A/N: What if the bombs that went off on the Nautilus had destroyed the ship and those on board her completely? What if they'd all died, but something brought them back, fixed the timeline? Features characters from the pervious Not My Time.


HOPE

            "Lookit. There they go."

            The dark-haired woman who had spoken peered through the clouds that she and her companions stood on. She was keeling, her face close to what passed as the ground. Her three friends stood around her, also looking down at the great ship that was cruising through the water like a hot knife through butter.

            The grand Nautilus had set off from the battered but still intact Venice about three minutes ago, following Dorian Gray's escape by tracking the pod.

            The four women, meanwhile, had been watching them since their arrival in Venice. They had watched Tom as he crashed through the abandoned theatre, had seen Allan fight the Phantom in the graveyard. Mina having her meal was plain scary, so that was skipped.

            "Sad, isn't it?" the one standing next to the first woman who had spoken said. She had the most interesting hair color of the four, purple with blue highlights. It fit well on her, though. "They're gonna just go poof when those bombs blow."

            The one who stood next to her frowned. "It isn't right, Sethoz," she told the one who had just spoken. "It just isn't right. They don't deserve this."

            The last one, with golden locks the color of light hay and bright green eyes, finally spoke up, addressing her friend. "We all know that, Clez. We can't do anything to change it, can we?"

            "Clez is right, for once," the first one who spoke said, standing up and pushing dark strands of hair out of her face. "Can you imagine what'll happen once those bombs go off?"

            "They'll die," Sethoz said quietly.

            "And the world will go to war," Ash, the blond, added. "The Phantom will sell his weapons, and then the world below will be lost."

            Clez looked down as the Nautilus and with a wave of her hand, the small pool, about twenty centimeters across, zoomed into the opulent dining room, where the League was now gathered.

             The sounds in the room were muted to the four, on purpose. They could hear the horrible sound echoing through the chamber.

            "...nothing of mine," Nemo said. Clez sighed.

            "We can't let them die, Raven," she said to the dark-haired woman. "It isn't right."

            Raven stared off into the distance, thinking. Her eyes widened as she thought of a plan. She turned, slowly, to look at Ash.

            "Oh, no," Sethoz said. "Not another one of your plans." Raven grinned, her dark eyes twinkling with the bright spark of slight insanity.

            "Last time we did one of them," Ash added, "We nearly got kicked out of the realm and into the Underworld."

            "Hey, I live there," Raven reminded her. "Don't insult me."

            Ash shrugged and glanced at Clez. "What do you say, Clez? You're supposed to be the oldest of us three."

            Clez sighed. "Okay, wacky Raven, name your plan. Then we'll consider if we'll do it."

            Raven's grin expanded.

            "Ever heard of cheating the system?"


            A high-pitched whine of a sound filled the dining room as Tom opened his mouth to say something to Mina. With a sound of discomfort, Jekyll touched one ear. Nemo and Allan looked at each other.

            "Nemo?" Allan asked.

            The captain looked around, trying to locate the source. "It's nothing of mine."

            The shrill sound grew louder as one of Nemo's crew dashed into the room, a relatively flat and squared package in his hand.

            "Captain," the man said, offering his captain the package, "The noise came from this." Nemo took it as the man left the room. "A recording disc?"

            He pulled out the disc and placed it under the needle of the gramophone which sat on the table next to him. He activated the machine and the disc began to spin.

            "Ready, professor?" A voice came, recorded on the wax disc. "Recording."

            "Gentlemen," the voice of their recruiter and enemy, M, came. "If you're hearing this, then every step leading up to it has gone as planned."

            "And I've been true to the goals set to me," the traitorous voice of Dorian intruded. "Yes, it's me, Dorian. As you know now, I'm no loyal son of the Empire."

            For her place at one end of the table, the now-enraged Mina Harker looked up slightly, turmoil raging in her depths.

            "My loyalty to Mr. M comes in no small part of his possession of something I hold very dear to my heart."

            Tom's blue eyes narrowed. He'd have thought Gray's most precious possession was a mirror.

            "Something I would do anything to regain," Dorian continued.

