In The Beginning....
With apologies to HB and the writers behind "A Pup Named Scooby Doo", maybe out beloved gang came together in a whole different way......
As Velma turned the knob, the night sky went black. She sat back in her seat and enjoyed the darkness for awhile. This had became her favorite spot as of late. Her own private universe!
The Coolsville school system had become a convoluted structure. As the town had grown, many schools had been built as stop-gap measures, only to be outgrown or expanded upon. The High School was now a complex that only served eleventh and twelfth grades. The old high school was now a junior high that served eighth, ninth, and tenth grades. This split up had really been hard on Velma. Not only had she been separated from her classmates when she skipped fourth and sixth grades, she was now also in a totally different school building! Being a senior at age sixteen had it's share of problems as well.
Adjacent to the main building complex was a football stadium. Under the stadium seating was a building that had been converted into a planetarium. The term Planetarium actually refers to the projector at the center of the building. This one was an older optical sphere which Velma preferred compared to the newer projection systems. She had never been one to stand in the way of technical progress, but something about the amount of "hands on" work this one required intrigued her. She made some adjustments to the panel and the large orb rotated slowly. As she brought the rheostat up, the current fall skyline illuminated above her.
Astronomy had not been one of Velma's strong points. She was far more interested in archeology, but her astronomy teacher had entrusted her to "manage" the planetarium for him. She found it a place of solitude where she could get away from everybody. It's not that other students disliked her, it was more that she was not good at putting on the public facade. Her love was that of science and the use of science to unravel life's mysteries.
She made some additional adjustments and the skyline changed to what would be viewed if she had been standing in Egypt and looking at their night sky. Slowly, she faded to black and sighed. "Maybe someday. Oh well, three hours is enough fun for the day, time to go home."
Although not disliked, Norville had his share of problems too. Grades were one of the biggest. "Like, why do they keep trying to teach you stuff?", he asked himself. After all, wasn't life really about food, family, and friends? His math teacher had just given him a major tongue lashing earlier in the day. "When would you ever have to know how much room is in a circle?", he pondered. Detention had not been too much fun either. "Like the valve said GAS, why were they all upset that I made it sound like what it was! Teachers here have NO sense of humor!"
Life was at an all time low. His girlfriend of six months had broken up with him earlier that day as well. Ran to the arms of some jock on the football team. "Like big deal! He can throw a ball around!", he muttered as he walked along. "Play ball... eat pizza... play ball... eat pizza.... Like anyone would really question which one was more important in life?"
Norville paused for a moment and looked out over the football field. "Why would anybody want to run back and forth on that thing and beat up on people??" He shook his head and continued walking under the the stands. Discouraged, he sat down on part of the metal framework and looked down at his feet. "Who are you?"
"Who are you?" ... He heard it again.
He though he had been thinking it to himself, but it was an actual voice asking him a question. He slowly looked up. A girl in an oversized orange turtleneck sweater was looking down at him. Her inquisitive eyes looking from behind thick lenses. "Hey, like, you're that smart girl!" The comment brought a slight smile to her face. He pointed his finger at her..
The smile faded as she shook her head "no." .. He didn't give up.
"Thelma! That's it!"
Her face began to frown slightly...
"Ah... Maryann? Ginger? Like, no, they're from that TV show! Let me guess... Ahh...."
"My name is Velma.", she said.
"No, like that's not it..... I'll get it, let me guess...", he continued.
"It's VELMA!", she shouted, her face now somewhat red.
Norville realized what she was saying and he had now made her mad at him as well. "Hi Velma, my name is Norville. I'm sorry"
Velma sat down next to him, "It's ok Norville, I think all anybody knows me as is 'that smart girl' "
Wow.. A friendly voice! He hadn't heard one of those in a while. "You can call me Shaggy, my friends do. That is, they would if I had any..."
Velma smiled. "A fellow outcast! ...... You can't be serious, I'm sure you have friends. I think I've seen you around and you weren't alone!"
"Well I am now!" Shaggy related the days events to Velma. She found herself taking a liking to this strangely kindred spirit almost from the start.
"Shaggy, Pies are square!", she said.
He looked at her with a baffled face. "No, they're not, they're round!"
She smiled again. "The area of a circle can be found by multiplying pi by the square of the radius of the circle. I always remembered that one by thinking about square pies! It sticks in your head because it's funny!"
"Like wow, that's cool! Pies are square! ... That is hard to forget! Hey, like speaking of pies, do you want to grab some pizza?"
