directly sharp flashes of light from the aerial without showed that be
was flashing messages into space.
For perhaps an hour he endeavored in vain to pick up a ship or a
station in any of the South American countries. The signature he put
to each message was "J. T." -- his own initials, but he could think of
As he was about to give up his tests as a failure, he suddenly caught a
"J. T," came faintly to his ears.
He answered promptly.
"Who are you?" was the message he sent.
"U. S. cruiser Virginia," was the reply. "Who are you?"
"Survivors of merchant ship Albatross," Jack flashed back. "Castaways
on uncharted island."
"What's your location?"
"Don't know. But there is a German submarine base on this island."
The wireless seemed nervous as the next message came in.
"Island called Kaiserland. There are also a nest of pirates here.
We've just captured the wireless room."
"How long can you hold out?"
"Good! I'll summon assistance and we'll search South American waters
thoroughly. We'll find you sooner or later."
"Very well," Jack flashed back, "but be careful. These waters are
infested with the enemy and they'll sink you if possble."
"Don't worry about us," was the Virginia's reply. "We can take care of
ourselves. Can't you give me an idea where you are?"
Jack thought rapidly. Then he sent this:
"We were aboard a pirate ship three nights ago and sank a German raider
75 miles from this island. If you can pick up the wreck, we are due
"Thanks. We'll find it if it is still afloat. What's the strength of
this pirate crew?"
"About fifty men."
"And the strength of the German submarine base, together with officers
and men; also equipment?"
"Don't know," was Jack's reply. "I've only the pirate chief's word
that there is a German submarine base. He is using a submarine stolen
from the German as his own."
"Maybe he is lying to you," said the Virginia's wireless.
"Don't you believe it," Jack flashed back. "They're on this island all
"They won't be long, thanks to you," was the answer. "I'll pick you up
later. I'm going to summon help."
The clicking of the wireless ceased. Jack waited impatiently for his
call again, and at length it came.
"I've relayed your message to Washington," said the wireless. "I will
have a fleet down here before long, but we'll come for you alone if
"Thanks," said Jack, "I --"
The lad broke off as Frank appeared in the door with a cry.
"Pirates coming back, Jack!" he cried. "Come on."
Jack delayed long enough to send this message:
"Pirates coming. Have to quit talking and fight. More later."
Before he removed the instrument from his head he caught this reply:
"Lick 'em good! Good luck."
Jack smiled to himself as he hurried from the wireless room and joined
Frank and the others without.
"We may not lick 'em," he muttered, "but they'll know they've been in a
Through the single window in the room Jack saw the returning pirates,
Captain Jack in the lead, returning slowly.
"The good captain will be rather surprised when he finds his fortress
has changed hands in his absence," said Jack to Frank.
"Rather," agreed Frank. "Now, what's the best plan? Step out and warn
them away, or let them come close and do it then?"
"Let 'em come close," advised Jack. "There's only one window here to
guard and we can do that without trouble. They don't have any
artillery, so they can't batter down the door. Rifles won't do it.
Let 'em come close and we'll give them a little scare."
Captain Jack led his pirate force toward the fort, unconscious of the
danger that lay within. Captain Glenn and Williams had repaired the
outer door so that it was now as strong as it had ever been.
Inside the stockade itself, Captain Jack approached the door wearily.
He had had a hard and unsuccessful day and he was in no pleasant frame
of mind. The door refused to budge when he pushed on it. Captain Jack
raised his voice in a shout.
"I say there, Lawrence, what do you mean by locking me out? Open that
door at once." For answer Jack opened the little window, and poking an
automatic out before him, he said softly:
"Lawrence is a good pirate now, captain. We have him safely tied up."
Captain Jack stepped back in consternation. Then he reached for his
"Hold on there!" shouted Jack. "I don't want to kill you, but I will
if you make another move like that. Stand still now, like a real good
pirate, and listen to what I have to say."
Captain Jack glared at Jack malevolently and for a moment it seemed
that he might risk a shot for a chance to draw. Then his hands dropped
to his side.
"All right," he said. "I'm listening."
"We're in command of this fort now," said Jack, "and we're going to
stay in possession. You and the rest of your pirates will have to stay
outside. Also you will have to rustle your own grub. We need all we
have in here. Don't make the mistake of trying to catch us napping.
