Welcome to Domasion Ragor's Website ----- "There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England". ------ (Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
   
 
  Titanic Timing

Titanic Timing

 

by

© Allan James Lammiman

 

 

Henry Charles Lexington, stepped out from the brown leather travelling trunk and looked carefully around before closing it firmly behind him. Just as the travel programmer had promised, HC, as he liked to be called, found himself standing inside a darkened warehouse amongst stacks of other trunks and luggage. He was relieved. On one of his last trips the cabinet had ended up in a duck pond instead of the back room of the local hotel as planned. But that was with the mark IV Time Cabinet. Location placement failures were well know with that model and they had caused many problems for the time travellers that used them. The Mark V, which for this trip was concealed inside a gentleman’s leather bound travelling trunk, was a great improvement. Not one misplacement had occurred in over one hundred time journeys so far undertaken. It was strictly a one person machine, but BC usually travelled alone.

Satisfied that he was alone, HC locked the Time Cabinet with the special sonic key provided and made his way out of the warehouse on to the wharf As in the past, BC had hired the time cabinet, the latest in a range of time machines, from ‘Time Breaks Inc. (3020 ad)’, of Boston, North America. HC bad made several ‘Adventure Journeys’ back in time, mainly visiting places which had experienced historic events or disasters. He had walked through the streets of Pompeii hours before the volcano erupted, flown on the Hindenburg to New York and watched as London burned in the sixteenth century, each time making sure be was safely back inside his Time Cabinet before any real danger struck. This time he planned to board the steamship ‘Titanic’ on her maiden and, only voyage. Naturally he would not be travelling all the way.

He also planned to visit Italy to see the famous ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’. The co-ordinates had already been set by the staff at Time Breaks Inc. Not that anything was going to happen to the tower. HC just wanted to see it as it once was, leaning.

Feeling the freshness of the sea’s cool breeze on his face, BC strolled along the wharf. Moored alongside were a number of other vessels, mostly old rusting freighters, one of which bore the name, Titan of the Sea.

BC smiled, amused as a thought crossed his mind. “For a moment I thought the programmer had cocked it up again!” he chuckled, to himself. “I wouldn’t be happy if I got stuck on that old tub!”

He moved on past. At the end of the wharf was a gate. It led to the passenger embarkation building. BC looked for the billboard indicating where passengers for the ‘Titanic’ go, found it and walked over. Near the desk he saw a man in a blue uniform and cap, whom he took to be one of the ships officers.

“Excuse me,” he said. The man turned round.

“Yes sir. How can I help you?”

HC smiled. The cap the man wore bore the name, ‘Titanic.’

“Yes,” he said. “Would you be as good and direct me to the first class area? I have a cabin reserved. In the name of Henry Charles

Lexington.”

“If you would just follow the signs to the first class gangway, sir.” the officer told him. “A Steward will show you to your cabin. Good day sir. I do hope you will enjoy your trip.”

BC smiled. ‘If he only knew.’ he thought.

“Thank you.” he said. “I know I will!”

BC went up the gangway and was met by a white coated man. The Steward

“Welcome aboard, sir.” he said, touching his cap. “May I take your name?”

HC handed over his ticket. “Henry Charles Lexington.”

The Steward checked the ticket, smiled and touched his cap a second time, “Do you have your luggage ticket with you sir?”

BC handed it over. “There is only one trunk.” he said. “Do please ask the handlers to be careful with it. It’s very valuable to me.”

“Of course sir.” the Steward assured him. “I will have it sent to your cabin at once.” He called over one of the ships boys.

“Here boy! Have this gentleman’s trunk taken to cabin 113. And look sharp about it! And tell them to be extra careful with it!”

HC tipped his hat, gracefully, “Thank you Steward. Most kind of you.”

“All part of the service, sir.” replied the Steward, “Now if you would kindly follow me, I’ll show you to your cabin.”

The cabin, when they reached it, was just as HC had expected it to be. And so it should. HC had chosen it from a list of vacant cabins before leaving in the Time capsule.

He thanked the steward with a tip and settled in. A few moments later his trunk arrived.

