To The Moon
Characters: The Five
Word Count: ~650
Summary: The Five contemplate the distance to the moon on the cold night of a lunar eclipse.
A/N: So apparently it can take me nearly two months to write 700 words. Good to know. Thanks are greatly owed to jackwabbit – without her, the ending would have been quite weak indeed. Though this fic would have been posted before Christmas….
"I wonder," John mused as The Five formed a lopsided star in the snow and lay back to observe the cloudless heavens. They had determined that, after missing the lunar eclipse in April, they would get prime seats for the one on the fourth of October.
It was a decision that had been in no small part influenced by Doctor Edward Moreau, the man declaring himself Helen's rival, who had spent much of the spring months regaling anyone who would listen, and even those who would not, about how absolutely marvellous the April eclipse was. For her part, Helen was quick to deride the barbaric doctor; despite her own experiments, which often pressed the boundaries of ethical science, she abhorred her colleague's techniques. Vivisection on abnormals, Helen had heatedly argued on many occasions, was an unnecessarily cruel procedure.
Disdain for his research practices notwithstanding, Helen had been galled by the man's boasting and so she had turned to John with the devil in her eyes and requested that they get the best possible view of the latest lunar eclipse. John was happy to oblige and, after a bit of scouting, deposited the group in the middle of a field somewhere in the United Kingdom with a perfect view of a clear, starry sky.
At least Helen assumed that it was the UK – there were no signs of civilisation, and thus no light pollution, or noticeable landmarks in sight. She suspected that James had deduced where they were, but she didn't mind being left in the dark. Her trust in John was absolute.
Vindictively, she hoped for a thick cloud cover over London. Doctor Moreau would just have to content himself with a lovely view of the clock tower housing Big Ben.
"I wonder if I could make it to the moon," John finished his sentence after a long, contemplative pause.
"John!" Helen's voice had an edge of shock, but her wide blue eyes glinted with curiosity as they met his across the snow.
"I have teleported clear across the world with no ill effects," John shrugged, the devil-may-care grin on his face giving rise to a flutter in Helen's stomach.
"The distance to the moon is thirty times greater than that of the diameter of the Earth, John," James pointed out mildly from the other side of Helen.
"Not to mention that the air gets awful thin when one leaves the planet's surface. I doubt that one can breathe in naught but aether." Nigel added, watching his own breath condense in the crisp air.
"Oh, I could remedy that," Nikola drawled. "I could build one of those suits used to explore the ocean floor. But better, of course. Much better."
"Of course," John drawled right back, his tone faintly mocking. "And if I cannot make it in one jump, I could just take the journey in a series of smaller hops."
The conversation lulled as the five friends contemplated the idea. Helen, as per usual, was the first to give voice to their hesitant thoughts.
"We could be the first people to set foot on the moon." She was almost breathless with wonder and her lips turned up in a determined smirk as she refocused her gaze on the faint sliver of a moon above her. The four men exchanged long glances, complete with matching grins, before turning back to the moon as well.
To an outside observer, the five friends painted a picture of serenity as they watched the last crescent sliver wink out and the moon flare to life again; its new colouring reflected back onto the snow and painted it copper. But The Five knew that that their shared thoughts were far from serene – rarely did they have an idea that they were content to let remain as an intellectual curiosity and they knew that, one day, their lunar observations will be not be bounded by the atmosphere.