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PTP: The Freak Wave
Part 4
by Sarah in Australia

Frozen in terror, Loz looked on helplessly as she faded away before her own eyes - the creeping darkness of the void insinuating itself about her as Archie Kennedy sat dumbstruck and utterly incapable of offering any help whatsoever. Fighting this unknown menace dragging her into the nothingness, an unmistakable voice called her to wakefulness. Unable to fight any longer, the adventurer finally slipped into the abyss only to find herself groggily rising to consciousness in a hammock below decks on some type of sailing vessel? yes! In an instant, the events of this tumultuous day came flooding back clear and bright. Daring to open her eyes, the form of her fellow fangirl and co-organiser of the trans-national get together along with...No! It couldn't be! Archie Kennedy came into view. Tentatively reaching for her friend, terrified this entire nightmare would be sent careering out of control once more, she took Sarah's hand in hers; desperate for solid human contact that her fears may be quelled for just a while. With an expression of compassion and deepest sympathy, Archie spoke for the first time.

'Miss lozzy,' 'We were all gravely concerned for your welfare..I for one am greatly relieved you have come back to us'.

Unable to string together a coherent sentence, she gave up almost before starting' with a mere 'How long', Where', What happened?'

His features a picture of unfathomable concern and compassion, Loz was convinced she would never find her way out from beneath his kind gaze - those eyes of blue so utterly irresistible.

'You have been unconscious for nearly three days my dear', 'It is nothing short of a miracle that you, indeed that all your party did not perish'.

Shocked, Loz summoned all her strength, limited as it was

'Was I so completely overcome?'

'Yes.' 'Your condition was - and still is - most delicate'.

Attempting to sit up, this most simple of tasks proved beyond her capability at present. Seeing her obvious frustration, Archie drew near and placed a supporting arm behind her head and shoulders, with his free hand, taking her own in his. unable to stifle the blush she knew would now be rising in her cheeks, Loz simply smiled, lowered her eyes demurely and offered a sweet, barely whispered 'thank you', sure she would swoon right there and then. This was not to be, of course, as Sarah (who had taken this opportunity to hastily procure some much needed refreshment for her friend) handed a pewter cup to Loz who, after a moment's hesitation, gingerly took hold of it; gratefully partaking of its contents (a hot, sweet tea with many a restorative addition). Finishing it in no time, she handed it back to Sarah before drifting into a peaceful sleep, no longer afraid, her final thoughts being those of safety and contentment as Archie carefully lay her back in her hammock, wrapped her covers securely about her before gently caressing her cheek...and...had he dared kiss her upon the forehead? With the fading words, 'She will be quite alright, all she needs is sleep', slumber overwhelmed her once more; this time however, all fright had vanished.

Loz now otherwise disposed (one of Retribution's surgeon's loblowlies keeping watch over her just in case) the women (some assisted, others now well capable under their own strength) followed Capt. Hornblower and Lt. Kennedy out of sickbirth, down the companionway and eventually into the vessel's great cabin - a rather claustrophobic affair especially with a dozen ladies plus officers crammed in). Much taken by their host's hospitality (not at all what they'd expected) the first of many questions was asked - their answering leading to even more questions. Rather more at ease than they had anticipated, Horatio saw to their every wish; his table excellently provisioned (even for a captain of such high standing). Amazed at the string of events that had transpired this day, Hornblower looked on in fascination as a few of the girls brought out small hand-held devices resembling powder compacts or other ladies paraphernalia only for such to be revealed as varying forms of 'futuristic' personal communication devices. To his shock, more than one sported his image as their standard in similar fashion to the portraits many lady would keep in her locket. A little embarrassed, Sarah endeavoured to stifle a snigger as the first ha'ham' of the day came from Horatio's direction. Enthralled at the pictures (some moving, others still) Sarah and Ruth shared, his logical mind however did not fear as would many a contemporary - merely taking this in his stride, a small part of him thinking how such technology would advance the art of Naval warfare immeasurably. Certain these women posed no threat either to England or his ship and crew, Horatio relaxed, refusing to entertain thoughts of what would become of this group once he reached Portsmouth; none of them having families or connections here (putting not too fine a point on the fact their true origins would by necessity need to be kept secret from all but himself and his other officers lest they wind up in the asylum for the insane, each and every one of them.

