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Wednesday, April 10, 1912

The Southampton dockyard was teeming with human activity. Seemingly thousands of people were bustling about making preparations for the most publicized ocean voyage in the history of the Earth, up until that time. In the shadows of a dark, out-of-the-way alley, a small, dark-haired man, apparently in his fifties, wearing a well-worn, white linen suit, straw hat, and paisley scarf approached a young woman leaning against a battered blue police box. Despite her anachronistic attire of faded levi's, white Nike athletic shoes and black Nike t-shirt, she was remarkably beautiful. Small at five feet three inches, she weighed nearly 130 pounds, most of it was muscle, making her considerably stronger than she looked. Her hair was a deep, rich mohogany-brown, large, soft curls falling just below her shoulders. Her skin was smooth and creamy, like the pale petals of an orchid. Her eyes were captivating: dazzling violet gems glittering with intelligence and compassion. She stifled a yawn as the man grew near.

"Here we are!" The man, a Time Lord known only as 'the Doctor' , waved two white pieces of paper in the air. "Two tickets for first class passage aboard the finest ocean liner ever built."

"Fabulous, Doctor," the woman's clipped British-sounding accent was dripping with annoyed sarcasm. "Don't forget your water wings." Her arms folded, fellow Time Lord and sometimes traveling companion Mikanostinocolai - Mika for short - made it quite clear that she was none too happy about the Doctor's latest venture.

"Don't be so cynical, Mika. It isn't every day that you get to be a passenger on the famous maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. You should consider yourself quite fortunate I was able to get these. We will be in millionaire J.P.Morgan's own private staterooms since he has had to cancel his trip for business elsewhere."

"How did you manage that? No, don't tell me. It's probably better if I don't know. I suppose we're related in some way?"

"Of course. One must be proper about these things."

"I think Morgan's the one who should be considered fortunate." Mika snatched the tickets out of the Doctor's hand before he had a chance to put them in his pockets. Things that went into his infamous pockets had a nasty habit of never being seen again. "Give me those before you lose them. Well, I suppose if you absolutely insist on going on this foolish adventure, we might as well travel in style." She examined the tickets. "So what names did you use?" She read the names aloud. "Dr. John Smith - oh, now that's original - and Mika Smith." Her brow furrowed. "You're not planning on trying to pass me off as your wife, are you?"

The Doctor jammed his hands deep into his pockets and shook his head vigourously. "Oh, deary me, no. I thought perhaps you would be much more convincing as my niece."

Mika was clearly relieved. "Well, thank goodness for that."

The harbour whistle sounded eleven thirty. Only half an hour to go before the mighty ship was scheduled to set sail for the first - and last - time.

The Doctor produced a key and opened the door of the police box. "We'd best be going." He looked at Mika's attire. "And do change your clothes, please? This is 1912, remember? You are supposed to be a young lady of high social status traveling abroad, so do try to behave accordingly, hmmm?"

Mika followed him reluctantly into the Time ship known as the TARDIS - (the letters standing for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) - but not before making a face at his back.

"I saw that!" he called without turning around.

The Time Lords transported their time capsules into their respective quarters. Then they slipped out through a busy third class gangway, where they would not be noticed, and reboarded the ship as normal first class passengers. Mika was resplendent in a dark blue day suit befitting the period, while the Doctor made do with his same old linen suit that always seemed to fit right in with whatever time period he happened to be visiting. When they had given their names to the boarding officer, a steward was assigned to show them to their private suite on B Deck. This consisted of a bathroom, two bedrooms, a sitting room, and a private, enclosed promenade deck. As well as sharing the sitting room, each bedroom had a door which led to the interior corridor. When the steward had gone, the Doctor walked unceremoniously into his 'niece's' room.

"I do wish you would learn how to knock, Doctor," Mika gasped, "you startled me."

"You shouldn't be so jumpy. Why can't you just relax and enjoy the trip?"

Mika followed the Doctor as he plopped himself down into one of the beautifully carved Louis VI replica chairs in the elegant sitting room.

