In the annals of history let it be said that one man can make a difference. That a man's heart and soul count for more than mere rockets and bombs, bullets and mortar shells. That one smile can bring a world of hate to its knees, and a world of light into life. --- Albert Einstein, World War Three
A burst of light. A symbol of hope spread across the heavens above Switzerland, dispersing the evil glows of the Nazi Thunder Blimps that girded the sky with what was to be hoped an impenetrable barrier of death and destruction.
Nazi Captains all turned their binoculars to follow the falling star, hoping to gain some kind of notice from their superiors instead of an early death for their inability to stop it from plunging through all their defenses as a knife cuts through butter.
The falling star rocketed towards Lake Lucerne and buried itself in the frigid waters in an explosion of mist and hot spray.
Soldiers and civilians out late in the village of Lucerne all turned to look, expecting an explosion to follow, or something worse. But instead, the waters stopped boiling, and then settled down. Even the geese and ducks, that had been frightened off in a massive evacuation begin circling back to rest again in their nooks beside the rocks of the lake.
Unseen by all a blue halo of light shot across the bottom of the lake, only spotted by the sharp eyes of an old fisherman who was also an agent for the Resistance. He tapped his collar, spoke into it, then spit into the lake, and continued to fish.
On the mountain behind him, a secret entrance began to roll up and out, and at the same time a blue halo of light burst from the lake near the forest shrouded edges and rocketed towards the entrance. Soldiers poised warily along the edges of the entrance, praying for the best, but uncertain what was approaching.
Then Rocketman arched up, and landed at the entrance.
Battle weary and just plain tuckered out, Rocketman stepped out of his suit to the cheers of his friends and fellow warriors. Captain Harry Jackson was finding it harder and harder to separate his own identity from that of the rocket suit he flew on missions. Good or bad, it was what was happening, but at that moment, when he saw the faces of so many he had never thought to see again, his heart stopped pounding in his chest and leapt into his throat.
Jet ran up and gave him a huge hug. "You're back. About time. Who gave you permission to go AWOL, Harry?"
Harry burst into laughter, wiping at tears in his face as the others ran up and began pumping his hand, slapping his back with congratulations and making him feel wanted and relieved to be back home. But he was still wary. He had been to so many different timelines. Some of them were so close to the original at first glance, then dangerously different upon closer examination.
"When's the last time Al put a frog in your bath tub?" Harry asked Jet, waiting for an answer he wasn't sure he was going to get.
Everyone dropped into silence, and then a voice from behind Harry said. "Just last night, but I try to not make a habit of it. And last time was two weeks ago after you decided to rush off to dance down with the Swiss miss."
Harry almost wept for joy.
He swung around and clasped Al to his chest. "God! How I've missed all of you!
Al's eyes were lit up with humor. "Then you won't mind letting go before you miss me permanently."
"Sorry." Harry said, letting go.
He turned back to Jet, who quickly hid a hanky he had been using to dry his own eyes.
"We've got a lot to talk about."
"I bet we do." Jet said, and then nodded to Al.
Al stepped around. "Harry, there's something you should know."
Harry gave them both a quizzical look.
Then they both parted, grinning like Cheshire cats. "Harry!" A girl's voice cried out.
Nurse Betty came running down a corridor of Techs, Soldiers, and Al and Jet to wrap her arms around him and kiss him over and over. He was stiff at first, conscious of everyone watching and then. "Oh Hell!" He blurted out and lifted her up into his arms and kissed her hard.
A barrage of applause and laughter lit the interior of the bunker.
"Roll 'Em!" Jet ordered.
The bunker doors rolled back into place, giving the hidden bunker an appearance of being nothing more than stone and moss.
Jet, Nurse Betty and Harry sat up all night talking. Harry would talk about what had happened to him. Al would join them, take notes, then leave. They would talk some more. Al would come back with fresh coffee and doughnuts. They would eat and drink, then talk some more. It was a long and joyful night for Harry.
In the end Jet sprawled asleep on one bunk, Harry on the other, with Nurse Betty squiggled against him, her head on his chest. Al sat there a long time watching the three, interpreting the notes Harry had given him and the ones he had taken. Much to discuss with Tesla and the others. Much that made sense and much that was frightening.
Finally, he laid a blanket over Jet, then Harry and Nurse Betty, lit a new pipe, and then exited a happy, but tired smile on his face.
Harry woke up to the sound of light snoring and smiled. He couldn't' believe his luck. Then he heard a second and louder snore. He opened his eyes and saw Jet sprawled out on the other bunk, snoring like a steam shovel out of control.
He disengaged himself from Nurse Betty's arms, and then slipped outside to the commissary where Al and Tesla were having coffee and bacon and eggs for breakfast.
"Join us, Harry." Tesla suggested.
Harry went to the food counter, selected a tray, put a coffee mug on it, two packets of sugar, and three doughnuts, eight bacon and eggs and a stack of pancakes and one waffle, plus three French toast. He sat down and began to dig in.
The two men watched him eat in silence, their eyes wide with amazement.
"Remember when we used to be able to do that without busting out in our guts?" Tesla asked.
"I don't remember a time when I could not bust out in my gut from eating that much."
He shoved his empty plate back and eyed the counter where more doughnuts were being laid out.
"Go ahead, Harry. There's plenty of time to make small talk." Al suggested.
Harry went back. He put three doughnuts on a plate, then shrugged and pushed them all on his plate. He refilled his mug, poured some coffee in it this time and returned to the table.
Al and Tesla both snatched a doughnut.
"Spoils of war." Tesla said between bites.
Al just crinkled up into a smile, and said nothing.
A moment later Jet slammed into a chair between everyone and reached for the doughnuts. "I like your choice of breakfasts, guys."
Harry smiled. "Hey!
"Oh, yours, huh. Good I didn't want to hurt Al or Tesla's feelings." Jet grabbed three more from the stack and began eating.
Tesla leaned across the table. "When you translined as you called it. Did you get any unusual readings on your sensors?"
"Actually, I did."
He grabbed a napkin, Jet's pen..."Hey!" Jet cried out and Al's tobacco pouch. "Hey!" Al cried out.
Harry dumped the tobacco on the napkin, and then began stirring it into a pattern.
Al was about to grumble about his tobacco when his eyes caught what Harry was trying to communicate. He looked to Tesla, who looked as excited as a little boy.
Both men got up and hurried off.
Harry sat back. "I thought I'd never get rid of them."
Jet laughed. "Harry's back!"
Jet stopped laughing. "Harry, aren't you going to ask me how she got here?"
"Why should he?" Nurse Betty jumped in as she sat down and reached for a doughnut, yawned, then grabbed a napkin to put the doughnut on. "He's a big boy. He can figure it out."
Harry looked at her. "You look..."
"You would too after all I've seen." She told him.
The bunker she was in with Eisenhower and his staff was deep beneath the London Bridge. The British had built it prior to World War Two as a place to secure the royal treasury and their top secret weapons both. It could only be reached by several shafts that went miles deep in the earth.
Eisenhower and his staff had felt the bunker they were hidden in shudder.
Nurse Betty had been serving them coffee when it happened. She dropped her tray and let out a startled yelp.
Eisenhower stood up and took his cap off and bowed his head. "We must pray for those who no longer live."
She gave him a fearful look, and bowed her head.
Three days later Nurse Betty had been secreted from the bunker along with Einstein and the brightest of his men. The rest stayed to create the Resistance, which Harry would later on join in the future once Hitler's power over the world was cemented.
Eisenhower looked at her. His eyes stern, but soft and gentle at the same time. "Harry is lost to us. You know that."
She nodded, feeling tears start to turn from the corners of her eyes.
He put a hand on her arm. "But if you are brave, there may be a way for you to find him."
He took her and his men on a ride in a B-52 bomber, escorted by what remained of the British Air Force. As they rose above London she could see that it was mostly a smoking crater now. They passed over France and she saw the melted Eiffel Tower. It was the same across Europe, wherever the West had stood up to Hitler. Smashed and destroyed by nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"They got them first." He had told her, his eyes filled with sorrow for all the lives lost. "But we shall not be defeated." He clenched his hands into fists.
They flew for several more hours, and then landed in a secret base in the Swiss Alps. The bomber was destroyed in the landing and swiftly removed from view and hidden beneath huge camouflage nets.
Eisenhower brought her to the shelter there. He took her through a long corridor that ended in a brilliant white room. Einstein stood there with Teller and several other scientists of enormous intellect and ingenuity. Einstein turned and beckoned to her.
She went to him. "The General informs me you are willing to search for Harry. This is so?"
She nodded swiftly.
He smiled. "Then let me show you and the General a little something I have worked up."
He led them into a side room where brilliant lights spotlighted a Rocket suit. Designed for a smaller person.
Harry took Nurse Betty's hands in his and pressed them. "You were very brave. They never guaranteed you would find me, did they?"
She shook her head, tears forming. "No and I never gave up, no matter what...what..." She began to weep seriously. "Horrors I saw or experienced. Oh Harry, Harry!" She sobbed.
He gathered her into his arms and held her.
Jet got up. "I think I got an appointment with Einstein or something."
He grinned and took off.
Harry rose and Nurse Betty rose with him.
Outside on the mountainside Nurse Betty and Harry sat side by side in the traditional pose of lovers across the eons. Her head on his chest, his eyes on the stars.
"Someday this will all come together for the world. There will be peace again."
Flashes of light smashed into his helmet, blinding him, as he continued to accelerate. His suit was badgering him to slow down, with multiple warning lights firing up. He didn't care. He wanted to go home. He'd had enough of this time stream. He kicked with his feet, as if that might propel him faster. He didn't bother to look at his speed. He knew it didn't matter. When the transline effect kicked in it was usually at the unpredictable moments, when his suit was failing, explosive situations, and now he knew it was somehow connected to his emotional outlook.
