The Uninvited
by Marijke

The Uninvited
Part 5

Horatio waked up early. He didn’t knew why he had waken, but he thought he heard something. His first thought was Archie. But when he looked at his friend, he saw that Archie was still asleep. Horatio was glad for that. His friend needed the rest. He peered at his friend. Archie seemed calm, but when Horatio looked closer, Horatio could see that his pillow was wet. Horatio stood up and with great care he felt it with his hand. It was wet. Horatio felt his hand tremble. ‘Why?’, he thought sad. ‘Why did it have to happen to him’.

He saw that Archie’s blanket had moved and swiftly and with great care he put the blanket back. He patted Archie at his shoulder and turned around to gather his clothes. But a soft moan behind him, made him turn again. “No, don’t!” a soft whimper escaped Archie’s lips. Horatio quickly kneeled at the bed from his friend. “Archie” he spoke softly, tried to sooth the dreaming young man. “It’s alright Archie.” But his words had no effect.
Archie started to toss and his moans were getting louder. “No, please, let me go.” Horatio touched Archie’s face, he didn’t had a fever, so it must be a nightmare, Horatio thought sad. But the touch, made it only worse. “Let me go, leave me alone.” Archie trashed around, his breathing was getting more and more upset. “No Please! Don’t touch me!”

Horatio was getting upset. His heart hurt by seeing his fried like this. “Archie, it’s me Horatio. Please wake up” he tried to soothe his freighting friend. “Archie, wake up”

“Nooooooo!” Archie sat upright, his eyen open but unseeing. Horatio took with both hands the face of his friend. “Archie, look at me. Archie!”

Somehow his words reached his friend. Archie’s eyes became clearer. “Horatio?” he murmured very soft. “Aye Archie, I’m here” Horatio was glad that Archie was awake. But his heart hurt like hell. He was angry and desperate at the same time. Angry for the man who brought the old nightmares back and desperate, because he didn’t know what was happening and how he could help his friend.
‘I’m not leaving him alone today’ he thought with great intensity. 

Archie sank down. “I had a nightmare hadn’t I” he whispered, feeling ashamed, although he was glad that he was relished by it.

“Yes you had” Horatio didn’t knew anything else to say.

He saw that Kennedy had closed his eyes. Horatio thought at something he could say, but nothing would come. “Horatio?” Hornblower brought his head up.
“Yes Archie” he replied softly. “What’s the time?”

Horatio felt tears coming in his eyes. Again the blocking out. ‘Why Archie, why don’t you want to tell me what’s wrong?’ With great afford he blinked the tears away and tried to frame an answer. “They just ringed four bells Archie.”

“Thank you Horatio” Archie turned to the wall and Horatio was facing his back.
Hornblower considered to talk to his friend, to try to get him to speak. But perhaps it was better when Archie had slept some more. Horatio sighted, he knew that he couldn’t sleep anymore and he decided to rise and check the watch upstairs.

He reached for his clothes and hastily he dressed himself. When he was ready he gave a last look at his friend. It seemed that Archie had fallen back in sleep. Horatio opened the door and was shocked when he saw two unfamiliar faces looking at him. ‘What the devil was this all about!’
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“Awake you lazy bastereds!” a cold voice had wakened Styles. Normally the morning protocol, wasn’t pleasant. But this.. it was nerving. Suddenly Styles remembered the sounds who had kept him awake for most of the night and he knew of his intention to report it to Hornblower or Kennedy.

“All men are expected to be on the deck! Now!” Styles grunted. He hastily gathered his stuff. Next to him, he saw that Matthews was doing the same. “What is this all about” he whispered to his mate. “I don’t know, but it is not good, trust my words” Matthews answered with a worried expression on his face.
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Horatio was staring at the men before him. “Well, what do you want” he commanded. He tried to get his voice even, after all he didn’t want to awake Archie. “Well, do you look at that Fuller. You would image that the British officer was all polite and so.” The taller man grinned viciously. “But perhaps their standard code doesn’t apply in the morning.” He added.

Horatio was flabbergasted and the men must have seen that, because the taller men continued. “Look at him Fuller, he had really no idea what we are doing here.” The man made a step forward and suddenly Horatio recognised him. ‘No’, he thought ‘it can’t be’. But he knew that the man before him, was the same as the man who held him against the wall, by the captain’s cabin. Horatio swallowed. He was not forgotten it. The anger, the shame and… the fear.

Again the man made a step forward and Horatio couldn’t help himself, he took a step backwards. “Do you see Fuller” the man smiled again. “He know who I am.”
“I can see that Farnsworth.” It was the first time the other man had said something. “But we have are orders and I would advise you to keep to that” Fuller added with care.

“What orders?” Horatio couldn’t help himself. The both men laughed. “Curious aren’t you. I suspected you would be.” Farnsworth teased. Horatio felt himself blush. “But our orders are quit simple. We..” Farnsworth nodded at his mate “have to make sure that you and your fellow officer stay in your cosy cabin for the rest of the day.”

“What!” Hornblower looked with amazement at the men. “On whose orders! You can’t keep us here!”

Farnsworth sighed. “I told you, this one would act difficult.” And before Hornblower could do anything, Farnsworth had taken his knife out of his cloak and had the officer against the wall. The taller man pressed the officer with his head against the wooden door. “You really like this, don’t you boy!”

Horatio tried to move. But a frantic “Don’t” stopped him. “Belay that lieutenant!” Fuller commanded. “Don’t try with this man, you don’t know what’s he’s capable of.” But still Hornblower tried to free himself. The sharp knife on his throat however stopped his movement.“

“You really do like this boy” Farnsworth whispered in his ear. The intimacy made Hornblower flinch. “How about your friend? Does he like it to?” The horrible threat made Horatio’s heart stop. ‘you basterd’ he thought hotly. “You leave him alone” he whispered with great anger in his voice.

