Cam thought he could even hear answering shouts from outside the Bowl.
"Turn up the gain again."
"Will you place in the hands of your servants, the Christian Soldiers, all powers necessary to crush the barbarian tide?" This last was fairly screamed. Sowles was draped across the podium, arms outstretched to the audience.
"YES! YES! YES!" thundered the reverberating response.
Fife, drum, and cornet struck up "Onward" very softly.
"_Will you follow me to the_ ends of the earth--to the very gates of Red Hell itself--destroying every obstacle in our path--until the Anti-Christ has been annihilated root and branch, and we have come into our Kingdom? _Will you follow ME??!_"
Pandemonium. The crowd surged into the aisles, falling in with the Choral Guard, singing, shouting, weeping.
"He hit high C," said Ev.
"Full gain," said Cam.
Ev gulped more skull-buster and stroked the "amplifier" in the region of the pancreas.
Sowles' arms were uplifted, and one of Cam's clever little effects haloed his flying locks.
"KILL THE REDS!" he shrilled.
"Kill ... REDS ... KILL ... REDS ..." chanted the crowd, in time to the drum.
The bright feral light of the super-mongoose's eyes seemed to lance at Sowles, like an infra-red flash. Then there was a puff where the would-be messiah had stood--a crackle, and a smell of scorched air; but no more Sowles.
"He's gone!" said Curt.
"You're damn right, and thank God for it," said Cam, ministering to Ev who had slumped unconscious from his chair.
The mob broke up uncertainly, with the disappearance of the focus for its concerted bloodlust. The police asked many questions but none of the right ones. Finally, Cam, Ev, and Curt escaped to the waiting limo and started the long slow crawl downhill.
"Now--give," said Ev.
"Feedback. That's why I had you unleash Mighty Mouse. All that hate in hundreds of millions of people _had_ to boomerang back through your _Gestalt_ in some psi-fashion ... although I did not anticipate the pyrotechnics--or should I say pyrokinetics?"
"But what for, Cam?" asked Curt. "I've never seen such an effective job of mass influence."
"He could have been elected President tomorrow," said Ev.
"That's just it--we did too good a job. And I think that's the way your Tibetan quarterback wanted it." Cam tilted Ev's flask. "Sowles was a cinch to go all the way, which would have meant all-out war. Maybe your junior Fu Manchu figured he could pick up the pieces afterwards."
"How could he know you'd have a character like Sowles all set to go?" Ev said. "Oh, I get it--precognition. It's fortunate that his crystal ball didn't read as far as the outcome tonight."
"In any case, we'd better get your Pathan over here, and start rebuilding your _Gestalt_," said Cam. "You won't hear from the Panchen--he's undoubtedly constructing a new, all-Red unit right now.
After this bit, psi faculties, including telempathy, have to be considered another weapons family in the Cold War ... a new set of pieces of the big chessboard. So you're going to have to find a substitute for the Himalayan Quiz Kid, and git crackin'."
"I'll consider your application," said Ev, giving his flask the _coup de grace_; and the lights of L.A. rushed up around them like a huge breaker--gaudy, garish, and beautifully comprehensible.