He had been blasted back and forth through time, from World War Two to World War Three where the Nazi Empire ruled supreme. He had lost the only woman he loved and found a new love in the future. He had been shot down and wounded, frozen and revived, then armed with a powerful suit of armor that ancient medieval knights would have considered to have godlike powers. But none of that mattered. Wars seemed to be the norm in all the translines he had traveled to and through. Maybe there were places where mankind had learned to get along, but he hadn't found one, or at least been thrown into one.
He didn't want to be Superman. Exiled from his dying world and trying to make up for his loss by nurturing another civilization. He wasn't the Superman type. He was just an air force pilot who got drafted to fly an armored suit that flew faster than sound. So? Science was great. He had great pals in Einstein, Edison and Tesla, but he would have given his right leg or arm to be back in the world of war he had left behind. Where his lost love probably still waiting for him and he would never arrive.
Or would he not?
Lately, he had begun to wonder if the transline was shipping other versions of him to the time streams he left to take up his position. When he talked with Jet about it on the first timeline, Jet didn't think so, because no one had shown up when he had translined into the alternate Nazi future, where Hitler ruled as a disembodied brain. So if not that one, maybe others? Maybe there was no rhyme or reason to him and his friend, but maybe there was a greater force. God or whatever...some kind of guiding intelligence that was using him as a knight on its gigantic board of chess to equalize the worlds in turmoil.
If so, he wished they would mind their own business. Once more he felt his heart tug at being so negative, but he meant it. He wanted out!
So he had no intentions of slowing down.
His suit began to cool down again as he continued to accelerate, the warning lights and sensors dimming again, but he had no intention of stopping.
Again, his helmet was splashed with unearthly bursts of light and color. Was he translining? Was he transferring to a new timeline, or returning to his original?
He opened his eyes when the lights dimmed again and saw that he was heading straight for the moon and that it was growing larger and larger. Then he dared to look at his speed. He closed his eyes, blinked twice, and then looked again. Impossible! He was not just going faster than the speed of sound; he was traveling faster than any missile ever constructed. He was certain he had already broken free of the Earth's gravitational pull, once he began spotting isolated chunks of rock...meteorites...in low orbit, but weren't falling into atmosphere.
Einstein had called it the perfect balance between gravity and the sun. The earth's pull and the Sun's gravitational pull. He hadn't invented a name for it, so he called it the Meridian Belt, the spot where Earth's gravity no longer pulled anything down, but also, nothing was pulled away.
He was tempted to see if the theory held and he would just float there in the Belt, but his determination to free himself of the barbaric future that lay on the Earth below was too powerful. Yes, he could have stayed like the older Rocketman he had left behind. And maybe the two of them could have made a difference. Maybe the American he spared would remember that not all Americans were cannibals and ruthless murderers. Maybe a tiny spark of rebellion would be planted in his soul, and America could possibly change over the years. He didn't know. He didn't have the patience to find out. If he was stuck there as the other Rocketman, maybe yes then. The other had made his choice. He acted determined. But Harry could tell the man had a great deal of remorse for his choice, probably remembers the woman and friends he had lost because of the choice, even as Harry now felt.
"Okay, Baby!" Harry sweet talked his Rocketman suit. "Let's see what you're really made of!" Harry gave the suit ever ounce of power it had and it had a lot. Usually, he kept it restrained at about five percent power levels. Now he raised it to the maximum. As he did so the tremendous force of the acceleration caused him to black out at the same time as every warning sensor and sound in his suit went berserk!
"Under no conditions, Harry." Al told him, seated in his classic pose of pipe in one hand and leg crossed over the other, his fuzzy hair flying in orbit above his eyebrows. "Under none whatsoever are you to ever unleash the full force of your power unit."
Harry grinned at Al, egging him on, teasing the old man...who at thirty something was getting ancient in Harry's eyes. "Afraid of me coming back as a milkshake?"
Al didn't bite. "No. Afraid of you becoming one with the universe!" He made a gesture of boom with his hands, and then waited for Harry to respond.
Harry had gotten a cold chill when Al demonstrated what happened.
"Hey tap toes!" Jet greeted Harry with his favorite tease, dropping at the table next to Al and Harry, hugging a mug of coffee between his strong hands. "What's up, brothers?"
Al's eyes twinkled. "We were just discussing my new theory...E=MCSquared."
"Oh, isn't that the one where everything turns to atoms?"
"Oh, much smaller than that." Al explained with an amused look on his face. He got up and sauntered off, not looking back or saying goodbye.
"Smart man, but lacking in social graces." Jet noted.
"Not really." Harry rebutted. "Just got a lot of jets blasting at the same time."
Jet gave Harry a narrow eyed look of suspicion. "You been sniffing his tobacco when no one's looking?"
Harry gave Jet a blank look.
Jet's eyes widened. "You didn't know?"
"The old man..." He made gestures of someone smoking pot.
Harry laughed. "You're nuts, Jet. He hates those kinds of things. He won't even touch beer, let alone anything stronger."
"Yeah. Now you know why I think he gets jazzed, Harry."
Harry laughed. "You're impossible!"
Harry smiled. "And you love every minute of it. Without me, you wouldn't know who to pick on or insult. And who would let you go out with their girlfriends but me?"
"Oh yeah. Like that's really a gesture of kindness. I have to patch them back together again after you break their hearts."
Jet winks. "Must be fun trying though."
Harry shook his head. Stars swam in his vision. Billions of them!
"Harry you're getting that far away look again." Jet blurted out, worried for his friend.
"Stars. Millions and millions of them." Harry answered, trying to wave his hands through them to see if they would move or alter in some way.
"Harry, you're really starting to worry me!"
"Jet, can't you see them?" Harry pleaded. "Even you are made of stars!"
Harry looked at Jet and his body appeared to be galaxies of shining stars.
"AL!" Jet screamed. "AL! Then everything turned into a blazing tunnel of stars that Al and Tesla were racing through to Harry. He waved at them and then said. "You're too late, guys. But nice try."
"It's all right, Baby. It's all right." Nurse Betty told him, holding his head in her lap, where he lay on the concrete floor of the secret bunker. His Rocketman suit was discarded to the right, smoking as if it had caught on fire.
Harry knew better. He had flown through stars. And stars and stars!
"You're home, Baby!" She cried, her eyes filled with tears.
He reached a hand up, not believing it had worked. His fingers trembled as they touched her moist cheeks. "Betty?"
"Boop to you." She joked, and then burst into more tears.
He tried to sit up, and then groaned from the effort.
"It's all right, Baby. You don't have to move. You don't have to fly anymore. Just stay with me. Everything will be all right." She promised, kissing his cheeks with tear moist lips. "I promise you'll never have to go out there and fight again. Ever and ever and ever."
"And ever?" He said with a grin, which somehow felt incredibly painful.
"And ever!" She said with finality.
Jet came running over where Harry lay and scooted close. "Harry, you old bag of bones. Where the hell have you been all these years?"
Harry smiled weakly. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt. "Everywhere. Nowhere. In the stars!"
Jet touched Harry gently across his chest, pressing his palms over that of Nurse Betty's. Then Harry realized his chest was where the hurting was coming from. More and more. He made a face and stared up at his love and his best friend. "I guess I didn't make it after all, did I?"
"What are you talking about, you lousy Joe!" Jet screamed, and then lowered his voice. "I'm sorry, Harry, you just got me a bit wound up is all. Everything's fine. Fine!"
Harry looked at Betty and her eyes answered his questions. "I didn't make it."
She shook her head. "No, you made it, Harry. All the way back home. All the way!"
Harry closed his eyes. "I think I can rest now."
"Harry!" Betty shrieked.
"It's been a long time since I've really rested." Harry said a little more weakly.
"Hang in there, Harry, helps on the way!"
"I love you guys!" Harry said with his last breath.
Nurse Betty cried against Jet's shoulder as Harry's body was marched past with the highest of military honors. Behind were the remains of Rocketman, also carried with full honors. An American Flag was draped over both bodies.
Al stood before an open grave.
Everyone at the base was there. It was night. No one wanted to give away their position with so many exposed like they were, but tonight they were taking that chance. Even the grunts who manned the anti-aircraft artillery were there, hats over their hearts.
Jet looked around the somber scenario, noting that there wasn't a dry eye there. It was hard to see them clearly though, because his own eyes were blurred with tears. Betty shrieked again in anguish, wrenching at his chest. He held her closer. She needed the comfort of his arms now. Now that...
"Harry!" Jet whispered as the body was lowered into the grave.
"I will always remember you, pal!" He said a bit more loudly.
Al stepped before the grave when Harry's body was deposited, opened a small journal to read from. "I was going to make up something wise and spiritual to read to you. Maybe a piece from the old bible, but when I found this and read it, I thought it said everything.
He began to read. "I am really going to miss having all my friends and family of friends around me when my time comes to go into the Big Beyond with that Giant Palooka in the sky. I just hope that when the time comes, you'll all forgive me for the stupid jokes and tacky remarks I made sometimes...well actually..." Al looks up. "...That was Jet who did that, but I feel somehow responsible for the monster I created."
Jet broke into sobs and shook his head.
Al continued. "I want you all to know that no matter what happens. To keep fighting the good fight. There are people out there depending on us. I love you all, you jerks! Harry!"
The ceremony was deathly silent for several minutes, and then everyone began working their way back to the entrance of the bunker.
Jet and Betty were the last to leave.
Jet suddenly whirled around, grabbing for his sidearm. "Did you hear that?"