Velma blushed! Was this like a date? No, it was just a pizza. But, it was probably the closest thing to a date that she had run into all year!
"And then I took the mouth of the whoopee cushion and tied it on to the gas valve! Like I thought it sounded very realistic!"
Velma burst out laughing! She couldn't picture herself doing such a thing, but the thought was really hilarious! As the pizza arrived at the table Shaggy grabbed for a piece but stopped dead in his tracks. It was not too often in life that something would come between him and food, but something had.
"There he is. That guy over there. He's the one who Sue dumped me for!"
Velma tried to peer out of the corner of her eye but without the help of her glasses she couldn't see a thing. Slowly she turned her head until she could see him, all the time trying not to look obvious.
"I saw a picture of him in the school trophy case. I think his name is Fred Jones. Is that Sue?"
Shaggy slowly glanced over. "No, Sue isn't a red head. I don't know who that girl is, but Sue has brown hair. Geezz, he dumped Sue already. What a guy..... "
"So, maybe you can get her back?", Velma suggested. Shaggy shook his head. If she broke my heart so easily, she'll only break it again!"
How wise he is, Velma though to herself, and he doesn't even know it!
Daphne was very upset. Her favorite purple head scarf was in danger! Not the one she was wearing, but the whole future of the garment! There was only one company that produced the scarf in the color that pleased her. The company was owned by her father (of course) and was located right outside of Coolsville. Recently, people had been quitting and refusing to come back to work. They claimed the building was haunted! "What hogwash!", she thought. Still, she had to prove it was all nonsense in a convincing way in order to get the workers to return. She couldn't do this one alone. She needed help, even if it was only some strong "figure" that people would believe. Who could she find to do this dirty work? Who could be so convincing by reputation alone that "his word" was all it would take to be believed?
Vinyl floor tiles are made to exacting standards. The deviation between properly laid tiles, such as those at Coolsville High, could be measured in thousandths of an inch. Still, some things in life can not be explained, they are just meant to happen. The right combination to change the history of mystery solving was about to happen. One tile, which was slightly above the rest, called out to the stiletto tip on Daphne's high heels... Deep in thought, she didn't even notice at first that her foot did not come forward. Suddenly, she found herself in an out of control stumble! Her hands grasped for anything in sight and found their home on an open locker door at the corner of two hallways. Instead of slowing her down, the door swung around producing a slingshot effect that accelerated her forward motion down the second hall! Like a rocket, she flew down the hall, hands forward, bracing for impact!
Bam! It happened! Her forward motion was stopped dead by the trophy case at the end of the hall! "Owww..", she groaned. Her face was plastered against the Plexiglas. In pain, she winced at the picture that was less than one foot in front of her. It was a picture of Fred Jones, captain of the football team!
"He'll do..", she moaned before collapsing to the ground.
From the time the bell rang, you had about four minutes to make your way to the next class. Three minutes and forty five seconds had passed, but due to a delay, Fred had not made it there yet.
"Freddy! Freddy!" he heard someone scream. He looked around and saw a brown haired girl yelling after him.
"Remember me? I was at your last game! I'm Sue!", she yelled.
Fred tried hard, but he could not place the face. It wasn't ego, but simply the fact that there were thousands of people that came to those games, how could he remember this one girl? Still, he didn't want to hurt her feelings.
"Oh, yea. Hi Sue!", he yelled back as he slipped down a side hall.
"Freddy! Lets get together and have some pizza later ! ?", she yelled.
"Sounds good!", he yelled back as he ducked into the classroom.
"Whew.. What just happened there?", he thought to himself as the second bell rang. He hoped she was just kidding. He had caught a glance of what looked like her boyfriend walking off in disgust. It was that hippy kid in the green shirt. He didn't really want to go out with this girl, but he hated to hurt people's feelings. Maybe she would forget. He knew that wasn't true. Part of the hazard of being captain of the football team was that sometimes, some girls would get that way.
Later that afternoon, when Freddy was at home, his phone rang. The female voice on the other end was very precise.
"I would like to meet up with you for pizza tonight and discuss a proposition.", she said.
Freddy was taken back. The encounter from that morning was still on his mind. This must be the same girl, but she sounds far more logical than she did before. He had said he would meet her so he didn't want to go back on his word.
"Sure. How about around six at the malt shop?", he replied.
"That would do well." the voice replied. With that, the phone went dead.
