Future Prefect

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Previously in Future Prefect... after explaining some of the mysterious events

which surrounded the severing of contact between h2g2 and America three hundred years

before, the Queen of the moon people is shot dead as her throne room is invaded by

American troops. Agnes and Linda escape arrest by making use of Agnes' ability to make

herself and nearby people invisible, and follow the party of prisoners...

Part Thirteen

They hung back ten metres or so going through the corridors of the moonbase, in case the

American soldiers heard their footsteps, but they needn't have worried, because the moon

people weren't moving along without a fight despite their shackles. The guards had taken to

prodding them with electrified sticks to keep them moving.

'They're treating them like cattle,' Agnes whispered to Linda after one incident where

the soldiers got a prisoner moving again with continuous shocks and a few strikes to the

back of the legs with a gun barrel.

'There's obviously more history we haven't found out about yet,' Linda replied. 'I'd like

to know what it is.' She paused for a moment. 'Either that, or these troops are just a group

of savages.'

They followed in silence for a while longer, then had to squeeze in close behind the two

soldiers at the back of the column to get through an airlock and into what appeared to be a

hover vehicle of some kind. One of the soldiers went forward into the cockpit, and they

travelled for perhaps half an hour before coming to a halt. The moon people were unloaded

by the soldiers and taken off one way by guards who were waiting on the other side of the

airlock. The soldiers split up and went in different directions. Agnes and Linda looked at

each other, Linda finding it rather disconcerting that she could see the wall through Agnes,

who was still maintaining the effort to keep them both invisible.

'Who do we follow?'

'I'd like to know where we are,' Agnes said. 'Perhaps we should follow the Americans for


'Sounds good,' Linda agreed, and they did so. Most of the soldiers went to what looked

like their barracks, so the two h2g2ers followed the remaining three, who entered a large

room filled with computer terminals and bustling activity. Data, readouts and diagrams were

projected onto huge screens on the walls, and in the middle of the room a flickery hologram

of a large piece of machinery floated in mid-air. Agnes snorted at it in contempt.

'Primitive technology,' she said, then frowned. 'More technology than we saw when we

were over there though.'

'Perhaps this is a research facility,' Linda suggested. Agnes nodded slowly, and gestured

for Linda to follow her to get a closer look at the hologram. It was in monochrome and not

particularly clear, and appeared to only show part of a larger system. 'Any idea what that

might be?'

'Not a clue,' Agnes said. 'Something tells me it's part of the key to what's going on here


At about that same moment, a klaxon sounded. Several of the people in the room rushed

to computer screens and started entering commands, while one of those who appeared to be

of the highest rank, since he was wearing a uniform heavily adorned with gold braid and

ribbons, moved to the hologram projector and made the image zoom out and show the

entirety of whatever it was. Agnes and Linda studied it carefully. Apparently built mostly

below the Lunar surface, it did have one feature above the surface which appeared very

obvious in function.

'It's a gun,' Linda observed.

'But what are they shooting at?'

'Is this what causes our earthquakes? An earthquake gun?'

'How could it? We must be on the dark side of the moon still, or someone would have seen

this long ago.'

The Americans in the room continued to work industriously, and the high-ranking officer

chewed on an unlit cigar before issuing a string of orders about acquiring targets and

charging the 'weapon'. Linda and Agnes looked on with increasing apprehension as the order

to fire was given. There was a rising hum in the air, quickly becoming an unpleasant

vibration. With a suddenness that startled the h2g2ers, it was over.

'Discharge completed,' someone reported.

'Target verified. Impact in ten minutes,' someone else said. There was a general

atmosphere of congratulation in the room.

So what are they shooting at? Linda wondered. Agnes tugged on her arm and

pointed to a nearby screen, which was showing a view of Europe and western Asia. They

made their way over to it, narrowly avoiding running into one of the technicians who came

scurrying past with a clipboard in hand. It took a couple of minutes before they made sense

of it.

'So that's it,' Agnes muttered. 'It's all just-'

'-a side effect,' Linda said. She felt a strange, inarticulate anger welling up inside her.

Surely everything that had happened couldn't be the result of a simple side-effect of this

technology, whatever it did. So much death and destruction... she studied the text on the

screen for a while longer.

'They draw energy from the gravity between Earth and Luna,' Agnes said eventually,

'and use it to power this thing. And the side-effect of that is...'


So now we know why the earthquakes were happening - but what does the

machine do, and why does it need so much power, and isn't there another way to get hold of

it? Find out in some future edition of Future Prefect...

The Future Prefect


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