David's Star II: Journey's End - Chapter 2
Aboard the Renown, Horatio sat in silence, on the fighting top. He knew he should be with Archie below, but he could not watch his friend suffer so. It wasn't supposed to have happened like this, he thought to himself. He'd wanted the Captain to die, but Archie getting shot was not part of that plan. His friend had tried to reassure him he was not in pain, but Horatio could see the pain in his tortured blue eyes, betraying his words.
Dr. Clive had wanted to give him laudanum, but Horatio forbade it. The last thing Archie needed was the nightmares that laudanum would give him. No. That would not help him. Instead, he had told Clive to give Archie brandy and valerian. They would ease the pain and help him sleep.
Distantly, Horatio's mind wandered back. Archie had mentioned something several months back when they had first set sail from Portsmouth; where Lt. Bush had first come aboard. He'd said something about a feeling he had. A feeling that they would soon see that one certain ship again. Somehow, it was going to come back into their lives. When and how, he had not known, only that they were coming back.
For a few minutes, after Horatio had seen the blood that covered the front of Archie's white shirt, he had prayed perhaps his friend had been right, and that somehow the crew of David's Star would drop in at just the right time and save the day as they had once before. After a day and a night of sitting by Archie's side in the sick berth, Horatio had all but given up. "It should have been me." He murmured, as a tear slipped down his cheek.
"Sails to starboard!" Called out a voice from below.
"Mr. Hornblower!" Shouted Lt. Buckland. "What do you see?"
Sighing, Horatio wiped his face, pulled out his spyglass, and looked to their starboard. What he saw caused his mouth to drop. Could it really be? Surely this couldn't just be his mind playing tricks on him. He pulled the glass down and rubbed it with his shirt sleeve, then put it back up to look again. There was no mistake. The colors were now white, but the star still remained. Archie's prediction seemed to have suddenly come to life before his very eyes.
"What is it, Mr. Hornblower?!" Buckland shouted again.
Immediately, Horatio shook himself back to reality. He knew the older man needed to know if they would have to clear for action. "It's David's Star!" He finally called back. "They will not attack! They are friendly!" As the words left his mouth, he quickly descended from the fighting top.
Buckland frowned. "Are you certain they are friendly?" He asked, frowning as Hornblower's feet hit the deck.
"I know that ship, sir." Horatio assured him. "You have my word. They do not attack unless they are fired upon first, and then the results are rather dismal. I've seen this ship sink a 32 Gunner with only four shots."
After a minute, Buckland nodded. Certainly he must have seen they were in no condition to fight anyway. The battles past had been rough and they were seriously short of crewmen as well as officers.
"They're signaling, sir." Styles reported, with a knowing grin. "They say Commodore Pellew told `em where they migh' find us."
Horatio's head shot up, his hopes rising. Obviously they had asked Pellew then. Perhaps they already knew of Archie and this was what he had been waiting for.
"The Captain wishes ta come aboard, with `is First an' Second Officers an' the Surgeon." Styles continued.
"We must let them come aboard." Horatio informed Buckland, knowing Katryn would certainly have come to see Archie.
"Signal back, and tell them to come aboard." Buckland ordered. "If the Commodore told them to find us they must need something important."
Thinking of Kennedy, Horatio nodded. Somehow, he knew exactly why they had come. Turning away, he looked at Matthews and motioned for him to go below. Perhaps Archie's fortunes were about to change.
Below decks in a hammock in the Sick Berth of the Renown, Archie was in the middle of a coughing fit. Dr. Clive was trying to get him to take the laudanum in Horatio's absence, but Archie was shoving the bottle away, insisting he couldn't take it.
Both looked up when Matthews entered. "Mr. Hornblower's respects sir." He said to Kennedy, unable to keep the excited tone from his voice. "They've sighted David's Star off the starboard side. They're bringin' Doc KC aboard sir."
For the first time since he had been in the sick berth, Archie's face lit up.
"I am completely capable of caring for the men on my own, Mr. Matthews." Dr. Clive protested.
"Dr. Casse is a friend, and I wish to see my friend again, Dr. Clive." Archie managed to get out, gasping. "Certainly, you would not be against that."
Dr. Clive sighed. "No, I don't suppose I can be against that."
Archie lay back, keeping his breaths as shallow as possible. For the first time since this had happened, hope had crossed his face. But could even a surgeon as proficient as Katryn fix an injury this severe?
