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The titan drowns time travel romance


The

TitanDrowns




NhysGlover





Thisnovelisentirelyaworkoffiction.Withtheexceptionofhistoricaleventsandpeopleusedas
backgroundforthestory,thenames,charactersandincidentsportrayedinthisworkcomewhollyfromthe
author’simagination.Anyresemblancetoactualpersons,livingordead,eventsorlocalitiesisentirely
coincidental
PublishedbyBelisamaPress2012
SmashwordsEdition2013



©NhysGlover2012
Thisbookiscopyright.Allrightsreserved.
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propertyoftheauthor,andmaynotbereproduced,copiedanddistributedforcommercialornoncommercialpurposes.Ifyouenjoyedthisbook,pleaseencourageyourfriendstodownloadtheirowncopy
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*****

On 14 April 1912 at 11.40 p.m. Titanic struck an iceberg in the Mid North
Atlanticandsank12,415feetbeneaththeicyoceaninjusttwohoursandforty
minutes. Of the 2,223 souls aboard her that night, only 710 were rescued and
another 328 bodies recovered, although 119 of these were buried at sea. This
leaves 1,185 people, or more than half the ship’s passengers and crew, left
unaccountedfor.
Manhas,inonlyafewshortyears,flownlikeabird,walkeduponthemoon,
explored the universe, travelled faster than sound, cloned living creatures,
transplantedheartsandotherorgans,designedhumancells,splitatoms,created
infinitesimally small nanobots… and this list of wonders increases with every
passingday.
One has to wonder if, given enough time and technological resources, man
could not one day find a way to cross time and space. And if, when they did,
mighttheynotlookbackatthatnightin1912andbetemptedtorescueatleast
someofthose1,185soulswhowereneverseenagain?
Iliketothinktheywould…


*****




Prologue
Karl

Summer2336NewAtlantis,GAIANCONFEDERACY



‘We are undertaking another major mission,’ Jac Ulster announced to the
assembled group of Retrievers from the Child and Adult Programs. ‘Like our
1942 mission, we will require a large, well-orchestrated team working in
strategicstages.OurmainTargetwillbetheforty-eightchildrenourresearchhas
indicated were not seen during the chaos of the early hours of April 15, 1912,
andwhosebodieswereneverfound.’
‘April 15, 1912. That is when…’ Pia Rogaland interrupted in stunned
amazement.
‘TheTitanicsank,’Jacfinishedforher,noddingatthetallblonde.‘Yes,you
havecorrectlyidentifiedourobjective.Wearegoingtoredressalittleoftheloss
thatoccurredthatday.’
KarlOntariofelthisheartflutterstrangelyinhischest.Itwasn’tthefirsttime
he’d experienced this odd sensation since he’d heard the news of the planned
Titanicmission,butitstillstruckhimasuncharacteristic.Italmostfeltlikesick
excitement; but that was absurd. The only time he’d ever been excited by
anything was in his Original body when an experiment had yielded interesting
results.
Since then, some 216 years, excitement had never been an emotion he’d
experienced. Interest, determination, compassion, contentment and satisfaction
were feelings he recognised in varying degrees of mild intensity, but never
excitement.
It was commonly believed that the cloned bodies they inhabited were
responsiblefortheirrace’slackofpassion,buttherewasnoscientificevidence
forthat.Whateverthecause,itwascertainlyfactualtosaythatpost-apocalyptic
man’semotionsweredimmedandmarginalized.
Of course for him, even in his Original, the ‘desires of the flesh’ and the
concomitant passions it aroused had only ever been mild. One lady-friend had
oncetoldhimhehadicewaterinhisveinsandhe’dbelievedher.Hewas,after
all,theproductofhisupbringing.
Karl’sfatherhadbeenaneminentCanadiansurgeoninthemiddleyearsofthe
twenty-firstcentury.Afierceandcuttingman,he’dridiculedallemotionoutof
hissonbythetimehewastenyearsold.AllthatwasleftinKarlfromthattime


onwasthedeterminationtoexcel.Thishe’ddonespectacularly,out-shininghis
fatherinhischosenfieldbythetimehewastwenty-five.
Oncethisgoalwasachieved,he’dbegunlookingfornewfieldstoconquer.It
was then that he’d encountered the early work on accelerated cellular
development the government was funding. Once he saw the potential for their
experiments,hiscoursewasset.
Itgavehimsatisfactiontoknowthathewaspartlyresponsibleforsavingwhat
was left of humanity after the Last Great Plague decimated their numbers.
Humanity had been whittled down to little more than a few hundred thousand
afterthatlastcatastrophe,whichendedtheSecondDarkAge.
Hefirmlybelievedthathe’dbeensparedbyDivineInterventionsothattheir
work,whichhadpreviouslybeendirectedintomilitaryareas,couldbeutilizedto
savemankind.Hadheoroneofhisteamnotbeenoneoftheoneinathousand
whosurvivedthathorrendouspandemic,noonewouldeverhaveknownabout
their spectacular research and results. The sterile and sickly survivors of their
race would have died out, and humanity would have gone the way of the
dinosaurs.
BeforetheLastGreatPlague,ifanyonehadaskedhimabouthisbeliefsabout
Divinityhewouldhavecalledhimselfan“unconvincedagnostic.”He’dwanted
to believe there was a God, but his analytical mind had never found the proof
neededtocommittosuchabelief.
He’dgottenalltheproofheneededthedayhewokeupaloneinatownfilled
withthedeadandrealisedhehadtheknowledgeofcloningthatcouldsavethe
livesofthosefewwhoremained.
Manhadpaidahugepriceforhishubrisandneglect,butamercifulCreator
hadgiventhemawaytoredeemthemselves.Thestatisticalchancesofanytop
scientists surviving that pandemic were infinitesimally small. Yet, among the
survivors,therewereasurprisinglylargenumberofeminentspecialistsfroma
wide cross section of the sciences, including those involved in cellular
transpositioning. Their research had eventually led to the time travel they now
employed to Retrieve suitable candidates from the past to replenish their
depletednumbers.
“Noah’s Ark for humanity” he called the Last Great Plague of 2120;
somehow, it had selected survivors who could preserve the best of mankind’s
legacy.
His mind returned to the topic at hand. The Retrieval teams were going to
Jump to 1912 and pluck children and other suitable adult candidates from the


