The Uninvited
by Marijke

Part 3

Warning: In this chapter, both Matthews and Styles have memories of the Justinian. There’s nothing explicit, but it’s a grim story, so I reckon it’s my duty to inform the readers.

One of the guards closed the door and Horatio found himself looking into the faces of two unfamiliar seamen. He didn’t recognised either of him, probably they were Thompson’s men. He knew that it was no use of standing here. But he was reluctant to leave. ‘I can’t leave Archie alone. Not with these men’. He tried desperately to hear any sounds from the officers mess, but none were coming. ‘What the hell was going on their?’

His slumbers were disturbed by the voice of one of the seamen. “You’re planning to stay here the whole evening? Because if you are, I have to disappoint you. Captain’s orders, this corridor has to be cleared”

“Captain?” Horatio asked hesitantly. “Yes Captain Thompson, I’m sure you heard of him” snickered the other seaman. A shock wavered through Hornblower. These events were becoming more and more worrisome. A sudden thought occurred to him ‘Captain, he had to see Captain Pellew. He was the only one, who could stop this.’ Without saying anything to the strange seamen, he turned away and walked to the day cabin of Captain Pellew.

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“Something has happened Matty.” Styles said earnestly. “What do you mean? Matthews quizzically replied. “Look at these buggers. Their attitude has changed. They look like they command the ship.” Matthews frowned and looked around to check for himself. The frown became deeper.

“You’re right Styles” he added. “Where is Mr Hornblower? We should tell him!”
“Aye Matty, we should.” Styles remarked. “But there is something else what worries me. “What is it?” Matthews voice became tensed.

“Look around you. What do you miss?” the worried seaman said. “I’ll tell you Matty.” he spook softer. “Where are our officers? Do you see them? Something has happened Matty! Something bad!”

“Ssst, keep your voice down Styles. They mustn’t hear you” Matthews replied. His face expressed more worries then Styles had seen in a couple of years.

“Right then, we’re going to find Mr Hornblower or another officer and tell him what we noticed” he added “but softly now.” They both looked around and walked quietly to the companion stairs.
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Horatio was walking fast. He had to speak with captain Pellew. He just had to. Bracegirdle and Bowles were out of reach for him. His heart was pounding fast. ‘What were they doing with Archie? First see the captain, he could stop this. Perhaps he could even take care for the officers in the brig. How should this ship stay afloat if their weren’t any officers to command?’

Suddenly he stopped. He had spotted the door of Captain’s Pellew cabin. But that was not the only thing… Two men stood in front of the door. Smiling. One of them even had a knife. He looked like someone who could use the cursed thing as well. ‘Damn!’

He approached the two men. Wishing that he brought several of his own men with him. But that meant mutiny and Hornblower would first need absolute prove that he didn’t commit that fact. The only reassuring should be the command from his captain. ‘But he couldn’t speak to his captain!’

“I would like to see captain Pellew” his voice sounded even. It surprised him, because he didn’t felt so. “That can be arranged” the man with the knife said smiling. Hornblower was surprised, he hadn’t expected it to be so easy. “But you must be aware, that if you enter this room, you have to stay there as well.” The other one added viciously. “We can’t afford ourselves that you walk around this ship after your meeting with captain Pellew.”

Horatio shuddered, he couldn’t let himself be captured. ‘What use was he then for the men. Besides Archie needed him. It would be comfortable to speak to the captain, it also would be a cowardly thing to do. He couldn’t abandon his post.’

Captain Pellew! he shouted. “Can you hear me sir!”
“God damn it” the guard with the knife cursed. He reached out for Hornblower.
He grabbed Horatio’s arm and flew the younger man against the wall. Before Horatio could act the knife was pointed at his throat.

“Mr Hornblower! Is that you sir!” The captain’s voice sounded muffled.

“If you react, I swear that it will be the last thing you did” the man with the knife spook softly into the ear of Hornblower. An intimacy what made Horatio shiver.

“Mr Hornblower! Speak man!”

The grip on Horatio’s arm became tenser. “Not a word” the other guard added.
Horatio nodded, it was the only thing he could do. “Good boy” the man smiled.

“Remember that we hold your captain. If you fell the need of summon some of your men to free him out of his cabin….” A pause. “We will reach your captain  faster then you.” The knife pressed against Horatio’s throat. “And if that happens, I’m afraid you don’t have a captain left.”

Horatio felt his muscles tens, but his aggressor felt it too and pushed him again against the wall. A sharp cry escaped Horatio. “Remember that lieutenant”

“Mr Hornblower?” Pellew’s voice was more concerned now. “What is happening?”
“There’s nothing wrong captain” the vicious guard replied. “You can sleep easy again.” “Damn you!” Pellew cursed. “What is happening!” There came no reply.

“Do we understand each other?” The man touched Hornblower’s face. Horatio was desperately trying to get away from this man. “Yes” he said sharply. “Let me go!”

“I don’t think he likes your company Farnsworth” Peckham chuckled. “No, I can see that” Farnsworth smiled. “Pity, he looks lovely” he added. He pushed Hornblower somewhat further against the wall. “Careful lieutenant, we would hate to see, if you are causing trouble again.”

“We’ll know where we can find you.” Again the touch. Horatio couldn’t help himself, he found himself trembling, with rage, humiliation and with something else… he knew in an instant what it was…fear.

He felt that the two men hauled him from the wall to the other side of the corridor. Hornblower received a punch in his back and that was it. He heard that they walked back to the door. Horatio quickly walked away, until he knew he was out of reach. His heard was pounding very fast. He aloud himself a stop to breath normal again. He leaned his head against the wall. For a moment Horatio closed his eyes. Their was only one man before who had touched him like that Farnsworth had done. And that man was dead for years…

While he was standing against the solid wall, he was getting desperate. All the officers who could do something against these basterds, were out of reach. ‘What should I do now’. The thought came very fast…. ‘find Archie.’

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Matthews and Styles were walking on the gun deck. Suddenly they heard running footsteps behind them. Quickly they turned their head, to see who was coming. “Oh no, look who’s coming” Styles muttered. Matthews recognised the read haired seaman and chuckled softly. “He could be helpful” he whispered. “Well, that will be the first time” the larger seaman grunted softly.

“Styles, Matthews! Have you heard the news!.” Oldroyd bursted in. “What is it Oldroyd?” Matthews asked, grapping the younger man at his arm. Oldroyd seemed very nervous, a rare thing. Matthews swallowed. He suspected this was ill news and dreaded it. “I heard the news from Timmons, who was fetching some rope in the hold.” Oldroyd was out of breath. He had tried to search his mates for a long time. They surely knew what to do.

