Disclaimer: I own neither Hornblower, nor all the other programmes/authors mentioned here.

Alternate Endings to 'Retribution'

We all know it shouldn't end like that – but how should it end?

1 Scooby Doo Ending

(Immediately after Hobbs has released the captain and he has done his "up leapt the tiger speech") Horatio, utterly calm leans over to the captain, and peels off a mask revealing him to be none other than… Napoleon Bonaparte!

Horatio: You see, it wasn't Captain Sawyer at all, but a filthy frog!

[A Marine goes over to Hobbs, and removes a similar mask to reveal – Jospehine!]

Napoleon: And I would 'ave succeeded if it wasn't for you pesky lieutenants!

2 Jane Austen Ending

[Horatio is sitting beside Archie's bed]

"I do regret if I had ever caused you… suffering."

"Nay, sir, none, for I could not be said to suffer."

"You do… for I have treated you badly."

"I cannot suffer for a false treatment…"

"I was never false… Archie, would you… consent to be my wife?"

"Why Horatio – of course!"

[Horatio marries Archie. Commodore Pellew marries Admiral Hood. Styles marries Matthews. Hobbs marries the Spanish commander's wife. Bush marries Buckland. The Indefatigable marries the Renown. Dreadnaught Foster marries himself. In fact everyone gets married.]

Star Wars Ending

[Commodore Pellew enters the prison hospital; Archie is still alive.]

Pellew: Horatio… I am your father!

Hornblower: No!

P: Search your feelings. You know it is true.

H: Nooooooo!

P: There is another one…a… sister.

[Horatio goes very quiet.]

P: Yeees…. Archie is your twin sister!

H & Archie: Pardon?

Salvador Dali Ending

Horatio is sat beside Archie's bed, watching him.

Cut to a montage of disturbing images, such as an eyeball being sliced with a razor

Cut back; Horatio has turned into a woman and Archie into an eider duck called Percival.

Monty Python Ending

[Archie lies motionless on the bed. Dr. Clive comes in.]

Horatio: Another one for the morgue.

Archie: I'm not dead.

Dr. Clive: He says he's not dead.

H: Look, you're not fooling anyone.

Dr. C: I can't take him like that

A: I think I'll go for a walk now…

H: He's a gonner, can't you hang around for a bit?

Dr. C: Nah, got to go to the Indefatigable, they've lost 45 this morning.

H: Look, er, isn't there, er, anything you can do?

[Dr. C looks conspiratorial]

A: I feeel happy, I feel happy… Oof! [Archie is hit about the head with a blunt instrument, to wit and viz a stuffed badger]

Omnes [strung from the rigging]: Always look on the bright side of life…

Hamlet Ending

[Onstage are the dead bodies of Sawyer, Wellard, Hobbs, Styles, Matthews, Commodore Pellew and associated extras. Archie has just taken 15 minutes to die, managing to deliver a really stonking monologue.]

Horatio: Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet Archie,

And may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

[Enter Dreadnaught Foster]

Foster: This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,

What feast is toward in thine eternal cell that so many attractive naval officers at a shot so bloodily hast struck?

Horatio: Give order that these bodies

High on stage be placed to the view;

And let me speak to th' yet unknowing world

How these things came about. So shall you hear

Of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts;

Of accidental judgements, casual slaughters;

Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause;

Of delightful tight naval uniforms;

And in the upshot, purposes mistook

Fall'n on th' inventors' heads – all this can I

Truly deliver.

Foster: Let us haste to hear it

And call the nobles to the audience.

[Attempts to find the noblest fail, since all of them are dead onstage]

Sherlock Holmes Ending

[Horatio, Archie and Buckland are all in the courtroom.]

Horatio: You see, it was all elementary, my dear Archie. The minute trace of dirt on the Captain's lapel is of a peculiar type of clay found only in the village of Much Wenderby. The Captain is a scrupulously clean man and thus the specks could only have come from his assailant's hands. From this we can conclude that his attacker was a man not fastidious about cleanliness who had spent time on shore leave at Much Wenderby, and that left only one man – Lieutenant Buckland!