“I leave him alone if you will do what you’re told” Farnsworth played with the knife while saying that. You remain in your cabin sir. And if you will try something, someone here will pay for that.” Hornblower found himself nodding.

He had no choice. “Ok lieutenant, back where you came from and remember, when you’re getting loony. We are just a few steps away.” Fuller added with a warning gaze. Hornblower opened the door. As soon as he stepped into the room, he heard that the door was closed behind him. And he saw that by some miracle Archie was still sleeping.

Hornblower was glad for that. He didn’t want to burden his friend. He sat on his bed. His gaze fixed on Archie’s sleeping form. The treat made him angry, but he knew that Farnsworth was capable of doing what he threaten to do. For a moment Horatio closed his eyes. ‘What if Farnsworth wasn’t threatening, but already had done something?’ It made him nauseous. 
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Styles and Matthews were on the deck. Facing the mainmast. It was their usual spot when they called all hands. It was still dark, although a small flicker of light in the east promised the coming of a new day. The Indefatigables were quit. Styles glanced around to see familiar officers. But he couldn’t see one of them. This fact worried him. ‘Where were they?’ If was possible of course that they were delayed.

The men stood their quietly and watched the light in the east getting stronger and more brighter. Everybody hold their breath. This time of the day, was always nerving. It was always possible that an enemy ship had sneaked towards them. But the hands in the mast, didn’t cry out. Styles heard Matthews sighted in relief. There won’t be battle. Normally they were dismissed. It would be time for breakfast. After that, the normal days work would commence. But strangely no order was given.

Because of the increasing light, Styles was able to see the faces around him. They were still quit, but Styles could feel there worries. ‘Why didn’t they were dismissed?’ Then his gaze was fixed on the quarter deck and he could see the figures more clearly know. Styles cursed. “Styles!” Styles knew without to look that it was Matthews who warned him. “Look at them Matty” he said, trying to keep his voice down “All those buggers are up there. Look at their arrogant faces. But where is Mr Kennedy, where is Mr Hornblower?” “I’ve noticed it Styles.” The soft answer came back.

“I’m gonna find them!” Styles was about to walk away, when a commanding voice ordered “Everyone remains where they are! Otherwise you will be shot!
A loud *bang* followed.

Styles freezed. Everywhere there was smoke, but he could hear soft cries of men who where hurt. A cold voice ordered “Reload!” and the Indefatigables felt silent. Nobody moved. The smoke cleared away and Styles could see that several bodies laid motionless on the deck. 

You had given an order sailors. Obey them or feel the consequences!” a cold Thompson appeared at the quarter deck. He looked at the dead men. “Pitch them overboard Mr Peckham!” A loud angry cry escaped the crew.

*bang* *bang* again the shots. Styles tried to seek cover. But he felt Matthews hold him. “Stand still!” Matthews shouted “If you value your life, stand still.” Styles nodded or he thought he did. He felt his muscles tense. This was a massacre. It took some time before the smoke had vanished. This time the view was more dramatic. Everywhere there lay dead and wounded men. The survivors were pale, but stood with angry eyes still.

I see I have you attention!” the cold icy voice of Thompson reached their ears. “Listen carefully, because I’m not going to repeat myself.” He continued. Styles noticed that the men of Thompson were reloading their guns. It was Massey who had given the orders to shoot the crew. Styles felt a anger, an incredible wild anger building in his mighty chest. He would love to tear those officers to shreds. A touch on his shoulder, made him look around. “Careful mate” Matthews whispered. “This is not the time.”

I’m in command of this ship.” Thompson continued “And anyone who would not obey me or my men will be shot! He nodded at Massey. The crew hadn’t missed that and remained silent. Thompson pitched his voice down. “Your officers and captain are being held and will be brought upon charges the moment we set foot on England. They didn’t obey the orders I received from Lord Admiral Hood and that is considered as treason.”

“You will carry on with your tasks. Contact between you and any officer of the Indefatigable is forbidden. If it will happen, it will not be so good for the officer.” A smile appeared on Thompson’s face. “So you be warned!” he nodded to Massey and went back to the day cabin.

Massey walked to the centre of the deck and continued. “You’re all dismissed, with the exception of the crew of Mr Hornblower.” Massey grinned “They will clean the deck!”

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With a loud sight Oldroyd settled down on the bench. Around him, the men were looking at each other with a painful expression on their faces. Oldroyd was tired, not so much physical, although it was heavy work sew the men in canvas and give them to the sea. But he was more mental tired. Seeing all of his shipmates dead was emotional heavy. And there were lots of them.

“How many?” a voice full a grief broke the heavy silence. “To many mate” Matthews answered with grief in his voice. He had seen al lot in his days at sea, but this massacre… They had been busy for hours and he reckoned it was almost noon when they where ready. He hadn’t count them. But he reckoned there where dozens of his mates dead. And several badly insured. Matthews didn’t reckon they would survive.

Styles who said next to them nodded. “They will pay for this, I swear it!” The other men nodded. The deaths of their mates had to be repaid. “I don’t understand it. They said that they had orders from the Admiral. How could they do this.” The other men nodded sadly. “I reckon those orders were false” it was Styles who suppressed the thought of everyone around.

“Our officers, they must have found out” a older seaman said. “That’s why they took care of them first” he continued. Oldroyd shocked “Do you think they are dead?” “No” Roberts stood up. “I don’t think so, I walked in the corridor where the lieutenants have there cabin. I couldn’t pass. There where men guarding the door. I think all of our officers are being guard that way. “

Styles nodded “I think you’re right mate. They want our officers. That was the whole idea I suppose. Our officers and our ship” Oldroyd was confused “But who are they and what are they going to do with us?” Matthews thought for a moment “I don’t know. But when we left the deck, the coast of France was very nearby.” The Indefatigables reacted with several cries of despair and anger.