“Wait a moment” Styles looked around. He nodded to a corner. “Their, we can talk safely. I don’t want that buggers to listen at our conversations” Matthews nodded, it was a wise thing to do. “Well out with it mate” Styles added.
Oldroyd took a deep breath. “They have put Mr Bracegirdle and Mr Bowles in the brig. Timmons saw them do it.” “They did what?!” Styles grunt was loud. “Sst Styles, keep your voice down” Matthews looked nervously around.

“Why?” Styles asked, still full of anger, but he managed to keep his voice soft. “I dunno” Oldroyd said honestly. “Timmons said, that they might have offended those officers.” “Arrogant basterds!” Styles cursed. Matthews laid a hand on the shoulder of his friend and felt the tension in the big muscles. “Take it easy mate.”

“Have you seen Mr Hornblower?” he added “or Mr Kennedy?” “No, I was looking for you.” Oldroyd said and frowned “Why?” “Because one of our officers have to be made aware what is going on!” Styles snapped. Oldroyd nodded, but Matthews frowned at that statement. “Something says to me, they already know” he added softly. “But where are they?” Styles asked. “We have to find out, before something happens to them” he replied with a shaken voice.

“Happens to them?” Oldroyd was confused. “What Matthews?” But the older seaman was no longer listening.

He was walking to the direction of the cabins of the officers, with Styles close at hand. Oldroyd shacked his head, he wised someone would explain the situation. And with another deep breath he followed his two shipmates.

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Matthews was not fare from the officers berth. Normally he had no right to come near, but these were not normal times. He wondered where everybody was. There were no guards, nor the men Mr Thompson had bring along. “Strange” he muttered. The old seaman was aware that Styles and Oldroyd were walking behind him.

It was Styles however who heard the sounds first.

Soft low cries and sounds of someone colliding against a floor. The three men looked at each other, then they rushed forward into a small, dark corridor to find the person who was making the disturbing sounds. They didn’t have to search very long.

Styles stared in shock at the picture before him. There was a man, a very young man, laying on the ground. His body shake violently. His head trashed against the wooden floor. “Oh my God” he whispered “It’s Kennedy.”

Matthews knelt onto the floor. Trying to hold Mr Kennedy. But his touch made the fit worse. The young man flinched away. “Mr Kennedy?” he spoke softly, praying that the young officer would hear him. “Mr Kennedy, it’s alright sir.” Soft, stricken cries were his answers. The boy’s face was wet. Matthews became desperate, he looked at his mates. But their faces looked just as shocked as he felt.

Styles stared at the young officer. His heart wept for the injustice. He tried to soothe Kennedy. “Sir, please sir wake up” His stomach felt like ice, when he saw Kennedy flinching and jolting. It reminded him to much of the Justinian.

‘Never again!’

“Oldroyd, find Mr Hornblower and bring him here. Only Mr Hornblower, no one else!” “Oldroyd just stood there, he couldn’t move. His eyes stared at the face of the young officer, so full of pain and fear. “Oldroyd” Matthews added



Oldroyd blinked with his eyes. Gazed at Matthews. Slowly the remarks of his friends settled in. He nodded, gave another look at the lieutenant and ran away.
Leaving Matthews and Styles with Mr Kennedy behind.

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Horatio was walking fast. He mind was occupied with the ‘conversation’ he just had with those seamen. ‘God, he felt humiliated’. In his frantic hast to leave that damned corridor he hadn’t noticed the footsteps who were coming nearer. He stopped to listen, the sound was disturbing. The footsteps were running towards him. People only run on this ship, when they were in battle.

At that moment he saw the person who made the footsteps: Oldroyd. Horatio frowned. “Oldroyd” he commanded “What are you doing?” The seaman stopped, gasping for breath “Ah Mr Hornblower sir, I was looking for you, you have to come sir.” “What’s wrong Oldroyd?” Horatio was trying to conceal his impatience, but found that very hard.

“Ah sir, I don’t know if I can tell you sir.” Oldroyd hesitated. “Well do it anyway.” Horatio couldn’t help that his irritation got the better of him. “What is the problem?” “Oldroyd swallowed visible “It’s Mr Kennedy sir” he said very soft.

‘Archie!’ Horatio closed his eyes for a short moment. “What does Mr Kennedy want?” he asked. At the long pause he felt nervous. ‘What’s wrong!?’ “Oldroyd?” he commanded. “Sir… Mr Kennedy… he’s having… a… fit… sir” Oldroyd stammered.

“A fit” Horatio whispered hoarsely. “Where is he?” he didn’t wait for an answer. “Bring me to him” he exclaimed.

“Yes sir” Oldroyd was about to run again, but Horatio stopped him.

“No running Oldroyd” “But sir…” “We don’t want to give Mr Thompson and his men a clue that something is going on, do we?”

Oldroyd blinked “Yes sir”

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Matthews tried not to panic, but found that difficult. The lad wasn’t recognising him. Every touch, how soft and gentle it may be, only worsened the fit. It was dreadful to see. “Mr Kennedy, please wake up” he whispered hoarsely. But it had no effect. The officer moaned and banged his head against the wall. “Christ Matty, he would hurt himself”  Styles said with a broken voice. Matthews tried to hold the head, but is was difficult. The trashing even increased, but Matthews had a grip. He wasn’t intent to let Kennedy injure himself. Not if he could help it.

Styles heard people coming. “Matty” he whispered. “Someone is coming” “Thank the Lord, it must be Mr Hornblower” Matthews answered.

“Matty, what if he isn’t?” Styles asked worriedly “What if….?” He didn’t finished his sentence, but the tread was there.

“Block the view Styles, don’t let anyone come near him.”

Styles nodded and stood up. He would protect his officer.
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After the guards had closed the door of the brig, Bracegirdle settled himself down on a footstool. He glanced at his fellow officer. Bowles was still standing, holding the bars with glanced hands. His face expressed anger and something else. “What an awful situation’ he sighted. “Aye” Bowles replied. Bracegirdle looked around, saw that there were two guards standing nearby. They had to talk softly. Bowles saw his look, nodded and settled himself down next to the first lieutenant.

“I’m sure that brat Thompson planned this.” Bracegirdle began. “Those so-called guards were ready for us. They were waiting for us to move first.” Bowles nodded “I thought about it myself. They want us out of the way. I reckon they have taken care of the captain too.”

“Yes” Bracegirdle agreed “They must have, but way?” “They are up to something. But I can tell you something Mr Bracegirdle….” Bowles paused, then checked if the guards were at the same place. The first lieutenant leaned closer. “They are not Navy men and I doubt if the orders they carried aboard are genuine.”

