"In all my years here at Greendale, I have never been so disappointed in a student as I am today." Dean Pelton folded his hands in front of the microphone and shook his head. After a couple of seconds he shot a not at all covert glance at the student reporter assigned to cover the proceedings. She was examining something on her fingernail. An old, battered Polaroid camera dangled from the strap on her wrist.
"Seriously? This tribunal is kind of a big deal here, Nish," the dean chided.
Nish flicked a finger toward the pool and unfolded the camera with a heavy sigh. All three tribunal members on the dais froze in place, in suspiciously professional poses, as the flash went off.
"Thank you," the dean said. "Now, as I was saying—"
"Just get to the point, will you? We all know what you're going to say: blah blah blah."
"Alex Starburns, I understand that you're frustrated but we have a procedure to follow here!" He held up a clipboard stuffed full of papers. The one on top had
TORNADO SUSPENSION PROCEDURE scrawled across the top margin in the dean's handwriting.
"I'll tell you what you can do with your procedure," Garrett sneered. Leonard gave him a high five.
"There's no need for that," Dean Pelton chided. "Now, if you'll let me get back to the checklist? Hmm?"
When no one objected, he finished reading through the checklist and called for a vote.
"Do you find the defendants guilty of cheating, Mr. Duncan?"
"Ah, it's Doctor."
"And Dr. DeAngerous?"
"I hoff to ah-gree."
The dean tilted his head and adjusted his glasses. "I'm sorry, Doctor. You're angry about David Hasselhoff? I don't...."
Dr. DeAngerous glowered. Deliberately, she said, "Gull-tee."
"Ah. Thank you." He made a note on his clipboard and said, not quite under his breath, "You could have just said so."
"This is bullshit!" Starburns shouted. "How does she get a vote? She's the one accusing us!"
"Yeah!" Leonard and Garrett chimed in.
The dean rearranged the papers on his clipboard. "She gets a vote because Patty was busy running the register in the cafeteria and without her ... colorful, homespun wisdom, we're officially under quota for our diversity requirements for these proceedings. And, before anyone lodges a protest, calling her colorful isn't racist. I've checked."
"What the hell is diversity?" Leonard shouted.
Before he could go on, the dean raised his voice, "Now, settle down, we just need to work through the checklist! There's no need to get excited." He brandished the clipboard again as if hoping it would dispel any of the negative energy in the aquatic center.
"So you're not going to suspend us?" Starburns' eyebrows rose so high they almost disappeared under his hat. A hush rolled through the crowd of supporters sitting in the bleachers.
"No, you're definitely suspended," the dean said. He tapped the gavel and leaned in close to the microphone. "For two weeks. And, this tribunal is also suspended. Security!"
When three campus security officers in windbreakers stepped forward to escort them from the building, their supporters in the crowd practically erupted. Boos and calls for the dean's head rained down on the poolside area like the splash from a championship-losing bellyflop.
"You won't get away with this, Pelton!" spat Leonard as two officers struggled to subdue him. He managed to break away long enough to shake his fist at the dais. "You'll rue the day you crossed the Chuck Wagon Gang!"
"That's not our gang name," Starburns corrected. He turned to the crowd of spectators. "We don't call ourselves the Chuck Wagon Gang!"
"But we could," Garrett vowed, his index finger trembling in the air. "We could."
Abed was sitting quietly in the study room when Troy arrived later that afternoon.
"Man, it is getting crazy out there," he said, dropping his books on the table. "I think two Chuck Wagon Gang supporters just killed a guy."
"Yeah, killed a guy," Abed repeated. He hadn't yet looked away from the whiteboard, where someone (Pierce) had drawn the world's dirtiest hangman figure.
Troy slouched in his seat. "Are you feeling okay, Abed?"
"Really fine or Scully fine? Because that was about the lamest Anchorman reference I've ever seen you do."
"Wait, Scully hot fine or Scully stop-asking-me-Mulder fine?"
Troy looked confused. "Uh, not fine fine. You know, fine fine."
"You sure? You've been acting pretty down since the field trip on Tuesday."
Abed finally looked away from the wall. "Yeah, I'm just a little disappointed that neither of us was bitten by a radioactive animal."
"I thought for sure I'd accidentally drink a potion, or something." Troy looked thoughtful, complete with a contemplative hand rubbing at his chin. "I mean, Dr. DeAngerous looks like a Dracula, and not the sexy kind either. A field trip with her should have wound up with one of us developing weird superpowers, right?"
