It was over three years since the adventures that I wrote about in a narrative entitled, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” occurred. Conseil and I had at first rested from our lengthy vacation underwater by remaining on land. This proved both lucrative and interesting enough since naturally people were curious about our experience. However Ned, being the adventurer he was, chose to go back to his old occupation of harpooning and when not doing so to make his home in the taverns of Canada and America. We were sad to see him go (one cannot live with another for as long as we did and not grow fond of that person), but we kept in touch through letters, telegrams, that sort of thing. It was not the same, though, as seeing him in person and we were overjoyed to receive an excuse to visit. Apparently on a visit back to his home province of Quebec and while there had reunited with a childhood friend, a girl by the name of Jo (Josephine). The two had been thick as thieves when younger but had drifted apart because of societies silly regulations. He had been pleasantly surprised when talking to her that she still had a bit of a tomboy in her and quickly started courting her. A month later they were engaged and we were invited to their wedding. It was for this occasion that we decided to travel, this time as ordinary passengers, instead of marine biologists, on the R.M.S Richmond.
The first few days we had perfect weather but on the fourth we had red skies in the morning and by the fifth there was a whirling tempest. The waves started tossing us forth and back and soon the ship had capsized and (keeping with the tradition of ships of the time) there weren’t enough lifeboats. Being men of honor Conseil and I, along with some other men, allowed other people to take our places. The others rowed away promising to hail the first ship they encountered and we were left alone treading the freezing water. I don’t know how long we were out there; it must have been at least an hour for at least five men died though whether of exhaustion or they froze to death I couldn’t be sure. Conseil and I tried to keep each other a float but we were getting tired and I didn’t know how long we could last when I saw a bright glow in the distance. At first I thought I was hallucinating but then others started seeing it as well and it seemed to be getting closer. Soon I felt hands under my arms, supporting me and knowing that everything was going to be alright, I allowed myself to relax and fell asleep.
When I awoke, I was in a nice warm bed and my clothes had been changed. The room looked familiar and it wasn’t long before I realized that it was the one I had been on the last time I was on the Nautilus. The only difference was that an extra bed had been moved in and Conseil was sitting on it, reading a book. When he saw that I had awakened, he leapt to his feet, “At last Monsieur is awake! May I inquire as to how Monsieur is feeling?”
“Much better now that I am on dry land. Or submarine.” I answered. “Have you heard from the Captain yet?”
“Yes,” He answered. “In a way.”
“What does that mean?”
“He has sent a note inviting us to dinner in an hour.”
“Well I suppose I should get out of bed now!” I exclaimed.
After I had showered and gotten ready, we headed to the dining room where we found the other survivors of the shipwreck and Captain Nemo awaiting our arrival. I tried to catch his eye but he gave no sign of recognition. Apparently we were the last guests to arrive because as soon as we sat down Captain Nemo gave permission for the meal to begin and everybody dug in. As we ate he spoke, “As some of you may have gathered I am Captain Nemo, commander of the vessel you are on. The Nautilus. As of now you are my guests. You are free to roam the ship provided that you stay out of any areas that are locked or unless of course you are told otherwise.”
“But what about our families?” a man, I think his name was Thomas. “How soon will be able to get home?” I braced myself for Nemo’s reply and what the reaction of the men would be.
However, he said the exact opposite of what I expected. “We are headed towards Canada as we speak, since that is the closest country, and should be there by tomorrow. Meanwhile, I suggest that you take advantage of this once in a life time opportunity to see the world under the waves.” Conseil and I looked at each other in surprise but of course the other survivors were only fazed by the fact that it wouldn’t take as long as a normal ship would take. What could be the reason for this change in attitude? I decided to find out.
As dinner ended and our comrades exited the room, I motioned for Conseil to go with them while I remained seated. “Professor Arronax,” Nemo nodded, seeing I was still here “Is there something I can help you with?”
“Actually yes.” I hesitated. “I was wondering…”
“I was wondering why you’ve changed your mind since we’ve last met.”
“Oh. You see after the three of left we all presumed that you had perished in the maelstrom. Though perhaps we were never close I was nevertheless saddened by your supposed demise and so I started to ponder what happened after one died and wondering if it as alright if I was right to kill people. I started looking through the books in my library and I stumbled upon one that I had not looked at in years. It was a book I had picked up in Europe several years before I went underwater. It was entitled, “The Holy Bible”. I picked it up and started flipping through it. I started to get intrigued and I read more and learned about this man named Jesus who died on a cross to save mankind. His kindness made me question the way I had been living even more than I had questioned it before. I wanted to know more. I couldn’t believe that someone who never did any wrong would die to save me. Pretty soon I gave my life over to Him and started to try to live for Him only. I don’t think that God would like me to refuse to give people rides home.”
“That’s wonderful!” I said, amazed.
“Yes,” Nemo replied with a smile. “It is.”
“I think however that you might want to change your plans a bit.”
“Why is that?” he answered confused.
“I think you should come with us.”
“Why would I want to leave the sea?” he asked.
“Because as a new Christian you need the support of other Christians to grow in the Lord. You wouldn’t have to stay on land all the time; you could still go on trips down to the sea too, but you could live on land where you would have others there.” I explained.
“You know, I might just consider that.” He said.