CHAPTER ELEVEN

"What was that all about?" Katryn asked, when Hannah returned to the women's quarters.

"I was just loaning Archie my iPod." Hannah replied, yawning. "I think he's a bit bored."

"I think he's sweet on you." Katryn retorted.

Hannah didn't respond as she changed into her night clothes.

"And I see the feeling is mutual."

"Katryn, it's a little soon for me to be planning any kind of relationship." Hannah returned, laying back in her hammock. "Besides, I thought he was more into you."

Katryn gave a snort. "Not that I saw." She responded, after a moment. "Besides, I'm engaged and he knows it."

Hannah frowned. "Did you tell him about the wedding?"

Katryn's eyes snapped open. "Oh crap!"

Hannah turned to look at her. "You forgot, didn't you?"

Katryn sighed. "I guess things got so busy I didn't think about it." She admitted.

"Then unless he's gotten a good look at your ring, he may not know you're getting married."

"He does know that Jesse and I are together, Hannah." Katryn told her friend. "He said as much back when he was here last time. In fact, he's spoken about it to several people.

Hannah chewed her lip, looking at the glowing stars on the ceiling. Katryn was right. Archie, having spent a lot of time with Katryn before, would certainly know about her love for Jesse. However, that did not mean that he didn't still like Katryn. The last thing Hannah wanted to be was a second choice. A rebound relationship. In her heart, she knew she did have feelings for Archie. From the first moment, she had looked in his eyes, she'd known something. She'd gone as far to write in her journal that she liked Archie, but she was not yet ready to use the word, 'love.'

Did she love him? Yes, that was a possibility. During the surgery and in the week Archie had been in the coma, she had been deeply afraid. So many loved ones she had lost. The mere thought of losing Archie on top of all the others had frightened her so badly she had been a nervous wreck the entire week he had been comatose. Hannah had sworn years ago she would never allow herself to love again; yet over the last week, her resolve had crumbled. When she had told Archie she was tired, she had not been lying. What she hadn't told him was that the reason she was so exhausted was because the thoughts of losing him had not allowed her to sleep more than a few hours at a time the entire week he had been out.

When Archie had tried to get her to stay with him longer, she knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted to hear the rest of her story. Would she be able to tell him even the parts she had tried so hard to forget? Between her parents' deaths, and the truth of what had happened between Anna and Jared, not to mention her own experience with love; Hannah had come to the conclusion long ago that in her own heart, that true love was indeed a fairy tale, as Plumb had sang in her song, "Damaged."

What would Archie think of her if he were to see her as she truly was? If he could see the scars that she managed to keep hidden under her clothes?

Katryn had told her he would understand. That he, of all people would know exactly how she felt about love. Hannah had read through Archie's medical charts, including the documentation of the discussions between Katryn and Archie. The contents of Archie's files, including the scars she had seen on him during the surgery and while taking care of him in his comatose state, did ease some of Hannah's doubts, which was what caused her to finally open up to him.

Would she tell him the rest? Yes. Without a doubt. However, for the moment, her fully exhausted body was in desperate need of sleep.


Up in his office, Captain Richards was looking through the books on Hornblower, frowning in thought. Something that had been suggested by Jacques. He was studying the life and death of the Midshipman Henry Wellard. The boy, much like Kennedy, had suffered greatly. They had not found the ship fast enough to save him and in most people's sight, it would have been impossible. The boy had been gunned down beside the Captain, and Hobbs had spoken to him as he died. There was really no way to change that without making themselves known.

However, together Hendricks, Cortez, Ratzlov, and Miklos had thought of something. What if, after David's Star had docked in Florida, a few of them went back for one last mission? If by helicopter drop off, they could get one person on board the Renown in time to catch the young boy in a quiet area of the ship before the battle that would see Archie shot, and convince him they were there to save him. They could get the boy into a bullet-proof vest with a simple bag of blood. As long as Hobbs was convinced the boy was dead, they had only to switch him with a dummy, covered in canvas and spirit the youngster off the ship to be taken back to their time and picked up in the helicopter. It could possibly work, Russ decided. He would not mention it to Archie in case they couldn't do it, but there would be plenty of time to tell him later on. First, they would have to perfect the plan and study the positions and layout of the ship, and foremost, study what had been done after his death to make sure there was a way to switch the bodies without anyone seeing it.

The whole plan seemed a long-shot and still had several blank places in it, but Russ, in his compassion for the young tortured boy couldn't ignore it. If there was a way, they were going to find it.


Archie stared at the iPod screen. Hannah's "top 25" song playlist. Assuming these would be her favorite songs, he had clicked on it. The song at the top, he noted was by the group she had called Skillet. It was called Imperfection. This was certainly a word he knew a lot about.

