Finale – Now Available!
“Don’t like the skull,” says Tycho, pointing at the skull. “Not a big fan of the skull.”
He looks back at the curator, his expression meek. “Sorry about all this, before,” he adds, limply waving his ghost-o-meter.
Euripedes Hark takes the measure of this as he observes a waxen caveman trying desperately to screw a fire extinguisher in the middle of his temple to the human creative drive. “Well, we are here now,” he asserts, without giving any hints as to how he feels about that state of affairs.
“You really should move the armor, though,” suggests The Scholar. “You can have that one for free. That part was actually sort of real.”
“Noted,” emits Dr. Hark, idly examining his watch, or what would have been his watch if he had remembered to wear it. The cuff was nice enough, of course; his position at the museum afforded him his choice of shirts. Even so, this particular shirt had no idea what time it was, and could not tell him.
“The missing painting is old,” relates Hark, gazing at the space where the painting had recently been, determining that a big picture of a skull was not an acceptable substitute, but allowing that it might attract a different clientele - those who consider such things sweet.
“How old?” inserts Brahe.
“Incredibly, beautifully, painfully old,” says the curator, and each word is quieter than the last.
“How Goddamned old?”
“It is as old as a painting can be,” whispers Hark. It doesn’t sound like an exaggeration.
“I’ll put up with that for now,” says Tycho, his right eye narrowing slightly, “because you’re asking me to do something I would have done anyway.” He turns to see Gabriel flipping off the Tyrannosaur, decides you have to pick your battles, and lets it ride. “Just so we’re on the same page, your painting isn’t the only ‘incredibly old thing’ stolen in the last hour.”
The curator does not breathe. Then: “What was it, if I may ask?”
“The Necrowombicon. Turns up in the weirdest places. Spooky cover, but blank all the way through.”
“People say something similar about the pieces in my care,” explains Hark. “It’s a common enough mistake, Mr. Brahe. Thinking that a work has nothing to say, simply because it has nothing to say to you.”
Hauling shut the heavy doors to the exhibit hall, Tycho Brahe seeks out a nearby stanchion and braces the entrance. He gestures toward exit at the end of the long hallway with a twitch of his neck and Gabriel receives the message, putting the urn he was playing with back on its dais, a dais which reads “Do Not Touch” in almost comically large letters.
As they turn to leave, the curator’s expression becomes quizzical. “But…” He is trying to find a way to say the obvious without being didactic, and fails. He jerks a thumb at the door. “There’s… That is to say, there are... Really rather a lot of hominids.”
“Crank up the thermostat,” says Tycho, looking over his shoulder. “We’ll be in touch.”