Abed agreed. Before he could continue, the doors opened on both sides of the room and the rest of their group came streaming in.
"Guess what!" Annie squealed as she crossed the threshold. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she had a bundle of dark material under one arm.
Abed looked from her to Shirley, who was looking around at the rest of the group with a suspicious look on her face. He held up a finger and pointed at both of them.
"You've been pressed into service as security volunteers again."
Shirley turned her glare up to full strength as Annie clapped her hands and squealed. "How did you guess?"
Troy kicked him under the table.
"Lucky guess, I guess. Congratulations."
Annie beamed, then schooled her features into some semblance of an intimidating look to match her partner's.
"We're watching you," Shirley warned them. "Don't you go getting ideas about participating in all this ruckus."
"Yeah, ruckus," Annie parroted with a steely glare around the table.
"I thought we weren't allowed to talk about tuchuses any more!" Pierce complained. "Every time I try to tell one of you how great yours would be for just grabbing on and—"
The room exploded with shouts loud enough to drown out the noise of the dual demonstrations on the quad. As everyone fell into their customary argument roles—Britta and Shirley yelling, Pierce and Troy looking bewildered, Jeff texting, and Annie alternating between wide-eyed peacekeeping and echoing Britta's lecturing— Abed opened his bag and pulled out his Sociology text.
There was an envelope shoved into the middle of the book. His name was printed on the front in blocky letters.
"That's odd," he said, though no one heard him. He retrieved a pencil from the bottom of the bag and carefully pulled the envelope open.
A fine spray of liquid shot out, coating the back of his hand in a thin, slightly greasy layer.
"You sure you're okay?" Troy whispered during a lull in the argument raging around the table.
"Yep," Abed said, taking care to pop the P. "Peachy-keen."
Later that night, Abed was splitting his attention between writing a paper for his Intermediate Pottery class, watching an old rerun of The Cosby Show, and listening to Pavel practice for his public speaking presentation.
"And that," Pavel said, with a closed-fist-open-palm pound to underscore his conclusion, "is why cats should not be allowed to develop mind-reading technologies!"
Abed applauded. "I never really thought about it before but you've convinced me. We can't let cats handle that kind of advanced tech. They'd weaponize it in a heartbeat."
"Yeah, it's been weighing on me for the last few years." Pavel helped himself to a can of pop from the fridge and hitched a leg on the bottom rung of the bunk bed ladder.
"So, Abed, tell me what's up with you. I feel like I haven't seen you since sweeps."
"That's probably accurate. My life does seem to follow conventional network sitcom scheduling, although I think it's mostly coincidental," Abed said.
He used the remote to scratch at the rash on the back of his hand. The skin was covered in red bumps where the liquid had sprayed him. The more he scratched, the redder and more swollen it looked.
Pavel squinted across the room. "That doesn't look good, my man. You should get that checked out. My uncle had a rash like that once. It didn't kill him, but he wished it had."
Abed examined his skin more closely, holding his hand up to the light and examining it from every angle. The skin was starting to bubble at the edges of the rash, with a large bulge protruding from the thumb web.
"It doesn't hurt. I'll go to the nurse in the morning," he promised, then switched languages. "Now practice your presentation in English."
Onscreen, Bill Cosby pulled one of his children in for a lesson disguised as a fairy tale. In the beanbag chair, Troy stirred.
"Wait, you guys have been talking in Polish all night?"
The next morning the infirmary was standing room only, with casualties from the suspension riots taking up every available chair, low table, counter, filing cabinet, and exam bed in the place. Some people were sitting or sprawled on the linoleum floor.
Abed hovered just inside the door, holding it open behind him with one hand. The other hand, the one that had been so irritated the night before, was back to normal. A single patch of dry skin was all that was left of the rash, and the swelling had completely disappeared.
"I'll come back some other time," he told the nurse, who was kneeling on the floor near the door as he bandaged the ankle of a girl wearing a Free Starburns t-shirt. "It's not an emergency."
"Great, I'm so happy for you," Jackie deadpanned. "Thanks for the update."
Halfway to the social sciences building, Abed heard a faint cry for help amid all the usual hubbub of campus. He stopped dead in his tracks and swiveled his head from one side to the other, trying to figure out where the cry originated.
"Oh please, help!" it came again. It sounded like it was from somewhere near the basketball hoop where Troy and Jeff sometimes played, on the far side of the building of the arts annex.
