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Random, part VII - The libido awakens.

I actually managed to continue this sporking within a month, for once! Aren't you all happy? ;)

In case you need a refresher about what's going on, here's where you find all previous parts in this series:

Part I        Part II
Part III        Part IV
Part V        Part VI

Get ready for part VII, in which Bert the Friendly Pirate fails ship anatomy forever:

Chapter 15

The new chapter opens exactly as the last one ended. No, seriously, it does. We're treated to another lengthy conversation entirely consisting of the characters bemoaning how guilty they feel over potentially exploiting the other, while the other tries to reassure them that they're fine. Because that's a thing we needed five more pages of right after the last three pages of the very same in the last chapter. And there's still no sign of Will actually doing some hard thinking on the fact that he's in love with a man - something which he'd never considered before and was taught to abhorr.

Now that it's daylight again Will spots the bruises Adrian left on Arch—er's body, and, of course, he can't help but remark on them:

“You’d said this bastard wasn’t as bad as Correy, but—” He touched Archer’s wrist, looked at him for permission, then pushed the sleeve back. His wrists were encircled with bruises and chafe-marks. “What the hell did he tie you for?”
This is, of course, an extremely clever and necessary question to ask a rape victim: What did your rapist tie you up for? Couldn't possibly be done to make the victim easier to rape.

The navy's finest, cleverest, and most tactless lieutenant, everyone!

But then, the only reason anyone had to ask this question, of course, is so that Arch—er may reply: "He didn’t need the ropes, he had you." Because that's romantic.

Again a characters' dialogue is serving as nothing but a set up for a powerful line the author has been mulling over in their head for months - which wouldn't be so bad if this particular bit didn't make Will come accross as rather insensitive and naive.

Oh, the joys of professional writing that used to be fanfic!

This response naturally culminates in Will offering to murder Adrian for Davy as soon as he gets the chance.

Meanwhile, Davy also worries that Adrian might have bragged about raping him to Captain Smith, which could mean the end of – at the very least – his career. (Victim blaming was definitely a thing that could happen in the navy in the case of homosexual rape and if a victim couldn't convince the jury that the sexual contact was unwanted, they could be executed along with their rapist. So, kudos to the book for sort of getting something at least a bit right! This might have been the second time? Within 200 pages).

Since Davy considers his life at an end if Adrian told his tale, he asks Will to flee alone if he ever gets the chance. Will, of course, refuses, and tries to convince Arch—er that his angst about the Captain believing he seduced Adrian is unfounded:
“Davy—just as a favor to me—would you please let yourself believe things might be all right? Not that they will, I don’t ask that—but allow that there just might be hope?”
“Because I know how it feels to live without hope. It makes death look too easy.
On the one hand, I'm always here for people telling Arch—er to shut up so that the plot may finally progress, but on the other hand Will isn't a very convincing motivational speaker. It might have helped his case if the readers had actually got to experience Will living "without hope" at some point before this chapter. But as it stands, this is the first time we read of it and are given no further context.

Maybe, just maybe, this story could have used just a little more editing and polishing to make sure it worked as a original work detached from its fanfic roots before it got published.

Chapter 16

We return to Captain Smith in his cell just as the Friendly Pirate Who Condones The Rape Of Women But Not Of Main Characters shows his face again and tells Captain Smith that he and his buddy will help him escape, if the Captain promises to procure pardons for them.

This is where Captain Smith actually learns about Adrian's habit of assaulting his prisoners, but not in the way Arch—er feared: It turns out the Friendly Pirate Who Condones The Rape of Women But Not of Main Character's friend is the cook, who took in and quietly married the girl who got mentioned last entry, before sending her to live with his mum.

Remember that one? The one Adrian couldn't be sure of whether she'd been thrown overboard after being gang raped by his crew, or spirited away into the galley by the cook. So Adrian truly is inobservant and incompetent enough not to notice an extra person – likely the only female on board – wandering about the main-deck, on a brig.

And, of course, this wouldn't be an old school slash fic without some misogyny. That's when FPWCTROWBNOMC complains about how one of the female kidnapping victims enjoyed her stay on the Recluse so much Adrian found it difficult to get her to leave the ship after her ransom got paid:
‘e didn’t mind ‘avin ‘is bit o’ fun with the prisoners, but that ‘lady’ wanted to stay aboard an’ play pirate ‘erself. Loony bitch, beggin’ your pardon, sir. I ‘ope ‘er ‘usband took a stick to ‘er when ‘e got ‘er back.
Wanting to join a pirate crew brands you as a "loony bitch." Says the pirate.

