This is a Hitchhiker's Guide/Hornblower crossover, written by two slashers. The authors are Les Lapins Mauvais and Demus.
Thank you, kind people who read and reviewed: Captain Oz, Oneiriad and Spirals
LLM and I had enormous fun writing this, we finished it before she went away, and I'm glad, on both of our behalves, that you've liked it. Or if you've loathed it, you've been kind enough not to say, so cheers.
Ford led the way to the control room, where the Infinite Improbability Drive was actually located. Under Ford's supervision, Matthews, Styles, and Oldroyd lifted it together out of its resting place in the center of one complex tangle of machinery and into another, identical, one nearby.
"How's that?" Ford asked Eddie, after adjusting the wiring.
"That just dandy," Eddie replied, "now where do you want to go?"
Hornblower was bored with listening to Ford give orders, and even though he felt a little silly addressing someone he couldn't see, he said crisply, "We need to get into a position to frighten away the French warship. The mere sight of this strange craft ought to do it, but… you do have guns, don't you?" He asked Ford. He was doubtful, having seen no portholes, and they'd only be able to operate one cannon between them anyway, so he was relying heavily on the virtue of surprise.
"Yeah," Ford said, "But you'd have to be pretty bloodthirsty to use them. A single shot from one of the Megablasters would probably blow that wooden sailboat straight out of the water."
"I'm taking off, then," Eddie announced, "You might want to go up to the bridge so you can direct me."
Ford led the way again, and flopped comfortably into one of the chairs there. Arthur sat down next to him. Horatio and Archie explored the control panels, and Horatio had to slap Archie's hands away from pressing all the blinking shiny buttons. The foremast hands stood respectfully at the side of the room, waiting for orders.
The Heart of Gold rose slowly into the air, sending up a great spray of water as the powerful propellers thrust against the sea.
Le Captaine Michel Perruque of the man-of-war La Confiture smirked confidently as his ship bore down on the flagging British frigate. Poor, stupid, English fools. They were so proud of their so-called unstoppable navy, and here he would crush them like the beetles they were. He rested his hand on his rotund belly, brushing a speck of dust off his immaculate uniform. He took little notice of the large white object floating nearby the other ship- his greedy eyes were fixed on his prize. As they drew ever closer, he became aware of a low throbbing humming sound, like that of a hundred bees singing hymns very quietly in a deserted country church.
The odd noise suddenly began to grow in pitch and amplitude and the captain was forced to cover his ears as it became a whining roar. The French crew stopped their work, gaping in open astonishment as the white shape slowly started to rise out of the water and turn. The bulbous head swung round to face them and the white demon growled menacingly. The fat little Perruque removed his hat and clutched it to his chest, falling to his knees in terror.
"Oh Dieu Clément!" he prayed, desperately, his jowls wobbling frantically in his panic. "Mon Dieu, c'est un diable! Un diable!"
Seeming to hear his prayer, the 'devil' softened its roar to a whispering hiss and began to advance on them, hovering in the air like an evil ghost. As one man, the French crew began to scream and panic, some firing reckless shots at the flying monster, some just running to the sides to fling themselves into the sea. Le Captaine Perruque looked at his ship as order collapsed around him, then at the English frigate. No longer a picture of chaos and disorder, the proud frigate, her sails full, was heading towards them in the wake of the demon.
'They summoned it,' he thought, staring at the hissing beast. 'The English devils summoned it!' He stood and began shouting orders, firm commanding orders that has as much effect on his men as a mackerel has when used as a battering ram. In fact, Perruque was completely ignored by everyone except the ship's cat. The ship's cat (whose name was Henri) leapt from his precarious position on one of the railing to land on the captain's head.
This did not help matters.
From the deck of the Indefatigable Captain Pellew couldn't repress a satisfied smile as the French crew abandoned their ship and their captain, screaming for mercy as they hit the water. The British crew, having seen the Heart of Gold land earlier that day, were quite happy to jeer and taunt the Frogs as they swam desperately for the relative safety of the English vessel. Pellew saw the French captain, alone on the deck of La Confiture, turn and fix a death glare on him from underneath his ship's cat. Then he raised his hands in the universal gesture of surrender.
The Indy's crew cheered. They had done the impossible, for England and for their king.
Well technically, they hadn't, but any excuse to get the rum stores opened was a welcome one.
On board the Heart of Gold, Archie was having a hard time resisting the urge to grab Horatio into a bear hug. Matthews, Styles and Oldroyd had no such qualms and were leaping around and cheering like drunken monkeys. Ford simply sat and grinned, his arm sneaking around Arthur, who didn't seem to mind. The dressing-gowned human was just glad he wasn't being either shot at by strangers from his home's history or passionately snogged in front of 18th century prudes. Horatio was feeling a little bit nauseous due to the sight of themselves hovering above the water from the main viewscreens. He had a distinct feeling that men were not made to fly, and that he in particular would be glad of chance to get his feet back on some decent wooden boards.
Having touched down the spaceship back on the calm waters and been rowed back to the Indefatigable, Ford and Arthur were a little surprised by the exceedingly warm welcome they got from the crew. Archie (who had Horatio clinging to his arm like an insecure baby limpet that's lost its mum) acknowledged the cheers and salutes the born ease of a gentleman but Matthews, Styles and Oldroyd were quick to regale their mates wit the story of their 'Adventure In The Flying White Thing Where For Once Mr Hornblower Didn't Save The Day'.
Captain Pellew waited patiently as they fought their way through the excited crew and stood gravely as the shouting died down. "Men," he stated, his tones ringing out over the sea. "We owe a deep debt of gratitude to these gentlemen before you. Without their ingenuity and quick-thinking, along with their otherworldy machine, we may not have survived this battle. On behalf of His Majesty the King and the British Empire, I salute you!"
There was a great roaring Hurrah! from the Indy's men. Arthur looked a bit unnerved, but Ford ginned his trademark manic grin and winked at the captain. "No problem mate. All in a day's work. Now are you sure you don't have any jam on this ship?"