A Letter from Hell - Archie's Reply
by Dutch

Mr. Simpson,

Somehow I know I have you to thank for my present situation here in this
French prison.

From nearly the first day aboard 'Justinian,' you contrived to make my life
a living hell. You couldn't be content with just verbally tormenting me and
the beatings you inflicted on all of us, no, you had to add that extra
element of torture by....I can't even write it here, but you know what you
did to me.

By revealing the secrets of my home life, the neglect of my parents by
favoring my older brothers, and, yes, the occasional fit, that was just the
beginning of the agony. Your beatings and other unspeakable acts made the
fits worse, and that gave you a physical control over me which you didn't
have over any of the others.

Like the others, when I joined the Navy I had dreams of promotion, and the
vague hope of prize money. I thought this life could be my proving ground.
Instead, I ended up trapped by you, and the torments of my own body. You
decided I was weak, both in determination and body, but I am still alive,
while you have been relegated to Hell.

I could escape my house and the constant threat of familial disgrace by
attending the theatre. I tried not to further disgrace my family, and
that's one of the reasons why I joined the Navy. We both know my parents
thought I would fail, otherwise, my father would have purchased an Army
commission for me. I could escape them, however, I could not escape you.

You tried, and mostly succeeded, in taking all that was good and pure from
me and the others. You dimished all of us. Horatio was the only one who
was strong enough to stand against you, and you weren't prepared for that.
He is stronger than I am, but, more important, he was and is stronger than
you. His sense of honour and his dedication to duty gave him a shield
against you. If that weren't true, he would have let you drown amidst the
wreckage of 'Justinian.' None of the boat crew would have said anything.

Speaking of that wreckage, before our cutting out mission, during which you
did THIS to me, your declarations of dedication to duty and revenge for the
destruction of the 'Justinian' - you didn't truly fool anyone who knew you.
Captain Pellew didn't know you as Horatio and I do, and Lt. Eccleston again
decided to overlook what he knows about you. Those false tears and your
'noble' desire to avenge the 'Justinian's' crew - your true desire was to
take your revenge on Horatio and re-exert your control over me.

I have endured more torture and neglect thoughout my life, but those things
were merely a prelude to you and your treatment of me. I was perpetually of
no consequence at home. Three sons, an embarrassment of riches for my
family. Much to my parents horror, I was afflicted with the fits, and was
subject to the lure of the arts. I was a disgrace because of who I am, and
what they feared I would do. Somehow, I managed to keep secret WHY my
parents insisted I join the Navy, they were afraid I would succomb to the
charms of some actress or other. Though I didn't really think it would
happen, I half-hoped one of them would fall for me - the young, relatively
attractive, son from an aristocratic family. But, because of you, even if I
DO get out of here, no one will even bother to look at me, much less fall in
love with me.

I disgraced myself, Horatio, the crew, and I disappointed Captain Pellew
because of you. I had finally found a place where I could excel, and then
you had to reappear. I hate you for all you have taken from me!

I know you never saw this defiantly angry side of me before, but I have had
many solitary hours, staring at the bleak walls, to ponder why and how I
ended up here. I've had the time to reflect on all that you've done - to
all of us. I can imagine you jeering as you read this. Laughing over how
confident I seem - now that you're dead. Of course, how do I know you're
dead? You haunt my dreams...you can't even leave me alone from your shallow
pauper's grave.

You took away every shred of my dignity and self-respect. You somehow
absorbed every iota of my confidence in myself and my abilities, but you
can't do that to me anymore. I will prove to you, myself, Horatio, Captain
Pellew, and my family that I am not to pathetic weakling you all have
thought me. I will escape from this actual prison, and the prison of the
knowledge of what you did to me. You no longer have any control over me!

I hope your existance will be as tormented where you are, as you made mine
aboard 'Justinian.' I can't imagine a better place for you to spend

Midshipman Archie Kennedy