Open the envelope, Nancy!" urged George and Bess in tandem.
"All right, hold your horses!" Nancy smiled at her friends. Nancy Drew was an attractive eighteen-year-old with strawberry-blonde hair, being played on the Holodeck by Moroccan journalist and adventurer Fatima Michelle Vieuchanger. George Fayne, an athletic but pretty brunette with a boy's name, was being portrayed by Nguyen Van Tho, a Vietnamese-American former cup-flipper with no hands. Bess Marvin was George's plump, girlish cousin.
On a rainy day in River Heights, the three girls were watching re-runs of Princess Diana's funeral on the giant TV in the Drews' living room after dropping some acid. It seemed like there were billions and billions of pulsating flowers in front of Buckingham Palace! Carson Drew, Nancy's father and a well-known lawyer, had just brought in the mail, including a large manila package.
"What is it, Nancy?" asked Mr. Drew.
"It's the medical records on Mr. Leary that you requested for me," Nancy explained. Her father often helped her solve mysteries, and in this case he had pulled some strings to obtain a subpoena. Timothy Leary — a former Harvard professor who became an advocate of LSD use, space travel, and "cyberspace neurologic" — had died the year before under puzzling circumstances, live on the web.
"'The goal of the neurologician,'" George quoted the dead professor, "'is to increase not just consciousness, but intelligence.'"
"I'll have to think about that one," intoned Mr. Drew. "Well, I've got to leave on my preplanned business trip now," the lawyer said, then kissed his daughter on the forehead. "Hannah has some snacks in the kitchen for you young detectives." Hannah Gruen was the Drews' loving housekeeper, an ideal replacement for Nancy's mother, who died when Nancy was three. Hannah used to be black and grossly stereotyped, before the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories were rewritten in the 1970s.
"Goodbye, Dad," Nancy said.
"Have a nice trip, Mr. Drew," George said, and Bess giggled.
On the TV, Princess Di's brother Charles Spencer was delivering his celebrated eulogy: "... Of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this — a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age."
Thoughts raced madly through Nancy's brain as she struggled to make connections. Goddess ... boyish and athletic, like George ... hunting, death ... hunted, on the Holodeck ... as she had been, in a previous adventure, playing the part of Diana ... Got to ... think!
Suddenly Nancy felt something cool and crinkly in her hands. The manila envelope — she'd forgotten all about it!