The evening drawing on, this now amiable and more at ease group broke up to retire; Ruth, Sarah Horatio and Bush remaining behind (Kennedy paying one last visit upon Loz before he also turned in).

Little sleep was to be had by either of this small band that night; discussions, plans and strategies hammered out at length that they may somehow if at all possible work out how to return to their own time or survive intact if this proved unattainable). Musing over this unique universe that allowed Archie to still remain among their number in this time despite events in the HH movie world, Sarah dared enquire after Captain Bracegirdle, feelings of guilt and anticipation nipping at her heels in equal measure. Learning he was actually very much alive regardless of the rather close call indeed concerning his last fraught mission (the shell fired at his retreating boat thankfully faulty), happily married and currently residing in Portsmouth (a promotion to the rank of Commodore in the process of being approved), she couldn't ignore the mixed emotions currently coursing through her. Contenting herself with the prospect of having to restrain any outward signs of romantic adoration if they indeed met, the knowledge he had not undergone the same terrible fate his movie persona had encountered outshone any little niggling feelings of jealousy and selfishness she may have harboured. With the news he indeed would be meeting Retribution when it finally reached Portsmouth along with Admiral Pelu cause for joy in both girls. The night drawing to a close, Ruth and Sarah bade their hosts good evening as they made their way back to their temporary accommodations wondering what the next day would bring.

***

is this indeed a Dream?

Are our girls upon a ghost ship of sorts or actually back in Regency times sailing towards adventure anew upon England's rainswept shore?

If Archie and Bracie are still with us, does that bespeak the existance of long lost wonderful lads like Clayton or vilains like Simpson?

Will our ladies find a way to the hearts of their rescuers?

What will happen next???

Don't be shy, even if you've never written before, take up the baton, it's safe, enjoyable and no one will bite ... and you don't need to be a Naval Historical genius to carry it off (I know virtually nothing - smile).

So, ladies and gents, have at it!

Sarah in Australia.
----- Original Message -----
From: lozzyg4
To: hhfic@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 10:17 AM
Subject: [hhfic] PTP HH Fic: Freak Wave Part 3/?

You guessed right Sarah, one is a crumpet,

I'm finding it a bit odd seeing my name in a fic so I will pull my
character out, in a way you wont expect.

I think I'm more of a general fic person, But I would like to see
what you lot can add to this....

Part Three (same disclaimers as part one)

Down in the surgeon's quarters, Sarah and Ruth continued to tend to
the members of the group. Its had been a few hours since they had
arrived and gradually along with the surgeon they had tended the
other ladies of the monstrous crew, and everyone was now fully
warmed up and felt much more comfortable. Even Pixie who had
earlier, fallen into the arms of Mr Bush was feeling more recovered.

The ladies were sat on or lying in the hammock spread around the
room, a wild buzz of conversation passing between them. "Can you
believe it, wer're on THE Retribution," "But we cannot be?" "It's
not possible" "William, Horatio, Archie, Wellard! They're all here!"

Lozzy, who was feeling much more awake stat upon her hammock,
thinking, `Archie, I had seen Archie Kennedy! A joyful bubble filled
her chest. Then another thought followed closely behind it, `but
we're on the Retribution, surely Archie should be,' but she didn't
utter the word, instead she just mulled over her thoughts.

Suddenly the door opened and to confirm the ladies excited
conversation, Hornblower walked through the threshold. The ladies
all fell silent at his entrance, he was even more handsome in the
flesh, then seeing him on the screen. He looked around at each of
them, his dark eyes taking in the several pairs of eyes stared back
at him. "Ladies good evening, Welcome aboard the Retribution." He
bowed.

The ladies were silent, a few did not know how to respond. Many had
watched the Hornblower films many times, but to see him standing
before them. Sarah and Ruth decided to speak to for the
groups, "Thank you Captain Hornblower" Sarah began, to actually use
his name and speak to the real Hornblower made her feel very proud.

"We were so grateful that your ship came into view," Ruth added
smiling.

"Well we could not have missed you," A familiar voice cried behind
Hornblower, and a beaming Mr Kennedy came from behind him.

Ruth blushed, "Why was that Arr- Mr Kennedy," she only just remember
that he was an officer, even if she was desperate to use his name.
Lozzy watched him enter the room and saw Archie glance towards her.