“Thank you.” he told the boy. “Have them take it through to the bedroom, would you? And please be careful. Heavens know what I’ll do if it gets damaged. It’s quite irreplaceable.”

The trunk was taken through and HC tipped the boy and the handles with a shilling each.

“Thank you sir!” piped the boy. “Thank you very much!”

Left alone, HC explored the quarters which were to be his home for the next few days. He planned to be off the doomed ship two minutes after it had struck the iceberg. Any later and he risked being stranded.

After all it would not do at all to end up going down with it. He laughed at the thought.

“Now that would definitely be a disaster!” he said to himself, aloud.

 

Later, after the Titanic had sailed, HC went on deck for a stroll. The air was fresh. And clean. Not at all like the air in his time. Several other people were also enjoying the delights of the promenade and HC tipped his hat in polite greeting to each of them as he past.

“This is very pleasant.” he said, to himself. “And a little unnerving. Just think. Many of these delightful people are going to die in few days time. And there is not a thing I can do about it.”

A well dressed elderly lady and an equally well dressed young woman with a shock of raven hair, approached from the other direction. The young woman, HC assumed she was the older woman’s companion, smiled as she passed by.

“Good evening.” said HC. “Lovely weather for the time of year, don’t you think?”

“Yes. It is.” replied the young woman.

“Come along, Mary.” grumbled the old lady. “Don’t daily so.”

“Sony, Lady Downing.”

The young woman, Mary, smiled and continued on her way. EC watch them as they walked away and sighed “Oh well. There would have been no future in getting to know her anyway.”

 

HC continued on his promenade and made another two circuits before deciding it was time to change for dinner. It was almost seven o’clock when he entered the lounge. Feeling the need for pre-dinner drink, he called over the waiter and ordered a medium dry sherry . He drank it standing by the fire whilst he waited for the dinner gong to sound.

Dinner in the Titanic’s first class dinning room had been one of HC’s ambitions. He had mulled over what meal to choose for weeks previously - the Titanic’s menus were well know in his century, and had already decided on what he would order. Roast duckling in an orange and tangerine sauce with creamed potatoes and buttered broccoli. As a starter he bad selected dressed crab, and for dessert, iced strawberries topped with ruin cream. The wine he would leave up the steward to suggest.

The gong sounded and a steward announced that dinners was about to be served. HC finished his drink and made his way to the dining room. On reaching his table he found to his surprise, and delight, that his dining companions included the old lady and young girl he had met on deck earlier.

The girl smiled politely at him, but the old lady just scowled. HC introduced himself never-the-less.

“Good evening, ladies.” he said, bowing slightly. “Henry Charles Lexington, at your service.” He took his seat and unfolded his napkin. Then rose again as another set of dinners arrived.

“Good evening.” smiled one of the newcomers. By her accent, HC assumed he was an American. “Let me introduce myself. I am Hector I. Galverston and this dear lady his my wile, Beatrice. We’re from Texas!”

‘Please to meet you Mr. Galverston.” said HC. “I name is Henry Charles Lexington. But my friends call me HC.”

“Well HC,” said Galverston. “My friends call me Big H! On account of my large appetite! Ain’t that right Beatie, old girl?”

Beatie smiled, shyly. “That’s right dear. Big H,” Compared to her husband’s, her voice was almost like a child’s.

Big H laughed. “That’s my girl!” He turned his attention to the old lady and her young companion.

“How about you two ladies? Aren’t you going to introduce yourselves?”

The young woman coughed slightly. “Yes, of course. This is Lady Downing.” The old lady nodded politely.

“And I am Mary Kennington”

Lady Downing sniffed the air. Deciding to join in on the conversation, she said, “Mary and I are travelling to New York. To visit some friends there. And what of you, Mr. Lexington? What is the purpose of your journey? Business or pleasure?”

“Oh! Pleasure, most definitely!” said HC. “After all, the Titanic is a marvel of the modern age! And to have the chance to travel on it when it makes its maiden voyage, (he nearly said one and only voyage) is an opportunity few people in my position would pass by!”

Lady Downing smiled briefly, “Quite so.” said Mary. She fidgeted with her napkin and HC thought he noticed her stifle a laugh.

