David's Star
by Cassi

CREW LIST FOR THE TIME TRAVEL SHIP "DAVID'S STAR"

Anderson, Alex E; SD, USA; Sailing Crew; 42

Anton, Luis R Major; Madrid, Spain; Gunner/Marines; 36

Bartello, Jacob; Rome, Italy; Sailing Crew; 40

Bergess, Samuel "Sam";Australia; Sailing Crew; 43

Blackwolf, Corey F; WI,USA Ojibway; Sailing Crew; 40

Brant, Lewis E; Scotland; Sailing Crew; 51

Brogart, Liam W; Ireland; Sailing Crew; 48

Casse, Katryn R Dr.; MT, USA; Surgeon/Medical; 29

Chang, William; China; Sailing Crew; 38

Chavez, Jose F; AZ, USA Apache; Gunner/US Marines; 35

Cole, Andrew M "Andy"; MO, USA; Sailing Crew/Carpenter; 39

Conrad, David A Lt."Dave"; CA, USA; Weapons/Navy SEAL; 35

Cortez, Jacques "Jack"; El Salvador, CA; 2nd Officer; 35

Costello, Victor "Vic"; CA, USA; Gunner/US Marines; 40

Davidson, Jesse Dr."Harley";WA,USA Pawnee;Dr/Chiropract/Medical;
26
DuVall, Jorge B; France; Sailing Crew; 29

Falconberg, Anders S; NE, USA; Gunner/US Marines; 40

Florence, Brian; CA, USA; Gunner/US Marines; 39

Freeman, Brad P; TX, USA; Sailing Crew; 54

Freers, Corey R; Ontario, Canada; Sailing Crew; 52

Garsen, James T; New Zealand; Sailing Crew; 28

Goldberg, Martin W; NJ, USA; Sailing Crew; 46

Gonzalez, Sebastian C; Tamps, Mexico; Sailing Crew; 36

Gustaf, Brett; Halmstad, Sweden; Sailing Crew; 52

Hendricks, Lance T Major; TX, USA Cherokee; 3rd Officer/Navy SEAL;
44
Hoffman, Jared F; NY, USA; Bosun; 55

Hunter, John F "Johnny"Lt.; South Hampton UK; Sailor/Gunner/RoyalNavy
31
Jakov, Petur; Tel Aviv, Israel; Weapons/Explosives; 29

Jeffries, Brandon Q; UT, USA; Sailing Crew; 37

Johnson, George Lt.; MS, USA; Lookout/Gunner/Navy SEAL; 38

Kendrick, Stephan; Sydney, Australia; Sailing Crew; 52

Kozlow, Julius; Poland; Gunner/Military; 32

LaRue, Jensson; France; Sailing Crew; 37

Larssen, Gustav; Stockholm, Sweden; Sailing Crew; 52

Lee, Kim; Hong Kong; Weapons/Explosives; 30

Levitson, Peter "Pete"; Israel; Quartermaster; 40

Marco, Duane; TX, USA; Sailing Crew; 39

Martinez, Jesus; NM, USA; Regist. Nurse/Medical; 24

Masters, Rick; ID, USA; Sailor/Gunner/US Navy; 29

Miklos, Julius Cpt.; Thessalonika, Greece; 4th Officer/Marines; 30

Murdock, Jonathan "Jon"; BC, Canada; Sailing Crew; 46

Newman, John; OK, USA Ponca; Lookout/gunner/US Marines; 38

O'Connell, William Lt.; Wales, UK; Sailor/GunneR/Royal Navy; 38

Phillips, William "Willie"; South Hampton, UK; Regist. Nurse/Medical;
25
Ratzlov, David "Davey"; Romania; 1st Officer; 38

Redbird, Carlos Lt.; OK, USA Sioux; Lookout/gunner/Navy SEAL; 39

Richards, Russell O Captain; Ireland; Ship's Captain; 57

Rogers, Nicholas "Nicky"; FL, USA; Gunner/US Marines; 37

Romero, Alejandro; TX, USA; Sailor/Gunner/US Navy; 40

Ryan, William "Billy"; Ireland; Sailing Crew; 52

Stenson, Robert F "Robbie"; NC, USA; Sailing Crew; 50

Takata, Yutaka; Tokyo, Japan; Sailing Crew; 36

Winston, Lars; Norway; Sailing Crew; 48

CHAPTER ONE

Dr. Katryn Raye Casse sighed, rolling over. The hammock was
not the most comfortable bed, but it was so rare that she got to
sleep a bit later than normal, she really didn't care.
She'd been aboard the ship for so long, she didn't even
notice the constant motion, anymore. The frigate, "David's Star" had
been built in the year 2003, and set sail three years later. It was
an exact replica of the old 18th Century frigates. Indeed, it was a
5th rate, square-rigged vessel, carrying three masts . . . with a few
modern upgrades.
Because it had been built for the purpose of sending a group
of sailors on an experimental trip back through time, none of its
modifications could be seen from the outside. They'd had everything
built to standard, right down to the gun-ports and the 36 24-pound
guns, or cannons, as Katryn preferred to call them. However, they
only carried a fraction of the standard 18th Century crew, but then,
their mission was mainly to observe, and document their experiences,
as well as documenting any information on war or merchant ships, they
happened to come across, which, to the crew's disappointment, they
hadn't done yet.

Captain Russell O'Brien Richards, a 57 year-old Irishman, who
had spent most of his life at sea and studying the old sailing ships,
had originally objected to the amount of firepower they were
carrying, but reluctantly agreed when he'd been informed they were
going back to a time where there were multiple battles at sea, and
all ships were required to defend themselves, in the event of
attack. As David's Star was traveling under a black flag, sporting a
Jewish Star of David, they would more than likely have to defend
themselves.
Katryn gave a wry grin. She loved their flag, even if they
would be mistaken for pirates. Their sponsors were a large group of
Jewish men, and they had insisted on the flag. The crew itself, came
from all over the world, selected for sailing experience and military
know-how, including two British Navymen, four US Navy SEALS, several
marines, and others from marine-military backgrounds in countries all
over the world. All of these were assigned the task of protecting
the ship and the lives aboard.
The rest of the crew-members -except the medical team- had
been hired for sailing experience and had to have a full
understanding of every part of the frigate, the sails, and the
masts. Each member of the sailing crew had to pass a detailed test
on the general layout and each and every working part of the ship,
while the main Officers had to pass tests on anything to do with
sailing and commanding the ship, as well as navigating without the
use of computers or satellite guidance positioning. Meanwhile, the
marines and weapons' crews had to know every part of the guns, inside
and out, as well as any other weapons that they happened to have on
board.
The medical staff, while they didn't have to know anything
much about sailing, was assigned with the medical health and
treatment of the rest of the crew. Although, they didn't know as
much about sailing the ship, they did have to study the full layout
of the frigate and Katryn had taken it upon herself to study the
masts and sails, as well, but that was mainly because she liked to
climb the masts. In addition to their medical duties, the medical
staff also took their turns with the cooking and the dirty work, such
as cleaning the toilets, swabbing the deck, and feeding the three
cats they kept on board, in the orlop.
Katryn, herself, had been born and raised in Montana.
Alth0ugh Jewish by birth, she was American. Her assistant,
Jesse "Harley" Davidson, was from Washington State, and native Pawnee
Indian, complete with mohawk. Jesse's background was Emergency
Medicine and Chiropractic, while Katryn was the surgeon and the only
woman aboard.
The two Registered Nurses, Jesus Martinez, of New Mexico, and
William "Willie" Phillips, of South Hampton, England, completed the
medical staff. The four of them had become fast friends, and all had
come to enjoy their life at sea. So far, it was agreed that this was
much more exciting and fun than being in the hospital all the time.
In spite of her gender, Katryn pulled her weight and
could hold her own against any man on the ship, and had proved it
several times, back when the ship first set sail from Florida, six
months before . . . or, as one should say; six months before and more
than two-hundred years later?
Remembering those first few weeks made Katryn smile wider.
She was short and thin, but she'd loved rock climbing as a hobby, and
growing up in Montana, she'd been raised climbing, so most of her
weight was solid muscle.
When First Officer, David "Davey" Ratzlov, a blond haired,
blue-eyed Romanian, had laughed at her, she'd challenged him to arm
wrestle. She did not beat him, more's the pity, but he had taken
most of his strength to pin her, and afterwards, Jesse had ended up
readjusting Davey's shoulder. She'd, since, gained the respect of
the entire crew, and was treated as an equal. The crew had taken to
calling her `KC' or `Dr. KC', the nickname, a badge of honor that she
wore proudly, and surprisingly, not one of them had protested to
having a woman doctor. In all reality, they saw her as more of a
sister, and a trusted friend, which was exactly the way Katryn liked
it.

The Second Officer, Jacques Cortez, having long, black hair
and dark brown eyes, being another shortish person aboard, had, like
Katryn, been a rock climber, as well as a sailor, so he'd gotten
along with Katryn, almost immediately, and the two of them frequently
hung out, usually on the top-yards or doing stretches in Katryn's
quarters. Jacques was from El Salvador, and sometimes spoke in very
broken English, but somehow nobody aboard had any trouble
understanding him, and to Katryn, he was nothing short of a brother.

A knock on her door caused her to jump. "Yeah?" She called,
yawning.
Jesse poked his mohawked head into the room. "We're on,
Kat." He announced. "Davey just came down to tell us Cortez fell
off the ratlines, and they think he's broken an ankle or something."
Katryn's eyes widened. Usually, they'd just need Jesse
unless it required surgery, but knowing Cortez was a close friend of
hers, he'd known she'd want to know. "H0w bad?" She asked, jumping
up, and snatching her skull-and-crossbones scrub cap and tying it on
so she wouldn't have to brush her hair. She'd slept in her black
scrubs, so there was no need to change.
"Not sure." Jesse answered, as she followed him up the
stairs. "According to Davey, he fell off the ratlines when one tore
and I guess he snagged his ankle on the way down, catching all his
weight on it. Lucky for him, or he'd have cracked his skull. He
hadn't clipped the harness to the safety rope yet."
"I don't believe in luck." Katryn responded, already
thanking God for saving her friend's life.
"I know." Jesse replied. "And I was thinking the same
thing."
Katryn smiled. Most of the crew shared the same beliefs in
God. That, amongst all other things, was what kept the order between
the crew members.

The two headed out to the maindeck, where Cortez lay, looking
pale. Captain Richards and Davey were crouched next to him,
talking. The rest of the crew had gone back to work, as they
couldn't stop their duties for very long.
"How ya' doing, Jack?" Katryn asked, setting down a medical
bag and squatting down next to him.
Cortez gave a grin. She was the only one who was allowed to
call him that. "Hurt like heck, but I didn't hear crack, or
anything." He responded, as Jesse cut his sneaker and sock off to
reveal a very bruised looking ankle.
"Looks like it hurts." Katryn commented, making a face.
Jesse, not even blinking, pulled out his tuning fork. After
striking it against the deck, he carefully held the base of it to
several areas of Cortez's ankle.
"Doesn't hurt any more than already did." Jacques told them,
looking relieved.
Katryn nodded. This meant the bone was not broken. "Looks
like a bad sprain, though." She replied, watching Jesse examine the
bruised area, while Cortez winced. "Put some ice on it, and Jess'
can get an ACE bandage around it."
"We even have some nice crutches for you." Jesse
remarked, sweetly.
"So `e's off duty then." Captain Richards stated.
"For a few days." Jesse commented. "He can go back on half
duty, after he gets used to the crutches."
Cortez made a face.
"And no climbing the ratlines for at least a couple weeks."
Katryn added.
Cortez's face fell. "Now that really suck." He muttered.
Katryn gave him a sympathetic look. Like herself, not being
able to climb would be a terrible and cruel punishment.
Jesse eyed Cortez. "You might have a touch of whiplash,
too." He put in, helping Jacques up. "I can take care of that
though."
Davey quickly moved to Cortez's other side, and the two of
them slowly guided the injured Officer below decks.

Captain Richards sighed as he returned to the Quarter-Deck.
Katryn followed, eyeing the Captain. Then she frowned, noticing
something.
"We've been at sea here for six months, and you're still
carrying that?" She commented, shaking her head.
The Captain frowned. "What?"
"You know what." Katryn insisted, pulling the pager off his
belt. "Come on, Russ, humor me. Why?!"
Russell shook his head, grinning, and took the pager from
her. "I always `ated the thing. Always wen' off at the damndest
toimes."
Katryn frowned at his language. "So why still carry it?"
Russell laughed. "Why do ye think, KC?"
Katryn rolled her eyes. "You wear a pager in the 18th
Century purely because it will never go off again."
The Captain gave a guilty look.
Katryn shook her head. "Freaks." She murmured. "I'm
surrounded by freaks."
Russell raised an eyebrow and reached over to remove her
scrub-cap, revealing her purple and black streaked hair. "Ye fit in
noicly, KC." He retorted, laughing. "You and that assistant o'
yers, wi' the mohawk that's ever changin' colors. Fortunate, we are
not to `ave come across another ship, yet. Foine spectical we'd
make, what with Ratzlov standin' on du'y, wi' his sunglasses and
leather jacket, an' you wi' yer purple `air an' `eadphones, standin'
at the top o' the main mast."
Katryn shrugged. "Well, with Jesse, any of the marines in
army fatigues, find a cowboy, a pilot, and a construction worker and
we'd have the Village People." She suggested.
Russell laughed, shaking his head. Truthfully, they were
supposed to be dressed for the Century and not allowed to flaunt the
fact that they were from another Century, entirely. However, as
they'd not come across another ship, after six months at sea, most of
the crew had been bending the rules, adding touches of their own
style, and all of the crew, including the Captain, wore sneakers or
other comfortable footwear, even if not all of them had stopped
wearing the 18th Century clothing.
"Do you even have batteries in that thing?" Katryn asked,
changing the subject back to the pager.
"Oh there's bat'ries in it." He informed her, with a
shrug. "But I've no' changed `em since we left, so they're probably
dead by now."
"So did anyone spot anything while I was gone?" Davey
suddenly asked, approaching the pair.
"Yeah, I think I saw a cloud." Katryn retorted, rolling her
eyes.
"Are we even in the right ocean!?" Ratzlov quipped. "I know
we've calculated our location to the Northeastern Atlantic, but
seriously, after six months, you'd think we'd have seen something in
the form of another ship, by now."
"You just wanna see if those guns they gave us work." Katryn
smirked. "Admit it, you wanna see Major Hendricks blow something up."
Major Lance Hendricks was the Third Officer, a Cherokee
Indian, from Texas, and the lead of the resident SEAL team members.
He and his friend, Captain Julius Miklos, the Fourth Officer, from
the Greek Marines, were in charge of the defense of the ship. In
addition to the 24 pound guns, or cannons, they'd brought some SEAL-
issue weapons, with instructions not to use them, unless the lives of
the crew were in danger.
In the event of an unavoidable battle, the two were also
trained with gun crews, to operate the cannons and fire within a
moment's notice. Although, with the help of Kim Lee, from Hong Kong,
and Petur Jakov, from Israel, who were the resident explosives'
experts, their cannon shots were a bit more powerful than those of
the realm. This was the biggest reason why anyone who worked on the
gun deck, was required to wear a suit of lightweight kevlar body
armor, as well as eye protection, and ear plugs, designed to protect
them in the event of any unavailable battle. Richards, familiar with
the horror stories of the mutilated bodies of gunners, fighting on
the gun-decks, insisted that safety came first, and the marines had
agreed.
Ratzlov gave a sigh. "Well, I do enjoy setting cannons off,
what with those gun drills we get to do sometimes, but I really don't
want to be in a battle. Frankly, with those marines and their
weapons on board, it's really no contest."
"Don't get cocky." Jared Hoffman cut in, pointedly. "If the
other ship aims right, they can do us a load of damage, with or
without the marines."
Jared Hoffman was of Italian descent, from New York City.
He'd worked on sailboats his entire life and, like Richards, had
spent most of that time studying the legendary `wind-jammers,' as
he'd called them. Undoubtedly, this was how he'd landed the position
of Bosun.
"How's Cortez?" Jared asked, turning to Davey.
Ratzlov grinned. "Harley put him on a half a vicodin, so his
main problem is not being able to climb."
Hoffman rolled his eyes. "Oh to be young again." He
mused. "Rock climbers . . . crazy breed."
Katryn raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, and your point is?"
"Speakin' o' climbin', who's on the main mast topyard
lookout?" Richards cut in, before there could be bloodshed.
"Redbird." Hoffman informed him.
Richards nodded. Lieutenant Carlos Redbird, a six-foot Sioux
Indian from Oklahoma, was one of the Navy SEALS. He had 20/10 vision
and could spot anything, the moment it appeared on the horizon. They
were in good hands with him on duty.
Katryn looked up. "Is he wearing army camo and combat boots
again?"
Hoffman laughed. "I think so." He replied, shaking his
head. Hoffman, like Richards, was not one to break the dress-code
rules, so both were dressed in the usual clothing for the time
period, with the exception of the shoes, of course.
Katryn pointed over at crewman, Duane Marco, who was wearing
the usual 18th Century clothes, with the exception of his cowboy
boots and hat. "See? I told you. The Village People. All we need
is the construction worker."
Richards sighed. "Frankly I'm surprised Davey's not in `is
fancy leather jacket."
Ratzlov grinned, looking guilty. "It was a bit warm out for
the leather." He remarked, pointedly.
Katryn frowned. The temperature was only at 75 degrees and
the breeze was cool. "Are you hot?" She asked, eyeing his slightly
flushed face.
Looking as if he'd been caught, Davey sighed. "It's a little
warm in the sun."
"Bull." Katryn retorted flatly, touching his forehead. "How
long have you been like this?"
Ratzlov sighed. "Three or four days."
"Let's go." Katryn ordered, giving him a push.
Behind them, Richards and Hoffman exchanged an unsettled look.

Down in the sick berth, Katryn removed the thermometer from
Davey's mouth and checked it.
"Well?" He asked.
"102.6." She informed him. "So much for nothing. Did you
get the Malaria shot?"
Ratzlov gave a guilty look. "I'm allergic to it." He
pointed out.
"Flu shot?"
"Not really."
"Davey!" She complained, giving him a brain-duster. "How
could you!?"
Ratzlov closed his eyes and pressed a hand to his
head. "Owww." He groaned.
Katryn sighed, pulling out a tongue depressor. "Say ah."
"Ugh." He muttered, as she checked his throat.
"Ew." Katryn remarked, making a face. "You had garlic toast
for breakfast, didn't you?"
"Well yes, but it didn't stay down too long." Ratzlov
informed her.
"Ah, I see." Katryn replied, raising an eyebrow. "Fever,
sore throat, headache, nausea. . . . Is there anything else you
neglected to mention?"
Davey sighed in defeat. She had him, and he knew
it. "Everything hurts, and I've been having chills and coughing
spells."
"Any trouble breathing?"
"A little."
"Wheezing?"
"No."
"Are you coughing anything up?"
"Besides breakfast?"
"David!" She scolded.
"No."
"How long have you been throwing up?"
"Just this morning." He told her. "I was going to come see
you or Jess, later today about it. I was waiting until I got off
duty."
Katryn nodded. He was telling the truth. For some reason,
she could always tell when someone lied to her.
"So what's the verdict?" He asked, looking glum.
She pulled out her stethoscope. "Give me some deep breaths."
Davey did as he was told and chewed his lip, waiting for a
response. "Well?"
"Could be the flu, could be malaria." She informed
him. "Either way, you're in bed for a while. Get your stuff. You
stay in here for at least a day or two. I'll give you some
amoxicillin. You take one, twice a day."
"You going to tell the Captain?"
"Have to." She answered, wearily. "We'll have to get
Hendricks and Miklos to do extra shifts, with both you and Cortez
down."
"That's not going to make Levitson happy." Ratzlov remarked,
sighing. "You know him and Hendricks don't get along too well."
Peter Levitson, the Quartermaster, was from Israel, and for
some strange reason, he and Hendricks had clashed with each other.
Although neither of them had ever mentioned why, there was no
mistaking the friction between them.
"Levitson doesn't have a choice." Katryn reminded
him. "We're down two Officers, now."
"What's up?" Jesse asked, walking over.
"How's Cortez?" Katryn returned.
"Sleeping." Jesse answered. "What's with Mr. Rats-Love?"
Ratzlov gave him a flat look. "Bite me." He retorted. He
was well used to Jesse's teasing by now, and took it in stride.
"Didn't get a flu shot and couldn't get the malaria shot."
She explained.
"Dumb move, man." Jesse scolded.
Ratzlov sighed. "You know, sometimes that flu shot isn't
worth a crap, to start with."
"True, but sometimes, it helps." Katryn reminded him. "I'll
go tell the Captain, Jess'll get you settled in."
"Yeah, no problem." Jesse replied, easily. "Cortez could
use some company, and who better to join him here, than his very own
roommate?"
Ratzlov rolled his eyes. He and Cortez were not only
roommates, but rather close friends, and would have kept each other
company, anyway.

Back up on the Quarterdeck, Richards was fuming. "Ah, I don'
believe it!"
"I thought everyone was supposed to have been vaccinated
before we left!" Hendricks spat out.
"Yeah, didn't they even check him?" Hoffman asked.
"Davey's allergic to the malaria vaccine and the flu
shot was suggested, but not enforced." Katryn informed them. "They
needed his experience and overlooked the allergy."
"So it could just be the flu." Miklos put in. "It's not as
if there's many mosquitos here."
"Mosquitos are everywhere." Levitson argued. "Besides,
malaria is pretty common in this time period."
"So's influenza." Hendricks pointed out, defending Miklos.
"Look, Jesse is going to do a blood test, so we'll know for
sure." Katryn interrupted.
"In the meantime, Hendricks, check the rest o' the crew
fer symptoms. Sometimes ye can still get sick, even wi' the shots.
Mr. Miklos, ye `ave the watch. I'll be in my cabin."
"Yes sir." The marines replied, going about their duties.
Katryn looked up to the main mast top-yard. "I'll just see
how Redbird's doing." She remarked, headed for the ratlines.
"Whatever excuse you can find to climb the mast." Miklos
quipped.
"Hey, he's been up there for three hours and doesn't know
what's going on!" Katryn pointed out. "Somebody should tell him."
Hoffman watched her get into a climbing harness and start to
climb up. "Just be sure you don't follow Cortez's example!" He
shouted after her. "We only have one surgeon!"
"Your concern is overwhelming!" Katryn shouted back, flatly.

At the top-yard, Redbird gave her a hand up, and she quickly
clipped her harness to the safety rope. Like herself, Redbird was
also clipped to the rope. Richards, knowing the stories of sailors,
who fell from the topyard, or from any of the sails, for that matter,
had passed an order that all men, or woman who climbed the ratlines,
or ropes, on the masts, were all required to wear climbing harnesses
and be clipped to a safety rope, in the event of accident. Being
rock climbers by nature, Cortez and Katryn didn't usually clip in
until they reached the top. This was frowned on, and Katryn felt a
twinge of guilt, remembering Cortez's fall, earlier. She vowed she
would always remind herself to clip in before she started to climb,
from now on.
"What's going on down there?" Redbird asked, not taking his
eyes off the horizon. "I saw Cortez go down. Is he alright?"
Katryn nodded. "Bad sprain." She informed him. She'd liked
Redbird from the start, and found him to be strikingly good-looking,
but then, she'd always had a liking for Native Americans. Although,
no matter how good-looking Redbird was, it was Jesse's wit and style
that had won her heart. Of all the men on the ship who were her dear
friends, none held as high esteem as Jesse Davidson did, with her.
They were the perfect team. . . . although, neither was ready to
admit it.
"See anything besides clouds?" Katryn asked, looking
around.
"Saw some dolphins a while ago." Redbird answered, with a
shrug. "No other ships yet."
"Maybe we went back to prehistoric times and they haven't
invented them yet." Katryn suggested, almost seriously.
Redbird laughed. "Haven't seen any dinosaurs yet, either."
He commented.
"Well of course not, silly!" Katryn argued. "We're in the
middle of the ocean!"
"Some dinosaurs swam in the ocean." He defended.
Katryn shrugged. "Maybe we're in the Twilight Zone
then. . . . or the Bermuda Triangle?" She hummed the theme of the
Twilight Zone show.
Redbird shook his head. "You read too many of those
unsolved mysteries, and we're not even near the Triangle. We're in
the North Atlantic!" He retorted, with a snort. "So what brings
you up here? I don't think it's to argue about the view."
"Ratzlov is sick." Katryn announced with a sigh. "Could be
malaria or the flu. Either way, he's not doing so good."
"Ah." Redbird nodded. "I thought that sounded like him
coughing, last night. I was going to ask Cortez about it, but he
never made it up here."
"Anyway, we're down two Officers, for at least a day or two.
As soon as Cortez can get up on crutches, he can at least do half
shifts, provided he's not on his feet too long."
Redbird had stopped listening, and was tilting his head,
frowning.
"What?" Katryn asked, also frowning.
"Listen." Redbird whispered.
The two were quiet a second or two, before they heard it
again. A faint explosion on the wind, followed by several more.
"Is that cannon-fire?" Katryn asked.
"North-northeast." Redbird informed her. "About six or
seven miles away."
Katryn's eyes widened. "Another ship?"
"More than one, by the sound of that gunfire." Redbird told
her, before turning toward the fighting top below, where his Mexican
comrade, Sebastian Gonzalez, was posted.
Redbird gave a whistle. "Gonzalez! We've got cannon-fire,
seven miles nor-northeast! Tell Miklos and Hendricks to get the gun
crews ready, just in case!"
"Aye!" Gonzalez shouted back, before relaying the message.
"Don't you think that's a bit drastic?"
"We're sailing under a black flag, KC." Redbird pointed
out. "They're bound to assume we're pirates. We have to be able to
defend ourselves." He shook his head. "I knew we should have gone
with another color."
"Do pirates wear army camo?" Katryn asked, motioning to his
outfit.
Redbird rolled his eyes. "Probably not, but they just may
dress like you there, especially with that scrub cap of yours."
She raised an eyebrow. "You'd rather I just took it off and
showed them all my purple hair?!"
"You'd better get down, anyway." Redbird told her,
pointedly. "This wind is blowing us right toward them and if they
are in battle, and they do fire on us, we're gonna need you down
there."
Katryn sighed. "I know this is your post and all, but be
careful, okay? I don't wanna have to put you back together."
Redbird nodded and gave her a friendly peck on the
cheek. "Don't worry about me. I'm a SEAL, and I'm trained for
this." He held up his sniper rifle.
Katryn returned the kiss and grappled herself back down the
mainmast, to the deck below.
"What's `e see?" Richards asked, turning toward the noise.
Katryn watched the ship ready the guns, then turned back
toward the Captain. "Nothing yet, but he says this wind is pulling
us that way, so we should see something before too long."
"All o' ye out'a uniform, change now!" Richards
shouted. "If yer gonna be seen by another ship, yer gonna be dressed
properly! Those who don' have time ta change, get out'a sight!"
"Got it." Katryn acknowledged, headed for the sick berth.
Either way, she was going to need her field surgery kit, in the event
that someone got hurt.

"What's going on?" Ratzlov asked, as she entered the sick
berth. "Don't tell me we found another ship."
"More than one." She answered, readying her kit. "There's a
battle northeast of us and we're headed that way."
"Ah, this sucks!" Ratzlov muttered, groaning. " We finally
see another ship and I'm stuck here with Mohawk-Freak!"
"That's DR. Mohawk-Freak to you!" Jesse retorted, helping
Katryn. "And if you'd gotten your shots, you wouldn't be like this,
would you? Besides, if you think I'm staying here, you'd better
think again! I'm going topside, so you'll just have to stay here,
with your bestest buddy, all by your onesies!"
Ratzlov flipped him off, grumbling under his breath.
In the corner nearby, Cortez grinned, shaking his head. He
too, was disappointed at being stuck in the sick berth, but he loved
watching the exchange of insults between Ratzlov and Jesse. "Let us
know how things go, and be careful!" He called after the two
doctors, as they headed above decks, with their medical supplies.
"So now what do we do?" Ratzlov asked, laying back, with a
sigh.
Cortez shrugged. "I got a deck of cards." He suggested,
hobbling over to his friend's bedside.
"Why not?" Davey remarked, letting Cortez deal.

Back up on the gun-deck, Jesse and Katryn were watching
Hendricks and Miklos direct the men -already in their body armor as
they made ready, the guns.
"Why do you suppose they call those things `24 pounders'?"
Jesse remarked, mischievously, boldly proclaiming why the doctors
were not in charge of the guns. "Those things must weigh about a
ton, each."
Katryn shrugged. "Maybe that's what the cannonball weighs."
She suggested, with a sly grin.
"They're called `shot' not cannonballs! There's several
different kinds!" Hendricks corrected.
"Oh, silly me." Katryn retorted, half serious. "Here I
thought `shot' was what they called the cannon, after someone else's
cannonball hits it."
"Very funny." Hendricks remarked, flatly. "Isn't there a
street corner you two can hang out?"
"No." They replied, with perfectly straight faces.
"Out, both of yous!" Hoffman scolded, feeling rather like he
was keeping order on a kindergarten playground. "Go on, get lost!"
Hendricks just sighed and motioned for the gun crews to put
their safety glasses and ear plugs in. Commands, from now on, to the
gun crews, would be given through previously rehearsed hand signals.
Grinning, Katryn and Jesse headed for the main deck, just as
they heard Gonzalez shouting, "Sails to the Northeast! Looks like
three ships duking it out!"
"Keep the guns armed and ready, but don' open the gunports
yet!" Richards shouted. "And get Redbird down `ere, before they
see `im in tha' outfit!"
"Redbird says he doesn't have time to change, and he's
waiting to see what the other ships are gonna do!" Gonzalez relayed.
Richards sighed. "Great, I'm runnin' a circus."
"You forgot the dancing clowns." Jesse chimed in.
Richards stared at Jesse's sleeveless tee-shirt, ripped
jeans, and combat boots. "No, they've just arrived." He managed to
get out. "I thought I told ye ta change!"
"We didn't have time." Katryn answered, honestly. "We had
to throw together the medical supplies, in case somebody gets hurt."
"Nobody told me to change." Jesse muttered, under his
breath, pointedly.
By now, all the people on deck had a clear view of the three
ships, firing on each other.
Navy SEAL, Lieutenant George Johnson, had his binoculars to
his eyes. "Looks like two French frigates, 32 guns on one deck each,
and one English frigate, 40 guns on one deck, name; Indefatigable."
He announced. "All taking heavy damages." George was a 5'10" black
man from Mississippi, who also worked as a lookout, on opposite
shifts from Redbird.
"If we can see them, they can see us." Richards reminded
them. "I want all on the ready, in case we have ta fight!"

CHAPTER TWO
Short note: For the record, I'm borrowing Dr. Sebastian. [because I
can't stand Dr. Hepplewhite. He's a drunken slob.--]

"We're within range." George announced, without turning from
his binoculars.

"Are ye insane!?" Richards asked, staring.

"I'll take `Stupid Questions' for 500, Alex." Brandon
Jeffries quipped. Most of the sailing crew had the strangest ideas
of humor.

"The guns can't shoot tha' far!" Richards went on, ignoring
him.

"The rocket launchers will." David Conrad, informed him.
Lieutenant Conrad, the 4th Navy SEAL team member, from California,
was 5'11" with sun-streaked dark hair, and blue eyes, and loved
anything that had to do with weapons.

"Told you they just wanna blow stuff up." Katryn countered,
shaking her head.

"Nobody is blowin' anythin' up!" Richards shouted so they
could all hear. "We do not use those unless our lives are in danger!"

"Just out of curiosity, does anyone know whose side we're
on?" Jesse asked, frowning.

"Good question." George admitted. "Whose side are we on?"

"We're not at war, lad." Richards told him, firmly. "We
take no sides. If they fire on us, we'll fire back, bu' we do not
attack any of `em."

"So what, we just sit and watch them kill each other?!"
Katryn demanded. "I know we're supposed to be observing and
documenting but we can't just sit here and watch them all die. It's
not right."

"Russ, I happen to be Royal British Navy!" Lieutenant Johnny
Hunter cut in. "We can't just not help them!"

"An' we have Frenchmen aboard as well, Johnny." Richards
pointed out. "Do ye think they'd like ta see us fire on two French
ships?"

"Russ has got a point, man." Jesse admitted. "Besides, our
sponsors would flame us all if they found out we just flat out
attacked someone."

Johnny glared. "Yeah, well they don't have to watch while
their own countrymen die either, do they?!" He seethed, grabbing
Jesse by the front of his shirt.

Katryn sprang forward, swinging her foot around, catching
Johnny in the groin. "This solves nothing!" She spat out, standing
over the groaning man.

"Look out!" Gonzalez bellowed from the fighting top, as a
loud crack hit the top of the mainmast, sending the entire top yard
crashing to the deck, below.

"Redbird!" Katryn screamed, rushing forward.

Jesse and George grabbed her, almost in a tackle, knowing a
second hit would catch her as well.

"Run out the guns an' teach tha' puny piece o' French junk a
lesson!" Richards thundered with a snarl.

"Got it covered!" Conrad complied, with a rocket launcher on
his shoulder, already taking aim. "Now our lives are in danger and
he was one of my teammates!"

As Hendricks and Miklos gave the signal to fire at the French
ships, Conrad let loose with the rocket launcher. The rocket blew
through the main mast of one ship, blasting clear through and
slamming into the main deck of the other, setting both ships on fire
in the resulting explosion. The first ship, having lost the main mas
all the way down, and taken several cannon-blasts into its hull, was
already sinking as the plume of smoke cleared away.

"Oh that was so cool!" Jesse declared, awestruck.

Aboard the British ship, in place of cheering, there was dead
silence, as they gaped at what was left of the enemy.

"Did we win?" Hoffman asked, quietly.

"I suppose that depends on whether the English ship is going
to fire at us." George pointed out.

"Certainly, they couldn't be that stupid." Katryn stated,
raising an eyebrow.

Aboard the British Frigate, Indefatigable, the deck crew was
still staring.

"Do we . . . fire back, sir?" Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower
asked Captain Sir Edward Pellew, in an ambivalent tone.

"No."

"Sir?"

"All men, hold your fire on the third vessel!" Captain
Pellew shouted at the crew. Then he turned to his deck
Officers. "That ship did not fire until the Frenchman fired upon it
and it's plain as day she was cleared for action long before she
fired. Besides, from the looks of that one blast, they can easily
send us straight to the bottom if we return fire."

"Captain, that's a black flag." Lt. Bowles pointed
out. "And we're in poor condition."

"The Captain's right." Hornblower responded, shaking his
head. "If they'd wanted to hit us, we'd be on the bottom already.
We may out-gun her but that ship just sank a 32-gun frigate with
little more than one blast!"

"So we surrender then?" Bowles asked, dumfounded.

Pellew considered this. "Signal them and find out what they
want." He replied, shortly. "If they were after us, they'd be on us
already."

Down on the gun deck of the Indie, Acting Lieutenant Archie
Kennedy, having just seen the explosions that sank one of their enemy
ships, stared in shock. "Unless my ears deceive me, that ship sank a
32- gun frigate in little more than three or four shots." He
murmured, in disbelief.

Midshipman Cousins nodded in agreement. "And that almost
looked as if it were only one shot that set them both afire." He
remarked, shaking his head. "Is that even possible?"

"Not that I've ever seen." Kennedy replied, chewing his lip.

"Sir, the French frigate is taking aim again!" Midshipman
Martins shouted from nearby, where he was looking through another gun
port.

Archie rushed over to the Number 7 gun, already loaded. "Aim
for the gun deck!" He shouted to the men around the gun, directing
the shot. "And . . . FIRE!"

The group watched as the shot took out the gun port on the
French ship, as well as what looked like several crewmen manning the
gun.

Archie grinned, but his triumph was short-lived as he
realized they had not disabled the gun itself, which was again taking
aim . . . directly at them.

"Mr. Martins, fire Number 5!" He bellowed, pointing
frantically.

This was followed by a deafening blast as Archie threw his
hands up to protect his face, feeling himself being thrown backwards
and his world went black.

Aboard David's Star, the mood was somewhat hectic. As soon
as they'd seen the British ship had no intention of firing, they
immediately went to analyze the damages and not one man aboard paid
attention to any signals, as both their lookout and the relay man
were down. Hendricks had come up from the gun deck to check on
Redbird, leaving Miklos and Kim Lee to watch the other ships in the
event that they fired, after all.

Redbird was laying on the deck on his back, still clipped to
his safety rope. He had apparently jumped upon seeing the shot being
aimed. The shot had missed hitting him, although the falling top
yard had barely missed him, as it landed. The rope had broken loose
but Redbird had not fallen far enough to seriously injure himself.

"Redbird, can you hear me?" Katryn asked, shining her
penlight in his eyes.

Redbird answered with a cough. "Ow." He groaned,
squinting. "I think I broke a rib or two. Safety rope slowed most
of the fall when it snagged." He started coughing, trying to catch
his breath.

"Oh no." Jesse groaned in an anguished tone.

"What?" Redbird demanded, trying to raise his head as Katryn
held it still.

Katryn looked over, seeing blood all over the deck. She
covered her mouthand tears sprang to her eyes. "No."

"What?" Redbird insisted, fighting Katryn.

"It's Gonzalez." Katryn whispered, shakily. "Jess, is he
dead?"

Jesse's face was grim, as he shook his head. "He's gone."

"I told you to shoot them, first!!!" Johnny thundered,
slamming his hand against the mizzenmast.

Redbird's face fell. "No. . . ." He insisted. "Check
again!"

"Guys, get a backboard!" Katryn ordered, positioning a neck
brace on Redbird. "We need to get him to the sick berth!"

"Check him again!" Redbird repeated. "I was just talking to
him!!"

Hendricks bit his lip. "He was crushed when the mast came
down, Carlos." He told him, quietly. "There's nothing they can do."

"Oh crap, that second French ship isn't dead yet, they're
pissed as heck and we're about to get hit again!" Conrad bellowed as
George yanked Jesse and Katryn down. "Who in heaven's name is
manning the gun crews?!"

Below, Miklos had seen both ships aiming their shots and had
already given the signal to reload the doctored shots, provided by
Kim. However, the doctored shots were unstable and took a bit more
time to get loaded.

A loud explosion followed but it was not their ship hit, much
to the surprise of the gun crew. It was the French one.

Johnny looked up and cheered. "Well at least the British
ship knows how to do an assist!" He quipped, in a criticizing tone.

"Hunter, would you just shut up about-" George was cut off as
the French ship fired another shot into the gun-deck of the British
ship, triggering a huge explosion that rocked their entire ship.

Richards turned in fury. "Marines, take that Frenchman out
now!" He bellowed.

The command was followed by five cannon shots, fired in
broadside. Their impact with the French ship triggered five
explosions, which literally blew out the entire starboard side of the
ship, sinking it in a matter of minutes and the force of the blast
actually blew several Officers on the deck of the English ship off
their feet.

"What on earth was in them shots?" Richards demanded, gaping.

Explosives Technician, Kim Lee casually strolled to the
maindeck, removing his earplugs. "Just a few chemicals mixed in the
proper proportions." He informed them, grinning smugly.

"Wow, homemade C-4." Katryn noted, looking
impressed. "Neato."

"Now that was a big boom." Redbird spoke up, weakly as they
strapped him to the backboard and gently hauled him toward the sick
berth.

Over on the British ship, there was no shortage of
casualties. The gun-deck was literally a slaughterhouse, where the
cannon had blown. There were at least seven people dead-- all who'd
been operating the Number 5 port-side gun, including Midshipman
Martins-- and any number of others who had even been nearby were
suffering splinter wounds, loss of hearing, severe burns, broken
bones, and various other ailments. Kennedy had been thrown back,
having had both hands and wrists burned raw, near a corner of the
deck, directly underneath a large hunk of what was left of the Number
5 gun and its mountings that had been lodged into the walls. He was
unconscious with a small puddle of blood growing around his left leg.

Up on the Quarterdeck, the Captain had been thrown against a
rail from the explosion that had taken out the French ship and was
now laying unconscious, with blood visible on the side of his head.
Hornblower had been thrown over the rail to the main deck below, with
several splinters in his leg and at least 20 others were injured or
dead.

On David's Star, the rest of the main crew had managed to
escape with minor injuries and although Redbird did have to have a
few splinters removed from his arm, his only other injuries were four
broken ribs and a terrible headache.

Ratzlov and Cortez had dropped their cards when they'd heard
the blast above, but did not leave the sick berth. They remained,
waiting until Jesse and Katryn came in with Redbird, and broke the
news that Gonzalez was gone.

Soberly, the two exchanged a glance and watched as Redbird
was set on an examining table.

Jesse quickly cut Redbird's jacket and shirt open to reveal
the bulletproof vest he was wearing. "Well at least one of us was
prepared for things." He commented, cutting through the fastenings
on the vest.

"Even if he was out of the typical uniform." Katryn added,
shaking her head.

Redbird coughed. "Didn't seem to do much though." He
commented, groaning.

Jesse eyed Redbird's bruised chest. "Well the ribs are
definitely broken." He stated, making a face.

"Will he be alright?" Ratzlov questioned, frowning.

"He'll be fine." Katryn assured him. "It's just a few
ribs. He'll be sore for a while but it's not fatal."

"Ha ha." Redbird grumbled, rolling his eyes.

Jesse cut off the rest of Redbird's clothes. "Major bruise
from the harness but I'd say it saved his life."

"KC!" Miklos called out, poking his head into the sick-
berth. Richards wants you to go over to the British ship and see if
they need any help over there! They pretty much saved our skins and
it looks like they have a real mess going there, and for pity's sake,
change your clothes!"

Katryn nodded, snatching her field surgery kit. "Who else is
going over there?" She asked, ignoring the second part of the order.

"Hendricks and Conrad." He returned.

"What about me?" Jesse put in.

"Take care of Redbird." Katryn ordered, following Miklos out
the door.

 

"Does anyone know if their doctor is alive over there?"
Katryn asked, tossing the surgical kit to Conrad.

"In that mess?!" Conrad commented, sarcastically.

Katryn gave him a flat look. "No, the mess behind it." She
quipped.

"The mess behind it was blown to bits and sank, so I would
guess nobody, much less the doctor, is still alive." Hendricks
answered with a straight face.

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Never mind. I'll ask someone who
would actually know something." She retorted, turning around.
Spying a man on the smokey deck, she let out a shrill whistle. "Yo,
Mister Man! Is there a doctor alive in that mess of yours?"

The man seemed to stare at her for a minute before he finally
hollered back a reply. "Yeh, bu' ye can' `ave `im! We got injured
men over `ere!"

Katryn scoffed, shaking her head. "Can you believe this? He
thinks I need a doctor."

"Well so do most of us but we don't carry one of those
doctors aboard." Conrad replied seriously, then gave a sly grin.

"Oh you're cute." She smirked, flatly. "But at least I'm
not the only one aboard who needs one of those doctors. Now get
your rear end over there, Bag-boy."

"Oh yeah, luggage is like, totally my life's dream." He
replied in his Surfer-dude impersonation, as he grabbed a rope and
swung over to the British ship.

"Shall I carry you, or do you wanna try it?" Hendricks
asked, sweetly. He knew very well she was a rock climber and had no
trouble whatsoever, with rope swinging.

"Bite me." Katryn shot back, grabbing a rope. Swinging over
the 30 feet between the ships, she let out a loud `Tarzan' yell and
flipped over, before landing easily on her feet in front of Conrad
and the British crewman. "Always wanted to do that." She replied,
turning back to her own ship. "Beat that, loser!" She called back
to Hendricks.

Hendricks shook his head, before swinging himself
over. "Showoff."

"O don' s'pose you'd mind tellin' me wha' ye want `ere." The
British crewman cut in. "And I already told ye, ye can't `ave the
doc. We needs `im `ere."

Katryn rolled her eyes and snatched her bag from Conrad. "I
don't need a doctor! I happen to be a surgeon! We were sent here to
help you peoples, not pillage."

The man stared in shock at Katryn. "Wai' a minute, yer not a
man."

Katryn smiled. "Very good, Mister Man." She looked at
Hendricks. "British crewman: Eyesight equals good!"

"An' yer a surgeon?!" The crewman demanded.

Katryn's eyes narrowed. "Okay I don't care who he is, I'm
going to break his nose."

Hendricks stepped between them. "She's the best surgeon
anywhere near here right now and chances are you've got too many
injured for your doctor to handle by himself, so I would say you
can't really afford to be choosy right now, can you?" He pointed
out, bluntly.

"So are you gonna let us help out here or would you rather we
just left you all here to fend for yourselves?" Conrad added.

"Oldroyd!" A Commanding voice cut in.

The group looked up to see a young Lieutenant with dark curly
hair, and equally dark eyes, step over, placing himself between the
marines and Oldroyd.

"They're right." The Officer replied, softly.

Katryn eyed the stranger. Young for a Lieutenant, she mused,
but that was definitely a Lieutenant's uniform he was wearing. He
was also injured and bleeding heavily down his leg and had a serious
bump on the side of his head, with another trickle of blood dripping
down his neck, in front of his left ear.

"Ouch, that looks like it hurts." Conrad replied, blinking.

The Officer shook his head. "Just a few splinters." He
replied easily. "I'm alright."

"Splinter." Hendricks rolled his eyes. "I just love how
they call those wooden stakes `splinters'."

"Oh yeah, I can just see Buffy the Vampire Slayer running
around, killing vampires with her trusty splinter." Conrad quipped,
with a grin.

The Officer and Oldroyd were staring at them.

"If you children could possibly control yourselves." Katryn
scolded. She turned back to the Officer. "Look Mr . . . ?"

"Hornblower, ma'am." The Officer informed her.

"Call me `Doctor'. Please."

"Let's go, Dr. Please." Hendricks smirked, laughing.

"Excuse me for just one second." Katryn replied, sweetly, to
Mr. Hornblower, before she calmly turned around and backhanded
Hendricks across the face. "Behave yourself or I'll send you home
and go get another marine!" She turned back to Hornblower and
resumed her friendly smile as if nothing had happened. "I'm Dr.
Casse, this is Major Hendricks and Lieutenant Conrad, of the frigate;
David's Star."

"You jus' punched one o' yer own men!" Oldroyd stated,
staring.

"He's a Navy SEAL. He can take it." Katryn assured
him. "Besides, he was getting on my nerves. Anyhow, this isn't
getting anything accomplished, so somebody take me to the worst of
it."

"With all due respect, that's not really something a lady
needs to be looking at." Hornblower objected.

Katryn nodded. "I understand. Yeah, that would be a really
gory sight for a lady to look at." She answered,
sincerely. "Hendricks, Conrad, you two better stay here and let me
go take care of the scary, gory, body parts." With this, she calmly
headed toward where she assumed the gun deck would be located,
walking right past the slack-jawed Officer.

"It's good she expresses herself." Hendricks spoke up,
pointedly.

"She still needs therapy." Conrad commented.

"Don't we all?" Hendricks answered with a shrug, reaching
over to close Hornblower's mouth, before following in the direction
Katryn had gone.

Oldroyd and Hornblower exchanged a glance.

"Are they pirates, sir?" Oldroyd asked, looking confused.

Horatio frowned. "Not with ranks like those." He answered,
thoughtfully. "From their accents, I'd guess they're Americans."

"Them ain' American colors they's flyin', sir." Oldroyd
protested.

"We'd better follow them." Hornblower put in, as they
quickly took off after the trio.

"Wow, what a mess!" Katryn remarked in the entry to the
slaughterhouse that was the gun deck. Her nose wrinkled at the smell
of singed flesh and fresh blood. Observing the devastation, Katryn
was suddenly thankful their own marines and gun crews wore the body
armor. She could not even begin to imagine any of the men she'd come
to know as family ending up like this.

Katryn turned to Hornblower, shaking her head. "You know, I
used to clean for a living to pay for Med. school and man, would I
hate to clean this mess!" She paused. "You really should put a
tourniquet on that leg. It looks like heck."

"I already have." He replied, moving his coat aside so she
could see the neckerchief tied around his thigh. "I assure you I'm
alright." Then his reassuring face turned pale.

Katryn heard him stammer the name, "Archie," before he made a
fast dive for what looked to be a fallen Officer pinned under a big
mess.

"Check the others." Katryn ordered the two marines, before
quickly bolting after Hornblower.

Debris was blocking the Officer in and a pile of it was
pinning him by the leg, Katryn observed, before she swiftly pulled
Hornblower back away.

"Let me go!" He demanded, trying to jerk free, seemingly
surprised by her strength.

"If you try to pull him out that way, that whole mess above
him is going to crush him!" Katryn argued, in a warning tone,
pointing to the large chunk of what was left of the gun lodged into
the walls above the Officer, seemingly held up by not much more than
the splinters that were pinning his legs.

Hornblower's eyes widened, as he realized she was right. "We
need rope." He answered, now working with her. "Something that can
brace that up!"

She nodded. "Tell Hendricks to grab some more marines, my
Assistant, Jesse, anyone here, who's not injured, a wedge, and a
saw." She ordered. "I'm going in there." She motioned to the small
open space between the splinters.

"With all due respect, I cannot let you do that!" Hornblower
argued.

"Why?" Katryn demanded. "And if you even think about saying
it's because I'm not a man, I'm breaking that big nose of yours!"

Hornblower sighed. "I would not even let my own men go in
there!" He insisted. "It's too dangerous and you could bring that
whole mess down on top of the both of you if you even moved wrong."

Katryn pulled him closer to look him directly in the
eye. "But if you'd fit, you'd be down there yourself." She stated,
evenly.

