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BlackEagle Girls
The Sacred Secret

Chapter 8 - Hey Dude

The ride was nowhere near the ear-bursting, mind-whirring journey that both girls had experienced in their first trip aboard the Black Eagle. It was something more like a brief trip in a taxi driven by an Egyptian. (Come to think of it, that might be a little boggling too.)

In any event, they arrived at their destination swiftly, and as the steel panels opened to reveal their landing area, both Priscilla and Monique struggled off the couches to stare at the view. 'Jeepers Harry, you've plonked us down right inside the airport terminal!' wailed Priscilla, watching people idly wandering past in twos and threes.

'Yep! That's where the action is alright and, might I add, not easy squeezing you in through the terminal doors either,' came Harry's distant voice, 'Your Hand Activators are in the draw beside you. Just gonna look in on Henry here... Nah, he's asleep...Umm...Granny Black's sure pushing out some zzzeds...'

'Harry! What the hell are you doing!?' Priscilla practically barked, rushing from one window to another as the trickle of commuters in the terminal continued to saunter around them.

'Oh, you know, just checking out the house, and yeah, you both need to get a little worked up: this will be a tricky manoeuvre, but I'm sure you'll pull it off...'

'Like I'm gonna pull off your tail if we blow this!' Priscilla exploded.

'Calm down, you're both doing fine...so far,' Harry returned. 'However now we have to get you to cargo loading and offloading, and that means you both need to get out and find the holding bay for incoming crates of equipment and the like. Could be around the quarantine area: plant, animal, foreign imports and stuff. Now don't forget, your Hand Activators have the Attractor button on, but it will be difficult to function in this closed situation. Also the Sense Disablers are only cutting out sight and hearing. Touch is still operative, because you're going to have to handle things like luggage or whatever, and of course this means that, in turn, you can be felt as solid objects, so be verrry careful...'

'Not seen, not heard, but felt, hmmm, I don't like it,' said Priscilla, watching out of one of the panels as the Black Eagle slid around the floor, occasionally rising above the heads of people to avoid their oncoming paths.

'Just stepping outside, I may be quite some time,' came Harry's soft reply.

'What is it that you say? You little black doggie-alien! How can you leave us like this?' shouted Monique, suddenly becoming agitated.

'Ahh nothin'...Ummm...that sure feels better...can't beat a p...er...parade around the garden in the early hours...'

'Yeah, well what about Ours-Like one of ours?' Priscilla threw in, grasping her Activator and checking the buttons, her other hand clutching Monique's arm reassuringly. 'You know what I'm getting at Harry. Have you got anyone here like Four, the guy we didn't need to know about in Africa.'

'Oh yes, Four...um...One of ours...err...no one really...except for Rolf. He's probably hanging around somewhere. He knows about you two but I don't think he can be of any use getting you in. Basically, you've got to do that on your own...Ummm...lemon verbena...lovely smell...needs watering...erm...oh...think I just did that...'

'Harry! You're not concentrating!' shouted Priscilla in frustration.

'Yes I am, it's just you two guys who have to do the concentrating. Oh, and by the way, there are two pairs of night-sight goggles in the drawer nearest the door. You might find them useful in darkness. Got them? Good. Now, ready, need the toilet?'

'No! Er...Yes! Err...Maybe!'

Before either of the girls could say anything further the stainless steel door slid open and together they stumbled out onto the broad terminal floor. Even at this early hour of the morning there were still many people milling around, commuters coming and going and staff checking in and out.

'Where do we go?' said Monique in some alarm, glancing about in confusion.

'Don't know,' Priscilla replied resolutely, watching the Black Eagle rise and hover above the heads of the ambling groups, 'but I'm gonna kick Harry's bum for this when we get home...Look, there's a sign for the incoming heavy cargo and quarantine holding area! Hang on, follow me, and don't touch anybody! '

Together, the girls wended their way between wandering parents and dawdling children, relatives and friends come to farewell or welcome loved ones, executives, politicians and business people, school groups, sporting groups and media groups, until they drew up at a que blocking their passage.

'Pick a gap and zip through,' said Priscilla. 'See that sign over there that says Restricted Area. Holding Bays. Cargo. Incoming-Outgoing. That's what we want!'

Nodding, Monique waited her moment, and then darted past several children sauntering along behind their parents. Priscilla chose a goodly space between a young, shapely brunette woman and a tall, athletic man carrying a sports bag, who were both slowly moving forward. As she slipped by, the woman suddenly halted and Priscilla inadvertently collided with her rear.

'Do you mind! Really!' said the woman, turning toward the man behind her, her free arm lifting in a threatening gesture, 'Can't a person get into a line without being...Oh!...Aren't you...um...one of the Olympic swimming team?'

'Well, yes I am, and please let me apologise. Guess it was my sports bag that tapped you on your...well when you stopped, Miss...er...'

'Rosemary. That is, not Miss Rosemary, Rosemary's my first name, and that's all right, I'm sure it was only an accident. You're travelling interstate on this flight too, right?'

'Um, yeah, seat seventeen...'

'What a coincidence, I'm in fifteen...'