Abed adjusted the strap of his bag so it wouldn't bounce against his legs and set off running. No one turned to look as he passed, not even when he bumped into someone as he rounded the corner of the building.
"My bad!" Abed called as he sped off. There was no time to waste.
"Who said that?!"
There was no one at the makeshift basketball court. And with only one way in or out since the administration had paved over and built a wall in the middle of Jeff and Troy's secret trampoline garden, there couldn't have been. Abed would have passed them on his way in.
"That's odd," he said.
On his way back to the social sciences building, he ran into Jeff and Britta, who appeared to be in the middle of yet another argument.
"Abed, help me out here. You're not a crazy person," Jeff started to say.
"Well, sometimes I think there might—"
"Oh, I'm the crazy one?" Britta interrupted. "I'm not the one agreeing with the dean."
"Since when are you okay with cheating?"
"Since... Since there was such an egregious miscarriage of justice, that's when! Dr. DeAngerous had no place on that tribunal."
"Oh, please," Jeff snorted. "Help me understand why you'd argue for Leonard of all people."
They kept walking, so wrapped up in their sniping at each other to notice that Abed had stopped.
Help me out here, Jeff had said. Oh please, help.
"Nah," Abed told himself. "It can't be."
He hurried to catch up with his friends, who had lapsed into an icy silence complete with dirty looks when each thought the other wasn't looking.
As they crossed the quad, the crush of people made it difficult for the three of them to stay together. Britta caught the hem of Abed's cardigan and pushed in closer to him, while Jeff peeled away from them and was quickly swallowed up in the crowd.
"I have to say, this reminds me of when I was in Greenpeace," Britta screamed at Abed.
"What? That sounded like gibberish," he told her while wincing at both the volume of her voice and the deafening noise of the crowd around them.
Her forehead creased and she let go of his sweater long enough to squeeze his elbow. "Are you feeling okay?"
He swallowed, his whole throat visibly jumping with the movement, and started to sway on his feet, against the rhythm of the crowd around them.
There was a great swell of noise rising around them, as the pro- and anti-suspension groups reached a fever pitch of antagonism. Britta and Abed were thrown together, then buffeted back and forth between loud, angry people baying for each other's blood—or pain, at the very least.
Britta's hand tightened on his elbow, and then she was swept away into the crowd in the opposite direction of where Jeff had disappeared. The crowd rocked forward, a perpetual motion machine of anger and not a little genuine excitement at being part of such an historic college moment. Abed was jostled nearly all the way across the quad, to the steps where the study group had first bonded. He looked around for Britta, still wincing at the deafening noise.
"Look out!" he heard someone shout, the first clear words he'd heard since they encountered the protests.
He ran up the first few steps and scanned the crowd. But nothing was happening, just the same undulating movement of people pushing and shoving.
"Oh God," someone else cried from the opposite direction.
Abed whipped his head around just in time to see one of the pro-suspension supporters at the opposite side of the quad wrestle a security volunteer out of his cart. The hijacker revved the engine with a high-pitched whine and plowed into the crowd. Miraculously, a corridor opened ahead of her as people set aside their disagreements long enough to pull each other to safety.
"Down with the Chuck Wagoners!" the girl shouted as she zipped across the pavement.
There was a clump of people directly in her path—most of Starburns' and Leonard's usual groups, plus Britta, standing with arms linked at the elbows in a semi-circle around the base of a light pole. They were yelling something across the few feet of clear space between them and the nearest protesters.
They were also facing in the wrong direction to see the oncoming cart.
On Abed's right, someone shouted, "Look out!"
From his left came a wail: "Oh God!"
"Cool," Abed whispered as he leapt into action.
"I don't know what happened," Britta said. "One minute we were chanting 'Hell no, we won't go,' and the next, whuft, somebody shoved me to the ground! Whoever it was didn't even stop to see if I was okay!"
Shirley cooed a little and patted Britta's shoulder before Annie nudged her and nodded significantly. Both women pulled notebooks and pens out of their windbreakers and started firing questions at Britta.
Jeff sat back on the couch and propped his feet up on the closest chair. "Yeah, it's too bad they knocked you out of the way of that speeding cart. What a jerk."
As their earlier argument threatened to flare up again—this time with Annie and Shirley joining in—Troy sat down next to Abed.
"So, did you see what happened out there?"
Abed's left hand twitched. "No, not really. I found somebody selling Blow Pops over by the fountain though. Want one?" He held out the sour apple-flavored sucker.
