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Sea of Time
Ship’s log, June 27, 1765
The pirate ship, commanded by the bloodthirsty Black Caesar, has been after us for a while now. They are dogged, and do not give up, even though after weeks of chasing us they still remain miles away. I wonder what they are after. They followed us out of Cuba, and chased us northeast, towards Bermuda. It matters not the direction, however. There are fish everywhere in the ocean, and our nets are always full. We will have a vast cargo when we finally dock in Boston.
The hurricane tightens its fist around the fishing vessel, Sand Dollar. Waves cascade over the deck, sending deck hands sprawling. The crew struggles to pull up the nets, teeming with fish, and hurl them into a large trough. Many flopping cod end up on the deck, though, getting under the feet of the sailors and tossed around as the boat pitches back and forth.
The pirate boat behind them nimbly crests the towering waves, its sails still fully down despite the heavy wind. The storm is just what they needed to catch the Sand Dollar and take its cargo.
Captain Joseph Smith stands at the stern of the Sand Dollar, his hands tightly clenched around the old steering wheel, barking orders to his first mate, Jack Miller, who relays them to the crew. The well lunges left and right as the hurricane throws the boat every which way, and Joseph has to struggle to keep the bow pointed forward.
The wind picks up tremendously, and Joseph’s feathered cap is whisked away by an errant gust. Before the ship is a wall of rain and fog, and Joseph can’t turn away from it. The wind hurls the ship through the dense blockade, and suddenly the storm is gone. The crew of the Sand Dollar forgets their duties and stand, in awe, as the hurricane spirals around them. Above, however, is a patch of clear, cloudless blue sky.
The water in the small pocket of respite is perfectly calm, not a breeze or puff of wind to be felt. The ship is drawn towards the center of the small sanctuary, despite any twisting and turning of the wheel by Joseph. And then, as the bow of the boat touches a dark patch of water at the very center of the patch of calmness, the world turns black before Joseph’s eyes.
Joseph awakes to see Jack standing over him, as well as two other crewmembers, all wearing tattered, woolen clothes. “You okay, Captn’?” Jack asks his strong funny accent comforting to Joseph’s ears.
“Fine” Josephs says, briskly, embarrassed at having fallen unconscious for no apparent reason.
“We all fell unconscious, Captn’. You just woke up a little late.” Jack says, as if senses his Captains discomfort
“Have you figured out why, Jack?” Josephs asks, puzzled.
“Nay, but maybe you should take a look at our surroundings” Jack suggested, leading Joseph over to the railing.
Below Joseph was the deck of the Sand Dollar. One of her masts had been torn away in the storm, but it had been replaced somehow, without any hint of it having ever been broken. Surrounding the ship was an endless expanse of perfectly blue ocean. And, strangest of all, no waves were beating against the sides of the Sand Dollar, no waves at all, in fact.
“Where in the seven seas are we, Jack?” Joseph turns around to look at his first mate, his face awash with shock and confusion.
“Well, that’s the thing,” Jack says mysteriously. “I don’t think we are in the seven seas anymore.”
Just then, one of the crew rushes up the stairs, his feet smacking thunderously against the old wood. Joseph turns as the man shouts “Captain, Captain!”
“Well, what is it, Mister Samuel?” Joseph asks the man.
“Our sails, sir! They’re gone! Vanished!” Samuel exclaims.
“What!” Joseph roars, and whips around to stare down at the deck, his shoe squeaking on the wet deck. The masts and sails truly are gone, with not a trace that they ever were there. And, as Joseph watches, the deck of the ship ripples like a mirage, and turns white and metallic. Two wheels appear on the side of the boat, and now a huge tower stands where the masts used to, puffing out black smoke.
“Find out what happened!” Joseph roars, and directs Samuel down to the below decks. The crew is now frantic, running about and shouting. The tumultuous uproar is deafening.
Jack sticks his hands in his pocket and whistles. “I gotta say, Captain. I ain’t never seen anything li-” But then he stops midsentence, and draws his hand back out of his pocked, slowly. “Well I’ll be darned, Captn’. Look at what just appeared in my pocket. I’d say it’s a compass.”
Josephs turns to look at his first mate, and sees that in his outstretched hand is a small compass. It’s made of gold, with ornate carvings around the side. It also has a small pendulum swinging in the middle, and the three hands of a clock swiveling round and round, heedless of the actual time. “That’s one odd compass to find, Jack.” Joseph says.
“But I didn’t find it, Captn’. It appeared in my pocket,” Jack explains “See if it’s in yours.” Joseph feels around in the pockets of his navy blue captain’s uniform, but finds nothing. But when he searches his trousers, he pulls out the exact same compass as Jack’s.
“This is bizarre, Jack. How did these compasses get here?” Joseph asks, more to himself than to Jack. Joseph studies the compass, muttering, and climbs down the stairs onto the deck. He opens the door to his cabin, under the elevated section of the boat at the stern, and sits down at a table, still staring at the compass and muttering.
Joseph finds a small glass window on the side of the compass, displaying a set of numbers. He realizes the numbers are dates. But the date was January 3d, 1813. That was forty years in the future! As he watches, the little number displaying days jumps, and the date is now January 27th.
