Only the good spy young, p.9

Only the Good Spy Young, page 9

 part  #4 of  Gallagher Girls Series


Only the Good Spy Young

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Page 9


  "He used to work out in the P&E barn with Mr. Smith," Kim Lee added.

  "I think he might be really close to Headmistress Morgan. " Tina giggled, but then he glanced at me and stopped.

  "Is that so?" Townsend crossed his arms and looked at me. "What about you, Ms.

  Morgan? What do you know about Joseph Solomon?"

  Freezing rain hit against the windows. I shivered, remembering the cold wind and look in Mr. Solomons eyes as we stood on the bridge, and the fact that I believed him. For a year and a half, Id believed everything.

  The operatives hated Joe Solomon.

  "Sir. " I heard Bexs voice. "Mr. Solomon used to say that and operatives best weapon is her memory, and that -"

  Agent Townsend finally stopped staring at me. "Youre the Baxter. "

  "yes, sir. " Bex beamed.

  "I know your parents work," he said.

  Bex smiled. "Thank you, sir. "

  "That wasnt a compliment. "

  The operatives missed Joe Solomon.

  Townsend stood and walked around his desk, settled back in his chair. "Ive known about the Gallagher Academy and its girl for most of my career. " He leveled us with a gaze.

  "And that wasnt a compliment either. "

  I noticed something about his accent then. I replayed his words in my mind, while, outside, the sleet fell harder, and the room turned colder, and I knew the entire class was starting to feel the chill.

  "Fine, if this is all you are willing to bring to todays -"

  "How long were you stationed in Mozambique?"

  Townsend was rarely surprised, I could tell, and yet my question stopped him. "Excuse me?" he said.

  "Your Swahili this morning at breakfast was very distinctive. " He looked at me as if he wanted to protest, but I didnt give him the chance. "Youre left-handed, but the calluses on your palm say that you probably shoot with your right hand. " I thought of how hed moved when he pulled his feet from the desk. "You favor your left knee. Im betting you hurt it . . . what? Six months ago. Your accent is lower-middle class, but you went to a good school, didnt you? Someplace like this, Im betting. "

  "Nice trick, Ms. Morgan. "

  "Its not a trick. " I shook my head. "Its last falls midterm. Mr. Solomon -"

  "Joe Solomon is gone," he snapped. "I make that point very clear in London, or have you forgotten?"

  Id forgotten nothing about that day - not the color of Townsends shirt of the cool feel of the hard, metal table.

  "Why arent we having this class in Sublevel Two?" I asked, and watched his eyes change. "Were you not given clearance?"

  "Oh, I assure you, Ms. Morgan, Ill see all of this school I need to see. " He waved toward the door. "Now go. Consider yourselves dismissed.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Over the course of the following week, The Operatives were able to ascertain the following:

  ·The work "pigeon" appeared in nine of Joseph Solomons case files, legend histories, or lesson plans.

  ·There are approximately 4,902 Pigeon Roads, Pigeon Lanes, Pigeon Rivers, etc. in the United States - not one of which was in Roseville, Virginia.

  ·An incredibly thorough search of the Gallagher Academy servers revealed database labeled "Mr. Solomons Super Secret Pigeons File," as much as The Operatives wanted to find one.

  ·As far as mysteries go, "the pigeons" had nothing to do with Agent Townsend.

  * * *

  "This is useless," Liz exclaimed, her voice echoing off the high-vaulted ceiling of the P&E barn.

  "No it isnt," Bex said, grabbing the crossbow out of her hand. (Oh yeah, I said crossbow. ) "All Gallagher Girls have to be proficient with two weapons, and Im telling you the crossbow is -"

  "Not this," Liz said, grabbing the weapon back and giving it a good shake (at which point both Macey and I dropped to the floor and took cover). "Operation Townsend," she whispered.

  Outside, a fresh blanket of snow was falling over the grounds, and the tall windows were covered with fog. Sophomores fenced on the mats below us. A group of seventh graders were braving the climbing wall, while the whole barn echoed with the thuds and cries of girls who had been locked inside for way too long.

  "The man is a ghost, guys," Liz said, her voice low. "I mean, seriously ghosty. He went to some ritzy boarding school in England on scholarship -"

  "Good call on that, by the way," Bex told me, but Liz never even slowed down.

  Then he joined MI6 right out of college. Im pretty sure he was stationed in eastern Europe, because he did that big sting operation in Romania ten years ago. "

  "The one with the vampire bats?" Bex asked, eyes wide.

  "Yeah," Liz said, eyes wider. "And Im pretty sure he was the one who took down that group of KGB generals who were smuggling old Soviet missiles using a traveling circus as cover.

  "Operation Big Top?" Bex exclamimed.

  "Uh-huh," Liz said. "But then . . . after that . . . its like he disappeared. I mean . . .

  nothing. "

  "Which means something," I said, and Liz nodded slowly.

  "Something big. "

  "Bex, what does our surveillance tell us?" I asked, turned to the girl beside me.

  "He never takes the same route twice; barely eats, barely sleeps, and confides in absolutely no one. "

  "Hes up to something," I said, "This is guy doesnt do anything by accident, so if hes here, its for something big, and it doesnt have anything to do with teaching. "

  "Liz," Macey said, panic in her voice. "Liz, youre going to want to hold that -"

  "Sorry!" Liz yelled to the girls on the rock wall, who now had to navigate around an arrow.