Listening to it for a moment, he decided it would be easier to see what the song was about, if he listened to one line at a time, writing the words down. Pulling his copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets, he opened it to the back blank page and slowly wrote the words as he heard them.

You're worth so much. It'll never be enough to see what you have to give.

How beautiful you are, yet seems so far from everything you wanted to be.

Tears falling down again. Tears falling down.

You fall to your knees. You beg. You plead.

"Can I be someone else for all the times I hate myself?"

Your failures devour your heart in every hour.

You're drowning in your imperfection.

Archie read what he'd written from the first verse and the chorus. Although he'd had a little trouble understanding exactly what was being said in the second line from the last, he'd gotten it after a few times listening to the line. He knew he was wearing the battery with the screen lit, but he wanted to see the full message of the song. He continued writing.

You mean so much that heaven would touch the face of humankind for you.

How special you are. A revel in your day. You're fearfully and wonderfully made.

Tears falling down again. Come let the healing begin.

You fall to your knees. You beg. You plead.

"Can I be someone else for all times I hate myself?"

Your failures devour your heart in every hour.

You're drowning in your imperfection.

You're worth so much. So easily crushed.

Wanna be like everyone else. No one escapes. Every breath we take.

Dealing with our own skeletons . . . skeletons.

You fall to your knees. You beg. You plead.

"Can I be someone else for all the times I hate myself?"

Your failures devour your heart in every hour.

You're drowning in your imperfection.

Wont you believe it? Wont you believe in all the things I see in you?

You're not the only one.

You're not the only one; drowning in imperfection.

Rereading the words to the song, Archie could easily see why Hannah favored the song. How many times in his life had he been the same way? Can I be someone else for all the times I hate myself? Despite the shouted lyrics and the hard rock, Archie decided he loved the song. Hitting the menu button, he decided to look through the others on Hannah's top 25 playlist and as he read the names, he realized something else. Some of them had extra things that only Hannah could have added. They seemed to be dedications.

Frowning, he went down the list, reading the titles to himself.

Whispers in the Dark by Skillet; Thank the Watchmaker by And Then There Were None. Archie paused. Was there really a band called 'And Then There Were None?' Interesting, he mused, continuing. Carnival Of Rust by Poets of the Fall; Cut by Plumb; Damaged (Bonus Track-Redemption Extended Edition) also by Plumb. Beside the Title to the song called Damaged, there was a dedication typed in, reading 'For Katryn.'

He would certainly listen to that one, he decided before he continued down the list. The next song, titled Into The Fire by a group called Thirteen Senses. The caption beside it read, 'For Anna and Jared.' Archie frowned. Hannah had not finished her story, so he wasn't sure what that one would be about. The next song down caught Archie's attention. The dedication read, 'For David with all my heart.' David, he remembered was the name of Hannah's late son.

Without continuing down the list, Archie hit the button to play the song called Amazing. The woman, Janelle, had a beautiful voice, Archie decided.

"The morning; cold and raining, dark before the dawn would come.

How long in twilight waiting, longing for the rising sun?

You came like crashing thunder, breaking through these walls of stone.

You came in wide-eyed wonder into all this great unknown.

Hush now, don't you be afraid, I promise you I'll always stay.

I'll never be that far away. I'm right here with you.

Eyes closed, Archie felt thetear that slipped down his cheek.

"You're so amazing. You shine like the stars.

So amazing; the beauty you are.

You came blazing right into my heart.

You're so amazing. You are. You are.

"You came from heaven shining, breath of God still fresh on you.

The beating heart inside me crumbled at this one so new.

No matter where, how far you wander; for a thousand years or longer,

I will always be here with you. Right here with you.

"You're so amazing. You shine like the stars.

You're so amazing; the beauty you are.

You came blazing; right into my heart.

You're so amazing. You are. You are.

"I hope your tears are few and fast.

I hope your dreams come true at last.

I hope you find love that goes on and on and on.

I hope you wish on every star.

I hope you never fall too far.

I hope this world can see how wonderful you are.

You're so amazing. You shine like the stars.

You're so amazing; the beauty you are.

You came blazing right into my heart.

You're so amazing. You are . . . you are."

Wiping his eyes, Archie's thoughts drifted to Hannah. He had no doubts in his mind Hannah had dearly loved David, and his loss was a heavy weight on her shoulders. Though he knew nothing about the child's father or how it came to be, he did suspect the reason Hannah did not like to speak of it.

Turning back to the playlist, Archie's eyes widened. Not two songs below David's song on the list, was a different song with the written dedication bearing his own name. He was awed that there would be one in there with his name on it, after the short period of time he had known Hannah. Given and Denied, he read. By the group he had seen in a song higher up on the list. The one called Poets of the Fall. Curiously, he set the puzzle books aside completely to give the song his full attention; and as he listened, he found himself shocked that of all the songs he had ever heard whether sang by Katryn or listened to himself, this one song seemed to fit him perfectly.

