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Titanic fanfic: The Lighter Side of the Story
I know I've already posted this on Fanfiction, but thought I'd leave it here as well.

Legal stuff: The following is a work of fiction, and does not in any way intend to either depict an actual record of events or disparage those mentioned or portrayed. 'Sides, it's a tongue-in-cheek fic anyway.

Chapter One: Straight Outta Chorley

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One would be quite surprised to know how my relatives gave their consent for a young lad such as myself to go seafaring. I merely suggested it as a random bluff, but if not for that I wouldn't be on board the so-called ship of dreams, nor would I be subjected to hearing "Jack!" or "Rose!" every five minutes or so. Most of Britain's youth tend to wind up being in hard labour, ever since the Industrial Revolution kicked in. The teachers at grammar school described me as a handful, and I certainly am, given all what I've gotten myself into over the years.

"I'm Charles Herbert Lightoller, and I want to be a sailor,"

"Go ahead then, and bring yer spinach with ye!" said Aunt sarcastically.

I don't know why, but my sudden aspiration as a seafaring drifter and adrenaline junkie worked. You kids certainly don't know how it felt like to dodge sharks and errant funnels at sea back in the day.

The first stint as an apprentice on board Primrose Hill, was a rather gruelling exercise in servitude. If this isn't hazing for you, I don't know what it is. I was so seasick-wasted on first try, the rations are utter rubbish, and there were so many rats and roaches that it's way too easy to play whack-a-mole on board this pigsty. And did I mention that I was so hungry? Some of the other boys and I decided to sack the pantry and steal biscuits and such, pissing off the cook in the process, but we got away from it, not to mention that our stint in San Francisco landed yours truly in a hearty meal. It was certainly no picnic, but having been to a number of places does add to the credentials.

Neither was being shipwrecked for the first time either. Holt Hill ran aground, and we were marooned in a deserted island. A number of penguins and salmon were consumed in the name of survival, and we were glad another ship picked us up after a few days. No blood-faced volleyballs or sappy lovers in sight so far, let alone Celine Dion.

I initially felt the sea wasn't for me and upon hearing the gold rush in Klondike, I got excited. Five minutes earlier I had no idea of going, but just on the impulse of the moment, I said to myself "I'm off." Again, it was to no avail, as the obligatory acid test meant the nugget was a dud, and I then thought of working as a cowboy. Maybe I could've tried being a sailor and a cowboy at the same time and end up coming up with a nautical rodeo, with whales as bulls or something. As I was strapped for cash I set out to make it back home to England, even if it meant riding the rails and moonlighting in fairground attractions. I was able to earn enough money to Montreal, and I got into a deal where I could get back home in exchange for wrangling cattle on a boat.

Despite a number of episodes of getting broke, shipwrecked and nearly meeting my demise with malaria, somehow my misadventures were worth it as I got the much-coveted Master's Certificate, something an aspiring seafarer would be proud to brag about at the pub. It was due to this that I was able to land a job at the White Star Line, and met my friend William Murdoch.

A/N: The events of the prologue, as you can see here, were largely based on historical fact as you may have noticed. A number of cultural references were made though; see if you guys can guess where I took them from. Wink

The line "Five minutes earlier I had no idea of going…" was also actually taken off Lightoller's memoir Titanic and Other Ships, which was written in the 1930s on the insistence of his wife Sylvia, but was later initially withdrawn due to legal issues with the Marconi Company. You can find a copy of it on Amazon or Project Gutenberg.
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Chapter Two - Full House
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It shouldn't be surprising that my most (in)famous assignment would be watchstanding the so-called Ship of Dreams, the RMS Titanic. She definitely needs no introduction, unless you've been a castaway for years and haven't heard much about her. Now why do people, myself included, address ships as though they're female? Maybe we've grown so much with them that we treat them like a special someone or a part of their lives. And it would be funny for a vessel with a blatantly masculine name to still be addressed with a female pronoun.

Perhaps it is mostly unfortunate for my colleagues and I to be in this ill-fated journey, and to garner controversy immediately and even years after the incident is anything but. Sylvia, my loving wife of whom I had the fortune of meeting on the Australian run and assisting her on board Suevic in 1903, was obviously displeased and shocked at the ordeal I got myself into that night, but she knew I was tough and wouldn't give myself up that easily.

My wife and I were in a train to Southampton just before her maiden voyage, cracking jokes and discussing affairs prior to embarking. I really don't know what happened to the frilly bows thing I mentioned to Sylvia at home, but certainly the scriptwriter has a lot to answer for once this story is finished. My fellow train passenger was certainly annoyed at our wisecracking toilet humour, only for them to go mum when my wife mentioned I am the second officer of the Titanic.

"You'd be more than comfortable taking a crap off the restrooms there, dear," said Sylvia. "Besides, the White Star Line has ensured nothing will be left overlooked when it comes to passenger comfort and luxury,"

"Not to mention the soap they're using too," I replied, chuckling at the hilarity ensuing from our rather off-colour conversation.

"My goodness, is this what we should expect from first-class passengers? Cackling and yapping about something that shouldn't have been mentioned to begin with?"