Betty gave him a scared look. "What?"
"Like someone laughing."
Jet listened, but heard nothing more. Finally, he took Betty's arm and they headed back into the bunker, whose huge doors silently closed.
A man stood in the shadows of the nearby trees. He watched them enter the bunker, and then stepped out to look at the fresh graves of Harry and the Rocketman suit. He grinned. "So that's what it's going to be like."
He laughed again, and then turned. Harry smiled. "I'm coming for you, pals. I'm coming for you!"
He exited into the woods.
Several night owls screeched in alarm as an armored suit soared into the atmosphere, leaving a freakish light show behind it as it lifted higher and higher.
Harry sucked in a deep breath as he shot higher and higher into the atmosphere. The blues of the skies gradually began to darken and the stars overhead transitioned from blurry blobs of light to sharp pinpricks of hard light that dotted the heavens so thickly it looked like a vast carpet of illuminated lights plowed across the skies. He adjusted the temperature in his suit again. As he rose the air became colder. Fortunately, his gear was not flame bound, or he would have fallen from the arc he had struck from the cold beach he had left behind.
He was determined to leave this fallen world behind. He could not fight for men who lived off the lives of other men...literally. America, the proud and once beautiful country he had loved with all his heart and fought in the war for, was gone forever here with little hope of it changing. He could only hope his one act of kindness left some kind of mark in this timeline, though he couldn't, at that moment, see how one man could make that much of a difference.
"Jet, I know you can't hear me, at least not the jet I know and love. I know you're far away in a place I no longer know how to reach, but even so, I want you to know that I won't give up until I return home again."
He grinned inside his Rocketman suit, a kind of grim smile. He didn't know if he would ever return home anywhere he knew as home anymore...he had already been in five different timelines, and only one of them was the one where America had won the war, and there he hadn't been allowed to stay long enough to be sure his friends and loved ones were still alive, but had instead been bounced midflight to home into another parallel timeline, the one he was seeking to escape now.
Tesla and Einstein had done their best to spare this tall American Captain more grief. They had adjusted the energy emitters on his flying suit numerous times, tweaking it and updating it, but every time they did so, the suit still got side locked into a new time continuum or one he had already visited. He was starting to grow a sense of helplessness towards his life, which he had to fight in the form of melancholy, stupor and the needs to escape.
Not a drinker by nature, he had even fallen, last time he had been with Jet, into guzzling beer like root beer. He had gotten so sick the next day he wanted to throw up his insides, but the night before he had forgotten about Nurse Betty and the efforts to beat the Nazis to the Atomic Bomb that Ike was spearheading.
"I'd say more, but I don't even know if this is any use anymore, other than to hear someone who makes sense...since no one else does anymore."
The atmosphere bled behind him and finally his arc brought him into orbit above the earth. Einstein had said his suit was capable of doing that, and this time he had found out, having no real interest in such flying before. He loved the idea of space travel, but only in so far as it came to movies like "Things to Come" with Raymond Massey, or "War of the Worlds," that really cool Martian invader film he had seen with Nurse Betty clutching his arm painfully on one side, and Jet laughing at the violence nervously on his left.
He remembered how he had watched it like a child seeing his first bike, thinking how fascinating it would be to meet aliens, creatures from another world. He no longer felt that thrill. There were enough aliens on his world.
"Penny for your thoughts, Harry." He laughed to himself, and then he gasped. Below his orbit the United States came into view. He knew the continent was no longer the once beautiful lands he had come to know and love, but if their peoples could see what he saw now, maybe some of their pride and dreams would return to them once more. But he had no way of sharing that with them. That was a journey they would have to make on their own, if they made any journey at all, he fell into a sour musing once more.
"Al, I'm going to do something stupid and I want you and Tes to know I appreciate everything you've done for me if this doesn't work. We know that somehow the emitters have some kind of erratic alignment with the 4th dimension of time and that is causing it to launch me into these parallel timelines. We also know it usually happens under extreme battle conditions when I'm pushing it to the limits."
He paused, considering his next words carefully, even if no one would ever hear them. He would hear them and that's what mattered now. Satisfied, he began. "I'm going to do a very, very stupid thing. The suit is so heavily armored with the force fields about it that most armaments don't have much impact on it, but what if the suit was to strike the earth...not from a mile up, or even ten miles...." He swallowed hard. "What if it were to strike the earth at full velocity?"
And at that moment he made up his mind finally and adjusted his controls. He aimed the Rocketman suit towards the American continent below. "I may not live there." He whispered in awe for a moment, then fiercely. "But I can at least find peace there."
He gave the Rocketman a goose and it flew sharply into the atmosphere again, gaining more and more speed as he gradually nursed the speed higher and higher. He didn't even bother to read the data flow on his helmet screen. It didn't matter anymore. This was either going to work or not. Either way, he would find home. Find peace.
Below on the plains of Arizona near Sedona, a lone refugee of the wars sat on a bluff looking up at the night skies. He gnawed at a prickly pear from a cactus that grew abundantly in that region. He was not a cannibal. He would rather die than have that happen. He wiped at the juices spilling over his lips. Ever since he had crashed his suit about ten miles from here, he had been fighting an urge to just give up and go back to where he had come from, but he resisted. He knew they must have given up by now. No one survives that kind of crash, not even in a Rocketsuit.
Captain Harry Jackson, of the USofA, sighed wearily. He had spent years resisting the overwhelming American forces, but known, as most that one day they would flood onto the continent of Europe and sweep like a hungry tide...which they truly were...into the Capitols of that empire and destroy all that was left of beauty and grace. But even that didn't bother him anymore, for the enemy was no worse or better than they themselves had become. War had not made their planet just hell, but intolerable for souls like his. He was meant to sail the skies like a bird, not sink to the depths like a rock.
He looked up, measuring the stars with sweeps of his tired eyes. He had stayed up later than usual, feeling the need to give some meaning to his absence in the war. Also, because he had heard the American forces nearing. They HAD learned about the crash site, and they were searching for him and the Rocketsuit. They would never find the Rocketsuit. He had used an emergency explosive to utterly destroy it, but they didn't know that and even if they found out, they'd have him and with him they would have what they needed to build their own.
Einstein and Tesla had not built the suit, but his father and him. His father was one of the first casualties of the war, but before he had left to go into battle in one of the first Rocketman suits, he had told Harry. "When war becomes the end goal in itself, then civilization has lost its way, its soul, Harry. Remember that, son!"
Harry had remembered it and even as he fought against the Americans, secretly he was planning for the time he could escape the clutches of the Chinese who had taken over Europe and their cronies from the Latin Americas. He sought a higher purpose. He missed Red. God! How he missed her, but he couldn't live with what he had become in the war and still keep his soul intact.
He was about to drift off to sleep when he heard a distant rumbling sound. At first he thought it was one of those monsoon-like storms that irritated the desert lands this time of year, sweeping swiftly across the sands and cacti, searing the desert with forks of lightning and the skies with blasts of light that could be seen for dozens of miles in every direction. It was spectacular and beautiful. At first he had thought the Americans had discovered him, but when he saw the barrage of lightning instead of mushrooming clouds, he knew it was Mother Nature, and not man disturbing his peace and tranquility.
But tonight was different. The bolts of lightning were not coming from above, but below. On the dusty plains that led to the bluff he sat upon. The bolts did not vanish as lightning might either, they froze in place. Stopped.
He got to his feet in alarm and quickly snuffed out the fire he had started. What a fool to think he wouldn't be found. That they wouldn't discover the remains of Rocketman he had buried as best he could in the thick patch of Cacti, cutting himself all over in his efforts to blindside them from finding him or the instrument they sought for their ongoing violence against humanity and decency.
He saw tiny figures get out of the battle wagons that had stopped with the troops they carried. They formed a defensive ring. He smiled. They still weren't certain if he was armed or not. They didn't realize he was powerless now. Just a half naked man trying to survive on the naked lands that God had made for him.
He dropped flat to his stomach and peered more closely from the bluff. Finished, circling, the troops were all dismounted from their vehicles and forming squadrons for the search that would spread out from there. The search that would surely find him. There really was only one direction for them to search and he knew that and when one of the soldiers gestured his direction, he knew they also knew that.
Then he and the ones below felt this series of thunderclaps from high above, like a series of detonations, one after the other, each successfully louder as if bombs were exploding in a perfect line towards them, reaching out to annihilate them.
He and the men below looked up.
A searing blast of light was arcing towards the desert floor, raging faster and faster against the burning grasp of the atmosphere as it accelerated in a death plunge towards the desert below. Harry gasped. It wasn't going to land near him, but near them. To be precise.
The soldiers finally understood and began scrambling to get away from the circle of battle wagons, leaping and pushing their way over each other and the vehicles. Most stumbling and falling while others leaped over or on them to try to reach safety in time. It was like watching a tiny army of ants racing to get away from a human's foot as it struck towards them. Hopeless and futile!
Harry threw an arm over his eyes as something brighter than the sun struck the desert floor. A small mushroom cloud of blazing forces and energies erupted from where the American Battle Wagons had stopped. When Harry lowered his arm, the Battle Wagons and men were gone, but a very strange thing was going on.
He dashed down the bluff's side, trying to avoid any rattlers slumbering on the path, cacti in his way and small stones, but his naked feet were torn and bleeding by the time he reached the edge of the blazing pit that had been made by the mysterious force from the skies. He had to stop a foot from the edge and even then his toes felt as if they might sear off from the heat they were exposed to. The center of the explosion was a boiling mass of energies and for a brief moment Harry could have sworn he saw himself on the other side of it, standing on a bluff, looking into the pit of energies from that direction.