“What?!” Bracegirdle couldn’t help himself. “Careful sir” Bowles said softly. “I mean, what kind of Navy officers would commit such acts? They are up to something else and they want the officers out of the way.” Bracegirdle thought for a moment “I think your right Mr Bowles, but that would mean….” He didn’t finished his sentence.

Bowles knew what his fellow officer want it to say and nodded sadly “Aye sir”
Bracegirdle closed his eyes and inhaled sharply. “Our men, what will happen to them?” “I don’t know sir” Bowles replied “but I have to confess, I’m not so worried for them. They will manage. What worries me…” Bowles felt worried and his voice gave him away “is what those basterds are intend to do with our officers”

Realisation struck Bracegirdle “Kennedy, Hornblower” he muttered. “My God Mr Bowles your are right.” He stood up and grasped the iron bars. “Those buggers where already threatening our junior officers.”

“You saw that too?” Bowles replied softly, his mind occupied with memories from a different ship. “Yes, that pig Massey looked at them as a wolf seeing a pray and now with the captain and us out of the way…” Bracegirdle shuddered. “We have to get out!” he exclaimed.

“Yes sir, but how?” Bowles asked, his face full of tension.

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Horatio tried not to run, but it was very difficult, so he found himself walking fast, very fast. Oldroyd who was behind him, had trouble to catch up with him. “Sir” he gasped “ I thought you said we shouldn’t run.” “I’m not running” Horatio snapped. His mind occupied with images of his friend. ‘My god Archie, what had happened?’ He should never left the corridor, he thought with regret. ‘Never!’

A silhouette came out of the shadows. “Mr Hornblower sir” Horatio finally saw the face and was shocked. The fierce seaman was looking dreadful, his face a mask of anger and sadness. “Styles” he swallowed. Then he heard the sounds and rushed forward into the dark corridor.

He quickly spotted Matthews, who was sitting next to Archie. “Archie!” he exclaimed. He fell onto his knees. “What happened Matthews?” he asked with panic in his voice.

“Ah Mr Hornblower, thank the Lord, you have come sir” Matthews replied he looked up and Horatio saw the despair into his eyes. “I’m not sure sir, we found him like this, but he… he wouldn’t wake up sir”

“He doesn’t recognise us sir” it was Styles, who stood behind. “Archie” Horatio touched the arm of his friend. The trashing was lessening, but it was still awful to watch. Hornblower tried to hold his friend in his arms. “Archie? It’s me Horatio. It will be alright” He stroke his friend’s hair.

“The seize is lessening sir” Matthews voice was soft. He was moved at this display of friendship. “I reckon he knows you sir” Styles agreed. “He’s calming down” The fit was indeed subsiding. But still Horatio held his friend in his arms and spook with a soothing voice. Even when the fit disappeared and was being replaced with unconsciousness. Horatio knew that that period didn’t take long. But he still talked to Archie, knowing that his friend would hear him.

The seamen stood by and watched silently. No one dared to ask a question. They all knew this was not a good moment. Matthews watched the pair, he felt that tears were coming in his eyes.

Not a good moment and he blinked to get them away. They all knew about Mr Kennedy’s fits. Of course he tried to hide them, but on Justinian it was very hard to keep a secret.

Matthews remembered very clearly the first time Mr Kennedy had a fit. And in those days there was no true friend who would helped the lad… Matthews didn’t want to dwell on those memories, but looking at the picture before him, he found it very hard. Gosh, the lad looked so young and vulnerable, but Matthews knew how much strength and courage was behind it…
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Fifteen years old was Mr Kennedy when he came aboard Justinian. Matthews smiled wryly. A small lad, but one with courage. The seamen had seen that in an instant. A fast learner too and enthusiastic. Matthews shuddered, life for Mr Kennedy would be so different if Mr Simpson wasn’t aboard. But he was.. ruling the ship like he was the devil himself. And of course he was straight after Kennedy.

It was true that most the of the crew of the Justinian hadn’t cared. Simpson beet all of the midshipmen. At least that was the rumour around the ship. As a seaman it was wise not to intervene. Several of the lads were under the power of Simpson too, some because they liked to do it, others because they were pressed. There was no choice. Simpson was the commanding officer of their division. You just had to obey him. Matthews remembered Styles, he had learned that long ago after a long futile struggle with Simpson. His friend disobeyed Simpson one time, several floggings were the consequences of that act. So they obeyed them, but in the case of Mr Kennedy it was hard.

Simpson controlled all the midshipmen when Mr Kennedy came aboard, but the lad just wouldn’t give in to Simpson. That behaviour was quite similar to what Mr Hornblower had done, but at least he was taller and two years older than Mr Kennedy. He tried to brake Kennedy by beating him. Cruel beatings, because the young midshipman was no match to a senior officer. Matthews had seen a number of those. He was commanded to guard the hold, in case an officer would try to intervene. But nobody would ever come. Matthews closed his eyes, he could hear the screams again. Mr Kennedy fought back, but that only made Simpson angrier and he beet the lad unconscious, by slamming his head to the bulkhead.

Angry that the lad didn’t react anymore, Simpson had kicked the lad in his stomach and left the hold. Shouting that this mess had to be cleaned.

After Simpson had left, Kennedy had suddenly start trashing and muttering strange, depressing sounds. Matthews tried to calm the lad, but it was difficult. His heart was breaking when he saw the small boy covered with blood and bruises. Styles had come, he was nearby and had seen Simpson leave, knowing what had transpired, and tried to help. After the fit had disappeared, after a very long time, Styles had picked the unconscious lad up, and with tears in their eyes, they had brought him to the sick berth.

That was the first time Matthews had seen one of Mr Kennedy’s fits. But he had never despised the lad, he knew how the lad had got that affection. Besides what had transpired after that viscous beating, was reason enough to give him fits too…
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“Matty?” he felt a touch on his arm. He flew his eyes open, never realising he had closed them. “Every thing alright mate?” the soft and surprising gentle voice of Styles reached him. Matthews shuddered. “Aye” he said softly. Looking carefully at Hornblower, he whispered “I was a moment in the past”. Styles nodded sadly, he glanced at Hornblower, who still was holding Mr Kennedy in his arms and spoke southing words to his friend . He didn’t want the officer hearing this conversation. “Me too. Their has to be a reason for this Matty. I mean who did this?” He whispered with a shaken voice.

