“Get out of there, Matthew!” Father Unwin urged, raising his voice more than he had intended to.
The receptionist appeared from around the corner a moment later, “Did you call out just now, Father?”
Father Unwin was taken aback, but managed to compose himself.
“Ah yes! For you see, now is the time I find it of the necessey-vitals to summon the courageous-most in preppers-ration toward the meet-and-greet of and the honourlode of the importy-most and goodly fellow Mr Monday!”
If the receptionist felt the need to make some comment at his outburst, she suppressed the impulse and merely stated, “Er, quite. Mr Monday should be with you momentarily.”
With that, she turned and moved back to her desk, out of sight of the waiting area.
Father Unwin spoke urgently into his concealed radio, “Matthew? Are you alright? What’s happening?”
To his relief, Matthew’s breathless voice came back over the circuit, “Just about! That was a close one! I caught my trousers on the edge of the vent cover as I scrambled inside. Thought for sure that gull was going to have me for breakfast! At the last second I was able to get free and crawl further inside, but it was a near thing…”
“I’m very relieved to hear that you’re safe. Unfortunately, we’re running behind schedule, so I’ll do my best to buy you as much time as I can. Do hurry.”
“Right, Father. I’m on my way!”
With that, Matthew began crawling quickly and quietly along the narrow ventilation duct. In less than a minute he had reached the small metal cover leading to the file room.
Once again he carefully applied some of the acid to the edges of the cover and it promptly dropped off. Now came the tricky part.
He edged himself out of the vent and swung his legs onto the top of a row of identical dark-green filing cabinets positioned along the walls of the room. The file he was interested in would be in the third cabinet to his left. With a quick look at his watch, he set to work.
Father Unwin had been conversing with Mr Monday about nothing in particular for almost ten minutes. Mr Monday, who had until this point been listening politely and nodding when appropriate, was obviously beginning to lose patience with the apparently directionless patter and decided to steer things back on track.
“Fascinating, I’m sure,” he remarked, “But what exactly was it that you wanted to see me about? I’m afraid I have another appointment in a few minutes, so I cannot spare you as much time as I would otherwise wish to.”
Inwardly Father Unwin was amused by the complete lack of sincerity in Monday’s remark. He sat forward a little in his armchair and was about to reply when he heard Matthew’s voice through his hearing aid radio.
“Mission accomplished, Father! I’m on my way back to the case!”
Unwin smiled. He extended a hand to Mr Monday.
“Oh I do apologise, where are my manners? I’ve taken up too much of your valuable time. It was so good of you to see me, Mr Monday, you’ve been a great help. Good morning!”
And without waiting for a reply, he turned and strode out of the office leaving Mr Monday speechless, if slightly relieved.
By the time Father Unwin returned to the waiting area to collect his case, Matthew was already safely inside.
Father Unwin bent down to retrieve the case and as he did so, replaced the circular device on the pace of glass. The circle of glass he had previously removed, its edges now coated with adhesive, remained in place when he withdrew the device. He pocketed it and strolled back to the elevator, case in hand.
As the pair left in Gabriel, Father Unwin asked, “You’re quite sure you succeeded, Matthew?”
“Yes, Father. I found the file without any trouble and was able to slip the microdot tracker inside. If the Bishop’s theory is right, whoever shows up to steal the information will be easy to trace and then it’ll be a matter for the proper authorities.”
“Excellent work, my friend. How about a celebratory meal? I believe the views from the Post Office Tower restaurant are superb.”
Matthew grinned, “Perhaps something closer to street-level, Father? I’ve had enough high-excitement for one day!”