Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all
And finish off with the Battle of Copenhagen and Eddie's "rescue":
Anne Cathrine was now lolling back on a pile of very expensive looking cushions and blankets. Lolling, as in lying on one hip and giving him a look that was at least two decades too sultry. Fifteen going on Scheherazade.
Or the set from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, maybe, although he wasn't sure if they'd ever made a movie of that book. He'd read it, though.
She waved her hand, way more languidly than any girl her age ought to be able to, at a small stack of baskets toward the bow. "There is plenty of food. Breads, cheeses, delicacies. Plenty of wine, too. We may have to hide here for days, before we can be sure my father's temper will have subsided."
Some part of Eddie's brain—a tiny little cluster of neurons somewhere in the left cortex making a valiant last stand, but even now being overwhelmed by the thalamic hordes—was trying to gibber something on the subject of fathers and their tempers in general, and royal fathers and royal tempers in particular—but they were soon slaughtered mercilessly.
"Come here, Eddie," she said. "Now."
--And Eddie Cantrell goes to Heaven....
...but only for a bit-I quote a whole Chapter here, simply for the joy of it (another scene I would love to see on TV/Movies someday..
A stay in heaven, Eddie Cantrell discovered, lasts for two and a half days. On the evening of the third day, the Devil came to collect the bill—seeing as how Eddie had tried to cheat and get to heaven before he was actually dead.
An oversight which could easily be remedied, of course.
The soldiers who tried to clamber into the submarine eventually realized they'd have to leave their halberds behind. By then, Anne Cathrine was in full protest mode—they paid that no attention at all—and Eddie knew the jig was up.
So, he surrendered without a struggle.
Once he was hauled out of the submarine, with Anne Cathrine being hauled only a bit more gently behind him, he found himself standing face to face with King Christian IV.
The father in question. Whose temper, alas, showed no trace of subsidence. Not the least, tiniest, littlest bit.
"So!" bellowed the Danish monarch. As big as he was, he seemed to loom over Eddie like a mountain. Or a troll king.
Christian stomped over to the submarine. He was too fat to get in, but he did manage to stick his head in far enough to examine the interior.
"So!" he bellowed again, his voice sounding like it came from an echo chamber.
He came back out and gave Eddie a glare that dwarfed any glare in Eddie's experience. Admiral Simpson's glare, which he'd once thought ferocious, was like a candle to an arc light.
"So!" He pointed a rigid finger at Eddie. "Arrest him!"
That seemed a pointless sort of thing to say. Eddie already had two soldiers holding him by the arms, with two more prodding his back with halberd blades.
"Papà!" wailed Anne Cathrine. "You can't do this!"
Frank nodded. "Yep, sure can. As Christian IV proved when he agreed to let Eddie go in return for Prince Ulrik—and then dragged out the process until the emperor arrived, so he could demand that Gustav Adolf have him arrested. Drunk or sober, he ain't no dummy. He needed Gustav Adolf here to squelch the admiral, who was making loud noises by then about reducing the rest of Copenhagen to rubble if his lieutenant wasn't goddamit produced on his flagship right f****** now. Even then, Gustav had to do some truly imperial squelching before the admiral shut up."
Ulrik wanted to clear his throat, which felt very dry, but managed to restrain himself. "I believe you have come here to Copenhagen to rescue Lieutenant Eddie Cantrell from captivity. And I believe it would be fruitful if we could discuss the matter, before you do anything."
Every person at the table became suddenly motionless. The aura of menace, heretofore present but subtle, was no longer subtle at all.
Captain Lefferts made a small motion with his hand. A little downward flap, as if to quiet restless monsters.
"Interesting theory, Prince. If you don't mind me asking, is it yours—or your father's?"
Ulrik pointed with his thumb to Baldur, standing next to him. "His, actually. This is Baldur Norddahl, my . . . ah, call him companion. Or 'sidekick,' to use American idiom."
The eyes of everyone at the table now went to Baldur. As impossible as it seemed, the motionless figures grew intensely motionless. In the manner that wary monsters will, encountering another.
--Baldur and Ulrik meet the Wrecking Crew...
"I recommend that you avoid issues of age, Lieutenant. That's because, in this instance, the operative term is not actually 'oldest.' The operative term is"—again, the admiral glanced back at the document—"fifteen. That is, I believe, the age of the princess. Excuse me, king's daughter."
"Ah. Well. Sir, she's almost sixteen."
Eddie wondered where in hell John Chandler Simpson had learned that piercing gaze. The one that belonged on some sort of weirdo Hawk God determined to penetrate to the truth, where any reasonable human being would settle for a decent fudge.
