War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
"The Last Rocketman." A terrifying view of the future that might have been. The future that still could be. And the courage to face it!
The Last Rocketman
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
He stood at the top of Mount Everest, his rocket suit shining a metallic green in the harsh light of the dusk. He was exhausted, beaten up and weary. He had done as much as any one man could ever be expected to accomplish. And yet it hadn't been enough. He still wasn't able to stem the tide of evil sweeping across the world and slowly, but surely stomping on every spot of Light that remained unblemished by the virus of hatred led by Hitler and his regime.
What had gone wrong?
What had he done then, that he could have done differently?
"Jet! I'm getting a very strange reading."
"What's new?" Jet's voice rang in his ears from the inserted receivers.
"No. I mean...really, really strange."
Harry adjusted his altitude and attitude controls, leveling out after his rocketing plunge from the stratospheric heights...his usual ploy to remain unseen until the last possible moment before he attacked his targets. For some reason the targets were getting harder to spot, and faster in eluding him. That wasn't a good thing.
"That isn't a good thing." Jet echoed his thoughts.
"What? Oh yeah. Right!" Harry answered, his eyes focusing on the blurry blip before him. He adjusted his altitude and again plunged deeper into the lower strata of clouds that still veiled the American skies. There were more clouds these days since Hitler had nuked Las Vegas. The one town he had left untouched, even though he had taken out Nellis and Area 51 decades before in his initial attack. He had saved the nukes for the larger cities. Evidently some of his generals had convinced the Fuehrer that gambling was a waste of bombs.
"I see something." Harry hollered, not meaning to.
"Easy on the ear drums, Harry. Remember. You're right in my brain."
"What you see?"
Harry swept through the final layer of clouds over the Mojave Desert and then almost wet his pants at what he saw. Huge towering constructions of metal and highly polished mirrors that stood dozens of stories into the air. The whole complex he was reading was off the charts.
"They've got some kind of weird energy structure built."
"Tez it back to me."
Harry nudged the Tez camera and shots of the desert structures began to line up on Jet's screen back at the base. Einstein and Tesla eyed them solemnly. "They've managed to do it."
"Do what?" Jet almost hollered at them, totally confused by the odd looking structures.
Einstein leaned over Jet's mike. "Harry, you've got to take them out. Now!"
"What are they, Al?" Harry's voice rang throughout the base.
Everyone was watching what he saw through his external Tez on huge screens about the interior of the base. When Harry fought, everyone supported him in prayer and anticipation, because the war effort hinged on whatever he did next. It had come to that.
"Your worst nightmare...and mine." Einstein almost gasped.
Jet looked at him. Al looked back and shook his head. "I'm all right. Chest cold."
Al leaned closer to the mike. "Harry, if those are activated they will create a screen of energies over America which are impenetrable to anything we have. We won't be able to pursue them there anymore."
"I assume they must be doing the same on the other continents." Harry sighed.
"Count on it." Tesla barged in, grabbing the mike.
"See the central tower?"
Harry angled his helmet to glance to his right. "Loud and clear."
"It's the one you must take down for certain. It's the power hub."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked. "I don't see any soldiers around that tower at all."
"It's a trick, Harry." Tesla blasted. "You know they're good for that."
"But what if their trick is to leave the real thing guarded, not the one that isn't."
"It has to be the power hub. The rest of the towers are too diminished. They have to be the ones that feed the energy screen once the power is added."
Harry shook his head as best he could in his helmet. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"You always do, Harry." Jet kidded.
"Suppose." Harry acknowledged. "But something stinks to Nazi hell about this."
Harry sent his suit into a sweeping arc of the complex. As he did he was able to see the complex better, weigh the positions of the guards. "They do look pretty nervous. The guards. I would too if I were standing in front of machines about to blast the skies with mega joules of power."
Al took the mike back. "Harry, you've got to take out the large tower. It has to be the source of power."
Tesla took the mike away from Al. "No. It's the smaller ones. Leave the larger one be. Take out as many of the smaller structures as you can."
Jet looked at the two scientists, took the mike away from Al. "Harry, this has to be your call."
Harry began to sweat profusely, even though the interior of his suit was a cool seventy degrees. "This really, really stinks."
"Okay. Al I'm going to take out the big tower."
Harry launched towards the larger structure. He let go with a barrage of his hand missiles. Below Nazi Storm Troopers looked up at the sound of the approaching rockets. Then they looked towards the large tower. As the missiles struck it, there were no explosions. The large tower shimmered for a moment and the missiles passed through it.
"Harry, get out of there. Get out of there now!" Jet screamed at him.
Harry lit his rockets and shot upwards in arc of power.
Even as he did the smaller structures began to light up one by one, like Christmas tree lights. The soldiers below rushed away from the structures they had been sent to guard and turned to look, cheering and triumphant as the towers spewed massive forces of energy that gathered together in a swirling funnel, vortex of massive energies that slowly expanded upwards and outwards.
"Come on, baby!" Harry coaxed his suit, giving it everything he had as his rear Tez showed him the inverted bowl of energies flaming upwards towards him.
"Jet. Calm down. Worst that can happen is that I'll get stuck here. This suit can handle anything."
"No Harry." Al hollered, taking the mike. "It'll fry every electronic in your suit. You'll fall like the dead piece of metal you'll become."
"Damn, don't go easy on me, Al. I gotta enough to handle." Harry spouted comically.
Then beneath his breath. "Come on, baby. Come on!"
Sheaths of furious energies closed in on Harry as his rocket suit climbed higher and higher. "You didn't tell me those things could reach into the stratosphere!"
"We didn't know. Till now." Al told him.
Harry looked behind him and the energies were hot on his heels and closing fast.
He felt the heat of them through his suit, even with the cooling now turned up sky-high. He kicked at the air beneath him, as if that would help, and then grinned. "Idiot!"
"Not you guys! Me!"
Harry angled his suit and gave it full power towards the rapidly rising curtains of energy that threatened to engulf him.
"What the hell are you doing, Harry?"
"Playing out a hunch!"
Harry gathered speed. The glare of the waves of energy smote his eyes so powerfully that he had to raise the sunshield to protect his eyes. Even so, he could barely see. He eyed his sensors. "Closing in fast."
"Harry turn around. You'll fry!"
Harry did what was probably the most stupid thing he had ever done in his life. He fired his hand missiles into the conflagration about to overwhelm him. For just the briefest of moments as the missiles exploded, the energy bubble wavered.
Rocketman burst through the narrow opening and shot across the skies beneath the flaming canopy of catastrophic forces.
Harry swiped the sweat on his face with an invisible hand that did absolutely nothing to get it off his face, but he still relaxed. "It worked, Jet."
Harry frowned, and then realized he was cut off.