Above decks, Captain Richards was introducing his Officers to Lt. Buckland. "This is David Ratzlov and Jacques Cortez." He informed the Acting Captain, politely. "My First and Second Officers . . . and this is Dr. Casse, our ship's Surgeon."
The men bowed, respectfully.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance." Lt. Buckland replied in turn. "Might we retire to the Captain's Quarters, to talk?" He suggested.
"Dr. Casse would like permission ta see Lt. Kennedy, if ye don't mind, sir." Captain Richards informed him. "We were told he was aboard this ship."
"I'm afraid Mr. Kennedy is unavailable at the moment." Buckland answered, quickly. "He was injured in the recent battle we had on board our ship, and is certainly not well enough to receive visitors."
Dr. Casse raised an eyebrow. "If you don't mind, sir, I'd like to see him anyway." She insisted. "He's a very good friend, and no matter what condition he's in, I doubt he'd object."
"If I may, Leftennant Buckland." Another man interrupted.
"Yes, Dr. Clive." Buckland replied, moving farther away from the visitors.
"Mr. Kennedy was told the Surgeon was here and wishes to see his friend again." Clive told him softly, although not soft enough for Katryn to overhear. "And if his condition is as bad as I suspect it is, this may be the last opportunity to do so."
"Very well." Buckland finally answered louder. "Please escort Dr. Casse to the sick berth then."
As Katryn was lead away by Dr. Clive, the others, including Horatio, were ushered into the Captain's Cabin with Lt. Buckland.
The moments passed, and Archie grew more desperate. His injury alone kept him in his hammock.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, Katryn, dressed as a man, was escorted into the Sick Berth by Dr. Clive. Her hair looked lighter, and her skin was darker, but hers was a face he'd know anywhere. Yet what he saw in her eyes tightened the fear in the pit of his stomach and made his blood run cold. Katryn was afraid, and he could see it plainly written on her face. The hopes he'd had of recovery were starting to fade.
"Can you leave us alone?" She asked, quietly removing her hat.
Dr. Clive, knowing that Kennedy really didn't have much of a chance anyway, nodded and exited the room. He assumed in his own heart the Doctor had merely come to bid farewell to a friend.
Her hair was definitely lighter. A reddish blonde . . . almost the exact same shade as his own, he realized, looking her over. There were a few more lines on her face, showing her age more than he'd remembered. The last time he'd seen her, he could hardly believe she was eight years his senior.
All this time, she had said nothing and he watched her eyes, keeping his breaths shallow.
"That bad, is it?" He asked, softly breaking the silence.
Seeing her lower lip tremble as a single tear slipped down her cheek, Archie sighed. Yet still, she said nothing. He had seen Katryn cry before, but somehow, this was different. Deep within the farthest reaches of his mind, he had entertained thoughts of another miracle being pulled off, but one look into the ice-gray eyes of his dear friend had already told him all he needed to know.
"Well at least tell me how much time I have left." Archie pleaded, desperately, after another moment of silence.
Katryn sighed. "Kingston." Was all she said.
"Will I live until the Inquiry?"
"But not long after that." He concluded.
She didn't have to reply. He saw it in her eyes.
Katryn had told Archie in the months he spent living on David's Star that she always saw a person's eyes as the windows to their soul. She could tell many things about a person, with one look into their eyes. Indeed, she had read him like a book . . . but there was something else that Archie had noticed about her. Sometimes her own eyes would betray her. It was one of the things that had intrigued Archie about Katryn. She had a piercing gaze that felt as if she were looking into your soul. But that same gift also made it harder to mask her own emotions, and Archie had gotten to know her well. He knew very well what it was she was afraid to say.
"Is there nothing you can do?"
Katryn looked around the sick berth, making sure the other men were otherwise occupied. "There is something, but you may not live and it has to be your own choice."
Archie frowned. "What are you saying?" Did he have a chance after all?
"You die of the infection, not the gunshot."
"If the infection can be prevented, you may have half a chance." She replied.
Watching her face, he realized she was not saying everything. "There's a `but' in there somewhere." Archie put in, coughing.
"If we do this, you have to join our crew, and you'll never be able to come back." She told him. "History says you will die in Kingston after your testimony."
"You know exactly what I mean." Katryn informed him. "You're already planning it, and you have to save the one who will take the blame otherwise."
