mmkaternater: (sherlock | elementary)
Whenever feasible, Sherlock Holmes preferred to travel Europe by train, rather than by aeroplane.

This predilection, to which Dr. John Watson was only enlightened as he attempted to squeeze two valise cases into the overhead compartment of a sleeper car (Holmes did none of the lifting), had several sources. Holmes was particularly sensitive to the idea of airline security in a post-9/11 society, where a man who could identify who you were sleeping with (just by looking at the cuffs on your sleeves) attracted a worrying amount of attention from border agents. (Holmes had once been stuck in a holding room in Lisbon's Portela Airport for thirty-six hours merely because the pilot's shoelaces had been of a particular interest.) Holmes also approved of the thrift of the railway system and, in spite the success of Watson's blog and the celebrity it attracted, preferred a private train car to a noisy, elbow-to-elbow aerorplane cabin.

They had taken a lightspeed rail from Charing Cross and reached the southern tip of France in just under three hours. After breakfasting in CĂ©ret, they had boarded another, hardier train for the one thousand mile journey north to the provincial town of Lille where they were to begin their latest investigation. Watson had settled down almost immediately, sinking into the plush seat like a winter bird fluffing its feathers. Holmes had gravitated toward the smoking car (itself in danger of becoming an anachronism in an increasingly anti-smoking society) which he found blissfully unoccupied. He spent most of the northward journey with his back to the window, watching the passengers as they traversed up and down the corridor. He did not smoke. He seemed merely content to be in a position to do so if he chose.

Their present commission had been set to them by a doctor named Roubaix, a noted physician and medical celebrity, whose latest research seemed to indicate that he had found a cure for all forms of malignant neoplasms -- cancer. He was mere weeks away from making a formal announcement when he discovered that his research notes had been stolen from a locked safety deposit box, itself protected by a two-foot-thick steel vault door in the city bank. The security cameras had recorded nothing of the incident; no alarms had been triggered and none of the employees had access to the safety deposit boxes, save the manager, who had been away on holiday in Nice.

"These papers are priceless, Mr. Holmes," Roubaix had pleaded, wringing his hands as he sat in the sitting room at Baker Street two days earlier, "the police launched a formal investigation but turned up rien, nothing. You must come to France. I do not want to be melodramatic, but the future of the human race may depend on it."

"Never let it be said that I did not do my part for humanity, Watson," Holmes said as they stepped onto the platform at Lille, the steam of the engine swirling around their ankles.

"Oh yes," Watson replied dryly, "Sherlock Holmes: our last great hope."

Holmes narrowed his eyes shrewdly. "You're irritated with me."

Watson dragged the last of the two cases down from the train and heaved them onto the platform, puffing for his effort. "No, no, not at all. I'll just get these heavy suitcases myself. What have you got in here, cement bricks?"

"Safecracking equipment." And he set off across the square at a brisk walk.
mmkaternater: (who | bowties are cool)
There aren't a lot of perks in facing your imminent demise come sunrise, but the Doctor has managed to grab on to a few. Perk One: If they know that tonight could very well be your last night on earth, they're going to put you up in very posh lodgings. (Of course, in 14th century England, this roughly equates to a mite-free mattress and not having to share your chamber pot with three other people, but all's fair in love and Medieval diplomacy.) Perk Two: If you are allowed to choose the contents of your last meal and you ask for fish custard, the people who are guarding you are going to give you a very strange look but will not, for the most part, object to you saying that you want to pop down to the bin to make it yourself. Which is when you manage to lose them in the castle's maze of twisting, windy stone corridors.

Actually, this perk might be better than the one about the chamber pot.

Given the volume of the shouting coming from far distant hallways, the Doctor figures he has about fifteen minutes before his dine-and-dash tactic is discovered. 'Plenty of time to find Amy and see that this whole "upon the morning" business is sorted before anyone gets hurt. Specifically, the Doctor himself.