“Is there nothing we could do?” one of the asked with fire in his eyes. “We could free our officers or else we fight back without them!” A lot a men agreed to it, but it was Matthews who responded. “We can’t do that mates.” He pitched his voice down, so that everyone had to make an effort to hear him. “We can’t reach our officers, Roberts said it himself. They will be killed the moment we reached the doors. And fighting those basterds will result in the same. They will get our officers and they will kill them before our eyes, if we don’t stop fighting.”

“Your right” a red heard seaman stood up. “We can’t let them kill our officers. “No, it’s better to see what those buggers are up to.”

“At that moment we could perhaps make contact with one of the lieutenants or even the captain. They would know what to do!” he continued. Matthews looked around, he saw that his words and the words of Scarlet had made sense.
“Ok men, so we do what Scarlet said. We wait for the opportune moment. So before we reach that moment we obey those men. We have all seen what they are capable of.” Matthews wanted to continue. But the young man who had suggested to fight back spoke again. “Listen to them?, I’m not going to!”

Styles grabbed the young man’s shoulder. “You have a great spirit in you Davies, but you have to know the moments when you should unleash them. Listen to Matthews he is right. If you fight now, they will easily kill you. Just like they did with the rest of our mates. We need you Davies!”

Styles let Davies go. The young man was looking at him with big eyes. “That’s exactly what Mr Kennedy told me once.” Styles smiled. “You can see that he right Davies, besides.. “ Styles smiled disappeared. “If you let yourself kill now, you can’t help him.” Davies thought for a moment “Help him? What’s wrong?”

Styles sighed, Davies was a new lad. He was fond of Mr Kennedy, but he hasn’t been there on Justinian and didn’t knew of the depths Kennedy had been to. The men who had been, knew of course, but they didn’t want to tell that. “There’s is nothing wrong Davies” Matthews added. “But it could be wrong” he continued and some of the worries he had, had crept into his voice.

The faces of the men around him changed and Davies made a decision. “Ok, I’ll hide my temper and I’ll do what you say what must be done.” Styles patted the young man on the shoulder. “Good man!”

“Have you noticed that we slowing down” Scarlet remarked. Everybody held their tongue and listen to the ship. After several second they nodded. “You’re right Scarlet” one of them said. “And if I hear the waves correctly, it seems like we are in a bay or something.” The men looked at each other. “France” of them muttered with anger.

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It had taken a long time, when Kennedy finally had awakened. Horatio wondered why his friend had been so tired. Probably because of the late watch. Better explanation was perhaps that Archie had lay awake for a most of the night. Had been awake and had cried? No, Horatio thought he couldn’t ask him that.

But he kept his promise. He would not leave Archie’s side. Fortune was with him, Horatio smiled wryly. They were captured in their own cabin, so he couldn’t leave Archie. When Archie had awakened Horatio had told him of course of the new situation. Kennedy hadn’t really responded to that. Had instead took a book of Shakespeare and started reading.

The first response of Horatio was anger. He wanted to discuss the situation with his friend. Talk about a way out and he didn’t understand why Archie would dismiss the whole situation as an inconvenient shower during watch. But that he had noticed how tighten Archie’s lips where, his anger had disappeared and he had considered that this was perhaps Archie’s way, to cover up a shield.

So he had waited and given his friend the time to get used to the new situation.
And after a hour, the waiting seemed prudent, because suddenly Archie started to speak. “What do you make of them Horatio?”

Horatio looked up. “I don’t think their Navy men Archie.” he said carefully. “No, I thought so myself” the answer was soft. “They don’t behave like them” Horatio added. He didn’t looked at his friend, afraid for the emotion. “What.. what do you .. do you mean Horatio?” By the strange sound of Archie’s breathing Horatio looked up. “Are you all right Archie?” he asked. “It’s nothing Horatio. My lungs hurt, I must have a cold.”

“Shall I exam them? Listen at your chest? Horatio asked. “No!” Archie’s voice had panic in them. Horatio looked up. “No, Horatio it’s… it’s nothing.”

“Are you sure?” Hornblower was taken aback by this reaction. “Yes.. yes I’m, besides” Kennedy changed the subject “you hadn’t given an answer yet.”
“That’s true” Hornblower let it go, if Archie didn’t want to be examined, then it was his decision to make.”

“I think it’s very strange for Navy men, to lock all the officers and even the captain up. So, why should they want to do that?” Horatio continued. “They must have a different plan” Archie finished it for him. “The question is what?”

“I don’t know Archie, but before they reached their destination they want us out of the way.” Horatio replied. “But why Horatio?” Kennedy asked. “They want us to keep alive” Hornblower answered softly. “Alive?” Kennedy frowned, what do you mean. “You where asleep, but at six bell I heard several shots” Horatio continued slowly. “They did what!” The horror on Archie’s face was genuine. It was the same expression Horatio had, when the shots had started.

“I heard it myself” Horatio added sadly. He looked down, watched the floor. “They are monsters Archie” his said with emotion in his voice. He felt the tears coming after he heard Archie saying “I know Horatio, I know…”

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Salvin was running towards the great hall. The watch had spotted a English Navy ship. They were moving towards the bay. Salvin had checked the name and it was the Indefatigable. Thank God, the preparations where finished a hour ago. He didn’t knew what Randolphe would do if he was not ready. Salvin had joined the group two months ago. He was assigned by the French Navy, but he had met someday Thompson. And his offer to join their group seemed perfect. At least they could do something against the English. Besides, there was good price money to be earned.