Hornblower sighed. "This man risked his life to save mine
and yes, I would do the same for him in an instant, but I cannot let
you go down there."

Katryn kneeled down, reaching her hand through the opening,
feeling for the man's pulse. "Look, he's alive, but his pulse is
very weak, and in order for me to know exactly what's wrong with him,
I need to get down there!" She persisted. "If we wait, he could die
before they can get him out and I refuse to let that happen! One way
or another, I'm going under there if I have to knock you out of the
way to do it!"

Hornblower stared at the tiny opening. "You can get through
that?!" He spat out.

"I'm a lot more limber than I look, now go get Hendricks!"
She insisted.

"I'm not leaving him." He stated, seriously.

"You can't help him." Katryn declared, looking him dead in
the eye. "You're bleeding, you've hit your head, and he won't be
able to hear you anyway, if he heard that blast, now get your ass
moving!"

"What is going on?" A voice cut in.

"You are?" Katryn asked, eyeing him. He was obviously
Spaniard, yet he spoke with an English accent.

"Dr. Luis Sebastian." The man informed her. "The ship's
surgeon."

Katryn sighed. Oh thank God, it's another surgeon! "Nice to
meet you, Luis." She replied, smiling. "Dr. Katryn Casse, surgeon
of David's Star. I was sent to help, now please tell him he can't
help his friend, standing here, griping at me. They need to brace
this mess up before it makes an Officer pancake down there!"

"I was not griping at her!" Hornblower burst out, indignantly.

Sebastian looked the mess over, down to Kennedy's legs pinned
under it. "She is right, Mr. Hornblower. Get the men to brace up
that shrapnel before it falls."

Katryn, not looking back, held her arms into a point ahead of
her, almost in a swan-dive, plunged herself through the space between
the splinters, and, twisting her shoulders, she slowly eased herself
completely through the opening and into the dimly lit corner.

Once in, she pulled her pen-light out of her sports bra, not
caring who saw it, and turned it on, clearing small debris and dust
from the fallen Officer's face before checking his breathing.

"I need my bag." She called to the Spaniard crouched only a
foot away.

"I do not think it will fit." Dr. Sebastian replied,
surprised she had even gotten through.

"KC?" Conrad's voice cut in, as he kneeled down next to the
Spaniard.

Katryn moved the penlight up to check the man's pupils and
brushed a few singed locks of --what almost looked to be- copper-
colored hair away from his forehead, finding a nasty looking 1st
degree burn there, as well as a small laceration, clearly from flying
debris. "He's got a concussion, ears are bleeding a bit, small
lacerations, one heck of a bump on his head, and a burn on his
forehead." She informed the marine and the other Doctor. "Both
hands are a mess of 2nd degree burns. Looks like he saw it coming
and threw his hands up to protect his face. I need a neck-brace and
a backboard."

Conrad nodded. "Yeah looks like we got about seven dead,
that I saw, multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns, multiple broken
bones, multiple head injuries, loss of hearing with everyone who was
in here, and a bunch of people scoured by wooden stakes. Hendricks
went after everything you asked for, so what do you need from the
bag?"

"Stethoscope and the emergency oxygen mask." She answered,
holding her hand out. "He's not breathing too good."

"You need anything else?"

"Yeah, pray to God they can get this crap off before it
squashes the both of us."

Conrad rolled his eyes and turned to the other surgeon. "I
got this, Doc." He replied, opening Katryn's bag. "Go help those
over there."

"Does he have any medical allergies?" Katryn called before
Sebastian could leave.

"He cannot take laudanum." The other doctor informed her,
watching Conrad pass her a clear mask, attached to a long clear tube
that led to a small metal tank in the bag.

"I don't use it." Katryn told him, rolling her eyes and
muttering under her breath as she placed the mask on her
patient. "Philistines."

Conrad shook his head with a small grin, watching the doctor
walk over to another crewman.

Up on the Quarter Deck of the Indefatigable, Lt. Anthony
Bracegirdle was helping the Captain up.

Captain Pellew was holding a handkerchief to the side of his
bleeding forehead and dazedly looking around. "What happened, Mr.
Bracegirdle?" He questioned, not seeing the French vessels.

"The David's Star sank them both, sir." He returned,
rasping. They were all spattered with gunpowder and the air smelled
of soot and charred wood.

"David's Star?" Pellew remarked, frowning. He did not
recognize the name.

"The other ship. With the black flag, sir." Bracegirdle
explained. "From what I hear, they seem to have crew from all over
the world, including two British Navymen. We saved them with our
last shot, then we got hit, and they sank the Frenchmen. According
to one of their marines, they didn't see the signals because their
lookout was down and they were assisting him.

Pellew blinked. "That does not explain who they are and what
in blazes they're even doing here." He noted, watching as more men
from the other ship continued to board the Indie, carrying supplies.
The two frigates had been lashed together with rope, in several
places along the rail, to make boarding more permissive. "What do
they want?"

"They're here to assist us, Captain." Hornblower informed
him, walking over. "They've already got their surgeon aboard; on the
Gun-deck." He bit his lip. "Mr. Kennedy is down and trapped in a
corner, pinned by the wreckage of the Number 5 port-side gun."

"Where is Dr. Sebastian?" Pellew demanded, pulling himself
to his feet.

"Also on the gun-deck, assisting the other injured men."
Hornblower replied, sighing. "As near as I can tell, we've got about
seven dead down there, and at least 15 more injured, not sure how
many serious."

"And Mr. Kennedy?"

"They have yet to get him free, sir. One wrong move and he,
as well as Dr. Casse, could be crushed." Hornblower stopped, shaking
his head, trying to clear a slight dizzy spell.

"Dr. Casse?"

"Their surgeon. She was the only one-- the only one who
could fit through the opening between the debris."

"`She?!'" Pellew stared at his Lieutenant. Had he heard
that right?

Horatio nodded. "Yes sir. Their surgeon is a woman.
American, I think. Quite outspoken and very forceful."

Pellew blinked, looking startled. A woman serving on a ship
at sea? The very idea seemed rather peculiar. His look changed as
he noticed Hornblower, again looking lightheaded. He quickly pulled
the young Officer into his quarters and led him to a chair. "Sit
down, Mr. Hornblower."

"Sir?"

"Sit down, before you fall down."

Hornblower staggered, as he allowed himself to be seated.

Before anything else could be said, they were interrupted by
a shadow that appeared in the doorway.

Looking up, they saw a dark-skinned young man had ducked
through the opening, obviously having followed them. He appeared to
be no more than twenty-five, and had bright green hair that stood on
end, in a single stripe down the middle of his mostly shaved head.

"Excuse me dudes." The man interrupted, apologetically. "I
couldn't help but overhear you. Casse did what!?"

The two British Officers stood dumbstruck, staring at him.

"Ehh, okay. Forget that." He responded, as if accustomed to
this sort of thing. "Where is she again?"

"Gundeck." Horatio managed to get out.

"Got it." He called, ducking back out. "You may go back to
whatever it is you were doing."

"Who was that?" Pellew asked, still staring at the doorway.

"I've no idea." Hornblower replied, shaking his
head. "Someone from the other ship, I suppose."

"That is obvious." Pellew retorted, shaking his head. He
quietly closed the door, and poured a drink into a small glass,
holding it out. "I daresay you need this about now, Mr. Hornblower."

Horatio accepted the glass and downed the contents, then both
of them quickly proceeded toward the gun-deck.

Over on David's Star, Captain Richards sighed. There went
all his crewmen, most of them in their futuristic clothing, with
their futuristic tools. Maybe, he hoped, their sponsors would not
find out about this. Swallowing two Excedrin, he walked out on deck,
headed toward the starboard edge where their ship was lashed to the
British one.
It didn't take Richards long to spot the Captain of the other
ship through the smokey air. He was headed toward the Gun deck with a
young Lieutenant.

Richards jumped the rail and intercepted the pair.

Recognizing a fellow Captain, the British Captain sent the
younger Officer on ahead and met up with Captain Richards.

CHAPTER THREE

Archie groaned, trying to move his head. There seemed to be
something covering his mouth and nose and he couldn't move his legs.

What had happened? They'd fired on that French ship and
then. . . . nothing. He vaguely recalled mention of a third ship,
but couldn't remember anything else. He groaned again and realized
something was holding his head still. There were faint voices, but
he couldn't make them out.

Why was it dark? Certainly the sun could not have gone down
yet. He cracked one eye open, seeing a small light and a face
nearby. He saw the person's mouth move but could hear nothing. What
was the man saying?

The face came closer and the small light illuminated it.

Archie stared. This was no man. This was the face of a
woman. He blinked, realizing she was saying something to him. He
frowned, not understanding.

The woman leaned closer and moved her lips slower. This time
he realized she was telling him not to move.

He blinked, finally understanding and stopped trying to move,
using only his eyes to look around him. This proved to be a mistake
as he realized he was in an enclosed space and he seemed to be
trapped. No, no, no, he was in the hole again! Dear Lord, no! He
had to get out! Panic seized his body as he instinctively jerked,
fighting his bonds, his fear growing worse as he felt a jolting pain
shoot through his leg. No, no, no, not again! He screamed in fright
and agony.

Katryn nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound. "Oh
crap!" She shouted, frantically trying to hold him down. What the
heck had happened? She'd been sure he'd understood her when she'd
told him not to move.

The twisted remains of the gun above slipped down several
inches as the marines tried just as frantically, to brace up the
debris. Katryn, looking up at the debris above, threw herself over
the Officer, mainly in reflex as in reality, she knew she was not
strong enough to hold the debris up. Then she frowned as realization
crept in. The man had not panicked until he'd looked around and seen
he was trapped.

"Get out'a the way!" Jesse's voice shouted, suddenly.

Katryn heard the noise of a needle being uncapped. She
winced as she heard Jesse stab it into the struggling Officer's non-
crushed leg.

"What on earth was that?!" Hornblower demanded, obviously
having run in behind Jesse. They all watched as the struggling
stopped.

The Officer slowly closed his eyes, returning to
unconsciousness.

"It won't hurt him." Jesse informed Hornblower,
bluntly. "It's just to make him sleep until we get him out. He'll
be out a while and maybe a bruise on the leg but that's a lot better
than an Officer/Surgeon pancake, wouldn't you say?" He looked down
at the small opening, now slightly wider, thanks to the shifting of
the weight above. "Kat, they've got it braced. Get out of there,
now!"

Katryn, clenching her teeth, climbed through the space,
allowing Jesse to help her up. She was covered in soot and dust and
absolutely fuming.

Jesse, who had been ready to give her a scolding for taking
such a chance, noticed her face and instantly held his tongue, not
wanting to redirect `The Wrath of Kat' toward himself.

"Is there a little something about him you people neglected
to tell me?!" She demanded, grabbing Hornblower by his lapels.

Hornblower stared, obviously not used to being manhandled by
a woman.

Jesse looked at Hornblower, then at Katryn, then back again.

Hornblower, realizing what she was referring to, paled.

Katryn let go of him and sighed. "When a patient has
claustrophobia so severe it throws him into a panic attack at the
thought of it, the doctor needs to know about it!" She spat
out. "Especially if his completely freaking out could get us both
squashed!"

"Then it wasn' a fit?" Oldroyd asked.

Katryn stared, in disbelief.

Hornblower glared at the man.

"Fit?! Wait a minute, is he epileptic?" Jesse asked, looking
shocked. "Why the heck did nobody say something about it?! He
should have been sedated to start with!"

"Wha's epileptic?" Oldroyd asked, looking confused.

"I'm afraid this is my fault." Dr. Sebastian cut in,
calmly. "Yes, he has a strong fear of closed in spaces and as he was
unconscious, I did not consider his reaction at the time. I was
preoccupied with other injuries." He paused. "And yes, if he is
panicked enough, it can cause a fit and that very well could have
killed the both of you."

Katryn nodded and looked back at Hornblower. "Sorry." She
ground out, slowly. "I'm not too fond of closed spaces, either and I
got upset."

Hornblower sighed, looking at the floor. "No, you were
right." He answered, quietly. "I was here and I knew exactly how he
would respond if he awakened. It's the reason I did not want to
leave him."

"So why the heck didn't you say something before you did
leave?" Jesse asked.

"Because of his loyalty to Mr. Kennedy." Sebastian
explained. "They are not accustomed to entrusting sensitive issues
to strangers."

Katryn nodded. "Okay, I can see that." She looked
Hornblower in the eyes. "But a word of advice, Mr. Hornblower. When
it is a matter of life and death, and not just his, but someone
else's life; you owe it to both him and the other person to say
something. Because if someone dies because you didn't speak up, it's
still your fault."

Hornblower swallowed and looked away.

Katryn turned to go back to her work, but turned as she heard
Jesse's shout.

"Woah, somebody grab him!"

Hornblower had crumpled to the deck, his face white as a
sheet.

"Jess?" Katryn inquired, staring.

Jesse came up next to him and pulled out a switchblade,
quickly slicing through the bloody side of the Officer's breeches,
revealing several splinters still embedded in the skin and a lot of
blood.

Katryn smacked her head. "But he said he was fine!" She
shrieked, loud enough to wake the dead.

"I'll take care of him!" Dr. Sebastian cut in. "The two of
you see to Mr. Kennedy! Styles, Matthews, get Mr. Hornblower to the
sick-berth. I'm right behind you."

Jesse watched them leave. "You have got to work on your
bedside manner." He informed Katryn, shaking his head.

Katryn sighed. "Get me a bottle and a half of Excedrin."
She ordered, with a flat look.

Thirty minutes later, after both Captains had come to see
what the commotion was about, the marines, with the help of some of
the Indie's non-injured crew, managed to hack through the wood
splinters and gun mountings enough to slide Mr. Kennedy's unconscious
form out from under the wreckage.

"Multiple lacerations, bumps, bruises, few burns . . . not
bad." Jesse remarked.
Katryn frowned and, noticing where the blood was pooled on
the deck, she swiped Jesse's switchblade and ripped it through
Kennedy's bloodstained breeches, covering the knee section of his
left leg, revealing dark purple and black and one area where the bone
had gone clear through the skin. "Oy vey." She stated, shaking her
head.

"Need a tuning fork?" Jesse croaked out, obviously jesting,
as the patient was unconscious and unable to communicate, anyway.

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Nope. I think it's a sure thing
there's a break or two in there."

"Maybe a few more than that." Jesse swallowed. "Your call,
Dr. Surgeon."

"Get him to the ship and fire up the generator. We're going
to have to see how bad this is, before we know what action to take."
Katryn answered, helping the marines strap Kennedy to a backboard and
stabilizing the oxygen tank between his legs, away from the knee.

Richards, standing off to the side, turned to Captain
Pellew. "Captain, may we `ave permission ta take yer man aboard our
ship?"

Pellew nodded, wordlessly, watching as the backboard was
slowly lifted, carefully keeping it level.

Katryn, carrying her bag, followed, with Jesse. Then,
pausing, she turned and looked closer at the mess. "Hey Lance!" She
shouted, over the din.

Hendricks turned, raising an eyebrow.

"See?" She quipped, pointing at what was left of the
gun. "`Shot.'"

Jesse stopped, and nodded. "Yeah." He agreed. "Very."

Hendricks rolled his eyes. "Ignore her, boys." He remarked
to the marines and crew cleaning the mess. "She's insane."

"So they've already seen." Richards murmured, shaking his
head, watching Katryn and Jesse rush to catch up with the men
carrying the Officer, Captain Pellew had told him was Acting
Lieutenant Kennedy. The marines left over continued to assist at
clearing the debris.

Pellew watched after her a moment, thoughtfully. "I've seen
injuries like that before, Captain, and Mr. Kennedy is the best
gunner on my ship." He confessed, awkwardly. "Can you assure to me
your surgeon will everything possible to repair a wound that severe?"

Richards turned to look him in the eye. "I would trust that
woman wi' anyone on my ship, sir, includin' myself." He replied,
sincerely. "If there's a way ta fix it, ye `ave my word, she'll fix
it."

Pellew nodded.

Up on the main-deck, one of the other Officers stared at the
damages as Kennedy was carried past. He shook his head. "Sweet
Lord, he's lost his leg."

Katryn turned. "Not yet, he hasn't." She retorted, jumping
the rails to her own ship.

CHAPTER FOUR

Over three hours later, long after the ships had been cut
loose, Jesse and Katryn, with Jesus and Willie, both assisting them,
were still closed in their makeshift O.R. The room was actually a
back room used for lab work and x-rays, but it was equipped to be an
operating room, if needed.

Gonzalez had been sewn in canvas and was awaiting a burial at
sea, and the berth was quiet.

Redbird, his ribs bandaged, was laying in a bed, staring
blankly at the wall. Gonzalez had been a close friend as well as a
crewmate and he was not taking it well.

Ratzlov, looking much worse than he had that morning, was
laying back trying to rest.

Cortez sat beside the bed in a chair with his bandaged ankle
resting on another chair. He was quietly reading a book, reluctant
to leave his friend.

As the door opened, Cortez looked up. "Russ." He
acknowledged with a nod, seeing the Captain enter.

Richards moved aside, allowing Captain Pellew and Lieutenant
Hornblower to enter the room. "This is Mr. Cortez, the Second
Officer, an' Mr. Ratzlov, the First Officer. . . . an' over there,
Mr. Redbird, who was our lookout."

Davey raised his head, frowning, as he noticed the uniforms
of the visitors. British Navy. Very much like Johnny's 18th Century
uniform. Both had dark hair, one decidedly much older than the
other, and obviously the Captain of the British ship.

"Gentlemen, this is Captain Pellew and Lieutenant Hornblower
of His Majesty's Frigate; Indefatigable." Richards informed them
both.

Cortez quickly put his book into his bag. "Hornblower!? As
in seriously?!" He asked, in awe.

Hornblower rolled his eyes, obviously figuring Cortez was
making fun of his name.

"Cortez." Pellew mused. "Spaniard?"

"Central American." Cortez corrected, flatly. "El
Salvador. And Ratzlov Romanian and Redbird Sioux Indian. What of
it?"

Richards held up a hand. "Jacques, I've already explained to
them, our ways here."

"No disrespect intended." Pellew assured him. "I was merely
curious. Our ship's Surgeon, Dr. Sebastian, is part Spaniard and it
does not bother us."

"Lucky you." Ratzlov retorted, laying his head back
down. "Our doctor is just a freak."

"You mean a woman?" Hornblower inquired.

"No, KC is the surgeon. He is the freak." Ratzlov finished,
pointedly.

Richards sighed.

"Sorry, virus no kill his attitude, yet." Cortez responded,
shrugging. "I don't think it can be killed."

"Is there any word on Mr. Kennedy?" Richards asked, changing
the subject.

"Nothing yet." Cortez answered, nodding toward the
door. "They still going, far as I know."

"How's Redbird?"

Cortez sighed. "Has no' said a word since he saw Gonzalez.
And for Navy SEAL, that pretty bad." He replied. "He wouldn'a
believe he was gone until he see him. Harley put Redbird on Demerol
or Valium or something like that. He in a lot of pain, and no even
Hendricks could get him to talk."

"Was he a close friend?" Hornblower questioned, eyeing the
closed door of the O.R.

Cortez nodded. "They always on duty together, and get along
very well." He paused. "We all a pretty close group, so is no easy
for any of us really."

Richards nodded. "Excuse me, sirs." He spoke up, before
heading over to where Redbird was and pulling the curtain closed for
privacy.

"Were you injured in the blast as well, Mr. Cortez?" Pellew
asked, looking at Cortez' ankle.

"Nah, this was this morning." He answered. "Seems as if was
longer though. Ratline tore, and ankle was snagged, or I would be
with Gonzalez by now."

"Let's not discuss what might have happened right now."
Ratzlov remarked, coughing.

"What ails you, Mr. Ratzlov?" Hornblower asked, frowning.

"Influenza, we think." Cortez informed them, leaving any
mention of malaria out. "No others sick though."

They were interrupted as Katryn came out of the `O.R.,'
pulling off her gloves and mask. "What's his favorite color?" She
asked, seeing Hornblower.

"What?!"

"Seriously."

"Blue, I think, but-"

"Navy or neon?" She asked, completely serious.

"Navy, if I have to look at it." Ratzlov remarked, loudly.

Katryn, seeing Horatio shrug, turned back into the
room. "Jess, make it navy!" She called in.

"What does that have to do with anything?!" Pellew demanded.

"He'll keep the leg, Jesse's finishing things up. I'll get
back to you after I clean up. My skin is crawling!" Katryn went on,
and closed herself into her quarters.

Hornblower breathed a sigh of relief. "When can we see him?"

"Probably after they done casting him." Cortez replied.

"After they've done what?!" Hornblower asked, staring.

"It's why she asked about colors." Ratzlov explained. "The
leg is broken. He's going to be in a cast. They put something on it
so he can't move it while it heals up and if they were doing surgery
that long, he'll be in it for a while."

"But is heck of a lot better than losing leg." Cortez
pointed out. "And by the way, there's chairs in corner. You can
pull out and sit down. You no look so good yourselves."

The two exchanged a glance and pulled out two chairs, seating
themselves.

"How long does it take for a cast?" Hornblower asked, after
a minute of figeting.

"Close friend, huh?" Cortez remarked with an amused look,
raising an eyebrow.

"Like a brother." The Lieutenant admitted, looking down.

Cortez nodded. "I figured." He replied, grinning. "You
nervous as a Chihuahua."

Pellew gave a small grin.

"It takes a few minutes to put on, and a few more to dry."
Ratzlov informed them, taking pity on Hornblower, who was still
figeting. "They won't move him until it's dry enough, not to shift."

Katryn reentered the room in a fresh set of scrubs and damp
hair. "Much better." She replied, sighing. "Davey, take your meds."

"Took them about ten minutes ago." He answered, holding up
the bottle.

Katryn nodded.

"How is Mr. Kennedy?" Pellew asked, giving Horatio a nudge.

"Not so good so." Katryn returned, pulling out a chair and
sitting down in it backwards with her arms resting on the top rung.

"You said he-" Hornblower began.

"I said he'll keep the leg." She assured him. "But it was
not a clean break. It was pretty bad. The bones were splintered in
one place and driven through the skin in another. Bottom line is
he's got two steel pins holding the bones in place and he can't be
allowed to move the leg for at least 18 days. After that, we do a
second surgery, remove the pins, and recast the leg for a further two
months at least. After the second surgery, providing the leg is
healed enough to satisfy me, he's allowed to be up on crutches like
Cortez over there, as long as he doesn't overdo it. After that, we
take the cast off and he has physical therapy to learn how to walk
again."

"I see." Pellew murmured. "Then I am to understand that Mr.
Kennedy must remain aboard David's Star until then?"

"For the next eighteen days, definitely. He has to have the
leg tied in place so he can't move it and we don't have the means to
put him in traction." Katryn answered, seriously. "After that, he
can go back to your ship, if you insist but as you're a Naval vessel
at war, I would not recommend it until after the second cast comes
off."

Pellew sighed. "No, I can see that much." He replied,
thoughtfully. "Mr. Kennedy will not be able to return to duty until
he can walk again. He'll have to be transferred to a Naval hospital
on land. The Admiralty will insist on it. So either way, he will
have to be removed from my ship for recovery."

Katryn nodded. "We'll take care of him."

"I have no doubt about that." Pellew commented, looking
around the sick berth.

"He'll be out for most of the night but he could use a friend
nearby when he wakes up." Katryn told Hornblower. "We'll put him
over there, away from Davey's cooties, where we can tie up his leg.
You can take the bed next to him. I've got to go check Redbird."

"Bite me." Ratzlov retorted, shaking his head.

Pellew looked at Hornblower. "I'll have yours and Mr.
Kennedy's things sent over." He told him, quietly.

"Sir?"

"At least for the first few days, Mr. Hornblower." He went
on. "May I remind you that you took an injury yourself and will be
off duty, at any rate."

Horatio sighed, relieved. "Thank you, sir."

Pellew nodded and left the room.

"Welcome aboard." Cortez spoke up, with a grin.

Horatio leaned back against the pillow and turned to look at
Archie again. Dr. Casse had told him to come get her when Archie
woke up, which Horatio suspected would not be much longer. They were
in a corner, across the room from Ratzlov and Cortez and a curtain
had been pulled around the two beds to give them some privacy.

The cast looked almost black, in the light of the dim lamp,
on the table, between their beds. The cast . . . Horatio had never
seen anything like it. It seemed to be a material coated in a
hardening substance. Obviously, it had been wrapped around the leg,
wet, hardening, as it dried. Ingenious.

It covered Archie's left leg, from mid-thigh, all the way
down, past the ankle, around the foot, stopping just before the
toes. Horatio couldn't even begin to imagine how uncomfortable it
was going to be.

The doctors had also washed all the soot and gunpowder off
him, as well as out of his hair. The cuts and burns that required
bandaging had been bandaged, including his hands, which were now
covered in bandages, from wrists, to knuckles and wherever Archie had
needed stitches, that had been done as well. Overall, Horatio was
impressed with the quality of medical care here. It was plainly
obvious that the sick berth here was much cleaner and well-equipped
than their own.

Even Styles and Matthews had commented on it when they'd
dropped off his and Archie's belongings. Especially the fact that in
place of hammocks, as they had on the Indie, this ship had rather
comfortable beds that had been secured to the deck to prevent them
from shifting. Archie's bed even had a wooden bar that had been
added to the left side, for the purpose of tying the cast in place.

The attitude amongst the ship's crew was also a great deal
more relaxed and informal than Horatio had been used to. Nearly all
of the crew-members, the Captain included, were on a first name basis
and most of them went by nicknames. Ranks, although they existed,
were generally ignored when the crew addressed each other. It was as
if they were all family and each person knew everyone else by name.

That alone was remarkable to Horatio, who knew very well he
didn't even know the names of half the men on board the Indie. He
knew the Officers, of course, even if Archie was the only one he
called by his first name but, outside of his own division, he knew
very few of the crewmen by name and none of the boys.

Horatio looked up as the door to the Sick Berth opened, and
an Officer with black hair and blue eyes, stepped in.

"What's up, Johnny?" Dr. Davidson, who insisted on being
called Jesse or Harley, spoke up quietly. Most of the others in the
sick berth, including Ratzlov and Cortez, were asleep.

The man sighed, and held up his hand. "I think I did
something when I hit the mast earlier." He answered in a British
accent.

Horatio raised an eyebrow. Could this be one of the Royal
Navy crewmen?

Jesse nodded. "You really have to find another way of
expressing your frustration." He remarked, pointedly, pulling out a
tuning fork and striking it, before placing the end of it against
Johnny's hand.

"AH!" The man burst out, jumping.

"I'd say you broke it." Jesse confirmed. "Let's just find
out how bad."

Horatio watched as the two men headed into the other room.
Would this man get a cast as well? And what was the tuning fork
for? He knew he'd never seen his father use one.

His head turned as he heard Archie sigh, then groan.

"Archie?" Horatio spoke up quietly. "Can you hear me?"

"Unghh." His friend responded, bringing one bandaged hand to
his forehead. Just below the hand, in Archie's arm, was a needle,
attached to a tube of some kind, which led to a clear bag of liquid
Dr. Casse had told Horatio was saline. It had been applied for the
purpose of seeing that Archie did not get dehydrated.

"Archie?" He tried again, wincing, as he got up and
approached the chair beside his friend's bed.

"H'ratio?" Archie murmured, turning his head. "Wha's'rong
with me?" His words were slurred and he had a dazed, confused look
in his blue eyes.

"You've broken your leg." Horatio explained,
slowly. "They've put something on it, so you can't move it."

Archie frowned, looking around. "Everything's spinning." He
murmured, disoriented. "Where're we?"

"We're aboard the ship, David's Star, in their sick berth."
Horatio explained. "They brought you here to do surgery on your leg."

Archie's frown deepened. "My leg hurts, H'ratio. Wha's'rong
with it?" He asked, apparently not remembering Horatio had already
explained it to him.

Horatio frowned, slightly alarmed. "I'll just go get the
doctor." He muttered, quickly standing up and limping toward Dr.
Casse's quarters.

Katryn jumped out of her hammock when she heard Horatio
knock. It was after two in the morning and she'd been laying awake
as she suspected Kennedy would not be out much longer, after having
slept most of the afternoon and all evening. Quickly, she followed
him over to where Kennedy was laying, still looking around confused.

"What's wrong with him?" Horatio demanded, pointedly.

Katryn looked in Archie's eyes with her penlight, causing him
to squint. She nodded. The pupils were still slightly
dilated. "That's the anesthetic wearing off." She informed Horatio,
matter-of-factly. "He'll be more lucid, later on. Don't worry about
it."

Calmly, she pulled the chair closer to the bedside, watching
as Archie struggled to focus on her.

"I know you." He murmured frowning, trying to remember where
he knew her from.

Katryn smiled. "We met for a minute, before you went back to
sleep." She informed him. "You took a bad knock on the head so I
have to ask a few stupid questions to make sure your head's alright."

"Queshtions?" He slurred, blankly. "Wha' queshtions?"

Katryn pulled out her pen and the charts she had for
Archie. "What is your first name? Or the first name that you go
by?" She asked, having a feeling `Archie' was short for something
else.

"Archie."

"Last name?"

"Kennedy."

"How old are you?"

"One an' twen'y." He answered slowly.

Katryn glanced at Horatio, who nodded, then she
continued. "What is your rank in the Navy?"

Archie frowned. "Ac'ing Lef'enant." He returned, stumbling
over the words slightly.

Again she glanced up and, upon getting another nod from his
friend, she continued. "Alright, Archie, what's the last thing you
remember besides me?"

Archie frowned again in concentration, thinking. "I
was. . . . in the hole? Are we still in prison, H'ratio?"

Katryn frowned, making a note in her chart.

"No!" Hornblower answered, more alarmed. "We got out, don't
you remember, Archie?"

Katryn held up her hand to silence him. "You were laying on
the floor of the gun deck pinned in by debris, is that where you
thought you were?" She asked, remembering the scars she and Jesse
had discovered earlier. She made a mental note to have a serious
discussion with Dr. Sebastian regarding Archie's medical history.
Particularly what the heck they'd done to him in whatever prison he
was referring to. If he had, indeed, spent time in some kind of
hole, it would certainly account for his severe claustrophobia.

Archie was beginning to look more lucid, showing the
anesthetic's effects were slowly leaving him. "I was on the Gun
Deck. . . ." His brow furrowed as he concentrated. "We fired at a
French Frigate. . . . and it was dark. . . . I don't know."

"You fired at the French ship?" Katryn asked, raising an
eyebrow.

Archie slowly nodded. "I aimed the shot. The gun crew
fired." He paused, thinking. "Tha's all."

Katryn grinned. "Then you have my thanks." She informed
him, nodding. "It was your last shot that saved my life, as well the
lives of my assistant, Jesse, and our lookout, Redbird. Had you not
taken the shot, we would have been hit again while Jesse and I were
helping Redbird. Our gunners took the French ship out after their
last shot at your ship."

Archie blinked, scenes of the battle coming back. "They hit
the Number Five port-side gun and it blew."

"Very good." Katryn concluded, satisfied. "No brain damage,
hearing's returned, and your eyes are alright. You'll have a
headache for a few days, most likely some nausea, but overall you
should be alright."

Horatio sighed, relieved.

"How's your leg feel?" Katryn asked, uncovering the cast the
rest of the way.

Archie stared at it for a moment before touching it
curiously. "What is it?"

"It's a cast." She told him. "It keeps you from moving your
leg so the bones can mend."

"Hurts." Archie remarked, wincing.

Katryn nodded and pulled out a needle she'd already filled
with Demerol. "This should take care of that."

"What is that?" Horatio asked, quickly. "Is it going to
cloud his head more?"

"This is Demerol." She answered, injecting it into the IV
line. "It'll make him a little drowsy but it'll take care of the
pain and believe me, if I don't, it will get worse."

Archie stared at the needle in his right arm and ran the
index finger of his other hand over it, experimentally, frowning.

"It's an IV. Don't mess with it, and it won't hurt you."
Katryn told him, pointedly. "It's the middle of the night, so try to
get some more sleep. Horatio is right beside you if you need
anything, and there's bottles of water on the table for each of you."

She turned to Hornblower. "You, swallow this. Don't think I
can't tell you're hurting too. You wince every time you shift your
weight."

"What is it?" He asked as she handed him a small white
tablet.

"Vicodin. Try it, you'll like it." Katryn informed him.

Horatio watched as she headed back toward her quarters.

"Give it a few minutes to start working." She called back,
softly. "You'll know it when you feel it."

"Wait." Horatio spoke up, just as softly, so as not to
disturb the others in the berth who were sleeping.

"What?" Katryn turned back.

"What's the tuning fork for?"

Archie stared at his back. "What're you talking about,
H'ratio?"

Katryn came back so they could talk quieter.

"Dr. Davidson, he used it just a while ago on one of your
crew." Horatio explained.

"Just before I came out?" Katryn asked, looking toward the
closed door the two had gone through earlier.

Horatio nodded. "They went in there." He
confirmed. "Someone he called Johnny?"

"Ah, Lieutenant Johnny Hunter. Royal British Navy." She
replied with a nod. "He got a bit miffed, when we wouldn't assist
your ship.

"You what?!" Archie asked, looking confused.

"Slammed his hand into the lower Mizzenmast." Katryn told
them, shaking her head. "I thought I heard a crack when he did it,
but we were a bit preoccupied with Redbird coming down from the main
mast top yard and we'd just found that Gonzalez, in the fighting top,
was dead."

"What do you mean you wouldn't assist?" Archie inquired,
again. "You did!"

"After they fired on us." Katryn reminded him. "Captain
Richards made the call to fire on the French ship, but not until
after they fired on the topyard. We do not fire on anyone unless
they fire on us first. We have crew from all over the world
recruited for distinct reasons, including a few from France and Spain
and we are not at war. We have orders to remain neutral and never
attack another ship. We are only equipped to defend ourselves in the
event that another ship attacks us."

Horatio blinked. "Captain Pellew was correct in his
suspicions then." He stated.

Archie frowned, raising an eyebrow, as he had been below with
the guns and not with the Captain.

"The Captain would not allow us to fire upon this ship."
Horatio informed them. "We on the upper decks all saw the shot that
hit both French ships and pointed out that your ship had not fired
until being fired upon, in spite of having obviously been cleared for
action long before that. We all saw the black flag, but it was
assumed that had your ship meant to harm us, we would already have
been on the bottom of the ocean."

Archie stared in shock. "It was one shot that set both ships
afire?!" He shook his head in disbelief. "That can't be true. We
heard at least four!" His memory of the battle was becoming more and
more clear.

"You heard three cannon shots." Katryn corrected. "And that
first big one was not a cannon shot. It was something else we keep
on board, not to be used, unless our lives are in danger and at that
point, they were."

"So what was it?" Hornblower demanded, and Archie also
looked at her, expectantly. "And what was it that blew the whole
side out of the second Frenchman?"

Katryn sighed. "I don't have leave to tell you what they
were." She explained, simply. "You'll have to talk with Russ-- er
Captain Richards and Major Hendricks. I'm sure they'll be happy to
know who was responsible for the shot that saved our necks."

"They blew the side out of the Frenchman?" Archie asked,
frowning, after a moment.

"After the Frenchman shot at us and blew the Number Five port-
side gun." Horatio answered.

Archie sighed, laying his head back on the pillow. "So much
for the prize money." He mused, with a slightly drunken grin.

Horatio stared at him.

"Demerol." Katryn reminded him. "And the tuning fork is to
tell us if there's a break or a crack in the bone. If the vibration
causes it to hurt more, the bone is broken or cracked. If not, it's
just bruised or sprained."

"I see." Horatio replied, impressed. "My father is a
doctor, and I'd never seen that before."

"I know." Katryn put in. "That your father's a doctor, and
the tuning fork is a trick that Jesse learned a long time ago."

Horatio frowned. "How did you know?" He asked,
confused. "No one mentioned it."

"I have my methods." Katryn answered, distantly, as Jesse
and Johnny came out of the back room.

Johnny now wore a cast over his hand, although it was
impossible to tell what color it was in the dim light.

Without another word, Katryn approached the pair, leaving
Horatio confused.

Horatio frowned, watching her go then shook his head and
turned back to Archie.

Archie seemed to be falling asleep with a peaceful expression
on his face.

Laying back down, Horatio pulled out the small oddly
shaped `Vicodin', as Dr. Casse had called it. His leg was now
throbbing, but he had no idea how this could possibly help.

Shrugging, he reached for one of the two bottles of water on
the table, staring at the bottle, which seemed to be made from a
hard, flexible material, he'd never seen before. After a moment, he
twisted the lid off and used it to swallow the `Vicodin'. He nearly
choked in surprise as he realized this water was very fresh. He knew
very well after all his years at sea that the water you'd find aboard
a ship after having been at sea for six months, was going to be
anything, but fresh. Was it the material it was in, possibly?

Frowning, he began to study the bottle a little closer.
There seemed to be three sticky spots on the side with bits of paper
stuck to it. The bottle had apparently had a label on the side at
one time, he realized. Yet, the labels had been removed.
Suspicious, he began to look closer, finally seeing what almost
appeared to be a smudge on the side. He held it closer to the light,
squinting. The smudge was actually letters and numbers in very dim
and fuzzy print. `BESTBY12/2008.'

"Best by . . . " He muttered, frowning. "Twelve, slash, two-
thousand, eight." What on earth did that mean?!

He looked up as Archie murmured, in his sleep, and realized
he'd better lower his voice.

Looking around, he reached toward the table and grabbed the
other bottle. Upon examining it, he discovered that it too, had the
same writing on the side. Shaking his head, he reached over and
replaced the other bottle on the table where Archie would be able to
reach it and went back to puzzling over his own. He had never seen
anything like this material in his life, he was positive.

The sudden thought that entered his mind caused a look of
bewilderment. No, that was impossible, he told himself. He looked
again at the bottle. `12/2008.' Certainly that couldn't possibly
be . . . a date?! "December 2008." He murmured under his breath.
No, that simply was not possible! There must be some other
explanation! His head spun as he replaced the bottle on the table
and looked around, for the first time, realizing just how much there
was-- in this room, the other areas of the ship he'd seen before--
that he had never seen in his life, or even imagined, could exist.

On the outside, David's Star had looked completely normal,
like any other frigate, he'd laid eyes on but on the inside. . . .
this ship was like no other he'd ever even heard of.

He shook his head, trying to clear it but failing. Strange,
he thought to himself. Then he realized the pain in his leg had
faded and he could feel an unmistakable lightheadedness. This must
be the `Vicodin' taking effect, he mused, feeling very drowsy.

Before he fell asleep completely, he made a mental note to
ask if Dr. Casse had any Willowbark. As well as the Vicodin worked,
it was also clouding his head like a drunkard.

 

Chapter Five

Katryn opened her eyes and stared at the glowing stars she'd
stuck on the ceiling beams above. Ever since she was young, Katryn
had loved to look up at the stars. On up into her adult years she'd
continued sticking them to the ceiling of every bedroom she'd ever
slept in. Naturally, when this trip had come up, she'd made sure to
bring them with her to the ship. Jesse, after helping her stick them
up, had then insisted on getting his own. So just before the ship
had left, Katryn and Jesse had run to the nearest Wal-mart and bought
some for his quarters, where Katryn had helped him stick them up. As
she stared at them now, they were a comfort to her.

Sighing, she turned to look at the clock on the bedside table
next to her hammock. 7:00am. She sighed. Today, they would hold a
funeral for Sebastian Gonzalez.

Yesterday morning, they'd all been so disappointed at not
having seen another ship in so long. Today, they would bury one of
their brothers at sea because of another ship. Another ship who'd
seen them as a threat. Suddenly, their flag didn't seem so wonderful
anymore.

All this time, Katryn had never truly believed they would
seriously be in danger. She'd not considered that the time would
indeed come to have to defend themselves. Before yesterday, it had
seemed so peaceful and serene at sea, despite the fact that they had
actually had some bad weather at times, but that was to be
expected. After all, they couldn't go six months and not forecast
even a little bad weather. Overall, it had been the adventure of a
lifetime. Now the full realization of the risks they were taking
seemed so much more real.

Redbird and Cortez would attend the service, as well as
Davey, who'd insisted that no virus would keep him from paying his
last respects to a good friend. Redbird would require some help
getting topside but that would be no trouble. Not even Russ would
ever stop Carlos from being there. Everyone on board knew Sebastian
had been a close friend of Carlos and all aboard knew how bad he was
taking his friend's death.

Jesus and Willie would have gotten up much earlier, Katryn
knew. The two nurses had been on breakfast duty and wanted to get
everything ready so the others could get their breakfast before the
funeral. They'd mentioned the night before that they would meet the
doctors at the service.

Sighing, Katryn got up and dressed in calf-length, black
stretch pants and a black sports bra. She pinned up her hair,
grabbed her walkman, and leaving her feet bare, she proceeded to the
mat she kept near a corner of her quarters. Above the mat, was a
chin-up bar. There would be no rocks to climb at sea, of course,
but as she continued to climb the masts every chance she could get,
she continued with doing her stretches on a regular basis, stretching
neck, shoulders, back, arms, and legs.

To keep time, she wore her headphones, singing to
Evanescence's My Immortal. The song saying everything she felt
inside.

"I'm so tired of being here,
Suppressed by all my childish fears.
And if you have to leave,
I wish that you would just leave,
Because your presence still lingers here,
And it won't leave me alone. . . .

"These wounds won't seem to heal,
This pain is just too real,
There's just too much that time cannot erase. . . .

"When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears,
When you scream, I'd fight away all of your fears,
And I held your hand through all of these years,
But you still held . . . on me . . .

"You used to captivate me by your resinating light,
Now I'm bound by the life you've left behind.
Your face, it haunts my once pleasant dreams,
Your voice has chased away all the sanity in me . . .

"These wounds won't seem to heal,
This pain is just too real,
There's just too much that time cannot erase. . . .

"When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears,
When you scream, I'd fight away all of your fears,
And I held your hand through all of these years,
But you still held . . . on me . . .

"I tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone,
But, though you're still with me,
I've been alone . . . all alone.

"When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears,
When you scream, I'd fight away all of your fears,
And I held your hand through all of these years,
But you still held . . . on me . . . on . . . me . . ."

Katryn finished stretching as the song ended. She sat with
her legs stretched apart, her torso bowed forward, her back straight,
her arms stretched over her head. Two teardrops landed on the mat in
front of her face.

Out in the main Sick Berth, Horatio was sound asleep, but
Archie, hearing her sorrowful voice, had his eyes closed, listening.
He had never heard anything like that song before but it had been
beautiful and the meaning behind the words was crystal clear.

Swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat and
blinking rapidly, he let the words repeat in his head. "Your face,
it haunts my once pleasant dreams; your voice has chased away all the
sanity in me. These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too
real, there's just too much that time cannot erase." The feeling
behind the words was all too familiar.

Hearing movement from the other side of the curtain around
his and Horatio's beds, he quickly brushed away a solitary tear that
had rolled down his cheek and closed his eyes partway. A dark-
skinned crewman, with long, black hair, and an injured leg, was
hobbling toward Dr. Casse's door. Archie watched the man quietly
slip inside without knocking, and just as silently, he closed the
door behind him. Obviously, the crewman knew her very well, he
realized.

Katryn looked up, at the sound of the door opening and
closing. "How's the ankle, Jack?" She asked, with a grin.

Cortez grinned. "Don't need for all the stretches." He
replied, joining her on the mat.

"How's your biceps?" She asked, letting him drop his
crutches and lean on her shoulder.

He reached up and grabbed the bar with both hands. "Strap me
in and we find out." He answered, readily.

Katryn smiled as she strapped him into the harness they used
for chin-ups. The harness had a cord that had been strung with
several weights. As climbers needed to carry equipment with them, on
long climbs, they needed to be ready to pull their own weight, plus
the extra weight of the equipment they added.

Cortez bent his legs back and began doing pull-ups. "Give us
another song." He requested.

"What did you have in mind?" Katryn asked, joining him on
the bar.

He grinned. "Everything Burns."

Katryn's own grin widened. This was one of her favorite
songs. Keeping pace with her pull-ups, she started to sing.

"She sits in her corner, singing herself to sleep,
Wrapped in all of her promises,
That no one seems to keep.
She no longer cries to herself,
No tears left to wash away,
Just diaries of empty pages,
Feelings gone astray . . . But she will sing . . . ."

Cortez closed his eyes, and joined her, neither one of them
stopping their pull-ups.

"Till everything burns,
While everyone screams,
Burning their lives,
Burning my dreams,
And all of his hate,
And all of his pain,
Burn it all down,
As my anger reigns,
Till everything burns . . . ."

Katryn, her eyes also closed, still doing her pull-ups,
listened as Jack took the second verse.

"Walking through life unnoticed,
Knowing that no one cares,
Too consumed in their masquerade,
No one sees her there,
And still she sings . . . ."

Again Katryn joined him.

"Till everything burns,
While everyone screams,
Burning their lives,
Burning my dreams,
And all of his hate,
And all of his pain,
Burn it all down,
As my anger reigns,
Till everything burns . . . ."

The two of them continued, trading the lines back and forth
between them, Katryn singing a line, then Cortez countering it with
another.

"Everything burns,
Everything burns,
Everything burns,
Watching it all fade away,
All fade away, while everyone screams, everyone. . . .
screams.
Watching it all fade away,
While everyone screams,
Burning their lives,
Burning my dreams,
And all of his hate,
And all of his pain,
Burn it all down,
As my anger reigns,
Till everything burns . . . ."

Then their voices joined together for the last line.

"Watching it all fade away . . . "

They held the last note and lapsed into silence, both
dropping from the bar to the mat below, on their knees, heads bowed,
tears on their cheeks.

"Lord, we ask you for your help." Katryn whispered, her
voice breaking. "Today, as we bury our fallen brother, we ask for
your guidance and the strength to get us through this terrible time."

"And we pray also for English friends, that you would be
aboard their ship as they also bury their own." Cortez went
on. "And we ask that you reach down and ease pain of the injured,
both body, soul, and mind, so that we all may be able to do work that
you have given us to do."

"In your name, Yeshua, we thank you. Amen." Katryn finished.

"Amen." Cortez added, quietly.

They both took a deep breath.

"Let's go bury our brother." Katryn spoke up, helping Jack
to his feet and handing him his crutches before she put her scrubs on
over her exercise outfit.

Not looking back, the two of them left the room.

Archie watched the two of them head out the door. The second
song had been even more beautiful than the first, he decided, with a
smile. Their voices, together, had soared. The two of them must
certainly be very close, he pondered, feeling a little envious. How
wonderful that must be, to have such a beautiful woman to love.
Sighing, he turned his attention to the other side of the room.

He'd been hearing more movement on the other side of the
curtain, as whoever else that was in the sick berth, had awakened and
gotten up. The name `Davey' had been mumbled, as well as the
name `Carlos'. They'd not acted surprised in the least bit, by the
singing, or that the crewman, he'd heard them call; Cortez, was in
the room with the Doctor. They'd, instead, acted as if it happened
all the time and the only other thing they'd said had been regarding
the funeral that was to take place that day.

He'd heard Dr. Casse mention that a man, Gonzalez, had died
on the fighting top during the battle, but the two on the other side
of the curtain had called him Sebastian. Archie decided that this
must be the man's first name. One of the two on the other side of
the curtain, must be this Redbird, Dr. Casse had spoken about,
although, how it was that this Mr. Redbird would survive a fall from
the top yard and the man on the fighting top could be killed, was
extremely puzzling to Archie, who had seen many a man die from falls
even a quarter that far.

Archie chewed his lip, looking around. His leg was
throbbing, but when he'd seen the faces of Dr. Casse and her friend,
Mr. Cortez, he had held his tongue. The two had looked utterly
devastated.

Hearing more movement nearby, Archie raised his head,
watching as the two men, from the other side of the curtain, the ones
he'd heard called Davey and Carlos, walked by, headed for the door.
One, the taller of the two, had short black hair and a dark
complexion. He was leaning on a slightly shorter man, this one,
having longish blonde hair and blue eyes. If their looks were any
clues as to which one of them was which, Archie could only figure the
dark skinned one must be Carlos and the blonde must be Davey.

The blonde, Davey, looked rather ill. He was pale, with
flushed cheeks. The taller one, Carlos, seemed to be injured. He
winced in pain as he walked and his breaths were short, as if he had
broken ribs. The injured one had to be Redbird.

Carlos Redbird. Archie frowned. What kind of surname was
Redbird? He'd only heard names like that mentioned about the
American Indians. Certainly this man couldn't be one of them, could
he? When did the Americans have Indians serve on ships? No, that
wasn't right because this was not an American ship, he remembered,
getting more confused. The ship's colors had been black, with a
white Star of David. This was a very strange place.

Archie shrugged. No doubt, he find out soon enough, who
these people were. Sighing, he realized he could hear no more
movement in the sick berth. He frowned. Had they all left? He
turned to look over at Horatio. His friend was sound asleep. Then
again, was that really a surprise? Horatio had been on duty early in
the morning of the battle, then the battle itself and the events
which followed it. How late had it been last night when he'd
awakened? Obviously, Horatio had still been awake then, as well.

Turning, Archie reached over and grabbed the bottle of water
closest to him off the table, and took a swallow to dampen his
parched throat. He did not take more than that, as he desperately
needed to relieve himself.

Chewing his lip, he looked around again, hearing nothing.
Obviously, he was not meant to get up, since his leg, in the cast,
had been tied to a wooden bar on the side of his bed. This was
certainly a frustrating position to be faced with. He sighed again,
with a quiet whine.

Looking at Horatio again, he glanced back down at the bottle
in his hand. Perhaps, he could maybe throw it and wake Horatio up.
Then again, he could throw the water on him. That would certainly
wake his friend up, although it would be a waste of very good fresh
water.

