Tipped Off is the fourth chapter of Stranger in a Strange School. It is notable for portraying Basil Hagen in both a sinister and a sympathetic light.


Lee moved through the air vents. Barrage hadn't caught onto him yet, neither had the cleaners. At least he hoped they hadn't. The Tatzel Worm? He wasn't sure about the Tatzel Worm. Lee just didn't know what it was about the Tatzel Worm or if that dream he had was even a dream, but the Tatzel Worm did seem to be helping him out.

Then there was Hagen. To Lee, Hagen was a loose canon. He had frightened Tina, nearly hurt her, it didn't seem that Hagen was as harmless as he first believed, harmless but weird. Or maybe he was-

"Lee!" Biffy's voice rang through Lee's ears. "You even listening to me?"

"Yeah, sorry about that." Lee stopped to listen to Biffy. "Right here?"

"Yep!" Biffy's voice sounded encouraging, weird for a guy who only tolerated him. "Just be careful, I have no idea but that part of the school is crawling with cleaners. It's almost like someone tipped them off." Tipped them off? Who would have known that Lee would be coming here? It didn't make any sense. "You don't think it was that new guy who tipped the cleaners off do you?"

"How do you-"

"Hey, it's me!" Lee sighed. There was a part of him that doubted Biffy saw everything but he was Lee's eyes and ears. "So do you?"

"I don't know." Lee breathed. This was hard to explain. "Hagen's personality… it seems so… so… inconsistent." Lee jumped down into the room below, a broom closet. He had to track down the Down with Lee Club. He knew Ed and Irwin had nothing to do with the prank but there was still a chance it could have been them. Giuseppe Stern? Maybe, but why would a Goth was to frame him? This would have been so much easier if he knew which room the club was in.

Lee opened the door, poked his head out and looked around. He quickly pulled his head back into the broom closet. The cleaners really were crawling all over this part of the school.

"Watch it!" Biffy's voice once again rang through his ears. "Barrage is coming!" Lee heard Barrage's voice and footstep. It wasn't as much his footstep that caused so much alarm for Lee it was Barrage's voice. He was talking to someone, someone Lee knew.

"You better not be pulling my leg, new recruit!" New recruit? Hagen! It would seem that Hagen had somehow found out about Lee's plan. But how could he have? Lee continued to listen as a mop leaned against him.

"No, sir." It was Hagen's voice but he sounded scared. Lee wished he could have opened the door but someone could have noticed him and he'd be done for. "I just have reason to believe that a prankster in detention would escape to cause more trouble, presumably for that club that is against him." Lee frowned. Hagen was suspicious of him so he tipped off Barrage and his henchmen.

"You better hope Ping is in this area, for your sake." Lee could hear what sounded like a frightened cry come from Hagen. "Otherwise you'll be joining him for one whole month." Once again, Lee heard that frightened cry come from Hagen. It sounded like how Lee would describe as what he'd imagine a dying moose would sound like. "Also, I won't take kindly to being brought along on this wild goose chase, got that recruit?"

"Well, I did say beware of escaped detentionaires and snooping girl reporters." Lee clenched his fist. Hagen had also tipped them off about Tina, but what did he mean by her snooping?

"You did and that makes me think you're my kind of person." Barrage's comment made Lee's skin crawl. "Even if you had been there and heard Ping claim that he's innocent you would have not believed that lie of his."

"He did what?" The shock in Hagen's voice made Lee jump a bit. He had no idea that Hagen could show that much emotion. "Well maybe I'm wrong." Lee imagined he could hear Barrage turn his head to look down at Hagen. "Maybe he's back at attention, being a good student. After all he did save you and those other students."

"He did, but do you expect me to go easy on him?"

"I didn't say-"

"True I do have some respect for him but that still makes what he did unforgivable."

"Well yes but-"

"And here you are showing doubt, being confused about what kind of a person Ping is." Lee heard Hagen step back a bit. It was obviously him he wasn't loud like Barrage. "Now, Mr. Hagen, what are you going to do?"

"I'll… go see what Ms. Kwee is up to then, eh?" Hagen's question wasn't what caught Lee's ear. He heard guilt in Hagen's voice, as if he knew he did something wrong and rightly so.

"Is that a hint of guilt I hear in your voice, rookie?" Barrage had heard the guilt in Hagen's voice, too. Lee didn't hear any response come from Hagen but he guessed that Hagen must have shook his head instead of saying no. "Good, now move soldier!" Lee heard running. It would seem that Hagen had left but that meant Barrage and the psycho cleaners were still out there. Another time, perhaps. Lee climbed back into the vent, with plenty of difficulty, only narrowly avoiding being found by Barrage and the cleaners. This meant the race was on for him to get back to detention.

"Hey, I'm back!" Lee spoke into his Bluetooth. "And get this, it was Hagen who tipped off the cleaners, he was with Barrage."

"Want me to beat him up?" Biffy's question was confusing. Was he serious? Was he joking?

"What? No! I think he was feeling guilty, he sounded guilty anyway!" Lee thought about what he heard as he crawled through the vents. Finally, he got back to the detention room. "I didn't actually see him this time but Hagen sounded scared when he was with Barrage."

"You think he's up to something?" Biffy's question was a good one, one that Lee also had one on his mind.

"I don't know." Sighed Lee. "I just don't know."