"I'm not coming with him, unfortunately," Sylvia shot back, "And for your information, my loving husband here is the Second Officer of the RMS Titanic. Johnathan Philips will be playing him in an upcoming film, but I'm sure you know Kevin More. Or less?"

"And 'tis rather unfortunate as we have free taste booths for popular snacks on board," I added. "I've tried yoghurt before, but I somehow got some of it on my coat after foolishly stabbing the fork on the foil,"

"I thought that was some five years ago, Bertie?" Sylvia wondered.

"I don't know," I mused, "I seem to have lost track of time,"

I really don't get why people tend to get so offended these days, even for a slight jab that isn't meant to slander or disparage whatever person, tribe, group or creed. Worse off, they would argue inanely at the most trivial thing they see or hear about, be it the colour of a dress they saw in a women's magazine or why a company named a pair of children's footwear in what some deem to be an inappropriate name; does a name that was previously given to an anthropomorphic pig in a film have a rather poor ring to you?

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, the Titanic. As part of the sea trials in the second of April, roughly a week before her maiden voyage, I was initially assigned as First Officer, with Will as chief mate. Henry Wilde was later made the chief officer, causing Will and I to be ranked lower and David Blair to miss out on the trip. Lucky for him, he didn't have to be subjected to the ordeal; the cruel joke's on us, obviously. He had the keys to the locker containing the binoculars, and it's a big what-if had Fleet and Lee, the lookouts, were able to see the ice better. The trials were the typical test for a new vehicle - run around in circles, full stop, reverse, rinse and repeat. Authorities then deemed her seaworthy, and we were basically ready to go.

We're now at Southampton for the much awaited maiden voyage, after the aforementioned trial Titanic had to face. People of all walks of life came at the Southampton docks, either to stare at how marvellous she is (or was, obviously), or to get on board and travel to New York (well, actually we did stop over at a number of places, namely Cherbourg, Queenstown and Halifax, but somehow Cameron found that moment too boring and felt it wasted so much celluloid, more on that a bit later). A red and gilt motorcar, I think it was a Renault but I could be mistaken as I'm more into boats than being a landlubber, was seen being lifted by a crane and loaded on board, purchased by some chap in France and to be brought to the States so he could hoon it around to his mates. Dozens and dozens of men, women and children line up at the entrance, the first and second class being able to board rather easily while those in third class had to be subject to health inspection for lice, fleas or any infectious disease one could unwittingly carry and spread like a bumbling zombie. Cameron was one of those inspected, but that couldn't be as he is supposed to be the director, aye?

A few minutes later and we see a white motorcar strolling by the docks, pulling over with its occupants leaving the vehicle. Clearly they were of affluent background, with the young woman, who we later know as Rose, clad in a pinstriped dress and making a eloquent remark about the ship. Her fiancé, Caledon Hockley (seriously, this chap's name strikes me odd for some reason, but he's lucky he wasn't named Ebenezer), bragged about the ship being one hundred percent unsinkable in the most sacrilegious way possible. While the ship has been proven to be sinkable, I have to say that early on Cal is totally whackable for being the smug ninny that he is. I wasn't at the pub by then, but word has it that a couple or so lads were having a high-stakes game of poker, with one nutter being bonkers enough to bet their tickets away.

"Someone's life is about to change,"

Sven, Olaf and Jack, the poker players, share death glares at each other, the clock winding down as the pub landlord tells everyone that the ship is about to leave.

"Full house boys! We're going to America!" Jack exclaimed as he cheated, er, won his way to a pair of tickets that didn't even have their names on it.

Sven couldn't help but stare; Olaf was understandably livid and was about to punch Jack, but decided to give Sven a fistful instead. They should consider themselves luckier than Jack and that Italian friend of his, forgot how to pronounce his name but let's just say his accent reminded me of some portly plumber from Brooklyn, only ten percent more annoying than Woody Woodpecker. The two boys then rushed their way through the ship, entering the third-class gateway. James Moody, a good colleague of mine, asked if the two boys have already undergone inspection. "We did," they say, claiming they were devoid of any critters in their hair. And as such, they're in, finding their place somewhere in the third-class decks. Whether they were lucky enough to get on board or not is anyone's guess...

A/N: Took me quite a while to finish this chapter due to my lack of zeal and other commitments, not to mention that I've been doing a number of personal projects as well besides this story. I am still hoping for Lady Lightoller to give the green light on the chapter collab, as yes I do plan on weaving in a flashback chapter which took place on board Suevic when Lights met his future wife. I just needed some ideas on that, being I am honestly not that much into romance stories and such.

The train sequence, as you may have noticed, was more or less based on the scene from A Night to Remember where Lights was introduced. It seems like the producers did their homework when they weaved in Lightoller's sense of humour for a bit of comic relief. The yoghurt ref is also a nod to Lady Lightoller's crack fic A Long Way From Home, as Lights tried to eat yoghurt and made a mess of himself in the process. I actually decided to make Lightoller's remarks towards the offended couple a satirical jab at those easily offended or incensed at inane things, like with the gender controversy C. & J. Clark unwittingly got into for a pair of girls' school shoes of all things. In-story, Lightoller didn't get how people fuss over how said footwear was named, when one could just wear the stuff normally and not be bothered so much by it.
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Such a great read! Thanks for sharing!
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