"Ahhhh, there's nothing quite like first class." He plucked a red carnation out of the fresh flower arrangement on the nearby lamp table, and, sniffing it dramatically, placed it in his lapel.

"Really, Doctor, I would have thought you the last person to revel in such a blatant display of pompous, materialistic excess."

"Normally, you would be correct. But even seasoned travelers like ourselves deserve to be pampered every now and then. This is so much more than a floating luxury hotel, my dear. I see it as more of a work of art on water."

Mika's stoic expression remained unchanged.

"Come on, Mika! Where's your sense of adventure? You have got to be at least a little excited." He rose to his feet and gestured grandly about the room. "Here we are in person witnessing a major milestone in the annals of Earth history. As a testament to humankind's arrogance and overconfidence in his superiority over nature, the sinking of the Titanic marks the end of an era. Never again will man be so innocent or trusting of technology or his fellow man. Unfortunately, though many things were changed as a result of this tragedy, the main point of the lesson was soon forgotten. This is a great opportunity to see a little bit of what a Utopia on Earth could have been like."

"I know all that. The value of this trip as a great history lesson is not lost on me by any means. I just have this odd feeling. It is difficult to for me to interact with these people when I know what lies ahead for them. It's like walking among ghosts. I've never felt like this before. It's so weird." She sighed heavily and hung her head in sadness.

The Doctor stopped in front of his companion and gripped her gently by the shoulders. "You must try to put it out of your mind and enjoy yourself. I know the time is short, but that is just the nature of life. The next four days should be happy, carefree ones. Believe me, that is a rarity in our line of work. Go out and meet people. Study the culture and customs of the time period. Treat it as a living archaeological dig if you have to. But try to relax, hmmm?"

Mika returned his concerned gaze. "I'll try. But I'm not promising anything."

The Doctor smiled and patted her affectionately on the cheek. "There's a good girl." He turned to leave just as there was a timid knock at the door.

Wondering who it could be, Mika answered the door. Outside stood a young maid.

"Forgive me, Mademoiselle Smith, but my name is Lisette, and I am to be your personal maid. Is there anything that you or the gentleman require?" Her English was excellent despite her thick French accent.

Mika looked confused. The Doctor leaned towards Mika and spoke softly so the maid could not hear. "I believe she comes with the room, you know, to straighten up after you, help you dress, and so on."

"Oh," Mika mouthed. Then she spoke to the young French girl. "Um, I believe we are fine for the moment, Lisette, thank you."

Lisette smiled. "Very well, I shall just come in and straighten the bedrooms, no?"

"That would be very kind of you, Miss Lisette," said the Doctor trying to be his most charming.

"Thank you, Docteur Smith." With that she shut the door quietly and went to the rest of their suite via the main outside corridor.

"There, now you'll have someone to talk to and help you lace up your corset."

"I hate wearing this blasted thing and you know it."

"Tsk, tsk, what would everyone say about that horrible Miss Smith who doesn't wear a corset and lets everything hang out like a common streetwalker?"

She glared at him viciously. "Smeg off, Doctor."

He laughed. "And talks like one too."

Mika looked around for something to throw at him, settling for a small pillow.

"Ha ha! You missed. I like that outfit, by the way." He doffed his hat and opened the door. "I'll call on you for tea once you've settled, Miss Smith."

Mika shook her head as she shut the door behind him and turned the key.

"Whatever, Doctor. Whatever."

 

That evening, Titanic stopped at Cherbourg, France, where she took on a few more passengers and exchanged cargo and mail. Among the passengers who boarded here were American millionaire John Jacob Astor and his expectant seventeen-year-old wife, Madeleine, and Mrs. Margaret Tobin Brown. Mrs. Brown had befriended the Astors during a holiday in Egypt. She would later be known to history as "the unsinkable Molly Brown" and would be instrumental in the movement for women's rights.