He did the only sane thing he could at that point. He headed for the Pacific. Maybe the shield didn't go deep. He could.
Harry stood on the top of Mount Everest. From there he could see the towering, overarching shields of energy that enveloped Asia, Europe and the Americas. They were so large and massive and so bright and terrible that not even daylight could hide their horrible magnificence.
The Nazis had done it. They had finally won the war.
There was no way he could effectively stop them now. The continents were sealed. He had managed to escape beneath the dome over the Americas, hoping to return the same way, but soon afterwards the Nazi Command had extended the dome to include at least ten miles of offshore sea as well.
He was permanently and effectively locked out of America, Europe and Asia.
There was nothing more he could do.
He couldn't even speak to his friends in the Alps.
He stood on the peak of Mount Everest, storms of snow blasting around him and didn't care. There had to be something he could do. Something he could do to change this horrible course of history.
For there would be no more Rocketman. He knew his friends. He knew their abilities. His suit was the last one they could build with the resource they had. The jump suits didn't have enough reach and would run out of power once they were unable to secure more supplies from the Americas. This was now. This day.
The resistance was over.
Sure, there would still be pockets of resistance. But inevitably, they would be crushed.
He rubbed at his eyes in a futile gesture, but his armored hands could only thunk the hardened glass of his faceplate.
Alone, like a Superman cast off from Krypton, he stood on Mount Everest, again and again trying to figure out what he could have done differently. Then he heard this weird sound. He turned around and looked up. It was Rocketman! Arching down from above, blasting way merrily on its twin thrusters of powerful forces.
"How?" He asked.
Then a voice rang in his ears. "You're not the last Rocketman, you big jerk! Stop thinking with your emotions and use your brains!"
Then the second Rocketman, the one that should not have existed, vanished as if it had never been there.
Harry stared at the empty skies a long time, his Rocketman suit pounded by the almost hurricane force of the winds and snow about him. He finally looked towards the horizon where the glowing domes lit up the skies.
The last Rocketman?
He grinned. "I don't think so!"
He raised his arms and shot up into the sky, accelerating faster and faster. He remembered now. What he had tucked back into the interior of his subconscious. There was a way. A way to get back. To change things.
He shot upwards, higher and higher.
He had tested the theory one other time and it hadn't worked. But then he had chosen the situation and it hadn't been a true risk of his life. This time it was. Whenever he was in mortal danger. About to die, the timelines blurred and he was translated into an alternate timeline. It was his one and only chance.
He took it.
He arced around and shot like the rocket he was towards the nearest of the huge domes of energy. "Well, Harry, no one lives forever!" He cried out as he shot at the nearest of the domes at a speed that broke the sound barrier over and over.
Jet laid down his hand, grinning at Harry, while Al smiled from his side of the table and Tesla from his. They were playing poker. "I win!"
He had three aces and two kings.
Harry slammed down his cards. "You're cheating!"
Jet spread his hands calmly. "Since when have I ever had to cheat at anything, Harry?"
Al stood up and then Tesla.
"Good night, gentleman." Al said, and then exited towards the right, tapping his pipe on his coat sleeve as he walked away.
Tesla swept his chips into a hand and pocketed them. He looked to Jet. "Tomorrow night?"
Tesla nodded to him, then to Harry and rushed to catch up to Al, whom he put an arm around his shoulder.
Harry heard them both laughing and gave them an angry scowl.
"Harry! Lighten up! It's not like you're facing death or anything."
Harry froze for a moment, the flash of huge columns of flaming energy burning in his vision, and just as quickly as the vision flared, it vanished. He let go of his anger. "Sorry, it's just the stress catching up, I think."
Jet swiped all his chips into his hat, and then stood. "Spoken like the man you truly are. Have a good one, Harry."
He strode off, leaving Harry pondering the meaning of his vision for a long time. Finally, Harry also rose. He yawned. "It's been a long day." So saying, he headed for his room. Enough thinking. Enough...everything!
Below the dome a Nazi WarWing was roaring towards its destination. The co-pilot excitedly pointed upwards. "Something's striking the dome!"
The pilot looked and shook his head. "Probably another one of those meteorites."
The co-pilot nodded. "Nothing could ever pass through those monstrosities. Not even us."
They both laughed.
The Nazi War Wing banked and headed for its destination, the lone disruption of the shield above forgotten and filed away as just another meteorite strike.
It was their first and final mistake as a barrage of missiles stroke their WarWing and it exploded.
Rocketman shot through the exploding debris of the demolished plane and headed for the Pacific on a mission to return home.
Alpha and Omega
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
A slice through the shadows. Fall back deeper.
Heartbeat so loud his chest feels like it's going to explode.
Maybe this time.
Maybe the search has ended!
"Come on, bucket head." Jet whined.
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 for lighter suit.
As his helmet 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 heard him 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.
"A Jules and Wells Story."
By John Pirillo
"Their destiny is so entwined with that of the threads of time, that were you to unravel one thread, all threads would come undone." A Quote from Einstein.
When he awoke that morning, he neither recognized the bed he lay upon, nor the ornate wooden walls that enclosed the bedroom he slept in. He was stunned. But when he heard a noise beside him, a kind of soft nickering, he turned his head and found himself laying next to another man, whose face had a gentle composure to it. He almost screamed, but then held it back, muffling it as certainly as if his fingers could physically clutch its throat and cut off its air.
Where am I? Was his next thought. He gently untangled himself from the bedcovers and slipped to the floor, his feet touching a rich, plush carpet with thick piles of what felt like silk. He looked down and saw a pair of slippers, but they were ornate like the room and overly bright and gaudy. That alone was enough to send the alarm bells ringing, as if the sleeping man on the bed were not enough. He surveyed the room more closely and saw a tall coat rack like device that held clothes of gold and gold on two hooks. Clothing. But whose? Then he realized his arms were softly draped with a similar color as the cloth on the right of the hanging one.
He stood up and went to it, took it off and examined it. It had a hole in the middle and two arm slits. It was obviously meant to be worn like a dress of sorts. He slipped it on, doing his best not to disturb the sleeping man. He didn't want to make the situation direr than it already felt. He held no malice towards the sleeping one. He didn't know who they were, why they were there, or what they expected of him, though examining the bed sheets in the barely lit room, he could tell what might have been expected from him the night before. Except, that it couldn't have been him. He had no aversion to the male species, he just wasn't...well, male. Or female.
He looked around and saw a door of the most unusual sort. It was almost round with a well padded doorknob. He went to it and turned it quietly. He let himself out into a long corridor, where he could see endless doors stretching off into what appeared to be infinity.
Where in the hell am I? He thought.