  "Hey, Morgan!"

  I turned and saw Erin Dillard walking through the barn, as if member of the senior class regularly came up to talk to juniors, which, let me tell you, they dont. "We need to talk. "

  "Hi, Erin," I said. "Did you have a nice winter -"

  "Wheres your mother?" As soon as Erin spoke, I knew this want a chat. It was a mission.

  "Im not sure. "

  "Do you know how to get a message to her?" Erin asked. "Dead letter drop? Cutout?


  "Whats wrong?" I asked.

  "What do you think? Townsend. Im a senior, Morgan," Erin said with a cautious look around the barn. "I got offered a spot in the MI6/CIA Cross-Agency Deep Cover Training Program. "

  "Thats awesome," Bex said, but Erin merely shrugged.

  "Thanks. I got the letter over break. Im supposed to report to work -to work -in June, and do you know what our CoveOps homework was this weekend?"

  We all shook our heads.

  "We didnt have any. "

  "No!" Liz exclaimed.

  Erin nodded. "A few months from now Im going to be in deep cover somewhere, and this is how Im supposed to get ready?"

  She was right, of course. Mr. Townsends class wasnt just a waste of time. It was dangerous.

  Erin Shook her head, then turned to stare out the window and together we watched our newest teacher walk across the grounds then disappear without a trace into the falling snow. "Whats he really doing here?"

  Erins a great student. Shes going to be an awesome spy. As she turned and walked away, her whisper seemed to echo, settling down on the four of us.

  Our mission was clear.

  "Hell be a hard target," Bex said.

  "I know. "

  "Were talking this-guy-makes-Mr. -Smith-look-like-a-candy-striper hard. "

  I nodded. "Yeah thats right. "

  "So the question is," Bex said slowly, "how far are you willing to go?"

  I looked at my three best friends in the world. "How far is there?"

  Chapter Fifteen

  Covert Operations Report

  Operatives Morgan, Baxter, Sutton, and McHenry began a dangerous information-seeking operation on a highly hostile target. And teacher.

  The Operatives were able to ascertain the following:

/>   ·Agent Townsend never sleeps past eight or goes to bed before two.

  ·The Target runs five miles every day and was seen doing 500 sit-ups in a row (which, according to Operative Baxter, isnt nearly as impressive as it sounds).

  ·The Target strictly avoids both sugar and caffeine (which, according to Operative Morgan, is every bit as crazy as THAT sounds).

  ·Despite two weeks on the Gallagher Academy faculty, The Target has acquired zero friends.

  Ive had of lot of memorable meals in five and a half years at the Gallagher Academy, but that was one of the few times when I didnt actually eat anything.

  "Hes not coming, Liz said, her gaze glued to the big double doors at the back of the room. Bex and Macey and I stayed quiet, glancing around the Grand Hall, the two of them picking at their food as we took turns staring at the doors.

  Liz was the one who voiced what we were all thinking. "What if he doesnt come?"

  "Hey, Macey, can I have that -"

  "No!" the four of us cried in unison. Macey grabbed a banana out of Courtney Bauers hands, which might have looked kinda strange. But at the Gallagher Academy, "strange"

  is a completely relative thing.

  "Sorry, Courtney," I said, trying to explain. "Its just that weve got this experiment were going to do later with . . . "

  But then I couldnt finish because Agent Townsend was standing at the entrance of the Grand Hall, taking a long drink from a bottle of water. His dark curly hair was wet with sweat. In his black running suit, he looked as if he could have just gotten back from breaking into an embassy, parachuting behind enemy lines, meeting with a particularly shady informant in the darkest alley of the most dangerous city in the world. As much as I wanted to hate Agent Townsend, there was one thing I didnt dare forget: he was probably a very good spy.

  I looked at my roommates, knowing that for the next hour, somehow, someway, the four of us had to be better.

  "Who has eyes?" I whispered as I felt the man pass behind me.

  "Hes going to the buffet," Bex said, but unless you could hear her you would have sworn she was talking about the weather.

  "Whats he doing?" Liz asked. (Her face and voice, Im sorry to say , were significantly less covert. )

  "Apple," Macey said. Her blue eyes seemed especially big and bright as she looked at me and whispered again, "Apple. "

  It took four seconds for Liz to take the syringe from her bag. Her hands were shaking as I pulled the apple from my tray and held it beneath the table.

  "You do realize this is probably illegal, right?" I asked, but Liz looked up at me and smiled as if I were the mast naïve girl in the world.

  "It cant be illegal, Cam. Its research. "

  So that was it. Our teachers fate, my safety, and Lizs GPA all hinged on what we were about ot do.

  "Youre doing great, Lizzie," Bex said, but still Lizs hand trembled.

  "Liz . . . " Macey started.

  "Got it!" Liz said, and in the next second the apple passed beneath the table from Lizs hand to Bexs.

  In a flash, Bex was up and walking toward the door while Townsend did the same. Three seconds later my best friend was stumbling into him. The apple hes been carrying slipped from his grasp and tumbled through the sir, right into Bexs outstretched palm.

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