Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Titanic Colony: Part 1


Titanic at full steam on the morning of April 15, 1912

PART 1: The Arrival 

April 15, 1912 (Year 1)

Captain Smith was up and getting dressed when the knock came at his door.
            “Enter.” Smith called out. In walked Chief Officer Henry Wilde.
            “Sir, lookouts have just reported that they’ve sighted land.”
            “Land?! But we are still two days from New York. Are they sure Officer Wilde?”
            “As far as I can tell sir. They have reported spotting the coast about 15 minutes ago, along with seeing two pulsing lights off in the distance.”
            “This makes no sense. We should be no where near land. Even if we somehow altered course..”
            “What about that strange light that Officer Murdoch reported last night.”
            “The one he said that happened when we were about to strike a berg? We don’t know what that was or what happened to the berg or anything.”
            “Well it is possible that all of this is somehow related.”
            “I suppose it could be. Follow me to the bridge Officer Wilde.”
            The two walked out of the captain’s cabin and onto the bridge. The First and Second Officer’s were already there.
            “Gentlemen, I’m told that the lookouts have spotted land?”
            Lightoller spoke up, “Yes sir. Land ahead, as if we were headed into a natural harbor.”
            “Any idea where we are gentlemen?” The captain asked, a look of grave seriousness on his face.
            “Unfortunately not sir. We’ve been trying to determine our location with the star charts last night but were unable to do so. We have..” Murdoch was interrupted by Wilde.
            “Look!” Wilde pointed out the window. They all looked out. They were clearly passing into some sort of natural harbor. “I could swear this looks like we are passing into the Lower Bay.”
            “The entrance into New York harbor? That’s impossible Wilde! We’d be able to see the city from here, and there’s nothing out there but wilderness.” Exclaimed Murdoch. And on that he was right. Nothing but untamed wilderness seemed to stretch out before them on the coast. Smith stepped outside and took a better look, studying the coastline. After some time he spoke.
            “You know, I think Wilde might be right. It looks like we are coming up on the Verrazano Narrows, about to enter the Upper Bay.”
            “But that can’t be! Where’s the city?” This time it was Lightoller who called out. What was going on made no sense to them. Just then, Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall entered the bridge.
            “Captain, the passengers are beginning to ask what’s going on. They know we aren’t supposed to be near land yet. The crew is asking what to tell them.”
            “Honestly, Officer Boxhall, I wish I knew what to tell them myself.” Then, remembering what else he’d been told by Wilde earlier, the captain turned and asked his men, “Did you not say that the lookouts saw some sort of flashing lights in the distance?”
            “Yes sir, two of them, one red, one white, flashing in the distance.”
            “Well, then there must be something out there, even if the city is obviously missing. “ He turned to Officer Boxhall, “I think for now we tell the crew to tell the passengers that we are in an emergency situation and that we are trying to assess just where we are and what’s going on, and as soon as we know something concrete, we will pass it along to them.”

            The Titanic anchored before the ship went through the Narrows. Officer Murdoch had pointed out that, even if this was New York Harbor, it was obviously not the one they knew, and so there was not telling what lay underneath the water, and it would be dangerous to go any further. At 1 p.m., Officers James Lowe and Harold Moody took two dozen men and lowered one of the lifeboats to go and investigate the mysterious lights they’d seen flashing on Manhattan Island. It was hard work, rowing across the Upper Bay. They passed Governor’s Island at just after 3. They could clearly see the flashing light coming from the East River, so they continued to head to that side of Manhattan Island. As it neared 4, one of the men called out, “Look, Officer Lowe, there’s a dock!”
            Sure enough, there was a long dock flush with the river. There seemed to be a few buildings along the water front as well, and a tall metal tower that had a flashing light at the top. They’d obviously arrived at the source of one of the flashing lights. Lowe and Moody ordered the men to row up to the dock, where they found a ladder, tied up the boat, and climbed up on to the dock. Several strange looking warehouses lined the paved surface of the dock. Lowe ordered the men to spread out and investigate. They found the doors to the buildings unlocked, and inside the buildings were empty, but obviously designed to be some sort of warehouses.
            As he came out of one of the warehouses, one of the crewmen came running up to Lowe.
            “Officer Lowe, Officer Lowe!!”
            “What is it seaman?”
            “Sir, there’s a road heading inland from the dock!” The man said, pointing to where this road was at.
            “Lets see it.” Lowe said, and then looked about and spotted Moody. “Officer Moody, follow me!” Moody walked towards Lowe, who was being led by the crewman over to this road. And sure enough, the pavement surface of the dock continued away from the dock as a road headed inland into the forest that ruled the island.
            “Should we investigate, Officer Lowe?” Moody asked, staring down the road as it headed into the woods.
            “Well, the lookouts said they saw two separate flashing lights coming from the island. One of them is obviously here at this dock. I’d be wiling to bet that the other light is down this road. We should set up a camp here and then take a party of men inland to investigate further.”
            With that, Lowe and Moody split up the men. Moody would keep half of them to prepare the camp at the dock, while Lowe took the other dozen men down the road to investigate what was further inland.

