Intervention (a Hornblower/Quantum Leap crossover)
by Ruth

For those who have never seen Quantum Leap, a description (courtesy of the
show's opening saga cell): "Theorising that one could time travel within his
own lifetime, Doctor Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the
desert to develop a top secret project, known as QUANTUM LEAP. Pressured to
prove his theories or lose funding, Doctor Beckett prematurely stepped into
the Project Accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past,
suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his
own. Fortunately, contact with his own time was made through brainwave
transmissions, with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the form of a
hologram that only Doctor Beckett could see and hear. Trapped in the past,
Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right,
that once went wrong and hoping each time, that his next leap will be the
leap home."

Feedback is welcome and encouraged to the e-mail address below.

Now, with no further ado... on to the story. Enjoy!

*****

Intervention
(A Horatio Hornblower/Quantum Leap Crossover)
by Ruth Calkins

The first thing he noticed was the brightness of the
white light surrounding him. Where was he? Was he
dreaming? Jail cells weren't usually this bright. Not
even in Jamaica. Rubbing his eyes, he sat up on his
cot to try to figure out what was going on.

The first thing he wondered as he looked around was
when he had fallen asleep. The second was when he had
been moved. For he was certain sure not in the cell
in which they had deposited him earlier.

The room he was in was much bigger than the cell he'd
been escorted to upon arrival in Jamaica. Bigger and,
oddly, windowless. There was nothing in the room with
him save the cot he sat on and a strange white table
in the middle of the room. Very curious indeed.

"Don't panic." The voice--a female one--came from out
of nowhere and caused Horatio to jump nearly out of
his skin. He rose quickly to a standing position and
turned in a full circle to try to locate the owner of
the voice. But he found himself very much alone in
the room. Dear God, was he going mad?

"You're okay," the voice came again.

Okay? What on earth did that mean? And what was that
accent? It didn't sound Spanish or French.

The voice went on. "You don't need to be frightened.
We're not going to hurt you."

"Who are you?" Horatio asked, hoping that if he could
hear his captor, they could hear him.

"My name is Dr. Verbena Beeks," the voice replied
kindly. "And you are?"

Shouldn't they know this? They were holding him for
trial. He decided not to provoke them by not
answering, however. "Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower of
His Brittanic Majesty's ship-of-the-line Renown."

"This is going to sound like an odd question, Mr.
Hornblower," Dr. Beeks said, "but can you tell me
what the date is?"

"It's the twenty-fourth of January, 1802." Did these
people not have a calendar?

"Oh, my God," he heard Dr. Beeks say before there was
a loud whistle and nothing more.
"Hello?" he tried experimentally. "Hello?"

There was no answer.

As he sank onto the bed, he suddenly remembered
something he'd egregiously forgotten in his confusion
about his new surroundings. Archie. Archie was hurt.
Badly.

He wasn't sure there was anything he could do about
that, but there would definitely be nothing he could
do if he didn't find out where he was and get back to
his cell.

"Hello?" he called louder. "Answer me! Hello?"

***

Not prison again, Sam Beckett thought morosely. As
the blue light from his leap faded around him, he had
a chance to take in his new surroundings. He was
lying on a cot in what could only have been a prison
cell. He sighed heavily. What was this now...the
fourth or fifth time he'd been in jail on someone
else's behalf? He had lost count.

With another sigh, Sam pushed himself off the cot and
stretched his arms above his head. Time to take
stock.... The cell was relatively small, and he was
its only occupant. That was a relief; a cellmate
ultimately made things way more complicated. The only
other item in the room other than the cot was a
chamber pot sitting in the corner opposite the cot.
"Spartan" didn't even begin to cover it.

Continuing his reconnaissance, Sam walked over to the
glassless window to peer through the bars. That was
odd...it looked like he was inside part of a fort.
His cell overlooked a small courtyard and, just
beyond that, the gated entrance to the fort, which
looked similar to one he'd visited in St. Augustine,
Florida, once upon a Spring Break. Had he managed to
leap into another country again, into some way out of
the way prison? Frowning, he turned to examine the
door enclosing him in the cell. It was a criss-cross
of iron, but easy to see through, though the view
consisted only of someone in a red uniform,
presumably a guard. Not exceptionally exciting or
informative.

Looking down, Sam found himself also in uniform, but
his was blue instead of red. This whole leap just got
odder and odder by the second. He held no actual hope
he would find identification, but Sam did search his
pockets nonetheless. He came up, as he had feared,
empty-handed. Who the hell was he this time?

He was just about to question his guard in an attempt
to figure out this puzzle when he heard a key in the
lock and the rusty door to his cell opening. Sam
looked up to discover that a person in another
similar, yet different in a way Sam couldn't quite
put a finger on, blue uniform from his was entering
the cell. "Mr. Hobbs to see you, sir," the guard
announced as he held open the door for Sam's guest.

Mr. Hobbs was shorter than Sam, a man probably in his
forties, with dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and a
serious expression on his face. As the red-uniformed
guard locked the door behind him, the visitor opened
with, "Sir."

Not sure what to say and not wanting to say the wrong
thing, Sam simply nodded acknowledgment.

Mr. Hobbs nodded back, then said, "Sir, I felt it
only right, seeing as the trial will soon be under
way, that I should share some information I have on
Captain Sawyer's fall into the hold."

"What?" Sam asked in as brief a way as he could
manage. No need to raise suspicion this soon into a
leap.

"Before he died, sir, Midshipman Wellard confessed to
me that it was he who pushed Captain Sawyer into the
hold."

"He did?"

Mr. Hobbs nodded. "Yes, sir. But, sir, I will not
testify against him. I simply wanted the burden of
this secret lifted from me. Should this subject come
up at trial, I will not speak out against him. I
cannot."

Sam wasn't sure what to say. Was he supposed to talk
this man out of this idea? Or was it okay for him not
to tell what he knew at trial? Was he there to change
the outcome of the trial, or was what he was there
for something that had nothing to do with what had
happened to this Captain Sawyer? God, how he hated
having to make these kinds of decisions without more
information than he had. Where was Al?

