Night had fallen in Matoka and all the island’s inhabitants were chatting and dancing around a great bonfire. That is, everyone but major Lavrock, who observed the festivities from a distance.
“Major Lavrock,” a voice sounded behind him. Lavrock turned around and realized it was Lem, Nemo’s head officer.
“The captain asks you to come see him,” Lem said and through clenched teeth he added: “Again.”
“I’ll go see him when I have time,” Lavrock answered firmly. Lem shot him a brief, suspicious look, but he said nothing more and walked away. Lavrock looked down at the bonfire again.
The people on Matoka all came from different backgrounds, but had found a new home on the island, full of peace and happiness. Everyone put their differences aside and lived in harmony. Men and women, young and old claimed to finally have found ‘eternal peace’. And they all had captain Nemo to thank for it.
Nemo, the unofficial leader of Matokam was a mystery. He rarely spoke, but with his dark eyes and his long silver hair he was quite the vision that demanded attention by itself. In his welcome speech, he had said he wanted to offer people a safe place in the world and that he would protect them. And the people loved him for it.
But major Lavrock didn’t trust it. Something was off. When he and the others accidentally arrived on the island, everyone was as entranced by the island and its leader as Lavrock was. They went to investigate, trying to find any information on the mysterious place and its equally mysterious leader, but one by one, the others seemed to care less.
First it was Leticia, who, after she discovered her father was still alive and living on Matoka, dropped any and all desire to find out anything else. Then it was the talkative Cyril, who made friends with anyone who could get him food and alcohol and cared for little else but enjoying himself after that. Even doctor Joyce, who had been Lavrock’s greatest ally in skepticism towards the peaceful island, seemed to have come around. Lavrock watched him as he was dancing merrily with the British nurse.
They all had changed after they had been invited to see Nemo. And so, Lavrock had ignored every invitation to see the captain up until now. He didn’t trust anyone and especially not Nemo.
Suddenly Lavrock heard a branch snapping, but before he could turn around to see who was there, someone clamped a piece of cloth over his nose and mouth and pulled him backwards, out of the bonfire light and into the shadows of the forest.
Lavrock let out a startled “Mmph!?” and immediately started struggling against his unknown opponent, but the shadowy figure had a firm grip on him, while someone else appeared and restrained Lavrock’s legs. Lavrock continued to struggle, but soon realized that the piece of cloth clamped over his face smelling of a strong, unknown substance was causing his eyelids to grow heavier every second.
“You shouldn’t have ignored the captain’s invitations, major,” a familiar voice whispered right before he slipped into unconsciousness.
Lavrock’s eyes shot open. He didn’t recognize the room he was in at all. The walls and the ceiling, made out of what seemed to be iron plates, didn’t resemble any of the facilities on Matoka. The table on which he was lying was probably made of the same hard and rather uncomfortable material.
Lavrock tried to sit up straight, when suddenly he realized he wasn’t able to move any of his limbs, at all. No matter how hard he tried, his body would not cooperate. Just as he was about to cry out for someone, a soft voice sounded from the direction of his feet, echoing around the room.
“Major Lavrock, at last you have accepted my invitation.”
Captain Nemo slowly walked into Lavrock’s field of vision, staring down at him, a slight smile on his lips.
“I surely did not!” Lavrock yelled at the man. “Where am I? What have you done to me?”
“It’s just a simple paralyzer, nothing to worry about. It will subside soon.” Nemo walked up to the table and rested his hands next to Lavrock’s arm. “However, it does make things a little easier for now.”
“What are you talking about?” Lavrock asked, not feeling comfortable with Nemo standing so close to him at all. He desperately tried to move, even if it was just one finger, but nothing happened. Nemo smiled.
“The people of Matoka are happy, major. They have been traumatized by war, ostracized or hurt by their past. I have given them eternal peace. And they love me.” Nemo stretched out his hand and caressed Lavrock’s cheek. “And soon you will too.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about or what you’re doing to the people here,” Lavrock hissed through clenched teeth, “But you will not sway me.” Nemo retracted his hand and laughed softly.
He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small vial filled with a glowing, ice blue liquid. He opened the vial and without looking away from Lavrock he brought it to his lips, drinking the liquid in one gulp. Almost immediately, Nemo’s eyes started glowing in the same ice blue as the liquid had been.
“What’s going on?” Lavrock whispered. “What was that stuff?” Nemo leaned forward, his face getting closer to Lavrock’s.
“What are you doing!?”
“You should rejoice, major. I will bestow eternal peace on you as well.”
Nemo’s breath grazed Lavrock’s face, cold as ice. Lavrock, finally having found some control over his limbs again, tried to jerk his face away, but Nemo cupped his cheeks with both hands.
“Get away from me!”
“Don’t be afraid, major,” Nemo said, almost tenderly. “It will be over soon.” In a whisper, he added: “Unless I enjoy it, then it might take a little longer.”
Before Lavrock could utter any more protests, Nemo leaned in and kissed his lips. Lavrock opened his mouth in bewilderment, when suddenly his eyes widened as he realized a liquid trickled down his throat, burning his insides like only ice could do.
After what seemed like hours, Nemo pulled back. He looked deep into the major’s eyes, the ice blue glow gone from his irises. Without being able to see it, Lavrock knew where it had gone.
“Now you’ll have eternal peace,” Nemo whispered.
Then, everything turned dark and quiet. Peaceful.