Stopping the song as soon as he'd heard the first verse and chorus, he decided to write this one down as well. Turning now to the back cover of his book, he pulled his pen out and wrote the words to the song opposite the words to the other song. He wanted to remember them always, and the way the words flowed from the song was as good as any sonnet he'd ever heard.

"Which way to the fountain of my youth, I wonder?

Which way to the years I let go by?

Let a thirsty man drink in its memories

While the water still flows sweet and crystal clear for yesteryear.

Oh to see the sun's eclipse on the horizon, like ships.

Sailing way away from here, oh just one more time, my dear.

Before I'll go, hear me out, because of this, there ain't no doubt.

When it's time for curtain-call, just before the shadows—

Fall like a leaf in the wind on the ocean of blue;

Like your eyes in the twilight theater.

With symphonies playing in a world without sound,

We're given and denied.

Give me back my innocence because I wish to dream again.

Like I never outgrew my old playground.

Where the sun sets slowly with a golden crown;

And the leaves sing lullabies 'round vacant swings.

Give me those wings.

Let me fly once again; like I did way back then.

I would gamble and win to lift me high above the din.

Of the future we see; does it hold something for me?

I'm weightless again just before the shadows—

Fall like a leaf in the wind, on the ocean of blue

Like your eyes in the twilight theater.

With symphonies playing in a world without sound;

We're given and denied.

Completing the second song in his book, Archie leaned over and placed the book of sonnets back into his opened sea chest beside the bed. He would listen to the rest of Hannah's favorite songs another time. The battery was showing less than two-thirds, so he decided to pick another playlist with more songs on it, so he could leave the screen off to save what was left of the battery. With a shrug, he located the one Hannah had called, Metal. He remembered loving the songs he'd heard by Evanescence the last time he'd been here, and Hannah seemed to have several that Katryn did not have, at least not that he had heard before. In addition to this, he was interested in the group called Skillet. Remembering what Hannah had said about Katryn and Jesse loving this band, he decided it was definitely worth listening to.

Katryn stared at Hannah's computer screen the next day. "Holy crap." She murmured, watching the screen as she synced Hannah's iPod.

Hannah, from her hammock, frowned. "What?"

"I'm looking at your 'recently played' list."

"And?"

"How did you do it?"

"Do what?"

"You turned an 18th Century Shakespeare addict into a mosh-pit Panhead." Katryn informed her, using the general slang term applied to fans of Skillet.

Hannah came over to look at the screen. "Wow." She put in. "Told you Skillet was contagious." She reminded her friend. "Besides, I got you, Jesse and a good portion of the ship addicted to it."

Katryn shook her head. "Yeah, but Archie!"

"He said he'd heard hard rock before on your walkman."

Katryn raised an eyebrow. "He did?"

"Evanescence." Hannah reminded her. "Ring any bells?"

"Oh, okay I didn't realize he'd listened to all of that tape." Katryn responded, thoughtful. "Then again, I believe he said something about Horatio getting a headache from it." She paused. "Or was it Horatio who made the comment?"

Hannah frowned.

"Yeah, that's it." Katryn went on, remembering. "Horatio asked for something for a headache he'd gotten from listening to something Archie was listening to. He said Archie seemed to like it, but it gave him a headache and he asked why there were so many songs of the future that included constant incoherent yelling and screaming."

Hannah giggled. "Guess he's not the Metallica type."

"Metallica sucked." Katryn retorted, with a snort.

"That's a matter of opinion." Hannah pointed out. She herself, had been very much into the heavy metal scene. Her bands from her younger years included Metallica, Guns N Roses, Alice Cooper, Nine Inch Nails, Van Halen, Whitesnake, and Def Leppard, amongst other bands. In the metal section of her iPod, she still had songs by some of her old favorites.

"So how is our new shipmate this morning?" Katryn asked, changing the subject.

"Asleep." Hannah replied. "I think he was up all night. I went in to check the iPod battery, he had fallen asleep with it on. Didn't even move when I took it back."

Katryn stared. "I'm impressed." She admitted. "Not only did he listen to Skillet and others like it, but he actually fell asleep, listening to it.

Allyssa, finishing the sit-ups she was doing on the exercise mat, came over to look over Katryn's shoulder. "Did he see those ones down there with his name on them?" She asked, looking over at Hannah.

Hannah frowned checking the list. "I don't know." She answered, with a slight blush. She had forgotten she'd put those dedications in some of the songs.

Katryn frowned. "These are from your favorites list." She commented. "Which list was he listening to?"

"I think he'd mentioned he was going to look up the metal list." Hannah remarked. "Even then, I'd told him if he's listening to a playlist, to keep the screen off to save battery so even if he did hear them, he still might not have seen the dedications."

