Uncharted Course
an HH Role Playing Game fic

Part 4

Laura - Horatio Hornblower
AJ- Archie Kennedy, Miss Cobham
Melissa - Mr. Bush, Sir Edward Pellew
Julie Lee - Captain Sawyer
MM-Mr. Wellard
Young Snotty -Mr. Buckland
Molly - Mathews and Styles, Commander Bracegirdle, Mr. Kenyon
Linda-Dr. Clive
Jill-Oldroyld
Bob -Randal
Heather Olson- Hobbs, Liberty Jack, Powder Monkeys, Lucille , Col. de Vergesse, Bowles, Dr. Bretagne, Whiting


LOCATION: La Mort (Liberty Jack's 54 gun 'Flagship' )
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

 

(La Mort: Captain's Cabin: Last time as you may recall Colonel De Vergasse had left Miss Cobham, Pellew and Bracegirdle in the care of Rakshasha the Panther so that he might discover what all the commotion above deck was about.)

Kitty looked at Sir Edward and smiled "Not that you couldn't think of something to get us free, but well, I do think Mr. 'Atch would have done something a little quicker." She saw that her words had the desired effecton Pellew's pride and now hoped it would push him into action. Though God knew what he could possibly do, but she hoped he would do something fast! She didn't exactly feel like being eaten by "the big kitty" - no pun intended. "He is quite a quick chap, ain't he?"

~Miss Cobham~

 

"Really, your Grace!" Pellew arched an eyebrow. " Although I have the utmost faith in Mr. Hornblower's abilities, I highly doubt that having him present in this situation would help- unless he was on the other side of that door, and could properly deal with... that." He nodded toward the cat before turing to Bracegirdle. "There's a battle going on out there, and I damn well want to know who's fighting it. How long would you say that chain is, I doubt it could reach us by the door... we could pick the lock...

~Pellew~

 

 

"The chain cannot be more than a six feet long, sir. I do not believe it could reach the door. Though I am wary of attempting such an escape, I see no other option, sir." Bracegirdle paused to look the door over. Another question formed in his mind. "But, sir, how do we pick the lock? A hair pin, perhaps?" he suggested, looking at the Dutchess.

~ Bracegirdle~

(La Mort: Sick Bay: The last time we left Dr. Clive and his new friend Dr. Bretagne unknown intruders were about to burst through the door to the sick bay.)

The pounding on the door increased with intensity; splinters began to fly from the woodwork. Unintelligible voices could be heard from the other side. Clive, still balmy from his state of unconsciousness, slapped himself in order to think more clearly. Dr. Alexandre looked at him with both urgency and amusement. "This is no time for slapsticks, mon ami."

"Well, what do you suggest we do, welcome them with a glass of wine?" Clive asked,slightly surprised that his old cynicism surfaced in his voice.

BANG - One of the door hinges came loose, more splinters flew, it was just a matter of seconds before the doors would be breached. While Alexandre stood brandishing his sword-cane, Clive quickly surveyed the room for anything that he might use as a weapon. Upon the mahogany table behind him, he spied the glass vial.

"Ah, yes mon ami," Bretagne smiled as he saw the Good Doctor reach for the container of nitric acid he had left on the tabel. "Perhaps they would prefer 'Stong Water' to the wine."


"Stand back- " Dr. Clive new exactly what the contents of the vial were. Grabbing it in his hands, he shook it until the liquid inside started to bubble."I'm giving our guests a welcome surprise." Clive winked at Alexandre who overturned the table to afford the two doctors a little cover.

 

CRASH! The door finally gave way, as shouts rang out- Clive threw the vial into the midst of the invaders and ducked.....

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!

 

~Doctor Clive~

(Scene change: Aboard the Renown: Portside quarterdeck. Chaos still ensues.)

 

Horatio turned abruptly at the tap on his shoulder, raising his pistol all the the same moment. Letting loose a sigh of relief at the sight of Matthews, Hornblower lowered his gun. "Yes, Matthews? Just what in the hell is going on here? Where is Mr. Buckland? Mr. Kennedy? Report at once all the action that you and your men have seen!" Horatio cried above the din.

~Horatio~

LOCATION: Renown
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

(Renown: Starboard rail: Quarterdeck)

Matthews instinctively brought his hand up when Hornblower raised his pistol. "It's me, sir! Matthews!" he spat out, and he let out his breath when Hornblower lowered the pistol leveled at his head. "Sir," Matthews started. "It's not good, sir. I don't know about Mister Buckland, but he hasn't been seen for quite awhile. And Mister Kennedy... He's been taken prisoner, sir. Did you see the commotion at the main mast, sir? Cap'n Sawyer an' Mister 'Obbs are taken by the pirates.

"Mr. Hobbs is dead, sir." Billy, one of the smaller powder monkeys corrected. Tom the eldest, shushed him and shot down a Bucker that came too close for comfort. He started to reload.

"Well, that's wot Kenny said he saw happen." The little fellow insisted.

"Randall ratted 'em out." Mathews gave the boys a warning look to be quiet. "It's... The pirate leader, sir... It's Mister Simpson. But, he's dead... Or was..." Matthews looked around for Styles, but couldn't see him. "Styles, sir, he's off looking for Mister Bush. Beggin' your pardon, sir, but I thought it might be best for the Renowns to regroup. That's why we was lookin' for you an' Mister Bush, sir. That's all I can report. What'll we do, sir?"

~Matthews~

 

 

"Archie?" Horatio asked in quiet disbelief at the mention of his friend's name. But how could he be captured? Simpson... he couldn't believe.... Yet Matthews said he had saw him, but it was impossible! Simpson was dead, Hornblower had seen it with his own eyes! But then again, Matthews was an honest man. Horatio paled at the thought, and swallowed in an attempt to regroup himself. Then he recalled Bush was nearby.

"Mr. Bush? Mr. Bush was right by my side!" He cried spinning around to find him still looking for the Captain.

"Mr. Bush, sir! Matthews has reported that Mr. Buckland is missing, Captain Sawyer and Hobbs are in the hands of the enemy, and Lt. Kennedy is....captured." He finished with difficulty, yet not wanting to show his emotions.

"We should regroup the Renowns....look for Mr. Buckland, sir!" Horatio shouted.

~Horatio~

 

 

Styles could hear Mister Hornblower's voice calling out to Mister Bush, just as he had been doing. He turned around and saw that Matthews had had an easier time of finding Mister Hornblower that he had of finding the second leftenant. No sense in having two groups looking for the same man when they were trying to regroup. "Mister Kenyon, sah? Maybe we should head over Mister 'Ornblower's direction, sah."

"Um, yes, I suppose so..." the midshipman replied. "Lead on, Styles."

Styles grinned at the young man's response. He's got a lot to learn, that 'un does, he thought. He lead the boys through the crowd to Mister Hornblower, dodging this person and that person until he had made it to join up with Matthews, Mister Hornblower, and the rest of the group. "Mister 'Ornblower!"

~ Styles

 

 

Midshipman Kenyon had absolutely no idea what he was doing. He was seeing his friends and fellow shipmates being slaughtered by the pirates, his Captain captured by their leader, and here he was in the middle of it all trying to put forth some semblance of leadership. In reality, he was simply following Styles' lead, and everyone knew it.

"Mister Kenyon, sah!" he heard Styles shout over the commotion on deck. "Maybe we should head over Mister Hornblower's direction?"

"Um..." Oh God. What now?, he thought. "Yes, I suppose so." Finally, someone who could be in better control of the situation, whatever control was left. Andrew nearly tripped over one of the powder monkeys as he moved forward. Kenny, he thought it was. He slowly moved behind the group towards his superior. When everyone stopped, he stopped, and he waited for Mister Hornblower to ask for a report, as was customary.

~ Midshipman Kenyon~

 

Matthews looked from Hornblower as he started bellowing for Mister Bush, and lookedaround again for Styles. Ah, good, he was heading in this direction. He looked like he had gathered a few more Renowns, probably all that were left. "Mister 'Ornblower, sir! Styles is headed over 'ere. Looks like Mister Kenyon is still with 'im, sir." And the powder monkeys looked unharmed. Good, the disguises worked. Styles called out for Mister Hornblower, Mister Kenyon stopped and stood completely straight, and they waited for a response.

~Matthews~

 

LOCATION: La Mort (Liberty Jack's 54 gun 'Flagship' )
TIME/DATE: Early evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

 

(La Mort: Captain's cabin)

You men!! *Kitty let out an exasperated sigh* Did you both miss the fact that even the bloody Colonel didn't leave by the front door? We go that way and we're going to be eaten by Jack's darling pet! *as if for effect the panther snarled on cue, and lashed out at Pellew's leg* Perhaps you would both like to go the way of Mr. Bracegirdle's shoe, but I do not! *She glanced at both men, who in near unison turned away from her gaze, bringing something of a smile to Kitty's lips. But she hid it quick enough and continued the act of a Duchess* Now, the first thing we need to do is get out o'these chains... *she lifted them slowly, so as not to annoy Mozambique or whatever the creatures name was* And then search this cabin. From what we saw as we were brought into this Godforsaken place tis much like a carnival 'aunted 'ouse... You have visited a carnival fun 'ouse, 'aven't you, Commodore? Tis the sort of thing where trapdoors appear, and things jump out at you? *Kitty continued on, not waiting for a response* I'm betting that there's more than one way out o'ere, and it ain't gonna be through that cat's belly! Now, you men do what yer good at and get these chains off a poor lady's wrists.

~Kitty/Miss Cobham~

 

 

Bracegirdle tried to keep from rolling his eyes at the Dutchess' ranting. "'tis much like a carnival 'aunted 'ouse..." she continued. What would a dutchess have been doing in one of those... No, he thought, do something productive.

"Yes, to get out of these irons," Bracegirdle said aloud. He lifted his chains and dropped them softly to the
deck. He flinched when the panther growled at the sound. "Your Grace, that hair pin might not help us in leaving this place, but it may help us in unshackling ourselves. If you would be so kind, Your Grace, perhaps you would lend us one? What do you think, Commodore?"

