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17th July: The vile tempest

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17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:57 am

De Guarde grunted. He had hoped for an easy night, because the day itself had been quite unpleasantly hot and it felt as if there was even more to do than usual. It was not of course, but the tediousness, the repetitiveness, the lack of any of the activities which would be out of the ordinary seemed to have gotten to him. There was of course no hope that he could prove himself in any way, when nothing went on and that only meant more days in which he would serve below decks. He had gotten used to ducking away, keeping to himself when possible and not provoking the men in any way.

His mind drifted back to the early evening. The rota allowed the watch he was in to head below and set up their hammocks, or it would have been thus had the dark clouds not been spotted in the low light of evening. The clouds had been fast approaching. They had to go further out to see then. Save the ship from getting stranded on a beach, broken up on rock or the like. He didn't really know where they would have landed, but guessed it would not have been good, either way.

He closed his eyes, rubbed them, stretched and scampered above. The ship had been ridding larger waves now. There was a tilt, a rise, a drop, and then another, larger wave would sweep the ship out of its comfort. Whatever could be closed to keep the water from splashing into the hold, had thus been closed, stuffed, plugged. He had just appeared on deck when another wave ..rose against the side. This time the water already reached over and the youth received his first bath of the day. He cursed and looked up towards the masts. The winds had picked up as well. Of course..It would be a long night.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:23 am

Sewell prowled through the ship, double-checking that every lamp and fire, cannon and casket was secure. He was not really anxious about the upcoming weather, but sleeping while being tossed around in a cabine that was not really much bigger than one was oneself was not really an option, and he hated the wait, so he tried to find something sensible to do.

He just came up on deck again to check that all marines were where they were supposed to be, when another large wave rolled over the side and reduced his smart uniform to bedraggled cloth hanging bedraggled, cold and restricting around his form.

He didn't curse - but his silence afterwards was unprintable. He supposed he should be glad he wasn't wearing his hat. After a long moment his jaw muscles unbunched and he asked in a calm and measured voice:

"Everything secured against water?"
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:36 am

De Guarde whirled around just to see the marine officer drenched in a similar fashion as he was. The only difference was that.. while a shirt and slops would dry quite fast, and he was barefoot so no shoes were ruined, the officer had no such luck.

He grinned sheepishly. "Think much of it is sir..and what isn't.. won't be for long." He glanced across the deck. He had to fight laughter because, judging by the look the marine had moments ago, the former midshipman might be sent flying across the deck as retaliation, or his ears would continue to ring for days from the earful he would have gotten.
While he so observed he noticed further along the deck, the midshipman, Bailey, he believed, who had been temporarily appointed to serve with Terpsichore. De Guarde believed it could take longer.

Midshipman Bailey might have shouted his little heart out, but the wind had allowed very little to go far. It howled louder now and the thundering of the waves muted out anything that was of room volume or less. "Hold on, sir!" The youth warned as he saw the ship lurch, the water rise and then splash violently across the deck. He saw some of the seamen ordered towards the masts. They had to tuck in sail before they were ripped themselves to shreds.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:49 am

"Get working on the rest then. Careful with the waves!"

Sew anchored DeGuarde through the next wave by the simple expedient of holding fast to a rope and Mathew's collar. Then he set him on his feet again strode off towards the shouting midshipman. Taking a firm hold on the next rope, he asked:

"Mr. Bailey! You were shouting ...?"
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:52 am

De Guarde nodded, held his breath just at the right time. Held fast as much as he could, but could thank the officer for offering him just that much more of the support. The moment the wave was gone and he was dismissed, the youth ran ahead, using the moments respite from the waves, to cover as much distance as he could, before he needed to anchor himself again.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Tobias Bailey on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:59 am

The midshipman, his hand firmly hooked to the rope which kept him stationary when the next wave struck, had reached out towards Sewell, should the man not find his own anchor soon enough. He waited, and the moment the water washed away again he shouted. "...we need more men at the pumps. Could you spare some of your marines, sir?"

He turned to look at the masts. "It would be safer if you were below sir. The water is sweeping away everything that's not tied or hammered to the spot!" He shouted at several of the men. He was not the only midshipman on deck, as was clear a good few metres ahead of them.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:22 am

"Certainly, Mr. Bailey."

