Below the Orange antimacassar is a new chapter. The final one before the holiday season goes full swing.
Our Chapters thus far:
"Where are you going gentlemen? Surely you don't intend to..."
"They are going to Hell, Watson. At my request."
"Hell? But Holmes surely you don't believe in a supernatural ancient lake of fire destined to last for eternity. In fact, you've said as much yourself, and in almost those exact words."
"And my position has not changed, Watson. But aboard this vessel, or tethered to it, in some form and manner as yet unknown to me, there is a Hell. Of this I am convinced."
Captain Haggard said, "Makes sense to me. When you lose your anchor, you can wind up in dangerous waters. Right Cody?"
"Cody?" said Otis.
"Cody and I are rather good at losing anchors. Every time we've traded in our old bodies for new ones."
I had to speak, whether I understood or not, "Holmes and I used the same technology to travel through space and time from London to this ship! Are you saying these aren't our bodies?"
"Not to worry, old friend," said Holmes, "Touch your arm."
Preposterous, of course, but to humor Holmes I touched my arm then I said, "I felt my own arm. So?"
"You felt your own arm, Watson, your own arm! There was not another edition of you to do it for you. Or to you. Don't you see, you have kept your anchor. Your anchor is you!"
"So is that why you were so interested in the background footage for that hatchet job of an interview? The large number of pairs of twins?"
"Separated twins, Otis," said Holmes, "You noticed that yourself. And while it is not particularly unusual to see one pair of twins standing so far apart, it is unusual to see so many."
"Weird, I know. But why? That's what I keep asking myself."
"Yet you have come to no conclusions, Otis?"
"No conclusions that I could justify having, Mr Holmes. Although now..."
"Now Otis is free to speculate," said Evan. "Go ahead Otis, it will do you good to let your imagination run wild. Pointless though. Mr Holmes will no doubt trump your most feverish fantasies with a set of facts that will prove even more outlandish. I have some theories myself, of course, but if I'm to be The Knower, I must keep those to myself, right Edgar?"
Edgar looked lost in his thoughts but eventually said, "That will be up to you, Evan. I've found it advisable, but some previous Knowers were veritable founts of prediction. Each Knower puts his or her own stamp on the job. Speaking of which, we had all best get going if we are going to meet up with Admiral Helen and Director Parrish on time."
I could not bring myself to ask why we needed such haste, but I could ask where we were to meet such distinguished company. However Doxy made what would have been my question unnecessary and said, "I suppose foxtail house is out of the question Edgar. After the fire, I mean."
"The basement will suffice, right Cody?"
"What is a basement doing on a spaceship? And what are these people doing here!"
Otis walked over to Cody and put an arm around the youthful looking old man's shoulder. "It's OK Gramps, they are friends. And they're here to see you and Edgar off."
"Oh yes, that. Well, I guess we'd better be going. Oh, make sure that those fellows from the past...what were their names, Edgar?"
"Mr Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, Cody."
"Oh right. Anyhow Edgar, please remind them of vital importance of the integrity of the timeline."
"You may remind them yourself Cody, they will be there. Mr Holmes has some final instructions for us."
"Sherlock Holmes, Cody. And he has a protocol for us."
"A protocol? I love protocols."
And whatever your holiday protocols, may this season prove a joyful one to you and yours. And if joyful is a stretch, may the season at least prove bearable.