Katryn tilted her head. "Given and Denied." She read. "I have to admit, it's perfect. You know he's a theater addict, right?"

Hannah nodded. "Why do you think I picked that one?" She returned.

"Speaking of Archie, when do we drag him out of bed?" Allyssa asked. "I believe you mentioned he was to be getting up and walking as soon as possible."

"Let him sleep a bit longer." Katryn told her. "When he wakes up, we'll get him on his feet and have him walk to the bathroom."

"And the IV port on the transfusion side?" Hannah questioned.

"If he doesn't start bleeding again when he stands up, we'll take that one out." Katryn remarked, checking Archie's charts. "As for the other, I'd say take him off the Fentinel and switch him down to morphine in IV push."

"Do you want Allyssa to do that or is she doing Conrad's?" Hannah asked.

"Allyssa's been taking care of Conrad's." Katryn pointed out. "Let her get Dave's and you can get Archie's." She paused a moment. "And Conrad needs to be on his feet too, so get him up as soon as you can. I know he's been having too many dizzy spells over the last week, but he's got to get up soon and if the dizzy spells continue, we'll give him a scan to make sure there's nothing wrong with his head."

The two women nodded, trying to look serious.

"Stop that." Katryn scolded. "I mean medically and you know it!"

"And you're doing what?" Hannah asked Katryn.

"I'll supervise."

Hannah and Allyssa exchanged a glance.

"Seniority, my dear." Katryn retorted with a smirk. "The art of sitting on one's ass while watching the lower class people get things done."

The group burst into giggles at her aristocratic impersonation.

"Besides, I believe I am to be cleaning the toilets with Brandon later today." Katryn reminded them, pointing at the job calendar. "And I see Miss White Eagle is doing the dishes today."

Hannah made a face. "I'd rather clean the toilets."

Katryn raised an eyebrow.

"Brandon's more fun to work with then Chang is." Hannah explained. "Chang doesn't speak English as well as his brother does and he never gets it when people are joking with him. It's annoying."

"I'll wash the dishes, if you do the litter boxes with Davey." Allyssa cut in.

Hannah brightened. "Deal!" She agreed. "I love working with Davey. He's insane."

The nineteen year old Chang Lee had taken a liking to Allyssa. Because of this, she worked most easily with the boy. Allyssa, though she thought Chang to be rather cute, liked him, but not in a romantic way.

Katryn checked her watch. "If you're doing the litter boxes, Hannah, you'd better get down to the orlop." She informed her friend. "You've got about three minutes."

Hannah checked her own watch, and nodded. "Let me know if Archie wakes up while I'm gone."

"Got it." Katryn responded as Hannah left the room. "Go let Chang know you've switched with Hannah for dishes."

Allyssa nodded and ran out of the room.

Katryn, exited their quarters, and moved to check on the patients. Conrad was just beginning to wake up.

"Hey KC." He spoke up.

"How are you doing?"

"I have a headache." He replied. "But that's been normal."

"Are you still dizzy?"

"Not as much as before."

"Where is the headache?"

Conrad motioned to where the bandaging was. "Just behind where the eye was." He responded. "You afraid of it being something more serious?"

Katryn nodded. "If it gets any worse, you let Jesse or me know immediately." She ordered. "We can run another CT scan and make sure there's no fluid drainage or internal bleeding."

Dave nodded. "How's Archie?"

"Asleep last Hannah checked." Katryn informed him.

Dave lowered his voice. "She's in love with him, you know."

Katryn gave a smile. "As if there's a way I wouldn't know that?" She pointed out.

"He's the same with her." Dave informed her.

"Wouldn't surprise me. They have a lot in common." Katryn eyed his thoughtful look. "What is it you're thinking?"

"Has anyone given thought as to how we're going to get an illegal alien into the States without a passport or a visa?" Dave asked.

Katryn sighed. She hadn't thought of that.

"Just call it a possibility." Dave suggested. "But if the two of them get close enough in the month we have before we hit Florida, we could get him into the US with a legal marriage license."

Katryn frowned. "True." She commented. "But wait and see. When it comes to Hannah, I don't want to rush her into anything. If they decide to become a couple, we'll see what they think later on, but let them do things on their own before we make suggestions."

"That's what I meant." Dave told her. "Call it a hunch though, if I was into betting I'd say even money says they're an item before the end of the voyage. I'm not making assumptions, I just have a feeling they're supposed to end up together."

Katryn nodded, seeing Allyssa re entering the room. "I know what you mean." She informed him. "For now, I believe Miss Allyssa has to get you out of bed."

Dave made a face. "Oh joy."

"Don't worry." Allyssa spoke up, smiling. "I made sure to bring the vomit bag this time."

Katryn burst into laughter.

"Bite me." Dave retorted.