Part 2

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)

Chapter 4

Deidre walked at a swift pace down the streets, trying to see through the heavy sheet of rain, and barely succeeding, even when the sky was brightened by intermittent bursts of lightning. She cursed herself for not at least taking the time to grab her raingear. She could feel her once carefully coifed hair clinging in wet strands to her face and neck. Ruined hair, though, was the least of her problems. It was still early spring, and the rain was a cold one. She shivered and hugged herself for warmth, looking around frantically for the entrance to the Old London Underground. It wouldnít get her dry and warm, but she could keep from getting even more wet while taking a short cut to Baker Street. Not too many minutes later, she sighed with relief when she saw the dark yawning entrance to the cavernous tunnels beneath the city.

As she traversed the well-memorized paths she and her friends used nearly every day, she fell to thinking about her parents. They werenít a bad sort really, just...odd. She could never explain to Wiggins and Tennyson that it wasnít like when most teenagers said their parents were odd. It wasnít really even something she could explain to herself. She just knew that there was something different about them, something that kept them from fitting in. Kind of like Mister Holmes and Inspector Lestrade. Of course, she knew why Holmes didnít fit in; he was from another time. Her parents and the inspector, on the other hand, she simply could not explain.

After a while, Deidre realized that someone was following her. At first, it was just a feeling; a prickling at the back of her neck. Then she heard heavy footsteps. Forcing herself to keep the same pace, though her heart was beating unnaturally fast, she continued walking. It was too far to Baker Street, she knew, and whoever was following would catch up to her. She surreptitiously checked the intersections and tunnels she passed until she found one that would suit her purposes.

She ducked into the darkened tunnel and pressed herself against the rough bricks of the wall. She held her breath when the silhouette of the figure passed in front of the entrance. It was large and heavyset, leading her to believe it was male. He paused a moment as if unsure of what to do next, then walked on. She waited what seemed like hours before turning and walking down the tunnel she had chosen, not wanting to risk going back out and get caught.

She had walked only a little ways when her progress was halted by a wall. Giving an annoyed sigh of frustration, she turned around and leaned against it, only to jump forward again when it moved. One of the many secret passages rife within the Underground! She eagerly walked through the opening formed, thinking that at least she wouldnít have to worry about that guy coming after her in here. As soon as she was through, the wall slid shut with no sound, and several overhead lights came on.

She blinked in the sudden brightness, her eyes not having had time to adjust. When her vision had cleared, she gasped in awe. She was in a large chamber that had several computers lining the walls. There was only one metal chair, in pretty good condition, leading her to believe that one person had probably worked all the computers. Her theory was further supported by the single makeshift bed off to one corner of the room; a pallet of several blankets. She wasnít afraid of the person coming back, because of the several years layers of dust settled on everything. With sudden alacrity she turned and decided to get Mister Holmes down here. This would make a great secret headquarters.

As she made her way from the room, she didnít see the object until she tripped over it. Rubbing her knees where she had landed on them, she picked up the offending thing and looked at it. It was a glass bottle with some odd kind of light within it, that swirled with a reddish tint. She put it in her pouch. Mister Holmes could look at this too, and maybe tell her what it was.

Chapter 5

Holmes rubbed his jaw absently as he looked at the computer screen in front of him. What he was seeing didnít make sense at all. Of course, he was no biologist, though he did understand the basic principles. He re-read the data, hoping to find some discrepancy in his first twenty analyses. It did not matter what angle he looked at it from, how many ways he worked the problem. The answer was always the same: Kim Rons was not human. He sat back in his chair with a satisfied smile on his face. Perhaps Miss Danfieldís case would be even more interesting than he had at first thought.

The smell of cooking ham filled his senses then, and he became aware that he was hungry. His smile grew rueful as he stood up and walked into the tiny kitchen of his flat, where Watson was busy with preparations for lunch. The Irregulars would be by shortly, and all three had extremely healthy appetites. Holmes, in his own time, had never had much of an appetite. However, in this time, he had found himself in need of more sustenance. He made a mental note to ask Sir Evan about that, as he sat down at the table.

"If you are waiting on lunch, Holmes," the compudroid immediately said, "then you will have quite a while Iím afraid. Unless, of course, you donít mind leftovers."

Holmes chuckled. "Leftovers are perfectly fine, old friend. Preferably something quick to heat up, as I really would like to continue with this case." He smiled, knowing he had said just enough to get the robot interested in what he was saying. That was one of the few things that had not changed about himself. He loved to keep people on their toes with cryptic statements. Of course before, it had been necessary not to reveal too much, or everyone would most likely not have followed him so readily.... He mentally shook his head again. That was long past.

Just as Holmes had intended, Watson quickly picked up on his statement. "Oh? Then that lovely young woman and her silent companion had something of interest to tell you?"

"They did."

"Really, Holmes," the compudroid stated, his voice sounding annoyed, "you could be a little more forthcoming, you know."

Holmes just smiled, then relented. "Miss Danfield has been having problems with attackers. Her companion is actually her bodyguard, and he is equipped with an ionizer. Luckily. However, whenever he hits one with the stunning beam, the attacker disappears."

"Hmm...which is why they didnít go to Scotland Yard, no doubt."

"Perhaps. However, I checked their DNA when the left. Miss Danfieldís profile states that she is from another planet. Not odd in itself, but her home planet is not listed. That too isnít all that unusual, though it does give rise to some suspicion. However, the most interesting thing I found was her companionís DNA. It is not filed with New Scotland Yard. Here, take a look."

Watson obediently downloaded the file. He looked back at Holmes with surprise. "Why, the pattern of the nucleic acids more closely resembles that of a feline than a human!"

Holmes smiled. "Quite right, Watson. Once the Irregulars have arrived, we shall all go and find out about Miss Danfieldís mysterious disappearing attackers. And ask her a few other questions as well. Unless I am much mistaken, her background and the attackers are somehow related."

Chapter 6

Lestrade sat stiffly behind the controls of her cruiser, every muscle in her body tense. The storm was even worse up here, in the very heart of it, amidst the black thunderheads. She knew she should relax, that her lightning shield was in place, but every instinct in her told her to get on the ground immediately. Normally, she would have heeded those instincts, but now she did not. They were telling her wrong. They had to be. It was just a bit of phobia from a childhood accident.

She didnít want to think about her childhood right now, though. It was so far away, and so impossible to get to, even in memory. She couldnít even go to the places she had been raised in, see the machines she had lovingly worked on.... She quickly cleared her head of these thoughts. The past was passed, and there was no way of going back. Still...if only she hadnít become separated from the others, at least she would have had someone to commiserate with, even if she wasnít the most popular of the group. However, Ďif onlyí was just as bad as thinking about the past. It got you nowhere, and lowered your survival rate quickly, because it took away from your concentration on the environment around you.

A jarring thud caused her to jerk from her reverie, cursing her inattention. Another hovercar had come up behind her and fired an energy weapon. It hadnít caused damage to anything important, but the other car had immediately swerved away after firing. Punk kids out on a dare probably. Her apartment building came into sight, and she gave a sigh of relief. She began her descent, and was almost instantly blinded by a bright flash as lightning struck the cruiser. Before she could react, she felt a jolt of electricity running from the controls to her hands and through the rest of her body. Sparks were flying everywhere. In the back of her mind, she vaguely realized that the cruiser had lost power and was going to crash, autopilot or no autopilot. Then she lost consciousness.


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