Archie: But, Hornblower, he does not live in Much Wenderby.

H: A perceptive observation, but a misleading one. For Mr. Buckland did not go home for his shore leave, but as he told us visited his maiden aunt, who does indeed live in Much Wenderby.

Capt. Pellew: Astounding Hornblower!

3 ER Ending

Many complex machines that go 'ping' surround Archie's bed.

Dr. Clive: CBC! Chem 7 and C-spine!

Matthews: He's crashing, sir!

Dr. C: Start compressions! Charging to 120! Clear!

M: Still no rhythm.

Dr.C: Charging to 200! Clear!

M: Still no rhythm. He's been down too long.

Dr. C: No! Charging to 300! Clear!

M: Leave it sir. There's nothing more we can do.

Dr.C: Clean up the body. I'll tell the Lieutenant.

4 Rabid Fangirl Ending

[Immediately after the beginning of the prisoner uprising an army surplus WW2 submarine surfaces beside the Renown, and out swarm hordes of fangirls, and not a few fanboys. They, in an attempt to be both practical and alluring are wearing big boots, combat trousers and skimpy tops, and are toting khalasnikovs determinedly.]

Fangirls/boys: (determined battle cry) HE'S MINE BITCH!

[All the Spanish prisoners are massacred. Captain Sawyer is killed in a way so vicious it cannot be described without bumping this fic up to an NC-17 rating.]

Fangirl 1: Die! You cause dishonour to Horatio - you die!

Fangirl 2: Who gives a monkeys about Horatio? He dishonoured Archie more!

[A fight breaks out among the fangirls/boys. The crew hide in the holds, or lie still and pretend to be dead. Fangirls/boys massacre each other. The crew emerge.]

Archie: Horatio – does the fact that they tore each other to shreds shouting our names worry you in any way?

5 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Ending

[After a truly cracking performance of 'I will Survive' to the Court Martial board, the officers are found not guilty. Under the influence of sequins Archie recovers.

Cut to the mast of the Retribution, where Bush, Archie and Hornblower are dressed in figure hugging dresses, singing Abba, with bright sheets of fabric trailing behind them in the wind.]

Hobbs: That's just what this country needs. A cock, in a frock, on a fighting top.

6 James Bond Ending

[Sawyer is in his cabin, stroking the ship's cat. Horatio is bound to a pole that is sticking out of the window.]

Sawyer: So, we meet again Mr. Hornblower.

Horatio: Sawyer. A well thought out plan I must admit…

S: And one which you have failed to prevent in any way.

H: Do you expect me to talk?

S: No, Mr. Hornblower, I expect you to die. And now, I shall oversee the rest of my plan. Goodbye, Mr. Hornblower.

[He leaves, leaving some fantastically incompetent marines to kill Horatio. They fail, Horatio escapes, and blows up the ship while still managing to rescue Bush and Archie]

7 Star Trek Ending

[Horatio, Bush and Dr. Clive are stood by Archie's bed]

Dr. Clive: He's dead Horatio.

Horatio: Such…injustice, such… bravery… and all… for so…little.

Bush: Such sentiments are illogical Commander. He sacrificed himself for us. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Horatio: But… for him…there is… nothing.

Bush: We continue, our five-year mission to bravely seek out new continents and new civilisations to subject to British Imperialism.

8 Disney Ending

[Horatio is by Archie's bed]

Archie: Horatio – I lied to you. I am in fact a woman. I joined the navy to avenge the death of my father at the hands of the Republicans. And – I am in love with you!

Horatio: But I cannot marry you, for I can only marry the daughter of a Duke.

A: But my father was a Duke!

[They kiss]

H: But, love – you are dying!

[A mystic, sentient squirrel appears and cures Archie, while wisecracking. There is then a big song and dance routine ending after their wedding, involving Pellew leading hordes of tap-dancing sailors around the squadron]