The hallways are like highways, clogged with people and very irritated guards, so the Doctor has taken the overpass. Actually, he's taken the ledge outside one of the castle windows, scooting along the narrow cropping of stone, fingers dug into the mortar. He pokes his head into a window, only to get a chorus of high-pitched screams in return --

"Sorry, ladies! I'll be on my way. Sorry for the intrusion. Lovely bathrobes, by the way!"

-- before he edges along the wall to the next set of windows.

On the massive, four-poster bed in one of the rooms, the Doctor sees a pair of black leggings and a leather jacket. Amy. He grips the window frame and leans in, tapping his knuckle against the leaded glass.
mmkaternater: (who | bowties are cool)
[ OOC: Follows this ]

There are approximately 400 billion stars in the Milky Way. A respectable number, for any galaxy. But that's small potatoes when compared to the number of stars found in the entire universe -- something like ten to the power of twenty-four -- which is a very pragmatic, comfortingly mathematical way of saying that space is big.

Really big.

Bigger than your whole town, much bigger than the little flat you have in the city, with the leaky shower head and the upstairs neighbors who like to stomp around wearing wellies filled with bricks. Space is bigger than your township, your borough, bigger than all the places you have ever been, combined and multiplied by themselves until the math makes you dizzy and you have to lie down for a while. Big. Ten to the power of twenty-four. Countless suns, all burning out in the black. Of those, maybe a little more than half have planets. Of those, approximately half have some form of life. Of those, approximately sixteen-million-five-hundred-and-forty-seven-thousand-one-hundred-and-eighty-six have intelligent life, or some variation of it. Comparatively speaking, that is a depressingly small percentage. But, then again, "intelligence" is relative, especially across star systems.

The Doctor is in the TARDIS's control room, hunched over the console, his nose inches away from a chronofribrilator feed that, apparently, requires up close and personal inspection in order for it to function properly. He's muttering to himself, soft space-themed mutter. Once in a while his eyebrows will jump, as if he's just thought of something, but then he will return to his work, subdued. He left Amy in his bed down the corridor, asleep. He does not quite know what to think about that.

He does know that he needs to take her somewhere -- somewhere spectacular -- and he needs to do it right away. What are you doing, old man? You can't honestly expect to carry this off. Not when you're not even being entirely honest with her. Not when she's only just lost her --

He hears bare feet on the catwalk above his head. "Pond!" he announces, "glad you're finally awake. Listen, we're just about to make landfall. Oh, er', well, spacefall, I suppose you could say. Air-Paris: the entire City of Lights, replicated perfectly, floating in the Sunset Constellation of Ursa Minor Minor. Sort of like Starship U.K., but with much more wine and cheese."

oo1.

May. 5th, 2010 10:57 pm
mmkaternater: (who | bowties are cool)
There are several things one does not want to hear come out of the Doctor's mouth. Oh, hello, we seem to be falling into the surface of the sun is one of them. You must be the fellow who's been stealing my paper every morning is another. But the one phrase you do not want to hear the Doctor say, no matter what, the one statement that could portend the doom of the known universe (and several neighboring universes) -- Uh oh.

"Uh oh."

The Doctor, standing at the TARDIS console, blinking at a button that is most definitely blinking back. Well, this certainly doesn't bode well. "Amy," he says, with the kind of tension that usually gets reserved for baby mix-ups at hospitals, "I wonder if you wouldn't mind stepping over here and pressing this big green button for a while. It seems we're about to fall into a wormhole and I really, really don't do well with wormholes. Or carnival rides, for that matter. I went on a tilt-a-whirl at the World's Fair once. Almost upped my lunch on Nikola Tesla. Strange man. 'Bit grim. Wonderful singing voice."

The flashing green light starts to pulse in a more erratic fashion. The Doctor turns his head halfway round on his shoulders, "Amy, I don't mean to alarm you, but if you could come push this button right now, it would be extremely helpful to keeping all of our atoms in their proper places."

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January 2012

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