We'll always be on guard, and you will find you are barking up the
wrong tree. That's all. I'll give you five minutes to get out of
"So you've become pirates yourself, eh?" said Captain Jack, trying to
keep his temper. "You steal our grub, and --"
"That's enough," said Jack, flourishing his revolver. "Your five
minutes are growing short."
Captain Jack shook a threatening fist at Jack Templeton.
"I'll go!" he shouted, "but I'll come back and when I do you are going
to be the sorriest Englishman I ever saw. You can lay to that. You
can't make a fool of Captain Jack and live."
"I couldn't make a fool of you," said Jack. "That job was done before
I ever saw you. Now go!"
A moment longer Captain Jack hesitated; then, as Jack raised his
revolver, he turned and strode away.
The remainder of the pirates followed their chief.
CAPTURE OF CAPTAIN JACK
"He's telling the truth," said Jack, as he withdrew his head and shut
the window. "He'll be back, all right, but I don't believe he'll try
"Why?" asked Captain Glenn.
"Because he will figure that is what we expect him to do. No, I
believe we will be secure enough here to-night."
"That's pretty good reasoning, Jack," said Frank. "But we'll be ready
for the pirates when they do come."
"Nevertheless, it would be well to sleep with one eye open, so to
speak," said Williams.
"Oh, we'll stand guard," said Jack. "We will not lay ourselves open to
surprise by all going to bed at the same time. To my mind the night
should be divided into three watches, as should the day. There are six
of us. That means four hours' guard duty apiece."
"That's reasonable enough," Frank agreed. I'll take the first watch,
if it's agreeable."
"Any way suits me," declared Captain Glenn.
"Then I'll pick you for second watch, Captain," said Jack. "I'll take
the third. That will leave the day watch for Williams, Allen and
Thus it was arranged. Frank began his watch at six o'clock that
It was about an hour later when, as the others had gathered about them,
Frank conceived a brilliant idea.
"By George!" he exclaimed suddenly.
"What's up?" asked Jack.
"Well," replied Frank, "I think I've got a plan that will save a lot of
"Let's hear it," said Williams.
"According to Jack's reasoning," said Frank, "we have little to fear
from the pirates tonight."
"Right," said Jack. "What of it?"
"If your reasoning is good -- and I believe it is," Frank continued,
"why can't we make a sortie tonight and capture the estimable Captain
Jack? That would settle the whole business. Pirates without a leader
would be like a ship without a rudder. What do you think about it?"
Jack considered the plan carefully before vouchsafing a reply. At
length he said:
"Your plan, Frank, has all the earmarks of being successful. I believe
you have solved the problem."
"So do I," declared Williams.
"I'm not so sure," said Captain Glenn. "Of course, no one will dispute
that Frank's plan will solve the solution if it is successfully carried
out. But there's the trouble. Should it fail, chances are some of us
wouldn't be good for anything more. Besides, it would leave a harder
task for those who survived."
"' Nothing risked, nothing gained," said Frank.
"That's true enough," said Captain Glenn, "but --"
"There is no use arguing," declared Jack. "Time grows short. Either
we adopt the plan or we don't. We'll put it to vote. Frank, of
course, votes for the plan and so do I. How about you, Williams?"
"Aye, sir," was the reply.
"Good! That's three. One more vote and it's decided. How about you,
"I vote yes," returned the sailor.
"That settles it, then," said Jack. "Captain Glenn, you're in the
"All right," said the captain. "I'll make the vote unanimous if Allen
"Suits me, sir," was the reply.
"As it's my, plan," said Frank, "I ask to be allowed to lead the
sortie. Some of us, of course, must stay here to protect the retreat
of the others should they come back in a hurry."
"You're the doctor, Frank," said Jack.
"Very well. Then I elect to have you stay behind, Jack. Captain Glenn,
Williams and I will do the work. You fellows who remain will be ready
to admit us when we return."
"Trouble is," said Captain Glenn, "we don't know just where the pirates
"I imagine we won't have much trouble finding out," said Frank.
"Then there is another thing," said Williams. "They may see us when we
emerge from the stockade."
