Monday, May 27, 2013

Titanic Colony: Part 2


Manhattan Island as discovered by the Titanic on April 15, 1912/Year 1

Part 2: The Mandate

April 15, 1912 (Year 1), The Vault, Manhattan Island

“Greetings, and welcome to the Vault. I know, you are unsure what is going on and are probably thinking that what you are seeing looks like a ghost. I assure you it is not. What you are seeing is a projection of a recorded image. I am Rane Gerand, chief director of the Eternity Project. I know this will be hard for you to understand, but I am from the far future, from the year 3,924, to be in fact. And to be blunt, this could be the last year of human history. Our world has run out of further supplies of resources, and the people of Earth are fighting over what remains. The Eternity Project was created to find a way to save humanity. And we believe we have found it. The science I know will be beyond your understanding, but I will do my best to explain. The scientists of the Eternity Project have discovered the ability to travel through time, and also to travel between alternate worlds. We decided it would not be good to take people from our time, with our divisions and corruption, to try and start anew. No, what had to be done to save humanity was to bring people from our past and place them in a virgin world without any people on it, and allow these people to establish a new civilization, and set them up to be humanity’s last great home. We brought the Titanic and it’s passengers and crew here to be the beginnings of that new civilization. As I understand it from the sensors in this room, the Captain is not here at the moment. Please send for him, and I will explain in greater detail what all this Vault contains and what we have done to better prepare you for your new home.”
            With that, the image of the man disappeared. The men in the room looked around, first at where the image had been, and then at Officer Lowe.
            “Well men, lets head back to the dock. Looks like we need to send for the captain.”

April 16, 1912, Onboard the Titanic

            As dawn broke upon the horizon, the telephone rang on the bridge. It was the lookouts. The boat from the landing party had been spotted with about half the men that had left. Officer Murdoch went and woke the Captain and reported what the lookouts had seen.
            “Tell me when the men arrive. I want to know what they found.”
            “Aye sir. I will let you know the moment they are back on board.” And with that, Officer Murdoch returned back to the bridge.
            Within an hour and a half, the boat was tied up alongside the ship, and the 12 men and Officer Lowe were aboard. Lowe immediately reported to the bridge, and relayed what he had seen to the Captain and the rest of the assembled officers, along with Mr. Ismay and Mr. Andrews. When he was done, the men looked at Lowe and at each other, not sure exactly what to think. Captain Smith was the first to speak.
            “Well, it looks like I need to accompany Mr. Lowe back to the island.”
            “Sir, with no disrespect meant to Officer Lowe, this sounds ludicrous. While I think..” Mr. Ismay was interrupted suddenly by Lowe.
            “With all due respect Mr. Ismay, this is the truth. My men can vouch for what I’ve told you. No I can’t explain it, but I saw what I saw. And the image, whatever it was, some sort of machine, requested to see the Captain.”
            Smith, who had been focused in thought, spoke up. “I think Mr. Lowe is right. I don’t think he’s making something as outlandish sounding as this up, so I think I should go and see this for myself. Officer Lightoller will accompany me with Mr. Lowe and his men. Officer Wilde, you will be in command in my absence.”
            “Aye sir. Stay safe.”
            “Sir, what shall we tell the passengers? They are getting quite anxious,” Asked Officer Murdoch.
            “Tell them that we are still investigating the lights we spotted on the island, and as soon as we know anything of importance that we will relay it to them.” And with that, the captain began to follow Mr. Lowe and head towards the main elevators, so that he could head down to where the boat was tied up alongside the ship. 
            “But sir, what will they think of your absence? Won’t that be something that might cause concern?” Murdoch said before Smith had a chance to leave the bridge.
            Smith paused for a moment, then said, “Tell them that my officers want me to inspect something they found on the island that might be of use to us. The passengers, most of them, anyway, don’t know that this is likely Manhattan Island. For all they know, we’ve run off course and have found some deserted island. Let’s keep it that way for now.”
            “Aye sir. Will do.”

