By Gary McGath
Copyright 2008 by Gary McGath. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fan fiction. All trademarks, references to published works of fiction, and allusions to familiar characters are for purposes of entertainment or satire only. This is not a commercial work and is not offered for sale.
"Hermioport, you've been sitting at that computer for hours like a z --"
"Like a what?" Hermioport glared at Rom, but since her eyes didn't blink, that was nothing unusual.
"Never mind." He went over to look at the laptop, and saw she was playing Droll Time Plot. "What? I wouldn't think you'd be hooked on this stupid game!"
"I have my reasons."
"OK, OK. Anyway, do you know where Genie is? She missed her classes today."
"I haven't seen her since yesterday."
"That's got me worried. I'm going to ask the housemaster."
Genie didn't show up in the next four days, in spite of a search throughout the building and the grounds.
Rom talked to Hugh. "Can we check the Chamber of Encryption tonight? It's one place the faculty might not know about." Hugh agreed.
It was 3:00 in the morning when they made their stealthy way to the trans-dimensional corridor, which connected the fourth and seventh floors. They carried a crowbar, a hammer, flashlights, and some other small tools. They walked into the wall and, as they had a year ago, found themselves walking on the ceiling. They went up the stairs and turned on their flashlights in the dark passage.
They entered the room which had housed the Programmer's Printer and turned on the light. It was empty except for an old wooden table. There were scratch marks on the floor where the heavy printer had been. The broken blocks on the floor, where the thing that had killed Lord Petitmol had broken through, were smoothed over. They closed the door behind them to reduce the noise they'd make.
It was hard work with the crowbar, but they finally got one concrete block out of the floor. Hugh bent down with his flashlight. "There's a room down there, all right. I can't see anything from this angle, but the floor's at least eight feet down."
Rom crowded next to him. "Genie? Are you down there?" There was no answer. "How will we get down there without breaking our necks?"
"If anyone brought the Eye down there, or if Genie's in the room, there must be an easier way to go down than jumping."
Hugh spotted something behind the block he'd removed and pointed his flashlight at it. "Look there! It's a book!" He tried to reach it.
"Let me try," said Rom. Bending precariously down into the hole, he pulled an ancient, massive volume out. They read the cover:
"My god!" said Hugh.
Translated from the Arabic
"What is it?"
"It's the legendary book of the mad mathematician, Al-Khuwarizmi! The word 'algorithm' is named after him. People who read too much of it are known to go crazy. The only known copy is in the MIT Library, and it's not available to the public."
"How do you know all this?"
"You know what I am, Rom."
"And it scares me."
They took the book to the table and opened it to the first page. It contained only two lines:
That does not end which can infinite lie,
And with strange attractors even death may die.
"Does that mean anything to you?" asked Rom.
"It means that the one we thought was dead ... might not be."
"What? $DARK_LORD? But we saw him strangled!"
"I don't know how, but somehow ..."
The door opened with a creak.