"I think not," said Frank. "First we will extinguish all lights. We
can pass from the fort into the stockade, of course, without danger of
being seen. Fortunately the night is dark. I am sure we can slip into
the open unobserved."
"It's worth trying, at all events," declared Jack.
And so it was decided.
It was half past eleven o'clock by Jack's watch when Frank led the way
from the fort. Behind him came Captain Glenn. Williams brought up the
rear. Immediately they were outside, Jack closed and barred the door.
Then he took up his silent vigil at the little window, prepared to
unbar the door at a moment's notice should he see the others
The three without flitted from the stockade like shadows. The night,
as Frank had said, was very dark. Outside the stockade, the three
threw themselves to the ground and crawled quietly toward the not far
distant forest. They reached the shelter of the trees safely, then got
to their feet.
Frank, acting upon impulse, led the way to the left, passing further
into the forest as he advanced. After half an hour of careful walking,
he stopped suddenly. The others halted at his side.
Frank pointed into the darkness. There, not ten yards away, Jay
several sleeping figures. Frank knew they were members of the pirate
band. The thing to do now was to single out the figure of Captain
Motioning the others to follow him, Frank stepped carefully in among
the prostrate forms. He scanned each sleeper carefully, and at last he
came upon a figure that he felt certain was the pirate captain.
This figure lay at full length, his face buried in one arm so Frank
could not distinguish his features. But from the man's general build,
the lad felt certain that he had picked the right man.
He motioned Captain Glenn and Williams to step close. Frank drew a
previously prepared gag from his pocket and bent over the sleeper.
Captain Glenn presented the muzzles of a pair of automatics squarely at
the man, and Williams stooped over, armed with a length of rope. These
precautions taken, Frank stirred the sleeper gently.
The man turned over and as he did so Frank clapped the gag to his mouth
and tied it quickly. Then he lent a hand to Williams, and in spite of
the gurgled protest of the victim, bound his hands. Frank then looked
into the man's face.
He had picked aright. The man was Captain Jack.
The pirate, gazing into the weapons held by Captain Glenn, became
suddenly quiet. Frank motioned him to proceed the way they had come.
Captain Jack did so and stepped carefully over the sleeping men, as
Frank, in a low voice, warned him to do.
Presently the three companions and their prisoner were beyond the
circle of sleeping command.
"Now hurry," said Frank in a low voice.
At the same moment Captain Jack, in some manner, loosened the gag in
his mouth and his voice rang out in a shout.
"Help! Help, men! Help!"
Frank realized the uselessness of further caution.
"Run!" he cried.
He whipped out his revolver, and as Captain Jack would have lingered,
he fired at the ground. The bullet kicked up the shrubbery and the
Captain, apparently believing the lad had attempted to shoot him, took
to his heels with the others.
From behind came the sounds of confusion as the pirates,
slumber-stricken, got to their feet, took in the situation and dashed
to the chief's aid.
"Run your hardest!" cried Frank. "Don't hesitate or we shall be shot
down as we cross the open."
But the moment gained as the pirates rubbed the sleep from their eyes
Several times Frank urged Captain Jack to greater efforts by kicking up
the dirt at his heels with a bullet from his revolver; but they entered
the protection of the stockade at the same moment the first pirate
reached the clearing that intervened and opened fire with his rifle.
As the four dashed across the stockade to the fort, Jack, who had not
taken his eyes from the window since his friends left, quickly unbarred
and threw open the door.
The four dashed inside. Quickly Jack barred the door again.
"Guns ready!" he cried. "The pirates may attack!"
Frank turned to Captain Jack.
"Well, my friend, Mr. Pirate Chief," he said with a grin, "we have you
safe at last, eh?"
Captain Jack's only reply was a subdued growl.
CONVERSION OF CAPTAIN JACK
"Here they come!" cried Jack from the window. Half a dozen forms
flitted through the stockade gate and dashed toward the fort. Jack's
revolver flashed twice and one man rolled over on the ground; but the
others came on. Bullets struck close to the window as the pirates
returned the fire.
"Here, Williams," said Frank, "take charge of Captain Jack. I'll lend
Jack a hand at the window."