"Golly, that was strange! She sounded so different this morning!"
As Fred walked up to the door of the Malt Shop, a red haired girl was waiting for him.
"My name is Daphne. We spoke earlier on the phone."
Fred's mouth hung open for a few seconds. This was NOT the girl from this morning. He had apparently agreed to meet two girls at the malt shop tonight!
The two found their way to a table and ordered up two sodas and a pizza. Fred looked nervously about.
"What are you looking around for?", Daphne asked him.
He spied what looked like the "Sue" boyfriend sitting at a table across the room. This only heightened his anxiety!
Daphne glanced over to where Fred was looking, but only caught a glimpse of Velma.
"Oh, the smart girl. She's the one Mr. Freeman used to wreck the make-out room."
"Huh?", Fred replied.
"Everyone used to go to the planetarium to make out. Freeman got wise and made her the student manager of the place. Now she's always in there tinkering around and no one can take advantage of the darkness."
"Oh yea", Fred said, "I heard about that."
"Listen", Daphne continued, "I need your help solving a mystery at my father's factory. You see, workers are quitting because..."
Daphne couldn't help but notice how nervous Fred was becoming.
Fred was seeing his worst nightmare unfold! Through the far door he watched as Sue entered the malt shop!
"Fred Jones! You are as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! Are you listening to me?"
Sue first saw Shaggy and Velma. "Well it didn't take long to replace me!", she thought to herself. Anger boiled up inside her. Like a well shaken bottle of nitroglycerin, her gaze next fell on Freddy and Daphne! It was too much! She charged at the table!
Just as fast as the pizza hit the table, it left...... in Sue's hands! Fred looked up in horror as a jumbo pepperoni pizza with extra cheese headed for his face! SPLATT !!
Velma's eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped as she watched what was happening across the room!
"Umm...... That's Sue! I guess she didn't like the quick drop!", Shaggy said.
Velma did her best to stifle a laugh, "I don't think the red head likes her new pizza based wardrobe."
As the ruckus grew and pizza began to fly, Shaggy looked down in fear for the safety of his own pie. "Like, lets box this thing and head for the hills!"
"Sounds like a good plan!", Velma replied, and they both headed for the outside picnic table.
Having equitably distributed the contents of the pizza between Fred and Daphne, Sue headed for the door with visible steam shooting from her ears.
Daphne was speechless. She was covered from head to toe with pizza sauce and cheese. Fred was in no better condition.
"Do all meetings with the great Fred Jones end in Pizza fights???", she yelled with anger!
"Golly, no! Honestly! I was suppose to meet up with her, then you called, I thought your were both the same.... "
"YOU EQUATE ME TO THAT .... THAT .... THAT THING-WOMAN????"
"No, that's not what I meant, I just thought you were her! Ahh, no, I mean......................"
"Looks like the pizza wars are heating up again", Velma said, while no longer able to hide her amusement...
"Well, at least there's safety glass between us and the action!", Shaggy said, pointing to the side window of the malt shop.
With that, a large slice went SPLAT against the inside of the glass, startling Velma!
"JINKIES!, Maybe we should hot foot it out of here! ", she exclaimed.
"Jinkies? I've heard a lot of words in my life, but I never heard that one! What's it mean?"
"um... I don't know, I guess I just made it up!", she said laughing.
"Like Cool! I could never make up a word that fast! Where do you think we should take the pizza?"
Velma pondered the thought for awhile, "Well, I know a nice peaceful place with no flying pizza..."
"Are you done??", Freddy grumbled, while wiping sauce from his hair, "I mean, YOU are the one that wanted to meet with me."
Daphne sat down. After steaming in silence for awhile, and contemplating how much of her outfit would be able to be recoverable, she finally spoke. "I'm done. I think we need to go home and get cleaned up. Since Geek-Girl has found a new love interest, I think we should meet up at the school planetarium in about an hour. Then I'll fill you in on what I would like you to do."
"Ok", Fred replied.
With that, they both headed their separate ways.
The more Fred thought about it, the more disturbed he got. "Fill you in on what 'I' would like you to do? Where does this girl get off? Well, I'd better not tempt fait. I'll just listen to what she says, then tell her No Way, and go home!"
"This is like REALLY cool Velma!", Shaggy said as he leaned back in the seat munching on a slice and watched the stars move around. "Like, where are the animals?"
"Oh, you mean the constellations! There are certain groups of stars that form patterns that look like animals and other things. Watch...."