decksofthemortallywoundedTitanic.And,forthefirsttimeinhislife,hewas
intenselyexcitedbytheprospectandwantedtobeinvolved.
Karlwasn’taJumper.Suchworkwaslefttothemoreadventurousofhiskind.
He held a support role – the Head of New Atlantis’ Medical and Research
Facility.Notonceinthelastseventyyearsoftimetravelhadhefelttheurgeto
involvehimselfinthatothersideoflife.
Until now. Until the word Titanic reminded him of the undulating rows of
greystonemarkers,manyunnamed,he’dseeninHalifax,NovaScotia,whenhe
wasachild.
HismotherhadtakenhimtotheFairviewCemeterytovisitthegraveofher
father that long ago day. While she stood quietly grieving, he’d wandered off
into another part of the cemetery. There he found the 121 graves, arranged in
threeneatrowsofmarkers,allbearingthesamedateofdeath:April15,1912.
Thosegraveshadaffectedhim.Separatedbytime–nearly200years–he’d
stillfeltastrangebondwiththoseunnamedbodieswhowererobbedofallthat
madethemhuman:theirnames,theirhistoryandtheirlovedones.Alltheyhad
left were their corpses, which had been collected up by unknown hands and
buriedingravesofearth,insteadofthewaterthathadclaimedthebulkoftheir
comrades.
His mother told the story for many years after – well out of his father’s
hearing,ofcourse–ofhowshe’dfoundhimstandingthereamongthosestones.
Whenaskedwhathadpossessedhimtowanderofflikethat,he’dsimplyreplied,
‘I came to keep them company. It must have been terrible to die cold and
friendless that way and then to be left here to lie forever among nameless
strangers.’
He didn’t remember saying that, but it was certainly what he felt for a long
timeafterwards.Allhedidrememberofhisinteractionwithhismotherinthat
spotwashertakinghiscoldhandinherwarmoneandgentlyleadinghimaway.
Now,morethan200yearsfurtheronagain,thosenamelessdeadwerecalling
to him once more. And this time he could do more than provide short-term
companionship. This time he could help to save some of those lost souls from
theirlonelyfate.
JacandChen,theleadersoftheRetrievalprograms,wouldfighthimoverhis
decision to join the undertaking. They’d claim he was too valuable to their
societytoriskonsuchadangerousmission.However,he’dbeadamant,andhe
hadenoughpullinthehigherechelonsofgovernmenttogethisway.


The prep for the mission would take many months. During that time, he
planned to integrate with a new clone. Currently, he had been housed in his
fourthcloneforfifty-fiveyears.Notthelimitofthelifespanforaclonebyany
means,buthewantedtobefitandenergeticinatwenty-year-oldbodyifhewas
totakeontasksthatmightprovephysicallydemandinganddangerous.
Thatthoughtrousedthesickexcitementonceagain.Couldhebechangingin
thesamewaysomeoftheOldTimerswerebeginningtochangeaftertheyfound
theirsignificantother?Itfeltlikeitmightbethecase.
Afternearly250yearswithinachrysalisofemotionlessrationality,heseemed
tobefeelingthefirsttremulousmovestowardfreedomandlife.Withinthedeath
throesofthatmetalTitan,hesensedhewouldbereborn.Thehowandwhyofit
he didn’t know, but the when and where was certain: April 15, 1912, Mid
Atlantic,aboardthedoomedTitanic.
Hecouldn’twait!




ChapterOne
Lizzie

10March1912,London,ENGLAND

Lizzie Faulkner stepped with trepidation into her employer’s old-fashioned
study.Theheavyfurnishings,fussyVictorianaknick-knacksandblazingfirein
the grate made the high-ceilinged room unnaturally oppressive. The silent
condemnationofthestraightbackwomanstandingatthewindowonlyservedto
intensifytheatmosphere.
Lizzie tried to draw in a deep breath to calm her jittery nerves, but she had
cinchedherswanbillcorsetsotightlythatmorningthatshehadbarelyenough
lungcapacityforshallowbreaths.Dizzinessandpanicthreatenedtooverwhelm
her.
‘Ah, Miss Faulkner, I am glad you have seen fit to join me at last. Are you
feelingalittlebetter?’Thewordswerepoliteenough,evencompassionate,but
theyweredeliveredinatoneofsuchicydisdainastomakeamockeryofany
warmerfeelings.
Mrs Peabody was a woman in her mid-forties, but her extreme thinness and
tightly pinched features made her look ten years older. Her dark hair, liberally
streaked with grey, was scraped painfully back from her face and bound in a
netted bun at the back of her head. Her fashionable, pencil-thin morning dress
was made from expensive fabric, but the puce colour clashed badly with her
complexion and only added to her unattractive appearance. It was almost as if
shewentoutofherwaytolookashardandunappealingaspossible.
‘Yesthankyou,Madam,’shewhispered,ashamedofherowntemerity.Where
had the courageous bluestocking gone who had set her sights on scaling the
peaksofmale-dominatedarenas?Andwhowasthiscravenninnywhoseemed
unabletoputmorethantwowordstogetherwithoutwhimpering?Lifehadtorn
away her childish confidence and left her only too aware of her weakness and
vulnerability.
‘Ihavereceivedtroublinginformationfrombelowstairs,’MrsPeabodywent
on,hertonejustasstonycoldasbefore.‘Wouldyoucaretomakeaconjecture
aboutthenatureofthatinformation,MissFaulkner?’
‘Ah,no,Madam,Ihavenoidea,’sheliedunconvincingly.
‘Then you are a liar as well as a fallen woman, Miss Faulkner. I have it on
very good authority that you are with child, and as there is no ring upon your


