They awoke at death's door on a strange planet that was once their own. Crash "A Jules and Wells Story" By John Pirillo
"A Jules and Wells Story"
By John Pirillo
A great writer, H.G. Wells, once wrote that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. But that is only half the story. Here is a tale of love and friendship caught at the gates of hell itself with two authors whose adventures in real life far exceeded their tales of wonder and fantasy on the written page. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells!
Wells lifted himself on his elbow, his face strained with great pain. Jules lay to the left of him, flung from his chair by the violence of their crash. Wells didn't actually see that. At that particular moment, he couldn't see a thing. Not a blasted thing, bloody hell and all! He thought to himself, ready to snap off a turtle's head, so angry he was at the co-ordinates he had fed Jules to put into the Strings navigator.
The forces hadn't been kind to either him or his best friend, he suspected. By the smell...acrid and bitter...he realized that the Master of the World was at best a wounded animal.
Another moan. This time louder and with more pain in the sound of it.
"My legs are crushed."
"Oh Jules. I'm so sorry." Wells croaked, his voice cracking as his emotions surfaced. They were both probably about to die.
"It is I."
"I can't lift the weight from my legs. I am flat on my belly and it is behind me."
He felt Jules, rather than saw him strain to see Wells. "You're hurt!"
Jules moaned again, but not because of his own pain. "Oh, dear friend, what a fine pair we are."
"I cannot walk. You cannot see."
"Think, Jules, what happened?"
"The String Space rejected our drive and flung us from it."
"That is impossible."
Wells hurt in every inch of his body, but nothing appeared to be broken. He sat up, inch by inch, by drawing himself upwards with the strength of his hands upon the command console, which was obviously broken in many places. It was a miracle that either of them had survived the crash, let alone with such small physical loss.
"I am glad you find this amusing."
Wells grinned, and then felt blood spattering his lips. He wiped it away. "Not at you, or us, but this whole bloody thing. Here we are in the middle of...bloody hell, I don't know, maybe God does, but here we are. Two cocky young rogues who have had more than their share of close calls and managed to squeeze by."
"Not this time, Mon Frere. Not this time."
Wells heard the agony in Jules voice. "Keep speaking. I will see..." He laughed.
"You're laughing again."
"I see nothing."
Jules was silent. He mourned for his friend, but he could do nothing. He strained to break free from the weight on his legs, but could not turn or move. "Then do the best you can."
"Do I not always?"
Again, Jules was silent. Wells dragged himself across the debris between them carefully. Without eyes he had no idea what might be in his path and didn't need to skewer him on some bit of compromising metal by accident. His knee struck something hard. "Jules?"
"That would be my head."
Wells laughed again.
"I am growing tired of this laughter."
"And I." He laughed some more.
Jules laughed as well.
"We are such a sorry pair of fools." Jules finally was able to gasp out between laughs.
"Yes, we are." And Wells burst into a new line of laughter.
Finally, they both settled down, exhausted by their physical pains and the fear of the unknown. Wells used his right hand to probe along Jules body, and finally stopped when he felt something hard and unyielding. "It is the arms panel."
"But it has my legs." Jules remarked.
That sparked another burst of laughter from the two friends. When that subsided, Wells managed to maneuver himself closer to Jules and position himself so he could wrap both arms about the panel. "If I remember correctly, we had bolts holding it in place. It weighs about five hundred pounds."
"Yes. And we both nearly got broken by lifting it."
"Yes. And my wife thanks you for the design."
"As does mine, it gave her relief for almost a month."
They both burst into laughter again.
Finally, Wells stopped. "Do not move, I am going to try lifting it, then shoving it to the right."
"Oh trust me, Wells, move I shall not."
Wells almost laughed again, but when Jules let out another involuntary gasp of pain, the laughter fled from his lips. He strained with all his might, but the panel would not move.
"Well, that is good and proper." Wells finally croaked, gasping for breath.
"Yes. You can't see. I can't walk."
"I have not given up." Wells stubbornly replied.
He slid past Jules. "Can you see the closet door? Is it open or shut?"
"I cannot turn my head that far."
"No problem. I shall see to it myself."
