“Hello all!” she said cheerfully.

“Hello there, Margie,” Mr. C replied for everyone, shaking her hand.

“You are Mr. Carrel, the librarian and leader of this merry little band?”

“I sure am. Ready for the big day?”

“Well, I certainly hope so. We’ve got the cameras set up for the live video feed, a big table with lots of food and drinks, and, hopefully, enough seats for everybody. We’re expecting a packed house.” She looked at the kids and frowned. “I’m sorry again that you can’t join us. I asked the head of the Math Department again this morning, but he still said no.”

Even though they knew they wouldn’t understand most of it, the kids had been excited to hear Dr. Newton’s lecture. Then they found out that they wouldn’t be allowed to attend! We need to save the seats for only those people who will benefit from it the most, the head of the Math Department had said in his email to Mr. C.

“We’re sorry, too,” Simon said. “We really wanted to hear him.”

“But you can still meet him,” Margie replied brightly. Then, pointing back to the road, she said, “In fact, here he comes now!”

A long black limousine came around the corner, and the kids gasped.

“Oh my goodness,” Chelsea murmured. “It’s like he’s some kind of celebrity!”

“This is it,” Simon added, barely able to stand still. “This is it!”

“I wonder if he has any food in there?” Cooper thought. .

Gabby shook her head. “You’re such a doofus.”

The limo stopped in front of them with a squeal. Then the driver, neatly dressed in his dark suit and cap, came around and opened the door. It was not Dr. Newton who stepped out, however, but a much younger man. He looked like he wasn’t too many years older than half the kids on campus who were still taking their college courses. He had dark, messy hair and wore small, round glasses. He was carrying a bag over his shoulder, a notebook under his arm, and a big smartphone in his hand. His most outstanding feature, however, was a nervous bearing that made him seem like the most stressed-out person on Earth.

“Is Dr. Newton here?” he asked frantically, looking from one face to another. “Please tell me that he is….”

“Dr. Newton?” Margie replied. “No, isn’t he supposed to be with you?” She put her hand out to shake. “Mr….?”

The man shook back quickly. “Rhombus, but everyone calls me by my first name, Pascal. I’m Dr. Newton’s assistant.”

“Nice to meet you Pascal.”

“You too.”

“You say the good doctor isn’t with you?” Mr. C asked as the Trackers looked on with great interest.

“No, no,” Pascal replied, rubbing his forehead like he had a killer migraine. “He was with me before, and then he just…wasn’t.”

“Huh?” Jamal said.

“That’s doesn’t make any sense,” Chelsea added.

“Can you explain that in a bit more detail?” Mr. C asked.