He looked about him. The dinning room was filling up. There was still one seat vacant on their table and HC wondered who it would be that would be occupying it. His question was soon answered when one of the ships officers came over and sat down.

“Welcome aboard the Titanic, ladies and gentlemen.” he said. “If you would allow me to introduce myself. I am Lieutenant Owens, the ships assistant engineering officer.”

HC and the others introduced themselves.

“You have a fine ship here, Lieutenant.” said Big H. “A fine ship. Is it true that it is unsinkable?”

Lieutenant Owen, shrugged. “Well sir, she has a triple hull and bulkheads which can be sealed in the unlikely event of an accident. If any ship is unsinkable, it’s the SS Titanic. Plus we have all the latest equipment available, including Mr. Marconi’s wondrous radio-telegraph.”

‘Not too many lifeboats though.’ mused HC to himself.

Mary glanced sideways at her travelling companion. “Tell me, Mr. Owen.” she said. “Does the Captain intend to travel at full steam on this trip? I understand that the ship is capable of tremendous speed.”

HC hid a grin. ‘If only you knew.’ he thought,

“The Titanic is indeed capable of a good rate of knots.” replied the Lieutenant. “As for what speed we will be steaming, that will be for the Captain to decide. But I dare say he will try for a speedy crossing.”

“Oh good!” Mary smiled. “I am glad.”

The steward arrived and they ordered. During the meal HC and the others chatted idly, mostly about the ship, but also about the events in South Africa. When it came to these topics Mary and Lady Downing remained quiet. HC assumed that such event did not interest them. He turned the conversation to that of literature. A subject he felt he was well equipped to engage in. Mary as it transpired was also an avid reader. Especially of poetry.

“My favourite poet is Shelly.” she said. “I find him so romantic. I would have loved to have met him.”

‘It’s a pity that you can’t travel with me in the time cabinet.’ thought HC. He smiled.

“Perhaps someday, someone will invent a time machine.” he joked. “Then you might be able to make your wish come true!”

Lady Downing coughed. Mary gave HC a smile and turned to attend her mistress.

“Dear mc, Lady Downing.” said Lieutenant Owen, a little concerned. “Are you all right?”

“I should take some water.” said Big H.

“Yes, yes. I’m fine.” Lady Downing assured them. “A piece of meat went down the wrong way. But I’m fine now. Thank you.”

Big H looked at HC and smiled, curiously. “Time travel! Now wouldn’t that be something!”

“Oh my!” exclaimed the Lieutenant. “That would really be a hoot!”

“Yes indeed.” echoed Mary. “Just imagine. To be able to travel back in history and actually see it in the making!”

“Why not travel forward?” suggested Lieutenant “Like the fellow in HG Wells’s book?”

“I’m not sure if that would be advisable.” said HC, with a shake of his bead. “It might be unsettling to know ones future.”

He took a drink from his glass of wine and savoured its smooth taste. It was wonderful. There was nothing to match it in his century.

“But it might be interesting all the same” he added.

“I agree.” said Mary, with a curious look on her face. “It might be fun at that.”

Big H laughed. “I wonder if that old HG fellow knows something we don’t!”

“Tell young man?” asked Lady Downing, “Do you think that such a thing will ever be possible? Time travel I mean?”

HC swallowed hard. “It seems unlikely. But then again in these enlightened days who knows what might be possible?”

Big H smiled broadly. “I for one can’t argue with that! Alter all, we have machines that can fly now!”

 

The days that followed seemed to speed by for MC. He often met Mary and Lady Downing on deck during his daily stroll, and to his relief found that Lady Downing no longer seemed to discourage the attention being paid towards her young companion. In fact, at times she even seemed to encourage it, leaving them to take the air on their own, while she herself enjoyed an afternoon nap. This please HC, for it him a chance to get to know Mary very well.

During the last of these strolls - it was likely to be the last one they would be able to take before the ship encountered the fatal iceberg and sank, Mary commented on how cold it was getting.

“It’s the effect of the ice flow.” explained HC, forgetting the situation for a moment.

“Ice?” queried Mary. “Why? Do you think there might be ice in the vicinity?”

HC decided a little lying would not go amiss. “No. Not at all. It’s just that I overheard one of the crew say that there is often the odd iceberg about this time of year.”

