A fellow named Will Shakespeare once said, "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will." Now, I'm not much for the tortured sort of language old Will used, and I've never been a religious sort of guy, but sometimes when I think about the way things might have turned out, I wonder if there wasn't a divinity in it. My old Padre Tom Moore would say there was, but that's his job.
As always, there was the usual argument over assignments, and as always Artie won by shouting louder than anyone else.
"Pete and Myka, you are going to Hot Springs to get that mammoth tusk, and Claudia and Steve, you are going to Gillette, Wyoming, to get Buffalo Bill Cody's Spurs. Now go!"
And naturally all of Myka's warnings about the mischief Pete tended to get up to in museums went unheeded, as did Steve's whining about cowboy country and Pete's begging to get to track down Buffalo Bill's spurs and his stupid bowlegged gait and finger-six-shooters. Claudia was the only who was happy about the assignments, and that was only because she had a mischievous glint in her eye when she looked at Steve, as if she couldn't wait to get him near horses and their by-products again.
Hot Springs, South Dakota, was only about an hour south of the Warehouse. It would have been a quick snag-and-bag situation if they hadn't found the mammoth tusk, recently excavated from an ongoing dig, currently turning the mammoth museum back into the sinkhole that had trapped several hundred mammoths and made the town of Hot Springs into such a fertile dig site. By the time Myka and Pete had snagged it, they were soaked, covered in mud, and exhausted, and the dig contained a new skeleton, that of a tourist trapped deep in the sink hole before it turned back into the dig site.
"This is going to mess up their whole dating system," Myka said worriedly.
"Really? The archaeologists are allowed to date the tourists?" Pete asked. "Wish I'd known that."
"Pete! The dating of the remains! They have a modern human body in there with the mammoth skeletons! It's going to ruin their whole system! Maybe I should go back in and explain…"
"Explain what? A magic mammoth tusk? Come on, Mykes. We need to get back to the Warehouse. I got a weird vibe."
Always alert to Pete's vibes, Myka hurried herself muddily back into the car, and they shot away north toward Univille.
It was two hours to Gillette, Wyoming, from the Warehouse, but Pete and Myka got back just as Claudia and Steve were pulling up. Steve's precious Prius looked a little the worse for wear, as did Steve.
"How did it go with Buffalo Bill's Spurs?" Myka asked, while Claudia stared at them and demanded, "What happened to you?"
"Just a little mud wrestling with mammoths," Pete smirked. "What's wrong, Jinksey?"
"I hate horses," Steve muttered.
"I actually can't wait to do the report on this one," Claudia laughed. "I wish you could have seen Jinskey turning into Buffalo Bill and performing on horseback! You're a natural, Jinksey."
"Oh, give it a rest," he snapped and stalked into the Umbilical.
The moment he entered the Umbilical, Pete gasped, "Oh man. I've got a bad vibe, Mykes."
They ran and emerged into the Warehouse to find alarms going off all over the place.
"Artifacts are loose!" Myka gasped. "Where's Artie?"
Claudia threw herself at the computer. "Hitler's Microphone! You'll need earplugs! The Titanic Driftwood! Take the thermal jackets! Nero's Lyre! You need the Freezing Snowglobe! Socrates' Goblet! The Snowglobe should work on that, too!"
She continued shouting at them while they gathered items and finally, well-armed, they charged into the fray.