an HH Role Playing Game fic
Laura Horatio Hornblower
AJ Archie Kennedy
Melissa Mr. Bush
Julie Lee Captain Sawyer
MM Mr. Wellard
Young Snotty Mr. Buckland
Molly Mathews and Styles
Linda Dr. Clive
Heather Olson Mr. Hobbs, Liberty Jack, Randal, Lucille, The Powder Monkeys, Whiting
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.
Archie, who had been in a deep fight with at least two frogs, dispatched on of them over the side and found the other had willingly run himself on to Kennedy's sword. So it was that he was less then a few meters from Hobbs when the man was lifted high into the air," Good god, what is... " and then he saw the man beside Hobbs' attacker and his legs went to jelly. Stumbling backwards into the railing, Kennedy began a low, keening mutter, "Oh god, no... please no... Simpson..."
"Mr. Kennedy, sah!" Matthews ran over to the railing to help his superior back to his feet. "Are you hurt, sah?" An incoherent muttering that sounded like, "Oh God, no... Simpson..." was all that came from Kennedy's mouth. Matthews looked around to try to find some clue as to what he was talking about, when he saw the same dark, scruffy character Kennedy was looking at. "Oh God... STYLES!"
Styles backed his way towards the Renown's bo'sun, fighting off enemy cutlasses right and left. "What is it?" he asked.
"Look..." Matthews said, moving quickly to check another blade.
"Bloody 'ell, is that..."
"Aye, Styles, it is."
"That's enough, Styles. Now help me get Mr. Kennedy to 'is feet." Matthews and Styles grabbed Kennedy's arms and pulled him up. "Mr. Kennedy, are you alright, sah?"
Randall crouched between a pair of his shipmates. He and the other Renowns were firing into the French. He had covered the lads who got the net up on the larboard, and had been one of the few to keep his sea legs when the sloop came up heavily against the starboard. He cursed as he saw the French reform to cover the starboard."What the hell are those frogs up to?" He muttered. The man next to him was far too busy to answer. He looked up and saw Hobbs in trouble and more frogs pouring over the side. "Come on mates, Hobbs is in the thick of it!" He pushed some of the Renowns forward, making sure to stay just behind them. He shot a pirate in the leg. He'd been aiming for the chest but a bizarre sight and terrible scream had distracted him. He saw Hobbs lifted into the air by a giant black man. Then he saw a face he'd thought he'd never see again. Next to the giant stood Donavan Simpson. His old Lieutenant. "Damn..." Randal commented to nobody in particular. The men around him were falling left and right.
"Sorry Hobbsy..." He grinned,"Every man for imself..." He picked up a still moaning young Renown, and held him in front of him as he worked his way to safer position. The lad took another hit,"Thanks mate." He grinned and let the boy fall as he joined a group of marines. He picked up an ready musket, and pointed it at the French. He fired with the marines and large group of frogs fell on their left flank. He saw Lieutenant Kennedy push away from Mathews and Styles and race though the opening created. Crazy bugger... Randall thought, and looked down to reload his gun.
Archie could feel the hands under his arms and could hear the voices in his ears, but he could see the men hauling him to his feet. He had eyes only for the Ghost standing before him, who was quite literally a figure from his nightmares, "No, he can't be, he can't..."
And then something took hold of Archie Kennedy, something that had been lacking in all those years of repression at the hands of MM Simpson. It was a sense of action, and without questioning it Kennedy pulled himself free of Mathews and Styles' grip and ran full tilt at the figure. He caught Captain Jack in surprise and the two went down in a pile, Kennedy managing to stay on top only through shear luck. His sword was at Simpson's throat and he kept repeating one word, "Die, die, die...!"