Captain Smith refuses to process any of the nonsense he's just been told, but resolves to maybe shoot Adrian the first chance he gets for being a despicable rapist bastard, which endears him to me greatly. Only, he'll have to get in line after Will.

Eventually Smith asks FPWCTROWBNOMC for a favour:
Is there any way you can get a message to my men? And can you get them any sort of weapons? The knife you brought last time's got a carrot stuck in it.

The Friendly Pirate promises to fetch enough blades for everyone, but pistols are going to be trickier. But our pirate isn't thinking big enough: Captain Smith is interested in the ship's big guns:
“I see. I noticed guns on deck. Are they kept loaded?” That would be a foolish waste of powder on most ships, since an enemy could be seen so far off, but for Adrian it could mean a chance at escape if he were caught unawares. And he had no shortage of powder.
I don't even want to start getting into everything's that wrong here.

Why would you anyone even need to load the guns in advance? How long do you think it takes to load a gun vs the time it takes for a hostile vessel to manoeuvre within shooting range? How fast do you thing big, wooden sail ships move?

The Friendly Pirate, Bert, confirms, that indeed they keep the guns loaded, but only with powder, and only the bow chasers, and they only put in the shot when you need it, and they only ever use canister shot.

That's great. Putting the powder in there in advance saves you an entire five seconds. Unless it got wet, in which case you just added to the time it'll take you to take your first shot, because you gotta clean that shit out of there first. But you're on a brig, cruising around the British Isles. How could your powder possibly get wet?

Furthermore, canister shot loaded into the bow chasers will do shit all for you in an escape. It's useful as anti-personnel shot, not ideal to disable a vessel chasing you. It doesn't smash masts or break lines, the best you can hope for is tiny holes in the sails. Not to mention, if you intend to escape, you usually aim to leave your pursuer behind you, not in front of your bow where your bow chasers are, don't you?

But then, canister shot is all they have, because:
“Canister, mostly. We only ‘ave light metal, six-pounders, so we goes for scattered shot.”
“Sensible,” Smith agreed.
Stop encouraging him, Captain Smith!

Smith asks how large the crew is – probably because it’s finally a question Friendly Pirate Bert could hardly fuck up – to which the pirate has this to say:
“Thirty-eight, plus the Cap’n an’ ship’s master. Smaller crew, bigger prize shares.”
You're on a brig.

40 people isn't a small for a brig pretending to be a merchantman.

Please never talk about sailing vessels ever again. Ever.

Thankfully, the topic switches to the guards employed in, well, guarding the cells. Smith asks how many men are guarding Will and Davy's cell at any time:
“Two, sir, same as you, and they’re both there most o’ the time. They have lights-out same time as you, the guards go out by the stairs so they can stay awake.

From what we know of their cell Davy and Will are in a closed off, locked room. How does killing all lamps outside their cell door even affect them? Why do they even have light? Why would you give your prisoners a lamp on a wooden vessel? Why would Adrian order the guards from that deck at night? Why would he want the guards to go upstairs? Why is even any of this?
Why is?

Okay, well, what about the rest of the brig, Bert?
But there’s probably ‘alf a dozen men on deck most o’ the night, two or three even in the late dogwatch.”
You can't sail a brig with half a dozen men, let alone two or three men.

Oh God.

Thankfully the conversation ends at that point, because the second man supposed to guard Smith's cell arrives with breakfast, just in time for a scene change. Thank God, there couldn't possibly be anything worse than what came before!

Thus, we return to Drinkwater and his log entries.

Jesus Christ on a stick-insect!

But do not fear! This log entry actually holds useful plot information for once! (Inconceivable, I know). However, rest assured that this entry doesn't mention the state of the actual ship it's a log for either. Because, well, why would a ship's log do that?

Instead, Drinkwater lets us know that with the aid of the harbourmaster they figured out the real identity of Adrian's vessel:
Morven, a merchant brig converted from a gunboat to noncombatant after serious structural damage.
What is happening? Why is this happening to me?

