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epilogue
chapter 23
chapter 22
chapter 21
chapter 20
chapter 19
chapter 18
chapter 17
chapter 16
chapter 15
chapter 14
chapter 13
chapter 12
chapter 11
chapter 10
chapter 9
chapter 8
chapter 7
chapter 6
chapter 5
chapter 4
chapter 3
chapter 2
chapter 1

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

Chapter 10.
Another Shock.

Uncle Quentin is normally an early riser. Today was no exception. The seminar had been well received, Quentin was aware of that, but still he was not satisfied. His experienced ear had detected a slight imbalance in the laser resulting in a loss of power. The visitors to next week's seminar included fellow scientists some of whom might also be able to detect these imperfections. Maybe a tiny change in the gas mix, or a small adjustment to the pulse rate would do the trick.
   At this hour of the morning there was no one about to see Uncle Quentin pad silently along the thick-carpeted corridor, and down the back stairs to the conference room.
   At first he noticed nothing amiss. But suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks, frozen to the spot. "What the hell's going on here?" he said, out loud.
   The stage appeared unusually empty. True, the lectern still stood in the centre with three chairs behind and to the left was the test rig. But the space where the laser should have been was empty. The laser had disappeared! Vanished into thin air!
   Uncle Quentin was at first shocked, then immediately angry. He leapt on to the stage searching hopefully behind the pulled back curtains, but to no avail.
   His eyes scanned the conference room looking for a possible hiding place. "Under the buffet table."
   He jumped off the stage, raced to the back of the hall and lifted up the tablecloth. Uncle Quentin cursed loudly. The numerous trestle legs made hiding a laser here impossible.
   Quentin was furious. "If this is someone's idea of a joke," he shouted, "I shall have their guts for garters!"
   He raced back up the stairs to the fourth floor, two at a time, and banged on Professor Dandashi's door. "Professor Dandashi, Professor Dandashi. There has been a tragedy," he shouted. But however hard he banged and however loud he shouted the door stayed shut. He snorted in disgust.
   Aunt Fanny had never seen Quentin in such a rage. She stood shaking in fear as he stormed about their apartment, arms raised and fists clenched.
   "How could this happen?" he screamed. "A tragedy. A tragedy, do you hear? What am I to do at next weeks seminar without a laser? I shall be the laughing stock of my profession. And where is Professor Dandashi? Tell me that!"
   "Calm down, Quentin. Please calm down."
   "Calm down, calm down! How can I calm down at a time like this?"
   Aunt Fanny sighed in exasperation and picked up the telephone. "Could you get me Scotland Yard, please."
   She was soon explaining the situation to Detective Inspector Pollard.
   "Don't worry, madam," said the Inspector, "I will be over personally in about half an hour. Stay calm and most importantly, do not touch anything."
   Aunt Fanny, glad to be away from her husband, went along the corridor and rapped on the girls' door. "George, it's your mother."
   George and Anne were still fast asleep. Timmy leapt off George's bed.
   "Mother, you look terrible. What's wrong?" asked George, concerned.
   Aunt Fanny went over the events of the morning. "And George," she added, "please keep away from your father today. As you can imagine he is very angry indeed."
   George nodded. She did not need to be told twice. The two girls dressed quickly and woke up the boys.
   "The laser! Why should anyone want to steal the laser?" said Dick, in astonishment, after hearing George's story. "And you say Professor Dandashi is missing?"
   "It's all falling into place," said Anne, in excitement. "Listen to this. McLeod, the big man with the beard, wanted to steal the laser to sell its secrets to another company, or something. He kidnaps Vivien, threatens Professor Dandashi, saying he won't see her again unless he cooperates. That is why the Professor was acting so strange yesterday."
   "He certainly was acting strange," agreed Dick. "I even dreamt of his peculiar eyes last night. A real nightmare it was, too."
   "What do you think, Ju.," said George.
   "What Anne says all sounds very plausible, but we still have no proof," said Julian. "Dick, let's get dressed and take a look in the Professor's apartment. He might have left a clue of some sort."
   The five found Professor Dandashi's door locked.
   "Damn!" cursed Julian.
   "Don't worry," said George. "Wait here. I'll go and see if I can find Louise. She might have a spare key."
   George found Louise in the dining hall clearing up the breakfast things.
   Louise sounded doubtful. "I could get into heaps of trouble letting you have the key."
   "Oh, please, please," pleaded George. "I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important. I promise to give it back as soon as we have finished."
   Louise fished out a bunch of keys from her side pocket, selected one and handed it to George.
   "Thanks a million," said George, smiling broadly.
   Louise looked George straight in the eyes. "I shall be working here for about half an hour, can you be sure to return it before then?"
   "Don't worry," replied George, rushing off. "I will be no more than fifteen minutes."
   Professor Dandashi's room was as neat and tidy as his daughter's.
   "Look! His bed has not been slept in," remarked Dick.
   Julian opened the wardrobe and found two expensive suits and numerous designer shirts hanging up.
   George discovered he Professor's empty suitcase tucked under the bed.    "His toothbrush and toothpaste are still here, just like Vivien's," said Anne, returning from her search of the bathroom.
   Julian stood back and gave the room a final inspection. "It is obvious from what we see here that Professor Dandashi did not plan his disappearance," he decided. "It is time we made our findings known to the police. Come on, let's all go downstairs and see what is happening."

