September 21, 1866 Atlas House, 46 High Street, Bromley England
“Dear God, the pain!” cried Sarah Neal. “I’d forgotten about the pain…” she added, her voice trailing off.
“You’re almost there, dear,” replied the mid-wife. “It won’t be long now…”
A former domestic servant herself, Sarah knew when she was being given an untrue pleasantry. Still, she said nothing. She had three children before this one and knew the tribulations of childbirth well. But this one felt different. This one hurt so much more. But she pushed those thoughts away as fast as she could. For nine months she had been carrying around this little bundle and it was time to get it into the world.
“Push now, dear!” said the mid-wife.
Downstairs, Joseph Wells paced around the shop he managed. Every time his wife screamed out, he felt a wave of nausea rise up within him. Relax now, he told himself. She’s done this before. Joseph Wells, a shopkeeper, and more famously, a professional cricketer, looked around the worn out stock of sporting goods and china in the shop for anything to distract him, but he could not find it.
“Is something wrong, father?” asked Jonathan, his eldest son.
Joseph was quick to change his demeanor. “No, no, John. I’ll just feel better when this over,” he said, as he heard his wife screaming once again.
“Father!” yelled Jonathan suddenly, causing Wells to jump. “Look outside! Up in the sky! It’s…purple?!”
Without missing a beat, the man walked over to the dirty window and what his eyes told him was something his mind could not believe, despite his great pride in being a freethinker. The sky was indeed purple. And more than that, there was lightning being fired all over the sky. And he could hear shouting. In fact…he could swear he saw men leaping from rooftop to rooftop. “John, am I going mad, or did a man just jump off of our roof?”
“No father,” replied the son. “He did not jump off. He flew.”
Outside, a shimmering violet hue expanded in the sky in every direction. At its center was a machine, about of a man that pulsated with energy. The machine was empty, as its pilot had descended below.
“I’ve got him!” yelled a booming voice, as the Legionnaire known as Power Boy flew strait forward to his target. “He will not get very far.”
“And I’ll cover his escape,” said Invisible Brainiac, flying down along the dirty 19th century streets to cover where the enemy would descend to.
“Give it up, Archduke!” yelled Power Boy. “We’ve been waiting for you to arrive here! This boy is protected by the Legion! You cannot harm him!”
In response, a low-sounding chuckle could be heard from the shadows. “Is that right?” it said, as a figure familiar to the Legionnaires stepped forward. With a long cape and trademark monocle, the Archduke of Time let his presence be known. “With the firepower you’ve brought here, I can see you’re right…for now. But funny thing about time travel. If I can’t get to Wells the day he was born, I have many other days to choose from to strike.”
“You’re wrong,” said another voice. This one was farther away, near the time machine. It spoke as if it was covered in gravel. Like it belonged firmly with the dirty 19th century streets it echoed in. Matlock, the legendary detective revealed himself. Though Invisible Brainiac looked older, Matlock’s age was always ambiguous as he aged both ways. Power Boy, of course, was immortal. “After all this time, we finally figured out how to disable the protective shields on your time machine, Archduke. All we needed was a trap to spring in order to acquire it. And as predictable as ever, you came to the one place we always knew you’d be. The Time Machine is ours.”
The Archduke’s face changed from a smug smirk into having all the blood drained out of it. “No…no…no…” he began to say. The realization of all he was losing set in. “Not the device! Bloody Liberty, no!”
“Your time is up, Archduke,” said Power Boy with a grin, and suddenly both he and Invisible Brainiac were closing on him.
And in that moment, time slowed down for everyone but the Archduke. With his time machine lost, all would be lost for him…until a third party reached out, and saved him. And suddenly he was gone.
“What in the nine hells?” said Power Boy, realizing immediately the Archduke of Time was gone.
“Shit,” said Matlock. “Cobie isn’t going to like this at all.” He looked over at the Archduke’s time machine and gave it a kick. “Well, at least we got this.”
Inside the shop, Joseph and Jonathan Wells never had a chance to see the battle—or non-battle, as it were—with the Archduke reach its conclusion. As minutes earlier, they heard a had knock at the door. Now totally overwhelmed by all that was happening, Joseph Wells ran to the door to open it. At his doorstep stood a tall, dark-haired, handsome figure in a deep blue suit, overcoat and top hat. In his hand was a cane made totally out of metal. Beyond his deep blue eyes and sharp facial features, a noticeable scar shaped like an “X” was over his left eye. He looked to be in his mid-forties.
“Dr. Desmond Cobalt, at your service,” he said, entering immediately without being asked.
“Excuse me?” said the flustered man. “What are you doing?”
“We don’t have much time, Sir,” said the doctor. “You’re wife and the child. You need to bring me to them. RIGHT NOW.” The doctor spoke with a cold, calculating authority, but something in his manner made Joseph Wells trust him. His concern was genuine, as if all that mattered in his world right now meant saving Sarah and the baby.
“This way, Doctor,” said Joseph, leading him upstairs.
Inside, Sarah was screaming and the midwife was pale white. There was blood all over the sheets and floor. They could hear no baby. Seeing them enter, the midwife looked as if she was being accused of a crime. “It…something…something has gone wrong…I don’t know…”
“Stand aside,” said the doctor, walking over to Sarah and edging the mid-wife out of his way. “Do you have a sharp tool, handy? A butcher’s knife? I need to cut the baby out with a Caesarian Section.”
“I…I…I do,” said Joseph. John, go get the old the butcher’s knife.” The boy went and did it. While he was waiting, Joseph and the midwife watched the doctor, and noticed how peculiar he was. His accent was unmistakable though impossible to say from where. Harsher than German or the Hungarian yet complex. Also, as he moved, it felt as if part of the room shifted with him. As if all the metal—nails, pans, everything—followed him around the room, pointing at him.
The boy returned with the knife. Doctor Desmond Cobalt turned to them and in a very authoritative voice said: “now all of you wait in the hallway, and I will save the woman and the boy.”
“Boy?” asked Joseph. “How can you know?”
“I know,” said the doctor with a smile. The smile made John Wells feel warm; it frightened Joseph and the midwife.
As they shut the door, they could see the doctor taking off his gloves and laying his hands down upon Sarah’s stomach. He was speaking softly now, though John Wells thought for sure he said “I’ve got you now, Bertie.”
H.G. Wells was born a happy and healthy boy. Both mother and son were fine.
From: If you don't want my peaches, honey... | Registered: Sep 2003
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“Damn you children!” yelled a milliner, running into the street. “That’s the second time you’ve hit my shop with your ball this week!”
“Run! Run!” shouted the kids. One boy turned back to see one of their number was some distance away from the crowd. “C’mon Bertie! There’s no time! Run!”
H.G. Wells, known as “Bertie” to his family and friends, realized his sudden peril. The milliner was nearby and if he was caught, he would catch the beating his friends were owed. He turned and ran off in the other direction. The milliner was behind him, in hot pursuit.
“Stop that boy! He kicked a ball at my store window! Stop that boy!”
Bertie ran at full speed, through the crowded streets of Bromley, which were full of the overflow of nearby Greater London. None of the passerbys paid any attention to either he or the milliner. Save one.
“This way!” came a voice, with an accent he had never heard before. “Quickly, before he sees!” it continued. Bertie turned to see an oddly dressed figure in a nearby cottage calling him over. He was dressed in brown and red, with a flowing cape and a monocle. He was the most odd looking man Bertie had ever seen. “Through here!” he called again, this time turning himself as he ran out.