The larger types of gunboat admittedly could in size be comparable to, but generally a bit smaller than a naval brig and had an ideal crew of about 45 to 50, and that's when in naval service, which generally meant a crew twice as large as compared to a merchantman.

And, again, that's for the larger types of gunboats.

Good job keeping your crew small, Adrian. Having just under 20 crewmen would have sufficed, but having 40 instead means everyone gets more money— wait...

I also feel sorry for Morven now. According to Lavery, brig-rigged gunboats of the larger type didn't appear until 1797, which means she saw maybe half a year of service before she got passed on to Captain Creeper.

Her captain was the first victim of the series of abductions, and although his description does not closely match the one Capt. Smith provided (the colour of his hair is unknown as Capt. Black was clean-shaven and wore a powdered wig), the coincidence is too great to ignore.
So, for his first trick Adrian kidnapped and raped himself?

Actually, that seems in character, since, according to Adrian, raping people is the greatest compliment he could possibly pay them.

Needless to say, we must board her by stealth or guile;
I'm sure it would make Smith, Davy and Will feel ever so much safer if they were here to read this and know that they get to rely on Bracewater's stealth and guile!
even had we the metal to attack, we could not fire on what might be an innocent ship; we must first determine whether our officers are on board, and where they are being held. Then we're going to fire into it.

We return to hour romantic hero couple just as Arch—er leaves for dinner with Adrian once more, which naturally leaves Will concerned for his friend. Even more so, when Arch—er isn't escorted back to the cell after the usual hour or two, and stays missing the day after.

Chapter 17

Bert contacts Smith again with the happy news that his friend the cook offered to poison the crew's food the day the vessel makes its next powder delivery. But since, as Bert reports, Will and Davy have been separated Smith decides they wait for a more opportune moment. Plus, Bert suspects Adrian has Davy locked up in the sail locker/tool shed, which means he might just break out of there in a hand built, armoured car before the day's out.

With Arch—er still missing during the following night Will uses his time and worry-fuelled energy to finally saw a hole large enough into the side of the vessel to remove the bar blocking him from climbing out of the port tused to ventilate the cell. Once it's dark enough he hauls himself outside, and climbs up onto the chains. But before Will can step onto the deck and discover anything relevant, he spots guards escorting a cloaked figure and overhears them being ordered to take that figure back to the cell. Concluding that Davy is finally being returned from wherever he's been kept Will hurries to climb back into the boat. He doubts he can make it in time, but luckily he stuffed some straw into his jacket before climbing out and put a sail cloth blanket over it, which not only manages to fool the guards, but Davy as well.

But then, Davy should be excused, as his mind is busy replaying the events of the previous night, that led to him being locked into the sail locker/tool shed for a day. And it's a good excuse, because that event is the greatest thing he did so far in this novel, and the greatest thing he'll ever achieve in the remaining chapters:

Are you ready?

But every time he closed his eyes he was back in Adrian’s cabin the night before, trying to regain control of himself after his body had emphatically rejected Adrian’s attentions, along with the dinner he’d just eaten.
Arch—er. Threw up. On the villain.

Good man! Did what we all wanted to do since the beginning!

He's been forced to endure another dinner with Adrian the following evening, after being released from the tool shed (sadly, appearing without the armoured car), but, happily, vomit appears to be a powerful pirate-repellent, because Adrian didn't attempt anything that evening. Woohoo for vomit!

Right when Davy has finished recapping the events of the previous evenings to us, Will plunges back into the cell through the porthole.

Thrilled by the progress Will made in his absence Davy asks if Will thinks they can move soon, and if Will can get to their captain.

Will isn't very hopeful:
“[…] It may be possible, if it’s very dark, or I might be able to go all the way up the shrouds and down the other side. But I could not get the Captain out through the port.”
“You could give him that tool, though, and he could work on it himself.”
“No, I mean I’m not sure—he would fit—” Marshall made a strange sputtering noise, then lost his composure. It was just as well that Smith’s cell was not too nearby, Archer reflected; the sight or sound of two junior officers smothering laughter, with himself as its object, would hardly win his approval.

You guys are the worst.

I'll have you know that every pound of Captain Smith is lovable and filled with indignant rage and actually more workable escape plans than you've come up with so far.