'Could be the start of something big,' said Priscilla, breathlessly, joining Monique.

'Invisible match-making, I like it!' Monique replied, dragging her friend away toward the sign, and back into reality.

Eventually, the girls found their way through the restricted zones, past security check points and down into the holding bays where incoming and outgoing heavy cargo was separated, assessed, re-labelled, assigned and situated for dispatch or collection.

'Good grief!' said Priscilla, as she and Monique slipped into the vast area, 'where in the heck are we gonna find your folk's movie equipment. Would've been a whole lot easier when it was unloaded...'

'Not so,' said Harry's voice from Monique's Hand Activator, 'everything comes out and is loaded onto pallets. Your target might be right in the middle of all that. Here, it gets sorted: incoming, outgoing. All you have to do is find the right boxes and return the ring. Start looking.'

There were mountains of crates and containers in every shape and size and between them the girls were becoming more and more alarmed as they probed up and down the aisles without success. 'At least these night-sight goggles help a lot in the dark corners,' said Monique, venturing deeper into the maze.

'Are we sure that your Parent's stuff has even arrived here yet,' muttered Priscilla, turning about in absolute dismay and gazing up at the tall banks of boxes surrounding them.

'They have arrived,' came Harry's voice.

Distantly, the reverberating sound of huge, roller doors operating, began to fill the cavern.

'Here comes the next offload from the latest incoming flights. Get a move on or you'll be swamped. Go to the sound of the doors and follow the forklifts. See where they take their cargo. That should get you somewhere near your target. Right, now I'm gonna have a slurp of water, then check out your Dad's wine cellar.'

'What? For wine? Rats? Harry! You dirty rat! Don't leave us!'

'I'm not leaving you, just doing the rounds, stop procrastinating and get going.'

'Ohhh!' exclaimed Priscilla, stamping her foot in consternation, but Monique was already on the move. 'Come on, down here,' she beckoned and hurried forward.

By the time Monique and Priscilla arrived in the vicinity, the forklifts were already rattling away toward the doors that led out onto the open spaces of the tarmac beyond. However there were other pneumatic trolleys in abundance, operated by a number of airport staff and supervised by others checking inventory on mobile computers and lap-tops.

'Ergh!' said Priscilla, almost colliding with Monique. 'This ain't gonna be so easy. There are people all over the place!'

'We are invisible to them and they cannot hear us!' Monique hissed, starting forward. 'Just do not bump into anybody! Come on, begin searching!'

Eventually, Priscilla found what they were looking for inside a large wire cage. 'Here! Moni, over here!'

Dodging past a man pushing a trolley laden with packing crates and boxes, Monique joined her. 'Yes! Bateleur. J.M. These are of my parents! But how do we get inside them?'

'With this,' said Priscilla, producing a battered, red-handled screwdriver.

'You came prepared?'

'Nah, picked it up off a passing trolley. I'm not just a...well...I'm a face anyway,' Priscilla replied, then quickly went on, 'if we can prize open a corner of one of these crates holding your Mum and Dad's equipment we can slip the ring in...' She began levering away until she forced a gap wide enough to push the gold wedding ring through. 'Well,' she sighed, 'are you willing to take the chance? It's your choice Monique.'

'I have no choice, it must be done,' Monique replied, pushing the ring into the gap. 'All I can do is hope that it will be found by Mother or Father and not lost forever. Now, we have done what we came to do. We must get away and find the Black Eagle. Harry? Harry? Tell us what to do next? Harry? Are you there? Harry?'

'I'm still here, just jogging down the hall. Your Mum came in late tonight Priscilla...Had a cup of tea, rang your Dad and then went straight to bed. She looked exhausted...'

'Harry...Thanks for the update, but can we just get on with this? I'm going to press the Attractor button. We need to get back to school, it's...Oh gosh...it's almost six o'clock, Saturday morning!'

'Right, you both need to find your way out of the building onto the landing strips, and I'll bring the Black Eagle to you. Just got to get it free of the terminal and around...give me a few minutes...won't be too long...'

'Let's make our way toward the roller doors,' ventured Monique, giving the packing crate a little affectionate pat before turning to go.

'You look like a big blowey in those goggles,' giggled Priscilla, and just as Monique was about to ask what she meant, the voice of a man beyond the cage said, 'Ricky! Better shut this one down. It's full. Let's move on to the next.'

'Yeah, No worries. Time for smoko?'

'Right! Long night as usual. Shift knocks off in two hours... See ya outside mate.'

A gate clanged shut and a padlock snapped with a dull, metal clunk.

'We can't be locked in! Not now!' shrieked Monique, racing toward the cage gates. Frantically she crashed against the unyielding chains that held them prisoner, but of course any sound that the girls made was audible only to themselves. 'Priscilla! Harry! Please! We have to get out of here! My Mother and Father are probably somewhere in the building by now! We have to get out!'

'...doing the best I can, keep calm girls, the Black Eagle's now out of the terminal and heading over the building down to where the bays are...'

'Bloody hell Harry! We're locked in and no bolt-cutters, how are we going to break out?' muttered Priscilla, where she slumped, sagging against the mesh of the cage, her fingers clawed into the wire like some wild bird.

