Chapter Five of the Phantom. The Seat of Judgment. Action and adventure on the dark continent. Golden Age Movie Classic and Serial.
"A Jules and Wells Story"
By John Pirillo
Wells and Jules looked the huge white hole that was opening up deep within the String Universe.
“This is impossible!”
“And yet it is!” Wells replied.
Then the burst of radiant energy vanished from their screens.
Jules settled back in his chair and Wells in his. “I wonder what happened.”
“We will probably never know.” Wells answered, stifling a yawn.
Both men were exhausted. Their eyes fluttered shut and they fell into a deep sleep, filled with images of black holes, white holes, novas, bursts of time and space and loved ones.
Jules woke up once, disturbed by something, someone whispering in his ear, then it faded from his consciousness.
The humming of the engines was so soothing that Jules was barely able to keep his eyes open. The Master of the World transitioned through String space as effortlessly as a dolphin arcing over the surf of a beach it was playing along. His thoughts drifted from the tedious chores of maintaining ship integrity to his family back in France. He could imagine his sweet Honorine, even at that moment more than likely attending to her children, rather than pouting for her dear Jules…he could imagine her soft smile, her terse laughter and her genuine sense of mirth at his slightest of jokes. She was his fortress in a life of vast uncertainty.
Ever since he and Wells. Yes, that one. H. G. Wells. Herbert George Wells, the father of science fiction or in their cases, the brother of it, as he was the other. He smiled at that conceit. Both had lived more science fiction that had written of it, but yet the designation stuck to them both like a clipper eel to a whale, sucking at their humility, hoping to string along forever.
He sighed, and then kicked his feet off the control panel.
“Jules, you okay?” His bright companion, Wells asked, startled awake himself by the abrupt moment. He had also been drawn into the humming of the engines. They were both exhausted from their long siege in London when the Mummy Creature had striven to overtake the Queen and her kingdom and assume domination over the planet Earth.
If not for the brotherhood at Baker Street, it just might have happened too. Even the brilliant Sherlock had been nearly stumped by that episode, especially when Watson had inadvertently been taken over by one of the creatures…if only for a short time.
He mused on that for a moment, wondering if that affect were truly as short term as they had all thought, or if Watson hid what he was truly feeling quite well.
“He isn’t.” Wells interrupted his thoughts.
“Whoever you’re imagining doing something now, my dear Jules.”
Jules laughed. “When am I not doing so, Mon Frère?”
Wells yawned deeply, then leaped to his feet, almost knocking his head into the crossbeams overhead. Instead, he kissed them lightly “Thank you for missing me.”
Jules laughed. “Whatever are you kissing those humble creatures for what have they ever done to deserve such torment?”
“They have spared my brilliant skull which houses my impeccable mind.”
He and Jules burst into laughter. Jules stood as well. “We have another three hours before stand down, tea?”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
They sauntered into the back of the might ship where the kitchenette was and Wells set their small collapsible table, while Jules warmed up a pot of tea over their Tesla burner, their single concession to a stove burner.
“Do you think the natives will be friendly this time?”
Wells shrugged. “Well, considering we’ve done this…”
“….A thousand times.” Jules finished.
They both laughed lightly, then Wells continued. ‘Perhaps. One of the timelines has to be different.”
“And if not?”
“Then we must live with it, as all warriors do.”
“But we are not warriors, Mon Frere.”
“Says you and a million other who's?”
Jules brought the pot to the table and set it down on a potholder, then went for two china cups, which he set across from him and Wells. He poured the tea, steaming and hot, into the cups, and then brought over a tiny glass of honey, which they both used their spoons to dip generously into and slide into their hot teas.
Jules settled opposite Wells.
“I’m worried that when we return one of these times we won’t find our families as they were.”
Wells almost choked on his tea. “Might I ask why? And why the bloody hell you wait until I choke on my drink to tell me this?”
“I’m sorry, it’s my fault. Honorine has me trained well when to speak and when not.”
“And so she has taught you to speak when others are not prepared for what you will speak?”
He gave Wells an amused look. “Oh, she has trained me quite well for that. Day and night. For years.”
Wells smiled. “And I congratulate you on your training. She is a fine woman. An honorable soul.”
“How could she be else with such a name as Honorine?”
That settled that conversation.
Wells looked up; his tea cup paused at his lips. “Speak.” He set the tea cup down and waited.
“Still what, man. Speak up or I will surely have to shake you by the shoulders until your mind becomes uncluttered and clean once more.”
“How could I have an unclean mind?”
“Look at the company you keep.”
Jules burst into laughter and shook his head. He patted Wells on his wrist. “You always know how to break my horrid moods, Mon Frere. God blesses you for it.”
“And not you?”
“I would not want to give you a fat head.”
They both burst into laughter again.
“So.” Wells said finally, after a long pause. “What brings this fear to the front of your mind?”
“Remember when our duplicate selves made war upon the planet?”
“How could I forget the War of the Worlds?”
“That’s because we went back…erase that…forward in time and reset our present.”
“So this time you feel we will not be able to do so, should such an unimaginable thing happen?”
Jules frowned a moment. “Because I am getting tired.”
Wells looked very worried for a moment, then smiled. “We are all tired. It’s the wok we do.”
“Yes. But sometimes I ask myself, if saving the world over and over is really worth the wear and tear on our souls, on our families.”
“We have done nothing to harm our families.”
“Not this time around.”
Wells considered that. “Oui.”
Jules laughed. “Now you’re beginning to sound like me.”
Wells gave Jules a distraught look. “Does that mean I have to return home to Honorine as well?”
Jules laughed even harder.
Jules and Wells ran for the cockpit.
“What could possibly have gone wrong?”
“Anything. Everything!” Jules exclaimed.
They ran into the cabin and took their stations, just as something large shot into view on their scopes.
“Oh Mon Frere! It cannot be!”
“What?” Wells shouted.
“It is us!”
In the String Universe, which lies deeply outside the known 9 dimensions of our own, a new white hole was born.
Jules had a hard time keeping his eyes open, but a sudden radiant burst deep in the String Universe caught his attention.
His friend, sleeping, jerked awake in time to see the burst of pure white light at the end of time. Both men gazed in awe at the beginning of a new creation.
“It is magnificent.”
“But it should not be.” Jules said with a sense of foreboding.
“Snap, Crackle and Pop.”
“Why did you say that, Wells?”
“Because that is what my cereal speaks to me when I am about to eat it, and right now I suspect we are about to be eaten by something much larger yet.”
“Immediately!” Jules responded, replacing their present co-ordinates with their home ones.
“Pray we are not too late.” Wells shouted.
“What will be will be.” Jules replied.
Wells got a determined look on his face. “Not if I can help it!”
The Master of the World hurtled like a streaking star across the firmament of String space as it shot towards home.
Across the firmament of String Space, a gigantic SNAP was heard, and then the vessel vanished.
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