The French officer reached the tall, oaken door and knocked onto it. He heard a stern voice “Entre!” he opened the door and faced his commanding officer.
“Monsieur” Salvin exclaimed “They are coming! The Indefatigable is reaching our bay.”

“Excellent” Randolphe smiled. “They make a good time.” His smile disappeared. “Are the men ready monsieur Salvin?” he said with cold eyes. Salvin swallowed. “Oui monsieur, all is ready. They are all at their position.”

“Good. The men from the Interceptor are under look and keep? I don’t want a pitiful escape attempt.” Randolphe asked. “Oui monsieur, they are in their cells..” Salvin wanted to say something else but stopped. Randolphe however hadn’t missed it. “Yes?” he asked.

“Well monsieur..” Salvin hesitated. “I don’t think the men from the Interceptor could do something. The most of them are injured or weakened.” He finished quickly. Randolphe face changed. “I know their condition Salvin” he bites. “But I don’t want to give the Indefatigables any clues, what would happen do them, do we?”

Salvin saw the cold eyes fixed upon him and swallowed nervously. He had gone to far. “Excuse moi monsieur” he offered his apologies. He saw that Randolphe observed him closely. “You do remember our plan Salvin” the commander barked. “Oui monsieur” Salvin answered. “Well” Randolphe smiled “Carry out you orders!”
He nodded and the French officer was excused. Salvin saluted and left the room.
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On deck Thompson overlooked the bay, the mighty fortress and the ship. They had reached Bayonne. Now the difficult part had to come. He had to get the Indefatigables alive on land. Well at least the officers and some of the seamen. But it had to happen with a organisation. Thompson had observed these men and so clearly their anger and their loyalty. Loyalty for their killed shipmates and.. Thompson found that surprising for their officers.

He and Massey had expected that the men would attack them. Of course they had to kill some of the officers in return. But the Indefatigables must have known that, because they were quit. They had after they had deposit the bodies, had gone quietly below decks and stayed their.

Thompson saw Massey coming towards him and looked at the harbour. Randolphe had his men ready. They stood there with their muskets loaded and waited for the sign to un bark the ship. Thompson saw the guarding officer, Salvin. He had introduced the man to their group and he was enthusiastic. The officer was perfect, Thompson smiled. He had found out that Salvin’s brother had been killed by the English and that death had been hard of the officer. Of course he wanted revenge. ‘Well’ Thompson grinned ‘He would have it.’

“We’re ready Richard” Massey had reached him. Very well Guy, please commence” he answered. “Ok, you men! Get those Indefatigables first!” Massey shouted to his crew.  He saw that ten walked down to reached the seamen. After a short time, there was movement and his men came back with the first group of sailors.

Listen well, you English dogs! Thompson shouted. “We’re going on land, Do as your told. If not…” he pointed at Massey. Who had his musket ready. The sign was obvious and Thompson saw some of the men nodding. “Don’t forget that we have your officers still under our guard!”

Thompson saw that his men, where guarding the Indefatigables away. He was glad that the harbour of Bayonne was deep enough, to get this ship at the docks. He would hate the operation when they had to moved the men first in the sloops.

‘Thank god, that was not necessarily.’ He thought relieved. When the Indefatigables reached the land, they were held under guard and brought to the large prison beneath the fortress.

When two hundred men had gone to the fortress, Thompson signed to Foure. The other men from the Indefatigable where cornered.

Thompson saw that they where brought to the hills.  At that moment Massey appeared again, he had brought captain Pellew.

“What is this? ”Pellew was furious. “What do you think is the meaning of this?” he commanded. “Ah captain Pellew” Thompson smiled, “Don’t worry sir, you and your men are invited to stay at our lovely fortress.”

Pellew turned around, he saw the last of the men entering the fortress, then his gaze fixed on the men who where brought into the hills. “Where are those men going?” he commanded. He saw the smile from Massey and he felt nervous. “What are you doing with my men.” He asked, this time there was more panic in his voice.

At that moment Pellew heard shots, they were coming from the hills and his heart stopped. With great eyes, Pellew stared at the place where he had seen his men for the last time. “You basterds!” he yelled. “You have no right to do that! You are worse than animals!

Ah captain, please don’t call us names.” Massey grinned. “We can do what we want. You’re mine know, just like the rest of your men.” He said viciously. “Besides” Thompson continued. “We have no room for four hundred men. Rest assured you still have two hundred of them, at least for now” he warned.

“What about my officers” Pellew’s voice was just a whisper. The mass murder of his men completely dazed him. “They are still aboard this ship.” Thompson answered. “We wanted to deal with you first captain. As you rank order us to.”
“Rest assured” Massey smiled “They will be with you soon. After all we might need them” the both men laughed. But Pellew’s hart stopped. ‘What were these men up to?’ He feared for his officer. ‘If these men could kill his men so easily, what would they do with his officers and himself?’

“Please captain, leave your ship” Thompson commanded. Pellew saw the muskets and knew he didn’t have any choice. He nodded and walked away. When he reached land a French officer guided him into the fortress and into a large room. “They will call for you later” the French officer said and closed the door behind him.

After what seemed an eternity, the door opened again and Bowles and Bracegirdle where pushed inside. As soon as both men where in, the door closed again.


“I’m glad to see you Mr Bracegirdle and you to Mr Bowles” Pellew said relieved. He was glad with the company, he had feared staying here in solitude. “But where are Mr Hornblower, Mr Kennedy?” he asked worriedly.