Liberty Jack (Donavan Simpson) smiled to himself... "Gently Dunti..." A bullet raked the rail next to him and a Frenchman fell over the side. " Mr. Hobbs must be alive and well for the very, special fate I have in store for him." He had them now... The Renown would be his. It was only a matter of time. The men on his fast sloop la 'Peste' had boarded with him. Peste would move aside now and make room for his flagship the fifty-four gun la 'Mort'. From which his main assault force... His Bloody Buckers would board. And he still had the barquentine la 'Famine' in reserve. The remaining men on la 'Guerre' though were still blocked by the net... A slight irritation... His elite troops, his 'Lightning Guard' were trapped aboard her... His best men... They should have come aboard at the first with Captain du Paix... Simpson would have to ask them why they had delayed... A shot felled a man next to him, and a Renown came too close for his own good. Jack's scythe made short work of him... Yes... He would have look into that matter... When he had the time. He shot another Renown with one of his flintlock revolvers. It was alright for now though, he had planned even for the occurrence of just such errors. The men on La Guerre could snipe at the Renowns and divide their attention, and La Mort would be alongside any second. He remembered the words of his old mentor, 'Account for all possibilities, even the impossible... And you will not fail.' He could see the concern on du Paix's face though. The Captain of La Guerre had a habit of second guessing him and claiming prisoners. He couldn't abide that tonight, this was his ship. It belonged to him. The 'old' Renowns would be given no parole... They belonged to him too. Don't you... Mr. Hobbs?... He glared at the gunner.
"Dunti!" Jack shouted. His huge bodyguard had still not registered his command," Tache de ne pas les casser, dit-le. Do Not Break Him." He put his hand on Dunti's arm and the big man lowered Hobbs to the deck, but still held him fast. At that moment a volley from the Renowns cut down enough privateers to create an opening to Jack's left. Simpson saw it in an instant, but showed no fear. There were more than enough of his men to block it, but he was used to having his 'Lightning Guard' with him, and he barked the order... by mistake, in English, "You men there! Fill that hole!"
"Remplir ce trou!" Du Paix repeated the command in French, but too late. Some maniac in a lieutenant's uniform dashed through the confused men, leaping over the cannon, the dead and the dazed.
The lunatic was on Jack in an instant, and they both fell heavily to the deck. The mad fool on top, with his sword at Jack's throat, he shouted, "Die! Die! Die!" Jack had raised his scythe up in time to lock with the officer's sword before they went down, it wasn't the first time it had save his life.
He heard Hobbs gasp... "Well done... Mr. Kennedy... Finnish the bastard..." It infuriated Simpson to think that Hobbs might find something... anything to give him hope, and he fought back. The berserk man's strength was tremendous however and the blade pressed close. If only the man hadn't surprised him... If only his left arm wasn't pinned under this crazy lieutenant's knee. If only Dunti would pluck this fool from him...
This is it for us Jack.. He thought, as the raging man's strength bested him. Suddenly a blade flashed between the crazed lieutenant and himself. It neatly plucked the madman's sword from from his hand, and Jack saw his blade clatter against a cannon. He could see Du Paix... beautiful Lucille du Paix... kick the fellow hard in the side and send him sprawling. She leapt over her Captain and landed on the man's chest knocking the wind out of him. A couple of privateers pinned the Englishman's arms down. Jack picked himself up. He smiled... He'd cheated the 'ol Reaper again... Thanks to his resourceful lieutenant. Lucille was the Captain of La Guerre. She dressed as a man to hide her feminine features from the enemy, but she was more than a match for most of the men she faced.
"Bon, mon cheri! Well done my dear!" He put the scythe next to his ear... "What's that Jack." He listened carefully to what 'Jack' had to say, then turned to his attacker. "Oh yes... Kennedy, I remember from your letters... And his name is on the ship's lists..." He paused. A frenchman to his left fell, he ignored it. " I do!" He shook the scythe, "Who's alive! And who got himself killed eh?! Hmm... Tell me!" He drew his sword, crossed it with the scythe and moved toward the fallen officer. "If you'll shut up for a minute... I'll take care of this lubber..."
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.
"NON!" Lucille du Paix still straddled the young officer. She twisted about, her blade pointed at her own Captain... "This one, he is mine!" She knew Jack's moods, and didn't much care for this one. Captain Jack paused for a moment... but stepped forward. Though her heart skipped a beat she stood up and assumed a fencing stance. Donovan Simpson stopped dead in his tracks. She could see him considering his options... He smiled a little, but it was hardly a wholesome smile.
"Pourquoi pas... Why not?..." His grin broadened. "See that you do take care of him. If he disturbs me again... I'll flay him myself." He kissed his scythe. "Won't we Jack?.." She saw him turn back to the action.
La Peste had moved away from Renown. The British ship's gun's had battered her badly... The way was clear for La Mort. She came along side quickly and fired a devastating broadside into Renown's lower decks. The blast still rocked them and Lucille fell on top of the young man she had just saved. He seemed calmer now... And... Mon Dieu!.. He was fair to look upon...
"Parle' vous Francais?" She asked, forgetting to disguise her voice.
