Well, here I am stuck here on this primitive mess of a ship with a bunch of cavemen, all thanks to my dear friend, Katryn. Okay, so it's not that bad. At least I have my own room (that used to be Archie's) and I can get undressed without anyone noticing anything.
I just don't like having to be a man all the time. I can't even answer the door without being dressed.
Archie, however, is doing better with me being here. I've been able to get Oxygen into him a couple of times now and his color looks better for it. I'm keeping him on Demerol and Morphine as Katryn told me, and the penicillin is a daily thing. The infection is fading fast. To Archie's credit, he's an incredible actor and Dr. Clive is not suspecting anything about him recovering. There's just one small problem.
I like him. I haven't been around him for more than couple days, but I like him. This is crazy, I guess. Somehow, he's made it worth the pretending and frustration. I look at his eyes and I forget I'm miserable here. I know what a lot of people would call it. The "Florence Nightingale" syndrome, all that about nurses and doctors falling in love with their patients. I don't know for sure if I'm in love with him, but I like him.
Another problem I'd not counted on is Mr. Hobbs. He is suspicious because he knew Katryn was a woman. Why she had to blow her cover like that. Well, I guess I understand that part. If Archie asked me to sing to him, I believe I would, too . . . but I guess that's for a different reason than she did. I mean seriously, she has Jesse, whom she loves very much, and Archie is merely a close friend; but that's not the current subject, is it?
I don't know how much longer I can keep my secret from this Hobbs guy. I don't have Katryn's gift of discernment, and I can't tell if he's trustworthy at all. She said she just looked into their eyes. When I tried that, he seemed to see more than I did, so I stopped doing it.
For whatever reason, he does not like Horatio or Archie. There's more to that argument, I know. I may ask Horatio in private later, but whenever I try to talk with him, there's always prying eyes, and if Horatio were to come into my room, Hobbs would only suspect more.
I don't know what to do. God, help me do what's right. I need your help and I'm not sure how to proceed on this.
I think I'll try to climb the fighting top and see if I can't get Katryn on the radio. I need some advice big-time. The height makes me dizzy, but it's the best place for a good line of sight signal. (How those radios work, I have no clue) Jesse said something about as long as they're within range of each other, they work fine.
So I guess we better not get too far away from David's Star.
-Hannah White Eagle
Hannah looked up from her journal at the sound of knocking on her door. Closing the book and stuffing it under her pillow, she checked herself over to make sure everything looked normal and hurried to the door. "Who is it?"
"Styles, Mr. Nurse." Came the reply.
Hannah had told them to simply call her Nurse, since her last name was more than a mouthful for some to say.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she opened the door. "Yeah?"
"Mr. Hornblower's respects, sir." He answered. "Mr. Kennedy's 'aving terrible coughin' again."
Hannah grabbed her bag and followed after him, firmly closing the door behind her and locking it, with a small mechanism she had installed for her own privacy. As far as she knew, no one knew of it yet.
Down in the sick berth, she was greeted by Horatio, who was holding Archie's upper body up into an almost sitting position. Katryn had said he would breathe more easily sitting up. Archie was still coughing, and a trickle of blood was running down from the corner of his mouth.
"Is anyone looking?" Hannah asked Horatio in a whisper.
"No one who will talk."
Hannah nodded and pulled the clear mask from her bag. She placed it over Archie's head until it covered his mouth and nose, and adjusted the oxygen flow. "You know the drill." She told him, softly. "Breath as deep as you can."
"What exactly does this do?" Asked a voice nearby.
Frowning, Hannah turned to see another Officer in another hammock. A Lieutenant's topcoat hanging on the wall over his hammock gave his rank away. The Officer had dark curly hair, blue eyes and a concerned look on his face.
"This is Leftennant Bush." Horatio informed her. "He will not say anything."
Hannah nodded. "It's putting oxygen into his lungs." She explained. "He's not getting enough oxygen into his bloodstream, and it's causing the coughing and cyanosis . . . or pale blue coloring."
After a moment, Archie's breathing seemed steadier. Keeping the mask in place, Hannah motioned for Horatio to lay him back down. As soon as he was lying back, she pulled out her scissors and cut through the bandage to examine the wound itself.
Horatio's breath caught, as he stared in horror.
"The white stuff is just medicine." Hannah informed him. "It helps the pain." This was not entirely a lie. The Penicillin was stopping the infection and that was naturally making the pain lessen.
"Oh." Horatio managed, relaxing, slightly. "Will it help it get any better?"
"I'm not here to save his life, Mr. Hornblower." Hannah reminded him. "I'm here to keep him comfortable and maybe see that he stays alive long enough to get through the Inquiry."