They broke into laughter again, and then subsided as Wells slid to the position of the closet. He felt along the floor for its base, felt its edges, then slowly got to his feet, even though every muscle in his body screamed with pain.
Something made a loud whooshing sound in the back of the Master of the World.
"Wells, I suspect we have another problem brewing."
"As always, you are right, my friend." Wells responded, even as his hand sought the latch of the closet and sprung it. Another miracle. The compartment was whole. He felt the rod within it. He had stored it there from their last trip. It was some kind of artifact they had found on an abandoned version of Earth. Neither could figure out its function, though it generated an enormous amount of chronic energy.
"Have it." Wells grunted, as he allowed himself to slide down to the floor again.
He began to sniff the air. "Smoke."
"Mon Frere, where there is smoke..."
"...There is fire. I know. I know. I'm hurrying as fast as I can."
Well managed to get over to Jules again. He felt around and found a slightly rounded slab of metal that was near the panel fallen on Jules' legs. He slid the rod between the slab and the panel. "I don't know if this is positioned properly. You must let me know if anything is going wrong."
"Trust me; I will be the first to let you know."
They were both silent a long moment, then Wells slowly applied pressure to the rod, which was acting as a fulcrum to moving the panel. He heard grinding and screeching. Was the panel mixed with some other fallen object?
"Ow!" Jules cried out.
Wells started to lower the rod.
"Non, non, Mon Frere. The pain is a good one. Keep on. I can feel my legs loosening."
Wells grunted as he applied more pressure.
There was an explosion in the rear of the ship and the blast wave knocked him to the left. His rod flew from his hands to the right.
Jules cried out as if he had been crushed to death.
Wells recovered himself and scrambled to help Jules, but instead of finding Jules' body, he discovered only a mass of metal. "Jules!" He cried out.
He felt two hands clasp his shoulders and slowly raise him to his feet. "Mon frère." Jules whispered to his dear friend.
They gave each other a long hug, and then Jules turned Wells. "We must hurry while there is an exit from the vessel. As Jules walked, he stumbled on the rod. He started to kick it aside, then thought better of it and stooped to pick it up with his free hand, allowing Wells to lean against him as he did so. Finally, he was able to stand again.
"What is it?"
Jules eyed the rod. "Either our salvation or our destruction."
Another explosion. They were both slammed into a wall.
Jules hurriedly recovered and grabbed Wells to his feet. He used the rod to help push fallen and crushed debris from their path, and then reached the emergency exit. He kicked the control box at the base of it. It had three boxes like such. One at the top. One at the middle and one at the bottom in case someone was unable to reach the other two.
The door made a loud groaning sound and didn't want to open.
"Oh damn it to hell anyway!"
Wells kicked with all his might. His aim was true. The door made a loud protesting sound, and then swung open.
Jules practically flung them to the ground as the Master of the World gave one loud rumbling sound after another. "We must run!"
"I will trust your eyes."
"That is good, for I trust little else."
"Then lean on me, and guide us both."
Jules did so.
Wells bolstered his friend as they both ran from the debris of the broken ship. Its beautiful golden lines of radiant beauty were marred by debris from its crash and from the fires that now raged throughout it. They had gotten about twenty yards away, when a wave of explosions rippled the rough the vessel, sending debris showering them and the land about them.
Jules threw himself and Wells down and covered Wells with his body.
The explosions stopped.
Jules rolled off and gasped for air.
Wells did the same, not because he was relieved, but because Jules had crushed the air from his lungs.
"Safe." Wells said.
"But for how long?"
Jules surveyed the land they had crashed into. It was late. The sun barely peeked above the craggy mountains that ringed in their crash site. On the horizon was a thick forest. It seemed a livable place. And then he saw something move in the forest. It moved temporarily into the light. It was enormous. At least ninety feet in height. Jules could see very long teen in its mouth.
Wells stomach grumbled. "I can't believe I'm hungry at a time like this."
"You're not the only one." Jules whispered.
"Why are you whispering, blast it?" Wells almost hollered.
Jules clapped a hand over his friend's face. "Something is coming our way."
"Something very, very big."
Wells clasped the rod that lay between him and Jules. "Well, worst comes to worse, we can always use this as a club."