"Sir?" Mr. Hobbs questioned Sam's silence.

Sam had no choice. He couldn't make any changes
without knowing more about why he was there. So he
simply said, "If that's what you wish."

This was obviously what his visitor had expected him
to say. With a very small nod of acknowledgment, Mr.
Hobbs offered Sam a quick military-esque salute, then
turned to call the guard.

Sam watched Mr. Hobbs's back until he was gone and
the guard had locked the door behind him. Then,
exhaling very slowly, he took a seat on the cot once
more.

"Okay, Al," he whispered into the empty cell. "You
can come visit any time now. Any time."

***

Horatio examined every inch of his new location once
he'd exhausted his efforts to get Dr. Beeks to answer
him back. And he'd come to the conclusion that he'd
simply been moved from one cell to another, albeit
incredibly odd, cell. There were no bars, and the
door had no handle, just a strange indentation on one
side. He had no idea what the light source in the
room was, only that it continued to make the room as
bright as the quarterdeck on a clear day.

None of these determinations, however, were getting
him any closer to getting out where he could be of
help to his injured shipmates or to where he could
get his court martial over and done with.

He was about to start calling for the doctor again
when the door to his new cell opened and in walked a
small, older man wearing a uniform Horatio had never
in his life seen before. It was a white uniform
topped with a flat cap that Horatio knew didn't
belong to any rank of the British Navy. Still, the
man had the bearing of an officer, so Horatio stood
at attention to greet him.

"At ease, Lieutenant," the man said in a harsh voice
and with an accent Horatio couldn't begin to place.
It was almost like the doctor's had been, yet not
quite the same. "Mr. Hornblower, is it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Admiral Albert Calavicci, United States Navy," the
man introduced himself, doffing his cap and tucking
it under his arm.

United States? Horatio thought with some confusion.
Did he mean the Americas? What were they doing way
down in Jamaica? They had no part in this particular
war. Nevertheless, an admiral was an admiral was an
admiral. "Admiral Calavicci, sir," he acknowledged
the senior officer. "If I may, sir, to where have I
been moved?"

The admiral pulled in a deep breath, then replied,
"You're completely safe, Mr. Hornblower. We didn't
bring you here to harm you. We just need to ask you
some questions, and as soon as we can, we'll return
you to where you last were."

"Questions, sir?"

"Yes, questions," Admiral Calavicci affirmed. "They
may seem like strange questions, but they're very
important. And I'm afraid I won't be able to give you
very much by way of explanation as to why we have to
ask them."

"Yes, sir." Whatever it took to get out of there.

"Why don't we have a seat?" Admiral Calavicci
suggested, gesturing to the table and chairs in the
middle of the room.

Horatio nodded and moved toward the table, though he
allowed the superior officer to take his seat first
before seating himself.

Admiral Calavicci placed his cap on the table before
clearing his throat and asking, "You said it's
January the twenty-fourth, 1802, is that correct?"

"Yes, sir." Why did they keep asking him the date?
Horatio began to fear he would never be released from
this confused state he'd settled into.

"And where are you?"

They didn't know where they were, either? Well, the
admiral had promised the questions would be strange.
"Kingston, Jamaica, sir."

Admiral Calavicci nodded. "Very good. And can you
tell me what you're doing in Kingston, Jamaica, Mr.
Hornblower?"

"Our orders were to take the fort at Santo Domingo.
We docked in Kingston to turn over our prisoners, to
have our wounded attended to, and to face court
martial on charges of mutiny."

"Mutiny, Mr. Hornblower?"

Horatio nodded smartly. "Yes, sir."

"And who is 'we,' Mr. Hornblower?" the admiral went
on to ask.

"Myself, Lieutenant Buckland, Lieutenant Bush, and
Lieutenant Kennedy."

"Are the charges substantiated, Mr. Hornblower? Was
there a mutiny?"

Horatio would have to word this carefully so as not
to incriminate himself or his fellow officers. "We
did only what was necessary for the good of the
ship."

"And can you tell me why there was a need for you to
do something that could be construed as mutiny?"

"The captain, sir, he wasn't well. It appeared he was
going mad. We all feared for our lives. We had to
have the ship's doctor declare him unfit for duty. No
disrespect toward Captain Sawyer was intended. We
simply wanted to keep him from doing anything which
would cost more lives."

The admiral nodded thoughtfully. "Mr. Hornblower, if
you could change anything that's happened in the
last, say, three or four days, can you tell me what
it would be?"

That was easy. "I would be there to keep Archie from
being shot."

"Archie?"

"Lieutenant Kennedy, sir," Horatio explained. "He was
shot by Colonel Ortega, one of the Spanish prisoners.
He's in the prison sick ward now, dying, I fear." And
Horatio would have given anything to be by Archie's
side rather than here answering these questions.

"Mr. Hornblower, you have been most helpful," Admiral
Calavicci said, rising from his seat. Horatio was
quick to follow suit. "Now I need to go share some of
this information with some of my colleagues. With any
luck, we can return you to Kingston in a very short
time."

"I'm not in Kingston now, sir?" And Horatio had
thought his confusion could be no deeper.

"Not technically, no," the admiral told him. "I'm
afraid I can't be more specific than that."

Horatio nodded. He didn't really understand, but he
had no choice but to take the man at his word.

"Are you hungry, young man?" the admiral asked.

It took Horatio a second to follow the abrupt change
of subject matter. Then he nodded once more.
"Actually, I am, sir."

"I'll have someone bring in some food, then."

"Thank you, sir. That's most kind."

Admiral Calavicci moved to the door and put his thumb
on that strange indentation Horatio had noticed
earlier. "Don't worry, Mr. Hornblower. Everything's
going to be just fine. I promise."

"I pray you're right, sir."

