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Thursday, April 11, 1912

Morning came far too soon for Mika's taste. She and the Doctor had spent most of the night going through the TARDIS records of the Titanic sinking for anything that would give them an idea as to why they had been sent here by the Supreme Council of Time Lords on Gallifrey. They went through everything from the time the ship was built to the unbelievably short sea trials, through the survivor accounts, and the transcripts from both the American and British investigations into the incident. The entire passenger and crew lists were committed to memory, sorted by those who survived and those who did not. By five a.m. Mika had fallen asleep in the floor of the TARDIS control room, surrounded by a nest of books and computer printouts. When she awoke around eight a.m., the Doctor was gone and she found that a blanket had been carefully draped over her as she slept. Quickly, she returned to her stateroom where she showered, then, with Lisette's help, dressed and set off to look for her fellow Time Lord.

Mika found him in the a la carte restaurant, already well into a large, hearty breakfast. Seated at the table with him, and apparently engaged in heated conversation was a slim, dark-haired gentleman with a large, droopy mustache and piercing black eyes.

"Ah, Mika!" the Doctor exclaimed when he caught sight of her. "There you are, lazybones. Do join us." He rose and offered her a seat. Mika smiled at him in a nasty sort of way and sat down. "I'd like you to meet Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, managing director of White Star Lines. Mr. Ismay, may I present my niece, Miss Smith."

Ismay rose from his seat and shook Mika's proffered hand. She braced herself for the vision she knew would come. It was not very strong this time and she was able to disguise it with a smile and a slight nod of her head.

Introductions over, Mika turned to the waiter hovering nearby to order a light breakfast of coffee and crepes with creme fraise and fresh strawberries. Then, suddenly, she realized just what she had seen in Ismay's future. Once the waiter had gone, she nonchalantly, but loudly, 'accidentally' knocked a spoon off the table onto the floor.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she announced. It had the desired effect. When the Doctor bent down to pick it up, she did also, which gave her the chance to speak to him somewhat privately.

"Doctor," she whispered excitedly.

"You saw something, didn't you?" he was quick to deduce. <P"YES, "But is that not what you usually see? Was it anything unusual? He wasn't murdered or anything was he?"

"No, Doctor. Don't you get it? I saw his death. Remember the inquests? The testimony of J. Bruce Ismay is White Star Line's main line of defense. How could I see his death if he is supposed to survive?"

The Time Lord's eyes narrowed in realization. "You're quite right. How stupid of me." They both sat upright having stayed down long enough. The Doctor waved the errant spoon. "That's it then," he said to Mika. She knew what he meant. "I'll have the waiter bring you another one."

"Thank you." Mika smiled and placed her napkin in her lap. The two Time Lords exchanged knowing glances. They now knew what they had to do.

"So, Mr. Ismay, with what stories has my uncle been boring you this morning?"

Before he had a chance to answer, the Doctor broke in with feigned injury.

"My dear, you may consider my stories boring, but I assure you that others do not. Anyway, we were merely discussing the voyage and the remarkable performance of the Titanic so far."

"Yes, I was just telling the Doctor here -- by the way," he interrupted himself, "just what are you a doctor of, may I ask?"

The Doctor waved him off with his usual response, avoiding a straight answer altogether. "Oh, many things, many things."

"Oh, indeed. Anyway, we were discussing how pleased we are with how things are going so far. Titanic has surpassed even our wildest expectations." Mr. Ismay was positively beaming with pride at the thought of his wonderful achievement (even though he did not really do anything aside from budgetary and administrative decisions). "As soon as we leave Queenstown we'll take her to full speed and see what she can really do."

Mika nonchalantly sipped her coffee after having stirred in a drop of cream and four lumps of sugar under the Doctor's disapproving gaze.

"Why don't you just pour your coffee into the sugar bowl?" he asked her sarcastically.

Mika ignored him and added one more lump, just for good measure.