Archie closed his eyes. He'd had a feeling ever since he'd heard the Captain was dead. Then Mr. Wellard had died with the Captain. Of the three men who had witnessed Captain Sawyer's falling into the hold, there were now only two left, and himself mortally wounded. Horatio would be the one to take the fall. Unless Archie himself confessed, they would hang Horatio for treason. He was already dying, but Horatio was not. No. Archie could never leave Horatio to take the blame for a mutiny they had all been a part of. If he was meant to die anyway, then the secret of Captain Sawyer would die too. He would take the stand and confess to the crime. Horatio would be exonerated, and Archie would die anyway: at least that was how History would write it. Even if Archie did not survive whatever Katryn was planning to do, he would still have wanted it this way. He wanted Horatio to live on, to be promoted to Captain, Commodore, maybe even Admiral and Lord. He would get married and have children. `He would live for me.' Archie decided.
"If we prevent the infection, forge your death, and switch the bodies, you'd have to return to Florida with us as part of our crew, and start your life over . . . without Horatio." Katryn waited a moment for this to sink in. "And more than that, you would die as a traitor to your country. By taking the blame in his place, you'd give up your good name, your loyalty, and whatever little your family ever thought of you won't be helped by this."
Archie swallowed hard, closing his eyes. He was being given the choice he'd always thought he'd agree to in a second. To join their crew. But he had not counted on never again seeing his friends.
Katryn stood in silence as Archie thought it over. "My family severed all ties to me a long time ago." He informed her, shaking his head. "I tried several times to appeal to my father. I even went back to the manor to see him. To tell him I understand why he did what he did, and I forgave him. I was never given the chance to tell him in person. My brother William had me thrown off the property, telling me if I ever returned he'd see that I was arrested." Archie trailed off.
"If I survive and go with you, I would never see any of them again." He whispered, as a tear rolled down his cheek. "But if I stay here and die, I wouldn't see them anyway . . . and either way, they would have to live without me."
Taking as deep a breath as he could manage, Archie looked her in the eye. "I would rather join your crew, than die." He replied after a moment. "But I want Horatio to know about it. I cannot bear the thought of the pain he would go through, believing I was dead. It would devastate him."
Katryn shook her head. "He's no actor, you know that." She told him, gently. "If he knew, no one else would believe it. He has to believe you died; at least until after everything is all over."
Archie sighed. She was right. Licking his lips he looked at her again. "What if he was told afterwards?" He asked. "You said yourself there was only a half chance anyway. If I survive, then you can tell him."
After a moment, Katryn nodded. "Agreed." She replied. "But for one thing."
Archie looked at her.
"Write a letter to your father." Katryn suggested. "Tell him you are dying and you want to at least have him know how you feel. Tell him what you told me. We'll send the letter off, without putting your name on it. That way, your brothers can't intercept it. I don't know how he'll take it, but I think this is something you desperately need to get off your chest. To make peace with the past."
Archie closed his eyes. Peace. Yes, this is what he'd wanted so badly. To let go of the past and bridge the gap between he and his father, even if he knew he would never see the man again; and if he truly didn't survive the operation for whatever reason, he desperately wanted to make peace with the past that had tormented him for so long. "I'll do it." He finally declared. "Now what is it you are planning to do to prevent the infection? I believe we have an agreement already."
He watched as Katryn put on a pair of rubber gloves and pulled out two needles.
"This is penicillin." She told him, making sure no one else saw. "This should stop the infection. Half goes into your arm." She informed him, swabbing a place on his arm with alcohol.
Archie winced as the needle pierced his flesh. The content was cold and he felt it run through his arm.
"The other half goes into the gunshot wound itself." Katryn went on, gently pulling aside the bandage enough to get a look at the wound.
Archie watched her face as she examined it. Her reaction was as bad as he'd feared. He'd already known it was bad, but somehow, seeing Katryn's reaction made it all the more real.
Recovering her initial surprise, Katryn injected the rest of the needle's content into the wound.
Archie jerked as the cold medicine touched raw skin and exposed nerve.
"Sorry." Katryn apologized, gently recovering the wound. "I wasn't really trying to make you jump through the ceiling, but unfortunately, you did need that."
Archie gave a half smile. "Just a bit cold, that's all." He assured her. "What's in the other needle?"
Katryn grinned slyly. "Morphine."
Remembering his last experience with Morphine, Archie's smile widened, and he shook his head. He would have laughed if he could have done so without hurting himself.
"It should help you sleep, and it will take the pain away." She reminded him. "Even if you do act like a drunkard when you get enough of it."