Unsure of what to do, Bertie followed. Through the cottage gates, he could see it opened up into a steep hill that went downwards fast. This was one of the edges of Bromley he had never seen before. Down below was a factory with a never-ending stream of equipment, metal and devices he could not comprehend. Bertie looked around. For a moment he could not find the figure but then felt him suddenly behind him.
“Thanks Sir,” said young Wells. “It’s much appreciated. I thought I was a goner for sure.”
“Oh dear boy,” said the man with an evil smile. “You are a goner.”
And suddenly the man reached out and pushed him as hard as he could so that he went stumbling backwards into the metal and machinery below.
As he continued to fall, young Bertie was sure these moments would be his last. Below was jagged metal pointing out in all directions and wherever he landed would not feel good at all. Yet in those moment it was as if time slowed down and he could take in everything microsecond by microsecond. For instance, as he was upside, he could see the factory down below being pulled apart, as if it was opening up like the red sea. As if a great magnetic force was clearing the metal out of his way.
At last, the fall came, but it was not on any metal but just the grass. It was a hard fall with immediate pain he would never forget. His left leg, in the femur, was fractured.
But he was alive.
Bedridden for months on end, the 8 year old was restless and depressed as his friends played outside. He would do anything for a change of pace in those first few weeks. It was thus when an expected visitor came calling that Bertie was to thrilled at the surprise to see the fear in his father’s eyes.
“Bertie, you have a visitor,” said his father, entering the room. “This is Doctor Desmond Cobalt, an old…er…friend.” Entering the room, in a magnificent blue overcoat, suit and top hat, complete with metal cane, was the Doctor. He removed his hat and coat and sat next to Bertie. His hair was jet black, and his features chiseled. Though at the corner his eyes were crow’s feat that indicated he was an older man.
“Hello, Bertie,” said the doctor. “I’ve been anxious to meet you for some time.”
“You have?” asked the boy, surprised. “Why?”
“Because we’re old friends,” said the doctor with a laugh that suggested some inside joke.
“The doctor was actually there on the day you were born, Bertie,” said the father, clarifying what he thought the doctor meant.
“How did this happen, if I may ask?” said the doctor nodding toward the broken leg.
Bertie looked at his father and looked back; to a man of the doctor’s unique skill set, he knew a lie was forthcoming. “I was playing cricket with my mates.”
“Are you an avid sportsman, then?” asked the doctor.
“I guess,” said Bertie, not liking the subject. “Not now, though. Now all I can do is look out the window.”
“Ah,” said the doctor, as if he was understanding the boy’s frustration for the first time. “I can presume then, that this activity does not grow more interesting over time?”
“Quite the opposite I’m afraid,” said Bertie.
“Well then, being a doctor, I believe it’s my duty to provide a remedy.” And with that, the doctor walked back to his overcoat and pulled out a paperback book from his pocket. “And here, I believe, may be the answer.”
“A book?” asked Bertie, incredulously.
“Indeed,” replied the doctor.
“Bertie, it’s what I’ve been saying all along,” said his father. “If you can’t get out into the world right now, there are other worlds you can escape to.”
The doctor smiled widely at that. “Your father is a wise man,” he added. “Start with this one and I guaranty you, you’ll want to read others. Once your mind starts imagining things….once it starts feeling the creative juices flow…why, it can accomplish anything. And I truly mean everything Bertie. You will see that, soon enough.”
“What book do you have there, doctor?” asked the boy.
“It’s called Treasure Island. You may have heard of it. But trust me, you do not know anything about it until you’ve gone there.”
“It’s a fine book, Bertie. You’ll love it,” his father said. He was obviously pleased with this turn of events.
“Very well then,” said Bertie as if he had been outmaneuvered and felt compelled to read it. “I will read it. Is that why you came to visit me, doctor?”
“That and other reasons,” said the doctor. “When you read this book, think of me from time to time and know that the inspiration you feel from it is something I feel too when I read. And perhaps when you read other books, consider me from time to time again. I’m sure our paths will cross some time in the future…and I look forward to continuing this discussion then.”
“There is a library nearby,” said his father. “Perhaps when you visit us next time, doctor, Bertie will have read them all?”
“Perhaps one day he can even add some of his own to it,” said the doctor with a smile.
As the doctor gathered his belongings in preparation for his exit, Bertie called out to him. “Doctor! Thank you. Thank you for this.”
He smiled. “My friends call me Cobie,” he said.
From: If you don't want my peaches, honey... | Registered: Sep 2003
| IP: Logged |
“So there he is,” said the Legionnaire once known as Lard Lad with some awe in his voice. “Amazing to see him this young. How Time Boy interacted with us all these years has always been darn confusing. Even after having it explained to me.”
“Yes,” said Cobalt Kid. “There, he is,” he finished, not addressing the last comment Lardy had made. The two of them watched as a 13 year old H.G. Wells was walking through the streets back to his house with a pile of books in his hands. “He’s already an avid reader,” said Cobalt with some awe in his own voice. “It will not be long now before he becomes a great man. And to think, I first met him when I was 17 years old.”
“You’re not 17 anymore,” said Lardy with a smile.
Cobalt smiled back at the jab. “Don’t I know it,” he added, rubbing his sore back which was still reeling from a recent LMB battle. “Though you have to admit 44 looks good on me.”
“Yes, Cobaltus, your fine Ggrrggian breeding is paying off,” said Lardy rolling his eyes. “Your hair remains jet black. Meanwhile, I’m just thankful I have one good eye.”
“After this meeting, I promised Matlock we’d finally take down the Archduke. But I might bring Power Boy and IB for that. I believe I’ll have more pressing matters at that moment.”
“I guess that explains the steampunk suit you brought with us. You’re like a blue Sherlock Holmes or something.” The two of them laughed at that. Following this meeting, Cobalt would travel several more years backwards in time and deliver young Wells himself, though at this point he wasn’t totally sure that was how things went. Nearby the suit was a book: Treasure Island. That would be the stop after that.
“I really hope you know what you’re doing,” said Lardy, though he believed his old friend did. “If the others find out what you’re going to tell him, they’ll be pissed. Rond Vidar gave specific instructions on how to handle matters like this in time travel…”
“I never was one for RULES much…”
“Hello, Bertie,” said Cobalt with a smile on his face, as he walked through the city streets. He wore—for the first time for him—a blue suit, overcoat and top hat. And in his hand was a completely metal cane.
“Doctor!” said young H.G. Wells. “After all this time!’
Cobalt’s face showed genuine surprise. “You remember me?”
“Of course,” said Wells. “In fact, whenever I go and get a book to read, I always think of you and what you told me.”
Cobalt simply smiled for a moment, looking over the young man who would one day be a mentor to him. At last he spoke. “My friends call me—“
“—Cobie,” finished Wells. “I know. I’ve often wondered if I’d see you again, Cobie.”
“Well Bertie,” smiled Cobalt Kid, “you don’t have to wonder too much more. You’ll be seeing quite a lot of me. Care for a cup of tea?”
“I would love one.”
At the Coulthard Inn, Bertie Wells and Cobalt Kid enjoyed a hot cup of tea, escaping from the drab life of the late 19th century. After some small talk about Bertie’s life in general, Cobalt got to the point. “You’ve become an avid reader, then?”
