30th April 1973
In a classroom sat a boy. Brown hair with piercing blue eyes, in a school uniform like any other. The best word to describe him, might be as a pretty child, but at thirteen he had begun to outgrow, and would certainly have resented the label.
He sat at a desk, writing his name over and over again, a penalty he had earned by forgetting to put his name on yet another piece of homework. Write it out one hundred times. The teachers didn't seem to understand how boring the school work was, and this just made it more boring. Just his name over and over again.
Stephen, Stephen, Stephen . . .
In the Lab John sat up. He thought he had heard something, some sort of telepathic message. He moved over to the table and sat down, and spreading out his hands on its top surface, he concentrated.
*Stephen, Stephen, Stephen.*
"TIM, that isn't Carol or Kenny, is it?"
The urbane voice that the Tomorrow People had come to trust answered immediately.
"No, John. It does not appear to be."
"Maybe I should answer?"
"I would not advise it, John. Not yet at any rate."
He tried to concentrate on the telepathic message again, but it was gone.
*Yes, John. I heard it too.*
*Can you come here quickly?*
*I think so. Give me a few minutes, I need to find an excuse. Some of them are wearing a bit thin.*
Kenny came in at that point, right on cue.
*Do you want me John?*
*After school, Kenny. Your mother doesn't like you missing classes.*
*But John . . .*
*Neither do I.*
Kenny fell silent.
John leaned back.
"Any ideas, TIM?"
"Only one. Perhaps the name Stephen means something to the person sending the message. Most likely it is their own name."
"Yes, I suppose so," said John in a doubtful tone. "But what type of person sends a telepathic message repeating their name over and over again." His tone sharpened. "Unless Stephen is trying to make contact."
"What's possible?" asked Carol stepping off the pad.
"That this Stephen is a new Tomorrow Person trying to make contact with us."
"Well, then, maybe we should contact him, John. Let him know he has made contact."
"I think so, yes. We'll try when Kenny gets here. That way the two of you can try and triangulate his position."
"Besides, if we don't wait for Kenny, he'll never forgive us," observed Carol.
John smiled. "True enough."
"Right, you two. Carol, you go to the park, Kenny, you go to -"
"Tower Bridge?" asked Kenny hopefully.
"All right, Tower Bridge, but be careful. We don't want you falling off again."
"I was only little."
"It was last week!"
"Do I look big to you?"
John looked at the irrepressible boy, and found it difficult not to laugh. "All right, get your map and go. Wait until I signal, then we'll try and contact Stephen."
John walked over and sat down at the table as Kenny and Carol disappeared from the Jaunting pad. He gave them a few seconds to get into place.
Stephen turned into the market on his way home. He walked along looking at the stalls. A few yards behind him two men climbed off motorcycles.
John sat in the Lab.
*Are you ready, Kenny?*