And with that, Horatio was, once again, alone. "Dear
God, I pray he's right," he whispered to the heavens.
Then, with nothing else to do, he sat back down on
the cot to wait for the admiral to make good on his
word. And to try not to think of the alternative.

***

Sam was sitting on the cell's lone cot, picking at
the most unappetizing lunch they'd brought him, when
Al finally deigned to appear.

Sam immediately put his plate on the cot so he could
rise to greet his friend. "It's about time you showed
up. I am definitely not in Kansas here, Al."

Al's eyes fairly shone with excitement. "No, you're
not. You're in Kingston, Jamaica."

"Please tell me you have more than that for me," Sam
pleaded. "I have been trying to figure out what's
going on all morning, and I'm more confused now than
I was when I first got here." Then, as if finally
really seeing Al, he asked, "Hey, why the uniform?
Not a meeting with the subcommittee again?"

Al shook his head. "No. I just decided a uniform
might be the best choice for going in to speak to our
visitor."

"Who is...?" Sam led, in hopes of producing an
answer. "I have had the hardest time figuring out
just who I am here. No wallet, no one calling me by
name, nothing."

"You, Sam, are Mr. Horatio Hornblower." Al said the
name reverently, as if speaking of a god.

Sam wasn't sure he'd heard that correctly. "Who?"

"Horatio Hornblower. Eventually, Admiral Horatio
Hornblower of His Majesty's Navy, but right now
Lieutenant Hornblower. He's your great-great-great-
oh-I-can't-remember-how-many-greats-grandfather.
Don't tell me you haven't read the books about him,
Sam."

Sam nodded, remembering now. "I did, but it was a
very long time ago. Are you kidding, Al? He lived in,
like, the late 1700s, early 1800s."

"I'm not kidding. You're him. It's 1802."

"1802?" Sam repeated. "Now that explains a lot." He
paused to process this new information, then asked,
"Do you know why I'm here?"

"We're working on that. Gooshie's inputting all the
Hornblower books into Ziggy as fast as he can. And
we're downloading the Hornblower diaries from the
British National Archives. Horatio was just serving
on the Renown under Captain James Sawyer and had been
for about two years. According to both the diaries
and Lieutenant Hornblower himself, Captain Sawyer was
loose a few screws, and the other officers had to
take control of the ship. Now people are crying
mutiny and Horatio's on trial. He's never charged,
though, so that can't be what you're here to fix. I
have a feeling that you're here for Horatio's
shipmate, Lieutenant Archie Kennedy."

"I haven't met an Archie," Sam said. "Then again, I
haven't met many people. But the guy I spoke to
earlier was named Hobbs, not Kennedy."

Al shook his head. "No, you wouldn't have met him.
He's in the prison infirmary. There was a riot on the
Renown when some Spanish prisoners they were holding
got loose. A Lieutenant William Bush suffered a knife
wound, and Archie was shot."

"Let me guess, Archie doesn't live to rise above the
rank of lieutenant." Sam's tone was sad. If he never
had to leap to save someone's life ever again, it
would be too soon.

Al shook his head again. "No. Not long after taking
the stand at the court martial to confess to pushing
Captain Sawyer into the ship's hold, he died."

It was Sam's turn to shake his head. "But that's not
right, Al. It wasn't an Archie Kennedy who pushed the
captain. This guy I told you I spoke to earlier--
Hobbs, the guard called him--he came in here and told
me he had a confession to make. He said it was a
Midshipman Wellard who pushed the captain into the
hold, that Wellard had told him so before he died. He
told me he couldn't testify to that, though. Then he
left. It made no sense at the time, but it makes
perfect sense now."

Al paused for a moment of thought while Sam patiently
waited. Eventually, Al wondered aloud, "Well, why do
you suppose Kennedy would confess to a crime he
didn't commit?"

Sam shrugged. "As I recall, Captain Sawyer was a
pretty big deal. If he were hurt, and not by
accident, they would want someone to hang very
publicly for the crime."

"And if the real perpetrator was already dead...," Al
began.

"...then they would be just as happy to hang someone
innocent in his stead," Sam finished.

"That makes sense, but that still doesn't explain why
Kennedy would confess when he's so badly injured that
he's in the infirmary," Al said, still sounding quite
perplexed.

Sam was equally confused. "I can't figure that out,
either. I wish there was a way I could talk to him--
get an idea of his state of mind."

Al pulled a cigar from his pocket and lit it before
thoughtfully puffing on it for a few long moments.

"Are you hoping for an answer in the smoke?" Sam
asked sarcastically, the long morning of trying to
figure out where and who he was finally getting to
him. "This isn't helping, Al. In case it's escaped
your notice, I am in a prison cell. The man I am
probably here to save is not in here with me. I need
ideas, not smoke rings."

"Chill, Sam, I'm thinking." Al started to slowly pace
from one end of the cell to the other. After full two
trips across the room, the Observer whipped his
handlink from his pocket and furiously typed into it,
then studied the readout. He typed in something else-
-another request, Sam presumed; Al had to hit the
side of the link to get that answer. Sam was just
about to shamelessly beg for some information when Al
stopped dead in his tracks and swiveled on his heels
to face him. "I've got it!"

Sam was hesitant to get too excited before Al shared
his brainstorm, but all said, it wouldn't take much
to thrill him. He was beginning to feel desperate.
"What?" he prompted his friend.

"Ziggy just finished inputting all of the Hornblower
diaries from the archives in Britain. It looks like
they were a little more lenient with prisoners then
than we are now. Especially prisoners who were in the
service. As long as they didn't pose a threat,
prisoners were given some leeway. According to the
diaries, Horatio was able to go visit Archie. He had
permission from Commodore Sir Edward Pellew, his
former captain. So all you need to do is hail a guard
and get him to take you to the infirmary."

"You're sure?"

Al nodded enthusiastically. "It says so right here."
He held the handlink up for Sam's inspection.

Sam sighed with relief. "Okay. I'm going to try to
get someone's attention right now." He started for
the door immediately.

