Trailer Clips

Here are some snippets from various chapters which we hope you enjoy

Suddenly they were nearly aground again, as Joe steered wildly to avoid another punt, being driven inexpertly by a shrieking blonde girl. The two craft almost collided, and Joe bumped the bank once more in an effort to steer away. The other punt sailed on upstream, laughter floating in its wake. “I name this punt Titanic, God bless her and all who sail in her” hiccuped one of the young men from the cushions. Some of the occupants were clearly the worse for wine.
“Iceberg dead ahead!” yelled a girl, as an empty champagne bottle was flung riverwards.
“Idiots!”
“Relax Jim,” said Joe, “no harm done. Shall we tie up for a bit and have our own drink? I don’t know about you but I’ve a hell of a thirst.” Emma grovelled in the coolbag for the wine as Joe tied up the punt near the bank. Soon they each had a glass and lay back on the cushions to drink, chatting idly.
“You know,” said Joe after a pause, “I guess some Americans wouldn’t understand the way the British make jokes of something as tragic as the Titanic. I’m not saying we wouldn’t, but all the same”.
“Well, that’s the inimitable British sense of humour,” said Emma. “We laugh while we feel the sense of tragedy. Maybe it helps us cope.”
“Titanic exhibition just finished at the maritime museum, or I’d take you to see it,” said James to Joe. “Lots of artifacts brought up from the last expedition, the one where they made the IMAX film we saw in the vac.”
This was news to Emma; she did not realise that James had seen Joe in the last holidays, nor even that they had been friends for so long. Again the sudden realisation of how little she really shared his life stabbed her. She asked about the Titanic artifacts, adding “I think it’s wrong to have brought so much to the surface, it’s almost grave robbing.”
“Oh come on love, you don’t really believe that,” said James, “How naïve. The stuff would just rot away and there are no human remains left. You wouldn’t use the same arguments about the Pyramids, or Jorvik, or any other dig, so why the Titanic. It’s still an archaeological site.”
“Maybe I don’t agree with excavation at all, not in some cases. Not where survivors are still living. They could at least wait a decent interval.”
“Well if they did, you and I would look pretty sick having no course, or cause, to study, wouldn’t we. What would be the point of our being here? What’s the point anyway?”, he drawled lazily, then added, “pass the bottle Joe, I need another.”
James was reading archaeology and Emma Latin and Classical Civilisation. “Well I don’t see the point of either of you two,” said Joe good humouredly, “at least I’m studying something worthwhile..............

“So, here we are at last in front of the Titanic replica, known to us all now as the Titanic II, as passengers board the great ship for her maiden voyage to New York. In a little over an hour her whistles will sound three times, the traditional dockside farewell, and she will sail down the River Test and into open sea bound for America. Unlike the original Titanic, she carries no steerage passengers, no hopeful emigrants from Ireland and Scandinavia seeking their fortunes in the New World. This replica carries only two classes of passenger, an expanded First Class, over four hundred of them, and an Economy Class of some two hundred. She carries a crew of eight hundred, six senior officers, her Captain, Bernard Smith, her radio operators, orchestra, and a group rather like the original 1912 “Guarantee group” consisting of her chief designer, two of the senior systems analysts who designed the software which operates her state of the art computerised navigational and safety systems, and representatives from the shipping company who ordered her, Seapearl, and their financing bank, Graves in New York. This group includes Joseph Graves II, the new President on the recent retirement of his father, and we hope to bring you an interview with him later. His fiancée, Rachel Callister, is not on board, but will be joining the ship in New York for the return voyage to England next week.
There is widespread speculation about the fact that Captain Bernard Smith has the same surname as the ill fated Edward J Smith of the original Titanic. We believe that the ship was originally designated to have another captain, but that his sudden illness and hospitalisation forced the company Seapearl to substitute their backup captain, who just happens to be called Smith. Some people think this is going to bring the ship ill luck, others believe that it’s a charming coincidence which adds to the authenticity of this maiden voyage............”

The dining room was as remembered, or recognised. A great expanse of carpet, with long tables laid with snowy cloths, silver cutlery and sparkling glassware, and rows of swivel chairs in oak facing inwards.
She waited to be seated by one of the waiters, who showed her to one of the smaller tables for ten people, near a starboard porthole. Janine smiled at her from the opposite side of the table as she was seated, and presented with a menu which she saw with a pang of recognition was similar to an original bill of fare.
Soup, baked fish and a sauce, roast pork, or chops, various vegetables, a cold buffet, three desserts, and the offer of draught lager beer by the small or large tankard. Only the price of the beer was different; a dollar or a dollar fifty, or the equivalent in sterling. She chose soup, the cold meat buffet, some vegetables and a lager, for which she was asked to sign under her cabin number, bills to be settled on the final day of voyage at the C Deck Purser’s office.
Waiting for her meal to be served, Emma watched from the nearby porthole the grey sea sliding by, as the ship cut through the Channel heading for the west of Ireland eventually, and out into the Atlantic. A watery sun sparkled occasionally on the waves, and the flecked trail made by the bow wave from the ship caught and reflected the light. Idle chatter from the passengers at the table flicked from person to person. Janine, her cabin mate, engaged her in conversation and she replied absently, her mind all the time on the exploration of the ship which she was determined to carry out as soon as lunch was over. This intention was shared with most of the others at the table.
“Gee, I can’t wait to tour the ship,” Janine sighed. “I’ve got so many books with illustrations, but to see it for real!
“Goodnight,” she was variously wished as the group ordered another round of drinks. She rose and left, making her way to the Aft Grand Staircase, which was identical to that forward, with the same delicately wrought iron and glass dome, softly lit now, but without the magnificent clock.
Deciding more definitely on some fresh air before bed, Emma made her way up a deck to the top landing, and through the lobby to the Boat Deck, emerging on the First Class open promenade aft.
It was a quiet, calm night, very dark. The coast of France had now receded, and the ship sailed steadily through open sea. She walked as far aft as the deck promenade would allow, leaning over the railing to watch the trail of spray made by the bow waves, fanning out whitely against the black water. There was little cloud about, and stars were out, shining brighter and harder against their completely dark backcloth. She wished she had a shawl or coat with her, for it was too cold to stay long, and a brisk breeze blew along the deck, generated not by wind but by the movement of the ship. In the distance she caught sight of one of the officers doing his rounds; he paused to speak to two crewmen who appeared to be making some minor adjustment to a boat davit. Two men passed her on a tour of the deck, and then there was silence again except for the swish and roar of the sea...............