Velma hit another switch and turned up another rheostat and dim lines connected some of the stars. Next she picked up a projection pointer and aimed it into the dome. Shaggy watched as the little bright white arrow moved about.
"This is Ursa Major, the Greater Bear. And over here is Orion, the Hunter."
"Wow, this is so much cooler then when they try to teach you stuff! I learned that pies are square, and there's some cool stars up in the sky! And, I get to eat pizza in class!"
Velma stepped down from the operator's platform and took the seat next to Shaggy.
"If you learned something.... I guess that makes me a teacher. Hummm. As for me, I love to learn! There's so much out there. So much unexplained...."
"Velma, like this has been the coolest night I've had in Coolsville in a long while! I always thought smart people were boring, but you're like the Jinki-est person I've met!"
Velma shook her head, "I think you'd better leave the Jinkies to me. But I'll admit, this has been one real fun night for me too!"
There was a noise at the door, and both Velma and Shaggy shot up to the operators platform and hid behind the main console. "I really shouldn't be in here.", Velma whispered, "It's way too late."
Shaggy peered over the console and then crouched back down. "It's the football jock and the red head!"
Velma rolled her eyes. "I hope they left their pizza behind! I don't want to clean up after them.
"So, what is so darned important that you dragged me into a nightmare of a night in the first place?", Freddy asked.
Daphne slumped into one of the seats. "It's a long story. My father owns a scarf factory and the workers are quitting because they think it's haunted. I was hoping you would help me prove that it is not haunted."
"Now that's downright weird. They actually make scarves? Are you leveling with me?"
"Yep. I figured someone like you, captain of the football team, would be able to clearly show it's not haunted, and people would believe you."
Fred grumbled. "If I hear that captain of the football team line one more time, I'm going to scream!"
Velma looked over at Shaggy. "Want to have some fun? I have some Halloween effects set up for next month, I think it's time to test them!"
Shaggy looked over surprised! This studious girl was into practical jokes? This was like well beyond cool!
Velma reached over and started an old reel to reel tape recorder. A low sorrowful moaning could be heard. At first Daphne and Fred tried to pretend they each didn't hear it, but they both looked terrified! Velma hit another switch and a low fog began to fill the room. She turned up the volume a little and hit another switch. A ghastly green projection began to swirl through the room. Shaggy picked up a microphone, and Velma adjusted the sound settings for a low and booming voice....
"I am the
ghost of (umm..) Le-Scarf !
Velma and Shaggy were suppressing laughter so hard, both had tears running down their faces! Peering out, they could see Daphne and Freddy clutching on to each other! Velma could take it no more!
She snapped on the house lights, stood straight up and held one finger high in the air...
"Lesson number One, There is NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS !"
Both had shocked blank faces as they looked at her with new respect.
"And one more thing, if you want help proving that there is no ghost at your dad's factory, you can count me in!"
Shaggy was in disagreement with his new found friend on this point. He huddled on the floor clutching her leg and whispered to himself, "count me out, count me out, count me out, count me out, count me out....."
Velma moved her foot over his toe, and shifted all of her weight onto it! Shaggy popped straight up in pain! "Count Me In!"
It took a second before he realized what he had said but it was too late!
"This is great!", Freddy said, "Kind of a mystery fighting team! Mysteries Incorporated!"
Daphne was still in shock, but slowly, it settled in. "Mysteries Inc., I like it! ..... and... sorry about the geek girl comment..."
Velma tilted her head, "Geek Girl comment? What do you mean?"
Fred cut the conversation short;
"Gang, we have a mystery to solve !!"
Mr. Blake was a formidable looking man. He decided the best way to handle this was as if it was a job interview and the four teens in the room were applying for the job.
"Mysteries Inc., Eh? I suppose you each have very specific skills you are bringing into this organization. Let's start by each of you telling me what you can contribute. Who wants to go first?"
After a few moments of silence, Velma was the first to speak;
"I am confident that I can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there is nothing supernatural happening at the factory. Simply put, there is no such thing as ghosts! If we look at the facts, the first thing we see is that your factory has been there for seven years, and the so-called haunting has only occurred for the last six months! Given what has been written about the so-called supernatural, why would this, or these, spirits wait until now to start their activities? If I have the chance, I am sure I will uncover evidence that what is going on is far more to do with the world we live in rather than something from beyond the grave!"
Blake was impressed, but like a good businessman, he did not let it show. "Next?"