“I don’t know” Matthews answered, looking earnestly at his friend. “We should tell Mr Hornblower Matty.” Styles replied. “To tell what Styles?” the older seaman murmured. “Well” Styles felt silent “You know what… that…. someone… is…. getting under Mr Kennedy’s skin.” He finished quickly. “Mr Kennedy is an officer, he has to tell it to himself” Matthews answered thoughtfully “You know as well as I, that Mr Kennedy would not do such a thing” Styles said sadly remembering how closed and withdraw Kennedy had became after Simpson had made him his top target.
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Styles remembered when he brought the young Kennedy to the sick berth. He had heard the sounds, when Simpson was beating the lad, but although Styles wanted to intervene, it was not a wise thing to do. But the dreadful situation had made his heart cry. Kennedy was a couple of days in the sick berth. Styles knew that no one visited the lad, he was marked by Simpson and the others distance their selves from the young midshipman. He had heard this from Robert, Dr Hepplewhite’s assistance. A good lad, who drunk ale with Styles when they had leave.

After Kennedy was released from the sick berth, Simpson was threaten Kennedy again. Styles heard them talk in one of the corridors. Simpson had cornered the boy,  babbling nonsense about surrendering under Caesar. Styles had no idea, who that Caesar was. But Mr Kennedy must have known, because he became pale. When Simpson had left, Styles had followed Kennedy, concerned about the lad’s safety. He was surprised that the officer went to captain Keene’s day cabin and became astonished when Kennedy asked permission to speak to the old man.

What happened after that conversation, he would never forget. After Kennedy had gone back to the Midshipmen berth, Keene had interviewed Simpson. Styles had never forgot Simpson’s face when he left the cabin.

Word was fast around the ship. Some brave soul had made complaints about Simpson’s evil behaviour and was bold enough to report this to the captain.  Captain Keene, who was to old and to sick to do something about it, had ordered that Simpson should hang six hours in the riggings and that was it. 

That afternoon, all the seamen were watching in silent, when the marine guards put Simpson in the riggings. They all had the same thought. ‘What would happen, when that monster was released and who would pay the prise for his courage?’ Styles knew who would and was becoming to feel nauseas.

In the evening Styles had the watch, just like Mr Kennedy. Styles admired the lad’s calm appearance, he really was a very brave officer. When the watch was changed, Styles had spotted Simpson behind Kennedy and his blood stood still. He tried to observe what was going on, but it was difficult, because some of the men were standing in his view. When the men finally walked away, Styles swore, both Kennedy as Simpson were nowhere in sight.

At that moment time was going swift. Styles hurried below decks, were his friend Matthews was sleeping in a hammock. He waked his friend and told him the situation. Matthews too, realised the danger and together they found their way to one of the empty holds. It was Matthews suggestion, because he knew where Simpson could play his favourite games, without someone who disturbed him.

What they saw their, it made Styles hart stop. Two filthy seamen where standing outside, watching with fascination what transpired in there. When both Matthews and Styles approached, they shacked their heads. ‘Sorry lads, but you can’t intervene’.

The soft cries of a young man, came to Styles intention and he looked inside the holt. It was a sight he would never forget. It was Kennedy! Pushed, kicked by a raging Simpson. The lad was bleeding and tried desperately to get away, but Simpson dragged him back by his hair and hit him in his face.

Kennedy fell down on the wooden floor and Styles prayed the lad would give up. It was the only thing he could do. But when Simpson reached out for the lad, Kennedy pushed him away and spat him in his face. Styles closed his eyes, but the horrible memories and the dreadful cries haunts him anyway. Simpson was completely taken aback, but recovered in an instant. He punched Kennedy in his face and stomach, than dragged the boy down on the floor. Kennedy had became slow, because of the punches and saw the new threat to late. Simpson hold the boy down with one hand and with the other he reached for his breeches.

Styles saw what was happening, just like Matthews and he tried to rush forward to stop the monster, but the two men who were guarding the hold, stopped them. One of them even had a knife. “You can’t intervene, stay away” they had shouted.  Matthews had pulled Styles back, because he knew the man with the knife had a dangerous reputation. But his only care was the sounds coming from the other room.

Mr Kennedy was pleading now. “Please, let me go, no! please, don’t touch me!” But it had no effect. Styles was crying when he saw the scene unfolded for him. It was to horrible to watch. Due to the tears, he couldn’t see, but he could hear…
After what felt like a century Simpson brushed past him, saying against the seamen that he would buy their ale for this evening and they had left.

When they reached the young lad, he was having one of his fits. Matthews tried to hold him, but the touches made it only worse. They simply set down and talked to the brave officer, hoping that their words would reach him somehow.

Styles felt the tears come up again. After that horrible night it was hell for Mr Kennedy. Simpson was made a fool by him and the lad had to pay for his courage. Styles or Matthews weren’t able to protect him. It always would happen if they were sleeping or were on watch. But Styles and Matthews could see the effect. The lad lost his enthusiasm, instead his face was timid, pale, with no joy. Sometimes they found him on deck staring into space. But he wouldn’t speak to them, to no one, what was haunting him. Instead he locked himself up and only followed his orders.

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“Horatio?” the soft spoken word hauled Styles back to the present. When he saw his friend’s face, he suspected he too had gone back to the past. “Yes Archie, I’m here” Horatio replied. “What happened?” Archie asked. “You had a fit Archie” Horatio laid a hand on his friends arm and was shocked when he felt his friend flinch. “a fit?”

“Yes” Horatio answered sadly “But you are here, how is that possible?” Archie asked confused “You were not here.” Horatio looked around, to the two seamen, he was surprised to see that they were so moved. “We found you Mr Kennedy sir” Matthews replied gentle “and I asked Oldroyd to find Mr Hornblower”

“You found me” Archie felt ashamed. “Yes sir, you didn’t recognised us, we were very worried and we fetched Mr Hornblower” Styles added with care. Archie turned his head down, his cheeks were burning with humiliation. He had a fit and the crew had seen it.

He expected that they would leave, they have done their duty. ‘Please leave’ he thought miserably. “Mr Kennedy?” Archie looked up, he was surprised to see that the seamen were still there and were looking at him with compassion. “Could we help you bringing you to your cabin sir?” Matthews asked with care. “It’s no use to lay here on this dirty floor sir” Styles added with a cheeky grin. “Styles.” Matthews hissed, afraid that this remark would offended Kennedy. But instead of that the young officer was offended, he smiled “You’re right Styles.” Kennedy’s eyes twinkled “Please remind me, that I point out someone to clean this floor.”

“Aye sir” Styles laughed, relieved that his officer still had his humour. “I’ll be honoured sir.” “I’m sure you are” Horatio added seriously. He stood up and gave Archie his hand. Grateful Archie took the hand. He was secretly relieved that his friend has helped him trough the fit, it was always less frightening. But when he was standing on his feet again, he suddenly remembered the reason for his fit and his face changed dramatically.