Troy snickered and took the candy. They sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the rest of the group bicker with each other. It was such a common sight that no one else in the pre-lunch crowd hanging out in student lounge paid them any attention.
"So," Abed said, "what you would do if you had superpowers?"
"You mean since the last time we had this conversation about the last time we had this conversation?"
"Does butt stuff count yet?"
Abed shook his head.
"Then I guess I'd want to be able to fly. It'd be so much faster than my stupid bike."
"Cool. Yeah, me too. Flying."
Troy leaned closer and lowered his voice. His eyebrows, though, shot upward. "You sure you're okay? You're acting even weirder than the last time you were acting weird."
Abed paused long enough for the anticipation to build. "I think I might be developing superpowers."
Troy's eyebrows dropped, almost as much as his jaw. "What."
"Yeah, I mean, I kind of noticed it when I was hanging out with Pavel—"
"You were hanging out with Pavel?" Troy's voice broke slightly on the name. "When?"
"Last night. You were there, remember."
"Oh! Oh, I mean, yeah, right. Last night, with Pavel. Cool."
There was another pause, this one much closer to the awkward end of the spectrum than the anticipatory. Then, Troy cleared his throat.
"Uh, so what kind of powers?"
Abed started ticking them off on his fingers. "I can run so fast no one can see me. Super hearing. I think I can adjust my internal and external temperature relative to my environment but I haven't had much time to work on that. There's some time-delay clairvoyance going on but the intervals are getting shorter. Oh, and my pee started glowing last night."
"Ooh, that doesn't sound good."
They both jumped at a sudden electrical whine from behind their couch. Pierce dropped the wheelchair's control tube from his mouth to complain, "At least you can pee!"
The line for hot food went fast. With so many students (and faculty) still out on the quad, the cafeteria was less than a quarter full. Annie and Shirley staked out a table in the center of the room, with good sight lines for all windows and doors and plenty of room for Pierce's still immobilized legs, while everyone else filled their trays.
At the cash register, Jeff had to stomp on Britta's foot to keep her from berating Patty about shirking her tribunal judging duties.
Everyone had just settled in and started eating when Pierce suddenly said, "So, Ay-bed here thinks he's..." He shook with laughter and had trouble getting himself under control again long enough to finish with, "Thinks he's S-s-superman!"
Abed looked around the table but no one else was paying attention to Pierce, except Troy, who gave him another of his wide-eyed panic looks.
"What was that?" Annie said, sharply. "I saw that. What are you two doing?"
Shirley was immediately on alert. "Who did what now? Abed, is there something you want to tell us?"
"No, I'm good." He concentrated on his macaroni salad.
Troy looked everywhere but at Shirley, or Annie. They both stood and circled his chair like they could smell the blood in the water.
"What's going on, Troy?" Annie goaded. "What are you and Abed up to? Something you want to tell us?"
Shirley elbowed her out of the way and clamped a hand over Troy's shoulder. "I'll make you talk, Troy. Don't you doubt it."
"Oh, leave him alone," Jeff said. "They're probably just sending each other psychic messages about Battlestar Galactica."
Battlestar Galactica?, thought Troy. Next he'll be telling us to get off his lawn.
Shirley's face clouded, her eyebrows pulling together in a fearsome frown. "Jeffrey, I know you're not trying to interfere with an active security investigation!" she said in a sweet voice completely at odds with her expression.
"Yeah, you know what? It's not an active security investigation, because they haven't done anything wrong!"
Abed and Troy both pushed their chairs back from the table and Annie, Shirley, and Jeff all started shouting. It wasn't long before Britta and Pierce joined in as well, both of them mostly loud-talking and not really taking either side.
"Wanna get out of here?" Troy asked.
"Sure, let's go."
They stood and grabbed their trays. But as they turned away from the table, Abed heard someone mutter, "Damn it."
"Uh-oh," he whispered to Troy. "Incoming."
A second later, there was a huge bang from the doors that led out into the lounge. A boom echoed from the windows overlooking the quad, and the lights went out.
"Damn it, Leonard," Starburns said. "What was the point of killing all the lights in the middle of the day?"
Leonard made a dismissive noise and flipped him off.
"Guys, come on," Garrett said. "We're right in the middle of something here?"
Starburns climbed up on the nearest table and flung his arms out. "Students of Greendale, if we can't be one of you, none of you will be!"
Troy sidled closer to Abed and said, out of the corner of his mouth, "I don't get it."
