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July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

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July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Aurelien Vachot on Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:51 am

Not two days earlier things had been going as bright as the sunny skies above for young Vachot and the crew of the prize ship. The Revenant, a French raider, had seized a Portuguese merchant ship whose captain had wisely decided not to resist. The Revenant discovered in the hold were many casks of fine wines along with more mundane cargo. The decision was made to place a prize crew on the vessel and sail it back to a French held port along the coast. Vachot had been one of those assigned to the small prize crew. When the value of the ship and goods was finally figured out by Admiralty, the young man would get a slightly bigger share of the reward for being part of the prize crew so he was quite pleased with himself. The only disappointment was there had not been a battle for the ship, Aurelien had so wanted to experience his first real action. Still, he consoled himself by remembering this was only his first voyage and he had his whole career ahead of him to take part in battles.

Funny how things change so rapidly. Now less than forty-eight hours later, the boy was clinging to a chunk of driftwood from that very Portuguese ship, the vessel itself sunk and taking to it's watery grave seemingly the rest of the prize crew and the Portuguese sailors too. It had happened so fast and it had all been so confusing.

There had been a change in the weather yesterday and a sudden squall line bored down upon them, damaging the sails in it's unexpected strength. The damned Portuguese picked that time to finally decide to resist, gambling they could overwhelm the outnumbered French prize crew. During the chaos, some idiot - Aurelien had no idea who - somehow had started a serious fire below decks. The fire spread devilishly fast and what was certainly one of a seaman's worst fears came true. Soon it was out of control and panic set in, both crews abandoning ship preferring drowning to being burned alive.

Aurelien recalled with horror being with his fellow crewmen trying to launch the lifeboat only to have a mast crash down in their midst, crushing some and hurling others overboard. He was one knocked from the ship into the water.
After struggling in the water for god only knew how long, he managed to grab hold of the driftwood that he even now clung to for all these hours. A panic stricken Portuguese had reached it too but he was already badly burned and too weakened to cling very long before slipping under the waves. Aurelien had made no move to help the man.

At least it was summer but even so after a long night and now well into the day, he was losing both strength and hope.  His one chance was another ship, it was a well traveled part of the sea. He didn't want to die yet, he wanted to see his family again, so he silently willed himself to hang on, hang on.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:17 am

De Guarde had been assisting, as much as his smaller frame, yet nimble body could, the other topmen with the sails. He had been clinging for dear life at times, as th water swelled and the ship leaned to this or that side and at other, he tugged and pulled and then helped secure the wet fabric before it chose to flay itself to pieces. At one of those shifts of the ship and as the wave went for a dip he gazed around, searching for the light which would suggest that there was an end to the tempest or atleast a momentary respite. There it was that he suddenly saw wreckage, wood that floated on the water and something that clung to it.

He blinked, turned again to the same spot, not sure if he had merely imagined it, or if it was there. He wiped his face of some water, to help himself see better and then looked again. Still there, somewhat closer now. "Man ahoy!" He called out. One of the seamen, Smithson by name, looked to the youth then where he was pointing. He was not mistaken. There was indeed something. The qeustion was though, could they do something about it. Would the figure drown, before the ship got any closer? Many a man had been washed overboard and there was noone to help him.

Perhaps though the figure was in luck, for the tempest was dulling out a bit. Perhaps they have reached the eye of the storm, perhaps they had more time now, when the sea was atleast slightly more at peace. With the wind carrying the voice away, it was up to one who could be quickest, to inform an officer below of what he had found and so De Guarde made quick way down the mast, his hands gripping at the wet ropes rather precariously. The figure had appeared still clinging to wooden wreckage. Had it been dead, he probably would have already slipped off. It needed saving.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Aurelien Vachot on Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:54 am

The rain, the huge waves, it had been all he could do to simply hang on, close his eyes, and pray. Gradually it calmed again for which he was thankful. Still his situation was little better, he could not simply bob out here forever. In fact he doubted he could last much longer and definitely not thru another storm.

Then he looked up and ahead was a ship! A large ship with masts. He didn't even consider it's nationality, he would be glad for anyone to fish him out. Even though if it was Spanish or Portuguese he would perhaps be executed due to their hatred of the French, he'd take the risk.

