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The Story of "MESMER ISLAND"
Plus - Epilogue: Center of the Universe & Art Deco
Story by: William A. Franklin
It’s not merely time that one has to contend with, but the fact that everything is hurtling through space, the rotation of the earth, the earth around the sun, the sun through its galaxy. To time travel you must not only calculate when in time, but where in space, you wish to go. Unless, you have a quantum time anchor.
It’s the year 2125. The Wizard of DECOPOLIS’s ship, the Astrigera, is docked in its customary spot in the Tulsa Skyport over the historic “Center of the Universe”. On this evening the Wizard and his crew were celebrating the activation of one of the wizards greatest achievements, turning the Astrigera into a Time Ship! However, the reason we are telling you this story, the reason there IS a story, is because…. In the midst of laughter and the clinking of champagne glasses, something, went, wrong.
Below: The Wizard of DECOPOLIS with the DSS Astrigera (DECOPOLIS Starship Astrigera)
The screaming alarms were barely audible over the pulsing roar of the ships engines and the moaning cries of machines approaching their limits. Everything shook and the lights flickered as the Wizard of DECOPOLIS’s ship, the Astrigera, careened violently through time and space. A main break lever was grasped and pulled down, momentarily stopping the ship which now found itself far back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, and into the depths of outer space. The ship and its crew were now on the opposite side of the earth from where they had been only moments before, before the space-time explosion that had punched them through time, through the earth, and into outer space. “Beta Anchor activation in 30-29-28-…..” an automated voice calmly began counting down. “NO!” the Wizard cried out as he began running across the room, back towards the main control panel. The rest of the crew were still trying to make sense of things, their minds a dizzying swirl, when someone noticed what appeared to be a flying saucer? Outside the ship! “Look! What is THAT?!” But before anyone could respond, all attention again turned to the time engine which had suddenly begun flaring a bright pulsing blue light that pierced through people, the ship, through everything as though it were made of translucent glass. Then the ship began to shake and groan again as automated safety measures kicked in trying to compensate for the the effects of the Beta anchor, trying to hold the ship where and when it was now, and the Alpha anchor working to pull the core back to its starting point, Tulsa in 2125. Then the ship flew into motion once again, this time back, towards the earth, and into the future.
Through a floor to ceiling window in the nose of the ship, the earth, at first a tiny wiggling dot, grew rapidly in size until it began to flip nauseatingly back and fourth, in and out of view, as the ship spiraled towards it. Entering the atmosphere with a fiery roar, more emergency automation kicked in to level the ship out. Sliding above the ocean an island flew into view. The ship jarred even more violently throwing furniture, equipment and people around as it hit and skidded over a mountain top and through the trees of this volcanic island.
The ship slowed dramatically as an automated voice said “Beta Anchors, now set.” Everyone looked at each other with stunned expressions then looked out to see the entire island being stretched as it was being pulled millions of years into the future along with the ship. The strain was too great, sections of the shaking ship began to rip apart with pieces falling away and dropping off in time along with parts of the island. The main segment of the ship still attached to the core, continued forward, pulling the rest of the island and its timeline with it. A violent shudder, and a brief muffled scream was heard before the force shields sealed the breach, as yet more pieces of the battered ship, this time an entire nacelle along with a shuttle on the same side, were ripped away with the youngest member of the crew inside, Petra! Finally the quantum anchors holding the ship and island together slipped and the ship vanished, as the Alpha time anchor yanked the ship back into the future. Another explosion began, and for a silent moment, halted, mid-way. The ship was almost “where” it was supposed to be, but not when. Through the gaping hole in the ship a small prairie town could be seen in the distance, in the stunning momentary silence, the year 1919 clicked into view on the readout. The ship slid and halted into place right above the city and then space-time itself shattered sending quantum space-time shards across the planet and through time. During that moment the ship was in one place, but two times. Tulsa, in 1919 and the year 2123. A roar of sound and another brilliant flash of light from the engine, the ship was back where, and only a moment past, “when” it had been before the accident. The Tulsa Skyport burst alive with sirens and searchlights.
