Hi guys! Sorry for the long wait: I got caught up in end-of-term stuff and then was whisked off on an unexpected vacation. (Add a couple weeks of pure laziness, and...)
But I'm back! With another new Case File!
Case File #891: Power Problems
Day: August 15th
Time: 7:43 P.M.
Location: LCPD Headquarters, Cherry Tree Hills
It wasn't often that Lego City got thunderstorms; the bustling metropolis was known for its sunny skies and profitable tourism business. But every now and then there was a day when the dark clouds rolled off the ocean and the air tasted of electricity. Hot Dog stands rushed to close down and beach-goers raced for the shelter of their hotels. When Lego City got a thunderstorm, it got a thunderstorm.
Tonight was no different.
Frank Honey jumped as another flash of lighting lit the room, startling him from his nervous stupor. Due to the...inclement weather, most of the staff had been unable to leave after they clocked out for the day. Frank's shift had ended two hours ago, but he was still hiding under his desk. Or rather, the receptionist's desk.
"Frank, you've been hiding under there for an hour." Bea said, looking down at him from her chair. "Don't you have anything productive to do while you wait for the storm to pass?'"
"I wish I did!" Frank cried from under the desk. "I don't remember storms being this long!"
"This IS a rather big storm." Chief Dunby muttered from the middle of the lobby. "Spencer!" He shouted as a roll of thunder boomed. "Turn the radio on and see if we can get a weather report!"
Spencer saluted and reached for the radio he kept next to his desk-an old 80s style, not the standard police issue most officers had. He fiddled with the dials as static weaved in and out.
"--oh-oh I'm Walking on Sunshine, Oh-oh-oh--"
"--ancis, darling, we mustn't be found out!"
"You're right! Let's get insid--"
"--uy your Lego City Sun Lotion today! Only $39.99 not including ship--"
"--nd Now for the weather!"
"There it is! Hold it there!" Someone in the lobby shouted. Spencer balanced out the dials so they could (mostly) hear the announcer.
"That storm is coming big and large, folks! The storm front is expected to last until midnight, hope you didn't have any dinner plans! In the meantime, make sure your flashlight batteries are fresh and you've got a couple gallons of water and some blankets, because there are expected to be pow--"
There was a huge crash of lightning and thunder directly over the building. The lights flickered, then died as the front lobby was plunged into darkness.
"...Power outages." Dunby finished. "Alright, Everyone stay calm."
Naturally, this was the cue for everyone to panic.
Five minutes later, after several screams and bruised shins and hips from bumping into desks and coffee tables, the lobby was almost back in order. Anyone who was likely to start screaming and running around again had been strongly encouraged to sit down and shut up.
"Alright, now that that nonsense is over with," Dunby said, brushing off his jacket. "Chase, find the supply closet and more importantly, some flashlights. Baxter-"
"Ted, find our maintenance man and make sure we're not going to lose anything else. Bea, see if you can find some asprin for my headache."
"You have a headache, sir?"
"I will soon. Now Hop to it! Everyone else, at ease. Eat a doughnut if you've got it." Chief Dunby snarled, then turned to the front desk. Quiet conversations started around the room as staff moved to find emergency supplies, occasionally cut off by the now frequent bursts of lightning and thunder. Tension was still high in the room, intensified by the darkness. Frank continued to tremble under the desk. It was dark now, and scary. If only Ellie were here to-
He sat straight up, slamming his head into the underside of the desk. Ignoring his pain, he climbed out from under the counter and made a bee-line for the elevator. Or he would have, if he hadn't run smack into Chase on the way there.
"Woah! Slow down, Frank!" Chase said, steadying the shaking police officer. "What's wrong?"
"It's Ellie!" Frank panted. "She's down in the basement all by herself! It's pitch black down there! She's probably terrified!"
Chase thought about it. While Ellie was probably far from terrified, she still wasn't in a good position. Unlike the lobby, which was half windows, the basement didn't have any natural light sources. They called it "the dungeon" for good reason. Ellie wouldn't be able to do anything but sit and wait for the power to come back on. Unless she'd gone home before the storm started.
"All right, I'll come down and help you look." Chase said, leading Frank over to the elevator. They ran into Ted, who was standing at the elevator door.
"Any luck finding the maitenance guy?" Chase asked as they waited.
"Nope. Any luck on the flashlights?"
"The supply closet didn't have any. I know Jimmy keeps one at his desk, though. I'm going to see if I can find it."
"Good Idea. Why's the elevator taking so long?"
They stared at the doors for a minute before it hit them.
"Any idea where the stairs are?"
As it turns out, they didn't have a clue.
"Seriously? There's no stairs to the basement?" Chase asked after ten minutes of searching.
"Maybe they got taken out during the last renovation." Frank suggested, still trying to feel for a doorknob.
"Well, how are we supposed to get out in case of an emergency?"
"There's a back door to the parking lot, but I'm not going out in the storm to get to it." Ted said with a shake of his head. "Face it, we're stuck."
"Maybe not..." Chase said, looking up. "These ducts lead into the basement, right?"