"Sam." Sam stopped and looked back at Al. "You need
to remember where you are at all times. Neither you
nor Archie can afford for you to do anything which
seems out of the ordinary. You need to be the model
British officer. Don't forget your 'sir's and 'Mr's.
The only person Horatio refers to by first name in
his diaries is Archie."

Sam nodded. "Right. I got it."

"I'm gonna go check out more of these diary entries
and make sure our guest is doing okay while you go
and talk with Mr. Kennedy. I'll be back as soon as I
can."

"Okay."

Al punched the sequence to open the Imaging Chamber
door into the handlink and then quickly disappeared.

His friend gone, Sam straightened his shoulders and
headed to the door to see if he could get the
attention of his guard to take him to visit Horatio's
friend. Before it was too late.

***

The pain, Archie decided, was slightly more bearable
if he took shallow breaths. Therefore, he'd focused
all his concentration on taking one short breath
after another. When he was forced to cough, he'd have
to start all over again, but it was something to do
other than worry about the trial and Horatio.

He was just recovering from one particularly painful
cough when the person he was trying not to worry
about was ushered through the door. His first thought
was that Horatio looked tired as his eyes scanned
over to Lieutenant Bush then to himself. His second
was that it didn't look like Horatio quite knew where
to go.

"Horatio?" he whispered, trying, but failing, to rise
up on his elbows a little and wincing when just that
much effort made his side burn.

Horatio's face brightened slightly at that, and he
headed directly to Archie's side, where he stopped
and looked thoughtfully down at him.

"Is something wrong, Horatio?" Archie asked, growing
more worried.

"Archie?" Horatio asked quizzically.

"You say my name as if you've never seen me before.
Are you feeling ill, Horatio?" These two sentences
left him slightly breathless, and he struggled to
regain some equilibrium.

"I'm fine," Horatio insisted, though Archie did not
quite him. "How are you?"

"I've been shot, Mr. Hornblower," Archie answered
dryly. "How do you think I am?"

Horatio shifted from one foot to the other, clearly
uncomfortable, but Archie could not understand why.
He wasn't used to seeing his staid and confident
friend buckle under pressure. Maybe the court martial
was proving more stressful than anything Horatio had
encountered in the past.

"Has the trial begun?" Archie asked.

"Not yet."

"What are you going to tell them? Are you going to
confess to mutiny?"

"No."

"And what if the subject of Sawyer's fall into the
hold comes up?"

Horatio shrugged somewhat uncharacteristically. "I'm
not sure yet."

"Horatio, you do know that Buckland would love
nothing more than to see you take the blame for
everything that happened, don't you? He's a weaker
man than any I've ever known."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," Horatio
responded obtusely. This, also, was not
characteristic of Horatio's normal behavior. If his
friend was nothing else, he was blunt. Archie hoped
for a quick end to this extremely unpleasant matter,
if for no other reason than to relieve Horatio of
this enormous strain.

"Archie?" The sound of Horatio's voice broke his
silent reverie. "Can I ask you something?"

"Of course. Anything."

"What do you remember about Captain Sawyer's fall?"

That was an odd question coming from the person who
had made it clear, in his usual unspoken way, that
this was not a topic open for discussion.

"Archie?" Horatio asked into the silence, his voice
filled with worry. "Are you all right?"

Archie nodded as steadily as he could, desperately
not wanting to appear any more incapacitated than he
already was.

"Do you remember what happened?"

"Yes and no." Archie strove to pull forth the
memories of that godforsaken night. "I remember
standing behind the door after we split up. I
remember seeing Sawyer come toward me with the gun. I
remember stepping out and calling to the captain and
walking toward him to try to calm him. Then you and
Wellard were there, and the captain was falling. I
tried to catch him, to keep him from falling into the
hold, but I couldn't get a hold of him. Then it was
over." Archie shivered, but it wasn't due to the
fever he knew he had. He pulled in a few deep breaths
in an attempt to regain himself once again. When the
pain became unbearable, he abandoned the deep breaths
in favor of the shorter breaths he'd discovered
earlier.

Horatio leaned over and rested a gentle hand on his
shoulder. "Short, shallow breaths, Archie. That's
it." Now this was more like Horatio.

As the pain slowly subsided, Archie decided that if
he never had to speak of those events ever again, it
would be too soon.

"Better?" Horatio asked after a long moment of
silence.

Archie nodded.

Horatio lifted his hand away. "Have you had enough,
or do you think you can handle another question?"

Archie could see both concern and curiosity in
Horatio's eyes and could no more have turned him down
than he could count all the stars in the sky. "I'm
fine," he assured his old friend.

"Good. Then can you tell me anything you remember
about what Mr. Wellard was doing during all of this?
Anything at all."

Archie closed his eyes and tried to picture where
Wellard had been when the captain fell. But he wasn't
able to come up with anything. It had all happened so
fast. He shook his head. "I can't remember, Horatio.
I'm sorry."

"You don't need to apologize."

"They're going to want someone to blame, Horatio.
Someone to hang," Archie said. "Captain Sawyer was
too important."

Horatio nodded. "I know."

"Buckland would be all too happy to let that be you."

"Archie, what would you say if I told you I had a
visitor today? A Mr. Hobbs."

Archie very nearly sighed aloud. He'd thought Horatio
was returning to himself, yet here he was again,
acting very strangely. "Hobbs? What did he want? To
gloat?"

"No, to make a confession."

"A confession?"

"He said that before Wellard died, he confessed to
pushing Captain Sawyer into the hold."

"Come again?" Archie couldn't believe his ears.
Wellard? True enough, Sawyer had had the young
midshipman caned on more than one occasion, but
Archie hadn't thought him the vengeful kind.

"Wellard confessed," Horatio repeated. "He told Hobbs
that he pushed Captain Sawyer."

"Are you sure?"

Horatio nodded.