A nock on the door jolts him out of his thoughts. Joseph opens it to find Samuel standing there. “I went below, as you asked, Captain. There was an entire new level in the boat, full of huge, metal stoves. Shovels were floating in the air and filling the stoves with wood, but as I watched, the wood turned into coal, and the furnaces became more modern looking and less rusty. The stoves were making steam, which was somehow turning the huge metal gears and rods in great circles. It made a ghastly clanking noise.” Samuel was gesticulating wildly, his tale only cut short when one of his flailing hands whacks him in the head.
“That’s odd. A friend of mine was telling me about a new device that uses steam, but that it wouldn’t come into practice until 1800 or so.” Joseph goes back to his mutterings, and Sam retires to his room to lie down. Joseph begins to disassemble the compass, a task which takes him several hours.
Jack interrupts Joseph this time, and finds his captain sitting at the table, the various parts of the compass scattered around, and the casing completely devoid of gears. “Sir, something strange is happening to the back of our boat. You should check this out.”
Joseph stands up, and lets Jack lead him out of the room. But Joseph’s room is now below decks, and they have to climb up to reach the deck of the boat. They make their way to the stern, where they are stopped by a thin, metal fence.
“Look over the edge, Captn’!” Jack exclaims, pointing at the water below. Joseph peers over to find that something below the ship was churning up the water and apparently pushing the ship forward at great speed.
“That’s a propeller! But that’s impossible-there’s only a handful in the world, and none powerful enough to propel a ship this size!” Joseph asks. And then an idea hits him. “Jack, hand me your compass.”
Jack hands the device over, dubious. Joseph peers at the panel showing the date. 1902. He tosses the device back to Jack, who fumbles to catch it as the gathering wind blows the throw slightly off course. The compass slips from his hands, and hits the deck of the ship. A passing crew member kicks it, and the compass spins over the edge of the ship.
It hits the water with a splash. Jack disappears without a trace of him ever having been there. Joseph stares in shock, and then without thinking, hurls his own compass over the edge and waits for it to hit the water, determined to follow his first mate to wherever he disappeared off to.
Everything goes dark before Joseph’s eyes.
When Joseph opens his eyes, he finds himself aboard the deck of the Sand Dollar, but it was still changed and modernized. The compass was gone, but in the water next to him was Jack in a small, rubber boat with a miniaturized propeller. Joseph rushed to the side of the boat and hurls a ladder over the edge. Jack jumps off of his boat and swims with great, splashing strokes over to the ladder.
“Where are we?” Jack asks when he finally hops aboard the Sand Dollar, sopping wet.
“We’re in the Bermuda triangle still. We sailed for half a day north, and we’re still in the exact same spot!” Joseph exclaimed. Suddenly, two ships appeared out of the storm surrounding the two men, both the exact same shape and size as the Sand Dollar.
They saddle up next to the Sand Dollar, and a gangplank is extended from the ship on the right onto Joseph’s ship. A richly dressed man in a suit and tie steps onto the plank, and walks purposely towards Joseph. “Welcome to the future, Captain Joseph!” he cries.
The man leads an utterly confused Joseph down into the bridge of the Sand Dollar, an expansive room with many panels and gadgets, so unlike the simple wood room that the Sand Dollar had originally had. “You must have questions, Josephs.” The stranger says. “And I have the answers. Ask away.”
“What’s your name, and who are you?” Josephs asks. “What was that place? What happened to the Sand Dollar? Why did it change? What’s going on here? What’s happening to Jack?”
The man laughs. “I am Seth Williamson, captain of the guard for the Sea of Time. The place you just came out of is the Sea of Time, the only known method of time travel in the world, and you discovered it. As you go north in the Sea of Time, the technology aboard your ship becomes steadily more advanced. If you travel south, your ship loses technology. After many years of testing, our top scientists concluded that one foot is equal to one day forward or backwards in time. The compasses that appeared in your pocket do point north and south, but more importantly they tell you what year it is, and they are your means of exiting the Sea of Time. If your compass touches the water of the Sea of Time, you are transported back to the Bermuda Triangle, in the ship you were sailing if you were a captain or in the style of life boat on your ship if you were anybody else. You’re first mate is fine, he’s being told the same information on the other vessel.”
“How did you know Jack was my first mate?” Joseph asks, perplexed.
“Why, you write a book about your voyage. Everybody in the world has read it, now in 1902.” the man replies.
“Oh, this is confusing.” Joseph moans.
“Yep! But, in a half an hour, I send you back on your way, and you can sail back to your old time, and announce your discovery. The first newspaper to display your story will be the New York Times. Then, your book becomes a national bestseller, and the whole world find out. There are big conflicts over who should control the sea of time, but eventually Spain grabs it. Then America takes it back, England takes it from them, Russia tries to take it but loses half of its navy to the now highly technologically advanced Americans. Yeah, it’s a big mess. Right now, America is in control, but the Chinese are planning to attack with their entire navy, but according to the future, Germany ends up in control. Something about winning a World War. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen.”
“A World War? That would be like a war to end all wars. Who would want to fight after that?” Josephs says.
“Yeah, I know.” Seth says. “But apparently, there’s going to be seven of them. The sixth and fourth are with creatures from the stars. And after the seventh, Earth is overrun by pirates from the sea of time, led by the evil Black Caesar.”
“Black Caesar?” Joseph asks, his eyes wide.
“Oh yes, the one you thought died in the storm? Oh, he didn’t die. In 2365, Black Caesar is ruling the whole world.”