April 16, 1912, The Vault, Manhattan Island

            Lowe, Moody and Smith all walked through the door into the concrete structure, back into the chamber where the image of the man who called himself Rane Gerand had appeared. As they walked towards the console where the ghost-like image had come from, it reappeared.
            “Welcome, Captain Smith. As your officer no doubt told you, I am Rane Gerand, head of the Eternity Project.” The image of the man who claimed to be from the future quickly rehashed what it had already told Officer Lowe, then went on.
            “Inside this Vault, you will find all the necessary supplies and tools you will need to establish a thriving settlement. Bellow me now this machine is printing out a detailed list of all that we have stored for you, and instructions on how to access it. Captain, you must help your passengers and crew organize and build a new society. You are the future of humanity, our last hope of survival. We of the Eternity Project have done everything in our power to make sure this colony not only survives but thrives.
            Now, I know that our taking that Titanic and her passengers out of your own time and world and bring you all here may seem unfair. But what you do not know is that at the very moment we brought you here, the moment you all saw a bright flashing light engulf your ship, the Titanic was about to strike an ice berg. She would have sank in about two hours, and of the more than 2000 people aboard, only 700 would have survived. In a way, we saved you from your deaths. In addition, since over half of those onboard died originally, your sudden disappearance will not greatly affect world history. Your ship and those aboard her were the perfect candidates for this project.
            Now that you know the truth, and what we have given you, I challenge you Captain to guide these people, and help them build a better world than the one we plucked you from.” And with that, the image of Rane Gerand disappeared. Bellow the console itself was what looked like a book that had printed out from the machine. Lowe picked it up and handed it to the captain.
            “Well Gentlemen,” Smith began, “we should head back, and begin our plan of action. Like the man said, we will need to organize our passengers and crew and get to work.”
            “Get to work doing what exactly, sir?” Asked Moody.
            “Why, establishing a settlement. Were you not listening?”
            “Oh aye sir, I was. But you really believe what that…machine? Man? Thing…said?
            “Do you have a better explanation for why we are standing in a concrete vault on an otherwise deserted and untouched Manhattan Island, or how our ship suddenly arrived off the coast of North America when we still had at least two more days at sea ahead of us?” Moody stood there with his mouth slightly open, trying to come up with something. “I didn’t think so Mr. Moody. Now, lets head back to the ship and see what we can come up with.”

April 20, 1912, Aboard the Titanic

            Captain Smith looked out from the boat deck at the wilderness of Manhattan Island. In the distance, he could see the metal light beacon that stood above the Vault, where right now Officers Moody and Lowe were assisting Storekeeper John Foley in going over the supplies that were supposedly left by the mysterious people of the Eternity Project. They’d been going at it since the 17th, when the Titanic, with the help of four automated tug boats, tied up to the dock that Lowe and Moody had discovered. If the list provided by the Eternity Project was correct, what lay in the storerooms of the Vault were staggering. Enough food to feed the passengers and crew for several years, and the supplies and equipment to build a basic settlement here on the island, the beginnings of a new civilization, just like the image of that man, Rane Gerand, had promised. The whole thing still felt overwhelming to Smith, but he was keeping calm and firm, to provide stability to the crew and to the passengers.
            The passengers….the situation that the Titanic’s people now found themselves in had been hard to explain to the 1,300 passengers aboard the ship. The idea that men somewhere in the far future had not only been able to travel through time, but be able to take the ship and her inhabitants to a “parallel world” was mind boggling. The news did little to calm their already anxious nerves. Most didn’t really believe the captain and his officers when they assembled the different groups of passengers by class and told them on the evening of the 16th. However, especially for those passengers who had been to New York before, when the automated tugs came and guided the ship to it’s new dock, many of them recognized the shorelines enough for the reality to start to sink in.  One first class passenger, Mr. William Stead of London, had approached the captain afterwards and told him that the concept of multiple universes, or multiverses, was not totally foreign to him, that some of the readings he had done talked about such phenomenon. He promised to try and explain it to as many of his fellow passengers as he could. This was all welcome news to Smith.
            The captain entered the top of the Grand Staircase, headed down the ornate stairs to A Deck, and headed to the First Class Reading Room. There, Chief Officer Wilde, Master-at-Arms Thomas King, Mr. Ismay, Mr. Andrews, Colonel Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Major Archibald Butt had all gathered for a planning meeting. They had to come up with a plan of action for this new settlement, and the sooner they got going, the better.
            Upon entering, Smith was greeted by Officer Wilde. “Captain, good morning sir. I hope you had a pleasant night’s rest.”
            “I did, thank you Mr. Wilde. Good morning gentlemen. I hope we are all ready to get down to business. We have quite a task before us.”
            “That we do, Captain Smith,” said Mr. Guggenheim, “and I believe we are all ready to start. It appears all our fates now rest in what we decide to do these next few days and weeks.”
            “That it does Mr. Guggenheim. And I believe we are up to the challenge if we apply ourselves.” Said Colonel Astor.
            “Well then Gentlemen, let’s get to it.” Said the captain, and he motioned for the men to take their seats around the tables that had been arraigned to form one large conference table. The captain then set the agenda for the meeting.
            “Our Storekeeper, Mr. Foley, is working with Fifth Officer Lowe and Sixth Officer Moody to inventory the items in the Vault. They will hopefully be able to report to this Council tomorrow or the day after as to what all we have at our disposal. They have already taken some food out to make sure we keep the passengers and crew aboard fed. With that food we should be good for at least a week before we need to break into those provisions again.”
            “What about fuel for the ship? Is there coal in the Vault?” Asked Mr. Ismay.
            “Yes there is, and lorries to haul it to the dock. We should be good for a few more days, and Officer Boxhaul is working with the Boatswain to organize crews to start loading up the coal by then.”
            “Sir, what of our long-term plans? As I see it, we need to stop thinking of ourselves as passengers and crew of this ship, and instead all of us together as colonists in this new world.” This was Major Butt speaking.
            “I’ve been giving that some thought, Major Butt, and I’ve spoken about this some to Officer Wilde and to Mr. Andrews. We will need to set up a government of some sort to help organize the pas… the population of our new settlement. The authority of myself and my officers will not last indefinitely, and we need to start organizing such a government soon. Possibly preliminarily by the end of the week. I’ve also talked with Mr. Andrews about starting to plan out our new settlement before we start building anything. He is going through the passenger lists to see if we have any engineers, architects, or other specialists that could help plan out our settlement. We have accurate maps of the area from the Vault, so that will help a lot.”
            “That all sounds good Captain.” said Mr. Guggenheim. “I would say then, since we can’t make much more decisions about our supplies until Mr. Foley reports to us, and since Mr. Andrews is just now forming a settlement committee, our best course of action today would be to lay the groundwork for a meeting to start setting up a proper government.”
            “This does sound sensible to me as well Captain.” Colonel Astor said in agreement.
            “Well, I think we need to create a strong executive and executive administration. A legislature is all well and good but in this time of crisis it may be too cumber..” Mr. Ismay was interrupted by Mr. Andrews.
            “Mr. Ismay, I do not think it would be wise for this Council to set up the government. I think it would be best if we had a formal constitutional assembly and get people form all parts of society on this ship involved and come up with something we can all agree on.”
            “Sir, do you really think we need to include the crew and third class in this? After all those men and women aren’t exactly the types that make decisions in this sort of thing.” Said Officer Wilde.
            “I agree. That would just take too long. The lower classes would follow our lead.” Said Mr. Ismay.
            “No, no I think Mr. Andrews is right here,” objected Colonel Astor. “While it is fair to say that the members of the crew and the third class are not the people normally in leadership or in government at all, this is a whole new world. And while most people among the first class will be loath to admit it, in the back of their heads they are slowly realizing that their influence and supposed superiority evaporated when our ship was brought here. And it will only be a matter of time before the lower classes figure that out as well. If we try to dictate to them some form of autocratic government, I fear it would quickly backfire. We need to treat them like equals, as much as it might ruffle some feathers.”
            “I concur with Mr. Andrews and Colonel Astor.” Said Mr. Guggenheim.
            “Well gentlemen, let’s vote on it.” Said Captain Smith. “All in favor of holding a Constitutional Assembly with equal representation for all classes and the crew, say aye.” Smith, Andrews, Guggenheim, King and Butt all voted in favor, Ismay and Wilde opposed.  “Well, the majority is in favor. We will hammer out the details for this assembly and then announce our decision publicly this evening at dinner.”
            The rest of the morning, the 7 men discussed how the assembly would work. Ultimately, it was decided that there would be 10 representatives from each class, and 10 from the crew. The captain and his full council (consisting of the men present plus all the other officers, which had informally formed the day the ship had docked) would also be present, with the Captain presiding over the Assembly. They would meet on Thursday, April 25. They were unsure of just how the ten men would be chosen to serve at first, but Major Butt suggested grouping the passengers and crew by alphabet, and choosing representatives from those groups. They settled on this, and made the announcement that evening at dinner to all the passengers, and had the news told to the crew.