            "Everything so far has been misdirection," M took over. "Sanderson Reed, the assassins in Kenya, the recruitment and mission. The secret conference, a myth. Even the League itself...There is no League. Never was. It was a ruse, to get me closer to my goals." M said it with a kind of smug humor at having tricked them, and Nemo's eyes narrowed to mere slits.
            "Likes the sound of his own voice, doesn't he?" Tom said to Allan as Allan listened to M speak.

            "You see, I want you. Each of you. Even tired old Quatermain, because he'll capture Hyde, where all others have failed. Question is why, why all this mask and mystery?"

            Mina looked higher up, understanding slightly.

            "Because in the war to come," M answered his own question. "I intend to wield the greatest weapon of all: the power of the League itself. To that end, I set my wolf among you sheep."

            "Growl," Dorian said, voice dripping with the same contempt and smugness which Tom had grown to hate. He could just imagine driving his fist through the immortal's nose, and the very satisfying crack that he would hear.

            "To earn your trust, and to lead you astray," M added.

            "And all the while I'll collect all the parts of you I need," Dorian said. "Nemo's science..."

            "Magnesium phosphorus," Mina realized, looking at her hands, finally understanding the puzzling discovery of the powder on the bridge. All five didn't notice the slight chiming of the glasses sitting on the nearby table as they touched one another.

            "...Skinner's skin sample..."

            Mina remembered hearing Skinner's 'Ow, you scratched me' as she had made her way to the ice room to see Hyde for the first time.

            "...Jekyll's potion..."

            Jekyll looked up, eyes wide. So it was Gray!

            "...And Mina's blood."  

            The last line was said with so much smugness and contempt, it was typical of Dorian Gray. He seemed to take extra pleasure in knowing he had tricked Mina. Mina took a deep breath and tried to calm her enraged passions, the need to kill the one who betrayed her.

            "He's stolen us," Jekyll stated, quite simply. "And we let him."

            "If you fail to save Venice, then I get my war," M now said, "If you succeed, well, it's a small price to pay for Gray to go about his task. War will come, sooner or later, as the end of summer to autumn."

            Allan was deep in thought, but still listening. Why the bloody hell was M telling them this?

            " Now, some of you —  perhaps Quatermain, if he isn't dead — will pause to ask why am I letting you know all this. What fool reveals his strategy before the game is up. It is over."

            Allan realized what M was thinking as he continued.

            "For you. Because my voice isn't the only sound being made. While I've rambled on, a secondary layer of sound of inaudible sound, higher than humans can hear, audible to dogs, has been heard by crystal sensors dotted about your vessel."

            Both Nemo and Mina's eyes widened, and Mina finally glanced at the crystal glasses, now shaking visibly and making much louder noise than before.

            "Sensors attached to bombs," Dorian said, from the recording. "Bomb voyage."

            Nemo shoved the gramophone off the table, watching it break into splinters.

            Too late.

            The ship rocked as Dorian finished his sentence, the first of the bombs going off. Then the second, and the third, as the other two rocked the mighty ship. The League, taken by surprise, fell as the mighty ship listed. Circuits, meters, valves and displays sparked and exploded as the bombs devastating effects came into play. Below, deep in the belly of the Nautilus, a wall broke and sea water sprayed into her, a gush of white that would never let up until she was full.

            Nemo and his colleagues struggled to the bridge, grabbing anything that wasn't moving as the ship tipped at an angle. Nemo pushed the man at the helm away, and took the wheel himself.

            "We need to surface!" Allan yelled over the sounds of circuits blwoing. Her ears were popping as the pressure increased as the Nautilus went further down.

            "We're taking in too much water! The controls are not responding!" Nemo shouted back as another one of his men stuggled up to the bridge with dire news of the engine room, nearly full with water, with no way of pumping the water out. The strong panel of glass that covered the front of the bridge began to crack, and some parts had already shattered, as salty water poured into the cabin.

            "Seal it off!" Nemo ordered.

            "But there are men in there, captain!" the man said.

            "For the greater good, we must seal it!" Nemo shouted back. It amazed Tom that Nemo explained to the man the reason for his orders, although the American was too caught up in the situation at hand to notice.