Archie could feel familiar panic start to stir in his
gut; the feeling soon superceded the pain from the
gunshot wound. "Horatio, if Wellard confessed, then
we're all doomed. He can't testify. One of us will be
hung for this. Hobbs would sooner die than to do
something that would help any of us."

"I'm not so sure that's true, Archie. I think he can
be convinced. Why else would he have come to tell me
what he knew?"

"So he alone would not be burdened with the truth.
You said you think he can be convinced. Did he tell
you he would not testify?"

"Well, yes, but I'm going to talk to him again. Tell
him how important it is for him to tell the court
what he knows."

Archie sighed. "What if he doesn't agree? Then what
shall we do?"

"We'll think of something. No one needs to do
anything hasty," Horatio said, his voice firm. "It
will all work out."

"I pray you're right."

"Archie," Horatio went on solemnly, "you are not to
do anything to try to help me. I can handle this. All
you need to worry about is getting better."

"Horatio..."

"No." Horatio interrupted him. "I'll take care of
this. Trust me."

Archie sighed yet again. However strangely Horatio
was acting this morning, Archie did trust him.
Implicitly. "Always," he vowed.

Horatio offered him a small smile. "I've stayed
longer than I should have. You need your rest."

His eyes were feeling heavy, now that Horatio
mentioned it.

"I'll be back later to check on you."

Archie nodded. "Thank you, Horatio."

Horatio reached down and patted Archie's shoulder
comfortingly. "Everything will work out, Archie. I
promise. That's why I'm here."

It was another odd thing for Horatio to say and
Archie was about to ask him what he meant when he
realized he had no more energy. Closing his eyes, he
resolved to ask Horatio about it first thing when he
returned. Thus decided, he allowed sleep to carry him
away.

***
The first thing Sam did after visiting Archie was ask
his guard to have Mr. Hobbs sent to his cell. Better
to get this over with now and let Lieutenant
Hornblower have his life back. If he could get Hobbs
to agree to testify about what Wellard had told him,
he was relatively sure he would leap out.

The guard was surprisingly fast, as Hobbs was at his
door not an hour after Sam had requested his
presence.

"You asked to see me, sir?" Mr. Hobbs said formally,
offering Sam a quick salute.

"Yes. I wanted to discuss what you told me before a
little further."

"Sir?" Hobbs was either confused or contrary--Sam
wasn't sure which.

But he suspected contrary. The look on Hobbs's face
was one of thinly veiled disgust. Sam wished that he
knew more about the relationship between Hobbs and
Horatio. A little knowledge in these kinds of
situations always went a long way. But beggars
couldn't be choosers, and Sam had been a beggar long
enough to learn that lesson well. So he would simply
have to tread carefully and hope for the best. And
pretend that Hobbs was confused, reminding him,
"Regarding Mr. Wellard."

Hobbs nodded curtly. "Yes, sir. What about it, sir?
I've told you all I know."

"I know," Sam assured him. "But I do believe the
captain's fall will come up in court, so I think the
subject deserves further examination."

"Yes, sir." The slightly hostile tone in Hobbs's
voice furthered Sam's suspicion that Hobbs was
definitely not happy to be there discussing this
matter. Where on earth was Al when he needed him?

When there was no tell-tale sound of the Imaging
Chamber opening to signal Al's welcome arrival, Sam
took a few moments to collect his thoughts. On his
own, he was going to have to think of just the right
thing to say to get Hobbs to testify. A picture of
the young man he had just visited in the prison
infirmary flitted through his mind and strengthened
his will. Archie's life depended on this very
conversation going well. And Sam refused to allow the
alternative.

So he decided to open with something easy. "Mr.
Hobbs, how long did you serve under Captain Sawyer?"

"Twenty years, sir."

"That's a long time."

"Yes, sir."

"And what was the captain like when you first came
under his command?"

"Why?" Hobbs's tone took a turn from hostile toward
suspicious.

"I am sure you can give me a much more complete
picture of what he was like than I've gotten just
being under his command for two years." Thank God Al
had divulged that information earlier.

Hobbs nodded, seemingly somewhat appeased. "A finer
captain there never was, sir. He was fair and decent
and all the men loved him. You should have seen him
then. It was an honor to be on his ship."

"You're insinuating that he was different of late
than he was when you first began to serve under him,"
Sam noted cautiously.

A pained look crossed over Hobbs's features, but he
did not answer. He simply straightened himself
proudly and left it to Sam to continue the
discussion.

As delicately as he could, Sam asked, "Mr. Hobbs, do
you concede that toward the end Captain Sawyer was
not quite the same as he used to be?"

Mr. Hobbs sighed and paused for a moment. "I suppose
I must, sir." Defensively, he added, "The captain was
ill before he died. Horribly ill. Nothing that
happened was his fault."

"Of course it wasn't," Sam quickly agreed. "It's sad,
but it happens. People get ill. We can't hold him
responsible for actions he took once he became ill."

"Yes, sir."

"What's important," Sam went on, "is that we can best
honor Captain Sawyer by remembering him as he was
before he got ill. Wouldn't you agree?"

"Yes, sir." Hobbs sounded almost surprised now.

"Mr. Hobbs, what would Captain Sawyer do if he were
in our shoes right now, a court martial in front of
him? What would he want us to do?" Sam hoped he was
managing to sound at least somewhat like Horatio
here. He suspected that Archie might have thought
something was a bit off with his friend; it wouldn't
do for Hobbs to think so, too. Especially not now.

Hobbs took his time to answer. "He would want us to
do what's right, sir."

Sam supressed a smile. This wasn't easy by any
stretch of the imagination, but it seemed to be going
exactly as he'd hoped it would. But he couldn't
afford to get cocky. He pulled in a deep breath and
continued. "And what would that be, Mr. Hobbs?
Keeping a secret or telling the court what we know?"

"I won't sully Mr. Wellard's name, sir," Hobbs said
stubbornly. "I told you that before."

Sam sighed mentally. Things had been going so well;
now it appeared he was back at square one. Time for a
new tactic. "Why do you think Mr. Wellard confessed
to you?"