Then a strange feeling welled within his body, as if every cell were waking up and about to explode. Ahead of him in the corridor something came. Something large. Something dark. He couldn't tell what it was. He only knew he couldn't stay there another second or he might never leave. He turned to run and as he ran, he felt the breath of something enormous blowing on the back of his body, and a heavy sound like labored breathing, then his feet vanished from beneath him and he seemed to stretch into a band of twisting ribbons of light. Before he knew what had happened, or why he did what happened next, he reached out and grabbed a string and was flung from that corridor of menace into a twisting, weaving inferno of dancing lights.
Stringers are neither devils or angels, but souls whose very essence is made up of the threads of time, such that they can easily dispose themselves from one timeline to another, with but a whisper of a trace of their existence or movement. Those were the thoughts that ran through his mind as he and Wells worked on their latest invention. A kind of radar for detecting movement through time, as well as space. True, they had one before, but it was too general. If they were to protect the fabric of time and space, they must be able to respond within nanoseconds of any disruption.
So the device that he and Wells constructed was enabled such as to pull either or both of them into a Stringer's current, so that they could mark the direction of the traveler, yet be unknown, unseen by them.
"Drats!" Cursed Wells when he accidentally burned his right thumb with the small welding unit he had built the day before. It was a micro welder, and capable of welding particles, even atoms together if necessary, but it also hurt like hell when it went off its course and touched a piece of human anatomy.
Wells could testify to that at this moment and Jules yesterday, when he made a neat little lancet of his own flesh by accidentally getting the beam off-center and drilling into his own palm. It still stuck the dickens every time he had to wash his hands, which was frequently, as he was a very neat and clean man, and the missus expected no less.
He smiled at the thought of his young bride. Even though they had grown children now, their travels through time had hardened their flesh to aging and none of them looked older than their original twenties when they began their time traveling campaigns to save the earth, and alternate earths their work had affected.
"See here, Jules."
Jules turned to look at the spike of golden energies that were spotting the screen that he had constructed for their monitor. "It looks human shaped."
Wells jumped up, grabbed Jules and the two of them danced about their warehouse, causing their wives, who had come over to bring lunches for them to think both had suddenly gone mad.
They stopped, grinned at their loved ones, and then settled back to their work.
"I think we need to test it further." Jules suggested.
The wives both exchanged knowing looks, and began to repack the lunches they had made.
Jules ran over to his loved one, took her close to him and whispered in her ear. "Tonight I shall propose a toast to your fine flesh that will tempt the gods."
She giggled, and allowed him to dimple her cheek with a wet kiss, then she and her friend, Well's wife, took exit from the warehouse, shutting the huge door that locked off their ventures from the outside world, then locking it, knowing full well that both men were likely not to be in the warehouse for long.
And they weren't.
They rushed to the Master of the World, whose boarding ramp was already down, raced into its passenger compartment, after in drawing the ramp, and then settled into the cockpit of the massive vessel. Powered by String Energy, the Master of the World, traveled not only through time, but space as well. It resembled a great golden, ornate jewel, so brightly polished and golden was its shape.
"Strings interacting." Wells announced, pleased at the swift response of the ship's engines. They had just serviced them. The battle against the Mummy things had caused a great strain on the engines, which were not supposed to be so close to the earth all the time. They had been fine tuned for space.
"Merci." Jules said. "Weapons?"
Wells checked their power ranges. "Fully charged and ready."
He quickly looked at Jules. "You don't think we're going into battle, do you?"
"Of course not. Do we ever think such, mon ami?"
Wells shrugged, knowing full well, there were few times they hadn't been in a battle when they flew the Master of the World. It seemed to be their fate to always be in the midst of a worldwide calamity, or battle.
"Launch!" Wells told his friend.
"Launching!" Jules said, the tension of doing so knotting the muscles in his neck and back.
They both silently prayed, for their new engines were supposed to be able to tell the difference between a roof and time space, and had been attuned to cross through solid objects by sliding slightly out of normal time and space.
The Master of the World rose like a mighty dragon into battle.
He erupted. More probably exploded through the maze of bursts of light and spectacular colors and found himself standing on a lonely landscape. Everywhere he looked in that cold domain there were collapsed structures, what must have been fallen buildings of some long lost civilization. He then realized his feet were naked, as was he. The clothing he had worn, the slippers, all gone. How? Why?
He shuddered. As much from fear as the cold that was seeping through his extremities into his limbs from the frosted ground beneath his feet. He looked down and saw something bright. He stooped to a knee and felt for it like a blind man might, not wanting to believe what he had found. He lifted it gently, as if it were the most precious thing in the universe, then a tear began to form. He had begun to recognize where he was. His heart pounded with the pain of it, flitting images of women and men whom he had loved, trusted and shared smashed through his mind, shattering on the reefs of cold, unyielding certainty. They were all gone. Forever.
"You know why." Jules voice spoke from behind him.
He turned around.
Jules and Wells stood there, a look of compassion written on their faces. They could feel his despair, for they had known it as well, but perhaps not as frequently as this man or being that stood before them.
"Who are you?"
"Where am I?"
"You already know that answer." Wells told him, feeling a kind of reluctance to speak, but knowing he must to help the man retain his sanity.
"You know that as well." Jules reminded him.
The man looked down at his feet, as if the solution to his questions lay there, then up again. "Can you help me?"
"No." Jules answered sadly.
"Then why are you here?"
"To point you in the right direction."
"Are you angels?"
Wells and Jules gave each other solemn looks bordering on mirth, and then looked back at the man. "If that will help you to understand. Yes."
"Then I will go with you."
"No. You won't." Jules told the man, who was looking more and more distressed as they spoke.
"You have nowhere to go." Wells told him.
The man sat down hard on a broken slab with an attached piece of metal to it. He glanced at the metal. It had San Francisco written on it. What did that mean?
"Do you know why I am here?"
"To escape the past and preserve the future." Wells told him.
"But there is no future here." The man said.
Jules and Wells sat down next to him.
Jules brought out some bread and offered it. The man took it and ate hungrily.
"No. There is no future here, nor anywhere for what you were. But there is a future for what you've become."
The man stopped eating and looked at them long and hard. "What have I become?"
"It sounds strange."
"It is. To us. But not to you."
The man suddenly nodded. He knew what they talked about. "I reached out and pulled myself from where I was with twists of color that stretched into infinity." He looked at Jules. "That is what a Stringer is then?"
"Yes. You can manipulate time and space."
"But why would I want to do that?"
"To save your sanity."
The man rose. "I am not hungry anymore."
Jules and Wells rose as well.
"You two don't belong here either, do you?"
"No. This world can no longer be helped. Its people made bad choices, and now they are gone." Jules responded.
Wells nodded. "It is one of many such chances for worlds."
"Chances?" The man asked, a bit amused at the way Wells said it.
"Yes. In the infinite tapestry of what the Creator has made, he has created many chances for us to learn what we must."