Matthews felt Kennedy pull himself away from his grasp and
watched helplessly as he charged across the deck at the spectre
standing there. What happened next took no less than a few minutes,
but appeared as if in slow motion. He came to as a Frenchman thrust
in his direction, and Matthews parried it. Styles brought his cutlass down on the man's head,
"Bloody Frogs..." Styles commented.
"Shut it, Styles. Come on now." Matthews made his way towards the commotion in attempts to help his shipmates and superiors. Not one to miss out on the action, Styles obediently followed. Out of the corner of his eye, Styles saw Randall using a human shield to make his way to saftey.
If I shot the buggar now, no one would notice... Styles thought.
"Oui, je parle francais, mais je deteste les 'frogs' !" The last was spat out as only a true Englishman can and Archie attemped to push this man off him. He planted both his hands upon "his" chest and pushed. For a moment Archie didn't really notice anything and then somewhere in the back of his head a word sputtered "soft" and then a second word "round" and then a short phrase which he repeated outloud," Oh my god.... you're a girl!!"
"I don't know Tom," Kenny cautioned. "Sergeant Whiting ordered us to get below." He was the youngest amongst the powder monkeys, and the most cautious. He wasn't a coward though and quickly wiped his dirty face, not wanting the other boys to see his tears. They had come above decks with powder for the guns only to find the upper deck in complete chaos. The sergeant had indeed ordered them below. The excitement of seeing hand to hand combat had been too tempting for the boys, and they had disobeyed those orders. They were hidden in the debris and the shadows near the quarterdeck, watching the battle keenly.
"You thinkin' o' runnin' below while those bloody frogs 'ave their way with Mr. 'Obbs n' Kennaday ! " An older boy Jim, grabbed his friend roughly."I 'ad thought better o' you mate." The other boys looked just as uncertain as Kenny, but murmured their approval to Jim's words anyway. Tom, their leader kneeled in front of young Kenny. He brushed Jim aside and put his hands on the boy's shoulders.
"No one expects you to come shipmate." He began. Jim started to protest but Tom gave him a stern look and he backed down. "Your too little. You sit tight here where it's safe." He made the lad sit behind a smashed cannon carriage and pulled a piece of fallen canvas over him. "Those are my orders."
"Aye, aye, Sir." Kenny said quietly and pulled the sail over himself just a bit more. Tom turned to the rest of the boys as they heard a cry from Mr. Kennedy over the din. With thoughts of their officers suffering unspeakable torture at the hands of the French the lads readied themselves for action.
"Alright men." Tom picked up a cutlass and motioned for the others, who picked up what arms the could from the deck to follow him."Softly now but quickly. When we stop, we stop in the shadows... Stay low and stay close to me." Kenny saw them disappear into the fray. When he lost sight of them he became even more frightened. It didn't help matters that a marine fell dead from the quarterdeck to land right in front of his hiding place. He shrieked with fright... Only a little. Cautiously he crawled out of his hiding place. He picked up the man's pistol. It was heavy, so he used both hands.
"I'm commin' shipmates!" He sucked up his courage and dashed off after the other boys.
~The Powder Monkeys~
(Scene Change: Captain's cabin... Then back to the deck)
Sawyer stared long and hard at Bush, waiting for an answer, but while awaiting for this a strange, new sensation trickled into his consciousness. At first he brushed it aside, concentrating on his lieutenant and the vapid indignation he felt. But those sounds, they refused to be ignored, imposing themselves upon him like so many unwanted nightmares. Pushing past Bush suddenly, he swept out the door, blue-eyed man forgotten completely, and stepped into chaos. Blood pounding in his ears, it took only a moment for the scene to register. His ship was under attack!
His ship! By... pirates? Lips curled back in a snarl as emotions,
energy, power surged. Here and there pockets of men fought bravely,
killing, dying, defending. Raising a pistol he had drawn from
his belt, he rushed forward to gain a better position to guide
and command, and nearly tripped over the inert body of a fallen
man. Sparing but a contemptuous glance at Buckland (was the man
dead?), he gathered breath into his lungs. He would not see his
"Renowns, to me!" he cried lustily over the fray. These were the moments he lived for.
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.
Matthews realized that the crew needed help. There wasn't another officer of the Renown besides Mr. Kennedy anywhere to be found on deck. After watching him fall into a somewhat compromising position, Matthews headed below deck to find someone to help the situation, sending Styles one way as he headed another. Mr. Hornblower was nowhere to be found. Neither was Mr. Buckland. After a long search, fighting the odd pirate as they went, Matthews and Styles both ended up at the door to the Captain's cabin. Seeing no other alternative, Matthews knocked on the door.
