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 Super Soldier
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
"Rockets!" Harry cried out and everyone scattered as he blasted past them, accelerating faster and faster, a trail of radiant energies lighting his path.
Techs and ground crew hid behind blast shields, not wanting to get exposed to the radiation, which they already knew from Einstein and Harry personally, was unstable and had some pretty drastic side effects, like projecting Harry back and forth through time, from the time of World War Two at a crucial moment of battle there, to the future where the Nazis ruled the planet because the Allies had been too late in stopping them.
Harry's so-called plate was full of sour grapes. The girlfriend he would never see again because he had been frozen in time on the real world and didn't wake up until she was long dead, and only her daughter and granddaughter still lived. That was the future Harry world, where Nazis ran rampant and destructive. However, in the first timeline Harry had been flying his rocket suit, the war had not yet been decided. In that war he was flung away from his loved one for another reason, to protect the secrecy of the project he lead...Rocketman. A rocket suit that allowed him to fly faster than even the Nazi buzz bombs. He had broken the sound barrier in that particular life stream, but in the present one, which seemed to become more and more of late the one he would live the last of his day sin, he had an incredible suit that had been updated and used tech that was unheard of in his original timeline.
In this timeline Einstein and Tesla worked together as a team to build his suit, and his weapons. The base was pretty much the same though, hidden high in the Swiss Alps, overlooking a beautiful lake below. In this life stream it was overrun by Nazis Warlords and Storm Troopers, and the occasional Super Soldiers, genetically enhanced monsters that stood over eight feet tall and could take a lot of punishment before going down.
Jet waved as he shot out the secret entrance and he toggled his suit slightly several times in acknowledgement and angled up towards the stars. He never flew during the day unless the weather was almost catastrophically bad, because they didn't dear let the Nazis know what they had and where they had it. If they did, it would be end game. Nazis win, no more free men anywhere to resist them.
Oh sure, there'd be a few here and there, but doomed to failure because of the lack of technical and weapons support. Harry was the support here. They had spies all over the place in secret resistance movements, who would flag important troop movements, supply trains...in time line, they were super fast bullet trains that hovered above the tracks and flew like rockets on their antigravity streams.
Harry had taken out one about a month ago and it had almost taken him with it, if not for Jet. Sometimes they flew together. He had a harness he could carry Jet with, but Jet hated it, and had no problem conveying that message.
Lately, Einstein and Tesla had come up with a lighter version of the Rocketman suit and let Jet test it out. It worked perfectly for about ten flights and then dumped him into the side of a mountain, which fortunately for Jet, was snow packed, or else he'd have driven ten feet through solid rock, instead of thirty through ice and packed snow.
It had taken Harry almost twenty four hours to reach his friend, who had been almost frozen to death waiting to be rescued.
"Harry." Jet called out.
"Are fingers supposed to be blue?"
"On Christmas morning."
"Funny. How about toes?"
"Now you've really got me roaring."
"Hang on, Harry I'm shoveling as fast as I can."
"Where's the techies when you need them?"
"A thousand miles away."
"Yeah. Happens a lot to guys like me."
"You know...I'm black."
Harry roared with laughter.
"What's so funny?"
"The only thing black about you is your attitude; the rest of you is a nice chocolate cream."
"Thanks a lot, that's really encouraging.'
"You're welcome buddy."
Harry looked at his rocket suit, leaning against the slope of snow and ice. It had melted in partially from the heat of the burners in back, but otherwise it was upright, with a gaping hole where he usually climbed into it. Lucky for Jet, he had an emergency kit built into both legs of the suit, one of which had an extensible aluminum shovel.
"Getting a bit warm in here, Harry."
"Yeah. It's just balmy as hell out here too."Harry replied. "I got pretty nurses lined up for a mile applying to work at our ice cream stand."
"Don't even go there, you monster."
"What? Hate ice cream?"
"No, hate eating it alone."
"No problem, pal. Almost there."
Something threw a huge shadow across Harry's view into the hole he was digging and over him. He turned around slowly.
"I've got a little problem."
"What Betty Boop wanta audition for your talent show?"
"Funny. No, a bit bigger than that."
Harry reached for his side arm, and then realized it was lying inside the suit, all bright, clean and shiny.
"Another small problem."
Harry angled away from the hole to give himself maneuvering room. In front of him stood a Super Soldier. It was missing an eye, and he could see some of its metallic brain pan gleaming on its left side, where something had gashed the skin away. The Super Soldiers were genetically enhanced soldiers, but also physically as well, a combination of metal, electronic circuits and wildly firing genomes.