“We saw them sir” It was Bowles who answered. “But they were pushed in a different cell” he paused for a moment. Pellew saw the pain on his face. “What is it Mr Bowles” he asked hoarsely. “Well sir, they didn’t act very gentle” Bracegirdle finished for Bowles. Pellew closed his eyes for a moment. “My god” he whispered. “Well at least they are together sir” Bowles added.

“That’s true, but I fear for them Mr Bowles” Pellew settled down on a huge chair. A relic of the Medieval past. “Did you know that they killed half of our crew?” the last was said with a voice full of emotion. “Yes sir, Bracegirdle nodded sadly, “we heard.”

There felt a heavy silence. No one knew what to say. If these men could kill men with so little conscience and with no honour. What would they do with officers and especially junior officers, who where held under their command…

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 End of part 5


The Uninvited
Part 6

Styles was looking at the walls who surrounded them. The wall where made of brick and they seemed old. Old but still solid. He leaned with his back against the wall. When he looked around he saw that some men where crying. Styles knew that they cried for their dead mates. He and Matthews where some of the last, who had entered the fortress. He saw that behind him, the others where surrounded and brought to another place. He didn’t trust the French and when they had heard the shots, everybody knew what that meant.

Oldroyd who set next to him, was staring into space. “Chin up mate” Styles said with courage he didn’t fell. “We are still alive” “Yes but for how long?” Scarlet said with despair. “I don’t know mate” Matthews answered. “ We have to wait and see.”

“This cell reminds me of El Ferrol. But then somewhat bigger” Styles grinned. “We have survived that, I’m sure we will survive this one.”
“You have been in prison before?” Davies asked curious.

“Yes we have, two years ago” Matthews confirmed. “Really? Where? “Davies eyes glanced “Tell us about it?” The other men looked up. A story, the seamen where always very fond of it. Besides it would keep the mind occupied.

“Well, the story started with the capture of a French ship.” Matthews started. “And Mr Hornblower got the command of the vessel. His orders where to bring the ship back to England.” “Yes I remember” Styles said. “We had a duchess aboard and Mr Hunter was still among us.”

“Mr Hunter? I never heart of him” Davies asked. “No, but you’re just one year on this ship mate” Styles sighted “So this story takes place before your time.” “I remember that Hunter” Scarlet shacked his head. “Stupid basterd.” “But why would Mr Hunter accompany Mr Hornblower? I would think Mr Kennedy was more able to do that.” Davies asked.

There felt a silence. It was Matthews who broke it. “True lad, but Mr Kennedy wasn’t aboard the ship at those days. We…” he felt silent. “He was missing after a mission we had. A the start of the story, he was away for one and a half year.” Styles finished. “Yes, that’s true. We all thought he was dead.” Matthews had a grip on his emotions again. He remembered how sad most of the crew had been and especially Mr Hornblower.

Davies was genially confused “Please tell the story Matthews.”  The old sailor nodded “When we were near the Street, we were surrounded by the Dons. Mr Hornblower tried to get us out of there. But the plan failed and we were captured anyway. We were brought to the coast and they put us in prison.” Matthews paused for a moment “and there Mr Hornblower found Mr Kennedy.”

Davies blinked. “How long had he been captured?” Matthews paused. “Almost two years” he replied softly. “Two years!” Davies exclaimed. He felt sad for his favourite officer. He had never thought the man had experienced such drama. “What happened Matthews?” The others looked at the older seaman. Most of them remembered the day when Mr Hornblower and Mr Kennedy had came back, but they never knew how.

Matthews voice was soft. “Mr Kennedy had been captured for so long time. He.. he..” his voice stopped. The sailor lowered his head. He didn’t want to tell the story. It was to sad, besides he was afraid for others questions. “Please Matthews” Davies asked. He saw that the old man had difficulties with his emotions. “You can tell us.” “The lad is right” Scarlet continued. “We all have a great respect for Mr Kennedy. Some of the lads, like yourself know more about him. Your respect is even larger. So what story is behind that Matthews? What happened there?”

Styles saw that emotions had the better of his friend. “Mr Kennedy was always a brave man” he said serious. “So to find out that this man was broken and wanted to die makes one very sad.” Davies felt tears in his eyes. “Really?” he whispered. “Yes Styles is right, Mr Kennedy had tried five times to escape and the dons put him eventually in a hole in the ground for a month.” Matthews whispered. “When we found him, he was just released out of it.”

“So Mr Kennedy wanted to die?” Davies voice broke off. He saw Styles and Matthews nodding. “But, but who… who stopped him?” he asked. Matthew looked up and smiled “Mr Hornblower.” Davies blinked

“You must understand that they knew each other a long time, before Mr Kennedy was captured” Styles explained. “They have a great friendship. And that friendship saved Mr Kennedy.” He continued. “That’s true Styles” Scarlet said seriously “You can see that friendship everyday, it enlighten all of us.” Styles looked at the man. Scarlet was just like Davies of one Kennedy’s men.

“Mr Hornblower nursed Mr Kennedy back to life.” Oldroyd stepped in the conversation. “But how did you make it back to the Indy?” one of the lads asked.

“Well, Mr Hornblower had given his word not to escape. On a stormy day a ship was in trouble and all the men would have died, if Mr Hornblower hadn’t suggested to the don to save them. The don gave permission. He had the word from Mr Hornblower and we were implied in that word too. We saved some men of the ship. Because of the weather we couldn’t row back to the shore. That would be folly. And when we were at sea, we saw the Indy.”