Regardless of the bullets that struck close, one every now and then
coming through the window, Frank poked out his head and fired rapidly
several times. Came howls of anguish and directly three men ran for
the outer gate.
"Let 'em go," said Frank quietly. "Guess they won't bother us again
for some time."
Jack slammed the window shut and dropped a heavy board down behind it.
This was protection in case the pirates without tried their luck at
shooting through the window.
"Give us some light, Captain Glenn," ordered Frank.
A moment later the interior of the fort was lighted up by the flare of
half a dozen candles, Frank turned and surveyed the prisoner. .
"And how are you tonight, Captain Jack?" he asked.
The reply of the pirate chief was irrelevant.
"You've got me," he said, what do you think you are going to do with
"We haven't figured that out yet," said Frank. "The first thing was to
get you. We do one thing at a time, you see."
"Well, you've trouble on your hands now," said Captain Jack. "My men
won't rest until they have released me."
"We'll risk that," said Frank. "Captain Glenn, I guess it is still
you're watch. I'm going to lock our pirate up for the night and then
I'm going to turn in."
"Same here," said Jack, and the others signified their agreement.
Frank conducted Captain Jack to the room where so recently he and his
friends had been imprisoned. The key was in the door.
"Guess you'll sleep all right in here, Captain," said Frank.
He pushed his prisoner in the room and closed and locked the door
The night passed quietly. Allen 'rustled up breakfast the following
morning and Frank conducted the pirate chief out to help eat it.
Timothy stood guard at the window as the others ate.
"How'd you sleep, Captain?" asked Frank of the pirate chief.
"Not very well," was the reply.
"What's the matter, Captain? Conscience?"
"I was thinking, if that's what you mean," replied Captain Jack.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it were precisely what I mean," said
"Look here, Captain," said Jack, taking a hand in the conversation.
"You're not half the bloodthirsty pirate you would have us believe. To
tell the truth, I've taken quite a shine to you. In the right way, you
could make a man of yourself."
"Thanks," said the pirate chief. "I've had those same thoughts, but I
guess it's too late now."
"It's never too late," said Jack sententiously.
"Let me ask you a few questions."
"Fire away," said Captain Jack.
"All right. Now, you're an American, are you not?"
"Yes; a German-American, I guess you would call me."
"There is no longer such a thing as a German-American," Frank broke
in. "Either you are an American, with the interests of the United
States at heart, or you are a German and a subject of the Kaiser."
"Exactly," Jack agreed, "and for a man born and reared in America, as I
judge you to have been, I cannot conceive how he could forsake the land
of his birth for such brutes as the Germans have proved themselves to
be in this war."
"My parents were German," said Captain Jack.
"That doesn't signify," said Jack. "America is their adopted country
and I am sure that you would find them standing by Uncle Sam."
"You are probably right," admitted Captain Jack. I can recall tales my
father told of the downtrodden people of his native land. Today he is
probably standing by America to the best of his ability. Truth is,
though, I haven't paid much attention the rights and wrongs of this
war, My sympathies, naturally enough, were with Germany before the
United States was drawn into the conflict. That, of course, was
because of my German ancestry. Since the United States entered the war
I have been an enemy to both sides. I have robbed Germany and the
United States alike, and still, so far, I have killed no man."
"But can't you see," said Frank, "that your present life can result in
no good and that, on the other hand, there is much you can do for your
"Oh, I can see it, all right," was Captain Jack's reply. "I'll tell
you something. I really hadn't thought much about it until I
encountered you fellows. You two," indicating Frank and Jack, "are
both young and brave and have done some things to be proud of. Here I
am, older than either of you, and I'm just a pirate. Since I first ran
across you I have thought considerably of the things that might have
been, but it's too late now."
"I tell you it is never too late," said Jack. "There is still time for
you to mend your ways and do something for your country. You are a
brave man and there is little that a brave man cannot accomplish if he
only tries. Just say the word and we will all be willing to lend you a
Captain Jack got to his feet, amazement written on his countenance.
"You mean that?" he cried.
"Of course," said Jack.
"We'll do what we can," he said.
"But I'm a law-breaker," said Captain Jack. "I should be punished."