Detective Inspector Pollard was punctual. Uncle Quentin led him to the conference room. A young constable tagged along behind, carrying a black attaché case.
   The Inspector nodded as Uncle Quentin explained where the laser had been. "Mmm," he said, thoughtfully, stroking his chin.
   Detective Inspector Pollard perused the hall, absorbing the important points with an ease gleaned from experience. The french windows caught his attention. He wandered over, surveyed the courtyard outside and turned back to Uncle Quentin.
   "The laser, Professor Kirren, how big would it be?"
   Uncle Quentin pursed his lips. "Some half a metre square by one and half metres long."
   "And how heavy? I mean, could it be carried by one person?"
   Uncle Quentin shook his head. "Hardly," he said. "No, but two would be able to carry it in comfort."
   The Inspector indicated to the young constable. "Webb, check the french windows here for fingerprints, then go to Professor Dandashi's room and do some comparisons. Follow that up by eliminating the prints of all the staff who might have touched these doors. Do I make myself clear?"
   "Yes Sir," said the constable. He laid his black case on the table, took out a tin of powder, a large soft brush and proceeded to dust the handle of the french windows.
   The Inspector nodded with satisfaction. "OK, Professor Kirren, I would like to make some notes. Shall we take a seat at the back of the hall?"

The five found Aunt Fanny sitting alone in the lounge, looking very upset.
   George went over and gave her a cuddle. "Don't worry mother, everything will turn out alright in the end."
   "I only hope you are right, George. But things look pretty dire at the moment. How could Professor Dandashi do such a thing?"
   Anne knelt down and tenderly held her Aunt's hand. "Are we certain that the Professor is responsible?"
   "What else is there to think?" replied Aunt Fanny. "The laser is missing and so is the Professor. The police are talking to Quentin at this moment. Maybe they will be able to solve the mystery."
   "Would it be possible for us to have a word with the police?" asked Julian. "You never can tell, we might have seen or heard something that could help."
   "If you have knowledge of anything that you might think is relevant please tell me now, Julian," said Aunt Fanny, in a slightly accusing tone.
   "There is nothing specific," said Julian, vaguely, not wanting to worry his aunt with details. "But we would like to assist in any way the police feel necessary."
   Aunt Fanny relaxed a little. "Yes, perhaps you are right. Detective Inspector Pollard seemed a very capable person on the phone. I will go now and make sure that Quentin is behaving himself, he is not normally at his best in these circumstances." At the door, Aunt Fanny turned and eyed Julian with a touch of suspicion. "I will inform Detective Inspector Pollard of your request."
   "How much are you going to tell the Police, Ju.?" asked Dick, when his Aunt had left.
   "Our responsibility is to inform the Police of everything we know," said Julian, seriously. "Vivien's life could be in danger."

Detective Inspector Pollard sat alone at a table writing furiously in his notebook. He did not seem to hear the five enter the conference room and stand in a line before him. Julian coughed politely. The Inspector looked up, his large, jowled face breaking into an almost sinister grin to reveal a set of perfect, even teeth. His huge bulging eyes considered each child in turn before waving a podgy hand indicating a row of chairs.
   "Please take a seat," he said and continued with his writing.
   The children sat regarding his huge frame that was nearly stretching the light brown suit jacket he wore to bursting point.
   The Detective Inspector finally put his pen down and stared at the children again with the same bulging eyes and wide grin. "How can I help you?"
   "We were hoping it would be us helping you," said Julian and began his story.
   The Inspector listened intently for a few minutes and then appeared to become agitated. He lifted his hand to interrupt. "Aren't we getting into the realms of fantasy here?" he said. "I mean false beards and fake glasses. Don't you think you have been reading too many Detective stories?"
   Julian sighed. "I agree it must seem like that to you, Inspector, but I would like to finish the whole story. It would then be up to you what action should be taken."
   The Inspector's grin had long since vanished. "Very well, very well. Continue if you must."
   Julian dutifully obliged.
   The Detective's interest seemed to have waned from this point. He fetched out a small penknife from his pocket and proceeded to clean his nails.
   When the tale had finally been told, the four children sat quietly for a reaction.
   The man behind the table clasped his hands together behind his head and lent backwards. His enormous hulk caused the chair to creak under protest.
   "I will be the first to admit that you four have an amazing imagination. But that is all I think it is. Imagination. Pure fantasy. Let me tell you this," continued Detective Inspector Pollard, now leaning forward heavily on the table with his elbows. "The Home Secretary is the head of every Police Force in the United Kingdom and the only person with the authority to put him under surveillance is The Prime Minister. Now, do you expect me to pay a visit on The Prime Minister at the say so of a bunch of kids? Of course not. This is how I see the situation. Professor Dandashi has taken this golden opportunity to steal the laser. It could be on its way to the Middle East by now. Who can tell? Perhaps his daughter was sent out in advance for her own safety."
   He thrust his pen into the inside pocket of his jacket and picked up the notebook laying on the table. "Now if you will excuse me I have some important work to do. Firstly, to alert all shipping lines and airports to keep a look out for Professor Dandashi and a large box heading for The Lebanon and secondly, to continue with my investigations."
   The children were left open mouthed with astonishment as the Inspector stormed out.
   "Well, what do you think of that, Julian?" asked Dick.
   Julian shrugged. "Not a lot. But I can see his point of view. His hands are tied." A mischievous twinkle appeared in the young boy's eyes. "But ours are not."
   "What do you propose to do?" asked George.
   "Carry on with our investigations, of course. We'll start immediately with another trip to Green Park. Let's take a closer look at this hammer thrower."

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