~ Bracegirdle~

 

 

(Scene change: Renown: Starboard rail: Forwards)

"Aye, I give my word." Kennedy answerd." But do not expect me to not take advantage of a situation to help my fellow men. I may not escape but I shall do all I can to aid my shipmates. So, if you shall accept those terms, then I give you my parole." Kennedy stared around at the deck of the Renown, seeing how things were going to hell. But now he saw Hornblower and Bush running on deck, standing just outside the circle of men surrounding Captain Sawyer and Liberty Jack. Perhaps... God knew that Horatio could come up with with a plan that could save almost every hopeless situation. Kennedy prayed his friend had something up his sleeve right now. Not that he cared much for Captain Sawyer, the man was slowly losing his mind, but no naval officer would stand by and see his ship captured without a fight. "Oh yes, if I am to give my word you should know my name also. Fourth Lieutenant Archibald Kennedy, of her Majesty's ship Renown. So, do accept the terms, madamoiselle?"

~Kennedy~

 

"Qui, Lieutenant Kennedy..." Lucille du Paix began, " That will do... And not a moment too soon." She cut his bonds and turned to the larboard side...

"A l'abordage! A l'abordage! " Screamed scores of men as they swarmed over the larboard rail.

"The netting is down now, cheri. The remainder of my crew and Jack's personal guard are coming... Keep your hands behind your back... If Jack looks this way it must seem as if you are still bound... " Her green eyes were bright with excitement but her voice full of dread. She looked to the men coming over the rail. About a third of them might side with her... Perhaps more if..." And she turned here gaze to the Anglais traitor who had knocked out the one Jack called Hobbs. To him... then to Dunti's blade which he held in his hand. "Regardez-le. He doesn't even know what he has..." She grabbed a belaying pin, pushed through the pirates toward him. She motioned for her charge and her loyal men to follow.

"You claimed you wanted to help your men..." Lucille stated, rather than asked. Without waiting for the reply, she pointed to the still and bloody form of Hobbs lying on the deck. " If any man aboard this ship needs your help, it is this one. I have heard Jack rant about the things has in store for him... None of it involves killing him... Though Jack has boasted, this Hobbs would beg him for death a thousand times over... And still Jack would not be done with him. If he is alive my men will help you carry him..." Besides, she thought, he had shown great courage in battle. Such an foe did not deserve the end Jack had in mind. And if he was indeed Jack's Mr. Hobbs then he may be of inestimable use. She nodded to he men, and gave them their orders. They nodded back... They would stay with Kennedy. Sword in one hand and belaying pin in the other she came quietly came up behind the tall man with Dunti's blade. He along with everyone else were distracted by Jacks shouting of orders to the men Just come aboard. Perfect she thought. Using the belaying pin she tapped him on the shoulder."Excuse me, Mister..." The big lout turned and looked down.

"Oy!" Randall's voice held a hint of annoyance. "What d' you want---?" WHACK! He was cut off as the belaying pin struck the side of his head, and his body crumpled to the deck. Lucille slid her sword back into it's sheath.

"Only this." Lucille grinned. She knelt down and bent over his prone form. She reached for the hilt of Dunti's sword. Randall's hand moved, his eyes opened and he stared for a moment down her shirt... and saw interesting features. He pushed himself up off his back... Slightly.

"Y- your a girl?..." Randall was only dimly aware of his surroundings. Even less so when the belaying pin struck his head a second time. WHUMP! Thud! Randall's head fell back to the deck.

" Rester en bas! (Stay down)." Lucille complained. She grabbed Dunti's sword and got up to return to her men, and her Englishmen. Randall attempted to rise one more time. On Lucille's third blow... He finally stayed down.

"Dieu, he has a strong skull." She commented as she escaped with her prise.

~Lucille~

 

Kenny had been trying to hide behind Mr. Styles' legs but found he was only getting in the way. He thought he'd best make himself scarce... Since he was a little small for a pirate. He was still trying to hold back the tears as he looked at the locket his mother had given him before she died. She'd given him a name... Said he'd know when he saw the locket. Kenny moaned. Sniffed. I should have asked him sooner. Now I can't. He's dead. He closed the locket, put it back around his neck, and looked over the starboard rail... The big pirate ship was there. Grappling hooks and lines still stuck in the Renown's sides. He saw men milling about her deck... Trying to cut her loose and get her away from the ship. They didn't have any red scarves.... Kenny's eyes widened... No red scarves!

"Sir," He tugged on one of the Lieutenant's sleeves. "I... I think those men are English sailors, Sir. They're not wearing the red scarves... And they're definitely not French." He was going to say something else but turned as he heard the shouts as more enemies poured over the larboard rail. Some of them were dressed in odd uniforms... Well odd as far as Kenny was concerned... And they had big guns... Volley guns! "SIR! Those men have Volley guns!" He wasn't sure if the others could see the multi-barreled guns. He raised an eyebrow... they were kinda funny looking volley guns too...

To the small group's left something else was happening. A duel between two men in the middle of a huge crowd.
"Look! The Captain is going ta fight the Bad man!"

~Kenny, A Powder Monkey~

 

LOCATION: La Mort
TIME/DATE: Evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

(La Mort: Captain's Cabin)

 

I think, Mr. Bracegirdle, that is an excellent idea. Your Grace? * Without awaiting her Grace's permission, Pellew snatched a hairpin from her rather mussed hair.* I'm sorry, your Grace, but you would not have been
able to reach it and time is of the essence. Now...*Pellew began to work upon the heavy locks, turning the pin this way and that* Damn stubborn things... *Not much seemed to be happening within the mechanism*

 

~Pellew~

 

"Oh, for heaven's sake!!" Kitty spun, grabbing ~her hairpin from Pellew's incompetent hands and within a matter of seconds had her own hands free. Why I sit about waiting for men to act I shall never understand. "Hands please."
Commodore Pellew gave Kitty's a suffering look, but managed to hold his tongue. After the lock fell from Pellew's hands, she freed Mr. Bacegirdle. Suddenly the secret door swung open and all three froze. Oh bloody 'ell, what now?

 

~Kitty~

 

 

(Note: The next scene... The Duel aboard the Renown represents the first attempt by our group at a post in which the content is made up by the efforts of more than one writer. In this instance It involved Julie as Captain Sawyer, Molly as Mathews & Styles, and Yours Truely as Captain Liberty Jack, and his Bloody Buckers. The rough draft was written in Chat then edited to a cleaner final product... Enjoy. Molly and Laura were busy keeping their characters Kenyon and Hornblower active at the same time... But their actions do not effect the duel... So you will see the results of that in a later post.)

PS: I wouldn't mind some direct reviews of this particular post... Please :)

(Renown: Mainmast)

"I already have your ship, sir." Liberty Jack sneered, " Now I shall have your life! No, wait!" He corrected himself. "We must save that joyous event for when dear Mr. Hobbs can witness it... I think I'll just take your self respect for now. Your Pride, sir." With that he slid his sword along his scythe. It made a terrible screeching noise of metal upon metal and could be heard through the vessel. It set more than one man's teeth on edge. He kissed the scythe and grinned,"Won't we Jack?" Liberty Jack's pirate band formed a circle around the pair... and nearly all activity ceased on deck as men gathered to watch the unexpected spectacle. The only sounds were the hushed voices of men placing their wagers, and a light rain beginning to fall on deck. The Buckers dragged away any bodies that might interfere with the combatant's footing.

"Mad fool." Sawyer shook his head and glared at Donavan Simpson. The man who was once one of his own Lieutenants. "If you think to intimidate me, you are sorely mistaken." He declared," I have faced ruffians with more courage than you. A deserter and abandoner." Captain Sawyer shifted his weight onto his toes, watching Simpson's body with an eagle eye. "Think you can best me with a blade boy?... You never could before. I do believe you've gone quite mad."

"Isn't that something like the pot calling the kettle black?..." Donovan turned his body so that only his left side faced Sawyer, and raised his right arm so the scythe attached there was poised, ready to strike or parry. "Besides, that was seven years ago. Then I was but the learner... Now I am the master." He raised his left arm and the tip of his sword gently touched that of his opponent. "En guarde."

Sawyer began with a thrust which Simpson parried. The two circled each other. Their sword's crossed a few times... Testing each other's skill. " Tell me Captain," Donovan smirked, " It is not a Captain's duty to know everything that goes on aboard his ship?" Sawyer paused, but did not respond. He remained on guard. Donovan continued. "Had Mr. Hobbs not betrayed my trust and informed you of my activities all those years ago... Would you have even known? I think not." Sawyer's glare intensified at this suggestion. Anger... Good. Donovan thought. Push it a little farther," All of it happening right under your nose, sir." Anger indeed, as his old Captain attempted a foolhardy lunge. He side stepped with ease and one of his men stuck out a boot catching Sawyer's ankle.

"Fight fair, you bugger!" Someone shouted from abaft. It was the voice of the Renown's bosun, Mr. Mathews. Though Donovan Simpson did not know the voice, Sawyer did. He reeled for a moment and tried to regain his balance. Jack laughed, so did his pirates, his Bloody Buckers.

" Are you here for an honorable duel? Have you any honor left in you?!" With a snarl Sawyer lashed blindly at the laughter. A pirate fell to the deck with a scream.

"Dear me!" Simpson chuckled," What did that man ever do to you?" He stepped over the body, which his men dragged out of the way. Sawyer and Simpson faced off again. Circling all the while. "And who said anything about fighting an honorable duel?!"

"You had no honor when you deserted. Now you come for justice!" Sawyer slashed at him.

"Ha!" Simpson scoffed. An overhead blow... Easy to block with the scythe. Donovan thrust his blade into Sawyer's face... Too bad, the old fox saw it coming in time and parried... Barely. Now he was off balance again. Lovely. Simpson grinned with evil intent, as he tried a sword thrust to his opponent's groin... Sawyer just barely tipped it away and gave him such a look Donovan had to laugh aloud. Now he considered a foot-sweep... No... Give the old codger a chance thought Simpson... The poor fellow's trying so hard. He stepped back.