He didn't comment on the second part - it should be obvious that he was far less likely to be swept away than scrawny midshipmen, and if he could be of any use on deck, he would stay right there. The next wave rolled over them and added another pound or two of water to his uniform, but as soon as it had ebbed away and he was sure that Bailey was still on deck as well, the lieutenant strode away, bellowing to a group of marines who had come on deck to see whether they were needed.

"Back below! Man the main pump!"
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Tobias Bailey on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:38 am

Seamen ran past the officer dressed in red. One had slipped on the slippery floors and stumbled, but caught himself in time. He was hefted up straighter by his friend as they ran towards the fore mast.

Several had begun climbing. They halted as water rose, held on. So far not a single one of them lost his footing. And up they went. Amongst them was a smaller figure, climbing with determination higher and higher.
--

The marines looked bewildered at first. They had not been from Terpsichore, but the few that had survived to remain captive with the French. One or two had hastily ducked to return below, when halted and gripped firmly onto, as the water swept over them. One of the marines, a burly chap, shorter in stature, lost his footing. He skidded further.. further.. and was thrust roughly against the railing. His firm hold prevailed and the water abandoned its plight, leaving the marine coughing and gasping for breath.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:41 am

Thompson blinked at the officer, grasped the nearest solid object and threw a salute. "Sir! Right, Mallory, McEwen, Joyse, you heard the officer. Footin', Terelly!"

The Marines gaped at the NCO before scrambling back down below.

"You need anythin' else, sir?" Thompson asked, deciding that it was safe enough, just about, to let go of the rail and stand at a position as close to 'attention' as was safe.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:48 am

"Have someone make sure the new men know where to be, please, and have those not used to shipdecks in this weather stay below and only work there."

The lieutenant ordered, then turned towards the midshipman.

"Mr. Bailey, I would advise you do the same with the sailors. Thompson, who is still stationed on deck?"

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:00 am

"Aye, aye, sir!"

And doubtless the Captain would rig lifelines fore and aft before too much longer.

And then he'd been asked a question. "Um. Combes, Brice, an' Keene up here, sir. This's Brice's first ship but he should be all right by now. An there's Beech, Dawkins, Everett, Higgins, Bell an' Lakey on duty below, sir - they'm all experienced men right enough."

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Tobias Bailey on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:01 am

Bailey nodded quickly. Those they could spare to remain below, as they were as good as drowned above, had been sent to assist. There has been a minor injury of the wrist, caused by the tempest, already. The man had been assisted below and only moments later, Bailey saw a man slip and fall to the deck. He had been lucky as the heigh from which he had begun, was not great enough to kill him, and the ship lurched upwards diminishing the distance if only a little.

Bailey's turned sharply. "..Harrow.. Stubbs! Get..." He hesitated a moment. " Ha'penny to the surgeon! Quickly now!" He turned towards Sewell and Thompson. "It will get worse.."
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:17 am

"Good."

Sewell nodded, satisfied with the roster. The last thing they needed tonight was somebody swept overboard because he turned in the wrong direction while trying to grab hold. Or that somebody panicked.

"Anything else my men can help with, Mr. Bai..."

The rest of the sentence was cut off by another wave that this time deposited among some algae a medium sized shark on the deck - still very much alive and not at all pleased.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:40 am

Thompson didn't think twice. He grabbed a boarding pike from the rack at the base of the mainmast and speared the thing with it, very careful of its teeth. It took three thrusts but eventually stopped floundering and lay still - as still as anything could be, in this storm.

"Bloody hell," he said, looking down at the dead fish. "S'pose the carpenter'll be pleased for the skin, though." He staggered a bit, suddenly registering the order from the quarterdeck to rig lifelines - not before time, in his opinion.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Tobias Bailey on Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:42 pm

"Corporal. Wave!" Came the warning from the midshipman, who had gazed up, his mind already on other things. Such as the men on the fore mast. Good, the sail was being pulled in before it would flay itself to ribbons. So far the men held fast.

