Gary Mitchell Lifeguard#4 "Goin' Down" by Mackenzie Calhoun
Summary: On a spring night in the year 2261, lifeguard Gary Mitchell and marine biologist Doctor Carol Marcus were amongst guests involved in a disaster of epic proportions in the Golden Gate.
This is their story…

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 photo Goin20Down_zpsaorobzov.jpg
Categories: Original Series, Expanded Universes Characters: April, Robert, Kirk, James T., Marcus, Carol, McCoy, Leonard (Bones), Mitchell, Gary
Genre: Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Drama
Warnings: Adult Language, Adult Situations, Character Death
Challenges: None
Series: Gary Mitchell-Lifeguard
Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes Word count: 14194 Read: 12774 Published: 04 Oct 2015 Updated: 04 Oct 2015
Story Notes:
grateful thanks to LBD

Point Bonita San Francisco Image credit- Rick’s San Francisco Journal: http://sf.blueherontours.com/2010/11/point-bonita-lighthouse.html

Image of capsizing liner: Poseidon Adventure (1972) 20th Century Fox. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yC9u-iKoPXQ/UhWdS_yQxaI/AAAAAAAAARw/vKIB0ibaEwU/s1600/8221338143_b3036213ff_z-1.jpg

1. Prologue by Mackenzie Calhoun

2. Chapter 1 by Mackenzie Calhoun

3. Chapter 2 by Mackenzie Calhoun

4. Chapter 3 by Mackenzie Calhoun

5. Chapter 4 by Mackenzie Calhoun

6. Chapter 5 by Mackenzie Calhoun

7. Chapter 6 by Mackenzie Calhoun

8. Chapter 7 by Mackenzie Calhoun

9. Chapter 8 by Mackenzie Calhoun

Prologue by Mackenzie Calhoun

It might be a concern that these stories even exist. To some I guess they are Star Trek things in a rather old universe, the song titles do not help I imagine or the fact that San Francisco in my mind of 2259 is roughly the same as 2014. The stories are aimless fun with occasional severe undertones. Book Two dealt with suicide, Book Three with families and love and this one breaks the norm in fashion being like the first story a pastiche or tribute to that old story- the disaster movie.

I hope you stick with the series. Stories are sketched in as far as book eight (which is somewhat more than the older BCI series but far less than the decade old Star Trek Raven).

Wimbledon, London, October 2014

 

It’s out of control, and it’s coming your way…

 

Inspired by a childhood of movies where planes crashed into water, buildings burned, ships were sunk by tidal waves and big name actors were thrown in for fun.

 

GARY MITCHELL LIFEGUARD BOOK FOUR

 

“Goin’ Down”

 


“…Coming' up for air
It's pretty stuffy under there
I'd like to say I didn't care
But I forgot to leave a note
And it's so hard to stay afloat
I'm soakin' wet without a boat
And I knew I should have taken off my shoes
It's front page news
Goin' down
Goin' down
…”

Goin’ Down (The Monkees) written by: Davy Jones, Michael Naismith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Diane Hilderbrand

 

 

At 0410 the rogue wave was sighted right ahead. Looming out of the darkness from 220°, it looked as though the ship was heading straight for the white cliffs of Dover.”

Captain R. Warwick of the RMS Queen Elizabeth II relating an incident of September 11, 1995.

 

On a spring night in the year 2261, lifeguard Gary Mitchell and marine biologist Doctor Carol Marcus were amongst guests involved in a disaster of epic proportions in the Golden Gate.

This is their story…

 

PROLOGUE

 

Even in this highly modern age Point Reyes’ Lighthouse (as indeed several others) were still run by the National Park Service. Indeed, many joked that aside from cockroaches the NPS was the only

form known to survive an apocalypse. Eugenics War, World War III and Romulan War, it had survived them all. Here it existed to protect the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Ralf Adaire sat in the Point Reyes Lighthouse’s main room which had long ago been upgraded. Owing to its position on the approach into San Francisco, the lighthouse was responsible for storm tracking, tidal monitoring and the like.

He saw that there were higher than usual tidal surges pressing up into nearby Drake’s Bay as well down towards the Golden Gate. He activated tidal warnings for the San Francisco and Bay Area as well as further north to Bodega and the Doran Regional Park. Casting a look at his monitors he noticed two storms out west in the Pacific itself. Ralf accessed the orbiting Starfleet satellites to analyse the storms. Even in this modern age weather was as much unpredictable as it was centuries ago.

“Wouldn’t want to be out under that,” Adaire said to himself whilst seeing how big the waves were getting. The storms individually were not all that big but they were moving close together. He tapped instructions on his computer to record the data and copy out to the meteorological control room in Seattle. He then got up to leave and head back to San Francisco. It was the end of a working day and he had friends in Starfleet to meet.

Out west the two storm-fronts started to merge and move east.

On a direct line to San Francisco.

 

Chapter 1 by Mackenzie Calhoun

ONE

National Aquatic Park, San Francisco

 

For the thousandth time Gary Mitchell wondered why he had allowed himself to be invited onto a twentieth century ocean liner for some night-time shindig.

Then he reminded himself it was because he told James Kirk that he would keep an eye on Carol Marcus whilst Kirk prepared for his first shipboard assignment aboard the USS Constitution. As Kirk was like a brother, Gary would do this and more for his friend. This is why he had turned up a little after nine o’clock at the Aquatic Park. The park was nestled amongst the waterfront at Fisherman’s Wharf (still a tourist area) bracketed by two piers that extended out to form a sort of pincer into what was known as Aquatic Park Lagoon. At the base of the lagoon was the long standing National Maritime Museum which he was familiar with over the years in his capacity as a lifeguard. The park had been home to historic ships for centuries but some of these had moved north to Richmond. It did retain the 1940s ship Jeremiah O’Brien, a few yachts and this, the RMS Queen Victoria.

“You look something else tonight,” Gary said as he saw Carol Marcus on the starboard promenade deck. She wore a black cocktail dress with her long blonde hair over her shoulders. She hugged Mitchell and looked at him.

“I had no idea you owned a suit.”

“Funny girl. Motherhood agrees with you.”

They had long since been like this from when they first met four years ago. What had helped Mitchell was that he had gradually changed. They both turned to look from the deck back to San Francisco. There were a few others about with more arriving –as the two here had- by boat from Hyde Pier.

“You must be proud,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you did help get this ship to where she is today.”

“Not really. Considering this tub was launched in 1935 I had nothing much to do with it.”

The Queen Victoria was the lesser known sister of the Queen Mary and like that ship had run the Atlantic route in the 1930s to 50s with a period in between as a troopship in World War II. Spending much of the time from the 1990s as a rusting hulk in backwaters in Bremerton near the US Navy’s Reserve Fleet she was eventually rescued and preserved. The preservation was hindered by World War III and eventual lack of interest but by 2250 she was here in San Francisco (specifically Fort Mason at Fisherman’s Wharf) and back to her ancient glory. Possessing three stacks she was still a beautiful vessel. Gary had merely promoted her, helped get funding from off planet and keep her going. Tonight was the culmination of that, a little jaunt out into the Pacific near the coast.

“I wish Jim was here,” Carol said quietly.

“I know.” Mitchell didn’t know what he could say on the matter. Carol had made her peace with Kirk joining Starfleet and eventually leaving Earth for a posting but Mitchell knew she was sad as well. Little David wouldn’t quite know his father as closely as Carol liked. He took her by the elbow. “Come on, we should see the skipper before she takes this tub out.”

Captain Rebecca Albright was a flame-haired woman of forty-four who used to be in the United Earth Navy until retiring to focus more on her work with the National Marine Agency which included the refit of the Queen. With a slight drawl she greeted Gary in the promenade gymnasium which was doubling as a reception area for the guests.

“Gary, great to see you!”

He blushed as she kissed him then tried introducing Carol but Albright was ahead of him, taking a surprised Carol’s hand: “Doctor Marcus, a real honour to meet you. Big fan of your work.”

“Really?”

“Your piece on the porpoises that come into the Bay was remarkable.”

Carol took her turn to blush. “Well, it was nothing. Ever since the last big quake we’ve had more than we should…”

Mitchell tuned out. The foghorn sounded on the old liner, her decks began to reverberate to the power of her engines. The Aquatic Park began to move away as the ship motored to port. There was a shout as lightning flickered across the sky, forking in two directions.

“They said there’d be a storm, bit rough at first but we’ll be fine,” Albright assured Carol then nodded at Mitchell. “I best be on the bridge.”

After she left Gary and Carol made their way down to the dining room. A spacious affair as befitting a Cunard liner there were tables for the hundred or so guests that filed in, some wearing Starfleet uniforms. A band played classic tunes from the 1930s which sounded strange to many though Mitchell preferred it to some of the dross that came out of Alpha Centauri right now.

