The time traveller, Bradbury, took a deep breath to calm his nerves before he set out for hands on research for his latest science fiction book.
He opened up the channels of time and received on his mobile a Morse code message three dots, one dot and a dash, and then three more dots, SOS (save our souls).
He punched in April 14 1912- 22.00 hours in order to be there an hour before the SOS was sent. Seconds later he found himself in the wireless room of the Titanic looking over the shoulder of the operator who was sending private messages for the passengers.
“Look at the ice warning transmissions.” he yelled in his ear; but the man could not hear him. Frustrated Bradbury made his way up to the crows nest, and stood behind Archie Jewell and Frederick Fleet trying to tell them that David Blair, who had been Second Officer on the voyage from Belfast to Southampton, had locked the only binoculars on the ship in a cupboard on the crow’s nest, before he was dropped from the crew.
Unfortunately they could not see or hear him.. “Can’t see much tonight. Damn, dark night. No moon”. Archie observed.
“Nice calm sea though,” Frederick responded.
“What’s that!” Frederick cried out five minutes later.
A small object could be seen floating in the sea. It was not white ,as Bradbury expected, but clear in appearance; reflecting the dark sky and water like a mirror; a black object impossible to see from a safe distance
A blackberg Bradbury whispered to himself.
He knew that of course that he was seeing only one tenth of the size of the berg. And nine tenths of its mass was menacingly hidden below the water.
He knew he could not change main events when he travelled back in time, but perhaps he could help in some small way.
Bradbury tagged on to William Murdoch the first officer who suddenly noticed the ship had started to take on water who cried “Reverse engines!”
“Carry on forwards,” Bradbury yelled into his ear, “you’ll miss the iceberg easily if you do.” He had read the analysis report. He knew the tragedy of the Titanic could be avoided, if the ship carried on forward allowing it to turn quickly.
At 11.35 pm he heard a dull grating noise. Bradbury looked around, tears running down his cheeks. No one seemed concerned. The passengers were having fun, drinking or dancing in the big ballroom feeling safe on this brand new hulk of a floating city.
Bradbury returned below deck and followed William Murdock, an Irish fireman who had the same name as the First Officer, as he reported for duty at midnight.
Chief Officer Bell stood in front of the group of men took a deep breath and told them,
“A 240 feet long gash has been cut by an iceberg. The ship is taking on water rapidly. You must all go and put on lifejackets.”
The engineers stayed at their posts.
William Murdock was told to go into lifeboat 16,
“If I go into the boat I am sure to freeze to death out in the cold of the Atlantic,” he muttered. He went below and put on an extra warm coat and warm boots.
Bradbury saw him go back on deck and help forty five anxious people into one of the collapsible lifeboats.
There were sixteen lifeboats and four collapsible boats.
Bradbury knew, according to Board of Trade regulations, the number of lifeboats a ship was allowed to carry was determined by the tonnage of the vessel, not by the number of passengers and crew members she was registered to carry. The Titanic was certified to carry 3,547 passengers and the space on the lifeboats provided space for 979 people bringing the total of places to 1,167. The reasoning was that extra lifeboats would take up valuable deck space.
All around him men were panicking and jumping into the water as women and children only were allowed into the launching lifeboats.
One woman was protesting. “Why can’t the men go too? What rule can be so heartless to separate men from their women just because they are meant to be tougher? I will stay with my husband.”
Bradbury perching at the helm of a life boat was grieving for the people who would soon be lost. The orchestra who had positioned themselves on deck carried on playing stoically.
“Why couldn’t I save them,” Bradbury thought.
On deck a crazy man who had been forcefully removed from two lifeboats for women only grabbed Leah Aks baby, Frank Philip from her and flung him overboard yelling “babies first, I’ll show you.”
Bradbury heard a splash and saw a baby floating near them. They had not seen it. He leaned over and squeezed its hand and the baby let out a feeble cry.
“Look a baby. Where is its poor mother? Come on lean over and pick it up.” He nudged a woman in the boat. The baby was scooped out of the water by the oarsman and given to a woman who was eager to him to her bosom.
Bradbury felt redeemed and hoped that he had not altered some time space continuum by saving an extra soul.
Williams helped lower another lifeboat and then knew the time had come when he had to jump in the water and swim away from the boat so he would not be sucked into the menacing depths of the freezing ocean. What a shock when he hit the water. He was relieved to see the women beckoning him to climb into the lifeboat with them. He helped them row a safe distance away from the ship.
They all sat in shock as they watched the Titanic’s bow slip underwater.
While her stern still showed standing up in the water and the lights went off, the women wept around him, one pregnant woman vomited over the side of the boat.
Then the ship gently glided down into the depths and disappeared completely.
It was bitterly cold at 31 degrees Fahrenheit, (0.5 degrees Celsius).
“Look,” a man cried “a ship come to rescue us” and the Carpathia appeared on the horizon arriving to pick up any survivors at 4 am
“And to think they said the Titanic was unsinkable,” said a cook on the Carpathia looking at the 705 survivors huddled together shrouded in blankets.
The baby’s mother Leah rushed round the ship, yelling “Has anyone seen a baby!”
She finally came across a woman who was hugging a baby to her breast.
“Let me see. Let me see! She managed to pull the blanket from the babies face despite the woman’s struggles.
“This is my baby!” she said tears running down her face.
“No it’s my baby”, the woman insisted.
Leah ran and found one of the officers.
This is my baby. I can prove it. He is circumcised as a Jew.
Eventually the woman was persuaded to give the baby up. “But I want a baby too” she moaned.
Bradbury punched in his home coordinates and returned home. He had not changed the future. Fate had obviously waited for him to return to the past and save Frank Aks. He looked him up on the internet and found out that Frank had children and grandchildren and died in 1991 at the age of 80 years old
DIANE JARDEL 'He saw himself as an atom and his gestalt as a molecule. He saw these others as a cell among cells,and he saw in the whole the design of what, with joy, humanity would become.' Theodore Sturgeon 'More than Human'.