"Yeah, they reach the whole building. I can hear Rodney's workouts from the third floor with these things. It's the one thing they've never fixed." Ted said, squinting into the darkness. "You're not suggesting...?"
"I am. We'll get to the basement with these." Chase said. "We just need to get up there..."
"Oh! We can use this filing cabinet!" Frank said, running over to a cabinet along the wall. "Oph! This is heavy! How many files are in this thing?"
Ted walked over to the cabinet and opened a drawer. "A lot. And some cake. And an anvil. Why do we keep our anvils in filing cabinets?"
"Well, where else are we going to put them?" Frank asked as he continued to push on the cabinet. Ted shrugged then joined him. Eventually, they were able to get the cabinet underneath a vent in the air duct. Frank jumped up on the filing cabinet and pulled the vent off. "It's really dark in there..." He said nervously.
"Aw, c'mon Frank, it's not like there's anything in there." Ted said. "Not even a Snipe!"
"W-w-what's a snipe?" Frank asked nervously.
"Oh, just a little thing with lots of teeth that likes to lurk in Air Ducts. But the exterminator was here last week, and he's mostly sure that the ones we had died out. You'll be fine." Ted replied cheerfully. "Now get in there!"
Frank looked back into the darkness of the ducts, which seemed even darker than the darkness outside the ducts. Then, in an uncharacteristic fit of bravery, He pulled himself into the duct, vanishing through the open vent.
"You okay up there, Frank?" Chase called.
"Yep. It's just really dark."
"Well, it's not like you can get lost." Chase muttered. "Just go right and follow the ducts down to the basement. And watch out for-"
There was a sudden CRASH from within the vent, followed by several other unpleasant banging noises, grunts of pain and, inexplicably, a chicken.
"-the hole leading to the basement." Chase finished with a wince. "Frank?"
"Why's Frank in the air duct?" Ellie asked.
"He's looking for you." Chase said, without looking away from the air duct. Three seconds later, he jumped. "How'd you get up here?"
"I came up the stairs." Ellie said, pointing to the doorway which had been previously hidden by the filing cabinet. "You do know there's stairs, right?"
"I do now...." Chase sighed. "Hey Frank? Ellie's up here."
"Really?" Frank called from somewhere in the duct system. "Well, I guess I'll climb back up the ducts..."
"Frank, there's stairs in the basement. Where are you?"
"I think I'm in the supply closet next to the locker roo-GAH what was that!" Frank yelled. "It's skinny and has lots of little feelers on the end!"
"...That's a mop, Frank."
"Oh. Then I'm ok!"
"Frank, are there any flashlights down there?" Ted yelled.
"Yeah, a whole bunch of them."
"Then bring them up. I still need to find the maintenance guy."
"You mean Joe?" Ellie asked. "He stayed home sick today. Something about a bad piece of lobster."
"Well, that figures." Chase muttered. "Any idea where the breaker box is?"
"Fantastic. With our luck, it's outside in that storm." Ted said with a shake of his head. "I think we're stuck until this storm blows over."
"What are we supposed to do until then?" Chase asked.
"...Well, we do have that paperwork that's been piling up. Don't need power to do that, just the flashlights Frank's bringing up."
"What, do you want to ask the Chief to gather everyone in a circle and start singing campfire songs?"
*MEANWHILE, AT THE FIRE STATION*
"Aw, c'mon chief, not Kumbaya again...."
"I'm the Chief, I decide, Lopez-Delgado! Alright, altogether now..."
*BACK AT THE POLICE STATION*
"I guess paperwork's alright." Chase said.
There was a CLUNK, then a hum as something in the building turned on. Then cheers rose up around the lobby as the lights flickered, then came back on around the building.
"I'm back!" Frank shouted as he came back up the stairs with a box of flashlights. "I found the room with all the backup light switches, so I flicked them all on, but nothing happened, so I flicked them back."
"Frank, you just got the power back on!" Ellie cheered, hugging him.
"Where was the room?" Ted asked.
"It's next to the locker rooms, across from the supply closet."
"Good to know. I'm writing that down for the next time Joe's sick." Ted said, walking over to his desk.
"I think the storm's clearing up!" Spencer said, looking out the window. Sure enough, the pounding of the rain was starting to lighten, and the lighting strikes were becoming less frequent.
"Hey Chief, can we go home now?" Chase called across the room.
"Yes. Ladies and Gents, have a safe drive home, and see you tomorrow." Dunby replied, already walking to the door with his coat and briefcase in hand.
There were cheers, followed by a stampede for the door. The resulting rumble was so loud it almost drowned out the huge CRASH from outside.
"Oh no..." Chase sighed. The front doors to the police station opened up to reveal a massive tree trunk blocking the exit.
"We don't even have any trees on the compound!" The Chief yelled. "Where did this thing come from?"
"It looks like a log truck tipped over outside." Spencer said, straining to see out one of the windows. "I think we're still stuck."
"Hey, look on the bright side!" Frank said brightly. "At least we still have power!"
The lights chose that exact moment to flicker out again.
"I think one of those logs knocked over a light pole...."