The Other Side
''What a beautiful start to a new week!'' Percival gushed after he finished his breakfast. He was looking outside of the window in the drawing room, brimming with happiness. He was dressed to go outside, and he was wearing his black morning coat over a beige waistcoat and cream cravat, along with white trousers and black riding boots. He had a contemplative smile, and his expression was relaxed as he gazed out at the sun-laden garden.
''Are you going off to see that peculiar scientist again, Percival?'' Victoria asked her son. She was sat down on the chaise longue, and was wearing a peach dress, with her shoulders covered by a soft white shawl. Percival turned around to face his mother.
''Mother, he is not peculiar. He's just...all right, he is somewhat peculiar, but his eccentricity facilitates his progress in his inventions. He wouldn't be anything without it, he would say,'' Percival replied to her. Victoria sighed, and glanced at her son.
''But must you see him today? You should be seeing more of Valerie, since you are both courting each other. You should be paying more attention to her,'' Victoria shot back at him, in a slightly harsh tone.
''I...I will pay more attention to her. I do love her, Mother. However, I...have a project that I am involved in currently with Charles that I need to complete, and it is crucial that I see to it right away,'' Percival said, slightly sheepishly to his mother. Victoria stood up and came closer to her son.
''Just don't leave it too late. You don't want Valerie's love for you to grow cold,'' she warned lightly. Percival procured a small smile as his mother softly caressed one of his cheeks with her hand.
''Thank you, Mother. Is Father around?'' Percival asked her.
''Yes. But he is to go to town today; he has to see Longham about something,'' Victoria answered.
''And what about you?'' Percival queried.
''Me? I am going to see Ethel Mason. She wants to have lunch with me today along with Lady Josephs. Don't spend too long with that man, Percival,'' Victoria responded.
''All right. I will see you later then,'' Percival said to his mother. He gave her a kiss on her left cheek before she left him alone.
* * *
''I need to see what else there is to discover about that other land,'' Percival said to Charles. They were both at Tuckerby Bay again, and Percival was preparing to enter the suit.
''Yes. But don't take too long again, Percival, otherwise I shall have a great deal of worry on my hands if you do not return before nightfall,'' Charles said. Percival climbed into the Nautilus and smiled at Charles.
''I can't make any promises Charles, but I will endeavour to not spend as much time as I should there,'' Percival responded before his face disappeared behind the visor. He entered the water, and dived in when he had reached far enough to do so. Charles looked on, before sitting down on the sand to await his return. Percival swam deeper into the depths of the sea, ignoring the suit's reports on his oxygen levels and depth pressure levels.
'I can see the rift,' he thought as he located the black hole within the dark depths of the sea. He encountered a small school of fish swim out of it before he swam towards it. He then lunged forward into it before his suit dragged him upwards to the surface. When he gathered his bearings, he saw that he had made it to the other side of the rift and was met by the sight of the gigantic black wall once more. However, he noticed that there was barely a person in sight on the shore.
''Where...is everybody?'' he asked himself, surveying the area. Percival could not see anyone or any vehicle in sight. It was deadly quiet, save for the sound of the waves sloshing against Percival's suit. Percival then looked up quickly to see if he could spot the flying machine he had come across previously, but he saw nothing.
'I should still approach with caution,' Percival thought as he swam towards the shore. When he reached it, he crouched down low and ran to a small cave that led to a low hill. He scouted the area for people, but failed to identify a single person.
''I wonder where they all are,'' Percival said aloud. As he was observing what could be beyond the wall, he heard a sudden, loud horn blare out from behind him. Percival instantly snapped his head around and saw what looked like a large ship coming into the shore. He then noticed about a hundred metres away that there was a small decked port jutting out from the shore that the ship was heading towards. Percival laid down flat on his stomach on the hill to ensure he could not be seen by the people arriving on the ship. He quietly viewed its arrival into the shore, and then witnessed a couple of people in black suits heading towards the port out of his line of sight. He could not hear what they were saying, but he heard the men shout at someone towards the ship once he had stopped at the port. Percival next watched as a ramp was produced from the ship, and people slowly began to disembark from it. The men in the black suits held up weapons in their hands and pointed it at the people who were coming off of the ship. Percival beheld the dramatic sight for a few moments until it dawned on him on what he was actually witnessing.
