Baskergrand The Nautilus

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The Future

The woman in the suit marched ashore angrily, mumbling to herself before she came out of her suit. Her facial features conveyed that she was partly of Asian descent, possibly Chinese, and she had long black hair that fell wildly around her shoulders. She seemed to be around a similar height to Valerie, but had more weight on her. She was wearing a similar under-suit to what Jasper was wearing when Percival found his corpse.

''Who the heck are you?!'' she yelled at Percival. She had an incensed expression on her face as she stomped towards him. Percival was taken by surprise, and backed away from her quickly.

''My name is Percival Gray Baskergrand, son of Lord and Lady Baskergrand. Pleased to make your acquaintance,'' Percival blurted out all at once. The woman gave him a wildly baffled look.

''Who cares?! What are you doing in Jasper's suit? Where is he?! And where the...'' she broke off from her tirade as she looked around her surroundings. Percival and Charles looked at each other, and then back at the woman with sheepish looks.

''This isn't Tuckerby Port. Where on earth am I?'' she said aloud to herself. Percival cautiously came up to her, intrigued by what she had said.

''Tuckerby Port? This is Tuckerby Bay, young Miss,'' Percival clarified. The woman's gaze slowly fell upon Percival.

''What?'' she asked, her eyes wide in confusion.

''This is...Tuckerby Bay,'' Percival repeated.

''Tuckerby Bay,'' she parroted slowly, putting her hands on her hips. ''That can't be...that can't be right. Tuckerby Bay is what Tuckerby Port was called over one hundred years ago,'' she told Percival sternly. Percival glanced over at Charles, then back at the woman.

''Wait a second. Wha-what year is it?'' she asked the pair after she scrutinized what they were wearing.

''The year is 1851, my dear,'' Charles interjected. The woman stared at Charles.

''1851? Did you just say...1851?'' the woman repeated in disbelief. Percival and Charles shared a baffled expression.

''Yes, it is the year 1851,'' Percival reiterated. The woman slowly nodded her head before she turned around and stared out towards the bay. Percival looked at Charles with a slightly worried look. Next, he carefully came up behind the woman and lightly tapped her shoulder. She calmly spun around to face him.

''Excuse me, Miss, but would it trouble you to give us your name please?'' Percival asked softly. The woman scrutinized Percival for a moment, then sighed and folded her arms.

''It's…Chess Hancock,'' the woman answered Percival. Percival's eyes lit up upon hearing her strange name.

''Chess...Hancock. I see. It's a very...unusual name,'' Percival responded. Chess rolled her eyes.

''It's a nickname, smart-ass. Short for Francesca,'' she said before she sat down on the sand, resting her arms on her legs. Percival decided to do the same, if it meant that she was now relaxed.

''Oh, all right. Oh, I get it! One part of your name sounds like 'chess', so you are called that. Very clever. Anyway, I'm called Percy for short, but my family calls me Gray,'' Percival said. Chess looked at him with raised eyebrows, and then glanced over to where Charles was standing.

''Who's your friend?'' Chess asked Percival. Charles came over and stuck out a hand for a handshake.

''Greetings! My name is Charles Gordon Beller, but you can just call me Charles,'' Charles introduced himself excitedly. Chess took his hand warily, and stared at him for more than a moment.

''You look...slightly familiar,'' Chess said aloud. Charles and Percival exchanged confused looks.

''How can that be? We have never met you before,'' Percival reasoned. Chess looked at him, then back at Charles.

''Of course. But…maybe his face...reminds me of someone. Since this is the past, I may have encountered a future relative of yours who bears similar looks,'' Chess rambled more to herself than to Percival and Charles.

''Where you are from? Is it...America?'' Charles asked.

''Well, I was brought up there, but my mother is from Beijing, in China. But where Percy here saw me wasn't America; it was England,'' Chess explained.

''You said it was Tuckerby Port. That can't be a coincidence, can it?'' Percival interjected. Chess looked at him.

''Guess it's not. The year I come from is the year 2051. Two hundred years from now, this place...will be transformed into a port,'' Chess disclosed to them. Percival drew his eyes towards the floor, trying to come to terms with what Chess was saying. He remembered the sight of the ship coming into the port, and recalled the images of the slaves.

''I saw...slaves being brought in on that ship,'' Percival said in a disheartened manner. Charles' eyes widened. Chess noticed the change in his voice.

''Yep. Slavery. The biggest evil we are sacrificing our lives to end,'' Chess declared as she looked out to sea. Percival glanced at her.

''But slavery in England...was abolished years ago. How could...they revert to it in the future?'' Percival questioned her. Chess turned to look at him.

''You're right. Slavery was abolished in England, but never in America. In the future, America gains so much power, that it controls most of the world, including England. The slave trade is the most lucrative business in my time, but no one seems to care about the people. But we do,'' Chess expounded. Percival looked intently into her eyes.

''Mason Industries...who are they?'' Percival asked. He was hoping that Chess would not reveal that the company was related to Garth Mason.

''Garth Mason. He formed his company...I'm not sure when, but it grew exponentially as a means of getting slaves from A to B around the world,'' Chess replied. Percival became white with horror. Charles looked down at him, a grave expression on his face. Chess noticed the pair become quiet all of a sudden.

''Are you guys all right?'' she asked them. Percival shook his head.

''Garth Mason...is my best friend,'' Percival admitted to Chess. Chess looked at Percival, and then sighed.

''I'm sorry, man. But your friend isn't who he says he is,'' Chess said pitifully.

''So...that's what he's been doing in America,'' Percival surmised to himself. He began to become incensed at the realisation of his friend's lies.

'Did he want me to come to America...so that he could get me into the slavery business?' Percival wondered angrily. The three of them were silent for a moment before Charles spoke.

''So...who do you work for then?'' he asked Chess.

''I'm one of many men and women who call ourselves the Argonauts. We came together some years back – well, in my time - to counteract Mason Industries. We are trying to do everything in our power to bring them down and to end slavery once and for all. But there's not that many of us, and it seems like we keep losing a never-ending battle,'' Chess said, her tone changing. Percival looked to the Nautilus suit, standing erect and empty on the sand a few metres away from him.

''The Nautilus suits...are your uniforms?'' Percival asked.

''Yep. They were especially made to fight against Mason Industries' technology. I think we're the only ones so committed to this cause that we've invested quite a lot into making these suits and training people to become...soldiers,'' Chess said. Percival looked at her, and then recalled the first encounter he had with her.

''Jasper...was the name of the person in the suit before me?'' Percival queried. Chess snapped her head around at him, before suddenly standing up.

''What did you guys do to him?'' she accused the pair. Percival stood up and held his hands up to calm her down.

''We didn't do anything! I swear! But...,'' Percival began to say, before stopping himself. Chess narrowed her eyes into him.

''But what?'' she pressed him. Percival put his hands down slowly, hesitating to tell her the truth.

''Your friend...I am very sorry to tell you this...but...'' Percival began again. Chess' eyes began to well up, dreading the worst. Percival tore his eyes away from her teary gaze.

''What's happened to Jasper?'' her voice struggling to stay together. Percival fought to look straight at her.

''He's...dead,'' Percival revealed.


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