But please continue to explain your plan, this story has been going long enough already.

Will intends for Arch—er to knock out Adrian on the day they make their move and to that purpose teaches him a self-defense trick which he once learned from a tiny Lascar. Supposedly this trick is perfect for small, delicate woobies to use on their larger attackers.

Well, good thing Will remembered that he knows this trick just in time for it to become relevant to the plot.

Arch—er is unsure about whether or not he'll be able to pull it off. Only Will's superb motivational skills (telling him he'll be saving Will's life and the Captain's life – no pressure) can convince him to believe in himself and realise that "he had no time for self-pity". Well, that's a first!

Will and Davy practice the move, but their close proximity wrestling unfortunately leads to puns:
“This is harder than I thought it would be,” Marshall said, then laughed harshly. His hand brushed the back of Archer’s collar.
Pull yourself together, man, this is not the time for dick-jokes!

Arch—er realises Will is as horny as he is, and that this might be the last chance they ever get to do some boning, but Will is a bit more reluctant:
“I—I want you so much it frightens me. What if we couldn’t stop? What if the perpetual friction from our never-ending fucking sets the boat on fire?

Naturally Will's refusal to engage in an act that he's been taught warrants the death penalty, simply because he fears to become a sex addict brings Arch—er to tears. Thus Will tries to comfort him by taking him into his arms and suggesting he'll offer himself to Adrian the next time in Arch—er's stead. However, this in turn doesn't go over very well with Davy, which is a somewhat reasonable reaction out of him for once. Eventually the two of them fight over who gets more traumatised by imagining the other with Adrian, before agreeing that their main priority should be to teach Arch—er some fighting moves.

The chapter ends with Will teaching Archer how to throw him across the room without any of the pirates hearing or noticing, since, as we learned, Adrian requires his guards to leave the deck if they want to stay awake past their regular bed-time.

Best pirates ever.

Chapter 18

Arch—er almost chokes Will to death during practice which to our heroes means that he's ready, and they share one of these kisses that leaves everyone breathless and lasts for a lifetime. You know the drill.

Dude. You guys just discussed why this was a bad idea five minutes ago!

But it turns out that Will changed his mind when his head got banged into the brig's side and the oxygen to his brain got cut off:
“I’ve given the Service every minute of my life, never grudged it. And it can have the rest, gladly—save for the next couple of hours. You’re right, this may be the only chance we’ll ever have. If one of us were to die, tomorrow... I want the other to have those memories you spoke of.”
Well it's not the most unreasonable thing he could've said. I'm mostly just impressed by his eloquence half a minute after being choked out for the sixth time in a row.
Arch—er is more than happy to oblige and already has "a notion of just what it was he wanted to do."
Everything Adrian had done to him. Well, everything that didn’t hurt.
To William.
Nope. The wording is still creepy.
He wanted to turn his beloved friend into a sodomite. An outcast. Threatened with disgrace and death at every turn. No, I just want to love him—
It was one and the same.
That's a terrible birthday present to give a friend! And technically, he already is a sodomite. Remember last time, Davy?

Davy angsts about the fact that apparently Will had been virgin and that he's just as terrible as Adrian, and everything else we already went over in the last entry only this time with added Bible angst, because the Bible says not to sodomise your friends. Happily, Will is rather agnostic:
“Forgive my blasphemy, but if you look at the way Christian countries like France and England go at one another, it’s clear Whoever’s up there has a foul sense of humor.”
Ah yes, that very Christian country of Revolutionary France. You do know the French revolution happened by this point? Remember this war you're supposed to be fighting right now? Remember how it got started? The French people took their very Christian king, invested by God, and cut his head off, and your very own Christian king got a bit nervous that his British subjects might see that as a good idea. Remember? French Revolution? Regicide? The clergy being purged? Church buildings getting desecrated? Graves being plundered? Where were you these last couple of years?

Arch—er takes his time to consider Will's well thought out argument. And considers some more. And returns to worrying about that he'd be not better than Adrian if he gave Will the sex he so desperately wants. And worries some more and considers. Eventually even Will's patience grows thin:
“But you must decide now. We’ve only an hour or two till dawn, and by this time tomorrow we may be off this damned tub. Which has suddenly become a bad thing.