His head jerked up, at the sudden sound of footsteps coming
towards him, from the other side of the curtain. Archie gave a
hopeful look, as the person came into view. Then he stared,
bewildered.

The man was dark skinned, like Redbird and Cortez, but his
hair was what had caught Archie by surprise. The man's head was
shaved with the exception of a strip that went down the middle,
standing straight up at the top, and long in the back, and most
noticeable of all, was that the strip of hair was colored bright
green. Who was this?!

"Ah, you're awake!" The man spoke up, in an American
accent. Another Indian, possibly? "I thought I heard someone up but
I wasn't sure. I have your painkiller, if you want it."

Archie blinked. "Who are you?" He questioned, confused.

The man gave an understanding look. "Right, you wouldn't
know me." He replied, easily. "I put the cast on and assisted with
your surgery."

"Then you're another surgeon?" Archie asked, surprised.

"Eh, no. I'm basically just a doctor. Emergency Medicine
and Chiropractic is my background. Dr. Casse is the Surgeon." The
man informed him. "I just assist on the complicated cases. I'm Dr.
Jesse Davidson. Call me Jesse or Harley. Do you want your drugs?"

Archie winced. "Yes, although there is another problem." He
remarked, looking uncomfortable.

Jesse laughed. "Say no more. You've had a couple bags of
fluid pumped into your arm overnight, so that's not much of a
surprise." He turned and walked across the room, out of sight.

Archie frowned, eyeing the needle in his arm, and looked up
at the almost empty bag, hanging above. "Can this be taken out?" He
asked, loudly.

Jesse came back with a new bag of liquid and an empty white
container. "Not yet, no." He answered, apologetically, setting the
white container in Archie's lap and exchanging the empty bag for the
new one. "I can't, until you eat something, and keep it down."

Archie closed his eyes, his stomach churning, at the mere
thought of food.

"Tell you what." Jesse replied, noticing the look. "You
take care of business there, I'll get you some ginger, settle your
stomach, and we'll see if you can't hold down some crackers, alright?"

Archie nodded, relieved. He liked this odd-looking doctor,
who didn't seem all that much older than himself.

"In the meantime, this should help relieve the pain." Jesse
told him, poking a needle into the 'IV', Archie remembered Dr. Casse
calling it. "After your stomach settles, we'll see about getting you
on painkillers you can swallow. You've got a couple steel pins in
there, holding the bones in place, so if you're feeling pain, you
need to say something. We need to know if what we're giving you is
working or not."

Archie nodded, as Jesse again walked out of view. Steel
pins? In his leg?! He stared down at the cast, perplexed. No
wonder it hurt!

After relieving the call of nature, Archie laid back, feeling
the painkiller take its effect on his leg. The throbbing slowly
eased away, and he relaxed, looking up when Jesse returned, holding
out a small brown capsule.

Archie accepted it and looked it over.

"Ginger." Jesse informed him. "It's usually the best thing
there is, for nausea. Swallow that and try to eat some crackers."
He handed Archie a bowl of square-shaped, salted crackers.

"Thank you." Archie replied, gratefully.

"No problem." Jesse replied, with a grin. "I'll just go
dump this, leave it for later, and I've gotta go topside, for a
funeral."

Archie nodded as Jesse walked off again, disappeared into
another room for a moment, then returned with the empty container,
leaving it where Archie would be able to reach it again, later on.

"Is there something between that Mr. Cortez and Dr. Casse?"
He asked, curiously, before he could stop himself.

Jesse arched an eyebrow. "Why? You interested?"

Archie flushed, realizing how he must sound. "N-no." He
replied quickly. "I just heard them, and . . . " He trailed off,
embarrassed.

"I'm teasing you." Jesse assured him. "Between Kat and
Jacques Cortez is a love for exercise stretches and rock climbing.
That's about it. They both love climbing and rock climbing requires
a lot of stretches. They do workouts together and discuss climbing
techniques. Nothing else. Mainly, they're like brother and sister
and yeah, they sing during workouts, sometimes. It's pretty good
stress relief, and they've had some stress to burn off, what with
Gonzales being killed yesterday. We're a very close group here and
everyone knows everyone else." He explained. "Isn't it that way on
your ship?"

Archie frowned. How many of the crewman and boys did he know
by name? Hardly any. "Not really." He admitted. "It's more strict
and there's many regulations."

"Wow, that must totally suck." Jesse retorted, looking
sympathetic.

Suck? What did that have to do with anything?

Jesse noted Archie's confusion. "Sorry, we have a few slang
terms we use that you might not be familiar with. So if someone says
something that completely freaks you out, try to ignore it."

"Like that last sentence?" Archie quipped, looking confused.

"Yeah, like that." Jesse replied, nodding.

Archie smiled, shaking his head. "They're good."

"Hm?"

"Dr. Casse and Mr. Cortez." He went on.

"Ah, you mean the songs?" Jesse asked.

Archie nodded. "They just bring back a few memories . . .
although I never heard anything like them before."

"Memories, as in something to do with your claustrophobia?
Fear of closed in spaces?" Jesse translated.

Archie frowned.

"I was on the gun-deck, when you freaked out." Jesse
explained. "You probably don't remember much of it but you were a
real mess."

Archie nodded, understanding. "Something like that." He
replied, answering the former question.

"Look, Kat says you mentioned being in prison a while and I
did see all the scars you seem to have collected over the years.
Have you talked to anyone about this?" Jesse asked, sincerely.

"Yes." Archie answered, distantly. "The Captain, Dr.
Sebastian, and Horatio knows." He motioned to Horatio's sleeping
form. How he could still be asleep, with them talking like this,
Archie had no idea.

Jesse nodded. "Good, you should definitely keep talking to
someone about it." He responded. "I haven't known you all that
long, but you have all the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom."

Archie frowned, not familiar with this term.

"The inability to let go of past emotional trauma." Jesse
explained, sounding very much like the doctor he certainly didn't
resemble. "It may not sound like much but if it's ignored, believe
me, it can mess you up big time. I've seen people driven to suicide,
as well as homicide, because of it and on top of all that, it can
turn you into a complete lunatic, and you go stark, raving mad."

"I believe I have been there before." Archie replied,
knowingly.

"Somehow, I don't doubt that." Jesse returned,
understandingly. "Now I better get topside. If he wakes up while
I'm gone, tell him I'll be back with his painkiller, if he wants it."

Archie frowned. Had Horatio been injured?!

Jesse, noticing his confusion, paused, turning. "Did you not
know he had a problem with his leg? Splinters, I was told, although
apart from his passing out on the gun deck and having some pain in
his leg, I believe he's alright." He informed Archie. "Your doctor
on your ship took care of him, so I only know what I saw on the gun
deck. Anyhow, he's our prisoner for the next few days, so you'll
have some company."

Archie watched, as Jesse quickly ran out the door, leaving it
open. He blinked. What else had Horatio not told him last night?
And if Horatio was spending a few days here, how long was he,
himself, expected to stay? Eyeing the cast on his leg and the lines
that bound it to the side of the bed, Archie bit his lip. This did
not appear to be an injury that would heal right away. If his leg
was indeed broken, as he'd been told, it would take months to heal.

Looking back down at the crackers in his lap, he realized he
had not yet swallowed the ginger. He opened the water and quickly
used it to swallow the ginger capsule. He, then looked back down at
the bowl of crackers and decided he'd best wait until his stomach
settled to eat them.

Archie laid back against the pillow and placed the crackers
on the table, thinking about this Dr. Jesse Davidson, remembering Dr.
Casse mentioning a `Jesse' as being her assistant, the night before.
By all rights, he seemed a sensible and very capable, sincere doctor,
despite his appearance. He'd been honest and up-front and Archie was
very much impressed with his disposition.

He shrugged. Yet another case of never judging a book by its
cover, Archie decided, wryly, closing his eyes. As soon as his
stomach stopped turning over, he would go back to the crackers. If
the IV could not come out until he ate something, he would, most
assuredly, try to eat something.

Katryn, Cortez, Ratzlov, Redbird, Jesus, Willie, and Jesse
stood together on the deck, slightly apart from the rest of the crew,
not wanting to expose anyone else to Ratzlov's illness.

". . .and we now send the earthly body of Sebastian Gonzales,
ta the deep, knowin' that one day, when Christ calls us home, we'll
see him again." Richards announced, finishing the funeral service.

The entire crew stood, mutely watching, as Hendricks and
Miklos tipped the plank, on which Sebastian's canvas-wrapped body
lay, covered with the Mexican flag. It had been previously been
agreed, that if the time came to bury one of the crew at sea, they
would be covered by their own country's flag.

Redbird and Ratzlov, in their dark shades, stood out almost
as much as Katryn and Jesse did, with their oddly colored hair. The
men on the Indie could see them clearly but at that point, none of
them cared about that. The shades had been allowed because Ratzlov,
being ill, had been bothered by the glare of the sun, and Redbird,
considering himself to be a Sioux warrior, preferred to keep emotions
best covered up.

Although most of the crew, including even the most virile
members, had tears visible on their cheeks, Redbird had insisted and
Richards had allowed it.

Katryn stepped forward, her head bowed and began to speak, as
the rest of the crew bowed their heads, in suit.

"Yeshua, Lord, please take care of our brother, and be with
his family when they get this terrible news. Bring them strength and
watch over us all."

"Amen." The group responded as one.

Richards turned to face the crew. "Ye may return to yer
posts, men and woman. Lance, ye have the watch, an' those o' ye on
leave from the sick berth, ye may return. Anyone not on duty, I
remind ye, that we `ave guests aboard and ye need ta behave yer
selves." He turned to the guests. "Captain Pellew, may I invite ye
to my quarters?"

Pellew nodded, and moved to join him, from where he'd been
standing with Dr. Sebastian, Styles and Matthews.

"Dr. Sebastian." Richards went on. "My Doctors tell me they
need ta be speakin' wi' ye in regards ta Mr. Kennedy's condition, an'
the rest o' ye, ye'll find yer mates in the sick berth."

The group nodded and moved to follow the doctors and their
patients.

In the Captain's cabin, Pellew sat down before the desk and
Richards assumed his chair behind it, pulling out a bottle and two
glasses, offering one to Captain Pellew, who accepted it with a small
smile.

"I'd like to offer my condolences for the loss of your man."
Pellew spoke up, quietly.

Richards nodded. "Yesterday mornin', we were gettin' antsy
about not seein' a ship in six months, and our biggest problem was
the Second Officer sprainin' `is ankle. Doesn't seem like much
now." He murmured.

Pellew nodded, understandingly. "We lost a total of nine
men, with about 20 others injured, nine of those seriously, including
Mr. Kennedy."

Richards looked thoughtful. "How full is yer sick berth,
Captain?" He asked, sincerely.

"We have about five or six injuries that were minor enough
for the men to be returned to duty, so without Mr. Hornblower and Mr.
Kennedy, I believe it's about twelve or thirteen men, eight of them
serious. We have one with burns over most of his body, another who
lost an arm, at the shoulder, one who broke about eight ribs, as well
as his leg, one who lost a foot and broke his wrist, and another who
lost an eye, and is also burned over most of his body." Pellew
informed him, with a sigh. "And those are only the serious ones."

Richards nodded. "As ye know, from last night, we've not
got many in our own sick berth and we do `ave two Registered Nurses,
as well as the Doctor and Surgeon, so if yer doctor needs any
assistance, caring for yer wounded, our medical staff'll be more than
willin' ta help ye out." He replied, pointedly.

"A very generous offer, Captain Richards, but we couldn't
possibly impose on you, so." Pellew responded.

Richards gave a smile. "I spoke wi' my medical personnel
jest before the service and it seems yer man Kennedy aimed the last
shot at the French ship that deflected a second blast at our ship,
Captain." Richards explained, in gratitude. "Had we taken the
blast, we may `ave very easily lost both our doctors and Redbird, as
well as any number of other men. `T'would `ardly be imposin' on us
as KC an' Jess'd be more than willin' ta help."

Pellew shrugged and finally nodded. "Very well, I'll discuss
it with Dr. Sebastian." He replied, finishing his drink. "I believe
he was kept busy, most of the night, tending to the wounded. Might I
inquire as to Mr. Kennedy's condition?"

"Ye may." Answered Richards. "Woke up early this mornin'
around 2:30. Accordin' ta Katryn, there seems ta be no brain damage
an' `e does remember what `appened. Katryn's got `im on Demerol fer
the moment fer pain, though, it seems they've noticed a few other
things."

"I suspect you refer to the scars." Pellew remarked.

Richards nodded. "It seems Mr. Kennedy is sufferin' Post
Traumatic Stress Syndrom. More'n likely the result o' severe
trauma. I believe it's the reason KC wished ta speak wi' Dr.
Sebastian."

Pellew sighed. "Mr. Kennedy was a prisoner of war for about
three years, when he was captured by the French, and later taken to
Spain." He admitted, ardently. "He was punished, formidably, for
several escape attempts, and I daresay he has not completely
recovered from the abuse he suffered. Anything additional, I'm
confident Dr. Sebastian will explain to Dr. Casse. As far as I've
seen, his affliction does not interfere with his duties. He is a
dedicated officer and more predominate with the guns than any other
officer on my ship. The only feat I've found him to be deficient in
is a lack of confidence in himself."

Richards nodded. "I see." He mused. "But then, that is
actually common after such an experience."

"Tell me, Captain Richards . . ." Pellew went on, changing
the subject. "How do your men feel about having a woman doctor?"

"Ye know, at the beginin', I had me doubts about tha', but
she came highly recommended, as a surgeon an' was more'n willin' ta
adapt ta the environmen'." Richards told him, pointedly. "She
pulls `er own weight an' the men are quite taken with `er, an' not as
ye'd expect, mind ye. Those men would do anythin' fer `er, and even
defend `er wi' their very lives. That woman `as earned the full
respect of every man on this ship."
"That is astounding, Captain Richards." Pellew stated,
clearly impressed.
"Ye `ave no idea." Captain Richards agreed. "She `as `er
own quarters, of course, connected ta the sick berth. The men never
enter without knockin' and none o' them `ave problems with `er bein'
a woman. For anythin' they do `ave a problem with, we `ave a male
doctor, as ye well know, an' KC takes no offense, when they ask ta
see Jesse, instead. She's very understandin'."

"She certainly seems very. . . . unique." Pellew remarked.

Richards laughed. "Ye mean the purple `air."

"It's . . . interesting to see, although I must admit that
your Dr. Davidson is a bit more unusual."

"Jesse Davidson is a Native American Indian. Pawnee tribe.
The mohawk is a tribal look fer the young men, although the green
colorin', `e added, an' changes it often. Twas bright blue last
month." Richards informed him, shaking his head.

Pellew nodded. "Yes, I've noticed you keep quite a relaxed
atmosphere amongst your crew." He commented.

"We're like a family." Richards replied, smiling. "I've
come ta learn that the more casual and relaxed the crew is, the
better they work together. They all know each other an' even though
we `ave our share o' arguments now an' then, fer the most part,
everyone does their fair share. We take turns wi' the cookin' an'
dirty chores, so they're no' left to jus' certain people. I've found
that, above all else, satisfies the crew."

"Impressive." Pellew returned, with a nod. Astonishing
really, he thought, inwardly. The Navy had not even considered
trading jobs amongst the crew. The very thought of the Captain or
even the Senior Officers swabbing the beck or preparing the meals was
completely preposterous. Yet, according to Captain Richards, it was
not only frequently done, on this ship but all the crew, including
the Senior Officers, had completely agreed to it. Positively
astounding.

Down in the sick berth, Horatio had finally awakened, rather
groggy, insisting that he did not want any more painkillers.
Although, he was visibly relieved to see Archie wide awake and
actually eating.

"Are you sure you don't want any?" Archie asked, holding out
the dish, which was now only half-full.

"No, I'm alright." Horatio assured him.

Archie raised an eyebrow. Truthfully, Horatio looked a bit
queasy. Perhaps he would not refuse the ginger capsules.

Both looked up as Ratzlov and Cortez reentered, followed by
Jesse, Jesus, and Willie giving Redbird some assistance. Then, much
to their surprise, Katryn entered with Dr. Sebastian, Styles and
Matthews.

Katryn, seeing Archie awake, smiled. "Mr. Kennedy!" She
greeted, sweetly. "May I have your permission to slowly beat your
medical information out of Dr. Sebastian?"

Everyone in the room from the Indie, including Dr. Sebastian,
stared at her bright, smiling face in shock, unable to believe she
had just asked such a question.

Jesse rolled his eyes.

"Ah, KC, that's not even fair!" Ratzlov burst out, pointedly.

Unable to keep a straight face, Cortez started
laughing. "Sorry, the looks on their faces." He apologized, gasping.

At Katryn's innocent grin, Archie groaned. "That's not
funny." He complained.

"Sure it is." Katryn returned, evilly. "Everyone else is
laughing."

Horatio shook his head in disbelief. "I don't believe this
place."

"Aw, you should have know what you were getting into, when
you see Jesse." Cortez retorted, with a grin.

Jesse grinned back and took a deep bow.

Katryn sighed. "Not to be a buzz-kill, but I'm not kidding
about wanting the medical information and this time, I want nothing
left out!" She stated, giving Dr. Sebastian a Look.

Archie paled and started to look extremely sick, as his eyes
took on a blank, glassy look.

"Eh, we be over here." Cortez intoned, quickly grabbing
Ratzlov and Redbird and pulling them out of the way, toward the other
side of the room.

Katryn, oblivious to the interruption, stared at Archie,
looking directly at his traumatized, unseeing eyes, her face suddenly
taking on an almost blank look, then she paled, her brow furrowing.

Jesse, knowing that particular look, turned to Archie. "Are
we going to have to sedate him?"

"No!" Sebastian cut in, rushing toward the officer. "He'll
be fine, just give me a moment."

Katryn blinked, and began to look more like herself, or an
angry form of herself. "Doctor?" She spoke up, quietly, yet with a
dangerous tone. "As soon as he's stable, I want you in my office! I
cannot treat him if I don't know what the heck is wrong with him!"
Grinding her teeth, she turned on her heel and retreated into her
quarters, slamming the door loud enough to be heard by most of the
ship.

Styles and Matthews stared at the others in the berth.

"Don't look at me." Cortez put in, holding his hands up. "I
not going in there! I got a life!"

Jesse handed Horatio a bucket. "Just in case someone there
has to blow chunks." He whispered, motioning to Archie, with a
wink, before turning toward Katryn's quarters. "If I'm not back in
five minutes . . . . just wait longer." He finished, slipping into
their Surgeon's quarters.

"Are we taking bets as to how long he lives?" Ratzlov asked,
pointedly.

Cortez rolled his eyes. "She won't kill him. She got the
hots for him." He remarked, quietly.

"Hush, we're not supposed to know that." Redbird breathed,
loudly.

"Cards?" Ratzlov spoke up, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, sure." The other two answered, in unison.

The nurses just rolled their eyes and headed into their own
quarters.

As soon as Ratzlov was settled back in bed and the other two
had planted themselves in chairs, Cortez began to deal the cards,
while the others in the berth, preoccupied with Archie, ignored them.

When Jesse entered her cabin, Katryn had already stripped
down to her exercise clothes and was furiously doing pull-ups on the
bar near the corner. Not a surprise to Jesse, who knew Katryn often
did stretches when she was angry or troubled, to burn off stress. The
look in her eyes, however, told Jesse she was not angry but upset.

"What is it?" Jesse asked, remembering the look in her eyes
when she'd stared at Kennedy. "You saw something when you looked at
him and from the fact that he's about to blow his crackers, even
after the ginger I gave him earlier, it wasn't good."

Katryn sighed, and continued her chin-ups. Jesse knew very
well she had a gift that enabled her to see emotion, especially pain,
in a person's eyes. The only way she'd ever been able to explain it,
was that it was God-given. She could walk into a room of thousands
of people and if there was only one person there who was in pain and
anguish, she could find them, like a bloodhound, to a fox.

Jesse had seen the pain in Kennedy's eyes earlier, but he
knew that Katryn had seen much more.

"Kat?" He pressed.

She slowed and dropped to the mat below, facing the
wall. "He said he'd been in prison and obviously, he was tortured
and I kept hoping that was all."

"So there's more?" Jesse inquired, quietly. "I knew it! I
kept hoping I was wrong, but most of those scars were years old. It
was as if he got them, a few at a time, over a course of several
years."

"You have no idea." She whispered, her eyes filling.

Jesse, now on his knees in front of her, looked into her
shining, tear-filled eyes. "Oh my God." He croaked in realization,
remembering very well, the terrible things he'd read about the
reputations of the Navy, in the 18th Century.

"God had nothing to do with this." Katryn went on, quietly.

Jesse looked down. "You can't blame them for not saying
anything, Kat."

"Jess, `Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom' is putting things
delicately." Katryn informed him, shaking her head. "This man has
attempted suicide more than once and he's not the only one. I keep
hearing the words; `One way or another, I'll be rid of him,' and it
was not Kennedy who said them. One of them got over it and one of
them moved on, but the other did not. He sees it every time he
closes his eyes and that prison did nothing more than make it worse."

"So why keep him in the Navy?" Jesse asked, frowning.

"Because he uses the Navy to make himself forget." Katryn
explained, distantly. "The more he keeps himself busy, the more he
doesn't have to think about it, but he sometimes lays awake at night,
knowing it can never be forgotten."

Jesse nodded, understanding. "In his eyes, you saw yourself."

Katryn met his gaze.

"I read your file." Jesse explained.

"He had it far worse than I ever did." She told him, sadly.

"And that only makes it worse." Jesse put in, with a half
smile. "You can put it behind you and be free of it emotionally but
inside, you don't ever forget. You use it to save others from the
same fate. `He has sent you to bind up the brokenhearted.'" He
quoted.

Katryn nodded and sighed. "On the bright side, they don't
need to go into much explaining." She pointed out.

Jesse nodded and shrugged. "That dude is definitely
epileptic." He remarked, pointedly. "The seizures are caused by
emotional stress, and it ain't hard to see, that if he didn't have
one in there, I'd say, he came pretty close to it."

"Big time." Katryn agreed. "And from the scars on his
scalp, he's had the head injuries to support that diagnosis. I'd
venture guess he's been beat up his entire life."

"And from the age of some of those scars, I'd definitely have
to agree." Jesse returned.

The two of them looked up at the sound of a knock on the door.

Jesse looked down at her sports bra. "You better put some
clothes on." He told her, standing up and pulling her with
him. "This is the 18th Century, after all."

Katryn rolled her eyes and put her discarded scrubs back
on. "Come in." She called, stepping over to her desk and pulling
out Kennedy's file.

Archie laid back against his pillow, his head pounding.
Until now, he'd not fully realized just how long he was being
expected to stay here. He'd hoped that perhaps, after a while, he
could go back to the Indie, but now, here he was being faced with at
least three months here.

Thankfully for the sake of his pride, he'd not had a fit.
However, he'd not managed to keep his breakfast down either, despite
the ginger capsule and Horatio, although he'd not gotten sick himself
yet, didn't appear as though it would be very long before, he too,
needed that bucket.

"Are ye alrigh', sir?" Styles asked Horatio, looking
doubtful.

"Not really." Horatio answered, through clenched teeth. His
own leg was throbbing, but he still could not bring himself to ask
for more of the vicodin.

"Should I take the vomit bucket yet or is it too soon?"
Jesse suddenly cut in. None of them had seen him reenter.

Hornblower, his teeth still clenched, shook his head, looking
slightly green.

"Uh-huh." Jesse commented, raising an eyebrow, while holding
out two white caplets to Kennedy. "For yer headache."

Archie, not even caring what they were, took them and
swallowed them before Horatio even knew what he was doing. "How
long?" He asked, quietly.

"Well, you just tossed your crackers so that puts them on an
empty stomach, so it'll be about seven minutes, give or take." Jesse
replied, pulling out a needle.

"What's that?" Horatio demanded, suspiciously.

"This is for you." Jesse answered, easily. "It's Compazine,
for your nausea."

"What about the ginger?" Archie asked, frowning. Had Jesse
not said it was better?

"He'd have to be able to swallow it." Jesse replied,
pointedly.

Horatio eyed the needle.

"It won't hurt a bit! I'm a professional!" Jesse assured
him.

Horatio raised an eyebrow. "I saw that bruise on Archie's
leg." He retorted, flatly.

Archie frowned, remembering the bruise on his right leg that
almost looked as if he'd been stabbed or something. . . . wait a
minute. . . . he thought, staring at Jesse.

"That was an emergency." Jesse informed them,
bluntly. "Besides, he didn't feel a thing. He doesn't even remember
getting it."

"He has a point." Archie admitted.

Horatio sighed, still concentrating on not getting
sick. "What else does it do?"

"It's different for different people. Do you want the shot
or would you rather just hurl reb-chucks into the bucket?" Jesse
asked, a little exasperated.

Horatio considered it.

"Look if you have a bad reaction, we can counter it." Jesse
told him, with a sigh. "So you either shoot up or throw up, it's all
the same to me. I'll just have them clean out the bucket." He
motioned to Styles and Matthews, who looked pleadingly, at Hornblower.

"Ugh, just take it already while we're still young!" Ratzlov
complained, from across the room. "You're making me sick over here!"

Horatio sighed in defeat and held up his arm, allowing Jesse
to roll up his sleeve and administer the shot.

"Keep the bucket handy." Jesse informed him, tossing out the
needle. "It might also not work."

"Do you have something for the pain that isn't vicodin?"
Horatio finally asked, unable to put up with the pain anymore.

Jesse checked his watch. "I was wondering how long you were
going to hold out." He replied, pulling out a small
bottle. "Tylenol 3. May make you a little drowsy but it's not as
strong as vicodin. One every six hours."

Horatio nodded, accepting the bottle.

"Don't swallow it until your stomach settles."

Horatio rolled his eyes. "I assumed as much." He replied.

Jesse nodded, turning. "Davey, take your drugs."

"Yes, Mommy." Ratzlov returned, loudly.

Jesse rolled his eyes and turned to Archie. "How's the leg?"

Archie, who had been preoccupied with his headache, had not
noticed his leg had, indeed, started to hurt again. "Hurts." He
admitted, chewing his lip.

Jesse nodded. "You want more Demerol or something
stronger?" He asked.

Archie cast a sideways glance at Horatio. "Just the Demerol,
for the moment."

"To point out fact, Demerol is stronger than vicodin." Jesse
informed them.

"It also works." Archie replied, avoiding Horatio's look.

Jesse cast a glance at Horatio. "Okay, I'll level with you.
Let me show you something to maybe get a point across." He remarked,
walking across the room and returning with a book and a large yellow-
orange envelope with Archie's name on it.

The group looked on as Jesse opened the book and held it
up. "This is a picture of normal human leg-bones." He informed them.

Horatio nodded. "My father's a doctor. I'm familiar with
that." He remarked.

Jesse gave a shrug and turned up the lamp, pulling a large,
almost clear sheet of material from the envelope. "This . . . " He
told them, holding it in front of the lamp, "is Mr. Kennedy's leg,
before the surgery."

Horatio paled, seeing the shattered and protruding bones.

"Is tha' even possible ta fix?!" Matthews asked, staring.

Archie just looked from the picture to his cast, in shock.
He'd had no idea just how bad it had been.

Jesse pulled out another page, handing the first one to
Horatio. "This is after the surgery." He went on. "The dark lines
you see here are steel pins we put in to hold the bones in place,
while they heal up. As you can see, the breaks are still pretty
visible. This took us about two and a half hours to do.
Fortunately, the knee cap was only dislocated and not shattered as
well, or we'd have had a harder time."

Horatio looked at the floor. "She said it was bad, but-"

"Seeing is a whole different experience." Jesse finished,
returning the pictures to the envelope.

Horatio nodded.

"It's not going to heal overnight or even within the next
month, and truthfully, he may always have trouble with it." Jesse
explained, seriously. "But you've got to understand, it's going to
be slow and it will be painful." He looked at Archie. "You work at
our pace. You get up when we say you get up and you do not rush
this. You try speeding things up and it may never heal right. Full
recovery can be anywhere from five months, to a year. You work with
us, a little at a time, and I can promise, we will do everything we
can to get you back on your feet, again. Can you accept that?"

Archie looked down at the cast, tied to the bar and licked
his lips, looking back up at Jesse. "Had it not been for the two of
you, I might have lost it entirely." He admitted, quietly. "You've
done this much and I've come this far. I don't see that I have much
choice, but to trust you now."

"You always have a choice." Jesse replied, with a
shrug. "It's just that sometimes it isn't much of a choice."

Archie nodded, watching Jesse inject the Demerol into the IV
line.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get Redbird to deal
out and get his hiney back into bed, before Kat comes out of her
Doctor's Pow-wow and sees him up, playing cards."

After Jesse walked off, Horatio shook his head. "How in
heaven's name do you suppose they even got pictures like that?!"

"Tha's what I was wonderin'." Styles spoke up, shaking his
head.

Archie rolled his eyes. "Who knows how they do a lot of
things?" He pointed out, relaxing as the Demerol eased the throbbing
in his leg. "But you already think you know, don't you?"

Horatio shook his head. "Just something I noticed last
night." He answered, quietly, reaching for the bottle of water on
the table, then he proceeded to tell them his suspicions.

Archie frowned, examining his own bottle of water and poking
at the writing on the side. "You don't know for sure that's what it
is." He responded, after a minute.

"Why remove the label?" Horatio asked, pointedly.

"Why keep the writing on the side?" Archie contradicted.

Horatio sighed, turning to the others. "Look, Mr. Kennedy
hasn't seen any part of this ship outside this room, but certainly
you two have noticed something is strange about this ship."

Matthews and Styles exchanged a glance.

"I never seen anyone blow up an entire ship wi' three
shots." Matthews admitted.

"It was five cannon shots actually." Jesse corrected, coming
from behind the curtain. "Hendricks said so."

"And the shot that set both ships afire?" Horatio
demanded. "I saw that one. That shot ripped the mainmast down on
one ship, then continued into the other ship, before exploding and
setting fire to the sails. There is no cannon shot that can do such
a thing from that great a distance."

"What cannon?" Jesse asked, innocently. "That was a
rocket. Ships do carry rockets."

"No' like tha'." Styles countered.

Jesse shrugged. "So we tweaked with the rocket a bit." He
defended. "We have two Explosives experts aboard. Kim Lee is from
Hong Kong, and he's very good with gunpowder. Some of his homemade
stuff make your cannon shots look really puny. He just added his own
cannon shots."

Horatio sighed. That was indeed possible but that still
didn't explain the other things he'd seen. However, he wasn't quite
ready to admit what he suspected to Jesse, yet. "I see." He replied,
shortly. "I suppose that does make sense."

"I'll introduce you to Kim sometime." Jesse looked at
Archie. "I hear your good with guns, so perhaps he could show you a
few tricks."

Archie gave a small smile. "I should like that." He replied.

"Yeah, I know." Jesse remarked, with a straight face. "Deep
inside, we all just want to blow stuff up."

"Although they're worth more if you take them for a prize."
Horatio pointed out.

"Yeah, but it's not near as satisfying to watch as a great
big boom." Jesse returned, dreamily.

CHAPTER SIX

Early the next morning, Katryn was already at her desk,
having spent most of the night, reviewing Kennedy's file until she
eventually had fallen asleep on it. Dr. Luis Sebastian had left
nothing out of Kennedy's medical history, and in addition to
interviewing Luis, Katryn had also spoken with Styles and Matthews,
as well as Captain Pellew. They had all confirmed much of what she
had already guessed.

Most of the scars on Kennedy's back had come at the hands of
a fellow Midshipman, over a course of roughly three years, while
Archie had been aboard a ship, called `Justinian.' During this time,
he'd also suffered repeated sexual assaults by the same Midshipman.
This had caused severe psychological scarring and at one point, had
driven him suicidal at the age of sixteen.

The newer scars had been had been from repeated beatings that
had taken place in various prisons, as punishments for several escape
attempts, as well as any number of other offenses.

According to Dr. Sebastian, the punishment for Archie's fifth
escape attempt, from a Spanish prison, had been the time he'd spent
in the hole. He'd been locked up for an entire month, unable to
stand up, or lie down. This cruel and unusual torture had left
Kennedy without the use of his legs for an additional month and
driven him completely insane, to the point that he was, once again,
suicidal, wanting nothing more, than his own death.

What had happened next, according to Matthews and Styles, was
that Horatio and the men in his division -including Matthews and
Styles-, as well as another Midshipman; Hunter, had been captured and
taken to the same prison, and Horatio and this Mr. Hunter had ended
up in the same cell as Archie. At this point in time, Archie was
still unable to walk, and because Hunter was eager to escape, and
Hornblower refused to leave without Kennedy, Archie had taken it upon
himself, to stop eating, his plan being that he would die and Horatio
and the others would escape without him.

The attempt had nearly been successful but Horatio had flat
out refused to let Archie die. Realizing he would have no choice,
Kennedy had finally given up and allowed his friend to nurse him back
to health.

The group had later been released from prison by order of the
Spanish crown for a shipwreck rescue they had preformed at sea,
during a storm, that saved the lives of four people, including the
Spanish Captain of the ship, for which, Mr. Hunter had lost his life
to save.

Most impressive of all was that, although they'd been picked
up by an English ship, -their own Indefatigable, no less-, every
British prisoner returned to prison the next day, by their own
choice, according to Styles and Matthews, and the survivors from the
Spanish ship, -except their lady passenger, who returned to England,
with the Indie-, were delivered safely home.

With this, Katryn had been unduly impressed.

Overall, the fact that Archie was still alive after all this,
revealed an inner strength she suspected that not even he knew he
possessed. In surviving thus far, Katryn knew he would recover now.
She knew he would go on from here because it was plainly obvious that
God had a plan for this man's life.

Of course, Katryn knew she could always read through Jack's
books on Hornblower to find out, but she did not want to. Not until
Archie had left her care, at any rate. Because eventually, he would
have to die someday and Katryn did not want to know when or how quite
yet.

It was enough, for the moment, to know that he had a specific
destiny that God had in store for him and she knew, beyond any shadow
of a doubt, that when the time came for Kennedy to die, it would not
be by his own hand, and above all of that, he would die a hero.

"Have you been there all night?"

Katryn looked up, seeing Cortez in the doorway. "Yeah,
pretty much." She answered, quietly.

He nodded.

"What's wrong?" Katryn asked, raising an eyebrow. Usually
Jack was much more cheerful in the morning.

Cortez sighed. "I have no told Harley yet, but I think Davey
may be catching." He informed her, sitting down.

Katryn got up and eyed him, then reached over and touched his
forehead. "How long?" She asked, going for her thermometer.

"Just last night, I start getting a sore throat, now this
morning, I wake up sweating and very sick." Jack told her. "I got
the flu and malaria shots, KC."

Katryn sighed, placing the thermometer in his mouth. "Is
Redbird sick?" She asked, concerned.

He shook his head, mumbling something.

As the thermometer beeped, she pulled it out, checking
it. "What?"

"I not think so, but Carlos not around Davey as much as me.
I usually live with him." He replied. "What is it?"

"101.5." Katryn answered, pulling out a flashlight. "Say
ah."

Cortez complied then looked at her, curiously. "KC, did
Harley test this?"

"No, he didn't get a chance because we got busy with Redbird,
then with Archie." Katryn informed him, with a sigh. "I'll get him
on it as soon as possible."

Jack nodded. "Any clue what is it?"

Katryn shrugged. "Some form of the flu, I'd guess." She
returned, frowning. "Sometimes, it doesn't matter if you get the
shots or not. There's so many different forms of it out there, it's
hard to say. What we need to do now, is get Carlos out of the sick
berth. If he gets flu with broken ribs, it could give him pneumonia
and that could kill him if it gets bad enough. Tell Jesse to release
Redbird to his quarters with painkillers and antibiotics, and make
sure he tells Conrad to keep him taking deep breaths, and let us know
if anything changes."

"What about Kennedy?"

"For the moment, he's across the room from the two of you."
Katryn answered, measuring out a bottle of pills. "Keep the curtains
closed around you and Davey, and we'll do the same with Kennedy and
Hornblower. You'll be on antibiotics and we'll go ahead and put the
two of them on them as well. If anything, it'll keep them from
getting any infections, and heal things up a little faster, although
we can pray it'll keep them from getting sick."

She closed the bottle of amoxicillin and handed it to
Cortez. "I'll have Russ make an announcement to the rest of the
crew. If anyone feels sick, we'll need to know about it, especially
since Davey was at that funeral yesterday."

Cortez nodded, pocketing the bottle before he turned to
hobble toward the door. "I tell Harley, you get pills for others."
He replied, as he left the room.

Katryn nodded absently as he left. This was not what she
needed right now. Fortunately, they had plenty of antibiotics to
accommodate the entire crew, if need be, but in reality, they didn't
need that. On top of that, the crew of the Indie did not need it
either. There could be no more visits to the sick berth that were
not important. They could not risk contamination outside their own
ship. The crew of David's Star could get through an epidemic, but
the crew of the Indie could not, especially after all the lives
they'd lost, during the battle.

Katryn sighed. This meant Luis would have to have some of
his own crewmen assist him in caring for their wounded. Katryn would
not allow seriously injured men to be exposed to the flu, if that was
indeed what it was.

Carrying three bottles of amoxicillin, Katryn left her
quarters.

 

Aboard the Indefatigable, Captain Pellew sighed, leaning back
in his chair. He was seated behind his desk with Dr. Davidson and
Major Hendricks seated before him.

"Are you absolutely certain Mr. Kennedy cannot be transferred
back to the Indefatigable?" Pellew asked, uncertainly.

Jesse shook his head. "That's not possible." He replied,
seriously. "I've shown you the x-rays and in my medical opinion, as
well as Dr. Casse's, we cannot allow him to be moved, at least not
until the pins come out of his leg." He informed the Captain. "In
all reality, he's already been exposed to the virus, and even if he
could be transferred, he could very well carry the virus back here,
which would not be a good thing. Kat's put them both on antibiotics,
and we're hoping that will slow their chances of catching it, and, as
a precaution, if the virus appears to be spreading, we'll have him
moved to another room."

Pellew nodded. "And what of the others, including myself,
who have been in direct contact with Mr. Ratzlov and Mr. Cortez?" He
asked, uneasy.

"Technically, you weren't exposed to Ratzlov as long as
Cortez was, since he and Ratzlov do share a cabin normally. From
what I gather, Davey was sick several days before he was moved to the
sick berth, and Jacques was in contact with him all that time."
Jesse assured him. "However, if it makes you feel better, we can
give you the antibiotics, as well as the others who were on board our
ship."

Pellew considered this. "That's not necessary, Dr. Davidson,
although I do appreciate your offer." He replied, shortly. "As
you've said, we were not in contact with him for very long and I
myself, have had no symptoms of the virus thus far, nor have the
others who were there, although we will, as you say, keep a close eye
on the situation. I am, however, concerned for Mr. Hornblower's
health." He went on. "Being as it may, he has now been exposed to
the virus for a prolonged period of time, so I must inquire as to
whether you would recommend his returning to my ship."

Jesse frowned, considering this. "Honestly, he doesn't seem
to eager to leave Kennedy, although medically, his injuries will heal
much faster." He remarked, pointedly. "Although, I have to admit
that after being exposed to the virus, as long as he has been, there
is a strong possibility that he too, could bring it with him, if he
returns to your ship."

"I'd assumed as much." Pellew murmured, gravely, with a sigh.

Jesse eyed him. "If I may say so, you really don't look so
good yourself, sir." He noted, raising an eyebrow.

Pellew touched the light bandage that covered the few
stitches at his hairline. "It's just a scratch, although my neck has
been a touch stiff but it's not particularly much of a problem." He
assured them.

Jesse stood. "Would you mind if I take a look?" He asked,
stepping forward.

"I assure you, it isn't a problem." Pellew insisted.

Jesse walked around behind him and held up one finger.
Calmly, he brought that one finger down at an area on back of the
Captain's neck, applying a small bit of pressure.

Pellew nearly jumped a foot in the air, with a surprised yelp.

Jesse looked at Hendricks, who up until this point, had been
silent. "I gotta admit, I'm not very convinced here." He remarked,
pointedly.

The Captain gave a look of mild annoyance.

Hendricks gave a grin. "Apologies, Captain." He spoke up,
quietly. "He does that all the time. I can whack him one if you'd
like."

Jesse continued his examination, picking out each pressure
point, one at a time. "Misalignment there and there. . . . and
there . . . . and . . . . there." He finished.

The Captain jumped, grinding his teeth at the last one. This
was causing a splitting headache. "If you've quite finished!" He
ground out, aggravated.

Jesse shrugged. "Just an observation, Captain." He
explained, apologetically. "I can fix it, if you'd like. It seems
to be a mild touch of whiplash, most likely from that blast, day
before yesterday.

Pellew raised an eyebrow. "Indeed? And what precisely
does `fixing it' require?"

"About twenty seconds." Hendricks informed him.

"I do a bit of manipulation." Jesse explained. "It's pretty
much painless really."

Pellew considered this and shrugged. "Very well."

"Relax your neck." Jesse instructed, placing one hand on the
back of the Captain's neck and the other beneath his chin. "Don't
move, but let me turn it."

Pellew obliged, feeling his neck twisted into an odd angle.
Two loud crunching noises later, the tightness had faded. He turned
his head from side to side, impressed.

"It might be a bit sore for a while." Jesse informed him,
resuming his seat. "But that's just from being tightened up for so
long."

Pellew nodded. "Quite impressive, Dr. Davidson." He
replied, readily. "You'll have to explain that procedure to Dr.
Sebastian. I'm certain he'll find it propitious."

"No problem." Jesse acknowledged, with a nod.

"Now if memory serves correctly, Mr. Ratzlov and Mr. Cortez
are your First and Second Officers." Pellew went on, returning to
the matter at hand.

"Yes, sir." Hendricks confirmed, nodding. "I'm Third, and
Mr. Miklos is Fourth, although, in the event of an unavoidable
battle, the two of us also run the weapons crews."

"Then it was the two of you who were responsible for
preserving my ship." Pellew commented, thoughtfully. "You have my
thanks."

"Actually it was Miklos and our Explosives Tech, Kim Lee, who
were responsible for the last shots." Hendricks corrected. "I was
out on deck, seeing to Redbird, who is under my command, and as for
preserving ones' ship, I believe your Mr. Kennedy was responsible for
saving ours first."

"Redbird." Pellew mused, thoughtfully. "He fell from your
mainmast topyard, did he not?"

"Actually, I believe he jumped, seeing the shot being aimed
in his direction." Hendricks informed him.

Pellew nodded, with a frown. "Then tell me how it is that he
survived this jump, while your man on the fighting top was killed?"
He inquired, pointedly. "I, myself, have personally seen what a fall
of a hundred feet can do to a man."

Hendricks gave a knowing look. "So has Captain Richards."
He returned. "All men, or woman, who climb the masts or the
ratlines are required to wear a harness, clipped to a safety rope,
connected to the masts themselves. When Redbird jumped, he was still
clipped to this rope. When the topyard fell, it broke the rope loose
at the top, but the lower sections held. The harness caught him in
time to save his life and, although the rope did eventually give way,
he didn't fall far enough to do more than break a few ribs when he
got the wind knocked out of him. Gonzalez was killed because the
topyard hit him when it came down."

Pellew looked impressed. "And Mr. Cortez?"

"Had not clipped himself to the rope yet when the ratline
tore." Hendricks finished. "He and KC are rock-climbers normally,
and they prefer to free-climb the way up. Although, I suspect that
will be changing after Cortez's fall."

"A safety rope." Pellew mused, thoughtfully. "Connected to
the mast, you say?" This was certainly formidable and clearly made
perfect sense. Perhaps that philosophy could be useful in his own
ship. It would undoubtedly save countless lives and prevent many a
cracked skull, amongst crewmen. "I believe I'd like to see that
sometime."

"I can ask Captain Richards later." Hendricks suggested. "I
doubt he'd mind."

"Please do." Pellew responded, sincerely. "In the meantime,
our ship is due to head for Portsmouth to repair the damages. Your
ship is welcome to accompany us, as you'll be in need of repairing
your topyard."

Hendricks frowned. "I'll have to ask about that."

"I'm not sure Captain Richards will approve of going near a
heavy battle-zone, and under our flag, I doubt they'll welcome us,
too eagerly." Jesse put in, shaking his head. "And following you,
would make us a target for French and Spanish ships, as well, and we
have orders to remain neutral at all costs."

Pellew nodded. "I suppose I can respect that." He replied,
shortly. "However, for the medical care of two of my Officers, as
well as your assistance during, and after the battle, I feel we must
repay you somehow. Specifically, I'd like to grant you the use of
Mr. Hornblower, as well as the men in his division, until we return,
and if there are any supplies we can get you from Portsmouth, please
make a list of them and we shall return with them."

Hendricks stared at him. "But after the men you lost and
with the ones who were injured, wouldn't you need all the men you
could get?" He sputtered, cautiously, not completely sure it would
be so safe to have too many men from the 18th Century on a ship from
the future.

The Captain shrugged. "As you've said, Mr. Hornblower is
injured anyway and has, in fact, already been exposed to the virus
too long for him to return until you're confident he won't bring it
here with him. The men in his division are a rather unruly group
but, for some reason, have respect for him. I'm certain they would
be better off where they could see to him." He explained,
honestly. "At this point in time, I have sufficient amount of
Officers as well as crew to make it to Portsmouth and back, and by
the time we return, Mr. Hornblower will have made a full recovery and
should no longer be in danger of spreading the virus."

Hendricks sighed, and nodded. "We'll take it up with Captain
Richards." He finally replied. "And of course, I'll see that it can
be arranged for you to inspect the safety features on the masts, as
well as speak with your Officers and men before you set sail. I
suppose, if they are willing to follow our rules, the Captain might
agree to it, but we'll get his permission first."

"I should appreciate that, very much, Major." Pellew
concluded, as they stood to leave.

"We'll just have to be careful your men don't pick up any bad
habits from us." Jesse put in, pointedly.

Pellew raised an eyebrow. "With this particular group, that
would be the least of my worries." He quipped, flatly. "I'd be more
worried it would be the other way around."

"Don't bet on it." Hendricks retorted, evenly. "It's a well
known fact that we have a large number of insane people aboard, who
have some pretty strange habits."

Pellew cast a look at Jesse. "I do not doubt that, Major."
He replied, with a small smile.

Five hours later, the Indefatigable had set sail for
Portsmouth and Captain Pellew was sitting in his quarters, staring at
the list Major Hendricks had delivered to him, as the Captain had
departed from David's Star. Canvas for their sails, he could
understand, as well as several different ropes and a small supply of
water, for which, they had delivered barrels, for storing it, but the
one request that puzzled the Captain most, was one that had come from
Dr. Casse herself.

"What in heaven's name does the sick berth plan to do with
fifteen cases of whiskey?!" He remarked, shaking his head.

Seated across from him, Lt. Bracegirdle shrugged. "I cannot
imagine, sir." He returned, shaking his head. "Although I did hear
Major Hendricks mention they sterilized instruments with it, amongst
one other use, but I don't believe he mentioned what that was. He
did say that Dr. Casse had mentioned they desperately needed it but I
have a feeling they do not intend to drink it, so what other use they
could possibly need it for, I have no idea."

Pellew shook his head. "That ship greatly confuses me, I
must confess." He muttered, thoughtfully.

"Well, I've certainly never seen our sick berth go through
that much whiskey." Bracegirdle responded, with a shrug.

"No, that's not what I meant." Pellew went on, moving the
list aside. "It's everything I've seen, aboard that ship. The way
some of them were dressed, their weaponry, the interior
construction . . . all of it."

"I've heard it looks different on the inside then it does on
the outside." Bracegirdle agreed. "And I've personally never seen
anyone like those doctors. That Dr. Casse had her hair covered up
while she was on the gun deck, the day of the battle, but we could
all see her during their funeral service yesterday . . . . and his,
well . . . .I wasn't aware that Americans had Indians serving on any
of their ships at all, much less as doctors."

"They do not, Mr. Bracegirdle." Pellew replied, shaking his
head. "Nor, do they enlist them in the Navy, and Major Hendricks, as
well as Mr. Redbird, are both American Indians, and Navy Marines."

"Then what is it you suspect?" Bracegirdle asked, confused.

"I spoke with Mr. Hornblower before we set sail." Pellew
told him, seriously. "And what he suggested seemed completely
preposterous at the time but now that I have had time to think about
it . . . . I am inclined to believe he may be correct in his
suspicions."

Bracegirdle frowned, as he watched the Captain pull an empty
bottle from his desk.

"Have you ever seen anything like this material before?" The
Captain asked, sliding it across the desk.

"No sir, never." Bracegirdle answered, looking it
over. "What is it?"

"I've no idea." Pellew responded, shaking his head. "But
Mr. Hornblower has suggested that the small printing on the side
might very well be a date."

Bracegirdle frowned, peering at the fuzzy print. "December
2008?!" He cried, astounded. "Captain, that's over two-hundred
years! It's impossible!"

"So we've all been led to believe, Mr. Bracegirdle." He
replied, with a sigh. "So we've all been led to believe. But I've
seen the inside of that ship, as well as much more and they have
technology there we've never even dreamed as being possible! They
have pictures of the broken bones in Mr. Kennedy's leg, for heaven's
sakes, now how do you expect they could possibly do that if they
weren't somehow from another time?! Think, Man! It's impossible!"

Bracegirdle sighed, shaking his head in disbelief, setting
the bottle back down on the Captain's desk. "I believe I need
another glass of that brandy, sir." He responded, sounding shaken.