(Matty must have just missed bumping into the Captain... Horatio and Bush have already left this area, as you will learn soon.)
Lucille laughed at the impertinent Lieutenant's insult. This one had spunk. She liked spunk. She stopped abruptly as a shot felled one of the men holding the Englishman's arms. He broke free of the other, and his hands were at her chest, trying to push her off... for a moment. His face went from anger to shock and he blurted out," You're a girl !! " Then he froze, apparently waiting a response.Lucille turned her head. Sure enough, her Captain, distracted by the shout, was glaring at them. She turned back to her captive and slapped him across the face.
"Anglais scum!" She shouted, "Touch me there again and I shall kill you myself !" She glared at her fellow pirates,"Arrete-le!" Four of them held the Englishman and bound his hands behind his back. She glanced over her shoulder, Liberty Jack was again leading his men in battle. Satisfied it would seem with her performance. His scythe was now thoroughly drenched in English blood and he used his flintlock revolvers with deadly accuracy. With rifled barrels, and his skill... how could he miss... He had changed so much from when she first met him years ago... A hero of the Republic, she had been atracted to the man from the start... Together they had struck many a blow against the English... Then a few years ago, after they had left Egypt, he seemed to change... He began wearing that... that thing... She looked at the sythe with disgust. He'd become more brutal. Or was it that she had merely began to see him as he truely was? The Jacque hidden behind the skill... the bravado... the panache. Still, he was her commander, and he did that very well... The whole attack had been his plan. The poor English had only seen the half of it. It was sound. It would not fail... Unless he did. She knew him better than most others... There was one problem with taking the Renown. Jack had a history with this ship... This time it was personal. If Jack needed a seventy-four, she wished he'd chosen another. How it would effect his performance... She had yet to see.
Dunti, Jack's huge bodyguard crouched at his side. He held his prisoner's arms behind his back in what looked like a most uncomfortable manner. Lucille felt responsible for that. If she'd killed the man when she had the chance, he would not have to suffer so from Jack's attentions. She sighed... There was nothing she could do about that... Hobbs was one of the men Jack had mentioned that he very dearly wished to take alive. She had her suspicions as to why... But dared not voice them. Jack had no idea just how much she did know... And she wished to keep it that way. As long as his personal vendetta did not interfere with their mission, Lucille du Paix would do her duty. Lucille turned to her charge. She leaned closer to the handsome English Lieutenant and whispered in his ear."Qui...Je' la feme. Be quiet now." Lucille then turned and pointed, drawing his attention to Liberty Jack," You should be cautious Monsieur." She adjusted her jacket and buttoned it up."There are some things that Jack believes are his, and his alone."
Oohhh, how Archie wished he could get his hands free. Now he was not only blushing at having touched something on this very interesting pirate, but how would it look to Horatio and Bush if they finally arrived on deck and he was already captured. He subtly tried pulling his arms apart, but since that didn't work he started looking for something about that had a sharp edge...
Lucille put her hand to the starboard rail and pulled herself up. La Mort's crew were already on the ropes. Lucille couldn't help but shudder. She had seen these men in action before. 'Buckers', Jack called them. Over thee-hundred men. They were not like her fellow Frenchmen. Jack's Buckers were a mixed bag of the worst of humanity. Escaped convicts, slaves, deserters of all nations, mercenaries and even a few lunatics pressed into service. Jack refused no one provided they obeyed him and fought well. She and her Countrymen were not alowed aboard la Mort, but they all had heard terrible stories... She shook again at the thought. Usually Jack maintained complete command of them... Today though, aboard his old ship, with old enemies, would Jack maintain command of himself ? She crouched next to the English Lieutenant and his four guards. His blue eyes fixed in terror on Captain Jack. This one at least, her Captain would not have. Lucille put her hand under his chin and lifted his gaze to hers. " I will keep you safe from him, cheri. I swear it."
Jack saw Hobbs wince with pain. He enjoyed seeing that. His huge henchman Dunti had moved a little closer. With one hand he held both of Hobbs's arms behind his back. The man who had betrayed him... Ruined his career... Yet, had inadvertently spawned another."Comfortable Mr. Hobbs?" He fired his pistol at the Renowns. A marine fell from the quarterdeck and Jack smiled, pleased with his marksmanship. One shot left, then he'd need to reload. Jack turned as he heard a sweet sound behind him. A blood curdling howl as his main force... His 'Bloody Buckers' pored over the starboard rail. "Ha! hah! It's over now Hobbs. Another fine victory for Captain Liberty Jack! Here come me Bloody Buckers!"