Above: Lindy Hopper, Pilot, Tulsa Skyport.
When the Wizard and his team tried to find the Island in 2125, they could find no trace. After repairing the Astrigera they immediately tried to find Petra, but they were unable to go back in time far enough. Due to the nature of the accident, they were only able to go back as far as 1919. Though unable to yet reach Petra, they were able to find the island in 1919.
Mesmer Island, an incredible place of wonders, created as the result of a terrible accident during a time travel experiment. Part of the island a remnant of the age of dinosaurs, who surviving on this island had evolved intelligence! And on another part of the island, a tribe of people who tell of a goddess who fell from from the sky, causing the island's volcanoes to erupt and the island itself to violently cleft in two. One part, the forbidden side of the island where the dinosaurs lived, the other part inhabited by the native islanders. And then nestled on the seaside cliffs below the main volcano, Swashbuckler Bay, a town of pirates and smugglers.
Now locked into this timeline the Wizard and his crew would have to see if they could find another way to get to "when" Petra was in order to rescue her. In the meantime, they created the first DECOPOLIS outpost here, the DECOPOLIS Mesmer Island Outpost.
EPILOGUE: The CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE and ART DECO
There were several other interesting “side effects” of this time travel experiment, gone wrong.
One being the explanation of a mystery that had stumped people for decades concerning the Center of the Universe in Tulsa. A person standing in a specific spot could speak and hear their voice “echoed” back, while others could not hear the echo. It was always assumed to be a “sound echo” but nobody was ever able to conclusively determine how this echo worked. After the accident, it was realized that the effect was not an echo of sound, but a “time echo” a fascinating side effect of that accident in 2125.
Another realization was the mystery of how Art Deco came to exist. Though the style was prevalent in the year 2125, how did this incredibly futuristic and modern style so suddenly appear during the 1920’s? For hundreds, even thousands of years artistic styles had stayed close to the classical forms. Any new expressions were slight modifications based on what came before and evolving over many generations. Yet suddenly, incredible visions of the future sprang into existence in the early 1900’s. Seemingly based on? Well as it happens, certain people have a sensitivity to the time shards which were scattered across the earth during the early 1900’s, and on Mesmer Island, as a result of the Wizard’s Time Travel accident. This sensitivity allowed them to, in their dreams and subconscious, access visions of the future.
Swashbuckler Bay 1938 (rough draft)
Swashbuckler Bay is a ramshackle town perched on the craggy black cliffs of Mesmer Island. Not much grows on this edge of the island. The steep volcanic cliffs and regular rains give little footing for soil, just black rocks. Even the beaches here are made up of rough, black rocks that grind and slip underfoot. Nobody knows who first settled in this spot, or even why. The island is split, roughly north and south, by a jagged canyon flowing with lava. Swashbuckler Bay is located near the eastern end of this canyon where it opens wide into the bay.
Except for the small foothold where the town resides, this part of the island is mostly inaccessible to ships for it is ringed by dangerous shoals and steep cliffs. Even here though, it’s a white knuckled feat to navigate into the bay and reach the town, steering past numerous towering sea stacks and barely submerged pinnacles of rock. But it’s partly this difficulty that has made the town a favorite hideaway for smugglers, pirates, those who are “in the know”, and who trade in rare or even illegal contraband. Another reason, the numerous caves and open lava tubes great for hiding in, or as legend has it, for hiding treasure. However, the islands natives say the lava tubes are protected by tikis that can come to life, attacking anyone who dares to go too far into the volcano, and into the forbidden northern half of the island. And if that is not quite enough to discourage any nosing around, giant reptilian creatures, whose monstrous effigies can be found carved into the ancient stone ruins, are rumored to inhabit the the deep jungles of the northern interior.