Horatio saw the change, but knew that he couldn’t ask Archie at the moment. “Come Archie, let’s go to our cabin, you have to take a rest.” Kennedy nodded. Hornblower wanted to support Archie, but his friend shake his arm away. “I’m fine Horatio, I can walk by myself.” Matthews and Styles glanced at each other.

Before the two officers walked away, Kennedy turned. He faced the seamen.
“Thank you men, for…helping me. I’ll not forget it” he said with great seriousness.

Matthews knew how difficult it was for the young officer to confess this and smiled. “It was a honour sir” “We would always help you sir” Styles added with great gentleness. Kennedy seemed dazed and looked at both men with a stricken look. A sudden thought had occurred to him. ‘But no, surely that was not possible. They couldn’t have…’ But when he looked into the eyes of Matthews, he saw the answers. He started trembling.

“Archie? Are you all right?” a worried Horatio asked. There was something going on between his men and Archie ‘but what?’ With great effort Archie broke eye contact and turned around. “Yes Horatio” he whispered and was heading to the cabin they shared. Hornblower followed his friend, but when he glanced back at Matthews, he was shocked to find out, that a single tear had escaped the old seaman.

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End of part 3


The Uninvited
Part 4

In the great fortress of Bayonne the evening was not as calm as usual. Officers were shouting orders and several men were carrying supplies who came from the holds of the ships in the port. “Allez!” one of the officers shouted to the grunted men. “We have more to do!”

A tall, broad-builded, highly decorated officer walked to the active officer. “Report! monsieur Salvin“. “Everything is according to plan monsieur Rudolphe“ Salvin answered brightly. “Excellent“ Rudolphe nodded. “I trust you are aware that we expect our visitors in a couple of days. “

“Oui monsieur” Salvin smiled slightly “We have made the necessarily preparations. This castle has a excellent prison monsieur. We are very proud of her. She will do very well. Rudolphe smiled “I’m sure she will, but what about her capacity?” “We have several prisons under the castle monsieur” Salvin continued “All are build long ago. Even in those days it was necessary to take care of hundreds of men. We will manage” Salvin added.

“Well, if not. We care only for the officers” Rudolphe replied and left his officer. Salvin looked puzzled, but then resumed overlooking the work what still had to be done.

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Jean Rudolphe walked to what used to be, the great hall of the fortress. It was still a room, what suppressed power. He settled down behind the large medieval table and considered his next move. A couple of weeks ago, his men had captured the Interceptor. On board there were some distinguished gentlemen. Even he, couldn’t kill them, not without good cause.

Besides the men were essential for the plan. The British Navy knew of course that they were captured and brought to Bayonne. But because of the prisoners they didn’t dare to attack the fort. Rudolphe found the plan excellent, because he knew he couldn’t resist the might of the British Navy for long, when they would attack. But in this situation, Rudolphe smiled, “excellent” he murmured.

He had heard from his men in England, that the capture of The Interceptor was held secret. The admiral had no wish to made this embarrassment public.  This was in their advantage, because know no one knew what had happened.

The Admiralty had of course the intention, to rescue the captured men. And that was exactly the base of their plan. They had intercepted those plans and created some new ones. As a result of those fake plans, Rudolphe expected a new ship. And if the stories about her were true, the Indefatigable would be a fast and powerful ship. As of a result of a deal he had made with the French government, he was forced to share the provisions on board the two ships. He might gave the Interceptor to them. They would leave him and his business alone, and they will tolerate what ever he was up to. But he would keep the Indefatigable for himself.

That brought a new problem. What should he do with the hundreds of men? His remark to Salvin was true. The officers were important. He could use the information they would give to them. If not willingly, than Massey would try and would eventually succeed. But what should he do with the common seamen? Many of the men of the Interceptor hadn’t survived the battle, and many more had died of their wounds afterwards. The common seamen who had survived, he had pressed to work. If they refused, Rudolphe shrugged unaware. Than they would not survive very long… As a result of that, they had less than thirty pressed men captured. With the officers and the gentlemen, their number was not more than forty. A small amount considering that the Interceptor used to have 200 souls aboard the ship.

But what should he do with the Indefatigable. Thank god, most of them would die in the battle when they would discover what would happen with them. But what to do with the survivors? Of course he would capture some of them, he could use them as workforce and to sink the moral of the officers. As for the others….

* knock* * knock* the sound brought Randolphe back to the present situation. “Entrer!” he commanded. One of his officers entered the great hall. “Any news monsieur Foure?” “Non monsieur”, the dark haired officer answered. “But that was not to be expected” he added smartly, “we expect Thompson back ..” Foure paused to calculate “tomorrow afternoon monsieur.”

“Very well, make the necessarily preparations Foure” Randolphe commanded brisk. He saw that Foure nodded and asked quickly “What is it that you wanted to tell me anyway?”

Foure smiled slightly “I’m afraid to inform you of two deaths sir. The two men from the Interceptor refused to load the guns on their old ship monsieur, so I was forced to take action.”

“Very well Foure, you are excused” Foure saluted and left the hall. At the moment the door closed behind his officer, Randolphe  smiled ‘one day, just one day of waiting and then.’ He could afford to capture two more men, those places had just been vacant. What to do with the others? Randolphe was sure that Thompson and Massey had some suggestions……..

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Pellew banged his fist on the table. “Damn” he swore. He had never felt such anger and such despair. He was trapped and he didn’t know how he could solve this dilemma. He paced around his cabin. eight steps, the wall, eight steps back, again a wall. Pellew stopped frustrated. This was no use. He was making himself unfit to think clearly. With a growl he settled down on his chair. His fingers drummed on the table. ‘There has to be a way out, there just has to be!’

But Pellew couldn’t find the solution. He could only think at the situation before his door, just ten minutes ago. Hornblower who was calling him, but before Pellew could response. Hornblower hadn’t said a thing. That was not only strange, it was also nerve-racking. Especially if you heard the muffled sounds. Pellew had walked to the door. He knew very well, that the door was closed, but he could hear better what had transpired in the corridor. What he had heard didn’t make him happy. Not only muffled sounds, but also a sharp cry of pain.

Those guards must have hit Hornblower. Pellew couldn’t think of a creature who would hit a Navy officer. But the fact sickened him. If just ordinary men could deliberately hurt his officers, what were those Thompson and especially Massey capable of?  He had shouted of course, he wanted to know what was going on. But after the sharp cry from the lad he had been silent. It was no use of bringing Hornblower in further danger. But Pellew knew that his men were in danger. He already suspected it, but the short scene before his doorsteps just proofed that assumption.