"Ha-ha! You haven't lost your touch,sir..." Donovan lied, then shouted to a non existent figure behind Sawyer," KEEP your hands off of him, he's MINE!" Sawyer glanced back for less than a second. Simpson leapt forward and spun giving both blades a chance to strike more than once. A ' whirling dervish' of deadly steel. It was flashy, and meant more to unerve his opponent than to strike home. Keep it slow enough... Jack. Hobbs isn't even awake to see him die. That would never do. His men expected a fight though... And by God, Liberty Jack would give them one!... Sawyer's name was famous and it would boost his own reputation to defeat him... Even if the old fool was a tired out excuse for a man.

"You think to catch me with such a ruse!?" Sawyer had seen Simpson pull that kind of trick before... On the men of Simpson's own division yet... Training he'd called it. Sawyer was to learn latter from Mr. Hobbs exactly what kind of training, torment and pure terrorization Donovan Simpson maintained aboard his ship. His own ship, damn him! Sawyer parried every blow. He would see justice done at last. He would see justice done for those men. Men who had trusted him to protect them.

"Not bad Captain... Try this!" Simpson tried for a fast, low thrust, meant to catch Sawyer in the leg. Sawyer parried, then returned a thrust of his own. Simpson deflected it and stepped sideways. He tried for the legs again. Three low, quick thrusts followed by a fourth... though on the fourth attempt the target suddenly switched to the old man's face. Simpson's intent was to draw first blood, then claim victory. He wanted Sawyer alive. Sawyer's blade pushed his blade aside each time. "What-?" Simpson couldn't believe the old man had countered that. He began to sweat and quickly stepped back. He almost slipped. The deck was already stained with blood, and the rain was making it worse. He knew the Captain's style. They hadn't seen each other in nearly ten years... But he knew what to expect from James Sawyer. Counter attack... Always counter attack. Simpson experimented with a deliberately slow slash. Yes! there it was! Sawyer tried a feint, but the real attack was an upward stroke. Simpson performed a Stop- thrust to counter that. He did it without even thinking... And Sawyer's own blade guided him to the mark... Perhaps a touch?! Yes! He could 'feel' the tip of his blade slip through his opponents flesh... and touch the ribs. The tip rested there for a brief moment. Simpson considered pressing it home. Too soon... Far too soon... He stepped back, laughing manically. The blade followed it's master. It couldn't laugh of course... but the hilt, designed to look like a skull, seemed to grin at Sawyer, as the moon's light caught it just so...

Sawyer felt a sudden prick, and looked down to see blood welling up. A bright spot of red on his white shirt. The wound stung... And the fiend before him laughed at his expence. It fueled his fury. "Acknowledged, sir. First blood is yours... But it is your last." Sawyer lunged at the grinning fiend's legs. A quick attack to cut him off at the knees... The devil mannaged to parry, but at least he stopped laughing.

"You want my poor legs too, sir ?" Donovan Simpson used both his blades in a double parry, catching Sawyer's blade. They pushed against each other. So much for a quick victory, Sawyer still had some fight left in him after all. Donovan pulled his two blades apart roughly in an attempt to disarm his foe... It almost worked. Hell it almost took the old man off his feet." You took my hand the last time we fought, sir. In doing so, you made room for Jack!" He raised the scythe high. It caught the light and glared brightly for a second. " Care to meet him?!" Yes Jack, we'll take an arm... or a leg... cauterise the wound... and save the rest for Dear, Sweet Mr. Hobbs. He grinned at the thought, and nodded to one of his best Buckers. The man kicked Sawyer in the back of leg, just behind his knee. This brought the Captain of the Renown down in a heap. Simpson rushed in with his scythe poised to strike--- A foot suddenly thrust out of the crowd and tripped him.

"Gahhh!" Simpson stumbled and landed hard just a little ahead of Sawyer. It nearly winded him, and his advantage was lost. Mathews, still disguised as a Bloody Bucker had come a little closer. Risky... Very risky. Thankfully Donovan Simpson didn't know the him from Adam... nor had he seen his foot come out of the crowd. "What trickery is this!" Liberty Jack fumed.

"I have many more tricks up my sleeve." Sawyer shot back.

"Do tell..." Simpson said through clenched teeth. It was his aged Captain's turn to grin, but Simpson could still see the old man was winded.

"Try this, fiend!" Suddenly a dagger flashed from Sawyer's boot.

"Ooo! Where did you get such a wonderful toy?" Simpson displayed a boot dagger now too. I his arrogance he rolled over backwards like some insane, acrabatic imp, and then waved it in front of his opponents face, "We must shop at the same store." He smiled, and brought his foot back, ready to kick out. Sawyer was faster this time. Donovan rolled to avoid the knife. It struck a glancing blow to his back, tearing his uniform. However, the knife could not penetrate the steel plate armor Doctor Bretagne had designed for him. Simpson wore that beneath his clothes.

"Coward!" Sawyer saw the armor through the tear. "Afraid to face me without your-" He was cut off as Simpson's elbow smashed into his face. Simpson stood up and readied himself to kick the Captain's prone form.

"Get that buggar Simpson, sah!" Mathews shouted. Liberty Jack spun around... Absolutely incensed.

"Who said that?!" Simpson shouted."Who bloody said that?!!" No one spoke up... No one dared! They all wore the red scarf. Bucker's to a man... But that man?... Donovan's eyes fell on Mathews... He couldn't remember seeing him before.... He stepped toward him... Another man stepped in front of the shorter one. (Styles) Tall, strong and scruffy looking... He wore a Red scarf as well... Simpson didn't recall him either. He took another step.

"Sir!" A man shouted. "Cap'n Sawyer's up!" Donovan snarled and turned back to his opponent. He pressed his boot knife against the deck.. resetting it. No time to be tripping up now. The deck was treacherous enough. He 'kicked' his sword up to his hand and circled Sawyer.

"You c'n get 'im, sah!" Mathews shouted. Simpson ground his teeth and glanced back. He would deal with that man later...

"What are you waiting for?" Sawyer had regained his composure, but did not advance as his seething emotions demanded. Both of them stood there... Catching their breath... Studying each other. Sawyer stared at Simpson. By all rights the man should be dead. At this moment James Sawyer's mind was clear... Memories more than seven years past filled his thoughts.

Hobbs, then but a gunner's mate, had risked all to show his Captain the true nature of the Renown's Third Lieutenant, Mr. Donovan Simpson. At first Sawyer had dismissed the reports... The word of a mere petty-officer against a respected lieutenant... How would it have looked. Then Hobbs reported to him again, after the tragic accidental death of Master Gunner Douglas. It had been no accident at all! Simpson denied the allegations when Sawyer had presented them to him and demanded he be allowed 'satisfaction from his accuser. Had Hobbs been an gentleman officer, even a Midshipman, Sawyer might have allowed for that. It would have settled matters. However that was not possible... But Sawyer had wondered if the Gunner's words were true. Therefore he did not reveal to Simpson who had accused him, despite the Lieutenant's protests. Considering the number of accidents that occurred to crewmen within a span of days, Sawyer was glad he had not. It was clear afterward that Simpson had been hunting for the man who'd dared to speak out. Whatever Simpson had been trying to achieve with these 'assassinations' failed though. Yes, Assassinations. Sawyer could think of no other term that was more appropriate. The deaths had one effect that Simpson hadn't bargained on though. They made Sawyer suspicious.

Three nights altogether. Some of his best men lost. Ships Master, Philip Gordon lost overboard. That was... That was like loosing a brother. It made him remember other men lost while Simpson served under him. How could he have been so blind? Late on the third night, Hobbs was at his door again. He reported Simpson absent from his watch... Instead the Lieutenant was below in the galley, beating a Midshipman to death. The Captain followed Hobbs below. He would give this man that had served him so well and so long his chance to prove his story. What he saw when he went forwards to the galley shocked even him... Sawyer was no stranger to discipline when warranted, and a veteran of many battles... But the sight had nearly made him sick. A fight ensued... Hobbs had been wounded. He took a cut across his chest meant for Sawyer himself. Thank God Dr. Clive had been able to save him. Sawyer crossed swords with Simpson. The murderous fiend lost his right hand, but thrust the stump into the galley stove's hot coals... He pulled the arm out, flinging hot embers over the deck, pushed his way past Sawyer and the astounded crew and raced above decks. The last image of Donovan Simpson that Captain Sawyer had, was of the madman turning to curse their names, and leap overboard. The Renown was not too far off the coast of France... But no one thought the one armed Simpson stood any chance of surviving the swim. In the official report.. He was declared dead.

"You should have stayed in your watery grave..." Sawyer focused on the moment at hand, and stood ready."You are the lowest kind of coward this world can produce."

"And you, sir, are it's greatest fool." Simpson saw whatever measure of self control Sawyer had apparently fade with those words. His old Captain rushed him, blade thrust forward. A 'fleshe' !... Easy to riposte. "If your determined to die I can oblige you after all !" He parried with his sword then attempted a thrust to finish, but his sword impaled nothing but thin air! Sawyer had sidestepped right at the last second and ran past him. Simpson tried to catch him with the scythe, but too late---

"For my Renowns!" Sawyer swung his blade hard against Donovan's back as he ran past. Praise God! It connected... A palpable hit! He whirled about. Captain Sawyer's mind and voice were clear. "For my brave Renowns!" He added. By the remark he meant Simpson to know, he was going to kill him. Not for his own pride or glory... But for those good men, murdered all those years ago. And for those murdered this night.

"Agghhhh!" Simpson staggered forward into his men. They held him up. He gasped. It had been a powerful blow. Had it penetrated the armor?.. It had! He could feel the blood trickle down his back. Not too bad he thought... but he was bleeding. "Damn!" He was furious! Donovan lost it... Jack came out to play...

"You son of a whore!" Jack spun around just in time to feel Sawyer's fist in his face. He staggered back. The Buckers parted for him, but they held Sawyer Back. Sawyer shoved them aside. He was like a man possessed, and they fell away. He kicked Simpson to the deck. "Gahh!" The younger man fell to the deck... And glared up at the old Captain.

"Devil !" Sawyer raised his blade overhead, "Now, by my hand, you meet your end at last!"

"Never this side of hell..." Simpson spat. He brought his scythe up to parry. Then pointed his sword's tip at Sawyer, he pulled the hidden trigger worked into the hilt. Schick! The blade actually separated down the middle. Thhup! A steel dart shot out from a tube that extended from the hilt. Revealed by the split halves of the blade. It struck Sawyer in the shoulder knocking him backward. The crowd gasped. Liberty Jack grinned. Donovan would have tried to keep fighting... but Jack knew better. He sprang to his feet... "That's what you get Captain!" He declared. Simpson thrust his sword foreward. Now he'd put Bretagne's superior weaponry to even more use, "That's what you get for crossin' Liberty Jack!" The two parallel halves of his 'Enigma blade' enveloped Sawyer's. Jack released the trigger, and the two halves of the sword snapped back together. The blade's second trick had it's desired effect, and Sawyer's blade snapped in two, nearly wrenching the hilt from the old man's hand. The officer's sword dangled by it's guard from his fingertips. The Buckers cheered!

"What the devil..." Sawyer spoke softly. His shoulder where the dart had struck, felt strange. A heat was spreading down his arm, into his hand. His shattered sword fell to the deck... with his hopes. He staggered back into the arms of one of the pirates... No... It was his own Bosun. Mathews. What was that thing?... He looked to the dart.

"Sleep well Captain..." Jack gloated." When both you and Mr. Hobbs wake again... Oh what games we will play... Aye, and Hornblower too if he's taken alive..." Normally the dart in Jack's sword hilt would be poisoned... But not today. Today there were too many men aboard this ship that he wanted alive. Sawyer would be out for hours. Good enough.

"A pistol !" Sawyer shouted. Snickering, one of the Buckers handed him one. Jack stood his ground and laughed. Sawyer pulled the trigger. Click! Empty. "No!" He tried again. "Useless... Where are my true men?!" The pirates roared with laughter.

"Here sir." The firm voice of his Bosun reasured the Captain but his strength was fading fast. Mathews pressed a pistol into his Captain's hand.

 

"You!" Jack roared. It was that man AGAIN ! Damn him to hell !! No room to dodge. With the rain though the chances were the pistol wouldn't fire anyway. Donovan might take such reckless chances... But Jack wouldn't. He hooked one of his own men with his scythe and pulled him close. "Be a good lad, and die for Captain Jack!" Sawyer pulled the trigger, the gun went off, and red blossomed on the human shield's chest. "There's a good lad." Simpson held the young man close. "Where is my Lighting Guard?!" He shouted. Two lieutenants of his personal guard and their men formed around him. One was short and stout, the other, tall and lean. Like the rest of Jack's Personal guard they wore jackets stylized after french hussars (Pelisse), a fur trimmed helmet, and a metal breastplate (Cuirass) . Each carried a flintlock revolver, a sabre, and a formidable five barrel Volley gun... These two particular men didn't look quite as formidable as their formidable looking fellows though. In fact they looked almost foolish. " Hether!... Cleveland!..." Simpson boomed. "There you are you dogs! Sometimes I wonder why in the blazes I rescued you from that frog prison."

"Jack, I belive when you came to vist us the offer was, 'Join me, or Die!' " Hether protested.

"Aye, Jack," Cleveland agreed, "Some rescue..." Jack glared at them. And Cleveland cowered."We know! We know... Shut up and find Hornblower..."

"That is why you are here, and still alive..." Jack said coldly. "What do you think you doing, Mr. Hether?..." Hether had his volley gun pointed at Jack's chest and was trying to pull the trigger. Jack shook his head... Hether and Cleveland had both been subject to Dr. Bretagne's 'special' treatment. They're were certain things they simply could not do... Cleveland had long since given up, but every time they fought in an engagement, Mr. Hether had to try. It was becoming tiresome. If Donovan didn't need them to identify Hornblower... If only Jack could remember what he looked like himself... It angered him that he could not. Suddenly Hether pulled back the gun's master trigger. All five barrels could discharge now at the slightest pull on the trigger. Jack raised an eyebrow. Now there might be an accident...

"Damn..." Hether was shaking badly. Every time he tried to aim a gun or draw a blade on Jack this always happend... His mind just refused to tell his finger to move... He couldn't even think... Fire! Now's your chance... "Wh-Why c-can't I...? He stammered.

"Give it up man!" Cleveland begged.

"My but your bold with a cannon to hand." Still holding the human shield with his scythe, Jack used his sword to push the guns muzzel in the air, and then tripped Hether to the ground. The five barrels discharged into the backs of a band of pirates behind them. Three men fell. One writhing in agony. The other two were quiet and still."You just cost me three men Mr. Hether... I think I'll have to punish you for that. Three fingers I think. You only need one to point out Hornblower... Jack hefted the sword into the air.

"He takes your meaning, Jack..." Cleveland defended his friend. "We'll find Hornblower for you... That's what you wanted... Right Jack?" This gave Simpson pause and he reconsidered. Another shot struck the human shield and blood weld up from his mouth. the man became quite heavy. Jack dropped him.

"Forget Hornblower for a moment!" Jack pointed with his sword to the man holding Captain Sawyer (Mathews), "Get him! GET HIM!"

 

~Liberty Jack/Capt. Sawyer/Mathews/Hether & Cleveland~

 

 

 

 

"Damn! Missed him sir." Tom the eldest powder monkey was by the Bosun's side, a smoking pistol in his hand. "Get that maniac Jim!"

"Aye Tom!" Jim took careful aim at the Pirate Captain. The man no longer had his human shield. Clack! His gun didn't fire.

"Did you load?"

"Aye! It's no bloody good!" Jim spat back," Everything's gettin' soaked!" That was true enough. The rain was coming down harder than ever now.

Sawyer was finding it difficult to see and the fatigue was calling to him. He couldn't give in to it. He had to fight. It was his fight... To avange his brave men... Those fallen today... And those taken from him years ago. He looked back and saw the men with the Bosun and his mate... They were boys... So young. They shouldn't have to die... Not at the hands of that monster! The Devil's own... "Go, Mr. Mathews... Save yourself man... And these brave boys."

"Sir?.."

"That's an order, Mr. Mathews..." Sawyer was still lucid at this moment. "His crew is here... Take one of his own ships Mathews..." The Captain of the Renown could fight the fatigue no longer and let it overtake him. Jack's Bloody Buckers grabbed at Sawyer's body, their minds still one the golden prize offered earlier.

"Grab him men." Tom shouted, and the powder monkeys snatched the Captain's body up. Mathews, Styles and the bigest Powder Monkey Jim knocked away the greedy Buckers and the Captain was theirs. "The pirate ship to the starboard, sir!... Kenny said it was in English hands already! We could retreat there!" He looked up. Those strangely clad men with the big guns were coming. "Sir! They're comming for us!"

 

~Sawyer / Powder Monkeys/ Mathews & Styles ~

 

"Right! Let's go!" Cleveland shouted... But in truth the rest of the Buckers and Lighting guard were way ahead of them. Chasing the boys and the two men with their unconscious charge back to the rail and the rest of their party. Two lieutenants, two marines, one midshipman and a several Renowns.

Jack watched the two buffoons run after his elite guard and the last defenders. Cleveland slipped and fell. Hether fumbled to help him up and change the shot cylinder on his Bretagne Volley gun. Sigh... Bloody incompetence. They were Jack's old shipmates, but he'd need get rid of them once they served their purpose. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Lieutenant Decker, the best man amoung his Lighting Guard.

"Decker!" Simpson called out. "See to it that a few of these sheep get over to La Mort!" The man nodded. Good, Simpson thought. Bretagne had wanted some fresh subjects.

Indeed, even if Sawyer went over the rail, it mattered not. Bretagne wanted as great a challenge as possible, and he would steer their course eventually in the direction Jack wished. Donovan had Hobbs. His 'Judas'. His favorite-- "SOD!!" He looked to where Hobbs had fallen earlier, by the mainmast... Randall lay unconscious in his place and Dunti's sword and Hobbs's unconscious body were gone! He surveyed the deck. No, not gone... He noticed both his quarry and his prize in the hands of Lucille du Paix and Kennedy, that little puke of a Lieutenant! They were escaping over the larbord rail to Lucille's ship. "Damn her eyes! Buckers to me!" Jack shouted, and rushed forward. He tripped over a still form lying next to the mainmast. He landed accross a pile of bodies, including the one that tripped him up... Some bloody lieutenant! Jack kicked him and cursed."Damn you!! If you weren't already dead!
I would kill you!"

 

~Liberty Jack~

 

LOCATION: Renown
TIME/DATE: Evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

(Note: This next scene was written by Molly as her made up character Midshipman Kenyon and Laura as Horatio. They actually wrote it during the same chat session that Julie and I had our duel in... I cannot stress enough how HARD it was to concentrate on that duel when this stuff was going on.... But it was entertaining.... LOL. At any rate it explains why Horatio wasn't doing too much to the main story thread during the duel itself... It's supposed to run during the duel.)

(Renown: Starboard rail: Quarterdeck)

Horatio and Midshipman Kenyon stood at the starboard rail of the Renown, fighting off the few Buckers that hadn't gathered around Simpson and Captain Sawyer. The familiar voice of Matthews rang out above the Buckers' cheers, catching the attention of the two officers and making them turn their heads. One of the renegade pirates raised a pistol and fired. The bullet grazed Kenyon's temple and sent him falling unconscious against Horatio. He caught the young midshipman and lowered him to the deck.

"Mister Kenyon, are you alright?" Horatio asked.

