3

*Nothing belongs to me, but could you imagine?

The Romance of the Pimpernel- Chapter 3

Artie took a sip of his tea and delicately placed the porcelain cup down on its matching saucer. Having gotten rid of his adult children, constantly underfoot these days, the older agent was enjoying a little Artie time. "Finally, some peace and quiet," he looked down at Trailer who wagged his tail in agreement. Artie leisurely browsed through some data he had been compiling on a potential case when Trailer yelped to his feet and jumped up to look out the office window. The dog barked to get Artie's full attention, "What is it Trailer?" Artie half smiled, "Pete get stuck down a well?" The dog barked insistently and Artie suddenly suffered the mental vision of Pete falling down the Gulval Holly Well acquired during the reign of Queen Victoria and said to have dispensed information to worried girls about absent lovers, depending on whether the spring bubbled or went cloudy. As Artie was to understand- the well, a few miles from Penzance Bay, was disassembled brick by brick and rebuilt in Warehouse 12. "On second thought, Trail, I better take a look."

As Artie shuffled out of his comfy chair his head jerked in the direction of the all too familiar sound of a Tesla being discharged in the distance. "I told them no touching!" Hundreds of impossible scenarios ran through the seasoned agent's mind as he grabbed a portable goop spraying extinguisher and hoisted himself up onto the zip line. Touching down a few aisles away from the Dark Vault, Artie could hear the crackle of a Tesla stream and the boom of gunshot. Gunshot? "What on Earth did those knuckleheads set off?" Artie muttered to himself as he cautiously moved towards the storeroom of Warehouse 13's most potent artifacts, the disturbance now sounding like some kind of space age show down at the OK corral. He could hear Myka yelling inside.

"DROP THE ARTIFACT NOW!"

Who on Earth was Myka yelling at? Artie thought silently priming his extinguisher. As he punched in his private security code he listened to Pete bellow at his partner, "MYKA- DON'T SHOOT! YOU'LL HIT CLAUDIA!"

"I SAID DROP THE BOX!" Myka's voice was dangerous, "YOU'LL NEVER MAKE IT OUT OF THIS ROOM ALIVE!"

Artie had heard enough.

"Dear god," Artie fumbled with the heavy air tight door, mentally running through the inventory of the Dark Vault wondering what artifact could have turned the young woman against her partners. He swung the vault door open and brought his weapon up.

"ARTIE NO!" Myka and Pete yelled together, watching helplessly as their assailant, a large burly blond man in what appeared to be an antique military uniform, turned at the sound of the door opening directly behind him. With the Amber Jewel Box in his hands, the young solider mowed Artie over, knocking the older man flat on his back in the vestibule. Myka threw her Tesla to Pete.

"We can't let him get away, Pete." Myka was two steps behind her partner who was already clumsily stepping over Artie, stunned and still lying on the floor.

"I'm on it," Pete turned to Myka, "get Artie up and get this place locked down!" He disappeared down the nearest aisle in hot pursuit. In the meantime, Artie had been pushed over, stomped on and was thoroughly confused. He looked up at Myka who was currently trying to raise the senior agent into a sitting position.

"Who the hell was that?!" Artie leaned on Myka as she hauled him to his feet.

"Someone who has to be stopped from getting out of the Warehouse," Myka was dragging Artie over to the portable Warehouse data base recently dropped by Claudia. The young woman picked up the discarded tablet and thrust it into Artie's hands. "Put this place on emergency lock down, Artie- Claudia's life depends on it." Without further question, (for now, he thought) Artie tried to sift through the contents of the portable database. He had not really paid too much attention when Claudia had gone over the relatively new device she had programed.

"I'm trying to access the remote lock down protocol," his fingers flying only a tad slower than his protégé's. "What on earth was going on down here? Who was the guy with the enormous Army boots that walked over my face?"

"I honestly don't know, he came out of the Artifact" Myka was watching Artie earnestly; "you're ok, right? I have to go help Pete catch this guy." Myka started to walk quickly to the exit Pete had followed the perp out of.

"Damn it- I can't find anything on this thing, "Artie looked around his immediate area, "honestly, Claudia would be better suited to this newfangled i-thingy whatever, where is she?" Myka stopped mid-stride.

"That's the problem, Artie," Myka turned to face her mentor, "That guy took Claudia."

"Took her?" Artie dove back into the device and finally found the command to seal the Warehouse. "Myka, where exactly is Claudia?"

"She's inside the Amber Jewel Box," answered a woman, stepping out of the shadows of the Dark Vault holding a gun. The three listened as the lock down sirens blared and doors all over the Warehouse shut tight. "If you have initiated the lock down procedures we really must get out of the Dark Vault," the stranger looked from one agent to the other, "We're about to be locked inside." Without waiting, the woman briskly walked past Myka and Artie leaving them only the option to follow.

"Who the hell is that?" Artie demanded as he squeezed out of the closing Dark Vault entrance.

Though she had no weapon, Myka, trotted to catch up with the stranger. "I appreciated the fire power back there, but if we are going to be working together to track down soldier boy, I'm going to need to know who I'm dealing with."

"Fair enough," the stranger never even slowed down, "right now, all you need to know is that I am a Warehouse agent, though I'm guessing from your accent that we are no longer in her majesty's realm."

Myka gave the woman a once over, British accent, mid to late 30's, her long brunette hair was styled back in a loose bun on the top of her head. She wore knee high brown doe skin boots, khaki ridding pants, and a white button down shirt underneath a brown tweed vest. She looked like she had just walked off a vintage adventure film set, "You're Baroness Emma Orczy, aren't you?"

"Indeed, but I have a preference for just Emma," unfazed, the older agent turned suddenly and Myka looked back to see Artie struggling to keep up with the two women.

"You didn't die in the acquisition of the Amber Jewel Box, you got sucked inside!"

"I would call it being spatially re-appropriated, but I guess sucked inside is more than accurate" Emma turned down a random aisle, "Is there no way to contact your male partner and see if he's apprehended our blond German friend?" She stopped, slightly out of breath, "I honestly have no bloody clue where I'm going."

"Right, Control Room, follow me," Myka lead the way through the maze of aisles on the Warehouse floor. The layout of the Warehouse was now second nature to her, and once she got going the Control Room was a mere 7 minute walk from their location. Myka stopped midstride as the sound of Artie's Farnsworth rang out. The older agent, having almost kept pace with the women looked like he was about to keel over.

"Pete….what's your….status?" Out of breath, Artie could barely muster up an irate tone.

Pete's expression was one of frustration, "The guy got out before the doors sealed," he pounded his fist on the sealed umbilicus door, "we have to un-lock-down this place now!"