April 14 is the 102nd anniversary of the “unsinkable” Titanic
hitting an ice berg, foundering just two hours and forty minutes later, with a
tragic loss of life.
It was always rumored that men
had died during the construction of Titanic and that perhaps one unfortunate
soul was actually entombed within the hull, thus cursing the ship and all who
sailed upon her. You can visit the Snopes
urban legend website to read more about this and other similar
In WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM, my award winning SF
Adventure novel loosely based on the events of Titanic, the heroine tells the
hero at one point that there were rumors the spaceship had been jinxed by an
accident during construction.
Originally I’d written a short prolog for the novel, showing the
reason the ship was jinxed, but I deleted the scene. Here it is now, taking
place in the massive outer space shipbuilding yard. I have shared the scene
once before, on my own website:
“Come on, Frazet,
you’re gonna cost the whole team its bonus, man.”
The foreman stood over
him, mercilessly berating his decision. “You don’t finish installing that damn
upper engine interlock adapter this morning, they can’t keep schedule for
installing the engine itself either. Then the whole thing goes to hell, we get
fired – you’re critical path, man, don’t you get it?”
continued fastening the closures on his zero grav construction safety suit. He
didn’t look up. “Can’t install no damn adapter if I ain’t got one that works,
Jonzile, now can I?”
Throwing his hands up
in the air, the foreman glanced around at the rest of the crew for support.
Mostly the men avoided his eye. Lowering his voice and leaning closer, Jonzile
asked, “How much out of tolerance is the adapter? I know the backup was a piece
of shitty scrap but what about the main unit?”
“Once. Out of three
times I checked it,” Frazet said, reaching for his helmet.
Jonzile put out a
hand, holding the helmet down on the locker shelf. “But it did pass, you’ll
admit that?” His tone changed, became friendlier again. “Don’t you want the
bonus? Don’t you need those extra credits, like the rest of us? Heard your wife
was gonna have another baby. That makes four kids, right? On your wages, her
not working, that’s a tight orbit.”
Frazet sighed. Jonzile’s right, things are
tight. And just yesterday the company doc said there might be complications
with this baby. The bonus would sure come in handy. And after all, as Jonzile
kept saying, the part was within tolerance. Just over the line into the green.
But that was all the manual called for, so why am I holding up the entire crew
on this job? Sure, I can sign it off in good conscience.
Decision made, Frazet
yanked his battered helmet away from the foreman and stood up. “Quit your
complaining, would ya? We’ll make schedule today.”
Patting his shoulder,
Jonzile nodded. “Good man.”
The immense spaceyards of Baktanir & Fox hummed with
activity. Construction was ongoing for several military jobs as well as
the Nebula Dream, designed to be the biggest, most
advanced spaceliner ever. Dik Frazet was just one of thousands of sentients on
the payroll that month, a skilled worker at all the trades involved in engine
installation; experienced, careful, good safety record. Right after the
midshift break, he finished the last connection holding the adapter device
in place, where the new Yeatter hyperdrive engines developed especially for
the Dream would fit.
Dik stowed his tools,
moving gracefully and economically in the absence of gravity. Powering up his
suit’s maneuvering nozzles, he transmitted the sign off for completion of the
install, preparing to cross the yard back to the lockers. He needed some fresh
supplies before switching to the next job on the new battleship across the yard.
Halfway to his goal,
Dik couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that he’d overlooked something,
forgotten some detail, back in the half finished engine nacelle on the civilian
liner. He finally swung around and returned to the site of his previous task.
Taking out his field test kit, he ran a few checks on the troublesome adapter.
It failed the first time, passed the second, was borderline on the third.
Swearing to himself, Frazet made the decision to yank it out.
Critical path be damned, I’m not going to sign off on the install
of an intermittently malfunctioning part and just hope for the best. Hell, my
family might travel on this ship someday.
“Shoulda done this in
the first place,” he muttered, working to undo the adapter from its fasteners.
“Damn supplier must be on the take, substandard parts half the time, don’t work
He knew he’d better
report this decision to the foreman first and hunker down while the man went
interstellar over the delay. Preoccupied with worrying over the loss of the
bonus, maybe even the job, if the team couldn’t make up the schedule, Dik
Frazet never saw the massive engine swinging in above him, moving into its
tightly fitted place in the nacelle, right on schedule.
The Company arranged a very nice funeral. Mr. Baruc Baktanir the
12th attended and personally gave Frazet’s wife a
generous amount of credits to make sure she could return to her home world, far
across the Sectors. Jonzile and the rest of his crew received their bonus,
tripled, before being reassigned to other shipyards.
The accident was
treated by the Sector’s media as routine, mundane, a common enough event in the
perilous world of spacecraft construction. Basically a nonevent in a week when
there were enemy incursions in the neighboring Sector and a major vid star was
caught in bed with highly outlawed feelgoods and an underage co-star.
The Company was satisfied that the Customer, never heard about
the incident. The impression was carefully cultivated that poor Frazet had been
crushed by drifting debris in the middle of the spaceyard, nowhere near the
hull of the Nebula Dream, much less inside the hull. Foreman
Jonzile had been only too happy to sign off on the safety report, exonerating
him completely in the loss of life on his crew.
But the rumors spread
anyway, in the bars where the spaceworkers gathered after long shifts.
It was said the Nebula Dream was
So there you have it….Nick, the hero of the novel, isn’t wrong
about his uneasy feeling early in the voyage that something or someone may be
haunting the Nebula Dream. Of course, I’m not saying that’s the only reason for
all the things that go wrong, leading up to the disaster!
A reimagining of the
Titanic disaster set in the far future among the stars…
aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream
on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick
Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last
disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino,
take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the
beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.
All his plans vaporize
when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon
ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and
drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off
the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly
enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking
down to self destruction.
But can Nick conquer
the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as
he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to
win this vital race against time?
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything.