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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), and Watson is trying to jog memories by reading his notes from his tri-fold. But sometimes a tri-fold can play tricks, and (as seen below the orange antimacassar) reality in Hell can be rather unreal.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29

Sherlock Holmes in Space -- The Knower -- Chapter 30

a story by jabney based on (the now public domain) characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


We four walked on a while without saying a word. Eventually Otis said, "Cody always was one of a kind."

"Actually it's two of a kind," said Evan.

"If you put it that way, I suppose you're right," I said. "But still. What with Cody being so recently passed, it seems..."

" seems an opportune time to discuss what his situation is, Watson. Without glossing over the details. Why don't you skip ahead to the time Edgar and Cody re-enacted your tale of my encounter with Dr. James Mortimer as played by the esteemed security Director Parrish.

I returned to my tri-fold and began reading:

"Dr Watson, You must imagine Director Parrish as a stage-struck youth, not the stodgy bureaucrat you see today. Right Edgar?"

"Cody, your disparaging of the ravages of age is duly noted, yet again. But I tell you, even if I were, as Knower, allowed to alter my age appearance, I would still not go for as young a look as yourself."

"It has its advantages, Edgar. It's not only looks that get restored. Youth does have benefits."

"But for an official such as the good Director Parrish, extreme youth may not be an advantage. Especially after the Baskervilles scene. Dr Watson, it is something we like to reenact to keep the memory of the disaster fresh in our memories."

"And to keep tormenting Director Parrish," added Cody with a smile.

"Tormenting Parrish?" said Otis, "More please, Dr Watson."

"Yes please," said Evan. "As Knower I should listen to all sorts of stories, I suppose."

"How convenient for you," said Otis. "In the meantime I will just have to admit to like hearing a juicy bit of gossip now and again."

I read on:

Edgar (as Dr. James Mortimer): I have in my pocket a monolith.

Cody (as Sherlock Holmes): I observed it as you entered the room.

Edgar (as Dr. James Mortimer): It is a big monolith.

Cody (as Sherlock Holmes): You have presented an inch or two of it to my examination all the time that you have been talking.

Edgar (as Dr. James Mortimer): This monolith was in the hand of Sir Charles Baskerville, which created so much excitement in Devonshire. I may say that I was his personal attendant. He took this very sensuously and prepared for just such an end as he eventually wound up in.

"And that, Dr Watson, is precisely how the scene was played. To the letter."

"But gentlemen, how could you remember the exact wording?"

"It's quite easy when the words are one's own, and one returns to them again and again," said the older-looking of the two old school chums. "Cody and I thought Parrish would get a laugh."

Cody added, "We never thought he'd think those were the real words when we pasted them in his script."

Later, when I told him the story of Director Parrish's turn on the boards, Sherlock Holmes said, "Watson, I worry about these devices that everybody here seems so keen on using."

"And you are certain those were my exact words?" said Holmes.

"I recall writing them, Holmes."

"I think what Mr Holmes is suggesting may have to do more with the behavior of technology in our present environment than with your ability to recall something," said Otis. "Try entering a search for "Something I May Find Interesting" and see what you get.

"I shall. How do I access that function?" Evan showed me, and soon, I was reading:

When Sherlock Holmes texted me to come to the control room, little did I suspect the state of affairs that awaited my arrival at Baker Street Studios room 221B.

"Come in Watson," said a melancholy voice over the intercom that I, for a moment, failed to recognize as that of my old friend and comrade.

"What is it, Holmes?" I said, "You sound as if Lestrade received another Grammy nomination for producing "Bobby-Rock Volume II," or something even worse."

"Worse, I'm afraid, Watson, far worse. After all, there appears to be at least some market for recordings that begin with Schubert's, "Ave Maria" and then follow with "My Sharonna" by The Knack, as interpreted by an amateur bagpipe ensemble."

I shuddered at the thought, as Holmes continued, "Do you recall that I have often contended that any non-broken microphone will prove to sound good on at least one instrument?"

"You mean like the Pottsylvanian condenser that turned out to be so useful on the baritone kazoo? Or the lead-foil ribbon that was the perfect match for Madame whatshername's vocals? That sort of thing?"

Holmes sighed a deep sigh, and seeking to cheer him up, I said, "Every microphone is capable of giving the user at least one pleasant surprise. You've often said that. I still think it's good advice."

"So did I Watson, but now..." and Holmes handed me a microphone. I noticed that it incorporated a musical symbol as part of its name. I couldn't even write it in any of my journals. It was plastic and had none of the heft that made holding even a humble 58 clone so satisfying. "Unscrew the grill, Watson, and see for yourself the depths of human cruelty." I did so, and there it was, a capsule with a label pasted on its side. And on the label was printed what appeared to be a frequency-response curve. "Not exactly accurate I presume, eh Holmes?" I said.

The paroxysms of bitter laughter that emerged from the great detective must have lasted at least five minutes. Finally, after he calmed down, Sherlock Holmes, took back the microphone from me and said, "I have finally met my match Watson. A microphone with no redeeming qualities whatsoever."

"Holmes, do you mean...?"

"Yes Watson, the worst mic' in the world."

"And you would have me using contractions that would make even an American schoolteacher blush? Really Watson."

I said, "I did not write that! The tri-fold did it," and I started walking away to sulk privately. Then I felt the pain. Holmes, too, seemed to be in agony. And when Evan and Otis split up render aid to Holmes and me at our separate locations, they began to grimace.

"Stop! Everyone stop where you are," said Sherlock Holmes. "Otis start walking toward Evan and Dr Watson." Otis moved toward Evan, and Holmes said,  Do you, Otis, and you, Evan, feel better now?"

They both said they did feel better, and Holmes said, at last, to me, "Come over by me Watson, but leave Otis and Evan where they are." As I neared the spot where Sherlock Holmes stood, the pain receded.

"Now, you two should join us" Holmes said to Otis and Evan, "But try to keep reasonably close to each other. Sharing thoughts down here seems to be indicative of a bond so strong as to cause pain when that bond is stretched to any degree at all."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

    by jabney on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 05:00:12 PM PST

  •  'Tis an interesting place (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, Aunt Pat, jabney

    this Hell that rewrites your comments and does this:

    "Now, you two should join us" Holmes said to Otis and Evan, "But try to keep reasonably close to each other. Sharing thoughts down here seems to be indicative of a bond so strong as to cause pain when that bond is stretched to any degree at all."

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 05:22:17 PM PST

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I do appreciate your comments. And for noticing the potential for plot complication presented by the need for citizens of Hell sharing thoughts with one another to remain close. Even if, or especially if, they loathe one another. It is an efficient way to do Hell.



      Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

      by jabney on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 06:24:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If You'd Like to Re-Read (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    An unmatched arrow cut out part of the play dialogue. Sorry for any confusion.



    Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

    by jabney on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 06:35:47 PM PST

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