Mrs C knew something was amiss when she bounded into the staffroom with her picnic hamper. The room was silent. There was no-one there. The table was tidy, empty apart from a piece of paper. She checked underneath – still nobody. Slightly frowning she felt her way to the fridge and took out her glasses; then she read the note.
‘URGENT TOP-SECRET MEETING IN HALL – 8.45 am PROMPT’.
It was 8.48 and Mrs C was a bit late. Relieved that at least she wouldn’t have to eat all the cheese scones, apple and damson pies and bottles of ginger beer that she had packed in her hamper Mrs C made her way to the kettle for a soothing cup of tea. She wasn’t stupid. She knew something was up and she knew that the mind clearing qualities of a well-brewed lemon and ginger tea would help her laser sharp brain to start functioning properly. So pausing only to refrigerate her home made produce she made her way to the hall. It was 8.57 am.
There were 5 men in black standing in the hall. The staff were sitting in a semi-circle facing them. More silence. A bright light shone on a white screen on the wall and everyone was staring at it. Hmm images but no sound – again. Ms Morley was on the case though. No-one could make a computer work the way Suzanne did. Maybe it was her high-tec tool kit that she kept strapped to her person, ready for any eventuality or maybe it was the commanding vibes she exuded – ‘you are a computer and you will work for me’. Either way, as Mrs C slipped, almost unnoticed into a chair beside Mrs Mojab the computer leapt into action and one of the men in black started to speak.
“Ladies and gentlemen”, he began, removing his dark glasses to create a closer connection with his audience. “We find ourselves in troubled times and only you can help us”. He paused for effect and indeed it was clear that he had the staff’s full attention. Louise had stopped texting and Carolyn put her list of Italian verbs to one side. Behind them Nigel opened his eyes, whilst Alison and Sally hid the notes they were passing to one another.
“Time is not on our side. We have just six weeks to find and restore the equilibrium of life itself before it is too late”.
Well, whatever the staff had expected to hear, it wasn’t that. Murmurs of puzzlement buzzed through the crowd. Emma looked bewildered, Louise started texting again; even Gayle looked confused. Emily stopped writing and raised her hand. Was she going to ask the question that had been going through their minds?
“How man 'L's are there in curriculum?” Well, maybe not. But then came a voice from the back of the hall. “Excuse me!” There was, as I say a voice, but no person. That was weird. Then there was a rattle. “Excuse me! Can someone help?” There was someone in the kitchen – in fact it sounded as if there were several people in the kitchen and they were trapped!!!!
The 3 Chris's – and a James were instantly on the case. Years of team training were evident in the way they tackled the emergency. Chris V vaulted out of the window (luckily open), whilst Chris M and Chris E took hold of either side of the metal shutter. Meanwhile James sprinted out the hall door to fetch the key. Within seconds the situation – potentially very nasty – was resolved as Lynn, Jill and Barbara managed to open the catch and pull the shutter up. Everyone stood and beamed!
“This is just what we need – teamwork!” boomed one of the men in black. “If I may carry on...” The staff were quiet ( a first, probably) as the man from the government – for that is what he was – started to explain the terrible position that they found themselves in. The equilibrium of life was a secret document, signed by the leaders of all nations and so far it had kept most of the world from killing each other. But the document – on a flash pen (Play, £16.99) had been lost when the politician looking after it had been on holiday. Without it, the world could go nuts and Britain could do nothing. There was another factor too that would mean the UK's fall into disgrace and anarchy would be complete. Spooks was to finish. The last ever series was to be aired that autumn. When that went what would the British people do? It didn't bear thinking about...
But what had PH to do with this? Man in Black 3 smirked, clicked his fingers and there, on the screen was Kalkan bay and Snake Island, Turkey. The staff gasped. They'd seen this image so many times on Mrs C's white board. This bay is where the flashpen was lost – (luckily encased in a waterproof case).
“We need you, as a team, to get it back for us. So we are sending the whole school on this mission. Your students will think it is a new trans-European (and into Asia) project of course – but you will be undertaking a venture that is so important and unbelievable that if you were to mention it to anyone they would laugh at you. Your plane leaves in 6 hours. Pack your snorkels. This autumn term will be very different....”.