"What's your problem look like?"
Harry spoke a bit more softly into his throat mike. "It's closing in."
"That's no problem."
"I'll try to lead it way from you. You've only got about three feet of packed snow behind you."
"What in the hell am I supposed to do, kick it out?"
"Hey! Sounds like you're not only chocolate as hell, but brainy as old Al himself."
"I'm going to kill you when I get outta here, pal."
"Be my guest, but you might have to wait in line."
Harry charged the Super Soldier who turned slightly, revealing that one eye was dangling from its socket. It shoved it back in and it promptly fell back out again. Harry snatched some snow, packed it tight and flung it into its good eye.
"Roar!" The Super Soldier screamed, temporarily blinded by the substance in its good eye.
Harry launched himself and struck the soldier in its midsection, knocking it backwards. It teetered on the edge of the drop it had climbed out of, and then regained traction and swatted Harry away from the edge like a tiger swatting a fly.
Harry flew through the air and struck a huge frozen rock. He lay stunned there, his senses reeling while the Super Soldier struggled to get its other eye back into its socket. It also looked for a weapon. Its weapon belt was empty. Whatever had happened to it, it was weaponless. But for a creature like that, it didn't need much of a weapon, its body was a pretty good stand in. It could crush Harry's skull if it every got its hands on him long enough.
Harry rolled over as a huge fallen branch in the hands of the soldier smashed into the stone he had lain against and shattered into a thousand pieces. The soldier roared angrily and charged after Harry, who saw his chance and launched himself in between two large trees, smashing in to some thick brush, where he hid behind, while the soldier tried to figure out exactly where he was. He was counting on the soldier's weaker mind to think he had kept going.
It didn't. Something changed in the equation, Harry realized. This soldier was not just super mean and super strong, but also clever.
He felt, rather than heard the movement behind him. He rolled aside as a huge fist punched past his face and smashed into the side of the tree he was near. The tree shook from the violence of the blow and split down the middle.
"Harry, you still alive out there?"
"Not for long."
"Don't worry, pal, I got your back."
Harry rolled a new direction as the giant soldier kicked at his face. He caught the foot and twisted. The giant soldier roared and collapsed to the ground. It got up again, its face glowering with intense hatred, and eagerness. Eagerness to smash him to a pulp.
"Look, big guy, I know we kinda started out a bit on the cold side of things." Harry laughed.
The soldier gave him a blank look.
Harry paused. What was wrong?"
Then the soldier slowly began toppling towards him. Harry threw himself out of the way as the soldier fell to the ground where he had laid, a huge piece of metal stuck in its back, yellow and red blood pouring out.
The giant soldier's one eye looked at Harry a moment, glowering with anger and hatred, and then as if a light switch had been flicked off, it dimmed and the being was lost to the world.
Jet came strolling out, smacking himself to get warm. "Man, you throw one helluva birthday party."
"It's not my birthday."
"Oh, in that case, maybe we should go home. I got things to do, places to be."
Jet had given him a hand up and he had helped Jet to load his jetpack onto Harry's suit, strapping it tight with metal bands, then he brought out the harness.
"How about I fly, and you ride?"
"Won't fit me. Made for you."
Jet's eyes narrowed. "You're sure about that."
"Would I ever lie to you, Jet?"
Harry laughed and Jet got into the harness.
They flew back home safe and sound.
Harry sighed to himself as he waggled his suit one more time at his friend watching him. War was hell, but friends were heaven. He shot upwards like a rising star.
Death and Destruction
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
He was taking a pounding that's for sure. The swashes were beating the hell out of him and he wasn't able to do a thing about it as long as his power pack was recharging. A couple dozen more charges of their hammer guns and it was all over.
How in God's name had he gotten stuck in the missionary position to the merciless bastards pounding his suit into atoms?
"A swash is a slang term for Nazi foot soldiers." Einstein told him as he sat at the edge of the cliff overlooking Lake Lucerne.
"Beautiful view, pops."
Al ignored his tease and went on. "The tropes are the super swash, genetically enhanced super soldiers capable of pounding you into the ground with one fist behind their back."
"I wonder if they still sell raspberry chocolate down there."
Al ignored this comment as well. "The zoms are civilians who have had their minds wired to remove all sense of self. They are still whole beings, but no longer in control of their senses. That is why we try not to kill them whenever possible. Instead we try to turn them."
