A romance novel, as Gadget would compose it.
Chapter 1- The Book Begins Once upon a point in the stream of linear existance, long ago, even before Shari Lewis (whom I must add wears it very gracefully,) there was a time period known as the Middle Ages. Generally, it is thought to run from the Battle of Hastings to the High Renaissance. The Middle Ages wasn't actually a very nice time to exist, if you were poor, indentured, female, or had any sort of medical problems. But it's safe to assume the Middle Ages was an exciting time, because of all the well-documented steaminess, and because you never could tell if that cough really was bronchitis. So basically, it was a good time to go out and get a love life. I think. The Middle Ages lasted for five hundred years or so, so there were probably lots of people in it to meet. But still, loneliness plagued one young woman, who had more likely than not succumbed to the notion that she needed to cohabitate to be happy. After all, it still persists today, and in Europe at this time women weren't allowed to own property unless married. Oh, did I mention she was a princess? Exciting, huh? Conveniently for her, her parents were a king and queen, and were really quite sympathetic. Her father was fairly progressive and frowned upon keeping serfs, and her mother was a blacksmith in her spare time. The queen taught her daughter all sorts of things about metallurgy, but still the young woman- well, adolescent, really, they married kind of young back then, I hear- was dissatisfied with her current dating status, so her parents arranged for a bunch of nobles to come confabulate with her. Chapter 2- The Plot Develops The princess had a fairly nice evening, and met lots of well-meaning noblepersons, but none were very interested in metallurgy. They all seemed to like her pretty well, but sadly, none of then seemed to have the same educational background or common interests. The princess was quite discouraged by night. While the princess was in her room dealing with feelings of unbelonging, a stranger crashed sort of rudely through the stained-glass window (which the princess had leaded herself,) scooped up the princess, and swung from a rope with her, back out the window, which at least wasn't damaged further. He took her to a splendid vintage pirate ship and bound her wrists. "Do you know who I am?" he sneered, looking down his nose at her. "Afraid not," said the princess, looking at the cannon, which really were expertly crafted. "I am the Dread Pirate Boeing!" he shouted, "and you are mine, wench!" "This really is marvelous," mused the princess. "Did you have these custom-made, or were you fortunate enough to pillage a technologically advanced port? Do they load quickly? They seem very economical in terms of metal, and thus weight." "Stop that, stop it!" the pirate groused. "You're not supposed to do that! You're supposed to be marvelling at my steelwrought-" "Well, that's what I'm doing! Although this cannon really is iron. Steel might be a good idea, though. Say, do you have a bellows?" "Little fool!" snarled Boeing. He picked her up like so much scrap aluminum- not that aluminum was around yet. "Until you are willing to share my bed, you'll sleep in the brig!" He tossed her in rather inconsiderately. "Was that an innuendo?" The princess heard no answer. "Well," she said, "I suppose I had better find a way to escape. Though I hate to damage this ship- it's no way to treat such a technologically advanced vessel. Oh well." Chapter 3- The Plot Progresses The princess was brainstorming, trying to find a way off the ship, when she heard a faint moan from the other end of the inadequately lit brig. She went to the source and found a fellow with no shirt, billowy pants, and a hat. He was shackled to the wall. "Hi there, I'm a princess," said the princess politely. The poor guy had obviously been held against his will for a while, because he was pretty angry. "Boeing sent you down here to taunt me, did he?" "He did? Golly, that's pretty awful. What's your name?" "I am Lear, king of Inertia!" "Pleased to meet you." The princess looked at the barely visible wall. "Say, you're not shackled, are you?" "Aye, that I am. Even my astonishing strength and prowess cannot stir this metal." "Oh, don't worry. I can do it." Lear looked like he was going to say something, but he didn't have to, because the princess had brought her set of files. She looked through the set, thumbing through rifflers, needle files, and even an improperly catalogued Forstner bit, until she reached a hard metal file. She filed until the king's shackles broke, then stood up and carefully regarded her work. "There's a few burrs," she said, "it'll only take a second to smooth. Ah, do you have any water-" "Never mind the chains, woman! Come with me and we will exact vengeance on the pirate! And then... you shall be my only one!" "Only one? Oh, that. Actually, that's very sweet of you, and I had been thinking of doing that sort of thing, but I think we'd better escape first." Lear seemed impatient for some reason, but she explained her plan. "This is where the Forstner bit should come in handy." The princess tapped the walls with the end of the drill bit, searching for unusual resonances. "I think it's hollow over here," she said, "with poorly maintained planks. Let me get another file-" Lear, who didn't seem to be paying much attention, picked up something heavy and threw it through the wall. Unfortunately, the pirate on the other side wasn't amused. The princess and the king were brought on deck again to face Boeing. "I knew this fool couldn't escape without help," Boeing sneered. "Really, Captain, you don't have to insult me," said the princess. "Not you! Him!" "Oh. Well, it's still not nice." "Take him below and chain him up again," Boeing directed- indicating Lear, of course. "And as for you..." he began, now regarding the princess, "prepare for a romantic dinner in the captain's quarters." "Gosh, do I need to make a reservation?" "You aren't too bright... a fine quality." The comment genuinely upset the princess, but she was ushered away before she could voice her side. Chapter 4- The Romantic Part The princess was apprehensive about dinner. First, she had made no progress in finding a love interest and was afraid the stress might make her poor company. Second, she didn't really understand why her abductor was treating her to dinner. Finally, she realized that western European piracy didn't peak until well after the High Rennaisance, and the plot of the story was