Bovril the Perspicacious Loris is not, in its own opinion, having a good day. Moustache Man and Hat Lady refuse to sit still and Mr. Sharp and Mr. Von Hohenburg have been gone for too long. Usually Bovril gets to go with them. People like to have a fab around, Bovril figures in its perspicatious little brain. Or at the very least its people like to have Bovril around. And Bovril likes to be with its people. As a matter of fact, Bovril is becoming quite upset that Moustache Man and Hat Lady have not let him try to find its people. Its people are missing and the two humans Bovril's been left with won't stop arguing. Over a map of all things.
"I appreciate that they must have gotten inside the camp, but I am not going to accept the idea that they've gotten themselves captured there. Mr. Von Hohenburg and Miss Sharp are both very well trained. He in diplomacy as much as she in sneaking."
"I was going to suggest that they have the inverse talents," Moustache Man said tartly.
Hat Lady glared. "I'm sure," she said through gritted teeth' "That simply going to knock on the doors of a German camp in the middle of a war and simply asking for our spies back is only--"
"That is not what I'm suggesting. I am merely suggesting we send someone to the area around the camp. That's where we got the last signal from the communikator. I agree, either they hadn't made it in yet or they had just made it out," Hat Lady opened her mouth to comment and he spoke over her, "and that whatever happened, Aleksandar was not able to repair the communikator."
Bovril thought sadly about not being able to see its people again and said, "Irreparable, whatever happened."
Moustache Man glared at Bovril, but he glared right back.
"When you're done fighting with harmless beasties," Hat Lady said quite sharply, "we might think of a plan for locating these children." She pointed to the map she had spread out on the table.
Hat Lady and Moustache Man continued to argue, pointing to different rendez-vous points on the map. Bovril wished he had the other loris to talk to, but Hat Lady had lent it to another scientist to see if it might help him solve a particularly difficult puzzle. Bovril thought this was quite inconsiderate. Things would not get better until its people came back. So Bovril turned its attention to the map.
Maps were just like languages, in a way, and Bovril liked them. It knew that somehow his people used them to figure out where to go, but he liked the lines and the words. Names of rivers and valleys and cities. All of the nice, intersecting lines. Moustache Man had made various marks on this map. Where Bovril's people were supposed to be going, where their last signal was picked up, the path the active battle followed, and a few places where they might be.
But Moustache Man had left off a few things that a perspicacious loris would never forget about its people. These things were:
1. Mr. Sharp is very smart but she is not very fast and her leg still hurts a great deal. Hat Lady and Moustache Man do not know this.
2. Mr. Von Hohenburg thinks he can walk and fix things at the same time. He cannot. It makes him slow too.
3. Mr. Von Hohenburg also does not give up on his projects easily and probably wanted to work on it (more slowness).
4. Bovril's people are never separated unless they must be. That means that they are both very slow.
5. Bovril's people are very good hiders. He knows how to find them almost always, but they are always sneaking away and holing up in tiny places together. Bovril believes love to be an excellent motivator for hiding.
So when Moustache Man and Hat Lady plot out places they could be that are more than a day's walk away from the signal, Bovril cannot help but think that they are being silly. Except that they do not sound silly. They mostly sound worried and mad. So Bovril thinks of all of these things, and climbs onto the table.
Bovril is surprised when Hat Lady and Moustache Man stop arguing completely. He has their attention. He points to the intersection of a railroad. It's a nondescript little marking that Bovril interprets as a hiding place its people would really enjoy.
"Here." Bovril says, and then in an unnerving copy of Deryn, stolen from a secret moment, "About barking time!"
They stare at the loris for a few long moments, then look at the spot on the map.
"Oh Ernst'" Hat Lady says in her secret-quiet-scared voice, "The 45th Battalion marched right over this area."
"Well," Moustache man replies, (Bovril can tell he is forcing the fear from his voice) "we had better be on our way then, hadn't we?"
Moustache Man and Hat Lady waste no time packing their things and donning winter coats. Hat Lady scoops Bovril up and tucks it into her collar. The loris is pleased to be a part of this endeavor and hopes it brings back its people.