When Injustice Continues . . . and a New Group of Students
Comes to the Aid of Freedom.
Chapter 1: A New Year, an Old Problem
The rain fell steadily and silently, the soft wind blowing it against the
windows, gathering on tree limbs in order to drop all at once on some
unprotected passerby. It was the sort of weather that reminded one of a
Monday or a Tuesday, when nothing but a dreary day of responsibility is
ahead with nothing but the same on the slate for tomorrow. But today was
Friday, and despite the depressing rain, students walked from class to class
cheerfully and with smiles; after all, wasn't the weekend nearly here? They
could afford to get a little wet.
The first week of Fall Quarter had passed quietly and without incident.
That was why Dean Hopson of the Honors College was so nervous. All summer
long the university had been quiet, and he had been free from harassment
from the dreaded Ballpoint Pimpernel. But now fall had come, and quite
frankly, Hopson had become paranoid. Everywhere he went, he saw
conspiracies and machinations against him, placed by the phantom Ballpoint
"Why doesn't he strike?" he shouted in the ear of Jason Pelliride, his new
"I--I don't know, sir," the poor man stammered, clutching at his glasses.
Mr. Pelliride was a short, thin man in his thirties, with already balding
hair, horn-rimmed glasses, and a nervous disposition. He definitely did not
possess the cool confidence of his young predecessor.
"If he would only make his presence known, I'd at least know where I stand,"
Hopson brooded, then turned viciously on Pelliride. "Bring me the personal
file of every student that graduated, every teacher that resigned, every
gardener that quit--in other words, everyone who was here last year and
ISN'T here now!"
The secretary's eyes grew wide at the heavy work load. "Yes--yes, sir.
Does--does that include administrative staff as well?"
"Yes!" Hopson barked, then thought better of it. "Except for your miserable
predecessor, Alain Chambertin. He doesn't matter; he'll never show his face
around here again. I've seen to that."
At the other end of the office a young student sat with his chin in his
chest, apparently asleep. As Hopson passed him to go to his inner office,
barely sparing the young man a glance, a slow smile crept across the
student's lips. Calmly he picked up his book bag and walked to the door.
"Umm . . . can I help you?" a secretary asked as he left.
"No, no thanks . . . I don't need any help today," he said. The secretary
noticed a faint accent to his voice . . . was it French? But she shrugged
it off, and by the time Alain Chauvelin had left the office of his former
employer, she had forgotten all about it.
* * * * * * *
With a smile of silent relief, Abigail got up and opened the door. When he
was in the room, she closed it quietly before speaking in a low voice.
"Alain . . . so good to see you again. I was afraid you weren't going to
come." She extended her hand to him, and Alain shook it warmly.
"I could never disobey a direct order, O noble leader," he said jokingly
with a mischievous grin. They all laughed, as loudly as they dared. He was
the last of the League of the Ballpoint Pimpernel to arrive; ironically, he
had also been the last to join. Alain spotted Michele and gave her a
friendly hug; they had become quite good friends. Some even rumored that
there was more to the relationship than friendship. It was Michele who had
trusted him, befriended him to the rest, and persuaded them that he could be
trusted as one of them. No small feat; he had once been their most bitter
"And I wouldn't have missed this for the world," Alain continued. "It's a
chance for me to start over. Hopefully, this time, I'll stay on the right
"I know you will, Alain," Abigail said, giving him a look of intense trust.
Perhaps the most surprising and ironic twist in the situation was the strong
friendship that had grown up between these two former enemies. Were their
distant ancestors to suddenly awake from the dead and witness this
friendship, they would be shocked and outraged. As soon as the two had
gotten past their former prejudices against one another, they had found that
they had a lot in common. It was only natural, then, that they should
become comrades in the mission and confidantes in life. They were as close
as brother and sister now . . .
"Why are you late, then, Alain?" David asked.
"I was visiting . . . an old friend."
An old friend? There was only one other person on campus that Alain knew
besides these eight . . .
"Alain!" Michele was alarmed, to say the least. "Don't tell me you . . ."
"Yes, I did, Michele. And he didn't even look at me."
Abigail smiled, half proud of Alain, half in awe of his bravery. "How is
our friend Hopson?"
"Paranoid. He's scared as a rabbit--everywhere he turns, he sees Ballpoint
Pimpernels." They laughed, easily amusing themselves at Dean Hopson's
expense. "The guy he hired to replace me is nervous and cowardly. We have
nothing to fear from him, I don't think."
"Unfortunately, that probably means he has other tricks up his sleeve,"
"Right. Hopson may be half-insane, but he isn't stupid."
"So be careful," Abigail continued, addressing them all. "Watch your backs
and be wary. We'll take a few weeks off and let Hopson get comfortable--or
more nervous, whichever he chooses-- before we get to work again."
On to Chapter 2
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