“I have. So many worlds in these books you can visit. They are quite remarkable. If you allow yourself, you can imagine things so vast and so amazing. I’d like to be a writer myself one day.”
“I have a feeling you’d be a great one,” said Cobalt. “That ability to imagine…to create is the single greatest ability one can ever ask for. Even moreso than intelligence. For intelligence is sometimes only a tool that is best used by the creative.”
“Where are you from, Cobie?” asked Wells, at long last comfortable enough to ask the question he most wanted an answer to.
Cobalt smiled. “I will tell you. In fact, I’ll tell you anything you’d like. Even though my colleagues will be angry beyond words when they find out. I owe you that much, at least. But I will only tell you if you promise to stay true to the spirit of what we’ve been talking about. If you promise to believe. Open your mind to all possibilities.”
Bertie looked at Cobie sharply now. Though he had only met twice—once long before his first memory—there was something that instinctively told him to trust the man. Something in Cobie’s demeanor that suggested a genuine, true friendship, as if Cobie already had cared for Bertie all his life. “I promise,” he said.
Cobie smiled even more widely. “Tell me…have you ever wondered if you could experience events that have not yet happened? Or events that happened long ago? If you could be a traveler not just from one place to the next…but from one time to the next?”
Bertie put down his cup of tea and sat up strait. And Cobalt told him his story, and the story of the Legion of Message Board Posters.
“What you’re telling me…” said the boy, taking in all Cobalt had told him for the last thirty minutes. “…it’s so amazing. So incredible! Impossible even!” He laughed.
Cobalt found himself laughing as well. “Do you believe it? That I come from over a thousand years in the future? That I’ve met you, when you were older? That I have abilities no one in this time period does? Do you truly believe?”
Bertie looked at Cobalt with total serious. “I believe,” he said, and when he spoke the words it was if the world opened up to him. It was the single most important decision he ever made. For in that moment, deciding to believe ensured those things would happen. “I only wish…” he added, “…that I could see them too.”
Cobalt leaned in closer. “But you can see them, Bertie. I’m going to show you.”
3026 LMB Headquarters, Legion World
Young H.G. Wells stood there, overlooking the vast cityscape of Legionnopolis on Legion World. To him, who had never seen it in earlier years and therefore had no reference point, it simply looked magnificent. It was the greatest sight he’d ever seen—YET. For the last five days, he had experienced adventure in a way he never imagined possible.
He had traveled through time.
He had traveled through outer space.
He had battled alongside superheroes.
The Legionnaires, all different ages in their roster though with a core group of older members in their thirties and forties, had taken him under their wing. They were welcoming and they were warm. They treated him like he already belonged.
“It’s time, Bertie,” said Cobalt Kid, as he called out to the young man from the doorway. They were on a balcony near the top floor of LMB HQ. Within was the great hall. By Cobalt’s side was Queen Crujectra and her brother, Crusader. Both were smiling at the young man.
“I still can’t believe this is happening,” he said.
“Well, do me a favor. When you go home to the 19th century. And you start to think that it didn’t actually happen. Remember that it did. And this is only the beginning. You’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Bertie nodded. And he stepped inside, to see the assembled roster of the LMB. Unknown to him, this was a major event for the Legion. Legionnaires from far off places and, yes, also times, had come to witness it. Retired members and members not seen in an age felt a curiosity they just could not resist.
For at long last, Time Boy was being inducted into the Legion of Message Board Posters.
“Raise your right hand, Time Boy…” began Cobalt.
1879 Bromley, England
Five days for Bertie; less than five seconds from when he left. Just like Cobie had told him, there came a point where he actually questioned whether it really happened. But he told himself: I believe. And soon, the Legionnaires came back for him again.
Sometimes late at night, Bertie would consider telling some of these adventures to others. But he realized even if he were writing fiction, he’d have to scale it down. Because his true adventures were simply too grandiose. And sometimes late at night, he also thought about something else Cobie had told him. Something the rest of the LMB did not realize he knew. He remembered the conversation clearly:
“Cobie, you told me you’d tell me anything, right?”
“Tell me…on all of these adventures…with the danger…will I be killed? Do I die like so many of your friends in the Hall of Fallen Heroes?”
Cobalt had looked at him with a tender look that was warm but strangely, not very sad. “You do, Bertie,” he said quietly.
From: If you don't want my peaches, honey... | Registered: Sep 2003
| IP: Logged |
1880, The National School at Wookey Somerset, England
The teenager known as H.G. Wells moved closer to the windowsill to make sure he was getting enough sunlight to see the pages of the book he was reading; the sun was going down fast and soon he would have to use candlelight. He was totally infatuated with the book he was reading: The Odyssey. It was because of this that for a moment he did not realize the familiar statuette on his nightstand was blinking its odd red, blue and yellow lights. For a moment he considered it for what it was: a statuette of an older man side by side with an odd futuristic device; the man and the machine were both situated on top of an oversized ring with the letters “LMB” imprinted on them. The blinking came from technology that was far advanced from anything in the 19th century. He never told a soul about the signal device despite often wondering what they would say.
“All clear on my end,” he spoke aloud. “The is Time Boy reporting.”
“Time Boy, excellent,” replied the familiar voice of Cobalt Kid. “We have another mission we could use your help with,” he added. “That is…if you have the time to spare.” Still in awe of the last year’s events, Wells reveled in the pun—a reaction would eventually become opposite, over time.
Wells immediately began changing into his official Legionnaire uniform. By now he had gotten to know the drill; this would be his 8th adventure with the Legion of Message Board Posters in the far future. He wondered if there would ever reach a point where he would not be able to keep count any more? With each adventure he learned more and more about being an explorer and “superhero”, a term commonly used by his colleagues though one he admitted to still not quite understanding completely. “I’m ready, Cobie,” he finished.
“Then let’s go, Bertie” said Cobalt Kid, who was floating outside of his window. For a moment Wells considered yelling at his mentor that he could be sign in broad daylight but then let himself again revel in the adventure and simply jumped out the window into his friends arms, who flew at top speed to the time traveling device.
2027 LMB Headquarters, Legion World
“Is it just the three of us then?” asked Time Boy, as he looked at both Cobalt Kid and Matlock. Usually the missions he went on with the Legionnaires had 5 or 6 members; it had been common enough where he thought it was protocol.
“Yes, this time it is,” replied Cobalt. “This is a very different mission than what we’ve done so far. I’ve asked Matt to come along as he always lends a certain perspective to things.”
Time Boy had met Matlock a few times but had not really talked to him much. There was something unnerving about Matlock. As if he could look you up and down and immediately know everything he needed to know about you. Matlock appeared to be about 21 years of age, not much older than Time Boy. “Was Cobie your mentor too, Matt?” he asked.
Both of them started laughing heartily. “Not quite,” said Matlock, looking at Cobie with a rye smile.
“The opposite, in fact,” said Cobalt. “Matt was one of my great mentors.” He said the words with great affection and sincerity.
“And then partners,” added Matlock, also meaning every word. “The way I age is…complex. You see, when I use my powers, I actually age backwards. So for a very, very long time, I’ve been aging backwards and forwards intermittently.”
“We’re not quite sure how old Matt is,” said Cobie, giving his friend a half-smile, half-quizzical look. “But we know by the way he acts that he has to be somewhat ancient.” They all laughed at that. Cobalt then nodded back towards the Time Machine which they used to travel to the 31st century. “We’re heading back in there, Bertie,” he said. In a split second, his voice took a much more serious tone.
