Search for Sherrinford Holmes, Week 1
Week 1, Starting the Search
[One additional training detail from the time on Meta-New-Hierow: Jake and Ashleigh learned to swim. Presumably in private for reasons that will be made clear shortly.]The answer to the eternal question is that we go back to that small detail of the sudden disappearance of Sherrinford Holmes, on the Literary Timeline. Among more mundane discussions is the christening of the pantope--several names were suggested, but none adopted--and various details of the artifacts on board--our navigator, for example, is in the shape of a bust of a Chekov; whether Anton, Floyd, or Pavel, is unclear.
Throwing caution to the winds, we begin our shakedown cruise on the Pantope with No Name by heading back to the Literary Timeline, sometime in the summer of 1896 A.D., a few weeks after our last visit to pick up supplies. The following are traveling with us: Alag--assuming the timelines work out, Ashleigh, Cantrel, Chris, Dafnord, Jake, Lorelei and Marsina.
As we travel, Jake and Ashleigh describe a bet made with a gentlemen by the name of Bertie Wells. He was of the opinion that a woman could not successfully masquerade as a man for any length of time. As the rest of us consider the possibilities, scaling things back for the level of technology in the 1890s, an announcement is made. Ashleigh says, "I've been doing this for a long time now, and I'm tired with it." "Me too," adds Jake, or rather, Kate (Katherine).
Ashleigh and Kate then leave to refamiliarize themselves with Victorian women's clothing, as the rest of us try to figure out what to make of this startling revelation.
We arrive in 1896, and determine that we still have the lease on the home at Marylebone Place. Lorelei is dropped off early to scout the place--finding no bugs but many new pins on the Map of Here--and send a telegram to our home, warning the servants of our imminent return. We move a few days forward, drop in, hire some taxis, and arrive home.
We assume for now that the number of new temporal anomalies is due to the presence of the Paratime organization. One of them was uncomfortably close to our place, only a few months back, but there seems to be no immediate danger. We arrange to have the Pantope open a door on a semi-random pattern: each night at midnight for the first few days, then every six to eight days thereafter.
We find no messages from Sherrinford Holmes, so we send letters to Mycroft and Watson. Watson answers almost immediately, very concerned about Sherrinford's disappearance. He has no real clues: he left some time ago without adequate explanation. Watson offers us his help, of course. Mycroft takes somewhat more time to answer and doesn't seem as concerned. Mycroft does hope that our trip to India was "amusing", however.
Lorelei (Julia Nelson) drops into the Adventurer's Club to see if Challenger or Quartermaine are around. The former is, and is very happy to see Julia. ("Drop by if you'd like a decent meal!") Challenger asks Julia whether she has a few interesting tales, remembering some of the groups we travel around with. She says she can't spare time right now, but perhaps later.
Ashleigh and Dafnord go to the Diogenes Club after Mycroft. He sees us surprisingly quickly in the receiving room. Mycroft tells us that he did have someone "poke about" and watch the offices but, even after he investigated on his own, there were no clear signs to where he had gone. ("An expert might find more clues, I imagine.") Ashleigh offers to help and Mycroft arranges a key to be sent to Marylebone Place for our copying. We also ask Mycroft for a reference to allow us to have bullion traded into pounds sterling.
On her return to Marylebone Place, Julia makes sure the vampire hasn't returned to the Abbey. She finds that it is still in a state of disrepair but she gets a definite feeling of being observed for a brief period. She uses various senses and magics but finds no obvious clues other than a recent, faint magical signature. She memorizes it and continues on her way, only to feel the sensation returns. When Julia returns home, she informs all of us that we may be under observation.
Later that night, the letter of reference, a key, and the name of a good locksmith arrive. We examine the Map of Here and find that a new pin did appear in an obscure area sometime between the time that Lorelei left for the Adventurer's Club and the time that Ashleigh and Dafnord left for the Diogenes Club. We set watches and sleep on these revelations.
The next morning, we head off to change money and then to duplicate the key. The locksmith, Crittendon, is quite an interesting fellow. He also appears to be more than he seems from various subtle clues and mannerisms. Alag is left behind to (invisibly) watch the locksmith as the rest of us leave for 221B Baker Street. (The original key is returned to Mycroft.)
At Baker Street, we go in and find nothing obviously unusual until we investigate Sherrinford's workroom. (Kate seeks out Mrs. Hudson but finds out she's visiting with friends elsewhere.) Here we find from the arrangement of the furniture that a large object was once present in the center of the room. We decide to try retrocognition here, and we call out telepathically for Alag. He arrives, telling us that Crittendon has quite an extensive glass and metal workshop behind his storefront.
Our immediate speculation is that Crittendon helped Sherrinford to build a time machine. This might have been confirmed by retrocognition but Lorelei senses great danger just as Alag begins. She hits a psilencer, breaking the retrocognition, and explains her concerns. No one can see or intuit anything further than a growing sense of ambush.
We search Sherrinford's living quarters, using various mundane means and we find out two interesting facts. First, the detritus in his quarters seems to have been assembled all at once, instead of accumulating. Second, there's a large section of the basement that is inaccessible for some reason. We use Cantrel's ultrasound detector and find a large hiding place in the basement with several large gadgets inside.
Dafnord begins to remove bricks from the wall to get a better look when we discover a bomb built with outtime incendiary and explosives! Examination of the trigger reveals that it is set to go off if a large jolt--such as the return of a time machine?--occurs inside the house.
[details of bomb removal and subsequent explosion to be logged]
Outside, the crowd is very thick but there are a few who seem to be a bit too casual about the disturbance. Alag follows them. The rest of us leave the firemen to puzzle over the unusual nature of the fire and return to Marylebone Place. Ashleigh speculates that someone came into Baker Street, took a picture of the lab, took everything out of the lab, put in the bomb and the cage, then replaced everything. As we consider the implications of this, a letter from Mycroft arrives asking for an explanation.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.