Deep in the shadows, something moved. It was tiny, so small that even if anyone was in the school at this time of night, it was doubtful they would notice it. But the corridors it scuttled through were empty, save the leering faces of murals on the wall. Whatever it was, it had enough of an AI to realise that the principal here must really like murals. The thing had four legs, blurring with the speed of its movement as it crossed a section of open ground. It climbed up onto a filing cabinet, before going down the other side and pausing in front of the lock on one of the draws.

Briefly, the thing considered attempting to break in… but that was too simple. These people were clever now; they kept things as digital data. Much harder to get if you're a thief. Much easier to get if you've got a knack for technology.

It hopped across onto one of the desks in the office, and pushed the button on the computer. After a ridiculously long start-up sequence, the machine finally displayed a cheery screen – 'Welcome to Moperville High Security Systems. Please validate your identity in the box below'. Not that that would be needed. The thing wandered around to the back and plugged it's leg into a socket.

If it had had a voice, the resultant swearing would have taken out all the windows in this section of the school. Checking carefully to make sure this was the right socket this time; it inserted a second leg that wasn't sparking mournfully into a data port. The connection wasn't perfect, but it was enough. Seconds later, the firewall lay in metaphorical pieces on the floor, and the thing, whatever it was, was rummaging around the server. It was honestly a miracle that the school had such an advanced system – the thing knew that the automatic sprinkler system didn't work and that the fire alarm did not connect to the local fire service.

Eventually, it found the first of the records it was looking for. T Verres… but there were others, and it only had image records of those: the conversation had been too much for its forbearer to keep up with while simultaneously distracted by… other things.

The image search returned three files: S Brown, T Pompoms, and E Dunkel. The final entry had pictures of two of the people the thing was looking for – one a boy, the other a girl. This discrepancy aside, it continued to search in vain for three more records. One was for a Grace Sciuridae, but if events were as parallel as they should be to what the thing new well, hers shouldn't be here anyway.

Having searched all the school records, the thing broadcast what information it had to others of its kind, who lay in wait at the entrance to the school. These targets would be good enough for now, but it also sent out a message to be on the look out for the others. While not as sophisticated in physical forms of intelligence gathering as this thing, its brethren still had what amounted to eyes and ears, and it was simple enough for the thing to monitor the eight incoming signals at once.

Its work completed, the thing hopped off the desk and scuttled back to the exit, somewhat hampered by its damaged leg. Meanwhile, others set off across the street network of Moperville, avoiding what few passersby there were as they each homed in on a target. The four without anything to do hung about waiting for further orders: should the location of the remaining three targets be discovered, they were ready to scuttle into action. Tonight was going to be a most interesting night…