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War with the Future

As the Uber-Morlock fell to the ground, his head still with a smoking hole in its centre from the bullet, Hartdegen got to his feet and looked over at where the pistol was floating.

"Thanks, Skinner," he said, nodding at his friend.

"No, Alex m'boy. Thank you," Skinner said, as he apparently blew out the smoke on the end of the gun before turning to the rest of the League. With the death of the Uber-Morlock they were now all mobile, but looking very confused.

It was Mina who voiced the question on all their minds. "Skinner, how come you weren't immobilised?"

"Oh, simple enough Mrs Harker," Skinner replied, sounding like he was smiling. Before explaining he picked up his discarded hat and coat and put them back on, and began to reapply his grease paint as he explained. "See, it occurred to me that, with my invisibility not being much use against these Morlocks, I might as well pick up an extra, but temporary, asset for fighting them. So I asked Hartdegen to help me out, and he nipped into the future and picked up a little something."

"Yes, a rare chemical developed by the criminal underworld of that era," Hartdegen said, picking up the story from Skinner. "Due to the increase in superhumans like yourselves fighting crime, and with some of those being capable of reading, some criminal scientists developed a drug that would amplify people's thought waves- or some other complicated term- to a degree where telepaths couldn't pick them up. It also prevents people giving off any normal smell for a certain time."

"Not bad," Sawyer said, as Skinner finished applying his grease paint and grinned at them all. "It is only temporary, right?" he asked Hartdegen.

"Yes," Hartdegen replied. "I figured Skinner wouldn't want to be that abnormal permanently, so I got the weaker version of the drug." Then, Hartdegen sighed a little. "Well, I suppose it's time I was off."

"'Off'?" Hyde asked.

"Well, I was only here to make sure the Morlocks were stopped," Hartdegen explained. "With them gone, why should I stick around?"

"Well, maybe because you were now a member of our little group?" Skinner asked, grinning.

Hartdegen was momentarily taken aback. "Me? You want me to join you?"

"Well, I think you'd be a good addition," Skinner said, looking at the others. "You guys?"

"Agreed," Sawyer and Mina said simultaneously.

"I like it," Hyde put in.

"I can see no reason why not," Nemo stated.

Hartdegen still couldn't believe it. "But... why me? I don't exactly fit among the categories of the rest of you."

"That's not true at all," Sawyer said, taking over the conversation. "The way I see it, you do come under the classification of Nemo's kind of extraordinary; how many people have built a time machine in this era? I can think of all kinds of ways that'll be able to help us!"

"Yeah!" Skinner said. "The stuff you can pick up in the future, the advance warnings you can give us advance warnings of problems, and you can find all kinds of useful stuff about the origins of some foes... The list is endless!"

"Exactly," Sawyer said, grinning at Hartdegen as he put his left arm around Mina. "You interested?"

"Count me in!" Hartdegen said, grinning as he held out his hand.

Sawyer took it in his and shook. "Welcome to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alexander Hartdegen."

"Glad to be here, Tom Sawyer," Hartdegen replied, as the other League members gathered around him, offering their hands as well.

After Hartdegen had shaken the hands of the League, they returned to the issue of getting Piccadilly back to normal. It was easy enough; all they needed to do was have Mina push all the dirt back into the hollows left by what Hyde had pushed up. Then, while she moved onto the next, Hyde stamped the roads back into a close approximation of their original shape, while Sawyer, Nemo, Hartdegen and Skinner dealt with any civilians who'd come along. Fortunately, that didn't number a great deal of people; evidently Hyde had scared people so much that they'd just all decided to run and contact somebody in authority.

Eventually everything was straightened out and the Circus was back to normal. When everyone returned to Piccadilly, worried if the creature that had driven them out would still be there, only to find that, baring a few bits of rubble lying around here and there, it was empty. Of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the Morlocks, there was no sign...

*****

Hartdegen winced from the pain as he briefly fingered the cut above his left eye the Uber-Morlock had left. Jekyll had done his best to stitch it up, but it hadn't been a very thorough job. Still, Hartdegen didn't blame him for it; there'd be another chance back at the Nautilus.

He glanced over at Mr Hyde, who'd been landed with the job of carrying the Morlocks back to the Nautilus so they could dispose of their bodies at the bottom of the ocean. They didn't want any bodies of possible future humans lying around where anyone could find them, and Nemo's usual kind of burial seemed the perfect choice. Still, he didn't mind admitting that the whole fight had been a close call for the League. He was the only member who had any cuts, but the rest of the League had several various bruises and twinges. Skinner in particular wasn't feeling too good; he said it felt like something in the drug hadn't gone down well with him.