"Go to the Devil, Donovan." Hobbs spat. Dunti twisted the Gunner's arms a little higher up his back. "Ahhhgg!..."
"I told you Mr. Hobbs... It's Liberty Jack now." He took a loaded pistol from his belt and pointed it at Hobbs." If I have to tell you again... I'll have Dunti put you down and we'll test your reflexes earlier then I originally intended to." Hobbs looked at him as if he were out of his mind. So did Dunti. "What's that jack?" Simpson put his scythe to his ear,"If only they had a brain between them... Yes, that's very funny Jack. Perhaps I should put you on stage?... The lists.? The ships company? Your on about 'him' again... I know! I bloody well know! I can only do so much. Stop petering me about it. We wouldn't even have the imformation if I hadn't spent a small fourtune to get it! Do you mind?! I have my own affairs to deal with!"
He was interupted from his 'conversation' as a cutlass swung through the air and came down hard on the pistol, knocking it from his hand. "What in the blazes?!-- Gaahhh!!..." Someone had just delt Jack a low blow and he doubled over in pain.
"To me! Renowns !" A boy's voice cried out over the noise.
"Huzahh!" A gang of brats shouted, much to Jack's annoyance.
Shapes were comming at him through the darkness. A belaying pin knocked him in the head, weakly, but it still hurt and it sent his hat flying. Something struck his knee. "Ahhh! Dunti !" He screamed, swinging his scythe wildly at the small figures darting around him. Whoever they were, they easily dodged his wild swings. "Curse you little wretches! AHHG!" A little foot hit him in the face. "Mumfph!!" Another flurry of blows struck at him. "Gahhh!" He fended some off but others hit home." DUNTI !!" He stumbled back to the rail safe at last in the arms of his own men. His Buckers. The Buckers roard, and the little shapes screamed and retreated from them. "Fire, and Damnation!" Jack shouted."I'll eat your livers!" Dazed by the assault Jack let his men hold him up. He put his hand to his head... was that blood?
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.
Hobbs couldn't believe his eyes. The powder monkeys had come out of nowhere. They swarmed around 'Jack' and his giant, landing blow after blow. The French seemed utterly confused and did nothing. Dunti, the massive, black man that had given Hobbs such grief had dropped him in the confusion, and was grasping at the boys trying to catch one. That would never do. Hobbs knew what it was like to be in that monster's clutches. Somehow he got to his feet and picked up the broken haft of a boarding axe. Dunti was still bent over trying to catch the children. He caught one by the arm and the lad screamed. Hobbs charged the giant, running full tilt. Dunti looked up too late and took the full force of the blow to his forehead. Dazed and bleeding the giant let go of the boy. He staggered back a pace or two but did not fall. Hobbs stared in awe. The effort had left Hobbs breathless and his chest pained him. He also saw Simpson's 'Buckers' clambering over the rail in droves. Assesing the situation quickly he turned to the boys.
" Well done lads." He said quickly.
"Thank you Sir." They beamed." Now for Mr. Kennedy!" They cheered."Huzahh!" And made ready to charge the pirates.
"Belay that!" Hobbs knew that would never do either. Kennedy was surrounded by the enemy... With more still pooring over the side.The boy's would be killed if they pressed their luck again. The Pirates pressed closer... They would all be dead if they stayed here much longer. He looked abaft. The Renowns still held their ground there but were quickly being overcome everywhere else, "There boys! Report to the quarterdeck. Help defend the Captain! I will see to Mr. Kennedy." Hobbs had no Idea where the Captain was or how he could possibly get to Kennedy, but he remembered spotting Mathews heading to the quarterdeck not too long ago and hoped the lads would find him. " Hurry..." He gasped and clutched at his chest.
"But sir," They protested. They new he was hurt.
"Do your duty men." He said quietly but firmly. The Gunner's tone left no room for protest.
"Aye sir!" The eldest boy nodded. Like good lads they obeyed and ran where they were directed. They were just like him... ages ago.
"We have unfinished bussiness little man!" A voice boomed behind him. He turned back to find Dunti had drawn a long, vicious looking scimitar.