Freddy decided he would put his best foot forward.
"I agree with what Velma said. I want to build on this and say that if we make the assumption that what is going on is of this world, that at some point there may be a need to tackle the perpetrators, either through the used of a carefully designed trap, or, quite literally, a tackle. With my past experience in football, I am pretty good at bringing someone down to the ground if needed."
Once again, Blake was impressed. Still, there was more to be considered. His eyes focused on the hippy kid in the green shirt.
Shaggy had been the reluctant member. Still, today had been a very special day. It had started with a new low point, and ended on quite a high note. These were his new friends, and he was not going to let them down!
"Excuse me, Mr. Sir, I mean Mr. Blake... I may look like I have little to offer, but I can assure you that I have a special talent at drawing people out. All my life, people have chased after me, usually for no reason at all! I'm always the one that's picked out if something has gone wrong no matter how much it wasn't my fault! Somebody in life always has to be the bait and I believe I was born with that tattooed on my forehead! It doesn't sound like much, but like, it's all I have to offer!"
"Impressive!", Blake said. He quickly realized that he had left a complement slip out and did his best to regain his composure. He looked at his daughter....
"And now my dear, What do you have to offer?"
Daphne was shocked! Her father was questioning her worth! Wasn't it her idea to save this factory in the first place? Still, if she didn't say anything she would look like a fool. Like a lawyer caught with his pants down, she pulled herself together as fast as possible!
"I...... ..... ..... I have a good deal of skill in bringing focused concepts together. At gathering people together and getting them to focus on their common goal..." (She started to sweat.) "At working to heal the differences between people's styles and getting them to form a unified team.... "
"You're not running for office my dear!", he boomed, "But I have heard enough."
All four stood in silence awaiting the results of this unexpected test. Blake stood and addressed them all;
"I'm not paying you for this job. I have little confidence you will be able to do anything to save the factory. If you do it, you do it out of your own free will. I will however give you this one perk; I am buying our landscaper a new van. You kids can have the old one to use as a base of operations. It needs a paint job and a women's touch, but it's a good van. Freddy, I'm putting you in charge of the van. If by some unexpected miracle you do save the factory, I will cover the cost of gas and insurance for the van for a period of two years. There's the deal kids, take it or leave it!"
With that, he turned and left the room. He knew what their decision would be and wanted them to be able to enjoy it alone. He was afraid he would crack a smile or start laughing with them! They needed to treat this job with respect. Making if all fun and games would prevent this from happening.
All four watched as he left the room, trying to conceal their excitement.
"A Van!", Freddy said, "This is so cool! It is the one thing I've always wanted but could never afford!"
"Our van.", Daphne added, "Our own Mysteries Incorporated van!"
"Our own machine to cruse around in!", Shaggy added, "This is like the best day of my life!!"
"Mystery Inc van... no, Mystery Inc Machine...", Velma said in a low voice .......
"Jinkies! It's The Mystery Machine!"
All cheered in agreement!
In a dark green van, with a fresh coat of base paint, four teenagers started out on their first adventure. Four days had passed and each evening the gang had gotten together to work out a plan, and to work on the van as well. Friday evening seemed like the perfect time to set out on an adventure. It was a three day weekend, with Monday being a Holyday. Plenty of time to figure this mystery out!
Shaggy was musing over his day at school, and how surprised the teacher had been! This time, Shaggy had known the answer when picked on! How cool was that !
Fred and Daphne were seated in the front. Shaggy and Velma in the back. The ride was a bit bumpy. Freddy was pretty sure the Mystery Machine needed new shocks in the front and back. "It still smells like fertilizer!", Daphne commented.
Freddy laughed. "How can you smell that over the bottle of perfume you dumped in the back? Anyway, in a couple of weeks, I am sure the smell will fade."
Velma was beside herself with happiness! A REAL mystery to solve! As Shaggy would say, "How cool is that!"
Daphne was reading through her case notes. "If you look at the opening date, and the date of the first haunting event, the factory was open for six year, six months, and six days without incident."
"Zoinks! Like Velma, isn't 666 a real bad number??"
"Zoinks?", Velma chuckled, "I don't believe I've heard that word before! Looks like we are even! Now, about 666... Only if you let it be. Its like the number thirteen. From a mathematical point of view, it is simply the next whole number after twelve and before fourteen. Nothing more. Nothing less."
"Fred?", Daphne asked, "What do you think of oversized daises for a design on the hubcaps?"