“We are? You mean, we’re traveling through time again?” Time Boy suddenly found himself very excited thinking of the implications. “But to where? I…I never considered using it as such…”
Matlock smiled at the young LMBer. “Well, consider it again. And when you have some more time on your hands, consider it long and hard. Because that is precisely what we’re doing.”
Cobalt led them back towards the Time Machine. Though it appeared very small from the outside—barely big enough to hold a person with room leftover—inside was a different story. Through advanced tesseract technology, the inside could comfortably hold at least two dozen, and likely more if one knew how to work its controls. “It’s time Bertie for you to learn how to pilot this machine,” said Cobalt, to Wells awe. “And not only that, but how it actually works in case you find yourself having to make changes on the fly, or Engine Joe forbid, have to fix it while you’re stranded.”
Time Boy sudden felt very overwhelmed, and it showed. Matlock now spoke up: “once you begin using it, it’s going to feel more natural to you than anything you’ve ever done in your life. Trust me on that,” he added firmly.
“I…I never really thought about it before…” said Time Boy, “but…isn’t time travel dangerous? I mean, can’t it do serious damage to…well, everything? What if something is changed?”
Cobalt smiled back warmly. “All questions every Legionnaire has asked himself many times over. I will explain the rules of time travel to you as Rond Vidar explained them to us. Rond spent his entire life understanding the nature of time, and we have adhered to his rules ever since. For the most part,” he added to himself. Matlock laughed at that, as if it was a private inside joke. “First: you cannot go back and change time. Whatever happened, happened. That is rule #1. And we have met—and battled—many who have tried to do otherwise.”
“So then we can essentially do nothing?” said Wells, who was very intelligent and caught on immediately.
“Not quite,” replied Cobalt. “We can do anything. But what we do when we travel in time…it’s already happened.” Cobalt smiled, again realizing how hard it was to explain. “It’s something you come to understand by doing, rather than thinking about,” he added. “Just know your actions will indeed count. You can do great things for people…and terrible things. But you cannot change the past. You can only do what has already happened, whether you realize it or not.”
Time Boy shook his head. “Yes, I think I’ll have to do rather than think to understand. Are there other rules?”
“Yes. And I will tell you all of them. But the other most important rule is this: to travel through time and space requires an incalculable amount of energy. And not just any energy either. Electromagnetic energy. That is the source of power to be a traveler through time and space.”
Time Boy nodded. “Your powers are based on electromagnetic energy,” he said, stating a fact.
“Yes,” said Cobalt. “It is this reason why I have always been a natural time traveler. Because I share this power source with the travel itself, I do not suffer the same terrible negative effects that many others do. I am a rare natural traveler through time.”
“As if you were meant to be,” said Wells.
“If you believe in that sort of thing,” replied Cobalt with a smile that was too forced to be genuine. “I know what you’re thinking, now. And no, you will not suffer any negative effects either. You too, are a natural time traveler.”
“But…” said Time Boy. “But why?”
“Because the night you were born, a storm raged outside of your home. And you too were affected in a strange way. But, to put it back in your own terms. Because you were meant to be.”
2023 LMB Headquarters, Legion World
Time Boy had been in the Machine many times already so he was not thrown off by its use; instead he was more fascinated by ever as he began to realize exactly how it worked. Much of it was still foreign to him, but with each continued use, he would come to know the Machine as if it was his true home. Cobalt Kid and Matlock took him back five years earlier in their own time and they remained on Legion World. This first mission would be one of the easiest, he said.
Unknown to Wells in this moment, this first mission would create a lifetime rival. “This is not the first time we met him, but it’s the first time he officially attacked us,” he said.
“Yes,” said Matlock. “After numerous reviews of the footage and piecing together what we know, this is indeed the first time he ever gathered the courage to begin his crusade against us. Just like you, he is only fourteen.”
“Who?” said Time Boy.
“The Archduke of Time,” said Cobalt Kid. “He is one of the Legion’s greatest and most recurring enemies. He has battled us throughout our careers though we have always triumphed in the end. When we were younger, he was older. Now that we’re older, he’s younger.”
“What is that?” said Time Boy.
“Because he battled us for a long, long time before it dawned on him that it would be far easier to beat us when we were first starting out. It’s as simple as that.” As Cobalt Kid spoke the words, Matlock looked at him funny. And Time Boy knew instantly there was indeed more to it than that.
In 2023, the Archduke of Time attacked Legion headquarters directly. Though he was still inexperienced and green, the attack came as such a complete shock by its brashness that it caught the LMB off guard. Those on duty were frozen by the device on the Time Machine that could freeze you in time & space. The Archduke, in a matter of seconds, had succeeded in capturing LMB Headquarters.
It was at that moment, that Time Boy came to the rescue, saving the Legion by surprising the Archduke, beating him in a fistfight and turning off the device. Afraid to be captured or lose his machine, the Archduke of Time retreated back into the timestream. More achy over a sore jaw than anything, Time Boy was just glad the LMBer known as Paladin had taught him how to fight. That changed when to his surprise, the Legionnaires, which included Jerry and Ram Boy, were thrilled to see him, and offered him big hugs.
Jerry even said I’ve never seen you this young before!. Still nervous, Time Boy said he was glad to help, and nervously went back to Cobalt and Matlock.
They hugged and cheered for him, celebrating as if the universe had been saved. Time Boy had just completed a mission on his own.
2028 LMB Headquarters, Legion World
“Cobie,” said Time Boy, at last calming down as the adrenaline subsided and beginning to question what he just experienced. “The Archduke’s time machine. It’s…the same as this one. Isn’t it?”
“Yes,” said Cobalt. “It is indeed the same machine. There is only one Machine such as this throughout history…in either direction.”
“The Archduke…why would he attack? He seemed so angry and full of rage. But he also seemed like he barely understood why he was doing what he was doing.”
“He doesn’t understand,” said Cobalt. “And that is why I want to make sure you do understand. The Archduke has been manipulated all his life—even by his own self. All he knows is he wants to destroy the LMB, and other forces have been happy to supply him with the means.”
“But why does he want to destroy you?”
“Because, he’s my son,” said Cobalt. And as he spoke the words, a clear pain was in his voice. Decades earlier, he would use everything ounce of will to hide that pain. But no longer—now he let it show. “I never was able to meet him until he was a teenager and well set on his path. Those other forces had a different idea. But he hated me—all of us really—nonetheless. At the end of the day, the Archduke had an emptiness in his soul because he feels abandoned. And he could never fill that hole.”
“I think he hates me too, now,” said Wells.
“He does indeed,” said Cobalt. “But that’s okay. After you meet him a few more times, you’ll realize it’s no great loss.”
The subsequent adventures with the LMB were similar and Time Boy realized his interactions with the Legion had forever shifted. Though Cobalt Kid was always with him, and usually Matlock too, his adventures never really continued in 3028 as he thought they would. Instead, they were always throughout time.
For seven adventures in a row, Cobalt Kid took Time Boy to different points in LMB history where the Archduke of Time attacked the LMB. And in each instance, Time Boy arrived and saved them. Sometimes in the knick of time for a quick battle. Sometimes it would be far more complex, and would take days or longer until the case was solved.
Every one of these adventures was after his first battle with the Archduke from the Archduke’s perspective…yet they were all out of order. To Time Boy, they were linear; to the Archduke, first he was 19 years old, then 27, then 15, then 18, and then 22. It was incredibly difficult to wrap his mind around…until it wasn’t. Until he began to understand the nature of time travel better than most anyone else.