"I agree with you there," said Frank. "I would not raise a hand to
lighten your punishment, for I feel you deserve it. But every man must
pay for his own misdeeds. The thing for you to do now is to expiate,
so far as possible, your past crimes by turning yourself to doing what
is right and good."
"By George!" exclaimed Captain Jack, and brought his great fist down on
the table with a resounding crash, "you are right. Just tell me what
to do and I'll do it."
"A man should have to work out his own plan of redemption," he said,
"and yet I believe I can help you."
"How?" demanded Captain Jack eagerly.
"I'll explain," said Jack. The others listened anxiously. "You have
told us," Jack continued, "that there is a German submarine base on
this island. You were telling the truth?"
"I was," said Captain Jack. "I stole my submarine, the Roger, from the
Germans on the island."
"All right. Now you could do your native land -- America -- an
invaluable service by destroying that base."
Frank and the others started to their feet at this. It was the first
inkling they had had of a plan that had long been fomenting in Jack's
"By George, Jack! A bully idea!" cried Frank. "Why didn't you mention
"Because we were in no position to carry it out," was Jack's reply.
Captain Jack's face grew red. His eyes flashed.
"A good idea," he said quietly to Jack. "I have no doubt it can be
accomplished, though it will of course be dangerous."
"And you are willing to undertake it?" asked Frank, surprised.
"Of course. But I would be alone for a while, that I may think. Have
you any objections to my retiring to the next room? I give you my word
I shall not attempt to escape."
Jack took the words out of Frank's mouth.
"Go ahead," he said.
Captain Glenn was the first to speak after Captain Jack had left the
"Don't you think this conversion is rather sudden?" he asked. "Is the
estimable Captain Jack not taking this means to throw us off our
"I don't think so," replied Jack quietly. "I have studied the man
carefully since I have known him and I have discovered that, try as he
will, he is not pleased with the life of a pirate. I can see, too,
that be craves action, and it may have been only natural, for that
reason, that he turned to piracy. I am willing to take his word that
he will do what he says whenever he is willing to give it."
"And so am I!" declared Frank.
"It looks pretty fishy to me," declared Captain Glenn, but Williams
sided with the two lads.
Half an hour later Captain Jack returned. Walking up to the table he
extended a hand each to Jack and Frank.
"You can count on me," he said simply, and added with a half smile, "if
you are not afraid to trust an erstwhile pirate."
Frank and Jack grasped the extended hands and gripped them warmly.
"Not a bit of it," they said in a single voice, and Frank added: "We
are glad to have a man like you with us."
And thus came about the conversion of Captain Jack, pirate.
CAPTAIN JACK'S MEN REBEL
"There are only seven of us here," said Frank, a short time later.
"Strikes me we won't have a whole lot of success raiding the German
"Don't forget my fifty pirates," said Captain Jack.
"Great Scott!" ejaculated Captain Glenn. "I hope you don't want me to
think that crowd of pirates will listen to you when they hear you have
"Don't you worry about my pirates," said Captain Jack with a smile.
"Just leave them to me. Most of them are either English, French,
Americans or Italians. There are a couple of negroes and some
Brazilians and Chileans. I'll probably have trouble with the South
Americans, but I feel sure the others will join me in whatever I ask."
"I wouldn't be too sure about that," said Captain Glenn.
"I thought most of your men were South Americans," said Frank. "That's
the way they impressed me."
"You must remember you haven't seen the most of them," said Captain
Jack. "But come, we may as well have the job over with. Will you
"We will," said Captain Glenn decisively.
Captain Jack turned on him.
"You don't trust me," he said.
"You're right," said Captain Glenn briefly. "I don't."
Captain Jack's fists clenched. He was about to make an angry retort,
but Frank forestalled him.
"You can't blame him, Captain Jack," the lad said. "It's only an hour
ago that you were a pirate of the first water, you know."
Captain Jack's fingers straightened out again.
"That's true," he muttered.
He led the way from the fort and out of the stockade into the clearing
beyond. Shouts from the distance told Frank and Jack that the pirates
had seen the approach of their chief, and they hailed him with glad
"They seem to think a lot of him," said Jack to Frank.