Davy worries some more and then finally, finally they do it, giving us all the release we longed for, by which I mean the chapter is finally over!

Chapter 19

The two snuggle in their post-coital glow and Davy muses that "he didn’t remember William smelling quite like this".
Of what? Sweat, saliva, various other bodily fluids and week-long lack of a toothbrush?

Meanwhile, Marshall doesn't think he'll be up for a second round.
“That’s probably another reason the crew’s always kept busy,” Marshall said thoughtfully. “Sex requires energy.”
Yes, Will. If sail ship crews didn't have so much to do all day there'd be nothing but orgies aboard ship. From dawn till – well, the next dawn, I guess.

Probably to protest this cruelty toward the common sailor they have sex again. And one more time immediately afterward. Guess Will wasn't as tired as he thought. Especially since they go on to have sex a fourth time after that, before they finally go to sleep. But it's okay, because it's exactly what Davy needed to heal his soul.

What do these guys do with their libidos on the days they aren't locked up on a pirate slash cruise?

But before Will drifts off into the land of dreams we're treated to this gem:
... and one moment of clairvoyant certainty, just as he was losing consciousness in the choke hold. For just an instant, he had seen what had to be the future—or at least a possible future: Davy lying on the quarterdeck of this ship, motionless, eyes closed. Dead? Perhaps.
It was not imagination; he had such flashes rarely, but they were always true sight.

Because Will had supernatural powers all along. Nice to learn of this now that the book's 2/3rds over.

I repeat: Will possesses the gift of precognition. This is not a joke.

But, you say, the novel has been realistic so far, apart from the things that were bullshit!

Despite the vision Davy should be safe, of course, at least for a while. The Recluse/Morven can't be "this ship" Will saw, because neither a gunboat, nor a brig would have been referred to as "a ship" by anyone at the time who knew jack shit about sailing vessels, because they simply weren't ships. :))))))))))))))))))))))))))) Don't worry, I'm fine.

His Irish grandmother had had the gift, and warned him that it had been passed down to him.
He wasn’t grateful; he would not have called it a gift.
Well, yeah, that's why you say she warned you. Oh, and of course the grannny's Irish, they're all pagan heathens there on that island after hall. Or worse: Catholics!
The first time he’d ‘seen’ was when his mother had taken ill after giving birth to a baby sister; they’d both died within the week. Most recently, it had been his two gunners, in the last battle. When he’d seen them in his dream, their faces had been blank. He hadn’t remembered that, or realized what it meant, until the French missile took out the rail and blasted his men to eternity.

And what about Davy? Were things different enough now? Had this given Davy the will to live, countered his hopelessness about the future? Or had he made it worse, waking a wish for the impossible? Try as he might, he could not force the vision. Gift or curse, it came at its own whim.
So, your super power has so far never allowed you to save a person's life because you forgot about seeing their deaths in time to warn them? Good thing then, that this time with Davy you have a chance to do things differently and tell him of the mortal danger ahead!

You're going to tell him first thing in the morning, right? After all you two just committed an offense punishable by death several times. He'll listen!
If Archer were to die, if that was what the vision had meant, it would be a grief worse than anything he’d ever known—but nothing like the guilt and regret he’d have been burdened with if he had let Davy go down into the dark without sending the love he felt with him.
Or you could do nothing, accept that Davy is going to die, and pat yourself on the back for having boned him a couple of times. Of course.


Jan. 17th, 2016 09:18 pm (UTC)
What if the perpetual friction from our never-ending fucking sets the boat on fire?”

Is that... Is that a real line? O.o
Jan. 17th, 2016 09:21 pm (UTC)
No, but I'm not too shocked you'd think that! XD
Jan. 17th, 2016 09:24 pm (UTC)
Heh. Well, after everything else, I wouldn't have been *too* surprised if it had been :P

Very entertaining sporking! I don't know a thing about ships, but the sudden!precognition and the friendly pirate stuff was great!
Jan. 17th, 2016 09:38 pm (UTC)
Anything in bold type in the quote boxes is my addition, but yeah, it would be something I could imagine these guys saying. *g*

I'm glad you were entertained. ^^ I don't think I'll ever be over "we're in the final act, but oh, our MAIN CHARACTER is a clairvoyant, btw." The book kinda missed an opportunity to do some more foreshadowing there.


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