Ching Shih

1810, the Imperial Palace, China. Commander of the Red Fleet, Ching Shih, recounts her rise to power to the Emperor. Is this all a trap, or will you escape the law once again?


Scene summaries may contain spoilers
1810, the Imperial Palace of the Jiaqing Emperor. You are the bodyguard of notorious pirate commander Ching Shih, as she has an audience with the Emperor. The Emperor asks her how she became commander of the Red Fleet. Ching Shih begins to tell her story. She receives news that her husband, Zheng Yi, has been killed in a monsoon. Many of the crew are already preparing to leave now that their leader is dead. Ching Shih berates them for cowardice and says that she is taking command – they will become the greatest pirate fleet ever seen. You are made her bodyguard, as you served her husband.
Ching Shih thanks you and Chang Pao for your support, and makes Pao her advisor. To deal with potential opposition and mutiny, she intends to implement a new code for the crew, and she will need you to help enforce it. In private, Ching Shih says that she is sure you know more than you let on and your opposition could be disastrous, but she is choosing to trust you. She gives you the papers listing her new code to distribute to the crew.
The Emperor asks about the code and the people who opposed it, and Chang Pao explains that they can be found rotting at the bottom of the sea. The Emperor then asks about the crews that were captured, because none of them ever returned to report what happened.
You board an Imperial ship, telling the captain and crew that they must surrender or die. They choose to live and Ching Shih takes control of the ship and the crew.
Chang Pao gives his report on the attack. While you have gained ships, supplies, and crew, there are barely enough people to man those new ships once you take into account your losses. Chang Pao reminds Ching Shih that they will need more trustworthy people to keep control of the fleet. Ching Shih becomes angry at being questioned and sends Chang Pao away. Ching Shih laments that while they have amassed thousands of people, it still feels like they are under threat. And it isn't just the Emperor coming after them. There's an armada of Portugese ships heading from the West, likely aimed at you. She worries that the end is approaching, and not the one she had hoped for.
The Emperor is amazed that the reports are true – that Ching Shih grew the fleet to over 50,000 men in just a few years. When he isn't sure that he believes it, Ching Shih points out that if he did not see her as a threat, she wouldn't be here now. You recount the story of an attack. The ships pursuing you are the Emperor's men. They must have waited beyond the horizon and snuck towards you with the morning fog. You spot smoke coming from some of the ships and realise that the junks are packed with gunpowder. They'll explode on impact with your ships! Ching Shih commands the launch boats to be lowered. You'll board the junks and put out the fuses before they explode.
There's been no signal from the fire ships, but Ching Shih gives the order to attack the remaining Imperial ships. You board the ships, but don't encounter any crew and the flag has been switched to white! The captain of the ship appears, unarmed. He says they were instructed to surrender and give you a summons from the Emperor if the fire ships failed to destroy you. The Emperor wishes to meet Ching Shih and discuss a truce.
The Emperor says that now he has the story, they can discuss the terms of Ching Shih's surrender. He is willing to spare her life and the lives of the highest ranking crew if you surrender and turn yourselves over for punishment, which would be light compared to your crimes. He would expect you to serve at low rank in his military for two years. Ching Shih laughs at him and refuses. She will take a full pardon for herself and all of the Red Fleet, as well as offers of paid employment to any of her people who desire it. In return she will disband the fleet, give the Emperor a tenth of the Red Fleet's funds, and return the junks they captured. The Emperor is shocked by her demands, but Ching Shih is confident.
In Ching Shih's successful gambling house after disbanding the Red Fleet, you enjoy a game of Mahjong. Ching Shih always wins, of course.


Cast listings may contain spoilers
Six to Start Ensemble
Captain 1
Six to Start Ensemble
Captain 2
Six to Start Ensemble
Chang Pao
Eddy Yeung
Ching Shih
Christina Ho
Jon Chew
Six to Start Ensemble
Jess Erion
Matt Wieteska
Sound Designer
Mark Pittam