He blinked his eyes closed as the wave washed over them, having a few of the men skip, slip but finally catch hold. Something wooden, but Bailey could not recognise it exactly as what it was, was washed over board.

The shark had been washed against the rail, but had been stopped there. It's body then began sliding to the other side, tripping atleast one man by it.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:32 pm

Thompson couldn't even spare breath to thank the middy as the wave broke.

Some storm this was - the last time he'd been anything this violent had been aboard the Surprise in the South Seas. He dropped the boarding pike and grabbed the railing at the top of the companionway, wrapping his arms around it just in the nick of time.

Once Terpsy bobbed back up, he swiped a hand over his face, blinking the stinging salt water out of his eyes and looked around for the pike, which had gone, probably washed overboard. Damn.

He steadied a sailor making his way for'rard with a coil of line that he was uncoiling as he went, to form a lifeline that men could hang on to.

"Everythin' all right, sir?" he asked, looking from the middy to Mister Sewell and back again.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:55 am

Sew once again very visibly didn't curse, but as soon as he could relax his death grip on the railing and the next youngster - Bailey's arm this time - and the water had run off, he grabbed the shark bodily and hoisted it up.

"Yes, thank you, Corporal. A place to put him quickly, if you please. Not the Captain's bed. Otherwise this beast goes back whence it came from."
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:21 am

The Captain's bed? Thompson had to fight back a grin at the picture thus conjured up of the Captain's finding a shark there.

"Dunno that 'e'd want to go to bed with a shark, sir," he said, and cleared his throat. "That is, um, aye, aye, sir."

It might be easier to throw the thing back into the water, but that would be a waste. Even in this storm, there was probably room in the carpenter's store for the thing.

"If I could borrow a hand, sir?" he asked, addressing the midshipman, who was looking half-drowned. Even borrowing the middy himself would help, of course, but he wasn't about to suggest that.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:31 am

"I'll carry it - less likely to be swept overboard."

He certainly could handle the weight and size more easily than any scrawny sailor - the non-scrawny variety had better things to do at the moment, he guessed, than carrying dead fish.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:43 am

"You, sir?" Thompson recovered himself. "Yes, sir. Was thinkin' to put it in the carpenter's store, sir. It'll be out the way there, easy enough, and it's Chips as'll have the skin anyway."

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Tobias Bailey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:00 am

"..We'll have him stored below?" The midshipman hesitated a moment but then seemed to agree that it might be of some use. He perhaps did not know a use for the animal, but it was as good as a fish anyway. "Do you need more help with the beast?" He inquired, glancing at the shark just to make sure it was quite dead.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Terence Whyte on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:07 am

A messy mop of hair appeared at the gangway, its owner heading up along the steps. He bumped off to one side, then back, struggling to keep his footing. He yelped as the water splashed over his person and gripped for dear life to the closest thing he did find.

The idea to come above had suddenly appeared foolish when before it seemed to beat the idea to stay below and fear that he might not escape the wooden coffin in time. His hat had been left below, but the queue at the very least held his hair in place.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  George Thompson on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:19 am

Thompson turned as someone grabbed at his arm and clung to him. "What the...?" What was the boy's name... Wright? "Whyte? What are you doin' up here?"

He took a firm grasp of the lad's collar as Terpsy plunged into another wave, sending water streaming along the deck.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:25 am

Sew gritted his teeth and took a firmer stance, gripping the next rope between his body and elbow this time. Thompson had beaten him to a rather pertinent question - Whyte had not impressed him sofar with cat-like agility.

"Can manage, Mr. Bailey", he grunted instead.
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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

Post  Terence Whyte on Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:28 am

Why was the corporal asking silly questions just before a wave hit and then a marine felt obliged to answer only to start inhaling when the water splashed across the deck! The desperate gulps, hacks and coughs ended up in a very drenched, nearly drowned young marine, who looked more miserable than the moment he had appeared on deck.

Even once the water was gone he was still trying to have water spill from his mouth, wheezing until the sea water caused his belly to contract once. He eased his breathing then and looked up. "...comin' on deck , corp'ral." He answered wipping his mouth on the sleeve of his woolen coat.

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Re: 17th July: The vile tempest

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