****

As they approached the Nautilus, Sawyer noticed a remarkably obese man standing in front of the entrance. He was wearing a suit that reminded Hartdegen of a Parliament minister, expect it was darker and appeared to have something in one pocket. He was holding a black stick with a silver handle in one hand, and smiled upon seeing the League arrive.

"Ah, you're back," he said, smiling at them and holding his hand out to Sawyer, who was leading the League. "I've been waiting for you."

"And you are?" Sawyer asked, not shaking the outstretched hand just yet.

"I am employed by the British Government," the man explained. "I understand you have encountered a man who was acquainted with my brother."

"Was he acquainted with this brother of yours in a friendly or a hostile manner?" Mina asked. Sawyer saw her point; the only people all the League had met were those who were trying to kill them, and they'd rather not anger a friend of someone they'd killed.

"A hostile manner," the man replied assuringly. "The man was Professor James Moriarty. I am Mycroft Holmes, bother of Sherlock Holmes."

Sawyer almost choked. This man was the brother of the world's greatest detective?! He hadn't been expecting that!

"Uh, nice to meet you, I guess," he said, finally shaking the offered hand. "I'm assuming you know who we are?"

"Yes, I believe so. You are Special Agent Tom Sawyer of the American Secret Service, the bearded man is Captain Nemo of India, the large man is Mr Edward Hyde, the alter ego of Doctor Henry Jekyll, the pale man is Mr Rodney Skinner, Gentleman Thief, and the woman is Mrs Wilhelmina Harker, nee Murray," Mycroft replied, before looking at Hartdegen. "I am afraid I am unable to place you, sir." "That's OK, I only just officially joined them. Alexander Hartdegen, American," Hartdegen said, shaking Mycroft's hand. "I'm a time traveller."

"Oh," Mycroft said, as he finished shaking Hartdegen's hand and turned to Sawyer. "Well, I suppose I should get down to the reason why I'm here. The Government has been monitoring your activities for some while now, and we are interested in employing you all as an official League."

"Really? Well, no offence on the Government, but I prefer us being a slightly rouge element," Sawyer said looking back at the other four. "You guys?"

The other four members nodded, and Sawyer looked back at Mycroft. "We're not against full-time employment, we just prefer doing things our own way. But I do have a compromise for you."

"Which is?" Mycroft asked.

Sawyer reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, hand held radio. Hartdegen recognised it as one he'd seen in the year 2030, but he couldn't understand how Sawyer had it in his pocket.

"This will provide a direct line to us from wherever we are in the world to wherever you are," Sawyer explained as he placed it in Mycroft's hand. "We won't be an official branch of yours, but you'll be able to got our help when it's needed. Alright with you?"

Mycroft stared at the radio with a slightly startled expression on his face. But eventually he sighed and pocketed it.

"Very well," he said, as he began to walk back into London. However, as he left, he turned back to the League and nodded. "Good luck, LXG. May all your missions be successful- and may you never know another loss." Then he vanished into the crowd.

Looking around, Hartdegen saw that at least the rest of the League had no idea as to how Sawyer had acquired that radio. Well, Mina seemed to have an idea, but she wasn't telling.

As soon as they were in the Nautilus, Sawyer turned around and looked at the others. "I guess I owe you an explanation about the radio, huh?" he said, smiling.

"Well... yes, actually," Skinner replied. "I mean, it looked like nothing I'd seen before, and what was it doing in your pocket anyway?"

"Simple," Sawyer said. "When I woke up this morning and was getting my coat on," (He wisely avoided mentioning that the two had not happened one after the other) "I found it in my pocket with a note from Hartdegen."

"What?" Hartdegen said, puzzled. "I never gave you anything last night."

"You will," Sawyer explained, as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small note. "According to this, in approximately ten minutes you'll nip into the future, acquire four radios like the one I just gave Mycroft, nip back to last night, put them and this note in my pocket, and then came back to the present."

"Makes...sense, I suppose," Hartdegen said, before another thought occurred to him. "Four? Who are the other two for?"

"Until further notice, I guess we'll be giving them to the American and Indian governments. After all, we do have connection to them," Sawyer said, looking over at Nemo. "Shall we?"

"As soon as the Morlocks have been disposed of," Nemo said, indicating the mass of monkey-like carcasses on Hyde.

"And can we get on with dropping these off?" Hyde asked, grunting slightly. "I don't think the serum's going to last much longer."

"OK, chill out Edward," Skinner said, grinning through his paint. "Let's roll, huh?"

With that, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen headed deeper into the Nautilus, getting ready to depart from the bustling landscape that was London. The Morlocks were gone for good, they had a new member, and they were about to become even more official than before.

A lot can change in a day, Sawyer thought to himself as he briefly kissed Mina on the cheek. Wonder what next week will bring...?