“Such work for such a thing,” Carol remarked as they took a seat at a table near a bronze statue of Queen Victoria herself. “Four hundred years old and we feel the need to preserve it.”

“We still have the Constitution in Boston, that’s six hundred years and there’s the Victory in England –that’s about the same…we preserve to remember. We still have Archer’s Enterprise. One day we’ll have Jim’s Constitution.”

“Floating in San Francisco Bay?” she said with a grin.

“You never know. Budget cuts and all.” Gary caught the eye of an attending waiter. “Two Andorian spring waters, please.”

The waiter moved off as the ship started to rock.

 

**

 

Albright stood with legs slightly apart behind the helmsman at the old fashioned wooden wheel. The Queen Victoria had shrugged off her escorting skiff to proceed on her own. Away from the Aquatic Park she encountered noticeable swells in the Bay on a direct line between Alcatraz and the bridge. Even in the darkness the waves could be seen with their frothing white crests that rolled in under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Bay.

“Report from Point Reyes says there’s mounting swells of at least ten feet,” the first mate said, handing over a printout. She took it with surprise.

“This storm is bigger than we thought,” she said just as thunder boomed across the heavens. It sounded so loudly that many in the city thought it was a starship crashing to Earth. Albright looked up as lightning struck, casting the Headlands in stark relief. “Make your speed twenty knots.”

“In the Bay, sir?” said the first mate, eyebrows lifted.

“We need to get through this swell. Out in the ocean we’ll be fine.”

There was a slight pause before the Queen’s engines increased and she pushed against the increasing swell. Reports from Seattle’s meteorological centre showed that the storm was massive, being formed from two small stormfronts that had moved in on the Golden Gate from out at Point Reyes. This was what some would have called a superstorm. Passing under the Golden Gate Bridge with room to spare the old liner began to roll. Not too much at first but then ten degree tilts to either side swaying in the swells like a drunken boxer.

“Slow to fifteen. Have we enough ballast?”

“Ballast was full when we left the park,” the first officer replied holding on with one hand to a stanchion pole, his eyes on the sea ahead of them. There was a blinking light off to starboard by a few miles –Point Bonita’s lighthouse.

“We’re almost out of the Gate.” Albright pushed her way across the deck and accessed the intraship system: “Attention ladies and gentlemen: we are encountering a strong storm system at present, hence the rolling. Half an hour and we should be out of it as I steer the liner into the Pacific. Try not to move around if you can and if you do make sure you’re holding onto something.” She flicked the switch off and looked to her first officer: “Uncover the lifeboats and close all watertight doors.”

It was such a random order in this day and age of automation and so he looked at her a moment then nodded, it was only a precaution. “Yes sir.”

As he left Albright called out: “Port ten!”

A wave of some size, perhaps about twenty feet, crashed across the raised bow washing over the fo’csle, followed by the Queen dipping her bow into another. It was fairly unusual in the shallow Bay to get such waves but it wasn’t unheard of, particularly around the Golden Gate Bridge where the sea effectively met the Bay.

“God it’s getting worse,” muttered Albright as she watched the mounting waves. Now she started to question her decision to proceed. 

 

**

 

The Point Reyes station was not left alone long after Adair had left for the night. A long-legged Martian named Kiefer R’gal arrived a little while after that. Tired from his anthropology studies at the Science Academy’s Washington State campus he slumped into his seat before the bank of monitors and went about pouring coffee from his flask. He moonlighted here whilst studying and one day hoped to join a science vessel. He started when the monitor showing the digital map of the Bay Area suddenly was framed by red accompanied by a klaxon wailing. Coffee still pouring into the flask lid, R’gal stared open mouthed as the words ‘STORM FORCE’ flashed up repeatedly on all monitors followed by the computer’s mechanical drone of a voice:

Warning: Tsunami alert San Francisco. Warning: Tsunami alert San Francisco. Alerting relevant authorities…

The coffee splashed ver the cup onto the floor. R’gal dropped the flask and lunged for an intercom switch. He had to warn people.

Unfortunately Kiefer R’gal had been oblivious to the Queen Victoria’s maiden voyage or indeed the dot signifying her presence in the Golden Gate and thus, for some, the warning would come too late.

 

**

 

Carol shook her head as Mitchell shovelled some ice cream into his mouth. “How can you eat when the deck is pitching?”

“I am an animal of the seas.”

“You certainly eat like one.”

“What about you? You’re a marine biologist?”

She looked down at her plate of spiced eel. “Somehow I’m not hungry.”

There was another boom as a wave crashing down the side combined with thunder overhead. “Quite the party,” Mitchell said, wiping his lips with a napkin. There were a few pale faces about. His chair began to inch its way to the left of the table as the deck tilted once more to port. He reached out to grip the table’s edge.

“Swell party.”

“That’s not funny!” Carol grabbed her glass of water before it went over the edge. As the deck levelled she took a healthy gulp of the drink. “Somehow I don’t think this is going to be a good party.”

“You’re in quite the mood tonight.”

“I miss Jim,” she said sharply, giving him a look. “He’s going to be off-planet in a few days and I’m here with you!”

“Hey, I thought you’d want cheering up and I had no one to go with!” shouted Gary. He lowered his voice as he saw people looking. “Are you upset about him being in Starfleet…?”

“You’re an idiot,” she snapped. “Yes, I’m upset but we made our peace about that years ago. I can’t stop it but I can’t stop the idea of missing him. He won’t be there for David. Not for a while. David needs a father.”

When David was born Jim asked Gary to be the boy’s godfather. Some might consider it an archaic title or even duty but Mitchell took it quite to heart. David might be four but he had in Mitchell a father-like figure – someone to whom he could go if he needed advice or help or anything.

“He has one and he’ll have one for a while yet.” Mitchell managed a smile as the deck went the other way. “He’ll have the best parents a boy could wish for.”

“Thank you, Gary.” Carol pushed her plate to one side. “I’m still not hungry though.”

As the deck took another dip, Gary felt he wasn’t hungry either.

 

**

 

The Queen Victoria was still edging her way out into the ocean. She remained within the reaches of the Golden Gate assailed by a near constant stream of storm waves. Brilliantly lit, the liner cut an impressive sight.

“We’re feeling the depth now,” said Albright, referring to the three-hundred and sixty feet below the keel that the liner now enjoyed. She was at the rear of the bridge watching the monitor on the wall with her first officer who had made quick work of his task. The Queen possessed a great deal of 23rd Century technology including this monitor screen that showed weather/tide/sonar etc. details. The Bay in its north and south was between 13 and 15 feet deep with 43 in the centre (around Alcatraz area). “Keep the bow straight. We need to get out of the Gate.”

“It’s tough, sir,” said the second officer who was wearing an old engineer’s overall. “The engines are finding it stressful. Like we’re butting our noses against glass.”

The engines in question were not the ship’s original four Parsons steam turbines but two fully functioning replicas of Rolls Royce azimuth thruster pods as the kind that powered the successor to the Victoria, the Queen Mary 2 and her own sisters in the 21st Century. As such the ship had a different method of propulsion and steering than she had when launched in 1935.

“We just keep going. Some way to start the party.”

The idea of the night of celebration was to steam out into the Pacific and proceed – north up to Bodega Bay, maybe a little further north and then return in a leisurely circular route, the jaunt meant to showcase the culmination of a long project.

Albright went back to the front of the bridge adjusting her footing for every tilt, for every wave that came in. Soon the waves started to grow in size, upwards of thirty feet slapping upon the liner. Alarms were sounding on the bridge for every wave that came in over thirty feet and there was a lot now. The Queen was like a toy boat in a bath with someone slapping the other end. Her four propellers drove her on but with little headway. The waves got bigger in a matter of minutes. It had now been half an hour since the Queen had passed under the bridge.

“I think we need to get in touch with the monitoring station at Point Reyes,” she said loudly to be heard over the tumultuous sounds. She cursed herself for not doing it sooner.

Albright staggered to the port bridge wing and was soon lashed by the spray and rain. Thunder sounded with a terrific roar followed by lightning that lit up the heavens. Like the flash of a camera it stayed vivid in the eye for a while longer.

Long enough for her to see a monumental wave sweeping up the channel. It filled the channel from side to side and seemed, to Albright’s stunned mind, make a roaring sound. She ran into the bridge to the monitor. The radar swept forwards and showed a blurred green shape denoting something big. Big enough to fill the Gate’s width and fast enough to prompt concern. My God, the speed, Albright thought.

“Sound collision!”

