Future Prefect

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Previously in Future Prefect... Agnes and Linda, shadowing the captured moon people and their guards, infiltrated the American moonbase and discovered that the cause of the earthquakes which have plagued h2g2 is a device located on the moon which draws energy from the gravitational forces between Earth and Luna, causing earthquakes as a mere side effect. They are now attempting to find out what the mysterious device does, and if there is any way of stopping it. While they are doing this, however...

Part Fourteen

Alaska, The Geraldine decided, was far too cold for its own good. She stood with her arms wrapped around her, shivering inside several layers of warm clothing, watching Bath erecting a large igloo with a series of spells. Eventually, it was complete and they all crawled inside. After a while The Geraldine even started to feel warm.

'So now what do we do?' she asked once her teeth had stopped chattering. There was no need for her to mention what they had to do something about, because they'd all seen the vast magical barrier which prevented them an easy crossing of the Strait of Baikonur to eastern Russia, which was h2g2 territory, and safe. They'd been travelling as fast as they could to get here from California, reasoning it was the easiest way to get back to h2g2 without the hydrocycles that were now almost certainly lost. They hadn't, however, known about the impenetrable wall of spells which divided the two parts of the world.

'We're going to have to find a way to get through it,' Pord said. 'There's no other way to get home.'

'That might be a little difficult,' Bath told them. 'Because the barrier is made of magic, I'm inclined to believe it was put up by our side at some point in the past - presumably around the same time contact with America was sundered. Magic a few centuries ago was far less sophisticated than it is now, and a barrier like that would have been impenetrable in only one direction - so they would have made it to stop Americans coming through to our side, and probably used another method to stop h2g2ers going through to America.'

'So you mean it's only possible to go through it if we're already on the other side of the barrier?'

'Not necessarily, but it would be a lot easier.'

'Wonderful. Bite, Bark, did you get anything about the barrier? If it's h2g2...'

'Unfortunately not,' Bark said. 'It's close enough that we know why, though - because it's the barrier to divide h2g2 and America, it's not fully in h2g2. It straddles the two, and so we don't have the full perception of it that we have of you, for example. We can't tell you much more than that I'm afraid.'

'Wonderful,' The Geraldine muttered to herself. They sat in a grim silence for a few minutes.

'On the bright side,' Bath said, 'at least the Americans don't seem to be chasing us anymore.'

'Not much good if we freeze to death here instead of being executed though, is it?'

'But if we were captured again, we could probably manage to escape again,' Bath pointed out, somewhat optimistically in The Geraldine's opinion.

'I'd rather not test that theory experimentally,' she said. There was silence for a few more minutes, which was broken by a sound from outside.

'What was that?' Pord asked.

'Sounded like a thunderclap,' Bath said, already heading for the tunnel that led out of their igloo. When his head emerged outside, they heard his exclamations of surprise and all rushed to follow him. As they stood and brushed snow from their trousers, they gradually began to take in what was different about the view outside.

The barrier was gone.

'Who did that?' The Geraldine said to nobody in particular.

'Absolutely no idea,' Bath said. 'But I'm not going to complain.'

'What if the Americans find out about it? From what we've seen, they're going to want to invade,' Bite said.

'Then we'll have to be ready for them,' Pord said. 'America and h2g2 have been apart for far too long, and it's detrimental to both of us. Come on. Let's go home.'

And they did. It was an easy journey - too easy in Pord's opinion. Bite and Bark, of course, knew the moment they crossed into h2g2 territory, and moments later spotted a natural magical power point, something far too rare for them to have any chance of stumbling across one by pure coincidence. It was a strong one as well, and Bath was able to use it to teleport them all to a more suitable location - Berlin, the headquarters of h2g2's fairly minimal military forces. Pord went into the Reichstag to organise some troops to be on the guard for an invasion from Alaska, and everyone else went home to bathe and relax.

Then they heard about London.

Then they heard about Milan.

'Looks like we'd better go to the moon now, doesn't it?' Bite said.

'Pretty much,' The Geraldine agreed. Her image on the three-dimensional videophone was troubled. 'And I was hoping we might have helped in some way while we were in America.'

'Linda and Agnes already went there,' Bark told her. 'We'll join them, see what they've found out and see what we can do to stop this once and for all. Then we can have as much time as we like for baths and the eating of decent meals.'

'I like the way you're thinking. I'll see you in Cambridge.'

How long will it take the others to find Linda and Agnes once they get to the moon? What will they do when they've met up and filled each other in on recent events? What is the purpose of the American machine on the moon, and will they ever find out? Where's Bill??? Find out some of this in next week's installment of Future Prefect, the story saga that's not exactly good, and not really mediocre either, but hovering instead in the region of 'dire'.

The Future Prefect


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