"I would be careful if I were you, Mr. Ismay." Discreetly, the doctor kicked her under the table. She answered with an annoyed glare and an imperceptible nod that said that she knew what she was doing. "I am only saying," she continued, "that with a ship of this size, it would be wise to be conservative with the speed the first time out, at least until the crew becomes more familiar with the handling and responsiveness of the thing."

Mr. Ismay laughed, but instantly went on the defensive, glancing at the Doctor for support. "I can assure you, Miss Smith, that this crew knows what it's doing and can handle her very well. Besides, what does a woman know about running a ship?"

'Uh oh, that did it,' thought the Doctor as he braced himself for the flurry of female outrage that was surely forthcoming.

But Mika held her composure beautifully. She preferred to use words and information with which to nail this man to the wall and not anger. That would probably come later.

"I know far more than you would ever suspect, Mr. Ismay, and apparently far more than your good self. Even a mere woman knows that eight hours is hardly enough time to test a brand new ship of any size, let alone one of this immensity. I ask you, is eight hours enough time to test speed, maneuverability, the Marconi system, or the new electrically operated watertight doors? And what about the lifeboat drills? I know there has been nothing about them said to any of the passengers. What if something were to happen? How are the passengers or the crew, for that matter, supposed to know where to go or what to do? These are the things that concern me, Mr. Ismay." She cast a glance at the Doctor. "As a passenger, of course."

"Of course," he returned. The Doctor, having eaten enough, sat back and watched the entertainment. he actually felt sorry for the man squirming under Mika's relentless condemnation, having seen her at work before. And, the scary thing was, she was just getting started.

"What if something were to come up and the ship had to stop or change course in a hurry? What kind of response time would she have at full speed? I cannot tell you, nor can anyone else, for she has only been tested at eighteen knots: and that took over three minutes and nearly three thousand feet. There's no telling what it would take at twenty-two or even twenty-five knots as you claim this ship can do at full speed. And that is all contingent upon the helm responding within seconds, of which there is no guarantee. These are very important things to consider, Mr. Ismay, when the lives of 2200 people are in your hands."

Ismay was dumbfounded at this woman's apparent knowledge.

"You seem remarkably well-informed, Miss Smith," he finally managed to stammer. "But I assure you that this crew and Captain Smith can handle any situation should the need arise, which I very much doubt ever will. This crew is hand-picked from the best White Star Lines has in its employ. And as for the Captain, he is the most revered and experienced officer on the sea today. His reputation is impeccable and has yet to be marred by trouble of any sort."

"I beg to differ, sir. I give you in evidence the twentieth of September, 1911. Captain E. J. Smith was in command of the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, when she was involved in a collision with the Royal Navy ship Hawke. Or, do you not consider that incident as 'trouble'?"

"Captain Smith was cleared of any wrongdoing in that accident by the British Board of Inquiry. The engineers faulted it to water displacement caused by the enormous size of the Olympic which pulled the Hawke into its path. Had the Captain and his crew known about this phenomenon at the time, they would have passed farther out and avoided it altogether."

Mika rapped the table with her fist and cried out in triumph, which sounded more to the Doctor as the cry of the hunter going in for the kill, and he was reminded for a brief moment of his former companion, Leela.

"Exactly my point, Mr. Ismay. They were unfamiliar with the performance and operation of a ship that size. And now here we are on an even bigger ship with that same Captain. But he doesn't seem to have learned anything from the Olympic, for even yesterday as we were leaving Southampton, the New York broke from her moorings and nearly suffered the same fate as the Hawke. What say you to that?" Mika softened her voice and tried to sound less accusatory. "All I am saying, sir, is that one should err on the side of caution rather than take any unnecessary risks."

"May I remind you, madam, that this is the Titanic and not the Olympic. Vast improvements have been made - are still being made. I have complete confidence in the Captain and crew of this vessel and in the Titanic herself. This ship is the finest machine ever built by the hand of man and nothing can or will harm her. God Himself could not harm this ship."

Here the Doctor felt it necessary to inject his own bit of wisdom. His voice was low and full of foreboding.

