Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters I have borrowed from MI High.
Oscar has disappeared and help comes from an unexpected source.
Carrie and Rose had to help clear up the dining room ready for the following morning's breakfast. Mrs Peabody came over to speak to them.
"Thankyou ladies for all your help. You've worked exceptionally hard this evening so I've decided it's only fair to give you all of tomorrow off," she announced.
Carrie and Rose smiled, "Thanks Mrs Peabody." The housekeeper nodded and left.
"That's a stroke of luck," whispered Rose to Carrie. "We've got a major search on our hands tonight. If SKUL have got their hands on Oscar, well, I don't know," she tailed off.
"I know. We're going to find him Rose. We just are," said Carrie in a determined voice. The dining hall had cleared now, apart from Oscar's friend Illya who seemed to be searching around for something.
"Have you seen Alexi ? You know, blonde curly hair, usually very untidy ? Looked pretty hot tonight though yes ?" asked Illya lifting his eyebrows up and down.
Rose and Carrie had to laugh in spite of the situation. "No, sorry. He must have gone to bed," suggested Rose.
"Yes, good idea," replied Illya. "Goodnight," and he left to go upstairs.
They had turned off all the lights in the room when Frank came back to meet them in the hall. "Right, here's the situation. I've tried to radio Oscar on his communicator, but there's no reply. I've contacted HQ and let them know what's happened. They want to pull us out straight away, Yes, I know, I know," as the girls started to protest. "I've put them off until tomorrow afternoon. We've got to try and find Oscar ourselves. If MI9 turn up in force, it could make things worse. They are however, going to put a cordon round the building so nobody can leave or get in without us knowing. I'm going to install some cameras around the building so that HQ can monitor for us. I need you both to help me set them up. Go and get changed. We'll meet back here and start outside."
By midnight, the three agents had met back in the downstairs storage areas. They had installed several cameras around the outside of the building with views of all the doors. They had also crept around the inside of the building setting up cameras outside the Professor's empty room, outside Oscar's room and on some stairs and corridors.
"This is the plan," said Frank. "I'm going to patrol the corridors upstairs. I want you two to stay together at all times, but I want you to search downstairs. You are looking for any secret entrances, trap doors etc. Where does the housekeeper keep the keys ?" he asked. Rose told him that they were kept in a key locker in the kitchen. Frank picked its lock and let Rose and Carrie take the keys. "You've got access to all the downstairs rooms now. Look everywhere OK, particularly for any hidden basement area ?"
"Frank," said Rose. "Are there any blueprints for the building from when it was a secret military base? They could be useful."
"Excellent idea," agreed Frank. "I'll get on to HQ and see if they can track anything down. It's probably still classified. Let's get going. Time is critical." They nodded and split up. It was now well after midnight.
Frank crept upstairs as quietly as he could. The floorboards were incredibly creaky in this old building. He stopped outside Oscar's room and listened. Nothing. He moved off down the corridor to the left and found a chair to sit in. After a few minutes he thought he heard someone moving about. He stood up silently and crept towards the noise. As he turned the corner he bumped noses with someone else creeping in the opposite direction. They both leapt backwards and adopted a self-defence pose. "Who are you ?" they both said together.
Frank pulled out a torch and shone it between them. It was Illya. "Mr Manchester ?" said Illya. "What are you doing out here at this time ?" His accent wasn't nearly as strong as usual.
"I could ask you the same thing," said Frank. "Students are not meant to be wandering the corridors at this time of night."
"I am looking for Alexi," said Illya unexpectedly. "He is my friend and he has disappeared. Now what are you doing ?" he asked suspiciously.
Frank paused for a second, and then decided to take a risk. "Alright, look, I'm Alexi's protection." He pulled a card from his inside pocket. It was the identity card of a private security firm with a picture of Frank on it. "His father hired my firm to keep an eye on him while he was studying here."
Illya looked at the card with his own torch. "OK. Does Alexi know you are here ?" Frank nodded and took back the card. "So Alexi is missing isn't he ?"
Frank nodded again, looking worried. "We can't find him. It's not looking good."
"Is Professor Kalkfarben missing ?" asked Illya.
"He's not in his room. Why do you ask ?" asked Frank.
"There is something wrong with him," explained Illya. "I am not happy that students keep getting bad headaches and can't remember what they were doing all night. They are always students of Professor Kalkfarben and they are always very good English speakers."
"You're a very good English speaker," pointed out Frank.
"Yes, but I make a point of not being a very good English speaker when the Professor is around," said Illya with a grim smile.
"We're concerned about the Professor too," said Frank. "Look, I can't take responsibility for you wandering around when there might be trouble," said Frank. "It would be better if you went back to bed."
"No way," said Illya. "I'm staying until we find Alexi."
"OK, but you mustn't get in the way, understand ?" said Frank. Illya promised to do his best.
Then they heard another noise. There was a distant soft hum, followed shortly by heavy movements on the floorboards. Frank motioned Illya to follow him. They turned off their torches and the two sneaked down the dark corridor towards the noise. It was getting a little closer. Someone was whimpering softly.
"Shhh !" hissed a voice. "Silence now. We will get you to bed soon." The whimpering noise stopped.