“And so you came back?” the lad asked. Styles smiled “Not exactly. Mr Hornblower had given his word and he wanted to go back.” “He did what?!”
Matthews smiled too. “Captain Pellew assured us, that we didn’t need to go. He would respect us anyway.” “What did you do?” Scarlet asked

“We didn’t know, but then Mr Kennedy stepped forward and said that if Mr Hornblower had given his word then Mr Kennedy would honour it.” Matthews said with pride. The Indefatigables who weren’t there at the moment where astonished. The men who had been there remembered it clearly. “If Mr Kennedy who had suffer two years in prison would honour Mr Hornblower’s word, then we would too.” Oldroyd said “So we went back.”

“We didn’t have to stay there for long” Matthews finished the story. “Because we had saved the people aboard the Almaria, we were pardoned by the Spanish government. And one month later we could return to the Indy.”

“It’s a good story” Scarlet nodded. “And it proofs lads, if we stay loyal to each other, we will make it out of here. We have officers who have been captured before and knew a way out of it.” A lot of aye’s were the answer. “Matthews, just one question.” Davies had been quiet for a while, he had been thinking. “How did Mr Kennedy became missing?”

He fazed at the old seaman and he was amazed to see the emotion.

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Horatio was examining his cell. It was strangely similar to the Spanish prison. The same beds, the same small window and the similar smell, made memories of those days came back. He hadn’t know how much Archie meant to him, until the day Archie almost died.

The guards who brought them here, weren’t to gentle.
They had pushed them inhere like garbage and then they had closed the door.

Horatio had seen Bowles and Bracegirdle for a second before the guards had blocked the view. They had watched them with eyes full sympathy, but couldn’t chance the situation of course. Horatio clenched his fists. He had hoped they would be reunited with their captain. Surely he would know what to do. But it hadn’t happen. Still, Horatio was glad that he and Archie were together. He watched his friend. He laid on the bed, with his eyes open.

Horatio glanced outside the window. He could see that the sun was going down. It was getting evening. So far they didn’t got something to eat. There was some water in a bucket. But they had not trust it to drink. So Horatio was hungry and thirsty. He hoped that they wouldn’t wait very long, to bring them something.

Suddenly he heard footsteps and a sound of a key into a door. Both Horatio as Archie stood up. It was their door. The door opened and a French officer entered the cell. Behind him stood three men. “Ah Monsieurs” the officer smiled. “I have been given orders to take Mr Kennedy.”

Horatio shocked, ‘not Archie’ he thought. He didn’t want to leave him alone. ‘Not here’. “Why?” he asked not minding sounding offensive. “You’re Mr Hornblower I believe.” The officer turned his face.  “I heard from Farnsworth that you are very curious.” Horatio felt himself tremble.

“But to soothe your conscience Mr Hornblower” the French officer continued. “Mr Kennedy is invited to dine with my commander.” “I suppose I can’t decline that invitation” Kennedy replied. Horatio couldn’t help himself, he had to smile.
“No, I’m afraid that’s not possible” the officer smiled too, but it was a cold smile.

“Very well” Archie stood up. “I’ll go, but what about Mr Hornblower?” “What about him” the officer asked. “I’m sure he’s hungry, don’t you have some food for him” Kennedy asked bold. The officer stiffened. “I’m sure that can be arranged.”

Kennedy nodded and walked to the door. He saw Horatio’s worrying eyes. He nodded, just to reassure him. ‘Or perhaps to reassure himself’, he thought gloomy.

The men around him, formed an escort and they brought him to the stairs. Kennedy expected to go upstairs, surely the dining room would be there. But to his surprise they went downstairs. Archie frowned.

“I’m sorry Monsieur” the French officer whispered, “but I’m afraid diner had to wait.” The man turned around and walked away.

But Archie hadn’t noticed that. His eyes were fixed on anther man who just came out of the door. Archie felt himself stiffen, it was Massey.

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“Ah Mr Kennedy, what nice of you, to pass by” he said amiable. He gestured with his hand to the door. “Please enter” he said. Archie walked to the door as soon as he reached it he heard Massey say something. He couldn’t understand it, but suddenly he felt two men take his shoulders.

Kennedy flinched. They had touched him where Massey had punched him yesterday. A soft moan escaped his lips. “Hold him!” the cold voice commanded. They dreg Kennedy into the room. It was a simple room, with a few chairs and a table.

“Bind his arms and put him into a chair!” Massey smiled while saying that. The two men grabbed Archie’s arms, brought them behind his back and with rope they were bind. When they were ready, they pushed the young man into a chair. “Very well” Massey nodded and the two men made a step backwards.

“You must be curious Mr Kennedy.” Massey moved towards him. “Yes I’m” Kennedy smiled, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. “I find this an original idea of dining sir.” Massey’s hand stroke out and smashed into Archie’s face. “Not so insolent boy! I see that the lessons you have learned were not enough!”

Archie was scared. But knew that he couldn’t be. Massey must not see it. But it was difficult. The memories were to painful. ‘I must be brave’ he thought and his next thought was ‘Horatio’, that helped somehow. “You are still opposing me boy!”
Massey leaned closer and whispered in Archie’s ears. “Fortunately I have all the time with you. There will be no interruptions.”

Kennedy couldn’t help himself, he flinched. The man’s presence reminded him of Simpson ‘no, not again’ he thought desperate. “You must have a lesson for your insolence. Peckham, Christopher, the table.” The two men pulled Kennedy up and brought him to the table. They removed his shirt and bended him on the table.

“Massey, have a look at this” Peckham looked at the back of the young man. “It seems like this one, has experienced this before.”

Massey turned around and peered at the back. The back of the man was full of scars. He stepped closer. Then dragged Archie by the hair. “You have been a prisoner before haven’t you?” Kennedy didn’t say anything. “Never mind, you probably enjoy this.”