This evening, as with most, thick clouds crash into the side of the volcano towering behind the town, shaking loose big fat raindrops that begin to thump, thump, thump, upon the rooftops of the tall, narrow, wooden buildings overlooking the dark and heaving bay. The volcano glowing red through the dark blue clouds give the cliffs and town a purple hue. The windows glow orange and gold. A deep, low rumble is heard in the distance. Is it the volcano, the clouds, the sea? As the winds calm, the rain settles into a sprinkling mist, and another sound is now noticed, bawdy laughter, singing, and accordion music coming from the towns Anchorbottom Tavern. Out front a large man in an apron yells “Move along!” “NO fighting in MY Tavern!” “You will NOT be allowed back in here!” pointing at a couple of of men whose friends work to cajole them into leaving. One is heard saying “I don’t know where he is, but he is not inside!” another “Let’s just leave, we might find him elsewhere!” “We’ll be leaving Barnaby!” but if you see that piece of garbage, let im know we’ll find him!” Barnaby looks up and down the street and then turns back into the Tavern. The men leave and all thats left is the sound of music and laughter from inside, and the rain.
Then, a loud banging and thumping comes from the back alley. And there, behind the Tavern, we find one of the leading characters of this part of our story, young Captain Fitz Fitzgerald. However, it appears to be an an unfortunate moment to be making acquaintances. For tonight we find him passed out and lying in a trash heap, amongst some large wooden boxes and barrels in the smelly alley whose rancid aroma has gained a renewed vigor from the rain and recent disruption. A wedge of light spills out of the back of the tavern along with the sound of clanking dishes. A shadow blocks part of the light as a woman steps into the the doorway then quickly over to the young man. She reaches down to touch his forehead with the back of her hand, pauses, then runs out of the alley. A few minutes pass and she returns trailing two young girls. “Marlene! Mable! hurry!” “What’s going on mother?” The woman reaches into a pocket and pulls out a small vile that she quickly unstops, then lifting the young mans head she shakes a few drops of its contents into his mouth. “Get him, and take him to the house.” says the woman in a solemn voice as she steps back under the shelter of the small porch. “What!!?” cry both the girls in unison as their hair and nightgowns grow wet. “Just please, do as I say. I have got to…” “MAAADAAAM! MIIIINKO! Madaaam Minko!” a gruff male voice bellows from inside. “I’ve got to get back to work.” says the girls mother as she vanishes inside with the clap of the screen door, leaving them looking down at the young man lying in the trash, and then looking back at each other in wide eyed shock. “I don’t have my shoes on! He’s gross, and now I am soaked!” cries the younger Mable. Marlene, however, was at that magical age where she had recently fallen deeply in love for the first time, but unfortunately, as oft happens, had her heart broken. She was always the independent type, so those recent events really disturbed her sense of strength and control. She hated those feelings, those feelings of having your guts ripped out when a love was not returned, but at the same time wanting desperately to go back to that place of joy, the rush of being in love. She looked down at the young man in the rain, there was something very handsome about him she thought, then she shook her head scolding herself “What are you thinking!?” “Its some strange guy lying in a pile of trash in an alley!” “Marlene?!” hollered Mable, snapping Marlene back into the world. “What are we going to do?” “Here, you grab one arm and I’ll grab the other, and we’ll drag him.” Marlene said. The girls stopped at the entrance to the alley and looked both ways to make sure nobody was on the street. But just as they began to drag Fitz out onto the sidewalk, a couple rounded the corner. The girls freeze, standing there holding Fitz’s hands as he lies on the sidewalk behind them. As the couple walks past, Fitz moans, the couple looks back, the girls put on big sweet smiles, curtsy a bit and nod hello, shaking loose water droplets from their hair onto their faces as they try to look as innocent and normal as one can in such a situation. The couple look at each other, and head on even more quickly down the street. Thank goodness people tend to not ask too many questions in Swashbuckler Bay thinks Mable. “Go!” says Marlene as they begin dragging poor Fitz again. Fortunately they do not have to go far for their home is just three buildings over from the tavern.
