The Children Of The Titanic

One historical event that has been retold through story and film for a long time is the sinking of the RMS Titanic, 100 years ago today – you’d have to have been living in a bubble this past week to have avoided all the hype about the anniversary. My good writing buddy Veronica Scott has recently published a story, from which she took her inspiration from the Titanic and she’s going to talk to us a bit about this today.

Here’s the blurb for WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM – it sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read my copy!

A reimagining of the Titanic disaster set in the far future among the stars…

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

Now over to Veronica to share a bit about why she included children in her story. Welcome Veronica…

There are so many individual true stories connected to the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago, most very tragic, a small number with happy endings. Particularly heart rending is the long list of children who perished, despite the well known fact that it was “women and children first” on the lifeboats. There were 112 children on board Titanic when she sailed and of that number, half survived and half did not. In First Class, six survived and one little girl perished (more on her in a minute). All 25 Second Class children survived and 25 of the 80 Third Class children survived.

  I can’t even imagine being a mother standing on the deck of the Titanic that freezing night, trying to decide what’s best for my children, can you? Get in a lifeboat? Stay on board the big ship (which must have seemed safer for at least a while, as the lifeboats were launched)?

 The youngest passenger on board was nine week old Milvina Dean. Although she obviously didn’t have her own memories of the sinking, her mother and brother shared their stories with her many times as she grew up. Lowered to the lifeboat in a canvas mail sack, she was one of the lucky steerage children who did survive, although her father sadly did not. She was the last survivor of the Titanic disaster to die, at age 97. Her brother, who also survived the sinking, passed away at the age of 80, on the anniversary of the day the Titanic struck the ice berg.

 My grandfather said he had a distant relative on Titanic who was a Second Class passenger, got off in a lifeboat and saved the life of a steerage baby that was placed in her arms as the boat lowered away. (Not Ms. Dean!) This relative kept the baby warm through the freezing night and even made plans to adopt the child until the mother, who also survived, located them on board the Carpathia. So that was a happy ending for one mother and child!

 Poor two year old little Lorraine Allison in First Class and her entire family except for her baby brother went down with the ship. The family’s nurse had taken the baby, who was her responsibility, and boarded a lifeboat early on, unbeknownst to the parents. It’s well documented that Mrs. Allison refused to leave the Titanic until the baby was located. Apparently no one knows why the nurse took the baby and left the ship without telling the parents but the outcome was certainly tragic, even if the young boy survived.

 As for the Steerage children, the crew did put out a call for Third Class women and children to come on deck and get into lifeboats fairly late in the sequence of events. By then there weren’t enough boats left, or enough time, to get them all safely off. Additionally, the confusion and panic must have been intense by that point, compounded by language difficulties. The Third Class passengers on Titanic hailed from many different countries including Sweden, Ireland, Finland, Argentina, Bulgaria and Lebanon.

 There were also three bellboys and one page boy on Titanic, ranging in age from about  14 to 17, who went down with the ship. Since they were crew, no one seems to have worried about trying to get them into lifeboats. The 1958 movie A Night to Remember shows them rebelliously smoking, lounging around in the salon, and waiting for orders that never came.

 When I decided to write Wreck of the Nebula Dream, my science fiction re-imagining of theTitanic, set in the far future, out among the stars, I knew I wanted to include some children. In order to portray the full scope of the tragedy my little group of struggling survivors includes Paolo, age 8, and his sister Gianna, age 3.

 Here’s a summary of the story I ended up writing:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

And here’s a short excerpt from the scene where Nick and Mara attempt to rescue the children, who are trapped in part of their cabin by tons of debris. Khevan,  a member of an order of assassins/bodyguards, has joined forces with Nick earlier:

Nick and Khevan managed to move some of the lightweight panels out of the way, only to be faced with a tangled pile of circuitry, luggage, clothes, and finally, when they dug far enough, the door to the bathroom, which had been blown inward and warped to block the entrance to the children’s room.

“Paolo, are you okay?” Mara called, as Nick and Khevan took a break to assess the best way to proceed.

“Yes.” There was a pause. “But Mommy’s not awake yet. Gianna’s frightened.”

“Well, she’s a very little girl,” Mara reminded the boy soothingly, exchanging glances with Nick and Khevan. “She’s lucky to have a big brother like you.”

“Did you- did you see my Dad anywhere?”

Mara sighed. Taking a deep breath, she answered cheerful­ly, even while making a sad faced grimace to Nick. “No, sweetheart, I didn’t find him, but I’ve got the next best thing out here- a Special Forces captain and a D’nvannae Brother. Exactly like in an adventure holo, you know? They came for you and Gianna.”

“And Mommy.” The boy’s voice wavered.

Hand to her mouth, Mara nodded. “Yes, they’re here to help your mother, too.”

Nick dusted off his hands and rolled his shoulders, wincing with pain…. “I’m going to crawl under and see if I can’t force the bedroom door to open wider. Then the kids can make their way to me or I’ll work my way back to where they are. Either way, I’ll get them out….”

Wreck of the Nebula Dream  is available from Amazon  and Barnes & Noble  NOW at a special 99 cent  price.

You can find her at my blog or on Twitter!

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