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Beating to quarters

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Beating to quarters

Post  Billy Barrow on Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:48 pm

(Continued from The Storm)

Mister Chandos nodded to the captain and turned forward, bellowing to be heard by not only the drummer but all the men his voice could possibly reach. "Beat to quarters!"

The men had been waiting for it, and they grinned as they rushed to their places. Billy scrambled down from the maintop and made his way below to the upper deck, pushing through to reach what was normally the captain's coach, his small dining cabin. With the bulkheads removed, it was now part of the long, wide stretch of gun deck, and most of Billy's fellow gun crew mates were already there.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:49 pm

Thompson clattered up to the gundeck with his musket, deciding not to head up to the gangway unless it was absolutely necessary. No need to get any wetter than necessary, after all. And the storm was still raging; the tossing of the ship felt worse up here, though now he was in the fresh air, he felt better.


Last edited by Private Thompson on Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:58 am; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:02 pm

Peter made his way up onto the gundeck and then to his station, which at least was under cover, though he was soaked through from the storm already. He took his hat off, protected by its oil-skin, and shook his head violently, water flying in all directions. Lieutenant George, his long coat gleaming like coal, nodded to him. "Go and get something to eat, if you have not already. Kościuszko is dousing his fires - at least there was food for the hands, and ... Run along, boy. The French won't be here for some time yet!"

Peter grinned. He was hungry, and in these seas, the cannon would not be released from their tight ropings until the ship was much closer. He made his way along the gun deck, stepping quickly out of the way as others hurried to their stations.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:05 am

[OOC: Sorry to double post]

Peter had been kept busy, below decks and above, as they changed course to pursue the sail the lookout had sighted. It was almost impossible to see anything from the deck, the ship heeling so far over that the lee rail was occasionally awash with green water. Even on the gun deck water seeped in round the ports and sloshed in deep puddles around the carriages of the lashed cannon. The deck, only half covered, was soaked and as slippery as if it had been drenched in blood. Peter clung to the life line, taking this less exposed route from the quarterdeck to the carpenter at the bow.

A sudden lessening in the wind caused her to judder as much as a stronger gust would have done. The lurch caught him and for a second he clung to the life line, but as the wind returned he lost his grip, flaying the skin from the palm of his hand. He slid down the deck, trying to grasp something, but he caught his head on the mainmast, and rolled down, no longer resisting, to crash into the cannon, and to lie there.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:29 am

Something slithered past, to fetch up against a cannon on the lee side. It was small and dark and at first Thompson couldn't think what it was. One of the middies... he saw the white breeches and dark jacket and thrust his musket at someone before sliding down the sloping deck to scoop the young lad out of the water that was slopping around the lee scuppers.

"Here, I've caught me a fish," he said, wedging himself between gun muzzle and ship's side. The boy was out of it, and the Marine carefully felt his head in case he'd broken it. There was a bump coming, but no blood that he could tell - though everything was so wet he'd be hard pressed to tell if it was blood or seawater. "You all right there, young sir?"

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:18 am

Peter coughed, and the cough tried to turn itself into a cry. There was a pain in his head, and outside it. He could remember grasping at the rope, and at something else, but sliding down the deck. He must have hit the side of his head. He tried to raise his left hand - the pain was just above the left ear, he thought - but stopped before he had moved the hand, wincing.

That cleared his head a bit more, and he became aware that he was lying against someone, and that he was being called 'Sir'. Remember the Spartan, he thought, and gritted his teeth. "I slipped," he said. "I hit my head." He brought his right hand up to touch it. That hand stung, but it was better than the pain from the left arm.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:37 am

"You all right, sir? Hurt anythin' else, like?" Thompson had to raise his voice against the wind, and there was cold water slopping around his feet, but he was out of the worst of the weather, here. He had one arm around the boy, supporting him. "You look half drownded, sir," he said, wondering what had happened. Obviously the lad had lost his grip on the lifeline, to slide right across the deck like that.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:49 am

Peter could see now, at least he could see the red coat of the marine that was holding him. "I hit my head," he said again, and then, "I can't move my arm. I may have just knocked it - but it hurts." That did turn into a bit of a wail, something that would have been frowned on at home. He bit his lip and took hold of the left arm in his stinging right hand.

[OOC: dinner now - I'll pass out if you want to move me. I thought Dr Crozier and his assistant could bed themselves in with a patient.]

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:58 am

"Your arm, sir?" Now it had been mentioned, Thompson could see that the lad's left arm was hanging awkwardly. Probably broken. "I'm takin' you down to the surgeon, sir," he said. "Might be a bit of a bad journey to get there, though.*

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  sans nom on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:01 am

"What's the matter, Thompson?" Kinsella called, making his way carefully across the deck. He looked at the younger midshipman. "Are you all right, Peter?"

