5.Background story

It was a quiet afternoon, Captain Allessadro lounged in the sun on deck, his macaw Materazzi stood on the arm of his deck chair. Materazzi, now 10 years old, had been adopted the day Allessadro became captain. Allessadro has had a dream of being a pirate since he was a kid. He always believed that a pirate captain without a parrot is soulless.

He never got to be a real pirate captain, but at least he’s now a navigator. At the age of 14, he started his career as an ordinary sailor. Three years later, he became second mate. At 21, he became first mate. At 25, he finally owned a boat, the Polaris. Allessadro's sailing career was actually quite smooth.

The warm sunlight in the afternoon makes people sleepy. Allessadro lounged in his deck chair, while Materazzi dozed sporadically aside. Looking at the crates of goods, the captain felt a thrill inside him.

It was a shipment of Havana cigars from Cuba, which Allessadro had ordered through local contacts six months ago. In about a month, it would be shipped to Europe, and he had already found a buyer. In the past two years, Cuban cigars had been reported very popular in Europe, where the cigars, rolled on the thighs of Havana girls, had become a symbol of European aristocracy. Allessadro had done the maths, this shipment from Cuba to Turkey would be making a profit more than three times the cost after deducting crew salaries and daily wear and tear. This is called trade gap, and it’s why so many people are keen on sailing despite the risks, because the profits are just so sweet.

Looking at the boxes of goods, Allessadro seemed to be seeing boxes of gold coins, which, if the goods could be delivered smoothly, would surely be lying in his hands.

How should the money be spent? Our captain muses into thoughts: The Polaris hasn’t been maintained for a while, and money need to be spent to make the ship go faster and more stable. Well, it seems that the mother of little Joey, the sailor, has been ill recently, I need to give her some money for treatment. Old Rod, my first mate, has asked me for a raise twice in the past few days, and now it's time, after all, he's been with me for eight years. Mary at the bar has been hinting me for a ruby necklace, so I'll have to get her one this time. She's been by my side since she was 17, and I haven't been able to give her any credit. Maybe I can just marry her this time... Well, these things won’t cost much. That’s right! I can build a fleet, expand my business, and find a wife for my Materazzi...

Suddenly, the captain's sweet troubles were interrupted by a loud noise. The Polaris was hit. Before Allessadro could give any command, Materazzi, the parrot, was shouting at the top of his voice: Pirates! Pirates are coming!

With years of sailing experiences, this must be a very unusual encounter. First of all, the gunner must be a master to hit the right side of the ship accurately at such a distance. In addition, the first mate has also found opposing ships on the east, south, and west, leaving only the north side to escape. This left the captain with only two options. The first was to surrender, and the second was to flee deep into the North Atlantic. If he chose to surrender, he would lose everything. However, running away was dangerous. It was impossible for them to fight, as it appeared that there were surrounded by at least five ships in all three directions, and by that demonstrative shot made by the opposing gunner, they were no joke. Surrender was also out of the picture, for it would be out of character for Allessadro. And there was the goods. Allessadro put on everything he had got. If he won, he could be instantly in the upper class, and if he lost, he would have to start all over again. The captain was 35 years old, and had struggled for over 20 years since he was 14. There was no way for him to start over!

"Set sail, hardport, full speed northeast!" Allessadro gave the order...

It's been three days, and they were still chasing the ship. Allessadro had a feeling that the pirates had got the message that his cargo worth a great fortune, and that was why they persisted. The day before, there had been another shot at the stern, which had not laid much effect, but had slowed the ship a bit. Otherwise, at the normal speed of the Polaris, it would have been able to lose the pirate ships yesterday. But the speed was basically the same by then. If they couldn't get rid of the pirates today, it would be more difficult in the future.

By noon, Old Rod reported that the boats behind were slowing down, as if they were about to give up. Allessadro asked for their current location. Old Rod said he didn't know, as the navigation system wasn't working, but with his experience, he believed that the current position should be around 1,200 nautical miles northeast of Cuba. “The accurate location should be at... Ber...mu...da...”, he faltered.

All of a sudden, a storm arose from nowhere and it became foggy on the sea, a white light beam shines directly in the sky, the ship was uncontrollable, and everyone could see that there seemed to be a huge pyramid about 100 meters down below, which had two big holes on the sides, water rushed through them at a very high speed. That caused huge waves on the sea, and the whole area was misty. The Polaris was like a hopeless leaf in the raging sea.