Their home was even more outlandishly ornate, and run down, than most in the town. Narrow and 4 floors high, it looked like the back of a Spanish Galleon replete with wood balconies, lanterns and carved scrollwork painted in peeling black, green, purple and gold paint. The bottom floor was almost entirely composed of large bay windows flanking either side of a stunning set of stained glass doors. The designs of the doors had an almost otherworldly quality, purple iris flowers with long sinuous leaves, glowing in a setting of sparkling gold glass. Above the doors a sign read “Madame Minko’s Apothecary” centered above the sign, a mermaid statue holding aloft a light. a narrow sign just to the side of one of the doors read “Fortunes Told”, on the other, centered around the painting of an eye, “Sees All, Knows All”. Two good shoves and the doors swept open as the two girls pulled the young man into the the softly glowing interior. “Now what do we do with him?” Mable gasps, catching her breath. “Well I am not hauling him upstairs, let’s take him to the back” said Marlene as she motions for Mable to help her again. At the back of the shop they cobbled together a makeshift bed out of a window seat behind an old counter. “I think he must be half dead.” said Mable as they haul him onto the makeshift bed. A blinding flash of lightning glares through the window followed by a long rolling clap of thunder. “How can anyone sleep through all this!” I think he might be really hurt” Said Marlene, “and probably more than a little drunk.” she murmured as she pulled the heavy velvet curtains over the window. “Looks like there is blood all over the front of his shirt.” Said Mable. “I think his nose was bleeding, look, his nose might be broken.” said Marlene as she held a lamp closer. Marlene got a small rag to dab up some of the blood on his nose, it must have really hurt for he suddenly darted awake with a wide eyed holler. Both the girls screamed and then there was a loud “Thwump!”, the boys eyes rolled back in his head and he fell back unconscious onto the makeshift bed. “What was that!” exclaimed Marlene. “A book!” said Mable. “He scared me! and I hit him with it!” They sat there beside the boy for a few moments wondering what to do next. “I think mom would want us to get him dry.” said Marlene. “ Well, I am certainly not taking his clothes off!” said Mable. “Well, at least help me take his shirt and shoes off.” said Marlene. “This is ridiculous!” exclaimed Mable.
Once they got his shirt off even Mable had a concerned look on her face as they noticed the numerous scrapes and bruises the young man had on him. A black welt had now begun to develop around his eye and the nose was looking more swollen than before. Then Marlene said, “Here, you take this stuff upstairs so it can be dried, and get a blanket for him, I will go let mom know that we have him in the house.” As Mable ran upstairs Marlene dabbed a rag having camphor oil onto some of the bruised and swollen areas on his chest and shoulders being careful to avoid the scrapes. The young man was now mumbling and tossing as if he were having a nightmare, but the scent of the camphor oil worked to calm him down. Mable came down and Marlene put the blanket over the young man. “Keep an eye on him.” Said Marlene, I am going to let mom know we got him in the house, and then I will be right back.”
Marlene found her mom busily working away in the kitchen trying to keep up with the evenings orders. Marlene immediately began helping out knowing exactly what needed to be done, as she had helped so many times before. This was no time for talking, the task was to get the food prepped and out. The Apothecary had never quite made enough money to take care of them, so Madam Minko had taken up helping in the tavern at night. The cook would set the main dishes out and Madame Minko would add the finishing touches of garnish and rolls as needed, wipe off any stay food or gravy around the edges, then rush the plates out to the waiting customers. “Boy that was some tussle earlier!” Said Fana the owners wife as she boomed in setting down a stack of dirty dishes by the sink. Sounded like it! Said the cook. “You ok Mink?” Asked Fana. “You ended up right in the middle of it somehow!” “Oh, yes I am fine.” Said Madam Minko looking a bit flustered again. Marlene noticed that as her mom brushed the hair back from her face with one hand, the other hand had quickly reached down and touched part of her apron that appeared to have something large and flat in it. “Any more orders?” Asked cook. “Dinner service will be over in a couple minutes.” Looks like that’s it for tonight! replied Fana as she spun around to head back into the tavern. Marlene could hear someone begin playing an accordion again with several of the tavern customers singing along. Cook started humming along while he began the process of cleaning up for the night. Madame Minko began wrapping up her part of the tasks as well. “How is our guest?” Said Minko in a manner that let Marlene know she didn’t want others to know about the young man. Asleep, in the downstairs back room. Said Marlene in a quiet voice. Good. Just go back and keep an eye on him. I should be home in a little bit. “Thanks for the help this evening Marlene!” Said Minko in a louder voice so the others could hear. We had quite a rush there towards the end!” “No problem!” Said Marlene “I will head on back home!” “Here, you take some of these extra biscuits home with ya.” Said cook as he bundled some up in a cloth. Marlene happily obliged for she loved the large biscuits chef made. with their soft slightly sweet middles, and slightly salty, buttery, crumbly tops. Her mouth watered just thinking how good they would taste split open with a dollop of butter and some honey inside. One of her and Mables favorite breakfast treats. One perk of their mom working the dinner shift was the occasional leftovers. Chef was the only one allowed to give any out. And it was a rule that nobody ever ask or the owner would put a stop to even that. “Go along” said Minko I will be there in a bit.”
