amine_eyes: (writing)
[personal profile] amine_eyes
Title: "Steel and Shot"
Fandom: Horrible Histories
Characters: Admiral Nelson, Captain Hardy, William Beatty
Rating: R for gruesome
Beta: None
Warnings: Gore, Zombies, complete lack of historical accuracy
Summary: In the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, the crew of the HMS Victory are busy fighting the French. And zombies.

A/N: So there was a prompt on [livejournal.com profile] hhanon, calling for zombies in the time sewers. And I ended up writing an AU of the Napoleonic Wars where the French and Spanish keep revenants (zombies) on their ships and in their forts to attack the British. Nope, I've no idea either. Was insanely fun to write though :D

Disclaimer: Don't own, never will own!


"Starboard battery, on my mark, fire!!!"

"Ready guns!!!"

"Port-side battery, fire!!!"

"Muskets, ready!!!!"

"More powder!!!!"

"Surgeon!!!!"

Dr Beatty skidded round the corner, diving low and dodging a ricocheting cannon as he did so. Smoke billowed through every gap in the ship walls, screams filled the air along with crashes of steel and thumps of cannon-balls finding their marks on the enemy ships, splintering wood and groaning timbers adding to the din.

He turned another corner, coming face to face with a gun-crew battling desperately to block the porthole with anything they could find, and as he sped past, he heard a shout - more scream than anything.

"GET DOWN!"

Instinctively he flattened himself against the deck, a musket ball whizzing past him and burying itself in the skull of a revenant which had made it's way onto the ship. Hardy ran forward and pulled Beatty up, the two of them pelting past a cannon which had been turned in it's cradle to face the poor desperate gun-crew still trying to block the gun-port. Only two stood, the others torn apart by revenants clawing their way through the gun-port - their gurgles barely heard through the din of battle.

"Fire men!!"

The cannon roared, tearing a hole in the ship and blowing the remaining gun-crew to smithereens, the screeches of the revenants piercing the air and curdling Beatty’s stomach.

Sailors quickly turned the cannon back to face the French ship, blackened faces grim as they hauled a cannon-ball into the mouth of the cannon. A powder monkey slid round the corner, face white, his left arm a gnarled mess as he carried the cartridge, starting to fall as he passed the cartridge over.

Beatty caught him, already yelling for assistance as he quickly tore the shirtsleeve off, Hardy grabbing a saw and hauling a passing sailor down to help pin the boy to the deck.

"No, No! I don't want to lose my arm! No!"

Beatty clasped his shoulder for a moment, trying to put a comforting tone in his voice.

"It's this or your head."

"I am sorry," he continued, Hardy putting a leather gag in his mouth, the boy already biting down. Beatty took a breath, and started.

The first cut made the blood start spurting quickly, a splash landing on Hardy’s coat but most of it landing on Beatty’s apron as he sawed quickly, ignoring the screams of the boy as he went through the flesh and bone in a matter of seconds. Within a minute, he wrenched the saw free from the deck, tossing the arm out the hole in the ship's walls and putting his hand out. The sailor helping to hold him down passed a bottle of rum and he poured it over the end of the wound, the boy's screams mixing with the sound of steel and shot.

It cut off abruptly as he lost consciousness.

"Shit!"

Hardy had already hauled Beatty and the other sailor out the way by the time he finished speaking, training his pistol onto the boy's forehead. They watched for a long moment, waiting.

Beatty leaned down, pressing his fingers against the side of the boy's neck. Hardy moved his finger to the trigger.

Beatty's shoulders slumped with relief.

"Still beating. You," he said, gesturing to the sailor who had been involved in the impromptu surgery, "get him to the Orlop. Quickly!"

"Aye sir," he replied, gently lifting the boy and hurrying off.

Beatty turned, wiping his face - knowing that it just smeared the blood and sweat and ash together.