There was no questioning her orders as she turned back to the bridge wing. Within seconds a fresh alarm began to whoop. Below decks crew, wherever they were, either braced for impact or went to assist passengers. In the dining room the Starfleet personnel amongst the guests went into automatic and started shouting for people to find something to hold onto.

She saw the wave now even in the darkness fringed by lightning that seemed almost constant now as if it was helping the wave on. The Golden Gate was wide but not wide enough. The wave drew on closer to the plunging bow of the liner. At its edges the wave was tearing up along the shoreline of the Gate. It filled the Gate appearing straight as a tower block and soon would start to crest and descend. The wave was filled with frothing whiteness that seemed as fierce as the lightning above.

“Port twenty!” she called into the bridge, hands cupped to her mouth. Try to broach the wave but if she could, beach the liner on San Francisco. The liner started to drag her bow to the left with her foghorn sounding balefully in the darkness. “Come on, come on!” she willed the ancient liner. No one’s ever going to believe this, she thought. The deck dipped now to starboard as the liner turned to port.

The wave towered over them, coming in on the bow and starting to plunge down towards the ship. It seemed to groan and wail with the sound of an ancient mystical beast. It must be well over ninety feet, the captain considered. She knew then they were doomed. They had to be with something…

“Oh my God,” she whispered then threw an arm up as if that would be enough to stop this.

The wave surged into the Queen Victoria driving down her entire beam from bow to stern. The foremast snapped like a twig, lifeboats were smashed to matchwood and knocked from the davits; the first funnel broke clear as its supporting wires snapped as the wave came in over the liner. Bravely the Queen tried to hold on. The wave surged over the turning hull. She just could not handle Mother Nature’s awesome slap. The wave pummelled the exposed starboard side, shattering some portholes as well as finishing off what lifeboats hadn’t been destroyed or torn loose in the initial impact. The liner held on for a moment with its port side touching, trying to stay upright for all of its worth, then it went under. The port side kept going until the liner was totally upside down. The main lights flickered and went out; internal explosions from inside the engine room shook her.

Above, the wave pushed on under the Golden Gate Bridge with such turbulence it made the roadway swing slightly before spending itself upon the shorelines at Sausalito, Tiburon, Alcatraz, Presidio and Alameda Island. Combined casualties were fifty killed, ten lost (believed drowned) and hundreds injured. It could’ve been much worse. The wave could have spent itself across the peninsula filling some of the streets in the north or it could’ve vanquished against Starfleet Academy at Sausalito but it had not.

Meanwhile, the Queen Victoria lay beam-on to the Golden Gate, her propellers still spinning surrounded by a debris field amidst diminishing waves.

 

Chapter 2 by Mackenzie Calhoun

TWO

RMS Queen Victoria, the Golden Gate

 

“Gary!”

“Hold on!” Mitchell shouted as the deck started to roll to the left away from them. Everyone in the dining room began to shout, scream or show various signs of panic. Not quite everyone, Starfleet seemed on their feet. Mitchell stood as his chair rolled from under him and hooked an arm around Carol’s waist whilst trying to hold onto the table’s edge with his left hand. He pushed into the deck, his knees pointing as if he was trying to both climb but also hold the deck down. It was a fantastical sensation to feel the deck go from beneath and run perpendicular to one. Chairs, crockery and other loose fitting items crashed down the length of the dining room. People too started to fly as the deck went perpendicular. Carol wrapped her arms around Gary as he lunged for the base of the table. Getting his arms around it he held on for dear life and willed Carol to hold onto him.

“What’s happening?!” she shouted.

“We’re going over! I would’ve thought that was obvious.”

“But why?!”

“Damned if I know.” He winced as he saw someone somersault down the hall. He gritted his teeth as the roll continued unabated, as the ship screamed in protest at this assault upon its hull.

The deck continued its hellish journey over, enabling Gary to swing Carol onto the bottom of the table where he joined her. The two of them on their hands and knees like children at a party. He watched as a woman fell from a table to what was now the floor shattering a light fixture. He hid Carol’s face against him as more people fell. My God, what the Hell’s going on?

Silence descended after the rolling stopped or at least everyone assumed it had stopped. The ship continued to rock from side to side in great slow movements like a dinghy in a slight swell. The lights went off then came on, dimmer and sparse enough to leave shadows. He looked down and glanced at Carol as she lifted her head.

“Carol? Okay?”

“Yeah, are we over?”

“Right over,” he said grimly and peered over the side. “Anyone down there?”

There was silence but for moans. He could see people moving but also a fair amount were eerily still. A fire had started in one corner, puffing and flickering minutely. The ship gave a groan as far off a muffled boom sounded.

“Engines going,” he said to himself. “Look, I’m going to try and get us down.”

How was the question. Thank God the tables were bolted to the deck. Gary shifted forward an inch on his knees and looked down. “Hey!”

“Who’s up there?” a voice floated from the semi-darkness.

Mitchell grunted: “Gary Mitchell, I’m with Doctor Carol Marcus.”

“We’ll try to get you down Mitchell. Wait a minute.”

“We’re not going anywhere.” Mitchell looked at Carol who managed a smile. “Sure you’re alright?”

“Little bruised but I’m fine,” she replied.

“Mitchell!” the voice from below returned. “We have a tablecloth. If you jump we’ll get you.”

Gary looked over the edge, seeing a dozen people holding a large cloth between them. “You go first, Carol.”

“Now is not the time for chivalry.”

He gave her a nudge and pointed. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Carol sighed. Crawling to the very edge she gathered the hem of her dress in her hands and then simply rolled forward. The drop was short and she was caught on the cloth with no problem. After she got off Gary followed. Slightly heavier, he hit the deck with his right foot as the cloth almost broke. As he straightened he quickly took Carol to him, shielding her from the sight that he had just seen. Away to their left was a field of debris amongst which lay some of the passengers. None of them were moving and none of them were likely to move again. She forced herself from him.

“I saw them, Gary.”

Mitchell glanced around at the men who had held the cloth. They were now standing in a loose clump. All Starfleet. Mitchell’s eyes zeroed in on one with commander braids. “Well, chief, I guess you’re in charge.”

“How do you make that out?” the man’s voice was hard and unflinching. He wore the gold of command.

“Just a hunch.” Mitchell kept looking around seeing that there were maybe a hundred of them down here with many sat at the rear of the upturned dining room in huddled crowds. There were a few dead though and it was making Mitchell angry. I hate death, I hate the idea of death and I hate the fact I can’t stop it, he thought. “Commander, I’m Gary Mitchell this is Doctor Carol Marcus…”

“A doctor? You can help some of our wounded…”

“Not so fast,” Carol said with a faint smile, “I’m a marine biologist.”

“Oh.” The commander seemed at a loss before regaining his composure. He looked about and drew himself up. “I guess I’m in charge…”

Mitchell snorted but kept silent. It struck him as amusing that this Starfleet man would place himself in charge. Of what? A group of people that were shellshocked and some dead.

“…and the obvious answer is to get out of here. The way is up. We’ve capsized.”

“What if the boat is sinking?” a woman who was wearing a cocktail dress similar to Carol’s asked. People were starting to gather around them now. “We did go over, sir.”

“And this tub has three funnels,” Gary pointed out. “We’re underwater where we are now and need to aim for the keel if we’re to make it. There are air pockets otherwise we’d be dead but these pockets…”

“You sound like an expert,” the commander said almost accusingly.

“I work with water and I know what I’m talking about,” Mitchell said hotly and definitely accusatory to the commander. “Time’s against us. Fair to assume the captain’s dead…”

“We don’t know that!” someone else said.

“We’re over on our top,” Carol said firmly. “The bridge is under with us.”

Mitchell took a look about, noting that the exits to the dining room now sat about twenty feet up on the walls. “We need to get to one of these exits. Any of the crew here?”

No one ventured forth, leading him to assume that the waiters and so forth had made it out when the call came to prepare for collision. His cry though found someone from above.

“Sir, sir!” All eyes swept to the rightmost exit where a young man in an old-fashioned waiter uniform stood pale-faced. “I’m crew, I was bracing for impact…”

“What’s your name?” Gary called.

“Miles, sir. Michael Miles. Wouldn’t believe that I was working part-time during the holidays would you?”

Mitchell grinned and gestured. “We get up to him. Miles, we need some help. Can you find a fire hose or something that we can use to lever people up to you?”

“Now hold on a minute,” the commander said hotly. He got up close to Mitchell. Slightly taller and wider he was quite imposing, even to Mitchell. “Who put you in charge?”

“Sorry, chief, but I’m not waiting for your pinstripes to do the talking. We need to get out, so let’s get out.”

