Pass The Pen
Chapter Twenty - Three: Retaken!
by Jamers

Ramangard held Lieutenant Bracegirdle in his grasp as he scanned over the horizon. The Indefatigable was a little distance behind them. He knew he had to escape from the British ship, if he wanted his plan to succeed.

"You won,t get away with this Ramangard!" Bracegirdle hissed.

"I all ready have." Ramangard remarked confidently.

Bracegirdle tried to get out of the Pirate King,s grip, but the pirate was stronger than he was.

"Picard! Come here and take this riff raff below and put him in irons. I have plans for him." Ramangard called out to a crewmember.

Picard was a small, yet spry pirate. He beckoned his master,s call without hesitation.

"What plans do you have for me?" Bracegirdle asked.

Ramangard gave a devilish smile and replied, "Wouldn,t you like to know? Part of the plan is to sink the Indefatigable! I need a hostage and you, my friend, are as good as any. Take him below!"

Picard took Bracegirdle,s arm. Bracegirdle saw this was his chance to fight back and pushed the diminutive pirate aside. Ramangard didn,t want his prisoner to escape and did not want to waste a bullet on him. He was smart enough to know you don,t kill prisoners. If you had no prisoners, you had no method of exchange. Ramangard wanted gold and his freedom for this prisoner.

He took hold of Bracegirdle and punched him in the jaw. Bracegirdle collapsed in a heap.

"Better an unconscious prisoner than a dead one, I always say." Ramangard told Picard.

Picard didn,t say a word. Ramangard cried out, "La Forge! Help Picard get this man and chain him up in the hold!"

La Forge was an immense, imposing figure of a man. He picked up the bulky Lieutenant like he was a sack of potatoes. He pushed Picard aside and said, "This is a job for a real man, not a weakling as you."

Ramangard scolded the pirate. "La Forge, I will not have disdain between the men on my ship. Get to your work. Picard, stay with me."

La Forge saluted the Pirate King with his free arm and mumbled as he left his Captain,s side.

* * * *

Horatio looked at Shelley. He watched silently as La Forge walked down the steps. He wanted to make his move and help Bracegirdle, but was cautious. What if this Shelley fellow was one of the pirates? That would mean the death of not only him, but also Bracegirdle. Who was this Morton Shelley? Was he a friend or a foe? He didn,t have to wait long to see.

"We take our stand now. Follow me." Shelley said quickly as he sneaked behind La Forge.

Shelley hit La Forge with his hand on his neck in a karate chop motion. La Forge dropped Bracegirdle and fell in a heap on the floor. Shelley then took his knife and stabbed La Forge to death. After which, he took the pirate,s pistol and threw it to Hornblower.

All this happened so quickly that Horatio didn,t have time to react.

Shelley coyishly smiled and replied, "It see you are going to let me do all the work. I should think you want to save your friend."

Shelley checked to see if Bracegirdle was still breathing. "Your friend is still alive. We have to stay hidden until we can make our move."

"Who are you?" Horatio asked. Still doubting that this man was a friend.

"I told you that is of no consequence. We should get your friend to safety and then we should get to work. You do know how to do that, do you?"

Horatio nodded and was a bit put upon by the insult. For all Horatio knew, this Shelley fellow was either a spy or a hired killer. He had to trust him or die.

* * * *

Pellew bellowed, "They are running inland! Quick after her before the ship goes into the fog!"

The ship steers its course to follow La Mort Noire.

"Strange that Bracegirdle would steer his course that way." Bowles remarked.

"Not strange indeed, if they have retaken the ship. I knew it was an error to keep all the prisoners on one ship. If I separated them, this would not have happened. Curse that Ramangard! Get me Mr. Kennedy, Bowles." Pellew commanded.

"Aye, aye, Captain." Bowles replied. Soon enough he was back with Kennedy by his side.

"You asked for me, sir?" Archie asked.

"Where is Hornblower? Have you seen him?" Pellew asked.

"You are asking me, sir?"

"Yes, damn you! I need to know if we have more that just Lieutenant Bracegirdle at stake. We have just won that prize and I don,t intend on losing it or losing my men."

"Mr. Hornblower went aboard La Mort Noire in Hether,s place. You do know the ship,s name means The Dead Night, don,t you?" Archie added.

"I don,t need to be reminded of what the name of the ship means, Mr. Kennedy. Bloody hell, now we to do another rescue mission. How and why does Hornblower get himself messed up in these scrapes?"

"Because he takes risks, sir." Kennedy replied.

This infuriated Pellew even more. What he did not need was an insolent crew. He roared, "Such nonsense! I will not put up with it any longer! Get to the gun deck and do your duty Mr. Kennedy!"

"Aye, Aye, sir." Archie saluted and went back to his work.

Pellew directed himself at Bowles. "I want you to call battle stations we are going to retake our La Mort Noire. Prepare the crew for the attack."

"Battle stations!" Bowles cried out.

As Bowles was giving instructions to the crew, Pellew stood on the quarterdeck and said to himself, "If this Ramangard wants to fight, then we will give him a fight."

* * * *

Fog filled the air. Ramangard thought he was in the safety of the fog and the inland river. Just then he heard cannon fire. It was aimed at him. He searched through the fog to see where it was coming from. The Indefatigable was firing on him.

"Blast them, those sodding fools! They are firing into the fog. Are they crazy? Picard, have the men prepare to fire. We will show them who is boss!"

In their hiding place, Shelley heard the commotion and said, "It looks like your ship is coming to the rescue. I love to have a decent fight, don,t you?"

Horatio was put aback at the excitement on Shelley,s face. Who was crazier -- Ramangard or this Shelley fellow?