In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This September Tenth
Rúa Pai Crespo, 30
Don looked at us and his eyes told me he no longer believed we were telling fairy tales and Pedro was shaken to his soul. His eyes were suddenly deeply shadowed with fear and worry. He ran back inside, yelling, "Mama. Mama! We must seek shelter!"
I looked at Wells. He nodded.
We weren't going to wait for death and destruction to strike.
The Master of the World had long enough for its skin to heal.
Don saw our need and crossed his chest. "May God give you wings, my friends!"
We both smiled back at him, then turned around and ran as fast as our legs could carry us.
The hurtling Invader craft thundered closer and closer. We weren't going to reach our craft in time to launch before it landed.
It struck the fields about a hundred yards away from our craft, launching cascades of soil, cornstalks and rock into the air, looking like a bloody wound had just sprung a leak in our planet. It wasn't good.
We reached our ship, panting, out of breath.
I swiftly went around the ship, checking the skin, as did Wells the other.
We met at the cockpit entrance, and activated its ladder. It dropped to the ground and we swiftly mounted it and climbed into the cockpit.
I buckled in, as did Wells, the same time as he was engaging controls right and left, as fast as his eyes and hands could coordinate with each other.
I did the same for a few seconds, then kicked open the hatchback of us and dropped running towards the weapons bay. I reached it only moments before the ship made a lurching movement, almost throwing me against a wall and edged upwards, at first slowly, then faster and faster.
I hadn't the time to plug in my earphone, so I could only guess at what Wells was doing, but I knew I would have done the same, so I armed our weapons. I did ready the energy beams, this was going to be cannons and bombs. I didn't want to take the chance of triggering another nuclear explosion, even if the last had not been our fault, I had to consider it a strong possibility.
I levered the rear windows open, making sure the metal glass was secure over them to protect from backwashes, then I sighted the red hot meteorite that was still throwing off the flames and steam from its embedded position in the corn field.
I finally flicked a com switch.
Wells shot back. "Fire at will."
I began hammering the meteorite with cannon fire. Strong enough to bring down a Yankee warship with just a couple shells, these shells hardly made a dent in the outer casing of the meteorite. So I broke free from those rounds and engaged the bore bombs.
These were special devices geared to striking a surface, then drilling several feet inwards and exploding.
The Martians couldn't know about this. Only Jules and I knew of them, and they were a very, very recent invention.
The first bore bomb struck the top of the meteorite and exploded several seconds later, scattering layers of outer skin into the air. Some of the particles struck our ship, but were easily absorbed and thrown off.
The next bore bombs struck midships of the meteorite and the shell about it fell apart, revealing one of the mechanical Invaders devices in a fetal position. I could not allow it to unfold. I knew how hard it would be to bring it down then.
I unloaded immediately several more rounds of bore bombs. The Invader device kept on unfolding and struggled to gain its feet. I fired incendiary bombs into its canopy, which stuck to it and burned, then struck next with bore bombs.
The canopy shattered and the raging incendiary bomb took hold of the insides.
For a brief moment a huge slimy creature raised itself from the canopy, its gigantic eyestalks bulging in pain and its skin bubbling and frothing as it boiled apart, then it exploded.
Several seconds after that the Invader device exploded.
Our ship was struck by huge tentacles and legs, but withstood the blows, only being knocked slightly off course.
Wells took us around slowly, making sure we had gotten the enemy completely.
It was done. We had won this battle.
Laying on its broken side was the Invader device and a boiling puddle of goo that had been its occupant.
We landed our ship near the windmill and hurriedly descended.
Don came out with his wife and children. They shook our hands over and over, begging for forgiveness.
"We are so sorry." Pedro pleaded. "I thought you just great writers, but your ship is...is...magnifico!"
Wells blushed, unused to such effusive praise, but I basked in it. We had worked hard to make this ship a savior, and it had done its job, but it was only partly done.
"I have a favor of you." I asked Don.
"We will take care of the other two if able, but can you send a message to our wives for us. You have wire here?"
"In town. About an hour's drive by cart."
I hurriedly scribbled the address for him and gave him some cash.
He refused to take it. "The wire master is my friend. When he finds out what we have seen, you two will be heroes. No one in Spain will ever take a dime from you again. I promise you!"
Wells gently pressed the money back into Don's hands. "For your children. A gift of thanks from us for your hospitality."
Don shifted a bit in his viewpoint. "Ah. The children."
He looked lovingly at his twins. "For them, I will do this. And..." He smiled at us. "My good friends."
We shook hands again and ran back to the ship.
As we settled into the pilot and co-pilot's seats Wells said. "The others will probably have launched their mechanicals by now."
"So let's see if we can play skip the rope with them." I kidded.
"And then bash their heads." He added with a laugh.
"And bash their heads." I agreed.
The Master of the World launched into the skies. I could see our new friends waving at us as we flew swiftly away. I prayed that the three Invader ships were all that had landed, but I feared there were far, far more, for what we had not told our families that time we saw them working was that they had thousands of meteorite pods waiting to be launched. Tens of thousands! Perhaps hundreds!