In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Twenty Sixth
231 C Rue Claire
You might think from all I've revealed at this point that I have finally gotten to the... what you Americans call... the meat of the story. But no. I have yet just barely begun. For though we were indeed invaded, the invasion was limited as you will see.
Papa Verne and Papa Wells led us back to their warehouse, where they shuttered all the windows and doors.
Papa Verne depressed a switch next to the glowing sphere and a loud humming sound began. In a matter of moments we could see the sphere on a gigantic scale. Now I could see what was really going on there. For before our eyes, we could see massive ships that were partially constructed on platforms of carved rock, waiting to be finished.
Scattered among the ships were a race of beings so foreign to our senses that it took a long time to be able to grasp that they were intelligent beings and not oversized squids or octopi. They slithered about the superstructure of their ships, using multiple tools simultaneously. Welding, cutting, moving and adjusting into place massive structures of metal that would have killed a human being to attempt their lifting.
And yet those beings such weight were mere toys. What massively strong bodies they had, even though their appearance was weak.
"We have been studying them for about six years now." Papa Wells said, his eyes on me and Val, both of us shuffling uncomfortably beneath his gaze.
"The vessels you see here are massively larger than the one that has struck our atmosphere and tested our forces sorely near the Eiffel Tower."
Mama Verne gasped. "They have not destroyed our beloved Eiffel?"
"No." Papa Wells answered, sensing her distress bordered on panic.
Papa Wells enfolded her into his arms and held her close. "Do not worry, my sweet madamoseille, for we shall not let anything happen to that! I swear this to you."
It was then that Papa Wells and Papa Verne revealed a story so strange and so fascinating and yet so utterly unbelievable that Val and I clenched each other in horror and surprise.
"You see, my loved ones." Papa Verne said. "We have been to Mars more than once before."
I gasped, shoving my knuckles into my mouth to stop from screaming. Papa had risked that horrible place. And I was to blame.
He sensed my distress and lifted me up into his powerful arms. "No, Mon Petit, Julie Flower, it was not you and my dear Val's mistake that caused that, nor this."
He set me down and I knew the hour of our mistake had finally come to be faced.
"I'm so sorry, Papa." I wept then, rushing against his legs and embracing him, shuddering with the horror of my mistake. "We were just playing."
Val began to weep too, and ran to her Mama who embraced her.
Papa Verne and Papa Wells were in more distress than we were, but finally managed to calm us down with hugs and kisses until we could finally look at them, even if with eyes as red as beets and as wet as fresh strawberries in a pan of cool water.
"You see, when you two saw the Martian world, it was not your mistake that drew them here, but ours."
"No, Papa. It is our fault. They would not have noticed our beautiful world without us having activated the sphere that night."
"No, Julie Flowers." He said, shaking his head. He dropped to a knee so he could look into my eyes. He brushed the tears from my eyes, and hugged me tight again. "Oh, my sweet little Julie Flower, we have known all these years, but said nothing for fear of distressing you and I see now it didn't matter when we spoke because you and Val are so tender and good."
He pulled Val over and hugged her as well.
Papa Verne dropped to his knees and joined our hug.
Mama Verne and Wells hugged each other. It was one of the most tender and revealing moments of mine and I think all of our lives and only deepened the bonds of love we all held for each other.
Finally, Papa Wells stood up and pointed at a large kind of reddish dome that sat at the base of the construction going on. "This is a very advanced kind of sensory unit. It is capable of sensing even the slightest of mobility even at stellar distances. When you activated the sphere, it was not their first time in sensing us. It had happened long before that."
"You see, when Jules and I discovered the ability to traverse time and space, we used a very special vehicle that Jules built."
"The Master of the World. I call it." Jules stated proudly.
"Call it?" Mama Verne demanded.
Jules gave her a shy look. "I meant to tell you about it."
Mama Verne gave him a stern look. "Once we have defeated this monster invading our beautiful land, you and I shall have a long talk."
Mama Wells gave Papa the same look.
Val and I looked even more distressed. We began crying again.
Our Mamas dropped to their knees and hugged us close. "My dears, my dears." They kept repeating, their eyes on our Papas, who seemed sad and lonely at that moment.
Then we heard another searing blast of sound and a burst like an explosion nearby. Our warehouse shook, but did not break or shatter.
I looked around in surprise and then at that moment, I realized something.
"Papa, we are in the ship!"
"What?" Mama Wells demanded. "How can that be?"
Papa Wells and Verne both grinned. "Nothing short of the heat of the sun could shatter this structure. It is reinforced with condensed dark matter, which absorbs any kind of kinetic energy and actually supplies us with more."
Then I noticed something else. A sense of movement. Very slight.
Without a warning I burst free of Mama and ran to the door to unbolt it. Good thing Papa was close behind or I would have been sucked out into the air I looked out upon. He caught the door and me at the same time, stopping me from being sucked outside. I would have fallen thousands of feet had I done so.
Paris was below us and I could see blasts of energy soaring upwards towards us. But none came close enough to distress us.
Everyone else came to the door. The air pressure had balanced. Papa held onto me though, unsure of what my motives were at that time, I was being so emotional.
"We are flying!" Mama Wells said. "It is...."
"... Beautiful!" Mama Vernes said.
We were in Papa Verne's vehicle. The Master of the World.
Papa Verne and Papa Wells carefully reclosed the door, this time depressing several mechanisms, which created a hissing sound.
"Soon we will be orbiting the planet." Papa Verne said, going back to the controls where the gigantic sphere was. He depressed another switch and the view of Mars turned into a view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.
He zoomed in the view and we could see this huge mechanical device with eight legs and eight arms, stamping parts of Paris to the ground and blasting everything it could reach with massive beams of pure energy.
Buildings would ignite and explode, or just vanish into dust.
It was heading towards the Eiffel Tower.
We could also see many Parisians striving to slow the advance with weapons, no more irritating to the massive Martian machine than a breath of air would be to an elephant. Our home, our people were in danger of extinction.