fingerandIhaveheardofnohusbandmentionedinthepast,Icanonlyassume
thatthischildyoucarryisillegitimate.Doyoudenyit?’
Lizziefelttheroombegintospinandshereachedouttograbtheedgeofthe
desktosteadyher.
When Jessie, the upstairs maid, had brought a jug of hot water to her room
thatmorning,shehadinadvertentlyseenLizzieinhersmallsbeforeshehadtime
to don her corset. The girl’s eyes nearly bulged out of her head from the sight
andshe’dturnedtailandrun,sloppingwateroutofthejugasshewent.
With stays, she had been able to disguise her five-month pregnancy, but
withoutthem,thegentleroundingofhergirthwasapparent,aswastheincreased
sizeofherbreasts.Jessiewasanignorantgirlbutshewaswiseabouttheways
of nature. The girl had known exactly what she was looking at and been in a
hurrytosharehertitillatingsecretabouttheuppitygovernesswiththerestofthe
household.
‘Iwastakenagainstmywill,Madam.Itwasnotmyfault.’
‘Hah!Asifeverygirlinyourconditiondoesnotclaimtheverysamething.
Evenifthatwerethecase,youarestillatfaultforplacingyourselfinaposition
wheresuchanattackcouldtakeplace.’
‘Placemyselfinaposition?DoyouthinkIwaswalkingthestreetsatnight?I
wasinmyownbedhereinthishouse,andIhadtostayquietsothatIdidnot
frightenyourdaughtersinthenextroom.’
‘Oh, Miss Faulkner, surely you can be more imaginative than that. Are you
suggestingamanbrokeintoourhomeforthesinglepurposeofhavinghisway
withyouandthatyoudidnotstruggleortellofitthenextday?Please,youthink
meafoolwithsuchastory.’
‘Noonebrokein.AndnoonewouldhavebelievedmeifIhadtoldthemthe
nextday.Icouldbarelybelieveitmyself,thoughithappenedtome.’
‘Are you claiming one of the servants attacked you?’ demanded the enraged
woman,puffingoutlikeafuriousrooster.
‘Notaservant,Madam.Itwasthemaster.’
The deathly silence that filled the room for a few long minutes was
suffocating.Then,afterseveraldeep,calmingbreaths,MrsPeabodydrewherself
toherfullheightandsaid,‘Howdareyou!’
The words were as effective as a slap in the face, and Lizzie jerked back
trembling.However,herresolve,nowthatshehadfinallyvoicedhercomplaint,
begantoharden.


‘IdarebecauseIhavenoalternativebuttodare,andIknowthatitisnotthe
firsttimesuchhashappenedtoayoungwomaninthishouse.Twomaidshave
been sent away because of their condition in the last few years, and I never
believed the rumours circulating below stairs concerning the master until it
happenedtome.’Lizziewasproudtohearhervoicewasloudernow,evenifit
wasalsotingedwithhysteria.
‘Ifthisweretruewhydidyouremaininouremploy?Surely,youwouldfear
thatitwouldhappenagain.Iamassumingitwasonlyonceyouclaimthisattack
occurred?’
‘He… he sat on my bed after… after it happened and cried. He said I had
temptedhimandhehadbeenunabletowithstandmysiren’scall.Buthesworeit
wouldnothappenagainifIdidnottellyou.Hesaidhewouldtakecareofmeif
Iwereto…’
‘Enough! I will hear no more. You girls come to me with your unfounded
claims and expect me to believe my loyal and faithful husband, who has no
interestinsuchunseemlyactivitiesexceptfortheprocreationofchildren,would
force himself on you and then cry? No, I say.’ Her voice rose in pitch and
volumetooverridehervictim’s.
‘Becauseonegirlmadethatclaimyouallthinkyoucanmakeit?No,Iwill
not have it! Pack your belongings, Miss Faulkner, and leave this house
immediately.’MrsPeabodydrewinseveraldeepbreathsinanattempttocalm
herself.Itmusthavesucceeded,becausewhenshewentonalongminutelater
hervoicewascoldandcalmoncemore.
‘Outofthekindnessofmyheart,Iwillpayyouonemonth’swagesinlieuof
notice, but that is only if you promise to keep your filthy lies to yourself and
makenofurtherclaimonthisfamily.Ifyoudonotsopromise,Iwillpayyou
nothing,norprovideyouwithareference.’
Lizziefeltafatalisticcalmcomeoverher.Thiswashowshehadexpectedthis
encountertoend.AftermorethanayearinthePeabody’shousehold,sheknew
the woman before her very well. For all her seeming strength of will, her
employer hid her head in the sand about every matter that concerned her
husbandorherdaughters.
Thosetwogirlswererude,ignorantandunwillingtotakeguidance.Theyhad
been the cause of the resignations of two governesses before Lizzie. However,
foralltheevidencetothecontrary,MrsPeabodycontinuedtoclaimitwasnever
her girls’ fault. They were simply high spirited or unjustly blamed for other’s
actions.Herdaughterswereangels.


Nor was her husband’s drunkenness, gambling or philandering, it now
transpired, his fault. Someone else was always to blame. Such denial was so
deeply entrenched; Lizzie doubted the woman would believe it, even if she
walkedintoaroomwhereherhusbandwasholdingdownascreaminggirland
havinghisviolentwaywithher.
SoLizziewouldtakeherreferenceandhermonth’swagesinadvancebecause
there was no other choice. Even if she had the strength, she could not hope to
wagethekindofwarrequiredtorightthiswrong.Shemustmakethebestofit,
whichwasallthatwasleftforhertodo.
‘Imakesuchapromiseandwillleaveimmediately,’shesaidindefeat.
TheharshfeaturessoftenedslightlynowthatMrsPeabodyhadbeenreassured
herworldwassafeoncemore.‘Seethatyoudothen.Iwillhaveyourreference
sentontoyou,andManningwillhaveyourwagesatthedoorwhenyouleave.I
amdisappointedinyou,MissFaulkner.Youcametoushighlyrecommended.It
isapitythatyourcharacterissoflawedbecauseyourmindisveryacute.’
Magnanimously,MrsPeabodydrewaletterfromherpocketandthrewitonto
the desktop. ‘That came in the post for you this morning. It is from the
Americas.Ihopeforyoursakethatitisgoodnews.Youaredismissed.’
Frowning cautiously, Lizzie took the letter up and turned it over to see the
sender’sname.Herheartliftedforthefirsttimethatterribleday.Bertie!Itwasa
letterfromBertie!
Lizzie hadn’t heard from her brother for years, not since he left home when
shewasfifteentotakepassagetoAmerica.Therehadbeenbadbloodbetween
herfatherandBertiebackthen,whichexplainedthesilence.However,shehad
expected to hear from her only sibling when the news of her parent’s death
reachedhim.
Thatdeathwasmorethanayeargoneandshehadjustaboutgivenuponever
hearingfromherbrotheragain.Now,whenherneedwasatitsgreatest,aletter
hadarrived.Shecouldn’twaittoopenit.
Hastily,shemadeherexitandhurrieduptohertinybedroomonthesecond
floor. No bigger than a cupboard and containing just a small cot and set of
drawers,ithadbeenheronlyrefugeduringtheterribleyearthatshehadspent
withthePeabody’s.Notthatallofhermiserywastheirfault,sheacknowledged.
She prided herself on being fair. No, the bulk of her misery, especially in the
earlymonths,wasthegriefoverthedeathofherparents.And,asthepainofthat
losspassedslowly,thedisappointmentatherlosteducationhadreplacedit.Only