The man was in a Rocketman suit. It had to be him. Everything about the frozen figure rang out as him, and only him. And when the helmet slid open to reveal the face. He knew the answer. It was him. Somehow he had saved himself.
He waved at the Harry on the other side of the roiling energies and smiled. Maybe there was hope for his world after all. Maybe fate had other designs in store for him. And that's when he began thinking about the second Rocketman suit that he and fellow rebels had hidden away in California.
Harry stood at the edge of the huge gulf in the ground his impact had created, wondering how he had survived such an impossible impact, but as the forces about his suit began to calm down, he recognized that it was more than his force field that had protected him. He had transitioned just a split second before impact, or maybe even during it. He wasn't sure. His brain had switched off for several moments. And then he had found himself switching off power and standing over the pit he had made, but not on the original side, but the other side.
That's when he saw himself. Standing near the pit looking at him as he was looking at that fellow. He was stunned for a long moment, then he released the helmet faceplate and it slid aside, revealing his face. He raised his hand to wave at the other man, who was also Harry. The other man seemed to take forever and then he also waved.
Harry got this strange feeling that he hadn't got the whole picture when he was in that timeline, that information had been withheld from him, but he also got the feeling that now he had left there was one person left, maybe two now, who could and would make a difference.
"Harry! You sonuva bitch, where are?" Jet screamed into his helmet.
Harry felt his heart lift. "Jet?"
"Jet, don't misunderstand me when I ask you a question."
"Are you Latino?"
A burst of laughter filled his head. "Yeah. And Ike's a Chinaman. Come one, Harry, what you been drinking since you've been gone, brother?"
He slid his faceplate back and looked to the skies. They didn't look so lonely anymore, and then he launched himself again, but this time he was going home.
He felt his eyes well up with moisture. But he didn't care. God, he didn't care.
Home! He was going home!
A new star shot across the Arizona desert that night and many Americans woke up startled and ran to their windows to look and then made a wish as the st
The Case of Constable Evans' Fancy A Sherlock Holmes Story By John Pirillo
To say that Constable Evans was smitten by the mysterious thief, who got away, would be an understatement of the most momentous proportions. To say that he was madly in love with a phantom that could slip through spaces no more than a centimeter thick some might also say was not just an understatement, but an indictment of his imagination as well. But then, they hadn't been there that night that Sherlock, his father Inspector Bloodstone and Doctor Watson had cornered the gossamer lady only to have her flee without being captured.
"It's really nor right that a thief should look so..."
"Handsome?" His father ventured, winking at Doctor Watson, who was seated to his left inside 221B's sitting room at a table with a silver platter of scones, a teapot and a steaming coffee pot as well.
Sherlock, in his typical fashion, stayed out of the conversation, preferring to thumb through the latest story of Conan's he had written since his transition from the alternate earth universe. "Come now, Inspector, surely the lad desires a bit more credit than that?" Sherlock ventured without losing his place or his eyes on the story he was reading. He had already finished ninety percent of it. He was quite a remarkably fast reader, able to remember almost a hundred percent of whatever he read, which was what led him to reading the fiction of Conan's, it gave him a different route for his memory to travel...one less tried and true.
The Inspector coughed into a hand, took a sip of his tea, then eyed his son sternly, who gave the look back defiantly. "Well, perhaps, but he is after all just a child."
"I am not, father!" Constable Evans denied, jumping to his feet. "A man of his twenties is hardly a child!"
Doctor Watson who had been watching the tirade with amusement jumped in. "But then all men seem like children when we become older, is that not so, Inspector?"
The Inspector laughed. "Tied my hand behind my back, Watson. How can I ever deny such a word of truth as that?"
"Oh, I image rather easily." Sherlock said, once more interrupting his reading to comment. "You do it all the time."
The Inspector gave Sherlock an evil eye for a moment, then sighed and looked at his son, who was still fuming from the insult. "Sit down; you're making me tired just watching you stand there."
"I will not, Inspector!"
The Inspector sighed again. "All right. You're not a child. So stop acting like one. What the bloody hell's gotten into the kids these days?" He muttered to Mrs. Hudson as she walked in with a fresh tray of sandwiches and placed them on the table.
She looked over at Constable Evans. "Oh, I'm so forgetful." She pulled a letter from her apron that had beautiful flowers drawn on it in purple." She handed it towards Constable Evans. "They said it was for you."
He perked up. "I don't know anyone who might..."
Suddenly his face lit up. He ran down the stairs for the front door.
Sherlock laughed then. "You received the letter mid morning, did you not, Mrs. Hudson?"
"Yes, but how..." She giggled.
He smiled at her and resumed reading.
Constable Evans flew back up the stairs into the sitting room. "What did they look like? The one who delivered it?"
"Oh, a quite charming young lady. Wore this very peculiar dress that seemed more like silk than cotton. Though I've never seen that material before..."
He ran back down the stairs again. The front door was heard banging open, and then shutting.
"Oh dear me." Mrs. Hudson declared, giving Watson a pleading look. "What have I just done to that poor boy's imagination?"
"Oh, it's not imagination, dear Mrs. Hudson that has struck him in the heart. But rather something more soft and delicate."
Then Watson and the Inspector realized what had happened and who they were talking about. They grabbed their coats and ran down the stairs as well. The front door opened with a bang and slammed shut again.
"Are you not going with them, Mister Holmes?" She asked, gathering the used dishes to bring to the kitchen.
"I'm not through reading dear Conan's time travel story and I do so much hate dead ends."
He looked up with a smile. "The lady in question I'm sure has been a faithful distance between her and our flat by now."
With that he returned to his reading, the smile never leaving his face.
Constable Evans ran all the way to Regent's Park, stopping pedestrians and Constables to inquire if they had seen anyone looking like Gossamer, as he called her, the girl he had been smitten by. They all gave him a look of humor, seeing as how his desperation colored his words and the fact that it was a girl he was chasing. None of his inquiries led to any likely prospect.
So finally, he sat down on a bench beneath an ancient elm that spread protective arms beneath the cloudy skies of London. The sky was clear, but starting to blur somewhat with light clouds that moved swiftly from North to South. A slight drizzle had wet the pavement earlier and so the park bench was still moist, but Constable Evans didn't feel it. He only felt the beat of his lonely heart. This incident just reminded him once more how devoid his bachelor life had become of true happiness. Sharing with a partner.
"Now what?" He demanded of himself.
He suddenly remembered the letter he had been handed. He had smashed it into his coat pocket, forgetting about it in his rush to find the missing girl. He plucked it out hurriedly and began to read it.
Please do not think unkindly of me for being so forward as to communicate with you.
I realize you may think less of me because of what you witnessed this last evening. But I assure you no harm was meant to you or anyone else.
I don't have much time to write this, as I am continually moved to keep searching for my redemption. But when I searched you eyes I saw something in them I had been looking for and did not realize. Hope.
I pray that we shall meet again soon. For my heart feels as if it will surely break if we do not.
Please do not look for me. I do not want to bring you grief by such a useless gesture.
Sherlock's smile returned as he sipped his tea and the pounding of Constable Evans feet ascended the staircase to the sitting room. Sherlock was alone.
"Where is my father?"
Sherlock patted the chair opposite him.
Constable Evans sat down, and then eyed the stack of sandwiches which lay before him and Sherlock.
"Please, help yourself, Constable Evans. I imagine your dash to Regent Street Park and your futile search for the thief of last night has left you not only weak of the knee, but the stomach as well."
Constable Evans dug into the food, while Sherlock looked on, occasionally sipping teas. Finally, Constable Evans was as full as a young man's stomach could bear. He shoved back from the table and started to get up.
Sherlock shook his head.
Constable Evans sat back down again.
"The letter she sent you, did it not request you be patient in your endeavor to capture her attention once more?"
"Yes, but how could you know..."
"And did she not say that there was a special bond between you?"
"Yes, but Sherlock..."
Sherlock was relentless. "And you feel that by exerting yourself to the maximum this will prove your worth to this nightingale. Is this not so?"
"Bloody hell it is." Constable Evans swore.
Sherlock nodded, then set his tea down, went back to his favorite chair, sat down and picked up a new book. He looked to Constable Evans. "Mister Wells and Mister Verne have come up with a very fine time travel story I feel to be of the utmost interest. Perhaps you could join me at the other chair and partake of my extra copy?"
Constable Evans got up, started that direction, and then looked longingly at the staircase.
"Constable Evans." Sherlock reminded him of still being there.
Constable Evans came over, picked up the extra copy and restlessly at first, then calmer and calmer, continued to read.
"I think the page where Jules realizes that he will never see his dearly beloved again if he continues to run forward through time for her, seeking the version he remembered, when she was no longer there, but in the past. I think that might be of interest to you."
Constable Evans glanced at the page that Sherlock showed him, flipped through his own copy and found the page.
"Please, Constable, read it out loud. I rather fancy the tone of your voice. It would help me to calm my agitated nerves just now."
Constable Evans glanced at Sherlock, not seeing a nervous man at all, but complied.
"And when I, the inventor extraordinary, flew through time in the Master of the World with Mon Frere, Wells, we came upon a very unusual spot in time. It was London. But a very different one. One where the people all wore these glistening types of clothing. Like gossamer they were."
Constable Evans looked up at Sherlock, who didn't return the glance. He began reading again. "And one of them seemed to know us intimately and called us by name, and said to give a message to a young man. That he wouldn't know it was for him yet, but in the years ahead he would."
Constable Evans began to choke up.
"Please, Constable, don't stop now. I feel so soothed by your voice."
Constable Evans read on. "His name is Constable Evans. You must tell him to be patient, as it is not truly his nature when his heart is full. How I know this is because mine own is so much the same. Tell him we shall meet again. And sooner rather than later. But he must be patient as time works more safely for the patient, than the impatient."