"You need help from you 'friends'?" Hobbs sneered. He was flanked by pirates on either side. Dunti waved them back.
"This one is MINE!"
"We'll see..." Hobbs readied himself... He wished he had a sword. Dunti swung at Hobbs, who parried with the axe haft, but the heavy blade cut it in two. Hobbs held the two ends in his fists. He used them to hit the brute in the gut, the chest, his knee and his head. As a last recourse he even hit him in some less sporting locations... Nothing phased the monster! The gunner's efforts actually seemed to amuse him.
"Is it my turn?" The monster smiled and swung the scimitar overhead. Hobbs paried the blow by crossing the two ends of the axe haft together over his head. The action almost knocked Hobbs off his feet. The monster pressed down, forcing Hobbs to his knees.
"Damn..." Hobbs gasped.
"Umm, thank you, I... " Archie couldn't believe it,
what the hell was he doing staring deeply into this woman's eyes?
He was a prisoner on his won ship in the middle of a bloody battle!
And yet his heart was pumping for reasons other than the fighting
going on about him. His blush was even deeper than
before. For a moment he thought he would be got out by the powder monkeys, but Hobbs sent them down to the Captain's cabin; and then Hobbs himself and looked to coming to his aid, but that huge thing of a man was in his way. This was all like a bloody nightmare. And then there was the captain... Simpson.
Suddenly Archie felt something give in him, some muscle twitched. It was a small thing, really, not much more than a spasm that one gets from sitting in one position too long, but it stopped Kennedy's heart for what felt like a full minute. His fits!! his bloody fits!! That's how they had always started, just a small twitch somewhere in his body. Damnit!!! not now, not ruddy now!! Forgetting everything else, Archie ground his teeth together, willing his body to obey him, to remain under his control - he would not submit to that indiginity ever again!! "Arghhhh.. " the moan escaped him before he could stop it as another muscle flickered into life...
(Main deck, Quarterdeck then outside the Captain's cabin)
The boys ran up the steps to the quarterdeck. They raced past the privateers and Buckers, dodging blows and miraculously avoiding being shot. Incensed, several of the Buckers gave chase. So intent were the lads on performing their duty, that they ran smack into Mathews in front of the Captain's cabin nearly knocking the poor man off his feet. "Sorry Sir!" The boys got up breathless, "Were here to save the Captain, Sir!"
"Form a line there men!" Tom shouted. "Those murderin' pirates are commin' !" Three pirates charged the little band. "FIRE!" And three pirates fell in a heap.
"HUZAHH!" The boys gave their cheer, and waved their caps.
"Relinquishing command to you, Sir!" Tom offered his cutlass to Mr. Mathews. Kenny cling to the Bosun's leg and would not let go. There were the sounds of heavy footsteps on the deck. Were they friend or foe?
~The Powder Monkeys~
Startled, Matthews quickly put his hands back to stop himself from falling. "Sorry sir!" one of them cried, but before Matthews could respond the boys had formed a line and fired on a group of pirates giving chase. Three more bodies now littered the deck. One of the older boys offered him his cutlass, relinquishing command.
"Sir?" Styles asked as he came upon the group.
"They're here to save the Cap'n, Styles." Matthews said with a smirk on his face.
"Ah..." Styles responded. "Come on, lad," Matthews picked up the boy clinging to his leg and set him back on his feet. "Nothin' to be scared of 'ere." "'Cept those bloody pirates."
"Styles..." Matthews chastized. Suddenly, heavy footsteps on the deck echoed around them.
"Get ready, boys. Friend or foe, 'ere they come..."
Matthews ordered, taking a defensive stance with the cutlass.
And then the door to the Captain's cabin fell off it's
The smoke was too thick to see properly and the enemy was speeding toward their position. The powder monkeys were not afraid though... not much afraid that is. They were with Mr. Mathews and Mr. Styles now. The boys pulled the hammers back on their pistols and leveled them at the oncoming men. " Fire!" One of the boys shouted. They thought they heard someone else shout, "Wait lads!" Too late, they pulled the triggers to their weapons as-- Oh no! Sergeant Whiting and a few Renowns came into view. The men saw the boys' ambush. Some of them cringed, a couple dived for cover.
Click! Clack! Snap! Clack! Click! Clack! Click!
"What the devil?..." Whiting murmured from the deck, while a young Midshipman next to him sighed with relief.