"I'm please to see you are awake."

Lozzy grinned a little in return, "Thank you Mr Kennedy, I am
feeling much better."

Archie nodded, then turned back to Ruth and Sarah, "Are the rest of
you party much better also."

"They are," Ruth replied blushing, Archie had always been her
favourite and to see him in the flesh was just amazing.

Hornblower smiled also, relieved to know that no one was badly
injured. He then continued wit what he was going to say. "I would
like you ladies to join me and my officer in my cabin for a meal,
and you can tell us how you came to be out here."

"We will be delighted to join you Captain Hornblower" Sarah replied.

Hornblower smiled and nodded "Ladies if you would like to follow
me," And he gestured for the ladies to exit.

As the ladies made to move out of the room, Archie moved into room
to assist the ladies who were lying in the hammock. Everyone was
hungry and the thought of good food and drink from Captain
Hornblower's table was something not to be missed. As Archie
reached Lozzy she whispered that she would like talk to him in
private for a moment before going up with the other ladies.

"Lozzy are you coming?" Ruth asked,

"In a moment Ruth, I just have to ask Archie something,"

Ruth was a little confused by this, normally Lozzy would join in
with anything the ladies did together, but she guessed that at some
point she would probably want to be alone with Archie also. Her
mind was full of questions that only Archie could answer.

****

When the room was empty except for Archie and Lozzy, they sat
opposite each other, on a pari of hammocks. Lozzy had a hundred
questions racing through her mind.

Also Archie had been intrigued by this sudden appearance of the
ladies and wished to know what circumstances had brought them here.

Lozzy spoke first, "Mr Kennedy, thank you for your concern over me
earlier."

"That is quite alright," Archie smiled, his blue eyes
sparkled, "Another hour out there and who knows what state you
ladies would have been in."

Lozzy smiled and nodded also, "Yes," then she decided to cut
straight to the question that was bothering her the most, "Where
have you been sailing from?"

"Kingston, Jamaica" Archie responded, "And glad to leave to, a
charge of mutiny was laid upon us."

"Mutiny?" Lozzy tried to sound genuinely concerned, `at least that
related to what really happened in the film,' she thought.

"Yes, but we were all cleared?"

"Cleared?" `But that didn't happen?' she waited for Archie to
continue.

"Yes," Archie coughed suddenly and put his hand to his chest.

Lozzy knew that was the spot where..but it couldn't be as Archie was
before her now, alive and healthy.

"Captain Sawyer was proved to be insane and the case was dropped. I
missed some of the trial though as I had been injured by a sabre cut
to the chest," Archie rubbed his chest again, then continued, "We're
now on our way back to Portsmouth and I for one will be glad to be
back home on English soil again."

A panic thought pasted thorugh Lozzy's ming, `No this was wrong,
Archie should not be here. He had been shot and gave his life up so
that Horatio could live.' This did not make sense and without
thinking she called out "Archie! but.." She had not realised she
had said his name.

Archie's face shot up and stared back at her, "You know my name how
do you?"

Lozzy did not know how to respond, how do you tell a man who has
only just met you, that you know everything about his life and that
he was not meant to be a alive. She put her hand out to him, he
looked a little shaken by her calling out his Christian name. But
that hand that went out to him passed through his.

Archie pulled his away as Lozzy suddenly lifted her hands before her
eyes, and saw with alarm that she was beginning to fade away. What
was happening? her fingers were fading and the fading was spreading
down her arms. Lozzy suddenly cried out in alarm as the fading
spread across her body.

Archie back away, alarmed at what he was witnessing.

Lozzy had a feeling like she was being taken away somewhere, a voice
filled her ears. "Lozzy wake up, wake up!" Lozzy suddenly realised
that this must a dream, but that did not make sense as it had been
so real and how could it of been a dream, maybe it was real. As the
last parts of her began to fade away, she felt she had to shout out
the truth to Archie, to warn him, "Archie! This is not right, you
not supposed to be here!" She cried out, "Your not suppose to be a.."

Archie was frozen to the spot, what had he just witnessed? What had
he heard? One moment he was sitting taking to one of the ladies
that had been rescued, the next he was alone. This really did not
make sense, what had just happened?