"How bad is the damage?" Horatio asked, with a sigh. "Or can you tell?"
Hannah sighed. "The worst of it is his right lung." She informed him. "It's close to collapsing, and that's why he's coughing up blood. I may be able to re inflate the lung if I need to but you'd need Katryn to fully repair the damages. Even then, that's not all that's wrong. The liver is also damaged, and we're trying to hold off the effects of Septicemia, but it's not easy."
"What's that?" Archie managed to ask, muffled by the mask.
"Blood poisoning." Hannah replied, looking down. "It's what's killing you."
As Hannah was flushing out the gaping wound, Horatio was called away to his Watch shift. As the crew was short two Officers, and one Midshipman, shifts were longer and the affects of spending his free time with Archie were beginning to show on Horatio. He couldn't hide the dark circles that had formed below his eyes any longer.
"How much is he sleeping?" Hannah asked, looking toward Lt. Bush.
"He wasn't sleeping much before this." Bush informed her, somberly. "The Captain had him on constant Watches as a form of punishment. Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Buckland and I were also told to report to him every hour, fully dressed, on every Watch, so none of us slept a great deal."
Hannah sighed and shook her head. She had not read the books, but Davey had told her things were very bad and the Officers were not sleeping much.
"You're his Superior Officer, aren't you?" She asked, after a beat.
Lt. Bush nodded.
"Can you order him to his cabin to sleep after his shift?" She questioned, as she slowly finished re-bandaging Kennedy's wound. "He's going to be useless if he doesn't get some rest."
"I suppose I could try, but as I am off duty, at the moment, my word may not be enough." Bush informed her.
"You can try to make Lt. Buckland do it." Archie spoke up, muffled by the mask.
"There's also that." Bush agreed.
Considering her options Hannah looked around. "Make sure no one's looking and let me know if someone walks in." She told Lt. Bush.
He nodded, watching not only the door to Dr. Clive's quarters, but the Nurse as well.
William had overheard the conversation between Kennedy and the Surgeon. He had not meant to, but he couldn't help it. He knew what they were doing, and he knew how important it was this Nurse not get caught giving Kennedy anything more than the medicine she'd called Morphine.
When he'd heard of Kennedy's future testimony, he'd completely agreed. If anyone deserved to be saved and taken away, it was Archie. He knew there was much in Kennedy's past that he did not know, but he did know that the Surgeon who had come before seemed to know his friend very well. When she'd opened her mouth to sing, William couldn't help but listen to her. She had a beautiful voice, and it was clear she had sung to Kennedy before. He had turned his face away so neither of them could see the tears that the songs had brought to his eyes. More than anything right now, he wanted Archie to live.
For everything that man had done, for his loyalty to not only Horatio but young Wellard and even to Bush himself . . . yes, Archie deserved to live. Back when Archie had tried to prevent Wellard from being beaten a second time, William had agreed with him, but he was not ready to go against the Captain at that time. Although it had not helped the young Midshipman, Kennedy had at least tried.
When Bush had heard of Wellard's death, he'd been shocked. The boy had only been seventeen years of age. After all that he had been through, his fate was still to die. If only this ship; this David's Star had come sooner. Perhaps they could have taken young Wellard too.
"Is there anything I can do for you, while I'm here?" The Nurse had turned to William.
Blinking, he frowned, unsure. His injury was painful, but not near as much as Kennedy's would be. "I am alright." He replied, after a moment.
"Don't let him fool you." Archie cut in. "He is in pain and could likely use something for it."
"I can give you something like Tylenol 3." The Nurse informed him. "Horatio took it back when he was on our ship. Its affects are not near as strong as Morphine. Can you swallow a capsule?"
William frowned, thinking.
"Take it." Archie ordered. "I'm tired of listening to you groan in pain."
Sighing, William nodded.
Mr. White Eagle handed him a small bottle, and a bottle of water. "One every four to six hours and let me know if you need something stronger."
The Lieutenant nodded. "Thank you." He replied, watching him walk out of the room with his bag.
He had left the mask and a metal canister with Archie, hidden under Archie's bed clothes. In case he needed it again.
"An interesting person that is." William responded, swallowing a capsule with the water.
"That she is." Archie remarked.
William frowned. "She?"
Archie's eyes widened, as he realized what he'd just said. The Morphine was definitely clouding his mind. "Please don't say anything about it." He pleaded, desperately. "I wasn't thinking."
"Don't worry." William assured him. "Actually, it explains a lot. They'll not hear anything from me."
Archie nodded, relieved. He would have to be more careful from here, after. It would not do to slip something so important where anyone could hear it.
"How exactly does that Morphine substance work?" William asked, curiously.
"It stops the pain, and sometimes causes slightly drunken behavior." Archie informed him, his head lolling.