"True." Archie admitted. "I suppose it would keep Dr. Clive from trying to give me laudanum, at any rate."
Katryn made a face. "Throw the stuff across the room if you have to." She told him, seriously. "I don't care how improper it is. You don't need THAT crap."
Slowly Archie watched her inject the contents of the second needle into his arm. "It shouldn't take long." Katryn reminded him.
"I'm aware of that fact." Archie replied with a smile, feeling the warm rush of the drug as the pain in his chest slowly began to fade.
"Is there anything else I can do while I'm here?"
Archie closed his eyes, contented. "Sing me a smile." He murmured.
Katryn chewed her lip. "You're serious?" That would certainly blow her cover as a man.
"It may be the last time I ever see you again." Archie pointed out, opening his eyes and focusing on her face. "Is it too much to ask?"
"No." Screw her cover. If this was what he wanted then she would not deny it.
Knowing what song she wanted, Katryn opened her mouth to sing. Within those few seconds, every man in the berth knew she was a woman, and even several above decks who overheard it, Horatio included.
"So you stood there on the corner;
With your suitcase in your hand;
Ready to quit this place.
There were just too many people
With too little left to lose.
You were just one more face;
But you weren't born to give up easy.
You weren't raised to just lie down.
"And you saw the sun that rises up for more
Over and over.
You watch the wave that wears away the shore
Over and over again.
And if there's any justice in this world,
Gotta keep fighting on
Over and over.
"They say God always forgives us;
But can we forgive ourselves
If we let our hope die?
Cause if passion is a weakness
And silence is a strength;
Who's gonna hear the cry?
"So we gotta climb the highest mountain;
We gotta shout for all to hear!
"And we'll see the sun that rises up for more
Over and over and over.
And we'll feel the wave that wears away the shore
Over and over and over again.
And if there's any justice in this world;
Gotta keep moving on
Over and over.
You gotta keep fighting on
Over and over.
"All that we dream can come to be.
All that we lost we'll find if we
Just strike the match
And fan the flame;
We'll build a blaze
That lights the way.
"We'll be the sun that rises up for more
Over and over
We'll be the wave that wears away the shore
Over and over again
And if there's any justice in this world
You gotta keep moving on
Over and over.
Gotta keep fighting on Over and Over . . . again."
(Over and Over By Puff Johnson)
By the time she'd finished the song, the Officers from above decks had come down to see what was going on.
Buckland was staring, openmouthed.
Archie was smiling, his eyes closed.
Looking over at Horatio, who suddenly seemed to realize that perhaps Archie was indeed beyond her help. He looked at Katryn, desperately, and she looked at the floor. "No." He whispered, under his breath.
Seeing his hurt look, Katryn went on, choosing the next song carefully. She had to make him understand.
"Two months is too little.
They let him go. They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
take a child from his mother while she prays;
Who told us we'd be rescued?
What is changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens to us, who have died to live?
This is what it means to be held;
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life;
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved,
And to know that the promise was when everything fell,
We'd be held.
This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
Though eyes have opened slowly
to lilies of the Valley and tomorrow.
This is what it means to be held;
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life;
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved, and to know
That the promise was when everything fell,
We'd be held.
If hope is born of suffering;
If this is only the beginning,
Can we not wait for one hour, watching for our Savior?
This is what it means to be held;
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life;
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved, and to know;
That the promise was that when everything fell;
We'd be held. We'd be held.
Oh, this is what it means to be loved
And to know that the promise was when everything fell,
We'd be held . . . This is what it means to be held . . ."
(Held By Natalie Grant)
Katryn wiped her tears away and quietly walked out of the sick berth, making her way between the surprised men. Amongst the men, there were very few dry eyes in the berth. Archie's eyes met Horatio's and despite the clouded look that came from the morphine she'd given him, a look of understanding passed between them.
Horatio swallowed and quickly followed after Katryn. There was something more he needed to ask of her.
As Horatio raced after the Surgeon, he was stopped by Mr. Hobbs.
"So Mr. Kennedy spent a considerable amount of time with this surgeon, did he?" The man questioned, pointedly. "I can certainly see why."
Horatio's blood ran cold. "And just what is it you're implying, Mr. Hobbs?" He asked, coldly. "Because the crew of David's Star does not take very well to those who insult their surgeon's reputation, and neither do I."
"I was merely observing why one would want to spend time with their surgeon." Hobbs remarked, evenly. "It is you who implied other things."