The commander’s reply was cut off by Miles swiftly returning with a fire hose that he threw down. The beige line extended all the way down until it thudded where Miles called: “Sorry, sir, the line is as far as it would go.”

“Hold onto it where you are,” Mitchell turned to the commander. “What’s your name, so I know?”

“Nielsen.”

“Well, Nielsen, let’s get going.”

As they walked over marshalling people along the way there came a loud rumbling sound. It built from below before coming close by, shaking the room violently. There were shrieks and screams, people scattered as plaster fell from the floor/ceiling like snow. Mitchell grabbed Carol and held her close, covering her head. This all lasted a few seconds but felt like an eternity. When it was over there was dead silence, replaced by sobbing. Mitchell let Carol go.

“Okay?”

“Yeah, what was that?”

“Boilers,” he said. Remembering his time on the Queen Victoria project he added. “They must have gotten loose when she went over. That and we had fuel in the funnels still.” Mitchell cast a look up and saw Miles sticking his head out of the doors. “Still there Miles?”

“Aye, sir.”

The boy’s friendly voice made Mitchell grin again. It sounded like Miles was one of these from Berkeley or San Francisco’s Jonathan Archer Galactic University, who worked part-time whilst studying. The Aquatic Park employed a fair few and all were quite passionate people.

“Let’s go,” repeated Mitchell from earlier and wrapped the end of the hose around Carol’s waist, employing the nozzle as a fastener. “Close your eyes and think of England.”

She laughed, more from nerves than humour. Putting her feet on the wall and with Miles’ help from above, she began to abseil up. Nielsen stood by Mitchell. “This’ll take forever and I don’t think we have forever.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think we’re going to get flooded soon. Feel the deck.”

Mitchell felt the deck below his feet; it was feeling more loose than before. As if the ship was swaying on the current. Also he could hear the deck creaking.

“It won’t take long.” Mitchell felt worried for the first time since this had happened. This was a man who had faced down sharks, suicides and the rest. Somehow a capsizing antique hadn’t fazed him much.

Between the pair and with Carol’s help, they got more survivors up top in a few minutes. With a handful to go the far side of the dining room gave in. The 1930s décor caved in under the weight of gallons of sea-water that poured in unbidden and uncontrolled. Mitchell put a hand out as people panicked.

“Hold on! Hold on!”

The water hit them hard, it was also cold and Gary felt his breath go from him as he fell over. Above he heard Carol shouting his name. Nielsen helped him up. People were fighting over the fire hose as the water piled higher and higher.

“Go!” Mitchell shouted up to the survivors. “Go!”

Mitchell went to the wall a few feet away and climbed atop one of the light fixtures. The bulb shattered under his shoes but he was able to lever himself to grab at a wooden shelf. He did not see Nielsen shimmy up the fire hose or some of the people below vanish under the cold water. Grasping the shelf Mitchell hauled himself up where he was now parallel to the door. He felt a hand grasp his arm and he swung himself over to where he landed in a heap. As he did this Nielsen tumbled through. Mitchell got up, shivering, and went to the door.

“We need to get the others.”

“There’s no chance,” Nielsen said. “The water’s rising. We need to get out of here.”

Mitchell went to the door in spite of the Starfleet man and saw a few people still trying to scramble up the rope but the force of the water was too much. He heard their screams as they fell back and then the rope followed. He saw the bodies of those who had died earlier bob around like macabre corks.

“Come on, Gary,” Carol’s voice was soft and gentle in spite of the impending doom. He stared down at the water feeling sick.

He closed the doors on the scene and turned to look at Nielsen. Without saying anything he walked past the Starfleet man and went up to Miles. He counted on his way about forty others. In all, at least sixty had died.

“Miles, do you know the way around this ship?”

“To a point, sir.”

“Well, I know some of it but upside down my head’s a bit messed.” Mitchell forced a smile to make the steward at ease.

“We can head this way.” Miles pointed down the upturned corridor. “Down…I mean, up some stairs to the galley and through there. As long as we head up we should be alright.”

“Should.” Behind them water started seeping through the doors. “Let’s get the Hell out of here.”

 

Chapter 3 by Mackenzie Calhoun

THREE

Starfleet Command, Presidio, San Francisco

 

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) James T. Kirk pushed his way against the tide of people at the entrance to Starfleet Command’s ‘bridge’. Essentially it was the control room with large wall monitors displaying either maps of the area or live footage from around the Bay. He spied the man he was looking for standing at a centrally-based console. Clad in his grey landing party jacket over gold tunic, Kirk stood to one side.

“Power remains out in Alameda, Oakland, Richmond and Point Reyes,” said a commander, sweeping a hand over the console. “The storm is the worst we’ve had in some time, Admiral.”

“I gathered as much.” Green eyes twinkled with mirth and then found Kirk. “James, glad you could make it.”

Kirk moved over. “I only got your message a few minutes ago, sir.”

Admiral Robert April nodded curtly. “We’re experiencing communication problems. Late 23rd Century and we still are at Mother Nature’s beck and call. I’m afraid it wasn’t a social call.”

At April’s words, the commander who had spoken before pressed a button. A large area map of San Francisco and the Bay Area was replaced by a close-up of the Golden Gate with the bridge forming a right-hand bracket. A red dot was blinking in the middle of the Gate.

“James, the Queen Victoria was on her way out into the ocean for her celebratory jaunt when she was capsized. You know about this ship, I understand?”

Kirk swallowed hard and fought to keep his voice level. “She’s a 1930s liner that was restored for preservation by the Aquatic Park, sir. My friend Gary Mitchell and…my…my girlfriend Carol Marcus are on her.”

A separate screen came on next to the map showing initially darkness then lightning lit the scene. What it revealed was the foreboding: Marin Headlands in silhouette as well as a red-bottomed hull with large bronze propellers spinning.

“That’s the ship now. Looking at our logs it seems the ship was hit by a monster wave that went on to take out some of the waterfront. About an hour ago. We’re trying to get rescue craft out there but the storm has hindered operations. There is an additional problem – the ship is being brought in on the current and could hit the San Francisco Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Kirk nodded with understanding. The bridge had two towers – the Marin (North) Tower and the San Francisco (South) Tower. The North Tower was up against the shoreline more or less at the Marin end but the South Tower was more isolated, almost in the middle of the Gate. It certainly would get in the way of anything coming into or out of the Bay.

“The current is fast,” April continued, “but we should have time to get people out. If anyone made it.”

“Haven’t we scanned the hull?” Kirk asked.

“We can’t. The storm is affecting our scanners, there’s ionisation over the Bay and everything’s gone to pot.” The former commander of the Enterprise rubbed his chin thoughtfully. A flash of lightning lit up the already-bright room, casting everyone in stark relief before fading. Kirk saw that outside there were few lights on the Bay. He pictured that upturned antique liner and Carol inside.

“Sir, we can get in to find out and soon.”

“I know, James, that’s why you’re joining the search party. A team is assembling under Commander Mallory down at the dockside.”

Kirk frowned. “Dockside?”

April smiled a little. “Transporters are out so we need to get there the old fashioned way. Good luck, Mr. Kirk.”

Kirk made his way down to the Presidio dockside that was little more than a cement jetty that had extended out from the Presidio for a fair few decades albeit widened in recent times. The pontoon was lashed by rain and errant waves that crashed against it without mercy. On the pontoon Kirk joined a group of about a dozen men and women in Starfleet jackets, some carried backpacks, all carried wrist-lights and Type II phasers. Kirk found Mallory; it wasn’t too difficult for not only was Mallory about six foot five but he was one of Kirk’s tutors at the Academy. Seeing Kirk, Mallory’s handsome features creased into a smile.

“Lieutenant, glad you could come.”

There was no sarcasm there so he must have been genuinely pleased, Kirk thought. Mallory handed him a phaser. “You never know.” He cupped his hands shouting: “into the skiff!”

The skiff was a pleasure craft used to ferry tourists around the Bay or to Alcatraz and back. Big enough for three times the number it was to carry tonight; the craft had a sloped front with separate bridge on top of the passenger level. Once all the Starfleet personnel were aboard it pushed off and started to move against the waves into the Gate. Kirk stood by the rear of the boat holding onto its left railing. His face was wet with the rain and spray that continued unabated.

“Like a scene from Hell, isn’t it?”

Kirk forced himself to look to his right where a figure in blue stood legs apart braced against the swell. “Doctor McCoy?”

“The very same.” McCoy’s Southern accent came through strongly in spite of the thunder. He did not seem to mind the pitching of the boat which was increasing as it battered through the waves. It was at full speed as evidenced by the thick white wake behind it. Kirk had seen McCoy on and off over the years but this was his first proper meeting in a while.