Freddy cringed. "I guess I could live with that...."
Velma leaned forward. "So Daphne, what kind of events have been happening that have everybody spooked?"
"Well, it started with machinery that would turn on or off with no explainable cause.."
"Could be electrical or wiring Daphne....."
"But then things got worse, strange odors and mists."
"Then strange groaning noises."
"Old chimneys and the wind....."
"Then the windows steamed up and writing appeared on them that said Get Out!"
Velma sat quietly. "ok... I can't explain that one yet.... but I will."
The van turned down a long twisting wooded road, and an early evening fog began to settle in. Shaggy had his nose to the window looking out.
"Like I have the strangest feeling... Almost reverse Day Ja Voodoo!"
Velma laughed. "Déjà vu ? It's a French term that means already seen. So, the reverse means you already know you are going to see it again!"
"Like, yea! Exactly!"
Velma smiled and looked out the window with him. "It must be that building, over there..." She pointed at the warehouse looking complex. "Well, it's not a haunted mansion."
The brakes squealed as the Mystery Machine came to a halt. The four teens climbed out and took their first close up look at the building. "Well, everyone is gone for the long weekend.", Freddy said, "This will give us a good chance to look around."
Velma was already looking and had found her first... "I'm not sure this is a clue, but Freddy, look at this. It's a copper fitting in the grass. Shiny and new. Why would someone be doing plumbing on the outside of the building?"
Daphne and Freddy started at the front door and headed left. Velma and Shaggy headed right. It took about five minutes before they all met up behind the building. This time Velma and Shaggy came up empty handed, but Daphne had found a tube of clear lip gloss. "Not much of a start. Guess it's time to go inside.
Daphne had the keys and opened the front door, turning off the alarm system. She was amazed at the size of the place! "All of this, just so they can make my scarves!"
"Your scarves?", Velma said chuckling.
"Well, my favorite purple one comes from here. Actually it is a blue to mauve color."
"Yea, we all call that purple Daphne!", Velma said with a smile.
Freddy had worked his way to the back of the main room. "Golly Gee! Look at the size of this boiler!"
Daphne quickly made her way over. "From what I understand, steam is used in many of the processes from cloth relaxation to color embedment."
"Wow", Shaggy said, "Relaxing cloth! The term is making me sleepy!"
"This is out of place.", Velma mused. "These wires, they go into that ventilation duct. There is no way wires should be run through a ventilation duct." She started pulling at the wire. More and more came out until there was a clunking sound. "Freddy, do you have a screw driver?"
Freddy pulled a boy scout knife from his back pocket and and opened the grill on the duct. Out popped a small speaker!
"There's your strange noise source!"
"Zoinks! Like What was that ???"
Velma looked baffled. "I don't know... it didn't come from the speaker!"
All four looked at each other with wide eyes!
Suddenly, a large press came to life shooting steam in every direction!
Before she knew what happened, Velma found herself running for the front door with Daphne, Fred, and Shaggy all in her arms! She blew through the front door and didn't stop until they all hit the Mystery Machine. Panting, they all fell to the ground!
"Hey, I though I was suppose to be the strong one!", Fred complained.
"Something is sure going on in there!", Daphne summarized!
"Yea, like it's haunted for real!", Shaggy squeaked in a new found high pitched voice.
Velma sat on the ground panting.. "No... (huff huff) ... I ... (huff huff) ... don't ... (huff huff) .. think so..."
It took a few minutes, but all recovered their breath.
"Fred, lets look at the building plans", said Velma.
"I've got them in the back of the van.. Here.."
Freddy unfolded the papers and all four looked them over. Velma traced out the duct work and the floor layout.
"Part of it is slab construction, but this other part is built up on a decked out section with truss beam construction."
"Like, what's that mean Velma??"
"It means you can get underneath this part of the building, but not this part... Lets go take a look!"
Being the smallest of the group, Velma put on a jump suit and a head mounted flashlight. Shaggy, being the second smallest, also reluctantly put on a similar outfit, while grumbling that Daphne was probably slightly smaller then him. Velma chuckled. "Somehow, I can't picture Daphne crawling around in the dirt!"
As the four rounded the back of the building, Daphne took a stumble. "I can't believe my balance lately, I really am not that prone to tripping!"
Velma was staring at the ground. "It's not you Daphne, there's a small rut here, like a worn path."
Freddy explored the path back towards the woods. "Look, dirt!"
