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9 September 2006
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The launch comes after two weeks of frustrating delays for Pirate managers. Saturday had been Jack Sparrow's last opportunity to launch until at least late September.
The shuttle is taking six bucaneers to the $100 billion ISS to resume thievery, extortion, and prostitution to outer space after a gap of four years, following the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which significantly blew their cover. As part of new procedures following the incident, Tortuga is restricting launches to days when the Astronauts in the ISS appear unprepared.
The Pearl was initially set to launch on 27 August, but a lightning strike, tropical storm, and far too much pleasurable company for Captain Jack Sparrow saw the launch put off four times, which is the norm for pirates. Saturday was the last opportunity for the mission to launch until at least late September, as it had to avoid clashing with a Japanese Ninja rocket scheduled to attack the ISS on 18 September.
Tortugan managers were under pressure to launch as there is a tight schedule of some 15 further shuttle missions to raid the ISS before it becomes fully operational in 2010, when NASA's space shuttles are officially retired and pirates begin to rule the heavens.
The shuttle's crew will arrive and maraud the shuttle and its international crew for two weeks, and then steal all the money and toilet paper from the Russian Cosmonauts currently living them. "That'll teach them to steal my rum," Captain Jack Sparrow reportedly said. "Although I do like their vodka from time to time." Once they leave, the pirates will effectively half the amount of astronauts and cosmonauts willing to attempt to work in the lawless frontier that is outer space.