The bridge passed overhead, a dark leviathan in the gloom that the storm had wrought. Kirk saw flickers of light from the pedestrian level which could have been anything. Then they were out in the Gate.

“This could be a real short trip,” McCoy shouted. “No telling how fast that boat will sink.”

“Ship,” corrected Kirk, wincing as water splashed up over the deck. A short while later Mallory had the crew assemble down by the rear where Kirk and McCoy were as the ferry approached the Queen Victoria.

“Look at that,” McCoy said to Kirk as the ferry manoeuvred into a position to try and moor. The Queen Victoria loomed alongside them by a hundred metres but close enough to appear as an iron beached whale. Strong beams of light started to probe her upturned hull from the Headlands to help the landing party. It was clear even from here that the liner was moving on the current. That she was not stationary, held in place perhaps by a masthead or stack.

“Listen up!” called Mallory, his group spread around him so they could hear, all somehow keeping their footing. “We’re going to try and get in close to the propellers. The hull is thinnest there. On your tricorders you all have a schematic and details on the ship. Near as we can tell, it’s gradually sinking but it’s hard to say what will happen first- the sinking or her being dashed against the bridge. Time is against us.  No risks will be taken. As soon as I give the word make your way to the exit point as quickly as you can. Hopefully the transporters will be fixed soon. There’s no telling what we’ll find. Get ready.”

McCoy leaned close to Kirk so he didn’t have to shout. “This is a damned suicide mission. We could get trapped in there.”

“You’ve got a better idea, now’s the time.”

McCoy made a face. The ferry drifted close to the liner then Mallory and two others leapt across carrying ropes that trailed behind them as they climbed the slope of the keel. They tied the ropes through a kink left in the tail-end (now top) of the rudder before signalling the others to follow. Kirk was last and found the climb tricky. The ship was pitching, not as dramatically as the ferry, but noticeably. Also, the keel was slick with sea-water and bits of flotsam that had come over with the ship as it capsized. On top he balanced himself looking down the full length of the ship. Hard to imagine that a superstructure lay beneath them.

Mallory cupped his hands to his mouth as the deck moved under their feet. So damn slippery, Kirk thought, that it was a wonder the landing party had not been tipped into the Bay.

“In your teams, make incisions into the hull along the beam. Break up and move! Bring the survivors to the nearest blow-hole that has been made and we’ll save up some energy in the meantime,” after a pause he added, “break up I said, you look like a damn cadet review!”

So the landing party broke into their teams with Kirk and McCoy slipping down towards the rudder to where they drew phasers. Setting their weapons to the highest setting, Kirk and McCoy began to carve out a big enough manhole for the pair of them to get through. Along the upturned hull the night was interrupted by similar flickering of phaser beams. When the hole gave way with a clank of metal, Kirk peered in. Without hesitation he leapt in and landed on a deck. Or maybe it was the roof –this was going to take some getting used to. Kirk activated his wrist-light and turned his head upwards.

 “Come on Doc, let’s go.”

McCoy looked down. “I’m a doctor, not a mountain climber damn-it.”

“You’ll be dead if you don’t get in, that hull’s slippery and the storm can cause another wave. Come on!”

At that the doctor leapt into the hole landing on Kirk who had tried to cushion his fall with arms outstretched. Grumbling the pair disentangled themselves. McCoy turned on his wrist-light and caught Kirk’s bemused expression.

“Thanks, Jim.”

“You owe me a new uniform.”

“When we get home.”

Carefully and with the deck creaking beneath their feet the pair moved off into the bowels of the doomed ocean liner.

 

Chapter 4 by Mackenzie Calhoun

FOUR

 

C Deck, RMS Queen Victoria

 

The survivors moved cautiously through the galley that sat behind the doomed dining room and consequently, just above the rising water. Mitchell did not lead this time, instead it was Nielsen. It was unbearably hot. Several small fires dotted around where the upturned cookers had been. The ship retained or had retained its old style galley with only one replicator as an emergency backup. Mitchell saw the burnt bodies along the way. Must have been a few, maybe a dozen, people working in here when the ship went over. Scalded to death…

“Gary?” Carol asked at the rear of the line in front of him. He took her outstretched hand and stood alongside her. Nearby a man lay against a pillar, half his face burnt away to reveal a gory mess of blood and bone.

“I’m here, keep going.”

Once out of this scene of Hell they paused. Smoke filled the air from the galley and many were starting to cough. The deck was continuing to sway with increasing notice. “Stairs at the end of the corridor,” said Miles to Nielsen as the group huddled. “And a lift shaft.”

“You have lifts on this tub?” someone asked.

“It was built in the 1930s not the 1830s,” muttered Mitchell. “We need to hurry, Commander, the heat is getting…”

There was no time of course when it happened. Behind them there was a slight rumble then an explosion of flame that shot across the corridor, piling into the opposite wall like a hydra released from the depths. The group was bowled over by the force of the explosion and some panicked. A couple of people ran into the flames and were incinerated by the sheer heat of it. Mitchell rolled atop Carol, burying his face in the nape of her neck and willing her to be protected by his body as the flames shot overhead. There were screams and shrieks followed by the deck lurching to port. Water started to seep from the galley into the corridor but not in any huge quantity. Gary helped Carol up, seeing that some would not be standing. He shielded her from the fresh horror and pushed her ahead of him. Nielsen and Miles were alright albeit a little sooty. Thirty or so others moved up the corridor after Nielsen who was talking:

“Hurry, come on, hurry.”

Behind them the fire remained and was starting to grow. Slowly but surely it moved up the corridor after them. They reached the lift shaft which naturally enough was upside down. The bronze doors were halfway open revealing a darkened shaft. Between them, a few of the men had the doors fully open. Mitchell and Nielsen stuck their heads inside. Looking down Mitchell could just make out the dark swirl of water tinged with oil and flotsam, looking up he made out a faint light.

“HELLO!” he cried.

“HELLO!” added Nielsen.

Their voices echoed away into the heavens.

“We have to hurry,” Mitchell said, leaning back into the corridor. “The fire is still going.”

“And heading our way.” Carol swallowed hard. She thought of little David back at home. Why did I come out?

You weren’t to know the damn ship would go over.

Mitchell nodded to Nielsen. “You go first, Commander. I’ll ferry people up.”

Nielsen said nothing. Moving into the shaft he swung to his right onto a ladder and began to climb. After a minute or two his voice floated down:

“Send them up, Mitchell, I’ve found a door that’s open!”

Mitchell did so, helping the women onto the ladder. As he reached the last few, the fire started to sweep down the corridor towards them. For whatever reason, the water had stopped its ascension.

“MOVE!” yelled Gary, shoving people towards the doors. Rather awkwardly people swung out onto the ladder and climbed. Carol froze with fear, her eyes reflecting the growing flames. Mitchell took her by the elbow. “Come on Carol, haul ass!”

“I can’t. I’m scared!”

He owed it to Jim and to David to get Carol out of there. No one would care if he died but she had people to go home to. He turned his back to her and automatically she climbed onto him, hugging him tightly. Mitchell swung out onto the ladder and began to climb. It was tough going but they made it in the nick of time. Fire shot past the lift doors with some fingers of flame licking into the shaft at his feet. He gave a yell but kept going. Carol started to hug tighter and he heard her mutter under her breath something like a mantra.

“Carol, ease up!”

“Sorry…sorry!”

The deck lurched back to starboard. Someone above shouted and came hurtling past them. Carol screamed as an outstretched arm bounced against her back and then there was a dull splash and nothing more except the wailing of the fire. Mitchell put his head down and resumed his climbing in earnest. After what seemed an age he felt hands grab at him.

“Mitchell, you made it.” That was Nielsen. Mitchell let them help Carol off before collapsing onto the cold ceiling and staring up at plush red carpeting.

“We’re on F Deck,” Nielsen was saying. “A few more decks to go but if we reach Engineering we should be fine.”

Mitchell couldn’t care at this point. In a short time they had lost several people. He just wanted to stay here. Let the flames get him.

Carol stood over him, her green cocktail dress now dark and streaked with oil, grease and blood. “Come on sailor, let’s go.”

He stood, smiling at her. “I’ll try.”

Huddled together, arms around waists, the pair followed the remaining twenty-five.

 

Chapter 5 by Mackenzie Calhoun

FIVE

 

Somewhere near the stern, RMS Queen Victoria

 

“Another one,” McCoy’s voice echoed in the corridor as the ship took a turn to starboard. “I wonder where we are now.”

“If you mean where the ship is, I guess we’ve turned around. We might be in the Bay already. Otherwise, I’d say we’re on G Deck.”

It had only been half an hour but the pair had made quick progress down into the ship using an auxiliary lift shaft to abseil down. Kirk held his tricorder in front of him watching the readings. “Temperature is rising below deck in certain areas. I’d wager there’s a fire.”