thendidthemaster’sunwantedattentionsbegin toterrifyheranddriveout all
otherdistress.
ShehadbeenatGirtonCollegeatCambridgejustintohersecondyearwhen
theterriblenewsofthetraincrashinYorkshirehadchangedherlife.Thetragic
accident had taken place on Christmas Eve 1910 as her parents were making
their way back from Carlisle in time to spend Christmas with her. They never
arrived,andwhileshedrownedinthegrief,morebadnewshadfollowedfaston
itsheels.Herparentswereindebt,sotheirsolicitortoldher.Itwouldtakethe
saleofalltheirholdingsandchattelstoclearthatdebt.Therewouldbenothing
left for her upkeep or her continued education. She would be forced to seek
employmenttosupportherself.
Lizziehadnoteventurnedtwentywhenshefoundherselfaloneanddestitute.
Andlikeherfavouriteheroine,JaneEyre,shehadbeendeterminedtomakeher
way in the harsh world unaided. Like her heroine, she had advertised for a
positionasagovernessandfoundsuchapositionwiththePeabodyhousehold
quickly.However,factwasnotasupliftingasfiction,andMrPeabodywasno
Mr Rochester. And instead of finding love and a happy-ever-after, she found
fear,painandhumiliation.Furthermore,asanunmarriedmother,shecouldonly
expectworsetocome.
Shesatdownonherneatlymadebedand,withshakinghands,begantoopen
theletter.Thebig,elongatedscriptsheknewwellgreetedherlikeanoldfriend.
Withthefirstwords,shefeltasmilelifthertightlydrawnlips.

21/332175thStreet,
Queens,NewYork,NY
March2,1912.

MydearestSis,
Ihavejustreceivedamessagefromourparents’solicitorsadvisingmeoftheir
deathandthedissolutionoftheirestate.Theyhavemademeawareofyourdire
circumstances, and it grieves me to know that you have been forced to go
throughsomuchpainaloneandunsupported.
IthastakenthemoverayeartotrackmedownandforthataloneIbegyour
forgiveness.MywifeCatherineofteninformsmethatIamaselfishsortanditis
inmomentslikethisIrealisesheiscorrect.Imustadmittohavingnotgivenyou
or our parents much more than a passing thought in the six years since I left
home.Mylifehasbeenfullandnotalwayscongenial,soIhavebeenoccupied


withthosemattersclosetohomeovertheseyears.Ineverthoughttocontactyou
ormotherandletyouknowwhereIwas,orthatIwasevenalive.
You will be pleased to know, I hope, that I have a family of my own now.
Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Mary Louise, on January 20 of this year.
Both mother and child are doing well. I manage Catherine’s father’s large
generalstorehereinQueens,andIamkeptbusywiththedemandsofworkand
family.
WewouldliketoinviteyoutojoinushereinNewYork,Sis.Icannothopeto
makeupforthelastyearyouhavespentalone,butIwilltrytorightmywrongs.
Comeandlivewithus.Catherineisinneedoffemininecompanionship,asher
owndearmotherdiedwhenshewasveryyoungandshehasnosistersorclose
femalerelatives.Youcancontinueyoureducationifthatisyourwish.Youwere
always much brighter than I, as I was constantly reminded by our father.
However,whatIlackinwit,Ihavemadeupforwithhardwork,andIamwell
pleasedwiththelifeIhavecarvedoutformyselfhere.
IhavetakenthelibertyofwiringtotheWesternUnionOfficeinLondonthe
sumofonehundreddollars,whichshouldprovideyouwithsufficientfundsfora
secondclassberthonasteamertoNewYork,aswellasextrasforthejourney.
PleaseletmeknowofyourarrangementsandIwillbeatthedockstomeetyou.
IcannotsayoftenenoughhowsorryIamformypartinyourtravailinthe
lastyear.Tobesoyoung,destituteandaloneduringyourtimeofgriefismore
than I can bear to think about. However, if you join us here, Catherine, Mary
andIwillbeyourfamilyandyouwillneverbealoneagain.

Yourlovingbrother
Bertie

Lizziewasn’tawarethatshewascryinguntilshefeltthecolddropsfallonto
her hands. It was a dream-come-true. Bertie wanted her to come to New York
and live with him and his new family. She would be able to continue her
educationafterall.
Thentheawfulrealityofhersituationhitheranew.Shewaswithchild.She
wasunmarriedandwithchild.Therewouldbenofurthereducationforher.In
the coming months, all her time would be occupied by the demands of
motherhood.Andevenifsheweretofinishherdegree,workingwasfrownedon
forthosewhoheldtheimportantroleofmother.


