Chapter 42: Fade To Ray

Author: Mallory Keaton
Date: 29th April 1998

As the roar faded away Erica found herself looking at what appeared to be a freight system with menu entries: Schedule; Crew; Cargo; Route; Accounts.

"What tha fuck?" exhaled Renny.

She clicked on Schedule. There were detailed entries with docking, loading and departure dates for ships all over the world.

"Hey there's one leaving Sydney," Renny pointed out.

The Anthony Michael Hall had left Botany Bay four days earlier. She clicked on Routes to see where it was now. The ship was supposed to be off Cape York, six days before docking at Vanuatu. After that it would go through the Suez Canal to arrive in Helsinki, but its name changed to The Diamond.

Erica and Renny spent the next hour going through the CD for any information that could fit the jigsaw of facts they already knew. Although Renny, who got bored when he wasn't allowed to drive the mouse, had taken off on the snow mobile that was conveniently parked down the road and had the keys in to buy salmon and potatoes.

As far as Erica could tell, the CD's information had most recently been updated about a week ago. But there was nothing to identify what company that had produced the CD. No handy About or Readme file. There was only a small icon of a tiger's eye at the top left hand corner of each screen.

She did find one interesting fact. In the Accounts Payable was an amount of 730,000 Finnish marks to be paid to one Riekelt van Slooten, of PO Box 499, Byron Bay, for receipt of 100,000 units of Floral Stationery. Van Slooten? Floral? Sure everyone needs stationery, Erica thought, but what the fuck would the Slaöøüväääd want with floral stationery? For condolence notes to the bereaved of their victims?

So Flikka must have stashed the CD under the bench in the sauna, wanting to hide the evidence of his Slaöøüväääd documentary, she thought.

What Erica didn't know was that the CD's information was already out of date. Thanks to a prolonged debate in the High Court over whether tea breaks formed part of the Constitution's loosely defined human rights, the Anthony Michael Hall was still in Sydney.

As his eyes became accustomed to the light, Rex saw he was in the ship's hold, surrounded by cardboard boxes. He could see a name on the waybills -- Van Slooten -- and a Byron Bay address. Through the side of one box he could see stacks of pink petunia patterned stationery. He edged closer to the boxes.

"And I wonder what Erica will think when she finds out her journalist friend lost the Gold Logie to Lisa McCune," van Slooten continued. "I always knew you never had a hope in hell of beating her!"

Lisa McCune? Lisa McCune? This time, Rex lost his cool, in a big way. He leant against the cardboard boxes, really hard. Nothing happened. Thinking back to Smilla, he couldn't actually think of a situation where she was up against recalcitrant cardboard boxes, but he tried again anyway. This time the box fell to the ground, ripping along one side and spilling its contents across the floor. Van Slooten and his henchmen swore and rushed over to pick it up. Rex ran towards the light. As he stumbled along the deck with his hands and feet bound, he saw a familiar face. It was Ray Martin, down on the waterfront to shoot a tea break promo for A Current Affair.

"Ray! Help! Ray!"

Ray turned around, with one hand holding his hair in place.

"Rex? Is that you? You look terrible. Let's get makeup over here!"

Rex suddenly remembered his accident from earlier.

"Oh no."