“Your Starfleet training does you good,” McCoy muttered, standing alongside Kirk. “Your father’s George, right?”

“Yeah, he’s on the Exeter at the moment as first officer.”

“Still? He’s been there a few years.”

“Dad is a hanger-on.” Kirk tried to focus on his tricorder rather than the talk of his Starfleet hero father.

“I knew George when he was on the beach after leaving Enterprise.” McCoy employed the old naval expression for being without a ship or effectively grounded at a shore establishment. “He taught for a bit before getting his three rings.”

“Right.” Kirk put his tricorder away. “Shall we play family stories some other time?”

“Lead on my boy.”

Kirk must have been at least ten to fifteen years younger than McCoy, he figured, and yet he felt like a child just then. He had wanted to be a captain a lot earlier in his Starfleet career and yet he had been rebuffed by the Academy until finally being accepted onto the course. Hearing about his father did not make it easier. George Samuel Kirk Senior (Junior was currently out in the boondocks as a scientist) had left Enterprise as Chief of Security around 2254 when Pike took command and spent a couple of years at Command in San Francisco before accepting a posting as first officer of the new Constitution-class Exeter not long before his death.

Kirk wanted Enterprise. The name alone meant something. Stretching all the way back to the Revolutionary Wars of Old Earth in the 18th Century up to the Second World War where a British Enterprise served with distinction but the American Enterprise. Then there had been the Enterprise under Archer and then April. Right now the old girl was just out of a second upgrade with a Vulcan in command, Pike’s former first officer taking command when Pike was bumped upstairs to Fleet Captain.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

“Sorry. We head down this corridor here and should find a stairwell.”

“And how do you propose we get down?” McCoy asked dryly.

“Don’t pretend you never used to slide around on trays in the winter, Doc.” Kirk grinned and set off ahead of the grumbling doctor. Kirk was quietly amazed at the world they found themselves in. Starfleet had trained him to deal with foreign environments, to prepare for the unexpected and to boldly go but he never envisaged walking the upturned decks of an antique liner. He remembered when he last saw Gary, about how much work had been put into this ship. Heritage was important in this city, even now and the Queen Victoria was no different to Archer’s Enterprise in that regard.

I’m coming for you, Carol. Hold on, Kirk willed. He stopped as he reached a stairwell. At least it looked like one. Instead of up onto the deck above they were upside down like metal teeth above Kirk heading down. McCoy’s breathing was laboured behind Kirk. “We just slide down?”

“Yep.” Kirk paused. Without further ado he took a half-leap and landed on his backside, sliding down the slope before hitting the bottom hard. He rolled over just as McCoy landed whom he swiftly helped up. “That seemed a good idea.”

“Let me know when you have your next good idea, I want plenty of notice.”

Kirk took a look around, noticing the corridor they were now in. The deck was swaying noticeably still and there was the strong smell of salt-water. Consulting his tricorder he nodded. “E Deck, those stairs took us right down. Or up.”

The deck of the Queen Victoria gave an ominous groan. From somewhere there came a muffled bang followed by more creaking.

“What was that?” McCoy asked, eyes searching around.

“Boilers…or something else exploding.” Kirk’s readings showed nothing beyond a slight temperature spike hundreds of metres away. “We need to hurry.”

Kirk had no way of knowing where this ship now lay. In theory it would still be ocean-wards of the bridge yet it could have by now drifted on the fast moving current into or through the bridge. One of the thuds could have been the liner striking the San Francisco Tower. Even now the ship could be sinking into the Bay…

Best not to think about it, Kirk told himself.

At the end of this corridor they reached a T-section. Upside down signs declared one way as for the swimming pool (aft) and another as for gymnasium (aft). Kirk began to turn right when McCoy grabbed his arm.

“Don’t take another step, man!” The doctor let go to fall to one knee. Kirk shone his torch down, illuminating the foetal-positioned body of a young man in old fashioned uniform. McCoy’s hand touched the neck. “Damn, he’s dead.”

“In the capsize judging by the burn marks.”

“Probably.”

“Come on, we need to hurry.”

Hesitantly, McCoy followed Kirk into the depths of the doomed ship.

 

**

 

The survivors waded through water that swilled dirtily around their ankles and was gradually rising. Commander Nielsen led the way, his dark hair flecked with dust and dirt.  Mitchell glanced back to see how the twenty-five survivors were doing and saw the water rising at the rear of the corridor.

“We need an up!” he shouted ahead.

“There isn’t anywhere,” Nielsen called back.

“Gary, this is it!” Carol sounded panicked. “I hope Jim will look after David for me…”

“Of course he will,” Mitchell snapped, sounding irritable, “but don’t talk like that.  We’re gonna make it.” This talk of death annoyed him at the best of times, more so when he was convinced they would be rescued. “Now, come on! All of you!”

Mitchell pushed ahead leaving Carol for a moment. Upon reaching Nielsen, he carried on ignoring the shouts from behind. Clambering through a hatch he looked around then saw something akin to a trapdoor in the ceiling. It must have been a manhole cover, an access for what were then below-decks. He pulled Nielsen through and pointed. Nodding, the Starfleet man went to climb up into the trapdoor whilst Gary began to pull survivors through the doorway. He gestured to the hatchway in the ceiling. “You can make it, come on people.”

It was an up, a way of getting closer to the keel. They had no way of knowing that the Queen Victoria was now being pulled in towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Currents in the Bay remained as treacherous as always; an ocean liner would make no difference on the currents, it could still be smashed to bits on one of the supports. Unbeknownst and unseen to the bone-weary survivors, the maelstrom was at its height, lightning slashing across the sky and thunder drowning out everything.

Mitchell glanced down the corridor, seeing the water now surge carrying oil on it. He hurried the others on just as the wave hit him, knocking him over. His world went dark, he tasted the oil and salt-water, he felt out for something and felt someone. Surfacing he saw he had a young woman in a black wraparound dress in his arms. Her dark hair was plastered to her forehead and neck, she gasped for breath. “I can’t see the others,” she managed.

Mitchell paddled in the water, realising that they had been blown away from the T-section. Then he saw Nielsen’s gold-emblazoned arms drop from the ceiling: “MITCH-ELL!”

“Shit,” groused Mitchell as he tried to swim with his one free arm against the tide. He began to make headway with some help from the woman. Together they slapped their arms into the water, trying to find purchase with their feet. The water though was rising and in spite of that was not elevating the swimmers to where they needed to go. Mitchell started to feel panic rise in him for the first time. Usually a good swimmer (one didn’t become a lifeguard without being able to swim proficiently) he now was struggling. Just as they looked like they were making it a fresh surge of water hit them, slamming them backwards. Mitchell closed his eyes as the flow raced them down the corridor and away from Nielsen’s rescue.

“Damn.” Nielsen slowly pulled himself up, covering the manhole with the hatch-cover and sealing it. Everyone was watching him including the marine biologist with the Nordic features and damp blonde hair. “They didn’t make it.”

“No!” Carol hugged herself. “Not Gary.”

“I tried but the current was too strong,” the Starfleet officer said. He stood, feeling the water beneath his feet hitting the ceiling. Looking around he made notes. They were in a dark room with luggage racks on the sides. This was some sort of maintenance cupboard he theorised. He gestured for some of the others to get flashlights from a rack and then saw through an upturned door a set of rungs. He walked to them and peered up. He swore he saw lights dance about.

“Hello?” he called. The lights continued to dance. He rubbed his eyes. Maybe he was that tired. Just then he heard footfall and stood back as a Starfleet lieutenant wearing the grey field jacket jumped in through the hatch. “Bones! Get down here!”

“Oh Jim!” Carol Marcus flew at the newcomer who a little startled put an arm around her. An older man in Starfleet blue appeared. Seeing the group he smiled. “Looks like we got the survivors.”

“Not all of us,” Nielsen said. “Who are you?”

The fair haired officer freed a hand. “Lieutenant James Kirk, this is Doctor Leonard McCoy.”

“You came for us?” someone asked.

“Yes and we’re going to get you out. There’s a rescue boat topside. Any others?”

“None we’ve seen,” Nielsen reported.

“Right, well, start climbing the ladders. The top of them ladders are about three decks from the hole we’ve made in the keel. Get going please,” Kirk felt Carol tug his arm. “What is it?”

“Gary…he got…he’s gone.”

“What?” Kirk asked softly. Not Mitchell, not his friend. The survivors started to file past him towards the emergency access. McCoy helped the women through with a smile and his Southern charm. Kirk though focused on Carol, seeing the helplessness on her face. He had never seen her look so vulnerable. “Are you sure?”