The other three joined up with him. Near the end of the path there was a hill of dirt. It didn't look too new, but it didn't look like it had been there for seven years. Somebody had been up to something!
Velma took a closer look at the corner of the building. Under the floor level, there was a latticework that covered a crawlspace. It was loose. "Ok guys, I'm going in!", she announced.
As Velma crawled under, she could see where the dirt had come from. Someone had widened the space, digging out a partial tunnel to serve as a better crawlway. Deeper in, she could see it abruptly ended where the concrete slab began. She switched on her headlight and looked around. The first thing that caught her eye was a tape recorder. She could see the wires coming from it were the same color as the ones she had found in the duct. As she continued to look around she saw a large electrical junction box. The lid had been removed and several of the wires had been disturbed. Velma retraced her crawl and exited from under the building, carrying the tape deck. The gang greeted her as she made her way out.
"A tape deck!", Fred exclaimed.
"That's not all.", Velma responded, "Some wiring and piping have been disturbed as well. It looks like someone wanted to get to something under this building real bad and had to give up when they hit the concrete."
"But, what made the noises today?", Daphne asked.
"I don't know. It looks like the tape deck hasn't been used in awhile, so it wasn't that. I think we now have more questions then answers, but we are loosing the daylight! Guess we have to call it a night!"
As the four returned, Shaggy found his voice and filled in his theory:
"Cause it's like really haunted! There was no tape, and that thing came alive! It's 666! That's a bad number and maybe it's something trying to get out, not in! Like some Indian burial ground! Something spooky is under there!"
Velma stopped in her tracks. "Shaggy's right!"
"HUH?", the other three, including Shaggy all gasped at the same time!
"Well, not something spooky, but we have to research what this ground had been used for! I think something is buried under there, and someone wants it out!"
Most of Saturday morning was spent at the local library researching old newspaper articles. Velma focused on events, and Freddy researched the location. Daphne explained to her dad about what they had found, and her dad confirmed that there had been no authorized work done under the factory.
Shaggy leaned over Velma's shoulder. "Nothing?"
"Nothing! There are no events that would center around this property being anything but woods prior to the construction. There's lots of news events that happened around Coolsville in the last 15 years, but nothing that connects to this place.
"Wow, maybe it's like pirates that have come back from the dead to reclaim buried treasure!"
"In Ohio ??", Velma said with a laugh.
Velma could see that Shaggy looked dejected. She needed to say something to cheer him up.
"But you might be on to something... "
She pulled yesterday's finds out of her pocket. Lip gloss and a copper fitting. Suddenly her Eyes lit up!
"Jinkies! I've got it!", she shrieked!
Several other patrons at the library asked her to quiet down! She quietly dug back to looking at several more news articles. and printed one out to give to Fred.
"So, you are a good trap builder? Here's your chance to prove it!"
Velma had just finished writing down the last few lines of text when Mr. Blake came into the room.
"We know you own the local paper, the Coolsville Post. Do you think you could run this article in today's paper?", Freddy asked, as he handed him the page Velma had just finished writing.
"Please Dad?", Daphne asked.
Mr. Blake read through the article. "Well, the four-thirty edition goes to press in about an hour, I might be able to do it." As he turned to leave the room he looked back over his shoulder, "You really think there is something to this?"
All four nodded their heads.
As the sun was setting, Freddy made his way back out of the woods. He looked over at the Mystery Machine and the three figures that were next to it. There was something exciting about the chemistry the four had developed. It some ways, it was the most fun that he could remember having! "Lets pull the van over by that shed. It should blend in like it's always been there."
Daphne opened the front door and they followed each other into the building.
Velma shot a glance at Fred. "There's that moaning again!"
"It sounds weaker Velma. And if you're right, we have a second mystery on our hands"
Each of the four found a comfortable place on the floor. They all knew it could be a long while before anything happened, if anything would happen at all!
Velma peered out a window that was above her head and looked at the sky as the sun set. Slowly the stars began to come out. The sky was far more colorful then the fake sky at the planetarium. It dawned on her that maybe she was spending too much time looking at that sky, and not enough time looking at the real one. She could tell that the sun was setting on her isolation as well. This mystery business was far more exciting, and she realized for the first time that mystery was in her blood! She also realized that these three friends shared a special bond with her. Something she could not put her finger on, but something, none-the-less.