He finished reading and looked at Sherlock, who closed his book. "I feel so calm now and relaxed. When the good Doctor returns with your father, please tell them I am taking a nap. So kind of you." He said to Constable and exited into his bedroom.
Constable Evans looked at the book in his hands and clasped it to his chest. "I will, Gossamer. I will be patient."
And then very impatiently, he rose to look out the window. For even as patient as he was trying to be, the hope of a fresh and more loving tomorrow was almost too much for his patience to bear. Such is the nature of love.
Crash "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.
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.
Lord Graystone Triumphant "A Jungle Lord Story" By John Pirillo
The Jungle called to him. It urged him to fall down to his hands and feet and scamper like a gorilla, snarling and barking, howling at the huge moon that hovered like a death hawk in the black, velvet skies.
Were one a stranger to the Fairie, one might mistake this human for a beast, the way he scampered about on his knuckles and toes, but he was far from it.
Lord Graystone was neither an ignorant savage, nor a stumbling idiot loose from a psychiatric ward; he was a nobleman of high birth, who sought to live in harmony with the world he lived in.
He had seen enough of the modern world to despise it in many ways. His grey blue eyes shone with an inner light that was brighter than the fog lights of London at night. His intelligence shone through his eyes like a beacon in the night and yet, beneath that strict layer of reasoning was a simpler, plainer man. A man who believed that nature was being raped by the greed of man.
He saw it when he went to the huge coal dumps, the toxic dumps; saw the thousands of birds and sea life that lay floating and dead from exposure to the toxic wastes.
Yes, Tesla, who was a good friend, had made some mistakes on unleashing this new economy. And he was striving to turn it all around to a more green future, where man lived in harmony with nature, but until that day, more and more wild life died needlessly and more innocent children were born with diseases they never had and conflicted with abysmal disorders of the body and spirit they never should have encountered.
So one night a year he allowed his more primitive side to dominate and this was that night.
He clawed at the leafy Jungle ground and found a nest of roly polys. He ate them, making sure he only ate the older, slower ones, leaving the rest to renew their colony.
Then he flung himself into a vine strewn tree and grappled with the vines until he reached a bee’s nest. He scooped a hand into the hive, careful not to break it entirely, and cupped a palm in the sticky, white mess there. He brought it out and sucked and chewed its semi-moist, hardened surface into his throat, savoring the sweet flavor of it.
Next, he swung on vines until he neared a colony of black geese sleeping near a pond. He dropped lightly, so as not to scare them all, then swiftly snatched one of the oldest ones, broke its neck before it could squawk, and then leaped back into the trees. He swung for what seemed like hours, but was in actuality only a few moments, and then he landed on a platform that was about a hundred feet off the Jungle floor. He sat there with his feet over the edge, admiring the dark panorama before him. Slowly, and with great relish he began eating the goose.
He spit the feathers out, and the sharper bones, but pretty much ate everything else. He did not waste. Even the feathers and bones he spit out, he caught and deposited beside him to later be used for arrows and other delicate tools he hand made for his use in the Jungle.
Finished, he lay down on the platform and eyed the silvery moon lighting the canopy overhead. It was a full moon. Dragons would be in flight. Centaurs would be calling to their mates to dance and choose partners. The Great Apes he had helped to flee her from certain destruction in Africa, were calling to each other in their deep, grunting voices, singing in their simple ways their poetry of existence.
Man missed so much because he didn’t listen. But he heard it all. The Jungle was an orchestration of nature that filled in every vibration, nook and cranny of existence with joy and exuberation. He felt it in every bone and muscle of his body, vibrating with a lush frequency that made his heart quiver with joy.
And so he fell asleep on his platform, even though he had a very civil bed inside his home above the Jungle floor. Even though it had pillows, quilts, and blankets. Sheets and pillowcases.Silverware and cooking utensils. This night he slept like the savage beast he had once been before he had been reintroduced to the world of man again.
His dreams were not dark and restless, but deep and rich with fulfillment. When he awoke he would start his new day, working on more ways to preserve the greatness of this new land, to protect it from the greed and avarice of man.
For man had slowly been entering these lands. Not the Elves, nor the gnomes and hobbits and trolls one would expect of Faire, but pirates and explorers, both of whom opened the way for others to enter, by twos, then dozens.
Magic was the key to entering and magic was available to anyone with the right coin in their hand. There were scoundrels who gave the name beast an altogether new meaning, as they came into Fairie and began plundering its natural resources and attempting to conquer its peoples.
The men and women coming into the lands of Fairie were not from his world, but another that lay in parallel with it. He and Tesla had figured that out with a new device that he and Einstein, with the help of DaVinci had come up with. The Italian had come up with the idea of a device that could so fine tuned that it would be able to detect the slightest alteration of magic, such that they could pinpoint which world it was coming from.
That was when he and the other Baker Adventurers, led by Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger, had discovered that not only was there one other parallel world, but there were more than their current technology could measure.
So as he lay there beneath the stars, his mind filtered through the events of the past day and its portent for the future.
He felt a slight movement beneath the home and tensed, his nostrils flaring. He scented something, but it wasn’t clear. It should have been familiar to him, but it was different somehow.
He relaxed, but his right hand fell across his hip and the long blade he kept in its sheath of hardened wood and vine there.
Tesla powered carriages rolled silently past, their bright head beams illuminating the cobbled roads as they swept past.
One of them slowed and did a u turn, causing two figures to be caught in its blades of light for a moment.
Tesla and Lord Graystone.
The driver must have been somewhat startled by what he saw, if he noticed, because Lord Graystone stood naked in the alleyway, except for a lion cloth about his lower waist.
Maybe a pedestrian saw them as well, but if so, being British, they would have pretended it hadn’t really happened. No one in their proper frame of mind would stand almost naked in the freezing London winter.
Graystone didn’t find it distracting at all. Either the weather or the pedestrians and street traffic. He was engaged in a vigorous conversation with his friend, Nicolas Tesla, the inventor of much of modern England’s electrical devices.What seemed like ages ago he had stood at the gateway to this world with Tesla, who in his normal good natured way was joking about the problems of finding a good vine to swing on these days.
He had humored his long time friend with a smile, but inwardly he grimaced. They weren’t vines, but trailers that hung from the giant, old trees that grew so densely in the forests of Fairie.
His friend had never seen the magic that was woven into the strands to keep them strong and flexible; else they would’ve become brittle and snapped, plunging him to his death many times over.
Tesla scratched his red bead a moment in thought, and then as he gazed at the portal that was whirling beside them he spoke. “I know this is your annual retreat, Graystone, but keep your eyes and ears open anyway.”
He had been angry at the time. The last thing he wanted was another mission. He needed to get away from the heavy trappings of civilization, not add more onto his burden.
He waited for the inevitable explanation. If he had learned nothing else during his years of survival in the jungle, it was patience. He, who was not patience, did not survive.
Finally, Tesla had handed him a small object. “Make sure you keep this on you at all times.”
“What is it?” He had asked.
He had given Tesla a quizzical look.
Tesla grinned. “I know. I know. You never get lost. But trust me on this one. Okay?”
He sighed and pocketed it in his small waist bag he kept at his left hip. Some food, some medicinal supplies and now this, he thought as he eyed the small object, and then shoved it deeper into the other objects, shutting the bag up again.
“There’s more.” Tesla went on, his smile vanishing and a look of utter sincerity and solemnness riding to the surface.
“As you know we had that incident with the Hollow Man not that long ago?”
Graystone nodded. “That would be hard to forget.”
“Indeed.” Tesla agreed, then shook himself out of whatever cavern of thoughts he had momentarily got lost in.
He scratched at his red beard again. “I suspect...”
“You?” Graystone asked.
“Well, actually Holmes.” Tesla replied, shaking off Graystone’s look. “No matter. My point is that we think he’s returned.”
Graystone put his right palm over his waist knife. “I’ll be ready for him when I return.”
Tesla shook his head. “Not here. There.”
Graystone’s eyes narrowed for a moment. A sight that would put the fear of death into any creature seeing it. Finally, he relaxed enough to ask the next question.
Tesla gauged Graystone’s mood for a moment, as if suspecting his next words might cause more than he desired. With somewhat of a hesitation his voice he said simply, “Hyde.”
Up and down Baker Street pedestrians and occupants of Tesla cars were startled by a horrible scream that sounded like a bull ape ripping its opponent apart.
But in the alley Tesla stood there, stock still. He knew what had been coming, but he had forgotten how intense it could be.
Lord Graystone finally lowered his hands from his mouth and looked at his longtime friend. “I’m sorry, Nic.”
Harry swiped at the sweat pooling across his brows, his concentration unwavering as he studied the battle plans before him.
Jet, leaning over the plans, anxious to get going, fretted like the little child he was sometimes. Got to love him, mused Harry as he finally swept his pawn across the board to block the only exit that Jet's king had.
Jet grinned so big that Harry immediately knew he had made a tactical error.
"You should have blocked the rook, not the castle." Einstein said, as he hovered over his shoulder, the sweet smell of his cherry blend whispering between his teeth from the pipe he was smoking.
"Easy for you to say." Harry complained. "You plan a hundred moves ahead."
"Well, one tries." Einstein replied humbly.
Harry gave him a scowl, then waited for Jet to close the game.
Instead, Jet yawned, stretched real big and got to his feet, stretching like a lion does before leaping upon its prey.
"I'm whacked. Think I'll catch some shut eye. 'Night!"
"Hey!" Harry complained.