Harry turned to eye Al, who was tamping his pipe onto the rock beside him, and reloading from a pack he pried from his jacket.
"Zoms are nominally still human people, just altered so that they have no control over their own body."
"A term I picked up..." Harry paused, trying to remember where he had heard it, and then shrugged. "From somewhere...somewhen."
Al nodded in a kind of fatherly way, and then scooted closer to Harry, examining his eyes. "The time dilation still hasn't worn off."
"Tell me about it. I feel like a taco turned inside out."
Harry turned to Al. "You really need to get out more."
Al laughed, and then tapped Harry on his right knee with his pipe stem. "Your next mission is critical. You must not harm the Zoms, even if they block your way to completing the mission. If it comes to it, you have to turn back."
"What if they're about to kill me?"
Al was silent.
Harry sighed and took a deep breath. "Life sure sucks sometimes, doesn't it?"
"Now that..." Al smiled. "That I understand."
Harry sighted the landing position in the cross hairs of his scope and began banking his rocket suit in that direction. He hadn't seen a single Swash jet since he had entered lower Lithuania, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your sensibilities. He took a quick suck off his water stem, then clicked it shut and eyed the landing trigger. It was square on. He initiated thrusters and his suit slowed, then turned in a quick arc and landed him on his feet. He bent somewhat to absorb the impact, leaving a deep groove in the pavement he had landed on.
"Glad that was you and not me." He told the pavement, and then headed for the rendezvous point. He was meeting with a resistance leader, a pretend Zom, who was known to be faulty by the Swash, but ignored as long as he continued to do his job, which was loading and unloading weapons.
Harry's job. Rocketman's job was to make sure that loading and unloading came to a quick and timely end. The Allieds were mounting a quick thrust into the region in an effort to sweep out all the Zoms and return them to their own control, so they could join the resistance, which was spreading across Europe, however slowly.
Harry dreaded sometimes the work he did, because it kept him from returning to America, where the brain of Hitler ran everything. New Nazi New York it was called. The skyscrapers, the Empire State Building and the Monarch Building were now the headquarters for the Nazi party in America, which now led the war on the rest of the world.
When America fell during the last days of World War Two, it had ushered in a long period of subjugation and experimentation by the Fourth Reich, the reborn Nazis, led by a brain only Hitler, who lived through a robotic counterpart. It was Harry's determination to end that body that drove him on every mission in this alternate timeline.
Sometimes he missed the real timeline, but these days he wasn't so sure any timeline was real anymore than the other. No matter which one he lived in, he was getting shot at, battered and bruised, and the love of his life was dead.
But funny enough, the person he missed the most, was Jet, who had survived in the first timeline to be his best buddy and helper, but in this one, somehow didn't exist.
Harry parked his rocket suit inside the designated building, and then headed for the meeting place.
"Raspberry." Harry whispered in the ruins of what was once a beautiful church, its gothic spires marred by bullets and bombs, its beautiful stained glass windows shattered, its pews broken and scattered across the interior of the once magnificent structure.
"Chocolate." Came the counter answer.
Harry grinned, and stepped forward, and then as he lifted his hand to shake with the other person, he almost had a heart attack. It was Jet!
The person facing him gave him a blank look. "Who is that man?" He turned to see if he had been betrayed by Harry, someone hiding in the shadows perhaps.
Harry's emotions battered him. "Don't you know who I am? Your best friend. Your battering ram. Your personal line of envy."
Jet, a tall and well muscled black man, with deep brown eyes and a face marred by a slight scar on the left side of his neck frowned. "I've never seen you before in my life."
Harry didn't see the scar at first, but when Jet turned to look to his right, he did. Harry tensed. A Zom! Then he relaxed. Of course he was. He was an underground Zom, one who the rewiring had failed in.
"Where's your suit, Captain?"
Harry ignored the question and came closer, looked into Jet's eyes. The man stood stock still, as if frozen in place for a moment, and then he backed up. "I need to see the suit."
"Why would you need to do that?" Harry asked, his worry radar going full blast now. Something didn't pickle right in his brain. He gave Jet a closer examination. "The man I met was supposed to have a scar on the left side of his neck. Yours is on the right."
Harry ran for the exit of thee building, just as ten Swash entered, carrying their hammer guns ready to fire. Harry dove out a stained glass window that had been shattered to his right, and landed on his back, rolling to his feet. In seconds he launched himself swiftly towards the hiding place of his suit.
