THE RMS TITANIC
The sun was setting, off the horizon, and the sky was bathed in beautiful shades of every color imaginable. Twilight was just setting in, and it was a wonderful spectacle on those aboard the ship.
The Atlantic was calm, and there were people out on deck, even though it was cold. There was also a lack of wind, not that it bothered the men, women, and even children. Most of them had just had their dinner, and were out to enjoy the night air before heading to their cabins for the night.
The grand ship, the largest of her kind — in fact, the largest of the world — cut through the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean with ease, carrying over two thousand passengers.
It was a huge ship, the best and finest the world had ever seen. It was also extremely luxurious, and had made the news when it was launched on her maiden voyage, just two days prior. It had left from Southampton, England, bound for America, where many of her passengers would meet up with family, or travel by train or another ship to home. Whole families were traveling onboard, and an eight-man band was playing in the lounge. People milled around, talking, smoking and socializing. It was going to be a few more days before the great vessel docked at her destination, New York.
Her name was the RMS Titanic. The date was April 12, 1912.
No one knew what would happen that night.
APRIL 12, 1912
Later on, closer to midnight, the Titanic was cruising along in the middle of the Atlantic, heading at a steady pace towards her port of call. The passengers on the ship were all asleep, and so were most of her crew. Only those on the night shift were still awake.
Patrick Ryan had purchased a third-class ticket on the Titanic, and had boarded at Queenstown, Australia, the place where the Titanic had set off from before heading towards England. He was asleep, along with his roommate, when he suddenly woke up.
Patrick had no idea why he was awake; usually he slept rather peacefully. Lying perfectly still in his bunk, the Irishman tried to locate the source of his awakening. Through the fog of sleep that clouded his brain, he managed to determine that a slight shudder that awoken him. No ship as large as the Titanic would shudder, he reasoned, and he got out of bed. But then again, he thought as he dressed, it might be her engines. His roommate didn't stir. Patrick dressed quickly, no longer able to go back to sleep. He probably would just take a walk on the deck. Perhaps the night air would make him relax enough to fall asleep again.
Making his way to the upper deck, Patrick couldn't help but notice the amount of activity going on. The crew were running around, and he immediately suspected something was wrong. On his way up, Patrick had heard the eight-man band still playing, and although the tunes sounded familiar, he couldn't put a name to them.
Something is wrong, he thought. Just about then, people started coming up. Some of them looked as if something bad had just happened to the Titanic. Patrick began to doubt the claim that the Titanic was unsinkable. So far, he had trusted the claim, but after that shake...he began to seriously doubt it.
It was probably more than half an hour later when the call for people to get into the lifeboats was sounded.
"Women and children first," someone — probably a member of the crew — said, and Patrick saw children of all ages and women, some young, some old, heading towards the lifeboats. With a feeling of dread, he realized the grand, "unsinkable" Titanic was sinking. If not, then why would all the people being evacuated?
During the next hour and a half, people filed into the lifeboats — Patrick then realized that there weren't enough for all of them. With a sinking heart, if the pun was excused, he knew that a lot of the men and women would not live.
The boat was beginning to tip backward. Men were jumping into the freezing water, to try to wait for rescuers to pick them up. The bow had plunged into the water, the stern rising high up into the air. Then, with a deafening shriek of metal being bent, the forward funnel broke off and crashed into the water, crushing anyone unlucky enough to be swimming underneath it.
Patrick couldn't swim, and his eyes in fear as the ship he was on kept sinking into the water. A man skidded past him, because the ship was now at a forty-five degree angle, and the poor soul crashed into the water and disappeared under the surface. Something barreled into him, and Patrick lost his grip on the handrail, something he had been holding on for dear life.
As he slid down the deck of the Titanic, hoping to catch hold of something, anything to stay out of the water, he thought he saw something huge and silver rise out from the depths of the dark water, behind the lost cruiser, even as his head disappeared under the water...