Once the ship was again underway, the first dinner aboard the Titanic was served. More of a gathering of the social register of the day than a meal, the Doctor and Mika met many prominent people that night, many of whom would soon find their way into the history books as a part of the Titanic legend. These included the Guggenheims, the Astors, the Duff-Gordons and, of course, Molly Brown.

Mika and Molly hit it off right away. The older woman dragged her new friend off to meet some of her old ones. The Doctor kept a watchful eye on his companion to see how she reacted to this situation and to make sure she behaved herself. He need not have worried, however, for she minded her manners perfectly; no one would have suspected that she was not an early twentieth century aristocrat. He did notice something odd about her expression every time she was introduced to a new person, however, usually it was just a slight wince as if she had a small pain in her stomach or something. But at times she would close her eyes and shake her head as if trying to clear it. Worried, he made his way through the crowd and slid in beside her. He spoke quietly in her ear so no one else would overhear.

"Mika, what is it?"

"I don't know, Doctor," she whispered back. "Every time I meet someone for the first time, I have a vision, a sort of flashback, only it's of the immediate future. I can see what happens to them when the ship is sinking."

The Doctor thought for a moment. "Traumatic events like this one can sometimes have a strange effect on time sensitive beings like ourselves. This particular effect is what is known as temporal hemorrhaging, or a leakage of the subconscious future into the conscious present. Tell me, is this happening with everyone or just the ones that do not make it?"

"Well, I saw Molly Brown leading the rowing of a lifeboat, so I guess it includes everyone. Is it important?"

"It may be. I still don't know exactly why we were sent here."

Mika looked surprised and confused. "But I thought you said . . ."

"Forget what I said. We can discuss that later. Just keep track of what you 'see'. It may give us a clue as to exactly what we're supposed to be doing here." He hurriedly dropped the subject as someone approached. "Good evening, Countess," he bowed slightly as he greeted the Countess of Rothes whom he had met earlier. "May I introduce my niece, Miss Mika Smith." The two women shook hands genteelly. Mika glanced at the Doctor and shook her head almost imperceptibly, indicating that she saw nothing unusual about the Countess - she apparently would survive as expected.

Then the time came for everyone to be seated. The Doctor managed somehow to place himself at the Captain's table, while Mika joined Molly and the Astors at theirs. She took a seat beside Molly; already she had grown quite fond of the brash American. Molly Brown could be loud, nosy, and sometimes downright vulgar, but she was honest and, in her own way, charming. She was definitely a lot more fun to be around than all the other snooty women in first class. There was none of that upper class snobbery about Molly. Molly was just, well, Molly. This made Mika feel a little more at ease about being in this situation and she began to act more like herself. Together, these two women had the potential to cause a great deal of trouble for the snobbier of the first class passengers.

After everyone had been seated, Mika noticed that there was still one chair beside her vacant. She leaned over and discreetly asked Molly about this. Molly said that it was probably for one of the ship's officers. She explained that on the first night of a voyage, it was the custom for the senior officers to join the Captain in having dinner with the first class passengers. A junior officer would be left in charge of the bridge for just this once until dinner was over. The Captain would usually take his meals in first class, but this was the only time the other officers were allowed to do so. Just then, the officers arrived, having just finished making their rounds of the ship. They were shown to their seats where they were introduced to everyone seated at their respective tables. Sure enough, one of them was brought to Mika's table.

He was introduced to them as First Officer William Murdoch. He shook everyone's hand in turn as he greeted everyone he met. Mika was the last. Her reaction as he took her hand was the strongest so far. Mr. Murdoch was quite alarmed as the young woman looked as if she were about to faint.

"Are you all right, Miss?" he asked in his lilting Scottish brogue.

The feeling passed and Mika was back to normal. She smiled sweetly at the concerned officer and assured him that she was fine. "It's nothing, really," she lied. "I just get these sudden headaches from time to time."

"Perhaps you'd prefer to go have a lie down," Colonel Gracie suggested.

"No, Colonel, I assure you, I am quite all right. These things usually pass very quickly."