“He got swept away,” Nielsen said, overhearing the couple. “Down a corridor below.”

Kirk took Carol to the access hatch. “Get up there.” To McCoy he said, “I’m going after Gary.”

“Don’t be an idiot, son, below decks are filling up quick.”

“Tell Mallory if he asks that’s where I am.” Kirk shrugged off his jacket, putting on his wrist-light. He saw Carol lingering. “Go!”

Not waiting to see if they were all going, he headed to a door in the side of the room and went through. Looking around he headed to his left and what he hoped would be his friend.

Chapter 6 by Mackenzie Calhoun

SIX

 

Mitchell came to feeling like he had been hit by a sledgehammer. He found himself lying next to the water. Opening his eyes he frowned and realised he was atop a ledge of some sort with a room mostly full of water. Perhaps he had been thrown up by the current. He rolled onto his back groaning. Never mind a sledgehammer, he’d been ran over by a cable car. Looking up he saw on the ceiling an old painted notice reading –DANGER! DEEP END! Drawing his gaze around he saw the outlines of what was an Olympic sized swimming pool. So what was he lying on? He figured it to be some sort of ceiling fixture, an overhang…God, he hurt. He turned on his side, trying to stand, and saw something in the water. His eyes focused on the woman he had tried to save, floating face down.

“Oh, Jesus.” He flopped back down feeling sick. They must have either come down a deck or been forced through various exits into the swimming pool. Somehow he was beached and she was not. He put a hand to his head feeling the heat on it. The ship groaned around him more than he ever could. A rumble sent a tremor through the old hull. He tried to sketch out the ship’s layout in his mind. Being one of the key backers to the old ship, he had become familiar with her interior layout. Why had he gotten involved? He liked antiques; he liked the past because sometimes dreams of the past entertained more than the future.

“Oh, shit,” he groused, standing carefully. “Beat yourself up later, Mitch.”

He slipped into the water, paddling over to the body and carrying it to the ledge where he checked the pulse anyway and finding none closed his eyes. Why the hell were people dying? Dying on an old ship in the middle of the Golden Gate in the 23rd Century where everyone was meant to be living in some grand utopia?

He started to walk out until something knocked him off his feet near the diving ladder. He hit the deck hard. Water slapped up against him and he lay still for a moment. A thunderous sound echoed throughout the ship. His mind dully registered it as a boiler going off, or maybe one of the old smoke stacks. Standing he began to haul himself up the diving ladder away from the board. Nearing the door he heard another thump. This one was an impact on the hull he was sure.

With a groan that sounded prehistoric Mitchell crawled through the upturned door. He saw ahead of him another corridor with a lift shaft at the end. Water was spilling out from the shaft. He hurried to the shaft, peering up and then to his right where the corridor peeled away in an L-shape. Time was running out.

 

Queen Victoria, topside

 

In the process of helping survivors out, Commander Mallory felt the explosion beneath his feet, saw how the ship turned noticeably in towards Fort Point. The water, already churning, appeared to go all white with froth before clearing. He walked awkwardly down the keel away from where his men were helping people out when the ship thudded by its bow up against the San Francisco Tower of the bridge.

“We’re wedged in tight, now sir,” one of his lieutenants said when Mallory reached him near the still spinning propellers. “That explosion was the last boiler. Also, I think the last stack has grounded itself.”

“How long before it’s a problem?”

“An hour or so. The storm’s going to keep pounding waves into us until the ship weakens. She could snap.”

Mallory flicked his communicator open. “Mallory to Kirk, do you hear me?”

There was a squawk replaced by an accented voice. “This is Doctor McCoy, Commander.”

“Doc, where’s Kirk?”

“He went below. We’re missing a man still. The last of the survivors are coming topside.”

“Damn it, man, get Kirk back!” Mallory shut the line with a thud of his communicator panel. He walked away from the emergency hatch. So far there had been only twenty-seven survivors recovered. That meant at best sixty-three people dead. It was bad but not as bad as those killed on the coastline of the Bay and around San Francisco. Proof that not even modern technology could save lives. Mallory went to the makeshift command post perched atop the clean keel of the liner, essentially a mobile console with extendable monitor.

“Are we sure we still can’t beam in or out?”

The lieutenant here wearing the insignia of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers shook his head. “The ionization from the storm has fouled the transporter network all over the city, sir. We’ve also had a lightning strike on the transport pad at Starfleet Command.”

Mallory glanced over in that direction, seeing nothing but driving rain and the lights of the city. “Are you sure?”

“Sure. They had a fire. It’s done with but the pad’s out.”

“Can you detect any people still in the liner?”

“Just one below us. The storm is affecting everything.”

That one below them would be McCoy, Mallory wagered, and ground his teeth together in frustration. Damn Kirk. Just like his father, impetuous and stubborn. “Alright, Lieutenant, pack up your gear and get to the boat.”

Mallory passed the word to abandon ship. Survivors were already being ferried out to Fort Point’s jetty. Mallory then hauled McCoy out from the keel-side hatch. “You’re relieved, Doctor! Get down to the boat!”

“I’m not leaving Kirk behind!”

“You don’t have a say in this.” Thunder boomed, drowning out the series of expletives that McCoy launched at Mallory. When the thunder faded, replaced by savage lightning, Mallory smiled. “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Come on Bones, I need you off this tub. The storm’s going to dash her to ribbons soon.”

At this point lightning curved downwards from the heavens and struck the San Francisco Tower of the bridge with such violence that sparks flew down. For a moment the Gate was lit like the inside of a lightbulb and then they saw what was happening now. The steel ribbons that effectively held the bridge’s steel girders between the tower and San Francisco end were snapping one by one. One flashed past the Queen splashing into the Bay, another bounced off the liner close to the men. Mallory shouldered McCoy down into the hatch. After a few minutes he saw that four or five had come off the bridge on the Gate side. In the storm’s turbulence the leftmost girder appeared to be bouncing. The roadway certainly was.

Mallory flicked his communicator open: “This is Lieutenant Mallory on emergency frequencies, close the Golden Gate Bridge immediately!” The line fizzled. “Damn!”

“We’ll just have to hope someone saw that,” McCoy said. His hair was plastered to his forehead and scalp like it had been pasted there. “Still going?”

“Come on Doc, we get down and find Kirk. Time’s against us.”

Armistead to Mallory, sir are we waiting for you?”

Mallory smiled as he ducked into the pipe-shaft. “Ensign, get going. Come back for us in half an hour.”

Aye, aye. Armistead out.”

Down into the depths the two men scurried.

 

Chapter 7 by Mackenzie Calhoun

SEVEN

 

By now the Queen had taken on enough water that only her keel showed above water. This being said she remained wedged in a shallow enough depth. Mitchell still figured that the bridge would be totally lost and that any air pockets would gradually be dissipating. Mitchell was getting close to engineering, he was sure of that. The deck was slanting towards the bow or stern, he couldn’t tell. His mind told him the ship was down at the bow. He felt muggy and drowsy, his vision blurred every so often and he wondered how much time he had left. He saw ahead of him a hatchway that was left open in the confusion. From within yellow flame flickered, reflected on the corridor wall. Mitchell stood in the doorway, sweat dribbling down his brow.

Engineering.

It fell before him, a chasm in what was the biggest area on the ship. What had been the ceiling was presently a frothing cauldron of boiling water mixed with oil and a couple of bodies. In spite of the modern upgrades the Aquatic Park had had people who would work down here, keeping an eye on the engines and the like. The bodies were hideously burnt, looking like over-boiled lobsters. Computer panels to the left, now upside down, were fizzing and spitting, quite useless. At the far side what had been the boilers were now black shards of metal still burning and blazing even affixed as they were now to the ceiling. He sagged for a moment in the doorway before forcing himself out onto an upturned walkway. The walkway was essentially a series of metal gratings extending around engineering. Even upside down they were practical. He started out across them, noting in the upper right another hatchway. If he could get up there that could lead him to the keel and survival. He made it across the far side but had to step over a corner to reach the next walkway. As he did so, carefully what with the swaying of the liner, a boom shook the Queen Victoria. With a yell Mitchell fell to his right. As he fell he saw the flames lit on the water, the bodies and the hellish vista before his hands snagged on something. Quite how they did this was beyond him but all the same he found himself hanging from a red wheel attached to a pipe that ran perpendicular from top to bottom of engineering. He hung there, his legs swaying. Mitchell tried hauling himself up but his strength was fading. Looking past his feet he took in the sight and wondered if he should let himself go. Death would come quick.

What about Kirk, Carol, Lenore…?

He shook his head. “My time is now,” he gasped, letting a hand go. What a way for it to end though, in the bowels of an antique liner.

