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chapter 22
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chapter 1

The Famous Five: The Final Adventure.
A Tribute to Enid Blyton.

Chapter 21.
All Is Explained.

The Commander turned to face the little group sat before his desk. "I do not think that the enormity of what you have achieved has sunk in yet," he said. "But let me be the first to congratulate you. The word is already out. The Press were gathering outside when I arrived. I would ask you not to speak to them as yet. When you have finished eating, I will have a car take you back to the Mayfair Hotel for a well-deserved rest. Tomorrow afternoon, at say three o'clock, I shall arrange for a Press Conference in your Hotel. Does that meet with your approval?"
   They all nodded their agreement.
   The welcoming sound of a rattling trolley came from behind. The food and drinks had arrived. Suddenly everyone felt very hungry indeed. The bottom shelf contained two large dishes covered with paper plates. On each plate, the name 'Timmy' was boldly written. One dish contained water and the other large chunks of the best beef, chicken and pork, mixed with broken cream crackers and just a touch of gravy.
   Timmy looked at George with big, brown enquiring eyes.
   "Yes Timmy, that is your dinner," said George and Timmy immediately set about this surprise bean feast.
   While everyone was tucking into the food supplied, with the compliments of Her Majesty's Government, a familiar gentleman, with a walrus moustache and strange slanting eyes, breezed in.
   Commander Winter leapt to his feet. "Prime Minister!" he exclaimed. "I apologise for calling you away from what I know is an important sitting."
   Commander Winter put his hand on The Prime Minister's shoulder, steered him to the far corner of the room and quietly explained the grave situation. Every now and again The Prime Minister would glance across to the table where the little man in the raincoat, steel rimmed glasses perched on top of his head, eyeglass gripped tightly in one eye, was still examining The Crown Jewels with a childlike glee. This golden opportunity would probably never arise again.
   The Prime Minister finally went over and shook, first Professor Dandashi and then all the children, firmly by the hand. "I would like to thank you all for rescuing the country's foremost treasure," he said. "I apologise for such a flying visit, but as you are probably aware I am in the middle of some very important business. I can assure you we will be meeting again in the very near future." With that he was gone.
   Almost immediately there was a loud rap at the door. In strode a soldier wearing a red beret and full camouflage battledress. "Group Captain Briton, S.A.S., Head of Operation Raven, sir," he crisply announced, with an equally crisp salute.
   The children watched, fascinated at witnessing the Heads of Police, Politics and now the Armed Forces, in action. The Commander filled the Group Captain in on all the relevant details, finally handing him the last of the keys.
   Four soldiers, also wearing red berets and battledress, were called in. They carried two large black lacquered chests with ornate gold fittings and the famous lion and unicorn Royal Coat of Arms, boldly marked on each lid. The Crown Jewels were duly placed into red, velvet lined compartments inside the chests, much to the disappointment of our man in the raincoat. The soldiers, working quickly and efficiently, were soon on their way to the dungeons to collect the remainder of the jewels.
   "It is time to take you back to your Hotel for a well earned rest," announced Commander Winter, when everyone had eaten their fill. "If you would follow me, I have two cars waiting outside."
   The Commander led them down a wide corridor lined with statues and busts of Prime Minister's past, and out into the night air. A large crowd had gathered at the bottom of the marble steps, held back by a line of police.
   As soon as the children emerged through the large entrance to The Houses of Parliament, the crowd erupted in excitement, cameras clicked and flash lights popped.
   A man forced his way through the Police cordon and thrust a microphone close to Julian's face. "Chris Truman of the B.B.C.," he announced. "Is it true that The Home Secretary was behind the theft of The Crown Jewels?"
   "I am afraid we cannot comment at the moment," replied Julian. "I understand there will be a Press Conference at three o'clock tomorrow afternoon, in The Mayfair Hotel."
   The five in one car and Professor Dandashi and Vivien in the other, were whisked away, blue lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny were waiting anxiously in the Hotel lounge. They greeted the returning heroes with hugs and kisses. Aunt Fanny shedding tears of relief.
   After all the excitement, tiredness finally took over. The children trooped up to their respective bedrooms.
   "I do believe that that was our most exciting adventure ever," said Anne to George, as they both snuggled down in bed.
   "The last adventures always do seem to be the best," replied George. " But on this occasion, Anne, I think that you are absolutely correct."
   Timmy was just glad to be in his favourite spot, lying on his young mistresses bed, her hand gently ruffling his ears. Soon they were all sound asleep.

