The Singular Affair of the Second Moriarty

Chapter One

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
Fog curled and felt its way through the streets of New London in slow lazy fingers probing into the alleys and shop doorways, filling up the world with thick grey mist. It wound its way through the streets and lapped like waves on the first few steps of 221b Baker Street, disturbed only as feet worked their way up the steps.
"Ah, Watson." A tall thin man, brown-haired, smooth-featured, with piercing grey eyes, moved from his position by the fire as the compudroid shut the door behind it with a firm click of the latch. "Your trip down to museum was interrupted by the fog, I see."
The droid Watson nodded. "Yes, just got there when it started to come down. I calculated that I could make it back before it got thick enough to interfere with my sensors. Shame, really; I was hoping to better acquaint myself with Victorian London."
Holmes nodded and moved to the window. "Another time, maybe, my friend. Did you notice anyone loitering in the fog when you came in?"
"No, Holmes, itís too thick to sense anything much beyond a couple of feet or so...Why?"
Holmes shrugged and resumed his seat. "Oh, nothing. Itís just that when the fog moves or clears for a second I fancy I can see someone on the pavement outside looking up."
Watson moved to the window and stared down. Sure enough, when the fog moved for a second the outline of a figure came into view and then faded again.
"Whom do you think..."
Holmes smiled and picked up the book he was reading. "Not enough facts to think, Watson. A passer-by whose neck has stuck, may be, but I think not. When they make up their mind to come in or leave we may learn something else, but until then I suggest we sit and wait for them to make the first move."
It was cold outside, and she might have felt it seeping into her if not for the high altitude suit and sky helmet that she wore or for the burning fire that was raging within. She had never remembered being this angry, so completely full of rage. She wanted to scream, to tear the very walls apart with her bare hands, but instead she would wait; like the spider she would watch and hope to catch the fly. The skyboard beneath her trembled slightly as she shifted her feet and felt the suction catch. When he came he would be quick and when he left there would once again be no trace. She would have to be ready.
She watched them sit inside. The tall one, Holmes, she was sure had seen her, and then the compudroid as well; but it didnít matter as long as they stayed inside. She needed them to stay inside; in this fog she would lose them in mere seconds and then they might never be seen alive again.
Half an hour passed in silent seconds. Holmes stretched out on the armchair and walked in quick purposeful steps towards the window, after a few moments of hard staring he rapped his knuckles on the windowsill.
"Damn it all, still there. I tell you, Watson, still as a statue and staring at us like weíre specimens in a glass tank." Holmes stood up and made a move towards his chair again "If itís still there at bedtime Iíll put serious thought to chasing it away with the..."
Glass exploded into the room as something dark and heavy bore past Holmes as he fell heavily to the floor and straight into the still astonished compudroid. Holmes felt for a handhold on the glass-covered floor; in front of him he heard the crunch of metal hitting metal. A foot hit his face and smashed his head against the floor.
"Hello, Mister Holmes." He saw a black stick thud rhythmically on the ground beside him, judged and flailed upwards with a foot catching the speaker behind the knee. The foot jerked sideways and Holmes sprang to his feet; beside him lay a black-clad figure, laughing.
"Very good for a dead man, but I think now you will behave a little more civilised to me...and especially my companion."
Holmes looked around. The gigantic black shape held Watson with two huge arms. The man flipped onto his feet and swung the stick over a shoulder
"I know you are new here and may not have had time to catch up on your robotics, so I will assist you." The man motioned to the larger droid.
"This is an A-class war droid, more than capable of crushing your police bot into pieces so small that not even all the King's horses and all the King's men have a hope in hell of rebuilding him. And I am a very dangerous man to cross, so letís all play nice, eh." The man readjusted his stick to the other shoulder and continued.
"I have a very pressing need for your brain skills and your knowledge of Moriarty. You help me, the droid lives -- and so does your little friend, Lestrade."
Holmes snarled, "You animal. What have you done to Lestrade?"
The speaker ignored him. "You defy me..." Watson sparked blue as the war droid squeezed... and then stopped. An expression near to surprise hit its face and it fell sideways. Watson fell down, fizzing blue sparks.
Holmes hit the surprised man with an uppercut and followed the blow through with a roundhouse punch. Something flew through the window and jumped off a silver board.
"Mine!" it screamed at the detective. "Heís mine." The foot hit Holmes in the stomach and he fell backwards.

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