“Should we start with the whip sir?” Peckham asked. “No” Massey laughed. “We wouldn’t injure this man, so that Hornblower could see it. It would be our dirty little secret. We will start with the cane. Ten lashes if you please Peckham”
Peckham started to hit Kennedy on his back. The young man flinched, but didn’t cry out.

“So, I take it the lesson is learned.” Massey smiled. “But this little meeting has the purpose to know you better. To learn of secrets and so on”  the smile disappeared. We want to know Navy secrets Mr Kennedy and one way or another we will find out.

“No never” Kennedy’s refusal was soft but steady.

“Turn him around!”

They laid Kennedy on his back. Archie moaned. His back hurt like hell. He could face Massey and the man leaned closer. He then punched Kennedy in the stomach. Archie cried out. Again a punch. Kennedy tried to stay consciousness, but after so many blows it was hard. “No, leave me alone” it was said with a sob.

Finally Massey stopped. “You will talk Mr Kennedy. Will it be now or tomorrow, it doesn’t make a difference for me”

Kennedy tried to speak, but held his tongue. He would only make the man more angrier. “I see you tomorrow Mr Kennedy.” Massey nodded to the two men.
They relished Kennedy’s arms. The young man felt onto the ground. “Bring him back to his cell!” Massey commanded.

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Matthews tried to frame an answer. He had feared the question of the young lad. A few people knew what had happened on Justinian. Matthews thought that even Mr Hornblower didn’t knew everything. He might suspected something, but he didn’t knew it. Only a few knew….

“I remember what happened.” A strong man appeared from the shadows.

Matthews looked at Parker. He was a Indefatigable for many years, but the old sailor didn’t really liked the man. It was a troublemaker. Thank god Pellew didn’t tolerate such men, so he had remained quiet. “That Mr Kennedy got a fit, wasn’t it? During a night attack. And Mr Hornblower had to knock him down, otherwise we would be all killed by the French.”

Styles stared at the man. “Mr Kennedy got a fit, that’s true. But you don’t comprehend the circumstances.” Parker looked at Styles. “That’s true” he saw that he couldn’t win this battle. “Mr Kennedy had a fit?” Davies was amazed. “I’ve never seen one of them.”

“It’s true Davies” Scarlet answered, he looked serious. “I never seen one myself, but I’ve heard about it.” He looked at Styles and Matthews. “I reckon you have seen some of them.” Matthews gazed at the man. “We have…” he whispered.

But Styles was confused. “From who have you heard?” Scarlet fazed the seaman. “From my brother, he served on Justinian.” The seamen went still. The Justinian was not a subject most men wanted to talk about. “Charlie, served eight months on that ship. He could tell you stories…” Scarlet voice broke of.

“What sort of stories?” Davies wanted to know more. “No lad” Matthews cut him off. “We are not discussing that. It’s better that it stay buried” the other seamen nodded. “We’ve said enough about it” Scarlet added with tears in his eyes.

“Where is your brother now?” Oldroyd asked. “He is dead. Died when the French sank Justinian.” Scarlet answered softly.

Suddenly the door opened. And several men armed with muskets entered the room. Between them walked men with pots, which smelled good. They put the pots down and the men disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.

“Finally food!” said Oldroyd

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Horatio couldn’t rest. He was nervous. So he had paced up and down for the last thirty minutes. ‘This dinner took to long’ he thought and he wondered why they had taken Archie. ‘What is going on Archie?’ he thought for the thousand time.
After Archie had left, they had brought some food. Horatio was starving, but he had not eaten everything. It was better to save some.

It was dark in their cell. The only light was coming from the moon, who shined through the bars in their cells. But the light was not enough. Horatio could hardly see a thing.

Horatio was about to lay down, when he heard noises in the corridor. Footsteps.
Quickly Horatio fell into his bed. He laid down, assumed sleeping. The door flew open. Horatio saw the light from torches. A man stepped into the room. Presumably looking around to see if everything was all right. Then the man was gone and Hornblower heard the voice of the French officer.

“I hope you enjoyed dinner Mr Kennedy.”

“Yes sir, I thank you for it” Horatio shocked. It was Archie’s voice, but somewhat strained. It was not a voice a man should have after a dinner.
“Good night sir” the officer closed the door and Horatio could see Archie still standing.

“Archie!” Horatio jumped out of bed.

Kennedy flinched. “My god, Horatio, I thought you were sleeping.”

“Well obviously not” he hadn’t missed the flinching and was worried. But it was to dark to see Archie’s face. “How was dinner?” he asked.

A pause

“Archie?” Horatio stepped closer. “O fine” Archie murmured. “Really?” Horatio couldn’t keep his worry out of his voice. “Yes Horatio” Archie sighted, but that hurt. He didn’t want to tell Horatio anything what really had happened. Horatio would be sick of worrying for him. He would spare his friend.

“Well, the company was terrible. So I must confess I didn’t enjoy that dinner.” He tried to sound normal. “But if you don’t mind, I would talk about it tomorrow. I’m tired.”

Hornblower looked with open mouth at his friend. He was glad that Archie couldn’t see him. ‘What was this all about?’ But Archie was already laying down. With his face against the wall. Horatio could hear the heavy breathing. “Archie, are you all right?” he asked. “Yes, I’m fine, just tired” a soft response. 

And that was it. Horatio stared at the back of Archie. He was genially confused.

Again he felt that his friend had blocked him out. ‘But why? What had happened?’ Horatio didn’t know. He sat their for a long time, before he too settled down for the night. But the sleep couldn’t come.

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Massey was walking to the great hall. He was happy to be at the fortress again. Here he had enough room and time to play his games. When he entered the room, he saw that his mates had already started with dining.