"You win, Harry. As always." Jet said, the hint of a snicker in his voice as he swept off to the right and their bunks deeper in the underground fortress. A fortress that was deep inside a series of natural caverns inside the Swiss Alps. Left there by ancient Romans on their way to defeating the rest of Europe. You could still see some of their statuary in deeper pockets of the fortress, where even some of their simple columns supported the cavern roof with beauty, while not actual need.
Einstein sat down and pondered the board a moment. "Actually, he's right. You do win."
Harry looked at Einstein. "You're kidding, right?"
Einstein gave him a stony face, then broke into laughter. "Night, Harry."
He walked off slowly, heading a different direction, probably to work with one of his fellow scientists on suit modifications Harry had suggested. He just found it harder and harder to fly the damn thing. He felt like a walking tank. Not like a bird flying. More like a bomb flying the wrong direction.
Brenda, one of the Nurses on station, slipped into a chair opposite him and set down two cups of Java. "Thought you'd need this."
"Thanks." He said, grasping its warmth, allowing it to warm his numb fingers. While the base was comfortable enough, no amount of work could change the temperatures inside, which were usually just this side of freezing. You could always see your breath. When he complained about it, Einstein laughed. "Would you rather it got hot and our electronics blew up, causing a thermal nuclear meltdown of our reactors?"
"Boom!" Einstein made a cute explosion sound, then laughed.
So that ended that.
"Harry. Base to Harry. Come in, Captain!" Brenda teased.
Harry focused on her face, the hint of a smile on his lips. "Sorry, just thinking."
"Ask me flight boy, you ding that old noggin a bit too much for comfort. Some day you're likely to turn into one of those steel brains like Al."
Harry barked with laughter. "He'd love hearing that. Then he could have a real partner to beat chess with."
She smiled, then took a sip of her Java.
Harry did the same. Then his eyebrows rose. She gave him the hint of a mischievous smile. "Woke you up, did it, fly boy?"
"You shooting for bedpan duty, Nurse?" Harry quipped.
"No skin off my back. I've been doing that for years, Penguin."
He laughed. "Sometimes I wish I were."
"Yeah. Read you loud and clear."
They both sat there lost in their thoughts a moment, then Harry said what was really on his mind. "Do you think they're still alive...out there...somewhere?"
Betty's face grew impassive. "Facts are not always pleasant, flyboy."
"Atta girl, fast thinking. But not as fast as my jenny."
"Your jenny is nothing more than a firecracker with metal slung around it." She countered, then put a hand on his hand, not liking the direction their talk was taking.
"Sorry, Harry. Didn't mean to blow out your tanks."
"Likewise." He said with a grin.
She softened. "We would all like to think she was still alive, but..."
He grew somber with that thought. "So many gone. So many."
"You still seeing the split?"
"Must feel like being stuck in a Mae West double barrel salute when that happens."
"Worse." He admitted.
She looked into his eyes. "What's it like in that other world?"
"We were winning."
He didn't say anything more. What more could he say? On his own timeline the Allies were beating the crap out of those brown shirts, but here...they were on the run...hiding in rabbit holes and taking pocket shots, hoping for a big break.
"You live back then sometimes, don't you?"
"Yes." He sighed, put his head in his hands a moment, then looked back at her. "It's like a dream...this world...when I'm there, but now that world..."
"Like a dream?"
"Al or Nicolai come up with anything yet?"
"Not a damned thing."
She put a hand on his wrist and he could feel the warmth of her seeping into his body. He flinched at first, but she didn't let go. "Whenever you want to talk more about it."
She got up and smiled. "Why don'tchu come up and see me some time, big guy?"
"You been looking at those old reels, have you?" He smiled at her.
"Oh yeah. Those movie stars had it all down." She returned the smile, then walked off, the same time as klaxons blared throughout the underground cavern.
Harry bounced to his feet, spilling his Java on the table top. He ignored it as he ran as fast as he could to the rigging area. He, along with a myriad of penguins, who supported the operations, raced in every direction. Checking power. Checking radar. Checking entrances and exits. Checking fuel. Checking supplies. Hauling out fire equipment. All the things that penguins did to make sure the flyboys were safe and the secret base secure.
He mused over the term penguins a moment, thinking it funny that his fellow airmen would be called something as cute as that, but such was the slang of the times...even in this alternate reality. Which brought him back full circle to the klaxons blaring. Either there was a major battle coming, or something had gone terribly wrong.
"Suit up, Captain!" Ordered his commanding officer of the day. Colonel Windser. The man was an uptight asshole, without the slightest clue of good manners or mercy. He would just as readily swap a fellow airman down into the ground as a Nazi storm trooper.
Harry ignored him as always, leaped up the ramp into his suit, twisted around and slipped inside. The ground crew sealed him in quickly and made sure his electronic network was active and ready. Others manned the new electronic consoles that kept track of his heart rate, his air, his munitions and more importantly his amp out if need be. He'd only amped once, and it had cost him a month in rehab from the shock of impacting the ground. He was determined...not to let that ever happen again.
Amping was a term for bailing out, but in his suit, it just meant being enclosed with a super inflated cushion that was supposed to protect him from earth impact. It did, but it usually left him in shock for weeks from the violence of the impact. They had tested it once without him and deemed it okay, but he knew better. It was experimental. Which was why he was begging them forlighter suit.
As hishelmet sealed off and his scanners lit to life, his screens for monitoring the outside of the suit, his armament, his flight navigator, his communications gear came to life as well. "Rocketman, loud and ready." He quipped.
"Gotcha, Harry." Jet rang in from a receiver near his right ear.
Harry activated his legs and began disconnecting from the ramp. He turned and faced the ramp he would be launching from. He began racing up it as the mountainside ahead began to part like the fabled walls of Ali Baba's forty thieves.
"Rocket!" Harry shouted, then shot up into the midnight black of the Swiss night. No moon, no stars. Clouds thick and dreary. Perfect for his flight to stay hidden from the Nazi base below, but bad for his systems readouts, as the fog caused a lot of false readings.
"Jet, what's going on? Nothing in range."
"This is Colonel Windser, you are to stay air born until further instructions. We have a bogey. I repeat we have a bogey."
"Colonel, that tells me zero!"
"Heads up." Jet ordered.
Harry turned his helmet up.
The clouds were thinner there. As he flew higher, they thinned further and he became aware of something metallic coming into view. It was larger than him, and armed to the teeth. Another Rocket suit...with a huge Swastika on its chest.
"Jet, we have a problem."
"What is it?"
Static blasted into his ears, then Colonel Windser's voice blasted through. "Shoot it down. Now!"
"Captain, are you disobeying a direct order?"
"No sir, just not interested in shooting my own self."
Long silence. "What?"
"It's me. Rocket me."
"Holy crap, Harry, how's that possible?"
"How are you possible, how am I?" He shot back. "Some kind of new split in the timeline. Jeepers, you're rattin' up the wrong tree, if you wanna make sense of this."
"Other suit is arming, Harry."
Harry did the only thing he could, he amped.
Inside his suit, he became compressed in a soft substance that would save him from any impact. The suit was made of a highly resilient metal that nothing short of an atom bomb could destroy. He was the only breakable part.
"Harry, you crazy!"
The last thing he saw was the face in the other suit as it closed in. His own. The eyes were in shock, then it shot to the right and vanished as he plummeted towards the earth.
That was the last thing he remembered for about a week. The next thing he remembered was Nurse Brenda's voice talking to Jet in a low murmur. Then he realized it was just him surfacing from dreamland.
He opened his eyes. He was hooked up to all kinds medical scanners and body fluids. "Hey!"
They both gave him looks of relief.
Colonel Windser stormed into the room, his face bright with anger, but instead of hollering at Harry, he wiped at his eyes, which were clearly wet with tears. He touched Harry gently on his shoulder. "Damn you, Harry!"
"Damn me, sir!" Harry joked back.
Colonel Windser jerked his eyes to Jet and Brenda. "You make sure he has everything he needs to recover fully."
He looked back at Harry. "And then you got a lot of explaining to do." He smiled. "I'm glad you made it, son."
He paused as if about to say more, then left in a storm as he had entered.
Jet whooped it up. "Harry, you just got cussed out by the meanest guy on the earth and survived."
"Didn't sound that way to me."
Brenda laughed. "You should have heardhim when you amped. My ears are still healing from all the swear words."
"So what happened?" Harry asked, genuinely confused.
"You survived." Jet said gently, his smile warm and soothing. "You made it, fly boy!"
Harry laughed. "You should have seen the look on the other guy's face."
"I'll bet." Jet snorted. "Bad enough to have one loser in the air, let alone two!" He laughed. But what he was really thinking was "How could Harry be sure the other Harry would recognize the gesture of surrender and not blast him to kingdom come?"
Brenda joined the laughter, but Harry didn't. What had happened to the other him? Did he realize that Harry was not the enemy like he had the other? And why was he flying a suit with a swastika on it? Those questions boiled in his mind as he slipped into a much needed, and deep rest.
Dial T for Time and Destiny "A Lord When Story" By John Pirillo
Lord When settled into a booth in the back of Denny's, his eyes focused on a young couple seated on the opposite side, several booths up. The booths were covered with leather like plastic of shiny red, interspaced with ribbons of blonde wood, very highly polished. The floor was gritty from the recent rain. He glanced outside and could see the puddles of water gathering in the street gutters, slight reflections of clouds and an emerging sun shining there.
"Ready to order?"
He turned to look at a very petite, older woman, probably in her middle forties, with blonde wispy hair that threatened to run away from her forehead at any moment, a pair of narrow lips smeared with some kind of lip-gloss and kind blue eyes that considered him thoughtfully as he examined her.
"Not yet. Thanks!"