"I couldn't tell you, sir."

"Surely you could make an educated guess, Mr. Hobbs.
He obviously trusted you enough to give you his
confession."

Hobbs didn't answer right away. Just as Sam was
beginning to worry that he was going to refuse to
answer at all, Hobbs said, "I suppose he didn't want
anyone else to be blamed for something he did."

"Would it be fair for you to let that wish go
ungranted?"

Hobbs shook his head. "No, sir."

"So I'll ask you once more, what do think Captain
Sawyer would want to be done? Would he want Mr.
Wellard's secret to go with him to his grave?"

Again, Hobbs didn't answer right away. Sam could
imagine that he was weighing his conscience against
his instinct. He only hoped that conscience would
win. Finally, with obvious reluctance, Hobbs said,
"He would want us to tell the court exactly what
happened."

Sam didn't supress his smile this time, though he did
keep it a small one. "I had hoped you would agree,
Mr. Hobbs." He paused briefly. "What happened on the
Renown was unfortunate for everyone involved. But no
one needs to be punished for it any more than they
already have been. Mr. Wellard is dead. Mr. Bush and
Mr. Kennedy were seriously injured. I am here in a
prison cell, and you have lost the captain you
respected and honored. Hasn't it gone far enough?"

Mr. Hobbs sighed once more. "Aye, sir, I suppose it
has."

"Well, then, why don't we plan on honoring Captain
Sawyer and Mr. Wellard the best way we can and tell
the court the truth?"

Hobbs nodded. "Yes, sir."

Sam straightened and waited for the blue light to
overtake him as he traveled on to another time,
another place. To his frustration nothing happened.

As he slumped, wondering just what he could possibly
have missed, what else he could do to help the
situation, Mr. Hobbs asked, "Sir, are you feeling all
right?"

Sam shook his head quickly to clear it and made
assurances. "I'm fine, Mr. Hobbs. I'll see you in
court."

"Yes, sir." With a quick salute, then, Hobbs called
to the marine and was ushered out of the cell.

When he was alone once again, Sam sat down on the cot
with a heavy sigh. "Okay, what now?" he whispered,
already starting to run down the day's events in his
head to find the flaw in his actions and praying he
hadn't made things worse than they'd been when he
leaped in. Otherwise, his stay in 1802 could be a
whole lot longer than he intended.

***

Hobbs had been gone for at least two hours, maybe
more, when Al finally showed up again.

"Where on Earth have you been?" Sam questioned
immediately, launching himself off the cot. In the
time he had been by himself, he had managed to work
himself into quite a state. He had gone step by step
over everything that had happened since he'd leaped
into Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower, trying to figure
out why getting Hobbs to agree to testify hadn't made
him leap out. He'd come up with nothing.

"Geez, Sam, calm down," Al replied. He was still
dressed in his uniform and he had bags under his
eyes. He had not been slacking off, which his next
words confirmed. "I've been running scenarios with
Gooshie and Ziggy."

"I should have leaped hours ago," Sam told him. He
didn't want to hear about his head programmer and his
precious super-egoed hybrid computer. "I got Hobbs to
agree to testify about what Wellard told him. Why am
I still here?"

"Because Archie still dies," Al answered succinctly.

Sam sighed heavily. That was one possibility he
hadn't considered. He'd assumed Archie had been hung
after confessing to pushing Sawyer. That would teach
him to let Al retreat to the project before making
sure he'd spilled every detail.

Al pulled out his handlink and typed something in
before reporting, "The court martial ended with
everyone acquitted. They decided that Hornblower,
Buckland, Bush, and Kennedy had acted in the best
interests of everyone on board the Renown and that
Wellard had pushed Sawyer in a misguided attempt to
help. The case was then closed. But Archie still died
from his wound. Horatio was with him when he died and
was devastated; he never again had a close friend.
Lieutenant Bush tried, but Horatio shut himself off,
not wanting to be hurt again. He died a very lonely
man."

Sam sighed again. "So, what do I do?"

"Well, you saw Archie. How were his injuries?"

Despite not having thought about Archie's condition
before, as he thought back on their visit now, he
found it surprisingly easy to slip into doctor mode.
"He was shot on his right side. Even if they removed
the shot, which they may well have done to ease his
pain, it was probably in there a fairly long time.
Long enough to do some damage, in any case."

"Is there anything you can do?" Al asked.

"Well, he probably died from infection. If I could
find some way to stop that, he might be okay."

Al consulted the handlink again. "Ziggy's reminding
me that penicillin would do the trick, but that it
wasn't discovered until 1928."

Sam nodded. "I'd just need mold, I think, to get the
same effect. What does Ziggy say about that?"

Al checked the handlink one more time. "Ziggy is
ninety-six percent sure that if you improve Archie's
physical condition, he'll be okay and you'll leap
out."

"Good. I guess I need to arrange another visit with
Mr. Kennedy, then." Sam headed toward the cell's door
while Al punched in the sequence to open his own
door.

Before Al left he said, "Good luck, Sam."

"Thanks," Sam returned. To practice medicine in the
early 19th century, he was going to need all the luck
he could get. And then some.

***

He should have been on watch. He should have been on
watch, waiting for Archie to come and relieve him.
Instead, Archie was lying near death in a prison
infirmary, and he was in this odd room being held by
these odd people with no clue whatsoever as to when
he might be released.

Of course, even when he was released, he wouldn't
find himself back on watch. He would be returning to
the court martial and the charge of mutiny. Horatio
sighed heavily. All he wanted, beside Archie
recovering from his wound, was for the court martial
to end with no one's neck in a noose. Somehow,
though, he didn't think it would be that simple.
Captain Sawyer was a hero, and someone would need to
take responsibility for his downfall. Sawyer himself,
naturally, couldn't. And Buckland, who would be
called as a chief witness, would do everything in his
power to see that he wasn't blamed and that his least
favorite fellow officer, Horatio himself, was.

