PTP2

Part Ten - Calculations
by Jamie

 

It was too easy; something had to be wrong. De Jourquin
observed his prisoner, Horatio Hornblower. He agreed to spy against
his country. Wasn't this the same man who said he would do anything
to get back to fight for his country? He would keep an eye on this
one. In the meantime, he would find a way to insure that Horatio
stood by the words he said. He would write to his Captain and tell
him that he, de Jourquin, had Hornblower and that IF he wanted him
back, there could be a prisoner exchange. When Hornblower's Captain
came to save his man, he would capture the whole ship. That would
make de Jourquin an important man in France.

Meanwhile aboard the Indefatigable --

Archie Kennedy wanted to make sure he lived up to the
expectations of Captain Pellew. He knew Pellew missed Horatio as
much as he did and hoped that Horatio would be found safe and sound
somewhere.

A messenger came to the Indefatigable with a letter for the
Captain. Archie told the messenger that he would make sure that the
letter went straight to the Captain, himself.

Archie knocked on the Captain's door and was let in. "A
message for you, sir."

Pellew took and opened the letter. His face went mad with
anger when he read its contents.

"May I ask, what is the matter, sir?" Archie asked timidly.

"The French have Mr. Hornblower captive. Citizen de Jourquin
informs to tell us that we have Midshipman Horatio Hornblower and
that he is well. He will remain so, if we don't make any rash
decisions and try to rescue him. They say he is a prisoner of war
and IF we want him back, we can do a prisoner exchange."

"A prisoner exchange, sir? We don't have any French
prisoners aboard the ship."

"Exactly my point, Mr. Kennedy. How in the blazes are we
supposed to get Mr. Hornblower back? I despair, I really do. First,
Simpson goes mad and stabs me and then I lose Horatio. . . a man who
is like my own. . ." Pellew stops himself and looks at Kennedy.

Archie said not a word, yet stood there to give Captain
Pellew any support he could. He spoke quietly, "If only we knew
where this de Jourquin was located. Perhaps we could stop him. But,
would it be wise to risk the whole ship for one man?"

"Wise? I know the Frenchman told us not to do anything rash,
but I would think you would favor such an action. Mr. Hornblower is
your friend."

"My best friend, sir, but sometimes you must think of what is
best for the ship, sir. If we had a French prisoner, it may be a
different story, sir."

"You are right, Mr. Kennedy. But, where to find such a
prisoner?" Pellew's eyes wondered with a gleam. Maybe he could find
such a prisoner.

The Captain dismissed Archie and thought of what to do to
help free Horatio. He stood up and felt pain throb in his leg. He
chose to try to ignore the pain in his leg, but he could not forget
who put the pain there in the first place. Damn that Simpson! He
was nothing but trouble from the time he arrived on this ship.

Simpson gave a sob story about how he and Captain Keene
valiantly fought to save the Justinian. Pellew didn't trust him then
and didn't trust him now. All he needed now was that madman on his
ship. Was Simpson really mad or was he faking his illness? The only
way was to see for himself. Pellew went down to the sick berth and
demanded to see Simpson.

"Where is Mr. Simpson? How is he doing? When will he be
ready for command?" Captain Pellew asked Dr. Hepplewhite in rapid
succession.

Hepplewhite looked at the Captain with bleary eyes. "You
should not disturb him, sir. He is unfit and I can't say when or if
he will ever be ready again."

"I was told that he was mad. I want to see for myself."

"As you wish, sir." Hepplewhite said as he pointed to where
Simpson sat.

Jack Simpson sat in the corner of the sick berth. He smiled
and mumbled to himself, "My plan is succeeding, they all think I am
crazy -- crazy as a fox. Well, this is one fox, who has tricked the
hounds." Simpson laughed out loud so all could hear his maniacal
cackle.

Pellew stood over Simpson. He had to think of something to
say to get Simpson off his guard. If Simpson were out of his mind,
as he was told, the statement would have no effect on him. If
Simpson were faking, a look of shock or fear would appear on his
face. Pellew smiled in the same man that Simpson smiled at him and
asked, "Where is your blade now, Mr. Simpson?"

Jack's eyes widened with surprise. He wasn't expecting that
kind of question. He had to continue the game and he knew how to
play it. He pretended to be scared and covered his head with his
hands. "Please, Please don't hurt me! I promise to be good! I
promise! Please!" He pleaded with tears coming down his face.

Dr. Hepplewhite stepped in and shouted, "You are making it
worse, sir! Please, leave him to me."

The Captain saw what he wanted. Simpson was faking, he knew
it. "Get some laudanum for this man!"

Dr. Hepplewhite tried to pour some down Simpson's throat, but
Simpson fought him and screamed, "You are after me, you are trying to
poison me!"

Pellew bellowed, "Tie this man down! I don't want a mad man
lose on my ship!"

The Marines came in the sick berth to tie Simpson to the post
by where he was sitting. Then Dr. Hepplewhite poured the laudanum
down Simpson's throat.

Pellew thought of an ingenious plan. One way to rid himself
of Simpson and get Horatio back. Could Simpson become the French
prisoner to be in exchange for Hornblower? He could not do something
like that to one of his own men, could he?