"I believe we both do, Mr. Bracegirdle." Captain Pellew
answered, pouring them both another glass.

"I can't believe you agreed to this." Hendricks remarked to
Richards, shaking his head.

The main Officers, --sans Cortez, Ratzlov, and Redbird-, plus
both doctors, had gathered in the Captain's quarters for a brief
meeting, to discuss their options, as they now had seven extra
passengers.

Richards sighed. "What was I s'posed ta tell `im?" He
returned, pointedly. "Ye didn't exactly tell `im `no' yerself,
Lance."

"You could just tell him we have an epidemic on board."
Levitson put in, with a shrug.

Richards rolled his eyes. "We already `ad `em exposed to it,
by takin' the two Officers here ta start with." He reminded
them. "Obviously Kennedy can't go back in the condition `e's in,
an' `Ornblower couldn't exactly leave either, because `e's been
exposed as long as Kennedy `as."

"Personally, I don't think we should have taken them here to
start with." Hoffman pointed out.

Katryn glared. "That guy saved our lives okay?" She spoke
up, icily. "He would have lost his leg! What was I supposed to do?!
Leave him to die?"

"Yes." Levitson answered, bluntly. "We shouldn't have gone
near there to start with."

Conrad rolled his eyes. "We're here to be observing and
documenting this." He reminded them flatly. "If we don't go near
any ships, what the heck are we supposed to document?! There ain't
no use coming back to the past to study, if we don't go near
anything. We might as well just taken a cruise in the future!"

Richards held up a hand. "Dave's right, Pete." He
agreed. "Twas our mission ta observe the battle."

Levitson sighed. "Alright fine, so we observe and
document." He admitted. "But does that mean taking people from this
time aboard our ship?"

"Come on, people!" George argued. "Not arguing with the
documenting but seriously, think for a second! The first ship we
come across and the Horatio Hornblower is on board our ship! This
guy whose leg KC saved is his best friend, for sobbing out loud! Now
they're both on board our ship! I say we get to the documenting
already."

"He's right." Conrad added. "This guy is famous! Who
better to document then one of the greatest Admirals, since Nelson?"

Hoffman raised an eyebrow. "I dunno. Nelson, himself?" He
suggested. "He's still alive now, you know."

Conrad gave him a flat look. "Yeah, well when you see the
Victory anywhere near here, you just let us know and we'll go check
him out." He retorted. "This guy is here, now."

"And what exactly are we supposed to do with Hornblower's
men?!" Levitson asked, pointedly. "We can't keep them all confined
to the sick berth, because they're not injured and we can't be
exposing them to Davey and Jacques. If they join our crew, even for
a while, they're going to be looking around. We might as well just
put a big sign on the main-sheet, saying; `Hello, 18th Century, we're
from the Future!'."

"As if we didn't already advertise that when all'a yous were
out'a uniform, in front of them." Hoffman reminded them.

"Does it matter, now?!" Katryn cut in. "They're not as dumb
as you'd like to think they are you know. Hornblower's all but
figured it out already, as has Captain Pellew! And Archie may be
mostly doped up, but he's not stupid either! Even he's figured out
something's not right here!"

"She's right." Jesse agreed. "Fortunately, for our sakes, I
doubt Pellew will say anything about it in Portsmouth, because, let's
face it, who'd believe him anyway? I say we just tell them they're
right, swear them to secrecy, and get the whole issue out of the way."

Levitson stared at him as if he'd just suggested the moon
were made of green cheese. "What kind of idiot solution is that?!"
He spat out.

"Wait a minute." Miklos spoke up, impressed. "He's right.
The more we hide from them, the more suspicious they're going to get,
and the more strained things are going to get with the crew. They're
used to being themselves below decks and they can't be expected to
keep the act up 24/7. If we just tell them up front, we can go back
to normal."

Richards nodded. "I s'pose that does make sense." He
replied, thoughtfully. "Wha' do ye think, Pete?"

Levitson sighed. "And what do we do if they start asking
questions about the future?" He pointed out. "As soon as they find
out, they'll want to know all about it, especially anything that
pertains to them."

"Pete's right." Hoffman noted. "We can't tell `em anything
about their own future, `cause we can't change what has'ta happen and
if they find those books of Cortez's, that could be dangerous."

"So we tell them up front." Jesse insisted. "We tell them
we can't answer any questions on future events. We are who we are
and we can't change that, but if we don't tell them, they're going to
try to find it for themselves. If we're up front and honest about
it, they'll respect that."

Conrad nodded. "That's true." He agreed, and Hendricks also
nodded.

"Those men will listen to Hornblower if he tells them to
follow our rules." George replied, also agreeing. "Hornblower is a
man of his word and will respect us for honesty."

Hoffman rolled his eyes. "He's a man of his word who cheated
on both of his wives." He quipped, flatly. "I read those books too."

"Technically, he hasn't done that yet." Conrad reminded
him. "He's still a Lieutenant, so he's not even married yet."

"And we can't condemn him for sins he hasn't yet committed."
Katryn pointed out. "The point is that they'll have no respect for
us at all, if we don't tell them what's going on, and we'll have to
watch them like hawks 24/7."

Richards held up a hand. "Based on the arguments
presented `ere, I believe the best solution is ta tell `em up front,
wi' the restrictions an' `ave Cortez keep `is books in `is trunk."
He concluded. "Do ye all agree?"

One by one, each person nodded, including Levitson.

"Yer sure, Pete?" Richards questioned.

Levitson nodded again. "As long as we get their word they'll
follow the rules." He answered, seriously. "Otherwise, we lock them
up."

"Fair enough." Richards responded, with a nod. "Shall we go
tell `em then? KC, Jesse, we'll `ave `em in the sick berth ta
explain the rules. The rest o' ye, go on back about yer business.
Miklos, yer on watch."

CHAPTER SEVEN

In the sick berth, the five men of Hornblower's division were
seated in chairs in the curtained section where Hornblower and
Kennedy had been put, well away from the sick Officers.

The men seemed uneasy, and on occasion, one or two of them
would cast a cautious glance in the direction of the other curtained
area with a nervous look.

Oldroyd, in particular, had a handkerchief pressed over his
face, so as not to breath in any germs that may have been floating
about.

Archie, watching him, rolled his eyes, clenching his teeth.
His leg was already throbbing again and his patience was wearing very
thin. He was tired of listening to Horatio's suspicious rambling,
having heard it twice before already.

Personally, Archie didn't really care one way or the other,
who these people were, or where they came from, as long as they could
make the infernal pain in his leg go away.

"Archie, are you alright?" Horatio suddenly asked, as he
noticed the strained look on his friend's face.

"I'm fine, just ignore me and keep talking." Archie ground
out, instantly regretting his angry tone when he saw Horatio's face.

"Should I ge' the Doc, sir?" Styles questioned, looking from
one to the other.

"That would be a very good idea, Styles." Horatio returned
quietly, not looking away from Archie.

Archie, hearing the guilty tone to Horatio's voice, looked
down, feeling worse. He had not meant to sound as harsh as he had.
He had just opened his mouth to apologize, as the door swung open, in
front of Styles, nearly knocking him over.

"Looking for me?" Katryn asked, stopping short, to avoid a
collision with Styles' pockmarked chin.

Behind her, Jesse and Captain Richards entered the room.

"Fer Mr. Kennedy, ma'am." Styles replied, as he regained his
balance.

Katryn eyed the Acting Lieutenant's grimace of pain. "So I
see." She responded slowly, stepping over next to him. "Shall we
try morphine then?"

Archie frowned. "What's that?"

"Take it!" Cortez called, from across the room. "Morphine
very good stuff!"

"What are the side effects?" Horatio asked, frowning.

"Who cares?" Archie snapped, through his clenched
jaw. "Just make the bloody thing stop hurting!"

Katryn raised an eyebrow. "Jess, can you-?"

"Yeah." He answered, running for the back room and returning
a few seconds later, with a needle and a vial of liquid.

Katryn accepted them and Archie watched her fill the needle,
measuring the right amount, then she returned the bottle to Jesse,
and carefully injected the contents into the IV line. He looked up
at her.

"You should feel it start working, in a minute." She
replied, knowing what he meant to ask.

Archie nodded relieved, and dropped back against the pillow.

Katryn recapped and pocketed the needle, then backed away to
face them all. "Gentlemen. Please sit down." She announced, with a
smile.

As soon as Styles had returned to his seat and the others had
turned to face the three, Katryn grinned wider. "We've come here to
confirm your suspicions!" She announced, looking directly into
Horatio's confused, dark eyes.

"What?!" He sputtered, caught off-guard.

Archie blinked. `Confirm'? Had he heard that right or was
the morphine playing tricks on him?

"The ship was built in the year 2003 an' set sail in December
2006." Richards informed them, pointedly.

Horatio stared in shock.

"Look, he's speechless!" Jesse put in, grinning. "Quick,
get the camera! I wanna remember this!"

"Then h-how- you-" Hornblower stammered, trailing off.

"Yes, we are all from the future!" Katryn informed him,
easily. "How we did it . . . ." She paused, frowning. "Honestly, I
don't have a friggin' clue. Ask the geniuses who sent us here. I
just signed on to work."

"It mat'ers not how." Richards interrupted. "The point is
that ye'll see things `ere ye never imagined before, an' we know what
curiosity does."

The men exchanged guilty looks.

"We can't allow ye ta know about yer own future or any events
that may pertain ta it, because we can't change what `as ta happen."
Richards went on.

"So we all agreed that we would tell you up front, show you
around, and even bunk the crewmen with our sailing crew." Jesse told
them. "However, we want your word that you will not poke into where
we don't invite you. You screw things up and you could drastically
mess up our lives and the entire future."

"In all reality, we broke the rules by letting you on board
to start with." Katryn added.

"An' by not bein' dressed fer the Century." Richards quipped.

"Hey, it's been what six months and we've seen nothing at
all, until recently, so can you stop stressing it?! How were we
supposed to-" Jesse trailed off, seeing the look on his Captain's
face. "Right, sorry. Please don't `nitch on us."

"You get the point." Katryn remarked. "Now are we agreed?"

The men looked at Hornblower, with the exception of Kennedy,
who seemed rather fascinated with a spot on the ceiling.

Horatio frowned, thinking. "The date on the bottle
was `2008'." He stated, looking confused.

"That's the expiration date." Jesse informed him. "Despite
what some believe, it is not the date that you may expire after
drinking it. It just means that the water will stay fresh, sealed in
the bottle, for a further two years. After that, don't drink it."

Archie gave a snort. "If you could see the water we have on
the Indie, you wouldn't say that. Chances are, even if it's expired,
it's still better than any we've seen after this long at sea."

"Mr. Kennedy's go' a poin'." Oldroyd remarked,
pointedly. "Tha's why we mos'ly drink beer."

"That explains a lot." Jesse quipped.

"There will be no alcohol-drinking for men on duty and
Kennedy and Hornblower can't have it at all." Katryn told them,
ending the debate, before it could start.

Horatio frowned.

"First rule with any kind of narcotics." Jesse
explained. "No alcohol. You're on a medication containing codeine
and Archie's on morphine. They can't be taken with alcohol or
they'll either knock you out or make you puke your guts out."

Archie blinked. "Well, I suppose we should be thankful the
water's still fresh here." He remarked, pointedly.

"Wait, you asked the Indie to bring back a supply of water."
Horatio reminded them. "Are you running low?" He certainly didn't
want to be responsible for their not having enough to go around.

"No, we're no' low on drinkin' water." Richards assured
him. "But we don' bathe in bot'led water and not many `ere like ta
bathe in sea-water."

"And nobody really likes the smell of body odor." Katryn
added, wrinkling her nose. "So if you have a problem with bathing on
a regular basis, please tell us now and we'll remember to hose you
down with the saltwater pump periodically."

Archie snickered, looking over the crewmen. "That should be
interesting." He quipped, drunkenly. "I s'pose you'll have to stop
catching rats with your teeth."

"Oh nasty!!" Davey cried, from across the room. "I was
eating over here!"

"Well, I finished." Cortez put in. "Anyone want the rest?"

"Pass." Jesus remarked, making a face.

"Don't even ask me." Willie added. "I'm not really hungry
right now."

Archie continued laughing and Styles turned bright red.

Horatio, looking confused, was staring at Archie.

"Morphine." Katryn reminded him. "Told you it was good
stuff."

"Is he going to be like that the entire time he's on it?"
Horatio asked, gaping.

"At least he's not in pain anymore." Jesse pointed out, with
a shrug.

Archie grinned, with a sigh. "Oh yes, this is very nice."
He murmured, happily.

"Anyway, about the rats, I can easily tell you; there's not
one rat on this ship, unless they come over while we were tied to
your ship." Jesse stated, seriously.

"An' `ow did ye manage tha'?!" Matthews asked, awed.

"Easy." Katryn replied, with a shrug. "You'll have to meet
Socks, Fink, and SuperFly."

"SuperFly?!" Horatio questioned, bewildered.

"Hey I named him, I'll have you know." Katryn retorted,
defensively. "He's a bug-hunter . . . and the cutest, most
humongous, long-haired, black and white kitty in the world."

"So ye `ave cats on board?" Matthews returned.

"Yeah, don't you?" Jesse asked, staring at him. "Seriously,
we never did have any rats, but they cleaned the mice right out, and
they take care of most of the big, creepy-crawly bugs, too. We
keep `em down in the orlop, most of the time."

"I wanted to get a snake but Davey doesn't like them."
Katryn pouted.

"Davey's no' the only one." Richards stated, flatly. "Now,
do we `av yer word, ye won't go poking around an' that ye'll follow
our rules?"

Horatio sighed and nodded. "You do, sir."

Richards looked at the others, until each had agreed, in
turn. "Kennedy?"

Archie turned his head, with a frown, taking a moment to
realize who was talking to him, then, seeing the Captain, he stared,
dazed, for a moment. "Huh?"

"Archie!" Horatio scolded. "He wants to make sure you won't
go looking around for anything about the future."

Archie looked confused. "And how exactly would I do that,
H'ratio?" He remarked, pointedly. "I'm tied to the bed."

Jesse shrugged. "He's got a point." He put in. "He's not
going anywhere, even if he wanted to."

"And he's too doped up to know what's going on, anyway."
Katryn agreed.

Archie frowned. "What is going on?" He questioned, looking
at her.

"The Captain just wants to know if you'll agree to follow the
rules of this ship." Jesse translated.

"Oh." Archie responded, then looked at the Captain. "Uh-
huh." He answered, slowly, before going back to the spot on the
ceiling.

Richards sighed. "Very well." He interjected,
satisfied. "I trust Jesse an' KC'll tell ye about the rules, an'
I'll send Johnny in, ta show ye five where ye can sleep."

The group watched, as Richards took his leave.

"Right then." Jesse spoke up, as soon as he was
gone. "Shall we go over the rules?"

"Rule One." Katryn announced. "There will be no partying
between the hours of 3 and 4 in the morning."

"Rule Two." Jesse went on. "If someone throws something of
yours overboard, you may go in to get it, but only if it's been at
least an hour since you last ate."

"Rule Three." Katryn continued. "You have a right to stick
whatever pictures or decorations you like, to the walls and
ceilings . . . but don't get upset if someone makes fun of it."

"Rule Four. If someone throws food across the room, at you,
you have a split second to, either catch it in your mouth, or get out
of the way." Jesse told them, seriously. "Or you can eat it off the
floor, but only if you pick it up within five seconds."

The group from the Indie was staring at them in disbelief,
with the exception of Archie, who was finding it hysterically funny.

"Do you have any serious rules?" Horatio asked, pointedly.

"Those were serious." Katryn informed him.

"We're not done yet." Jesse added, then frowned. "Where
were we?"

"Eating off the floor." Archie replied, with a snigger.

"Right." Katryn stated, before continuing. "Rule Five.
Everyone; no exceptions, has to participate in the dirty work." She
paused. "Except Archie, `cause he's tied to the bed."

Archie gave a smug grin, looking at the others. "I'm tied to
the bed." He announced, proudly.

"And what does the dirty work include?" Horatio asked,
trying to ignore his friend's drunken state.

"Cleaning the toilets, the cat litter boxes, swabbing the
deck, washing the dishes, and making the meals." Jesse
explained. "We all trade those duties normally, so you'll be
expected to pitch in. At least, your men will, for the moment.
You're still off duty, because of your injury, but when you're
cleared, you will be expected to help out as well."

Horatio nodded, understanding. "I see."

"Actually, I'd rather they didn't do any cooking,
personally." Ratzlov interrupted, loudly. "I don't think anyone
wants to eat food prepared by someone who catches rats with his
teeth."

The others nodded in agreement.

"We'll see what we can do." Jesse put in, making a face.

"In the event of a battle, we'll just play it as we go."
Katryn went on, with a shrug.

"These men are able to work the guns." Horatio reminded her.

"I know that." She returned, sincerely. "However, our shots
are not loaded the same and we have no child labor on this ship, so
there's no young boys for powder monkeys, and in all reality, I doubt
Kim is going to let your guys mess with the doctored shots. They're
very unstable, from what I hear, and they don't let anyone who
doesn't know what they're doing even so much as touch them."

"Plus, our gunners have a few different safety rules you're
not going to be familiar with." Jesse added. "However, after you
learn how things go they may let you help. Mostly, you guys will be
working with the main Sailing Crew. They work on the sails and all
those different ropes with the freaky names. The first thing you'll
be doing is working to repair the mainmast topyard and topsail, which
I'm sure you're all familiar with.

"Aye, no problems there." Styles replied, waving it off and
the others nodded in agreement.

"Aside of that, that's about all the major rules." Katryn
informed them, looking up, as Johnny Hunter stepped in. "Don't go
where we don't give you permission, don't go looking through other
people's belongings -not that I think you would-" She assured them,
before they could interrupt. "Stay out of the storage areas and
don't go asking questions you know we won't answer. It's annoying.
Any questions?"

"Are you sure this isn't the date we'll expire?" Archie
asked, frowning at the water bottle.

"I'm positive." Jesse replied, not missing a
beat. "Anything else?"

"Is there anything else you can give him?" Horatio
questioned, frowning at Archie.

"At the moment? No." Katryn answered. "If you're thinking
of something that won't make him all loopy like that, honestly, I
don't know. Different people act different ways with different
drugs. The Demerol wasn't helping too much and there are a few
others we could try but in all honesty, he still may act the same
way."

"We could try just upping the Demerol." Jesse suggested.

Archie frowned. "This is fine." He remarked,
pointedly. "It doesn't hurt anymore."

Horatio sighed.

"Give him some time to get used to it." Katryn
suggested. "I'll give him a little lower dose next time and we'll
see how he does with that, alright?"

Horatio nodded, watching as Archie went back to staring at
the spot on the ceiling, with a drowsy expression.

"The rest of you, this is Lieutenant Johnny Hunter, of Her
Majesty's Royal British Navy and he'll be showing you five where to
bunk." Jesse announced.

Horatio frowned. "`Her Majesty?'" He questioned, confused.

"No asking about the future." Jesse reminded him, then
shrugged. "Yeah, England's under a Queen's rule in our time."

"Ah, of course." Horatio returned, nodding for his men to
follow Johnny.

 

A few minutes later, the five men of Hornblower's division
were taken to the area where they would bunk.

Lieutenant John Hunter, who insisted they call him `Johnny,'
pointed toward several empty hammocks in one of the two sections that
served as the Sailing Crew's berths. Much to the surprise of the
men, they were not on the gun deck, around the guns, as they were
accustomed to being bunked. They were in fact, in a larger section,
where the spare parts for the sails, masts, and yards were stored and
the men were very pleased to note that the place looked quite
comfortable with several large cushion-like chairs settled in
different places, and plenty of light from the lamps that had been
placed in different crevices, between the beams.

"You're welcome to bed down here." Johnny informed them,
pointing to several empty hammocks that the crew had hung for the
guests. "We're not carrying near the amount of crew you're
accustomed to living with so you'll find there's plenty of extra
space, as well as hammocks, and the rest of the Sailing Crew is in
the next berth over." He went on, pointing with his hand, which was
covered in a black cast.

"Thank-ye sir." Matthews responded, motioning for the men to
choose their hammocks. "This is definitely much bet'er than we've
been used to."

The others nodded in agreement as they each chose a hammock.

"I don't doubt that." Johnny commented, with a
smile. "These are your new mates and they make up half the Sailing
Crew." He went on, pointing to each man, who, in turn, waved. "This
is Corey Freers, from Ontario, Canada; Liam Brogart, of Ireland;
Brett Gustaf, from Sweden; Brandon Jeffries, of Utah, in the States-"

"States?" Matthews asked, confused.

"United States of America." Johnny explained. "That's what
America is called, in our time and there's a great deal more States
than there are now."

"Oh, righ'." Matthews returned, understanding. "Sorry, go
on."

Johnny nodded, continuing. "Duane Marco, from Texas, also in
the States; Lars Winston, from Norway, Jonathan Murdock, British
Columbia, Canada; Jensson LaRue, France;-"

"You `ave Frogs?" Oldroyd interrupted, staring.

Johnny raised an eyebrow, as Jensson glared. "We have no
frogs on this ship." Johnny corrected, holding up a hand before
Jensson could argue. "We have shipmates and friends. Jensson is a
shipmate who happens to be from France, as is Jorge DuVall, in the
next berth. I was told you were aware of the fact we had crew from
all over the world. Is this going to be a problem? Because if it is,
you should know we have Spaniards on board as well."

"No, sir." Styles put in, elbowing Oldroyd. "`E was jus' a
lit'le surprised, tha's all."

Johnny continued to look at Oldroyd, expectantly.

"Sorry, sir." Oldroyd finally replied, looking over at
Jensson. "No disrespec' intended. Jus' caugh' me by surprise."

Jensson nodded.

Johnny, satisfied, continued, introducing the last
man. "This is Billy Ryan, also of Ireland." He finished. "The
other half of the Sailing Crew is currently on duty right now. The
marines bunk in another area, as do us other Navy men. The main
Officers bunk upstairs, two or three to a cabin. Ratzlov and Cortez;
Hendricks and Miklos; Conrad, Johnson and Redbird; then Levitson and
Hoffman have another cabin.

"You should get to know everyone after a few days, or so."
He went on. "We're a pretty close group and it's sort of a family
atmosphere, so make yourselves at home. For now, I'll take my leave
and let you get acquainted."

"So you guys work for Lieutenant Hornblower then?" A man
with shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes, that had been
introduced as Brandon Jeffries, asked, looking impressed. "That is
so cool."

The others nodded, in agreement.

"Ye know Mr. `Ornblower, then?" Styles asked, surprised.

"We've heard of him." Brandon replied, nodding. "But we
can't tell you how or why. Let's just say he's not unknown around
here."

The men from the Indie exchanged a glance, obviously figuring
that their Commanding Officer must be a very important person, for
these people from another time to have actually known about him.

"So, y'all got names?" Duane Marco, -who had brown eyes,
long light brown hair, that was pulled back in a queue of some sort,
and was wearing a wide brimmed black hat-, questioned, reaching
forward to shake hands with Matthews.

Matthews grinned, and accepted the handshake. "James
Matthews, William Styles, Henry Masterson, Joseph Brenner, and Thomas
Oldroyd." He introduced, motioning to each man. "We mos'ly go by
our surnames though."

After a flurry of handshaking and greetings all around, the
men from the Indie went about their unpacking while their new
bunkmates told them all about the rest of the crew, as well as their
duties and the other things they did when they were not on duty.

Hearing all this, the five visitors were convinced this was
the strangest ship they'd ever been on . . . . however, they'd all
found they actually liked their new bunkmates, despite the fact that
one of them was in fact, French. Overall, they couldn't wait to see
what would happen next.

Back in the sick berth, Archie appeared to be asleep from the
effects of the morphine and Horatio was in bed, laying on his back,
feeling rather awkward as Dr. Casse changed the bandage on his leg.
He couldn't help the blush that was creeping up his cheeks, since
this involved his being in front of a woman, while uncovered nearly
to his hip.

Katryn, noticing his embarrassment, sighed. "If this bothers
you, I can get Jess to do it." She informed him, pointedly.

"N-no, that's alright." He stammered, as the flush
deepened.

Katryn shook her head and placed a new bandage on the
stitched area. "If it makes you feel any better, you don't have
anything I haven't seen before at least five-hundred times. After
all, how do you think we got your friend, Archie, over there, all
cleaned up and into that smashing, yet revealing, hospital gown?"

At this comment, Archie's eyes flew open and he lifted his
head to stare at her, completely speechless.

Alright, Horatio realized. Perhaps his friend wasn't quite
asleep yet.

"I really didn't need to know that." Archie finally managed
to get out, his own face turning crimson. He was sounding a little
more like himself, showing the morphine's side-effects were not as
bad as they had been earlier.

"It's okay." Ratzlov called, from the other side of the
room. "I'm sure she found you to be absolutely normal-looking even
though you were all dirty and naked."

Archie looked completely mortified.

Katryn just rolled her eyes. "You guys are pathetic and the
whole lot of ya have one-track, dirty minds." She retorted,
bluntly. "Trust me, after you see it about sixteen-thousand times,
you really don't notice much, except the injury you're treating and
whatever else has to do with your medical condition."

Archie, still slightly flushed, looked down at the `hospital
gown', thoughtfully. "What exactly happened to my clothes out of
curiosity?" He asked, frowning.

"Your uniform coat went to the laundry, as well as anything
else you had on above the waist, and everything below that, except
your shoes, we had to cut off, and believe me, you don't want them
back. They were a mess of blood and your breeches were pretty much
ruined before we cut them off, due to the location of the injury."

"Perfect." Archie muttered, with a sigh. "More clothing I
have to replace."

"I have a pair of breeches in my trunk if you want them."
Ratzlov informed him. "Worn only once, for about thirty seconds."

"And looked ridiculous, we may add." Cortez put in, laughing.

"Thank you. I think." Archie replied, not sure whether it
was him or Davey that was being insulted.

"Don't worry about that now." Katryn interrupted. "You
won't be able to put breeches or even pants on for a while. They
won't fit over the cast."

Archie groaned, turning red again. "And what exactly am I
supposed to wear when I am finally allowed to get up?!" He demanded.

"What, you don't want to wear that?" Katryn asked,
innocently.

Archie gave her a flat look. "That better have been a
joke." He stated, pointedly.

"Oh relax." Jesse spoke up, reassuringly. "We have some
scrub pants you can wear when you're finally allowed out of bed,
which won't be for at least two weeks anyway."

Katryn moved over to Archie's bedside to change the bandages
on his lesser important injuries.

"So am I to understand that I stay here, tied to this bed,
for a least a fortnight longer?" Archie asked, looking a bit
distressed.

"Yeah pretty much." Katryn answered, as she examined an area
on his collarbone, that Jesse had stitched up after she'd finished
the surgery. "I think we can leave that uncovered so it can get some
air."

Noticing the look on Archie's face, she sighed. "Look, for
what it's worth, please keep in mind that at least you will
eventually be able to get up." She reminded him, seriously. "So
before you start getting upset, please keep in mind how bad it could
have been."

Archie nodded, in defeat. She was right and he knew
it. "I'm sorry." He remarked, quietly. "I really do appreciate
what you've done."

"I know you do." Katryn assured him, taking hold of his
right wrist, as she carefully began to unwrap the bandage that
covered the burned, blistered, and very swollen hand. "You're tired,
you've been in pain, and you're frustrated at not being able to get
up and move around."

Archie winced, looking at his hand.

"Is it hurting?" Katryn asked, noting his look.

"A bit, but not really bad." He assured her. "It just looks
terrible."

Katryn smiled. "Well yeah, 2nd degree burns tend to do
that." She retorted, nodding. "The hazards we put up with for
playing with gunpowder."

"I wasn't playing with gunpowder." Archie defended. "I was
playing with the guns."

"Right, sorry." Katryn went on, applying some sort of creme
to his hand. "Playing with guns. Same problem, more dangerous."

Archie winced again.

"It has lidocain in it so it won't hurt too long." Katryn
assured him, wrapping a new bandage around it. "And don't worry
about getting frustrated about being stuck in bed. In all honesty, I
can't really hold that against you because I'd go stark, raving
insane in that situation myself."

"Only because you wouldn't be able to climb the masts fifty
times a day." Jesse quipped, with a smirk.

"They let a woman climb the masts?" Horatio asked,
staring. "Isn't that dangerous?"

Katryn turned, with a flat look, to stare at Horatio as she
curled the gloved fingers of her left hand into a fist, causing the
knuckles to crack, while she purposely flexed her biceps. "It would
be even more dangerous if they didn't." She replied, pointedly.

Archie raised his eyebrows. This woman had more muscle on
her arms than most of the younger men on their ship. "I think it
might be a good idea not to provoke the nice lady surgeon, Horatio."

"I take your point." Horatio returned, apologetically.

"I was raised in Montana, in the mountains." Katryn
explained, turning back to Archie, where she finished applying the
new bandage, then reached for his other hand, which he obligingly
moved closer to her. "I've been climbing my entire life, from the
time I was caught climbing out of the crib. Then when I was about
five, my father nailed the screen on the upstairs window because they
caught me out on the roof. Naturally, the climbing never stopped."

Archie grinned, fascinated. "You climbed on the roof when
you were five?"

"Oh yeah and believe me, nailing that screen didn't stop me
either." Katryn went on. "By the time I was ten, my father had
nailed every screen on the second floor. Then I climbed every tree,
both clothes-line `T's, every fence around the yard, the rabbit
hutches, the garage roof, and every rock and hill in the near
vicinity. Finally, my parents gave up and just signed me up for rock-
climbing. So yes, I would go completely insane if I couldn't climb."

"Don't we all know it?" Ratzlov remarked, smugly. "Jacques
seems to have that particular problem right now."

This was followed by a smacking noise, as Cortez threw a
paper wad at his best friend.

"Don't make me go over there and stand the two of you in
corners." Katryn warned as she applied the lidocain creme to
Archie's other hand.

"He started it." Cortez put in.

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

"Did not!"

"Relax, maybe we'll get lucky and that virus will affect
their vocal chords." Jesse quipped, sighing.

"We need come-back." Cortez replied to Ratzlov.

Davey whispered something in his ear.

"Bite me." The both retorted in unison.

"I've noticed that phrase seems to be a universal retort
around here." Horatio commented, thoughtfully.

Archie nodded. "So I've heard a few times." He replied,
wincing a bit, as Katryn's gloved hand brushed against one of the
worse looking blisters on his left hand.

"It should feel a little numb in a minute." Katryn told him,
shaking her head. "Don't worry about them." She went on, nodding
toward the other side of the room. "Jesse and Ratzlov go back and
forth, trading insults all the time. It's like a big game. You'll
get used to it."

"On the Indie, Officers would be penalized for acting like
that." Horatio spoke up, frowning.

"On our ship, maturity is overrated and nobody cares." Jesse
informed him. "Acting childish and immature is actually good for
you. It keeps you sane in depressing situations. You should try it
sometime. Besides, we have to get entertainment somehow. We don't
get Cable out here you know."

"He doesn't know what Cable is, Mohawk-Freak!" Ratzlov cut
in. "He's from the 18th Century!"

"How many times do I have to tell you? It's DR. Mohawk-
Freak!" Jesse shot back. "And I wasn't talking to you, Rats-Love!"

"If you're Dr. Mohawk-Freak, I'm First Officer Rats-Love!"
Davey returned, not missing a beat.

"I thought they usually ignored the titles." Archie
whispered, with a frown, as Katryn finished bandaging his left hand.

"That was yesterday." Katryn pointed out, brushing the red-
gold wisps of hair off his forehead, so she could get to the bandage
that covered the burn there. "Not to be confused with now."

"It was twenty minutes ago, they were using nicknames."
Horatio protested.

"Twenty minutes ago." Katryn repeated. "Also not to be
confused with now. Trust me, it'll take some time, but you will
actually get used to this."

"Or they have psychotic episode." Cortez quipped.

Katryn shrugged, as she gave the freshly uncovered burn a
coat of the lidocain creme. "This one's not too bad but I don't
think it would be good to get your hair in it, so I'll put a light
bandage on it for now." She told him, sticking a new one in place,
and letting his hair fall back down over it.

Archie frowned. He wasn't used to bandages that stuck
themselves in place. Strange, he thought to himself, wrinkling his
forehead. It felt rather unusual. Fascinated, he continued,
unintentionally, to make faces, trying to move it.

Katryn laughed, watching him. "It's called a band-aid." She
informed him, shaking her head. "Larger than the average size but a
smaller one wouldn't fit. While you're playing with that, I have to
do an examination for my files, to check nerve and tendon function to
make sure you've got no serious damage."

Archie frowned. "You need to do what?" He asked, confused,
as the wonder of the band-aid was forgotten.

Katryn, now down at the foot of his bed, pinned the lower
section of the sheet up a bit, so he could not see what she was doing.

Aghast, Archie jumped, trying to pull the sheet back, as he
realized just exactly how little the gown he was wearing covered.

"Cut it out." Katryn scolded, rolling her eyes. "I can't
see anything, so settle down and hold still so I can get this over
with."

Embarrassed, Archie did as he was told, flushing. "What
exactly are you- ow!" He burst out, jerking, when Katryn poked his
toe with a pin.

"Nerves are looking pretty good." Jesse commented, with an
amused look.

"That's not- ow- funny! Do you have to poke that hard?"
Archie demanded, squirming uncomfortably, trying to shift his
position without jarring his bandaged hands.

"Feeling in the toes is looking good." Katryn replied,
ignoring his protests. "Can you move them for me?"

Licking his lips, Archie frowned in concentration, wincing,
as he tried to move the toes.

Katryn made a few notes in the charts, then reached over to
test the movement in each toe.

Archie clenched his jaw, unable to hide his grunts of pain,
with each movement. "Stop. Please stop." He begged, pitifully.

Katryn un-clipped the sheet and tucked it back over his
feet. "I'd say the nerves are functioning pretty well, and you seem
to have full feeling."

"That seems rather obvious." Horatio put in, sounding
testy. It bothered him to hear that much pain in Archie's voice.

"On the other hand, you're having trouble bending the second
and third toes, so there might be a bit of tendon damage in the
leg." Katryn went on, ignoring Horatio's tone. "However, that's not
really a big problem. I'll do a more thorough examination after we
take the pins out and we'll work from there."

"In the meantime, lie back and if you're hungry, it's about
time to eat." Jesse announced.

"First and Second Officers are starving, Dr. Mohawk-Freak!"
Ratzlov called.

"We want room service!" Cortez added.

"Whose idea was it to confine them in here?" Jesse asked
Katryn, flatly.

Katryn shrugged.

"Out of curiosity, have the methods of food preservation on
ships at sea improved any?" Horatio asked, sounding hopeful.
Because of the nausea they'd both had, from their concussions,
neither of them had eaten much over the last couple days, except for
the salted crackers and ginger capsules.

Katryn and Jesse exchanged a glance.

"They'd have to." Katryn pointed out, bluntly. "They
couldn't get much worse. You'll be happy to know that we do not
serve out-of-date food and we do not eat anything with little crawly
extra proteins, or fuzzy green molds on it, and as you can see, our
water is not slimy, with little green floaties."

"They make food at sea, without mold or weevils?!" Archie
asked, in mock-shock. "Well then by all means, bring some in! I
haven't had real food in months!" Archie, in particular, was looking
forward to being able to eat some decent solid food, mainly because
the IV had yet to be removed.

Horatio just frowned. "`Slimy, with little green floaties?'"
He repeated, confused.

"What, you have a better description?" Katryn asked,
pointedly.

"Actually the appropriate description is `Slimy, with great
big green floaties." Archie informed her and Horatio nodded in
agreement.

"No wonder that crew is in such bad shape." Ratzlov quipped,
loudly.

Horatio and Archie exchanged a glance.

"We need a come-back." Horatio remarked, casually.

Archie grinned, slyly, and nodded.

"Bite me." They both shot back.

"And in a few days, they'll both be just like us." Katryn
commented, proudly, with a sigh.

Chapter Eight

Archie sighed, dropping the book he'd been trying,
unsuccessfully, to read for the last hour. He'd been stuck in bed
with his leg tied up, for a week now. He still had stitches in the
area over his collarbone and his hands were still covered in very
light bandages. . . . although they no longer hurt as bad as they had
earlier that week. The burn on his forehead was nearly healed up and
no longer gave him any trouble.

Horatio had been cleared for light duty, even though the
stitches in his leg had yet to come out. He remained in the sick
berth, -when he wasn't taking half-watches for Major Hendricks- as he
did not like to leave Archie by himself, and Archie, knowing that
Horatio was risking his own health by staying, wished he wouldn't
stay for him.

Making a face, Archie gave a quiet groan as he absently
rubbed an area on the infernal cast which had been an annoying
nuisance for the last two days. He'd said nothing about it because
it was not the pain that was now bothering him, and what <was>
bothering him seemed rather unimportant to bother Katryn about. As
much as he had complained of the pain over the last week, she must
already think him to be a complete weakling and he couldn't bring
himself to add to that supposition.

Rubbing the cast was obviously not going to work, he
realized. The problem was only growing worse. Frustrated, he tried
pushing his fingers underneath the cast but he could not reach far
enough. An aggravated whimper escaped his throat before he could
stop it.

Quickly, he pulled his hands back and looked up, guiltily.
Horatio was still playing whist with Jesse, Willie , and Jesus, and
had not heard him. Relieved, Archie picked the book back up and
stared blankly at the cover, trying to take his mind off the problem,
but try as he might, he could not ignore his own discomfort.
Grinding his teeth, he tried shifting his position a bit but that
only made it worse and on top of that, it caused a small ache in his
leg. Exasperated, he tried again to push his fingers farther under
the cast.

"If you have a problem, you know you're supposed to tell
me." Katryn spoke up softly, almost right at his ear.

Startled, Archie jumped, jerking his hands back and dropping
the book to the floor, as Katryn stepped out from behind the privacy
curtain, which had been left open, just slightly, by Horatio's exit.

"I'm alright." He told her, rather unconvincingly.

"Are <you> a rotten liar." Katryn retorted, picking up the
book he'd dropped. "You've done nothing but moan, groan, and squirm
all over the bed, for an hour."

Good Lord, this woman was observant. "I'm not in pain." He
insisted, honestly. "The medication is keeping it down."

"That's not what I said." Katryn replied, sitting down in
the chair beside the bed, and placing the book in his lap. "I said
if you have a problem, you're supposed to tell me."

"It's not a problem." Archie returned, looking down.

"It's been making you miserable since at least yesterday."
Katryn went on, placing her hand on his shoulder, giving him a
nudge. "Don't think I don't pay attention."

Archie sighed, not looking at her.

"Alright, if you're not going to tell me, why don't I
guess?" Katryn suggested.

Archie stared at her, confused.

"What, you think you're the first person in existence who's
ever been in a cast?" She asked, pointedly. "Do you want something
for the itching?"

Archie let out the breath he'd been holding. "Yes, please."
He answered, decidedly relieved.

Katryn gave him a smug grin, as she pulled out a needle she,
obviously, had already filled, anticipating his problem. "I was
waiting for you to get fed up with it and finally say something."
She informed him, sheepishly. "However, since you had to be all
macho while you sat and squirmed, I decided to take mercy on you and
end your suffering."

Archie rolled his eyes and held up his right arm. The IV had
been removed several days before but Katryn had left the needle,
she'd told him was called the `IV port', so he could still be given
medication without having to be stuck again.

"Very funny." He murmured, not very amused. He was not
familiar with the word `macho', but he assumed it had something to do
with being too proud to ask. "That really wasn't the real reason."

"Then what was?" Katryn asked, raising an eyebrow as she
injected the contents of the needle into the port. "Did you think I
would hold it against you?" She watched as he looked down at his lap.

"After all this time, you honestly believe I would do that?"
Katryn asked, seriously.

Frowning, he realized she had a point. She'd never held
anything against him thus far so why should she now? "No." He
admitted, with a sigh.

"You've had a few who would, though." Katryn remarked,
knowingly. "Does Dr. Sebastian?"

"No." He answered, quickly. "I did have one before him,
though."

Katryn nodded. "Okay, then I'll forgive you for it." She
decided, with her familiar smirking grin. "How long have you been
itching like that?"

"Couple days." He returned, with a shrug. "Is this a regular
problem?"

Katryn grinned, knowingly. "Oh yes." She told him, with a
nod. "Usually means it's starting to heal. Trust me, I know from
experience."

Archie raised an eyebrow. "Break something climbing?"

Katryn chuckled. "No, nothing so serious." She
confessed. "I was being careless. Stepped on a piece of glass,
severed a tendon in my foot. Six weeks in a cast because I couldn't
be allowed to move it while it healed up."

Archie stared at her in disbelief. "You severed a tendon?!"
He asked, confused. "That's all?"

"Doesn't seem like much, I know." Katryn replied, with a
shrug. "And I still can't move the toe. It left an ugly zig-zag
scar on the bottom of my foot but the worst was that cast." She made
a face, remembering it. "Absolutely miserable."

"Did it itch all the time?"

"Enough to drive me insane." Katryn answered, with a
grimace. "I got so mad at it, I took the wire end of a flyswatter
and shoved it down in the cast." She paused. "Which is probably why
any and all wire-like implements have been kept far beyond your
reach."

Archie groaned and flopped back against his pillow. "You are
the embodiment of true evil." He murmured, shaking his head.

Katryn rolled her eyes and reached over to grab his chin, so
she could look him in the eye. "I know it's miserable but I can't
risk any damage to the surgical site, especially with the pins in
there and you could easily pull out the stitches."

"What if I left that part alone?" He asked, hopeful.

Katryn gave him a flat look. "You couldn't and you know
it." She remarked, pointedly. "One itch and you'd be on it in a
second."

Archie sighed in defeat. She was right again, and he knew
it. Why could he never seem to win with this woman?

"Is it better now?"

Archie nodded, with a half smile. "Not as bad as it was.
Thank you."

"No problem." Katryn assured him. "I'll just keep you on
medication for the itching, as well as the pain."

"More medication." Archie sighed.

Katryn's face took on a look of understanding. "Your doctor
believes in the natural medicine, doesn't he?"

Archie nodded. "It was an alternative to laudanum." He
replied.

"Can you guess why laudanum was taken out of use?" Katryn
asked, pointedly.

"It's bad for you?" He quipped, raising an eyebrow. "Tell
me something I don't know."

"Well, it's dangerous." She informed him. "It actually
killed more people than it helped, but then that's true about quite a
few drugs. If you don't use them right, yes, they can do a load of
damage. Addictions, overdoses, side effects, allergies . . . ." She
trailed off. "But I can tell you this much; Willowbark is not going
to cut it with this kind of injury, and alcohol may dull things a
bit, but I really don't want you on that, either, as I mentioned
before. It doesn't go with any medication well, even the ones in
this Century, although most people don't realize that. At any rate,
I can promise you that as soon as I believe you can get by without
the narcotics, I will wean you off of them."

Archie nodded. "Then I will trust your judgement." He
answered, sincerely. "As long as it doesn't give me nightmares."

Katryn looked him in the eye, attentively. "Is that why you
don't use laudanum?"

Archie nodded, with a downcast look. Obviously she would
already know any reasons he had for nightmares.

"I can understand that." Katryn acknowledged, with a
preoccupied look.

"Can you?" He inquired, curiously.

Katryn's blue-gray eyes met his own aquamarine gaze with a
look of complete understanding. "Of any person on this ship or
anywhere near here, there are very few people who could ever
understand you more than I do." She stated, genuinely.

Archie breathed in sharply, as realization dawned on him. He
stared at her in questioning astonishment.

Katryn nodded slowly. "Not all scars are visible to the
sight of others." She confessed, with a sorrowful stare, that seemed
to see right through, to his very soul. "Mine may not show as well
as yours do but they are there."

Archie blinked. "And yet they do not stop you." He
whispered, almost jealously. "They do not even slow you down."

Katryn raised an eyebrow. "Just because you've never seen
the effects, doesn't mean they don't exist." She told him,
pointedly. "Have you ever heard the phrase; `The Warrior is a
Child'?'"

Archie shook his head. "Tell me." He returned, intrigued.

"It's a song, actually." She explained.

"Let's hear it." Archie replied, readily.

"Not just yet."

"I've heard you sing before." He reminded her,
disappointed. "You're very good."

Katryn gave a small smile. "Patience is a virtue, Mr.
Kennedy."

Archie groaned, frustrated. "Still tormenting me."

Katryn looked up, and nodded toward the other side of the
room. "Your tone-deaf friend has finished his game." She noted.

"How did you know that he was tone-deaf?" Archie asked,
amazed.

"We have our methods." Katryn replied, vaguely, giving
Horatio a nod, before she got up, headed for the other side of the
room.

Davey and Jacques had grown much worse over the past few
days, and indeed, neither of them could speak above a hoarse whisper,
due to the soreness of their throats. However, to Jesse's credit,
he'd never gloated about it, or even teased them. He'd only done his
duty by taking care of them and making sure each took their
medication.

Archie turned as Horatio sat down in the chair Katryn had
just vacated. "Did you win?" He asked, knowingly.

Horatio grinned, sheepishly. "Of course." He replied, with
a shrug. "Although they don't play for money."

"They don't?"

"Dr. Davidson does not approve of gambling." Horatio told
him. "They just keep score on paper."

"I'm not entirely surprised." Archie commented. "I've
noticed there are some very strong religious beliefs amongst most of
this crew that I've met."

Horatio nodded. They had both taken to, obligingly, waiting
until the others had said the blessing over their meals before they
started eating.

"What was that with Dr. Casse?" Horatio asked,
concerned. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine."

Horatio gave him a pointed look.

Archie rolled his eyes. "It doesn't hurt." He
insisted. "The medication is controlling the pain. Seriously, I'm
alright."

Horatio held his gaze for a moment, then nodded, satisfied.

"Although the itching was close to driving me mad." Archie
admitted.

Horatio frowned, confused.

"You never think an itch could be all that terrible." Archie
confessed, ruefully. "Until you get one that you have no possible
way of scratching."

Horatio looked down at the cast on Archie's leg. "Ah. I
see." He responded, in realization. "Why didn't you say something?"

"Didn't seem so bad, compared to the pain." Archie pointed
out.

Horatio nodded, realizing he would probably have felt the
same way. "Did she give you something for it?"

"Yes, it's not as bad now." Archie assured him.

"That's good." Horatio murmured, distantly.

"Something's bothering you." Archie remarked, frowning.

"Not really."

Archie tilted his head. "This is me you're talking to." He
retorted, flatly.

"Is it so obvious?"

"It is, to me."

Horatio sighed. "I suspect Dr. Davidson is not well."

Archie's frown deepened. "Is it what the others have?"

"I don't know." Horatio answered. "But he doesn't act as
though he feels very well. Something is wrong with him, I'm sure of
that much."

"Did you tell Katryn?" Archie asked.

"So it's `Katryn' now, is it?" Horatio inquired, raising an
eyebrow.

Archie scoffed. "At this point in time, I'd say she's way
beyond familiarity with me." He commented, with a visible flush on
his cheeks.

Horatio chuckled. "Well look on the bright side." He
pointed out. "At least it was the medical assistants that did the
sponge-bathing, instead of her."

Archie gave a snort, and whacked Horatio in the face with a
pillow.

Katryn lay in her hammock that evening, staring at the
glowing stars above. Jesse was sick and both Jesus and Willie had
symptoms as well.

As a precaution, Horatio, Styles, and Matthews had helped her
move Archie into her quarters, where he now lay, his cast tied to
another bed that had been put in the corner, behind a dressing
screen, to give them both some privacy.

She sighed, still watching the stars. This was not supposed
to happen.

With a distant look, she got up and changed into her exercise
clothes. Snatching her walkman off her bedside table, she proceeded
to her mat. She closed her eyes and started stretching as she began
to sing.

"Lately I've been winning battles left and right.
But even winners can get wounded in the fight.
People say that I'm amazing, strong beyond my years.
But they don't see, inside of me, I'm hiding all the tears.

"They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword, and cry for just a while,
`Cause deep inside this armor,
The warrior is a child.

"Unafraid, because His armor is the best.
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest.
People say that I'm amazing, never face defeat.
But they don't see the enemies that lay me at His feet.

"They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword, and cry for just a while,
`Cause deep inside this armor,
The warrior is a child.

"They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and look up, for a smile.
`Cause deep inside this armor,
Deep inside this armor,
Deep inside this armor, the Warrior is. . . .
A child. . . . ."

Archie smiled as she finished the song. He'd loved the words
very much and could certainly understand the point she'd been trying
to make earlier. The same was true of himself as well any other
human-being in the world he knew . . . . whether they would choose to
admit it or not.

"Satisfied?" She asked, from the other side of the screen.

"Very much." He replied, closing his eyes.

"Bedtime." Katryn spoke up, standing. "Do you need
something to help you sleep?"

"No." He answered, contentedly. "I think I'll be alright."

Katryn poked her head around the screen. "I should warn you
though, I sometimes get up in the middle of the night and dance for
no reason at all."

"Dance?"

"I have problems sitting still."

Archie laughed. "Somehow, that does not surprise me."

"Perhaps, but my dancing might." She informed him.

"Why?"

"Let's just say that dancing has changed a lot since the 18th
Century." Katryn told him, leaning against the screen at the foot of
his bed.

Archie blinked and stared at her. "Apparently, that's not
the only thing that's changed." He managed to get out, impressed.

Katryn looked down at her outfit. "Ah, right. Sorry." She
put in, guiltily. "I keep forgetting that the rules of modesty have
changed a lot too."

Archie tilted his head, looking amused. "Well, I'm not
exactly complaining about the view." He assured her with a devious
grin. She was actually quite appealing to look at. Well built in
the right places and extremely muscular, for one of her height.