“Ah Massey good of you to come” Randolphe said jovial. “Have a seat” he gestured at a empty chair next to him. “Thank you Jean” he answered and reached for a glass of wine. “A toast monsieurs! For our great plan and the perfect performance.” Randolphe stood and held his glass in the air. The other men did the same.

One man however stayed where he was.

When they had settled down again, Thompson who set on the other side of the table, gestured at their guest. “I take it you know Mr Massey?”

“I would rather say, I never heard of him” a brisk voice answered. “Ah captain Pellew, how disappointing.” Massey smiled at the captain. “But fear not captain, I will not sleep less, because you think so ill of me.” Massey drank again of his wine. “Pity” Pellew reaction was short.

Massey leaned closer to Pellew. “actually, I should say, that there’s someone in this castle who would have difficulties to sleep.” Pellew peered at the man. He didn’t trust his attitude. But before he could react, Thompson was first. “Ah Guy, what have you done this time?”

Massey laughed “I played a bit.” Pellew hart stopped.

“With who?” Thompson was smiling. “Let me guess” he continued. “If I know you correctly, you wanted to give one of those Indefatigables another lesson, is it not?” Thompson peered at his friend, but side wards he glanced at the captain. To see what his reaction was.

“You know me better then anyone Richard” Massey laughed. “It’s a lovely lad. You have trained your officers well captain. He had not told me anything. But that will come. They all will..” he smiled wolfishly at Pellew.

Pellew was white as the Dover cliffs. His face a mask of terror, but soon that terror was replaced with anger. “You basterd. You stay away from my men!” he barked.

“I’m sorry captain” Randolphe intervened. “But you are not giving the information we want. So we have to get it elsewhere.” He looked at Massey. “Has he told you anything?”

Pellew stared at Massey. He wanted to kill the man, but knew that he would die in the attempt. However tempting, he couldn’t abandon his men. ‘Not now!’

“No monsieur” Massey smile disappeared. “The boy is though. Hasn’t said anything. But he will, I’m sure of it. His back is full of scars and that was not mine doing. Probably from earlier imprisonments. So he has memories. And those memories will haunt him.” Massey grinned “He will fight but eventually he will speak.”

“I will see you all hang!” Pellew stood up, his face a mask of anger. “Tempting” Thompson grinned “But no, you see captain, we are in control. There is nothing you can do.” Thompson nodded at the guards. “Take captain Pellew back to his cell!”

Pellew heard that order in the distance. His mind was occupied with his officer. ‘Who was it? It could only be Hornblower or Kennedy. Who?’ Then he was aware of his surroundings again. He nodded to the guards and walked with them to his cell
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When he reached his cell, he was glad that Bowles and Bracegirdle were still awake. Probably worrying for their captain. As soon as the door closed behind him, the men wanted to know what had happened. Quickly Pellew told them about the diner and the men who he had seen.

“Do you know how the others are fairing captain?” the first lieutenant asked. Pellew looked at him. They had given a candle, so he could make their faces. “The men are at the moment well” he said. “Some of them will be put at work tomorrow. As long as they obey, no harm will come to them.” Bowles and Bracegirdle nodded.

“What about our officers?” Bracegirdle asked, he had seen the look on his captain’s face and dreaded it.

“The midshipmen are fine.” Pellew answered softly. “Thank god” Bowles smiled. “What about Mr Hornblower and Mr Kennedy sir?”

The captain looked at the floor. “Captain?” Bracegirdle jumped up. “What’s wrong?” Pellew looked up and the two officers saw the despair on the face of their captain. “Massey is after them.” He whispered.

Tears came in the eyes of Bracegirdle. “How do you know sir?” But Pellew heard a different voice, a cold voice. ‘The boy is though. Hasn’t said anything. But he will, I’m sure of it. His back is full of scars and that was not mine doing. Probably from earlier imprisonments. So he has memories. And those memories will haunt him He will fight but eventually he will speak.”


“Yes Mr Bracegirdle?”

“How do you know?” Pellew sighted. “Because he told me so. They want do know secrets, but I didn’t tell them. So they try to get the information from someone else.” The men gasped. “Who have they… who have they” Bowles couldn’t finish the sentence.

“Kennedy” Pellew answered, knowing what Bowles wanted to know.

“My god” Bracegirdle whispered with tears in his eyes. “Did they told you sir?” he asked. “No” Pellew replied. But they said that the boy was caring himself with a lot of courage. So far he hadn’t told them anything.” Pellew paused. “Then Massey talked about the lad’s back, that it was full of scars and not all his doing.” Pellew lowered his head.

“Mr Kennedy was always a brave lad” Bowles said softly. Pellew looked at his officer. “ Do you know more about the scars sir?” he asked. Bowles paused for a moment. “I know nothing about it sir” he said serious. “but it must have been done to him, while he was captured.”

“Damn it, why has he not spoke to me about it” Pellew shacked his head. “He wouldn’t sir” Bowles answered “I don’t know if anyone knew.” Bracegirdle sighted. “Perhaps young Hornblower sir.”

“Hornblower?” Pellew frowned. “Yes sir, they are friends and I heard that Kennedy was broken after such long time in prison.” The first lieutenant paused.

“No wonder” Pellew murmured. “If even Massey was impressed, the lad must have been trough trials that would kill most men. And yet he survived.” He continued admiration crept into his voice. “Aye sir” Bowles agreed.

“But how?” Pellew asked he faced his officers. “I think because of Mr Hornblower sir, he must have told Mr Kennedy something, what would made the difference between life and dead.” Bracegirdle said thoughtfully.

“Let we hope Mr Bracegirdle, that their friendship will save them now” Pellew said with growing despair. “Because these bastereds have no honour and I fear…” Pellew stopped emotions overwhelmed him “.. I fear for their lives.”

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End of part 6


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