Future Prefect

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Previously in Future Prefect... aided by Patrick and Derek, two natives of the moon, our heroes have been reunited, and they now know that the American construction on the moon is a weapon, although what it is shooting at remains a mystery. Our heroes have decided that they must find out, but meanwhile, on Earth...

Part Seventeen

Bill looked out over the city of Washington D.C., the wind whipping through his hair and pulling at his robe. Behind him, he heard the building's roof access door open and close again. Footsteps approached.

'They're about to start,' he said. 'Are you sure this is how it has to happen?'

'How can you show them something that in truth

They cannot understand without seeing

First the alternative? Do not worry.'

'People are going to die. Lots of people. We could prevent it.'

'The death on this path is as nothing.'

'Easy enough for you to say. I've not had as long to get used to the idea as you have.' He sighed. 'I suppose we'd better leave them to get on with it.'

'Come. We will observe them, and then move when

The right time doth present itself and not

Any amount of time later than that.'

They looked out over the city for a moment more, then there was a slight gust of wind, and they were gone.

North-east Russia

The wizards gave warning of the approach of the American forces, so the initial attack was not as devastating as the American generals had hoped. Intending to start with an aerial assault on unsuspecting ground positions, they instead found themselves directing a furious dogfight at several thousand feet between American jets, assorted h2g2 antigravity craft and a number of flying wizards. It was an ugly confrontation, and it wasn't long before the surviving American jets started limping back in the direction of Alaska.

On the ground, the commander of the h2g2 forces was Towella, an experienced witch in her late fifties. In constant contact with all her troops via an assortment of telepathy spells, she was able to react instantly to every move the Americans made - even to the extent of
moving ground troops out of the way of the few bombs which the American planes managed to drop before they were driven off.

Beaten in the air, but unwilling to admit defeat, the American generals sent in their ground troops and tanks under the dubious cover of a second, larger wave of aircraft. Towella received the reports in her command tent and nodded thoughtfully as she studied a holographic map of the local terrain.

'They're going to try and come through here, I think,' she said, pointing at one of the few stable routes through an area of deep snowfall. 'I doubt they want their soldiers buried in eight feet of snow.' She thought for a moment longer. 'Let's try and get some telepaths out near enough to pick up what their commanders are intending. I don't want to be caught by surprise. How are the troops dealing with the American army advancing?'

'Quite well,' someone said in the back of her mind. Very little of her communication happened vocally, for her commanders were spread out across the entire battlefield. 'Some of the wizards are sending most of the weapons fire the Americans are using back the other way, but mostly we're concentrating on slowing them down at the moment.'

'What's the plan for that?'

'Some of the wizards thought that it might be a good idea to try melting some of the permafrost and see if we can't bog the tanks down in the slush.'

'Anything to avoid fighting them head-on. What about the aerial battle?'

'These planes are better fighters than the previous wave,' one of the wizards hovering about four thousand feet up told her. There was a pause and a sense of mental effort, and the distant sound of an explosion reached Towella's ears. 'But we still overmatch them, at
least until the wizards get tired. Are there more on their way?'

'I'm told there are, yes.'

'Then we should be fine. I wouldn't want to say the same for the Americans though.'

'That's their problem. Let's just concentrate on staying alive-'

'What is it?'

Towella cast out her mind, looking for the source of the sudden panic she'd felt from the direction of the Americans. For a moment she found nothing, then she realised what it was.

'Things just got a lot harder,' she said, as the Americans started using nuclear weapons.

Los Angeles, the following morning

'I don't understand it,' an elderly woman was saying. 'Why attack them now? What do we know about them after three hundred years of isolation?'

'Precisely my thought,' Bill told her. 'What would you rather see done?'

'We could try talking to them,' she said. 'Whatever happened back then, surely after three hundred years we can come up with something peaceful to solve any problems.'

'Would you trust the government to do that?'

'After what they did yesterday? Certainly not!'

Bill smiled. 'Thankyou for your time, ma'am.'

The old woman looked at him sharply. 'You look like an ambitious young man,' she said. 'Were you planning on doing something about the situation?'

'I might be,' Bill answered carefully.

'Let me introduce you to someone,' she suggested.

Who is Bill about to meet? Is this elderly woman in any way significant, or is she merely a plot convenience? What will be the outcome of the American attack on h2g2? And what's going to happen on the moon? Find out in some future instalment of the increasingly confusing Future Prefect.

The Future Prefect


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