“But there is nothing to worry about.” he added, quickly.

Mary frowned. “No. Of course not.”

She stopped by the rail and looked down into the water below. It looked cold, and uninviting. “HC?” she asked. “I was wondering. Can you swim?”

HC was taken aback. “Why yes, I can.” he said. “Why do you ask?”

Oh, no reason.” replied Mary, “It’s just that, well, if something did happen, I would be comforted to know that you could. Swim I mean.”

HC swallowed. “That is a funny thing to say.” he said.

Mary turned and clasped his hand in her own. ” HC.” she said, looking downwards. “This ship, in spite of its size, does not have that many lifeboats. Only enough for about half for those on board, in fact. I know. I’ve counted them.”

HC was suddenly filled with concern. He had grown very fond of Mary, and of Lady Downing. He had nearly forgotten that the ship he was on was the Titanic, and that in a few hours it would be lost and over half the souls aboard would be dead.

“Don’t worry, Mary.” he said, gently. “If the worst did happen, the women and children would be first into the lifeboats. You’ll be safe. So will Lady Downing.”

He frantically tried to mentally read through the list of survivors the staff at Time Breaks Inc. had given him before he had left. This list was supplied in order that time travellers did not mix unduly with people that survived the disaster and so change history. They supplied a list of those who died too. But nobody looked at that. It was too morbid. He was given several other booklets also. Standard stuff, mostly. What to do. Where to go on arrival back at Time Breaks inc.’s headquarters. HC treated them in the same causal way.

He was suddenly filled with panic. HC’s memory recall was good. And as far as he could remember neither Mary nor Lady Downing were on the list of survivors. His heart sank. That meant that Mary was going to die!

“Mary,” he said urgently. “I...”

Before he could finish, Big H and his wife appeared.

“Well, hi there!” called Big H. “Fine weather we’re having! A might chilly perhaps, but very bracing none-the-less!”

“Hello.’ said HC.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Galverston. Mrs. Galverston.” said Mary.

“Good afternoon, my dear.” replied Mrs. Galverston. “Where is Lady Downing? Not unwell I trust?”

Big H waited for his wife to seat herself and then took his own. “Fine. We’re fine.” he replied, cheerfully.

“Where are Lady Downing, and that charming companion of hers? Not dinning tonight?”

“Ah, no.” said HC. “Mary said that Lady Downing is feeling a little unwell. They are dinning their cabin tonight.”

“Oh dear!” exclaimed Mrs. Galverston. “I do hope it’s nothing serious?”

“No, I’m sure it’s just a headache.” HC assured her. “I might look in on them later, Just to see if they need anything.”

Mrs. Galverston smiled. “Of course.” she said, and patted his hand. “You do that.”

HC ate his meal and chatted idly with his companions. But his heart was not in it. His mind was on Mary and her impending plight. He consoled himself by ordering another bottle of wine. Two in fact. By ten o’clock HC was feeling quite heady.

“If you would excuse me.” he said. “I think I would quite like to take some air.”

“Don’t forget to wrap up well, my dear.” said Mrs. Galverston. “It’s quite cold out there tonight.”

“Yes, my boy.” echoed Big H. “I would wear your thickest coat tonight, if I were you.”

“Thank you.” Said HC, standing up. “I will.”

He made his way to his cabin. He had already chosen a suitable topcoat. Made especially for him by the foremost tailors in his century. It had a built in life-preserver. He put it on and slipped the key to the Time Cabinet into its pocket. He wanted it be at hand, just in case.

For the next half an hour HC strolled along the promenade deck. Part of his mind was on the iceberg, but mostly he was thinking of Mary. Feeling a little fatigued, HC decided to sit for awhile. He checked his watch. It was almost eleven. The Titanic was not due to collide with the iceberg until midnight.

The night air was filled with the smell of the sea. HC toyed absentmindedly with the sonic key in his coat pocket, turning it over and over and feeling its engraved fob. And all the time he thought of Mary. He was still thinking of her when he fell asleep.

 

HC awoke with a start. Something was wrong. People were shouting and members of the crew were running about.

“Oh no!” he exclaimed. “The iceberg!”