APRIL 13, 1912
Tom Sawyer was deep in sleep when he was jolted out of his bed, as the Nautilus shuddered violently. Disentangling himself from the sheets, he was almost done when the door was flung open. Peering through the amount of blond hair that had fallen into his face, Tom saw nothing, besides some of Nemo's man running past the door.
"Sawyer!" the familiar Cockney voice suddenly came, "Get up, quick! We hit something!"
Tom started at that, and within moments he was running next to Skinner, or so he assumed, through the belly of the Nautilus. They had to get to the bridge, or maybe the conning tower. Tom could feel the slight change in pressure as the Nautilus surfaced.
When they arrived at the bridge, Mina Harker and Dr. Henry Jekyll were already there, along with Captain Nemo. The captain didn't say a word as he pushed past Tom and Skinner, who quickly followed behind Mina and Jekyll.
"What happened?" Tom asked Jekyll, who had a grim expression on his face. Mina had her lips pursued, and Nemo's face didn't exactly describe a good situation, either.
"We were about to surface just now," Jekyll said, as they hurried past crewman, "when we hit something. At first we thought it was a iceberg, with us being in the Atlantic, but it's actually a passenger ship. It's called the RMS Titanic. It's sinking right now."
"Passengers...?" Tom could hardly process all this. It was past midnight, probably about two in the morning. "We've got to get them out of there!"
"That's what we're trying to do," Jekyll informed them, as they climbed up the ladder to the conning tower. "Nemo's men are lowering lifeboats and other rescue vessels into the water even as we speak."
Skinner gave a low whistle. A crewman on deck had given Nemo, Mina and Skinner binoculars, and the floating pair next to him said, "There's a whole lot o' people in the water, Sawyer. Take a look." Skinner handed Tom the binoculars, and the American's blood chilled as he saw women, children and men trying desperately to tread the freezing waters.
We can't leave them like that, Tom thought, a plan already forming in his head, we can't. Looking downwards, he saw a lifeboat of Nemo's men about to launch. Shoving the pair of binoculars into a startled Jekyll's hands, he raced down the ladder and through the Nautilus, jumping on the boat just as it left the side of the submersible.
He nearly fell overboard when he nearly sat on something he couldn't see, and Skinner gave a yelp. "Watch it, man!"
"Skinner?" Tom asked, in disbelief. "What're you doing here?"
"Why, saving the people, just like ye are," Skinner replied curtly. "I ran down as soon as I handed ye the binoculars." As they neared the people, Tom was sickened by the screams of the people as they drowned or froze. "This is bad," Skinner added more quietly as they neared one of the lifeboats. People were clinging to the edges of the flimsy canvas. The people already in the lifeboat were trying to get them off.
They neared the boat, and began hauling up the people. Skinner grabbed a girl by the collar of her dress, probably about twelve years old, from the looks of it, and pulled her up. She gasped and flailed her arms and legs, screaming something about a ghost.
"What are you?" she yelled, panicking.
"I'm the holy ghost," Skinner answered, depositing her on the floor of the rather large boat. He then helped Tom pull up a young man, who too sat next to the girl. Someone had bundled her up in blankets, and she was staring, wide-eyed, at Skinner as he and Tom dragged people out of the water and onto the lifeboat. Another ship was heading towards the sinking Titanic, and Tom turned to look over his shoulder as they rowed back to the Nautilus.
He could only hope the majority of the people would be saved.
APRIL 12, 1922
The thirty-something year old Tom Sawyer looked out at the Atlantic Ocean from the conning tower of the Nautilus, so calm and peaceful in the daylight. He sighed. Twenty years ago a great tragedy happened here, and now the Nautilus, her crew, and a few passengers — namely, the remnants of the League and one Ruth E. Becker, a close friend of the League's — were here, ten years after the Titanic sank.
In 1912, the League had been returning from their second, and last, mission, when they had hit the Titanic, on its way to the New York harbour from England. The men of the Nautilus had participated in the rescue effort, although that was left out of the history books. The luxury cruise liner had sunk, not due to the fact that the submersible had hit it, but because of a very large iceberg that it had it.