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:04 am

"He's bust his arm, sir," Thompson replied as the newcomer, one of the more experienced middies, ending up sliding the last few feet, fetching up against the side with a slight bump. "Needs the surgeon, sir."

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:09 am

Peter opened his eyes again. Thank heavens for Kinsella. "The Captain asks the carpenter how long to fish the ... " His eyes closed again, and he bit his lip as someone tried to settle his arm more comfortably.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:12 am

Thompson's eyes met Kinsella's. "How long to fish... what, sir?" he said. "Mister Kinsella will run your errand while I take you below, sir." He looked back up. "Won't you, sir?"

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  sans nom on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:19 am

"To fish what, Peter?" Kinsella looked sharply at Yates as if trying to read his thoughts on his face. He glanced over his shoulder towards the quarterdeck where the captain was still watching the distant sail. "Never mind. Preddie! Joe Preddie there! Run forard and ask the carpenter how long until he's finished with whatever it is he's doing, and I'll go aft and speak with the captain. Carry on Thompson."

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:25 am

"Aye, aye, sir." He tried to settle the lad more comfortably. It would be easier to carry him, but not on a deck that was as far from flat as it was right now.

"Sir. Mister Yates, sir. You'll have to help me," he said, speaking to the injured boy. "I can't carry you in this storm, sir."

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  sans nom on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:34 am

Kinsella hesitated. "Can you manage, Thompson? Take Beech with you if necessary."

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:37 am

Eyes open again. "Dan?" he said, at the sound of Kinsella's voice. But the marine had wanted him to help him somehow. It might be difficult with this arm, he thought, and he hoped that it wouldn't be too complicated, because his head hurt so... "What do you want me to do?" he asked.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:39 am

"Think I'll be all right, sir, thanks." There was no way of securing the lad's arm, and he was light enough and small enough that Thompson should be able to manage. Though if the lad passed out on him, he'd certainly press Beech into service.

"Mister Yates? Still with us, sir?"

Even as he asked the question, the lad's eyes flickered open.

"Can you walk, sir?"

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:46 am

"Yes..." His legs seemed unhurt, or rather there was going to be a bruise on one where he had run into the cannon's carriage, but his feet were still attached. "I'll try," Peter murmured, taking in the slant of the deck, with water running down it as if it were the roof of a house. He laid his right hand on the Marine's red arm, and pushed down, trying to stand up. He wobbled a bit, and there were flickers of red light somewhere far away, but he got himself to his knees, and rested.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:54 am

"All right, then, sir," Thompson said. "I'm goin' to put me arm round you to help you, like. If I hurt you, I'm sorry."

He slipped his arm round the boy as promised. "Now, sir, just lean on me and we'll head to the companionway, there."

The boy was lighter than expected, but the deck was slippery with water and the Marine had no idea how much grip he had in his shod feet on the wooden planking that was running with water pouring down into the scuppers. The Terpsy was pitching and rolling as well, which was just going to add to their problems when it came to getting down the ladder. One step at a time, though...

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:13 am

Peter clutched at the elbow of his broken arm, and leaned into the grip of the Marine. It would be difficult to climb, even with Thompson's help. He had rolled down it once, and did not want to do so again. But he tried to help, to keep his footing on the streaming deck. Once he almost slid to his knees, and whimpered as the jolt made his head swim. His arm seemed less painful now.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:17 am

"Easy, sir, one step at a time." It'd be easier if there were lines rigged to the companionways, but of course there weren't - they'd only be in the way for men moving along the deck.

His grip on the lad tightened a little as Yates' footing slipped.

"You'll be below soon enough, sir, and the surgeon'll sort your arm out for you."

And they had gained the companionway.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:20 am

He found that the higher he went, the more prominent was the tilt of the ship. Adjusting his footing and his movement to the ship's, he came above in time to spot a wave dose the deck heftily. He paused a moment. The deck was as slippery as if blood had been strewn across it. Where was the captain? He shielded his eyes from the salt's spray.

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  George Thompson on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:29 am

"You still with me, sir?" Thompson asked. "Only, I might have to switch sides, so we can both hold the rail, sir. Don't want anythin' else broken, after all, do we?"

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Re: Beating to quarters

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:32 am

"Thank you." Peter thought he must be sweating, although it made little difference to the cold clamminess that the saltspray and rain had caused. The companionway was there, and the doctor would be there too, and ... His face white beneath the freckles he said softly: "It's all right. I'll try not to fall on top of you."

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