April 21, 1912, Onboard the Titanic

            The Captain’s Council, as it was now being called, had assembled in it’s usual meeting place in the First Class Reading Room and was about to hear a preliminary report on the supplies in the Vault from Officer Lowe and Storekeeper Foley when a knock came at the door. A steward entered the room.
            “Pardon me Captain, Gentlemen, but a Mrs. Molly Brown is outside, and she is most insistent that she speak to you all, and said she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’ve asked her to leave but she wont.”
            The gentlemen looked around at each other. Some looked annoyed, others amused. Mr. Andrews chuckled slightly. The Captain looked at the steward and said, “Well, let her in. We’ll here what she has to say.” The steward nodded, and stepped outside, opening the door for Mrs. Brown.
            “Gentlemen, I do apologize for intruding like this. I know you are busy and have a lot to take care of, so I won’t take up too much of your time. I just have a question for you. Do you intend to allow women to be a part of this Assembly you are planning on having next week. You know, the one that you are having to write our constitution?”
            “My dear lady, you cannot be serious. Why would we need to let the women attend this assembly?” Asked Mr. Ismay.
            “Because we make up about a third of the population, that’s why. You’ve agreed to allow equal representation to all the classes that make up those aboard this ship. Why not allow women to represent as well?”
            “There is no precedent for this. Women do not vote in England or the United States. Why should they vote here?” Said Officer Wilde.
            “You’d be wrong there, Mr. Wilde. Women do vote in the United States. Six states in the union allow it, and more were on the way from what the press was saying before we arrived here. My home state of Colorado has had women suffrage for nearly twenty years. I see no reason why the women can’t vote and have women in the Assembly. To not do so would be doing a disservice to a vital section of our population. Now I’ve said what I’ve come to say. Just know, before you decide anything, that there are other ladies in the first class who agree, and I’m sure there are others in the other classes as well, and I intend to be very vocal about this issue, especially if you decide to ignore the ladies and their right to be heard. Thank you gentlemen, have a pleasant day.” With that, Mrs. Brown walked out of the Reading Room. The men looked at each other quietly for a moment, then began to discuss what they should do.
            That evening at dinner, it was announced that women would be allowed to vote in the Assembly elections, and that women could serve as delegates to the Constitutional Assembly. 

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