Who do we follow first? We've Inspector Newberry about to have a chat with the Super. and a newly liberated Vincent Wexley about to be peppered with any number of questions by the MDOPFGIASA crew. Both are bound to be interesting.
Oh, look! There's Professor Perrigordon.
The portly professor huffed and chugged his way through the lingering throng, a look of puzzled confusion on his face. I haven't been gone all that long and here I come back on a day clearly rife with excitement. Mayhap Ms. Temble has returned! The gentleman tried to read the face around him, coming up with nothing more than excitement and annoyance. It would appear that his answers lay inside; he hoped somebody was home.
The hallway outside of MDOPFGIASA's unassuming door was much the same as when he'd left two weeks prior. Excited chattering escaped the partially ajar portal—typical of this crowd—and the same chaotic aura filled the air—Wait. No, that's . . .
The professor stopped and sniffed the air appreciatively. A whiff of the tart odor hit his nostrils again and he sneezed appreciatively.
Eyes now spotting the small charred circle on the otherwise immaculate tile floor, Professor P. bent to examine the oddity, finding at least part of his answer as to why the Yard had seemingly been evacuated earlier this morn'.
Perrigordon straightened at the sound, concealing his chagrin that the speaker was none other than Sir Reginald Crothall.
“Welcome back, sir. You're just in time,” Reginald beckoned from the doorway, eyes darting uneasily to the scorch marks soiling the hall.
“Good day to you, sir. Seems there's been a spot of excitement, eh?” Perrigordon made up his mind to be cheerful in response. Newberry'd explain it all.
“Help us question this here cad, professor. Get a bead on him for us,” Crothall's voice dipped low in the professor's ear as he entered the MDOPFGIASA offices.
In the middle of the room sat a miserable man. He looked, in fact, born for misery. He didn't sit, he slunk in his chair. He didn't breathe so much as twitched in his chair.
“Meet Mr. Vincent Wexley. Sometime cohort of our esteemed leader, Ins. Newberry,” Crothall explained.
“Pleasure,” Prof. Perrigordon shook Vincent's offered hand, preparing to find a sodden limp appendage and instead finding iron will. Interesting.
“Pleasure,” Mr. Wexley's voice betrayed a surprising eagerness. “I've heard so much about you, Professor.”
“Oh you have, have you?” Surprise indeed.
Crothall harrumphed, clearly desiring to again control the conversation. “If you please. I've some questions for you, Mr. Wexley. And while they may, on the surface, appear unfriendly, I assure you that I share Inspector Newberry's sentiments and loyalties.”
Professor P. barely held back a snort. Since when, Reggie?
The unfortunate Mr. Wexley nodded, his adam's apple doing a flip in his skinny neck. Professor P. was moved to interfere but held himself back. He'd already noted Newberry's absence and was frankly curious as to why he'd have sent along this poor substitute.
“So how do you know Giles?”
Certainly direct. All eyes focused on the squirming Vincent.
“Well, I uh–”
“What brought you here today? Who are you working for? How did you know about the bomb?” Sir Crothall leaned in with each question. While this Mr. Wexley did not command much in the way of 'personal space' it was clear that Reginald was violating what little he had.
“Hold off. Hold off,” Professor P. hated to interrupt but, “Bomb?”
“A trojan teapot, actually,” Vincent piped up, for the first time appearing excited rather than merely anxious. “And that is actually a rather interesting story–”
* * *
“I've got teapots exploding! Known criminals running 'round these hallowed halls!” Superintendent Thomas did not hold back. Giles was sure that the next three offices over could also hear the scolding. “When I gave you your own department–”
“You wanted someone to take care of the criminal element that dealt in technology beyond the general training of the Yard . . .” Giles finished calmly. “We've done just that. I'd also like to state, for the record, that Vincent Wexley is not a criminal.”
“Beg pardon. A near criminal,” the superior officer narrowed his eyes, bright angry pupils nearly disappearing in the fleshy folds of his face, “Just because we didn't prove it –”
“Vincent did good work today. Avoided a tragedy and an embarrassment for the Yard.”
“But how did he know?” Thomas prodded.
“Well, I'd know the answer to that question if you'd have let me talk to him instead of dragging me up here!” Newberry lost it at last. “In fact, I think I may go do that, sir.”
“Your department,” Thomas gestured his dismissal, For now.