The next day brought even more excitement. The headlines in the morning's newspapers read – 'Five Foil Jewel Thieves' and 'The Famous Five Save National Treasure'.
   The five children, each with a newspaper, sat at the breakfast table reading the differing reports of their recent exploits. Timmy lay next to George's chair, his kennel days seeming a thing of the past.
   "Here's a really great picture of Timmy, George," said Dick, holding up the Daily Express.
   There was a large picture of Timmy on the front page with the words 'Timmy the Wonder Dog' in heavy type underneath.
   All the national newspapers had the jewel theft as its leading article.
   Commander Winter arrived at 1.00 p.m. He sat with the children to explain the latest revelations. "When Peter Brooke became Home Secretary," began the Commander, "he had access to the department's archives, where he found the original plans of tunnels under Tower Hill. These first gave him the idea of stealing The Crown Jewels."
   "Is it possible for you to explain the secret of the strange metal room?" asked Julian, still puzzling on how The Crown Jewels had magically appeared in a seemingly empty chamber.
   "What I am about to tell you was, up until yesterday, Top Secret," explained the Commander. "I have spoken with The Prime Minister this morning. He has decided that as the security arrangements of The Crown Jewels will be totally revised, in the national interest, all past events shall be made public. The chamber you refer to is a vault into which The Crown Jewels automatically descend if it is sensed that their safety is under threat."
   The Commander went on to explain to the listening children about 'Operation Raven' and how the thieves had cunningly set off the alarms using silver foil.
   "Have you captured the large Scotsman who kidnapped me?" asked Vivien, anxious that this frightening man was not still at large.
   "The Scotsman and Johnson are the same person," said the Commander, with a smile. "He is a very dangerous man indeed, highly skilled in disguise and the martial arts."
   The children were silent for a moment, pondering on their close brush with this violent criminal.
   "When I was hiding in the boat-house, I overhead the men talk of spreaders for the sacks," said George, at last. "Do you know anything about them?"
   "Ah! That must be the ingenious device invented by Johnson," said the Commander. "It was important for them to steal the jewels as fast as possible, before the security forces closed in. The spreaders held the sacks open and clipped to the shelves. This allowed West and Turner to have both hands free to fill the sacks with jewels."
   The time had arrived for the Press Conference. This was to be held in the same room that had housed the seminar a few days previous.
   "Do you mind if I do not attend?" asked Vivien, shyly. "I think all the excitement will be too much for me."
Anne put her arm round Vivien, comfortingly. "Of course not," she said. "I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I long for the quiet life."
   The Conference Room was packed with reporters and photographers from all the leading daily and Sunday newspapers. The four children and Timmy were led onto the stage amid a standing ovation. Commander Winter called for order and from a carefully written speech, told the listening audience all the events of the last few days. When he had finished, the reporters fired questions at the children, wanting to know about their lives, even down to what Timmy had eaten for dinner. Finally the photographers took many pictures.
   "I feel like a film star," said Anne to George.

The next day, a Sunday, the five went for a walk in the park. They were recognised by all the passers by, who came up offering congratulations and wanting to pat Timmy.
   That afternoon, back in the Hotel lounge, the four children collapsed in the armchairs and Timmy flopped down on the rug in front of the fire.
   "Will we ever be just normal people again?" asked Dick. "I do not think I can handle being a celebrity for the rest of my life."
   "Give it a couple of months and it will all blow over," said Julian, hopefully.
   At that moment, a pageboy came in with a letter on a silver tray.
   "It's from The Prime Minister!" gasped Julian, "inviting us to The House of Commons tomorrow. He says a car will be waiting for us outside the Hotel at 9.30 in the morning."

The four children, dressed in their smartest clothes, and a well-groomed Timmy, were chauffeured to The Houses of Parliament in a huge black Bentley. They were ushered into a large office where The Prime Minister was waiting to greet them.
   "It is very kind of you all to accept my invitation," he said, shaking them each firmly by the hand.
   "The pleasure is all ours, Sir," replied Julian.
   "And of course, I must not forget Timmy," added the Prime Minister, looking down at the obedient dog sitting next to George.
   "Timmy, meet The Prime Minister," said George.
   Timmy offered up his right paw as George had taught him and The Prime Minister shook it solemnly. "I have heard how clever and brave you were and the prominent part you played in bringing these villains to justice." The Prime Minister spoke to Timmy as if he were human.
   "I have a big surprise for you all," he continued, beaming at the children. He was obviously enjoying this break from normal business. "I would like you to meet all the Members of Parliament."
   The five followed him down to the ground floor, stopping before a pair of huge double doors.
   "Wait here," said The Prime Minister, in a secretive whisper. "When I wave to you, come in and stand on the special podium that has been erected."
   With that, he strode into the packed House of Commons and straight to his place on the left hand side of the dispatch box.
   "My Right Honourable Members of the House," he began. "You have obviously read about the exploits of four extraordinary children and a remarkable dog. Let me introduce, as coined by one reporter, 'The Famous Five'."
   With a flourish of The Prime Minister's hand The Five entered the Commons and mounted the podium, as directed. Then a most amazing thing happened. All the Members of Parliament, standing up facing the five, began clapping in unison, slowly at first, but gradually getting faster and faster, finally ending in uproar, waving dispatch papers frantically in the air.
   After a minute or so a man at the far end of The House, dressed in a black gown and wearing an off white wig, banged on the desk in front of him with a wooden gavel, shouting "Order, Order."
   When normality had returned, The Speaker of The House, for that's who it was, continued. "On behalf of Her Majesty's Government, I would like to thank you five for saving the Nations Treasure. We shall always be in your debt."
   The Prime Minister personally escorted The Five all over the Houses of Parliament, introducing them to prominent politicians and explaining the intricate workings of Government. Then off to No.10, Downing Street, the Prime Minister's London residence. Obviously a day to remember.

With the laser now returned to it's rightful place, The Mayfair Hotel's Conference Room, the second seminar went ahead as planned. Owing to the publicity that had been generated, far more people attended than was anticipated.
   The demonstration was a huge success. Twenty-four solid orders were placed on that day alone, enough work to keep Uncle Quentin, Professor Dandashi and many engineers busy for over a year.

chapter 22
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