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In analyzing my Lost Encyclopedia, I've grown increasingly curious about the dates in the Black Rock section and the history behind it. The following is a verbatim copy of part of the entry.
According to records, the ship's last voyage departed its home berth on March 22, 1845 and was captained by Hanso with a full company of officers and materials for trade. For two years, the ship traveled the Indian Ocean shipping routes to eastern Africa and the Kingdom of Siam amongst other ports of call. While most of Hanso's trade was standard fare, three of his ships - including the Black Rock - were secretly used for illegal slave trade. In 1867, Hanso gave the Black Rock and its crew an extended break at Tenerife, Canary Islands. However, some of his officers, including Jonas Whitfield, were tasked with acquiring prisoners, debtors and the like for slave work in the mining colonies of Africa. When they left Tenerife a few months later, they carried a full hold of Spanish slaves but neither the ship nor its crew were ever seen again.
THE FATE OF THE BLACK ROCK In late December 1867, the Black Rock found itself moored near the shores of an uncharted island in the South Pacific. In less than a month's time, the boat and all the men aboard (save Ricardo Alpert) were dead. For 15 years, the Black Rock's fate remained a mystery, assumed by family and colleagues as merely lost at sea. It wasn't until 1852, when the journal of the first-mate of the Black Rock was found amongst the artifacts collected by pirates on the island of Ile Sainte-Marie (off the coast of Madagascar), that a small piece of the truth was finally revealed. The journal was remanded back to the Hanso family where it, and all its contents, remained private until 1996. In that year, Torvo Hanso allowed Southfield's of London to auction the journal to the public. Charles Widmore was the highest bidder. In particular, the last pages of the journal revealed much about what the Black Rock's crew experienced before the ship was thrown and grounded on the island by a massive storm.
And from the Magnus Hanso entry:
At some point in their voyage, Hanso was compelled to navigate the Black Rock off the coast of an uncharted island. Hanso came to realize that his instruments could not determine their location and they were stranded. Moored for more than a week, Hanso began to suffer an onslaught of chronic nosebleeds and mental instability. As his crew also succumbed around him, Hanso grew madder and confided in his first mate that a man named "Jacob" had commissioned their expedition and was to blame for their poor fortune... Details of Hanso's death remained a mystery to the outside world until journal pages from the Black Rock's first mate were discovered in 1852 and then auctioned in 1996.
I've decided to put together my own fanfiction of what the journal could have looked like (as well as with corrected timelines). I've picked the name Francis W. Riker for the first mate because we don't know his name and Riker was Picard's first mate, and Picard was an Englishman (albeit not involved in slave trade) and I like ST:TNG. The "W" stands for William. I do realize that the Black Rock's moonlight job of slave trading was off the books, but there's no reason why the first mate wouldn't put it in his own personal log. If he did mention slave trade in his journal, it would make sense why he hid it in a ledger binding and why his family kept it hidden for so long. He hid it because most people would ignore a ledger if they found artifacts of a ship with a journal next to it and the Hansos hid it because they didn't want anybody to know that their company was founded on slavery.
Times are approximate, as I don't really know how long it would take to travel from place to place. I'm basing them off plotting distance (by sea) on Google Maps, converting the mileage to nautical miles, then dividing that by an average of 10 knots. That's sea travel time. Add in a couple of months from here to there for taking in port, and I'd wager that it's a pretty rough, but decent estimate. A fast sailing vessel of the 1860's could top out around 20 knots in good winds, so I'd wager 10 knots is a good speed, factoring in days without wind, course corrections, etc. As a sailing vessel, the Black Rock probably had a top speed with full cargo on a good day of 15 knots.
Journal of Francis W. Riker, first mate of the Black Rock
March 22, 1865: Left port on a sunny day! What a nice change from the usual gloomy weather.
July 11th: Docked in Bangkok, Siam. Captain has ordered two weeks of rest and has sent myself, Whitfield, Burns, and Hawkes to search the prisons for any debtors, murderers, or others who would never see the light of day otherwise. We are told to pick strong men, preferably those capable of speaking English.
July 28th: Left port with eight slaves in the hold, as well as large quantities of trade goods.
September 3rd: Arrived in South Africa to resupply and sell the slaves.
October 30th: Returned to Portsmouth to trade our legal goods. Captain has given us two months off, enough time to spend Christmas with our families.
. (Similar voyages for the next year)
May 18th, 1867: Captain Hanso has given us a three month stay in Tenerife. Whitfield and his team are still responsible for gathering more slaves. I asked him why here and he said he had insider information that a man in the South Pacific would pay triple the amount we had earned previously.
August 20th: Left Tenerife to sail to this "mysterious man." Hanso has taken over navigational duties as he wants no one to know where he is headed.
December 1st: It has now been over three months and still no sight of the port where we are to take the slaves. We have about three weeks of supplies left, but Captain refuses to return to port.
December 6th: Hanso declares that he has found what he's looking for.
December 7th: We have anchored approximately one mile from the shore of an island. Hanso claims that these are the coordinates he was given, but we see no harbor or ships. Order to return to port is given.
December 8th: After a day of sailing in circles, Hanso has realized that the instruments are not giving proper readings. They keep fluctuating and the winds in this area are unpredictable. At night, the skies are clouded so using the stars is out of the question.
December 15th: Hanso and some of the other crewmembers, as well as a few slaves, are complaining of headaches and nosebleeds. The ship's doctor has no idea what the problem is.
December 17th: Hawkes and three slaves have succumbed to whatever illness is at play.
December 18th: More deaths. Hanso has become a wild animal. He pulled me aside and told me to write this down: "When we were in Siam, a British man by the name of Jacob approached me and told me about the slaves in Tenerife. He said he was an associate of a man in the South Pacific who was very interested in them. He gave me half of the purchase price of twenty slaves upfront. But he knew! HE KNEW! He knew this would happen, I can feel it! He must have been on to me, investigating the slave trade, maybe he worked for a rival? Wanted to get me out of the business? (here he chuckles) Ahh I should have known..." At this point, Hanso slipped into unconsciousness.
December 19th: We are now down to a crew of thirteen, an evil omen. Myself, Hanso, Whitfield, Burns, Mayfield, Surrey, Arthur, and Walker are all that remain of the officers. Half of the slaves still remain.
December 20th: A fierce storm has broken out of nowhere. Waves as big as mountains are pummeling the ship. It is pitch black. The ship is moving, but in what direction we cannot know. Belowdecks, a slave shouts that he can see the devil. I fear for my life, perhaps this is the end. I am sealing this journal in oilskin and throwing it overboard, in hopes that perhaps it will be found and we will be rescued. Our last known coordinates were -48° 27' 30", 100° 1' 10".
So there you have it. The result of my boredom during fall break and my obsession with Lost mythology. As a brief "epilogue", the journal managed to escape the pull of the island (let's say oilskin has a special anti-electromagnetic property) and was picked up by pirates, who were captured and brought to Madagascar to be hung. Their stolen goods were returned to their proper owners, the Hansos in the case of the journal. Police told the Hansos that the ship had probably been boarded and sunk by pirates. Since the journal was sealed with an oilskin imprinted with the New World Sea Traders logo, it was illegal to open. Hence, it was remanded into the hands of Hanso's son, Han Solo, who had taken over the company in his father's absence (Han Solo because it's like Hanso Lo.) Yeah, so enjoy. I need to get back to finding errors in the Lost Encyclopedia. As if my life wasn't droll enough.