Semi-conscious, Kenyon turned his head towards Horatio and smiled. "Oh, Daddy, this dress is beautful!" Horatio looked at him quizically. Had he heard what he thought he just heard? Perhaps his ears had been decieving him... "I'll be the belle of the ball..." Horatio tried to rationalize what he heard. 'He's delusional' Horatio thought. 'Poor man's been around Sawyer too long.'

"Daddy, please don't be angry..." Kenyon's face went from a smile to a very seriousworried look in an instant. "I've fallen inlove with a sailor..."

'Oh, God, not one of *them*' Horatio said to himself.

"His name's Horatio..." Horatio backed away. This would never do. He had to wake him up. Horatio slapped the midshipman in the face. "Wake up, Mister Kenyon!"

Kenyon was slow to come out of unconsciouness. He continued to ramble on only semi-aware of what he was saying. "Horatio... I have something to tell you... I'm... I'm a woman. I love you, Horatio..."

"But... But, we've never met before!" Horatio exclaimed, shocked at what Kenyon was saying.

"We have met before..." she whispered. "A party... A Dutchess was there... We met after dinner..."

"But... There were so many women there." Perhaps he had had too much to drink that night. "Your name, Miss?"

"You said you'd come back, Horatio..."

"Miss, your name?"

Just then, Kenyon came to. "Oh, forgive me, sir! I don't remember what happened to me. What's going on, sir?" "he" said, looking up at the duel.

'Did she remember anything she had told me?' Horatio asked himself. Apparently not. He brushed everything Kenyon had said as delusions. Everyone's entitled to a delusion or two. "I'm not quite sure what's happening myself. Things appear to have gone from bad to worse. Are you alright, 'Mister' Kenyon?"

"Yes, I'm fine, sir." Kenyon touched his head and found his wound. "A little bloody, but other wise unharmed." As the two stood there watching the duel escalate further, a small breeze came up and Blew Kenyon's disheveled shirt open, exposing the cleveage "he" had been trying to hide. "He" pulled his jacket closed to cover up, but too late. Horatio saw what had happened and turned his back to her.

"What are you doing here, MISS?!"

"Sir, I don't know what you're talking about!" she said, trying to feign outrage. She blushed.

"Miss, I will ask you again, what are you doing here?" he asked, his back still to her. She grabbed the back of Horatio's coat and pulled him close to her. "Listen to me. My name is Katherine Kenyon. I am Admiral Kenyon's daughter. My life is in danger. Please, don't tell anyone."

Horatio tried to reply, but no words came. Too much was going on and too many other things needed to be done to be able to form the words. He turned around to look at her, but something else caught his eye. Katherine turned around to see what Horatio was looking at. Matthews, Styles, and the small band of Renowns were running in their direction. And the powder monkeys... Was that Captain Sawyer they were carrying?

"Sir!" Matthews shouted. "Over the side, sir!" Horatio was about to ask why, but saw Simpson's horde giving chase.

"Jump!" Horatio said to Katherine, grabbing her arm and pulling her over the side with him. The two landed in in a heap on La Mort's deck. Horatio quickly stood up and helped Katherine to her feet.

Styles was the next Renown to reach La Mort's deck. Seargeant Whiting and Matthews helped the boys over the side, and Styles was there to make sure the reached the deck. The last boy was picked up by Whiting, but for some reason he broke free and ran off.

"Kenny!" Matthews shouted, but in vain. The Buckers were dangerously close. Matthews, and the few other Renowns that remained jumped over the side and landed with a thud on the deck.

 

 

~Horatio, Kenyon, Whiting, Mathews & Styles~

 

 

(La Mort: Main deck)

Aboard La Mort Mr. Bowles was busy getting his men to cut the lines that bound them to the Renown. He had lost a few men to the scum who had been their overseers, and the few Frenchmen that had come to support Colonel de Vergesse. Half his men had gone below decks... Those that returned at all, spoke of traps and pitfalls... He had lost more men to these lethal devices than the actions of the enemy! Then there was the Comodore and the others in the great cabin... Wherever that was!? He had thought it would be the large cabin that opened onto the deck... But when they broke in, it had proved to be the officer's ward room... Everything was in reverse on this thrice cursed ship! But Master bowles would do his duty... He always did.

"You men there! Take up those oars and fend off!" He pointed to the Renown.

"Aye,aye, sir!" The few men he could spare from the tops did as he commanded. By god, they might get the Comodore and the Duchess away from danger yet. He picked up an oar himself and...looked up. Good God! He thought... Men were comming over the side. Bowles dropped the oar and readied a pistol... He held his fire as he noticed there were boys amounst the boarders! They were lowering a wounded man... Was that...? Was that who he thought it was?

"Mr. Hornblower?!" He shouted, elated to see the Lieutenant look over the Renown's starbord rail. But did Mr. Hornblower see him? They had to see it was hopeless for the Renown... Bowles could tell simply by what he heard ! Then he saw a Bucker point a pistol at the fleeing Boys. He took aim with his own gun... and fired. Bang! His aim was rock steady and the pirate fell ove the side. "We could use some assistance here, Mr. Hornblower! Sir Edward is aboard somewhere, and the Duchess of--- God's holy trousers!" He cursed and leapt aside as he saw one of Jack's Lightning Guard aim and fire one of those damned five barreled guns at him.

~Bowles~

 

(Renown: Starboard rail: Quarterdeck. This post uses the ' way back clock'.)

 

Bush heard Hornblower's cry and made his way to his side in time to hear the fate of Mr. Kennedy and the suggestion to look for Mr. Buckland. However, before anything coud be done be, the action at the mainmast hit a sudden fever pitch as Captain Sawyer and that pirate villain were caught in a duel. "To the Captain, MEN!!" Bush roared out, and led the charge. The throng of pirates was thick and Bush found he could not make it through. Instead he turned/pushed back towards the men by the rail, nearly running directly into Hornblower. The dirrect approach was not working... "I suggest we attempt a different direction of attack, before these bastards take the ship! And--" He was interupted as a fist struck him an unexpected blow. He fell dazed to the starboard rail. By the time he regained his senses the Captain's duel was over an the battle had moved through the supposedly impenetrable crowd and straight towards their small group. Bush found himself being hauled upwards by one of the boys to face off against the pirates. Even to Mr. Bush, a seasoned man who would never back down, the odds seemed stacked against them. Until a friendly, voice rang out, "Mr. Hornblower?!

 

~Bush~

(La Mort: Corridor: Beneath quarterdeck)

Oldroyd choked and sputtered, dragging his men through the noxious smoke the Frenchman had just filled the cramped decks with. *cough* "Bloody 'ELL! Lads, is you allright? " The other men nodded, most bent with hands on their knees, trying
desperately to recover breath. Oldroyd sagged against the bulkhead, blinking watering eyes, trying to decide what to do next. It was rather odd to be in charge, and he really sort of found himself liking it. "Well, lads, looks like we lost that Froggie officer. We'll come 'cross 'im again, we will, and give it to 'im right good." The other former slaves nodded, some with wicked looks of anticipation in still watering eyes.

 

"Aye!" They agreed.

"Ow's about we see what's inside that door 'e came out of, eh?" Oldroyd grinned, walking over to the bulkhead he'd seen the Frog come out of. Tilting his head carefully to the side, he considered the panel for quite some time.

"Eh, Oldroyd, mate, why don'tcha just open the blooy *door*?" Chickering, a redhead toward the back of the group, offered.

 

"Nah, man, think. If the Frog came outta a secret door, 'e's got sommat hidden in there." Oldroyd poked the bulkhead cautiously with the German glove, then pressed his entire weight against a sliding bit. "Cor! Lookee here, lads! 'Ere's the door."
The door slid open to reveal three familiar forms, backs as far against the bulkhead as they could get, and a very, very large cat.

"What d' ya see man?" Peter called up.

"Bloody Hell..." Oldroyd blinked in surprise.

~Oldroyd~

 

(Renown: Starboard rail: Quarterdeck)

Hornblower turned to help Bush but they were suddenly seperated again at the rail. "Mr. Bush, sir!" He called after him, but he couldn't just drop Kenyon. Then suddenly, he heard his own name being called. "Here! I'm over here!" Horatio called above the din, hoping to be heard by the owner of the unseen voice.

~Horatio~


LOCATION: Renown
TIME/DATE: Evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

(Renown: Maindeck: As you will recall the last post was from Hornblower at the starboard rail)

"There he is Hether!" Cleveland smirked. Cleveland had spotted their quarry. Horatio Hornblower. "There's Hornblower! Jack's offered a chest full of Spanish goldfingers for him, dead or alive. Dead is always easier." He raised his volley gun. Could he pull the trigger?.. They'd once been friends... He never had to find out.

"Belay that!" Hether pushed the gun aside and slung his own on his back. "If you think I'm killing Mr. Hornblower for Jack's pleasure, you've got another thing comming."

"But Jack will kill us!.... Very slowly." Cleveland went pale, but saw his fiend's mind was made up. He grabbed Hether roughly by his jacket and shook him. "Damn you! A box full of prize money! A deranged lunatic who'll kill us if we fail! And you have to go all noble on me!"

"Damn her eyes! Bucker's to me!" They heard Liberty Jack shout and then saw him fall. Their eyes went from him to several forms, including Lucille escaping over the Larbord side to her ship, La Guerre. They saw Dunti's sword... And Mr. Kennedy... amoungst that group.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Both of them said... They grinned. Great minds think alike.

 

~Hether & Cleveland~

 

(Note: This is the first attempt at an actual Sergeant Whiting perspective. I thought I'd give him a try as something more than a tag along... Besides I wanted somebody to snag one of those big guns to show it to Sir Edward. )


Sergeant Whiting had just followed Mr. Bush in an attempt to break through the line... a brave attempt... But they had been forced back to the starboard rail. He tried fireing his pistol, but it was hopeless now. Everything was too wet. He looked up and stared in awe at the figures that were now forming a line before the tiny party of the remaining Renowns. These men were clad in bizarre uniforms... Was that a Hussar's jacket they wore? With ARMOR... Aboard ship! What an outlandish costume- That thought was cut short as he saw one of them level a five barreled gun at him and the officer beside him. "Phagh!" He turned to Lt. Bush. "If our guns won't fire--" Then he noticed the backs of the guns. There was a curved metal plate over the firing mechanism. The rain was running off.

"Duck, sir!" Whiting dived aside just in time. BLAM! All five barrels discharged making a lovely hole in the rail above him. He saw Bush was safe too."Thank heaven..." He said, then he scoffed, "It'll take him all day to reload that monstrosity, sir. --- Oh, no..." He saw the man flip open the metal cover on the gun's backside and remove a fist sized object... Some kind of cylinder. The man dropped that and drew an exact replica out of a pouch at his side. He placed that where it's twin had been on the gun and snapped the cover back down... The whole operation had taken but a few seconds and the man was shooting again! This time, carefully. One shot at a time. A Renown fell to his left. Another... his fellow marine, stumbled backwards over the rail itself screamed as he fell overboard. A bullet grazed Whiting's shoulder. "Damn!" He cursed. "They're makin' a liar outa me, sir!" But bush had his sword out, trying to fend off the few Buckers who dared come close.

"Look, sir!" He saw Mathews and the Powder Monkeys bearing the Captain's body back. Mathews had shouted for them to get over the side and he busied himself helping the lads down. The smoke was getting thick again thanks to the shots from those Volley guns... At least it might afford them some cover. It felt strange to his trained military senses. By all rights their small group should be dead or taken by now... It was almost as if they were being 'herded like... sheep. No! Ridiculous thought! He scolded himself. Keep your mind on your duty Sergeant... He couldn't help but wonder if Mr. Bush was having similar thoughts.

Whiting turned as he heard Mr. Hornblower's name being shouted from the deck of the pirate ship below. He peered over the rail. There were a number of men on the deck of the fifty-four gun ship, and one of them, a gray haired NCO, British... certainly, was trying to make his wishes known to the Third Lieutenant. Whiting lifted the last Powder Monkey onto the rail and was about to help him down when a shot rang out to his left. The NCO below leapt aside as pieces of the deck where he had been standing actually splintered! Whiting knew what that had to be. He let go of Kenny for an instant, and turned to see one of the oddly dressed pirates reloading the Volley gun he just discharged, another joined his side.

"Kenny!" Mathews the Bosun shouted. Whiting glanced his way. Kenny had run off into the crowd of Pirates. Damn! He felt terrible about that... Too damned much going on! Whiting looked back at the two Volley gunners. One man fired a single shot into the men on the pirate ship's deck. Then another. The one who had just finished reloading lifted up his gun and pulled back some kind of switch. Whiting took his sword and thrust it through the man's throat... He stooped and grabbed the man's gun... Lighter than he thought... The other man turned, the barrels of his gun bearing down on the Sergeant... But Whiting had the barrels of his gun at the man's chest first and pulled the trigger. BLAM! The man flew back... Five smoldering holes in his breast plate.

"Good God!" Whiting was shocked by the power of the gun, and the pain in his shoulder was worse now... But he snatched the other man's gun and both ammo pouches. He noticed Mr. Hornblower was helping the wounded Mr. Kenyon over the side so he pitched the second man's gun to the other Lieutenant Bush. He stood by his side and reloaded his gun as he had seen the man do. They both began firing into the pirates... Replacing ammo cylinders as needed. The pirates fell left right and center... Now they might hold them a while as the others escaped. Not a moment too soon the others were clear and it was their turn to jump for it.

~Sergeant Whiting and Bush?~

Aboard La Mort

"I believe, Your Grace, that that is the trap door the Colonel left through. Therefore, that is the door we should leave through." Bracegirdle moved ever so carefully towards the door, holding his breath the entire time so as not to disturb the now sleeping panther (*yes, I said "sleeping". We've got to get out of here somehow, and I'm going to choke the damn thing if it isn't asleep*). "Normally, I would say 'Ladies first', but in this case..." He took off his shoe and waved it around the passage, looking for traps.

~ Bracegirdle~

 

*Her Grace rolled her eyes* Not the door, sir. I was refering to the whoever's behind it. Shouldn't you be asking "who goes there?" instead of swinging your footwear about like some inmate of Bedlam? *Kitty spared a glance for the sleeping animal and noticed, with a shudder, that it had one eye open and was tracking Bracegirdle. Her tone changed from insulting to caution* Do be careful. I'm beginning to think that not all on this ship is at it should be. God knows where a trap could be...

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! *Whilst edging away from the "sleeping" panther, Kitty had found herself pressed against the room's writing desk. AS fate would have it a part of her dress had caught on some sliver or other and had pulled open the drawer. It was the desk's reaction to this which caused Kitty's scream. For as the desk was opened...*

~Kitty~

(Okay this next post is Quite crazy... But AJ [Miss Cobham] was just askin' for it. LOL... Hornblower meets Jungle Book?)

"Ahhh... Our massster isss here with our dinner... A fine rat for each perhapssss." Nag rose from the drawer. The light was dim... and having no ears, he heard naught... His tong flicked out repeatedly... It surveyed the situation for him, and in an instant he took it all in. "No... Not our masster... Sstrangerss. Come my love..." He slid out of the drawer, and his mistress Nagana followed him to the deck. He could feel the fear their presence caused and it pleased him. A group of men were huddled behind the trapdoor which led to the hidden places... Nag liked the hidden places. Perhaps he'd visit them. He slithered in that dirrection.

"Oh my God! It's commin' right for us! " One of the men shouted. "Close the door!" The men tried to but a few of them were already half way through. One with a metal fist and a long claw had fallen forward and his legs were blocking the door.

"Owwwch!" He yelped as his fellows tried to close the door.

Nag had no ears but he could feel the vibrations in the air their sounds made and their breath... He could even feel the quickening beat of their heart's... Heart's that would beat... only a little longer. Nag noticed the one with the strange looking metal hand try to approach. In respose he rose three feet off the floor, pressed the ribs near his head flat, displaying his hood and hissed. 'Metal hand' backed away. Two of the men lost their nerve and broke from the Metal handed one's group for the door. Nag struck out toward them. The first opened the door... Which released the panther's chain. That one got away... But the other clutched his leg where Nag had struck him... Screaming the man stumbled out the door. Nag could feel the terror this caused in the remaining men... All of them!

"Thatsss it my prey..." Nag gloated," Run! Run, and make sport a while!" Rakshasha, the panther was now free... The big cat snarled. But Nag knew how to deal with him. He turned and raised his body as high as he could. He displayed his hood again and hissed. The big cat lost it's nerve and jumped back to cower on the bench by the window. In the process he nearly tripped up the two men trying to approach Nag from behind. Oh what games indeed... Nag gloated. He turned quick as lightning. Hissed and lunged at one man then the other. The Gentle looking one with no shoes fell back a pace. Nag forced him against the wall. "Don't worry fine fellow... One bite and blisssful sssleep will be yoursss... " The other man though, the thinner one with the greying hair and the dark eyes tapped the deck... Drawing Nag toward him instead. "Ah you'd rather be firssst... Asss you wisssh..." The big cobra shot up and spread his hood again. The man stood quite still. Nag kept his attention on this man. He was interesting. This one would not run... The best sport of all...

"What wonderful gamesss, my love..." His lady hissed. "Let me see what mischief I can causssse..." Nagana noticed the woman trying desperately to free her petticoats from the desk drawer. Nagana hissed with glee and slithered under the woman's gown.

 

LOCATION: Renown
TIME/DATE: Evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

(Renown: Starboard Rail to Larboard. Use of the 'way back clock' at the beginning. this is where Kenny runs off. Man... I lost this scene for a while... I'm glad I found it again... It really should have been in a sooner post... Sorry.)

 

Kenny saw scores of men had pressed the little band of Renown's by the starboard rail over to La Mort. "Mr. Hornblower, sir. This is the last boy, sir." Sergeant Whiting picked Kenny up and was about to help him climb over the starboard rail, when Kenny looked up to see Mr. Hobbs being carried over the larboard side. He was alive... Kenny leapt to the deck. Mr. Mathews (See previous posts) had shouted his name as he dashed away... But Kenny paid it no mind. Mr. Hobbs was ALIVE ! The boy deftly weaved through the mass of men. No one could touch him... No one that is, until the hand of Liberty Jack caught him before he reached the rail, and hefted the boy into the air. Kenny shrieked as the Pirate Captain's scythe slid up to his face, hooking the chain that held his mother's locket.

"What have we here Jack?!" Liberty Jack held the boy up by his Jacket. "Your one of those little rats who attacked me earlier!" He examined the boy... The gleam of silver caught his eye. "What's this?" He lifted the little chain from Kenny's neck... It dangled from the scythe. The initials, 'K & A .' etched upon it, clearly visible. "I remember Mr. Hobbs borrowing five pounds from me to get this little piece of trash made." He grinned wickedly at Kenny, and saw the slight resemblance to a much younger Hobbs... And a Lady of his acquaintance... A Lady far out above Hobbs' station. "Bugger never did pay me back."

Donovan's mind raced back several years... Before his own escape from the Renown... Hobbs had met a young Lady... from a wealthy family of all things. He and the young woman spent much time together before they were discovered... Even married her... In secret of course with Donovan's help. The game had amused him to no end... And Lord Kennedy had apriciated the information he had given him. It was easy playing that situation for all it was worth... When the girl's father had learned from Simpson about the 'happy couple', he set about destroying that happiness. He threatened to have the lowly gunner killed, but Hobbs didn't care... Even after a beating at the hands of her brothers. The Lady obviously did though... She sent him a letter pleading with him to agree to annul the marriage and to never see her again. He did, but only after risking all to see her one last time... That's when he gave her this... Donovan watched as the locket spun. Hobbs knew nothing about Donovan's meetings with the girls father... So as far as he was concerned Mr. Simpson had been a great help to him and the young woman... Simpson had let the young lovers hope for a while... Then took it all away from them... Before the 'affair' the gunner had been wary of him... When it was over, there was no one he trusted more. He had been perfectly willing to see Dr. Bretagne at Simpson's insistance, to help him sort through his dificulties... Simpson's influence had made it all possible... Even the time away from the ship. Hobbs' never told them anything about a child though... Perhaps he didn't know?.. Wouldn't that be perfect? The Lady's family preferred not to have the news spread amoungst their 'High Scociety' friends. The whole thing was hushed up... Quite effectively by the father. Liberty Jack grinned broadly and brought the boy a little closer.

