Sandy and Sebden didn’t waste a second arguing their innocence – even though they’d been on coffee break when the break-out occurred; so rightly felt that it wasn’t their fault and they didn’t deserve being called names. Instead they scarpered as fast as their legs could carry them…
Meanwhile Daffney was leading the escapees to another exit, when she failed to notice the presence of the Oracle’s avatar. So the avatar caught her attention by trapping Nibbli Bulwark and her big nose in an Encapsulation Beam…
“Ask me a question, and I’ll let her go.” It said.
“What the flipping heck do you think you’re doing?” Daffney tried on for size.
“Saving your lives.” The Oracle replied. “Now I can’t offer you information, but I can answer pertinent questions. Ask another question that will save your lives.”
Daffney had to think about that for a moment or two…
“I’ll have to think about that.” She replied. “Probably for a moment or two.”
But Nibbli’s experience inside the Encapsulation Beam had inspired her to great clarity of thought: “What’s wrong with the exit that we’re heading for?”
“It’s mined.” The Oracle replied succinctly, if briefly.
Gwen Sickie stepped forward. “Are all the exits mined?” She inquired.
“No.” The Oracle answered – even more briefly.
By now Daffney had managed to think of a question: “Where is an exit that isn’t mined?”
“The disused subterranean one that leads to the old docks that supplied the Black Tower in the olden days.” The Oracle answered much less briefly and very informatively. Then it added: “If I were capable of making suggestions, I’d head there right now, pronto, muy rapido, and quick.”
Needless to say, the frightened group of escaping earplugs did exactly as the Oracle had recommended. Soon they were squeezing up through an inspection hatch beneath the Black Tower…
…and then running like the Hounds of Droxford were snapping at their heels: Adolf Wiel-Barrau had called a Crimson Alert.
Paul Trevor Nolan 2017