Aug 21, 2019 2:57 PM
Fabulous Rebecca encounters the Napoleonic wars
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"Oh, okay."

She flies out a ways and starts freezing seawater. It accumulates in a weird shape, bobbing with the tide, and after about a minute it's a few times her size.

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After another minute, Price signals her to stop. 

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She flies back. The iceberg grew linearly the whole time she worked on it.

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Mowett has their tea ready in the stateroom. Price orders him to go tell Miss Hart to see about the iceberg, and he scurries off. Price offers her a cup. "Sugar or lemon, Miss Arden?" 

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"Sugar no lemon thank you."

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"You're quite welcome." He settles back in his chair. "I hope you don't mind that little display. If you are lucky, Miss Arden, you will never see a sea monster. Some girls serve for years without ever coming across one. Make no mistake, though. The beasts are deadly. Circumstances being what they are, we are sometimes compelled to take aboard untrained girls, but I will not take any who cannot defend herself - for her sake as much as ours. I believe you will acquit yourself respectably.

The Clarence is to escort three merchantmen - the Albemarle, the Exeter, and the Ceylon - to the West Indies in two days' time. If you wish to accompany us, you will see an artist in our employ before we leave port, the cost will be taken from your earnings. Pay is £20.00 in the first year, plus board. Is that acceptable?" 

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She does some arithmetic on her fingers. "Yes, that's acceptable."

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"Welcome aboard, Miss Arden. You will be sharing a cabin with Miss Hart. Ask her to show you about, if you like, you should at least learn the names and faces of all the officers before we set out. Mr. Peale will be expecting you in his studio at 10:00 tomorrow morning, Mowett will escort you. That will be all."

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"Thank you." She gulps the rest of her tea, sets down the teacup. "Where's the cabin? Or Miss Hart?"

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Miss Hart is waiting in the hallway! She has long brown hair, pheasant wings, and a vaguely East Indian motif.

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"Hi! I'm Rebecca."

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"Emma! I'm so pleased to meet you, dear, come right this way - don't mind us, Mr. Pascow - our cabin is small but it's really quite nice, of course we're the only sort of women one can have on a battleship so we've got it all to ourselves - Braithwaite, you little beast, eyes on your work! - the midshipmen are all ghastly except Mowett, he's a lamb -" 

If Rebecca keeps listening, she'll learn that they report to Lieutenant Head, that tall redheaded fellow, that she and Emma are the only two magical girls on the ship, which is currently under strength, and that the West Indies are beastly hot all year round. 

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"I suppose I don't have to pack for the weather."

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That stops Emma up short for a moment - but only a moment. "Goodness me, no! Why the first time my Sophie came back from India she was all over cotton so fine it felt like a breath of air on the skin, I never wear anything else when I'm the tropics and it's all very well except around midday - but you then you can make ice, can't you - I'm sure it would fetch a tidy price in San Domingo, if we're lucky enough to get shore leave - has the Captain fed you yet, dear?" 

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"Tea," she says. "Your Sophie?" Damn. "- selling ice is a good idea thank you."

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"The men have already eaten but I have a bit of jam and biscuit squirreled away." (They're in the cabin now. Emma starts pulling things out of chests). "My Sophie was a great traveller. Africa, India, even Tahiti. She always did want to visit the West Indies. Would you like to see her?" 

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Oh! She's dead. Okay. "By all means."

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Emma pulls a very pretty silver locket out of her décolletage. Sophie had black eyes and dark blue hair, what can be seen of her costume is made of silver lace. Emma sights. "Battle of the Nile. Five years ago this August. One would think it would get easier."

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"I'm sorry. - It doesn't?"

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"There I go all maudlin. It does, of course it does, except sometimes on hot summer nights on board ship. Wonderful girl, my Sophie." She looks like she wants to ask Rebecca something, but thinks better of it. "Have you ever slept in a hammock before? There you are, I'll show you how to hang it - watch the beams now - on second thought I had better do it over myself, there's the way, just you watch -" 

Eventually she gets both hammocks straightened and blows out the lamp. 

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"Good night."

Rebecca gets rid of all the hard poky parts of her dress and lies in the hammock and sleeps.

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Then Emma will wake her up at 7:00 for breakfast (provided, of course, she can sleep through the bells). 

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She does wake up the first time but goes back to sleep all right and sleeps through the remaining bells.

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Breakfast is oatmeal and strong coffee. Emma sits herself and Rebecca down in the middle of a knot of sailors and starts introducing them. Thomson and Ainsley are maintopmen, and no more than seventeen - "they've been up for hours, poor dears" - Martin, Croft, and Benwick are gunners, and Elliot is a carpenter's mate. 

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"It's nice to meet you all," says Rebecca.

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