It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...


Whoops! In my haste to post the coolest thing ever, I neglected to include the most important two chapters in the middle! I've added them to the original post, but also am writing them here so those who've already read it don't have to read it alllllll over again.

Additionally, the text is also available in a slightly better-formatted, uh, format, at Enjoy.

"How did we get into the Austrian Museum of Art before it opened?" Lucy asked.

"Mr. Evilman pulled some strings," Hank Gideon replied. "It was good of him to do so, because I wanted a chance to see this painting before the crowds came in."

The painting the two stood in front of was a large oil painting. In it, a statue of an angel stood in front of an open door, ushering two people inside. One person, the man, was ruggedly handsome with salt-and-pepper hair, and the woman was attractive yet intelligent-looking with red hair. A sign above the statue read "VIENNA OPERA."

"We have had a copy of this painting in the sitting room at University College for as long as I can remember," Gideon explained. "In fact, just before the lights went out and Dr. Greenslade died, he was staring intently at this very painting. I think it may have something to do with our mystery."

"Very curious," Lucy said. "What's the painting called?"

"Angel Showing A Historian And His Attractive Colleague Where To Uncover The Secrets They Strive To Find," Gideon said.

"What an odd name," Lucy mused. "I wonder what it means?" Then the bell rang, and the museum opened.

Hank Gideon said, "This is where the trail leads." He and Lucy Cartwright stood in a dim alcove underneath the stage of the Vienna Opera House. In front of them was a marble statue of an angel, its hand outstretched.

"Look familiar?" Gideon asked Lucy.

"Not really, no," Lucy replied.

"It's the angel statue that was in the painting we saw earlier today," Gideon said. Lucy made surprised noises of recognition.

"It's so creepy," Lucy said. "Look! No matter where you stand in the room, the statue's eyes refuse to follow you."

"Yes," Gideon said, hurriedly consulting his notes. "It's a subtle masterpiece of sculpture and design. In fact, only one of a few handful of sculptors could have achieved this effect. The opera house has no such records, but I do believe the sculptor of this statue was a man by the name of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich."

"Is there a connection to the vast conspiracy we're trying to research in secret?" Lucy asked.

"I do believe so," Gideon said. "But it appears we're at a dead end, unless we can discover the secret of this statue. Look, on the pedestal. There's a strange inscription." The strange inscription read:
"What language is that?" Lucy asked quizzically. "It's not Latin, or Austrian, or Medici, or Ubbi-Dubbi."

"I'm not sure, either," Gideon murmured, walking around the statue base. "And frankly, I'm beginning to think that we've pursued a red herring. This whole thing might very well be one big backwards chas-- wait!"


"One big backwards chase... yes, yes, Lucy, that's it! Read the statue inscription backwards!"

"NRUT ETH DAEH?" Lucy said.

"No, no," Gideon said. "Read the letters backwards, too!"

"Oh," Lucy said. Then, "TURN... THE... HEAD."

"Exactly!" Gideon exclaimed, climbing to the top of the pedestal. He grasped the angel's head and turned it clockwise. Nothing happened. He tried turning it counter-clockwise. The angel's head turned with a groan, and then slid into place with a rusty click. Behind the statue, there was a grinding noise. Then a wall behind the statue began to move, sliding behind the other wall to reveal a secret passage leading down.

"I knew I should have tried counter-clockwise first," Gideon mused, as he stepped down from the statue and headed towards the passage.

"Read the letters backwards!" Lucy said. "You're a genius, Hank Gideon. I never would have thought of that."

"No time for accolades," Gideon said. "We must find out what's at the end of this passage."

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