"Why shouldn't they?" was Frank's reply. "He's done a lot for them,
from their viewpoint. Also, it's plain to be seen that they have a
wholesome respect for him. I haven't told you how handy he is with a
"That so?" said Jack. "Guess I'd bet on you in a pinch, though."
"You'd probably lose," said Frank dryly, and explained the result of
his first encounter with Captain Jack.
"Whew!" said Jack. "No wonder his men respect him."
The pirates now came forth from among the trees to greet their chief.
Their expressions indicated that they were clearly surprised at Captain
Jack's apparent friendliness with the foe, but no man ventured a word.
Captain Jack motioned them to gather around. Frank, Jack and the others
a moment later found themselves in the center of the ring of pirates.
Captain Glenn's hands, in his pockets, grasped his revolvers firmly.
The American sea captain was determined not to be caught off his
guard. He was perfectly certain in his own mind that Captain Jack was
bent on mischief.
As the pirates drew closer, Frank and Jack also dropped their hands to
their automatics. In his heart each lad trusted Captain Jack, but each
had decided in his own mind that it was better to be prepared.
"Men," said Captain Jack, addressing the rabble, "as I lay a prisoner
in the fort during the night, it came to me that we are all wasting our
lives in our present manner of living. Sooner or later we are sure to
be captured and hanged. I've thought it all out and I've come to the
conclusion that the life of a pirate is no life for me -- nor for any
of the rest of you. Therefore, I have decided to be a pirate no
Shouts of surprise -- and anger came from the assembled men. Amazement
was written large upon every face. The man called Jackson, the same
who had locked up the lads and their friends when they first entered
the fort, stepped forward.
"You mean that you are going to desert us?" he asked.
Captain Jack shook his head.
"Not at all," he replied quietly. "I mean that I am going to call upon
you to join me in a new adventure, but one that is within the law."
There were wild hurrahs from the men. Jackson's face turned dark as he
turned upon them.
"Wait until you know what this new venture is, men," he cried.
Frank and Jack exchanged significant gestures. It was plain to them
that this man Jackson had no love for Captain Jack and that he had only
been biding his time to turn the pirates against their leader.
Captain Jack smiled.
"I'll tell them, Jackson, have no fear," he said. He turned again and
addressed the men.
"What I want you to do, men," he said, "is to become true citizens of
the world and join me in striking a blow at the German submarine base
on the island. The Germans are the enemies of all mankind. They must
be destroyed. Will you help me give the island of Kaiserland a new
For several moments there was a dead silence as the men digested their
leader's words. The silence was broken by Jackson. Springing quickly
forward, he threw up his right hand and shouted:
"Listen to me, men. Captain Jack here, most likely, has been promised
immunity for his crimes by these new friends of his. He's trying to
lead you on to death or the gallows. I, for one, refuse longer to
recognize his leadership. Who is with me?"
But the men, apparently, were not yet ready to take sides. Captain
Jack smiled at Jackson; then his face grew stern.
"I'll attend to you directly, Jackson," he said quietly. "Now, men,
you know me well enough to know I am not trying to betray you. I am
asking you, for once, to do a good deed. Most of you are Americans,
French, Italian or British. Your countries are at war with Germany.
Will you not strike a blow when you have the chance? It is true, there
will be no rich booty for us, nothing but danger and perhaps death, but
there will be riches greater than booty after all; for the adventure
that I propose will bring to each man the consciousness of a duty well
done, and that is more than gold. Men, we have been together for many
months. I have not failed you in the past. Will you fail me now?"
There were wild cries of "No! No!" and "Destruction to the Germans,"
but there also were voices raised in protest.
Jackson, realizing that his chances were fast slipping away, determined
upon a bold stroke. With a sudden cry he sprang toward Captain Jack, a
knife gleaming in his hand.
Frank uttered a cry of warning and his revolver flashed out.
Captain Jack saw the lad's movement from the comer of his eye, and
before the lad could press the trigger, he cried sharply:
"Don't shoot! Leave this man to me."
He avoided Jackson's rush by a quick side step, and as lie prepared to
defend himself, he explained to Frank:
"One shot might prove our undoing. It would set the men wild. I can
handle this fellow. Don't interfere, or allow any of the others to do
so, no matter what happens."
Back to Full Books