The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder, Chapter 44

Thomas Andrews, Managing Director, Harland & Wolff Shipyards
Thomas Andrews, Managing Director, Harland & Wolff Shipyards

Chapter 44

May 1915

Tom watched as George signed off on the final paper turning the Britannic over to White Star Line. She was every bit as beautiful as her sisters had been. George was confident she would perform well. Despite the Titanic tragedy, he said he was looking forward to heading the guarantee group on this voyage. Handing Tom copies of the reports, he raised an eyebrow at his friend. “Sure you don’t want to come along?” he asked, only half joking. “We could use your expertise.”

Tom laughed a little, holding up both hands as if to ward him off. “Now you know my wife would have my head if I left on that ship. Not only that, I honestly don’t want to go.” He reached over to shake George’s hand. “She’s as safe as we can make her, George. The workers are confident, but even more, I think the world is confident about that. No other ship has been watched as closely as this one has been during her construction, yet she’s going off with nearly every berth full.”

“They must think we did something right,” George agreed, “thanks to all the rule changes since the inquiry. Listen, I appreciate you looking in on Susan while I’m gone. I know you and Casey can understand her nervousness.”

“Indeed we do. We’ll have her and the children over as often as they want to come. We’ll keep her occupied.”

The “all ashore!” whistle blew and Tom gathered his papers. “Good voyage, George.”

“Thanks, mate. See you soon.”

Tom walked down the gangway, meeting Ham at the bottom and handing off the reports. Saxon joined them, as they watched the Britannic make her slow way to the river and on to Southampton, before the three of them went back to their duties. Tom sent off a telegram to Lord Pirrie, informing him the ship was off without a hitch.

Back in his office, he pulled out his time travel journal and entered the information, staring thoughtfully at the page as he finished. After a few minutes, he continued writing.

So many changes. Fourteen hundred people that died in another timeline still walk the earth, still building their dreams, because Sam and Casey chose to act. We now have shipping rules in place that reflect both the reality of the ships we build, and the dangers that nature can throw at us. World War I, as Sam and Casey call it, has been vicious, but is already contained. Sam insists the differences there are enormous. Was it because of someone on Titanic who lived instead of died?

Sam’s ‘inventions’ have begun to appear everywhere, even among the poor. His work to harness the sun’s energy is remarkable. I’m going to talk to Uncle Will about using his solar sails in the next ships we build. Sam thinks we’re ready to try that. He says if this is the primary energy source for the world, the changes from his future will be astronomical. He’s convinced it’s a good thing, and I believe him.

We are making real progress in keeping the various factions of Ireland talking to each other. Despite the effort it takes, Sam and I both want to concentrate on bringing our Ireland in this timeline to a peaceful existence, without all the bloodshed that occurred before. There are no guarantees, but ever since that letter, people have been insisting we live together in peace, and they’re voting like they mean it. I suspect we won’t be part of the UK much longer, but once again, Sam has helped with that. Ireland is the world’s technological leader, and we can deal with England from a position of strength, so breaking off will not beggar us. We can make it worthwhile for England, too.

From my point of view, these things are amazing, but I don’t see the future as changed. I am just living, with life going along as it always has, except for outside knowledge from a couple of future time travelers.

Tom smiled slightly, at the joy he always felt when thinking of one particular time traveler. His pen continued to move.

I am willing to just let life be. It’s good this way.