Bush raised an eyebrow. "Interesting."
"Also causes drowsiness." Archie murmured, blinking.
"So I see . . . but how are they going to make it look as if you've died?"
Archie's eyes snapped open and he eyed his superior officer.
"I overheard some of it." William explained. "Well, all of it actually."
"Hm." Archie responded, frowning. "I don't know." He confessed, answering the question. "Katryn once told me a human heart can be stopped for up to a half hour at least before the brain dies, but it cannot be deprived of oxygen near that long."
William's eyes widened. "How do they re start it then?"
Archie shrugged. "Something about electric shock." He answered, then realizing his friend wouldn't know what that was, he went on. "Like a weak lightning strike."
William blinked. "But how is that even possible?"
"These people are not like us." Archie whispered, slowly. "They are from another time."
"What other time?"
"About 200 years in the future, or so." Archie informed him, drowsily.
William frowned, taking this in. So this is what they had meant by telling Archie they would take him back with them. They had meant taking him to the future. How was that even possible? He turned to Archie to ask, but the injured man was already asleep from the effects of the drug in his system.
Two hundred years . . . That would put it about A.D. 2000. William himself could not even comprehend that far ahead, and yet the advanced methods they had been using to keep Kennedy alive he'd seen nothing like it. Somehow it made sense they would be from another time. Noticing Dr. Clive re entering the berth, William looked over at Archie's bed to make sure the metal canister was completely concealed by the covers. It was.
"Mr. Bush." Dr. Clive greeted. "How is he?"
William looked at Archie. "The medicine Mr. White Eagle has given him has put him to sleep."
Clive nodded. "At least he'll actually take that." He remarked, shaking his head.
"Mr. Hornblower told me Mr. Kennedy has a severe allergy to laudanum." William informed the old doctor. "Something about it causing hallucinations and seizures."
Clive stared. "And why did he not tell me this?"
"I'm not sure." William replied, with a shrug. Truthfully, he knew Horatio had tried to tell Dr. Clive. The older doctor had simply ignored him.
"I see. I suppose Mr. White Eagle changed his bandage as well?"
"Yes, he did."
Clive nodded. "I still don't believe he will survive the trip to Kingston."
William nodded in agreement. "If he does, it will not be much longer after that." He replied, not saying what he already knew.
Meanwhile, back on David's Star, Conrad's condition was getting worse. He'd had a problem with the burns on his eye for several days now, and it was growing steadily worse. The entire optical nerve in his right eye was already destroyed by the explosion, so there was no question he'd lost the sight permanently. The debate was whether he would have to have the eye surgically removed or let it heal as it was.
Originally, Dave had chosen to keep what was left of his eye, and just wear an eye patch. Unfortunately, the infection had started and not even the antibiotics Katryn had kept him on were stopping it. She was going to have to surgically remove the entire eye.
Having Hannah on board the Renown was going to be a small problem. Allyssa would have to assist in the surgery, and Jesse, due to the damages of his right hand, would have to play the part of a nurse . . . meanwhile, Willie would only be able to help with one hand as well due to his broken left arm.
Katryn was tempted to just call Hannah back for an hour or two, but she knew that if Hannah were not there with him, Dr. Clive might take it upon himself to "help" Kennedy. They could not risk the older doctor discovering that Kennedy's infection was in fact lesser serious than he'd thought it to be. No, they did not need that.
She would have to make do with the Medical Crew she had.
Katryn was in the process of figuring this problem out when Jesse interrupted her. He'd opened the door, holding out the two-way radio.
"Hannah needs to speak with you over the squawk box." He informed her.
Katryn sighed and grabbed the walkie talkie. "What's up? How's he doing?"
Hannah's fuzzy voice came over the box. "Better than expected." She replied. "I've got a problem."
"Of what kind?" Katryn asked, motioning for Jesse to leave.
"Well, did you see a guy named Hobbs when you were over here?"
Katryn frowned. "I'm not sure." She vaguely remembered a blond Midshipman talking with Horatio, who didn't seem happy about it.
"Well he's looking really suspicious and I'm not sure how trustworthy he is."
Katryn sighed. "Well, you may try talking with Archie or Horatio about him." She suggested. "They're bound to know better than I would."
"Actually I wanted to know if you'd read those books." Hannah remarked. "I thought maybe they might say something about him."
"Jack would know better than I would." Katryn informed her, and then she looked over at where Allyssa was doing sit-ups on the exercise mat. "Go get Cortez; Hannah needs to ask him something."
Allyssa nodded and ran out of the room.
"While we're waiting for that, how are the boys?" Hannah asked.