Horatio straightened his shoulders and resituated
himself on his cot. He had to remain strong. Only
through strength and perseverance could he make it
through this and see to it that no innocent blood was
shed.

He was just about to try to start working through his
testimony in his head when the door to his temporary
chamber opened, revealing Admiral Calavicci once
again. Horatio immediately stood to attention and
saluted the superior officer.

"At ease, Mr. Hornblower," the admiral said kindly.

Horatio nodded, but he did not sit back down, instead
waiting to see what his visitor would do.

"Why don't we sit down?" Admiral Calavicci suggested,
settling himself into one of the chairs at the table.

Horatio took the seat opposite the admiral, then once
more waited for his visitor to make the next move.

Admiral Calavicci obliged, pleasantly opening the
conversation by asking, "So, how are you faring, Mr.
Hornblower?"

"Considering the circumstances, I am well, thank you,
Admiral."

"Have they brought you food?"

"Yes, sir."

"Excellent."

At this moment, Horatio could no longer hold in the
question at the forefront of his mind. "Sir, when
might I expect to be returned to Kingston?"

"We're working on that. I promise," Admiral Calavicci
told him. "In fact, we're really close."

"Will I be back in time for the court martial?"

"If our luck holds, then yes."

Horatio sighed with relief. "May I ask another
question, sir?"

"As long as you understand I may not be able to
answer it," the admiral warned him.

Horatio nodded. "I understand, sir."

"Then, by all means."

"Do you by any chance have any word on Mr. Kennedy?"

"He's holding his own."

"He is?" Horatio asked skeptically.

"He is, Mr. Hornblower."

"He was gravely injured, sir."

The admiral nodded solemnly. "We're working on that,
too. We're going to do everything in our power to
make sure he's okay."

"Okay? I'm afraid, sir, that I'm unfamiliar with that
word."

"Of course. It means 'fine,'" he translated.

"Ah. Well, I thank you, sir, for helping him."

"It's our pleasure."

"I'm not sure I understand how, though," Horatio
admitted.

"How what?"

"How you're able to help Archie. After all, sir, you
said we were not in Kingston. And unless he's been
moved as well, Archie is in Kingston."

The admiral didn't answer right away, and Horatio
tried not to let that worry him, despite the fact
that the longer he remained in this strange place,
the more concerned he became about what he had
somehow left behind. Finally, the admiral cleared his
throat.

"Mr. Hornblower, the answer to that question is very
complicated, and I'm not sure you would understand
all the logistics involved. Hell, sometimes I don't
understand all the logistics involved. The bottom
line, however, is that a very decent man, a man who I
would trust with my life, is with Archie. He's a very
talented doctor, and he's already working on a way to
help Archie recover from his wounds. He won't give up
until he does. I give you my word."

Horatio nodded. "Thank you again. I shall try not to
worry too much about him, then."

Admiral Calavicci offered him a smile. Then, in a
tone that bordered on bashful, he said, "Mr.
Hornblower, I can't tell you how, but I know a lot
about your naval career and I would never forgive
myself if I didn't take this chance to tell you what
an inspiration you are. I joined the Navy because of
hearing about you."

That made no sense to Horatio whatsoever, but he
nevertheless felt the heat of embarrassment start to
color his cheeks. He contemplated pressing this man
on just where he was receiving his information, but
was sure that any response the admiral gave would be
either unintelligible or unsatisfactory. Therefore,
he decided that he ought just to accept the
compliment graciously. "I am not sure I have actually
done anything which warrants such praise, but your
words are kind nonetheless, sir."

"Trust me, young man, your actions do you a lot of
credit."

"Thank you, sir. Though I am only trying to do my
duty."

Something on the admiral's person began to squeal
just then, and Horatio watched, fascinated, as
Admiral Calavicci withdrew an object from his pocket
about the size of a small bible, but with different
dimensions. The object blinked with light, although,
as with the light in his cell, the source of the
light was unclear.

Squinting, Admiral Calavicci looked intently at the
strange object. After a long moment, he said, "If
you'll excuse me, Mr. Hornblower, it appears that
they need me in another part of the building."

Horatio nodded. "Of course, sir."

The admiral put the strange object, still blinking,
back in his pocket. "I will try to keep you up to
date on our progress. Try not to worry, Lieutenant.
Things will work themselves out."

"Yes, sir."

The admiral walked over to the door and, as he had
before, somehow used his thumb to open it. Before
exiting, he turned back in Horatio's direction.
"You'll be back in Kingston before you know it."

"Thank you, sir."

Without another word, Admiral Calavicci left Horatio
alone.

It was going to be difficult to do as the admiral
suggested and not worry, particularly with the
strangeness of the situation growing by the hour, but
Horatio knew that worrying while he was still in this
odd place would do no one any good. So he forced
himself to focus on what he was going to say in court
and prayed he would be back where he belonged soon.

***

When Sam asked the guard for as much moldy food as he
could find, the guard looked at Sam like he'd grown
another head. More importantly, though, the guard did
as Sam requested and brought back to the cell an
assortment of food which was well past its prime.

After thanking the still-perplexed guard, Sam took
the cheeses and breads and sat on the floor with the
plate and knife he'd saved from his last meal.
Diligently, he scraped every last ounce of mold he
could find off the food until he'd collected a
sizable pile. Not satisfied with the amount he'd
gotten, but aware that this was as good as it was
going to get, Sam mixed the lot with some brackish
water, also salvaged from his last meal, until he had
a paste he could scrape into the now-empty glass.

Sam wished he had time to test the paste and make
sure the rudimentary form of penicillin worked before
using it on an actual person. However, he did not
have that kind of time. Instead, he simply asked the
guard if he could please pay Mr. Kennedy another
visit. The guard, thankfully, obliged.

Sam was escorted by his guard and one other from his
cell to the prison infirmary. Just as they had
before, they locked Sam inside the small ward where
Lieutenants Kennedy and Bush were recovering. Sam's
guard stayed behind to keep watch, while the other
went off to his next duty.