He felt, rather than heard the hammer guns fire. Their weaponry was so powerful that it fused the air about him, causing the skin closest to the blasts to blister from the intensity of the heat caused by their searing beams of energy.
He dove to his right, then threw himself into a cellar, crawled swiftly across it as quietly as possible, then levered himself to another window, and crawled out. He looked round, listened a moment, hearing nothing, he ran towards his hiding place. He reached it, just as the sound of alarms rang out and Swash lanced the air about him with their hammer guns. He landed inside the hiding place in a ball, rolled to a stop at the foot of his suit, then climbed inside of it. He clamped it shut, sealing it against the outside, then turned it around to exit.
That was when a trope stormed into the building and landed a hammer like punch to Harry's helmet. Harry stumbled backward and with the weight of the suit so great, he couldn't maintain his balance. He fell onto his back, just as the swash burst inside.
"The Fuehrer wants the Rocketman alive." The trope ordered, and then grinned. "But he didn't say in what condition...alive."
Stunned by the blow still, Harry shook his fog away and launched a mini-rocket into the midst of the swash, blowing up half of them, but the rest plowed through the death and destruction, trailing guts and blood, then dove on him and began pummeling him.
He could no longer move, or resist. Several of them had placed some kind of magnetic clamp to his arms, causing them to seal together. He was helpless as a baby. He couldn't fire rockets, couldn't get out. In other words his ass was cooked!
Harry looked at his charge. Not enough to launch horizontally without frying every circuit. And no way to know if the magnetic clamps did anything else than hold his arms together. He might become a flying torpedo and hammer himself to death against a wall, his stabilizers and softeners running at low ebb.
He watched his charger begin to renew his power supply. It was a new one altered from the last by Tesla, who had used a new form of energy to power it.
"It will make you nearly invincible." He had promised.
"Yeah." Harry quipped to himself, unheard by the swash or the trope. "At least my suit. Meanwhile, I'll be turned into soup inside this bell!"
The Trope shoved the remaining swash aside and grinned into Harry's face. In a very bad imitation of German...even though he was German...he said, "And now I shall smash your face into atoms."
"I thought you needed me alive!" Harry joked.
"Not you. Just your brain."
"Then you better aim a bit lower, as now you're aiming right at my brain pan."
The trope gave him a confused look.
Harry's suspicions were confirmed. The trope couldn't see through the helmet plate glass. It was too dark inside the room. Harry glanced at his charger. Almost full. "I bet you're so strong you could handle me all by yourself, even if I had my arms free."
The trope grinned. "Yes. And still take your brain."
The trope laughed, and then smashed Harry's midsection, breaking the clamps.
The suit rang like a bell, even more so than when the swash had been pounding him.
The trope yanked Harry to his feet as effortlessly as if the Rocket suit was just a suit of clothing, instead of armor and stuck his face into the Helmet's glass, peering inside.
Harry's eyes went round with horror.
The trope had no pupils.
The trope swung its fist back, preparing to complete its death stroke.
Harry smiled, and then flicked a switch with his tongue.
A horrible screeching sound rang throughout the building. He had planted the resounders shortly after he landed, just in case. It was the just in cases you had to be the most cautious about, not what might be's.
The trope clamped its ham sized fists over its ears and screamed, joining the screams of the swash.
Harry saluted the soldiers. "Say bye-bye."
The trope gave him a blank look. "Bye-bye?"
Harry launched a mini-rocket into the trope and the swash, launching straight up and through the ceiling of the church. He wasn't there long enough to see them explode, or hear them scream. As he raced from the building's roof, he turned to the south and there below him stood the zom Jet.
The zom stood there watching him fly off, making no move to fire the hammer it held in its hands. Just watching, a hand over its eyes to watch him as he blasted into the skies.
Harry's heart pounded in his chest.
"I'll be back, Jet. I swear it!" He promised, his eyes watering from the pain of leaving the only real friend he had ever had. He blinked the tears away, and then accelerated across the skies, towards Switzerland and home base. Away from death and destruction. And away from a friend who meant more to him than life itself.
"I will return." He swore to himself, as he fired the rockets that steered him north towards the Alps.
"I will, Jet. I swear it by everything I hold Holy. I will return for you. Or die trying." He said, his eyes misting even more as he shot up above the clouds and became a speck of light to those below.
The zom, who might be Jet, dropped his weapon and put fingers to his eyes. They were wet.
"Why? He asked no one, and then leaving his weapon behind, he marched away, a lone figure in a land of war and destruction.