"Never say things like that, Mr. Ismay. You may invariably live to regret it."

Just then, Molly Brown and the Astors entered the restaurant. Molly spotted the three of them and led the others over, her cheerful, boisterous demeanor instantly dispelling the cloud of conflict which had settled over the area. No one was more grateful for the distraction than Ismay.

"Good morning, folks." she boomed. "And how is everyone this fine day?"

"Hello, Molly, J.J., Madeleine. Won't you all join us? There is plenty of room for everyone." Mika smiled at her friends. "I believe you already know Mr. Ismay."

They all sat down and the six of them enjoyed their breakfast engaged in pleasant, lighthearted conversation, much to Ismay's relief. But from that moment on, J. Bruce Ismay would always be on his guard against 'that woman'.

After breakfast, the Doctor had arranged to be included in a tour of the ship. He then set off to locate Mika, who had managed to disappear once breakfast was over.

He found her out on the boat deck, leaning against the railing staring down at the water rushing beneath them. He spoke softly so as not to startle her.

"Just what do you think you were doing to poor Mr. Ismay back there?"

She turned to look at the Doctor. "'Poor Mr. Ismay'? Really, Doctor, it was pretty much because of that man that the Titanic sank and more than 1500 people lost their lives. Or had you forgotten that bit?" Her anger at having met the person she felt was mainly to blame for the entire tragedy had yet to subside.

"No, I haven't forgotten. But it wasn't all his fault . . ."

"No, I suppose others were also involved in the decision to reduce the number of lifeboats, to cut short the sea trials, and to urge the Captain to go against his better judgment and experience and blast full speed through icy waters."

"To some extent I suppose you are correct. However, may I remind you that it was the Captain and the other officers who ignored the ice warnings, and the entire British Board of Trade that failed to update lifeboat requirements on ocean liners."

Mika turned back to the sea. She hated it when he was right. "Can't you allow me to direct my anger towards him for just a little while? Besides, he's the one who escaped in a lifeboat while women and children were left to die."

"And that makes him a monster?"

"In my opinion, yes."

"But your vision of his future. You said you saw him die. How could he have escaped in a lifeboat if you saw him die?"

"Obviously I was mistaken . . ."

"Or, perhaps, he's not quite the monster history has made him out to be. If our job is to save his life, you are going to have to change your opinion of him. You should try to get to know him better, which, of course, has just been made more difficult by your conduct this morning."

Mika remained silent.

The Doctor changed the subject. "What are you doing moping about out here anyway?"

She sighed heavily. "Thinking."

"About this mission?" He joined her in leaning against the rail.

About this mission, about these people and the people back on DS9, about my whole life in general. What's it all for, Doctor? Why are we here? If we cannot save everyone, what difference will the life of one man make?"

"I do not make the rules, Mika." The Doctor chuckled. "I seldom even follow them."

They stood together for some time in silence, the cool ocean breeze ruffling their hair and clothing. Mika sighed again. "Do you want to know the truth? I'm bored. We've only been at sea one whole day and already I'm bored to death. I'm no good at small talk and socializing. I'm an engineer, a scientist, a soldier; not a bloody debutante. I feel useless. There's nothing for me to do here." She turned around and folded her arms, her back now leaning against the railing.

The Doctor studied his companion. "Don't do anything. Just relax and enjoy the voyage. Live for the moment. Soak in the experience."

Mika looked at the little Gallifreyan as if he had just asked her to shove a large pickle up her nose and sing a few lines of Klingon opera.

"You don't know how to relax, do you?" he finally realized.

Mika remained silent, confirming his intuition.

He shook his head in amazement. "You have been coming and going, running and fighting for so long that you don't know what to do when someone isn't screaming for your help." He grinned at her.

She stared at him for a moment then laughed guiltily. "I suppose you are right. I haven't exactly had much free time on my hands lately, what with evil geniuses threatening to take over the galaxy and everyone else continuously at each others' throats. So, what do you think I should do?"