"It's a threat," Abed explained in his normal speaking voice. "Very poorly written though. It would have been much more effective if he'd shouted, 'If we can't go here, no one can!' And then that would have been a good time for the bangs and booms and lights going out."
Leonard and Garrett glared at Abed.
From atop the table, Starburns said, "Uh, what he said."
Chaos descended on the cafeteria.
The hot lunch attendants and the cashiers were among the first to flee, all except Patty who stood her ground with a warning to anyone who might try to sneak out without paying for their chicken salad.
Leonard took up a strategic position by the bread and rolls station, using day-old pumpernickel to keep everyone at bay. Meanwhile, Starburns wheeled a large, metal device out from behind the food line. He started attaching hoses and coiled wires to ports all over the lower half.
Garrett just stood in the middle of the room and laughed menacingly as people cowered before him.
Abed and Troy took refuge in a booth on the far end of the room.
"I know," Abed said with a nod.
"I mean, dude."
"That's the plan."
"What's the plan?" hissed Annie. She popped up over the back of Troy's seat. Next to her, Shirley's hair was nearly vibrating with tension.
"Oh, I'm going to kick some ass today," she muttered. "That Leonard's been a pain in my behind ever since the first day of school."
"Good idea," Abed told them. "Go get 'em."
They disappeared from view.
"Abed," squawked Troy, "you can't let girls go after them!"
"I can and I will. I need to find out how strong their defenses are before I go in myself."
"Ohhhh. I gotcha."
Garrett had his back to their end of the room, busy trying out variations of his maniacal laughter on the chess team members sitting closest to him. He didn't see the two volunteer security guards creeping up behind him, pepper spray and foam baton at the ready. But when they were just inches away, Annie slipped on a slice of sourdough and let out a squeak of surprise.
Shirley raised her foam baton, but Garrett was too quick. He pulled it from her hand and slapped Annie's arm with it. She squeaked again and pressed down on the trigger for the pepper spray. Garrett smacked her elbow with the baton before the spray reached him, sending Annie's aim up toward the ceiling.
"Not again!" she cried as the mist of pepper spray came raining down, back into her own face. She dropped to her knees, tears and mascara streaming from her eyes, still spraying.
Shirley hadn't wasted any time. While Garrett was fending off Annie, she went back for reinforcements.
"Move your ass, Jeffrey!" she barked, swatting at him with a lunch tray she grabbed off a nearby table. "Take him down."
"I seriously cannot believe I'm doing this," Jeff said as he stepped out of range of her swing. "Garrett! Hey, buddy, why don't you put down the baton and we'll—"
Whatever he wanted them to do, he never got the chance to finish.
Annie, blinded by pepper spray and mascara, turned toward the sound of his voice with a hopeful, "Jeff?" Unfortunately, she was still holding down the canister's trigger. Jeff was so intent on disarming Garrett, he didn't see the cloud until it was too late. He went down in a fog of capsaicin and lay writhing on the floor.
Britta yelled, "Oh, no, you didn't!" like a bad late 90s sitcom and dove for Garrett. He side-stepped and she went down in a heap, fists swinging wildly at his legs. Shirley came charging in, brandishing the lunch tray like a battering ram, driving it right into the small of his back.
He went down, almost in slow motion. Shirley followed, bashing him on the back with the tray while he flailed helplessly, like an upended turtle or the former champ in a professional wrestling cage match.
Pierce was still sitting at their table, slowly eating a dish of soft-serve ice cream. He waved his spoon when he caught Abed's look.
Troy cleared his throat. "I, uh, is this going ... good?"
"No, it's not." Abed tilted his head, sizing up the melee in the center of the room. "But Garrett's down for the count, I think. Now we just have to worry about Leonard and Starburns."
"Time to go all Dark Knight on their butts' throats, huh?"
"Nah, too derivative."
Leonard had run out of bread and bagels sometime during the study group's fight with Garrett, and moved on to flinging spoonfuls from the chafing dishes. The floor in front of the food line was splattered with white globs of potatoes and glistening puddles of gravy. To the side, Starburns had connected more than a dozen insulated tubes to the metal device.
Six feet tall, and nearly as wide, it buzzed with energy, bright arcs of electricity sparking between the two rods on top. Either it had its own independent power source, or Starburns had managed to plug it into an outlet behind the line.
Troy shuddered, then squared his shoulders. "Let's do this. Um. What are you planning to do, exactly?"