Fortunately the boys hadn't reloaded. There was an audible and universal sigh of relief. Till they looked at little Kenny... Quaking with fear, he still held his pistol with both hands, eyes closed.
BANG! It went off !
~The Powder Monkeys~
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.
Sawyer's words rung in Bush's ears- "You will answer for this!" Answer for what? It didn't matter really, he'd known the likely outcome of his actions- Sawyer would either decide that "good Mr. Bush" was indeed doing the right thing, alerting his Captain to the danger, or as it seemed, would assume the opposite. Bush had rather hoped Sawyer would appreciate his efforts, but it was obvious he hadn't. Should he be surprised? Here he was standing on the quarterdeck with Lt. Hornblower, whom Sawyer had had branded (albeit wrongly branded, so Bush thought) as a trouble maker and possible mutineer, still only a truly disturbed person would make assumptions based on that. Did that make him unfit for duty? Did the irratic behavoir, along with the paranoia prove him insane?
Maybe he'd be killed in action and taken off their hands. Bush upbraided himself for even thinking that, it wasn't right for an officer to have such thoughts. He only wanted to do his duty, but was it possible with the Captain in the state he was? He forced himself to stop thinking about it, none of it would matter if the ship was taken by the damned Frogs! He watched as the Captain tried to gather the Renowns for action. It took every ounce of restraint not to run out and join them, but judging from what he could see it would take more than that to overcome this attack. However, Bush's faculties didn't seem to be up to the job of coming up with a plan. He turned to Hornblower, and swallowed his pride.* Any bright ideas, Mr. Hornblower? He asked as he discharged his pistol into the pirates.
Hornblower thought for a moment. The sudden chaos had left him slightly stunned and confused. He pulled out his pistol and quickly shot a running Frog, headed for the Captain's cabin. Horatio turned back to Bush, the smoking gun in his hand. "The Captain is finally out and about, sir...and that's something less to worry about. Perhaps it will install more courage in the men. " Hornblower flinched slightly as a bullet from a sniper wized by his head. "Perhaps...perhaps we should make our way to the main deck, sir, gather what officers we can find and then...." He trailed off, not sure of what he was even thinking, but nodded to the nearly empty French pirate ships.
The roar surrounding him was deafening, the ship rocking, deck slippery with blood, mass and utter chaos as soldiers and sailors, monkey boys and pirates, battled on. Raising his pistol, Sawyer shot the first pirate his attention fell upon, eyes wild as the fray below. Given the darkness of night, he would admit later, it was difficult to see. But that didn't matter at the moment; the blood pounding in his ears, the blood lust of the fight, demanded he take action, immediate action. Where were his officers, where was Hornblower and Kennedy and Bush? Why could he not see them? The ship was under attack, under threat of being taken, why were the officers not at their stations?
He surged forward into the heaving masses with these thoughts quickly pushed to the back of his mind. First things first. Shoving aside an indiscriminate pirate, he made short work of another with the pirate's own pistol. Then, he saw it. The hulk, the giant of a human being. And by its side a limp figure, that of Hobbs. Despite the bleak appearance of the predicament, momentary pride swelled his chest. Here was a man who was not afraid of battle. Leveling his gun at the dark man he screamed, almost manically, "So, you think to frighten me! You think to take my ship. Die!"
Hobbs was on his knees... He looked at the pathetic remains of the axe that he held in his hands... Chopped away to nothing... He was surprised he hadn't lost any fingers... He definitely couldn't parry another blow with them. He let them fall from his grasp. He was beaten... God, how he hated that. It was difficult even to breathe as pain wracked his chest with every attempt to do so. No one could say he hadn't done his duty... But his strength was spent... Ship lost... and his Captain like as not, was dead...
"Get it over with, you monster." He muttered. Dunti, only too happy to oblige, brought his scimitar down to Hobbs' neck. To test the distance perhaps... No thought Hobbs... To frighten me. He cleched his fists. I wont give him that! Lord, Hobbs prayed, Give me the strength... He looked up and glared into the giant's eyes... And he wasn't afraid.
"You make Dunti laugh, little man." The brute grinned and the men around him, Simpson's bloody Buckers, laughed heartily. " As you wish." He raised the enormous blade over his head. "Dunti will keep head as memento."
"So, you think to frighten me! " A voice carried over the sound of battle. Hobbs couldn't believe his ears. The Captain! Bless him! That was the Captain's voice. The Giant was confuzed and looked over Hobbs's shoulder. The gunner ventured a glance. It was Captain Sawyer, pistol in hand. "You think to take my ship. Die!"