What would her brother think when he found out she was a fallen woman?
Would he renege on his offer because her moral character would infect his
females?IfBertiehadbeenliketheirfather,hewouldreactinexactlythatway.
However, Bertie had always been rebellious and a free thinker. That was why
Americahadseemedsuchaperfectplaceforhimtogo.Maybethatfreethinking
wouldextendtoacceptanceofadishonouredsister.
Or,maybenot.
Whatifsheweretowriteandtellhimshewasawidow?Shecouldclaimto
havemarriedayoungmanwhosubsequentlydied.Butherbrothernamedheras
Elizabeth Faulkner with her employer’s address on the envelope of his letter.
How could she then tell him such a tale if her parent’s solicitors had told him
different?
Even so, the more she thought about it, the more determined she was that
possessingadeadhusbandwastheonlywaythatshewouldbeabletonavigate
her new circumstances. The idea of lying to her brother was repellent, but the
ideaofhimrejectingherwasevenmorerepellent.AndinAmerica,therewould
benoonetosayshehadlied.Shecouldstartafreshasayoungwidowdoubly
weigheddownbythegriefatthelossofparentsandhusband.
A hundreddollarsawaitedherat theWesternUnion.Thatwasabouttwenty
pounds,ifshecalculatedrightly.Thatwouldbemorethanenoughforasecond
classticketandthecostofaccommodationinaniceplaceforthetimeittookto
getasuitablesteamerberth.Forthefirsttimeinmorethanayear,Lizziefeltas
ifherlifewasfinallylookingup.




ChapterTwo
Eilish

11March1912,LondonENGLAND

When Eilish Cork stepped out of a darkened alley onto rain-soaked Bury
Street,StJames,withLukeBedfordonherarm,anyoneawakeatthatlatehour
mighthaveassumedsomesalaciousbusinesstransactionhadjusttakenplacein
thatalley.BythetimetheyreachedtheintersectionwhereBuryStreetmetthe
morepopulatedJermynStreet,anypersonviewingthepairmighthaveassumed
theywereahappycouplemakingtheirwayhomefromanightoutintheWest
End.WhentheyturnedintoTheCavendish,amoderatelypricedhotelonJermyn
Street,whereanightbellbroughtagroggyconciergeandthehastyexchangeof
someGuineastofindthemaroomwithnoquestionsasked,anobservermight
havesuspectedthataromanticliaisonofaclandestineanddiscretenaturewas
takingplace.
Noneoftheseobservationswouldhavecomeanywherenearthetruth.
‘Whatanight!’Eilishexclaimed,asshetossedoffherbroad-brimmedhatand
floppedbackwardontothedoublebedintheirsmallroom.Itdidn’toffermuch
inthewayofabounce.Butitwasenoughtoknocksomeofherwild,blackhair
loose from its confines so it fanned out around her head like Medusa’s snaky
locks.
‘Typical London weather. I remember what it was like here in the war.
Rainingonenight,bombingthenext.Youeventuallygottapreferrin’thesafety
ofthemiserable,wetnights.’Lukeremovedhisovercoatandhungitneatlyin
thehugeVictorianwardrobe.
‘Itisratherexcitingtobehereatthistime.SomuchearlierthananyJumpsI
havemadepreviously.Mygod,didyouseethatoldTinLizzieparkedalongthe
road?Absolutelyancient!’
She shifted to her side and stared at the broad back of her mission partner.
Theywerelargelystrangerstoeachother,eventhoughtheyhadbeenpartofthe
sameteamformorethanfouryears.Itfeltoddtobesharingsuchclosequarters
withthislarger-than-lifeheroforthefirsttime.
IthadtakenherquiteawhiletogetusedtoJumpingwithapartneratall.In
thepast,they’dalwaysworkedalonein-situ.However,inthelastsixyearsthe
ruleshadchanged,andthenewProtocolrequiredtwoJumpersforeveryTarget.
Inthosesixyears,she’dmostlybeenpairedupwithwomen.Althoughshehad


Jumped with Julio Santa Catarina in the early days of the Child Retrieval
ProgrambeforeJanebecamehisregularpartner.
Jumping alone had always suited her. However, once the restrictions such a
partnership required were overcome, the advantages became apparent. Not the
leastofwhichwashavingacompanionwhocouldrelatetoheramazementand
wonderatthesightstheysawin-situ.
That her partner on this Jump was the infamous Luke Bedford had, at first,
seemed like icing on the cake. However, now she was alone with him for the
firsttime,shewasn’tsurehowshefelt.
It was known that Luke was only brought in on dangerous and complex
missions.Hewasanex-WorldWarIICommandowhowasverygoodathisjob.
Everyoneknewthestoryofhowhe’dkilledthreeNazisinlessthanaminutein
1942 Poland when he was rescuing Faith Lincolnshire. And, for all his
wisecracking, amiable persona, Eilish had no doubt that beneath it was a cold,
killingmachine.DangerousmenweresoforeigntoNewAtlantisthatLukehad
immediately become as much a novelty as a tiger on a lead would be walking
downthestreetsofLondon.
AmIattractedtohim?SheknewherepresentedthatAlphaMaletypethatwas
supposedtoattractwomen.However,thoughhewasundoubtedlyhandsomeina
muscular,boyishway,shedidn’tfeeldrawntohimotherthanasafriendandcoworker.Ofcourse,thatwasonlytobeexpectedsinceshe’dneverbeensexually
attractedtoanyoneinherverylonglife.
Anditwasgoodshewasn’tsincesheknewthatLukehadeyesfornoonebut
his Faith. He was almost slavishly devoted to the gentle, unassuming woman
whonowworkedexclusivelywiththechildrenRetrievedbytheprogramandher
adoptedson,Bart.Shewastheperfectmother,eventhoughshecouldneverbear
childrenfromherownwomb,asnowomanintheirworldeverwould.
‘How long until morning?’ Eilish asked absently, shifting back so she could
stare at the overly ornate moulding on the lofty ceiling above. Such a high
ceiling in such a small room made the space seem even more restricted. She
rubbedatwhatwasleftofherpompadourhairstyle,looseningmorestrandsfrom
the mound on top of her head. She would need to hire a maid to do her hair
during the next month if she was to pass as a lady of the upper echelons of
society.
‘We arrived at two and this is March, so I wouldn’t expect much activity
before seven. Sleep if you want to. I brought a book to read.’ With a grin, he
pulled a stained, yellowing Penny-Dreadful from his pocket. The title: Varney,


