Excuse My French
There is no Frickin' Way…
Disclaimer: I do not own the Temeraire series.
Foreword: I honestly can't believe no one has ever attempted this sort of story before.
Yes, Naomi Novik has written this series in a way that discourages most Fanfiction writers, but all it means is that it takes a certain degree of skill to do it well.
So, I just hope that I don't make too much of a mess of this.
Feel free to let me know if I'm making an ass of myself with this, and please, if an original character in this becomes (or is in danger of becoming) a Sue\Stu let me know before I get too far into this.
Also, I've noticed that I don't do a lot of normal Fanfictions.
Indeed, my two other normal stories are preludes to a crossover series.
So, this'll be interesting to say the least.
Now, without further ado, release the anachronistic Original Character!
'…The hell?' Groaned Nathan King, pushing himself up.
Something hard impacted with the back of his head and he passed out again.
He came around slowly, blinked, then blinked again.
Somewhere to his left was the sound of sloshing water.
Above his head was the sound of creaking wood, as well as muffled voices speaking in…French?
'Where the bloody hell am I? The Caribbean?' Nathan said to himself, and sat up and rubbed his chin. The beard on his chin told him he'd been out for roughly three days.
He blinked again, then rubbed the grit from his eyes, and finally, his eyes adjusted to the gloom.
The first thing he noticed was that there was a guard fallen asleep next to the door.
The second was the rifle leaning against a beam in arm's reach of the guard.
Is this guy acting? Nathan asked himself.
There was absolutely no way anyone doing a guard duty would be that stupid.
It was practically begging 'please break out.'
Suddenly, somewhere above was a thunderous noise of shattering wood.
The guard jerked to his feet, and took off up the steps, snagging his rifle in his rush.
Nathan thought furiously.
Just what was going on?
He'd been hiking…where again?
Something had happened…and he'd wanted to be a part of it…
So he'd volunteered…
What had it been again?
Something to do with time travel…
He sat up, remembering:
He'd come home from hiking in the Australian Alps to find in his absence that a research team in Switzerland had figured out how to make time travel work, and had been looking for people willing to help in their tests.
He'd immediately packed his bags and headed for Switzerland to volunteer.
Further recollection was dispelled as he heard the distinct sound of fighting break out on the deck above.
Shit, I don't know when I am in time, that could be Black Beard for all I know. Nathan thought, and immediately wished he had a weapon.
Well, he had those couple of years of martial arts he'd done back in high school, but he didn't fancy going up against pirates with cutlasses and flintlocks, even if aforementioned guns were primitive.
If only they hadn't taken my pack… Nathan thought, then spied he the aforementioned hiking pack dumped atop a palette of barrels a little further down the hall.
Now he just needed a way out of the cell.
He thought for a moment, then noticed the bench he was sitting on.
He looked at the door.
There is no frickin' way…
As it turned out, for once Hollywood had not, in fact, been telling a complete load of bullshit in regards to opening cell doors with leverage and the proper application of strength.
Only, in this case Nathan was forced to extract the bench, and then kick the door down.
Having done this, he scrambled over to his pack and opened the main pocket, and there, right at the top was the Sig-Sauer he'd been given for self-defence purposes.
He was grateful he'd been forced to drill with it so much, because now it meant he knew how to use it.
He cautiously ascended the steps, and came out onto what he recognised as a gun-deck.
It was deserted.
He crept quickly down the centre isle.
About halfway up the isle, a man with a drawn cutlass appeared down the stairs and stopped abruptly upon seeing Nathan keeping low in the middle of the isle.
Nathan saw the man as well, and immediately took cover behind one of the cannons, training his gun on the man.
'Carver, what's got you transfixed there? There can't be any spiders so far out at sea.' Said an authoritative voice, in English, the accent undeniably British.
The man, Carver, looked back up the stairs, still keeping one eye on Nathan, who used the distraction to climb over the cannon, and take cover behind the next gun in line.
'There's another one down here, I think 'e thinks 'e can pin us here with just a pistol, sir.' He called, also in a pronounced British accent.
'Who're you with? Navy, or are you pirates?' Nathan called over the cannon, keeping his gun trained on the man's chest.
'Who d'you think you're calling a pirate there?' Demanded the man. 'I am a midshipman in His Majesty's Navy, and you will surrender like the rest of your shipmates.'
'Do I sound like a Frenchman to you?' Nathan called back derisively. 'Those assholes knocked me out and threw me in the brig. I just woke up five minutes ago, and then you came and boarded this tub, so I decided I'd try and find myself a weapon just in case you were less-then-legit.'
'Surrender, we've got you outnumbered fifty to one.' The man called back.
'I'll come out if you promise not to harm me, and if your commander agrees to give me a fair hearing.' Nathan called back.
'Are seriously trying to negotiate in your position?' The man asked incredulously.
'Oh, for the love of-' Abruptly, Nathan stood and walked back into the open with his hands in the air. 'I'm coming out, and I'm not with the French, check the brig if you don't believe me.' Nathan said.
The man still had his sword pointed at Nathan's chest.
