by Maureen S. O'Brien (mobrien at dnaco.net)
Not to hog, but I need to clarify a few things.
"Coincidence," Holmes mumbled to himself, as he sat in the front
seat of the hovercoach with his eyes closed.
"Did you say something, Holmes?" Watson asked politely, knowing
full well what his sensors had heard.
"Coincidence," Holmes said more loudly, straightening in his seat.
"Doesn't it strike you that chance and coincidence have played far too
great a role in Lestrade's misfortunes? She happens to be coming home just
as a constable is in hot pursuit of a criminal. She happens to be hit on
the head in such a way that she loses her memory. She happens to get the
urge to leave the restaurant -- out the WC window, and not in some more
customary fashion -- at which point she happens to go to Moriarty's
current base." His eyes hardened. "Someone has been playing us for fools,
and I think I know who.
"Watson, you go on to the Bank of New London and look into their
robbery -- it could only have been an electronic one, after all. First,
however, drop Wiggins and I off at New Scotland Yard. We are going to talk
to a certain young criminal -- and a constable, as well."
An imperative beeping broke in.
"Yeah, what about me and Tennyson?" Deidre demanded.
"You will stand by in the hovercoach to assist Watson." Deidre
opened her mouth to protest, but he raised his hand and she subsided.
"Meanwhile, I believe you should familiarize yourselves with the contents
of a file named 'Robin Hood'. You'll find it on my computer, in the
directory named 'L'. I believe you know the access code and remote
Tennyson confirmed it as the hovercoach swept down the Thames
toward New Scotland Yard's slanted walls.
"Then we're off. Come, Wiggins!"
Holmes stalked away, Wiggins following him. Watson took off again,
heading toward the City, that square mile or so which contained one of the
world's great financial districts. Deidre sulked.
"It's all right for you two," she complained as she tried to peer
over onto Tennyson's keyboard as he called up 221B's dataline and the file.
"Watson, you get to go investigate the bank records -- and Tennyson, you
get to play with Mr. Holmes' secret files. What do I get to do?"
"Practice patience," Watson said tartly. "A very important
investigative skill indeed."
Tennyson laughed, and Deidre made a face.
"Holmes does put some thought into these assignments," Watson
assured her more gently. "And believe me, I think you'll find that file
more than a little interesting." He parked the hovercoach next to the Bank
of New London's discreet and solid walls, behind a cruiser whose presence
clearly disturbed the City workers walking by. "I'll be interested to hear
what you think of it," he added, getting out. "This shouldn't take long."
"Well!" Deidre commented. "If it's got Watson making
mysterious hints, this file must be something stellar! Turn the screen so
I can see, Tennyson."
Tennyson, not thrilled with the idea of trying to scroll along at
Deidre's pace, pressed a button and dumped the file into the memory on her
Deidre, satisfied, settled back to read. She wasn't silent for long.
"Okay, so ten years ago somebody broke into a bunch of computers and sent
copies of the records to the police and the news. And a bunch of military
and industrial bigshots got convicted of sending soldiers into danger on
purpose during the War. And nobody ever found out who the hacker was. Yeah,
we had that in History. Big scandal. Big deal."
Tennyson, who was a little further along, pointed out that one of
the soldiers who had been a victim had the last name of Lestrade.
"Why'd you do it?" the desk sergeant asked, honestly curious. "Your
dad taught you better than to leave evidence behind, for one thing. And
then, you try to get away by assaulting a copper? What were you thinking,
"I didn't do it!" Sacker protested frantically. "Sure, I stumbled
into her, but it was an accident. And I didn't even knock into her that
hard. She didn't get no concussion from me!"
"Sure, Sacker," the sergeant answered as he finished entering in the
paperwork. "Who's going to believe that line?"
"I will," said Holmes, striding over to the desk. "Who brought in
"Constable Dashiell," the sergeant said, goggling a little. "You
mean to say that Sacker really didn't hurt Inspector Lestrade?"
"I told you!" Sacker said triumphantly. "My dad didn't raise us to
be tackling no inspectors, especially not crazy ones like that Lestrade."
Holmes turned to Sacker, ignoring the sergeant. "And when you
turned back around at the end of the hallway, Sacker, what did you see?"
Sacker's eyes widened. "How did you know?"
"I saw your footprints when I came to see Lestrade, just after you
made your rather abrupt exit. Now, what did you see?"
"That constable stopped and bent over her with this white rag, like
he was wiping her face or something."
Wiggins broke in excitedly. "That's why she went unconscious!"
Holmes nodded. "Probably a hypnotic. And Dashiell was waiting for
you, almost as soon as you started breaking into that doctor's flat?"
"That's right, Mr. Holmes." Sacker frowned and whispered, "The
Professor sold me out, didn't he?"
Holmes shook his head. "Not at all. Moriarty has his faults, but it
would be bad business for him to betray his own people. No, this is the
work of an outsider making a play for New London's organization. By giving
me a very good reason to go after Moriarty, she hopes to clear him -- and
me -- out of her way."
Sacker paled. "You mean the Dragon Lady."
"Oh, very likely."
On to Part 12!
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