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"ISLAND OF MYSTERY AND DEATH"
IN A DARK corner of London, tucked away on a corner of the river Thames, is a small, dark room. No one would ever guess it was there. Yet, within this room, technology existed that was well ahead of its time. Within this room, the safety of the world was discussed and ensured. Within this room, men and women gathered who were known to the rest of the world only as legends.
Allan Quatermain looked with wonder across the room, thoughtfully stroking his snow white beard. When he had first been asked to organize a special task-force known as "the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", he had never expected the league to become its own government organization. Yet, amazingly enough, the league had turned into another proper English bureaucracy.
Several extraordinary ladies and gentlemen had gathered tonight for yet another board meeting. Besides the original members of Quatermain's league, there were several auxiliary members glancing anxiously towards their chairmen. These auxiliary members included Long John Silver, a reformed but once infamous bucaneer, Oliver Twist, a young thief skilled in the art of pick-pocketing, and Otto Lidenbrock, the famed professor and explorer who claimed to have conquered a voyage to the center of the earth.
"Again, I argue that it would be much too costly to allow for new additions to the Nautilus," droned Ebenezer Scrooge, the League's official treasurer. "How are we expected to protect the safety of the entire planet if we can not be thrifty, and if we become just as foolish as they are?"
"If you'll look at the notes from our previous meeting," argued Mrs. Hudson, the League's secretary and the fairest among them, "you will notice that we promised Captain Nemo ten thousand pounds to repair the damages his vessel incurred during his last mission. He still has some of that remaining, which he proposes he uses to make the requested additions to the vessel."
The board agreed with this movement, much to Old Scrooge's dismay.
Enough was enough. Finally, Quatermain rose, requesting permission from Mycroft Holmes, the League's president, to address the assembly. Holmes nodded.
"Extraordinary ladies and gentlemen," Quatermain began, "I think we have become so tied up with procedures and protocols that we are beginning to loose sight of what this League was founded for. We all have agreed that our unique talents would be used to protect the good and innocent across the globe. Those talents are now needed.
"I received a very disturbing letter from an associate of mine. One John H. Watson, a doctor. I believe you're an old aquaintance of his, sir."
Holmes nodded silently.
"The letter is addressed from Germany. Dr. Watson has been on holiday there. It seems many strange and starkly terrifying events have been taking place, starting with the disappearance of corpses from various morgues and cemeteries across the country. These disappearances were thought to be bizarre, but nothing more. Until two policemen investigating the disappearances were found strangled to death.
"Since then, several civilians, men, women, and children, have also met mysterious deaths. Some were discovered, victims of strangulation. Others simply have vanished. There also have been strange reports. Reports of creatures roaming the streets at night, described only as bearing the look of death. These reports have all been shrugged off.
"Dr. Watson believes this string of mysterious events can be linked to a small, unnamed island, just off the coast of Eastern Europe. Though the island is supposedly uninhabited, there have been rumors of a man, or perhaps a woman, living on the island, who is referred to as evil, though no one knows who this man or woman is or what they are plotting. Men and women who try to come near the island vanish and are never seen again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I need a team. A team of men and women such as yourself who are courageous and steadfast enough to be relentless in the protection of innocent lives. This team will accompany me to Germany to investigate this strange mystery, and put these deaths to an end. Do I have any volunteers?"
At first, Quatermain's request was met only with silence. He carefully noted the look of fear on the faces of the League. Finally, a young boy with messy blonde hair stepped forward. Quatermain immediately recognized Tom Sawyer, his young protégé'.
"I wish Aunt Polly could see me now," Sawyer muttered.
"We'll do it," came another voice. Pale, thin, and gangly, but undeniably fashionable and respectable, Henry Jekyll rose and stepped forward. A scientist and medic, Jekyll's life calling was to help those in need. However, Jekyll did possess a dark side. A side that only revealed itself when Jekyll morphed into his less contained altar-ego, Edward Hyde.
Following close behind Jekyll was Mina Harker, a young Englishwoman with a certain intangible something hanging about her. She walked in a mist of darkness and mystery.
Finally, the bold and mighty figure of Captain Nemo, commander of the vessel Nautilus, moved forward, standing beside the other four.
"Are there no other volunteers?" asked Quatermain, disappointment in his voice.
"Skinner!" called Sawyer. "Skinner, don't be a coward. Get up here."
"Relax," came a mellow voice from nearby. "I was the first one up here. Not that anyone noticed."
Jekyll turned toward the voice of his old friend and fellow scientific anomaly, Rodney Skinner, the invisible man.
"It's been a while since I've seen you at these meetings," whispered Jekyll.
"Funny," replied Skinner. "It's been a while since I've seen myself, too."
Quatermain grinned and declared robustly, "Then the League is set, and the game is on!"
A/N - For those of you who have read this chapter previously, you're not going crazy. I revamped it ever so slightly to fit the period and style of LXG more appropriately.