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Andromeda

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Ray supposed it was very mythological, being chained to a rock waiting for something unpleasant to slither out of the sea and eat you. Perhaps in the years and centuries ahead, people might paint pictures of her, or bards might relate her tale on cold winter evenings. But from the point of view of the person in the chains, the situation had little to recommend it. Her wrists and ankles ached where the manacles held them to the rock; her clothes, soaked with cold spray, clung to her uncomfortably; and, of course, if someone didn't do something she'd very soon be sliding down a sea-monster's throat.

"Halt."

That was the other thing. If anybody did approach from the landward side, they'd have to talk their way past the guards who had put her there. As far as she was concerned, they were talking statues; the Doctor had taken issue with that and come up with a long, complicated description that she strongly suspected meant 'talking statues'. At any rate, the statues wouldn't let anyone pass until they could solve three riddles, all of which relied on detailed knowledge of a mythology she'd never heard of.

"None shall pass unless they prove their worth," the statue's voice intoned. From where Ray was chained, she couldn't see who was trying to challenge them this time. Some local kid who fancied his chances of becoming a hero, she supposed. There'd been a few who'd tried, and found the statues most unforgiving of failure.

"Answer the questions, and you may pass," the voice went on. "Name the three gatekeepers of the Court of Melkris."

There was a pause. Then a voice that Ray recognised all too well said "How long do I get to think it over, rockface?"

"Delay will be punished."

"Yeah," Ace's voice said. "But is it more than ten seconds? Just aski—"

The coast echoed to the sound of a boom that had nothing to do with the sea. It was followed by what sounded remarkably like the remains of two statues cracking apart as they hit the ground.

Almost immediately, Ace appeared in Ray's field of view, wading through the surf to the rock.

"You OK, Spanners?" she asked.

"All the better for seeing you," Ray said. "Can you get me out of here without blowing me to bits?"

With a flourish, Ace produced a hefty screwdriver. "Give it a go," she said.

"Thanks." Ray leaned back against the rock as Ace began to prise the first manacle open. "Oof, your hair's singed. How close were you to that nitro when it went off?"

"Closer than I liked," Ace admitted. "I think the timer—"

"I'll have a look at the design if you like." Ray stiffened, looking over Ace's shoulder at the sea. "Do you have any more of that nitro, by the way?"

"Why?"

"Because there's something big out there. And I think it's coming this way."

"Don't worry." The first manacle snapped open, and Ace leaned across Ray to start on the second. "We're no-one's tub of fishfood."