            No matter how hard the crew of the Nautilus tried to raise her, it was to no avail. Deeper and deeper she went, reaching depths that she had never before tried, mainly because of the sheer pressure.

            A loud crack drew Nemo's attention the panel of glass. His dark eyes widened as he saw the one large, jagged crack spread its tiny arms of baby cracks.

            The panel gave way, and all he remembered was the taste of ocean water in his mouth and the cold of the water as it hit him.


            "Do a headcount. We need to know if everyone made it," Clez told her friends as the League and all the crewmen of the Nautilus appeared in front of the four. They had done something no other had done before: they had cheated the system so that the good men of a Nautilus and the League would make it to their realm instead of Heaven or the Underworld.

            "Who are you?" Nemo asked, at the head of the group with the rest of the League. "Where are we?" Somehow, the Indian didn't imagine this as Heaven or even Hell.

            "Captain, we don't have much time before what we've done is discovered," Raven told him. "It's enough to know that you're here, and so are the rest of your men, alive and well."

            "All are here, Clez," Ash said as she finished counting. "All of 'em accounted for." Clez nodded.

            "Captain, Mrs. Harker, all of you; this is the world between heaven and the Underworld," she explained quickly. "The Nautilus has sunk to the bottom of the Pacific, and all of you are supposed to be dead, supposed to be in either the Underworld and heaven, for most of you."

            Sethoz took up the baton as all of them stared at her hair. "We've routed you here instead, so we can change what will happen."

            "Into?" Allan asked. He wasn't sure what to think; Sethoz had funny hair and all wore togas of various style, with Raven decked out in black robes. Raven was nearby, but not with her friends. She was busy knitting, or so it seemed.   

            "Into a future where all of you will succeed, where war will not tear your world apart and where innocents will live to see another day," Clez answered as she glanced at Raven, who was working with the two knitting needles expertly, but sometimes just holding up her work and examining it, then starting again. "Raven, hurry."

            "I know, I know," Raven grumbled. "No need to rush me more already. Have you any idea how hard it is to rewrite the future?"

            "What she's knitting," Ash explained, pushing blonde strands of hair out of her face, "is the Tapestry of Time. Most of it, until the next millennia, is already done. But we can change a part of it, by re-doing the section, which is what Raven is doing right now."

            "...Venice," Raven muttered, squinting as she studied the stitches in the colorful fabric. "...there's the recording, so I need to change it here..."

            They were standing on clouds, Tom realized as he looked down at his feet. He suddenly had the feeling of vertigo, so he quickly looked up at the three women as the sky began to flash.

            Sethoz said something in Greek, which sounded like an expletive, but Jekyll couldn't be sure. "Raven! Hurry! We've been found out!"

            Ash looked up at the sky, a worried expression on her face. Clez glanced at Raven, who was working furiously with the knitting needles now. Obviously, the dark flashes of the sky were not a good sign. It was like watching lighting, inverted to black streaks on the pure blue sky around them.

            "Why are you doing this?" Allan asked Clez, who seemed to him to be the leader of the motley crew. "Why do you want to change the future?"

            "Because, Mr. Quatermain," Clez answered, "I've watched the mortal world since it was a mere baby of an existence. And watching it grow and mature, new things being invented and important people being born...it makes you grow fond of this world underneath us. We can't let it be thrown away into a war that will continue into the 22nd century. I refuse to let that happen. Me, Raven, Sethoz and Ash refuse to let that happen."         

            "What are you, then?" Mina asked. "Gods? Angels?"

            "You could call us lesser gods," Sethoz nudged in. "Our boss is Zeus, who lives up in Mount Olympus with the rest of his gods. Raven's boss is Thanatos, god of Death down in the Underworld. She has a day off today, which is why she's here. She came up with the plan."

            The ground shook and Jekyll nearly fell on Tom.

            "Raven, hurry!" Sethoz urged, the urgency in her voice apparent now.

            "Almost done, almost done!" Raven shouted back. "Give me a minute!"

            "We don't have a minute!" Ash told her. "Raven, if you don't get them back in time, all of us won't make it, and they'll be left in the Underworld!"

            "What's wrong?" Tom asked.