He waved one arm though not for long as he almost lost his grip with the other and then called out as loud as he could still manage.

"AIDER ! AIDER VOUS!"

Actually it may well be unlikely they'd even spot or hear him but for one thing, there were men up in the rigging. They might spot him bobbing upon the surface. Taking a deep breath, he screamed out the same thing again. This would more than likely be his only chance to cheat a watery grave.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  William Bush on Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:53 pm

From his vantage point on the quarterdeck, Bush watched as De Guarde hustled down the rigging. He thought he had heard the boy cry out from above, but the distance coupled with the wind had made it too difficult to hear his exclamation.

"De Guarde!" he called out once the boy had reached the deck, "What are you on about? Have you spotted something?"

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:51 pm

De Guarde ran across the deck, towards the lieutenant just as it was safe, skidding to a stop in front of him. "Wreckage, sir." He had yelled over the wind. " A body, man in the water." He added quickly and gave the directions of whereabouts he had seen the unfortunate creature last. "Been floating there, must still be alive, sir." He said the last with less certainty. He had a small glimpse in the direction, as he navigated around the more dangerous part of the mast, to come down. He thought he saw him wave.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  William Bush on Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:23 pm

Bush was not quite as optimistic as the lad, rather doubting that the floating form would still be alive, especially having gone through such a storm as they just had. Nevertheless, they needed to investigate any wreckage of a ship, survivors or not.

"Good eyes, De Guarde," he said, glad that the boy was actually making himself useful.

It was a short-lived moment, though, because he promptly snapped, "Back to your duties, then. Sharply now!" before proceeding to pass the word that a man had been spotted overboard.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:57 pm

De Guarde looked stunned for a moment, the compliment needing time to sink in. The command snapped him out of it though and he nodded sharply, while a smile still managed to escape him and show.

"Yes, sir!" He said quite cheerfully and turned running quite swiftly across and back to the foremast, his grip on the planks just at the point where he was in danger of slipping, yet didn't.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:11 pm

When the cry of "Man over board!" was repeated throughout the ship, Sewell raced to the deck. Only when he reached the last few steps, he slowed down to a slower pace and appeared on deck in decorous fashion becoming an officer.

Ascending to the quarterdeck, he approached the lieutenant.

"Mr. Bush. What happened? Can I be of help?"

While brusque, the questions were in no way meant disrespectfully - they were just short and to the point, and given in such a matter-of-fact voice that it was clear that the Marine was placing himself at the lieutenant's disposal and expected him to make best use of his strength and capability. After all, there was a drowning man, so officer or not, everybody should contribute to the best of their abilities.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Tide Evans on Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:15 am

Man overboard.

Those two words spawned a very particular sequence of events. Events that were carried out at speed by a crew who knew, to a man, the importance of a swift, competent response to such an emergency. Time was always against a ship when a man went over the side and haste - careful, professional haste - was the order of the moment.

Tide stood firm in his usual place, with two other men helping him hold the wheel steady. Wind, rain, and spray made the deck slick beneath their bare feet and the uneven current racing past the rudder made the wheel shiver, the spokes fighting against the helmsmen's hands. They stood with feet spread wide for balance, their hair and clothes plastered to their bodies, faces streaming with water. Theirs was, arguably, the most demanding task aboard in that moment.

Only the topmen had it worse, swarming aloft as they were to do battle with sodden, rebellious canvas as the heavy job of heaving to was undertaken. It was a dangerous piece of work in conditions like these, when more men could easily go over the side, plucked from the rigging, their tenuous grips on swollen cordage and thus on safety broken in a heartbeat.

"Wind's backin', sir!" Tide called out, his eyes fixed on the flapping sails above them. They, far more than the compass box, told him just how the ship was handling.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Allhands on Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:38 am

De Guarde went to inspect that the man was still alive, Mister Kinsella's orders and something lieutenant Bush would probably have benefited from knowing, when further action was to be taken. Was it only to avoid the wreck and the dead body, clinging to it, or was it to actually attempt properly saving him. It was Mister Kinsella's call.

With the report given that not only did the man in the water shift his position, but he was actually appearing as though shouting, the midshipman hurried back to the lieutenant. He passed the seamen who were in all stages of movement and preparation easily enough, and stopped only once to talk to the nearest of them, the sullen Cattling. "Keep an eye on that man." For as others might avert their gazes to do their work, it would have been most futile, if they did all but know where the man in the water was.