"I'm going to have to take Dave's eye out and we're short Medical people." Katryn explained to her friend. "I'm going to have Allyssa assist. The experience will be good for her. As for nurses, I'll have to have Jesse and Willie, each using one hand."
"Are you sure you don't want me to come back there?" Hannah asked, concerned.
"You're needed there, Hannah." Katryn reminded her. "We can't have that surgeon drunkard finding out Kennedy's infection is going away."
"Oh don't worry about that." Hannah reassured her. "I sprayed the bandage with something that will make it smell like he's still got an infection. I noticed Dr. Clive was going by the smell of the injury so I made it smell like an infection."
"Nothing that's going to contaminate the injury, I hope."
"What time yesterday do you think I was born, Kat?" Hannah returned, pointedly. "I wouldn't have done it if it weren't harmless to him."
"I was just checking." Katryn retorted, slyly. "Is he breathing any better than he was when I saw him last?"
"I don't know." Hannah answered, after a moment. "I've had him on oxygen several times now, and he's fine for a while, but then he starts coughing again. It'd be better if I could just intubate him or even leave the mask on 24/7, but if Clive sees it . . ." She trailed off.
Katryn chewed her lip. "Well the best thing for Archie is to do whatever is needed and forget about the others, but in this case, you should use your best judgment. You can always come up with something to tell the guy. He's probably too drunk to care anyway. If it were me, I'd keep the mask on him no matter what. Archie's not getting much air flow with the hole in his lung, so do what it takes to keep him breathing. As for the injury, use Saran wrap if you have to. It may keep the lung from collapsing."
"Saran wrap." Hannah murmured. "Didn't think of that. I don't think we have any here."
"Find a substitute." Katryn told her. "Anything that will seal that lung."
"I'll see what I can do."
Katryn looked up as Allyssa returned with Davey.
"Jacques is on duty." Davey informed her.
"Hannah needs to know about a guy named Hobbs." Katryn returned.
Davey frowned. "I know he was very loyal to the Captain, and he blamed the problems the Captain had on Hornblower, so they don't get along."
"Is he trustworthy?" Katryn asked.
"He's loyal to his country and refused to desert when he had the chance." Ratzlov told her. "Then when he found the bodies of the men who did desert on the beach, he was very upset, and angry at Hornblower, who said they didn't have time to bury them, but as for how much you can trust him, I have no clue, but in my own opinion, I doubt he's going to tell Buckland anything if he were to find out."
"Somehow, this doesn't help me much." Hannah remarked over the radio.
"Ask Archie, is all I can think." Katryn repeated. "I can't tell you for sure without talking to him myself."
"Are you sure I don't need to come back and assist in the surgery on Conrad?" Hannah asked.
"Yeah, where there's a will, there's a way." Katryn replied. "Don't worry about it. I think we can get through it alright. I've operated with less people before."
"You know I can let the Acting Captain and Horatio know that I may need to leave for an hour or two. Seriously, I can leave the oxygen with Horatio, and if he can't be there, Mr. Bush can. He's in the next hammock over and he overheard you talking to Archie so he knows everything."
"I'll call you if I need you, but I think we can handle it. You just keep Archie alive and make sure I've got something left to save. If there's an emergency and you're not there, they will let him die." Katryn told her seriously. "I left you there because what I saw was an injury that more than likely wouldn't last the trip to Kingston. Watch Archie like a hawk, and forget Hobbs. The second you see any change in his condition, call me."
"Got it boss. Over and out."
Hannah sighed. She missed her own ship, and her friends. She was tired of being a man and always on her guard. It was wearing her out . . . and yet, she could not abandon Archie. In her heart, as much as she tried to deny it, she had feelings for the young, injured Lieutenant with the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.
Of all the things she had been through in her life, all the times she swore she would never love again.
Involuntarily, she reached up to her neck, feeling for the chain. Slowly she pulled out the silver locket she could never part with. Inside, the small picture, opposite the tiny lock of jet black hair, looked up at her. As long as it had been, his face still brought tears to her eyes. She would have given anything for things to have been different.
Back when she had applied to this position, she had only done so to get away from the memories that haunted her. The pain she had faced. The hurt she still carried. When she had first been passed over for the other two nurses, Hannah had been devastated. Then she had been called back. Although the crew of the ship had been through almost three years, it had only been seven months in their own time.
Although the circumstances of her being called in weren't the best, Hannah had taken the chance to finally get away. And now. Now she knew God made things happen for a reason, so there was some reason she was here on this ship. Until she found out what it was, she would keep her disguise. Whatever her purpose, whether it was Archie or some other person on this ship who needed something, Hannah would not let God down.
Wiping the tear off her cheek, she closed the locket and tucked it back under her shirt, where it would always stay, close to her heart.