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The bell rang, the air rattled slightly, and Lady Alexia Laplace sighed, put her tea cup down, and left her consulation of “The London Chronicle of Science” for another time.

The master called from across the sea.

Carina was inspecting some jewellery with an eyeglass, black hair gathered out of the way in a bonnet.

“How’s the world of high crime?” asked Alexia as she swept by.

“Alexia Laplace, how dare you besmirch my name so! This is an investigation, and these were paid for, not…er…re-appropriated. Mr Brown was tipped off that the jewellers in the Oxford Street Arcadia was as bent as the proverbial. The tip off was in the right of it, these are paste.”

She held up a string of emeralds to the light, dangling them on their silver chain, before slamming her hand shut contemptuously and slapping them down on the table. The moon-a-muck had raised its head in anticpitation at the sight of the glittering crystals, but on realisation that they were evidence rather than lunch, sank back onto its cushion in disappointment.

“Come on, let’s see what his nibs has brought back with him this time” suggested Alexia.

They entered the transportation room, and the conduction pole for the Poincare Machine was already humming, and beginning to crackle with a violet glow. Alexia ascended the dias, and threw the great layer.

Lightning flashed down from the roof, and acrid ozone odour filled the room. Pale blue and violet radiation played about, and then, with a flash the Poicare machine appeared,a giant silver atom in the molecule of madness.

Carina was used to this by now, but still she jumped and she caught her chest with her hand.

The outder door opened, the rails fell outwards and inner sphere of the machine presented itself with the groove of metal on metal. Shortly, Aristophanes Brown jumped out with a solitary bottle showing dark against his outfit of tweed.

“I’m fairly sure I win the Beaujolais race!”

“Pity you can’t tell anyone,” said Alexia in a sandpaper tone. “All this energy expended on a single bottle of wine.”

“I investigated the sightings of Le terreur de la singe!”

“Let that writer do that, he was there first. You were just getting in the way.”

“I caught the Ant Man.”

Alexia nodded in the direction of the moon-a-muck. “You had help.”

There was a pause. “Harrumph. No Beaulolais for you. I shall share it with Carina.”

Carina was indignant. “I want more than just over-rated fresh trodden plonk after sorting out your gem flogging shyster!”

“Oh! Well done! Well, I’m sure we can find something better.” flapped Aristophanes Brown as he stepped down onto the floor.

“Indeed” stated Carina, looking up. “Like rainwater perhaps?”

Aristophanes and Carina turned, comedically slowly, to see a thick, grey nimbus cloud rolling out of the Poincare cube, and collecting at the ceiling of the transportation room. As they watched rain was falling from the cloud, but rather than flood the floor, it seemed to dry almost immediately.

“Not-a-bloody-gain” moaned Brown. I thought our new calculations would ease this flotsam problem.

“You must admit, since my alterations, we have had less of these problems” stated Alexia firmly, crossing her hands over her khaki shirt.

As she spoke, there was a wetly slapping sound. Brown’s eyes rolled as the three of them looked down to see fish of perhaps eight inches in length wriggling on the floorboards.

“You were saying?”

Alexia ambled over. “Look like whiting. By heavens, a drop of Forteana!”

A fish clouted Carina across the shoulder. “Ow! Some drop!”

Attracted by the commotion, the moon-a-muck waddled into the room, and eyed up a fish that had bounced over in its direction. It sucked the piscid into its trumpet, then spat it out again in disgust with a “Hooo-HEEEEE” snort of disgust.

Around 50 fish had fallen from the cloud, and the upper halves of the three humans were soaked by the time Alexia had ascended the podium to reset the machine. As she threw the lever on and off (“in the future we won’t have to do this,” stated Brown firmly) the rain of fish and water stopped, and Carina ran around gathering up the fish. “Do you think we can sell them to a restaurant?” she was asking.

“I need a couple frozen for research purposes” instructed Alexia Laplace.

Aristophanes sat on his haunches, pulling the cork from the wine. It failed to do so with no pop, leaving half of the cork in the bottle neck.

“Damn french guff. Stick to gin.”

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 10.01.15

Written over 90 minutes, a day of day dreaming, a day of listening to the wind and wishing I could watch the angry sea.

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