theVampireortheFeastofBlood,wasarrangedaroundacrudelydrawnskeletal
figureinabatcapeleaningoverasleepingwoman.Itwaslaughablyawfuland
shewonderedwhatarchiveLukehadraidedtosecurethething.Mostmaterialin
New Atlantis was kept on computer. There were few, if any, hard copies of
booksleftpreserved.
‘It was in Wardrobe. It’s probably a bit antiquated, even for this period, but
it’llattractlittleattentionifit’sfound.UnlikeaNevilleShutepaperbackmight.’
‘NevilleShute?’
‘A guy who wrote adventure stories during the early part of the twentieth
century.Iusedtoreadhisbooksonmissions.There’salwaysalotofboredom
whenyou’rewaitingaroundforsomethingtohappen.’
Eilishnoddedthoughtfullyatthisgemofinformation.‘AbitlikeourJumps.I
usedtobuyabookortwotoreadwhileIwasgroomingmyTargets.Youcannot
be with them twenty-four seven, and after a few days of sight-seeing, most
placesareabit“sameol’,sameol’,”asIthinktheyusedtosay.’
She was starting to become aware the differences in their speech patterns.
LukestillspokelikeanAmericanofthe1940s,whilesheusedtheformalspeech
oftwenty-fourthcenturyNewAtlantis.Herswasfarclosertothespeechofthis
time than his was, she knew, even though he was born in this era. That was a
reliefforher,becauseitmeantshedidn’thavetotrytoadjustherlanguage.Her
linguisticdownloadscoulddoitforher,butitwasstilleasierifshecouldjust
sticktowhatsheknew.
‘You’vebeenaJumperforalongtime,then?’Lukesatdownonthesideof
thebed,alsoseemingtobealittleuncomfortablewiththeirclosequarters.She
wondered if it was his background that made him consider it unsuitable for a
coupletosharearoomwhentheyweren’tmarried.
‘Since the beginning, I have always been a bit restless. I was only thirteen
whentheLastGreatPlaguewipedeveryoneout.Tooyoungforacloneandtoo
sickformanuallabour.SotheymovedmetoNewAtlantisandputmetowork
intheKnowledgeCentre.BythetimeIgotmyfirstclone,IwasreadytoDO
somethingwithmylife.IdidnotwanttobestuckinamouldyoldKnowledge
Centreforever.Iwantedtoseetheworld–orwhatwasleftofit.
‘I was uncharacteristically restless, so I was told. Everyone else was shellshocked after the LGP and for years afterward. All anyone wanted to do was
knuckledownandworktosurvive.ButIwasneverlikethat.IhadbeenanIrish
orphanlivinginonefostercarehomeafteranothermostofmylife.Ididnotfeel


like I lost much with the LGP – not as everyone else did. And I had always
movedaround,soitwasingrainedintome…
‘SorryIamgivingyoumylifehistoryandyoujustaskedaboutmyJumping.’
Eilishshruggedandgrimacedasshebecameawareofhowshewasrunningon.
‘No,goon,I’minterested…betterthanVarley,theVampire,anyhow.Ifwe’d
been in the back-end of this century, I could’ve got Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
but hey, Eilish the Restless Irish will do as well.’ He laughed, visibly more
relaxednowthatthey‘dstartedtalking.Makingquickworkofit,heslippedoff
hisshoes,satbackagainsttheheadboardandleanedhiselbowsonhisknees.He
watchedherwithbright,blueeyesthatdidn’tseemtomissathing.
‘Ha, do you know how many times people have played on the “Eilish, the
Irish”thing?Notveryoriginal.Butanyway,ifyoufeellikebeingentertainedby
mylifestory,heregoes.’Shefloppedoverontoherstomachandrestedherhead
onherhands,elbowsbenttosupportthem.
‘So, for a hundred years or more, I just moved around the communities
turningmyhandtoanythingthatneededdoing.Igottoseetheworld,sometimes
getting to take excursions into the major cities. Once the bodies had
decomposed, it was no longer a health hazard to go into previously populated
areas. I would be part of collection details, foraging for anything valuable or
interesting.ItwasthegrassrootsendoftheKnowledgeCentres.Ihaddonethe
compilationendoftheprocessasakid.
‘Then,aboutseventy yearsorsoago, thenewscameoutthattheyhadbeen
abletoperfecttimetravel.Ofcourse,theyhadbeenteleportingforyearsbefore
that.Butwhentheyworkedouthowtotransposemoleculesacrosstimeaswell
asspace,itwasbig.
‘PeopleimmediatelysawhowwecouldmaybechangethepastsotheSecond
Dark Age never happened. Not all of it. We all knew the geological disasters
were not man’s fault. But the rest... what could we do if we went back and
changedthingsforthebetter?’
‘Butyouneverdidthat.Changingthepastisagainsttherules,evenifitwere
possible,’Lukeinterruptedfiercely.
‘Yes,butintheearlydayspeoplehadwildideas.Theythoughtwecouldfix
everything. Luckily, there were enough sensible heads at government level to
makesurenoneofthosewildideastookhold.Intheend,wewereallsatisfied
bytheideaofRetrievingpeoplefromthepastsothathumanitycouldgoon.
‘I applied to become a Retriever as soon as it was clear what that would
involve.EventhoughIwasnotanythingspecial,Ihadagoodbrainandmostof