BANG! Hobbs flinched instinctively as the pistol went off. Dunti grunted and Hobbs turned his attention back to him. The giant was glaring now at the Captain, and blood flowed from a wound near the monster's left ear... what was left of his ear, that is. Still the monster seemed to be mostly olblivious to any pain. Hobbs knew he'd have to do something. Captain Sawyer was alive but the giant's gaze was now firmly fixed on him...Hobbs picked up a large, long splinter, blown earlier from the spars above.
"If it's a memento from the Renown you want..." Hobbs called attention to himself and rose from the deck. "Then take this!!" The gunner threw the splinter like a harpoon. It sunk into the big man's chest. The thing seemed to notice the spear pierce his chest... But made no sound. Again it was as if he felt no pain. God in heaven... Hobbs was awestruck. This time it was a bloody spear in his chest... How?... He stepped backwards as the giant's attention turned back to him. Scimitar raised high, the monster took a step toward him, but the big man caught his foot on something. It was the unconcious form of Mr. Buckland. The giant fell forward, hitting the deck with a heavy Thud! There was a sickening noise as the force of the fall drove the spear even further into Dunti's chest. When the whole gory scene was finished the monster lay face down on the deck. Nearly four feet of the gunner's bloodstained spear protruded from his back. The scimitar fell from his hands. Dunti did not move. The Buckers gasped in surprise. There were shouts of shock and disbelief. Dunti was dead. Sucking back a little courage and a little air, Hobbs took advantage of the moment and grabbed the giant's scimitar. He stepped back to his Captain's side. Randal and five of his mates were there. Thank God for that, Hobbs thought, and one small thin shape with his back to him... One of the midshipmen... but who? Wellard! Hobbs imeadiatly changed his opinion of the young man. Brave lad.
"Captain!" Hobbs shouted. The little band of Renowns formed a circle near the mainmast, that was quickly surrounded by French privateers and snarling Buckers. "Captain! We have your back, Sir!"
(Okay... We'll leave you dangling there... And switch gears. This next post was a set up post for Jill who wanted to play Oldroyld. It is also the first post at a different location than the Renown. This one takes place aboard the 54 gun pirate ship La Mort. If you'll recall it's coupled up by boarding ropes and lines to the Renown's starboard side. So without further ado...)
(La Mort: 2nd Gundeck)
"Were in for it now, sir." One of the men piped up only to be quieted by another. The fighting was nearly done now and that pig of a man, their Overseer was walking toward the small band. Four men, and another dead it would seem... were chained to the carraige of the gun at their station, and had been for a few days now. Their ship, the 'Lady's Grace', a supply ship bound for Kingston had been taken in a night attack by that fiend, Liberty Jack. Now here they were, on the lower gun deck of that madman's flag-ship La Mort. There were other guncrews around them. Prisoners every one... Not all of them from the Lady's Grace. Englishmen forced to fire upon Englishmen. Well, thought Mr. Bowles, not this Englishman. He and his men had refused to fire the gun, and now they were going to pay for it... Or were they?...
"Steady lads..." Bowles cautioned. "Get ready
man." Bowles whispered to the form lying on the deck, chained
next to him. The apparent 'deadman'.
A filthy, and menacing figure stopped in front of the gun station. A cat o' nine tails the grimey fellow carried in his right hand trailed blood along the deck.
"So!" The Overseer boomed," You dogs won't fight for Cap'n Jack, eh?!" He looked at the inert figure on the ground and snarled. He kicked it. It didn't move or make a noise. " This lubber won't be any trouble any more." His keys jangled as he stepped over the body toward his prisoners. "As for you dog!" He struck at Master Bowles with the 'cat', but to his surprise the Englishman caught hold of it.
"Now Oldroyd!" Bowles shouted to the form that lay between the Overseer's legs. "NOW!"
(Cast change: Kipperboi (Alex) takes the role of Wellard
actually later than this... But I had left a couple places in
this post and other ones for a possible Wellard with two openings
called 'The Unknown Midshipman'. This was one of them. Kipperboi
informed us he'd like Wellard to have been the Unkown Midshipman...
At the battle at the mainmast... So he is. The other Unknown Midshipman
was in the last Powder Monkey post you saw. What happens to that
Midshipman you will find out soon. No, he's not shot by Kenny...
sigh... Don't even think that.)