Cattling leaned against the railing and waved to the man, the hope that he might be saved, that he should not yet give up. There was a slight opening above them, the clouds parting, though still dark and quite evil about their position. It was as if luck had smiled upon the youth. Still, it did not look as though the kinder winds and sea would keep their generocity for long. They had to hurry.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  William Bush on Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:51 pm

"I do not know what happened, Mister Sewell," said Bush in response to the Marine lieutenant's inquiry, "The man is not one of ours. He appears to be from a wrecked ship. As to what you can do, simply be ready to assist if necessary, either yourself or some of your Marines."

To Evans, he nodded in acknowledgement of his announcement. The quartermaster was on top of the situation, as usual. The weather was a different matter, but hopefully, with luck, the elements would cooperate enough for them to reached the stranded man.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:02 pm

"Both are, Sir." And his marines, unless they had some other duty, better were! Sewell stepped back to be out of the way but ready when needed.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Jeremy Mitchell on Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Lt. Mitchell came up to the first lieutenant, clutching his hat to his head. After paying his respects rather hurriedly and somewhat cramped in his style by the changing wind (he had a healthy respect for Bush, but like an eager dog scampering around, he wanted to leap into action), he reported:

"Jolly boat manned and ready, Sir. Permission to go and rescue the poor bastard?"

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Tide Evans on Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:40 am

"A point to larboard, boys! Hold her there!" Tide snapped to his helmsmen and applied his strength to the task. The wheel eased over and then the four men held it, faces drawn with concentration. Up above, the topmen were scrabbling down from aloft, their work done for the moment. They were back out of danger. God be with those poor souls going out in the jolly boat, though!


Last edited by Tide Evans on Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Keiju on Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:55 am

Foul weather always meant work. Hard, exhausting work. Foul weather and the need to heave to and rescue some poor fool out there in the unsettled sea? Chicken Dyer was, for once, not best pleased to be in a boat crew. He and Chase held on to their boat hooks for dear life, doing their best to hold the jolly-boat against the side of the ship. Any minute now, the boat was going to be smashed against the frigate's much more sturdy hull and they'd all be lost.

What was taking the officers so long? This was, to Dyer, a completely simple undertaking. There was a man in the water. The jolly boat was already afloat and already manned. Why was it being held back?

~

"Hold fast, ye bohs!" Eghan MacShemine called out, balancing carelessly on the spray-slicked mainchains. He had one arm hooked around a shroud line but was otherwise unanchored to the ship. His gaze was turned upward, rather than down, but his warning was meant for both the boat's crew and the men who were dashing for the braces to trim the yards around.

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Aurelien Vachot on Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:44 am

Were they turning in his direction? Yes, they were indeed! As exhausted as he was, it could not help but perk him up some. But maybe they still hadn't spotted him and were just adjusting a course? No, someone on board was waving? Yes, that was definitely a wave. They knew, they were coming because they knew.

"Aider vous!" Aurelien called out yet again and dared risk losing his grip by making another wave.

A part of him now wondered if he should forego the driftwood and try and swim toward the vessel? No, not yet, he might be too weak to swim very far.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:00 am

While he held himself in readiness, Sew went over to the larboard railing, where the majority of the floating wreckage seems to be located. Examining the drifting flotsam, he suddenly called out to the nearest midshipman: "Your glass, Mr. Chandos, if you please! See what you can read on that bit over there."

He indicated the direction; he thought he had spotted something written, probably the name of the ship, on what might be part of the smashed hull of a boat.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  William Bush on Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:57 pm

Bush appreciated the second lieutenant's fervor, but still could not share his optimism any more than De Guarde's.

"Very good, Mister Mitchell. I only hope you will be rescuing him, instead of simply confirming his passing."

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Allhands on Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:47 am

Kinsella waited a moment as Mister Mitchell and Bush spoke then stepped forward, his own report a fairly quick collection of bits of information. "The person, a younger man by the looks of it, in the water is still alive. He has been reported moving and appeared to be yelling, though he is too far that we could hear it." He stopped and stepped aside as Chandos moved, past him and towards Sewell.