Since the gaze seemed unrelenting, Eddie was forced to add, "Well. In about two months. Her birthday's August 10."
"In other words, fifteen. As I said. Which brings us to the core of the matter. Did you or did you not—in a submarine, no less, which may speak well of your nautical interests but does not help you in the least in these circumstances—deflower the fifteen-year-old daughter of the king of Denmark?"
"Well." Eddie cleared his throat. "Well, sir."
"Perhaps you're unfamiliar with the term 'deflower.' The common and much coarser variant is 'popped her cherry.' So, I repeat. Lieutenant Cantrell, did you or did not pop the cherry of the king of Denmark's fifteen-year-old daughter?"
For a moment, wildly, Eddie's mind careened back to the memory of what had been—to hell with admirals, standing at attention, kings, and the whole damn world—easily the most wonderful moment of his life.
"Well. Yes, sir. I guess. In a manner of speaking."
Simpson's stone face finally moved. Slightly. His eyebrows went up perhaps a quarter of an inch.
" 'In a manner of speaking.' Lieutenant Cantrell—since you force me to be clinical about it—that particular act is generally only carried out in one manner. The male involved inserts his penis into the female's vagina, which had not theretofore been penetrated in that manner and with that human organ, and does so fully. There may or may not be a hymen in the way, but whether there is or isn't does not actually affect the end result. The male usually but not always ejaculates inside the vagina when the act is concluded; but, again, whether he does or doesn't has no relevance here. Prior to the performance of this act, the female is considered a 'virgin.' Often, the term 'maiden' is used as well or instead. Thereafter, she is not."
He was back to that detestable piercing-gaze business. "So. I will rephrase the question, in the hopes that I might finally get a straight answer from a junior officer whom I have quite distinct recollections of being forthright even to the point of annoying the piss out of me. Is Anne Cathrine, the fifteen year old daughter of the king of Denmark, still a virgin?"
"Ah. Well." Eddie cleared his throat. "No, sir. She is not." He could have added—had the situation called for an imbecile hopping up and down in joyful remembrance of things past—not by a country mile, sir. Not after two and a half days in that submarine.
But he didn't. Not being actually an imbecile, even if he was probably doing a fair imitation.
"And you are responsible for this transformation in her status?"
"Well. Yes, sir."
--The grilling of Eddie Cantrell....
Simpson's hand propelled Eddie forward. When he was just a few feet from the emperor, Gustav said, "Kneel, sir."
He then glanced at a man standing next to him. Eddie didn't recognize him, but he was wearing a Swedish army uniform. "Have we established any firm protocol yet, Nils?"
The Swedish officer shook his head. "Not really, Your Majesty. This is only the second, so it's all still rather malleable."
"In that case, I'll do it like in the movies. It's got more style."
--Gustav gets his best line right at the end.
As he came near, the man looked at him and gave him a formal little bow. More in the way of an exaggerated nod, really.
"Good evening, Imperial Count of Wismar."
"Ah . . . Lieutenant Eddie Cantrell, please. That count business was none of my doing and I'm not too comfortable with it."
The stranger's blocky face was suddenly creased by a smile. One of those genuinely friendly smiles that made Eddie instinctively sense he probably liked the guy.
"Yes, I know," the man chuckled. "They made me the imperial count of Narnia right after I arrived. But I'm actually just Thorsten Engler."
He stuck out his hand and Eddie shook it.
"What are you doing here, Thorsten, if I might ask? And are you kidding about the Narnia business?"
"To answer your questions in reverse order, the Narnia issue is still unsettled. My betrothed thinks that it's preposterous to force a whole town to change its name on a royal whim, and she's insisting that the princess tell her father to change it back. Princess Kristina, on the other hand, insists that 'count of Nutschel' sounds stupid and she likes Narnia and so there. In this instance, unlike many, I suspect the princess will win the contest of wills. As to the first . . ."
He looked up at the row of windows on the third floor of the palace. The very many windows on a palace the size you'd expect Christian IV to build. "As to the first, I'm faced with a quandary."
The proverbial lightbulb went off. "You're engaged to Caroline Platzer. Uh, betrothed, I mean."
"Yes, indeed. A simple farm boy, in my origins, who never expected he'd someday have to figure out which window . . . Ah!" He pointed an eager finger. "There!"
Looking up, Eddie saw that a window had been opened and a rope was being lowered. Thorsten began moving toward it.
Before he'd taken three steps, however, another window was opened and another rope began coming down.
The imperial count of Narnia came to an abrupt halt. "And now what?"
"Who ordered this?" demanded Eddie.
--The RoF books (at least the first three--have the best damn endings...
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.
What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5