A Disaster Unfolds: A Brittle Sea Extract

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image of the titanic sinking

The ship ploughed its way through the dark and still waters of the northern Atlantic, heedless of any danger to itself. Her captain had called for full power and her crew had obliged obediently. In the time before the dawn, all those on board who were awake knew something was amiss. A Cunard Line ship usually made her way calmly and sedately through these waters, especially this time of year where loose icebergs were a danger. But this ship was on a mission, a rescue mission, to save as many souls from certain death as was possible.

Some passengers had been woken by the noise from the ship’s engines and the crew hastening to make ready to take survivors on-board. Some were confused by the determination of the crew and some realised something was amiss. A few, a very few, knew this could only mean a ship was sinking and needed assistance. As the dawn approached people on deck could see icebergs in the distance, some so large that were they to hit one it would doom the ship. But their captain knew his job. Despite only being in command for three months, the captain had ensured his crew were well trained and diligent, as was he himself.

On deck, crew and passengers alike felt the ship slowing and those on look-out were calling out that they had seen something in the dark water. It was a calm sea and so the lookouts had no trouble spotting the first lifeboat. The ship slowed once more and manoeuvred itself toward the lifeboat. Passengers and crew were dismayed at the sight of a lifeboat with so few people in it. It didn’t seem to make any sense. But as time went by, it was apparent that this would be the norm as more lifeboats were spotted and few were full.

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Copyright © Tom Kane 2020

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