Rapidly he thought of a way how he could have prevented this situation of happening. Nothing would come. Pellew stood up and walked to the small window. He always liked this view. He could always think better, here were he could see the sea and were no men could see him. He stared for minutes into the blue open space. He hasn’t seen the attack of Thompson and Massey coming. He had disliked them, but that was no reason to suspect anything.

The first real clue was the meeting. But then it was to late. They had cornered him. But still. Pellew started passing again.

He knew something was wrong, when he had looked at Hornblower. The lad hadn’t paid much attention to his speech. Instead he was staring at that Massey. Pellew remembered that he was intrigued. But know the realisation crushed him.

“Hornblower must have know or suspect something” he murmured. ‘But what?’
It had to do with that Massey. Pellew winched, there was someone else who was not himself besides Hornblower. Kennedy. If Pellew had remembered correctly the lad was pale and was certainly not his cheerful self. If he knew Hornblower well enough, the reason for not paying attention to his captain’s speech, must have been important. And if he had observed Kennedy’s and Hornblower’s friendship correctly, the reason must have been the welfare of his friend.

Pellew stopped and sacked again on his chair. He felt his hear on his back. Hornblower must have suspected that there was something wrong with his friend. Even Pellew had seen the signals.  The faces of his young lieutenants remembered him of an other day. They were midshipmen at the time. Young enthusiastic lads, who were proving themselves every day. Pellew had seen great promises in them and had arranged that they were at the Papillion meeting. But when the meeting had started, he had been amassed, when he had seen the looks at the faces of both Hornblower and Kennedy.

Especially Kennedy was wearing a expression what suppressed terror and at that moment Pellew didn’t knew the reason for that fear. He had considered it was for the upcoming mission. It was a day later, when he heard the story from Hornblower and the reaction of that Simpson creature, that he suspected that the fear from Kennedy must have had a different reason. Pellew had never uttered a word to anyone about this, but he had damn himself for not seeing the signals.

Until today Pellew didn’t knew what had happened on the Justinian. Hornblower never had uttered a word about his old ship. But Pellew had observed his men always very closely and knew that something tragic must have passed. And that something must have made the friendship the two men had together closer.

Pellew smiled slightly. Kennedy and Hornblower were always together. They were very different, but they were getting on so well. Pellew was happy for the solitude Hornblower to found such a loyal and dear friend. And he remembered the sadness from Hornblower when they couldn’t find the boat were Kennedy was in.

Pellew shacked his head slightly. Kennedy had never uttered a word about his affliction. For Pellew it didn’t make any difference. The lad was an good officer and with some more confidence even an excellent one.

But in those days Kennedy hadn’t trust him enough to tell him about it. And Pellew still wondered what had happened all those years ago and why Kennedy wouldn’t trust his captain. Pellew had enough experience to know that it was fear and it made him sad.

And what had transpired years ago, must have transpired or threaten to transpire on his ship. There were to many faces who told the same story. And this time, Pellew was not unprepared. He knew his men better and knew when they were in fear.

Pellew swore again. Knowing that his men were in fear, didn’t help. He was a prisoner on his own ship and he couldn’t help them. For a moment Pellew closed  his eyes, he was trapped and he knew it.

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It was getting dark and Horatio turned on the light in the cabin. He saw that Kennedy’s face was attracted to the light. After his fit and the news about the captain, Archie was quit. He was laying on his bunk and he tried to read some Shakespeare. But Horatio could see that his friend was trying, but failing. He could see that at the pressed lips and the constant shifting. Horatio sighted, he knew he had to talk to Archie and now was the perfect moment. In half a hour, Archie had the watch for four hours until midnight.

“Archie?” he asked softly.

“Yes Horatio” Kennedy’s voice seemed composed, but Horatio could still hear a flicker of emotion in it. Horatio paused for a moment. He knew that his friend wore sometimes masks to hide the pain he had. He supposed that he was the only one, who could see that. But he didn’t knew what was going on and what was wrong with his friend. Horatio felt there was something wrong, but he didn’t knew how to open up his friend. It was hard to do, even in the Spanish prison and they had been so close, after Archie had opened up a little. 

“Archie, what happened in the officers mess?” he asked bluntly.

There felt a silent. Horatio heard his friend’s heavy breathing. 


“It was nothing Horatio, nothing important” Kennedy said with a strangely calm voice. Hornblower looked at his friend and saw that Archie didn’t look at him.
“But” Horatio started again. “But what Horatio?” Archie turned his face and looked at his friend. He hated to lie to him, but he had to. They made it perfectly clear what would happen if he told someone the truth.

Horatio was taken aback by this outburst. “I’m sorry Archie, I only want to know what those buggers are up to and why they wanted to talk to you.” Archie laughed, but it was an ugly laugh. “Christ Horatio, it was nothing, it was just social talk.”

But Hornblower didn’t gave in so easily. “What sort of social talk?” he pressed.
He knew that Archie was hiding something from him, he didn’t understand it and it made him somewhat angry. “Why do you want to know?’” Archie blocked the question. “Why don’t you want to tell me Archie?” Horatio was getting upset. ‘What was wrong with him?’

“Because there’s nothing to tell!” Archie rose and reached for his cloak. Horatio was stunned. “What are you doing?” “I have the watch, haven’t I.” Archie replied. Hornblower stood up and blocked the door. “Archie..” Kennedy turned. “Please let me out Horatio”. Hornblower saw that the hands of his friend were trembling. “It’s alright Archie” he added softly. He realised that pressing was not a good option. “I’m sorry” Horatio took a step side wards. “I only care for you”

Kennedy passed his friend and just before he stepped out of the room, he turned. “I know Horatio, I know” and he closed the door. Leaving Horatio dazzled behind.

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It was a calm evening. The wind was not to strong, and the ship was heading south,south east. Thompson stood in his cabin. He had placed a map on the table. With the information his men had given to him, he could easily find their position. With the fair wind, they were making good progress. Bayonne could be reached at noon tomorrow. That was earlier than they had anticipated, but he knew that Randolphe and the other men would be ready.

Just one day. Thompson smiled. He rolled the map and put it where it came from. Out from his sea chest he took some letters.

In those letters stood the cunning plan he, Massey and  Randolphe had came up with. The plan was excellent and everything was going as planned. Thompson yawned and put the letters back. He didn’t really need them, he knew the plan at heart.

He stared at his bunck. Massey had the watch this evening. So he could rest and save his energy for later this night. Swiftly he unbuttoned his jacket and made himself ready for some sleep.

