The problem is that not everyone follows the same ones.
If a person should request parley, they shall be taken without harm to the captain to negotiate the terms of the treaty. No hurt shall befall said personage until the parley is complete.
That was the one everyone liked the most. Too many were willing to barter with the captain of the invading hordes and were eager to auction whatever they could to save their skins. It was amazing how cheaply people became willing to sell themselves and others for the sake of safety.
Every man shall abide by the rule of allotment: the Captain shall have one full share and one-half in all prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one share and one-quarter. The rest shall be divided accordingly.
There was irony in there, Jack mused as the clerk began to read off the lengthy yet vague list of offenses he'd supposedly committed. There were several in the crowd whom, Jack suspected, were more guilty than he of some of the crimes listed. Where the rest of the crew had got to, he could only guess. Anamaria had gotten her ship. Their debt was settled. None of them owed him a thing. Now here he stood to take the punishment for all of them: one and one-half full share.
If any man shall steel anything, or win at gambling through cheating, from amongst the company amounting to the value of a piece of eight, he shall be marooned or shot.
Or hanged. The utter irony was the nothing had really been stolen. Well all right, he had commandeered the Interceptor but how could he have foreseen that Barbosa would scuttle it? So where was the need to go hanging people for something they coudln't help?
He that has the misfortune to lose a limb in battle shall have the sum of six hundred pieces of eight in compensation and shall remain aboard as long as he thinks fit.
Jack wondered what the going price for a neck was? The clerk was still droning on and so afforded no opportunity to ask.
He that first spots a vessel shall have the best pistol or small arm taken from that ship's stores.
He wished he had a pistol right now...
He who deserts the ship or his station in battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
He'd never deserted. Not once. And yet here he was. They'd deserted him. He had no reason to expect any help, but the fact that he was on his own still pinched his insides.
He who does not return to the ship by the appointed time shall be left where he stands.
And he had fallen behind.
Special thanks to "Pirate Mythology" (http://www.bonaventure.org.uk/ed/code.htm) for help with the so-called "Pirate Code".