"I implied nothing of the sort." Horatio snapped. "And the majority of Mr. Kennedy's time with Dr. Casse was while he was suffering from a badly broken leg, which he had to have immobilized, and was therefore tied to the side of the bed to prevent his injuring himself further. That is the extent of their time together." He paused. "Besides, as far as I am told, Dr. Casse is currently engaged to another Doctor on board their own ship, or did you not notice she is in fact wearing a ring on her left hand?"
"My apologies, sir." He remarked, deciding not to provoke the Leftennant.
"Dismissed." Horatio answered, before continuing in his trek to find Katryn before she left the ship.
Katryn was not hard to find. If there was one thing Horatio had learned of Dr. Casse, it was her addiction to climbing, and that when she needed to think, she either did stretches or climbed the masts in search of a quiet place to be alone with her thoughts.
The first thing Horatio did was look up. Predictably, Katryn had climbed up to the fighting top, to sit and wait until the others were ready to return to their own ship.
"Is there nothing you can do?" He asked after he'd climbed up after her.
She looked up at him. "I've done all I can do here."
"Then take him to your ship." Horatio pleaded.
"Because he has to be on this ship when it docks in Kingston for the Inquiry." Katryn informed him.
Horatio sighed. He should have known she'd already know about that. "If he cannot go there, can someone from there not come here?" Secretly he was hoping she herself could come, but he knew better than to ask such a thing of her.
Katryn sighed. "He didn't tell you."
"Who didn't tell me what?"
"Captain Richards didn't mention the explosion." Katryn stated.
"Jesus, George, and Petur were killed." She informed him, her voice breaking. "Conrad and Jesse were burned pretty badly. Jesse's up now but his right hand is still in bandages, so he can't really use it. I have to stay because Conrad lost the sight in his eye and it may have to be surgically removed if the infection gets any worse."
"Would that be Lt. George Johnson, the Navy SEAL?" Horatio asked, frowning.
After a pause, Horatio sat down beside her, ironically the exact place he'd been when he'd sighted their ship. "I liked Lt. Johnson and Mr. Martinez." He remarked, looking down.
"So did I." She responded, somberly, wiping a tear away.
After a moment of silence between them, Katryn sighed again. "I can check and see what Willie's doing." She finally answered, pulling out a small black box.
Horatio stared. This was something he had not seen before.
"Medical, come back, this is KC, over?" She spoke, holding down the button.
A staticky female voice came over the black box. "Dr. Casse, this is Allyssa. We have a problem."
Katryn frowned. "Conrad?"
"No, it's Will." Allyssa replied.
Horatio's face fell and he groaned.
"What's up?" Katryn asked.
"Here's Dr. Davidson." Allyssa answered, apparently passing her own black box to Jesse.
"Do I want to know?"
"Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway." Jesse answered. "Willie broke his arm. He knocked into Brandon on the stairs and fell."
"You're sure it's broken?"
"Positive. Hannah and Allyssa are helping me cast him now."
Katryn set the box down a moment, thinking. "Sorry."
Horatio just shook his head. "Is that Allyssa a Doctor?"
"Allyssa is a Medical Student." Katryn informed him. "She can't practice without a doctor's supervision, and she doesn't have the skills she'd need for an injury like what Archie has."
Horatio's heart sank lower, as Katryn frowned, thinking.
"Jesse, put Hannah on a sec." Katryn spoke into the box after a moment.
Horatio frowned at the unfamiliar name.
"Yeah boss?" Another female voice came over the box.
"Can you get over here please?" Katryn asked, eyeing Horatio's face. "I need to see you."
"On my way."
"Hannah, make sure you're in drag." Katryn ordered.
"Got it. Over and out."
Katryn put the box down. "Don't get your hopes too high. Hannah
White Eagle is a Registered Nurse." She explained. "She can give him painkillers and keep him off the laudanum, but there's nothing much else she can do."
Horatio sighed. "If you trust her, than I do not object." He replied, seriously. "I trust Dr. Clive about as far as I can pick this ship up and throw it."
"He's still trying with the laudanum." Katryn told him, shrugging. "Archie said so. I told him to throw the stuff across the room if he had to. That crap will kill him faster than the bullet wound will."
"As I suspected." Horatio retorted. Then, after a pause, he continued. "There was one more thing I wanted to ask about."
Katryn raised an eyebrow.