"You could say that our lives are our lessons and the world we live upon, the stage for those lessons to play out."
"You sound like gods."
"We do not feel like one." Jules said with the hint of a smile.
The man reached a hand out. "I think I understand now."
Jules took it and shook. "We thought you might."
"I'm not the first?"
"Then there are others?"
Wells smiled brightly for the first time. "Everywhere."
"How will I find them?"
"Just reach out." Jules said. "Just reach out."
Then he and Wells turned around and headed for what appeared to be a road of destruction, but as they continued a gigantic golden vessel began to become visible, emerging from the shadows like an invisible being thrusting into the light.
The man pondered the mystery of the two men a moment, then he felt something stir in the air near him. He felt a kind of radiance. He turned towards it and reached out. Something reached back towards him and he took hold of it and allowed himself to be thrust once more into bursts of twisting light that strung through infinity like endless coils of dancing laughter.
Wells closed the ramp door, and then he and Jules slid into their pilot and co-pilot positions in the cockpit. "You think we'll meet him again?"
Jules shrugged. "We did what we came to do. What will be, will be."
Wells sighed. "It must be lonely for them."
"I think not." Jules said with a smile. "For they have infinity to roam and forever to live and one can do so much with all of that."
"Yes." Wells said brightly. "That does sound nice."
Then Jules sent the Master of the World stringing back towards their home time and world.
Chapter One Hundred Five
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!"
They all cheered and drank their toasts.
Chapter One Hundred One As the Jungle Lord let out his bull roar of triumph over the destruction of the war machine below, he froze halfway as he saw the other machines break into view.
He desperately urged his dragon mount to shoot away, dropping so close to the ground that his wing tips brushed building rooftops as he passed over them. And a good thing he did as all four machines blasted the air where the dragon had been, causing a boil of energies so intense that several buildings melted like candle wax from the heat.
But the war was far from over for him. He steered the King of Dragons around and made a bee line towards the nearest of the war machines. He whispered into the ear of his dragon and its snout spouted a blast of flame so bright and pure that it looked as if the sun itself had come to earth. The searing energies splashed cross the rising machine and melted it like butter, causing it to explode, taking out an area of about a city block.
Yes, he was winning the war, but London was being decimated.
Before he could consider the losses of so many who had to be in those buildings below, a new triangulation of energies homed in on him and his dragon, searing towards him with deadly fingers of wrath.
Chapter One Hundred Two "Sherlock?" Challenger croaked, coughing up dust that was lodged in his throat and lungs. He crawled free of the debris they had been buried in and made his way forward, gradually, his legs feeling as if they had been crushed, for he couldn't feel them.
Several feet away Sherlock laid askance a broken wall, his eyes closed. As Challenger neared the detective stirred, putting a hand to his head.
"Challenger, is that you?"
"I can't see." Sherlock noted without inflection.
Challenger laughed. "And I can't walk."
"A fine rescue team we are then." Sherlock noted again, without inflection.
"But alive nonetheless." He added with remarkable dryness of humor.
Challenger pulled himself against the wall next to Sherlock and began probing his legs. "I don't think anything's broken."
Sherlock put a hand on Challenger's back and ran it down his spine. "You have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis."
"Bloody hell!" Challenger swore. "Fine time to be an invalid."
Then Sherlock slammed his hand into the side of Challenger's spine so hard that he screamed in pain.
Challenger fell to his side, then without thinking got up to his feet and shook a fist at Sherlock. "You blasted idiot, you trying to..."
Sherlock chuckled. "I rather think that you might reconsider, dear Challenger."
Challenger stood there like the idiot he felt to be, his legs tingling from the renewed flow of blood.
"What in bloody hell did you just do to me, Holmes?
"Had I not reversed the trauma to that area of your lumbar, you would have become an invalid without proper medical treatment."
"But you're no doctor!"
"I learned the technique in the Tibet of my world from a very humble yogi, who also happened to be a doctor and a specialist in spinal injuries."
"Lucky for me."
"Lucky for both of us, I rather think. Now help me to our feet, we have a friend to rescue."
Challenger put arms under Sherlock's and drew him to his feet.
"Which way now I wonder? Challenger muttered, examining two passages that stood before him, both weakly lit by some kind of underground lichen that cast a faint radiance.
"The right way." Sherlock answered.
"Easy for you to say." Challenger grumbled, then using his tracking skills again, now that he had recovered from the injury, he fell to a knee and examined the rubble. With some effort he could describe that Professor Langdon's footsteps disappeared in the right passage.
"Well then." Challenger admitted finally. "It seems we will be going the right way after all."
Sherlock merely smiled.
Chapter One Hundred Three Even as the Jungle Lord and the King of Dragons eluded the three deadly rays of force, another six of the deadly war machines began rising from the depths of the Thames.
Lord Graystone leaned over close to his mount and whispered. "Just when it looks like it can get no worse, we get more stone to break. You up for it, my mighty friend?"
In answer the dragon roared, then let out a blast of flame that took out another war machine, causing it to melt like butter into the crater it had made before.
Chapter One Hundred Four Watson stood before the original Mummy creature, motionless and seemingly without will. The First and Second Moriaritys stood on the right and left of the Mummy creature.
"It would appear that our enemy has found himself two friends." Sherlock's voice uttered as he and Challenger came into view of the three.
Challenger dropped back a bit, his hand inside his coat, gripping his revolver.
The first Moriarity smiled handsomely. "So what do you think of our new friend?"
"Humans are the same no matter which world or time they come from." Sherlock admitted. "Willing to do anything for power and influence."
The second Moriarity barked with laughter and looked to his partner. "Can we keep this one?"
"I'd suggest you think in other terms." Sherlock replied to the question.
Both Moriaritys gave him sharp glances.
"You are in no position to demand anything, Mister Holmes." The First Moriarity explained finally, after letting go of his surprise. "We shall soon control all of London and you shall soon be serving me, just like Watson here."
Watson finally moved. He slowly turned around and faced Sherlock.
The Mummy creature moved closer.
Challenger dropped back more, positioning himself near the passage entrance.
"Our new friend can strip your mind of all reason with one glance." The First Moriarity explained calmly. "And I suspect even your great mind will have little difficulty being overcome."
"Perhaps." Sherlock replied drily. "Perhaps not."
The Second Moriarity turned to Watson. "Kill Mister Holmes."
Watson raised a pistol that had been hidden in the shadows of his body and aimed it at Sherlock.
"If I must die, then I'd prefer to die by the hand of the one man I have loved more than life itself." Holmes replied calmly.
The First Moriarity pushed Watson's arm down. "Belay that order, Watson."
"Our friend shall take care of him. We need him for the work we need do later on in subduing the governments."
The Second Moriarity nodded. "Very well."
He turned to the Mummy creature.
"You may take over his mind."