After this brief bit of excitement, everyone settled down to a pleasant and sumptuous dinner. The conversation was light and cheerful as everyone was, for the most part, still getting acquainted with one another. The main subject of their conversation eventually turned to, of course, the Titanic. Mr. Murdoch was kept busy answering their numerous questions, which he did most graciously. He was a soft-spoken man, but cheerful with a bright, witty sense of humour. He and Molly had them all rolling with laughter on more than one occasion.

When dinner was over, a few of the tables were cleared away to make room for dancing if any of the passengers were so inclined. Even dressed in a simple dress of dark burgundy, Mika's beauty had not gone unnoticed by the unattached gentlemen of the group, and she was soon beset with numerous requests for a turn on the dance floor. Politely, she refused them all, until Mr. Murdoch. She felt bad about having worried him with her initial reaction, and, besides, her vision of his future, although strong, had been unclear. Perhaps if she spent some more time with him, she might be able to make some sense out of what she had seen. Anyway, she rather liked the fellow.

Will Murdoch was around forty and fairly short, only about 5'8", with short, dark hair and narrow, piercing dark blue eyes which sparkled brilliantly when he laughed. He was also a pretty good dancer, for a sailor. Sadly enough, though, Mika knew that he was one of the officers who did not live to tell of his experience. Captain Smith also went down with his ship, as did Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde, whom Mika had met and found to be a most charming Irish seaman.

Murdoch's fate remained in the back of Mika's mind as the five man ensemble, led by Wallace Hartley, played a waltz called, quite appropriately, Destiny. It was a struggle for her to keep the despair out of her voice as they chatted lightly while dancing. When the tune was over, Mr. Murdoch bowed to her regally and apologized; regretfully, it was time for him to return to duty. He thanked her for a most wonderful evening and asked if he would be seeing her again, perhaps. Mika promised that she would not leave the ship, at which they both laughed. Then he left. As she watched him make his way through the crowd to join Mr. Wilde who was apparently waiting for him, she found herself missing his company already. 'How strange,' she thought.

Molly and the other ladies were seated at a table, gossiping like there was no tomorrow. As she approached, Mika noticed how the other snobs were polite to Molly, but only tolerated her because it would be unacceptably rude not to do so. Molly was secretly quite relieved when the one person, besides the Astors, that she could call a friend sat next to her. She grinned broadly when, just to make a statement, Mika turned her chair so that her back was pretty much facing the 'snooty toots', as she liked to call them.

"I think that nice Mr. Murdoch has taken a fancy to you, young lady," Molly teased her as she accepted a cup of coffee from a waiter who could not possibly be a day over sixteen.

"Nonsense, Molly," she laughed, "you're imagining things. He was just being polite."

"Whatever you say, child. You are certainly very popular with the menfolk, though."

She sipped her coffee thoughtfully, her mind on other things, such as when would she see that nice Mr. Murdoch again. "I cannot imagine why," she said.

After a few more minutes of idle bantering, Mika, tired and, to be honest, quite bored, excused herself and bid everyone goodnight. She looked around for the Doctor as Molly walked with her to the Grand Staircase.

Unable to locate the Doctor, the two women made plans to join each other for lunch the next day, then said their own goodnights. Mika watched her new friend making her way back across the room to join Madeleine Astor, weaving in and out among the tables and tossing a friendly word or two to people as she passed in her unvarnished, but good-natured way.

Mika was still keeping an eye out for the Doctor while wondering where he could have gone. Finally, shrugging her shoulders and letting out a great sigh, she gave up looking and turned to ascend the stairs on her way to her room, running head on into a man on his way down. The man had been busy writing in a small notebook he carried, and thus was not watching where he was going.

"Goodness gracious," he said, as soon as he realized what had happened. "I am so terribly sorry . . ." The man reached out to steady the young lady he had just run into for she looked like she was about to faint. "Are you all right, Miss?" he asked worriedly. (She seemed to be getting this question a lot lately.)

Mika shivered as she felt as if her whole body were being enveloped by icy sea water. She nodded her head, partly to reassure him and partly to clear her head. This vision had been, by far, the worst. She wondered just who this poor devil was.