"Would you be so kind as to have a look at Styles while you're here?" He asked, quietly. "He was beaten rather badly by one of the shipmates below not long ago, and I believe he may have a few bones broken. He hasn't said anything, but it's not hard to tell."
Katryn nodded. "Take me to him and I'll take a look."
A few moments later, Katryn was down in the sick berth yelling at Lt. Buckland and Dr. Clive for letting such an injury go unnoticed.
Horatio and Styles stood nearby, staring. They had seen her temper before, and wished no part of it.
"The Captain told us at the time that as he was still standing, he couldn't be all that severe." Buckland protested, lamely.
"I suppose if the Captain told you to go dance naked in the moonlight and then jump off a cliff you'd do that too, wouldn't you?" Katryn retorted, hotly.
Over in his hammock, Archie started coughing again and Horatio rushed over to help him sit up. Both of them knew without saying anything, that each was thinking the same thing. Of all the orders their late Captain had given, Katryn was not far off in her assumption. Not only that, but they also knew that Buckland might actually have followed such an order as well.
"KC." Richards warned.
"He has four broken ribs and two more cracked." Katryn growled. "He should be in bed, and not allowed to lift anything heavy! This man is not fit for duty and you're ignoring it!"
"I wasn't ignoring it!" Clive defended. "It was simply that I had other patients in much worse condition."
"If he gets pneumonia from this, it could KILL him!" Katryn shouted. "What? That's not severe enough for you?!"
Styles, off to the side, looked at the floor. He had not even tried to rest, nor had he said anything to anyone, including his own commanding Officer about the pain he had been hiding. He had not known it could be that bad. Frowning, he remembered the similar injuries of Lt. Redbird from his days on David's Star, and realized the Surgeon was right.
Matthews elbowed him slightly. "It weren't yer fault." He remarked quietly. "The Doc wouldn' listen before when we tried to tell `im, remember?"
Styles nodded, not completely convinced. He remembered well the part he'd played in the battles earlier. Ignoring his pain, he had given everything he'd had. He had not complained, and he had not slowed down. Only after it had ended did he allow himself to finally rest. The condition he was now in was as much his own doing, as it was the
doctor's for ignoring it.
In the midst of the argument, several men walked into the room. Amongst them were Brandon Jefferies and Duane Marco, who were fairly good friends of Styles and Matthews, as they had shared a berth when Horatio's division had been posted on David's Star.
Duane and Brandon immediately gravitated over to their old friends, while the third man stayed near the doorway, seemingly unsure of what to do in the midst of the argument.
"Okay, what did we miss?" Brandon asked, looking at them. "If I missed a fist fight, I wanna know who won."
"They're not fightin' yet." Matthews assured him.
"Bummer." Brandon quipped. "I wanted to see a good fist fight."
Duane elbowed him. "The Captain's looking over here. Smile." The two gave fake toothy grins, that really only made them look guiltier.
Captain Richards, knowing the two well, merely shook his head rolling
Horatio, ignoring their conversation, was eyeing the third man. This man was unfamiliar to Horatio. Obviously he was an American Indian, as one could tell by the dark skin and high cheekbones. He was dressed in white breeches, with a purple topcoat over the top of a black waistcoat. His black hair was pulled back into a queue, and he wore what looked like the hat of an Acting Leftennant, but it was slightly different. Frowning, Horatio noticed, as the newcomer reached up to remove his hat, that his fingernails were all painted a glossy black. At that point he realized that this had to be the Nurse Katryn had called over, and was therefore not a man at all. An interesting concept from his point of view. Had he not been told she was a woman, he would never have known. Strange these women of the future would be so good at hiding their gender. One would have to wonder if there was anything to a few rumors he'd heard on David's Star of men who did the same thing. He would have to ask Hannah or Katryn about it later on.
After a beat, Richards finally stopped the argument. "The ship has been through a battle, KC." He reminded her, pointedly. "I'm sure it was accidental that he was overlooked on a ship of so many people."
"Skitsnack." Katryn retorted, eyeing Dr. Clive.
Horatio frowned. He was not familiar with that term.
Buckland and Clive were also apparently not familiar with it either, as far as Horatio could tell from the looks on their faces.
Beside Horatio, Archie snorted. He was covering a smirk.
Horatio caught his friend's eye and raised an eyebrow in question. Archie pulled Horatio's ear close to his mouth. "It means `Bullshit' or `Bullocks.'" He whispered. "It's Swedish."