Shaggy was a bit frightened. He looked over at Velma, then Fred, then Daphne. The fear seemed to fade slightly. In one short week he had a whole new group of friends. Friends that had more substance then most of the other people he had met in his life!
Freddy was also using the time for self contemplation. One week ago, he was just the school jock. Now he was part of a team that each had gifts to use that were as strong as any of his own. People were relying on him, and just as important, he was relying on them! What a difference a week could make!
Like Velma, Daphne was looking up through a skylight at the nighttime sky. This had all been set in motion by her desire to have a good supply of purple scarves. How stupid that now seemed! This was now about a team of people working toward a common goal. Her dad had caught her off guard when he questioned her about what she could offer. The shortcomings of her own feeble explanations had begun to sink in. Sure she was beautiful, and had style, but what else did she really have to offer the world? She realized now that her interest in Mysteries Inc. was an exploration of her other potentials. She would teach, and she would learn from this new group of..... friends!
It was the sound of the string breaking that Velma had attached around the loose latticework!
"OK, lets move!", Freddy whispered!
The four headed out the front door. Velma ran around the building and wedged a piece of wood against the lattice. Bam! The lattice burst off! Daphne, Freddy, and Shaggy all turned on their high power flashlights, shining them at the area as two figures burst forth and headed for the woods! Freddy grabbed one rope, Shaggy and Daphne grabbed another one, each pulling in opposite directions! The net in the woods did it's job, trapping the two figures dressed in black!
Velma had made her way back to the phone and gave the cops the cue they had been waiting for! Within minutes Police cars were at the scene and took the figures into custody! Mr. Blake, who had been in one of the parole cars stepped out, dropping his facade, he screamed "Great Job !!!"
Officer Dunken was the most suppressed! "How did you kids figure this out?"
Velma was the first to speak;
"I was thinking about pirates and buried treasure when it occurred to me that there is such a thing as modern pirates. People who would burry their stash until a later date and then dig it up! That's when it occurred to me that the news article I was reading was about a robbery from ten years ago, but might be relevant! Even though the crooks were caught, the five million dollars was never found!"
Freddy picked up the story;
"They were sentenced to ten years, which meant they got out about six months ago, right when all the problems started here!"
Shaggy took over;
"Like they came back for the loot, and there was a factory where they had buried it! They tried to dig under it but hit concrete!"
Daphne went next;
"So they tried to spook everyone out. If the factory closed, they could get to their money! We made up the story for the paper about a boiler repair man at the factory, and that he had come across all this cash!"
Velma took back over;
"We knew if they read the article they would put two and two together and make a last ditch effort to come out here in hopes of getting some of their stolen loot back!"
Officer Dunken shook his head. "Amazing! But there were some pretty weird stories about this place being haunted. I remember one about 'Get Out' appearing out of nowhere on all the windows! How did they do that?"
"I couldn't figure that out at first, but we found this copper fitting and lip gloss on the first day. What they did is write 'Get Out' on all the windows with the lip gloss. They had rigged up some copper tubing around the building and diverted steam from the boiler to produce a steam cloud. The writing was invisible until the steam condensed on all the windows!"
Officer Dunken smiled, "Well they almost got away with it!"
The larger of the two men grumbled from the back seat of the car, "We would have, if it wasn't for those stupid meddling kids!
Daphne worked her way over to Fred. "Do your traps always work so brilliantly?"
"Of Course!", he replied with a smile!
As the police drove away, Shaggy turned to Velma. "What about that moaning I was hearing tonight? That wasn't them."
Velma scratched her chin, "You're right. That wasn't them. Gang, I think we still have one mystery to solve here."
Each of the four grabbed a flashlight and began shining it through the ducts in the building. All of a sudden, Shaggy started laughing, and ran out of the building. The other three followed in hot pursuit.
Around the back, there was a large duct feeding a fan system. Shaggy leaned way into it and scooped up the contents....
"Here's the source of our strange oooobee noise!"
Daphne clutched her hands together and smiled! "A Puppy !!!"
"Poor little guy must have been abandon and got trapped in here! Look at how thin he is! I bet he's hungry!"
Velma smiled! "Shaggy Scooped up ooobee! Even I have to admit he is the cutest thing I've seen!"
Shaggy was now snout to snout with the small puppy! "I scooped up ooobbbe! Yes I did! I'm going to call you Scooby!"
Daphne came over and nudged Velma's side and leaned down to whisper something in her ear....
"Judging by Shaggy's shirt, I think he should call him 'Scooby Doo !' "