thus probably historically flawed. She knew she had forgotten something. Still, the princess found it safe to assume that if the pirate captain was now being considerate enough to keep her out of the brig, perhaps he would also let her go. But that left Lear in the brig without a file- so to speak. It was a moral conundrum. All too soon, for she hadn't fully decided on a plan, the guards escorted her from her room to Boeing and dinner. She was surprised- he was finely dressed in a crimson shirt with golden patterns. They sat and ate, and the princess made numerous positive references to the food. Eventually, when he seemed rather calm, she decided to bring up the subject. "Excuse me, are you going to let Lear go?" "Never mention his name while I eat." "Oh. Well, then, are you going to let what's-his-name go?" Boeing snorted haughtily. "Only if you give yourself to me." "How? Work-for-hire?" "You might say that." "Well, I suppose handing over rights to my original concepts is a small price to pay for someone's life." "Huh?" "I mean, a copyrighted idea is by no means worth years of imprisonment. Would you like to see my alloys?" "No, only the rest." "Actually, I've been working on casting-" "ENOUGH!" The pirate stood up awfully quickly. He looked pretty upset. "Oh, I'm sorry. This was supposed to be a romantic dinner, wasn't it? And here I am, silly me, talking business. I'll be quiet. You won't hear a thing outta me. Absolutely no rambling. No, I'll be quiet as a-" The princess was surprised to find herself back in the brig, minus her files. Gosh darn it, that was her best set, too. She wondered why Boeing was so touchy, and she felt that maybe she had failed to notice something; it made no sense. But no amount of self-chiding would free her, so she sat quietly and brainstormed. She had just had an idea when she noticed Lear beside her, back in chains. Lear gave her a funny look and she didn't know what to think. "Kiss me," he said quietly. "Oh, even better," the princess said, "I've got a bandage. Where's the scrape?" The king made a lot of strange noises and the princess felt it most considerate to leave him alone, if he was in such pain. She left the bandage for him and went back to her corner to draw up plans. Chapter 5- Still On the Ship That night, the princess approached Lear again. He was asleep sitting up, which she knew couldn't be too comfy. "Excuse me, Your Highness-" she began. The king awoke, looked up at her, and smiled. "I knew you would change your mind," he said quietly. "Yes," she agreed, "breaking through the wall really wasn't a good idea, but this plan is a marked improvement." He groaned. "Golly, you're really suffering," she said. "You have no idea," he replied. "We've got to get you out of here. Look, I can at least remove the shackles from the wall. I had a hidden square drive screwdriver. From there, I think we can tear up the floor planks, get to the hold, and- "Very well, woman, get to it." "No problem." She took out her square drive and got started. A short while later, they were in the hold, gathering the pirates' treasure to ransom themselves with. "Normally this wouldn't correspond with ethics," the princess mused, "but I think this is pretty desperate." "I'll say." "What are you prisoners doin' on deck?!" roared Boeing. "We've come to ransom ourselves. If you want the portion of your treasure we've got, you'll have to let us go." Boeing snapped his fingers. About fifty pieces of cutlery were pointed at the king and princess. "Oh, shoot, I forgot they could do that." Chapter 6- Exciting Stuff Happens The pirate captain really looked like he'd actually order his men to... well, you know- when suddenly a boom cut through the fog. A huge splash just astern of the pirate ship distracted its crew. The princess was curious and watched quietly, but Lear looked like he was ready to run somewhere. Another large boat sailed toward them. On it, standing facing them, was a big guy in an admiral's hat, with a not-so-big guy in a uniform. "I am Admiral MacDonnell, and this is Lieutenant Douglas!" roared the admiral. "Release your prisoners and stand down!" "You can't stand down!" Boeing yelled back. "It doesn't make sense!" "Suit yerselves! But we're boarding ya, so don't give us no trouble!" "Golly, this is getting intense!" The ships came side-by-side and everyone jumped onto everyone else's boat. There were sword fights and buckles and swashes. The princess and Lear sensed that maybe they could escape during this scene, so they snuck off toward the lifeboats. There was one lifeboat, enough to sustain one person. "Ooh, the safety infractions!" she fumed. "Well, I guess this is goodbye. Good luck, your kingship, and please, write me sometime, will you?" "Come with me!" Lear suggested in an exhausted voice. "If that boat leaves and you're not on it... you won't be on it." Lear was looking at her lips for some reason. She brushed them, in case there was a crumb or something on them. He sighed and jumped in the lifeboat. She released it for him and watched him row away. Chapter 7- A Scary Chapter "SO!" Boeing grabbed her by the arms and spun her around. Everyone else was busy fighting. "You helped my enemy escape! For that, you can walk the plank-" Lieutenant Douglas jumped on the pirate and pulled his hat over his eyes. I mean, pulled the pirate's hat over the pirate's eyes, not the other way around. Boeing snarled, pulled his hat off, and grabbed Douglas, but MacDonnell seized Boeing. Boeing dropped Douglas in surprise. Douglas bit Boeing on the ankle. Boeing yelled, surprising MacDonnell. MacDonnell let go of Boeing, who almost stepped on Douglas, but instead tripped over the princess, who shouldn't have been standing so close, in retrospect. As soon as Boeing was on the deck- no, literally- MacDonnell clapped him in irons. The pirates were lead away. Oh, and they were defeated, too. Chapter 8- The Princess Goes Home and Decides that Self-Sufficiency Is Good The princess went home, and decided that self-sufficiency was good. Chapter 9- The Last Part When the princess was safe at home and had greeted her family, she came to regard the whole experience as pretty fun- except that Boeing had never bothered to return her files. She didn't know why; he couldn't possibly use them in jail. Lear never wrote her, either. At least MacDonnell and Douglas stayed for dinner. So basically, she gave up on the idea of a love life, at least for the time being, and lived happily ever after, aside from the pitfalls in every life. The End (Romantic, huh?)