The Doctor shrugged. "Hang out with Molly. Make new friends. Make new enemies for all I care. Just try to stay out of trouble. Remember, you are a lady." He thought carefully before making his next suggestion. "You could find some nice young fellow and strike up a passionate romance."

Mika laughed out loud and shook her head. "Romance? Me? This isn't the bloody 'Love Boat', Doctor!"

He was smiling, but his tone was serious. "Why not? I understand cruise ships are supposed to be very romantic."

"Oh? And just whom should I set out to seduce?"

"How should I know? I'm sure you could have the pick of any one of dozens of eligible young men on board this ship."

Mika thought about this for a minute. Then her smile faded to be replaced by a dark cloud of pain.

"Then what happens when this ship finally sinks? Do I just stand around and watch him die, or do I make sure to pick one that survives? Really, Doctor, sometimes you have no concept of reality."

The Doctor decided to let it go until later. "It was only a suggestion. You asked for my opinion and I gave it to you." He adjusted his hat and changed the subject, remembering why he had come looking for her in the first place. "Anyway, you shouldn't be bored for at least the next couple of hours as I have arranged for us to go on a tour of the ship. I think you should find it quite interesting." He offered her his arm, signifying that she was going whether she wanted to or not.

She conceded. "Lead on," she sighed.

Arm in arm the two Time Lords made their way to the Grand Staircase where the small tour group had been instructed to meet. They joined a group of a dozen or so VIP's; the most prominent of these being Mr. Guggenheim and his mistress, Mr. Astor, and Colonel Gracie. It seems the Colonel took every tour offered; he just couldn't get enough of the lovely ship.

At the Doctor's insistence, he and Mika stayed inconspicuously towards the rear of the group, so as to better make their own observations. However, they did not go unnoticed by the tour's presenter, Master Shipbuilder Thomas Andrews. He was actually quite surprised and pleased to see that the charming Miss Smith was taking an active interest in his creation.

They were just beginning to leave when Mr. Ismay, apologizing profusely to all for being late, joined Mr. Andrews at the head of the tour. As the tour progressed, Ismay eventually noticed Mika and the Doctor at the back of the group. Mika eyed him suspiciously as he leaned close and said something to Andrews. She wished she could hear what was being said, however, she figured she had a pretty good idea. Mika would have been right about Ismay's comments anyway.

"That 'woman' at the back," he motioned towards Mika with a nod of his head. "Have you met her yet?"

Andrews looked in the direction indicated. "Oh," he raised his eyebrows and smiled, "do you mean Miss Smith?"

"Yes, Miss Smith," Ismay spat venomously. "Don't turn your back on her for an instant. I think she's a spy sent by Cunard to undermine our glorious success. She's been persecuting me - accusing me and Captain Smith of negligence in the running of this ship and I won't have it, do you hear me, I won't have it!"

"Now, Bruce, you're overreacting again. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. You're always so paranoid on these maiden voyages."

"The woman's vicious, I tell you. There's no telling who she'll go after next. Maybe even you, Thomas."

Andrews chuckled openly at his friend and colleague. "Somehow, I don't imagine that to be such a bad thing, Bruce. Really, I'm sure it is all in your imagination, as usual. Personally, I found the young lady to be quite charming. But if it will make you happy, old friend, I'll keep an eye on her. Now, come, let's keep going."

The tour started with the Grand Staircase and proceeded through the kitchens and some of the other public and not-so-public rooms before moving out on deck towards the bridge, which was normally off-limits to passengers.

Andrews noticed nothing unusual about Mika or her uncle as he conducted his tour with one eye on the couple. In fact, up till now it was Ismay who was behaving strangely, watching the pair like a vulture, just waiting for them to do something suspicious or cause some kind of trouble.

True, the strange little man seemed to be taking the tour a bit too seriously, darting about here and there like a bloodhound searching for a scent. But the young lady merely followed along at the back, trying hard not to look bored, and occasionally restraining the Doctor when his eager curiosity would overcome him. She even stifled a yawn or two, Andrews observed. He was a little disappointed at this, as he had hoped she would be interested in what amounted to his life's work. Or, perhaps it was just his tour that was boring. Or, maybe she was not bored at all, but merely failed to get enough sleep the night before. This thought cheered him slightly and even seemed to be confirmed when, upon occasion, the young lady would lean close to the Doctor and say something, to which he would either nod or shake his head, or go into a long demonstrative explanation of his own. How Andrews wished he could hear what the two fascinating people were saying.

If he could have heard them, Andrews would have indeed been puzzled; especially at what was being discussed as they toured the engine room.

"Yes, Doctor, I am sure it is quite fascinating." She found herself having to shout above the cacophonous roar of the great turbines. "I just cannot bring myself to get excited about a simple reciprocating engine, no matter its size. Really," she made a face, "fossil fuels. How utterly primitive."

He leaned in and said as quietly as possible and still be heard above the din. "Now look here, you're just being a technological snob. Remember where and when you are, my dear. This is actually quite advanced for this time period."

She folded her arms and huffed sulkily at being reprimanded in this fashion, especially on one of her best subjects, engineering. Then the Doctor smiled that stupidly infuriating impish grin of his and she could not help but smile back.

They settled down and listened to Andrews for a while as he shouted above the mighty engines. He explained the motive processes of the huge liner from the boilers to the steam turbines which turned the triple screws, all the while keeping watch on the strange pair, still at the back of the group. Thus he noticed before Mika when the Doctor slipped from her side and began the curious act of prodding the steel plates of the bulkhead with the tip of his ever-present umbrella with the red question-mark handle.

When Mika, arms still folded, finally noticed that the Doctor was gone, it was only because he was psssting and motioning wildly for her to come over to where he was.

Exasperated, she blew out a loud sigh and reluctantly joined him.

"Doctor, whatever has gotten into you? I can't take you anywhere without your getting into things," she scolded him like a small, naughty child.

"Never mind that. I'm testing a theory. Go on, examine that bulkhead."

As Ismay took a turn at answering a few questions from the other passengers, Andrews focused his attention on the strange actions of Miss Smith and the Doctor. He watched, by now completely baffled, as the young woman bent down to closer examine what to him was a plain, uninteresting section of the steel plating.

Mika halfheartedly examined the area indicated by the Doctor.

"It's made of steel." She had no idea what she was supposed to find.

"Ah, but what kind of steel?"

Mika stood up straight and confronted the Doctor. "Quit playing games with me, Doctor. I am not one of your ignorant human companions. I too am a Time Lord and, I dare say, a sight more knowledgeable about engineering than even you. Just tell me this great theory of yours and get it over with."

The Doctor, however, refused to be put off. "Look closer," was all he would say.

Knowing that she would never get anywhere with him until she cooperated, Mika screwed up her eyes and reexamined the bulkhead. Then she ran an index finger down the length of the plating and, after sniffing it suspiciously, touched it to her tongue.

The look on her face turned from one of mild annoyance to that of shocked disbelief. (How Andrews wished desperately he could hear what they were saying now!)

"Doctor, this steel is molecularly unstable."

"So I was right. Are you certain?"

"Of course, I am an engineer."

"A temporal engineer."

"The same basic principles apply. Pure steel is neutral, that is, it has no molecular charge. Improperly refined steel is ionized, or, more specifically, positively charged. As the steel hull of the ship glides through the ocean, it attracts the negatively charged particles in the sea water. In other words, the salt from the ocean is pulled through the microscopically porous steel and ends up saturating it. That is why when you run your finger down the side of the steel plating you can taste salt."

"That's just what I was thinking."

"Is that all? You know, I haven't had to pass elementary physics in aeons," she complained.

"I just wanted to make sure I had my facts straight."

Mika thought for a moment about the collision that was to occur and all the information they had pored through the night before.

"If this is true, Doctor, it certainly answers a lot of questions, doesn't it?"

"Yes it does. Poor grade steel like this cannot withstand exposure to these icy waters for any length of time without it affecting the molecular composition even further."

Mika was beginning to see the full picture. "In fact, prolonged exposure to the near-freezing temperatures of the North Atlantic would render the entire hull brittle. A collision with anything, no matter how minor, would not bend the plates as with good steel, but rather shatter them like glass."

The Doctor nodded in affirmation.

Mika looked ahead at the other passengers and nearby crew, all oblivious to the horrible fate that lie ahead. "That would also explain the loud cracking sound several of the survivors reported hearing as the ship sank."

"Later Titanic scholars suspected this to be the case, but they never had any way of confirming their theories. Prolonged exposure to the corrosive effects of sea water rendered any molecular or chemical analysis inconclusive at best."

Mika just shook her head as she numbered all the unfortunate circumstances that eventually led up to the tragedy they were about to experience. She could not help but notice how many of them seemed to involve a certain Mr. J. Bruce Ismay. In regards to the steel used in the building of the ship, it appeared that someone had been trying to cut corners.

The Doctor then noticed that their group had begun to move on.

"Come along, my dear. We don't want to get left behind." Sporting that irritating self-satisfied grin of his and brandishing his umbrella, the strange little man led her on towards the exit. Mika followed a few steps behind wondering if the salt air had affected the Doctor's brain.

Andrews stood aside as the couple passed, the last of the group to do so. Miss Smith took no notice of him save to flash him a distracted smile, as she seemed to be lost in contemplation of whatever conversation she had exchanged with the Doctor. He lingered a moment, trying to make sense of the strange pair's actions. Finally, before following, curiosity got the better of him and he, too, ran his finger down the bulkhead plating and tasted it. His brow creased in growing confusion and concern as he recognized the unmistakable briny taste of sea salt.

 

*****

 

When the tour had reached its conclusion, lunch was beginning to be served and everyone in the small group went their separate ways. The Doctor left Mika in front of the elevators and promised to join her later. No doubt he was off to test some other theory or bother someone who doubtless had better things to do than argue with him. She was standing there alone trying to decide what she should do next when a familiar, booming voice laughed its way around the corner.

"Hey, Mika, there you are. I've been looking all over for you." Molly greeted her with a huge, friendly smile. "We were just on our way to lunch. Are you coming?"

Seeing as Molly would not take 'no' for an answer, Mika smiled graciously and joined her. The two women were seated at a table where Mr. Ismay and Mr. Andrews were already. They were then introduced to the other three people at the table. These were Mr. Caledon Hockley, his fiancee Miss Rose Dewitt-Bukater, and her mother Mrs. Ruth Dewitt-Bukater. Mika's visions revealed that all three of these new people would survive the sinking, however, the young girl, Rose, would suffer great hardships in the process.

Introductions over, Mr. Andrews rose and offered Mika the seat next to him, while Molly sat next to Mr. Ismay. Ismay was immediately on his guard against Mika, but Mr. Andrews was absolutely delighted to see her again: he had many questions he wanted to ask her.

Conversation among this little group quickly turned to the subject of the Titanic herself. The waiter made his way around the table taking everyone's orders as Mr. Ismay applauded Mr. Andrews' work, and Mr. Andrews touted Mr. Ismay's genius. Mika was not really paying attention to them, as she had heard it all before; all morning long, in fact. Instead, she was watching the play between the three newcomers and trying to assess their exact situation. It seemed to Mika from her observations, that Rose was betrothed to Mr. Hockley and that her mother obviously favoured the match. Rose, however, did not seem too happy about the whole arrangement. She was a free and wild spirit, and Mika did not blame her as both Hockley and Mrs. Dewitt-Bukater seemed far too controlling. In fact, they were downright infuriating as they ganged up against the poor girl. She watched, her own rebellious spirit rising as first the mother objected to Rose lighting a cigarette, then Cal plucked the offending item from its holder and put it out. Then, adding insult to injury in front of their new friends, Cal ordered lunch for the both of them without even consulting Rose, behaving as if she were not even there. Or, even worse, a mere child who had to be coddled at every opportunity. Rose, with every right to do so, resented being treated in this manner.