With a flat look, she came over to the side of the bed, and
leaned in close. "If you think this is revealing, you should see me
in a bikini." She whispered next to his ear. "Go to sleep, Archie."

Archie watched, slack jawed, as she walked out of his
view. "As if I'm going to be sleepy, now." He muttered, under his
breath. He wasn't sure what a `bikini' was, but it certainly sounded
revealing.

"Are you sure you don't want something?" She asked, again.

"No, I'm fine. I don't need anything." Archie answered,
sincerely. `Nothing in the form of medication, at any rate.' He
remarked, inwardly, listening, as she changed her clothes and got
back into her rather large hammock, then blew out the lamp.

"Katryn?" Archie spoke up, softly, after a moment.

"Yeah?" She responded.

"Is Horatio going to get sick?"

"I don't know."

Archie sighed.

Katryn, hearing him, wished she could tell him everything
would be alright but not even she was so sure of that at this point.

In the darkness, her eyes turned back up to look at the stars
above and a melody came to her mind. Leaning over, she searched her
night table for the correct tape. Finding it, she placed her
headphones back on, keeping one ear uncovered to hear her own voice
as she sang with the tape, softly.

"Reaching the water's edge.
Finding there's no way to go, but through.
Searching the depths within.
Seeing there's no place to hold on to.
Your feet have walked through every wave,
That I'll ever face.

"Carry me; over the water
Carry me; through the darkest night.
Carry me; over the water.
Safe to the other side.

"Facing an endless tide.
Constantly pulled out away from shore.
Seems like it's `sink or swim.'
And I just can't fight anymore.
You take my hand
Here is my heart.
You understand.

"Carry me; over the water
Carry me; through the darkest night.
Carry me; over the water.
Safe to the other side.

"Oh, you are the One that I need;
Holding me close;
Safe in your arms.

"Carry me; over the water
Carry me; through the darkest night.
Carry me; over the water.
Safe to the other side.
Safe to the other . . . . side."

Katryn closed her eyes and pulled the headphones off. Behind
the screen, Archie's breathing had become deep and regular.

She smiled. "If he snores, he's sleeping outside." She said
to herself, wryly.

On the other side of the screen, Archie grinned as he fell
asleep.

In the main sick berth, Davey sighed, hearing KC's voice.
His head was pounding and he ached all over, going from sweating to
shivering, and back to sweating again, but no matter how bad he felt,
he'd always loved listening to their surgeon sing.

"I always like that one." Jacques whispered, hoarsely, in
the dark.

Davey turned to look at his best friend. "Which one?"

Jacques grinned. "Both." He replied. "I would sing too, if
I could."

Davey coughed and threw back the blanket for what seemed like
the five-hundredth time. "I know how you feel, my friend."

"I want to die now." Cortez murmured, taking a swig from a
bottle of cough medicine.

"Don't be ridiculous, Jacques." Davey returned, flatly,
holding out his hand for the bottle. "You'd have to feel better to
die."

Cortez sighed and looked at the ceiling. "Lord, of all
people, please give KC the strength to stay well."

"And that Carlos and Archie would be spared as well."
Ratzlov went on, screwing the cap back on the cough medicine and
placing it back on the table between their beds.

"Amen." Jacques finished, with a smile.

In his own quarters, with the door partly ajar, Jesse glanced
at the glowing stars on his own ceiling. "Amen." He whispered, in
agreement as he turned to look at the picture of himself and Kat that
he'd taped to the wall, beside the bed. No, he thought to himself.
Kat could not get sick. Not now. Not with Archie needing her help
as bad as he did.

Jesse gave a small smile. His Kat. There was definitely
something about her, that he'd fallen in love with. He didn't know
if she felt the same, but he knew he would do anything she ever asked
him to do. Sighing, he thought of Archie. He too, had feelings for
the surgeon, Jesse knew. He would have to have been blind not to see
that, but Archie was mostly confused right now, as was Katryn. They
had so much in common. So much pain. Whatever purpose Archie was
meant to serve by coming here, Jesse had no idea. But right now,
they both needed each other. Katryn may act like she'd put the past
behind her most of the time but Jesse knew she sometimes laid awake
at night thinking of it.

Would he lose Kat to Archie? Was that even possible? He
didn't like to think about that. Rolling over, Jesse sighed again.
The thought of losing her was depressing, but more than anything
else, Jesse wanted Kat to be happy and in order for her to be happy,
she would have to make her own choice. For the moment, it was enough
that they were helping each other to heal.

Up on the quarterdeck, Captain Richards approached the
Officer of the Watch. "`Ow are ye, Mr. `Ornblower?"
Horatio looked up. "I'm well, sir."
Richards nodded. Hornblower had taken a four-hour watch so
Hendricks and Miklos could get a little sleep. In addition to
Horatio's shifts, Ge0rge and Conrad had also taken to keeping watch,
when they weren't with Redbird, or doing Lookout duty with Marine,
John Newman, who was filling in for Redbird.

Richards stood in silence, eyeing the young Lieutenant.
Horatio still favored his injured leg, he noticed. Apart from that,
he only seemed preoccupied.

"Yer worried about Kennedy?" Richards observed.

Horatio shrugged. "I'm as much at risk as Mr. Kennedy is."
He replied, with a sigh.

"Yer still takin' antibiotics, aren't ye?"

"Yes, sir."

Richards gave a chuckle. "On this ship, ye don't `ave ta
call me `sir', ye know." He reminded him.

Horatio gave a sheepish smile. "Force of habit." He
responded.

Richards nodded, with a grin. "Yer takin' on the duties o' a
senior Officer." He commented, pointedly. "An' as it's best ye
don't stay in the sick berth, I'd like ta offer ye Davey an' Cortez's
cabin. I know they `ad Kennedy moved out o' main sick berth, anyway,
so I expect ye'll be lookin' fer another place ta stay."

"I could always stay with my men." Horatio replied, not
wanting to be a bother.

"Aye, ye could." Richards returned, with a shrug. "But the
crew down there's a mighty rowdy bunch o' men an' I jest thought it'd
be quieter in the Officer's quarters."

Horatio frowned. "Wouldn't there be things in there that I
should not be seeing?" He implored, remembering the rule about
prying into information on the future.

"That would be so anywhere." Richards pointed out. "I can
make sure their belongin's are put away in their trunks an' out o'
sight. Apart from the pictures on the walls, I believe they `ave
their necessities wi' them in the sick berth."

Horatio's brow furrowed, as he considered this. "I suppose,
if it's alright with Mr. Ratzlov and Mr. Cortez, I wouldn't mind."

Richards nodded. "I'll see yer belongings are sent up from
the sick berth." He promised.

"Thank you, sir." Horatio responded, with a salute.

Richards shook his head with an amused look as he walked
off. He could certainly see why Captain Pellew favored this young
man so. So much potential. Had he not already known what Horatio's
future held, he would have suspected it, anyway. This man was
certainly destined to go far.

As he headed toward the sick berth, he sighed, thinking of
Kennedy. He also knew what Archie's future held, yet he had never
thought of mentioning it to Katryn. It would certainly hurt her, he
knew, and he could not bare to do that to her.

Richards stopped, as an idea occurred to him. Perhaps. . . .
no. . . . well, maybe. Was there a possibility they could change the
future, if nobody knew about it? If only there was a way to take him
away at just the right moment. He would have to think a bit more on
it, he decided.

Chapter Nine

Katryn opened her eyes, with a frown. Something was wrong,
she pondered, thoughtfully. Something was definitely wrong.
Climbing out of her hammock, she walked over to check on Archie,
carrying her flashlight.

Archie lay on his back, his breathing; deep and regular.
Asleep. She shook her head. No, this was not it.

Sock-footed and wearing only her nightclothes, Katryn left
her quarters, entering the main sick berth, checking on each patient
one by one.

Davey and Jack were both sound asleep and appeared to be
alright.

Katryn shook her head. Frowning, she wandered over to Jesus
and Willie's quarters and peeked in. Both were also asleep. She
continued on to Jesse's cabin.

Jesse looked up as she poked her head in. "What's up, Doc?"
He asked, softly.

Katryn grinned and shook her head. Same old Jesse. Even
when he felt like crap, he never lost his sense of humor. "I don't
know." She replied, keeping her voice down. "I just woke up feeling
something was wrong."

Jesse frowned, getting up. "Anyone in here?"

Katryn shook her head. "No. I checked on them after I
checked Archie." She told him, with a shrug. "Whatever it is, it's
not in here."

Jesse chewed his lip, thinking. He knew that when Katryn was
convinced something was wrong; most of the time, she was right.

"I'm going to go look around. You stay here." Katryn
ordered, quietly.

Jesse waved in acknowledgment.

Silently, Katryn left the sick berth and stood outside the
door for a moment. "God, whatever it is that's wrong, please take me
there." She whispered, closing her eyes and walking on, eyes shut,
following the feeling. Up the steep stairs, she continued, blindly
walking through the ship.

Up on the quarterdeck, Horatio was nearing the end of his
shift when he saw Dr. Casse come out on the maindeck below. He
frowned, leaning over to get a better look. Yes, it was definitely
Dr. Casse. She was wearing nothing but a very light ensemble that
appeared as if it were meant only for sleeping in. Carrying a small
light of some sort, she was slowly walking with her eyes closed.
Could she possibly be sleepwalking?

Dr. Casse walked on, headed in the direction of the Senior
Officer's berths, he discovered. Should he go after her? He'd have
to leave his post and he knew that; unless it were an emergency, he
was not supposed to do that until the relief watch came out.

Dr. Casse passed on, out of his view and he nervously
continued to stare after her. She'd certainly not been dressed
appropriately for being out on deck and it was most improper for her
to be looking for someone at this hour on a ship full of men, dressed
the way she was.

Sighing, he finally compelled himself to go after her. After
all, as Officer of the Watch, he was responsible for her safety and
if she was indeed sleepwalking, he owed it to her to protect her.

Katryn stopped and opened her eyes. She was standing outside
the door of the cabin belonging to Conrad, George, and Carlos.
George, she knew would be on lookout duty, but Conrad would certainly
be here with Redbird.

Hearing footsteps, she turned, spotting Horatio at the end of
the corridor, watching her, with a confused look.

She held up a finger to tell him to wait a moment, then she
softly knocked on the door she was standing before.

It was opened immediately, by Conrad, who breathed a sigh of
relief as he saw her standing there.

"I was going to come get you but I couldn't leave him."
Conrad informed her, pulling her inside. "I was praying you'd find
your way up here somehow."

Katryn nodded and walked over to Redbird, who was laying on
his back, staring blankly at the ceiling. He was wheezing, heavily
and he looked notably feverish. "How long has he been like this?"
She asked, brushing her hand against his forehead. He was burning
up, she noted, frowning.

"He didn't look so good when I went to bed and I heard his
breathing change, about ten minutes ago." Conrad informed her,
biting his lip.

Katryn gave a nod. That was when she'd awakened. This was
definitely the feeling that had roused her from her sleep. "He's got
a fever and from the sound of it, he's got fluid in his lungs." She
told Conrad, gravely. "We need to get him downstairs."

"What's up, Doc?" Hendricks asked, poking his head around
the corner. "I was coming up for watch."

"That's the second time I've heard that, tonight." Katryn
retorted, pointedly. "Can it, already."

"Sorry." Lance answered, sheepishly. "Couldn't help it.
What's wrong with Carlos?"

"He's sick." Katryn returned, with a sigh. "Help me get him
to the sick berth. We're going to have to put him on oxygen." She
turned to Conrad. "Has he been taking the antibiotics?"

Conrad frowned. "I don't know."

"Where's the bottle?"

Conrad strode over to Redbird's trunk and opened it, pulling
the bottle out.

Katryn took it and dumped it out on Conrad's bed, grumbling
under her breath.

"I heard that." Lance quipped.

"I didn't say anything, I was just mumbling." Katryn
defended. "He's taken a few, then stopped. This bottle should be
almost empty by now. Get him downstairs and we'll put him on IV
antibiotics, as well as oxygen. He's got pneumonia."

Hendricks nodded and stepped over, grabbing each side at one
end of the blanket Carlos was laying on. "Dave, can you grab the
other side?"

Conrad quickly moved to take the other end of the blanket,
and together, they maneuvered it through the door, carrying Redbird
between them in the make-shift stretcher.

Katryn promptly followed behind them.

"Stay on watch." Hendricks ordered Horatio as they passed
him. "I'll be up as soon as we get him below."

Horatio nodded. "Yes sir." He replied, shakily, then stared
at Katryn. "How?"

"Some things cannot be explained." Katryn informed him,
distantly. "I'll tell you about it when I have more time."

Horatio wordlessly gave a nod, before he slowly returned to
his post on the quarterdeck.

Archie's head jerked up as he heard Katryn reenter her
quarters. "What's going on?" He asked, loudly, having heard the
commotion in the next room.

Katryn came around the screen with a sigh. "Carlos is
sick." She told him, warily. "He's got fluid in his lungs, he
hasn't been talking the antibiotics and the broken ribs, with the
flu, has caused pneumonia."

Archie frowned. "Why wouldn't he take the antibiotics?"

"Because he's a stubborn, proud, Sioux warrior, who hates to
admit weakness, and he's been blaming himself for Sebastian's
death." Katryn answered.

"There was nothing he could do about that." Archie put in,
confused. "You said the topyard fell on him. That means no one
could have prevented it. "

"You know that, and I know that, and deep down inside, even
Redbird knows that, as does everyone else." Katryn responded,
sighing. "But Sebastian was a good friend of Carlos, and the very
fact that there was nothing he could have done to save him, is what
bothers him the most. He doesn't like to admit that he couldn't have
helped him, so it's easier to just blame himself."

Archie looked down, considering this. "I understand." He
replied, with a faraway look.

Katryn frowned, confused.

"Horatio was the same way after an incident in France, not
long ago." Archie explained, distantly. "There was a woman who was
killed. Shot, while he was trying to help her escape."

Katryn nodded. "He blamed himself?"

"Yes." Archie answered. "He went hysterical. I had to pull
him away from her, or he would have died, as well. We had to get
across the bridge before it blew."

"Who blew the bridge?"

"We did." Archie answered, indifferently. "The bridge was
our only escape. We were to cross it and blow it, once we were all
on the other side, to keep the French from coming after us, so we
could retreat safely. Horatio hadn't made it in time, so we had to
light the fuse without him."

Katryn raised an eyebrow. "And the moment you lit it, there
he was, right?" She inquired, wryly.

Archie grinned, sardonically, shaking his head. "Exactly.
He was leading a woman, who was limping. He told me later that she'd
broken her ankle, jumping out a window." He went on. "Then there
was a gunshot and they both went down. For a moment, I was
frightened that it had been Horatio, but it was her instead."

"So when he went hysterical, you ran across the bridge, while
the fuse was still burning?"

Archie shrugged. "I really didn't think about that, at the
time." He informed her, pointedly. "I just couldn't leave him there
to die with her. We made it across just as it was exploding."

Katryn nodded. "He told me you'd risked your life to save
him." She remembered, admirably. "It was when you were trapped on
the gun deck. He said he would have gone under the pile of debris,
himself, if he could have. Unfortunately, I was the only one who'd
fit."

Archie raised an eyebrow. "He saved my life long before I
saved his." He confided, dolefully.

"So I've heard." Katryn returned. "I'd say the two of you
have some interesting history together." She gave a mischievous
grin. "That means it must be about his turn to save you again,
right?"

Archie chuckled. "I suppose so." He acknowledged, then
frowned, wincing, as he remembered what had awakened him in the first
place.

"Are you alright?" She asked, noticing he'd been
unconsciously shifting his weight.

"It's starting to hurt again and it's really itching now, as
well." He told her, trying to keep from crying out as he shifted
anew, looking for a comfortable position.

Katryn nodded. "Alright, give me a minute and I'll take care
of it." She promised, disappearing to the other side of the screen.

Archie ground his teeth, reaching with his fingers, for
another spot on the cast, wishing he could just dig the cursed thing
off with his bare hands. He gave a frustrated moan, which turned
into more of a sob, as the shifting caused a sharp pain in his knee,
and the itch only worsened.

Katryn returned with three syringes, then, setting them down,
she gently, but firmly, pushed him back against the pillow so he was
laying down again. "Settle down and relax." She said,
softly. "I'll take care of it."

Archie bit his lip, concentrating on not squirming against
the itch and watched, anxiously, as she injected the contents of two
of the needles into the IV port.

After a few minutes, he breathed a sigh of relief, when both
the itch and the pain faded away, and he felt himself begin to relax.

"Better?"

"Much." He answered, letting himself relax
completely. "Thank you."

"You need some water?" Katryn asked, after a moment. "The
meds you're on tend to cause dry mouth something terrible."

Archie nodded, raising his head a bit, as she handed him the
opened bottle, from the night table. As soon as he finished
drinking, he handed the bottle back, and laid back down again and
frowned. "What's the other needle?"

"Ativan." She informed him, injecting it into the port. "Go
back to sleep. It's only four in the morning."

"Have you slept?" Archie questioned, noticing her weary
demeanor.

"A couple hours." Katryn replied, brushing a few stray locks
of red-gold hair out of his face.

Archie frowned, feeling notably drowsy. "Are you going back
to sleep as well?"

"I'm headed back to bed as soon as you drop off." She
assured him.
He nodded, with a yawn and closed his eyes, sighing.

The last thing Archie was aware of; was the sound of Katryn
moving around the mat, on the other side of the screen. Odd, hadn't
she said she was going back to sleep?

It was 10:00 in the morning as Horatio found himself entering
the sick berth, after having checked on his men first.

Their berth had been deserted, with the exception of one who
introduced himself as `Jensson,' who had spoken to Horatio in French,
telling him the others were on duty but he'd come back to the berth
for what he'd called his `insulin injection. ` Unsure what that
was, Horatio had simply nodded, and told him he would come see them
later on, before continuing in the direction of the sick berth, to
check on Archie . . . .as well as his wanting to talk privately with
Dr. Casse, for his own reasons.

As Horatio entered, Conrad looked up from where he was seated
beside Redbird's bed. Redbird had his nose and mouth covered by a
familiar clear mask that Horatio had remembered Dr. Casse using on
Archie, when he'd been on the gun deck. Not a surprise, as it was
supposed to help a person breath, or so he'd heard. In addition to
the mask, Redbird also had been put on an IV. Also not a surprise,
as that had been mentioned the night before, as well.

"How is he?" Horatio asked the Navy SEAL, seated beside the
bed.

Conrad was wearing a white surgical mask tied on, also
covering his mouth and nose. "They put him to sleep, early this
morning, so we won't be waking up for a few hours, at least." Conrad
responded, with a sigh. "He's breathing much easier now, though."

Horatio nodded. "That's good." He paused, then motioned to
the mask Conrad was wearing. "Are they worried about you getting
sick, as well?"

Conrad gave a shrug. "It's just procedure, but in all
honesty, George and I have been exposed to it for the last week, just
by sharing a cabin with him, all this time." He pointed
out. "Really, I don't think I'm risking anything. If I'm going to
get sick, I'll do it, whether I wear a mask or not. . . . but hey, if
it makes everyone else feel better, I may as well wear it until I
start getting symptoms."

"I understand how you feel." Horatio remarked, glancing
toward the closed door to Dr. Casse's quarters.

Conrad gave a smile beneath the mask. "I figured you might."

"Is she up?"

"By now, she's always up." Conrad replied, lightly. "Just
knock first."

"I would never enter a lady's quarters without knocking."
Horatio informed him, defensively.

Conrad smirked. "Yeah, but we don't have a lady on board."
He told him, pointedly. "That's just KC's room."

Horatio frowned. "You don't consider her to be a lady?"

The SEAL raised an eyebrow. "Try eating dinner with her
sometime." He remarked, matter-of-factly. "Believe me, she's no
lady."

"I've eaten in the same room with her, before." Horatio
reminded him. "I stayed in the sick berth for a week."

"Did you share a table with her?"

Horatio frowned. "Well, no." He admitted, reluctantly. "We
were in the curtained off area, but I certainly never heard anything
that would be ill-mannered."

Conrad raised an eyebrow. "You can't hear her with her knee
on the table, or the fact that she rarely uses a napkin. . . . . . "
He trailed off. "But I'm sure you'll figure it out, eventually."

Horatio shook his head in wonderment, then walked over to the
door to Dr. Casse's quarters and knocked, cautiously.

"It's open, Horatio." Her voice called out from inside.

Frowning, he entered the room. "How did you know, or is that
another one of your strange talents, as well?" He asked.

Katryn glanced up from her desk, with an amused look. "Took
no talent at all." She remarked, with a shrug. "Who else would it
be?"

"There are any number of people on this ship." Horatio
pointed out.

"True." She replied, smoothly. "But Jesse rarely knocks,
and I happen to have a certain hostage you have a particular interest
in visiting on a regular basis."

Horatio raised an eyebrow. "And are you willing to negotiate
for the release of this hostage?"

"You can have him." She graciously offered, with a casual
wave. "Just as soon as he can walk himself out that door."

Horatio sighed, shaking his head, with an amused
chuckle. "How is he?"

"Dead to the world, last I checked." Katryn answered. "He
woke up at about 4:00 this morning in need of drugs and I put him
back to sleep. Should be waking up any time now though."

Horatio nodded and sat down in a chair, before her desk. "So
what was that, last night?" He asked, curiously. "I thought you
were sleepwalking, or something."

Katryn smiled. "I don't sleepwalk." She told him,
easily. "I was wide awake, I assure you."

"So how did you know?"

"About Redbird?"

"Of course."

"I didn't." Katryn informed him, bluntly. "I woke up with a
feeling that something was wrong. I checked on Archie, who was
asleep, then looked over everyone in the sick berth, finding all, but
Jesse asleep. Since Jesse was alright, I went out in the corridor,
and asked God to take me to whatever was wrong."

"And . . . `God' took you there?"

"Yes." She said, simply.

"Impossible." Horatio breathed, in disbelief.

"And yet, it happened."

"Perhaps you were worried and just came to check on him."
Horatio suggested.

"With my eyes closed?" Katryn inquired, seemingly very
amused.

"You've been on this ship long enough to know the general
layout."

"Do you believe in God, Horatio?" Katryn asked, pointedly.

"Why do you ask?" He responded, avoiding the question.

"I'm just curious as to why you keep denying the possibility
that maybe I'm telling the truth." Katryn remarked, with a shrug.

"I've not exactly seen much of what I'd consider evidence
that God truly exists." Horatio informed her.

"Really?"

"Yes."

Katryn blinked. "Wow, an atheist." She commented. "I've
never had one in my room, before." Eagerly, she jumped up, strode to
the door and carefully locked it, cutting off any possible means of
escape.

"I didn't say I was an atheist." Horatio defended.

"But you obviously don't believe in God, so what does that
make you?"

"There are plenty of scientific methods that contradict any
matters usually attributed to God." He pointed out.

"Really? How did the world come into existence?" Katryn
asked, curiously. "I've always wondered about that."

"There are theories for that." Horatio informed her.

"Let me guess. Billions of years and lots of spinning
molecules floating around in space, slowly evolved into the world?"

"Not exactly how I'd put it, but essentially, yes." Horatio
replied, with a shrug. "That is possible, you know."

"You know, I'd actually believe that, if I had that much
faith." Katryn commented, thoughtfully.

"I don't really see what faith has to do with it."

"You don't think it takes faith to believe all that?"

"No, I don't."

Katryn nodded. "Alright, let's say you have a bag, and you
throw in all the parts it takes to make a watch." She
suggested. "You close this bag with all these pieces in it, and you
shake it for a billion years. How much faith do you have that you're
going to open that bag, and find a brand new, and perfectly working
watch?"

Horatio sighed. "Not much." He admitted, reluctantly.

"See?" Katryn pointed out. "It's a lot easier to believe
that God spoke: and `poof!' There's the world."

"I suppose you have a point, there." Horatio replied, slowly.

"Look, I can't explain how it is that I seem to know things
by feeling, or why I can sense whatever emotions are being felt
around me, or even why, just by being in the room with people, I can
pick out all the ones who are in pain or hurting. All it comes down
to, is trust. I trust that God gave me a gift to help the people
around me, and that's what I use it for. When these feelings come to
me, I follow without hesitation, trusting that God is going to lead
me the right way." Katryn explained, prominently. "I'm not going to
apologize or feel I have to explain myself, every time that happens.
It just happens. You can believe whatever you wish, and I'm not
going to stop you, but this is what I believe, and this is the way
I'm always going to see it. Understand?"

"You're Jewish, are you not?" Horatio asked, curiously.

"Why would you assume that?"

"You have the Star of David around your neck." Horatio
replied, pointing to it. "You don't speak like any Jewish person
I've ever known."

"Look closer." Katryn informed him, pulling it off and
handing it to him. "That's not the typical Star of David."

Horatio frowned, studying the pendant. Sure enough, it was
the star, but there was a cross in the middle of it. "Is this
another religion?" He asked, passing it back.

Katryn put it back on. "Not really." She answered, with a
shrug. "I'm what's called a `Completed Jew', or a `Messianic Jew.'
That's a Jew who believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah,
therefore, we are Jews who have found our Messiah. Then again,
that's not just all I believe. When you put it down to that, I
suppose you could call me a Pentecostal Charismatic Messianic Jew."

"Say again?"

"I'm a Messianic Jew, who believes in, and has experienced
the events of the Day of Pentecost -all the baptism in the Holy
Spirit, speaking in tongues, you get the point- and I believe in the
Charismatic teachings of faith healing, miracles, raising the dead,
gifts of the Spirit, Spiritual Warfare, and all the other exciting
freaky stuff."

"I see." Horatio murmured, thoughtfully.

"Take off your breeches." She suddenly remarked, changing
the subject.
"I beg your pardon?" He returned, completely caught off-
guard.
"I may as well check to see if your stitches are ready to
come out, since you're here and all." Katryn informed him,
pointedly, standing. "Jesse is still sick, and as you're frequently
visiting Archie, I'd rather you didn't expose yourself to the virus
any more than you already have."

Horatio groaned, inwardly. He had not realized that Dr.
Davidson's being ill would affect him so.

Katryn, noticing his discomfort, rolled her eyes. "You 18th
Century guys are so old-fashioned." She commented, shaking her head.

"Compared to you of the 21st Century, I should think that
obvious." Horatio pointed out, flushing.

Katryn shrugged. "You don't have much of a choice right
now." She reminded him, eminently, as she pulled a sheet out of a
closet. "I'm the only doctor on this ship, who isn't sick. Here,
you can cover up with this, now take off your pants. I'll even turn
around."

Horatio gave her a flat look. "You're mocking me."

"Not intentionally." Katryn replied, facing the other
way. "The faster you get going, the faster it's over."

Horatio sighed in defeat and begrudgingly went about the task
of unbuttoning and removing his breeches. He was completely positive
the flush on his face would never go away.

On the other side of the screen, Archie chuckled softly,
hearing Katryn put Horatio in his place. He had awakened, hearing
voices, and had gradually become more awake, when he heard Katryn
making Horatio take his breeches off. He, himself, had been dealing
with that particular embarrassment for the last week, and still
hadn't gotten used to the fact that Katryn had already seen him
naked, before he was even awake.

Listening to her remove Horatio's stitches, he sighed
quietly, thankful that he had at least been unconscious at the time.
Unconscious people did not have to deal with embarrassment,
fortunately.

Although, he suspected his relief was short-lived, because
with the Registered Nurses, as Katryn and Jesse had called them, both
incapacitated, Katryn was now his only doctor as well. What would
happen the next time he had to be bathed?

Archie made a face, at the thought. Maybe, perhaps she'd let
Horatio do it. Then again, maybe he could just go without bathing
until the cast came off, he decided, with a grimace. It seemed so
much easier than admitting he was completely incapable of bathing
himself.

More than anything, Archie hated being helpless. He'd hated
it when he was on Justinian, he'd hated it in the prison in Spain,
and it certainly was not any easier now.

"How long have you been awake?" Horatio asked, as he came
around to the other side of the screen to see his friend looking up
at him, amused.

"Long enough to hear her inform you of your place." Archie
remarked, smirking.

Horatio blushed again, and Archie chuckled.

"Found that funny, did you?" Horatio commented, when he'd
recovered. "You're going to have it worse, you know."

Archie shrugged, pretending it didn't matter. "As she; not
so delicately put it, I have nothing she hasn't already seen
before." He pointed out.

Horatio raised an eyebrow, suspiciously, clearly not buying
into Archie's casual manner. "Really?" He questioned.

Archie exhaled, dispiritedly. "Horatio, I've been lying
here, tied to one bed, or another, for the past week, wearing nothing
but a `hospital gown' that barely covers anything, and is open in the
back. How would you feel?"

Horatio grimaced. "I suppose there's a certain logic to
that." He replied, sympathetically.

Archie sighed, in defeat. "It's positively humiliating." He
confessed, miserably. "And the last thing I would ever look forward
to, is another bath, no matter who did it. It was embarrassing when
the Nurses did it."

Horatio gave an understanding nod. "Would you rather I did
it?"

Archie sighed again, massaging his temples. "It would still
be embarrassing, but it would be less humiliating than having her do
it, I suppose." He admitted, with a shrug.

"We can just see what she says about it." Horatio replied,
reassuringly. "She's usually very understanding, so I can't see why
she'd object." He paused, considering this, then frowned, noticing
Archie's hands on his temples. "How are you feeling?"

Archie shrugged. "I feel like a cannon blew up in my face."
He murmured, warily.

"I mean seriously, Archie." Horatio scolded.

"I was being serious." He insisted.

Horatio sighed.

Archie rolled his eyes, and nodded toward the cast. "It
hurts, it itches like mad, I have a headache, and I'm bored to
tears." He informed his friend, reluctantly.

"Do you want me to get Dr. Casse?"

"What's she doing?" Archie asked, cocking his head,
listening. "I didn't hear her leave."

Horatio got up and looked, before sitting back down. "It
appears she's fallen asleep on her desk." He replied.

Archie frowned. "Don't wake her, then."

"Archie-"

"She's exhausted, and I don't believe she slept much last
night." Archie explained.

"Are you sure?"

"She'd only slept a few hours, when she got up to check
Lieutenant Redbird." Archie informed him. "She said she was going
back to sleep after she put me out, but I don't believe she did, at
least not right away."

"What makes you so sure, if she put you to sleep first?"
Horatio asked, confused.

"She does exercises on the mat, the other side of the
dressing screen, there." Archie told him, motioning to it. "I heard
her there, as I was falling asleep."

Horatio's brow furrowed. "So she got up to check on Redbird
then?" He asked, looking suspicious.

Archie shrugged, confused. "I assumed so." He answered,
openly. "She told me he was sick when she returned."

"You didn't see her leave, then?"

"No. I woke up when my leg started hurting, and realized she
wasn't in the room, when I heard the commotion in the main sick
berth." Archie informed him, perplexed. "Why?"

"Just something strange." Horatio murmured, distantly.

"What?"

"I was on Watch last night and I saw her walking toward
Lieutenant Redbird's quarters." Horatio explained.

Archie looked even more confused. "She went to check on
him." He stated, obviously. "How is that strange?"

"She was walking with her eyes closed, as if she were
sleepwalking."

Archie stared, incredulously.

"I asked her about it earlier." Horatio went on. "She said
she'd awakened with a feeling that something was wrong, and after she
checked everyone in the sick berth, she left it, and asked God to
take her to whatever was wrong, and she ended up at Conrad, Redbird,
and Johnson's quarters, where Lieutenant Conrad informed her Redbird
was ill, and he'd been afraid to leave him, so he'd prayed she would
come to them."

Archie frowned, considering this. "She never mentioned it to
me, but then I was rather distracted at the time."

"That's not the point, Archie." Horatio pressed.

Archie eyed him. "You know what your problem is, Horatio?"

"What?"

"There's always been some way to explain everything, in your
mind." Archie told him, pointedly. "And now, something's happened
and you can't think of any logical explanation for it and that
frustrates you."

"So then, you believe her explanation?"

"She does, obviously." Archie commented.

"That's not what I asked."

Archie sighed. "I believe that sometimes, things happen that
have no possible means of explanation. You ask me if I believe God
led her to Redbird last night. In all honesty, I really don't know
what to think about it. I know Dr. Sebastian believes in God, but as
for myself, I've had times when I wonder if there even is a God."

They sat a moment in silence, as Horatio considered this.

 

At her desk, a single tear rolled down Katryn's cheek. The
amount of pain behind that one sentence was so strong, it hurt
her. "Oh God, that you would use me to remove that doubt." She
whispered.

Horatio was deep in thought when Archie's sharp, hissing,
gasp jarred him back into the present.

Archie had stiffened and was gripping the sheets with one
still-bandaged hand, and his thigh, just above the cast, with the
other, his jaw clenched and his eyes tightly closed.

"Archie?" Horatio spoke up, alarmed as he started to jump up.

"No, don't get her, yet. I'm alright." Archie insisted,
slowly relaxing.

"You're sure?"

"It was only for a second." Archie assured him, trying to
slow his breathing.

"Archie, you're sure you're alright?" Horatio pressed.

Archie nodded, but no sooner had he relaxed, when the sharp,
stabbing, pain shot through his leg again, and he jumped, crying out,
loudly.

Before Horatio could get up, Katryn had suddenly come up
beside him and was urgently pushing him out of the way.

Archie bristled as another spasm of pain hit him and he
screamed through his firmly clenched jaw.

Horatio, seeing the needles Katryn had set down on the
bedclothes, reached over, catching Archie by his shoulders,
endeavoring to hold his arm still. "Archie, it's alright! Stop
moving!" He cried, straining to hold his friend's arm.

Archie, clearly not hearing him, jerked again, with another
cry, as another spasm of pain came over him. "Please make it stop!"
He begged.

Katryn gave a grunt and managed to get the contents of one
needle into Archie's arm, then quickly injected the second.

Archie stopped struggling, feeling the medication take effect
and collapsed back against the pillow, panting.

Horatio, relieved, glanced over at Katryn. "What was that?"

"The medication?" She asked.

He shook his head. "No, what was happening to him?"

"Muscle spasms in the leg." Katryn replied, uncovering the
cast, and examining Archie's thigh, then carefully massaged the still-
twitching muscle, until it completely relaxed.

Had Archie not been so focused on the pain, he might have
felt rather awkward, to have his female surgeon massaging his thigh,
Horatio mused, intently, as he observed the scene before him.

"He hasn't been able to move around for a while, and the
muscles are spasming and cramping up." Katryn explained. "I gave
him the usual painkiller and a muscle relaxer."

Archie groaned, in frustration. "Is it going to keep doing
this?!" He asked, dispirited.

Before Katryn could answer, Jesse suddenly poked his head
around the screen, looking concerned. "Is he alright?"

"No!!" Archie snapped, sounding angrier than he'd meant to.

"I got it." Katryn assured Jesse.

Jesse nodded and looked at Horatio. "Davey's wanting to see
you, if you've got a minute." He replied, before he left.

Horatio looked at Archie.

"I'm fine, just go." Archie whispered, looking away.

Katryn caught Horatio's gaze, and motioned for him to leave
them alone.

Hearing the door close, Katryn sat down next to the bed and
silently waited for her patient to regain his composure.

Finally, Archie took a deep breath, and turned to look at her.

"Feel better?"

He sighed. "Not really."

Another moment of silence stretched between them.

"Aren't you supposed to scold me for snapping at Jesse like
that?" Archie asked, quietly, very ashamed of himself.

"No."

"He didn't deserve it."

"No he didn't, but I don't blame you for it." Katryn
responded.

"Why?" Archie asked, confused.

Katryn sighed. "Look, I'm not going to tell you it's okay;
because it's not, and I'm not going to tell you not to be upset;
because you have every right to be upset." She informed him,
soothingly. "You went through a serious trauma and I can't honestly
expect you to be happy about it."

"That's not an excuse for rudeness."

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Sure it is." She
contradicted. "Archie, any judge, where I come from, would have
ruled; `not guilty,' under reasons of Temporary Insanity, because of
the amount of drugs you're on, and the amount of pain you're in, you
cannot possibly be expected to be in your right mind."

Archie stared at her, astonished.

"You could murder someone and get off on `Temporary
Insanity." She informed him, pointedly.

Archie blinked. "Well, the legal system certainly has
changed a lot." He mused, impressed.

"You have no idea." Katryn replied, with a sly grin,
deciding he could use a distraction. "I think my favorite `Temporary
Insanity' case was Lorena Bobbit, against her husband."

"What did she do?" Archie asked, interested.

"You'll love this one, trust me." Katryn assured him. "One
night, her husband attacked and raped her."

"Did she kill him?"

"No, but she did extract vengeance with a kitchen knife,
assuring he'd never rape her again." Katryn told him, with a pointed
look.

Archie stared, openmouthed, giving a strangled groan. "And
she was acquitted for that?!" He asked, in disbelief.

"Think about it, the guy raped her." Katryn reminded
him. "She couldn't conceivably have been in her right mind, after an
experience like that and I would expect you, of all people, to
understand that."

Archie considered this. "True." He commented, thoughtfully.

"Oh come on." Katryn pressed, with a knowing look. "You
can't honestly tell me you wouldn't have loved to see that happen to
a certain Sleazeball in your past history."'

"Well, now that you happen to have mentioned it." Archie
mused, shifting his head back into the pillow a bit.

Katryn grinned, as she noticed the mirth in his glittering
blue eyes, and he couldn't even begin to hide the slow grin that
spread across his lips. "You're laughing." She stated, triumphantly.

"Temporary Insanity." He quipped, in his defense, with a
snigger.

"He got off easily, you know." Katryn remarked, distantly.

"Did he?"

"Yeah. She just threw it in a parking lot somewhere."
Katryn went on. "I would have made him eat it."

Archie studied her face, attentively. "Tell me what happened
to you." He requested.

"That's a pretty long story." Katryn informed him, with a
sigh.

"Do I appear to be going anywhere?" He asked, pointedly,
motioning to his cast, still secured to the wooden bar.

Katryn exhaled, thinking. "He was a friend of my family."
She began, with a faraway look. "One my parents trusted,
wholeheartedly. He was my music teacher and the minister of our
church."

"How long did your family know him?" Archie asked,
inquisitively.

"As far back as I can remember." She responded, with a
shrug. "Although nothing really happened until I was about nine or
ten. That's when they discovered I had a perfect ear for music, and
I started taking lessons. Our minister gave private music lessons,
regularly, as did his son and daughter. They were much older than
me, of course. His daughter was my Sunday School teacher, so I loved
her, dearly. To this day, she's a pretty close friend."

"So then, she didn't know?"

Katryn shook her head. "No, and I would never tell her."
She replied, determinedly. "She saw him as nothing short of a kind
and loving father, and a man of God, and I would never dream of
taking that away from her."

"I don't blame you." Archie commented, sincerely. "So, when
did he . . . .?" He trailed off.

"It's not the same situation as yours." Katryn told him,
incredulously. "There was never any violence and I was never
physically raped. In fact, it was so subtle, I didn't even realize
it was abuse until much later."

Archie frowned, but didn't interrupt.

"I was nine, when I started taking music lessons." Katryn
continued. "I was ten, when I stopped wearing dresses to lesson.
Dresses in that time period are a bit shorter then they are now.
About knee-length."

"That's what they are now, for children." Archie replied,
nodding.

"Well, we didn't have petticoats or shifts underneath,
though." Katryn explained, patiently. "Believe me, there's nothing
underneath but a little pair of underpants."

"Drawers." Archie corrected, blushing.

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Tomato, tomahto." She retorted,
with a shrug. "Same difference, except under-garments in the future
cover a lot less than they do, nowadays. Anyway, I was a little nine-
year-old girl in a short dress, with nothing under it, but that
little pair of `drawers.'"

Archie chuckled. "I'm sorry, go on." He apologized.

"Right. Anyhow, I was mainly learning violin and piano, but
he was showing me how to play a cello that day, as an experiment."
She went on, then frowned. "Do they have those now? Kind of like a
big violin that you play sitting down and it stands between your
legs?"

"I know what you mean." He assured her.

"Good. So, being a shy little girl, in a short dress, I
didn't want to spread my legs, because he's sitting right in front of
me, kneeling on the floor and I didn't want to show off my cute
little `Care-Bears' drawers."

Archie started laughing. "Stop that!" He scolded, between
giggles. "I'm never going to take you seriously, if you don't stop
making me laugh!"

Katryn grinned, sheepishly. "Sorry." She
apologized. "Natural born Jewish comedians. We can't help it. This
next part isn't funny though."

Archie sobered, and motioned for her to continue.

"I don't know if he was trying to reassure me or what, but he
told me he'd already seen `all of me,' back when I'd been about four
years old, and went to church without anything on, under the dress."
Katryn went on. "I never really thought about it at that time, but
the fact that he'd remember, and mention something like that, was a
little disconcerting to me. I mean, why would he even be looking at
a four year-old child?!"

"That is rather strange." Archie observed, frowning.

"I never wore another dress to lesson." Katryn finished.

"I can certainly discern as to why." He agreed.

"Anyway, things continued like that, and I got more and more
uncomfortable around him." Katryn continued, distantly. "I was
reminded of a time when I was about six and I'd been showing off
after church, one night, jumping around in my. . . . " She paused,
with a sly grin.

Archie rolled his eyes. "I take your point." He returned,
shaking his head.

"I was six, and he was like my uncle to me." Katryn replied,
defensively. "How was I supposed to know that he'd think I was
coming on to him, or that he'd bring it up, when I was about eleven,
as one of his fondest memories of me?"

Archie made a disgusted face. "That's awful." He
murmured. "But why is it, you never told your parents?"

"Well, at the time, I really didn't know it was wrong."
Katryn informed him, honestly. "I was eleven, and very shy and I was
always made fun of at school, for being shy and poor, and when he'd
take me to the store and buy me things my parents couldn't afford, I
felt special. I'd always thought he was being nice to me out of
love, I mean he was like my uncle, all those years, so what else
would I think?"

"So what you're saying, is that he bought your silence."
Archie remarked, in realization.

"In so many words, yes." She answered, looking
ashamed. "He'd buy me things, and tell me not to tell my parents,
because they wouldn't approve of his buying things they couldn't or
wouldn't buy me."

"Did he ever do more than just make remarks like that?"
Archie asked, curiously.

"Much more." Katryn told him, with an involuntary shiver.

Archie noticed. "I didn't mean to upset you." He quickly
apologized.

Katryn held up a hand, reassuringly. "You're not. It's just
that sometimes I feel so stupid for not realizing what was going on
sooner. I loved having him buy me things and I'd get angry when he
wouldn't sometimes, to keep me in check, I suppose, but I was always
happy when he did."

"That's not unusual." He responded, with a shrug. "But why
should you feel stupid about it?"

Katryn sighed. "I don't know." She confessed, before
continuing. "He liked to rough-house in his family, a lot and many
times, when I was younger, my sisters and I would wrestle in his
lap. We were only about five, six, and seven, so it was just
something for fun. Naturally, when he wanted to do that, later on, I
didn't think anything of it. He'd try to pull me up against him, in
his lap, and when I'd try to get away, because I got uncomfortable,
he wouldn't let me go. He liked it when I struggled, and he'd enjoy
proving how much stronger he was, then me."

"I'm familiar with that concept." Archie responded, with his
own shudder.

"I figured you might be." Katryn returned, with a sad
look. "I still get freaked out when anyone tries to get rough with
me and shows off how much stronger they are, then me."

"Is that why you got into climbing?" Archie asked. "To make
yourself stronger than you were?"

Katryn shrugged. "I got into climbing because I love to
climb but I suppose I do tend to prove that I can be as strong as
anyone else." She admitted.

"So I've seen." Archie responded, with a grin. "I certainly
wish I could have been awake to see you man-handle Horatio, on the
gun-deck."

Katryn rolled her eyes. "That was adrenaline." She informed
him, pointedly. "You were in trouble, I nearly got crushed with you
and I lost my temper. Not something I do often, but when I do, I
never do anything, halfway."

Archie laughed. "I daresay he was rather startled." He
commented, smugly. "But please do continue with your story."

Katryn nodded and paused, as she took a moment to remember
where she'd stopped. "I could never figure out why I kept getting
more and more uncomfortable around him. As I got older, I never
wanted to be alone with him and we kept spending less and less time
at the studio, doing music lessons." She told him. "I had my pieces
memorized, and didn't even have to really practice. We had recitals
once a month, and I always received high marks for my memory. I was
an outstanding music talent, and when I started singing, I got higher
marks, because I could imitate, and sing like, the professional
singers. If I heard a song in another language or accent, I could
adapt to match both, perfectly."

"I can see that about you." Archie replied, with a
smile. "It's a wonder you never became a musician."

"Is it?" Katryn asked, pointedly.

Archie frowned. "Then again, I can see why you didn't, now
that you mention it."

Katryn nodded. "Anyway, moving on." She continued. "I
could sing in the car, with my tape player, so I didn't even have to
go to the studio for vocal lessons."

Archie's brow furrowed, in confusion. "Is that like a
carriage? A `car?'" He inquired.

"Yes, except no horses, and it can go up to a hundred miles
an hour, at its fastest." Katryn explained, patiently. "Hang on a
sec."

Archie watched, inquisitively, as she stood up and walked
over to a shelf, returning with a book. Leafing through it, she
found a page, and handed it to him.

"I won't let you read it, because it's got a lot on the
future in it, but this is a car." She informed him, pointing to an
apparatus, in a picture.

Archie studied the machine. Interesting, he mused,
fascinated. A large metal beast, with four wheels, four doors, with
windows, and one large window in the front, tilted at an angle, above
what appeared to be another compartment that would open, in the very
front of the machine. "Interesting." He murmured, handing the book
back. "And a `tape player?'"

Katryn grinned, and got up again, returning, this time, with
a small gray rectangular contraption, he'd remembered seeing her
with, the evening before.

"A regular tape player plays it out loud." Katryn informed
him, readily. "This is a small, portable one, that works only with a
headset." She handed him the `headset', which was attached to
the `tape player' by a cord. "Over the ears." She waited until he
got them settled in place. "I'll make sure the volume is down, so I
don't blow out your eardrums."

"They can do that?" Archie asked, alarmed, no longer sure he
wanted this `headset' on.

"No, not really." Katryn assured him. "But my mom always
said I'd be deaf by the time I was thirty if I didn't stop listening
to it." She paused. "What a liar Mom turned out to be."

Archie frowned. "You couldn't possibly be thirty yet."

Katryn raised an eyebrow. "Well thank you, son. You just
made my day!"

"You're serious?!" Archie asked, astonished.

"We set sail, just after Christmas in 2006. That was six
months ago, so that means I turn thirty . . . . in two weeks." She
informed him.

He stared at her, dumbstruck.

"You didn't think I was that much older than you, did you?"
Katryn asked, with a sly grin.

Archie blinked. "Well, you certainly don't look it." He
remarked, seriously.

Katryn smiled. "Thank you." She returned, then she held up
the `tape player' with a pointed look and pressed a button on the
side.

Archie nearly jumped out of his skin, at the sound of music
in his ears. Hearing the words, he realized he'd heard it before.
It was the very song he'd heard Katryn and Cortez singing, the
morning of the funeral. "What is this called?" He asked, loudly.

Katryn removed the headset with a grin. "You don't have to
yell, I'm right here."

"Sorry." He apologized, sheepishly. "What is that song
called?"

"`Everything Burns.'" Katryn answered. "It's sang by a man
called Ben Moody, with a woman called Anastasia. I love the melody
and the words, and it happens to be one of Jack's favorites as well."

"I can readily see why." Archie told her, honestly. "I
liked it very much, when I heard you sing it, before."

"Okay, now you understand `car' and `tape player'." She went
one, continuing. "This is a tape."

Archie eyed the small, rectangular device, she'd pulled from
a compartment on the tape player. It had two little wheels inside,
wound with some kind of brown tape. "And this has the music on it?"
He asked, awed.

Katryn nodded. "I've got a box of them, you can look at
later." She invited, with a shrug. "Now where did I stop? You
distracted me."

"You were singing in the car." Archie reminded her, eagerly.

"Right, and why do you suppose I preferred to sing in the
car?" She asked, slyly.

"Something in the lines of not wanting to be in private with
him, I would suspect." Archie remarked, shrugging.

"Actually, it was because he had to watch the road ahead and
not me." Katryn informed him. "It bothered me when he watched me,
because I'd sometimes sing songs that mentioned love or other such
things, and he'd stare at me, as if I was singing it directly to
him." She cringed, making a face. "In fact, if we were at the
studio, I'd usually make him sit in the other room, because he was
making me nervous."

"You didn't!" Archie exclaimed, in disbelief.

"I did!" Katryn insisted, laughing. "Can you imagine having
a music lesson, and telling your teacher to sit in the other room?!"

Archie laughed. "I should imagine the teacher wouldn't like
that, very much."
Katryn rolled her eyes. "Guess again. He just thought I was
playing `hard to get'." She paused. "Are you understanding that?"

"I'm not familiar with that particular phrase, but I believe
I'm understanding the meaning." Archie answered, nodding. "He
thought you were toying with him, by acting aloof, and pretending to
be coy."

"Exactly." Katryn told him, with a grin. "My piano lessons
were the worst, though." She went on, sobering.

Archie, silently motioned for her to continue.

"I stopped playing solos, and moved on to only duets."
Katryn told him, distantly. "Because when I sat at the piano, or, I
suppose you'd call it a `pianoforte.'"
"I assumed that was what you meant, yes." He clarified.

"He'd sit behind me." She chewed her lip.

