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Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:28 am

Terry's heart stopped for a moment as he realised the midshipman wasn't with them any more. Then he glanced down and started breathing again as he saw that the other boy had somehow managed to catch the shrouds, and was hanging there.

He looked at Fingers, shrugged, and scrambled down the shrouds, grabbing at Mister Fletcher's waistband - he hoped it was his waistband anyway - to reassure him that someone else was there and he wasn't going to fall while he got his breath back and readjusted his grip.

"Sh*t, sir. You all right there?" he said, his heart still thudding as he realised how close the middy had come to falling to the deck... and that he and Fingers would probably, somehow, have been blamed for it.

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Terry Button
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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:29 am

Wow. Fingers stared, wide-eyed, at the midshipman. Poor beggar really did need to spend more time aloft?

"Don't be doin' that, sir!" The boy burst out, shifting toward the shrouds, noticeably slower than Button. "That ain't no kinda way fer gettin' down."

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Fingers Smith
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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:52 am

Fletcher blinked at them, still clinging like a bundle of dirty washing.

"How do you get down, then?" he asked. "Quickly."

In a detached sort of way Fletcher wondered at just how calm he sounded, which was at odds with the frantic beating of his heart.

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Simon Fletcher
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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:57 am

"Not like that, sir." For starters. "Same's you got up. Though... you can go down a stay, but it needs a proper firm grip, that does, sir." And he was willing to be his last few farthings that Mister Fletcher didn't have that grip right now. Not with the shakes after nearly falling, he didn't. "'Ere, I'll go first sir," he offered. "And Fingers'll come after you. Jus' watch what 'e does, sir."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:04 am

Fletcher did not dare nod, but inclined his head in a gentlemanly manner which must at this point have seemed comically out place.

"I will."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:19 am

Well, this would be interesting. Fingers hooked an arm around a shroud line and waited for Button to climb down a bit more.

"Nice'n'easy, sir. Steady's best."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:23 am

Terry scrambled down the shrouds a bit, ready to help Mister Fletcher if he needed it. "'Member, sir, one 'and for you an' one for the ship. Only, 'ere, it's both 'ands for you, right now."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:24 am

Both of Fletcher's hands were well and truly for himself at the moment; there was no denying that.

"I see," he said.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:30 am

"Means whatever you's doin', sir, you don' let go of the ship. 'Specially up 'ere, or in a storm, sir." The midshipman seemed to be doing all right, as far as Terry could judge.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:36 am

"That's it, sir," Fingers said over his shoulder, peering down to watch the midshipman's progress.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:40 am

Seeing how hard he had found it to keeping his footing in fine weather Fletcher hardly imagined how he would keep it in a storm, but listened intently to the boys, forcing himself to calm and carefully put his hands and feet where only moments before Fingers and Button had been putting theirs.

Some of the men had noticed them now, and Fletcher was conscious or their stares, but he did his level best to ignore them. He had some vague notion that a good officer did not show the men he cared when he seemed foolish; and though he never seemed to lack in foolishness he may at least try and make the pretence work.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:45 am

"You's doin' good, sir," Terry siad encouragingly. "Not far now, neither, sir." Though there were several men watching them now, and he swallowed, willing them to turn around and ignore them. "It ain't easy, the first few times." He didn't even want to think about his first time aloft, and that hadn't been that long ago, not really.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:06 pm

From where he stood on the quarterdeck Leat felt his heart begin to steady from where it had been in his mouth beforehand. He had noticed the small gaggle of boys atop the mizzenmast a while back, and though he had thought it a harmless bit of skylarking he had kept half a fraction of his attention on them, now and again glancing upwards.

One of these glances had coincided with one of the boy's slipping from the uppermost yard, and simultaneously as the boy had begun to fall and Leat realised this was so, he had also realised that the 'boy' was a midshipman, and that particular midshipman was Simon Fletcher.

He still did not know how, but Fletcher had managed to grab hold of the shrouds and cling there until the other two boys had come to help him. Leat's relief as the small group began to descend was immense - but it resolved him to speak to the captain about Fletcher. He had been concerned about the boy's development, or lack thereof, for a while, and this latest incident only served to concern him more.