Abed outlined his plan: their first step would be to divide and conquer. With Leonard laying down cover fire, there was no way for the security officers gathered at the exits to make their way any farther into the cafeteria. Once that line of defense had been eliminated, Starburns' flank would be vulnerable. With Troy keeping Leonard occupied, and the security officers hopefully able to evacuate the rest of the students and Garrett, Abed would take him down.
"Just like Kickpuncher 4: Revenge of the Punchkick!"
They bumped fists, and pushed out of the booth.
Leonard cackled and flung half a tray of stringy turkey at a freshman trying to crawl toward the exit.
"You sure about this, Abed? We don't have to do this. We can wait for reinforcements."
"No, we can't. I have the power."
Troy nodded firmly. "And the responsibility."
He pulled him into a tight hug, pressing his face into Abed's bony shoulder. "Don't die out there, man. I don't know what I'd do without you."
When they separated, Abed drew the back of his hand down Troy's cheek. "Understood."
"Gaaaay," Pierce sang out.
It was over almost before it started.
Troy got a running start, using the slickness of the food on the floor to slide up to the tray shelf. He planted his hands and vaulted over the sneeze guard, landing right next to Leonard, who turned on him with a double take worthy of a silent film star.
For all anyone knew, he had been.
Abed waited until he saw Troy get one of Leonard's arms behind his back, then he made a beeline for Starburns.
He was moving so fast, Starburns wouldn't have seen him coming even if he had been facing the right way. He ran across the potatoes and gravy-covered floor like it was a cinder track, or the path between the library and the administration office during the STD Fair. His new powers gave him reflexes so fast that he was able to react before things had even happened.
In the time it took him to reach the machine, Starburns managed to flip a half-dozen switches. The buzzing trebled in volume, rattling the frame. The arcs of electricity were coming faster and faster, the stink of ozone wafting through the air.
"Give it up, Alex," Abed warned. He had his hand on the electrical cord, ready to pull the plug on whatever nefarious scheme the Chuck Wagon Gang were trying to put in play. "You won't get away with this."
Starburns swung to face him, not looking at all surprised by Abed's sudden appearance. "My name is... Oh, wait. Hey, Abed."
"Hey. You mind stepping away from the machine?" He gave the cord a threatening tug.
"Come on, man, we're just having a little fun at the school's expense."
"You've taken an entire cafeteria hostage. Even Hans Gruber might call that excessive."
Starburns grinned. "I love that guy! When he yelled 'shoot the glass!', oh man. I wanted him to win!"
"You know it can't end that way, Alex."
"Yeah, I know." He stroked the side of the machine. "It's just, we worked so hard on this thing. And then DeAngerous took one look at it and accused us of cheating! What the hell is that about? Best thing we've ever done, and she got us kicked out of school."
While he was distracted, Abed eased the plug out of the wall outlet. "C'mon, Alex," he coaxed. "It's time to stand down. We'll deal with the rest of it later."
The machine gave a long, sad whine as its internal mechanisms slowed to a halt.
Starburns' shoulders sagged.
"I still don't understand how you guys got him to surrender," Annie said, a confused wrinkle between her eyebrows. "And how did you get all the way over there without Leonard taking you out? I saw that guy's aim. He's got a pretty good arm for a septuagenarian!"
"Mm-hmm," Shirley agreed. "When he comes back to school, he should sign up for the softball team!"
Abed shrugged. "It was no big deal. We got a lucky break."
"Yeah," Troy chimed in. "Huge lucky break. Plus, you know, I got skills."
Annie giggled, her cheeks turning pink.
"Has anyone seen Britta and Jeff?" Shirley asked, looking around the room like she might have misplaced them. "I thought they were right behind us on the way out of the cafeteria. This anthropology diorama isn't going to build itself!"
Troy and Abed traded a look.
"Uh, I think maybe they were going to help Pierce with, uh, something," Troy offered.
"I'm sitting right here!" Pierce protested from his regular seat. "I have been this whole time!"
Britta and Jeff came in together a few minutes later, carrying a basket of bagels each.
"Looks like Leonard missed a couple," Jeff said. "So we liberated them."
"Are there any chocolate chip? Those are my favorite!"
While the group picked over their sudden bounty, Troy leaned in toward Abed and whispered, "Dude, your secret identity is safe with me."
Abed smiled. "I know. Who else could have slipped me a sample swiped from DeAngerous' lab?"
"Wait, you knew?"
"Of course," Abed said. He dropped his voice. "I'm Batman."
Troy scoffed. "You wish."