The Foresight Saga
by Laura

 

"SOMETHING disturbs your thoughts, I fancy," prompted Bracegirdle.

"Just thinking of the distances we travel, yet how far we still have
to sail as men," replied Hornblower, looking out thoughtfully to the
horizon.

After the celebratory tot of rum, Horatio Hornblower went up to his
cabin and layed down for a hard-earned rest. Whew! What a great
couple of years it had been. First, he joined the Navy with all signs
of sea-sickness, and on top of that, he was not very welcomed by his
fellow shipmates, most of all Simpson. Thank goodness for Clayton and
Archie! Except, he didn't really like thinking about Clayton and
Archie anymore, because now they were gone. One definitely dead, and
the other most certainly dead.

One would think that bullies didn't exist anymore once one had left
school, but that was obviously not the case. Simpson was a bully, and
he was the worst kind. Everyone knows that the English and French are
enemies, but imagine being unliked by your own kind.

Hornblower had managed to totally ruin the capture/voyage of the
Marie Galante, but still, at least he had reached the Indefatigable
with his head and body still intact. Then he helped out with the
capture of the Papillon, in a most heroic manner, in which Simpson
made a brutal assassination attempt. Finally, Pellew shot Simpson
once and for all, and the horror finally ended.

But then, Hornblower had just faced more difficulties. Dealing with a
difficult crewman who had a troubled soul and then finding that you'd
actually managed to kill him by accident was certainly not the thing
one would like to brag about. The Plague, pompous Captains, failing
your examination for Lieutenant, and steering a Fire Ship no wonder
they said that the Royal Navy was full of adventures.

>From a modern-day point of view, people in everyday jobs probably
find that it is quite essential to develop people skills and deal
with all kinds of personalities. Well, for Horatio Hornblower it was
no exception.

Hornblower wondered what it would be like to be a lieutenant. No
doubt that it would be an even harder task, hence, "Just thinking of
the distances we travel, yet how far we still have to sail as men."

Just then, a great big breeze flew over the Indy. It was so great
that it made Hornblower sit up. Winds roaring, rain pouring, and hail
forming. Thunder cracked and lightning struck. "What the-?" said
Horatio in disbelief.

Just as he said this, a big smoky cloud appeared in his very cabin in
front of him, and out from it emerged a voice.

Hornblower blinked his eyes and rubbed `em just to make sure he
wasn't delirious.

"I have something to tell you, Mr Hornblower!" said the deep, manly
voice.

Hornblower said nothing, flabbergasted.

"You and your friend Archie will meet again. But it will be a most
difficult test of friendship! And after all that, you will be made
Lieutenant and have to side up with the French royalists. Your female
friend will di- Er, sorry. I really must go."

"What? Archie? Female friend?" queried Hornblower.

With that, the cloud disappeared.

 

 

The next morning, Hornblower woke up with the sunlight from the cabin
window glittering in his face. In a moment, he vaguely recalled
certain words that were said in the previous mysterious conversation.

`I must have been dreaming', thought Hornblower. And with that,
having dismissed it, he got up to eat breakfast. Before long, he had
completely and utterly forgot all about this strange vision that he
had.

Over the next few years, Hornblower got stuck in a Spanish prison in
Cadiz, (`Oh well; I was bound to eventually get captured by the enemy
at some stage,' Hornblower managed to find time to think), met up
with his `little pal' Archie, coaxed him back to health, made friends
with a Duchess, fell in favour with his Captain, was made Lieutenant,
had to side up with The French Royalists, and work with the Leader
(and Earl) of the British Army, Major Edrington to repel the French
Republicans. Total disaster, of course even Great Pellew knew that
it was doomed from the start. And then there was Mariette. (NO! How
could this have happened!?) The blow had just seemed too much to bear.

Hornblower began to slowly find his feet again and overcome his
shattered state, with the help of his best friend Archie Kennedy,
whom Edrington had instructed to "just look after him".

