Mrs. F has insisted on overseeing the hunt-for-Myka operation - after she and Artie pretty much physically restrained Claudia and Pete for a week, on the grounds that Myka would only run faster. And Claudia has to admit, it's better than Pete being a helper (he was... doing the opposite of helping, really).
But it's also damn quiet, and finally, between attempts to hack things that aren't producing the Team Big Sister, Claudia can't take it anymore. "So how'd you end up mixed up in this Warehouse thing, anyway?"
Mrs. Frederic raises an eyebrow. "Much the same way you did, actually."
"...Please tell me your brother didn't teleport himself into limbo too." Seriously, it's bad enough that that happened once; Claudia can't imagine that damn compass being a repeat offender on that level.
"Oh, no. Some agents came to our farm looking for my great-uncle's clock. It would seem that even though my aunt was the only person besides him who'd ever wound it, they didn't want to take the chance of it falling into the wrong hands. And since nothing good had ever come of white men in suits coming to the farm, neither did I."
"All that fuss over a clock? I mean, I really shouldn't be surprised by now, but..."
Mrs. Frederic smiles - Claudia thinks, anyway, it only lasts for about a second. "According to my aunt, Uncle Benjamin was always a bit disappointed that his clock-making didn't take him more places. In any case, I told the agents that clock wasn't going anywhere without me, so they took me back to London."
"Huh." Claudia leaves it there while she chases down another Myka lead; when it amounts to nothing, she adds, "London? So did you know HG... at the time?"
"Only in passing. She worked with other agents, most of the time."
This time, the silence is a lot more awkward, in light of... well, everything. Claudia tries a bunch more fruitless leads, and almost wishes Artie would come in with a case, or even Pete with theoretical doughnuts (because he'd eaten them all on the way back, again), just for a change of pace.
Instead, she blurts out, "I'm not prepared. For the Caretaker thing. I - I'm not."
This time, she can tell Mrs. F is smiling; it lasts longer, and there's sympathy in it, if she's guessing right. "From what I can tell, no one is, until they take it on. I certainly wasn't. Fortunately, you have more than five minutes to brace yourself, now."
Claudia smiles, just as her computer beeps. "--Hey, I got a ping!"
Mrs. Frederic comes to read over Claudia's shoulder, and she dives into pursuing the ping to the end. If Myka wants to stay gone in the end, that's one thing, but like hell they're gonna let her go without at least a proper goodbye.