''Those people are...slaves,'' Percival uttered in shock realisation. All the people he had seen come off of the ship were black men, women and children. They were all looking down, dressed in dishevelled clothing, and some were wailing loudly. Percival became deeply troubled by the sight, and was upset at the fact that where he had ended up was still under the practice of slavery.
''I must get back and tell Charles,'' Percival resolved before he discreetly descended from the hill. He made sure he made as little noise as possible as he reached the bottom.
''Jasper? Is that you?'' Percival heard an American female voice say behind him.
'Someone caught me! Oh no...but she said the name Jasper... Who is...Jasper?' Percival wonder as his expression changed to surprise, and he hesitantly turned around to face the person.
''Another one...'' Percival whispered in surprise. He could not believe what he had just come across as he stared at the person in front of him. There was another person in a suit just like his, with the word 'Nautilus' sprawled across it as well. But this suit looked slightly different.
''You're...a woman?'' Percival asked the person.
''Jasper, quit playing around. Where have you been? We thought we had lost you in the last fight,'' the woman responded. Percival was unsure of how to answer, and stayed silent.
''Jasper? What's wrong?'' the woman persisted. Percival became nervous, and was apprehensive. The woman came closer to him.
'Thank God she can't see me through this,' he thought.
''Jasper? What are you doing?'' she pursued. She came within a few feet of him before Percival jolted to life.
''I'm sorry! I must go now!'' Percival exclaimed as he ran to the sea.
''What the-Jasper! Wait! Stop!'' the woman called after him before she gave chase. Percival did not stop and dived straight into the water.
'There's another one? Another Nautilus suit? And...it's a woman?' Percival's mind was running amok with thoughts like these. He ignored the warnings of his suit and swam towards the rift.
'Just a bit further-'
''Aaagh!'' Percival yelped when he felt a tug on his leg. He turned to see the woman in the suit had caught up with him and was holding him by his leg.
'Oh no!' he exclaimed inwardly, struggling to get free from her grasp.
''Where are you going?! Stop it!'' the woman yelled at him. Percival tried to kick her off, but she held on tightly.
''Oxygen levels at eighty eight percent. Depth pressure at severe level. Return to a safe level as soon as possible,'' the suit warned, but Percival was more concerned with getting free from the woman's hold.
''Please let go!'' Percival told her, grappling with her as they descended towards the rift.
''Why are you speaking like that, Jasper? What's going on? Why are you running away from me?'' the woman asked him, not letting go of him.
''Oxygen levels at eighty four percent. Depth pressure at critical level. Return to the surface as soon as possible,'' the woman's suit spoke. Percival was alarmed to hear the same voice that spoke from his suit was also speaking from the woman's.
''Let's resurface now!'' she ordered Percival. Percival panicked, then glimpsed at the rift. He then grabbed onto the woman and pulled her further down.
''Are you crazy? What are you doing?!'' the woman screamed, unable to get out of Percival's grip.
''We're resurfacing!'' he yelled back at her.
''Emergency resurfacing initiated,'' the suits declared in unison before both the woman and Percival shot upwards in the water.
''Ah! Ugh!'' the woman moaned as she was being dragged through the water. Percival was struggling to keep a tight hold on her while the pair shot upwards.
''Emergency resurfacing successful. Oxygen levels at one hundred percent,'' the suits announced when they had resurfaced.
''Ha! Ha!'' the pair huffed, floating in the water.
''Percival! You're back! And...with another suit? You found another one?'' Charles gushed as he ran into the waters to help Percival out.
''What the heck!? Where the heck am I?'' the woman in the suit yelled. Charles became white with shock as he perceived that there was a person in the other suit, and that it sounded like a woman.
''It's not just another suit I found, Charles. It's another person,'' Percival said after he came out of the suit on the shore.
''Another...person? There's more than one...Nautilus?'' Charles queried aloud, staring at the woman in the suit flailing in the water. Percival stared at the woman as well, wondering who she was.