Sam wasn’t quite sure how the girl was travelling as her scooter was still parked on the grass about fifty yards away behind him. His comlink was counting out the minutes aloud while some of the scientists had ordered a large portable scanner to be put into place to record her return.
Nine minutes after she had left; the scanner was started on as high a speed setting as possible, consistent with reasonable quality pictures. He was beginning to feel a little nervous as the time passed. After all scanner time was very expensive and he could see all the profits the models had made for his research programme, disappearing in front of his eyes.
Obviously the scientists thought it was worth the cost. If there was any possibility of finding out how the travel spell operated it would be well worth the money spent. Just imagine; free virtually instantaneous travel wherever you wanted to go! Then it happened, without any time to blink, the girl reappeared inside the circle clutching a well-filled shopping bag.
She handed over the bag full of teeth, then noticed the scanner and strolled over for a closer look. Sam hurried across the circle just in case there was any trouble, but he needn’t have worried. The scanner operator was flicking a switch up and down, muttering under his breath at the same time. Sam joined the girl and looked over her shoulder at the screen that was now displaying her arrival inside the circle.
The operator looked round at them and shrugged his shoulders helplessly. “It’s set on one hundred frames a second, in one frame she’s there and in the frame before she’s not. That’s what I call instantaneous, or for want of a better word, magic!”
Jennifer Jane smiled happily at Sam. “Good that’s all right then! Now would it be alright if I went to see what’s happening to the teeth?”
She followed Sam back into the building along the now familiar corridors leading to the chemistry laboratory. The teeth had been parcelled out on a bench, each small heap having a label to identify the experiment. One man was grinding the samples to a powder, while another was stirring the result into separate small pots containing different coloured liquids.
He explained the process to her as she approached the bench and showed some interest in the procedure. “It shouldn’t take too long miss,” he said, “we’re using a small standard test piece to try out the samples in order to find the best results.”
He pointed to another bench where a small version of the laser head in the production department was rapidly making small blocks of one inch sided cubes. Yet another scientist was inspecting the cubes and shaking his head in disappointment before marking the results on a clipboard.
“Nothing acceptable so far,” he said as they came in, “they’re all too coarse, or else the bonding fluid is too thick to work with the laser!”
He picked up the pot containing the next sample and placed it under the laser head, before pressing a button. A minute later he tried to remove the cube from the solution, but it fell apart in his fingers as he did so. A very large black cross went down in the appropriate space on his board. He picked up the next pot with a sigh and began the process all over again.
“I’m beginning to suspect that this isn’t going to work,” said Jennifer Jane, “but I’ve been thinking. We need to find an outlet for the surplus teeth. One way would be for me to teach any witches you may have in this world how to combine them into large lumps. I’m sure that the laser could be adjusted to burn away material using the same photographic technique that you have already. The only difference would be the use of real teeth and the fact that the models are carved from solid, instead of built up from a liquid.”
“I believe someone has been trying to find witches in this world ever since you asked the question when you first arrived,” said Sam. He spoke into his comlink for a moment. “I’ve just been told that there is a local group and their most senior member is being brought here as I speak. If we go outside again she should be arriving at your landing site any minute now.”