The Mummy Creature turned its eyes fully on Holmes and they lit up as bright as bonfires a moment.
Holmes staggered, as if struck by an invisible force, then fell towards Watson.
"Catch him!" The First Moriarity ordered.
Watson caught Sherlock and held him close.
"See, even the greatest of minds can make a mistake or fail." The Second Moriarity boasted to Challenger who stood near the passage, his hand still inside his coat.
"So take that pistol from your coat and drop it. It will do you no good here, Challenger."
Challenger took his hand out slowly, revealing Sherlock's pipe.
"What!" Both Moriarity's cried out.
Two shots rang from behind the two men and both Moriarity's clutched at their chests as bullets broke forth from them and collapsed to the ground.
Watson almost dropped Sherlock as he twisted around, and then gently pushed Watson away.
The First Moriarity lay on the ground, clutching at his chest beside the second, who was dead and lifeless, his eyes looking into forever.
Then Professor Langdon slowly materialized in front of him, Challenger's weapon in his right fist.
"I have been fooled!" Moriarity gasped.
"And that's what comes of a man who believes himself a god, when in fact he is just...a man."
The First Moriarity spit up a geyser of blood, then his eyes rolled back in his head and he died.
The Mummy Creature started to turn upon Professor Langdon, but before it could do anything, Challenger hurled a paper sack of powder he had been clutching in his other hand. It broke against the creature enveloping its sticky body with a fine cloud of white and red powder.
The Mummy Creature cried out in utter horror and pain as it began to dissolve into a puddle of steaming flesh and boiling blood.
"Where am I?" Watson's voice, weak and weary, called out.
Sherlock took Watson's hand and shook it. "With friends, dear John. With friends."
Professor Langdon came over and patted Watson on the back. "Good to have you back, Watson."
"But how did you avoid the Mummy creature's stare?" An astonished Watson demanded of Sherlock.
"A blind man sees no evil." Was Sherlock's reply.
Inspector Bloodstone signaled the driver to stop.
Sherlock looked at him.
"I know of a way they may not suspect."
"This way." The Inspector told them, and they piled out of the back of the Constable's wagon and followed the Inspector as he led them through the back of the Highgate Cemetery, where there were no gates, just an abandoned series of buildings that abutted it.
"I learned of these during the Ghost Caper that you helped me with Sherlock."
Sherlock gave him a puzzled look.
"I mean the other...uh...sorry."
Conan and Challenger both felt memories flush their minds for a moment, then swept them away. There was work to be done.
Edison and Tesla tossed their devices into backpacks they had jury-rigged to carry over their shoulders, then Edison pulled out his tracking device. It immediately lit up and pointed the way.
As they made their way through the maze of deserted buildings, in a decrepit door hanging on rotting and rusting hinges of wood and metal, they scented fragrances that could only be found in the detritus of humanity, the cast off wastes that most produced, but cared little to discuss.
Conan and Challenger wrapped their mufflers about their noses to mute the sharp tang of the odors, while Edison and Tesla, both engrossed in the device leading them, barely noticed.
Sherlock's mind was on the hunt and no hint of death would stop him.
The Inspector and Constable Evans levered their service revolvers to be ready in their hands, then froze as the air shimmered ahead of them.
Sherlock's face broke into a mile.
"You did make it after all."
The shimmering diminished and Professor Langdon appeared. He had a rifle over his right shoulder and bags weighted with something no one could see, but he knew were deadly explosives, made in his own laboratory per Sherlock's instructions.
"Did you ever doubt I would?"The Invisible Man, Professor Langdon, said with a sharp smile that portrayed just the slightest hint of amusement and a brace of anger.
Sherlock put a hand on his arm. "You found him then?"
Professor Langdon didn't have to speak the answer. Sherlock read it in his eyes.
He turned to the Inspector. "Follow your course. We have another path to follow."
"But there is strength in numbers!" The Inspector declared.
"The Queen's Royal Guard should be in place by the time we all reach our goals."
He turned to Challenger and Conan. "You're with me."
Edison and Tesla looked up expectantly.
"Stay with the Inspector. He needs your protection."
"I'm not a helpless old man."
"Listen to Mister Holmes, father. He knows what he's doing." Constable Evans blurted out unexpectently.
The Inspector turned to look at him sharply. "Did you just say what I heard you..."
Constable Evans moved closer and searched the man's eyes. "I did my research. You have been very clever over the years to hide the tracks of your lineage to me, but I found it nevertheless, once the clues had been lain."
Sherlock smiled at him. "We each have someone we love to protect. See that you two do as well."
Without another word he, Conan and Challenger split off and followed Professor Langdon who began to turn transparent, but only enough so that he wouldn't be easily seen, but enough so they could follow.
"When we're within fifty yards, you must go totally invisible." Sherlock insisted.
Professor Langdon began vanishing entirely.
Challenger caught Sherlock by the arm. "How shall we find where he's going then?"
Conan laughed. "Come on, Challenger. You're the big hunter. You've never tracked an animal before?"
Challenger blushed, then shoved past Conan and Sherlock and began following the footprints left by the Invisible Man, Professor Langdon.
A mongrel searching for scraps usually left behind by the Caretaker by his home, scented something that threw terror into his heart. He ran away, screaming in utter horror.
A moment later ground about the tiny building began to bulge and ripple like water during an massive rainstorm. Slowly, but steadily the building began to rise from its foundations. Even the very base of the building began to rise, as well as various cemetery stones and crosses about the building.
In a few moments the ground erupted, revealing a massive structure that was extremely polished and glowed an odd reddish color. Panels of red and green rotated about its rim, in and out of the earth dropping away from it.
Finally, a snake like hose tore through the building and the structure shattered, revealing the dome of a massive saucer shaped object and a huge snake like metallic hose with a lens of three colors at its tip that glowed faintly.
As it continued to rise it began to emit a high pitched humming sound.
For miles around every animal that could hear in that range of sound began to scream, holler and bark in terror.
The golden beauty that was the Nautilus flowed beneath the towering waves high above it like a dolphin finning for home. It moved as swiftly as the most powerful of Tesla planes of that day, of which there were few, logging in nothing less than 90 nautical knots per hour.
James, Captain Nemo, Harry Houdini and Professor Moriarity stood in the nose of the sleep vessel, watching the view forward as the powerful atomic motors of the ship drove its powerful shape through the depths of the sea towards its target.
"This is an extraordinary vehicle, Captain. I commend you on its beauty. It is nothing short of splendid and marvelous." Professor Moriarity almost cooed to the Captain.
The Captain eyed his comrade, somewhat warily.
"Yes. I suppose it is."
"I could see why you would want to live beneath this vast body of water, with such a marvelous piece of machinery to carry you about. The places you must have seen, the extreme bursts of beauty and wonder."