This time Marlene went through the side gate and down the narrow alley by the side of the house to enter through the back. The cliff to the back of the house created a small private courtyard. She slowly opened the back door to try not to make any noise. Just as she started to peek in, a clap of thunder made her jump as it reverberated off the cliff and shook the house. Well never mind that, thought Marlene, giving up on making a silent entrance. Mable was sitting in a chair next to the sleeping young man. “How’s he doing?” Asked Marlene. “Same” said Mable, “What did mom say?” “She said she will be here in just a bit, dinner is over.” “Oh, good.” said Mable. “Why do you think she made us bring him here?!” “I have NO idea said Marlene with a big shrug.” “Sounds like there was a big fight at the Tavern, he must have been involved.” They sat in silence for a time, listening to the rain and occasional thunder as they pondered the nights crazy turn of events. Mable started giggling. “What?” Whispered Marlene. Mable pursed her lips trying not to giggle as she held out both hands and quickly motioned to herself, the young man and Marlene a few times. Then they both began to giggle. What a crazy circumstance they found themselves in. They both jumped as a thump was heard towards the front and then the shop doorbell jingled. “That must be mom.” said Marlene. The hallway leading to the back of the shop lit up with the soft glow of a lantern as Madame Minko came into the back. “Alright girls, let’s see what we have here.” Said Madam Minko as she sat down in the chair Mable had been sitting in. “it’s a guy.” said Mable with a joking tone. “Madam Minko gave Mable a disapproving side-ways glance, and Marlene slapped Mables shoulder. Then all three turned their attention back to the young man.
“Is he ok? Other than for a moment, he has been completely out the whole time!” said Mable. “I gave him a strong sleeping potion in the alley.” said Madam Minko. Both the girls looked at their mom, and in unison asked “Why?” “He had this…” Madam Minko said as she pulled a large folded paper out of her apron. “What is it?” asked Marlene. Madam Minko abruptly stood up and left the room. They could hear her go upstairs. All the way up to the fourth floor. A couple minutes later she came back down into the room. “Here help me clean off this table.” Said Madam Minko. Table cleared, Madam Minko spread out the folded paper. “It’s a map of the island!” said Marlene. “Yes” said Madam Minko, “and this…” she took a breath, then spread out another paper that she had just retrieved from upstairs. It was another map, exactly identical to the first one, identical even down to the stains and tears, “this was your fathers map, the one that led him to this island in the first place, to me…. and to his death.”
Culver City California 1937
Fitz parked his motorcycle near the back gates of the small airport and breathed in the cool sea air as he took off his leather helmet and gloves. Walking towards the gate he thrilled at seeing the aircraft silhouetted against the still starry, morning sky. Fitz had been working odd jobs at the airport for several months now in exchange for flying lessons. Today was not a day he would be taking lessons but instead would be working. Fitz headed for the hangar to check the roster to see what his tasks would be for the day.
Rounding the corner his pace faltered and his eyes grew wide as he took in the sight of a large airplane of a type he had never seen before.
(Meets Howard Hughes)