As he opened his mouth to speak, a cheer arose from the upper decks. The gun crews stopped in their hurry to load and fire, slumping on the deck with relief, yells of joy replacing the sound of battle.

Hardy closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at Beatty.

"Finally," he said quietly, and Beatty nodded, gesturing to the ladder leading to the upper decks.

"After you sir?"

Hardy snorted, leading the way, keeping his pistol in his hand.

As they clambered up the ladders and through the decks, the sound and smell of steel and shot were replaced by groans, and the sickly-sweet smell of blood. Chewed limbs mixed with ash-grey heads lopped off revenants and crewmembers - some only recognisable as crew from being placed tenderly in a seperate pile. Beatty stepped out the way as two marines hoisted revenant bodies up on their shoulders and out the gaps in the ship, their cursing now audible thanks to the guns of both sides having stopped.

Everywhere people quickly cleared the deck, throwing limbs out into the ocean, hurrying severely injured sailors and marines down into the orlop for treatment, and Beatty quickly hurried after Hardy to the quarter-deck, knowing he would only have a few moments of fresh air before heading back below the waterline to ensure they kept as much of their crew as possible.

Arriving on the quarter-deck, Hardy strode forward, bowing slightly as he came to Nelson's side.

Nelson turned, wiping his hand across his face.

"Ah Hardy, how many men have we lost?"

"About fifty hands sir," he said quietly, Nelson nodding in confirmation but keeping the smile on his face as he turned and addressed the sailors on deck.

"Gentlemen, we've destroyed the French! Once we're back to top condition, we shall sail for the West Indies to catch the rest of the fleet!"

Beatty reached the two of them, murmuring into Hardy's ear.

"He knows?"

Hardy bent slightly.

"Yes -" his reply was cut off by a sailor.

"But Sir, what if the rest of the French ships have revenants?"

Hardy and Beatty frowned, but Nelson gestured at the sailor.

"Your name?"

The sailor went pale, his arms clutching the pile of rope in his hands as a lifeline, but he answered.

"Ned Harris sir. I'm sorry sir, it's just - they're full of the things, and I mean, you lost your arm to 'em at Santa Cruz!"

"Sir," he added belatedly, the other sailors round him staying silent.

"Admiral, do you wish me to deal with this?" Hardy said, and Nelson shook his head.

"No Captain - you're quite right Mr Harris," he said, addressing him directly, "I did lose my arm due to a revenant in that attack. The French and the Spanish both take part in the practice of keeping a revenant caged on their ships and in their forts for battles."

"But, " he said louder, talking to everyone on the open deck, his voice carrying clearly in the quiet, "they only allow the revenants out once they have no hope of winning. Their officers run like dogs after being threatened by a wolf, and they willingly allow their sailors and marines to be infected and turned into revenants in the desperate hope that they will stop us."

Everyone was silent, watching Nelson as he continued speaking, the sound of hammering and groaning timber pausing as they listened.

"But we will not stop! We will not allow these men - nay, they're not men," Nelson said, gesturing to a group of French officers tied up in a corner, still soaking wet from being hauled out of the water, "they're animals, who kill their own men because they know that there is no other way to try and stop the Royal Navy! We, gentlemen, are so terrifying to the French and Spanish that they have to raise the dead from their graves in order to try and stop us, and it still does not work!"

He threw his arm out, encompassing the sailors and marines standing on the deck.

"We will win this war gentlemen, I promise you! Who's with me!"

A roar of agreement came from the sailors, and Ned Harris started chanting, the rest of the Victory's crew joining in, their voices filling the air.

"Nelson! Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!"

Beatty turned to Hardy, a smile on his face for the first time in days.

"Well, that was certainly inspiring," he said, the chanting mingling with cheers.

Hardy grinned back, looking at the scene of cheering crewmembers who only an hour before had been fighting for their lives.

"The French may have an army of the un-dead, but we," he said, looking at Nelson who was now shaking hands with the crew, "have Nelson."

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