Archie studied her face, thoughtfully, but remained silent,
waiting for her to recover from what was obviously a difficult memory.

"He'd be kissing and touching all over my shoulders and
neck." Katryn told him, cringing. "That left a lot of mental
scarring, above all else that happened. I see scenes in movies and
plays, and it freaks me out, to watch. And you know, all that time,
I never even understood why it bothered me so much. In most
memories, I was happiest at lessons. My older sister used to beat up
on me at home and make fun of me, talking about me in school and I
was even beat up twice, by other students, because I wasn't like
them."

Archie looked at her, amazed at the similarities between her
story, and his own.

"My teacher was always so proud of me, because of how well I
did, and I even won an award for my memory, when, for one of my
lessons, I picked out every song I'd played over the past five years,
and played through each one, one at a time, by memory, even though
it'd been a couple years since I'd preformed a few of them. They
were, of course, only the duets. He looked at the music and I looked
at my hands."

Archie smiled, watching her blue-grey eyes shine. This was a
person who had truly loved music, he could tell. It was such a shame
it had ended so terribly.

"My favorites were from theater performances. Plays,
musicals, that sort of thing." She went on, her eyes gleaming.

Archie grinned, widely. "Now, I believe you are speaking my
language." He stated, agreeing with her.

Katryn looked at him, raising an eyebrow. "Ah, so the Acting
Lieutenant is a theater addict, is he?" She returned, artfully.

"Most definitely." He confessed, exhilarated. "But please
do continue your story first."

"I'll have to take a break, pretty soon, because I have to
eat something, but if you'd like, later on, I'll let you hear the
songs I liked best." Katryn suggested. "I have most of them, here,
on tape, and I know the theater has changed a bit, since this
Century."

"I should like that, very much." Archie replied, eagerly.

Katryn looked at a small watch on her wrist. "We've been
here for about two hours, now, and I'm sure Horatio and Jesse are
wondering if you're even still alive, in here."

Archie stared at her. "Has it been that long?" He asked,
amazed.

Katryn frowned. "Actually, it's been two and a half hours."
She informed him, seriously. "We started about 11:30, so it's now
2:00 in the afternoon, and I'm starved. So if you're hungry, I'll
bring back some food for both of us."

"That would be fine." Archie readily agreed. "You might
also tell Horatio I'm still alive, that is, if Davey's finished with
him."

"Oh, Davey probably just wanted him to fetch him his knitting
needles or something." Katryn assured him, waving it
off. "Horatio's using their room, right now, you know, but I'll find
out."

Archie stared, as she left the room. `Knitting needles'?
Ratzlov!? Had he heard that right? Interesting, he mused, then
frowned, as something caught his eye.

There, on his right arm, only a few inches away from the IV
port, was a smear of dried blood. Odd. He hadn't remembered Katryn
sticking him. She'd used the IV port.

So where had the blood come from? It certainly wasn't close
enough to the port, to have come from that. Archie's frown deepened
as he discovered yet another spot of blood. This one was on the
bedclothes . . . . exactly where Katryn had been leaning over, he
realized, suddenly extremely distressed.

Chapter Ten

"How are you feeling?" Katryn asked smiling, as she sat down
on the edge of Jesse's bed.

"I've been better." Jesse remarked, swallowing a couple
pills. One, being his antibiotic. "Just taking a short break.
How's Archie?"

"He's alright." Katryn returned, sighing. "Muscle spasms.
He's really frustrated with pain, about now." She told him, chewing
her lip.

"Something's wrong." Jesse stated.

"What do you mean?"

"You tend to chew on your lip when you're preoccupied with
something." Jesse commented, pointedly.

"It was an accident and my own fault." She answered, glumly.

"Now I know something's wrong." He declared, looking her
directly in the eye. "What happened, Kat?"

Sighing, Katryn wordlessly held up her hand.

Jesse frowned, examining the cut on her thumb. "Something
tells me that's not a cat scratch."

Katryn shook her head.

"You used the IV port, right?"

She nodded.

"Well then you might be alright unless he had blood in the
port." Jesse remarked, optimistically.

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Jess, you know as well as I do that
the IV port isn't entirely sterile when it comes down to it."

"Yeah I do." He admitted, sighing. "Look, I'll tell you
what. We'll take a blood sample from him, run a CBC, and if he has
anything, It'll show up."

Katryn nodded. "I'll get on it as soon as I get some food."

"Uh-uh." Jesse contradicted. "I'll get some food for the
both of you and you take the tray and get a blood sample. We'll
worry about getting one from you, after we find out if he has
anything."

"Thanks, Jess." Katryn replied, gratefully.

"De nada." He responded, as he walked out of his room.

Katryn watched him leave the sick berth, with a thoughtful
smile.

"Shall I be making baby booties next?" Davey quipped
deviously, without looking up from what he was working on, which
appeared to Katryn to be another pair of socks, as he'd already ended
up making pairs for most of the crew since they'd left Florida.
After the initial teasing wore down, the crew, having discovered how
comfortable the knitted socks were, had requested he make them each a
pair.

"Bite me, Davey." Katryn retorted, entering the make-shift
O.R., where they kept the equipment for lab-work. She grabbed the
tray used for blood testing and headed back toward her own quarters.

Davey, behind her, exchanged a cheeky grin with Cortez.

 

Archie was puzzling over the spot of blood on the bedclothes
when he heard the door open again. It was too soon to be Katryn,
obviously. Frowning, he looked up as Horatio, looking very guilty,
peered around the screen.

"I'm alright, Horatio." Archie assured his friend, motioning
for him to sit down. "What did First Officer Rats-Love want?"

Horatio grinned. "He asked me to bring him a bag that was
under his bed."

Archie raised an eyebrow. "That bag wouldn't have contained
knitting needles, would it?" He asked, curiously.

Horatio stared at him. "How did you know?"

"Did he show you or did you look?"

"Archie!" Horatio scolded, insulted. "You know very well I
would never open it and look, without permission! It was open when I
pulled it out."

Archie shrugged. "Katryn mentioned it was probably something
to that aspect."

Horatio nodded. "Apparently, he was the youngest of his
grandmother's four grandsons and an only child, whose parents were
commonly abroad." He explained. "So he spent much of his time with
his grandmother and because she'd never had any granddaughters, that
was the result."

"You would never expect that about him." Archie commented,
thoughtfully.

They looked up as the door opened again.

"Katryn?" Archie called, uncertain.

"Yeah, it's me."

Archie frowned, at the tone of her voice. "Are you alright?"

"It depends on how you look at it." Katryn answered, coming
around the screen. She was carrying a tray of what was definitely
not food.

"Are you bleeding?" Archie asked, remembering the blood he'd
found earlier.

Horatio frowned, confused.

Katryn sighed, and held up her thumb, now covered with a
bandage. "I slipped with the needle earlier." She informed
them. "I didn't realize it had gone through the glove until I was
leaving the room a while ago." She paused, taking a deep
breath. "And because of health risks and given your past history,
we're going to have to run a blo0d test."

"To make sure I didn't pass anything on to you." Archie
stated, quietly.

Katryn nodded.

"Do you need me to leave?" Horatio asked, concerned.

"Not if you don't want to." Katryn replied,
shrugging. "From what I hear, there's not much in his past history
that you don't already know. I am going to have to have you move
though, because I need the chair."

"Of course." Horatio readily responded, moving aside.

Katryn, noticing the look of guilt and shame that had crossed
Archie's face, sighed. "This isn't your fault, Archie." She assured
him, sternly. "It's my fault because I'm a doctor and I was careless
with a needle."

"I was the one who moved." Archie insisted.

"You couldn't help having a muscle spasm and I should have
compensated by waiting until it passed." Katryn told him, pointedly,
as she put her rubber gloves on. "Ergo, it's my fault, not yours."
She paused. "So hold still this time."

"Are you still using this?" Archie asked, holding up his arm
where the needle was.

"Nah, I thought I'd pull it out and stick you again just to
get even." Katryn retorted, seriously.

Horatio stared at her.

Archie rolled his eyes, and shook his head. "She's joking,
Horatio." He assured his friend, as he placed his right arm on a
pillow Katryn had set down beside him.

Horatio sighed. "That's not funny."

"Says you." Katryn quipped, inserting a needle attached to
an almost clear tube into the IV port.

Archie watched, curiously, as she filled a glass tube-like
container with blood then placed it on the tray and pulled the needle
back out. "That's it?" He asked, incredulously.

"That's it." She replied, with a nod. "Painless, wasn't it?"

"Can you pull that other one out?" Horatio questioned,
inquisitively.

"I could." Katryn answered, with a shrug. "But it would
mean that every time I needed to give him a shot of medication, he
becomes my own personal pincushion, and I'll just have to put another
one in, next week when he goes back into surgery."

Archie blinked. "I suppose we might just leave it alone for
the time being." He put in quickly.

"If you insist." Katryn returned, with a sweet smile.

They all looked up, when the door opened again.

"That'll be Jesse." Katryn spoke up, grinning.

"Yeah, where's my blood sample?" He asked.

"Where's my food?" Katryn returned, pointedly.

"I'll take that tray, you take this one." Jesse responded,
setting a tray of food in Archie's lap.

As Katryn passed him the other tray, Jesse turned to
Hornblower.

"Lance said to remind you, you're on Watch in . . . ." He
paused, checking Katryn's watch. "Ten minutes ago."

Horatio's head jerked up. "Is it after 3:00, already?!"

Katryn frowned. "No, you still have twenty minutes." She
informed him. "You're reading it upside-down, Jess."

"Oh right." Jesse corrected himself. "That would explain
why it looked like the little hand was on the nine. You need to put
some numbers on that thing, Kat."

"It has a Roman Numeral twelve at the top." Katryn defended.

Horatio breathed a sigh of relief and Archie chuckled.

"I doubt Hendricks is going to hang you by your thumbs for
being ten minutes late, anyway." Katryn assured him, easily. "He
knows where you are, so you don't have to rush off right away."

"I-I'd best be getting ready, at any rate." Horatio
stammered, getting up.

"How long is your Watch?" Archie asked, disappointed.

"Only four hours." Horatio answered, waving a hand. "I'll
return later, if that's alright."

"No problem." Katryn replied, nodding.

The two of them waited until the others left, then Archie
turned his attention to the tray in his lap. "What do we have to
eat?" He asked, eagerly. He was famished.

Katryn looked up as they were finishing their lunch. "So
about this Sleazeball of yours. . . ." She spoke up, curiously.

"Simpson." Archie corrected, then frowned. "On second
thought `Sleazeball' sounds more appropriate. I don't know what it
means, but it certainly sounds like him."

Katryn grinned. "Sleazeball, it is then." She went
on. "Did he ever have any victims before you?"

Archie shrugged. "I suspect there were quite a few, although
I only ever heard of the one that was just before me." He told her,
thoughtfully. "He'd been in the Navy years before I joined up and I
sincerely doubt the boy before me was the first he'd ever assaulted."

"No, I doubt it." Katryn agreed.

"Are you worried about what your blood test is going to find?"

I won't lie to you." Katryn responded, honestly. "From your
past history and Sleazeball's past history, you're at risk for any
number of diseases."

"He wouldn't have risked that for himself." Archie assured
her. "I believe that's why he only went after young boys fresh from
home, with no previous experience."

"You know that for sure?"

"From what I gathered, he only went after the newly recruited
boys."

Katryn made a face. "So his M.O., or `Mode of Operation',"
she translated, "was to prey on the innocents."

"Essentially, yes." Archie answered, looking just as
disgusted. "From what I saw, Horatio was the eldest he'd ever gone
after, at the age of seventeen, but that was when Horatio first
joined the Navy, and he came fresh out of school, with no experience."

"Did he ever visit the . . . what do you call the
whorehouses?"

"Brothels?"

"Yeah, I've heard the reputation of the Navy in this time
period, too." Katryn told him, pointedly.

Archie scoffed. "He didn't need the whores." He remarked,
with a snort. "Why would he? There was never any shortage of young
boys in the Navy. I can't tell you he didn't visit them when he was
younger but I do know that I certainly never saw him with any."

Katryn chewed her lip, uncomfortable.

"What's the matter?" Archie asked, frowning.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I do have to ask. . ."

"You're wanting to know if I ever visited the brothels."
Archie stated, knowingly.

She nodded. "I'm not meaning to insult you or offend you,
but I just know what I've read and-"

Archie held up a hand, interrupting her. "You don't have to
apologize and you're not offending me." He assured her. "I
understand why you're asking and I'll gladly answer any questions you
need to ask. As for my visiting the brothels, you can stop worrying
about that. I've been invited a few times, by other Officers and
such, but I can promise you I never been with any whores." He
paused, flushing. "Given the circumstances, I've never been very
comfortable in places like that." The flush deepened, and he looked
down, embarrassed. "In fact, I've never really been with any woman
before."

Katryn waited until he looked back up at her, then gave him a
reassuring smile. "That's nothing to be ashamed of." She informed
him, seriously. "And no honest, caring woman would ever hold it
against you."

"Really?" He asked, unsure.

Katryn grinned, giving him a nudge on the shoulder. "If she
does, she's not worth keeping." She promised him,
honestly. "Besides, even though they don't admit it, neither have a
lot of men. They just love to lie about it to make guys like you
jealous."

Archie nodded, self-consciously, his cheeks still crimson.

Katryn sobered as he met her gaze again. "I still have to
ask a few more questions though."

"Ask away." Archie commented, shrugging.

"Were you ever assaulted by anyone other than Sleazeball?"
Katryn asked, ardently.

Archie sighed. "I was beaten a few times by others, but
never more than that." He replied, grimacing. "Sleazeball never
really wanted to share me around. I actually saw him threaten men
for even suggesting it. He'd make me go ashore with him, to show me
off, I suppose. He always made sure everyone knew I was his piece of
property."

"That's nasty." Katryn stated, sneering.

"And humiliating, believe me." Archie agreed, miserably. "I
was actually sitting in a tavern, when I heard a man at a nearby
table, asking Sleazeball what he'd charge for this man to use me for
the night. I can't even begin to describe what that felt like."

"I expect it would make you feel pretty cheap, at any rate."
Katryn commented. "So he'd do all that, but refused to loan you out
to other men?"

Archie shrugged. "Many of those men had a tendency to visit
the brothels, frequently, as well as assaulting any number of fresh
young boys." He pointed out. "I told you he would not risk the
chance of getting anything from me."

"And he apparently was attached to you for some freaky reason
and didn't want to lose his favorite victim." Katryn finished, with
a flat look.

"Yes, actually." Archie returned, making a face. "Or at
least I was his favorite victim, until another better looking young
boy joined the Navy. Then he wouldn't care, anymore."

"So he used boys until he saw something better, then tossed
them out like a used litter-box liner." Katryn mused, thoughtfully.

Archie nodded. "He used us repeatedly, over and over, until
there wasn't even any sport in it, anymore." He told her,
gravely. "Whenever I was alone, he always knew, and was always
there. I couldn't get away from him."

"Didn't the other crew members do anything?" Katryn asked,
frowning. "I mean it's a big ship, full of a lot of people. Didn't
anyone say anything?"

"Most of the ones who knew, were afraid of him and the rest
either didn't know or didn't care." He informed her, sighing. "They
always found something else to do in other parts of the ship, when he
came after me. I even tried to kill myself once, but couldn't finish
because I was never alone long enough. He always knew what I was up
to, and told me I was his little whore, and I'd best get used to it
and that no self-respecting woman would want me anymore, anyway."

"Is that why you weren't comfortable with them?"

Archie bit his lip. "Part of the reason, I suppose." He
answered, quietly, looking away.

Katryn reached over and pulled his chin back, so he faced
her. Archie still refused to meet her gaze, and she couldn't help
but notice the tear that slid down his face.

"Please look at me." Katryn requested, softly.

He swallowed, and finally met her piercing gaze. The pain
she saw reflected in his eyes made Katryn want to cry.

"He was a lying bastard and that is not now, and will <never>
be, true." She told him calmly, yet with a firm tone, as she brushed
his tears away. "And you can take that from the point of view of a
very self-respecting woman. Honestly, I'd sooner believe that no
self-respecting woman would ever touch that creep, with a six-foot
cattle-prod, before I'd believe it about you."

Archie gave a cough, that sounded suspiciously like a
laugh. "What's a cattle-prod?"

Katryn grinned. "It's a stick that gives an electric shock,
or zap, and is commonly used for herding cattle." She informed
him. "Not that you'd know what an electric shock was, but let's just
say it's like a really weak lightning strike." She paused, watching
him.

Archie's head was bowed, but she could see the smile forming
across his face.

Katryn grinned. "That's more like it." He really had a cute
smile, she noted, inwardly.

Archie finally looked up at her with gratitude visible in his
eyes. "Thank you." He replied, simply, as no more was needed.

"I was only telling the truth." Katryn returned, sincerely,
then gave a thoughtful look. "One more question, if I may."

Archie raised an eyebrow.

"Is he dead?" Katryn asked, seriously.

Archie gave a sly grin. "Why? Were you planning `Temporary
Insanity'?"

Katryn shrugged, trying to look innocent but Archie was not
falling for it.

"Horatio had a duel with him several years ago." Archie told
her, after a moment. "I wasn't there to see it, because I was
captured before that, but I hear he fired his shot early, claiming it
was a misfire, and didn't kill Horatio. Then fell to his knees,
pleading for his life, when Horatio was told to fire back at will."

"He didn't!" Katryn exclaimed, laughing.

"I wasn't there, as I said, but Horatio was the one who told
me about it, so I assume it's true." Archie went on, with a snigger.

"So did he shoot him?"

Archie sighed. "No. Said he wasn't worth the powder." He
responded, glumly.

"Shoot him anyway!" Katryn argued. "It would have been
fun! In fact, better yet. Shoot him in a really delicate spot, then
watch him scream. That would be more fun."

Archie started laughing. "You possess a devious spirit about
you, do you not?" He commented.

"When it comes to creatures like that, you'd better believe
it." Katryn retorted, nodding.

"Well <I> don't blame you, but I'm afraid Horatio isn't like
that." Archie informed her, regretfully. "He shot in the air."

"I bet Sleazeball didn't like that."
"He waited until Horatio turned his back, then grabbed a
dagger off Dr. Hepplewhite, who was our surgeon, at that time, and
tried to stab him in the back." Archie supplied.

"And?" Katryn prompted.

"Captain Pellew shot him dead." He finished.

"What did they do with the body?"

"What do you mean?" Archie asked, confused.

"You know, kick a little dirt on him and feed his worthless
carcass to the birds?" Katryn pressed, eagerly.

"My, aren't you the morbid one?" He commented, in disbelief.

Katryn sobered. "You're right. That would be terrible."
She remarked, after a minute.

Archie frowned, noticing the gleam in her glittering blue-
grey eyes.

"For the birds." She finished.

Archie laughed harder, and wiped tears off his cheeks.

"What?" She defended. "Seriously, think of the indigestion
the poor birds would get from that creep?"

"Stop!" He begged, holding his side. "You're going to kill
me!"

Katryn grinned, sheepishly. "Sorry." She replied,
sincerely, after a brief pause.

"You never finished your story." Archie reminded her, when
they'd both sobered.

"Where did I stop?"

"Something about your `piano' lessons." Archie replied,
thinking. "Tunes from theater performances?"

"Right, man I loved to play those songs." Katryn went, on
remembering. "I'd been in choir class, when I was about twelve or
thirteen and those were the songs we sang there. I'd loved them so
much that I had my teacher buy them so we could play them on the
piano.

"Nothing wrong with that."

"I encouraged him to buy me things, and I was a good student,
but only when I got my way." Katryn admitted, frowning.

A sudden look of understanding crept across Archie's
features. "You felt it was your own fault. That you allowed him to
do the things he did." He spoke up, speculatively. "That's why you
feel stupid about it."

Katryn looked down and he noticed a tear that fell into her
lap. This was certainly a switch from her normally good spirited
personality.

Archie reached over, and picked her chin up, to look at her
face, as she had done with him, just a few minutes ago. "It was not
your fault." He told her, seriously, wiping the tears away with his
thumb. "He was the one that took advantage of you, not the other way
around. You only did what any child would have done in your place.
You said yourself he'd been a close friend of your family, and like
an Uncle to you. Why should you not accept gifts from such a trusted
friend?"

Katryn nodded, with a woeful look in her eyes. "You know
when I finally realized something was wrong?"

"When?"

"The day he stopped me as I was running out of the studio
door, when I was about seventeen." After describing every part of my
body, in detail, telling me how beautiful it was, as he'd obviously
been looking every chance he could get, he told me he wanted me to be
his wife."

Archie stared in disbelief.

"Then he told me he loved me, but he didn't want to hurt his
wife because she'd been so good to him all those years." Katryn
explained, with a shiver.

Archie shook his head in disgust. "So then he wanted to keep
you as a mistress, and not say anything to his wife?" He asked. "Is
that what you're saying?"

Katryn nodded. "I believe that was what he was driving at."
She answered. "Anyway, I told him `no way' and ran out the door as
fast as I could."

"I can't imagine things would be the same after that."
Archie remarked, dispirited. "Unless he still thought you were
playing `hard to get.'"

Katryn shrugged. "He pretended it never happened, and never
brought it up again."

"Well, that's not bad, at least I should think things would
change after that, at any rate." Archie commented, pointedly.

"I don't think he ever forgave me for it, though." Katryn
told him, frowning. "He didn't stop buying things for me but his
demeanor changed. He no longer seemed interested in my singing, and
he was always telling me about the things he did with his wife."

"As in something you didn't want to hear?" Archie asked,
making a face.

"Don't be silly." Katryn retorted, with a snort. "They
didn't do that sort of thing, as far as I knew. He told me once that
his wife gained so much weight after their daughter was born, he
thought her health was more important then `other things'. Meaning
she got fat and he didn't want her anymore."

"That seems rather arrogant."

"We call it pig-headed, where I come from." Katryn
corrected. "No, it was nothing like that. He'd talk about the
places he took her and the things he did for her, that kind of thing."

"Trying to make you jealous?" Archie asked, amused.

"Never worked." Katryn remarked, shrugging. "And I bet it
frustrated him, too. Because he also did one particular thing that
seriously made me angry."

Archie raised a eyebrow, but remained silent, waiting for her
to continue.

"There was this huge Festival for Christmas, every year.
They had all their students preform and they had loads of awards to
present for it. The biggest was for the student who had made the
most progress during the year. I was put up for it, because of my
memory with songs and because I'd won two awards before that. I'd
not missed a recital in seven years."

"You didn't get it, did you?" Archie asked, noting her
downcast appearance.

"No, I was graduating that year, so he made up
an `Outstanding Senior' award, just to shut me up." Katryn told him,
glumly. "Of course they had to give it to the other girl who also
graduated that year and then she also got the big award, even though
she'd had it the year before."

"That's what made you mad?"

"No, what made me mad is that one week before the Festival,
he told me that if I sang the song I had picked out to sing, they
would pull it off in the middle of my performance, because it
was `inappropriate for a church'." Katryn informed him.

Archie stared at her. "And that was his way of punishing you
for refusing him?"

Katryn shrugged. "I don't know what he meant to prove." She
confessed. "He told me his son had specified that."

"What was the song about?"

"It was about a woman who'd had a fight with her husband, and
he'd run out to get some air." Katryn described. "Probably just to
get away. Anyhow, there was a storm, and he died in a crash into a
tree that got hit by lightning."

"Sad." He commented.

"The song was about her memories of him and her guilt, at
losing him, after an argument." She went on. "In all honesty, what
do you suppose a woman who really did love her husband would remember
about him?"

Archie's brow furrowed. "Well, I'd probably have to hear the
song, but actually, I can see why he wouldn't allow it."

"That's not what I was arguing about." Katryn insisted. "I
understood that. What ticked me off was the fact that I'd been
practicing it for a month, previous to that and he'd never said one
word before that. Don't you think that if it were not appropriate,
he would have said so, the first time I sang it?"

"Did you ask about it, then?"

"Yes." Katryn told him, sighing. "I sang four different
songs and asked which one would be best for the Festival."

"And?"

"He said, in a very bored tone; `Which one do you like the
best?'" She replied, rolling her eyes.

"Wasn't he even listening?"

"Why would he?" Katryn pointed out. "I made it clear I
wasn't singing them to him, so he quit listening."

Archie stared in astonishment. "Well, he'd still be your
teacher, so wasn't he supposed to be telling you what to sing?"

"He stopped being my teacher long before that, Archie."
Katryn answered, slowly. "I picked the songs, I decided what to sing
and how to sing it, I decided what to play on the piano, and the only
thing he did was take me shopping and stare at me. I was going
nowhere at all. I just didn't see it until a year later."

"So what did you do for the Festival?"

"The only thing I could do." Katryn replied, shaking her
head. "It was way too late to choose a new song, so I had to do one
I'd done a few times before and believe me, I didn't like it."

"No, I wouldn't expect so." Archie commented, in agreement.

"Anyway, I waited another year, working twice as hard."
Katryn went on. "Again, I was up for the big award. I came up with
a song that blew them away, it was that good."

"I want to hear that."

"Later, I promise." Katryn returned, before continuing. "I
was the last performer, and I had people standing up, applauding."

Archie grinned. "I believe."

Her face fell. "What did I get? An award for attending
eight years of recitals." She stated, looking frustrated. "A stupid
attendance award that any idiot who went to recitals could win, if
they went long enough."

"He made up another one, then?"

"And another one of his students got the one I had worked all
those years for." Katryn finished. "I found out that year why I
could never win that award."

"Why?"

"Because I had free lessons and it would look like
favoritism." Katryn explained, distantly.

Archie stared. "That doesn't seem very fair."

"No, it wasn't." Katryn answered, making a face. "I quit
that year. I lost interest in recitals, and stopped going to them.
I was headed for Med. School anyway, so I had too much to do. Then I
quit church that year, as well."

"That, I'm surprised you didn't sooner." Archie commented.

"My parents made me go until I was eighteen."

"Did you ever tell them?"

"Yeah, I told my mom a while after we started going to a new
church." Katryn answered. "My mom had said she watched us drop out
one after another, and realized that the old church was going
nowhere. It was like they were dead. The pastor's wife grew more
and more judgmental toward her, mainly because she blamed her for my
sisters and I quitting. So my father and her both left, and found a
new church." She paused, seeing his confused face. "What?"

"Did you go to this new church?"

"Yes, I loved it." Katryn told him, with a smile. "They
were so nice there, and they never expected us to be perfect, and
didn't care about what we wore, jeans, pants, earrings, make-
up. . . ."

"And the other one did?"

"They hated everything we did." Katryn remarked, making a
face. "We were a bunch of heathens to them."

Archie frowned. "Yet the minister had been seducing you all
those years." He commented. "If you ask me, they have no room to
talk."

"Yes, but the family didn't really know about that." Katryn
reminded him. "As far as they knew, he was a good man, who was nice
to us, giving us free lessons, and we didn't appreciate it." She
paused. "You look like there's something else you're wanting to ask."

Archie shrugged. "Just out of curiosity."

Katryn raised an eyebrow.

"I'm a little surprised you went back to any church at all,
really." Archie spoke up, timidly. "I don't honestly think I would
have, after such an experience."

"You can't really blame God for one lousy minister." Katryn
pointed out. "That doesn't mean they're all like that. Obviously,
not everyone is the same so why should all churches be the same?"

Archie shrugged. "I suppose, when you put it that way, you
have a point." He admitted.

"Well it's the same as your situation, really." Katryn
informed him, pointedly. "Obviously not all Navy ships are the same,
because I sincerely doubt Captain Pellew would allow the things that
happened on your last ship."

"No, he'd have had Simpson executed, if he'd known."

"There you have it." Katryn replied, with a grin. "You know
that when I told my mom what had been going on, she actually had
suspected it?"

Archie raised an eyebrow. "A bit more perceptive then you
thought, was she?"

"She said that if I'd have told her sooner, we'd have been
out of that church that much faster."

Archie gave a chuckle, then frowned. "You never mentioned
when you realized what he'd done to you."

"That's the odd thing." Katryn remarked, shaking her
head. "I studied abuse. Wrote papers on it. I knew all the
different kinds, and all the symptoms of it, abused children, abused
people, all of it. The only thing I didn't do, was look in the
mirror, because I had all of them. I hated to be touched, I didn't
like to be close to men. I've never had a decent relationship,
because of that."

Archie nodded, understanding. "So then you've never been
close to anyone, either?"

"No." Katryn answered, with a small smile. "Every time he
wanted to get closer, I got uncomfortable, and he got upset, because
I couldn't explain why I felt the way I did." She paused. "So, do I
make you feel better?"

"Actually yes, now that you mention it." Archie replied,
with a grin. "So when did you figure things out?"

"I was doing more research into abuse, for something I was
writing for Med. School, and I found out that abuse isn't just the
physical part." Katryn explained. "The merest suggestion, remark,
or uncomfortable feeling also qualifies as abuse. It hit me like a
ton of bricks, because I'd had all that, and more. After that, I
finally told my mother."

Archie gave a thoughtful look, as an idea occurred to
him. "You know, you're right." He spoke up, seriously.

Katryn frowned. "Hmm?"

"That man got off way too easily." Archie told her,
pointedly, pausing.

Katryn raised an eyebrow.

"I would have made him eat it, too." He finished.

Katryn burst out laughing, and he joined her.

"You know there's a song about it." Katryn informed him,
when they'd calmed down.

"You're joking!" Archie cried, shaking his head. "No one
would write a song about such a thing!"

"No really!" Katryn insisted. "It's a satire-parody of
another song, written by a good Jewish insane person, named; `Weird
Al' Yankovic."

Archie stared. "Tell me that's not his real name." He
retorted, with a snicker.

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Yeah, two loving parents got
together, with their new baby son, and said `Let's call him Weird
Al.'" She answered, flatly.

Archie shrugged. "Well, in your time period, how would I
know?" He pointed out.

"He added the `weird'." Katryn informed him, smiling. "His
real name is Alfred Yankovic. Anyhow, the song is called Headline
News, and covers the three biggest news stories of that year. That
story was the third verse."

Archie grinned, eagerly. "I have to hear this."

"Do you want me to sing it or find it?"

"By all means, sing it." Archie invited. "Then find it!"

Katryn shook her head, laughing. "Try to hold your fits of
giggles until I'm done." She warned. "I get distracted easily."

"Would you like me to wait in the other room?" Archie asked,
slyly.

Katryn gave him a flat look. "That was a whole different
situation." She objected. "Now stop that, you're distracting me."

Archie grinned. "Sorry, please go on." He apologized,
sobering.

Katryn's face turned more serious, and she started singing.

Archie had to cover his mouth almost immediately, to stop
himself from laughing out loud in disbelief.

"Once, there was this guy, who
Made his wife so mad, one night,
That she cut off his Weiner.
And when he finally came to,
He found that Mr. Happy was missing.
He couldn't quite explain,
It had always just been there. . . ."

"You can laugh now." She replied, as she finished.

Archie collapsed into fits of laughter. "`Mr. Happy'?!" He
questioned, gasping.

"Yeah, you know!" Katryn went on, seriously. "`Mr.
Happy', `Captain Winkie', `Little Buddie'?! What? You mean nobody
uses those names, <now?!>"

Archie couldn't answer. He was laughing too hard. "Find me
that song!" He managed to get out, in the midst of his hysterics.

"`Song'?!" Katryn retorted, in disbelief. "I'm gonna have
to get you another muscle relaxer in a minute! Stop that!"

This comment managed to calm him down. As soon as he'd
recovered, he looked her in the eye. "The fact that anyone would use
one of those particular names to describe that particular part of
anatomy, is profoundly disturbing." He remarked, completely serious.

Katryn smirked. "But hysterically funny." She finished.

"Well, that goes without saying." Archie replied,
giggling. "Please find me that song now." He paused. "And all the
others you mentioned too."

Katryn shook her head. "This may take a while."

"And I want to hear the one you sang for Christmas, that
year . . . .with you singing." He added.

"The Power of the Dream." Katryn supplied. "I haven't done
that in a while."

"Where's that memory of yours?" Archie returned, pointedly.

"Memory, I have. It's the voice control, I'm concerned
about." Katryn informed him. "And if you'd heard the song, you'd
understand why." She paused. "Also, I'll have to find it. I know
it's on one I have here, but it may take a bit, and I can't do it
without it. It's the kind of song it is."

"But if you can find it?" Archie asked, with a pleading look.

"Oh! Stop!" She scolded. "Enough with the puppy-eyes,
already! I'll do it if I can find it."

Archie smiled, happily, as she disappeared to the other side
of the room, out of his sight. He heard her rummaging around and
finally she returned with a pile of tapes, a black case, with a
handle, that she opened, to reveal more tapes, and a larger black
contraption. It had buttons on the top, and two compartments, that
looked as if they'd hold tapes.

"Is this the one that plays out loud?" Archie asked,
curiously.

"Oh yes." Katryn responded. "At its loudest, you can hear
it in the Captain's quarters from here."

Archie raised his eyebrows, clearly impressed. "Well, we'd
probably better not have it quite that loud." He remarked,
pointedly. "I'd not want to be deaf, by the time I'm thirty."

Katryn rolled her eyes. "As if !" She retorted, with a
snort. "I've been listening to a walkman since I was twelve, not to
mention this thing. Do I appear to be deaf?!"

Archie frowned. "Walk-Man?"

Katryn gave an understanding look, and held up the small tape
player. "Walkman." She informed him. "One word: Portable Cassette
Player. See? Clips to your belt, so you can use it while climbing."

"Impressive." Archie commented, poking at the clip. "How
does it work?" He questioned. "In fact, how do any of them work?
Or is that something you can't tell me?"

Katryn frowned, considering it. "I'm pretty sure they won't
be invented in your time, so I really don't see what harm it'll do."
She replied, slowly, opening a little door on the back of the walkman
and pulling something out.

Archie's brow furrowed, as he examined the small, cylinder-
shaped object. It had a raised circle shaped bump on one end, and an
indented circle on the other. It had a black end, and was mostly
silver, with an orange and yellow stripe down it, beneath the
word, `Energizer'. "What is it?" He asked, handing it back.

"A battery." She told him, pushing it back in. "This player
runs on two Double A size batteries."

"And the big one?"

"Eight Size C's." She informed him, opening the compartment
on the back of it. "And my flashlight, the light I had last night,
runs on three Size D's."

"So how do the batteries work?"

"That's a little too much to explain, and I really shouldn't
tell you, because they aren't invented for a long time yet."

Archie nodded. "I can respect that."

"I will tell you that they only have so much power in them."
Katryn explained, pointedly. "I have new ones to replace them but
I'm not really wanting to go through a lot of batteries."

"I take your meaning." Archie replied, smiling. "Don't use
it too much."

"Well, the little one uses less power." Katryn told him,
shrugging. "The big one uses a lot, so as long as we use the little
one most of the time, we're fine."

Archie nodded, then noticed Katryn checking her watch. "What
time is it?"

"Time for me to check Jesse and the others." She answered,
regretfully. "Jesse's got to be getting his rest, or his body's not
going to be able to fight off the virus."

"Then you'll be working three times harder." Archie
commented, concerned.

Katryn sighed, and met his gaze. "Archie, you know I don't
have a choice." She spoke up, quietly. "Jesse can't do this by
himself and Jesus and Willie are just as bad as he is. Eventually,
they're going to get as bad as Davey and Jacques, and they can't even
get out of bed to use the bathroom, without getting dizzy. There's
no way Jesse can take care of Redbird like that."

Archie sighed, and nodded. "I know." He admitted,
softly. "And I do understand . . . . but that wont stop me from
worrying about you. I know you didn't go back to sleep last night."

"No, I didn't." She replied, slowly. "I've had insomnia for
years, after a bad blow to the head, back when I was sixteen. When I
get worried about something, I have trouble sleeping."

"Why don't you take something for it?"

"Because there's not much that works on me." Katryn informed
him, shrugging. "My family builds up immunities to drugs fast.
Sometimes, what works some nights wont work other nights. I have to
keep switching, and that's kind of frustrating. You know morphine
doesn't work on my family?"

Archie blinked. "That must be frustrating."

"It is." Katryn agreed. "Although, it's fun to tease
surgeons with."

"How so?"

"Well, most of the time, when a surgeon puts you under the
anesthetic, before surgery, they tell you to count backwards from
ten." Katryn explained. "So they know when the medication starts
working. If you can still count, then it's not working."

"Makes sense."

Katryn gave a sheepish grin. "I made it to about negative
forty before they realized that maybe this wasn't working."

Archie laughed, shaking his head, then sobered. "You still
look so exhausted." He put in, touching the dark circles under her
eyes.

"I'll wear a surgical mask when I go in there." She finally
replied. "That'll keep me from breathing in any cooties. Now, I'd
better get going. I have to check and see what Jesse found on the
blood test if nothing else."

Archie nodded, more than a little disappointed, as he eyed
the tapes on his bed.
Katryn seeing this, grinned. "You know, if you want to
listen to something, while I'm out, feel free." She told him,
pulling a few tapes out. "This is Phantom of the Opera; Joseph and
the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; and Cats. They're the soundtracks
of theater performances in our time. I played several from Phantom,
including the title track, on piano, so I'm sure you'll be
interested."

Archie grinned. "That sounds wonderful." He agreed,
eagerly. "How does this thing work?"

Katryn showed him how to put the tape into the walkman, and
then showed him every button, the volume switch, and how to work
them. "And when the tape stops, you pull it out and turn it over, so
you hear both sides." She finished.

Archie nodded. "I think I understand." He replied, with
confidence.

"Good, I'll be back in a bit." Katryn returned. "If you
need anything, just give and yell, and someone will come get me."

"Thank you." He responded, gratefully. "For everything."

Katryn leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek, then
looked right into his slightly surprised blue eyes, with a
smile. "Thank you. For what you said about it not being my fault."
She told him, contented. "You have no idea how much I needed to hear
that."

Archie gave a sad smile. "Yes I do." He replied, thinking
of the things she'd said to him. "And I was only telling the truth."

Katryn grinned and without another word, she turned and
disappeared around the screen.

Archie waited until he heard the door close behind her,
before he settled the headset over his ears and picked up the
walkman. Jesse was a lucky man, he mused, inwardly.

Katryn had never said anything to him about it but Archie
could see it in the way she talked of him and the way she looked at
him, as well as the way they acted together.

It was good, he decided, as he pushed the `play' button.
After all that pain, Katryn needed someone like Jesse. He was a good
man and Archie could think of no other man who could deserve her more.

He smiled and sighed when the music started. It would be
nice to hear how much the theater had changed over the years.

Chapter Eleven

Katryn looked around as she entered the main sick berth.
After peering into the back room, she walked over to
Conrad. "Where's Jess?"

"He was doing a blood test or something, but right now I'm
pretty sure he's blowing chunks in the bathroom." Conrad informed
her.

"Not over the blood test, I hope." Katryn returned, frowning.

"Nah, don't think he finished it yet." Conrad answered,
sounding unsure.

Katryn sighed. "How's Carlos?"

"Woke up for a while and drank some water, about ten minutes
ago." Conrad replied. "He's feeling a little better than he was and
his lungs don't sound as full."

"That's good." Katryn responded, sighing. "I was really
worried about him for a while."

"You're not the only one." Conrad informed her with a smile.

"You're supposed to be wearing a mask."

Conrad shook his head. "I've been exposed to it for a week,
KC." He told her, tiredly. "I've been getting a sore throat since
this morning."

Katryn groaned, inwardly. "Did you tell Jesse?"

"He already put me on antibiotics." Conrad answered, nodding.

"This is getting out of hand." Katryn stated, sighing.

"Is Archie okay?"

"Archie's fine, so far." Katryn answered, shaking her head.

Conrad frowned. "What was all that about earlier?" He
asked, confused. "The way he was screaming, we weren't so sure."

"He had some pretty bad muscle spasms in his leg." Katryn
informed him, stretching her neck a bit. "And the itching is driving
him insane too."

"Oh, say no more." Conrad remarked, grinning. "I broke my
arm back in highschool, and the itching was second to worst from the
pain. Swore I'd never break another bone as long as I lived just to
avoid ever being in another cast."

Katryn grinned back. "I know exactly what you mean." She
assured him, then turned as Jesse came back in from the
bathroom. "How are you? Feeling any better?"

Jesse yawned. "Not really." He murmured, headed toward the
back room.

Noticing his exhaustion, Katryn followed him. "Jess, I can
finish the blood test if you're really feeling bad." She offered.

Jesse sighed, taking his chair in front of the microscope and
other equipment. "No, I'll finish it." He insisted.

Katryn continued watching him in silence for a
minute. "Please promise me you'll get some rest after you finish it
then." She spoke up, seriously.

Jesse looked up and his almost black eyes met her
gaze. "I'll get some rest afterwards." He replied, honestly. "But
you have to get some rest too. You look like you're packing some
serious luggage under your eyes there, too. Don't think I don't know
you haven't slept much either."

Katryn gave a guilty look. "Alright." She promised. "I'll
take something tonight and we'll see how things go."

"For the moment, I'll keep an ear on everyone else." She
told him, pointedly. "You just lay down."

"You have to be watching Archie, KC!" Conrad called. "How
about you watch Archie, Harley lays down, and <I> keep an ear on
everyone else? I'm already sick, anyway so I can't go back to work."

"You hear that?" Katryn asked, looking at Jesse.

He nodded. "Fine with me." He called back.

"If anyone needs medication, I'll let you know." Conrad
assured Katryn.

"And I'll go to bed as soon as I let you know how the test
goes." Jesse added.

"What happen anyway?" Jack questioned, hoarsely. "You don't
do blood test for no reason."

Katryn sighed. "I poked myself with the needle, giving
Archie a shot, so we had to do a CBC."

Davey frowned, concerned. "Is there a reason to believe he'd
have something?"

"Yes, although it's no fault of his." Katryn answered,
quickly. "And I'm not saying anything else on it. He's upset enough
as it is that I got stuck, even though that was my fault."

"Sorry, didn't mean to push it." Davey apologized, noticing
Cortez was shaking his head at him, with a warning look. "Just
concerned is all."

"You look sleepy, KC." Cortez put in, frowning. "You
promise you try to sleep more tonight."

Katryn gave a wry smile as she turned to look at
Jesse. "You're not the first one that's said that." She informed
them, sighing. "I'm going to go see Russ and have him make sure to
tell anyone else in the crew that even thinks they might be sick to
come in here as soon as possible for antibiotics, just in case.
We've got to stop this bug before it goes any farther."

"Make sure you check George." Conrad reminded her. "He
shares our cabin, so he's been exposed to it too."

"I'll do that." Katryn remarked, headed for the door.

"And you'll need to tell both George and Russ that I wont be
leaving for lookout duty." Conrad added.

"Got it." Katryn answered, as she headed out the door.

As soon as Katryn was out of earshot, Davey turned to his
best friend, raising an eyebrow, with an unspoken question.

Cortez, after looking to make sure no one was listening,
leaned over closer. "Remember the bad stuff we read about some of
the Navy men of this time?" He whispered, pointedly.

Ratzlov frowned. "Which part?" He asked, also keeping his
voice low.

"The really nasty bad parts." Cortez told him, with a
knowing look.

Davey stared. "Archie?!"

Jacques nodded, seriously. "Not by choice but he had pretty
bad."

Davey sighed, shaking his head. "Explains a lot." He
replied, gravely. "I saw his face when KC asked about his medical
records. He was a mess."

"Just pray blood test come up clean." Cortez responded,
solemnly.

"Good call." Davey agreed.

Captain Richards looked up from the log, as Katryn poked her
head around the door, with a questioning look.

He smiled. "Come on in, KC." He invited, waving. "Le's
hear the next bout o' bad news."

"How do you know it's all bad news?" Katryn asked,
pointedly.

Russ raised an eyebrow. "Unless they've all been healed an'
no one else is sick, it's usually bad news."

Katryn sighed. "Jesse and the nurses are getting worse,
Conrad has it, and I poked myself with the needle giving Kennedy a
shot."

Richards leaned on his hand, with a groan. He knew all too
well what Kennedy's medical history included. "Oy. . . ." He moaned.

"But Redbird's doing a little better, Archie's not sick and
Jesse is doing a Complete Blood Count on Kennedy." Katryn went
on. "If he has anything, it'll show up."

Richards sighed. "Are Cortez an' Davey showin' any signs of
gettin' bet'er?" He asked, hopeful.

"Davey's down there with his knitting needles, but then he
does that normally, anyway." Katryn answered, thinking. "Overall,
they're not sounding as bad as they have been, so I suspect their
voices are coming back, but I'm not entirely sure if that's a good
thing, or not."

Richards chuckled. "I suppose at this point in time it's a
good thing." He commented.

Katryn nodded. "We're going to need to spread the word
amongst the rest of the crew that if anyone so much as thinks they
might feel sick, needs to see me immediately." She told him,
seriously. "Especially George, considering both Redbird and Conrad
are sick. We need to stop this thing before it spreads any farther.
Oh yeah." She remembered. "And Conrad said to get someone to cover
his lookout duty."

Richards gave a nod. "An' what of Horatio?" He asked.

"I'm watching him like a hawk." Katryn informed him. "He'll
tell me if he feels sick, because he wont risk Archie getting it from
him. If he has to, he will stay away from Archie, for his own
protection."

"Have ye got someone down there ta help ye?" Richards
inquired, concerned.

"Conrad's still in the early stages, so he's helping for the
moment." Katryn replied. "Jesse's going to lay down as soon as he
finishes the blood test, under protest, of course."

Russ nodded. "Get some rest yerself, KC." He
suggested. "Ye look like ye've not slept much lately."

"Is that an order?"

"I can make it one." He told her, evenly.

Katryn nodded. "Well, since you're about the fourth person
who's said that, I suppose I'd better get some rest tonight." She
acquiesced.

"Let Horatio know `e should relay that order ta his men, in
regards ta the virus." Russ told her, after a minute. "They were
down there as well, so that also puts `em at risk as much as anyone
else tha's been down there."

"I'll do that." Katryn answered, headed out the door.

Russ sighed as the door closed behind her. At the rate they
were going, the entire crew would be down with the virus before the
Indie could return. However, on the bright side, if Ratzlov and
Cortez were showing signs of getting better, perhaps they would be up
and around soon, and things wouldn't be so bad.

Having seen Dr. Casse enter the Captain's quarters as he was
getting off duty, Horatio entered her cabin without knocking, after
giving Lt. Conrad a nod to let him know where he'd be.

The room was quiet. "Archie?" He asked, frowning. Had he
gone to sleep?

Quietly, he peered around the dressing screen. The sight
that met his eyes surprised him.

Archie was laying back against the bed pillows, eyes closed,
with a contented smile. In his lap, was a small, gray, rectangular
device, he'd often seen Dr. Casse with. Covering Archie's ears, was
a black contraption, with what appeared to be pads, where the ears
were. This was attached to the device in Archie's lap, by a thin
black cord of some sort.

Spread around him, on the bed, was a pile of different
colored, small, rectangular shaped contraptions, with what appeared
to be little wheels inside. Strange, he mused.

"Archie?" Horatio spoke up again.

Archie did not move, yet he appeared to be awake. Perhaps
the contraption covering his ears had something to do with his not
hearing him.

Frowning, Horatio gave his friend a gentle nudge in the
shoulder.

Archie jumped and his eyes flew open. Spotting Horatio
beside him, he gave a guilty look and pressed a button on the device
in his lap, then lowered the other part from his ears. "When did you
come in?" He asked, sheepishly.

Horatio gave a small smile, shaking his head. "Only just
now." He replied, reassuringly. "What have you been doing?"

Archie gave a subdued grin, and held up the device in his
lap. "Listening to a theater production, called 'Phantom of the
Opera.'" He answered, happily. "Very good, so far, I must say."

Horatio frowned. "I'm assuming that's not from our time
period." He stated, raising an eyebrow.

"No, not really." Archie admitted. "But Katryn says it has
nothing to do with <our> future, nor will it ever come out in our
lifetime, so it's not really prying into anything."

Horatio nodded. "I suppose if she doesn't see anything wrong
with it, it doesn't matter much." He replied with a shrug.

"Did you see her out there?" Archie asked, curiously.

"I saw her enter Captain Richards' cabin." Horatio
responded, looking concerned. "Did you need something?"

"Just a small bit of itching." Archie assured him. "I can
wait until she comes back."

Horatio nodded toward the device in Archie's lap. "Has the
theater changed much?" He asked, changing the subject.

"Well, it's not Shakespear. It's someone called, `Andrew
Lloyd Webber' but overall, it's not bad." Archie told him,
grinning. "The music is somewhat . . . . different."

"Different as in how?"

"A few of the songs have a very interesting beat to them."
Archie answered, honestly. "They use drums in a whole different way,
and there's another instrument in there, but I'm not sure what it
is. Sounds like some kind of string instrument, but I can't place
it. Probably not invented, yet."

"You could ask Dr. Casse." Horatio suggested.

Archie nodded. "I planned to." He replied. "I must admit
the orchestra and organ music are very good, especially in the
song, 'Phantom of the Opera.' Katryn said she had to play that one
on the pianoforte, because she liked it so much and I can readily see
why."

Horatio stared. "Katryn plays the pianoforte?" He asked,
amazed.

Archie gave an almost sad smile. "For years." He remarked,
absently. "And she's a very good singer as well . . . at least that
was before she quit to pursue a career in the Medical profession."

"If she was so good, why quit?" Horatio asked, confused.

Archie's face changed. "Oh, she had her reasons." He
answered, distantly. "She explained it to me but it was something
she told me in confidence, so I won't betray her trust by saying
anything without her permission."

Horatio was silent a minute. "No." He agreed. "Nor would I
expect you to do so." He replied, quietly. Having seen the look in
Archie's eyes, he already suspected that Dr. Casse and Archie had
quite a few circumstances in common. "You seem to be getting on
quite well with her." He commented, knowingly.

Archie rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Not the way
you're assuming." He responded, matter-of-factly. "I suspect her
attentions are aimed more at a certain green-haired assistant."

Horatio raised an eyebrow. "You're certain?"

"She's never mentioned it but I've seen her look at him."
Archie informed him, with a shrug.

"They do make an interesting couple." Horatio remarked,
wryly.

"That they do." Archie agreed, with a grin.

"I'm back!" Katryn announced, as she reentered. "And I've
brought company!"

"Company?" Archie questioned, with a frown.

At the sound of his voice, there was a loud scuffling and a
great big, long-haired, black and white cat leaped up on the end of
Archie's bed and proceeded to sniff him over.

Horatio frowned, watching the animal, as it turned its
attention to the cast on Archie's leg.

After a few tentative sniffs, the cat jumped up on top of it
and progressed with sharpening its claws on it.

"SuperFly!" Katryn scolded, hearing it. "Find the
scratching post!"

At the sound of her voice, the cat turned, with a very bored
look, before sitting down on the cast and leaning over to lick his
backside.

Archie, taken by surprise, started laughing.

The cat lifted his head, looking insulted, then jumped back
to the floor, lashing his tail.

"You offended him." Katryn explained, setting a tray down in
Archie's lap. The tray contained supper for the three of them,
Archie noticed. Obviously, she'd anticipated Horatio's joining them
for their evening meal.

Horatio stared at the cat. "He's quite forward, isn't he?"
He commented, fascinated.

"He has 'cattitude.'" Katryn informed him, grinning. "He's
mostly sweet tempered, though. Just a little curious about
strangers. He's pretty much cleaned out all the bugs out of the
orlop, so I brought him here, to take care of the ones in here and
the sick berth."

"This is SuperFly, then?" Archie asked, amused. The cat
really was a handsome animal. Huge, with at least two inches of
black and white fur all over him, and what almost resembled a lion's
mane around his face. He was mostly black, on his back, while his
stomach was mostly white. The black covered his ears and the top of
his head, down over his eyes, with white, up between them. The lower
half of his face was white, except for a black spot over his nose,
that came up to a point above it, almost resembling a black flame, in
the midst of the white, between his eyes.

Katryn grinned at the cat, then reached down to pet
him. "Yeah, he's my baby." She cooed. "He loves his flies,
although his methods of catching them are considered a bit lazy by
most people."

"How so?" Horatio questioned, frowning.

Katryn smiled at him. "He waits until I get out the
flyswatter and as I swat the flies, he eats their mashed corpses off
the floor. So, who's hungry?"

Horatio made a face. "Interesting hunting methods."

Archie gave a chuckle. "I like him already." He commented,
shaking his head. "Now, before we get to eating, would you please be
so kind as to relieve me of yet another itch that I have no possible
way of scratching?"

Katryn laughed, and headed for her desk, then returned with a
filled needle a minute later. "Not a problem." She replied,
injecting it into the IV port.

"Has Jesse finished the blood test, yet?" Archie asked, as
she re-capped the needle.

"Yeah, he told me the results, just as I was coming in
here." Katryn answered, letting Horatio have the chair back, as she
pulled over another one for herself. "Apart from being a bit anemic,
you're clean."

"Anemic?" Archie questioned.

"Just means you need to be taking Iron, on a regular basis,
that's all." Katryn assured him. "I can get you some later on.
It's a vitamin supplement. Take no more than one per day, and you'll
be fine. Just don't ever take more than that, or it'll kill you."

"Good to know." Archie responded, shrugging.

"So there's nothing else, then?" Horatio pressed.

"No, we're both in the clear." Katryn returned.

Archie sighed, relieved. "Oh good, now we can eat."

Katryn rolled her eyes. "Always the one track mind." She
retorted, with a grin.

Roughly an hour later, Horatio was realizing exactly what
Conrad had meant in regards to Dr. Casse's `table' manners. True,
there was no table, as they were using the tray on Archie's bed, but
it was very clear that Katryn had rather interesting eating habits.

Most noticeable, was the fact that she rarely used her
silverware. Then, there was the fact that she would turn, every so
often to share with SuperFly, sometimes even taking food out of her
mouth, and throwing it on the floor. Also, there was the other
things that Conrad had mentioned. She did indeed, eat with her foot
in the chair, and her knee tucked up against her shoulder, and very
rarely, did she use her napkin, stating that hands had been invented
first, and were made for washing. The crumbs she dropped were, of
course, gobbled up by the cat, who acted as if he'd never eaten a
thing in his entire life.

Once, during their meal, the animal had actually jumped up
onto the bed, and tried to swipe the food right off Horatio's fork.
Katryn had simply lifted him up, and placed him on the floor, before
she continued eating, without even washing her hands, all the while
telling Horatio that SuperFly would even take the food right out of
his mouth, if Horatio let him.

Meanwhile, whereas Horatio had found her behavior completely
appalling, Archie had merely taken it in stride, even tossing
SuperFly some of his own scraps, which the cat gobbled up, like a
starving animal. Then, when Katryn had proudly announced she could
out-belch most of the crew, Archie had actually asked her to
demonstrate. At this point, Horatio had interrupted, asking her to
please not demonstrate. Realizing he might be a little disgusted,
Katryn had politely resumed eating.

By the time Horatio had bid them good evening and headed
toward the crew's berth, to pass on Katryn's message about having
symptoms of the virus, he was completely convinced that Dr. Katryn
Casse was most certainly not a lady-like creature. She may have
resembled one at some points, but she obviously took great pride in
proving the opposite.

Sighing, he entered the crew's berth, where his men were
staying . . . . and stared in shock. He'd entered at just the right
time to see a crewman he knew to be Mr. Jeffries, throw a piece of
food all the way across the room, where another crewman, this one
with long hair and a wide brimmed hat, caught it in his mouth.

"Two points!" The one who'd caught it shouted, with his
mouth full.

"Good one, Duane!" Mr. Jeffries congradulated, while the
others, including the men of Hornblower's own division, cheered them
on.

"What in God's name is going on here?!" Horatio demanded,
loudly.

Mr. Jeffries looked up. "We don't take God's name in vain
here, sir." He informed Hornblower, bluntly.

Horatio sighed, remembering his manners. "I'm sorry." He
apologized. "I meant no disrespect. I just wanted to know what
you're doing."

The crewman in the hat, Duane, shrugged. "Having dinner."
He replied, matter-of-factly.

"I see." Horatio murmured, realizing what the doctors had
meant, when they'd talked about throwing food across the room, and
catching it in one's mouth. All this time, he'd never realized that
might actually be a real situation around here.

Shaking his head, he turned to his men, motioning for them to
join him in the corridor, outside the room. "If you men have a
moment, I need to speak with you." He told them, heading back out of
the room.

The crewman, Duane, immediately started humming the `death
march', while the others laughed, as Horatio's men joined him outside
the berth.

Why Captain Richards let his men get away with this, Horatio
had no idea. True, they weren't a Naval vessel, but still, shouldn't
they at least have some form of discipline? Shouldn't they at least
have manners?!

The men of his division came out, looking noticeably guilty.

"Sir?" Matthews spoke up, quietly.

Horatio sighed. "No, I'm not going to have you brought up on
charges." He reassured them.

The group visibly relaxed.

"I've just come from eating with Dr. Casse and Mr. Kennedy."
He informed them, wryly. "Somehow, I have a feeling that Captain
Richards pays no attention to table manners, so I cannot reprimand
you for what the Captain himself allows."

"Yeh, Duane told us tha' Doc KC was real fun to `ave dinner
wi'." Styles commented, giving a smile.

"He did not lie." Horatio replied, with a grimace.

"`Ow's Mr. Kennedy, sir?" Matthews asked, concerned.

Horatio smiled. "Mr. Kennedy is doing well, and Dr. Casse
still plans to go on with the second surgery, next week."

"Won' tha' be `ard, sir?" Oldroyd questioned,
confused. "They says the Doc `Arley an the nurses is all sick now."

"They are, indeed." Horatio told them, with a sigh. "I
don't know how they're going to do things regarding Mr. Kennedy, but
as far as I know, Dr. Casse has said she will go on with the surgery
as planned.

"Mr. Kennedy's no' sick then?" Brenner asked.

"So far, Mr. Kennedy has escaped the virus." Horatio assured
them all. "Although I was ordered by Dr. Casse to let you all know
that if there is any of you who thinks you may be feeling sick in any
way, you need to report to the sick berth immediately. We need to
stop the virus before it spreads any farther."

"So you wan's we should go to the sick berth if we feels
sick?" Masterson questioned, casting a sideways glance toward
Matthews and Styles.

Horatio nodded. "Yes." He confirmed. "This order is
straight from the Captain, who asked Dr. Casse to have me relay it to
you. Understand?"

"Aye-aye sir." The group chorused, giving a salute.

"You may return to your `dinner'." He told them, with a
small smile.

As the others went back to their meal, Matthews remained
behind. "Sir, I was wonderin'." He spoke up, quietly. "Is Doc KC
alrigh'?"

Horatio frowned. "Why?"

Matthews gave a shrug. "Some o' the men were sayin' she don'
sleep much when she ge's worried, an' she was lookin' a might bit
exhausted, when we seen `er earlier." He informed him. "Mos' of the
men are thinkin' she might ge' sick nex'."

Horatio sighed again, remembering what Archie had told him
earlier about Dr. Casse not sleeping. "As far as I've seen, Dr.
Casse wears a mask when she checks on the sick crewmen." He replied,
leaving any mention of her lack of sleep out. Horatio certainly did
not wish to be responsible for spreading gossip about their surgeon
around the ship. "I assure you she has taken precautions to prevent
herself and Mr. Kennedy from getting sick."

"Is i' true Mr. Kennedy's still sleepin' in `er quarters?"
Matthews asked, after a brief hesitation. "I wasn' sure if they was
gonna really keep 'im in there."

Horatio gave a slightly surprised look. "Yes, actually it is
true." He replied, slowly. "However, he's also still in the far
corner, behind a dressing screen, and tied to the bed, so there isn't
really anything else to it. He was only kept in there, because it
was the only place they could think of that would get him away from
the sick crewmen, and be where Dr. Casse can still look after him."

"Oh, tha's wha' the crew was sayin." Matthews returned,
reassuringly. "They say Doc KC would never be'ave any other way.
It was jus' Oldroyd tha' was sayin' otherwise, sir. But I'll set `im
straigh', don' you worry none."

Horatio nodded. "I see." Somehow that didn't surprise him.
Oldroyd was the type of person who would always assume the worst. It
was, however, nice to hear that the crew obviously had a very high
opinion of their surgeon to defend her so.

He turned back to Matthews, who was still standing before
him, with an uncertain look on his face. "Don't let me keep you from
finishing your supper, please." Horatio put in, motioning toward the
doorway. "I really should be getting some sleep, anyway, as I have
to go on watch at four in the morning."

"I was finished eatin', sir." Matthews told him, glancing at
the floor, pausing.

Horatio eyed his friend. "Is there something else, Mr.
Matthews?"

"Well. . . ." Matthews began, somewhat hesitant. "Styles
was sayin' `e `ad a sore throa' this mornin', when `e woke up."

Horatio frowned.

"It seemed to go away lat'er, so I didn' think much of i' at
the time." Matthews finished.

"You're sure it went away?" Horatio pressed, concerned.

"Aye, sir." Matthews answered, nodding. "I axed him while
we was workin' on the sails, an' `e said i' wasn' botherin' `im
anymore."

Horatio considered this.

"I only said somethin' because `e was sneezin' real bad no'
too long before you come along." Matthews informed him.

Horatio's brow furrowed. "Sneezing?" He inquired, confused.

"Aye, sir." Matthews replied, nodding. "Sneezin' somethin'
terrible, an' `e said `e was havin' trouble tastin' `is food,
because `e couldn' smell none, either."

"I don't recall those amongst the symptoms of the virus."
Horatio commented, thoughtfully. "It might very well be something
else, though." He went on. "If he has a sore throat tomorrow
morning, have him go see Dr. Casse as soon as possible. In the event
that it's not the virus, she's the only doctor down there who isn't
sick."

Matthews nodded again. "I'll do tha', sir." He replied,
with a smile, before turning and going back into the crews berth.

Horatio sighed, as he walked back up to the cabin he was
staying in.

Entering the cabin, he kicked his shoes off next to the
rather strange looking ones on the floor and flopped down on Cortez's
bed, exhausted. It had been a very long day, and his leg was
throbbing. He had overdone it again and Dr. Casse was not going to
be happy about it.

With a sigh, he pulled out the bottle of Tylenol 3, Dr.
Davidson had given him a week before. He'd not even used half the
bottle, saving it only for when he really needed it. Usually in the
evenings, before he went to bed, so he didn't have to worry about the
fact that it made him a little drowsy.

After having swallowed the tablet, Horatio went about the
task of changing from his uniform, to his nightshirt and got into
bed, where he lay, looking at the many pictures on the wall.

Obviously Mr. Cortez loved to climb mountains, because most
of the pictures were of him on various rock faces and a few of them
were even inside, on a wall that seemed to have different colored
rocks attached to it. Then there were various family pictures,
including one of him with a very beautiful young woman. The couple
had their arms around each other and were grinning widely. Was this
perhaps his sweetheart? Horatio couldn't tell. They looked a lot
alike, he noticed, so perhaps it was his sister or some other
relative.

The most shocking picture was that of Mr. Cortez and Dr.
Casse. Each was hooked to a rope, wearing the harnesses he'd seen
others wear and standing, horizontally, on either side of the
mainmast of 'David's Star.' Not that it was much of a surprise to
see her on the mast, as she'd mentioned she did that all the time.
It was what she was wearing that had shocked him.

It was a skin-tight pair of what almost looked to be black
breeches, and a very tight, very small, black top, that was
sleeveless, low-cut, and left her entire torso bare! The complete
ensemble left nothing at all to the imagination.

The fact that a woman with such serious religious beliefs as
Dr. Casse claimed to have, and indeed, he had seen her practice,
would let herself be out in front of a ship full of men, dressed in
such a way, then have a picture to prove it seemed, to Horatio, to be
completely appalling.

All he could think of to explain this, was that maybe the
definition of modesty had changed greatly, by the 21st Century.

"How far did you get through the music?" Katryn asked
Archie, after she'd finished her rounds of the sick berth.

"I finished 'Phantom of the Opera' a while ago." Archie
replied, with a smile.

"And?"

His grin widened. "I must admit, I'm quite impressed with
the future of the theater. I'd very much love to see it in person.
The music is quite remarkable." He told her, readily. "Which songs
besides the title song, did you end up playing?"

Katryn grinned. "'Angel of Music,' all of it, up to where it
leads into 'Phantom of the Opera.' I played those two together. Then
there was 'All I Ask of You,' and 'Music of the Night.'"

Archie smiled. "Very good choices." He commented. "Have
you even seen the actual stage production?"

"Not in person, but I saw it on DVD when the movie was made
of the stage performance." She informed him.

Archie frowned. "DVD?" He repeated, looking confused.

"They filmed it making it into more of a movie, but it's very
much like the stage performance and I was very impressed with it."

"What's a movie?"

"Like moving pictures, I suppose." Katryn murmured,
thinking. "You watch the performance on a screen, with sound."

Archie's eyes widened. "They make moving pictures?"

Katryn grinned. "Yeah, but I really don't know how to
explain it right." She answered, shrugging.

"And are we able to see this performance on a screen here?"
Archie asked, hopeful.

"Well, I did sneak a few DVDs with me here and I believe
that's one of them, in addition to the other two Andrew Lloyd Webber
productions, I gave you earlier." Katryn remarked, almost to
herself. "But they can only be played on my lap-top, which I brought
for my patient files."

"Lap-top?"

"Another neat-o invention of the future that I'm not going to
explain." She informed him, getting up, and walking to a bookcase.
She pulled out what almost appeared to be a very thin book, then
brought it back to him.

Archie examined the thing. It was most certainly not a book,
he realized. In fact, it looked to be a box of some kind, that
opened from the side. On the front, was a picture that looked like
some of the advertisements for theater performances he'd seen on
Drury Lane.

"These are the two main characters." Katryn told him,
pointing to the two people who were pictured under the title. "The
Phantom and Christine. On the back, are a few pictures from the
movie of the other characters."

Archie grinned, eagerly, as he looked the pictures over, and
read the writing on the back of the box. "And this is an entire
theater production?"

Katryn shook her head. "No, this is the box." She
corrected, opening it and pulling out a small, round, flat, and
rather thin, disk with a hole in the middle. "<This>is an entire
performance, except with no audience and it looks more realistic."

Archie examined it. It certainly was beautiful, he mused,
awed. One side had the title written on it and the other was a
rainbow of shining iridescence. "They fit an entire performance on
this little tiny thing?" He asked, incredulously, as he reached out
to touch the beautiful rainbow covered surface.

Katryn swiftly pulled it out of his reach. "You can't touch
that side." She told him in a serious tone. "One fingerprint on it
and it has to be cleaned before it will work."

"Oh. Sorry." Archie returned, quickly pulling his hand
back, guiltily.

"I know it's small, but yeah, there's an entire show on this
one disk." Katryn answered, as she put the disk back in the box.

"What's the other disk?" Archie asked, frowning.

"Bonus features." Katryn informed him. "It shows behind the
scenes, the making, interviews with the cast and director, costumes,
make-up, that sort of thing."

"You mean the back-stage parts?" Archie questioned, excited.

Katryn nodded. "If you want to see it, I'll see about it
tomorrow, or the day after, depending on how busy I get."

"`If' I want to see it?!" Archie repeated, raising an
eyebrow. "As if there would be any doubt?"

Katryn laughed. "Great, I'm creating the first 18th Century
couch potato." She quipped, shaking her head.

"Couch potato?!" Archie inquired, staring.

"One who sits on a couch, staring at a television or lap-top
screen, all day like a motionless potato." Katryn explained, taking
on an open-mouthed blank stare, as if to demonstrate.

Archie laughed, at the sight of her. "Well, in my defense, I
am stuck here, in bed, with my leg tied up, and have very little
choice in the matter." He reminded her.

"Hmm, when you put it that way, you have a point." Katryn
commented, honestly. "I may just let you go through the Lord of the
Rings trilogy, too, in your captivity. The first two are over three
hours, and the third is about four."

"What are they about?" Archie asked, interested.

"Let's just say you'd love them." Katryn answered, with a
smile.

Archie nodded, watching as she put the box away. "Do they
have `bonus features' too?"

Katryn grinned. "They have four disks, each." She informed
him. "Two for the movie and two more for the bonus features."

Archie blinked. "Well then I should think that would keep me
busy for the rest of the week, if not longer." He remarked,
thoughtfully. "Would you. . " He paused, nervous. "Watch them,
too? With me?"

"You wouldn't be able to figure out how to work the lap-top
without me." Katryn pointed out. "We'll have to watch them when I'm
not busy."

Archie nodded, with a smile. "You should probably be getting
to sleep." He spoke up with a sigh. "I know it's getting rather
late."

"Tell you what." Katryn put in, noticing his reluctant
demeanor. "I'll get ready for bed, take my pills, give you your
medication, and sit gabbing with you until I get sleepy enough to go
to bed."

Archie raised an eyebrow. "From what you've told me, that
could take hours." He returned, pointedly.

"Well, if I take the pills, they can't say I didn't try."
She responded, shrugging. "How's your leg?"

"Painful." He admitted, with a grimace. "The pain
medication you gave me earlier seems to have worn off. On the bright
side, at least it doesn't itch."

"Beggars can't be choosy, can they?" Katryn remarked,
pointedly. Anyway, I'll get your pain meds, then I'll change
clothes."

Matthews sighed, turning over. The small glowing clock on
the wall, near the open doorway read `11:00 pm.' Most of the others
were asleep, as they had to be up with the sun, to finish their work
on the topsail, then rehang the whole thing back up on the mainmast.
Matthews, however, could not sleep. He could hear Styles' condition
had grown worse, and he seemed to have a lot of congestion in his
head, if the sniffles Matthews continued to hear were any clue.

"Are you alrigh'?" He asked his friend, quietly, as not to
disturb the others.

"Don' think so." Styles murmured, trying to clear his throat.

"You need ta see the Doc in the morning." Matthews informed
him. "Mr. `Ornblower said tha' if i' were back, before then, ta go
see Doc KC."

"Why don't ya jus' go now?" Duane spoke up, also keeping his
voice down. "She's not usually asleep until after midnight, at
least."

Matthews turned and looked at Styles.

Styles sighed. "You sure?"

"Yeah." Duane replied, nodding. "I can go with ya, if ya
want. Trust me, she ain't asleep, man."

"I'll go with `im, mate." Matthews assured him, waving it
off. "You go on back to sleep."

"Let me know how it goes." Duane requested. "If someone in
here's sick, we could any one of us, be next."

"No problem." Styles told him, nodding. "We'd tell ye
anyway. Le's go, Matty. If I go' i', we may as well know now."

Katryn, now in her nightclothes, was again seated next to
Archie's bed. The nightclothes, which turned out to be a rather
interesting outfit, was yellow and covered in little black and white
cats. Archie found it to be rather fetching on her and, as it
covered much more than her exercise clothes, he was not uncomfortable
looking at her.

Seated in the chair, beside the bed, she'd positioned the
lamp on the table, beside her. In Archie's lap, SuperFly lay curled
up, and purring contentedly.

"You owe me a story." Katryn spoke up, resting her arms on
the bed.

Archie chewed his lip, considering this. "How much did Dr.
Sebastian tell you?"

"Just what I have in your medical charts." Katryn replied,
with a shrug. "What's your family like? Mother? Father?
Disgusting older brother?"

Archie gave a small smile. "Actually, I have three older
brothers." He informed her. "I wouldn't really call them
disgusting. Really, they were more annoying, inconsiderate,
arrogant . . . " He trailed off.

"Spoiled, self-centered, mean, abusive, egotistical, jerk-off
slime-bags?" Katryn inquired.

"Essentially, yes." Archie agreed. "One of my earlier
memories was of my eldest brother, William, helping me to ride a
pony."

"How old were you?"

"About four, I think." Archie responded,
thoughtfully. "William spooked the pony, and I was thrown, striking
my head against a fence post. When I finally awakened, in my
mother's lap, I don't know how much later, I don't remember much,
except that my father was very angry."

"At your brother?"

"No, at me. . . . for being so clumsy." Archie told her,
frowning.

"Well, you were four." Katryn remarked, pointedly. "What
was he expecting, that you would jump your little four year-old self
up on that pony, and ride like a pro?"

"Apparently, he did." Archie said with a shrug. "And in all
honesty, I don't believe I would have fallen off, if the horse hadn't
been spooked."

"So your father went senile early in life, did he?" Katryn
quipped, seriously. "How impressive. Please tell me your mother was
more normal."

Archie chuckled. "My mother was much more normal." He
assured her. "I loved her dearly, even if my father was always
telling her she coddled me too much. That never did stop her,
though. She'd almost died, giving birth to me and could have no more
children after me, so I suppose she did favor me a bit."

"Do you think your father blamed you for that?" Katryn
asked, curiously.

"Actually, I've often thought that." Archie returned, with a
nod. "She got very ill when I was five and I was kept away from her
for a couple of months, I suppose, although it seemed like much
longer, to me, being so young. She died that year and I remember
could not understand what had happened. The last time I'd seen her,
she had not been very sick. All I knew was that I was not allowed to
be with her for so long and then I was told she was gone forever,
that I would never see her again."

Katryn frowned. "Was she contagious?" She asked,
confused. "Is that why you weren't allowed to see her?"

Archie frowned, thinking. "I don't really know." He
replied, after a moment. "It was so long ago, I don't remember all
the details very well, but I do remember being told that she was
unwell and that the doctor did not want a young child to be with her,
because they were afraid I would upset her. I, of course never
understood that, because as far as I knew, I had never upset my
mother. She had always been kind and gentle with me."

"So what did they do with you all that time?" Katryn
questioned. "I'm sure your father was with her much of the time, so
who took care of you?"

"They left me with a nanny." Archie informed her. "She was
an older lady, and I remember thinking that she smelled rather funny
and that she had a very short temper, with small boys. She was
always angry at me, because I would not stop asking to see my mother
and I was often fidgety, and she hated that. I was constantly told
to be still, because I should not disturb my mother, and I could
never be still enough to satisfy her, so we were both frustrated much
of the time."

"Sounds like it." Katryn commented.

"After what seemed like forever, in a little boy's thinking,
they came to tell me she was gone." Archie went on. "My father came
to me and I was so happy to see him, I ran through the door, begging
to know if my mother was better, and if he would let me go see her,
then perhaps I could make her better somehow."

Katryn grimaced. "Oh, how horrible." She murmured,
sincerely. "That must have been very hard on your father."

Archie frowned. "I suppose it was." He admitted. "He just
seemed a little angry at the time, because first, he told me I was
not to start crying, or cause any improper scenes-"

Katryn stared at him in disbelief. "Let me get this
straight." She put in, looking confused. "He comes to tell you
your mother is dead, after not allowing you to see her all that time,
and the first thing he tells you is you're not allowed to get upset
and cry?!"

Archie nodded. "It's actually considered to be very
improper, and most disgraceful, for a gentleman to make such a scene
in front of other people." He informed her, honestly. "In this
time, that sort of thing is not done."

"You weren't a gentleman, you were five!" She pointed out.

"I was being brought up to be a gentleman." Archie told her,
pointedly. "And to my father, it was improper."

Katryn nodded. "Okay, I guess you have a point." She
admitted. "It still seems wrong, though. So what happened?"

"Let us say that I was most assuredly, not a gentleman."
Archie remarked, wryly. "I screamed and fell in a fit, before him."

"You mean a seizure?" Katryn corrected. "Ouch, that must
have been humiliating."

Archie nodded, making a face. "Very." He agreed. "The fits
started not long before that, although I never did figure out why or
how. I'd always assumed it was something I was born with, or so I
was told. Something to do with the circumstances of my birth, I
suppose."

"Blow to the head." Katryn responded, prominently.

Archie frowned, confused.

"When you were thrown from the pony and hit your head, you
were knocked out, right?" Katryn pointed out.

"Yes."

"Epilepsy is usually caused by a severe blow to the head at a
very young age." She explained. "Jesse and I assumed that was the
case when we noticed all the scars on your scalp. The condition
usually shows itself in fainting spells, black outs, and in some
cases, seizures. Also, in most cases, said fainting spells and
seizures are generally triggered by emotional stress. Like when you
get upset, afraid, or seriously stressed out, that's all it takes.
Sound familiar?"

Archie shook his head, in disbelief. "Yes, that's it,
exactly." He could not believe this. After all these years, and
there it was, explained as an ordinary illness that anyone could
have.

"It's not as uncommon as you'd think." Katryn informed him,
matter-of-factly. "It's very common in the 21st Century. I would
guess that one out of every ten people has some form of it, if not
more than that. I know I've seen dozens, myself. In fact, I have a
light form of it. From falling over the side of the stairway when I
was four. I cracked the bottom step with my head." She
paused. "Although I've only ever had one major blackout, and one
seizure in my life. The first time, they said it was Heat Stroke,
and the second, I was under a lot of pressure because my two friends
and I had to do this big oral report for Government class. Nothing
went right, that day, and I got so stressed out, I just collapsed
right in the middle of it. Scared the life out of both my teacher
and my best friend, who was standing beside me."

Archie gave a grin. "I'm not surprised." He remarked, with
a shrug. "I remember Horatio was rather panicked the first time he
saw it happen to me. Did you pass your report?"

"Oh yeah." She told him, with a wave. "I came back the next
day, and we finished it. No problems. And that teacher, to this
day, is one of my favorite teachers. Last time I saw him, he gave me
a huge hug."

Archie smiled, then gave a thoughtful look. "Is there . . .
a cure?" He asked, tentatively.

Katryn sighed. "No." She answered, quietly. "There are a
lot of doctors who prescribe medications for controlling it, but a
lot of the drugs have some unpleasant side effects, and most of them
really don't do all that much. In all reality, in order to treat
epilepsy, you have to know what your trigger is, and avoid it."

"So I should just avoid getting upset?" Archie asked,
doubtfully. "That doesn't seem possible."

"It's not." Katryn agreed. "What I'm saying is that you
tend to lose control of your emotional stress when you're seriously
afraid, or in shock. What you should work on is controlling that.
You can be afraid, without having a fit, can't you?"

Archie nodded. "Most of the fits I've had over the last
several years, were mainly caused by nightmares, or when I was
threatened by that certain Sleazeball." He replied, after
considering it. "I was always afraid of him."

"Considering you were so young when the abuse started, I can
see why." Katryn answered, seriously. "Since you've told me most of
the details, I'm getting a little of a theory as to what's going on
with you."

Archie raised an eyebrow, and remained silent, waiting for
her to continue.

"The things he did to you, during that time put your emotions
into a state of shock." Katryn explained, slowly. "Which is why you
ended up having fits, just by being around him, or thinking about
him. The things that were done to you were so terribly shocking,
that your subconscious couldn't deal with it, so it was trying to
deny that it happened at all. Your emotional state, however, knows
that it did happen, and can't deny it. That's where the unbalance
comes from. Your emotional state could never get over the shock of
what it knew, had happened, so when he was around you, it was the
memory of it, combined with the denial, that caused the overload to
your emotions, resulting in the fits."

Archie stared at her, astonished.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to go all `doctor' on you, there."
Katryn apologized, noticing his look.

Archie shook his head. "No, I can see what you're saying
and, actually, that does make sense." He responded, overwhelmed. "I
actually did try to convince myself it wasn't happening. It seemed
so much easier than admitting it was."

"And you were ashamed of it." Katryn added.

"Well, yes." Archie replied, shrugging. "It was rather
humiliating to have to admit to the fact that I couldn't stand up to
him."

"Did you ever try to?"

"Several times, I tried to fight him off." Archie answered,
distantly. "He nearly killed me the first time, beating me into
submission, and I spent a week in the sick berth, recovering."

Katryn frowned. "Didn't the doctor know what happened?"

"Sleazeball bribed the doctor with a nice bottle of expensive
wine, and the doctor never said one word because he was often
drunk." Archie informed her, dryly. "Called me a coward and a
weakling, and that there was no room for such weak-kneed Officers in
His Majesty's Navy."

Katryn raised an eyebrow. "Where I come from, your doctor
would have been sued for mal-practice for being drunk while
working." She pointed out, flatly. "And he would lose his Medical
Licence for not turning in an obvious rape case." She paused. "But
I suppose things are much different nowadays."

"That, they are." Archie agreed. "Still, it's a relief to
know that the condition I had always been taught to believe was a
disgrace, is actually something completely normal, that anyone could
have. Thank you for explaining it to me."

Katryn smiled. "Not a problem." She replied, then frowned,
as a sudden knock on the door interrupted them.

"Who would be knocking at this hour?" Archie asked,
confused. "It must be close to midnight."

"Someone who needs something." Katryn answered, getting
up. "Who is it?" She called as the approached the door.

"Conrad." The SEAL responded.

"What's the problem?" She asked, opening the door.

Archie frowned, as her voice lowered. She was talking softly
to someone outside the room, he realized. After a moment, he
brightened, as he heard two very familiar voices. "Is that you,
Matthews?" He questioned, loudly.

"Aye, sir." Matthews responded, coming around the screen.

Archie tilted his head, as he heard the other voice, speaking
quietly to Katryn. "Is Styles with you?"

Matthews nodded, as he sat down next to the bed. "`E was a
migh' bit sick, sir." He replied, slowly.

"Sick?" Archie inquired, concerned. Did Styles have the
virus as well?

"I' don' seem like the same as the others, sir." Matthews
acknowledged. "I's why Mr. `Ornblower told `im to see Doc KC. Said
if i' weren' the same, she was the only one down `ere no' sick."

Archie nodded, understandingly.

Katryn checked the thermometer, as she pulled it from Styles'
mouth. The beeping noise it had made had caused the man to jump in
surprise and stare from it to her, confused.

"Well, you don't have a fever." She told him, frowning, then
pulled out a tongue depressor. "Say `ah.'"

Styles did as he was told and looked at her, expectantly.

Katryn, ignoring it, continued to mumble under her
breath. "No fever, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose. . . . ." She
trailed off, as she reached over and tapped his forehead, between the
eyes, with her index fingers. Getting no response, she moved on down
to just below the eyes, on either side of his nose, and tapped again.

This time, she was met with a wince.

"Do y0u have pain in your temples?" Katryn asked, touching
them.

"Yeh." He answered, frowning.

Katryn nodded. "I thought so. The pain is in the sinus
cavities." She replied, moving over to the cabinet that contained
her medication supply. "What's happened is that you've come in
contact with something you're seriously allergic to and it's given
you a full-blown sinus infection. Most likely something in the
crew's berth, since it seemed to clear up some when you were topside."

"A' infection?" Styles asked, confused.

"Like a head-cold." Katryn explained, returning with two
bottles. "You're head's stuffy with sinus pressure drainage, and
that's why your throat is sore, and you can't smell at times."

"Then i's no' tha' virus?" He asked.

"No, it's not."

Styles sighed, relieved.

"What I'm going to do, is put you on decongestants for the
entire time you're here." Katryn told him, setting the bottle of
capsules in front of him. "Since you're allergic to something in the
berth, you need to be taking them as long as you're in staying in
there. One in the morning, and one in the evening. They should take
the pressure off, and let you get some sleep, alright?"

Styles nodded, with a smile. "Thanks, Doc." He replied,
with a sigh. "I's jus' a relief to know tha's all i' is."

"You're not the only one relieved." She remarked,
pointedly. "The last thing I need is for half the crew to come down
with the flu, believe me." She held out the other bottle. "This is
the antibiotic that the others are taking." She went on. "It'll
clear up the infection. Take it when you take the others, until it's
gone, and when you run out of decongestants, I'll get you some
more." She paused. "And you can take the first ones tonight, before
you go to bed."

"So `e's alrigh', then?" Matthews asked, coming out from
behind the screen, where he'd been talking with Kennedy.

Katryn nodded. "It should clear up in a few days." She
assured them. "No worries."

Sighing, Katryn closed the door behind them, as they
left. "Sleepy yet, Archie?" She asked, glancing at the clock.

"I can stay awake for a little longer, if you can." He
answered.

"Not sleepy yet." Katryn responded, returning to her seat.

"Just an allergy, then?" Archie inquired, definitively.

Katryn nodded. "Probably somebody's aftershave, or
something." She retorted, shaking her head. "Thank God. I'm just
so tired of sick people, by now."

Archie grinned. "Think of how the sick people must feel."
He quipped, pointedly.

"True." Katryn admitted. "Now, if I remember rightly, you
were telling a story, and I was plotting to strangle your father and
your oldest brother." She reminded him.

Archie rolled his eyes. "My father is a Lord." He informed
her, flatly. "You'd be hung for even attempting it."

Katryn grinned, sheepishly. "Still, it's the thought that
counts." She reminded him, ruefully. "Call it Temporary Insanity,
or something. What about your other two brothers?"

"Reginald and James." Archie supplied, making a face. "When
they weren't making my life miserable, they were out with the hounds,
hunting with any number of friends, who all admired my father and his
station, and of course, never cared for me, because I was the family
embarrassment, and a weak, pathetic, invalid."

"Don't say that."

"That's how they saw, it. Not how I saw it." Archie told
her, with a shrug. "I really didn't know what to think back then. I
was more confused and rather timid, and didn't see things the way
they did, so they saw that as being weak."

"Didn't they respect the way your mother treated you?"
Katryn questioned, curiously. "Or were they jealous of that?"

"My father's way of dealing with the loss of my mother was to
remove any trace of her from the house, and even the property."
Archie explained, glumly. "The furniture she loved, the rooms she
decorated, her rose garden, all of it, gone in little more than a
month after she died. It was as if she'd never been there at all,
and I remember thinking, at the time, that it seemed as if everyone
but me, had forgotten her."

"That's horrible." Katryn whispered, thoughtfully. "To just
wipe out someone's life as if it were nothing at all? That's not
right. I can see how you would find the theater more appealing than
home."

Archie smiled, remembering. "It was a world where I could
escape and imagine some other life." He told her, his blue eyes
twinkling. "I wanted to be an actor, like those I saw on the stage
every week. To pretend I was someone else. Where no one would know
who my family was, or where I came from, and I could just be me."
His face changed. "My father caught me sneaking back in, one night,
and I was punished severely. He beat me with a riding crop, and said
I was lazy and useless. I was so afraid of him, I fell in a fit
before he'd even finished the beating. I remember laying in bed for
a week afterward, unable to get up."

"How old were you?"

"Nine." He answered, distantly.

"That's the age of my niece." Katryn mused, frowning. "I
don't want to strangle him, he should be slowly tortured, and made to
eat his own brain, like Hannibal Lecter. Sure, I'll admit, you
deserved one heck of a spanking for sneaking out of the house, to run
off to London, but you didn't deserve to be nearly beaten to death
for it."

Archie stared at her.

"What? You were nine." She remarked, pointedly. "If Sophie
had snuck out at night like that, to go to the theater, she'd have
gotten a big spanking and she'd have been grounded for a month."

"Actually, I was wondering about the `eating one's own brain'
part." Archie informed her, looking a bit confused. "I understand
the other part, and I'll admit I'd most likely be upset if my own
child snuck out like that, at that age, but how is it even possible
to eat one's own brain?"

"Ehh, let's just say there is a way, but you're probably
better off not knowing." Katryn pointed out.

Archie frowned, considering this. "Yes, I suppose you're
right." He retorted, making a face.

"So, did that beating stop you from sneaking out?" Katryn
asked, inquisitively. "Despite the fact that you were a little young
to be sneaking out, I do understand why you did. Sometimes, you just
need to escape things like that."

"How did you escape?"

"I'll tell you that story later on." She assured
him. "Please keep going with your story, for now."

Archie shrugged. "I'll hold you to that." He told her, with
a smile. "At any rate, that beating did stop me from sneaking out
for a while. Most of the time, my other way of escaping was by doing
a lot of reading. When I couldn't go to the theater, I read
everything I could get my hands on. Poetry, History, Literature,
plays, . . . . I actually read everything Shakespear ever wrote, all
the poetry I could get my hands on, as well as the writings for every
play I'd ever seen in the theater, and then some."

"So instead of seeing the plays, you buried your nose in
books all the time." Katryn commented, shaking her head in
disbelief. "You know, if Sophie read like that, we'd actually be
proud of her for it. That kind of reading is actually considered
very educational, and most school teachers and parents encourage
it. In our time, it's all comic books, video games, and
television. We have an entire generation who doesn't even know who
Shakespear was."

Archie stared at her. "That's horrible." He breathed,
astounded.

"That's the future." Katryn remarked, pointedly.

Archie shook his head. "I think perhaps I was born too
early, then." He put in, with a shrug. "My father was completely
different. As long as I wasn't aspiring to be high in society, or
interested in the things that gentlemen of stature did, I was a
complete embarrassment." He paused. "Lords did not read so much,
like that. They were out making connections, gaining wealth, and
participating in leisure activities, such as fox and quail hunting,
and attending grand social gatherings, such as balls and feasts, and
other such celebrations."

"Personally, I don't see what the big deal is about riding
horses, and chasing down a poor, defenseless, cute little fox, with a
bunch of blood-thirsty hound dogs and a rifle." Katryn remarked,
honestly, making a gag-face.

Archie chuckled, seeing her face.

"Seriously." Katryn went on. "Personally, I think that if
they gave the fox a gun, it might even things out a bit, but that's
just some of my weird little twisted thoughts."

Archie continued laughing, shaking his head. "Actually, that
was sort of my opinion." He confessed, grinning. "I was more or
less on the same side as the fox. In fact, on the one and only time
I ever was made to go out and join my brothers for fox-hunting,
I . . ." He trailed off, with a sheepish grin.

"You what?" Katryn pressed, noticing it.

"I . . . . well, I hid the fox." He finished.

Katryn burst out laughing. "Well, at least the fox
appreciated it." She pointed out.

"Well, he was the only one who did." Archie told her,
wryly. "My brother, William, certainly didn't. He found out what
I'd done and he backhanded me across the face."

Katryn made a face. "Maybe you should have let the fox pee
on his bed, or something." She responded.

Archie rolled his eyes. "The fox got away and that was
enough for me." He replied, dryly. "Although, when my father found
out about it, I received another beating."

Katryn leaned forward, resting her chin on her crossed arms,
which were folded on the side of his bed, then looked up at him. "I
bet you had a lot of fits during that time." She commented, sadly.

"Too many." Archie answered, eyeing her. "You're getting
tired."

Katryn smiled. "A little." She admitted. "Not bad for two
and a half hours."

"It's probably rather late." Archie told her, yawning. "You
should go to bed. I can continue tomorrow."

"Today." Katryn corrected. "It's about two in the morning."

"Then I'd best not keep you from your sleep, any longer."
Archie responded, laying back, as Katryn stood up and stretched.

"Goodnight, Archie." She replied, giving his hand a squeeze,
before she turned in the direction of her hammock, as he turned down
the flame of the lamp on his table.

"Goodnight, Katryn." Archie returned, with a sigh, as he
shifted himself into the most comfortable position he could manage,
with his leg tied in place.

Archie lay in the dark, listening as she retired. He wanted
to make sure she went to sleep, before he would let himself sleep.

After a few moments of listening to her soft sighs, he'd
thought she'd finally fallen asleep. Then he heard her voice,
singing softly in the darkness, almost to herself.

The words she sang surprised him a bit, then brought tears to
his eyes. The song, showing that she knew all too well, exactly what
he'd felt, all those years.

"Paper flowers . . . . .
Paper flowers . . . . .

"I linger in the doorway,
Of alarm-clock screaming monsters calling my name.
Let me stay where the wind will whisper to me.
Where the raindrops, as they're falling, tell the story. . . .

"In my field of paper flowers,
With candy clouds of love, up high.
I lie inside myself for hours,
And watch my purple sky fly over me.

"Don't say I'm out of touch,
With this rampant chaos, your reality.
I know well what lies beyond my sleeping refuge.
The nightmare I built my own world, to escape. . . .

"In my field of paper flowers,
With candy clouds of love, up high.
I lie inside myself for hours,
And watch my purple sky fly over me.

"Swallowed up in the sound of my screaming,
It cannot cease, for the fear of silent lies.
Lord, how I long for the dear sweet dreaming,
The goddess of imaginary life.

"In my field of paper flowers,
With candy clouds of love, up high.
I lie inside myself for hours,
And watch my purple sky fly over me.

"Paper flowers . . . . .
Paper flowers . . . . ."

"Who sings that?" Archie breathed, in the dark.

"A woman, who calls herself `Evanescence.'" Katryn replied,
softly. "The same one who sings the first song you heard me sing
before the funeral."

Archie gave a smile, remembering how that first song had
touched him so. "What are they called?" He asked, curiously.

"The first one was called, My Immortal." She answered,
smiling. "This one is Imaginary."

"They're beautiful." Archie responded, quietly, closing his
eyes.

"I know." Katryn agreed, putting her walkman away and
rolling over, before she finally gave in to her exhaustion and fell
asleep.

Archie listened in the darkness, as her breathing grew deep
and regular. As soon as he was sure she'd fallen asleep, he finally
allowed himself to join her.

Chapter Twelve

Katryn was ripped out of her sleep by a loud, urgent knocking
at her door, followed by Lieutenant George Johnson poking his head
into the room.

"KC, Russ wants you to change clothes and get up now." He
informed her, bluntly, as soon as she lifted her head. "We've got
another French ship on the horizon, armed with about 60 guns, at
least and coming up fast. If we have to fight, you might be needed
topside, and everyone else is back in clothing of the realm."

Katryn made a face as he pulled his head back out and she
heard him leave. "Bleh." She muttered, under her breath as she got
up. The clock read `6:30 am', and she was most definitely not ready
to get up yet. "I'm still wearing my scrub pants."

"I don't think you could do surgery in a dress, anyway."
Archie commented, his voice, thick with sleep, having also awakened
at the sound of the knocking.

"Dress?!" Katryn repeated, making a face. "Heck, I don't
even think I <have> one here." She informed him, wryly. "Usually, I
go in drag. It was the breeches I was complaining about."

"Drag?" Archie questioned, confused. He was not familiar
with this term.

"Cross-dressing." Katryn explained, as she pulled on her
18th Century, men's ruffled white shirt over her white scrub pants,
then reached for a waistcoat. "It means a woman dressing as a man or
a man dressing as a woman."

"Oh." Archie returned, yawning. It was definitely too early
to be getting up after their late night talking session.

Katryn finished buttoning her waistcoat and pulled on a
topcoat, then came around the screen tying her hair back in a
queue. "How's this?"

Archie raised an eyebrow. "Well, you could certainly pass
for a man in that." He remarked, eyeing her. "Although the hair is
a bit strange."

"I have a hat for that." Katryn informed him, pointedly.

Archie frowned, staring at her shoes. They were black with
white toes, and tied up the front to her ankles. "The shoes aren't
really from this time either." He told her, honestly.

"None of us wear shoes from this time." Katryn pointed
out. "They're not very comfortable. Besides, who's going to be
looking at shoes if we have a battle?"

"I suppose you have a point."

"And even if we don't have a battle, they can't come aboard
because of the virus we're carrying." Katryn went on.

"True." Archie admitted. "Just make sure Horatio and anyone
else who resembles a British Navy Officer is out of sight and below
decks or they will fire on us."

"Russ knows what to do." Katryn assured him as she put her
field surgery kit back together.

"Just be careful." Archie pressed.

Katryn came back around the screen to look him in the
eyes. "God is taking care of us." She told him, seriously. "I
trust Him for His protection. We'll be alright."

Archie nodded.

"If you need anything while I'm gone, give a yell and someone
will come get me." Katryn replied, definitively.

"I will." Archie assured her.

"Good, I've gotta run so I'll see you later." Katryn called,
as she headed out the door.

When Katryn arrived on the quarterdeck, Captain Richards
looked her up and down. He frowned at her white scrub pants, but
seemed to let it slide, as it would be rather hard to tell they
weren't just regular pants, unless someone looked really close. He
nodded, satisfied.

"Are they in range yet?" Katryn asked, seeing the men all
tensed for battle.

"Not quite yet, KC." Richards answered, continuing to watch
the approaching ship, in the early light of the dawn. "We've got the
gunports closed, wi' the men on the ready. Hopefully they'll jus'
pass us by. They won' know anythin' about the French ships we sank
last week, so apart from the flag, which may be mistaken fer pirate's
colors, they can't `ave much against us."

Katryn nodded, looking heaven-ward. "Thank you God for the
absence of satellite phones and radio and radar technology. We
deeply appreciate it."

"Amen." George stated, coming up behind her.

"Russ!" Japanese crewman, Yutaka Takata shouted, from his
position on the fighting top. "They're signaling, but it's in
French! John says to get Jensson or Jorge out to translate and
signal back."

John Newman was one of the marines, positioned at the
foremast topyard, taking Redbird's place as lookout.

"Captain, I speak French." Hornblower called, from the
maindeck.

"No, we canno' take the chance o' havin' `em see a British
Navy Officer on deck!" Richards answered. "I know yer wantin' ta
help but they will fire if they see ye. Best ye keep out o' sight,
an' tha' goes fer Johnny an' William as well!"

Lieutenant William O'Connell was the other British Navy
Officer who was stationed aboard David's Star. He and Johnny were
outfitted in their 18th Century Naval uniforms and for that reason,
they were well out of sight.

"Right here, Russ!" Jensson called, running to the
foremast. He clipped himself to the safety rope and climbed up to
join Newman on the topyard.

Below, Jorge DuVall moved to where the signal flags were, and
stood, awaiting his orders.

From above, Jensson shouted down at Yutaka, who relayed the
message to Richards. "They want to know what the meaning of our
ships colors are!" He relayed. "They are accustomed to black flags
but they are not familiar with the star!"

Richards rolled his eyes. "Our sponsors were idiots." He
muttered under his breath, then looked over at Jorge. "Tell `em the
flag was given to us by the ships builders, an' not by our own
choice. We sailed from America, six months ago, carryin' crew from
all over the world, an' we're not pirates."

The group waited as Jorge signaled them back.

"The Captain would like to come over and speak personally
with you, Russ!" Yutaka relayed, after a pause.

"Bad idea." Katryn objected. "Not with a contagious air-
borne virus on board. You've been in contact with it, as have most
of the crew. We can't have any visitors aboard, and we can't board
another ship. We can't risk contaminating their ship. They don't
have the means to deal with the virus and it could kill them all."

Russ nodded. "Jorge, tell `em we `ave a contagious influenza
virus on board, an' our surgeon will not recommend visiting between
any ships, at the risk o' contamination. We've all been exposed to
it, an' can't risk it spreadin'." He responded.

They waited a brief minute while the message was delivered.

"This would be so much easier with text messaging." George
remarked, thoughtfully.

"Yes, but then they'd also know what we did last week, too,
and that wouldn't be easier." Katryn reminded him.

"No loss, wi'out some gain." Russ commented, with a shrug.

"They'd like to bring the ships closer for communication!"
Yutaka finally relayed back.

"Very well!" Richards replied. "If ye'll tell `em ta be so
kind as ta close their gunports first! We're under orders not ta
fire unless we're fired on or at first."

"Translation: As long as they don't shoot at us, we don't
sink them!" George put in, grinning.

"We'll not mention that part." Richards told him,
pointedly. "At the moment, they believe they `ave us outgunned.
We'll let `em think that fer now."