She nodded, and then gestured to the street outside. "It's not always like this here."
She looked at him more closely. "Never seen you here before."
"I usually park outside the city and walk into town later. Like the privacy."
"Gotcha." She said, taking that as a warning to shut up.
He quickly stopped that assumption. "I like your town." He smiled. "It seems pleasant, like you."
She blushed. "Honey, I'm way outside your boundaries." She held up a marriage finger.
"And rightly so." He uttered with a smirk.
She laughed. "Coffee coming right up."
She smiled as she headed for the small kitchen, where she kept her small pot of coffee brewing. She didn't believe in those automatic ones. No control over the final product. She knew by scent when the coffee was strong or weak and preferred to keep on doing things that way. Her husband, the cook, grunted at her as she entered and she noticed the order up. "On it." She told him, then quickly started a fresh pot of coffee, then swept the bacon and fries sandwich combo up in her right hand and a tall, fizzing coke in the other and headed back out into the dining area.
Lord when watched as she served the older couple in the back, nodding and chatting, as warm as could be.
He glanced at his watch.
He put a hand under the table. "Shhh. Someone will hear you, even if they can't see you."
"As if you cared." Binky replied sharply, but still keeping it down.
Lord When felt Binky shuffle around and his tail brush his pants leg, then he knew the tiny friend had managed to position himself with a better view of the dining area, as limited as it might be. Binky was always in protection mode. Must be hard on his circuits. He mused to himself, and then brightened as his coffee came out in a steaming mug on a tiny tray for him.
The waitress set it down, added some sweeteners, then a spoon and napkin. She hoisted her order book. "Anything yet?"
"Do you serve vegetarian burgers?"
She gave him a surprised look, and then stooped closer to whisper. "I never thought I'd live to see another real, honest to gosh vegetarian eater."
He gave her a surprised look. "I thought this town was a bunch of older hippies."
She laughed. "Honey, the only thing hippie about this town anymore is no one wanting to pay their taxes, and there ain't a single person born who doesn't fit that description."
She laughed again and then said. "I could have the Hub do you some nice soy burger if you like. He always keeps a stash in back for the occasional nostalgic person."
"Great. Any fries or anything with it?"
"And a coke please."
"Give me fifteen and I'll have you the best dressed plate in town...and eatable too."
He laughs. "I'm sure it will be. Thanks."
She scoots off into the kitchen again to give the order, while he turns his attention back to the street again. "How long, Binky?"
"Beep. Beep. Maybe ten minutes."
"Maybe? That's kind of strong language coming from you."
Binky makes a short snickering sound. "Coming from those lips, I take that as a compliment."
An older man seated across from Lord When leans across aisle and whispers. "Whatever you're having, I'd sure like some." He winks, and then goes back to scooping up vanilla ice cream which buries a chunk of cherry pie.
Lord When gives him a smile, and then looks at the street again. "Sure this is the right time?"
"And right place." Binky insists from beneath the table. "And could you have her bring me a plate of batteries please?"
"She might think that a bit odd."
"No more odd than eating beans for a meal."
Binky doesn't reply. He gives a sharp squeak. "Here it comes!"
A great shadow casts across the Denny's, then the street and a huge WHOOMP sound shakes the building. The building rattles so hard that dishes fly off tables and customers hang on for dear life.
Lord When hears a scream from the kitchen.
"Now!" Binky hollers.
Lord When runs for the kitchen the same time as flames erupt from it.
He dashes inside, and into a cloud of black smoke, made by the Cook's stove which has just had had a bottle of oil spill onto it, spreading a fire swiftly across stacked empty egg crates and milk crates.
The Waitress is striving to pull her husband, the Cook, a very large man from the floor, where the flames are eating towards his feet. He's unconscious. Lord When rushes to her side and helps her lift the heavy man. They stagger towards the back door, but it's jammed with a fallen frigeration unit. Suddenly, the unit makes a loud groaning sound and begins to fall towards them.
"Beep, beep!" Binky bleeps as he rushes into the room and becoming visible wedges against the unit to keep it from falling.
"Oh my God!" The Waitress calls out as she sees the strange bionic robot before her. She looks at Lord When. "He acts as if he knows you."
"He does. He's my traveling companion."
"You young hippies are sure a different crowd from my sort." She shoots back. "Quick, hold him up while I get the fire extinguisher."
She rushes for the other side of the kitchen, yanks a red bottle down and begins spraying down the fire on the floor and counters. It's not enough. "Not working." She yells.
Lord When looks at Binky. "A little magic would be nice."
Several customers, including the older man that was seated opposite Lord When rush inside. "Betty, you all right?" The older man yells.
"Do I look all right?" She yells at him when the fire renews itself and explodes into a more furious mass of flames.
"They'll all see!"
"Too many lives depend on us now. You know what happens next?"
Binky shoots between Lord When's legs and past the men, who all gawk at him like he's something from outer space. He stops before the flames, and then emits a high frequency beam that freezes the flames.
The room falls into a stunned silence, and then the older man snaps out of it. He looks at Lord When. "I'll take one of him as well."
The two men rush around the flames and take Betty to safety in the main dining room and then come back and help Lord When carry the Cook, her husband, into it as well.
They set him down in a booth and he begins to revive.
Binky rolls up and lifts on his hind feet, his glowing eyes looking at the man. "Pulse high. Heart okay.A diet is his only problem." Then he lowers himself and exits the diner to the sound of clapping and awestruck voices.
Lord When looks at Betty. "I'm afraid I'll have to pass on that veggie burger."
"You come back anytime." She says, smiling, taking her husband's hand as he stirs from unconsciousness. "We owe our lives to you."
"And that critter." The older man adds. Winks. "Sure I can't get one like that?"
From outside the diner they hear "Beep Beep. Bleep!"
"What'd that critter say?"
Lord When smiles at the older man. "Not in a billion, billion years."
Everyone laughs and Lord When exits.
They all follow him to the door and then gasp as his Time Boat begins to materialize in the middle of the street. He turns back to wave at them. "And about that sound. You should be glad it didn't land here."
He waves again, and then as a boarding ramp extends from the belly of the barbell shaped vehicle, he climbs it, followed by Binky. They enter the vessel and it begins to make a loud humming sound, then shimmers a bit and vanishes.
The older man looks over at the Waitress. "Why would he say that?"
An excited Sheriff comes running up. "Everyone okay?"
"Where the hell was you when that fire happened, Grizzly?"
The Sheriff, who had a long hippie beard, frowned. "Didn't you have the TV on?"
"The Twin Towers in New York City just went down big time."
Everyone froze for a moment and then looked up at the sky. What had happened while they were in the diner?
Inside Lord When's Time Boat, he adjusted the time spooler, setting it for their home. His and Binky's. "Well, Binky, I guess we did some good today."
"Never got my plate of batteries."
"Or my veggie burger. But sure appreciated some people making it to another day, when so many others didn't."
They were both silent a moment as the image of Twin Towers collapsing in New York lit up their view screen for a moment.
"I wish we could stop that." Lord When uttered, his voice sad.
"It would disrupt the time stream. You know that."
"What about what we just did?"
Binky was silent.
Lord When's eyebrows arched. Or had they already?
The Time Boat made a sizzling sound and then like a bolt of lightning shot away from earth and into the vast depths of space and time.
"Relapse and Relax: Time Travel Paradox" Lord When Story John Pirillo
"What you need, Binky." Lord When told his faithful robotic companion. "Is a fresh outlook on the universe."
Binky wagged his glowing electronic tail and his bionic brain breathed in a fresh sheaf of nanobites to feed his huge brain, which was situated partially in Lord When's world and partially in a time space continuum that ran parallel to it. It was the only place he could safely backup and sustain his massive computing power.
"That doesn't computer."
Lord When adjusted their time ship and eyed Binky sternly. "Ever since we left that last planet you've been like a rabbit with a bug up its tail. What's eating you?"
"Nothing is eating me. That doesn't compute."
"Then compute this. You need to relax and let go, before you have another one of those Time Relapse and God already knows how many adventures we've had to go on to sew up those rips in time."
"Computes, but irrelevant."
Lord When, who was just a bit over twenty at the time and feeling closer to a million, rubbed his tired eyes and slid his long legs up over the co-pilot chair to get a better fix on his buddy, Binky. The bionic dog, more neutrons, and electrons than physical, had the general shape of a very nice Labrador, but with glowing eyes and glowing tail. He even barked when it suited his mood, though the last time he barked, it took down a whole forest and they had to hightail it into space and time before the natives could skewer them with massively wicked pitch forks.
"It's this way, Binky." He said after a bit of thought. "I didn't pick this job."
"But I do it as best I can. Right?"
Yes. But what doesn't compute is when we never stop to just relax, instead of waiting for another one of those Time Fluxes made by those crazies from the twenty-fifth century to wade into our time stream and jam everything up all the way back to the Ice Age.
"Right, then what's the problem with a little kick back time. Some game playing. Catch a few of the new Avengers movies, maybe Star Wars 100?"
Binky made what was unmistakably a sighing sound. "If I have to listen to one more hour of those dreadful bedeepabeep sounds from R2-D2, I'm going to turn into a black hole."
Lord When laughed. "I got just the solution for you then."
Lord When slid his cowboy hat back from his blonde haired forehead and whacked the control stick into the middle, hurling the time ship backwards in time and space.
Timmy and Chandler were having a great time in the small creek that meandered for miles behind their Dad's property. They spent countless hours exploring its depths for catfish, frogs, tadpoles, worms, snakes, chameleons and whatever else they could find that wouldn't bite back or sting them, though they had managed to get a few wasp stings on their last little trip. Both of them still had bandages on the swelling that had caused on their necks.
