Previously in Future Prefect... the American invasion of h2g2 was stopped in its tracks and pushed back, out of Russia. Our heroes on the moon discovered that the American device is a weapon, firing at an apparent extraterrestrial spacecraft on a course to intercept Earth in six months' time, and made the decision to destroy it. Meanwhile on Earth, Bill went to see the Dustbins of Wisdom for some final words of advice.
They always build ventilation shafts big enough to crawl in, Pord observed telepathically to Bath as they crawled along one very such shaft. The wizard paused and looked back at him.
Probably because if you couldn't crawl in them, they'd be very hard to access when it's time to make repairs, he thought, knowing Pord would pick it off the surface of his mind. And in a place like this, you really don't want to be without an air circulation system.
Pord smiled to himself and crawled on, following the wizard's feet. Bath was wearing fluffy pink slippers, Pord suddenly noticed. When had he changed those?
His thoughts were distracted as Bath stopped crawling and Pord ran straight into the wizard's bottom. Muttering an apology, he tried to see what was ahead. Light was filtering into the shaft from below, and it seemed Bath had found a ventilation grill.
I can see the weapon from here, he thought to Pord, but I don't think I can destroy it. We'll need to get closer to the main part of it, the bit that's underground.
Lovely, Pord said, then relayed the message to the others. There was some shuffling as The Geraldine, Bite and Bark reflected on what state their knees would be in after so much crawling through air shafts.
They set off crawling again, finding a downshift on the far side of the control room and dropping down it, slowed just before impact by a spell from Bath. As luck would have it, they soon found themselves looking out at a large chamber hollowed from moon rock and filled with complicated power guides and focussing assemblies.
Interesting, Bath noted.
Can you take it out?
Yes, but ideally I'd like to be able to touch it. Can you distract the technicians and guards for a few minutes? I won't need long.
We can do it, Pord promised. Bath gripped his hand briefly, then shimmered into invisibility. Pord looked back and told The Geraldine and the two Gurus what was transpiring. They nodded, and The Geraldine tugged on Pord's sleeve, pointing up at a pipe running along the top of the duct. Pord nodded at the thought in her mind, and indicated a drainage valve, presumably positioned near the vent to allow easy maintenance access. Shuffling along, he let The Geraldine get closer to the valve, then opened it a little way. Water started to trickle out of it in a thin stream, and The Geraldine put out a finger, letting the water run over it.
Between one breath and the next, she dissolved into the water stream, which reversed itself and slithered back into the pipe. Pord closed the valve again and turned his attention to the grill.
Are you two ready? he asked silently. The two Gurus nodded. Pord reached back and grabbed Bite's hand, then started to work his way between two of the slats of the grill.
The Geraldine emerged from the water pipe in a tap in a nearby restroom. It was empty, and she peeked carefully out of the door to see where she was. A short corridor with several similar doors leading off it ran directly into the chamber she'd been looking out upon only a few moments before. Smiling at her luck, the oceanographer moved as quietly as possible out into the chamber, sidling along the wall in an attempt to remain inconspicuous until she reached a control panel.
After eyeing it for a moment, she spotted a glass of water sitting on a nearby workstation, stuck a finger in it and made the water leap out of the glass, landing on the control panel with a splash. There was a satisfying shower of sparks, some smoke and the smell of burning electronics, along with the significant darkening of one of the power
conduits. Almost every eye in the room turned her way, and thus missed Pord, Bite and Bark squeezing impossibly through the slats of the grille.
'Oops,' The Geraldine said to the startled Americans. 'I guess I must have spilt it.'
She cracked her most dazzling smile, then started running.
Invisibly, Bath teleported himself into the main chamber, and made his way to what appeared to be the centre of the weapon's power guides. This would be ideal. Now if the others came up with their distraction well enough...
It was at that moment that The Geraldine dropped water all over one of the control consoles. All attention focussed in her direction, and Bath noticed Pord and the two Gurus entering the room using Pord's rather disturbing new ability to slip between the spaces in reality. The three of them glanced at each other and then split, Pord going towards The Geraldine, the two Gurus going in the opposite direction. Reasoning that he would have enough distraction in plenty of time, Bath dropped all his spells and concentrated his magic entirely upon the destruction of the weapon.
There were shouts now, and shots being fired from various kinds of weapons. Bath could hear The Geraldine laughing as she moved around the room causing chaos, then quite suddenly a scream. Glancing up, he saw that the oceanographer had caught hold of a soldier's bare arm and was turning her mind to his body water. Quite abruptly, he burst out in more sweat than Bath had ever seen before, and fainted. Other soldiers moved in to restrain The Geraldine, but they were attacked from behind by Bite and Bark, armed with only their hands and feet and the entire martial arts knowledge of h2g2.
Satisfied with the distraction, Bath turned back to his work and started laying down further elements of the spell. A footstep behind him made him look up, straight into the barrel of a gun.
'That will be quite enough,' the soldier holding it said. 'Hands behind your head. NOW!'
'Excuse me,' another, more familiar, voice said. 'You forgot something.'
'Me,' Pord said, hitting the soldier on the head with the butt of the sidearm he'd just filched from the man's holster. 'Now, will you get on with this please Bath?'
'Sure, just distract them a bit more.'
'I don't know, make a speech or something. Sing a song.'
'I'm not Agnes!' Pord protested.
'Did you call?' Agnes asked, becoming visible right next to Pord, who jumped almost a foot into the air. She smiled sweetly at him.
'Don't do that, please,' Pord complained.
'Sorry dear,' Agnes apologised. 'I'll try and remember your fragile nerves next time I get the urge to appear next to somebody without warning. You want a distraction, eh? How about this?'
She inhaled, and then let forth a note which gradually increased in pitch. There was a look of concentration on her face, and suddenly the whole chamber began to reverberate. Agnes held that pitch, grinning wildly as she did so. Pord marvelled at the power of her voice, to make the entire chamber resonate on its specific frequency. Her lung capacity was also clearly something to be envied, for when she finally ran down, everyone in the chamber was staring at her in disbelief.
'Thank you very much,' she said. 'Now, for a proper song.'
And she sang.
Bath had to remind himself to stop gaping at her and put his mind back on his spells. They were half-complete already, but the final stages would be quite delicate work and he had to concentrate extremely hard. As he was doing this, Agnes demonstrated to her startled audience exactly the attributes which had turned her into a woman widely
considered in h2g2 to have the most powerful and flexible singing voice in history.
As Pord kept an eye on the Americans, Agnes ran up and down her entire vocal range, topping somewhere in the soprano range and dropping down a startlingly long way into the notes usually reserved for someone singing with the bass section of the choir. She sang pieces of melody from most of her hit songs, and some of those which had been less
successful. She sang pieces she made up on the spot, putting lyrics to them as she went, and she held her audience entirely captivated.
After a while longer, Pord suddenly realised that he couldn't feel the presence of the Americans' minds anymore. As he was about to comment on that, all of them abruptly passed out. Agnes stopped singing with a satisfied look on her face, then wiped her brow and took
several deep breaths.
'Now that is tiring,' she said.
'I didn't know you could do that,' Pord commented.
'It's not something I have use for very often,' Agnes admitted. 'And it's not very easy to do. Excuse me a moment.' She paused to catch her breath. 'They should stay out for a few more minutes though.'
'Very impressive,' The Geraldine said as she approached with Bite and Bark flanking her. 'What are you doing here? I thought you were going with Linda, Derek and Patrick.'
'After you went off, we had a little talk and decided it would be better if I helped you. Derek, Patrick and Linda seemed very sure they could free the moon people by themselves.'
'And you believed them?' Pord asked.
'Linda appears to have some powers we didn't know about.'
'She'll tell you if she wants to.'
'I'm done,' Bath said. 'Shall I do it now?'
'Why wait?' The Geraldine said.
'Right. Watch carefully, you'll only get one chance to see this.'
Bath concentrated for a moment, then reached out a hand and placed his palm on one of the power guides. The effect was immediate. The conduit seemed to shimmer briefly, then started to change, darkening. Quite abruptly, the area around Bath's touch became liquid, and the change began to spread. Sizeable puddles of black liquid started to form on the floor.
'That will take care of itself now,' Bath said. 'What say we go and see what Linda's up to and get back to Earth?'
'Sounds good to me,' Agnes agreed.
So with the weapon destroyed, what will our heroes do when they return to Earth and find a full-scale war in progress? How come everyone's revealing abilities we didn't know they had anymore - and what is Bill supposed to do at noon tomorrow? Find out in a future episode of Future Prefect. Please note that the author takes no responsibility for any suspense or undue anticipation which may result from reading this part work story.