            "We cheated, because you were all supposed to die and either go to Heaven or the Underworld. We made you come here instead, ruining the order of things, Tom," Ash said, "And now the gods above have found out. 'course they aren't happy. We probably won't survive after this, but it's worth it if —"

            "Done!" Raven proclaimed, interrupting Ash. "I'm done! Quickly, send them back on my mark!"  Raven made a wide gesture and a big tapestry appeared next to her. Dropping the knitting needles on the ground, she fitted the piece she held in her hands back into the large hole in the middle of the tapestry. She put a hand on the middle, about to push it in, when she yelled, "Now!"

            With a flash, the very confused sailors and the League disappeared.


            Nemo shoved the gramophone off the table, watching it break into splinters.

            Too late.

            The ship rocked as Dorian finished his sentence, the first of the bombs going off. Then the second, and the third, as the other two rocked the mighty ship. The League, taken by surprise, fell as the mighty ship listed. Circuits, meters, valves and displays sparked and exploded as the bombs devastating effects came into play. Below, deep in the belly of the Nautilus, a wall broke and sea water sprayed into her, a gush of white that would never let up until she was full.

            Nemo and his colleagues struggled to the bridge, grabbing anything that wasn't moving as the ship tipped at an angle. Nemo pushed the man at the helm away, and took the wheel himself.

            "We need to surface!" Allan yelled over the sounds of circuits blowing. Her ears were popping as the pressure increased as the Nautilus went further down.

            "We're taking in too much water! The controls are not responding!" Nemo shouted back as another one of his men stuggled up to the bridge with dire news of the engine room, nearly full with water, with no way of pumping the water out. The strong panel of glass that covered the front of the bridge began to crack, and some parts had already shattered, as salty water poured into the cabin.

            "Seal it off!" Nemo ordered.

            "But there are men in there, captain!" the man said.

            "For the greater good, we must seal it!" Nemo shouted back. It amazed Tom that Nemo explained to the man the reason for his orders, although the American was too caught up in the situation at hand to notice.

            No matter how hard the crew of the Nautilus tried to raise her, it was to no avail. Deeper and deeper she went, reaching depths that she had never before tried, mainly because of the sheer pressure.

            A loud crack drew Nemo's attention the panel of glass. His dark eyes widened as he saw the one large, jagged crack spread its tiny arms of baby cracks. What he didn't notice was Jekyll stealing out of the bridge and down into the engine room, urged on by his brutish alter-ego.

            "Seal it! Seal it up!" the officer who had run out into the bridge ordered the two men with him as Jekyll came down the metal steps and fast as he could.

            "Wait!" Jekyll skipped the last few steps and hopped off the stairs as he bent down and tired to pry open the steel door, which wasn't closed and locked fully yet. "Don't close it!" He pushed one of the men out of his way.

            "What are you doing?" Another of the men asked him. Jekyll finally managed to pull open the heavy door, standing up. "I have orders to close it!"

            "Then close it!" Jekyll jumped into the raging torrent of water. The doctor held onto a pipe as the water filled the chamber up. Pulling out his vial of the formula, he popped off the cork. Then, with a determined expression on his face, he downed it all as he went down into the water.

            The ship was sinking, Mina knew. They were all going to die. She had no regrets; actually, none other than not killing Gray in revenge. Then, suddenly, the ship began to move in the opposite direction; instead of sinking, it began to move up.

            Towards the surface of the water. Towards survival.

            Faster and faster she went, until the Nautilus broke the surface of the peaceful water like the mighty Sword of the Ocean she was. It went up to a hundred, maybe two, meters in the air before gravity took its toll and brought the front of the great submersible down on the water. It hit the water, but didn't sink.

            The ship had survived. There was still hope for them and for the future.

            And high above in the heavens, four friends looked down at the scene.

            They looked at each other.

            And smiled.


A/N: Now you know why the four of 'em were so interested in Tom in Not My Time. Remember the line "...we got word you were comin' in, we tried to get this place tidied up as possible..." by Sethoz (the story one, not the writer one)? Now you see why they tried to tidy up and why they wanted to greet him. And also, this was done out of sheer boredom. If it's lousy, let me know. I may post a revised version if you aren't happy with this.