Some of you know the drill by now: a few introductory words, a reference to the orange antimacassar and the fact that it occupies the space following a list of previous chapters thus serving as a playfully teasing gateway to an all new chapter.
But since Holmes and Watson are currently in whatever it is that serves as Hell aboard the SS Oligarch (far from Earth and far in the future), it seems only fair that we feel some of their pain. And what could be more painful to a loyal reader (or writer) than to relive that which he or she has already read (or, in my case, written). However, new readers (and forgetful) writers may benefit from an abridged look back. Super-fans are invited to read Chapter i (listed below) along with Chapter 29 (below the orange antimacassar) to see if the abridged content matches up with full original.
Sherlock Holmes in Space -- The Knower -- Chapter 29
a story by jabney based on (the now public domain) characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"In the firmament?" I thought to myself. I started to say something cleverly reproachful, but decided not to. Holmes indicated his agreement with my conclusion. Disconcerting having your thoughts read. But it is Hell, after all. And I had a part to play in getting us out. I was not quite certain how to react, but I supposed I should react sooner rather than later so I said, "I'm a story teller. Perhaps relating some of what I've planned on writing about our journey here thus far would be useful."
"Please do, Doctor Watson. Otis and Mr Holmes probably know all the details, but until a few hours ago I was only a tape wrangler in Systems. Not the Knower and thus privy to high-level happenings."
"Yet somehow aware of most of them, I think. You will make a good Knower, Evan."
"Thanks for your vote of confidence, Otis. I'm not certain that Mr Holmes and Dr Watson are convinced yet."
Holmes said, "I have every confidence in your suitability to fulfill that role, Evan, but I believe you will find doing so to be much easier after we get out of Hell. The phrase, "Tonight's season finale," implies a deadline of some sort, so Watson start telling your tale, but you may want to use your inner editor."
We all laughed, though somewhat morosely, and I opened my tri-fold and began by quoting my notes;
It was on a Wednesday, shirred eggs and kippers I seem to recall, that Mrs Hudson knocked on the door of our flat at 221B Baker Street. She said, "Begging your pardons Mr Holmes, Dr Watson, but there's a... body here to see you."That, "Body" would have been Cody, right Doctor?"
"Correct Otis, and Mrs Hudson is..."
"They know that, Watson. Please continue."
"Welcome sir," said Sherlock Holmes,... "What year is this?""Food, drink? Is anybody else suddenly hungry or thirsty?" said Evan. A water fountain, or what appeared to be a water fountain appeared.
"For you or for me?" said our visitor, with the slight suggestion of a smile.
"Aha! I thought as much," said Holmes exultantly.
"As then you have probably already deduced..." Here, our visitor paused and sipped from a vessel that presumably was secreted in his curiously configured upper garment. He resumed, "Sorry for the precautions. A frightful buzzer sounds if I don't hydrate on schedule."
"Perhaps we should forgo drinking from fountains which pop-up out of nowhere on the streets of Hell," I said. My companions nodded in agreement and I continued my story, skipping some details:
Otis said, "Evan and I are familiar with time-travel protocol, and with Cody's fastidious observations of said protocols. So unless something struck you as extraordinarily out of the ordinary..."
"We are going on a long journey, Watson, unless I am mistaken."
I said, "There was the matter of footwear. For some reason, Cody told us, let me scroll down here... looking, looking... aha!
Evan and Otis looked at each other as if this meant something. "Cody," I continued,
"I almost forgot. Will both of you put on your thickest soled shoes,
or boots or whatever you wouldn't mind having to get re-soled. Unlikely, but a precaution."
...asked Holmes to stand in front of the square and to raise a foot. He cleaned the sole, then had Holmes position that foot on the square. He did the same with the other foot so that Sherlock Holmes was standing only on the dark square. What happened next was a complete surprise. A set of three integers, a decimal point, and a five figure string to the right of that suddenly appeared. Cody manipulated the device with the red button and an alphanumeric display appeared. He then pointed one end of the device at the square on the floor, and the same numeric string appeared. Cody then said, "Sherlock Holmes" and the display showed, "Sheer luck homes." "I'll edit it later," said Cody. That figure and this picture are the main things for now..." here he pushed a button and the image of my good friend appeared on the display.Otis said, "Five places to the right of the decimal point? Really?"
I know that what happened next would seem even more outlandish to most people. But after seeing that technological tour de force, both Holmes and I later agreed, little else would ever seem strange again. Nevertheless, what happened next was this. Cody asked Holmes to move his feet to the other part of the hyper-clean floor and after Holmes did so, Cody turned the square over so that its light side was up. Then, with the display device still showing the image and weight of the famed, "Sheer luck homes" Cody pointed toward the light square and pressed the display in the region representative of Holmes's tummy. But Sherlock Holmes did not giggle, or if he did I would not have noticed. The image disappeared. And so did Sherlock Holmes.
"I can pull him back if you'd like a confidence check Dr Watson."
"Uh no, I think that Holmes's destiny is already sufficiently intertwined with my own. If he's willing to risk it... well, never let it be said that John Watson MD was a coward..." The cat outside yowled again. "Or a fraidy cat." My subsequent experience was similar to that of Sherlock Holmes, no doubt. However, my name was spelled correctly.
Evan said, "It is, or was, Cody, after all. "