"I don't think that's going to work." Jules said as the huge beast stomped towards them, closing the distance with huge steps that covered yards of ground at a time.
Jules let go of Wells. "From the kettle into the fire."
Wells stiffened. "Death yet again?"
"Yes, Mom Frere, it would appear that the Old Man enjoys playing with us."
Wells drew himself to his feet, leaning on the rod. He reached a hand out and Jules took it, and then rose to stand beside him.
"I think I could run now." Jules remarked in a forced casual voice.
"I think our time of running has come to an end."
Jules looked at his friend. "Perhaps so."
Jules grabbed the rod from his friend's grasp, causing him to fall to the ground.
"What kind of madness is this, Jules?"
"The only kind that has ever been our friend." Jules uttered back, his face resolute and fixed. He turned to face the beast, which now towered over the both of them.
"I shall not go out without a fight." Wells uttered, forcing himself to his feet.
Jules nodded. "Then as always."
"We live together. We..."
Jules raised the rod over his shoulder to strike the beast in the face as it opened its massive jaws, revealing row after row of jagged teeth. Its gigantic bloodshot eyes swirled with delight as it eyed its easy snack.
"For love." Jules hollered, and then swung the rod.
It struck the beast in its nose as it reached for them.
The creature gave the two of them a stunned look for a moment, and then it raised itself up on its hind feet and prepared to crush them with its front.
"Farewell, dear friend." Jules said calmly and with great clarity.
"Forever friends." Wells agreed, taking Jules free hand.
"Forever." Jules repeated.
Then as the beast's massive front feet dropped to crush them, the rod in Jules' hand lit up brighter than the sun for a moment. Both men were seared by its intensity. The beast cried out in fear, but continued to press downwards. When its feet had crushed into the bright light, it felt nothing but soil.
It lowered its great head to look at the spot it had crushed. Nothing was there, not even the stick that had struck it. The beast groaned angrily, then turned to retreat back to its forest, where maybe another meal could be found.
Jules stood in the cockpit of the Master of the World, the rod raised before his face. Wells lay at his feet next to the navigation controls.
"Mon Frere. I think dinner has been avoided."
"Where are we? This sounds like..."
"The Master of the World." Jules finished for him.
Jules hurried his friend to the small infirmary in the back and even though he was unsettled still by the abrupt transition to an intact vessel, devoid of any human life, he didn't forget his friend's injuries. He carefully cleaned his friend's face, then his eyes, using medicated solutions to cleanse the cuts and bruises. He had laid his friend down on the small cot there and sat beside him. He placed a strip of thick gauze over his friend's eyes.
Wells fell into a deep sleep, which Jules would not disturb. He only rose the once to check on their navigation headings, then satisfied with them, returned to keep watch on his friend. It must have been many hours later that Wells groaned and rubbed at the gauze over his eyes.
"What the blasted, bloody hell have you put over my vision? I can't see a thing! Bloody hell, Jules!"
Jules pressed a hand to the gauze to stop him from removing it. "It's for your own good, Mon Frere. Your eyes were hurt badly."
"Like bloody hell they were!" Wells said, and then swept Jules' hand and the gauze from his face. He looked at Jules, who gave him a startled look, then smiled. "I can see you are quite disturbed."
"You would be too if you had been through what I had with you." Jules countered.
They both broke into peals of laughter.
When they had landed the Master of the World, their wives were waiting for them. They rushed to them and held them close a long time, saying nothing. Both women were used to such conduct from their men and knew when they were ready; they would speak of what had happened, though they couldn't tell a thing by looking at the state of the Master of the World, which was perfect and untouched by flame or explosion.
That night both men gave their women more attention than usual, but neither wife complained. They loved their men, even though they often times were gone in their explorations. Love is a most bounteous and generous energy, and the love between these four was enough to satisfy them all.
But as both men went to sleep that night, comfortable and warm against their wives, the one thought they had in common was...What had triggered the rod to activate? What had caused the erasure of time itself?
Even though that thought weighed heavily upon both men for a time, they could not hold it for long, for weariness now claimed its own and they descended into the blissful ignorance of sleep and dreams well earned.