by JanL

Warning: Sad :-(

"That it should come to this," Pellew said heavily. "And you, of all

The one man whose esteem meant everything to him. Captain Sir Edward
Pellew. Why had he come to witness this disgrace? But the Captain was
there. Had permitted the guard to lock him in with this fierce and
bloodthirsty mutineer.

The Captain was waiting. He should say something... "It's good of you
to come and see me, sir."

//Good of you to come. But I wish you were anywhere other than here.
Archie is dying, and it's all my fault.//

"This is not a social call, man! Good God, sir! In a few hours you'll
be on trial for your life! And unless there are extenuating
circumstances, you'll hang -- Hang! In front of the entire squadron!"

//In front of your own squadron. I am sorry, Commodore. I would rather
die than shame you so. What would you have done, Captain? I tried to
act as I thought you would. But there was no right answer. And Archie
is dying...//

"I believed it was our duty to restore order and discipline aboard ship,

//You must know how it feels, sir. Your own Captain died in your arms.
How did you find the strength to go on? He is my only friend, and he is

"Order and Discipline! Black bloody mutiny, sir! That's what the charge
is. And against a captain who was a hero of the Nile and the battle of
Capt St. Vincent -- one of Nelson's own. Dear God!"

//I am sorry, Captain. I wish this burden had not fallen on you. You
were my great teacher and I would rather die than dishonor your faith in
me. But Archie is dying instead, and there is nothing I can do to save

"It was for the good of the service, sir. Hero or not, we were headed
for disaster..."


"And so the ship was saved."

"Yes, sir."

//The ship is safe. The men are safe. Most of them. But I've lost Mr.
Kennedy. And he's going where I'll never find him again, not this

"It was Dr Clive's opinion that Captain Sawyer was unfit to command?"

"Reluctantly. Yes -- that was his opinion."

//And who decides whether Dr Clive is fit? His is as opium-mad as
Sawyer. And he can do nothing for Archie. Nothing at all. I don't
believe he even tried. //

"Well, that's something, at least. But you do understand, sir, it was
your word against his?"

//It doesn't matter, sir.//

"It was for the good of the service, sir, and the safety of the ship."

//It's all right, Captain. Archie is dying, and they're going to hang
me. I wonder which of us will go first?//

"By God, Mr. Hornblower, I hope you can back that up with solid evidence,
because from where I stand I wouldn't lay great odds on an acquittal!"

"No, sir. I'm afraid you're right."

//I hope they will wait until he ... is gone. I would like to be there
with him, and then follow. He should not have to die all alone.//

"So you say Captain Sawyer's condition was due to a fall down the hatch?"

"That's what seemed to push him over the edge, sir."

"That's a very interesting choice of words, Mr. Hornblower. How did the
Captain come to fall?"

"He fell, Captain. He simply overbalanced and fell." //And even you do
not believe me.//

//Wait for me, Archie. I will be with you soon.//