Every year, after that incident, the League had returned to this spot to commemorate the lost. Ten years ago Ruth had been rescued by Skinner, pulled up from the freezing water and later reunited with her mother and two toddler siblings. Ruth had then been about twelve, and was convinced Skinner was the holy spirit. It was some time before she realised that Skinner was merely invisible. Even then, though, the Beckers had become good friends with Skinner and the League, and Ruth, Richard, and their other sister, Marion, had grown up in the company of the League. Ruth was especially close to the League.
Tom was alone on the conning tower, except for a few crewman making some last-minute arrangements on the decorations that adorned the conning tower for this occasion. Soon the others would arrive, and the wreath would be dropped into the water where the Titanic had sank ten years before.
True enough, the hatch behind Tom opened and the American turned, as Skinner, Mina, Nemo and Ruth stepped out in turn. Dr. Jekyll had died in a battle in the World War nine years ago. He had been a field doctor, and a stray bullet had got him while he was treating an English soldier.
The quiet loss was still felt, years later. The quiet doctor had been a strong, if mostly silent, presence in the League; it didn't feel the same without him.
"Captain Nemo, Mrs Harker, Skinner," Tom said, nodding his greeting to each in turn. "Heya, Ruth."
She smiled back her own greeting. Skinner made a noise while leaning on his walking stick; he had been a spy in the war, for Britain, and had been shot in the leg, hence the walking stick.
With a nod to his men, Nemo started the annual ceremony and Tom turned his attention from the two.
APRIL 12, 1922
The wreath was lowered into the water. There was silence on the conning tower, each of the people on it remembering that night in their own way. Tom and Skinner had been on the forefront of saving those in the water, while Jekyll and Mina had been helping in the treating of those injured. Nemo had been in contact with the captain of the Carpathia, which was where the survivors had been left after treatment to be brought back to New York.
Ruth remembered that night, all the terror and fear, and then awe, when she had been saved by Skinner. She remembered being reunited with her baby siblings and her mother, with the "holy ghost" watching. The sinking of the Titanic had changed her life in more ways than one, and because of that she'd grown up around an invisible man and a vampire, not to mention a techno-pirate, a American Secret Service agent, and a schizophrenic doctor.
She looked at her friends, her family. Nemo's black hair had turned white and gray in some places, while Skinner was leaning on his walking stick. Tom was much older now, although he still retained his boyish grin and charming demeanour. Jekyll — well, she hadn't known the doctor all that well, although she had loved him like a brother. Mina hadn't aged at all, over the past decade, and she never would.
"Y'know," Skinner said quietly, "I never thought we'd make it to a decade."
"It's kinda hard to believe," Tom added, also quietly, "Ten years have passed so quickly."
"It seems like yesterday we were scrambling to save those who had managed to survive," Mina supplied.
"And now we stand here, honouring those who did not," Nemo said lastly.
Ruth looked at them all, her family, her friends. She gave a small smile.
"But we should celebrate for those who lived, and live on today," she said, attracting many a glance from the others. "After all, that's the important fact, isn't it? That some of us lived. Better some than none at all."
"She has a point there," Skinner said, nodding sagely.
"I always do," Ruth smiled. "I'm a teacher, remember? I have to get my point across to children almost every day. Even to some big boys who ought to know better than to leave four-year-olds with a jar of peanut butter." She cast a pointed look at Skinner.
Tom laughed, as did Mina. Skinner tried to look indignant. Even Nemo gave a little smile.
A/N: Patrick Ryan and Ruth E. Becker really did exist, and were really passengers on the Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage. Patrick didn't survive, but Ruth and her family did. Ruth was a teacher in real-life. Her mother and her two siblings (a sister, 4, and a brother, 1) were traveling with her on the Titanic. I have tried my best to ascertain the historical facts for this, and I'm sorry if anything is wrong.