Ten minutes elapsed and the vast storage area lay silent. All activity had ceased. 'What are we going to do?' asked Monique, her face appearing haggard and stressed.

Priscilla could only manage a yawn that turned into a shudder, 'I don't know, kiddo. All we can do is wait until someone comes along to empty this holding cage of cargo. That might not happen until...'

'Phhnupph...Phunn...Phhunpph...Phunn...Phunn....Phhunnoughnuf...Phhunnoughnuf!' Strange sounds echoed from the shadows somewhere in the aisles beyond the cage.

'Whatever is th...' Monique began, but before she could continue, a man's voice cried out, 'Up along here? This where we're going boy?'

'Quick! Get back! It's a guy with a dog! Probably a drug-sniffer dog! And they're heading our way!' Priscilla moaned, dragging Monique from the gates and hustling her deeper into the rows of stacked items.

'Umm, let's see, yeah, hang on, got the key for this one somewhere...O.K. you reckon there's something in here, do ya boy?' There came a rattling as the chains fell against the wire mesh and the gates were dragged open. 'Right mate, do your stuff!' said the man. 'Go get 'em!'

After a moment of scuffling, there arose the sound of frantic claws scraping the concrete as the huge creature took off, bounding forward, it's nose "Phunnumphing" straight for the girls where they cowered, their backs pressed against solid timber crates.

'The Attractor gizmo,' shouted Priscilla, 'did Harry say whether the smell switch was turned off or...'

Before Monique could answer, the dog skidded to a halt directly in front of them, a long red tongue hanging from its gaping mouth.

'Ohh boy! He's a big baby and I think he knows we're here,' said Priscilla, her voice breaking as she and Monique stared directly into the unblinking gaze of the very large German Shepherd confronting them.

'What do we do now?' said Monique, her hands shaking. 'This Alsatian may not be able to see or hear us, but he must surely smell us. Perhaps if we very carefully separate...'

'Yeah, right. The old routine. No sudden movements, no direct eye-contact, back away quietly, yo!' said the dog, tilting its massive head to one side. 'And I'm not an Alsation...'

'Rolf?' exclaimed Priscilla in wonderment. 'You're Rolf!'

'Betcha booties I'm Rowlf, Rowlf!...Rowlf! An' now I'm gonna get my rump roasted for calling a false alarm man...er ma'am, but a least it'll get you both outta here, now go on, scram while you can!'

'What will you do?' asked Priscilla, suddenly feeling sorry that Rolf would be in trouble with his master, who was walking slowly towards them, idly flicking a torch beam amongst the rows of items.

'Keep looking like I'm searching out the bad guys' stuff and hope I get fed tonight. Say hello to Harry for me when you see him; hurry up, beat it before...' Rolf halted in mid sentence, his nostrils suddenly flaring. 'Hmmm, phunnumph, PHU-NNUMPH! Hey Man, over here! Eeny Meeny Miney Yo! I smell a stash of Amphetamo!' Just as his master arrived at the scene Rolf bounded away to the left of the two girls and disappeared into a narrow aisle. 'Rowlf! Rowlf! We've got a live one over here Dude! Fee Fy Fo Fum, Amphetamum! Amphetamum! C'mon Man, keep up, get with the program Daddio, Rowlf-rowlf! Gonna be eatin' steak this comin' eve, oohhh yeah! Halleluiah Dog! Er-God! Stay with me Man, just snuffin' it out right now...Ohh somebody's gonna get their cans canned...think I'd like a little side serving of that fishy stuff cats go for...'


'Welcome aboard again ladies,' said the voice as the two girls tumbled into the Black Eagle and the steel door slid shut behind them. Sunshine was pouring through the open windows on the eastern side of the craft where it sat on the tarmac, before the ports closed soundlessly and the interior was left glowing with an icy blue light.

'Rolf said to say hello Harry,' managed Priscilla, taking in great gulps of air and flopping onto a couch.

'Got you out of jail alright. Nice dude Rolf.'

'You know what he did?' said Priscilla.

'Sure, didn't think you'd need him, but when you got yourselves trapped in the slammer...'

'Got ourselves trapped! Why you...well...um...yeah...suppose we did really...' Priscilla concluded somewhat lamely.

'Erm, Monsieur Harry?' Monique interrupted.

'Yes Mademoiselle Monique?'

'I wonder if we could make a little diversion when we get back to Hopewell Hall this morning?'

'Like where to Moni?' asked Priscilla, surprised that Monique would be wanting to delay their arrival for even a second.

'I have been thinking again on it, about Roseanne Sole, and I should just like to check something out to satisfy my curiosity. It should not take very long.'

'Where would you like to go?' asked Harry.

'Up on the roof,' Monique answered.

'Umm, thought that might be the idea,' said Harry. 'Great song too, I'll sing you a few bars as we travel. I do a pretty fair rendition...'

'Forget it!' both girls called out together.

But of course it was no use, and the only good thing about Harry's yodelling was that the trip was short.


Chapter 9 [Next]
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