Laughable Material
by Laura

*****

This is a hypothetical 'missing scene' from 'The Fire Ship'.

After Hornblower tells Bunting off ("There can be no excuse for
mutinous talk"), Bunting goes back to work.

In the afternoon Hornblower goes back to check up on the men doing
their work above decks. He notices that Bunting, Oldroyd and Styles
are giggling at something, but as soon as they see him, Bunting hides
the laughable material behind his back, and they are immediately
stern and serious.

"Strong wind today, eh Sir?" says Styles. Too late Hornblower has
seen something suspicious and ignores Styles' friendly remark. "I
know you have hidden something do not insult my intelligence," says
Hornblower sternly, "now, show me, what is so funny?" No
reply. "Well, out with it it can't be all that bad," says
Hornblower.

Bunting slowly exposes what he has behind his back and cautiously
gives it to Hornblower. Hornblower takes one glimpse at it and
quickly looks up, with disgust. It is a porno magazine.

"You find this utter filth funny, do you?" asks Hornblower.

"No, sir," replies Oldroyd.

"How did you obtain it?" No answer.

"Then get rid of it!!" says Hornblower, raising his voice, "before I
do something you'll regret," and he gives them a filthy look as he
slowly walks off, especially at Bunting, because of his earlier
offence, and because he was the one with the magazine. Bunting
loathes Hornblower all the more.

Later in the evening, Hornblower is asked to go to Captain Pellew's
cabin for a word. Pellew looks at Hornblower in a weird way, as if
finding out some new truth about him. He finds it hard to address the
certain issue, but Hornblower is innocent, and answers all of his
questions with respect.

"What projects have you completed this day, Mr Hornblower?" asks
Pellew.

"Directing course, raising sails and keeping an eye on the men, Sir,"
replies Hornblower.

"I see and do you have much time for studying for your examination?"

"A little, Sir."

"So, may I ask what on earth is the meaning of this?! It was found
in your study."
He holds up the magazine that the men were looking at earlier.
Hornblower stutters in total shock, then he explains to Pellew what
must have happened it was a set up from Bunting.

"Eh ahemmOh I see" says Pellew in embarrassment and
hesitation. "Bring him to me, then."

"Yes, Captain."

Hornblower goes off to find Bunting, and then the guards notify him
that there's someone lurking about in the food storeroom. Hornblower
comes in and discovers it's Bunting:

"Bunting, what the hell do you think you're doing??"

"I'm hungry!!!! I'm hungry!!!!" cries Bunting.

Hornblower brings Bunting straight to Captain Pellew's office,
reports that Bunting was found stealing food, and Pellew roars: "WHAT
KIND OF MAN ARE YAH?! HA?"