It was early in the day, much too early for me to be in any coherent state of mind, but somehow I had managed to drag myself out of bed. Still, I was not only standing but actually packed up for a long trip. Yesterday I had gotten the message I had been waiting for for weeks: I would be going on patrol with one of the most secretive law enforcement agencies in all of Gielenor, the Penguin Query and Reconnaissance Squad. As I desperately tried to warm myself over a cup of tea my contact walked in. He was a lanky adventurer, surprisingly lightly dressed. I bought him tea and listened to his story as we waited for the rest of the group to check in.
"The P.Q.R.S. is an elite organization. Not just anyone can join..." he paused, winked, and continued, "well, anyone can join really, but not just anyone can do what we do. We're the only thing standing between freedom and the tyranny of the codbreaths." He punctuated the last word by spitting on the ground. "You mean penguins?" "Of course. You've gone north with our leader, Larry, you've seen what they're capable of. Now they have spies all over the land, which is why we have to keep track of them. They try to hide, see? Every week somewhere else! But we're onto them!"
As I was about to ask what exactly they were onto my companion suddenly looked up, exclaiming that "they", which I assumed meant the codbreathing penguins, had moved. I could barely keep up with him as we dashed off to Larry, the frizzled leader of the P.Q.R.S.. I had of course met Larry before. I had accompanied him to the far north where we observed the penguins' peculiar behaviour and where I had even learned their secret handshake. I listened intently as he gave his briefing on the known whereabouts of ten penguin spies. My companion smiled grimly. "You got your water skins, rookie? Then we're off!"
I followed him through the spirit tree and fairy ring network until we were standing in the middle of the scorching Kharidian desert. With penguins reported in both Uzer and Nardah and a fairy ring right between them, it would be as good a place to start as any. We ran north along the river Elid as reports kept flowing in from as far east as this sandy nightmare and as far west as the elven territories. I knew that those lands lay outside my reach, but I would do what I could on this assignment. I was just explained how penguins spying in the desert preferred to disguise themselves as cacti, when we suddenly skidded to a halt so suddenly that I almost stumbled straight into my companion's spirit terrorbird.
I followed his extended finger. Through the shimmering desert air I could vaguely make out a row of small, round cacti. My remark that I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary earned me a menacing look so I tried to focus. When I suddenly saw one of the cacti move towards the bridge. My companion smiled and nodded, and we noted down the time and location where we spotted the penguin before moving on.
Our next target would be in Nardah, and luckily for us P.Q.R.S. members had managed to isolate it. We quickly noted down its location before heading off again. Our next stop would be the haunted woods between Canafis and Port Phasmatys. As we headed there reports kept flowing in of penguin spotters all over the world, and I realized how truly vast this underground network of penguin hunters is. With the information they provided we soon collected the locations of penguins in the desert, Mort Myre, Varrock, Burthorpe, Neitiznot, The Wilderness and the Feldip Hills.
As we ran the world over I could tell that my companion was warming up to me, and at one point he even trusted me to trap one of the penguin spies between two trees. Of course my attempts to approach it while whistling innocently and looking inconspicuously failed spectacularly, but we didn't let it get our spirits down. It wasn't until my companion announced that we'd be making a stop at the elf lands that I had to admit defeat. When I explained that I didn't have the agility levels to survive the elven lands he let out an exasperated sigh. After a moment of quick debate with other field agents he announced, with a sigh that was seeping with frustration, that it was time I went back to Larry.
We were to report our findings to Larry, and claim our rewards. This confused me, as I thought that the P.Q.R.S. worked to protect Gielinor against the black and white threat out of conscience, not for material gain. When I told my companion as much he laughed harshly. "Of course we don't work pro bono. Larry gives us financial compensation for supplies we use while searching for the codbreaths and experience in various skills so that we may be able to look for them further afield than before. Which reminds me, I suggest that you do something about that pitiful agility of yours."
I decided not to press the matter and simply follow my companion back to Varrock through teleportation, then to Ardougne through the Spirit Tree that had been planted there. Once there we headed east to the Ardougne Zoo to meet Larry, the leader of the P.Q.R.S.. He greeted us with all his usual paranoid nervousness, and my report on the nine penguins I had seen moving about that day only seemed to panic him further. He told me with a shaky voice that I had thirteen points that I could spend on either experience or money. At my companion's suggestion I used the money to become more experienced in agility, and to my surprise I instantly felt myself becoming more agile.
At that point my companion had already left for the elven lands to find and report the location of the final penguin, leaving me with the dozens of other P.Q.R.S. members that were there to report their findings. I listened to their conversations a little longer, and while I got the impression that there were very few agents that cared nearly as much about the safety of Gielinor as they cared about Larry's money and training. Still, I realized that the P.Q.R.S. fulfilled, in its own twisted way, a very valuable public service, and to my surprise I already found myself planning next week's expedition.