Nathan flicked the safety on his pistol to on, then slipped it into his belt.
The sailor didn't lower his sword.
'Come up slowly,' he said flatly.
Nathan complied, but as he came into the sun, he flicked a quick glance upward.
He was rather surprised to not find a blunt object or sharp edge descending towards his head.
The deck was awash with blood, and the dead and exhausted men of the ship were lying sprawled on the deck, with another ship pulled alongside, and a cursory glance revealed it was in better order than the one he'd evidently spent the past few days on.
Nathan noticed more than one person giving him curious looks.
He stood a couple of inches taller than most of them, and in tan cargo pants, a white skivvy and work boots, he looked decidedly more casual and civilian.
And very out of place.
He resisted the urge to squint against the sun, and kept surveying the deck.
He crossed his arms and stood to the side of the hatch to wait while the sailor hurried up to have a word with a man about his height with sun-bleached hair, and wearing a truly impressive blue coat, which was currently specked with blood.
The coated man looked over to where Nathan stood with his arms crossed, then his attention was diverted by another man.
They held a hurried conversation, then they headed down the ladder at the other end of the deck.
Evidently there was something else on this ship more interesting than an oddly-dressed prisoner that had managed to break out of his cell.
The cursed Aztec gold of Cortez, perhaps? Or is it the heart of Davey Jones? Nathan wondered idly, then briefly wondered why he kept referencing Pirates of the Caribbean exclusively. There were other works dealing with the age of sail after all.
Then he was recalled to the fact he was a time traveller.
So, how do I go about getting back to my own time? You don't run an experiment just so you can lose the subject and not get any results in return. Nathan thought.
He frowned, trying to remember, then started wracking his brain trying to remember what the scientists had told him regarding coming home.
To his frustration, he couldn't recall any of it, and to make matters worse, there were other matters he couldn't recall, such as when he was in time, whathe was supposed to do and wasn't supposed to do, activities and people to avoid, and things to avoid saying or doing,-though privately he felt that so long as he didn't blaspheme and didn't flirt, he'd be fine.
The reappearance of the man Nathan presumed was the captain of the English ship reappeared at the top of the opposite hatch, and to Nathan, he looked grim, but in a way that bespoke an unpleasant decision as opposed to a discovery such as a cursed or mysterious artefact.
Three other men came up with him, along with the sailor who'd originally found him.
The captain headed for the railing, presumably to return to the other ship, and the sailor beckoned in Nathan's direction.
To be sure he wasn't misinterpreting, he pointed to himself and mouthed 'me?' with a raised eyebrow.
'Yes, you, in the funny clothing.' Said the sailor.
Nathan's hand reflexively twitched, but he caught himself. His usual reply to sarcasm of that variety was a one-fingered salute.
His gut told him that that reaction would probably be received with less tolerance here than back in the twenty-first century.
So instead, he pushed himself off the handrail and walked to the ship's waist-high railing.
Fortunately, boarding planks had been put across, so it was no great feat for Nathan to jump nimbly up the rail, dash across the two-foot gap between the ships.
When he reached the railing, he paused for a moment, aware of the captain and his two underlings.
'Permission to come aboard, Captain?' Nathan asked, tentatively.
The man he'd presumed to be the captain of the ship stirred slightly from his granite-faced façade, though with the bloody streaks across his forehead and how untidy his hair was from the fighting, to Nathan he looked about as imposing as Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings, perhaps more so, because the blood he was spattered in was real.
'Of course,' he replied formally, gesturing for Nathan to step down.
Nathan did so, then approached warily.
One of the underlings approached Nathan and stopped him short however.
'I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate that weapon of yours.' He said firmly.
Nathan considered arguing his case for a second or too.
Then he remembered he was talking to an Englishman, and gave the idea up, so he reluctantly drew the gun, reversed his grip on it and offered it butt first to the underling.
'Just don't drop it, and don't shoot yourself in the foot.' Advised Nathan resignedly.
The underling didn't look terribly sanguine with Nathan's mocking resignation, but his tone had been polite, so the mockery was implied at best.
He stapped aside without a word, and nodded to the captain.
Oh, burn. Nathan thought privately in satisfaction.
'Very well, if you'd care to follow me to my cabin.' The captain said, gesturing to the section of the ship in question.
Nathan nodded once, then followed on as the captain started walking.
I can tell already that this is going to require a great deal of work…
More than Brothers in Arms did, that's a cert.
As an OC, Nathan has none of the armour a main character (usually) has against becoming a Sue, so I have two options here:
1. I can have him stick with Laurence for lack of anywhere else to go for as long as possible, and maybe eventually steal a dragon egg from the Turks, then wing it from there.
2. I can put him in the postal service and have him going around Britain and do some stuff regarding the coverts while he tries to figure out how to get back to his time and universe.
So, next time will be introductions and exposition…
Yeah, that's going to take some doing.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'm more than happy to take them on board.
I have a very vague idea of the reason Nathan is in Temeraire rather than where he's supposed to be, but I'm kind of stuck for what else to do.
As I say, any ideas are welcome.
I'd like to thank seff for the Author Alert as well.
'til next time: