“It’s got Patsy Cline on it. You won’t wipe it will you?”
“I’ll be careful.”
“Er… We’ve got a karaoke mixing desk in the crew’s mess too. It’s not very sophisticated, but could you use it?”
“Not half. And wire, lots of wire. And a soldering iron.”
The Queen Anne’s Bounty was airborne and purring her way towards the ancient cairn at La Hougue Boëte, with a skeleton crew, and the post-PinkFloyd speaker arrays swung out ready for a trial run as soon as Zelda’s contraption was prepped. Powerfull searchlights panned across the landscape below, scanning for any possible danger.
“We’ll be over the target in about ten minutes.” Called Rotskagg.
“Right,” said Boz. “Drop down as low as you dare. And we might need to stick something in our ears.”
They held position, in fact, until the first milky rays of dawn streaked over the hilltops. An ornithopter shuttle dropped Boz, Phoebs and Zelda the Geek near the overgrown mound. Beryl had been granted the honour of piloting the wing-powered craft and was exhilarated, even when she landed rather heavily.
“I hope I haven’t broken anything.”
They searched the wild shrubbery as best they could in the half-light but could find no indication of an entrance or sign of where the archaeologists had broken in.
“I suppose this is the right mound,” said Phoebles.
“Do you really want to question Rotskagg’s navigation?” said Boz. “It must be. We’ll just have to blast the whole hillock with sound and see what happens.”
Zelda took over the shuttles radio. “Ready Flo? In ten.”
They each packed wax plugs into their ears and put on massive ear-defenders. The first notes hit them like a gust in a gale. There were woos and boings mixed with a discordant variation on God Save the Queen. Grass withered and several important bits of the ornithopter began to rattle. The dissonant notes clashed together in an unholy crescendo. Phoebles’ tummy turned to butterflies and tunnelling moles were ejected, squeaking, from their holes. An area of mound began to shimmer. Something a bit like a figure began to waver in and out of view. The ground was shaking.
Zelda gave Beryl the thumbs up and Beryl shouted, “NOW, FLO!” into her helmet microphone. A shattering burst of sound; water sprang from the quivering earth under their feet and several defoliated trees split open lengthways. The spectre was more distinct, but not stable. Zelda stepped forward, pointed a compressed-air foghorn and added a strident ‘Worraaargh’ to the mounting cacophony. There was a boom and a green flash and the portal was open, a neat portal of dressed granite. And standing in the portal were Augusta King and Master Dorje, surprised at first and then dropping onto their knees clutching their ears.
Zelda made an urgent slashing motion with hand across her throat and Beryl relayed, “Kill it, Flo.” With a small explosion from the direction of Rotskagg’s dirigible and a puff of smoke out of her hangar bay, silence descended on La Hougue Boëte.