“Gary!”

He looked up startled and almost dropped there and then. He saw Jim Kirk emerge onto the walkway putting away his tricorder as he did so. Kirk ran down the walkway. “Hold on, I’ll get you.”

“Quaint if futile gesture, Jim. Go…save yourself.”

“Save it for the movies, Gary.” Kirk fell to his knees on the walkway over where Mitchell swung. Kirk then lay flat and pushed himself forward. His arms dropped until his hands were near Mitchell. “Give me your hand.”

“Why didn’t you get out?”

“We got most of the people out. I came back for you, Carol thinks you’re dead.”

“I might as well be.”

Mitchell lifted an arm, the effort was too much like his arm was full of lead yet Kirk’s hands grabbed it and he began to haul. Mitchell began to sag and then Kirk started to slide forward. “Jim, we’re both going over!”

“Damnit!” Kirk’s face went red with effort, he tried to grip with his boots but the walkway was slanting now with the weight of both of them. Mitchell felt the heat on his body. “Let me go, Jim.”

“No way. After all we’ve gone through. You’re godfather to my kid for God’s sake!”

“David can find someone else I’m sure.”

They stayed like this for a few minutes, trying to lift but unable. That is until Commander Mallory and Doctor McCoy found them. “What are the odds?” said Mitchell as the two came carefully down the grating and pulled on Kirk’s legs. As he went backwards so Mitchell jerkily came up, close enough for Mallory to drop Kirk’s left leg and haul Mitchell up. Mitchell helped scramble onto the walkway. McCoy dropped to a knee beside him, scanning with a small probe.

“Mr. Mitchell, you have a concussion as well as fractured ribs and other maladies. We need to get you out.”

“No kidding. I’ll just sit here, Doc.”

Mallory saw Kirk’s questioning look. “If you’re wondering how we found you so quickly our tricorders were tracking you on the periphery. You were heading straight for engineering.”

“I figured it would be an easier place to start what with the recent explosions. We’re close to the stern still though.”

Mallory started to lead the way with Kirk and McCoy supporting Mitchell. Mitchell was starting to fade in consciousness and they were effectively dragging him down the corridor out from engineering. At a small set of ladders Mallory jumped up then turned to help Mitchell up as well as the others. They were now in the crawlspace under the keel. The access hatch was yawing open a few feet away with the rain cascading in. Getting out was the easy part. Mallory flicked his communicator open, feet spread apart on the slippery hull.

“Mallory to Starfleet or anyone who can hear me, we’re on the keel awaiting pickup.”

Mall…ttle groun…do you…d?

“Damn storm!” Mallory shook the communicator as if that would help. Lightning lit up the vista showing that the liner had broken clear of the bridge and was now swinging stern first into the Bay. Dumbstruck the three able-bodied men looked upwards as the span passed above them. Mitchell’s head lolled to one side as he passed out. Out into the relatively open waters of the Bay the liner rocked with intent. She effectively bounced as the remaining funnel hit the bottom a couple of times. Mallory was knocked off his feet, McCoy went down and so too did Mitchell. Mallory’s communicator was lost to the Bay. Getting to their feet the Starfleet men exchanged glances.

“We’re stuck then,” Mallory groused. The currents were quicker than usual, the liner was moving almost as if she were the right way up and under her own power. Ahead now lay Alcatraz and here the liner ground to a stop as the stack dug in again having done its best to stop the ship beforehand. For a shallow depth the liner had managed to get far. Mallory saw lights in the sky from craft. Kirk handed him his communicator whilst he tried to hoist Mitchell with his left hand. As Mallory tried again there was a squawk in response. The swell was pounding the side of the ship with growing intensity. The hull of the old liner was groaning as if in agony –the noise could be heard above the storm. Metallic groaning and shrieking as the hull largely caught on the bottom began to lose its battle.

“Get ready to jump,” Mallory told the others. “I don’t think we’re going to make it on the ship.”

Alcatraz was not close enough to jump to never mind swim and in these currents it was suicide.

The moment was made when a jagged line appeared from the port side before the propellers and extended across with such devastation that the Starfleet men and Mitchell were flung into the frothing waters. Mallory lost sight of the others as he struggled to stay above water. It was dark, it was cold and he was bogged down by his uniform. He started to kick off his boots as a light shone down from above. For a moment he wondered if this was some sign of the end when the light swept away from him and he could make out the Class-7 shuttle descending. The shuttle was away from him as it came right down to the surface. Water splashed up against the side where a hatch was opening. Mallory began to swim yet it was hopeless, the current was forcing him back towards the liner. If he could hold on to that maybe he had a hope. Or maybe he’d be pushed past the liner and back out to the Golden Gate. The cold was getting to him. So this was the end?

Next thing he knew he was lying under a light with someone in Starfleet blue leaning over him. “It’s alright, he’s coming round. Are you fine, sir?”

“I almost drowned…but I’m fine,” Mallory said as hard as he could. He managed to sit and saw Kirk, McCoy and Mitchell with blankets over them in the interior of an automated ambulance.  He could just make out the surroundings of the city as the ambulance raced uphill. This must be the only thing working in the city right now. “Where are we going?” Mitchell croaked.

“Oakland, there’s room at a med centre there,” McCoy told him.

“Thanks, Jim,” Mitchell laid his head back on the cot. The ambulance sped round onto Embarcadero with rain lashing its sides.

“We did what we had to do, you would have done the same,” Kirk said and bit his lip thoughtfully.

It was a limp summing up of the disaster but it would do for now.

Chapter 8 by Mackenzie Calhoun

EIGHT

 

National Aquatic Park, San Francisco

Three days later

 

The storm moved on during the morning after the tsunami. The tidal wave alone had claimed around a hundred lives. Far less than what it could have done bearing in mind a great many structures including Starfleet Academy at Sausalito lay on the shoreline. Structural damage was significant up around Tiburon and on the islands such as Alcatraz with jetties and piers lost on the San Francisco side as far as Fisherman’s Wharf. The storm itself left damage by lightning strikes as far afield as Sacramento and Lake Tahoe with damage across the old San Francisco County area.

Gary Mitchell stood on the waterside of the Aquatic Park looking into the area formed by the two man-made piers that effectively made a cove. The ships the park owned were okay, the Jeremiah O’Brien in particular demonstrating the hardships World War II era ships could stomach. He leant on a crutch which was temporary. The doctors at Oakland told him he’d be okay in a week or so and that he was lucky considering he had survived much impact to his body.

“Not as lucky as the seventy-odd who died on that ship,” he had told them.

He did not turn as Lenore came down from the reception and stood by him, hands in pockets of her jeans. “You got to hand it to technology, raising and moving the ship in three days.”

Ahead at the entrance to the cove the shattered hulk of the RMS Queen Victoria was being towed in by skiffs. She sat low in the water, her masts absent, her lifeboat davits and boats themselves all but gone. The third and only remaining stack sat at a drunken angle towards port. Hurriedly patched up holes could be seen along her beam. The superstructure looked crushed from both ends into the middle. Debris from the liner had been found right up into the Bay.

“They found the bodies quickly enough,” he said. The salvage operation had been conducted with modern efficiency. With the storm abated, sensors could penetrate the hull and find the bodies of those lost. Few were recovered from the bridge, pulverised in the wave’s initial onslaught.

“Modern technology,” was all Lenore could say. She took his left hand in her right and squeezed it gently. “You did all you could inside the ship. People say you were a reassuring presence and did everything able.”

“I think Commander Nielsen would take much of the credit. He led us.”

“You knew more than what he did, apparently.” Lenore stopped as a horn sounded in the cove. The battered liner was inside now and being edged into her berth before the O’Brien. Side-on the liner looked worse with her stern bent to the right. Salvage operations continued in the Bay with the two stacks being raised from out by Point Reyes. “We’re going to get her back to her best and in that time, you can rest up.”

“I’ve got a job to do remember. Champion lifeguard?” there was no humour in his tone. Lenore turned him and kissed him.

“Look, you rest up. God knows you need it. I’m going nowhere and you’re going nowhere. There are people on the beaches who know what they’re doing and you have a group of friends who are supporting you.”

So he went. Yet he did not go straight home to his Embarcadero apartment. He went to City Hall and sat in the great lobby on a bench next to the old plaque listing all the police officers that had been killed in the San Francisco Police Department’s short history. Nearby was a temporary memorial to those lost in the storm. He rested his head on the wall and laid his crutch down by the chair.

No one disturbed the man who sat with his eyes closed in the lobby. They had their own thing to do, work or people to meet.

 

END

 

Gary Mitchell, Lifeguard continues in Episode 5- “Pet Sounds” –

 

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