The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 26

Yes, brand new. I know it is. So there. Phphttt!


The Alibi – Chapter 26

Jensen hurried to Bates’s sonar station. “What is it?”

Bates put an incoming signal on speakers. “Hear that?”

Jensen looked at the speakers. “It’s what we heard before, right? Or something similar? This sounds more like some kind of church organ or calliope. Some kind of music. This is from in the water?

Bates turned volume down. “You’re close regarding instrumentation. Don’t know if it’s music. What you’re hearing are what musicians call voices. Like in an orchestra, each separate violin is a voice within the strings, each trumpet is a voice within the brass.” She adjusted some sliders on her boards. “Here they are with more separation.”

Jensen’s eyes went wide. “My god, how many voices is that?”

“Sherlock separated close to a thousand ranging from infra- to utra-sound.”

“Whoever’s doing this has some incredible sonoscopic equipment. Better than ours?”

Bates made more adjustments. “Listen again. What do you notice?”

Jensen shrugged.

Bates handed her a second set of earphones. “Now listen. What do you hear?”

Jensen closed her eyes, focused, and a moment later removed the headphones. “Can’t be. You bullshitting me?”

Bates put the signal on speakers. “Breathing. And organic, not machine-made. Sherlock scanned for AI telltales and came up with none.” She flipped some switches and a monitor showed eight waveforms, two across and four down. “Notice anything else?”

“There all the same note? Frequency? Pitch?”

“Close enough and only becuase Sherlock’s showing it that way. Those voices – that chorus – is probably the most powerful LRAD in existence. Except it produces a much tighter and more concentrated phonic beam. It’s an acoustic laser.Imagine a sound so concentrated it can explode things, like a soprano shattering a wine glass, except this could explode water. Lots of water. Sonoluminescence on overdrive, on steroids, like nobody’s ever imagined before.”


“There’s the rub. It’s coming in from about three-hundred miles out. At the shelf break.”

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