Friday, 17 June 2016

Maths Vs The Gang (part 6)

"This is like something from Havecheese." Said Ali, referencing the Catman prequel series.
The cupboard had gone down for about a minute and half before stopping, every second of those ninety absolutely terrifying. It seemed to screech against the walls on either side, as if any second the walls would cave in and they'd be swallowed by the stone. Instead, they'd come to a polite stop and the back wall had slid open, shelves disappearing to either side. It revealed a tunnel carved into the stone. Steven reckoned it almost certainly required helmets and a risk assessment. What would Ofsted think?
"Why is there a cave under the school?" Chris asked, following Mr Phillips as he led them out of the lift and down the stony corridor. The walls were rough and cold, the out jutting spikes and dark crevices caught in the light of the wire caged bulbs hanging from the ceiling. "You teachers have a staffroom. Why do you need a cave as well?"
"How much do you guys know about the history of the school?" Mr Phillips asked.
Steven raised his hand, grazing it on the low roof. "A couple of weeks ago, the science block exploded."
"Besides that."
Nobody said anything.
Mr Phillips sighed. "Kids these days, huh? Don't know anything. The school was founded in 1955 by Desmond Gilliam. Desmond was a Brigadier General in World War Two who went to war poor and came back rich. He built this place as a way to improve the life chances of other kids from this very town, where he grew up."
"That doesn't explain why there's a cave." Sophie said.
"I'm going to get to that. You see, Desmond Gilliam was a clever man. He recognised that kids round these parts aren't exactly the best behaved and knew that his teachers would need a way to get around the school quickly. So he built this cave, a network of tunnels which lead to every block in the school, and to various other areas as well."
"How did you find out, sir?" Chris asked.
"Do you remember Mr Gilliam? The RE teacher from a few years ago? His son is in your year group."
They all knew Desmond- who'd been named after his grandad. He'd been bullied in Year Seven because of the terrible rumours that had gone around about Mr Gilliam. Some students had nicknamed him the Big D.
"Well, Mr Gilliam was the son of Desmond Gilliam who'd told him about the caves before he died. Mr Gilliam shared the information with me before he retired; we were friends on the account of me being the only teacher who could put up with how boring he was. I didn't believe him at first but when he showed me, I had to accept it."
"How come you haven't told Mr King or anything?" Chris asked.
"I'm sure you guys know just as well as I do that Mr King would have this place bricked up and abandoned to avoid a health and safety risk. Ah. Here we are."
The tunnel's mouth opened up to reveal a huge cavern that Chris estimated was beneath the quad in the centre of the school. The room was mammoth; at least the size of the assembly hall, and all the walls were composed of jutting, grey rock. Flying saucer shapes with bulbs where the engines should have been hung from the vaulted ceiling, casting the room in an orange glow.
The room itself was pretty cool, literally and metaphorically. Although there were tunnels leading off in all directions, the spaces between the holes were covered in book cases. Wing backed chairs were arranged around a coffee table and behind that small relaxation area was a ping pong table. A fully functioning kitchenette was set up on one side of the room and there was a large bank of computers opposite it.
"That was my addition." Mr Phillips grinned. "Whenever the IT Monkeys- I mean Technicians- decide to get rid of a computer, I bring it down here and fix it up. That's one of the most sophisticated devices in Northern England."
"I bet Ali could destroy it by downloading Sims 3." Chris said.
"What's through there?" Freya asked, pointing towards a tunnel that had a sign above it reading, 'Costume Room'.
"I took the liberty of designing us some costumes." Mr Phillips said.
"Us?" Sophie said. "Does that mean you have a power too?"
"Yes." He laughed. "I've used it about three times since we came down the lift."
"What is it?"
"I can repeat situations." He said. "So, if I embarrass myself or lose an argument, I can step backwards through time and repeat it."
"All the paradoxes." Sophie said.
"I seem not to cause them." Mr Phillips said. "Although I do cause some disturbance to time. You know those radio controlled clocks that Mr King spent the entire school budget on? Due to my powers, none of them now work."
"Did you use your powers this morning in your conversation with Chris?" Freya asked.
"Yes, why?"
"I got a brain freeze feeling then that I've just been having now. I reckon I'm sensitive to it."
"I'll be sure to avoid using my powers as much as possible then." He smiled. "My superhero name, by the way, is Reiteration Man."
"Mr Phillips has a superhero name!" Steven beamed.
"You guys can call me Morris, though." He smiled.
"Your first name is Morris?" Ali asked.
"You have a first name?" Steven replied.
"Mr Phillips," Chris said, ignoring them, "you said something about a costume room?"
"Yes." He grinned. "I've viewed- and wiped, don't worry- some CCTV footage of your work on the bridge. Nice touch with the seagulls. Anyway, I've designed some costumes on Photoshop and I'll have them made once I know your powers and names. Any chance you'll tell me?"
They all looked at each other and then Chris shrugged. "Why not? I'm Captain Jaffa Cake. I become really strong when I eat Jaffa Cakes. It's weird."
"I'm the Summoner. I can summon stuff." Steven grinned.
"Lucky Cat." Sophie smiled. "I control probability."
"Tempus." Said Freya. "I can freeze time."
Ali grinned. "I'm the Flish. I can move really fast."
"The Flish? Like the TV show?"
Ali rolled her eyes.
"I'll run those through the computer and make you some costumes then to be stored in there." Mr Phillips smiled.
"Sir, why do we need costumes?" Freya asked. "Are you suggesting we become superheroes?"
"Isn't it our duty? We have incredible powers. It's only right that we use it to fight evil."
"But there isn't any evil." Chris said. "At least not yet."
"You haven't seen what's been happening in Maths Block." Mr Phillips said. "It's very curious indeed."

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