Horatio nodded, shaking his head. "Since when did YOU speak that language?!"
Archie coughed and gave a shrug. "I picked up a few things during my stay there." He explained, keeping his voice down. "And I don't speak the language; I only know a few words she taught me. That's all."
"KC, I think we'd best be gettin' back to our own ship." Richards put in, giving her a serious warning. "You have injured men to worry about in yer own sick berth."
Katryn finally nodded, seeming to reign in her anger. "I'd like to leave Nurse White Eagle here to help with the injured." She spoke up, looking Dr. Clive in the eye. "You seem to have a lot of men here to deal with and from the looks of things, you really need the help."
"White Eagle?" Clive asked frowning.
Hannah stepped forward. "That would be me, sir." She responded with her voice pitched lower to hide her gender more. Frowning, Hannah looked at Katryn confused. She had not realized this was THAT kind of meeting.
"You're a nurse?" Clive asked, eyeing her.
"Yes, I am." Hannah replied. "I have been for two years. I graduated Nursing School early and with high honors."
"I wasn't aware the Indians were able to receive such schooling." Clive pointed out.
"Yes, well we don't have Indians on our ship." Hannah retorted, evenly. "Every IDIOT knows that Indians come from India, and I am from America."
Dr. Clive and Lt. Buckland stared at the newcomer, shocked that a lower ranking crewman would dare speak with such sarcasm in the presence of his Captain.
"Mr. White Eagle; now is not the time for arguing." Captain Richards cut in. Hannah, like Katryn was one who had problems holding her sarcasm and attitude to herself. "I assure you, Dr. Clive; Nurse White Eagle is completely trustworthy and knows how to take care of patients."
"I wanted him here mainly for Mr. Kennedy's sake, sir." Katryn informed him, after a moment. "As a nurse, he can't perform surgical procedures, but he has a different medication that can keep him comfortable, and he can help out wherever else he is needed.
"I can wash and clean less serious wounds; I can put in stitches, and assist in some more complicated medical procedures." Hannah told Dr. Clive, looking around. "And if I may say so, you look rather exhausted, and there are a lot of injured men here."
Dr. Clive blinked. "Well I suppose when you put it that way, perhaps you have a point." He finally replied. "I have been tired lately and I could use the assistance from someone who actually knows what he's doing." Most of the time he relied on the loblolly boys to assist and they were not always very good at what they did.
"Unless Lt. Buckland has any objections?" Horatio asked, looking over at the Acting Captain.
"Well, this seems to be more Dr. Clive's decision, than mine." He quickly answered. "If Dr. Clive can use the assistance, I have no objections."
"As long as it is made clear when ye arrive in Kingston that Nurse White Eagle is not a member of yer crew, and has nothing ta do with yer Court Marshal." Captain Richards insisted. "I'll not have a member of my crew facing charges when they `ad nothin' at all ta do with it."
Buckland and Dr. Clive nodded.
"We have an agreement, Captain Richards." Lt. Buckland answered, nodding.
"I'll have to fetch my things from David's Star." Hannah spoke up, after a moment. "And whatever medical supplies I need here as well. I just wanted to ask one thing. Where would I be sleeping?"
"Sir, the Nurse may have my quarters, if it suits him." Archie spoke up, softly. "I doubt I'll be sleeping there any time soon."
Buckland nodded. "Of course." He replied. "Mr. Hornblower, if you would, please make sure Mr. White Eagle gets his effects and assist in bringing whatever medical supplies he needs to care for the men."
"Aye aye sir." Horatio responded, with a salute.
"And I'd like to speak with Dr. Casse for a moment as well." Hannah added, turning to Katryn.
Katryn nodded and walked Hannah out of the room.
Back on David's Star, Hannah was groaning. "I can't believe you did that to me!" She complained. "I ought a strangle you! You couldn't give me some warning?!"
"Hannah, I didn't have a choice." Katryn told her friend. "You saw the shape he's in. If he's going to survive long enough to save, he's going to need more than that drunken amateur!"
"You noticed that too?"
"What the fact that he was drunk?" Katryn quipped. "Please! You can not only smell it on his breath, but it's obviously clouding his judgment, and that Acting Captain; I wanted to hit him over the head with a hammer!"
"He kind of reminded me of a wet blanket type." Hannah remarked, thoughtfully. "The kind who would rather be in a corner somewhere, clutching his blanket and sucking his thumb."
Katryn laughed. "Funny, that's what I thought of him, too."