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Archie was staring at the ocean around him. His mind was going back to the argument he had with Horatio. He didn’t want to argue with his friend, but it was necessarily. Horatio knew him very well and Archie had seen enough worried gazes from his friend, to know that his friend was worried for him. It was comforting that anyone would care about him. It was also making Archie nervous, because he didn’t want anything bad happen to Horatio. And it could be very bad…

Archie sighted, he suspected that Horatio guessed what had happened to him. But Horatio didn’t really knew how bad it has been. He had not known what Simpson had done to him and Archie would keep it that way. It was no use to destroy a friendship over something what couldn’t be changed.

That’s why he had made the argument, to keep Horatio out. It was hard to do, because Archie longed for someone who he could confide. But that was not possible. Archie thought that it might be, but not with these men aboard the ship. Not when this whole situation made him think of another ship and the darkness what was around her.

Kennedy shake his head. ‘Stop it’ he commanded to himself. But is was difficult, not to think of those dark days and the great despair. To get rid of the horrible images he looked around to observe the men. He didn’t saw many. Archie frowned. He made a round around the ship and was getting more and more nervous. There were men, but not Indefatigables. The men he saw, had unfamiliar faces and were watching him with calculating eyes.

Archie considered to report. But with a shock he remembered that there weren’t any officers who he could report to. The captain, Bowles, Bracegirdle all were indisposed at the moment.

He shrugged, if Thompson would have his men have the evening watch, so be it. But he would keep his eyes open and somewhat nervously Archie headed to the stairs to the officers deck, but before he could reach it, he felt a strong arm grabbing his shoulder.

Archie flinched and looked around to see who it was. When he recognised the face, he felt his stomach sink and tried to get away. It was Massey.

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Horatio lay long awake. He couldn’t sleep. The voices of himself and Archie were constant in his head. ‘Archie, what happened in the officers mess?’
‘It was nothing Horatio, nothing important’

That was not true of course. But Horatio had no idea why Archie didn’t tell him so. The way Archie had reacted had intrigued Horatio. The argument they had, might have worked if Horatio had not seen Archie’s face. But he had, and Archie’s eyes could tell more than thousand words. The eyes had warned him away, but had also plead for help. And Horatio had been shocked by the emotion.

This whole situation reminded Hornblower of the Justinian and Simpson. Archie’s face was the ultimate proof. And Horatio didn’t understand why. He suspected that Simpson had beaten Archie. But why did those nightmares and even the fits came back? It didn’t make any sense.

Horatio turned and laid on his back. His eyes to the sealing and thinking. It didn’t make any sense, unless…

Suddenly Horatio bolted upright. Unless, there was someone aboard who acted like Simpson had done. Horatio felt nauseous. He remembered the fear and despair he had felt and considered that Archie was two years longer aboard the Justinian then he had. He had always asked himself how his friend had survived the tyranny from Simpson for so long. Perhaps it explained why Archie was so afraid of Simpson. Perhaps Simpson had done something to him.. An ugly suspicion came in Horatio’s mind. ‘No it couldn’t be’, Horatio went pale and tried to block the horrible thoughts out.

Who was acting like Simpson had done? Who was making Archie so scared, so scared that Archie felt that is was necessarily to block Horatio out? Horatio saw the face of the man before him and whispered “Massey”.

As soon as he realised that, he jumped out of his bunk and gathered his clothes. He had to see Archie. He had to make sure he was all right.

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Archie felt a sharp pain in his arm and tried to get away. “Leave me alone” he said, trying desperately to get the panic out of his voice. “Ah my dear boy” Massey leaned closer and pushed Kennedy against the wall. Archie tried to push the other man away, but as result Massey jammed his head hard against the wooden beam. A sharp cry escaped Archie.

“I wouldn’t do that if I was you” Massey said and he punched the younger man in his stomach. Archie felt down. He felt that he was trembling. Not only from the pain, but also from the painful memories. ‘Not again, please not again’ he thought.

He felt a strong hand snatching his collar and pulling him up. “No, please” he whimpered. Massey pushed the lad again against the wall. His face came very close. Archie closed his eyes. “You’re a lovely lad. But you don’t listen very well boy” Massey whispered in his ears. You have to be punished.” His fists banged in Archie’s body.

After four blows Massey stopped suddenly. “Remember, laddie, Not a word, or others will pay a price!” He touched Archie face for a moment. Archie’s eyes flew open in alarm. “Remember…”

As soon as Massey had left, Kennedy felt down on the floor. His head against the wall and he tried to breathe normal, but found that terrible hard to do.

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Horatio was walking fast. Just like earlier today he tried not to run, but found that hard. It was all so clear to him know. Archie’s eyes, his face, even the argument they had. Someone was threatening Archie. And Archie tried to protect him, by blocking him out. Horatio cursed, why was he so blind!

Finally he reached the top deck. Horatio’s eyes flew over the deck, to locate his friend. He saw his friend’s back. Archie was standing on the officer’s deck, his eyes facing the ocean. Hornblower looked around to spot the other men. He could see them, but more in the distance. He looked carefully around, to see if he could spot Massey. But he didn’t see him.

Horatio climbed the ladder. When he reached his friend, he laid a hand on his shoulder. The reaction was shocking. Horatio felt his friend’s body tense and Archie made a small cry. “Archie!” swiftly Kennedy turned and when he saw his friend he tried to smile. But Hornblower was to shocked at the horror he saw in Archie’s eyes to see the smile.

“Archie, are you all right?” exclaimed Hornblower. Archie stared at him. “Hello Horatio” he answered slowly. “Archie?” “I’m fine Horatio” Archie said softly. “You don’t look fine to me.” Horatio was so worried that he forgot to handle the situation with care. “Well, there is nothing to do about that” Archie’s answer was strained. Again he gazed at the sea.

Horatio tried to find a way to reach his friend. But it was Archie who started the conversation again. “What are you doing here Horatio? I thought you would be sleeping.”

“I was worried for you Archie” Horatio answered truthfully. “I wanted to see if you were all right” Somehow Archie was moved by that statement. Horatio could see that there were tears in Archie’s eyes.

“Thank you Horatio” Kennedy replied with a voice full of emotion. “For being such a good friend”. The last was said so softly that Horatio had difficulty to catch it. 

“But I’m fine, as you can see!” Archie continued. And Horatio saw the mask his friend had put up at so many occasions reappear. He didn’t knew why Archie had said his last remark so loudly, but then he heard movement behind his back.

“A Mr Hornblower, insomnia?” Horatio turned to face the speaker. But he hadn’t missed the face of his friend. And he became angry, very angry. “Indeed Mr Massey” he said, trying to be polite, but found that difficult to do. His anger increased, because he felt Archie flinching. ‘You basterd, what are you doing to him?’ he thought hotly.