Archie was asleep as Sam approached the bed, but it
wasn't long before bleary blue eyes gazed up at him
from a puzzled face.

"Horatio. You're back. I didn't expect another visit
so soon," Archie greeted him in a raspy voice. After
a brief pause, he went on to ask, "Why are you
looking at me like that?"

Ignoring Archie's question, Sam placed the glass of
paste on the table in between the two beds, then
intently regarded the bands of cloth wrapped around
Kennedy's midsection. "Archie, do you think you can
sit up?"

"I'm not sure. I can try. Why?"

"Here, let me help," Sam offered, once again ignoring
Archie's query, this time in favor of putting a hand
under Archie's shoulder.

Apparently--and correctly--assuming that he wasn't
going to get any answers to his questions, Archie
began the arduous task of lifting himself up on his
elbows. It took several long moments and great effort
from both Sam and Archie, but eventually Archie was
upright.

Once this task was accomplished, Sam wasted no time
in unwrapping the bandages from around Archie's
chest. When the last of the cloths fell away, they
exposed exactly what Sam had expected to find--a raw,
red, badly infected wound. One which would kill its
victim if the poultice he'd pulled together didn't
work as he hoped it would.

Out of some deep-seated instinct born way back in
medical school, Sam began to palpitate the wound. As
soon as he did, though, Archie flinched and hauled
himself away from Sam's touch.

"What on Earth are you doing, Horatio?" he exclaimed,
gasping for air after the exertion caused by his
sudden movement.

Caught by surprise by the inquiry, Sam wasn't able to
answer directly. "It's okay," he said, stalling while
he tried to think of an explanation good enough to
satisfy Archie. "I'm just checking it, making sure
it's all right."

Again Archie's face took on a quizzical look. "I know
your father's a doctor, Horatio, but I'm not sure
that qualifies you to be studying my wound quite that
closely."

Sam could have kissed Archie for reminding him of
Horatio's father's profession. Restraining himself,
though, he used the information to formulate a
spectacular lie he hoped Horatio wouldn't have to
answer too badly for upon his return. "I know. I
watched my father with his patients a lot, however,
and once he had a man in with this exact same kind of
gunshot wound."

"He did?" Archie sounded very skeptical.

Sam nodded. "And I want to try something he tried
with that patient."

"What?" If it had been possible, Sam sensed Archie
would have backed away from him even further if it
were possible given the confines of the bed and the
grave extent of his injury. Instead, Archie seemed to
settle for a guarded pose, hands folded protectively
over his exposed side.

"I've made a kind of medicine my father used. It can
help with infection," Sam explained, choosing his
words carefully.

"You've made medicine?" Archie asked.

Sam nodded, praying he came across as confident.

"And you learned to do this when? In between nautical
texts?"

At that moment, Sam realized he needed to take a
completely different tack to gain access once again
to Archie's injury. An idea came almost immediately
to mind, but it relied heavily on Archie and Horatio
being as close as his first visit to the infirmary
had indicated they were.

"Archie?"

"Yes?"

"Do you trust me?" Mentally, Sam held his breath.

Archie paused after these words, and Sam worried that
perhaps he had been incorrect and Lieutenants
Hornblower and Kennedy weren't best friends. Then,
Archie nodded. "Yes, Horatio. With my life."

Sam sighed with relief. "Then let me try this.
Please."

Archie took yet another moment, clearly considering
Sam's request carefully. He nodded again before
shifting himself to a supine position on the bed so
Sam could work.

Sam wasted no time in reaching for the jar of paste.
As he lifted it from the table, he heard the Imaging
Chamber door open. Al's footsteps stopped right
behind him.

"Oh, good, Sam. You made the penicillin. Have you
used it yet?"

Not thinking, Sam shook his head, to which Archie
instantly asked, "What's wrong?"

"Sorry. Nothing," Sam was quick to assure him. "Just
lie still."

Focusing his attention away from Al, Sam gingerly
spread his experimental paste around and in Archie's
wound.

His fingers had barely left Archie's side when Al
gleefully announced, "That's it Sam. You did it!"

Sam allowed himself a smile. "That should do it,
then," he told Archie to explain his own joy. Then,
under guise of grabbing a towel to clean his hands,
he faced Al and raised his eyebrows in question.

Grinning, Al provided the desired information. "He
has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but Archie
does recover. Hobbs still testifies about Wellard and
everyone else is acquitted. Hornblower takes command
of the Retribution and invites Mr. Kennedy here to be
his First Lieutenant. They serve together until their
retirement when they're in their sixties. Great job,
Sam."

Sam's smile grew. Success! It was his favorite
feeling in the world--and it never got old. Never.

"Horatio?" Archie's voice came to him as if from far
away. Sam once again refocused his attention. "Is
anything wrong?"

"Everything's going to be fine," Sam told him. "I
promise."

Sam barely had time to see the small smile forming on
Archie's face before blue light replaced it and he
was transported to yet another place where his help
was needed.

***

One minute Horatio was forming the answer to the
inevitable question of what had happened prior to
Captain Sawyer's fall, the next he was nearly blinded
by a blue light. When he warily opened his eyes
again, he found himself no longer in the strange
little white room he'd been occupying, but instead at
Archie's bedside in the prison infirmary. Confusion
did not even begin to describe his state.

"Horatio? Are you all right?" Archie asked. Horatio
hadn't been conscious of how much he'd missed
Archie's voice, even in the relatively short time
he'd been away.

He smiled down at Archie, suddenly realizing that if
he was here, the admiral's friend must have done
whatever needed to be done to make Archie better.
There was nothing better than a successful mission.

"Have I got a story to tell you, Archie," Horatio
began. "And I'll bet it's better than all of
Shakespeare's works put together."

"Really?" Archie smiled. "Then by all means, Horatio,
do tell. Do tell."

THE END

14 April 2002