He leaped up and grabbed hold of a passing crewman.

“What’s happened?” he demanded.

“We’ve struck an iceberg, sir.” replied the crewman. “But don’t worry. It’s not serious. We’ll be underway again in a little while.” He did not sound too convinced however. His smile belayed his concern as well.

“Oh. Right.” HC pulled his coat closer around him. He took out his watch and inspected it. “Bloody hell!

It’s nearly twenty past midnight. I must have slept right though the collision!”

The crewman gave him a quizzical look and hurried on his way. HC decided to go down to Mary’s cabin and persuade her to come with him. At the very least he would ensure that she was safely aboard the lifeboat, Even if it did change history. He did not hurry unduly, as he knew how much time he had.

As he made his way along the passageways, he met other passengers on the way up. Most were wearing lifejackets. HC had not even bothered finding out where his was stored. Why should he? After all, he planned to be gone well before he needed it.

He reached Mary’s door and knocked. Mary opened it and came out. From inside HC heard Lady Downing. She said, “Don’t be long Mary! It’ll be time to leave soon!”

Mary closed the door and took HC’s arm.

“HC!” she said. “Shouldn’t you be on deck? We’ve hit an iceberg, you know? And where’s your lifejacket? You should be wearing it.”

“I’ll leave when I know you’re safe.” HC told her. They moved to one side as a group of people made their way up to the deck.

“Mary. I have something to say to you. This ship is in big trouble. The iceberg has ripped open the whole side. Three bulkheads are filling up with water. It’s going to sink.”

Mary pursed her lips. “I rather thought as much,” she said, “The deck is already slopping.”

“Mary,” said HC, taking a firm hold of her arm. “There aren’t enough boats for everyone. But don’t worry. I have a way of getting us off safely. Now quickly! Come with me!”

He dragged her protesting down the passageway to his cabin, “Please, Mary.” he said. “Don’t argue. It’s the only way!”

“But HC!” cried Mary. “It’s not necessary! Really! Lady Downing and I will be fine! Save yourself”

HC reached his cabin, opened the door and pulled Mary in alter him.

“Mary, you know were talking about time travel? Well I have something to show you.”

He pointed to where the Time Cabinet rested in the corner of the day cabin. “It’s a...”

“...Mark V Time Cabinet.” said an open mouthed Mary, completing his sentence. She turned to face him and blinked.

“Lady Downing has a Mark VI. Funnily, ours is concealed inside a trunk too.”

HC’s mouth dropped also. For a moment they both could not speak, their eyes fixed on each other.

Finally HC broke the silence and said, “Then you are from the...”

“...Future too. Yes.” said Mary. “Lady Downing has always wanted to take this trip. She asked me along to keep her company. I’m her niece, by the way.”

“Then you won’t be needing my help?” blinked HC.

“No.” smiled Mary. “But thank you all the same.”

A loud explosion sounded somewhere within the ship.

Mary turned back to the door. “I had best be getting back. Aunt Hilda, Lady Downing, wants to leave before the ship get too far into the water. I can’t say that I blame her. I expect you’ll be leaving soon too.”

“Yes.” said HC. “But I’ll walk you back in your cabin first. I wouldn’t want your Aunt to leave without you!,’

“No!” laughed Mary. “That wouldn’t do at all!”

Together they walked back to Mary’s cabin. Two time travellers on a sinking ship. They each vowed to meet up on their return Time Breaks.

“I just realised!” said HC, stopping suddenly. “What year did you come from? I started my journey in the year 3030. If we come from different years, we’ll muck up the time lines!”

“Au, that’s a relief!” breathed, Mary. “We’re from 3030 too.” She frowned, and asked, “What month?”

“Second.” HC answered, his heart in his mouth. “And you?”

Mary gulped. “Third. Day three. But the cabinet’s programmed to return on the morning of the fifth day.

 

“Well that’s not so bad.” said HC, walking again. “I left in the morning of the 28th. I’ll simply adjust my return date to match yours.”

“That’s good!” beamed Mary.

They reached her cabin and stopped outside. Passengers hurried by them, Some in a state of panic. HC could feel the tilt of the deck beneath his feet.