Molly apparently felt the same, for it was her bold voice that broke Mika's reverie by butting her nose in where it was certainly not welcome.

"You gonna cut her meat for her too, there, Cal?" she was asking. Then, having made her opinion clearly known in this matter, she asked another question to change the subject and lighten the mood. "And who thought of the name 'Titanic'? Was it you, Bruce?"

Ismay, either oblivious to this little exchange, or simply choosing to ignore it as none of his business, grinned broadly. He explained how he had wanted a name that suggested size, strength, and above all, stability. Thus he chose the name Titanic.

Then Rose, who had remained silently fuming all this time, spoke up, her intelligence and witticism solidifying Mika's opinion of this fascinating, if somewhat spoiled, young lady. "Do you know of Dr. Freud, Mr. Ismay? His ideas on the male preoccupation with size might be of some interest to you."

Reaction around the table was varied. Molly nodded in tickled agreement, while Mr. Andrews tried with some difficulty to stifle a laugh. Cal did not understand the reference, so remained as stone-faced as ever. So did Mr. Ismay which made the whole situation all the more humourous. Mika finally gave in trying to quell her laughter and burst out in a most unladylike fashion. Molly began to giggle too, and Andrews had to place his hand over his mouth to keep from doing the same. Ruth leaned over and admonished her daughter. "What's gotten into you?" she whispered.

Rose, although secretly delighted with her little coup, decided that she had had enough of Cal, her mother, and their disapproving glares. She stood up and left the room in a huff.

"She's a pistol, Cal. I hope you can handle her," Molly observed and warned.

Cal, however, was immovable. "I may have to start minding what she reads from now on, won't I, Mrs. Brown," he sneered coldly.

Then Ismay chimed in, still clueless. "Freud, is he a passenger?"

This sent Mika, Molly, and Andrews into a fit of laughter which they could no longer control. Andrews laughed so hard he almost choked to death. Molly pounded him a few times on the back until he could catch his breath and stop coughing.

Cal, on the other hand, had had all he could take of this little joke that he did not get, and rose and went to look for his fiancee. Ismay leaned forward to his colleague.

"Thomas, get hold of yourself, man. I fail to see the humour in any of this. If there has been some sort of joke told here, I wish you would please explain it to me as I obviously seem to be the butt of it." He eyed each of them in that humourless manner of his until one by one their laughter faded. Mika covered her mouth with her napkin to try to stifle her case of the giggles. But one sideways glance from Andrews started them anew. He leaned over to Ismay and promised to explain it to him later. Molly finally managed to quiet Mika by slugging her arm behind Andrews' back.

Eventually, Cal and Rose returned. The remainder of the meal was pleasant and uneventful, after which everyone went their separate ways. Mika hung out with Molly, joining some other fine ladies in card games until tea time. (Andrews once again missed his opportunity to question Mika by having to explain the rather delicate subject of Dr. Sigmund Freud's theories on male psychology to Ismay.) After playing cards, Mika then went to her cabin to lie down for a nap. She never knew relaxing could be so exhausting.

After her nap, Mika spent the remainder of the day exploring the rest of the ship and wandering about the second and third class accommodations. She spoke to several of the crewmen and passengers and actually learned a lot about life in 1912. She even skipped the tediously boring dinner party being given in her own first class to join in on the parlour games being enjoyed in second class. After that, she went down below to steerage and observed the singing and dancing and general merrymaking that took place among people of several different cultures and backgrounds. There was none of the fighting or conflict that would characterize relations among these same people only a few short years from now with the advent of World War I. Perhaps the Doctor was right after all. It did do her hearts good to see such a form of Utopia, even if it only lasted for a short time.

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