Forcing himself to look away from the boys he resumed his original position on the quarterdeck, praying that no further mishap would befall them.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:09 am

"Best not to stop, sir." Once moving, it was easier to keep moving. Fingers grinned encouragingly over his shoulder.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:12 am

"Keep goin', sir, don't look down," Terry said encouragingly, though he disregarded his own advice to glance down to the quarterdeck below to see what the officer of the watch was doing. He seemed to have been looking up, but turned to stand by the fiferail, lookinf for'rard. Terry could only pray that Mister Fletcher's earlier slip hadn't been noticed.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:21 am

The worst piece of advice to ever give someone up high is to not look down, because instinct inevitably forces the person to look down, and this in precisely what Fletcher did against, yet perversely at, Button's advice.

His legs very near turned to water again, but he swallowed hard, a whimper escaping his throat as he forced himself to keep moving. The nightmare welled up anew and he was shivering with cold sweat, but he must keep going, keep going and going...

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:24 pm

He shifted down a few more steps before looking over his shoulder again. Mister Fletcher wasn't moving very fast, but this was still new to him.

"Tha's the ticket, sir," Fingers told him cheerfully.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:45 pm

He looked up at the midshipman. "You's doin' real well, sir. You'll be skylarkin' in no time if you keep this up!"

He glanced down again, to see that the officer of the watch was studying what was going on for'rard. It was Mister Leat, and he hoped again that Mister Fletcher's mishap hadn't been noticed, or they were likely to end up in pretty hot water. Maybe they'd even get a thrashing for it.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:53 am

Leat, however, although he was no longer looking upwards was calmly waiting for the boys to finish their descent. The moment Fletcher's feet touch the deck, he swore to himself. Horror had given way to relief, and now relief was turning to anger in the second lieutenant's head. The moment they are down...

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:57 am

Not far now. Fingers glanced again over his shoulder, looking more toward the deck than at Mister Fletcher. It was for the best, really.

"Just a bit more, sir."

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Simon Fletcher on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:03 am

Fletcher was relieved to find that Fingers was speaking the truth, and that they were very nearly at the base of the ratlines. It was a short hop from their to the deck, and Fletcher let himself drop this short distance, happy to feel the firm planking beneath his feet once more.

He looked up at Fingers and Button, a comically relieved smile on his face, and he opened his mouth to thank them for their help...

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:05 am

Terry was standing on the rail now, and he paused to look up. "Nearly down, sir - jus' a coupla feet more."

He grinned, and swung around the shrouds to land on the deck, biting his lip when he remembered this was the quarterdeck. Fingers and him had best head for'rard as soon as ever they could...

And then Mister Fletcher was down too, and he breathed a silent sigh of relief, turning to head for'rard.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Edward Leat on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:07 am

...but unfortunately he did not get the chance.

"Mister Fletcher!" Leat's bellow lashed out across the quarterdeck like the crack of a whip. "You boys! Yes, you! Lay over here, now!"

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Fingers Smith on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:11 am

Fingers' small face fairly glowed. "Good'n, sir!" He remained a moment on the shrouds, being the last one down, which as it turned out was not the best thing ever.

Mister Leat's shout startled him and he sprang nimbly down to the deck. This wasn't good. It couldn't be good. The second luff looked fighting mad but Fingers couldn't think why.

Without daring to give so much as a sidelong glance at Button or Mister Fletcher, Fingers scurried up the stairs toward the imposing lieutenant. His little hand brushed lightly against his forehead in salute, then he stood there as stiffly as he could.

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Re: Midshipman Fletcher Goes Up In The World

Post  Terry Button on Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:16 am

Not good - not good at all. Terry gulped and hurried after Fingers, knuckling his own forehead before standing there, wondering just what God-awful trouble they were going to be in - and why, when they'd only been helping Mister Fletcher, who'd still be clinging to the mizzen-mast if it wasn't for them.

He was shaking a little, and didn't dare look at the Lieutenant.

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