"What they don't know can't hurt anyone." Katryn quipped, in
translation.

Richards gave a grin. "Exactly."

"They're closing the gunports." George announced, looking
through his binoculars.

Richards nodded. "Very well." He responded, then looked
up. "Yutaka!"

"Yeah?" He responded.

"Tell Jensson he can come back down now!"

"Got it!"

Richards turned, looking over at Levitson, who was stationed
at the wheel. "Pete, bring us a little closer."

Levitson nodded, and turned the wheel, bringing the ship
around.

"All British crewmen in uniform, get out o' sight
completely." Richards called out, looking around. "We're gettin'
closer up, so stay well out o' view!" He motioned for Horatio to
make sure his men were not on deck.

 

Below, in the sick berth, the indisposed crew members were
tensed, listening for the slightest sound from above.

"What do you think is going on?" Jesus asked from his bed.
He and Willie had taken to sleeping in the main sick berth instead of
their small cabin. Jesus had wanted to be on hand in the event that
they were needed and Willie didn't want to have to deal with climbing
out of his top bunk.

Jesse frowned. "I don't hear any gunfire, so maybe they're
going to leave us alone." He put in, taking a swig from the bottle
of cough medicine they'd been passing around.

Ratzlov sighed, frustrated. "We should be up there!" He
argued, fidgeting.

Jesse snorted. "What are you going to do, cough on them?"

"That's not a bad idea." Conrad pointed out. "You could
take down their entire crew in about a week."

"Actually, as soon as they find out we have a virus like this
on board, they'd probably run as fast as they can in the opposite
direction." Willie retorted, shrugging. "Biological warfare is one
of the most powerful weapons after all."

"Right." Davey snorted. "Attack of the cooties."

Cortez made a face. "That sound so stupid, Davey." He put
in, shaking his head in disgust.

"Like a B-Rate horror movie." Jesse agreed.

"Now playing in theaters!" Conrad declared, dramatically,
sounding like a TV announcer. "'Attack of the Cooties!'"

Ratzlov gagged. "Ugh, two thumbs <way >down!"

When they heard a groan, they turned to look at Redbird, who
was making a face.

"Carlos doesn't like it either." Conrad stated, laughing.

The group fell to silence, feeling a change in the ship's
motion.

Conrad frowned. "They're bringing the ship around."

"Does that mean we're about to get nailed?" Ratzlov asked,
looking up.

"Could mean anything." Conrad intoned, then groaned in
frustration. "Man I should be up there!" He complained.

"Join the club." Davey muttered. "I hate not knowing what's
going on!"

"You know what they say." Jesse cut in. "Ignorance is
bliss."

Davey gave him a flat look. "It's also a pain in the butt."
He retorted, pointedly.

"Yes, I want to know if we about to be fish food." Jacques
stated, seri0usly.

Jesse rolled his eyes. "I doubt they'd fire on the sick
berth, to start with." He remarked, honestly. "Chances are they'll
aim elsewhere, then our boys open fire. Boom, no more threat."

"That's a bigger ship." Conrad reminded him.

"Right. Sorry." Jesse corrected himself. "Five shots. As
I remember rightly, our shots on the last French ship was an overkill
at that many shots."

Conrad shrugged. "True, but things can't be the same all the
time."

Up above decks, the French vessel was little more than
fifteen feet away and Captain Richards, with Dr. Casse and Lieutenant
Johnson stood at the maindeck starboard rail, communicating with the
Captain of the French ship in English.

Horatio, as per the Captain's orders, kept himself out of
sight. . . . despite his first instinct, which was to run out the gun
he was standing beside and blow a hole right through the other ship.

Fortunately for his instincts, Major Hendricks and Captain
Miklos were the ones in command on the gun deck.

Watching the group of marines standing at the ready, Horatio
was impressed. The guns were all loaded on the starboard side, every
marine tensed to spring. Even with the gun ports closed, they took
no chances.

Most impressive of all, was that all the marines on the deck,
including the commanding Officers, had taken all safety precautions.
They were wearing glasses of some sort, to protect their eyes, all of
them had their ears blocked up, and were wearing some kind of black
body armor, to prevent splinter wounds, as well as other kinds of
injuries, and obviously they did not give their orders by way of
shouting, as no man would hear them.

Instead, the Officers communicated by what appeared to be
hand signals, Horatio realized. Both Miklos and Hendricks were
holding up their hands, where all the gunners could see them. The
hands were open, all the fingers up, in a `hold' signal, and all the
gunners, although tensed and ready to fire, kept their eyes on their
commanding Officers' hands.

It was plainly obvious that Richards had heard the stories of
the slaughter that usually went on in the gun decks, not only that,
he'd seen it confirmed on the 'Indie,' a week before. Horatio had no
doubt that had 'David's Star' taken a direct hit to the gun deck as
his own ship had, they would not have near as many injuries or
casualties. It was astounding really.

His own division, also on the gun deck, stood out of the way,
openly observing the marines and lo0king quite impressed.

Horatio, after noticing it all, decided he would certainly
have to tell Archie about it later. In fact, he wanted to describe
it to Captain Pellew as well. This could certainly be advantageous
on their own ship, he decided. Not that they could get the body
armor, as it was obviously designed in the future, but maybe they
could find something that would work. Anything was better than a
mess of bodies littering the deck.

Sighing, Horatio turned back to where he could see the
Captain and Dr. Casse, and still not be seen by anyone on the French
ship.

Watching Dr. Casse, he shook his head in disbelief. He'd
seen her attire, when she'd come up from below and was impressed with
the way she passed herself off as a man. In fact, had he not known
she was a woman, he'd have been fooled himself. Even her purple hair
was covered up by a hat and pulled back in a queue. Perplexing, it
was, really.

Curiously, Horatio listened to Captain Richards explain how
the First and Second Officers were ill with influenza, as well as
many others who had come down with it, and because the virus was
still spreading, they wouldn't want it to spread beyond their own
ship, so no boarders could be taken in.

The French Captain seemed to be understanding of the virus,
but Horatio tensed, when he heard the French Captain ask about the
damages to the mainmast topyard.

Richards, not hesitating, replied that they had come across a
battle and strayed too close, and were fired on. He would not say
who had fired or what nationalities were involved, because they were
a neutral vessel and could not divulge any information on the
locations of other ships. They could take no sides in a war they
were not involved with.

Horatio sighed, remembering why they had refused to accompany
the Indie to Portsmouth. Now he was beginning to understand more of
the reasoning behind the decision. Overall it made sense and he
couldn't argue with the rationalization.

Suddenly hearing footsteps, Horatio turned, staring, as
Lieutenant Conrad ran through, headed in the direction of the
Captain. No, not the Captain, he realized. Conrad, wearing a mask,
to prevent spreading the virus, had come after Dr. Casse.

Watching him whisper to her, Horatio bristled. He knew that
the SEAL would not be up here, if it weren't an emergency, and there
was only two people below, who could possibly account for such an
emergency. Redbird or Archie.

Dr. Casse nodded, turning to whisper to Richards, then
offered the French Captain a nod, before she took off, following
Conrad, grabbing Horatio's arm, as she passed him.

"It's the same thing that happened yesterday." She told him,
urgently, as he raced down the steep staircase with her. "I'm going
to need you to hold onto him. Jesse's much too sick to go near him."

Dr. Casse did not mention Archie's name, but Horatio knew she
could be referring to no one else.

As they burst through the sick berth doorway, he felt a hand
on his shoulder and realized Styles was behind him. Hearing Archie
scream, the two of them rushed into Dr. Casse's quarters, as she
stopped to take the three already filled syringes Dr. Davidson held
out for her.

Archie, alone in Katryn's quarters, had lost track of how
long he'd been waiting for her to return. . . . or for the ominous
sounds of cannon-fire from above.

When the now-familiar spasms of pain had begun, he'd silently
ground his teeth and clenched the side of the bed in a death grip.

As the spasms had grown worse, he had not been able to stop
himself from crying out loudly. That had been when Lieutenant Conrad
had stuck his head into the room, asking if he should go get KC.

Archie's only reply had been to scream through his clenched
teeth.

Fortunately, this was all the answer the Navy SEAL needed,
before he made a reply to Jesse and ran out of the sick berth.

Archie lost track of how many minutes passed before he
realized Horatio and Styles were suddenly on either side of him,
holding his shoulders, and Katryn, who was now missing her topcoat
and hat, was now on his right side, gripping his wrist tightly.

Remembering what had happened the last time, Archie bit down
on his lip in a struggle to hold himself steady, while she injected
the medicine into his arm.

The medication did not take long to begin working. Archie
collapsed back against the pillows, sweating and panting, until he
finally gave an exhausted sigh and lost consciousness.

"Is `e alrigh'?" Styles asked, shocked. Styles had not seen
the events of the day before and was noticeably pale, staring at
Kennedy's now unconscious form.

Horatio nodded, waving a hand. "He'll be fine." He assured
the man. "This happened yesterday as well. It's the muscles
cramping up."

Katryn sighed and flopped back on the floor, panting. "Well,
that was exciting, wasn't it?" She managed to get out.

"Are you alright?" Horatio asked, as he adjusted Archie's
covers.

"Oh yeah." She responded, allowing Styles to help her
up. "I'm good. Remind me not to run down the stairs like that
again. I almost lost my balance and landed on a very uncomfortable
spot."

Styles chuckled and shook his head.

"How long will he be out?" Horatio questioned, catching his
own breath.

Katryn gave a sly smile. "Long enough for us to clean him up
and change his sheets." She told him, pointedly. "He's drenched in
sweat and hasn't had a bath in four days."

Archie groaned, opening his eyes. How long had he been
asleep?

"Welcome back." Katryn replied, from the chair next to the
bed.

Archie frowned. She had changed her clothes again, he noted,
seeing her royal blue scrubs. Then his frown deepened, as he
realized that he was no longer in the hospital gown he'd been
wearing, earlier. He was now in his own nightshirt and someone had
changed the sheets on his bed.

"Horatio did it." Katryn informed him, noting his
confusion. "I just changed the sheets, took out the stitches, and
removed the bandages.

Archie blinked. He'd had another bath, he realized, noticing
the back of his hair was slightly damp, and his hands, although still
rather red, were free of bandages, and not as sore as they'd been,
earlier that week. "How long have I been out?" He asked, accepting
the opened water bottle she handed him.

"About three hours." Katryn told him, as he finished
drinking and handed the bottle back. She recapped it and placed it
back on the table. "You were all sweaty and I figured I'd save you
the embarrassment and get it over with while you were sleeping."

Archie shrugged. "Deeply appreciated." He responded,
relieved.

Katryn gave a small smile. "I wasn't quite asleep, yesterday
morning, when the two of you were talking." She confessed,
sheepishly. "I was just dozing, but I didn't overhear anything I
didn't already suspect." She assured him, noticing his flushed
face. "I've been in the hospital myself, back when I was a teenager,
so I'm well aware of the humiliation involved, believe me."

Archie nodded, licking his lip, then winced, as he tasted the
coppery flavor of blood on his tongue.

Katryn handed him a small tube-like container. "Use this."
She put in, helping him take the cap off. "You bit it earlier. We
stopped the bleeding, but it'll still be sore for a while."

He grimaced, tasting the medication.

"I know it's terrible." Katryn responded. "But it's more of
the lidocain, so it'll stop the pain after a bit."

"Were you in the hospital for the surgery on your foot?"
Archie asked, as soon as he'd recovered. His lip was a bit numb, but
no longer hurting.

"Oh no, that was less than a day." Katryn answered, making a
face. "But I told you yesterday, I took a blow to the back of my
head. I was hit by a car and smashed the front glass with the back
of my head. It threw me all the way across the street."

Archie made a face. "Sounds painful."

"Cracked the pelvic bone, had one heck of a concussion, and
oh yeah, it killed me." Katryn informed him, matter-of-factly.

"Killed you?"

"Yeah." Katryn replied, nodding. "I was dead. No breathing
and no heartbeat."

Archie stared at her, confused.

"But then, I woke up." She went on. "God decided it wasn't
my time yet, and I woke up. I spent a few days in the hospital, in a
lot of pain. Every so often, it still hurts, but overall, I'm
thankful that I was given my life back."

"Remarkable." He murmured.

"I only had one bath in the time I was there, and it was
completely miserable." Katryn continued, making a
face. "Undoubtedly one of the worst moments of my entire life."

"How so?"

"I started having muscle spasms where the bone was cracked
right in the middle of it." She grimaced.

Archie gave a groan and a wince, in sympathy, remembering his
own problem. "I can certainly see why that would be miserable." He
agreed.

"Oh, that's not the half of it." Katryn went on. "I was in
serious pain, mostly naked and freezing because I was wet, with four
nurses and the doctor in the room, and the door partway opened so
everyone who passed by in the hall could here me scream." She
paused. "And you thought you had it bad."

"Actually, I'm starting to feel much better." He commented,
honestly. "Please go on."

"My doctor wasn't a woman, either." She finished, evenly.

Archie sighed. "Alright, you win." He finally admitted,
shaking his head. "What happened with the French ship by the way?"

"We explained our situation and they moved on." Katryn
replied, easily. "They weren't too eager to come aboard with the
virus being contagious . . . . and when Conrad come running up to get
me, wearing a mask and I had to leave, well, let's just say they
didn't stick around much longer than that."

"Well, that's good news." Archie commented, honestly. "I'm
assuming they didn't know about our little battle last week."

Katryn smiled. "No, and we decided it was best not to tell
them." She informed him, pointedly, as she stifled a yawn.

Archie nodded. "I would presume as much." He replied,
understanding.

"What can I say? We're not stupid."

Archie frowned, noticing her demeanor. "You're tired." He
interjected.

"Well, that 6:30 wake-up call came way too early." Katryn
reminded him, pointedly.

"What time is it now?"

"Clo0se to 11:00." Katryn answered, checking her
watch. "About 10:39."

"Why don't you lay back down and sleep some more?" Archie
suggested, sincerely. "I'll be fine, for the moment."

Katryn sighed, considering this, then finally
shrugged. "Tell you what." She finally replied. "Why don't I leave
you my walkman and the other two Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks?"

Archie brightened. "That proposal is gratefully accepted."
He returned, with an eager grin.

"I'll just stick my sign on the door and let Jess and Conrad
know not to disturb me unless it's a medical emergency." Katryn
murmured, delivering her walkman and tapes to Archie.

He frowned. "Your sign?"

Katryn gave him a sly smile. "`Surgeon is dead to the
world. Please call again at her soonest resurrection.'" She quoted
for him.

Archie laughed. "Somehow that sounds like you." He
remarked, shaking his head.

A half an hour later, as soon as Archie was sure she'd gone
back to sleep, he finally let himself relax and placed the headphones
over his ears. Closing his eyes contentedly, he smiled as he amerced
himself into the world of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat.'

Originally, he'd been wanting to take her up on the promise
she'd made the night before, about telling him her method of escaping
her abuse, but somehow when he'd seen how tired she was, he'd decided
it could wait. Besides, he was fairly sure of her methods already,
if the song she'd sang the night before was any clue.

Katryn opened her eyes. She did not know how long she'd been
asleep, but she knew what she was supposed to do. The dream was
still fresh in her mind, as well as in her heart. She could still
feel the warm rush that had swept through her body and the tingling
in her fingertips. Her face was blank as she stood up from her bed,
and slowly walked toward the door.

This virus would not hold her shipmates under its control any
longer. God had spoken and Katryn would obey.

She was unaware that her hands were shaking as she entered
the main sick berth. She did not hear the concerned voices around
her, nor did she pay any attention to them. She stepped into Jesse's
quarters, leaving the door opened as she came to a stop at his
bedside.

Jesse opened his eyes, feeling a presence in the room. He
had been praying as he lay on his back, too sick to get up. Pleading
that God would somehow help them.

Kat was standing above him, her face blank. She did not meet
his eyes, but he could sense that she was not alone as she stood
there. Somehow, before she began to speak in the other tongue, he
already had the feeling that this was God's answer to his prayer.

Jesse frowned, waiting for the translation he knew had to
follow.

"Are you ready to be free of the spirit of illness?" She
asked, quietly.

Jesse grinned, his eyes filling. This was not Kat speaking
to him now. She was simply obeying an order given by
Another. "Yes." He answered, without hesitating.

"Do you believe your Lord can heal you now, in this very
moment?" She went on.

"Beyond any shadow of a doubt." He whispered, hoarsely.

"Stand to your feet."

Jesse threw back the covers and stood up, stretching both
hands above his head.

Katryn's eyes shown. "Then the Lord would say unto
you; `Your faith has made you whole.'" She reached forward and
touched one shaking hand to his forehead.

Jesse felt a warm rush flood through his body, and the pain
and aches faded away, completely. The fever vanished, and he closed
his eyes in a sigh, then opened them to meet Kat's gaze. "What do ya
say we and God bind this virus completely?" He suggested.

Katryn returned the grin and both doctors left the room, side
by side.

Captain Richards looked up from the ship's log, hearing a
knock on his door. "Come in." He called, sounding tired.

The door opened and he stared, startled, as his First and
Second Officers entered the room, grinning.

"We'd like to report one heck of a miracle." Davey spoke up,
sounding perfectly normal.

"All o' ye?" Richards asked, in disbelief.

"Virus has been beaten." Cortez confirmed, with a smile.
Although he'd still be on crutches for a couple more days, he too,
sounded completely well.

"Praise God!" Russ shouted at the top of his voice, as he
jumped to his feet, in celebration. "How's Carlos?"

"Just a few broken ribs." Davey told him, happily. "KC and
Harley will keep him in the sick berth for a few days more, until
he's healed up enough to go back to half duty. The rest of us have
been returned to duty, as long as Jacques doesn't overdo it."

As they walked toward the sick berth, Richards looked
around. Word had spread like a wildfire, through the crew. All of
the men, including those on duty were shouting for joy, and praising
God. The old Irishman smiled, watching. It was plain to see who the
real Captain of this ship was, he mused, and he wouldn't have it any
other way.

Archie frowned, removing the headphones. It had been five
minutes since he'd seen the light from the door opening, when Katryn
had left the room. Now there were voices. Happy joyful voices
coming from the main sick berth.

Obviously something had happened in there, but what?

Seeing the door open, Archie lifted his chin and turned up
the lamp bedside his bed. "Katryn?" He inquired.

"No, she's out there." Horatio's voice replied.

"What's wrong?" Archie demanded, knowing this tone.

Horatio wordlessly came over and sat down beside the bed,
looking very much as if he were in shock.

Archie, seeing this, grew more alarmed, and grabbed his
friend's shoulder. "What <is >it?!"

"Remember what you said about things happening that have no
possible explanation?" Horatio asked, not meeting his gaze.

Archie frowned, confused. "What happened?" He pressed,
frustrated.

"It's gone."

"What's gone?!"

"The virus." Horatio told him, shaking his head in
disbelief. "It's gone completely. They've all miraculously been
healed."

"Now you're raving." Archie retorted, staring at
him. "That's impossible."

"I saw it." Horatio insisted.

"Saw what?"

"Dr. Casse."

"What about her?"

"When she came out, she was very pale." Horatio informed
him, still baffled. "She was shaking all over and did not seem to
see anyone. We even asked her if she was alright and she didn't even
seem to hear us."

Archie sat silently, waiting for him to continue.

"She never replied. She just kept walking, into Dr.
Davidson's quarters." He went on. "We heard her speak in another
language . . . one I've never heard before. Then she asked in
English: something about; was he ready to be healed. We didn't hear
his reply, because he could barely even speak at all, but then she
touched him, and the virus was gone. Just like that."

Archie blinked, then stared blankly. "You're sure?"

"I heard him speak after that, and there was no trace if
illness in his voice at all." Horatio insisted. "I watched them,
one after another pray for the people in the sick berth, saying
something about binding the power of the virus. The injured ones are
still injured, but the virus is gone, entirely."

Archie frowned, considering this. "So how are you explaining
this?"

Horatio shook his head in defeat. "That's the problem,
Archie. There is no explanation."

Archie gave a shrug. "Maybe there's one." He pointed
out. "And right now, it seems to be the only explanation that makes
any ounce of sense. Think about it, Horatio, you saw it happen!
What else could it be?!"

Horatio sighed. "So what do you think?"

"I don't know what to think." Archie admitted,
quietly. "They're in there, dancing for joy, yet in here, nothing is
any different. It doesn't seem right. I've spent most of my life
wishing God would step in and make everything all better, but it
never happened." He blinked and looked away. "I gave up hope of
ever being rescued by God, long ago. Then I come here and all I see
is everything He's doing for so many others. What has God ever done
for me?"

Horatio watched Archie brush a tear off his cheek, in
silence. His friend seemed to have a point.

"Several months ago, I heard that question asked of me, in a
dream." Katryn suddenly spoke up quietly, as she came around the
screen. They had not heard her come in, nor had they seen the light
from the opening door.

"What?" Horatio questioned, frowning.

"God told me that someone was going to ask that question in
my presence." She told them, looking rather astonished. "We hadn't
even left on this trip yet."

Archie swallowed, licking his still swollen lip. "I don't
suppose He gave you an answer to it?" He inquired, uncertain.

"I was told that someone would ask that question." Katryn
repeated, thoughtfully. "And this was the answer I was told to give."

Archie and Horatio exchanged a glance, then looked back up at
her, doubtfully.

"What more could you possibly ask God to do for you?"

Archie frowned, disappointed. "I don't understand." He
murmured, confused.

"Think in your mind of the person who has committed the most
crimes against you, whether dead or alive; it doesn't matter."
Katryn told him.

"That's easy enough." Archie remarked, bewildered.

"Let's say he's been sentenced to death to pay the price for
these crimes." Katryn went on.

Archie nodded.

"Would you give up your only son to be tortured and executed
in his place, so he would not have to pay the price for the crimes he
committed against you?" Katryn asked, raising an eyebrow.

Archie closed his eyes and looked away. "That's not the same
thing." He insisted. "I've never done anything like that to God."

"Have you ever stolen anything?"

Archie sighed. "Yes." He admitted.

"Have you ever wanted anything that someone else had for
yourself, to the point that it made you angry and jealous?"

Archie cast a sideways glance at Horatio, and sighed
again. "Yes."

"Ever killed anyone?"

"We were at war."

"Death is still death." Katryn informed him,
pointedly. "Have you ever lied?"

"Yes." Archie answered, not liking where this was going.

"Taken the Lord's name in vain?"

"Frequently." Archie replied, after a moment's pause.

Beside him, Horatio also looked away.

"Ever hate your father?"

"You suggested making him eat his own brain, last night."
Archie pointed out. "Under the circumstances, shouldn't I be
acquitted for that?"

"I'm not saying you don't have a reason for doing the things
you did." Katryn assured him. "I do understand it. All I'm saying
is that, by your own admission, you are a coveting, lying, murdering,
thief, who takes the Lord's name in vain and hates his father.
You've broken over half the Ten Commandments, and therefore, you've
committed serious crimes against God."

Archie sighed in defeat.

"Yet this same God loved you so much that He gave up His only
son to die in your place, to pay for the crimes you committed against
Him." Katryn finished. "So I ask again: What more could you ever
ask God to do for you, that could possibly be more loving than what
He's already done?"

Archie could not answer. He only laid back on the bed, and
looked away, his mind now a million miles away. He needed to
think . . . . but above all of that, he needed to know; why?

Katryn, seeing him, motioned for Horatio to get up and come
with her.

With a sigh, he followed her to the door. "I don't know what
has been said between the two of you." Horatio told her,
quietly. "But you seem to have an understanding that not even I can
compete with. Is he going to be alright?"

"He's confused right now, because he was not expecting the
answer he was given." Katryn explained, keeping her voice low. "And
in all reality, I'm a bit surprised myself. You see, I was given
that exact answer, in those words, for nearly every new question that
was asked, and I wrote it down to prove it with the date at the top
of the page. Two weeks before we left on this trip."

Horatio raised an eyebrow. "I don't suppose I could see that?"

Quietly, Katryn walked over to her desk and opened the top
drawer, pulling our a single envelope. "This was sealed on the date
on the outside." She replied, handing it to him. "Read it when you
get a chance. You're going to have a lot to do, right away. With
Davey and Cortez back on duty, you'll have to move out of their
room. That was why I was coming to get you."

Horatio nodded, putting the envelope in the pocket of his
topcoat. "Look after him."

Katryn smiled. "I don't think that will be a problem." She
responded. "With the sick berth nearly empty, and Jesse, Willie, and
Jesus back on duty, I'll have some free time, and there's a few
things I promised to do in my free time."

Horatio gave her a final nod and left the sick berth.

He was still limping, Katryn noticed, frowning. Suspicious,
she turned, waving Jesse over.

Jesse raised his eyebrows. "You're wanting something?"

"I want you to examine his leg later." She told him, quietly.

Jesse frowned. "You think he's been overdoing it?"

"I'm almost positive." Katryn returned, ardently.

Jesse nodded. "I'll get him back in here as soon as they get
him moved out of Davey and Jacques' cabin." He assured her. "If I
have to drag him down here by his pony-tail, kicking and screaming,
I'll get him in here and take a look-see."

"Thanks."

"What do you want to do with Kennedy?" Jesse questioned,
unsure. "Somehow I have a feeling you're not going to want him moved
right away."

Katryn shook her head. "I don't want to have to go through
switching beds again, with the whole mess of untying him and moving
him, especially with the muscle spasms he's been having." She
answered, seriously. "We have to move him when we take him back into
surgery, anyway, so we might as well wait until then. It's less than
a week away, so what's a few more days?"

"That's what I was figuring." Jesse informed her,
nodded. "I didn't want to have to risk him going into spasms while
we're moving him."

Katryn nodded. "Besides he's a little confused, and is
needing to do some talking at this point in time."

Jesse gave a smile. "I had a feeling that's what you've been
up to." He replied, knowingly. "It seems to be doing both of you
some good."

"That it has." She agreed, thoughtfully. "For now, I'd
better get back. He'll be needing another muscle relaxer and I don't
want to wait until he goes into spasms again to give it to him this
time."

Jesse nodded. "I'll let you know how it goes with
Hornblower." He responded, heading out the sick berth door.

Sighing, Katryn turned and went back into her own room.

Archie had turned the lamp back down, she noticed, walking
over to the corner.

Silently, she stood at the foot of his bed.

"I'm awake." He spoke up, quietly, with a sigh.

Katryn nodded, holding out a white caplet, she'd pulled out
of a bottle in her pocket.

Frowning, Archie accepted it, confused.

"Robaxin." Katryn informed him. "It's a muscle relaxer.
Your last one should be wearing off any time now."

"Oh, thank you." He replied, using the water on the table
beside him to swallow it.

"I didn't feel like getting another needle out."

Archie gave a nod. "I don't mind, as long as they both
accomplish the same feat."

Katryn nodded and sat down. "I didn't mean to upset you, or
make you feel any worse." She told him, softly. "I have a problem
when it comes to anger and it's something I've been dealing with for
a very long time."

Archie frowned, confused.

Katryn held up a hand, before he could speak. "I get angry
with people for what they've done to others." She admitted. "It's
actually an abuse of my Spiritual Gifting. My gifts are in the field
of Mercy. It's why I can feel other people's pain. I already knew
what had happened to you the day of the funeral, when I looked in
your eyes. Dr. Sebastian didn't tell me anything I hadn't already
suspected." She paused. "When you told me about what your father
and the others had done, I got angry with them, because it hurts me
seeing others hurt. Kind of as if it had been done to me instead."

"I understand." Archie responded. "You don't have to
apologize for that."

"I had to apologize for abusing my Spiritual gift." Katryn
informed him, wryly. "Even if you didn't mind, it wasn't right."

Archie shrugged.

"Maybe you can clear something up though."

"What?"

"`One way or another, I'll be rid of him.'" She
quoted. "That phrase kept repeating in my mind that day but it was
not you who said those words."

Archie sighed. "Horatio was beaten within an inch of his
life." He told her, quietly. "He never knew anything about what
other things Simpson had done, until much later. At any rate,
couldn't contend with the abuse. Those were the words he said to us
when he challenged Simpson to the first duel. He didn't care if he
died. All he cared was that he would be rid of him."

"So there was more than one duel?"

"I didn't get quite that far in my story." Archie told her,
pointedly.

Katryn nodded, understanding. "Then in that case, perhaps
you should continue the story, where you left off last night." She
suggested, reaching for the lamp.

Archie caught her wrist. "No, please leave it down." He
requested, warily.

Katryn nodded, and folded her arms on the bed, then propped
her chin on them.

"Where did I leave off?" He asked, absently.

"You hid the fox and got into trouble." She reminded him.

"I was thirteen." He clarified.

"How old were you when you joined the Navy?"

"Fourteen." Archie answered, frowning. "Not long after the
incident with the fox." He paused. "And `joined' is hardly the
word. `Exiled' is more appropriate. I told my father I wanted to
study acting that year."

"Ah, I see." Katryn commented, nodding.

"I remember we were having guests over at that time." Archie
continued, thinking. "Don't remember who they were, exactly, as I
don't remember much of anything from that day. I know they were from
the Royal Court or something and my father wanted to make a good
impression."

"Oh no." Katryn murmured, realizing what must have happened.

"They were holding auditions for new actors at the Theater
Royale, and I wanted so badly to go." Archie continued,
wistfully. "I made the mistake of telling my father about it. He
became very angry. Said that if I dared do anything to embarrass the
family, he'd see that I never did it again."

Katryn rolled her eyes. "For someone who knew you were prone
to fits, you'd think he'd know better than that." She remarked,
shaking her head. "Why didn't he just ask you to run naked through
the house screaming? It would have been a lot more subtle than, in
so many words, telling you to have a fit in front of them."

Archie sighed, and Katryn noticed the amused smile he was
trying to hide.

"True, but my father was never one for subtlety." He told
her, wryly. "And yes, I fell in a fit in the middle of afternoon
tea. That was the last time I ever saw my father. I was enlisted in
the Navy by week's end and brought into a hell worse than any I'd
faced before." He paused. "Though, to Sleazeball's credit, he
waited a whole two months before he started in on me. I think he was
waiting for the rumors about his previous victim to die down. I
never knew the boy's name, but I was told he had been there a year
longer than me, although we were the same age. I met him briefly,
before he met with an `accident'. He didn't talk much, and possessed
the intuition of one who was more or less empty inside. He was
rather cold, and I didn't know what to make of him at the time.
Looking back now, I understand completely what was wrong with him."

Katryn nodded. "Sad that a boy so young could have that
happen to him." She replied, gravely. "Did Sleazeball kill him?"

"I believe he did, although it was made to appear as if he'd
hung himself." Archie answered, thoughtfully. "There were signs of
a struggle around and he had a few bruises on his throat that looked
to me like they were made with fingers, in place of a rope. However,
because he'd been so depressed, and never talked to anyone, they all
assumed it was a suicide. Those who didn't, were either too afraid
to speak up, or didn't care. His body was buried at sea, and that
was the end of it. In the end, he was yet another casualty of war."

Katryn bit her lip, but remained silent. That was not
right. It was horrible that one man, who didn't even deserve to be
called a man, could do such a thing to a child so young.

"You can threaten him, I won't say anything." Archie finally
put in, shrugging.

Katryn smiled. "Sleazeball is more than paying for
everything he ever did, by now." She remarked, pointedly. "And
believe me, he has a lot to answer for. I would not be in his shoes
for all the money in the world and your father will come to realize
his mistake in time, as well."

"I don't really hate him." Archie confessed, honestly. "I
just wish I could understand why he never loved me."

"I think he loved your mother very much." Katryn suggested
sadly. "And when she died, part of him died with her. I believe he
felt resent toward you, because of the way she loved you. It seems
to me, he was a bit jealous."

"She loved him as well." Archie pointed out. "Why would he
be jealous of me?"

"The human mind is very strange and sometimes people only see
what they want to see. The fact that she died so suddenly, leaving
him with a very young son, whom he considered to be handicapped. I
would guess he was angry about this." Katryn explained,
shrugging. "The fact that he removed any trace of her from the
house, then turned his anger toward you suggests a very depressed and
lonely man who uses anger to deal with his loss. When you think
about it, it's kind of sad."

Archie considered this. "And what can you say of Simpson?"

Katryn frowned. "Tell me more about him." She replied,
pointedly. "When he wasn't assaulting young boys, was he a well-
respected person? Was he smart . . . stupid?"

"He wasn't particularly well-liked, from what I knew of
him." Archie told her, thoughtfully. "He was jealous when others
were praised by their superiors and I know that Captain Keene was
always chastising him for his mistakes in front of all of us."

"There you have it." Katryn answered, honestly. "He was
jealous of others and frequently humiliated in front of men whom I
can only assume were half his age. When it all comes down to it,
jealousy is one of the greatest sins in existence. More hurt and
more pain has been inflicted because of jealousy than most other
things combined. Jealousy can start wars, kill people, and tear
families apart."

Archie nodded. "Makes sense." He commented.

"Mr. Sleazeball Simpson had a massive inferiority complex."
Katryn went on. "He felt inferior to others, so to make himself feel
superior, he went after boys who could not fight back. Humiliating
them and shaming them. He was ashamed of himself around people who
were superior to him, so to counter this, he did what made himself
feel strong and superior. It's why he reacted the way he did when
Horatio was told to fire back, in that duel. Then Horatio humiliated
him, by firing in the air, and he became angry, which resulted in his
trying to stab Horatio in the back."

Archie blinked and shook his head in disbelief. The
description fit perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that it was a
wonder no one had realized it before. Actually, this explained a lot
that he'd never understood before.

"From speculation, I'd guess that Mr. Simpson probably had
one miserable childhood to feel that inferior." Katryn went on. "In
fact, I suspect the two of you might have had a lot in common in that
department."

"I'm astonished." Archie admitted, after a moment.

"I also studied profiling." Katryn explained. "I knew
everything about abuse, as I said before, and when I was in Med.
School, especially, I read everything I could find on the subject,
including what causes some people to abuse others."

"It's strange, really." Archie went on, thoughtfully. "I
actually feel sorry for him."

"Yeah, I have that same feeling about my older sister."
Katryn informed him, distantly. "She was a lot like that. She loved
to hurt me, for no reason at all. It just made her feel good."

"You didn't mention anything about an older sister before."
Archie commented, frowning.

"Turn up the light. I want to show you something." Katryn
responded.

Archie reached back and turned the lamp's flame up, as Katryn
turned around and pulled her hair away from the back of her neck.

Archie's frown deepened.

"Pull down the back collar of my shirt in the middle, and
tell me what you see there." She told him.

Slightly uncomfortable, Archie reached over and did as he was
told, then looked close in the dim light. A faint white line was
visible in the center of her back, between her shoulder blades.
Looking closer, he realized what it was. "Your sister?" He
inquired, pulling his hand back.

Katryn turned around and nodded. "She had long fingernails
that she was so proud of."

"She scratched you?!" He asked, incredulously.

"Yes." Katryn answered. "I was twelve and she was nearly
fourteen. You know, she still brags about it."

"Because she left a scar?"

Katryn nodded. "She was proud of it. As if it were some big
achievement." She told him, distantly. "`See how well I can bully
my sister.' My Aunt told me a while back, she still brags about it
to everyone."

"And yet you feel sorry for her?!" Archie asked, in
disbelief.

Katryn shrugged, with a faraway look. "She has to tell lies
to get people to feel sorry for her." She went on. "She tells
people that our father raped her, and that our minister molested her,
which I suspect she picked up, having heard about me from somewhere.
None of it ever happened. My father wouldn't even consider doing
such a thing. He would have killed the minister if he'd known what
happened to me."

"Did the minister ever touch her?"

"No." Katryn answered, shaking her head. "She didn't take
music lessons, so the only time she was even around him was when we
were at church, and he wouldn't even consider doing anything there.
His wife and my parents were always there. Besides, he was too
infatuated with me to even pay attention to her."

"Do you suppose she was jealous of you?" Archie questioned,
thoughtfully.

"You know, my Aunt suggested that, and I'm apt to agree."
Katryn replied, with a frown. "She has to lie about it, whereas it
actually happened to me. Personally, I think she's crazy to even
want such a thing to have happened. Having actually experienced it,
I want nothing more than to forget about it. I'd never want someone
to feel sorry for me, because of it, but then I can't stand people
feeling sorry for me, period. It drives me insane."

Archie nodded in agreement. "That, I understand." He
commented, making a face. "I can't stand it when people pity me, and
I hate the feeling of helplessness. That just makes it worse."

"Exactly." Katryn acknowledged. "But I do pity my older
sister." She went on. "She's told all these lies so much that she
actually believes these things happened to her. She can't even tell
reality from fantasy anymore and I find that very sad. All her life
is a lie she's established. She has all these abused friends who
believe her and feel sorry for her for it. She doesn't even realize
the only one she's hurting is herself. Last I heard of her, she was
in a car accident. She has a very huge and ugly scar down the side
of her face."

Archie raised an eyebrow. "And all the years she's bragged
about giving you a scar." He mused, shaking his head.

"Ironic." Katryn agreed. "I'm not saying it's some kind of
a punishment, but it makes you wonder sometimes. Our minister loved
to walk. Then, after we switched churches, he got an infection in
his foot. He had to lose a leg. He spent the rest of his life in a
wheelchair. After all he'd done, I still felt sorry for him. More
than anything in the world, I pray that he settled things with God
before he died."

"Then he is dead?"

"Very recently." Katryn answered, swallowing a lump in her
throat. "Just before we left, I heard about it. I went to see his
daughter. I couldn't make the funeral, but I wanted to see her. I
believe from what she told me, he was very close to God before he
died, so I hope he settled things. He was good to me in his own
way. His encouragement got me through a bad time at school, and I do
remember being so happy at lessons. Even though his motives were
rather sick, he did care about me to a point. I forgave him a long
time ago."

Archie considered this. "And your sister?"

"She changed her name, and disowned herself from our
family." Katryn supplied. "But I still love her and I do still
frequently pray for her. I hope she comes back to reality someday."

"How do you do it?"

"What?"

"You see things unlike anyone I've ever known." He
paused. "Although Dr. Sebastian does come close to it. He told me I
should forgive my father . . . very much the same way you forgave
your sister."

"He's right." Katryn told him. "You forgive as God forgives
you. I'm not saying you forget, because you don't have to forget.
Sometimes, you can't forget. I know I haven't forgotten anything,
but I have forgiven those who hurt me, and frankly, I'm not sorry
about it. Since I forgave them, I feel so free. When you forgive
the people in your past, you give up any rights of getting even, and
leave them to God. They are no longer your problem, and believe me,
that's a good feeling. Even though you can't forget the abuse, you
need the freedom that forgiveness provides, but I'll leave that
choice to you."

"I have to admit, you sound very much like Dr. Sebastian."
Archie commented, wryly.

"You mentioned that he believed in God." She reminded him.

"He is Catholic." Archie informed her. "But he shares your
beliefs in God."

Katryn was silent a moment.

"You don't agree with Catholic beliefs." Archie stated, in
realization.

"I won't lie to you." Katryn admitted, after a moment. "I
do not agree with the teachings of the Blessed Virgin, I don't
believe in worshiping Mary, and I don't agree with the idea of
praying to the Saints. In all honesty, the entire concept confuses
me and I don't understand it."

"What do you not understand?"

"Well, first of all, I was taught the Bible my whole life."
Katryn explained, pointedly. "So tell me why they say Mary was a
virgin her entire life, when one of the twelve disciples was James,
the brother of Jesus. How did he get a brother if his mother was a
virgin?"

Archie blinked. "Does it say he was his brother?"

"I can look it up, if you like, but I'm pretty much positive
it called him `James, the brother of Jesus.' Unless it was referring
to some other Jesus, which is unlikely because James was with Mary at
the crucifixion, and he was called her son at that time." Katryn
informed him.

"Well I must confess I don't really know much about it,
except what Dr. Sebastian has told me, but you could ask him when the
Indie returns. "I don't remember him mentioning anything about this
James, though." He paused. "And what is it about the Saints?"

"I'm told they pray to the Saints because some people don't
feel comfortable talking to God, so they go to some Saint that is
supposed to understand them better than the One who created us, and
this Saint `pleads our case' to God." Katryn replied, with a shrug.

Archie nodded. "Dr. Sebastian told me of that."

"Why pray to a Saint when God provided Jesus Christ for
exactly that purpose?" Katryn pointed out. "`There is one mediator,
between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.'" She quoted. "And in my
opinion, who would understand your pain more than Christ would? He
was tortured, and abused, and thrown in prison, then he was brutally
murdered, for absolutely nothing. I don't see how anyone in
existence could possibly compete with that understanding, and
therefore, why go pray to someone else about it?"

"I suppose you have a point." Archie admitted. "Although
there is one thing that still confuses me."

Katryn raised an eyebrow.

"Why, if God loves us all so much, does He not stop things
like that from happening?" Archie asked, earnestly. "Why does He
let people suffer like that, and do nothing?"

"You finished the story on Joseph, right?"

"Archie nodded. "I liked it very much."

"Don't you think Joseph ever asked that same question?"
Katryn pointed out. "Think of the years he spent in prison, or as a
slave. Don't you think he ever wondered what purpose that could ever
serve?"

Archie shrugged.

"Yet, because of that, he went farther then even his family
could ever have dreamed, and that's not the only person in the Bible
it's happened to. Sometimes, God uses the things you think were so
terrible for a greater good."

"What about you?"

Katryn smiled. "An Evangelist once said something to me
about that." She informed him. "This man knew nothing about me or
my life. He didn't know me from Adam, yet he said something that I
will always remember."

"What?"

"It was a message from God, speaking through him." She
explained. "He said, `I know you don't seem to understand, but
everything that has happened to you, whether it was good in your
sight, or bad in your sight. It was for me to bring you to this
moment. I used all of it to bring you to this moment. And know
this, says the Lord. You are not alone. I am your father, I am your
friend, I am your companion. I am everything that you need.'" Katryn
paused. "I have that on tape, from where they were recording the
service. Some of it's hard to make out because of the music in the
background, but I won't ever forget that promise.

"You see, my God-given purpose is to bind up the
brokenhearted." She continued. "You can't honestly understand pain
or hurt, unless you yourself have lived it."

"Are you saying that's what I should be doing?" Archie
asked, looking thoughtful.

"You need to decide that for yourself." Katryn informed
him. "But I can say this much. You've lived through it. You
survived it, and because of that, you have an understanding that not
many others can share. You know the symptoms and the signs because
you were there. That puts you in a position to reach out to others,
who would believe, as you did, that there was no way out. You can
sit and ask why, while re-living the pain your entire life. . . . or
you can use it to stop others from suffering the fate of the boy who
died, before you."

Archie looked up to meet her gaze. "I do believe we
understand each other now." He replied, conclusively.

Katryn smiled. "I believe there was something I promised
you." She spoke up, suddenly, leaning over.

"Which promise?" Archie asked, pointedly.

Katryn set the large tape player on the bed and held up a
tape she had pulled from her pocket. Silently, she hit a button,
which opened the player's compartment.

Archie watched as she put the tape in and turned it on. Only
when she started to sing, did he realize what the song was.

"Deep within each heart,
There lies a magic spark,
That lights the fire of our imagination.
And since the dawn of man,
The strength of just `I can'
Has brought together people of all nations.
There's nothing ordinary in the living of each day.
There's a special part every one of us will play.

"Feel the flame forever burn,
Teaching lessons we must learn,
To bring us closer to the Power of the Dream.
As the world gives us its best
To stand apart from all the rest,
It is the Power of the Dream that brings us here.

"Your mind will take you far.
The rest is just real hard.
You'll find your fate is all your own creation.
And every boy and girl,
As they come into this world;
They bring the gift of hope and inspiration.

"Feel the flame forever burn.
Teaching lessons we must learn
To bring us closer to the Power of the Dream.
The world unites in hope and peace,
We pray that it will always be.
It is the Power of the Dream that brings us here.

"There's so much strength in all of us
Every woman, child, and man.
It's the moment that you think you can't,
You'll discover that you can."

"Feel the flame [forever burn]
Teaching lessons we must learn,
[to bring us closer to] The Power of the Dream.
The world unites in hope and peace,
[we pray that] It will always be.
[it is] The Power of the Dream that brings us here.

"Feel the flame [forever burn]
Teaching [lessons we must learn] We've got to learn.
[to bring us closer to] The Power of the Dream.
[the world unites in hope and peace]
We pray that it will always be.
[it is] The Power of the Dream that brings us. . . .

"[power of the dream, pray the things unseen]
[courage to embrace our fears]
[no matter where you are, faith can help us all. . . ]
To realize the Power of the Dream.
To realize the Power of the . . . . . Dream. . . ."

Archie smiled, as she finished. "You definitely should have
won that award." He told her, wiping the tears off his cheek.

Katryn grinned. "It means a lot to me just to hear you say
so." She returned, after a moment.

Epilogue . . . .Three Years Later

Lieutenant Archie Kennedy stumbled slightly, as he walked
with Horatio toward the docks at Portsmouth, where they would finally
board the Renown.

Horatio steadied his friend and they continued walking. The
two had spent part of the weekend before celebrating the chance to
serve under the legendary Captain Sawyer. Due to their methods of
celebration, which included their nearly drinking Portsmouth dry,
neither of them was very steady on his feet.

"Are you alright, Archie?" Horatio asked, noticing as Archie
absently rubbed his left knee.

Archie nodded. "I'm alright." He replied,
straightening. "Just a little too much celebration is all."

Horatio grinned, slyly, remembering it. "Strange." He
commented, with a smirk. "I seem to remember you passed out rather
early."

Archie rolled his eyes. "Early was at least two in the
morning, Horatio." He pointed out, as they boarded the shore boat
where their sea-chests had been delivered. "I hardly believe you
lasted much longer than that."

Horatio frowned. "I don't know." He finally replied,
shrugging. "I don't remember."

The two of them exchanged a glance and burst out laughing.

As they sobered, Horatio again noticed Archie massaging his
knee with a faraway look in his tired blue eyes.

"Archie?"

Archie was quiet a minute before he looked up. "Do you think
we'll ever see them again?" He asked, distantly.

Horatio sighed, thoughtfully. "I don't know."

Katryn smiled to herself as she stood, alone, on the mainmast
topyard. The sun gleamed off the silver pearl ring she wore on her
left hand ring finger. Something was going to happen. She could
feel it with every fiber of her being.

Holding her arms out on either side, she leaned forward,
letting the safety rope hold her up. The Caribbean wind whipped her
now sun-streaked light auburn hair around as she raised her voice and
begin to sing.

"I found you in the most unlikely way.
But really, it was you who found me.
And I found myself in the gifts that you gave.
You gave me so much and I,
I wish you could stay.
But I'll wait for the day.

"And I'll watch as the cold winter
Melts into Spring.
And I'll be remembering you.
Oh and I'll smell the flowers
And hear the birds sing.
And I'll be remembering you.
I'll be remembering you.

"From the first moment
When I heard your name
Something in my heart came alive.
You showed me love that no words could explain.
A love with the power to open the door
To a world I was waiting for.

"And I'll watch as the cold winter
Melts into Spring.
And I'll be remembering you.
Oh and I'll smell the flowers
And hear the birds sing.
And I'll be remembering . . .
The dark nights,
The hard fight,
The long climb up the hill,
Knowing the cost,
The way of death,
The last breath,
The silence whispering all hope was lost.
The thunder,
The wonder,
A power that brings the dead back to life.

"I wish you could stay.
But I'll wait for the day.
And though you've gone away . . .
You'll come back,

"And I'll watch as the cold winter
Melts into Spring.
And I'll be remembering you.
Oh and I'll smell the flowers
And hear the birds sing.
And I'll be remembering you.

"And I'll watch as the sun
Fills the sky that was dark,
And I'll be remembering you.
And I'll think of the way that you filled up my heart,
And I'll be remembering you.
I'll be remembering you.
I'll be remembering you.
I'll be remembering . . . . you."

Katryn ended the song with a grin. Her brother. Her
friend. She had never read the books, but she knew what his future
had in store. Jack and others had described it well.

At twenty-four, his life would be over. . . . but Katryn
would never accept this. From the descriptions, she knew he w0uld be
shot, but she also knew it was not the shot that would take his
life. It was the infection it caused. This fact gave life to a very
small hope that would continue to burn inside her. If the infection
could be prevented, there could be a way to save him.

Katryn had made her choice, and she knew that every man on
their ship felt the same. She, herself, however, knew she owed this
man not only her life, but the life of her husband-to-be.

And by heaven, if there was a way, Katryn would not rest
until she found it.

____________________________________

The End . . . or is it?
____________________________________

Song Credits for David's Star

'My Immortal ' By Evanescence from the 'Daredevil ' soundtrack

'Everything Burns ' By Ben Moody & Anastasia from the 'Fantastic 4'
soundtrack

'The Warrior is a Child ' By Twila Paris

'Carry Me ' By Scott Krippayne

'Headline News ' (3rd verse) By "Weird Al" Yankovic

'Imaginary ' By Evanesence

'The Power of the Dream' By Celine Dion

'I Will Remember You ' By Steven Curtis Chapman from the "music
inspired by the movie 'The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe'"
_______________________________________

AN//This is it. The end. For the moment. Still working on a sequal.

This story is something I've needed to write for many years. Any
tales of abuse Katryn suffered that you've read in these chapters are
reflections of my own life and my own experience. I have only writen
what I know personally. I thank you all for reading and for your
comments and feedback. It was greatly needed and much appreciated.

I just wanted to add that no matter what a person thinks at times,
it's just really wonderful to know we are never truely as alone as we
feel. To my close friends and family who read through this for me,
before it was posted, as well as those who encouraged me to not only
write it, but finish it, thanks. You know who you are.

--Cassi