"What a prize you are... my lad. You must be Mr. Hobbs's little brat. What a prize you are indeed." Kenny was scared. The bad man wasn't so scary when Kenny had his friends around him, but now he was on his own. Then another thought struck him... Kenny looked at the scythe and put two and two together. He matched this man to the description of the man his mother told him to watch out for before she died... The man that-- that--- had hurt her... He couldn't even bare to think such a thought for long and just became furious. It showed in his face...

"You know," Simpson smirked at him," You resemble that idiot father of yours when you do that." At that remark little Kenny bit down... as hard as he could on the Bad Man's hand. "Yahhhh!" Jack yelled. "Why you little Shi-- Woah!" Something crashed against the backs of Donovan's legs. He lost his grip on the boy.

Kenny felt himself falling... Into the arms of one of the strangely clad men. Two of them had just raced passed the pirate Captain. One of them, the thin one, lowered his volley gun as they passed. He caught the pirate Captain behind the legs and sent him sprawling. Why didn't he just shoot him? Kenny wondered, and as he didn't know these men, he tried to push away.

"Easy there, lad." The stout one that held him, reassured him. "We're here to help." They ran to the rail and looked over. Lucille and her charges were already on La Guerre's deck. The French crewmen were setting sail and pushing away from the Renown with oars.

"Ahoy! Captain du Paix!" The thin man shouted. The other got the Kenny over the side. "Three more hands to come aboard!"

*Lucille du Paix looked up. Two of Jack's Lieutenants, Hether and Cleveland were climbing over the side. They had a boy with them. A boy?! She looked to her men and her handsome Anglais prisoner who merely shrugged. "Very well ! " She shouted," Vete! Be quick about it!" *

~Hether & Cleveland with Kenny~ Quick Lucille post tacked on the end~

 

(Note: Begin this post using the 'Way back clock'. Then it catches up.)

*Kennedy found himself in the odd position of helping both the pirates and his shipmates at the same time. This Lucille was a very interesting person, needless to say, and rather morally profound for a doubling dealing wench. But now was neither the time nor the place to be dealing with the oddities of human life. Instead Archie reached down and grabbed one of Hobbs' feet. It was heartening to know that even under all the blood the man was tillalive - for now.* En avant! Nous voulons mouvoir vite!! Maintenant!! *Lucille's men moved without hesitation, gently picking Hobbs up from the deck and carrying him to the side. Below on La Guerre's deck more pirates
looked up in confusion, but after a rapid exchange of French, Hobbs continued his journey off of the Renown. Some part of Archie prayed the man
would not awaken any time soon*

(Skip ahead to the point where Kenny makes a run for it)

*His feet now firmly planted upon La Guerre's deck, Kennedy looked longingly back up the Renown's side. He had no idea what was occuring above him, if Horatio had fallen or not - if the Captain had fallen to that bloody Simpson...Simpson. His mind was suddenly on very familiar ground as it replayed the time spent aboard the Justinian and then the Indy. Archie had believed those memories to have passed from him, into the realm of infrequent nightmares. They weren't as buried as he had believed. But before his body could follow the dark path of his memories, figures appeared above. Lucille, who had made it aboard a few moments earlier looked at him questioningly and it was then that Kennedy recognized the two men. Damn, yet more ties to the past!! He shrugged, moving to the side, standing below the men and their younger charge, one of the numerous powder monkies...Kenny, that was the boy's name* Jump boy!! Now!!

Aye aye sir!! *If the little devil was frightened of such a feat, it did not show in his face. The small body free-fell into Kennedy's waiting arms, where it seemed content to stay for the moment.*

Good lad, very good, now... *What was that? There was something in this boy's face that caused Kennedy to catch his tongue. It was not that he hadn't seen the boy before but something in the flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes...Auriar? No, that was impossible, wasn't it? Something flashed back to Archie from across the years, something before Simpson had monopolized his thoughts. His dear sister abed with child, he forbiddon to see her, being told it was a difficult birth... but that child had died and there had been no other. No, it was his mind playing tricks, god knew what stress could do to a man.* Now... what did you see before you came over the side?

~Archie~

 

Hether covered Cleveland and the boy as they made their way down to the deck of Lucille's ship. No one took notice of him till Jack got up and shouted for his men to follow. He still couldn't shoot Jack, but he pored fire in on the Buckers. When he emptied his gun he pitched it down to Cleveland. Lucille hadn't stopped making La guerre ready to sail... Men on the second deck were striking oars... God he loved that speedy frigate... Aye and her captain too. He gulped when he realized how far the ships were apart now... And how close Jack was!

"Climb down! For God's sake man!" The voice was Cleveland's. Hether stepped up onto the rail.

"Mr. Hether..." Jack smirked, "Are you going to take a flying leap?!" Jack waved his Bucker's forward, and at the moment a flying leap didn't sound all that bad to Hether...

Safe with Mr. Kennedy, Kenny held his breath as the thin man leapt from the Renown. He managed to catch hold of one of the running lines in the rigging... by sheer luck. It carried him safely to the deck. He let go and tumbled to land by Lucille's legs.

"Bonjour, cheri!" He grinned and winked. She rolled her eyes and turned to shout orders to her men. Hether grinned at Archie and Cleveland, "She wants me."

The wind and La Guerre's oars sped them away from the Renown... Away from Simpson.

 

~Liberty Jack, Hether & Cleveland, and Kenny A Powder Monkey~

 

(La Mort: Upper deck)

Dr. Clive wearily made his way on deck...It was utter chaos. Men were shouting, running about, and it was hard to tell who was whom. Suddenly, an unidentified sailor approached the doctor, pistol in hand. Clive stiffened, unsure what to do if he were attacked, for the nitric acid was all gone & he had no weapon. Besides, he really did
not look forward to killing more men unless absolutely necessary.

"Sir...Are you a surgeon?...It's Captain Sawyer, he's hurt awful bad."Stated the sailor, unmistakeably speaking in an English accent.

"Captain Sawyer? Where is he? Lead me to him," said Clive, suddenly feeling an uneasy.

Upon the quarterdeck, Clive found his captain, barely conscious, one shoulder slowly oozing blood. He knelt next to him to examine the wound- whatever the weapon was that made the wound, it did a good job of ensuring inflammation and sepsis. He ripped a piece of cloth and applied it to the wound.

"Sir...it is me, Clive..."

 

 

~Dr. Clive~

 

"Thank you, Mister Hornblower," Katherine said as Horatio lifted her off of the deck of the erstwhile pirate ship (La Mort). She brushed herself off and moved away to another part of the deck before Horatio could ask her any more questions about her identity. There were things to do, duty's to attend to, and her wound needed dressing as well. Just what had she said while she was unconscious...?

~ Midshipman (Katherine) Kenyon

 

LOCATION: La Mort
TIME/DATE: Evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

 

 

(La Mort: Main deck)

Matthews watched as Midshipman Kenyon quickly moved away from Mister Hornblower. How strange... He walked towards Hornblower to report in. Styles followed suit, somewhat upset that Kenny had run off. He hoped that the poor boy was safe and out of Simpson's hands. Matthews approached Hornblower. "Are you alright, sir?" he asked. "Any sign of Mister Bush?"

~ Matthews and Styles~

 

 

Horatio rubbed his brow as Kenyon ran off. Had he really just heard what he thought he heard? With the confusion of battle...perhaps he was imagining things. Matthews and Styles approached and Hornblower raised his eyes to meet theirs. "Ah...yes, yes, of course. I'm fine, thank you, Matthews. Uh...Mr. Bush? I don't know...I haven't seen him since before Captain Sawyer, well...fought the duel. Have you seen him? And where is Mr. Buckland?"

 

~Horatio~

(La Mort: Captain's Cabin)

"Your Grace, keep very still..." Bracegirdle warned as one of the snakes slithered under her gown. He looked around for something, anything that might help them out of this precarious position. He watched the other snake very carefully. this snake hadn't taken it's beady eyes of the Commodore for some time. "Sir, I'm afraid I'm at a bit of a loss here..." A bead of sweat trickled down his brow.

 

~Bracegirdle~

 

 

Oldroyd, still spluttering from whatever the Frenchman had sprayed him with, stumbled into the cabin, then froze. "Bloody hell..." He whispered, eyes going wide at the sight of the snakes. He watched in horror as one glided toward the Duchess' skirts. Commander Bracegirdle's face, as well as the Duchess', were white as sheets.
"Sir, mebbe I can grab at it, like, with the glovey thing..." Oldroyd whispered, looking to Bracegirdle. One of the others, just behind Oldroyd, made a dissenting noise.

"Nah, mate, ye ain't fast 'nuff...bloody damn things is quick. "

 

"Hmmm..." Oldroyd pondered for a few more moments...his fingers, in the panzer-hand twitched. The fingers of his right hand moving nervously along the hilt of the German sword.

 

"Okee, miss, stand real still, like..." The snake watching Pellew turned at the sensation of the sailor's booted footsteps on the deck. Oldroyd lunged, fingers tightening on the loops in the sword-hilt. "Bleedin' 'ELL! " He cursed, as the blade sprung into two, neatly slicing up the Duchess' skirts and the snake underneath in the space of one heartbeat.

