Belle turns and looks at the mirror behind her. Even from just a few steps away it looks perfectly normal. No sign of dimensional flux or portal to the strange and empty house. She locks the parlor door after herself and heads straight to her own extensive library.
She is certain that the large tome in Aramaic she saw on the shelf is the ancient original of a book that she has in a more modern translation. Fortunately, the equations will be the same in both.
Hours creep by in the cold library as Belle continues to search for answers. As the grey light of dawn starts to creep over the horizon Belle’s questions have turned to burning suspicions without answers.
With a groan of frustration Belle throws down her glasses and rings for a pot of tea and some breakfast. There is one person in the Aerodrome who can possibly provide answers, and he won’t be very happy to see her.
An hour later Belle enters the the Aerodome laboratory complex. Two interns flutter after her helplessly as she barges into Dr. Dane’s personal laboratory. One glance at Belle’s set features and he gestures to the interns “Leave us.”
“I’m running short on sleep and patience,” states Belle. “I know about the port instabilities. I’ve just traveled through my own parlor mirror. I have no idea WHERE I went, but I know as sure as god made little green apples, that I know *how* I got there.”
“Madame Belle I assure you…” Dr. Dane begins.
“No, Doctor! Let me assure YOU; if you don’t tell me what is going on around here, I will blow this story so wide and high you won’t be able to get a job cleaning equipment in any laboratory in ANY of the known dimensions!”
“Madame please!” interjects Dane. “Let me explain… it is true we have been experiencing some port instabilities…”
“SOME! My parlor mirror certainly wasn’t a trans-dimensional transport device when I purchased it!”
“Well, perhaps more than we’d like the general public to know about, but I assure you that we are making every effort to ensure not only the stability of our transport hubs, but everyone’s safety at the Aerodrome…”
Belle’s silence causes Dane to stammer to a halt. As he stares into Belle’s cold eyes, he takes a deep breath and makes a decision.
“Are you at all familiar with the concept behind lenticular lenses?”
“Of course replies,” Belle - “the Alhambra Club is using a lenticular screen for those new 3D picture shows.”
“Yeesss… That is one application, but I was thinking more of the use in printing. Lenticular prints are graphics that, when viewed with a lenticular lens allow the viewer to see different images depending on the angle at which they view it.”
“Quite” drawls Belle, “but what does that have to do with parlor mirrors and Port failures?”
“Yes, …. yes, indeed … What I was getting at is that the under certain… ehm… conditions, there are particular lenticular crystals that used in conjunction with reflective lenses create a fractal progression of dimensional energies.”
“Well, er… those fractal progressions increase rather than decrease the dimensional fluctuations and are causing the port stability issues as well as the , ahem, … other situations.”
“Well then you need to suspend whatever ridiculous experiments you’re conducting, that — “
“Madame!” snaps Dr Dane, “My experiments are to find the source of the fractal progressions. These instabilities are not the result of anything the Aerodrome or my departments are doing.”
“So have you identified the source?”
“Actually, er, *a-hem*…. I believe I have.”
As Dane pauses, one well groomed eyebrow silently slides upward in Belle’s otherwise still face.
Uhm, well, er …yes… — it’s the Widow Millport.”
“ROSEMARY!?” Belle gasps, shocked.
“Not precisely. Rather, it’s her crystal spectacles.”
“Then we need to pay *dear* Rosemary a visit.”