Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Titanic Colony: Prologue

As promised, here is a new story for my readers to enjoy. I'll be posting the next part soon. Unlike the Airship President and Silent Night stories, Titanic Colony is written more like a novel. I hope you enjoy!


NEW YORK, APRIL 20 – The much talked about White Star Line ship Titanic was due in port in New York City on Wednesday, April 17, but has yet to arrive. The last received communication with the liner was on Sunday, April 14, just before midnight. Ships that were in the area report a thick ice field, and it is feared that the ship may have struck an iceberg and sank, despite the claim that the Titanic is “unsinkable.However, no distress signals were ever received from the ship, and no lifeboats or wreckage have been found by other ships that have gone to investigate. The U.S. Coastguard and Navy, as well as naval vessels from Canada and Great Britain, have been dispatched to the route the ship was to follow to see if anything can be found.
“Titanic Vanishes! No Sign of Ship to be Found,” The New York Times, April 20, 1912.

            Next on our list of unsolved maritime mysteries is the disappearance of the infamous ocean liner Titanic. Launched in Great Britain in 1912, she departed from Southampton on April 10, 1912 for her maiden voyage to New York City. The following day, April 11, was the last time the ship was ever seen. She sailed west from the coast of Ireland into the shrouds of mystery. The last radio contact Titanic had with the outside world was shortly before midnight on April 14. The ship was due in New York on April 17, but never arrived, prompting a massive search and rescue mission by the US, Canadian, and British Navy, which started on April 19. However, nothing was ever found. No lifeboats, bodies, or other wreckage were located anywhere near her last known location. It was officially declared on May 1, 1912, that the RMS Titanic had gone down, with all 2,202 souls lost at sea. The world was shocked. What had caused the great liner to founder? Many theories circulated, from ice bergs, boiler explosions, to secret attacks by the Kaiser or even aliens. Several attempts have been made over the past 90 years to find the wreck of the Titanic, but so far, not one expedition has been successful.
“Top Ten Maritime Mysteries,” Time Magazine, February 12, 2002.


            Michael Andrews looked out the window of his Council Hall office. Titanic City bustled underneath the beautiful summer sky. He stood up to stretch his legs and take a better look. Across Vault Street lay Smith Square, where the 75ft. tall statue of Edward J. Smith, first High Captain of the Republic of Avalon, stood proud and mighty, as if the legendary Smith were still ready to lead the band of passengers and crew to starting a new life in Terra Nova. The statue was one of the oldest monuments in city, built nearly 300 years ago to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Republic. Andrews began to think back to the history lessons of his youth at the primary school in Port Andrews, the capital of New Eire, the province which Andrews now proudly represented in Congress. Every child in Avalon learned of the brave founders who were swept across time and space to this location to build a new society in the untouched, pristine wilderness of a world without man. Provided with ample supplies and tools from the mysterious members of the Order, Smith, Murdoch, Lightoller, Ismay, Andrews, Astor, Gugenheim, and the many other leaders of the 2,202 people aboard the RMS Titanic set out to establish a new society of mankind. Andrews stood there looking out the window, wondering what it must have been like for his ancestors, arriving in this strange new world, having been whisked away by some unexplainable technology (still unexplainable to this day!) from everything they had known. Andrews looked away from the window across his office to where a portrait of the first Captain Smith hung on the wall. Smith was on the bridge of the Titanic (the ship was still afloat at the Memorial Dock, serving as part of the National Historical Museum), looking out at the untamed wilderness that lay out before him as far as the eye could see. What must have gone through his head on April 15, 1912 (or as most common people thought of it, year 1), as Titanic sailed into what they thought of as New York harbor, only to find that there was no New York City?


364 years earlier, April 14, 1912(Y-1)

            A sudden jolt reverberated throughout the ship. That’s what woke E.J. Smith up. He looked at the clock on the wall after switching on the light. Nearly midnight. What had gone wrong? He quickly dressed and then headed out of his cabin, down the hall and into the bridge. The captain found officer Murdoch on duty and asked him what had happened.
            “Sir, lookouts reported seeing an iceberg right ahead. I ordered the ship hard a starboard and the engines full astern, but it looked like we were going to hit.” The captain interrupted.
            “WERE going to? We didn’t?”
            “No sir. We were just about to when a bright flash of light engulfed us and then..” Murdoch’s voice trailed off.
            “And then what, Officer Murdoch?”
            “Well I’m not really sure captain. The ship shook, then the light went away, and there was no iceberg anywhere in sight. And it’s strange. You’ll notice the moon is out now sir, and very bright. And the sea is no longer calm like it was earlier.”
            Smith walks out on deck and looks out at the sea, noting for himself what the First Officer had said.
            “Yes, this is indeed strange. Have the radio operators see if they can raise any other ship in the area, see if they saw the great flash of light too. And lets decrease our speed by half. I don’t want to have any more near misses with bergs.”
            “Aye sir, will do.”
            Smith remained on the bridge for another two hours. Some crew began to inquire as to what had caused the shudder, since they were being asked by passengers. The captain told them that it was because of a near miss with an ice berg, and that there was nothing to worry about. Smith just wished he believed that himself. After two more hours, with nothing changing, the captain returned to his room, giving Murdoch strict orders to wake him if anything strange or out of the ordinary occurred. Little did he know that when he awoke to the dawn of April 15, that his life would never be the same.