Captain Nemo looked at Harry, who shrugged. "It does me well."
Harry felt this strange energy in his head, then reached into his pocket and took out a minature purple crystal. He gazed into it. "It's begun. We may be too late."
Captain Nemo raised the speaker tube near him to his lips. "More power, lads. We have a date with death!"
Cheers bellowed from the earpiece and about the ship as the might vessel leaped forward even faster.
James eyed Moriarity. "None of us might escape the coming war."
"Then so be it. I can't think of a better place to die than with..."
He started to finish his sentence, but could not.
And in that moment Captain Nemo he would die for this new Moriarity as well as James. He turned back to view their path and his mouth opened to reveal a smile that was almost carnivorous in its intensity. "I have no intentions of dying this day."
Harry and Moriarity looked at the approaching pirate ship and their hopes for returning home safely flew into the wind that was picking up about them.
"What now?" Moriarity demanded. "From the pan into the fire. How appropriate."
Harry looked at him and smiled. "You have one good thing to remember."
"At least you're not on the side of the bad guys any longer."
"How do you know that?"
Harry didn't answer. He didn't have to. He turned back to face the incoming pirate vessel. "I suggest we raise our hands and surrender."
"You're just full of witticisms this morning, aren't you?"
"I specialize in them. Remind me to give you a free ticket to my next show in London when we return."
"Don't you mean...if we return?"
The pirate ship pulled alongside them and Harry's grin widened.
"Oh definitely when."
Captain Nemo leaned over the railing as his men kept firing into the ship they had escaped, bringing it to utter ruin and destruction behind them.
"Need a ride, Harry?"
"Couldn't think of a better time for it, Captain." Harry replied with a laugh.
"You know this pirate?" Moriarity asked.
"Yes. He's Captain Nemo. My friend."
Moriarity's eyes widened. But he said no more. He lowered his hands.
Then a Giant stepped to the railing and looked out at Harry. "I know you?"
Harry eyed the Giant quietly a long time, and then he leaped from the small boat to the side of the pirate ship and began scrambling up the net that hung over its side, until he reached the deck. Then he clasped the Giant with his arms and hugged him tight.
The Giant gave Harry a look of confusion. "I do know you?"
"Yes, you do, big guy. You're one of my finest and best friends. James Moriarity!"
The Giant stiffened as Moriarity climbed up the rope and joined them.
He gently pushed Harry away. "I do remember you!"
Moriarity raised his hands. "I am not the one you remember. That was number one."
James gave him an even more confused look, as did Captain Nemo.
"There's more than one Moriarity then? Here?"
Moriarity turned to face the Captain. "Oh so many more."
Captain Nemo's face clouded over for a moment, and then he turned to James. "I'm sorry I lied to you."
James, who was still in shock over the revelations, was beginning to remember where he had seen Harry before and the images of Watson and Sherlock, Challenger and Conan flashed through his mind. And like a great, black storm cloud hiding the sun, his confusion and loss of memory was broken and shattered.
He grabbed Harry this time and lifted him off the deck and kissed him on both cheeks. "I could marry you!"
Harry laughed. "James, a simple hello would do just fine."
James put him down, tears streaking his face. "So much time has passed, so much has happened."
He turned to the Moriarity standing there, favoring his hurt leg. "You helped me."
"Yes. I did."
"I never forget a friend."
James put a hand out and Moriarity looked at it a long time, as if he found it offensive, then his dark face lit up brightly and he accepted the hand.
At the same time a strange thing began happening to the planking about the vessel. It began sliding off into the water and floating away. As it did so, they found themselves on the main deck of the Nautilus, its golden metal shining brightly in the morning sun.
Captain Nemo cupped his hands. "Below decks. We make full steam to London!"
The men all cheered and began rushing for the main hatch, climbing inside and descending from view.
Captain Nemo looked to his new guests and to James. "It seems we all...have a lot of catching up to do."
The Captain looked at Moriarity. He looked at his feet. "I will understand if you don't trust me and thrust me from your vessel. I deserve no less for my past actions."
James put an arm about his shoulders and he gave him a startled look.
"No friend of mine shall ever suffer such a thing." He looked to Captain Nemo, as if reading his mind. For Captain Nemo was nervous about bringing the Moriarity into his ship. It was everything to him and he knew how power mad that creature had been in the past.
Captain Nemo nodded. "Your friend is my friend."
Captain Nemo stuck his hand out and Moriarity clasped it tightly with both of his, barely able to speak because of the intensity of the emotions he now felt. He hadn't allowed himself to feel friendship like this...forever it seemed.
"With all my heart, I thank you, Captain. You won't regret it. I swear it."
The Captain nodded, and then motioned everyone to hurry to the hatch as the vessel began blowing air from its ballast tanks and slowly descending beneath the waves.
Harry was the last to enter and he paused to look back at the sunken ship behind them. Nothing was left now but burning debris. He was about to enter when he saw something glow for a moment in the debris, then it vanished. He gave it a long puzzled stare, and then entered.
The hatch slammed shut behind him.
The sea boiled with frenzy as the mighty Nautilus carved its way into the depths, casting up great boils of air and water from its descent. The return to London had begun.
The Jungle Lord stood high on the Tower of London, his eyes narrowed like an eagles on a distant object only visible from that height. He weighed its dimensions in his mind, and then he considered it carefully.
Highgate Cemetery is a graveyard in London of historic importance. It is rumored that Alexander the Great had it built as he swept across the continents in his search for power and the Holy Grail. It was also supposed to be the real burial grounds of King Arthur and the Bull Head King of the Druish, a clan of sorcerers who once dominated the Greater Britains before Arthur and Merlin destroyed their cult and cast them back into the sea.
A large stretch of land it was bordered by post hotels on one side, large parks on three others. The visitors to the hotels often used those expensive places as a launching point to tour the ancient grounds in search of historic names...such as King Duncan the Third, and Mary of Winsor, and Robin Hood the First.
It is also the burial site of many novelists, artists, political activists and professionals. A list of their names is engraved in golden letters on a great scroll on both sides of the main gates for visitors to look at and consider the past that lay buried there.
But all the Jungle Lord, Lord Graystone, saw at that moment was the odd protuberance that thrust alongside one of the better known crypts...that of King Duncan, who was a very famous mathematician in his time, as well as all around scholar, responsible for funding many great men in scientism research and exploration.
The Jungle Lord had smelled the odd contraption as he swept through the gigantic oak trees that filled the park, but at the time it had registered as completely as now what that source might indicate. But as he completed his meticulous search of London, the scent came back to him and he remembered from where.
So now he watched the cemetery with eyes that would miss nothing. And it was from there that he saw the metallic thing slowly raise into the setting sun's light and sprout an odd nimbus of bright red and green colors.