He slid his glass back into its place. "I could not read it perfectly, since the wood had been charred and burnt, but I believe it could stand for Bárbara... or something along those lines. It is written in the Portuguese fashion, there is an accent mark on the first A."
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Jeremy Mitchell on Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:48 am

"We all do, Sir."

Mitchell hurried to the railing where the boat had been lowered down and quickly climbed down into it. Before letting go of the ropeladder he took a huge breath - he did not really like the tiny jolly boat and would have preferred to have something bigger under him, but of course for a rescue that was rather impractical.

But it was only a moment of hesitation. Then he gave with a clear voice the order to man rudder and oars, cast off and row out towards the boy, making his way through the sailors towards the prow of the small vessel. Dredging up the bits of Portuguese he had picked up, he shouted:

"Aguarde! Estamos a chegar! Just another few minutes! Don't let go now!"

It was much harder to see the small portion of a human figure above the water from down here, so every so often he glanced back towards the Terpsy for confirmation of their heading. He also readied a sling - if the boy had been in the water too long, he might be too stiff to move, even if he still had some strength left.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Keiju on Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:25 am

At last. Dyer and Chase lifted their boathooks clear, then used the solid wooden hafts to help fend off from the ship. The two bowmen remained standing until there was enough open water between the jolly boat and Terpsy to negate any further need for the boathooks. Then they stowed the implements, settled on their thwarts, and got their oars up, out, and working

"Mind your stroke!" Spencer barked, both hands gripped on the tiller. "Evenly now, boys! Pull together!"

Evenly. Pull together. They were trying! If only, Dyer thought scathingly, the officer who'd come bumbling up into the bow would stop knocking his elbows into Dyer's back.


Last edited by Keiju on Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:45 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:37 pm

Sewell took the glass for a moment to confirm this reading, then nodded.

"Yes, Bárbara - Santa Bárbara probably. There was something written before the name."

He handed the glass back, tilting his head slightly into the direction of Mr. Bush. The midshipman should better report this to Mr. Bush, so that even if the man was dead the port authorities of their next port of call could be notified and a name for the lost ship given.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Aurelien Vachot on Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:05 pm

They had lowered a boat down and were approaching him, whoever they were. In the bobbing water, it was hard enough to make out the jolly boat let alone try and ascertain what nationality they might be by their uniforms. And most sailors didn't actually wear uniforms anyhow, usually that would be the officers. Aurelien continued to simply keep his grip on the flotsam and let them get closer. Someone was yelling now too.

Portuguese? While he did not speak it, he recognized it for afterall he'd just been sailing with the Port crew of the prize ship. He didn't like Ports any but he could not be picky, whoever was willing to rescue him, he'd be suicidal not to go along with it. The man then also spoke English too? That only confused the issue as to just who the speaker was.

Aurelien had lived his life in a northern French port city and his father had been a port official, he'd learned some English mostly thru his family relationship with an English exile, a Catholic from that isle. So while his English was not great, it was better than his Portuguese.

"Please....." he had to think of the correct word, "hurry!"

He could not wait to get into that boat, he wasn't really worried about sliding off the debris and drowning anymore, he would hang on that much longer, he was certain.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Jeremy Mitchell on Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:54 am

Standing to get at least an occassional glance of their target, an unexpected cross-wave had knocked Mitchell sidewise and he had to use the sailors' shoulders to steady himself. He apologized automatically while pushing himself upright again, immeditately rechecking that the wave hadn't thrown them off course.

"Keep talking! We are coming!"

Hearing the other's voice would help locating him quickly as well.
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Jeremy Mitchell
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

Post  Tobias Bailey on Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:19 am

Chandos turned to lieutenant Bush. He was quick to name the possible nationality of the man in the water and relayed the message of the name of his ship. It was probably a mere merchant ship. He had waited for Kinsella to report first of course and did his report respectfully, later enough.

At the railing Cattling still observed the rescue attentively. They had reached him now, they would pull him into the boat any moment from it. He was really fortunate. Well, his job here would be finally done after it, though it had felt a little bit like dawdling with permission. It suited him perfectly.

Then he could head back to relay a message to a midshipman that the lad was in boat, which the middies would probably have noticed too but better be too obvious than assume something.
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Re: July 17th Situation Hopeless and Getting Worse!

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