“Well I’m sure a walk and some sea air will do the trick.” Massey continued. “I’m sure they do sir ” Hornblower added with poison. “Well anyway” Massey changed the subject rapidly “I’m going to relieve you Mr Kennedy. So you can take some rest.” Massey’s eyes narrowed while saying that and Horatio hadn’t missed it. So had Kennedy, Horatio could feel it, but Archie was acting again. “Thank you Mr Massey” Archie saluted smartly and walked away. Hornblower followed him. He saw that Archie had trouble with walking, wondered how that was possible and was amazed by his friend’s courage.

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Massey looked at the officers who were walking away. He had to control himself, because he felt a incredible need to slam them in their face.

“Insolent dog” he murmured. He thought he had beaten the residence out of Kennedy. But he saw that he still had enough courage to fight them. Not when he was alone with him, but when that other officer was around, that Hornblower, Kennedy showed that he wasn’t down yet.

Massey cursed. He had came back to see how the boy was fairing. Massey smiled, he knew that it wasn’t the only reason. He had want to give the boy some more kicks. Give him a lesson that he had to obey him and certainly not asking smart answers during meetings where others could see that. But that Hornblower had intervened. Massey knew well enough that he couldn’t attack both officers. That would be folly. Besides he was certain that Kennedy wouldn’t open his mouth to the other officer. Kennedy was to scared, besides he would knew what would happen to his friend… Massey grinned. He looked forward to tomorrow.

He was not ready with those boys. ‘Yes, that boy thinks he can escape, but he can’t’ Massey smiled again. But it was a wolfish smile. He had came up with a thought. A gruel one and he liked those the most. Tomorrow the officers would be captive and then no-one could stand between him and his prey. That insolence boy would have his lesson and this time, it would be harder, much harder. And he could give that dark-haired boy also something.

But until that day, when he had broken Kennedy. He could use Hornblower. Massey grinned. He could use him, to break Kennedy’s will. ‘Excellent’ he thought. The young officers could give him enough information. There group needed the information. They were most keen on information how one should act in the British Navy. It was Massey’s task to conceal that information. A task he loved, he was very good at it. Otherwise this scheme couldn’t be performed. But they always wanted to know more. And this time, Massey didn’t have second thoughts on who he should start his inquisition…

A smile appeared on his face. Yes he knew who he would pick.
Massey was very happy with himself and he turned around to see if the chosen men were still doing there duty. To stand watch and keep a eye on the Indefatigables the same time. ‘One day and then…’
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Horatio was glad when they had reached their cabin. It seems like a haven. After seeing of Massey, Horatio was afraid Massey was up to something. But thank god nothing happened. It didn’t mean anything, Horatio considered. If he used to be with Kennedy and Simpson nothing happened either, but still he could feel the terror. Horatio sighted, he could feel it know. It was a certain sense, that made him aware of how Archie reacted. ‘No’ Horatio thought sad ‘It’s not how he reacted it’s how he tried to hide his true emotions’.

Horatio observed his friend. Archie hadn’t said much on the way back, he seemed dazed. At the moment they had reached their cabin, Archie had disposed his jacket, but he had keep his shirt on. Horatio found that strange, but he didn’t want to press. It was no use to start another argument. He doubted that Archie would be more willingly to speak then before his watch. Besides it was cold outside, so perhaps Archie wanted to keep his shirt on, to keep him warm.

“Are you going to sleep Horatio, or are you planning to stand there whole night?” Horatio shocked, he wasn’t aware that he was still standing. Archie looked at him with tired eyes. “I’m sorry Archie” Horatio quickly made himself ready to sleep. He quietly put out the light. “Good night Archie” he whispered. “The same Horatio” Archie’s voice was somewhat sad. Horatio wanted to ask Archie about his watch. But he was too tired and he fell asleep
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Archie laid long awake. Trying not to panic. His body hurts, he had pains in his chest and he was having problems with breathing. But the mental pain, was more severe than the physical one. He was used to that. He looked with tears in his eyes at his friend. His dear friend. Horatio had saved him. He didn’t knew it of course. But Archie had seen the look of disappointment and anger on the face of Massey. And knew in a instant that the treats of Massey weren’t over yet.

That Horatio arrived earlier then Massey had stopped the attack, but only for tonight. Archie wasn’t afraid of Massey. Well, he reconsidered he was… He was afraid of him. But Horatio would never understand why. Archie silently wept. He wanted to tell Horatio what was going on. But he didn’t. It was no use, he thought sadly. He was afraid to tell his friend the truth, besides the attack could change from Archie to Hornblower. And Archie wasn’t going to allow that.

Watching his friend sleeping, helped strangely. The panic he had felt, went away. Horatio always had that impact on him.

Even in the Spanish prison, the presence of Horatio had calmed him down. He trusted this man, more that he ever trusted someone. But still Archie didn’t want to sleep. He was afraid for the nightmares, who would certainly would come to haunt him. So Archie tried to stay awake but eventually, his body needed the rest and finally Archie fell asleep.
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It was late, although some would could it early and below decks, there was still a man, who couldn’t sleep. Although all the others were fast asleep.
Styles however was still awake. His mind was again and again going back at the incident of the afternoon. And the horrible memories who where awaken by seeing Mr Kennedy in distress. But more than the memories where the sounds Styles heard on deck, what had kept him awake. There were always sounds aboard a frigate, even at nights. But these sounds were different than the sounds you normally would hear, during night watches.

It were the sounds of people who were gathering. And that fact worried Styles, and kept him awake. Because he didn’t knew what he should do. His first thought, was to have a look himself, to see what was going on. But then he remembered the warnings Matthews had given him. And knew that going up, to check it his himself, it could be the last thing he would ever do. He didn’t trust those visitors and he knew that he didn’t wanted to meet one of some men in the night when non of his officers could see what was going on.

The next thought Styles had, was to report it to the officers. But that too, was rather difficult. He knew that he high officers were indisposed at the moment. Styles went sick, when he thought about that. They were only two officers left. And Styles wasn’t eager to get them into trouble. No, they have enough to deal with already. Besides it would be dangerous for them too, to intervene with that basterds Massey and Thompson. 

He could wake his friend Matthews, but that was no solution. Matthews had no answers and instead of one worrying man, you would have two. Styles decided to spare his friend a good night rest. He would see in the morning what those men were up to and then he could report to Mr Hornblower or to Mr Kennedy. And with that comforting thought, Styles fell asleep.

End of part 4
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