“The ship’s starting to go down.” he said, seriously. “You had better hurry.”

He kissed her lightly on the lips and opened the door for her. She stepped inside. Almost at once, she gasped.

“The cabinet! It’s gone!”

HC pushed his way through the door. It was true. The Time Cabinet was no longer there.

“Aunt Hilda must have panicked when she heard that explosion!” she sobbed. “And left without me! Oh HC? What will I do flow?”

HC grasped her by the shoulders. “It’s all right. I’ll take you back in mine. Come on!”

They hurried back along the passageway to HC’s cabin, pushing their way passed those who were on their way on the boat deck. HC open his cabin door and pulled Mary in after him.

“I’ve already packed my clothes.” he said, fumbling for his sonic key. “I’ll have to take them out to make room for you. Where’s that blasted key!”

Frantically he searched his pockets, emptying them out on the dressing room table.

“The key!” he exclaimed. “I’ve lost the bloody key!”

Mary let out a sob. “Oh no!”

HC racked his brains, trying to remember when he had last had it. “The boat deck!” he said, snapping his fingers. I rested in one of the chairs while I was taking the air! It must have fallen out when I fell asleep!”

“But the boat deck’s full of people!” Mary whimpered. “It could be anywhere by now!”

HC took a deep breath. “Wait here while I go and look!”

Mary shook her head. “No. I’m coming with you, HC. Anyway, we stand a better chance of finding it if we both look.”

They hurried up to the boat deck. Outside there was pandemonium. People were pushing and shoving each other aside as they tried to reach their assigned boat stations. Many passengers did not bother looking and instead made their way straight to the first boat they came to. HC could hear one man demand that he be let on board a lifeboat right away. The officer in charge shouted at him to stand back and aimed a pistol at him to in force the point, “Oh my god!” exclaimed Mary. “It must be later than we thought!”

HC checked his watch and gasped. “It’s nearly one o’clock! We’ve just under an hour left!”

Mary dodged to one side as couple dressed in their dressing gowns barged their way through the throng. HC glared at them and shook his fist. “Blasted people! Why can’t you be more careful!”

The couple hurried on, ignoring the insult.

“Where was it you were sleeping?” asked Mary.

HC looked about him. “Over there, by that hatchway.” he said. There was a line of deck-chairs. I think I was in the middle, somewhere.”

He pushed his way through to where the deck-chairs had been. “They’re gone!” he shouted. Nearby a man was busily lashing a bundle of chairs together as a makeshift life-raft. HC started toward him but was knocked aside by a rush of bodies. He fell back and ended up in heap on the deck. Mary ran over to aid him.

“We’ll never find it in this!” she sobbed.

“Find what?” said a voice from behind. Mary looked up and the towering figure of Big H.

“A key.” said HC, struggling to his feet. “A large white key on a large engraved fob.”

“Ah!” beamed Big H. “Then this is yours!” He held out his hand. Dangling from it was a large white key fixed to an engraved fob.

HC breathed a sigh of relief and reached for the precious item. They were joined by Mrs. Galverston, who sidled up to her husband. “Hurry along my dears.” she said. “The fun’s all but over now. It’s time for us to get to our cabinets!”

Mary and HC’s mouths dropped in amazement. “Cabinets?”

“Yes.” said Big H, with a puzzled look. “You know, our Time Cabinets!”

HC’s mouth dropped even further. Big H saw their expressions and let out a laugh. “Oh no? Don’t tell me you haven’t read the Info pack. ‘Time Breaks’ gave you! It has a complete list of all the time travellers there are on board! .“

 

 

The End

 

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A little bit about myself.
 
First and foremost I am English.
I am proud to be a member of the
Royal Society of St. George.

I am also a member of the
Royal British Legion and the
United Kingdom National Defence Association (UKNDA).

I was an officer in the Army Cadet Force
for over 25years.

I am a member of the English Democrats Party.

Links to all these organizations can be found in the
web-links section.

I also enjoy writing short stories (nothing published as yet!)
and samples of these are included on this site.
I also have another site devoted to my writings at: http://domasionragor.webs.com/

If I had a motto, it would be:
Honesty, Loyalty, Integrity.
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