It was the scent of the stolen metals.
It had to be the hiding place of the original Mummy creature and it looked as if it were preparing to launch a new portion of its plans for the destruction of London.
He cupped his hands to his mouth and let out his bull dragon yell, again and again.
As he did so, the air shimmered mightily, as if a great ocean were sideways in the air and beginning to swell open. It grew larger and larger.
In the streets below citizens looked everywhere to discover the source of the horrid sound, and at Baker Street, Sherlock, who stood at the window looking out as ever for his lost friend, stiffened.
by John Pirillo
Inspector Bloodstone woke up that morning with his headache gone, but a gnawing in his stomach that felt like a shark was eating its way from the inside out. "Bloody Hell!" He exclaimed, and then when he saw he was in a hospital bed, he cursed again. "Bloody Hell!"
Constable Evans, who had been seated by his bedside, snoozing in a chair jerked awake and snapped to attention, jumping to his feet.
"Reporting for duty, Inspector!"
Inspector Bloodstone looked at his assistant and the chair he had been seated in, then shook his head, a pleased smile crossing his lips. "Constable, have you spent you entire shift by my bedside?"
"Yes, Sir. I mean Inspector. I have."
"Then you bloody hell better get to work, there's a city that needs saving and stop wasting your time lazing around here!"
Constable Evans gave the Inspector a look of relief. "Yes, sir. I mean, Inspector. Right away."
He rushed from the room, then came back inside. "Inspector, it's six in the morning. I don't go on shift for another three hours yet."
"Then you bloody hell better get cleaned up then."
Constable Evans started to leave again.
Constable Evans turned around, a perplexed look on his face. "Sir?"
"Stop calling me, sir!"
"Yes, Sir. I mean, Inspector."
Constable Evans looked not only perplexed now, but confused as well.
The Inspector smiled warmly. "Call me by my first name."
Constable Evans looked shock. "But no one does that, Sir. I mean..."
The Inspector laughed. "Reginald."
"S..." Constable Evans muffled the word. "Reginald?"
"Are you making fun of my first name, Constable?"
"No sir, but that's my father's first name too."
The Inspector gave him a close look. "Your father?"
"Yes, Inspector. Me Mum told me about him when I became of legal age. She said I had a right to know about the scoundrel."
"Yes, sir. I mean, Inspector. Uh...Reginald. Scoundrel. She said he had a nasty temperament, cold hands and ran off when I was born because of his fears of being a father."
The Inspector's face drained of color.
"Constable, what's your mother's name?"
"Alice, Sir. Alice Greenhaven."
"Oh bloody hell, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse."
"What's wrong, sir?"
"Stop calling me, sir."
A very long pause between them, then. "Son."
"You're my father?"
"And I'm afraid everything she told you was right, except one thing. I never ran off on her. I was sent away on a mission to the India Isles. Top secret by Her Majesty. It took years to complete. I wasn't allow to communicate with anyone in those days. No one of my team was. We were responsible for keeping them from building the first weapon made from the sun."
The Inspector, still weak, slid from his bed, and stood up. Wobbly a moment, then steadied. He walked closer to the Constable. "Had I known I had a son, I would have searched the world for you. I never, never would have abandoned my own flesh and blood. I never looked at another woman since that day. Not one. My deepest regret in my life was to find out that I won one war, but lost the battle for the love of my life."
He came closer to the Constable. "Had I know..."
He began to weep, at first gently, then harder.
Constable Evans moved forward to embrace him. "Father."
The look on his face was both tender and confused, but a kind of satisfaction began to light his face as he held his trembling, weeping father in his arms."
"Son." The Inspector said, then pushed away, wiping at his tears. "Now, we can't have any of the men thinking I'm...you know...or playing favors, so..."
Constable Evans snapped to attention. "Right, sir."
Constable Evans's face brightened like the son. "Father."
The Jungle Lord stood atop the London Bridge, his long hair waving in the breeze. His eyes, as sharp as an eagle's took in the city. What others couldn't possibly see from below, he could see from the heights.
Lady Shareen stood beside him in jungle pants, a knife and pistol at her hips.
"Not a thing. And that's...that's what worries me. I can't even smell it any longer."
"Then perhaps it was destroyed in the battle."
"Not likely." He said, turning to her. He smiled into that face he loved with all his heart and soul and thanked God for all the time he had been given to share with her.
"I think it's gone underground."
"Then you believe what Sherlock intimated. There are more?"
"I do. And not just one." He growled deep in his chest, his nostrils flaring angrily. "I fear we are dealing with a very clever creature."
"Then maybe it is from Mars as was intimated."
"There are creatures just as fearsome and intimidating as those that might exist on another world, my Lady." He said grimly. "And this city is full of them."
She blanched. "You mean it has aligned with the underworld of London."
He nodded. "I fear so. Which means only one thing."
"That it is not inhuman, but..."
"Human." He finished for her. "Which also means."
"That it knows our weak spots."
"All of them!" He admitted.
She shivered then. "Now you're scaring me."
"I fear what we are tracking is not only human, but far in advance of the humanity of today in science, if not conscience."
"How can we defeat something of such ignoble purpose?"
"We shall need friends." He told her, his eyes locked on hers, as if transmitting his thoughts.
"Then I will bring them." She replied, her tone decisive and strong.
"But what if I am too late to bring them back?" She hesitantly spoke.
"Then go back. Seal the borders between the worlds and pray that the force unleashed here doesn't figure out how to go there as well."
She shivered violently again and this time he crushed her to him, brushing his lips against the bouquet of her hair. "You will be safe. That's all that matters."
"But of you. How shall I know if you are safe?"
He gave her a smile that would have terrified a bull ape or dragon.
by John Pirillo
"Is he all right?" Were the words being spoken to him, but what he heard instead was something out of a horror film. The words were garbled and sounded like some kind of serpent trying to speak. He couldn't understand why everything was so black. It wasn't a rich darkness like when you lost consciousness or when you were sleeping. It was forced.
Then the darkness was removed.
He was looking up into the eyes of his best friend Tesla. Madame Curie had the wet cloth that had been pressed to his forehead over his eyes in her right hand, a look of extreme worry for him dimming her usually bright eyes.
"Hello." He said.
He reached his right hand up and felt a huge knot on his forehead. Any closer to his right ear and he might not be alive to feel it, he thought to himself, knowing full well what a blow to the head like that can do. His body seemed unbroken, however not much else about him was. He tried to sit up, but the effort caused him to see black spots before his eyes.
Madame Curie pressed the compress back on his forehead again, but left his eyes visible. He smiled gratefully, then pressed his own hand over hers. She smiled gently at him.
Tesla gripped his right shoulder and spoke, but the words were again all garbled and strange. Tesla looked at Einstein, who stood over them, fiddling with his pipe nervously, his eyes strained, checking over his shoulder frequently. "I think now would be a good time to keep moving."