theotherattributestheyfeltnecessaryforaJumper.IdidmytrainingwithJac
andChen,andrightfromtheoutset,Ilovedit.Igottotravelandseetheworld–
notthehollowed-outshellofwhatwasleftoftheworld,butthewayitusedto
be. Like this! My god, it was exciting – really exciting – and every Target I
broughtsafelyhomemademefeellikeGodAlmighty.Andmysuccessratewas
evenhigherthanJac’sandhewasoneofthebest.’
Lukefrownedandshookhishead.‘You’renotliketherestof‘em,areyou?
OldTimersnevergetexcitedaboutanything.That’swhatFaithtoldmeanyway.’
‘Yes, I know. I am abnormal. I never really fitted in. I am able to keep my
passionatenaturewellhiddenmostly.Butsometimesitisimpossible.Butnow
thatthings have changed andmoreoftheOldTimersarestartingtofeelmore
intensely,Idonotfeelsooutofplace.’
‘Doesthatmean…’Lukestoppedmid-sentenceandblushed.Hecoughedand
mademuchoflookingforahandkerchiefinhispocket.
Eilishlaughedlight-heartedly.‘No,mypassionatenaturehasneverextended
into the sexual arena. I think it is because I was pre-pubescent when the LGP
happened.Ineverhadsexualthoughts,notthatIrememberanyway.Andbythe
time I reached puberty, I was so sick that sex was the last thing on my mind.
Then, of course, once I had a clone, there was never much of a drive to be
sexuallyactive.Ihaven’tmissedmuch,fromallIhaveheard.’
She laughed as she watched Luke’s expressive face mirror his contradictory
thoughts.
‘Youaren’tattractedtomenatall?’heaskedtentatively,afterchewingfora
whileonherinformation.
‘No,notreally.Andbeforeyouask,Iamnotattractedtowomeneither.Inthat
way,IamnodifferentfrommostoftheOldTimers.’
‘Hmm,’hegruntedandseemedtowanttosaymore.
‘What?Itisallrighttotalkaboutthisyouknow.Weareaveryliberalsociety,
asIthinkyouhaveprobablydiscovered.’
‘Yeah, but not as liberal as the back end of this century. Their media is
obscene.’
‘Porn? Yes, it is rather off-putting. I have seen a bit of it while in-situ.
Anyway,whatdidyouwanttoask?’
‘Itisn’tmybusiness,forgetit.’
‘Nowyouhavemecurious.ComeonLuke,wearegoingtobespendingalot
oftimetogetherinthenextmonthormore;youmayaswellcleartheair.Iwill
askyouinappropriatequestionsastheyarise.Iamfamousforit.’


‘Okay,youaskedforit,doll.You’re200orso,right?’
‘ActuallyI’moverthreehundredyearsold,givenmytimein-situ.’
‘Yeah,right.Well,you’reabeautifulgal.Inallthattime,you’venever…oh,
forgetit.It’snotimportant!’Hethrewuphishandsindisgustedembarrassment.
Eilishlikedwatchinghimblush.She‘dneverseenanyoneblushashedid.It
requiredintenseembarrassmentorshametoelicitthephysiologicalresponseand
nooneinherworldfeltintenselyaboutanything.
Well,thatwasn’treallytrueanymore.She’dspenttimewithJulioandhewas
theepitomeofintense.Although,fromwhathehadtoldher,thatwasn’tthecase
beforehemetJane.Shebroughthimpainfullybacktolife;butJuliowasanOld
Timer,andsolittleembarrassedhim.
‘If you are asking if I am still a virgin at three hundred plus years, then the
answerisyes.IthinkIsharedafewpre-teenkissesduringspin-the-bottle,but
thatisaboutit.’
‘Don’tyoumissbeingtouched…held?’Thequestionwasoutbeforehehad
timetocensorit.Andafteritwas,heclampedhismouthshuttightly,obviously
angrywithhimself.
Eilishleanthercheekagainstashoulderasshethoughtabouthisquestion.‘I
never had it as a child, so I do not think I miss it. But sometimes I envy you
couples–JacandCara,JulioandJane,youandFaith…andtheothersthatare
poppingupeverywherethesedays.Iwonderwhatitwouldbeliketobecloseto
someone,feeltheirwarmskinonmine.Evenso,itseemstomethatforevery
pleasurablemomentsuchabondgivesyou,thereisanequallypainfulone.Iam
happytoforgothepleasuretoavoidthepain.’
Luke’s face had closed down as he considered her words. Eventually, he
lookedupandcaughtherwithhisintensegaze.‘MeandFaith,we’vehadour
painful moments, especially in the early days when I couldn’t accept New
Atlantis,butIknowforafactthatneitherofuswouldwantitanyotherway.The
highs… the highs are incredible, and I don’t mean just in bed; I get high just
holdingher.It’slikenothingI’veeverknownbefore.AndIwasprettydamned
experienced by the time I got to Faith, I gotta tell ya. But, just holding her is
betterthansexwithanybroadIeverhad.Idon’tthinkIcouldlivewithouther
now.Andthebrat…well,holdinghimisalmostpainfullyintensesometimes.’
‘Brat?’ she whispered, moved more than she thought possible by his open
sharing.
‘Bart.IcallhimBratbecausethat’swhatheismostofthetime.God,thatkid
is enough to test the patience of a saint. And ain’t nobody puttin’ me up for


sainthoodanytimesoon.FromthemomentImethim,hoveringaroundhisfallen
companionsonthatdeathtraintryin’todragthemout…’Hestoppedspeaking
whilehetriedtogethisemotionsundercontrol.
Eilish had been there. She had assisted with the extraction of those 150
traumatised women and children on the train that was to take them to Belzac
Death Camp. She’d been moved by those children, as all the team had been
movedbytheirinnocentfearandpain,andshe'dbeentoldBart’sstoryinoutline
butneverfromthesource.
Eventually,Lukefeltabletogoon.‘FromthemomentImethim,itwaslike
I’dfoundanotherlittlepieceofmyself.Faithgavemeapiece,abigpiece.And
thenBartcamealongwithanotherpieceIdidn’tevenknowIwasmissing.He’s
like me, you know. Like I was when I was a kid. And my pappy beat the
bejeezusouttameforit.IguessIalwaysthoughtIdeservedit.ButBartisone
hellofakid,andhe’sspecialandlikeable,andIcan’timagineanyonewantin’to
beatthebejeezusouttahim.Oh,aquickclipupsidethehead,maybetopullhim
in ta’ line, but nothin’ else. And so the more I came to love him, the more I
stoppedbelievin’Ideservedwhatmyoldmanhandedout.
‘SoeverytimeIhugthatlittlebrat,it’slikeI’mhuggin’thatlittlekidIusedto
be.’Heshookhisheadandscowled.‘ThatmakesitsoundlikeIonlylovehim
becauseheremindsmeofmyself.That’snottrue.Ilovehimforwhoheis–the
brave,rebelliouslittlesoldierwhowouldn’tleaveamandown,who’lltakeona
bullytwicehissizetodefendsomeoneweaker,whoquestionseverything,who
seemstohaveaninnatesenseofjusticeandwhostilldoesn’tbelievehisgood
luck in being part of our family. And I’d have to love him simply because he
lovesFaithsomuchitmakeshimcry.Jeezus,howdidwegetintoallthisdeep
andmeaningfulcr…garbage?’
‘I do not know, but I am glad we did. I was nervous about working closely
withyou,Luke.Youscarealotofpeople.IamgladIhadthischancetogetto
knowyou.’
‘ToseeI’mnotscary?’
Eilish laughed as she sat up and began to pull the last of her wreckage of a
hairdo down so she could comb out the lengths with her fingers. ‘Oh, you are
stillplentyscary.Butinagoodway,Ithink.Ifeelsaferknowingyouarehere
withme.’
Luke’sfacebrokeintoabrightsmileandheranhisfingersthroughhisown
lengthened, pomade coated hair. ‘Good, that’s good. Scaring gals is not
somethin’Iwannado.You’resafewithme,Irish.’