Facing such a situation, even the most experienced Old Rod was completely panicked. Allessadro was also desperate, and ordered hard starboard and go in full speed. But no matter how hard it tried, it felt like there was a force dragging the Polaris behind. Even a mast was broken, and the ship was still anchored. It was a strange situation that the captain had never encountered in his 20-odd years of sailing. Allessadro shouted in the rainstorm. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the wind, he couldn't even hear what he was yelling. Materazzi was shivering in his arms, Old Rod was running up and down the deck, and little Joey was crouching in the corner crying with his head in his hands. “Is this hell? Are gonna be dead here today? I want to have two children with Mary!”

When all people were thinking that they were not gonna make it, suddenly, the mysterious force behind disappeared. The whole boat gave a sudden thrust forward, causing Allessadro to fall backwards. Then the Polaris began to speed away from the center of the storm along with the wind. In the twinkling of an eye, the sea was calm, the fog cleared away, the rain stopped, and the sun shone on the deck again. It was as if all that had never happened.

Captain Allessadro touched his forehead and climbed slowly to his feet, shouting, "Rod!" three or four times, but there was no answer. The captain went on the deck and found that none of the sailors were there. He and Materazzi were the only people in the ship.

It was all so weird that Allessadro couldn't figure out what had just happened, he just felt a bit creepy and scared. But with his strong character that he had developed over the years, he knew he had to look ahead!

After about two hours of sailing through the wind, it seemed that the shore could be seen in a distance. With the port approaching, the captain calmed himself down gradually...

After docking, the captain made some general inquiries and headed for the only cafe in the harbour.

The cafe was neither too big nor too small, run by a barista named Chow. After ordering a cup of coffee and a loaf of bread, Allessadro asked Chow, the owner, about the situation. Chow said he was now in the port of Pisa, Italy. Allessadro thought it was strange that, given the direction and time of the voyage, it was impossible for him to reach Italy. What was going on? He couldn’t figure it out, so he asked Chow about other things. Vaguely, Allessadro seemed to have a bad feeling that he was in a different world, the technology was far more advanced than the one he had been living in. But after looking at the world map at Chow’s place, he found that the world was exactly the same as before. This left the captain in deep thought...

The clever Chow seemed to have spotted something, so he asked the captain what he was doubting about. The captain then told Chow exactly what had happened to him over the past few days. After saying those, the captain began to wonder if Chow would think that all those were nonsense, or maybe even thought that he was insane.

Surprisingly, the owner was not too surprised by the captain's story. He told him casually: "It seems to me that you may have been travelling through time. For the place you mentioned, we also have it here, only by a different name. We call that place the Devil's Triangle. Ships often encounter accidents or even disappear out of nowhere. Scholars think that they may have been transported to another space and time by the impulse of space there. For the pyramid you were talking about, scholars think it may be something left in our world by a higher level civilization, which is currently not explainable by science and technology."

Chow, looking at Allessadro's confused eyes, thought he might have gone too far. But these knowledge is not so much a deep theory in his own world.

"What are you going to do now?" "Asked the owner.

"I don't know, I just want to go back!" The captain became more confused.

The boss thought for a moment and said, "Well, let me give you an idea. You said you had a good batch of Havana cigars on board. Do you still have that?"

"I checked it when we docked. It's still there!" Allessadro replied.

"Have you got any on you?"

"Yes, please have a look." Allessadro handed Chow a few.

"My wife, Wang, is a well-known merchant here. Your cigars are really good stuff, and you can also get a good price here. My suggestion to you is that we can work together to sell your goods. If you agree, you can talk to my wife. After that, you can stay with us. My wife and I are going to France next month to do some business. You can come along with us. As far as I know, there is a famous scholar in Marseilles, who is also a nobleman. His name is Martin. He has done a lot of inventions, and about five years ago, he made an AI robot, which can be used for household, military, commercial and other fields. And he is also very interested in the field of time travel, and has achieved a series of research results. He came up with the Devil's Triangle theory I was telling you about. So I thought you could take a chance on him, maybe he could help you find a way home. What do you think?" Chow asked.

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