Throughout each mission, Cobalt acted as more than just a mentor. He had taken on an almost secondary father figure role. Wells loved Cobalt for his understanding, his patience and his trust. For his willingness to believe in him and offer him this chance. The irony of his arch-rival being Cobalt’s actual son was never lost on any of them.
And then suddenly, the adventures changed again.
2028 LMB Headquarters, Legion World
“Well Time Boy, you’ve racked up quite a number of completed LMB missions in a relatively short period,” said Cobalt Kid. “You should be very proud.”
“I am, Cobie,” said Time Boy. “I appreciate you believing in me to complete them. I have to say, I’ve come to rather enjoy the time travel. Once you start to incorporate your own internal logic to it, it stops being so complex. It’s almost like a painting, rather than a calculation.”
“Indeed,” said Cobalt. “As I told you years earlier…only a vivid imagination could understand the intricacies of time travel. Well, not quite in those words,” he added, smiling.
They were quite for a second. “Tell me, then Cobie. Why are you so sad? You’ve been quite dower this entire mission. Is something wrong? Did I do anything wrong?”
“No, dear boy, not at all,” said Cobalt. “Quite the opposite in fact. You’ve proven to be a prodigal son, though why I never thought otherwise is laughable now. I admit I’m a bit sad…because…well, you’ve graduated.”
“Graduated?” Time Boy was more than perplexed. “What do you mean?”
“I mean this stage of your education is done with. In fact, all the education you’ll get hereafter will be the one your provide yourself.”
“I’m not sure I understand,” said Wells. Though he was beginning to understand, and his eyes burned with the tears that were forming there.
“You now know enough to be a premiere time traveler. Almost no other individuals can say that…anywhen. You also are keenly aware of a major problem in LMB history: the Archduke of Time. What you do not yet quite realize is while you’ve seen him attack us almost a dozen times, is that there is at least three more dozen beyond that. Scattered all over our history. Perhaps several more in the future I am not aware of. We need you to be there to stop him. And unfortunately, I can’t be there with you.”
Time Boy was very quiet and said nothing.
“And then there is the idea that the Archduke can come and kill us when we’re infants. That he can come and strangle us when we’re children. That he can get us when we never expected him coming because we did not know yet he even existed. He could attack us at any of those times.”
“Why doesn’t he?” said Time Boy.
“Because you’re there to stop him.”
The words sunk hard into him, as if beaten down by a hammer into his brain.
“Do you understand your mission now?”
Time Boy remained quiet and then spoke. “Yes,” he said. “But…is that all there is? Battling the Archduke of Time?”
Cobalt smiled. “Not even in the slightest. You’ll have many adventures beyond that, most having nothing to do with the Archduke. You’ll see places you never dreamed of. You’ll have romances that you’ll never forget. You’ll become friends with people who will be old men you’re young and young men when you’re old. You’ll experience the world in a way that no one has ever before. And it will be wonderful. And back home, in your true time? That will be wonderful too—you wait and see. Don’t be sad, Bertie, because this is a beautiful thing.”
Bertie now let the tears fall down his face. “W-will I see you again?”
Cobalt leaned forward now, and let his own tears fall. “Of course you will. Though sometimes, you will not recognize me. And sometimes you’ll find me insufferable. In fact, let me tell you now that when you work with the younger me to always be aware of my incessant plotting and ulterior motives. But know that I’ve always worked towards a greater goal.” Cobalt paused now, focusing on the moment once more. “Bertie, know that I love you. And I know you’re going to be something great. Because I’ve already seen it.”
“I love you too, Cobie. I…I hope I’ll see the you you again. The one you are now.”
“That is up to you, Bertie. I hope so too. Now good luck, Legionnaire. Sweet ass sweet.”
[ December 17, 2012, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: Cobalt Kid ]
From: If you don't want my peaches, honey... | Registered: Sep 2003
| IP: Logged |
1877 Oklahoma Territory, United States, Earth H.G. Wells is 15
“How in the world did you get your animal to listen to you?!” yelled Eryk Davis Ester. “Or did I happen to get the ornery, mean one?”
“Probably,” said Lash Lad flashing a big grin. “Or maybe your nelly cap sticks out even worse than usual in the Old West. Whatever the case, saddle up, pard! YEE-HAW!”
Time Boy laughed heartily as he fired his guns at the band of desperados the Archduke of Time had assembled to poison Earth’s water supply in the Old West. “So what year are you guys from again?” he asked as he fired back.
“3012,” replied Rickshaw, who pulled out his trademark shotgun and began walking right into the fray. “Though this baby works in any old time.”
1627 Paris, France, Earth H.G. Wells is 16
“D'Artagnan! Quickly! Throw me your rapier!” yelled Time Boy, as he leapt from the staircase onto the chandelier and then flew across the room. All around him the battle raged: musketeers, Legionnaires and the Archduke of Time’s Mongol Horde.
“You fight with a sword pretty good, no?” said D’Artagnan with a smile.
“I was taught by the best,” said Time Boy, recalling his old sword-fighting teacher.
“And your friends?”
“You don’t want to know…” laughed Time Boy, deciding that an explanation on how a team of superheroes from the year 3018 ended up backwards 17th century France was a story that could wait.
2185 Mars H.G. Wells is 18
“For as long as I live, Dejah,” he said with emotion filling his every word, “I’ll never forget you until my dying day. I love you. And I’ll always love you.”
“And I, you, Traveler,” she replied. “Now let’s enjoy this last night together as best we can. Let’s make every second last an eternity.”
1960 Kansas City, Kansas, Earth H.G. Wells is 19
“It’s quite an honor to meet you, Joe,” said Time Boy. Just when he thought he had run out of moments where he would feel genuine awe, he found himself surprised at always at the majesty the world can show you.
“The honor is all mine, Dr. Wells,” replied the great hero known as Engine Joe. “The Legion has told me about you before. Though whether it’s a Legion you’ve met yet or not, I can’t say.”
“I’ve learned it’s not worth trying too hard,” laughed Time Boy. “So tell me, how can I help?”
“Well, this Archduke character is intent on stopping me from re-entering the city before midnight, because…”
3010 Legionnopolis, Legion World H.G. Wells is 20
“I think perhaps I can be of assistance, Ram Boy,” said Time Boy, leaning forward and throwing down a data file. “I have no idea if the recording technology I used can be translated to whatever recording technology you’re using in this year, but I’m confident Beethoven’s Symphony 7, specifically the 2nd movement, will solve the puzzle of what frequency is required to open up the forcefield around the Hills of Legion World.”
“Er, thanks Time Boy. It’s cool to meet you, by the way. Any idea what we’ll find once we’re in there?”
“You’ll find a man who doesn’t know why he wants something, only that he wants it. The Archduke of Time.”
“Cobie’s son? Bloody Liberty…”
“I can handle the Archduke,” replied Wells. “No need to call Cobalt Kid here, today. Lash, you and myself will take care of him and be back before tea time.”
For H.G. Wells, his teenage years were when being Time Boy was its most glamorous and its most fun. It was a period of high adventure for him which spanned the entirety of time and space. Battling alongside the LMB of all different years—usually plucking them from their own time and transporting them sometime they also were unaccustomed to, such a prehistoric Earth to stop the domestication of dinosaurs or World War I to stop the Archduke from meeting a few specific individuals, Time Boy grew from a Legionnaire with great potential to actually realizing that potential.
