Disclaimer:

This is a not-for-profit work of fiction. I don't own the Hardy Boys. The Hardy Boys and other related characters are copyrights or trademarks of Simon & Schuster, and other legal holders.

By Raven

CHAPTER 1

It was one of those days when eighteen-year-old Frank Hardy just hated going to school. He couldn't help dreading what other troubles might lay ahead before the end of the day. His day didn't start like he had intended. First, he woke up with a bump on his forehead. He couldn't believe he had forgotten to put away his textbooks that were lying all over the floor, causing him to trip and sprawl when he was climbing out of the bed.

He grimaced when he thought about the event occurred after that. He wasn't sure if it was Joe's doing, but he didn't notice a bar of soap on the floor when he entered the bathroom. As a result, he got another bump and bruise on his rear.

Not that everyone at school was asking about the large egg-sized lump on top of his head. Since he and his seventeen-year-old brother, Joe, always had a knack getting into trouble on a case, seeing a few scrapes, and bumps on them was nothing new to the others by now. But when his girlfriend, Callie Shaw, had asked him about the bump during lunch, everyone at the table just gawked at him when he told her what had happened. Frank suddenly felt he had grown a pair of horns on his head.

"What?" Frank had asked, feeling defensive.

"Erm, nothing. It seems a bit out of character for you," Joe replied. His face was impassive, but the look in his blue eyes showed pure amusement.

Frank was still reeling by his misadventures this morning that he didn't realized the principal, Mr. Shelbrooke, stopped him before he entered his English class.

"Mr. Hardy, please see me after school," the principal told him with a serious look on his face.

"What's this about?" Frank asked him curiously.

"You'll know about it this afternoon," he replied cryptically.

When the principal left, Frank just stared at the back of the man in bafflement. Shaking his head, he entered his class.

Then the next thing he knew, he was caught writing something else besides copying the notes on the blackboard by his English teacher.

His English teacher, Mr. Wakefield, had snatched the paper that Frank had been writing on before he could hide it.

"Hmm, what's this…" Mr. Wakefield read with interest. "Callie, I have a meeting with Mr. S this afternoon. Sorry I won't be able to send you home. Love Frank."

The rest of the students in the class stared and snickered, as if they couldn't believe what Frank was doing. Everyone in school knew how quiet, and studious he was. Frank flushed, feeling his face turning deep red. He felt like crawling underneath his desk. Even without looking, he could tell he had embarrassed Callie, too. She was sitting at another desk, next to him, and he didn't dare to look at her. Unconsciously, he ran his hand through his dark hair. It was a habit he couldn't help doing when he was nervous.

"Love! What an interesting subject," Mr. Wakefield had exclaimed. "Now, if we take a look at Shakespeare's work…"

Frank groaned inwardly. This was going to be a long day.

By the time the class was over, Callie approached him.

"Don't worry, Frank, I won't get mad at you," she assured him before he could speak up. Pushing back a strand of blond hair behind her ear, she grinned at him. "Just don't ever do that again when he's patrolling around the room," she added good-naturedly.

"Wouldn't think of it."

Her brown eyes twinkled with amusement. "I don't know what's wrong with you today, but I love you just the same. Besides, you look so cute with that baffled-look on your face."

Frank reddened, but he couldn't help smiling warmly at her. "Thanks, Callie. That should make my day a lot better."

"Anyway, what's the deal with Mr. S?" she asked curiously.

"I've no idea," Frank admitted. "He just told me to meet him after school, that's all."

"Hmm, I wonder why. Let's hope you're not getting a detention," Callie replied with a laugh. "Considering your stroke of luck today…"

"Don't remind me. I don't need another more of those," he groaned, shaking his head.

"Well, I just have to get a ride from Vanessa," Callie said and shrugged. Vanessa Bender was Joe's girlfriend.

"Okay," Frank replied, as she gave him a quick kiss before saying goodbye. "Oh, by the way, tell Joe I would be late. I know he hates waiting," he added as an afterthought.

"Sure." She smiled and headed to a corridor that led downstairs.

A few minutes later, Frank was already standing outside the principal's office. Let's hope it's something good, he thought. Whenever he was being called to the principal's office, it usually wasn't about detention, which was usually the main reason other students had for being here.

He took a deep breath before knocking on the door.

"Come in," he heard the Mr. Shelbrooke's voice called out.

Frank was surprised when he saw Phil Cohen sitting beside an empty chair in front of the principal's desk. Phil, a black-haired boy, was one of the Hardy's close friends. Like Frank, Phil was also an A-student in Bayport High.

"Sit down, Mr. Hardy," the principal told Frank, indicating toward the empty chair.

When he sat down, he glanced at Phil quizzically. Phil just shrugged, indicating that he didn't know what was going on, either.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I'm having a meeting with you two," the principal began with a broad smile.

"Is it about the science project for next week?" Frank asked on a hunch. He and Phil were the only contestants from Bayport High that would compete for Regional Youth Science and Technology Competition. They would be competing against the other students from the northeastern region of US.

"Not entirely, but it has something to do with it," Mr. Shelbrooke told them. "You see, EDevice, the company that's sponsoring the project, is very impressed with your work that they are offering you two scholarships. It will be affected immediately when you start college, that is if you decided to accept it."

"Oh, wow," Phil said excitedly.

"You, my friend, will have a hard time to choose one," Frank told his friend with a grin.

Phil had been offered numerous scholarships from various big technological companies. Since he had taken a lot of summer jobs in some of these companies, his expertise would be greatly useful to fill the void for the lucky company.

"I know," his friend agreed with a laugh.

"Here's the application form." The principal handed each of them a piece of paper.

"Thanks," Frank said and accepted the form.

"Well, I hope you think about it for a week before sending them in," Mr. Shelbrooke told the boys.

"We will," Phil replied, with an excited look on his face.

After thanking the principal, both boys headed out of the office.

"So, you're going to accept it?" Phil asked, as they walked along the hallway.

"I'm going to do a research about this company before I sign on," Frank replied.

"I know the company's still new, but it's been very successful with their nanotechnology and semiconductor products," Phil replied. "It's a good prospect, but like you said, I'm going to think about it, too."

Blond-haired Joe Hardy was waiting in the van, listening and nodding his head to heavy metal music when Frank reached the parking lot.

"So, what's up with Mr. S?" Joe asked when Frank climbed into the van. "He didn't get you into detention, did he?" he grinned.

"Nope," Frank laughed. "I've got offered a scholarship," he announced simply as he turned off the loud music.

Joe's hand stopped twisting the key in the ignition and stared at his brother. "Congratulations, but why only you? Shouldn't he be giving everyone the same chance?" He looked quizzically at Frank.

"It's like this," Frank began, and told Joe how the principal had asked Phil and him for a short meeting, and the offer for scholarship for participating the science project.

"Wow, that's great, Frank," Joe commented when Frank had finished explaining. "You should be proud of that little flying-thingy you did with Phil."

Frank rolled his eyes upwards. "It's just a simple propeller model using fuzzy logic as the controller."

"What a fuzzy description," Joe cracked, as he started the van, and pulled out of the parking space.

"Very funny," Frank muttered. "We didn't think at first it would be accepted when Phil and I made the thing for fun."

Joe shook his head in amazement. "Man, sometimes you're such a weirdo."

When they arrived home a few minutes later, Joe immediately went to the kitchen, and Frank went up to his room, wanting to check out the scholarship, and finished his homework.

Frank stopped in front of his room when he had opened the door. He was startled at the sight in front of him. His usual neat and tidy room was now in shambles. Someone had ransacked his room!