[This is the result of a decision that started Here. Click to go back]
“That’s a dirty job, indeed. Top marks for volunteering!” Dalton says, with genuine appreciation.
You offer a salute and head down to the pump room. Wood is porous, and all ships take on water, no matter how tightly they’re sealed. This accumulates in the ship’s bilge, and the resultant “bilge water” must be pumped out, lest she rides low and collects drag, slowing the ship. Some water buildup is to be expected, but if you can clear out the excess, the Hornblower should see a boost in speed—which could be crucial in this chase.
It’s backbreaking work, plunging and raising the handle again and again to pump the water out, but you’re spurred on by an overwhelming sense of purpose. This is work that needs be done daily, but today is the first time that you truly feel like your doing so could directly save the lives of the crew.
After a grueling hour, you’re relieved by the next shift and sent up to eat an early meal. Fine by you; that activity worked up quite an appetite!
The ship is abuzz with speculation pertaining to the Spanish warship now chasing your own frigate. Many of the men are keen to fight, even against a superior force. A frigate is more maneuverable than the larger man-o’-war, and Captain Longwick seems like a tactician who could use that to his advantage. The anticipation is the worst part—these sailors want to see what both he and the Hornblower can do!
The scuttlebutt is that the armory is to be unlocked, muskets issued, and stations taken. Each of the cannons is to be made ready for a possible fight. The excitement’s getting to you too. Maybe it’s time to get in on the action?
“Hey, what gives? I can’t click the next choice!” Actually… this is the end of your free sample. But seriously, this action-packed adventure is under $5, which, in 1716 money, was probably less than a penny!* (*this fact has not been verified)
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