"Just look at the fish." Chandler cried out, kicking his naked feet into the cold waters rolling down towards the lake further down.
"Next summer they'll be huge." Timmy agreed.
"Big enough to eat."
No sooner did those words leave his mouth than all the fish shot off like a rocket downstream, leaving a stream of bubbles behind them.
"You've frightened them." Chandler accused.
"Well, they would taste good."
Then the trees to their right seemed to bend so low as if to look like they were bowing to the boys and a very strange barbell shaped vessel spun from nowhere into view and settled in front of them. It sat there spitting off steam and smoke from various vents about its body, then a hatch popped in its side and Lord When stepped out. He dipped his cowboy hat to them. "Hope I didn't frighten you?"
"Nope." Chandler replied. "Doctor Who does that kind of thing all the time on TV."
Chandler eyed him. "What's so funny?"
Doctor Who's not real.
Then Binky came out of the ship, not walking, but floating on a soft cloud of nanolight particles.
"Hello, I am Binky!"
Both boys shot to their feet and ran forward.
Binky tried to retreat, but the boys had their arms around him before he could escape.
Binky gave Lord When a helpless look, then his tail sagged and he dropped slowly to the ground.
The time vessel shot towards the distant star cluster of Procyon, where a triple binary star with amazing brightness and colors dwelled. They had heard about a native species there that could travel through time and space without the use of any kind of device.
Binky sat in the co-pilot chair, his eyes blinking as they neared the cluster.
"You're quiet, Lord When."
"Thinking cap is on."
"Does not compute. You are always thinking, cap or not."
Lord When slid off the couch behind the pilot's seat and dropped into it. He slid his cowboy cap on and smiled at his friend. "So you have to admit our visit back earth did you a world of good."
"Does not compute. I did not like it."
Lord When slapped Binky on his back and Binky gave him a stare that only a human might. Obviously annoyed.
"My annoyance buttons are mounted there and you deliberately annoyed me."
"As you me, little feller."
Binky eyed Lord When thoughtfully a moment.
"You are doing..."
Lord When sighed and put his cowboy booted feet up on the control panel and slid his cowboy hat over his eyes. "Wake me up, when you get a sense of humor."
"That does not computer."
Lord When laughed. "Guess I'm in for a long snooze then."
Lord When shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Someday Binky would develop a sense of humor. After all, he did have feelings; they were just...well...rough. He could wait. He heard the time ship slip into neutral as it dropped into orbit about the star cluster. After all, they had all the time in the world. He yawned once, then drifted off to sleep, remembering the good old days when he was just a young man hoping for better times and a little adventure. Poor Binky, he just didn't computer what he had just done. He didn't realize that Chandler was himself a long, long time ago in another time, another place where he might have grown up happy and safe. Might have beens. The greatest relapse a man could ever live.
In his dream he saw himself as he might have become and then he laughed. He liked what he HAD become. Screw the past! The present was always better in the long run.
As the war ships rose from the Thames they immediately began searing the merchant ships, war vessels and dockside structures with deadly swaths of living fire. It was hell on earth. Sailors, tourists, soldiers, civilians screamed and ran for their lives in a futile effort to avoid the flaming death.
A young mother with a baby carriage dashed for the safety of a building, only to have it erupt in flames. Frightened out of her wits she screamed, causing her baby to scream even more in terror as she whipped the baby carriage around to flee in another direction.
Five soldiers ran forth to cover for her, firing at the nearest of the war machines. They never missed a round, but their bullets were useless against the field of green glowing energies that lit up and flashed about the body of the war machines as it was struck.
The war machine slowly turned its evil muzzle of doom towards them and its lens flared to full fury, then the machine vanished in a halcyon of furious energies that resembled threads of force and vanished from existence.
The soldiers and woman looked up and a beautiful flying ship tore across the sky, letting loose first one bolt of powerful energies at a war ship, then launching a torpedo of the same that sawed through the air and took out another war s hip.
The woman suddenly became aware of her baby again and hurriedly swept it up into her arms and cuddled it close. "Now, now, hun, you'll be fine. You'll be fine."
The soldiers ran with her and the baby to a waiting Tesla carrier and it drove off with them, rushing from the hurricane of power weapons pounding each other behind them.
The Master of the World, the incredible ship of Jules and Wells, acquitted itself well that day, annihilating first one war ship, then another before they could move from the Thames or achieve any kind of coordinated firepower.
The sound of fire trucks and paramedics was everywhere on the docks as the last of the warships angled down against the far bank of the Thames, its muzzle of doom slowly drooping until the entire ship came to rest and never moved again.
The soldier who helped the woman and baby into the carrier gave her his coat and even though it was freezing, insisted that she use it. He pulled it close over her and the baby, smiling. "You and your old man must be very proud to have such a fine young girl. I've always wanted one."
She looked up into his eyes. Saw a kind, considerate soul she could learn to love. "I have no husband. He ran off to join the war in the India Isles and never returned."
The soldier shook his head. "How could anyone ever leave someone as beautiful as you and this fine child alone like that? Shame on him!"
She smiled. She did like him. More and more.
Later on, after they parted, but he with her address, and she with his, they would begin seeing each other frequently and one day their friendship would develop into a strapping young boy to join his older sister in play.
So even in those foul conditions where London had come so close to death and destruction, some good had come into being.
Chapter One Hundred Six
"Prepare to engage!" Captain Nemo announced as the golden Nautilus shot into the Thames channel.
Later on Captain Nemo would reveal to Sherlock and his other friends why there were no more war machines rising from the Thames. He and his crew fired their Tesla torpedoes into their underwater base and sent it to the seventh level of hell.
Harry and Moriarity looked on in awe as the Tesla device caused the massive underwater structure to be torn into numerous parts which in turn broke into many more parts, all burning fiercely, as if they were made of magnesium and not plain metal.
No one knows now or then how many poor souls died in that conflagration, but it must be assumed that there were thousands. And to that memory Captain Nemo later on constructed a beautiful underwater shrine to commemorate and remember those souls who had lost their lives in the underwater battle due to no cause of their own. It was a weight and a burden that he would bear with him to his dying days, his inability to spare those lives. For he was neither a cruel man, nor an unjust one and to take even one life in vain was to him a sin worse than death.
Chapter One Hundred Seven
Constable Evans sat on the top step of the constabulary, his eyes on the setting sun. There was so much destruction around but somehow the building still stood.
He felt a presence beside him and then Constable Evans sat next to him.
"We have a lot to talk about."
Inspector Bloodstone raised his weary head to look into the eyes of the child he had helped to bring into this world. "Yes, we do. Son."
Constable Evans smiled. Perhaps hell could sometimes bring also a piece of heaven.
Chapter One Hundred Eight
And so it was that the brave adventurers met one last time before each returned to their various occupatiaons and duties. It was a sad meeting, for many of their friends had not been saved in the cleanup that occurred afterwards. Many of the zombies escaped from the various hiding places and started a different kind of war that caused citizens to use any kind of weapon they could find to save themselves and their families.
It was a short, brutal war that caused even more death, pain and suffering for an already devastated London, but its citizens were made of proud fiber and it's Queen Mary of Scots a brave soul went from city block to city block to speak to her citizens, to encourage them and to render aide wherever possible.
The treasures of the Empire were likely to remain in short supply for decades to come, but the war for survival of man was over and it was now time to rebuild and to heal.
Sherlock stood at the window overlooking the street and smiled as he noted the many children outside playing in the snow, making snow angels and snowmen.
"It seems as if things are slowly getting back to normal." Watson said from beside him.
Sherlock turned to his friend, but he did not see him. The concussion which had rendered him blind had apparently left him that way. Watson didn't care. He was his friend. He felt another presence and turned to face James Moriarity, who was now clean shaven, dressed in a top hat and suit and a cane to support him. He stood on the other side of Sherlock.
"Don't worry, Watson, I shall be his eyes if he needs them."
"And I." Came the voice of Professor Langdon from behind.
"And I." Came the voice of Lady Shareen, holding onto the arm of her dear Lord Graystone, who looked scarred somewhat and fatigued, but as handsome as ever.
"All of us shall be his comfort and his sight." Challenger roared.
The room was silent a moment, then Mrs. Hudson in her own ineffable way lent a charm to that moment by coming into the room with a huge tray of glasses already filled. "I suggest a toast to our brotherhood."
Conan applauded. They all did as they took a glass.
Watson took a glass and put it into Sherlock's hand Sherlock put a hand over Watson's hand and squeezed. "It's good to have you home, John."
Watson smiled kindly at his friend, his heart torn with emotions. "And it's good to be here with my friend."
Sherlock nodded and raised his glass. "May we always see the Light in all the darkness we must face and may we always cherish the one real thing that life can never take away from us."
He turned towards Watson. "Friendship and love."
"Hear. Hear." Roared his friends and family.
James smiled. He already had plans for Watson and Sherlock, but had not disclosed them for fear of them not being appropriate at the time. But there was no way he was going to break up this new friendship. He had nothing but love and admiration for this man from another world. For had he not also come from another world as well.
Then they heard this tremendous droning sound in the air. They wedged into the narrow area of the window to look out. The Master of the World was descending slowly from the skies.
"I think we have much to discuss with our friends." Captain Nemo pointed out.
Harry, juggling cards between his hands, looked at the First Moriarity and smiled. "All our friends."
Moriarity gave Harry a smile that could be mistaken for nothing less than his heart in his eyes and face.
James looked on the crowd of friends, his memories finally coming back more and more clearly. There was so much to be done. So much healing and mending to do, but now was not the time to dwell on tomorrow.
He raised his own glass. "To Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and the Baker Street Adventurers!"