‘Eil…ohno,donotstartcallingmeIrish!IamnotyourBrat!’Shetriedto
soundsevere,butallshecoulddowaslaughathisboyish,cheekygrin.Howdid
he get to look like he was eight years old when he was clearly a war-wearied
maninhismid-thirties?
‘AnythingyousayIrish,er,Eilish.’
Shepickeduponeofthelongpinsshehadremovedwithherhatandwavedit
athimthreateningly.Helaughedashescrambledfromthebed,tryingtoescape
her.
At that moment there was a loud thumping against the wall, and they both
realisedtheirnoisewasdisturbingtheneighbours.Theyhushed.
‘Doesitfeelwrongtoyouthatwearerescuingsomepeople,likeourTarget,
andthenleavingotherstodie?’Eilishsaidsoftly,manoeuvringupsoshecould
sitleaningagainsttheheadboardasLukehadbeendoing.Thepencil-thinskirt
she wore made moving difficult, and her lounging had already creased her
clothingbadly.Somehow,beforetheywentoutinthemorning,shewouldhave
to try to make right her appearance if she wanted to blend in with Edwardian
society,butrightnow,itdidn’tmatter.
Lukesatnexttoherandresumedhispositionwithhiselbowsonhisknees.
Hiselasticisedbracespulledtightasheroundedhisshoulders.
‘There are a lot of things that are morally ambiguous about what we do.
Takingkidsawayfromparentssowecangivethemtoourchildlesscouplesfor
one.’
‘But history says that they would have been taken from their parents
regardless. We just give the children a new life.’ This was an argument where
Eilishfeltonthemoralhighground.
‘Sure,andthesamecouldbesaidforwhatwe’redoingonthisJump.We’re
takingchildrenawayfromtheirparents,whowouldotherwisehavedrowned,so
theycanhaveanewlife.’
‘Butwecouldjustaseasilytaketheparentstoo.Butwewillnot.Notunless
theycanadapttoourworld.Wewillleavethembehindtodrown.’
‘YouknowmoreaboutCrashandBurnthanIdo,’Lukesaidwithasigh.
‘Iknow,Iknow.AdultsarefarmorelikelytoCandBthankids,especiallyif
they are not prepared beforehand. And it takes a certain mindset to be able to
accept our world… to accept time travel itself… and few have that mindset. I
knowthat.Ido.Ihavehadfirsthandexperiencewithpeoplewhocouldnotgrasp
therealityofourworld.Evenso,Istillfeelsqueamishabouttalkingparentsinto
lettingustaketheirchildren…’


Lukerubbedhisheadandthengrimacedatthegreaseonhispalm.Hewiped
itonhishandkerchief.‘Ihatethisstuff!’
‘Smellsnicethough,anditkeepsyourgoldilocksinplace.’
‘Hmm. Give me a razor and I won’t have any goldilocks to keep in place.
WherewasI?Oh,yeah.ThewayIseeitis,ifwehadalifeboatandcalledfor
childrentoboardit,they’dwanttoputtheirkidsonittosavethem.Anyparent
would. As far as they’re concerned, once the worry over the safety of their
childrenistakenfromthem,theycanfocusongettingtosafetythemselves.And
eventhoughweknowtheywon’tbesuccessful,wecanatleastfeelassuredthat
intheirlastmomentsthey’llbecontentthattheirchildrenweresaved.’
‘Buttheywillnothaveachoiceaboutkeepingorsendingtheirchildrenwith
us.Wewillhavetrickedthemintobelievingtheyarejusttryingoutthenewlife
raft.Theywillnotknowtheyaregoneuntilitistoolate.’
‘Butthey’llknowthey’reatthe“lifeboat”whentheemergencybecomesreal
tothem.Look,it’sallaboutrisksandpay-offs.Thiswholemissionisonehuge
risk.EventhoughI’mnothappyputtingBratindanger,Icanseetheadvantages
of having him with us. The pay-off’s worth the risk. The parents will feel that
way.’
‘Bartcanconvincethechildrentotrustus.Andthey,inturn,canconvincethe
parentstoletushavethem…’Eilishfrowned.‘Yes,itisagoodplan.Butheisso
young. You will have to keep him close. If something goes wrong, you could
losehim.’
Luke’sfacebecamethemaskofasoullesskillerinthatmoment.‘He’snearly
eleven.Hewentthroughworsethanthisatamuchyoungeragesohe’llhandle
it.AndIwon’tlosehim.Iwon’tgobackwithouthim.’
‘WhataboutFaith?’
His eyes were hollow as they looked deep into hers, ‘I will not go back
withouthim.’
‘Thenmaybeheisbetteroffnot…’
‘He’s got it into his head that he’ll be useful on this mission and there’s no
telling him he won’t. Have I mentioned he’s as stubborn as a mule? Another
characteristic we share. Both Jac and Chen think it’s a good idea. Cara is
worried, only because of Faith, but agrees it’ll make the transfer smoother. As
forBart,wellhe’llfollowdirection.Heknowswhat’satstake.He’ssurvivedthe
Nazis,andhe’sbeenwelltrained.Ihavetotrustthatit’llbeenough.’
‘Iguessthatgoesforallofus.Wewouldnotdowhatwedoifwewerenot
willingtofacethedanger.’


‘Weriskourlivestosavelives.It’swhatwedo,’Lukeagreedgrimly.



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