After dismissing the officers, he asked the software designers to remain.
“At ease, lady and gentleman,” he said, “Let’s sit shall we.”
They took their seats and leaned forward expectantly.
“First of all, the navigational system. Parts of it are new to me, so as I said just now I want a full test run at 16:30hrs when we’re in the open sea. I believe there were some problems with over sensitivity, but you’ve managed to correct them?”
“Well not exactly,” began Brian, “The thing is, the command line..”
Captain Smith cut him short, quite pleasantly.
“I am the head of the command line on this ship, and that includes all its systems.”
Julie intervened, fearful that Brian was going to explain what a command line was in computer systems.
“What Mr Knowles means, Captain, is that some of the original programming was slightly out of line with what was required, due to errors in the specification, but we’ve been into the system and altered some commands, and now it really should do what we want it to and no more,” she said. “I think you’ll find this afternoon’s test satisfactory.”
“Good. Thank you,” said Smith, “Anything else?”
“I don’t think so sir.”
“Right then, I shall see you both this afternoon at four thirty precisely. Mr McInerney and I need to talk over one or two things, so if you will excuse us..”
That was dismissal. Julie and Brian rose, and she led him from the bridge. “Honestly Brian!” she expostulated, “When will you learn not to blind the officers with ICT jargon! Just tell them what the effect will be, they’re users, not programmers.”
“Sorry Julie,” he said, “I can’t think any other way. Oh hell, I forgot to change this mouse. We shan’t be allowed on this bridge again before this afternoon shall we?”
“Four thirty precisely,” she said primly with a smile, “so change it then before we do the test demo.”.................

“I can’t really explain what happened next,” she said slowly, “the teacher ordered us all, the non swimmers, to get into the shallow end and stand up, and take a float from the side of the pool. The others all obeyed, and I tried to, but when I put one leg in the water something very strange happened.”
She stopped and took a sip of water from her cut glass tumbler.
“My leg disappeared into the water, which must have been quite heavily chlorinated, for it was very green. I watched the distorted shape of my greened leg, and the thought ‘too deep, in too deep,’ came into my mind. Then the echoes around me seemed to intensify and take on a different, unearthly quality. And I had two sudden split second visions.”
“Go on,” said Joe urgently.
“One was of dark, dark, intensely cold waters closing over my head, suffocating me and driving me down, down, into utter darkness. The other was of looking up from a great depth at an iron latticed gate, part of a mob of shouting, struggling people, and the gate was locked against them.” She stared out of the window at the sea, and spoke so quietly that he had to strain to hear her voice...........

“Humbling, isn’t it, to know that great riches don’t buy you immunity in such a situation.”
“Nor should they,” said Emma. “Every passenger in steerage had an equal right to a lifeboat place.”
“Oh, I’m not so sure,” said Simon, “some of the greatest minds in America and Europe, people who could do a great deal of good, were lost while some pretty poor specimens were saved because they happened to be the right gender, or age. It makes you think.”
“You mean some of the minds who could turn their grey matter to making the most money!” cried Emma, “that doesn’t mean they were any more worthy of life than the poorest peasant in steerage. Who are we to judge who should live and who should die.”
“Sure,” said Joe, “but plenty of folks tried to make that judgement at the inquiries after the disaster.”
“I know,” she replied, “I’ve read all the transcripts. And I could remind you of the argument put forward by one of your own countrymen. America was built on peasant stock, enterprising, bright people who had the courage to sail to a new world. How did anyone know that one of those poor Eastern European immigrants wouldn’t give birth to another Lincoln?”¸............

“Mr Graves sir,” he said, “Captain’s compliments, but would you join him on the Bridge sir? There’s a little problem, to do with a seal in the engine room, and there’s some flooding. We’ve sent for Mr McInerney and the Chief Engineer and we thought as the ship owner you should be there. Please do try not to spread panic sir,” he added as he caught sight of the breakfast table for two and the empty champagne glasses on the verandah.
“Of course. I’ll be there right away,” Joe replied tersely. The young sailor departed.
He appeared at the bedroom door. “Summons from the Bridge,” he said, “Nothing urgent darling. I’ll see you as soon as I’ve finished.”
“I thought you were playing squash now!”
“Yes. Well, we’ll see what this is about first, then I probably will. Where will you be?”
“I’ll go to my cabin and change, then I’ll be in the verandah café by half past eleven.”
Joe reached the Bridge rapidly. Flooding in the Engine room! What could have gone wrong?........

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TITANIC: The Return Voyage