Tesla agreed. He helped Edison to his feet and it was the first time that he realized he wasn't in their craft at all, but instead was still inside the office they usually worked in. All about him the place was a disaster. The ceiling was scarred as if some gigantic hand with huge claws had raked it over and over, leaving burn marks. There was no outer wall and the brusque cold wind was hollowing its way inside, carrying a burden of swirling snowflakes that threatened to engulf them.
He shook off Tesla's help and staggered towards the opening to look out. There was no one t here. Neither the zombies or the Mummy.
And again he remembered their mad escape through the buildings of London only to be struck down by this crazy looking craft.
"They're gone." Tesla said from his right.
Einstein and Madame Curie joined them, each deep in their own thoughts at that moment, no
words visible on their lips as they scoured the empty parking lot below, and what looked to be
dozens and dozens of weapons and makeshift weapons.
"We don't know what happened." Tesla said. "But whatever it was, it put the fear of the devil into that creature. So much so, that it lost its devilish hold on those poor souls below. They scattered shortly after it squirmed away screaming horribly.
"What made this?" Tesla said, not remembering much of anything, except his very peculiar dream which involved some kind of alien craft.
"God only knows." Einstein answered. "But it proves one thing certainly."
Edison turned to him. Einstein gripped his pipe as it were protection against the evil of the world. "That matter can be converted to energy powerful enough to disrupt the very atoms of matter itself."
Madame Curie gave him an odd look. "Your theory..."
"Yes." He said sadly. "Someone has taken my theory and applied it to weaponry." He sighed, then gave his friends a look of utter misery. "I curse the day I ever wrote it down on paper."
With those last words he took his way from the wrecked office and made his way into the corridor, leaving an astounded trio of friends behind him to ponder what it all meant.
Distressed morning light poured through the window into the sitting room. It lit up a very worn, distressed looking group of adventurers sat about the sitting room at 221B, licking their wounds like so many animals who had been abused and left to die. At least that's how they felt at that time.
Sherlock was the only one stoically bearing his pain and physical abuse, but he was aware of what the others were feeling, just remote at the time because his thoughts were launched into a universe only he could circumscribe.
Watson gratefully accepted a cup of fresh hot tea, then nodded to Conan, whose leg was in a cast now and sat on the sofa beside Challenger who kept a watchful eye on him. Constable Evans was standing at the stairway entrance, his eyes veiled, his own thoughts consuming his attention, for he was very worried about the Inspector.
Watson gave him a commiserating look. "Constable, it will not do the Inspector any good to be sulking like a puppy."
The Constable shrugged. "Neither will it do him any good for me to forget he was my friend."
Sherlock and Watson exchanged glances. Neither of them thought it possible for the Inspector to be friends to anyone, so the Constable obviously was coming at the friendship from a pure one sided view of the relationship.
Conan finally spoke up. "Well, whatever the creature planned; it failed. That much we know for certain."
"Nothing is for certain, dear Conan."
Conan glanced at Sherlock, surprised by his announcement. "How can you say that? We destroyed the Mummy at the dock."
Sherlock nodded. "But no one understands how there could have been two."
Wells and Jules who stood at the back of the room, as still as statutes, watching, suddenly sat down on chairs near Conan. Wells leaned forward. "We've seen this before."
Conan gave him a startled look. "Before. You mean there's more than one of these Mummy creatures?"
Jules sighed. "More than the stars in the sky."
Challenger almost choked on the scone he was eating.
Mrs. Hudson put a hand over her heart, fear lighting her expression. Watson rose to put an arm about her shoulders. "There, there, my dear Mrs. Hudson. I won't let anything happen to you."
Wells stood up and began pacing the room. "We haven't been strictly honest with our friends."
Sherlock gave him a knowing smirk, which Wells studiously ignored.
"This world is not our original one."
"Nor the last one we've been to." Jules spoke up, breaking the stone cold silence that had gripped the hearts of all there.
Wells sat down again and began fiddling with the lapels of his coat, as if that might soothe his nerves and his conscience. "There are worlds where the science of man is distressed. Dark."
"Horrible!" Exclaimed Jules, looking first at Wells, then at his companions.
"When we brought our families to this reality, we had hoped that we had found a timeline where those evil creatures had failed to make a landfall, to thrust their dark souls."
"The Mummy." Sherlock finally said. He rose and went to the window to look out. The streets were silent. The usual happy pedestrians and children playing in the snow were gone. The Queen had ordered everyone to remain indoors until the situation was under control. London lived in a fear greater than when Jack had ruled the streets, or Hyde the city.
"The Mummy was your doing."
Wells and Jules gave each other searching glances, then Wells spoke. "It's our fault. We have played the serpent to this Garden of Eden."
Jules nodded. "You see, when we escaped our last timeline, one of those horrid creatures had managed to attach itself to the Master of the World."
"Master of the World?" Challenger asked. "Isn't that the name of a book your wrote, Wells?"
"Yes." Wells answered, not too happy about it. "But I never intended the book to be about a real vessel. Jules here is such a genius when it comes to making things."
"I took his ideas from the book and constructed our time ship, so we could traverse time and space and stop those demons from spreading across the timelines."
"But you failed." Sherlock said. He looked at them, their faces filled with the distress of their thoughts and guilt. "And rather than letting this world know of it, you introduced the creature you had managed to capture into the Museum, placing it into a stasis, a kind of suspended animation, thinking that there it could be safely kept until you found a way to bring some kind of sanity to it?"
Wells almost choked at the clarity of Sherlock's words. "But how could you know we hadn't tried to kill it?"
Sherlock gave them a gentle smile. "Because you two do not have that kind of heart. You have the hearts of artists, and those souls strive to render Creation a place of beauty, not destruction. You had rendered the creature helpless, hoping that here you might find a cure for its malaise."
"There is no cure for evil." Watson snorted.
Sherlock gave him an appraising look. "I wouldn't be so sure. But in any case, these gentlemen have revealed a truth we must now address. And also a question which also arises."
"Which is?" Watson demanded.
"Yes, we all would like to know what you have in mind, Holmes?" Challenger agreed.
"Which brings us back to my original statement, how could there be two?"
Jules and Wells gave him a confused look, but he went on. "If there was but the one Mummy, then where came the second one from. The one that confronted Tesla and Edison. The one that led the rebellion towards their stronghold."
Sherlock rose, then put his hands behind his back in the pose that told the world he was about to solve a problem that daunted the weaker of souls. "How do we put this genie back in the bottle, now that it is out?"
"Or destroy it!" Conan hissed, remembering his own painful experience and the close call of death that it had brung.
"Or..." Sherlock said, leaving his last words hanging with a sense of dread about their hearts.