Attention! Attention! Tsunami alert! Tsunami alert!
The speakers on the church walls crackled over the dismal howl of sirens.
Dust of crumbled masonry rose from the collapsed reliquary amid screams and prayers for deliverance. I ran into the streets and made for Old Hand. I leaped onto the dock as the engine roared to life above the frenzied tumult of the throng. McWhirr had just cast off the dock lines when a repulsive splog pirate wielding a cutlass grabbed my monkey jacket and said in a malodorous, rasping tone: “Are you sure you want to close your Babylon account?”
A blast from the ship’s deck sent him sprawling into the rank harbor. McWhirr threw aside his smoking musket and hauled me over the rail before jamming the ship full throttle and steaming for deep water. A glazzy spam-bot, with wires dangling from her stove-in side, gushed at McWhirr as we bore away from the pier-head: “Look! It’s Gregory Peck! I saw you on MeTube. Can I have your autograph?”
We headed for open sea just as a group of cyber-ruffians thundered onto the wharf with a volley of deprecatory oaths and small arms fire.
Once clear of musket range, I lifted my head above the rail to inhale the sea air. It lay calm and of a such a limpid sheen that I fell into tranquil revery. It felt as if all the fetid smog of Babylon were dispelled by the sweet Levantine zephyrs that wafted over the sun-dappled main like Mother Gaia’s beneficent caress. I silently offered a prayer for the gentle hand that had rocked the Adamic cradle of mankind. It was as if I quaffed from the verdant spring of the mystic Green One of Araby-that master of masterless souls who wander the globe’s Byzantine seaways seeking the vivifying elixir of immorality.
“Look sharp, Mister Spencer.”
McWhirr’s cautionary words roused me to behold the distant horizon demarcated by an edge of deep ultramarine blue that advanced steadily upon our gallant ship.
“We’re in for some fun and games now.”