~Oldroyld~

Bracegirdle watched as Oldroyd sliced the snake in two, and turned his head quickly as the Dutchess' skirts split apart, showing a bit of leg. The snake that had been watching Pellew had changed direction and now headed towards the young seaman and the Dutchess. "Oldroyd! Behind you!" Bracegirdle whispered. He pounded the deck gaining the advancing snake's attention. It paused.

~ Bracegirdle~

LOCATION: La Mort
TIME/DATE: Evening, Jan 24th, 1802.

 

 

 

(Aboard La Mort. Captain's Cabin)

 

Twang-Thhup! A steel bolt flew from the doorway. It pierced the remaining cobra through it's hood and neatly pinned to the deck. The party in the cabin gasped. The creature writhed in agony... Only a little while... And Doctor Alexandre du Bretagne strode through the open door. His sleeve was rolled up on his left arm, exposing a miniature device. A small crossbow.

"Bon! Parfait! " Alexandre began."I see I am not too late!" He smiled to the entire party. "Mes amis, you are alright I trust?" He turned to see the frontal, lower tresses of Miss Cobham's gown were... Mon Dieu... They were Absent. He resolved to maintain her illusion of the Duchess however. It was still usefull to him. How else to could he at this time influence the Commodore, (The only one of them to resist hypnosis) save through her. "Your Grace!" He removed his coat. "Allow moi." With a fluid and quick motion he tied it's sleeves around her waist creating a makeshift apron to allow her to maintain her dignity... and a little modesty. " Ah!" He said, examining his handiwork... "Not exactly the latest Parisian fashion your Grace..." He bowed slightly, "But it will have to do for now." He changed his look to concern as she composed herself... He held her gently by the arm, to steady her... "Are you quite alright ?"

~Doctor Alexandre du Bretagne~

 

(La Mort: Main Deck)

"No, sir, we 'aven't seen Mister Bush," Styles reported. "And Mister Buckland, sir? Um..." Matthews picked up where Styles had left off. "Sir, Mister Buckland, as far as we c'n tell, he was still aboard Renown. Beggin' your pardon, sir, but what was wrong with Mister Kenyon? Is he alright, sir?"

~ Matthews and Styles

 

Horatio thought it best not to say what he had learned of Mister Kenyon to Styles and Matthews. "Mr. Kenyon has a slight injury...but will be fine..." He paused to take in their new situation. "Well, besides our present situation, yes, everything is fine. And Captain Sawyer? Is he aboard?"

~Horatio~

 

Katherine was doing her best to hide her pain. Her head hadn't hurt this bad ten minutes ago... She hoped that she hadn't said anything stupid to Horatio. 'Not too much damage done,' she thought. 'He knows who I am and why I'm here. Perhaps he'll leave it alone.' But that wasn't likely. A woman, a WOMAN!, aboard one of His Majesty's ships, was absolutely preposterous! While deep in her thoughts, she accidentally ran smack into an older looking man ordering people around the deck. He was the ships master, but who was he? She didn't recognize him.

"Forgive me sir," she aplogized, lightly touching her wound. "Do you know where the doctor is?"

~ Midshipman Kenyon~


(Back on the Renown)

Liberty Jack raced to the larboard rail after Mr. Hether lept over the side. The men on Lucille's ship La Guerre had already struck oars and made sail. She was well underway. They would not catch her tonight... A few of his men were shooting at La Guerre to little effect. If he was upset, he showed no sign of it. The locket still dangled from his scythe. Lieutenant Richard Decker of his Lightning Guard came up behind him.

"The birds have flown, sir." The Lieutenant nodded to the starboard rail. "La Mort is making sail, sir." Jack nodded without looking... That much he had expected... Even engineered. Lucille's betrayal though... that was another matter. It cut him to the quick. She did have Dunti's sword... And the key it possesed. She knew many of his secrets... but not all of them. Not enough to get into the 'Vault' and get out again... Alive that is. She would know that too. There was a piece to the puzzle she didn't have and he had mentioned only one person that could give her that piece. He knew where they would need to go to find him, and he knew their final destination after they met him... Human nature was so easy to undertand, and exploit. His mentor, Dr. Bretagne had taught him well. "She's betrayed you then, sir?.." Decker spoke quietly. It was more of a statement then a question.

"Aye..." Donovan Simpson said quietly. "That she has Dick... That she has..."

"Well, we'll get her, sir. You can depend on that." He put a hand on his Captain's shoulder. "Sorry about Dunti, Jack."

"Aye..." Simpson slowly nodded. "Thanks old friend."

"Sir." Decker said a little louder and he motioned for his Captain to turn about. "This might cheer you somewhat." Two of the Buckers carried forth an unconcious English Lieutenant.

"This one is all yers Cap'n!" One of the men said,"Think it's yer Mr. 'Ornblower?..." Jack looked the captive over... and shook his head.

"No, my Buckers. That fellow is far too old..." Simpson began, "Mr. Decker, see to it that all captive officers are locked in the Captain's cabin, keep the ratings and petty officer's locked below, and make certain you put Randall in a 'safe' place... Be careful, he is one of the 'Four'."

"I remember the name, sir." Decker nodded.

"Very good, I will leave the details to you." Simpson began. "Oh... But assign two of our French allies to guard him. Preferably a couple of men from Lucille's ship. If you can find any of her friends... That would please me most."

"It shall be done, sir." Decker nodded.

"Now my sweet Buckers," Simpson held up the locket, and spun it on it's chain. "The game is afoot! If we do not get Lucille and her puny band at the port of Little Tortuga, then we shall make short work of them when they try for the treasure. " The locket caught the light as it spun." Aye, Lucille's overstepped her bounds this time... That, and she's taken one of my 'Four' with her."

"You heard the Captain! Take that man away!" Decker commanded the men holding the old lieutenant. They rushed to obey. He addressed his Captain. "Lucille took Mr. Hobbs then?..." Again Decker seemed to be stating facts rather than asking questions. "So both your remaining unaccounted for Jacks are still alive?" He saw his captain nod. "That is good, but his absence makes accomplishing one of our primary objectives a little more difficult... Still at least he is not among the dead. Hobbs and Randall... It will be interesting to meet my predecessors... And El Punal Escondido will be pleased."

"Indeed, they will, Dick." Simpson smiled at the Commander of his Lightning Guard. "One of our assigned objectives is already secure... We have a ship of the line. Third rate... But large enough for our needs. The Renown is ours. The fact that she is my old ship... Makes it even sweeter. Tomorrow morning we may transfer the equipment for refitting her according to Bretagne's specifications... And we may install the 'Weapon'. We'll show the Brittish Navy what a 'Real' Fireship is! Then... If I'm not being too dramatic for you... The world! He laughed and Decker joined him."

"No, Jack..." Decker chuckled, "Not too dramatic at all..."

"I want no mistakes with that weapon though." Simpson warned,"Put Schmitt on it."

"Schmitt?" This time, Decker's voice was uncertain," But, sir... We left that lout aboard La Mort. He's probably dead."

"Not THAT Schmitt..."

"Ahh," Decker understood,"So you left him there... To free her from her vows."

"Lucille had ceased to please me anyway..." Simpson said flatly," Bretagne warned me it was only a matter of time." He put his hand on Decker's shoulder. "Always stay a step or two ahead of the game if you can, my friend."

"I'll remember that, sir." Decker looked at his Captain's back. "Come with me, sir. I should attended to that wound. We should get you done first anyway... I think my men and I will be busy tonight. There are many wounded."

"Aye, Dick... Are those doctor's orders?"

"They are, sir." Decker nodded. "That and sharing with me a celebratory toast for pleasure and," He glanced at the dammage to his Captain's back. "And anesthesia." Bretagne's nitrous oxide and the rest of our fine mixtures are still aboard la Famine. Till Bharat brings them aboard tomorrow morning we will have to raid the Captain's cabin before the rest of the crew does, or the best will quickly dissapear."

"Indeed..." Simpson smiled. Decker could always make him laugh... That's part of the reason why he kept him.
As for his surgical skills... He had the best teacher. Part of Decker's conditioning involved learning the skills of a qualified surgeon... Moreover, a surgeon trained by Dr. Bretagne. In conjunction with his other skills, Simpson didn't think there was a finer First officer in the combined navies of the entire world... And Doctor Bretagne and Simpson himself had created him... Yes, Made Him... From a Midshipman who'd originally only joined Jack's crew for a chance to kill his captors and escape. To nearly the best man in his crew. Oh what a few years of 'conditioning' can do for a man. Decker was now totally loyal to him, but Simpson sometimes wondered if there was some part of the man's true self left. He hadn't been a willing subject, like Randall or Strife... Willing to undergo 'training' for the promise of wealth and power. No he'd been a challenge. And unwilling, unknowing participant like Hobbs. He thought he had control of Mr. Hobbs all those years ago... Yet the gunner had managed to betray him... He only had the gunner for six months though... Decker's personality had been carefully reshaped over a period of five years. No Decker was his... Mind, body and soul. As for Hobbs... Well he'd fix that. Soon.

"Sir?" Decker was still waiting an answer to his question and something else. He had noticed his Commander's scrutiny. "What is it, sir?"

"Nothing Dick. You just remind me of someone I used to know. That's all."

"Someone you liked I hope." Decker smirked.

"Oh yes..." He let the locket twirl and it caught the light nicely." Someone I liked very much indeed." He grabbed the locket, put it around his neck, then turned to make certain his men all knew their duty in regards to getting the Renown in order. There was a storm to weather... Damage that needed shoring up... Prisoners that needed attending to. Ah hell... He watched his men and the Frenchmen pull together. Not bad.... It looked like it was going well enough... And yes... Now that the action was over, and the pain was more noticable... He began to feel the cut accross his back. The wound needed dressing. Everything else could wait for the light of day, or be left in the hands of others.... Only an idiot like Sawyer would insist on being in charge of every detail when there were capable men to do the work.

"Alright Doctor," Liberty Jack chuckled," Do your worst. At least it'll get me out of this damned rain."

~Liberty Jack~