The women laughed a little longer.
"So who knows the truth?" Hannah asked with a sigh, changing the subject.
"Horatio knows, and I believe Archie may know, too or he wouldn't have suggested a private room."
Hannah nodded, placing her laptop into her trunk with a couple computer batteries.
"Don't forget the `tunes." Katryn reminded her, handing over Hannah's iPod.
Katryn watched as Hannah continued packing. The iPod was something newer to her. Hannah had helped Katryn program and set up her own iPod into her laptop back when she'd first arrived.
Katryn had always preferred her walkman and tapes. But the last time they'd gone back to their own time to re-supply, Katryn had discovered they had stopped making walkmans entirely and didn't even sell tapes anymore. This to her, was an outrage. So, with no other choice, Katryn had made the switch to an iPod. All her CD's were put into her computer, but a lot of her songs she only had on cassette, she'd had to re buy on CD or download off the internet. Overall, it had been a pain in the butt in Katryn's opinion. There were still songs that she'd had before on cassette, that were completely out of print and she had never been able to replace them.
Even so, after about three months, she'd filled the iPod to capacity, and had a whole load more of songs that were stored in her files that didn't fit on the iPod, yet, she kept to switch around as the mood struck her.
"You're not still upset about the lack of walkmans are you?" Hannah asked, looking up from her packing. She'd seen the look on Katryn's face as she'd watched Hannah put her iPod into a safe spot.
"Come on, it's easier to have like 1400 songs on one little tiny computer than it is to carry all those tapes." Hannah reminded her.
"Yeah, but one glitch and you lose them all, where as tapes can get run over by a car and all you have to do is tape them back together." Katryn complained.
"That's why you back up all your songs on CD or a memory stick." Hannah pointed out.
"I still like my walkman."
Hannah shook her head. "That's my dear friend, Katryn. Going into the future, kicking and screaming the whole way."
Katryn gave a small smile. "And I wouldn't have it any other way."
"She couldn't be any other way or she wouldn't be Katryn." Jesse interrupted from the doorway. "'Ratio says it's time to get going. We've got the medical stuff ready. I got everything you'll need to keep that injury clean and I added a few other things in the event of an emergency."
"I'm coming." Hannah replied, getting off her hammock, and zipping her bag shut. She then threw the bag into her wooden trunk and closed the lid.
"Don't worry." Katryn assured her, seeing some doubt in Hannah's dark eyes. "We're only a radio call away and these cheap walkie-talkies; for some freaky reason, work really well here. As long as we don't get too far apart, you should be able to get either me or Jesse in the event of something you can't control yourself."
Hannah nodded, watching Horatio and Matthews as they lifted her trunk for transportation to the other ship. "Don't drop that." She ordered Horatio. "If my laptop gets broken, I'll hunt you down and circumcise you."
Katryn started laughing. "And here I thought MY people were the ones who were into circumcisions." She quipped, watching Horatio blush at the thought.
Hannah, noticing it, grinned. "Special offer; half off." She went on, as if she were selling something.
"I think I'll pass on that offer." Horatio managed to reply. He knew all about circumcision jokes from his last stay here.
"Hannah." Katryn spoke up as the group was leaving the sick berth.
"Yeah." She responded, coming back.
"If you can do it without getting too many people noticing, get him on some O2." Katryn told her quietly. "He's already breathing shallow, but he needs the oxygen in his system. It'll help with the coughing."
Hannah nodded. "No worries." She assured Katryn. "I'll get a hold of you if he changes, and I'll keep the injury clean."
Katryn nodded, giving her friend a hug. "We'll pray for you."
Hannah gave sad smile. "Your friend needs it more than I do right now." She reminded her. "But I appreciate them too. I'm not so easy about being on a ship full of men who haven't seen a woman in God knows how long."
"That's why you're dressed as a man." Katryn reminded her. "Just make sure no one but the ones you trust find out the truth."
"Who do I trust?"
"Horatio, Archie, Styles and Matthews." Katryn told her. "You could probably trust that Lt. Bush too, but I don't really know him all that well. Definitely do NOT tell the Doctor or that idiot of an Acting Captain."
"Duh." Hannah quipped, as she walked off down the corridor, following the men who were carrying her supplies.
Katryn watched until she was gone, before saying a small prayer. "Please God watch over them all." She prayed, desperately. "And take care of Archie. If it's not too much to ask, I'd like to have something left to save."