May 21, 2276 (Year 364)

            Congressman Andrews looked up from his work at the clock on the wall. It was half past 4 in the afternoon. Nearly time to head home to his house on Lowe Street. The report on new settlement plans from the Colonial Office had kept his attention for most of the afternoon, but he was ready to call it a day. Just then, his telephone rang. It was his secretary.
            “Mr. Andrews, the Prime Minister’s office sent a message, they are wanting you to attend the party benefit gala next month at Astor House.”
            “I think I can do that. I will check with my wife to make sure tonight and I’ll have you call the Prime Minister’s office tomorrow to let them know for sure. Is there anything else? I’m about to call it a day.”
            “Yes a few things. Director Balley called wanting to know if you’d had a chance to review the plan for the Colonial expansion in New Albion and Atlantia. Also, Edward Palace wanted to know if you would speak at Molly Brown Memorial Dinner in September.”
            “You can let Director Balley know that I’m about ¾ the way through the report, and should finish it up tomorrow. So far, everything looks good. I’ll get back with you on the Palace request. Though I honestly see no problem doing it. And it is quite the honor. At least they were kind enough to contact us 3 months out.”
            “Okay Congressman Andrews. I’ll pass all that along. Have a good evening.”
            “Thank you Ms. Allen. Have a good evening as well.”
            With that, Andrews got up from his desk, went over to the coat stand and grabbed his jacket and hat, and walked out the side door that led out into the main hall. In no time he was walking down another corridor and then he was in the Grand Hall. Above was a massive glass dome, showering the grand staircase in beautiful natural light. This space was based on the top of the Grand Staircase on board the Titanic. As Andrews walked down the stairs, he glanced up at the wall giant paintings depicting different historical moments in the history of the Republic. The largest in the center, titled “Assembly in the Lounge,” depicting the meeting of the Constitutional Assembly that drafted the Articles of Governance all the way back in Year 1. The men and women representing all the groups of the ship were depicted sitting in the First Class Lounge on A-Deck, hammering out the document that was still the basis of how Avalon was governed today. First High Captain Edward Smith was in the foreground, leading the meeting, along with the first Prime Minister Thomas Andrews, Bruce Ismay, and Molly Brown.
            Down the stairs and through the main entry hall Andrews went. As he neared the main doors leading out to Vault Street, he passed the statue that depicted Lowe and his band of crewmen as they entered the Great Vault for the first time, Lowe stepping across the threshold of the entrance, lantern raised, his men behind him peering in, nervous. Once past the statue, the Congressman exited the building, and entered a waiting government car, one of a dozen kept on standby for the members of Congress.

April 15, 1912 (Year 1)

            After about a half an hour, Lowe and his men reached the source of the inland road. It ended at a strange concrete structure jutting out of the ground, it’s walls slanting upward. It seemed to be about one story tall, and went back into the forest some distance. There were two large warehouse doors on the wall that faced the road, along with a smaller, human sized door. As Lowe and his men approached, a beam of light came out from above the door and scanned the officer up and down. Then a feminine voice spoke from seemingly out of nowhere.
            “Lowe, James. Fifth Officer of R.M.S. Titanic. Access granted.” And with that, the door opened up. Lowe and the other men just stood there, dumbfounded. Where had that voice come from? How had it known who Lowe was? Coming out of the stupor, the officer called out for one of the men to hand him a lantern, and then he proceeded to peer into the open doorway. The room the door opened up into seemed vast, and was very dark. Until Lowe actually stepped inside, that is. Then lights turned on seemingly by magic. Lowe walked further inside, followed by the rest of the crewmen. Lowe pointed to two that were at the back of the group.
            “You two remain outside. Keep watch. And make sure this door doesn’t shut on us.”
            “Aye sir.” The two men called out.
            Lowe and the rest of the men spread out, examining the room. It was very Spartan. Nothing on the walls. The ceiling showed the exposed metal frames holding up the roof. On the far wall, however, there was some sort of console, and Lowe and a few of the men gravitated towards it. As they neared it, the buttons lit up, and all of a sudden the image of a man appeared. The men jumped back at first, as it seemed as though some sort of apparition had materialized before them. The man before them seemed older. And the clothes that he wore were totally alien to Lowe and the other Titanic crewmen. After a moment, the man began to speak.

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