"I cannot believe I could be so clumsy," the fellow was saying. "I do hope you will forgive me."

"It's quite all right, I assure you," she heard herself saying. She noticed his notebook and pencil on the floor where he must have dropped them in the collision. She bent down to pick them up. "I believe you dropped these, sir." Mika handed them to the man as she really noticed him for the first time. He was a fine, handsome Irishman about six feet tall, dressed in a tailored suit of navy blue. Judging by the touch of gray at the temples and in the very front of his wavy reddish-brown hair, he was in his mid-forties, but clearly kept himself in good physical shape. His narrow eyes, either a very dark brown or even black, were bright and cheery, and his slightly lopsided smile could light up even the darkest of moods. Mika quickly found herself returning that smile.

"Hmmm?" she thought perhaps he had said something and she had not been listening with her ears. Instead, although she did not yet realize it, she had been listening with her heart.

"I said are you sure you're all right? You still seem a bit woozy." His Irish accent was light, and his voice low and soft like summer rain.

"Of course. I'm sorry. My mind wandered off for a moment. Are you an engineer or something? I couldn't help but notice the figures and notations in your book there," she indicated the notebook he held in his hand.

He chuckled and smiled that devastating smile of his. "Please forgive me my horrible manners. My name is Thomas Andrews. I designed this ship."

"Oh," she raised a single eyebrow in a manner that she had once been told was irresistibly attractive. "So you're the genius behind all this?"

He blushed ever-so-slightly. "Guilty as charged, I'm afraid."

"Well, I must say that she is the most beautiful ship I have ever had the pleasure to sail upon." She held out her hand to shake in greeting. "I am Mika," she almost forgot to add the false surname, "Mika Smith."

He took her hand and, instead of shaking, brought it to his lips and kissed it gallantly. "It is indeed a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Smith."

Goose bumps ran all over her body at his touch and she felt dizzy all over again. At first she thought she was having another vision, then she realized that this was something else altogether; something she had not experienced for a long, long time.

"The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Andrews," she finally managed to say. She felt like such an idiot all of a sudden.

Just then, Captain E. J. Smith walked by engaged in a highly animated conversation with one of the passengers. Who else would it be but the elusive Doctor.

"Excuse me, Miss Smith. Captain!" Mr. Andrews called out. "Please, forgive me, but I really must speak with the Captain."

"Oh, of course. I'm sure we will run into each other again sometime," she winked.

Her little joke was not lost on the master shipbuilder and he chuckled softly. "I look forward to it. Good night then, Miss Smith."

"Good night," she smiled sweetly as he made to leave. "Oh, Mr. Andrews," she called as he headed for the Captain and the Doctor.

He turned back to her. "Yes?"

"That little man there, the one annoying Captain Smith," she indicated her traveling companion, "well, he's called the Doctor. Please tell him that I wish to see him right away. Otherwise he will hang around all night and you will never get rid of him."

Andrews laughed heartily at this, which to her was like the finest music. "I will. And, thanks for the advice."

She waved good-bye and watched as he approached the two men. Once the Doctor had left, she could just make out the Captain mouthing a relieved word of thanks to Andrews for rescuing him from 'that man'. Mika folded her arms reproachfully as the Doctor drew near.

"What is so important that you had to interrupt a very serious discussion Captain Smith and I were having on the importance of the Marconi wireless in ocean travel?" the Doctor demanded with only a semiseriously disapproving scowl.

"The Captain's sanity for starters," she quipped as she took him by the arm and began leading him up the stairs.

"Ha, ha, very funny, young lady." He changed the subject. "Have you figured out anything yet as to our purpose here?"

"No," she shook her head. "But then, I don't really know enough about what happened that night to make any sort of judgment."

"Right, then. Let's go back to my TARDIS and do a little research, shall we? Maybe that will help."

Mika nodded in agreement, and together they returned to their suite and the Doctor's time capsule.

 

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