Cobalt had explained to him the easiest way to know when the Archduke would appear. Simply use the Time Machine itself to backtrack and learn all of the places it had been. For it was the Archduke’s time machine—at least recently. It was still unclear to Wells who created it in the first place. But Time Boy could simply revisit all the places the Archduke had visited and would often find him poised to attack—just in time for Time Boy and the LMB to stop him. Thus, two time machines would often appear, though from the two different places in the Time Machine’s own linear timeline. The Archduke had acquired it somewhere and used it most of his life until losing it on the night Wells was born; the Legion had it then for a year in 3027-3028, and then it was given to Time Boy.
These were some of the best years of Time Boy’s life. He was happy and he was reveled in the adventure. And indeed, as Cobie said he would, he made great friendships with many Legionnaires. Some claimed they loved when the “younger Wells” appeared; some claimed they loved when the “older one” did as well. Some, like Lash Lad, just went with the flow, accustomed to general craziness.
It was a happy time indeed, despite turning a teenage rival into a blood enemy whose bitterness shifted from the LMB to Wells himself.
It was a time for laughs and smiles and celebrations after hard-fought battles.
And then things got complicated.
From: If you don't want my peaches, honey... | Registered: Sep 2003
| IP: Logged |
1886 Normal School of Science South Kensington, England
H.G. Wells felt very good about life at the moment. He was on the cusp of finishing up time of the Normal School of Science which meant his days of living the destitute life of a pupil-teacher were drawing to a close. If not for his “secret life” on the side, he was not sure he would have ever survived the constant malnourished life of being hungry, cold and tired. He thought again, as he so often did now, of those even less fortunate than he. But soon he realized he’d better hurry less someone find him with the Machine.
Truthfully, he knew, that was why he felt so good. After all these years, being Time Boy had become more than just second nature to him. It was his most comfortable role, and he enjoyed being so proficient at it. Just now, with his newest mission about to begin, he reflected on how grandiose it would be. He was traveling to the 1950’s United States of America, where he would team up with another set of recurring colleagues, the Justice Society of Message Board Posters. Years earlier, he had met the group when the Archduke of Time had tried to destroy the time stream by erasing their existence (thus setting of an even more complex chain of events), and after stopping the Archduke, they wholeheartedly invited him to join their group as an honorary member. Thus, Wells gained a second team of superhero friends, though he saw them much less—after all, their adventures did not extend beyond the decade.
It was with the JSMBP that Time Boy gained another lifelong friend, and perhaps his oddest one at that. Among their membership was the oddly named Stoopid Cat, whose personality, powerset and well, just about everything about him, was an enigma. The kicker? Time Boy was already familiar with Stoopid Cat from his adventures in the 31st Century, as Stoopid Cat was a member of the LMB! As if things could not get any odder, Time Boy found that when he spoke with Stoopid Cat, it didn’t matter what year it was, Stoopid Cat always seemed to have an understanding of what Time Boy was talking about as if he experienced time in the same way Time Boy did. Yet, there was no way that could be. Stoopid Cat, being the mischievous sort he was, would never give Time Boy even the slightest of insight either. But there was something so utterly fascinating and endearing about the cat’s grumpy and aloof demeanor that endeared him to Wells.
Time Boy prepped the Time Machine and began to travel. He again considered how complex this mission was and yet how second nature it was to him. He was bringing the 31st Century Stoopid Cat backwards in time to the 20th Century to battle alongside his old JSMBP allies…and himself. And the way Stoopid Cat talked, it was almost as if he planned on acting the role of the villain to torment his younger self, much like a cat plays with a ball of yarn or its food before it devours it. Time Boy shook his head. Silly humans indeed, he thought. More like silly felines….
September 27, 3006 Legion World, The United Planets
“I haven’t seen a pair of those silly things on someone’s face in a long time, human,” said Stoopid Cat, laughing at Time Boy’s new pair of spectacles. Evidently, all that reading was affecting Time Boy’s eyesight. He only needed them when he was reading, or operating the Time Machine.
“It’s nice to see you too,” said Wells. “Are you ready, then? Or do we have time to say hello to some of the Legionnaires in this era? I don’t believe I’ve ventured to 3006 before. Some of these early years are still so mysterious to me.”
“You’ll experience them more when you’re older,” said Stoopid Cat matter-of-factly, breaking one of Rond Vidar’s guidelines on what to tell a time traveler. “Of course, I’m ready,” he added, walking into the Time Machine. “I’m very much looking forward to finishing this fight with myself I started a thousand years ago.”
“That…that is utterly preposterous!” said Wells with a laugh.
“Silly humans,” said Stoopid Cat. “So forgiving…”
July 1, 1956 Manhattan, New York United States
The two arrived on Governer’s Island, where Wells knew they would be safe. “I suddenly realize that my allies may view me in a badlight for this,” he admitted. “I hope they see it as the harmless prank it is. You don’t hurt anyone too badly do you?”
Stoopid Cat rolled over and stretched out on the floor before walking out of the Machine. “Maybe,” he said.
Wells rolled his eyes.
“By the way,” said Stoopid Cat casually, “you just interrupted me during a vital LMB mission. Now that I’m not there to complete it, a young girl is going to die.”
Time Boy stopped midstep and a perplexed look came on his face. “I’ll just bring you back to where you were the moment I took you a way,” he said, letting logic dictate the answer.
“Nah,” said Stoopid Cat. “That won’t work. Someone else will have to save that piece of jailbait now.”
“Very well, then,” said Wells, still unsure to take Stoopid Cat seriously. “I will do it then. What am I to do then?”
“Beats me,” he added. “I was supposed to see Cobie or something.”
“What? Cobalt Kid?” Time Boy thought on this. During these last six years, he had very little action with Cobalt Kid. Ever since departing from the older Doctor Cobalt who was like a second father to him in his younger days, he was reluctant to interact with the younger Cobalt Kid. It just felt…too strange. And to easy to lead to disappointment.
“Then I shall travel back to 3006 and meet with Cobie, and save this girl,” said Time Boy, now outright arguing with Stoopid Cat. He was finding the entire conversation tedious since it was basically Stoopid Cat laughing in the face of his own internal logic of time travel he developed.
“Won’t work,” said Stoopid Cat, lazily looking out across the water. “That Cobie is too busy. You’ll need another time. Something a little later.”
“What? What do you mean? You were going to travel through time yourself to meet an older Cobie to figure out how to save this girl?”
“Who said anything about time travel? That’s your shtick.”
Now Wells stopped. “You’ve got to be the most annoying hero in the history of time!” he yelled. “What in the world are you talking about? How could you possibly be meeting with an older Cobalt Kid to save a girl in 3006? And for that matter, why in the world would you travel back in time to fight yourself to get revenge on yourself for beating you…by actually beating yourself this time?”
“I don’t like yelling, human,” said Stoopid Cat, releasing his claws.
“Oh bloody hell, why do I bother?” said Time Boy. “Fine. You go terrorize Manhattan and I’ll go visit the Cobalt Kid in, I don’t know, 3010.”
May 1, 3013 The Island, Legion World The United Planets
In his fury, Time Boy overshot the Time Machine a few years farther than he meant to and landed in 3013. This year was totally unknown to him, but was still relatively close to 3006 so he ventured out. It was then that he realized the Time Machine did not descend to Legionnopolis as it often did, but instead was on a deserted island. How odd, he thought. Somehow this island seemed to draw the Machine to it. As if I had no choice in landing. That has never happened before when I’ve visited Legion World. Why 3013? And why here?