 

 

On one particular night, Hornblower was alone in his cabin and it was
pouring down rain; another thunderstorm about to erupt. Just then, a
big smoky cloud appeared in his very cabin in front of him, and out
from it emerged a voice.

Hornblower blinked his eyes and rubbed `em just to make sure he
wasn't delirious.

"I have something to tell you, Mr Hornblower!" said the deep, manly
voice.

Hornblower said nothing, flabbergasted.

"You and your friend Archie will be transferred to another ship in a
couple of years' time, under the command of the great hero of the
Nile: Captain James Sawyer!!! But this will not be so lovely as it
appears to be. Sawyer will go increasingly, murderously mad, and turn
against YOU and ARCHIE, and all who are on your side. Before, it was
Simpson who caused you troubles, but at least your superior, Captain
Pellew, sorted it out in the end This time, it will be your
SUPERIOR who's turned against you. It will be a most difficult time,
more difficult than any of the others. You will have to face a Court-
Marshal for a supposed crime that you did. But most of all your
bestest and dearest friend Archie will...will..."

"What?," asked Hornlower, suddenly inquisitive.

"Well, you know..."

"WHAT?!"

"Well, what is the opposite of `live'? "

"Die".

"Well, there you go. Oh, and before I forget - you will also be
promoted to Commander of the Retribution in spite of it all."

The voice and cloud disappeared. This time, before Hornblower had a
chance to dismiss the vision, blaming it on the draft, his mind got
the better of him. In a split second Hornblower's intellect searched
too far, and tried to make some sense of what the voice had said.
Hornblower then understood. "Archie will DIE?!!! NO! I SIMPLY CANNOT
BELIEVE IT! NO! NEVER! NO! DEAR FRIEND, ARCHIE!!!!" It kept
continuing for a little while after that.

"......Horatio! Horatio! MR. HORNBLOWER, WAKE UP!!!!! You're just
having a bad dream!"

"What? Where "

"It's all right, I'm here, Horatio!," said a very calm and soothing
and familiar voice.

"ARCHIE!! OH ARCHIE!! THANK GOODNESS YOU'RE HERE!!!!" cried
Hornblower, and he hugged Archie really tightly.

Kennedy was not really sure what to make of Horatio's state of mind,
but he hugged Horatio back. "Yes, I am here, Horatio," said Kennedy.

Hornblower then burst into a big, long story about what he had seen
the night before.

"...But it was real, Archie!" said Hornblower time and time again.

"Look, I'm not going to die, okay?" said Archie after a while. Deep
down, he knew he couldn't really guarantee this, but he got tired of
listening to Horatio's gross apprehensions. He was desperate to calm
him down.

"But how can you be so sure?" asked Horatio.

"I just know. Look at me - I'm as fit as a fiddle," replied Archie
with half a laugh. Then there was an uneasy silence between them.

"Look, I will NOT DIE, ALL RIGHT!!!!" prompted Kennedy, "And anyway,
ANYONE of us here in the Navy has a sure chance of dying you, me,
even Captain Pellew - it would be foolish to try and suppose it would
be me." Just after he said this, Kennedy suddenly felt both weird and
supreme, because he never knew he could speak such wise words or at
least give the impression of speaking wise words.

Hornblower was obviously convinced, because he calmed down after
that, much to the relief of Mr. Kennedy.

After a while longer, when they both sat in thoughtful silence,
Hornblower said, "Well, I'm glad that this supposed `vision' I had
was just a dream."

"Yes, me too," said Kennedy in an uncaring, mechanical sort of way.

"...Although, it did say...that I would be promoted to Commander."

Kennedy looked up. "Oh I am SO sorry that that part won't come
true!" he said half-sarcastically; half-apologetically. Horatio
smiled.

"Okay, I can live with that part not coming true at least, not
until I'm a much older man, I suppose," Hornblower said.

Kennedy just peered at him, raising his eyebrows.

"All right, all right, I will shut up now," said Hornblower.

And they totally forgot all about the second strange vision that
Hornblower mysteriously had.

 

THE END