Tom Ayrton
Tom Ayrton is a fictional character who appears in two novels by French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 author Jules Verne
Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the science fiction genre. He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , A Journey to the Center of the Earth , and Around the World in Eighty Days...

. He is first introduced as a major character in the novel In Search of the Castaways
In Search of the Castaways
In Search of the Castaways is a novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1867–1868. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Édouard Riou. In 1876 it was republished by George Routledge & Sons as a three volume set titled "A Voyage Round The World"...

 (1867–1868). He then reappears in a later novel, The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Jules Férat. The novel is a sequel to Verne's famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, though thematically it is...

 (1874), in which his fate, left unknown at the ending of the previous novel, is resolved, and during the course of which his character undergoes change and achieves a redemption.

In Search of the Castaways

A Scottish able seaman
Able seaman
An able seaman is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles.-Watchstander:...

, Ayrton served as quartermaster
Quartermaster refers to two different military occupations depending on if the assigned unit is land based or naval.In land armies, especially US units, it is a term referring to either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior...

 on board the three-mast ship Britannia
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the...

, under the command of Captain Harry Grant. Differing opinions and extreme disputes with Grant led Ayrton to attempt leading a mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

, the failure of which ended in his being expelled from the ship. Left behind alone on Australian shores, Ayrton learned nothing of the calamity that soon befell Grant's ship and crew.

Teaming up with a band of escaped convicts, Ayrton began a life of crime around Australia, becoming a cunning highwayman
A highwayman was a thief and brigand who preyed on travellers. This type of outlaw, usually, travelled and robbed by horse, as compared to a footpad who traveled and robbed on foot. Mounted robbers were widely considered to be socially superior to footpads...

 and eventually a notorious gang leader under the name of Ben Joyce. Wishing to commandeer a swift ship in order to become a pirate leader as well, he took advantage of an opportunity supplied by the arrival of Lord Glenarvan
Lord Glenarvan
Lord Glenarvan is a fictional character which appears in Jules Verne's novel In Search of the Castaways and then briefly appears in The Mysterious Island...

's Scottish expedition searching for the castaways of the Britannia. Learning for the first time of the Britannias foundering, Ayrton tricked the searchers into a fraudulent wild goose chase for the alleged location of the shipwreck, while at the same time conspiring with his gangmates to ambush and delay the expedition while he made a grab for their own powerful ship, the Duncan. However, a prodigious set of circumstances resulted in his treacherous scheme backfiring, and in his falling into the hands of the searchers and facing harsh justice for his crimes.

Being in the position to bargain for his fate, Ayrton arrived at a deal with Glenarvan, saying that in return for truthful information about the castaways he will not be delivered into the hands of English justice, but rather be marooned as a castaway on the desolate Tabor Island. While his information proved of no value to the searchers, the missing castaways were miraculously discovered on Tabor upon arrival there, and as the deal had to be respected, Ayrton took their place and was left there for an indefinite period so as to expiate for his crimes.

The Mysterious Island

Ayrton reappears in The Mysterious Island, after castaways living on Lincoln Island learn of an abandoned man's presence on the neighboring Tabor and set out to rescue him. Finding him, they discover that, having suffered solitude and remorse for long years, he has eventually lost his reason and has become brutish. Taken to Lincoln Island, his mental health is finally restored thanks to the colonists' care and friendship. He reluctantly joins their group, suffering great remorse and feeling he is unworthy of living among honest men. However, he proves his worth and redeems himself by working for the common good of the group, and finally by remaining steadfast and loyal to his new friends when facing the temptations of his past lifestyle, during a pirate attack on the island. Thus reformed, he later returns to society with his friends.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

In the Gainax anime Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
is a Japanese animated television series inspired by the works of Jules Verne, particularly Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the exploits of Captain Nemo...

, which borrows many elements of Jules Verne's stories (most notably, Captain Nemo
Captain Nemo
Captain Nemo, also known as Prince Dakkar, is a fictional character featured in Jules Verne's novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island ....

 and the Nautilus
Nautilus is the common name of marine creatures of cephalopod family Nautilidae, the sole extant family of the superfamily Nautilaceae and of its smaller but near equal suborder, Nautilina. It comprises six living species in two genera, the type of which is the genus Nautilus...

), Nadia and Jean encounter a man named Ayrton who is initially serving aboard the Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

. It's not clear in what context Ayrton is serving but he claimed that he was investigating the alleged "sea monster" that turned out to be Nautilus. He is next seen during the Island Episode arc of the series. Unlike in the Verne stories, Ayrton is depicted as an intelligent but "dorky" comedy relief character in the anime.
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