Before he could get answers, chaos ensued: “You! Stop what you’re doing! Who are you and what do you want?!” he heard. And all around him, he saw figures emerge from the trees. Some he recognized from myth; some he recognzed from his own adventures. Some he did not know at all.
“Wh-what in God’s name?” said Time Boy. “You’re the Argonauts! I recognize you from my studies! And…the LMB? What is happening here? Cobie, I’ve come to see you on an urgent matter!”
“Silence, mortal!” said Theseus. “We will not answer your questions until you’ve answered ours. Where is the Archduke? How did you enter this Island when we cannot leave? What year is it in your time?”
“I—“ began Time Boy but Cobalt Kid cut him off.
“Theseus, settle down. I can handle this.” He looked at Time Boy. Time Boy could see Cobalt had been on this Island for a long time. He looked tired and malnourished. He looked frustrated…yet that familiar spark was in his eyes that let Bertie know he could understand better than most what was happening. “Bertie,” said Cobalt, “how old are you right now?”
“I’m 20, Cobie.”
Cobalt nodded. “Then you are not the Time Boy we need. Listen to me, and listen to me closely. You have to leave this place right now. However you can. And you have to come back here—when you are an older man.”
Time Boy nodded. He was skeptical, but this was Cobie. His mentor. “How old?”
“At least 50,” said Cobalt. “Perhaps older. We are in serious trouble here. And we need your help. But not the now-you. We need the older you. I know you understand me.”
Time Boy nodded. His hands were shaking but he hid them in his pockets. “I do,” he said. He looked around at them. They all glared at him. He was sure Shark Lad would swallow him whole or Herakles would smash his brains in. No one said anything. “I’ll remember. And I’ll be back to help you.”
And with that, he re-entered his Time Machine and left.
And felt more confused than ever.
September 27, 3010 Legion World, The United Planets
Time Boy arrived in 3010 still full of anger and confusion. Realizing this, he took a moment to calm himself down before going into the streets of Legion World. First the nonsense with Stoopid Cat and now this craziness with Ancient Greeks and the LMB. After all this time, why was nothing making sense anymore?
They had not yet built “Wells Park” in 3010 where the Time Machine generally would land. He knew that occurred sometime around 3016. So he settled for a rooftop of a famous restaurant called The Beacon. He realized 3010 was yet another year he had never visited before. He tried to recall from what he knew what was going on during this year but it was pretty sparse. The Red Bee would be returning soon at the start of 3011 but that did not occur yet. He considered taking a moment to see Sir Roy, who died during that event but choose not to—he did not know Sir Roy very well after all.
Eventually, he found an old friend walking the streets of Legion World he helped tame. “Matt! Good to see you, mate!”
Matlock smiled. He looked about 27 years old here, though as always, his age was ambiguous. To Time Boy, Matt was an old mentor friend though he did not know him well. To Matlock, Wells was one of the closest friends he ever had and a brother. Neither just did not know it yet. “Good to see you, Bertie,” he said. “You’re not one to usually stroll through the streets of Legion World. Looking for anywhere in particular?”
“Yes, actually,” he said. “I’m looking for Cobie—er, Cobalt Kid that is.”
“No problem,” said Matt. “Though these days, that usually means its something a bit nefarious you’re talking to him about…” he added. Time Boy did not like the sound of that. “He’s at his Midnight Lounge. I’ll take you over there.”
Time Boy took in the sights of a vibrant 3010 nightlife on Legion World. It was truly a cultural epicenter during this year, though Time Boy. At last they arrived at Cobalt’s lounge. He wondered in what year Cobie stopped operating it, or if it was simply destroyed.
As they parted, Matlock stopped for a moment and gave Time Boy a big hug. “It’s damn good to see you again, Bertie,” he said, meaning every word.
Time Boy was a little taken aback for a moment. “And you too, Matt,” he replied. He wondered when they would become so close. Turning around, he walked up to Cobie’s Midnight Lounge.
At the entrance, the hostess gave him a glance up and down and rolled her eyes. Evidently he was not dressed properly. “Gonna have to show another one a fast exit…” she whispered to a waitress. Both women were stunning. One was human, the other a brilliant purple skinned alien.
“Wait,” said the waitress suddenly. “I think I know who this guy is. Cobie said he’s always allowed in here and to be told immediately.”
The hostess nodded and without another word, began escorting Time Boy to the back. And past the guests, and the partying, and the laughter and shouting, they went. Through the private tables, and the private rooms, and the gambling den, and then through some sort of meeting room he did not understand, they went. And at least they found Cobalt, sitting alone, looking at some omni-files, drinking a scotch (neat). Cobalt looked up, nodded, and the hostess let Time Boy walk through the back.
“Hello, Bertie,” said Cobalt with a half-smile. “Take a seat. Drink?”
“Brandy Alexander, thanks,” said Time Boy. The moment was suddenly very surreal for him. Though he had seen Cobalt Kid many times, he had not had any one on one interaction with him for many years. Yet, that was clearly not the case with this Cobalt Kid, who was easily comfortable with him. “If that drink is still made during this era, Cobie.”
“It is,” said Cobalt, who now smiled fully. Though there was something about that smile that was unnerving. As if it was not one hundred percent genuine. “What can I help you with?” he said. “It’s not everyday that H.G. Wells walked into my establishment and sips a Brandy Alexander.” Cobalt sat back now and looked him over. He too was taking in Time Boy, and Time Boy wondered if he was searching his own memories for when they’d met before, later in Time Boy’s life.
“My request is a bit…odd, to say the least.”
Wells laughed at that, as the waitress brought him his drink. “I suppose it is,” he said. “I was just with Stoopid Cat in 1956…”
“That’s never good,” said Cobalt as an aside.
“Well, first 3006 and then 1956.”
“So two different Stoopid Cats?”
“Not exactly. You see, I brought the 3006 one to fight his 1956 self, and so, the same Stoopid Cat. But he suggested I meet you here in the future, well, his future…”
“I’m going to need another scotch at this rate,” said Cobalt, draining his glass. “But that tends to happen when Stoopid Cat is involved. Let’s skip over how the 3006 Cat would suggest you meet the 3010 me, which makes no sense.”
“Agreed,” said Time Boy, just glad this Cobie felt the same. “Anyway, there is a girl’s life at stake, you see. And because I took Stoopid Cat away from his mission, I now have to perform it. Which makes no sense because I could simply just bring him back to when I took him away so he could carry on, but he insisted that was the case. And well, now I need to know how I can save a girl’s life in 3006. I was hoping you could help me…as you so often have helped me in the past. My past.”
Cobie’s eyes lit up at that comment and in a rare moment of this period of his life, he let his guard down. He quickly reaffirmed the façade of stoicism. “This girl, did he tell you that much about her?”
“Well, no actually. Just that she is a girl. A teenager, I suspect. He called her a ‘little piece of jailbait’, which is 20th century slang for—“
“I know what it’s for,” said Cobalt Kid cutting him off. Yet again, his façade came down and Cobalt found himself surprised. “Bertie, whenever I think I know all the angles, you’ve had a knack for knocking me for a loop,” he said, refilling his glass and then leaning in further. “As odd as this sounds, I know exactly what you need to do.”
Time Boy’s mouth dropped open in total shock.
“Serena!” he yelled to the waitress. “We need some food. No, not dinner for us. A sandwich. How about peanut butter and jelly. You’re rather found of that, aren’t you, Bertie?”
“I am, actually,” said Time Boy. “It’s my favorite in the 1950’s…”
“I thought I remember that. And some milk too,” he added. “Not the crap milk we get here in the UP, but the good stuff from the Legion World Dairy Farms. Like the stuff Bertie has in the 19th Century.” The waitress rolled her eyes at this comment but said nothing. “And in a to-go bag, ASAP.” The waitress walked away.
“I’m really not following you, Cobie,” said a confused Time Boy.
“Listen up, because you’ll only understand this later. This girl you’re going to save in 3006? Her name is Lolita. She is sometimes called Jailbait Lass.”
“Lolita?” asked Time Boy, and then, suddenly realizing who he meant, said “oh, you mean Oracle!”
Not understanding the statement, Cobalt ignored it. “In 3006, on whatever day you took Stoopid Cat, she is in the middle of space starving to death. And you have to go give her some food and drink. This is going to be critical.”
Time Boy was nodded, happy to be getting some direction. “You seem very sure, Cobie,” he said.
“With Lolita? I am sure.” As he spoke, Time Boy noticed there was almost some pain in his voice at Lolita’s name being mentioned. He wondered if there was trouble between them right now. He thought the better of asking. “Bertie, listen to me,” he said. “There’s something else. You have to remind her to take Mayavale’s mushroom. She’ll understand what that means.”
Time Boy nodded. “A strange request but I shall do it. Again, very specific.”
Cobalt nodded. “Specific because it’s your destiny.” He now pushed aside his glass and the bottle of scotch. “There’s something else, too. When you finish that, I need you to do something else in 3006 for me. I need you to retrieve Matlock in 3006 and take him back to your own century.”
“What?” asked Time Boy, who sat back now. Just when things could not get any more confusing…
“You heard me. In 3006, Matlock is an infant. His powers have worked to such a degree that he is now devolved back into an infant, though his centuries old mind works fine. But he’s in real danger. You have to take him back to the 19th century for awhile, until he’s ready to come back.”
“Ready to come back? When will that be? And what do you mean take him back to the 19th century? Where will I put him if he’s a baby? Cobie, do you realize what you’re asking? Surely there are other ways this can be solved.”
“Sure there are, Bertie. But those ways won’t work. Because this is your destiny.”
“Destiny? Ha! I know you don’t believe in destiny, Cobie. You told me yourself.” Suddenly, Time Boy felt the anger from his conversation with Stoopid Cat flooding back in. “I can remember now. Remember what you said to me…be wary of my younger self. He spoke of ulterior motives and manipulations. Cobie, whatever you’re trying to do, just tell me! Why do I need to rescue Lolita? Why do I need to take Matlock to the 19th century? These are things that do not have to happen.”
“But they did happen,” said Cobalt Kid.
A silence hung there between them. At last Time Boy spoke. “When we first me, you introduced me to time travel in a way that made it feel like the ultimate freedom. And now, after all these years I can finally see you again and in five minutes you’ve reduced that freedom into the must frustrating imprisonment I ever imagined.”
The words stung Cobalt more than Time Boy could ever know. “I’m sorry, Bertie. Perhaps my approach will improve over time.”
Time Boy felt guilty suddenly over his own words. He extended his hand and put it on his shoulder. “Mine too, I hope.”
The two were quiet for a moment and another Brandy Alexander was brought over. Cobalt refilled his glass. “It’s an unwelcome feeling, isn’t it? When you think you’ve finally figured things out, only to learn its far more complicated then you imagined.”
Time Boy sipped his drink. “Indeed. I often wonder: do I do these things out of some sense of obligation to do what I’ve already done or because its my choice?”
Cobalt allowed a rare, genuine smile appear. “You do them because you are doing what is right. Because every thing we do is one more piece in an unseen battle for the fate of the world. We are fighting for something as Legionnaires, Bertie. I know it. We trust what we are doing makes a difference, even when you don’t understand how. You have some faith.”
Time Boy smiled back. “I never took you for the spiritual type, Cobie. But it suits you. Very well. I shall rescue the lovely Lolita. And I shall take on a baby Matlock as my ward in the 19th century. I don’t understand why I do these things. But I do it because I believe it will help us.”
The two clinked glasses and drank.
September 27, 3006 Deep Space somewhere along the edges of the United Planets, the Barbarian Horde and the Dark Oval
Time Boy appeared and soon found her small spaceship limping along in space. Even tired, starving and disheveled, she was beautiful. Her looks reminded him of the icon of the 2010’s, Taylor Swift, who he had a brief romance with until she wrote a song about him. He gave her the food and drink she needed; he gave her the reminder Cobie needed him to give; and he gave her hope.
July 5, 1956 Manhattan, New York United States
“You didn’t tell me your battle with Stoopid Cat would rage for four whole days.”
“Who can keep track of time?” said Stoopid Cat with a laugh, as he licked the wounds on his paws. “Got to see the fireworks at least. I had a good friend who was there for the original July 4th you know. A monkey—man that guy never shut up about liberty.”
Time Boy shook his head. “That’s enough. Come on, I’m not done yet.”
January 16, 3007 Legion World, The United Planets
Legion World was in chaos as the battle raged all around them. In orbit, the assembled Legionnaires prevented the galaxies destruction, while on the planet, a group of LMB allies defended their home. In perhaps the most crucial battle ever to take place on Legion World, Time Boy played his part. Stoopid Cat and he arrived, descending to the rubble. Below, Time Boy began to search. He crawled into the debris as chaos reigned all around him. After some searching, he found who he needed to find. He scooped up the baby Matlock.
“Even for me, this is rather odd,” he said, holding the infant in his arms.
“Yeah, I’d have to agree with that comment,” said the infant child.
Hearing Matlock’s voice come from a baby startled Time Boy and caused him to jump. And suddenly they both began to laugh. “Just when I thought I had it all figured out…” said Wells.
1886 Normal School of Science South Kensington, England
“Trust me,” said the infant Matlock, as he looked up at his caretaker. “Learning how to change a diaper is going to make you incredibly popular with the ladies. You are going to be so ahead of the game…”
“A nice sentiment,” said Time Boy, as he wiped away the newly dirtied rear end of Matlock, “though very hard to appreciate when I’m cleaning off feces on a talking baby. Dear God, why hasn’t someone invented a cleaner way to do this?”
The two of them started laughing. “What year is it again, Bertie?”
“1886, though for not much longer. Why?”
“In two years, you and I are going to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time. We’re going to solve the Jack the Ripper murders.”
“Sure we are, Matt, sure we are,” said Time Boy, finishing up the diaper change. “Something tells me we’re going to be doing a lot of weird things from now on.” And suddenly, as he spoke, something dawned on him. “You know, I think I have a great idea on how to turn some of these adventures into a narrative.”
“Oh?” said Matlock, who smiled a giggle that only a baby could smile.
“For a long time, I’ve considered doing some writing. But it wasn’t until things took an even weirder turn that I remembered what it was like to not fully understand things. And in a way…that is kind of inspiring.”
“Then I suggest you put pen to paper, Time Boy. Something tells me you have a few good tales to tell…”
[ December 21, 2012, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Cobalt Kid ]
From: If you don't want my peaches, honey... | Registered: Sep 2003
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