The Adventure of the Mysterious Benefactor

Part 14

by Stacey (SST205 at
Caroline Fayre was right--Fayre Technologies was a virtual fortress.
"My word, Holmes, what an imposing place." Watson commented, leaning forward and gazing up to see the top floor of the main building.
"Quite so, old friend. I doubt, however, that its Chief Executive Officer will be so--being of such small character."
Watson drove up to the gate, where a young man in a uniform and cap stopped them.
"Gracious, he looks like a soldier." Holmes thought. "How fitting for a fortress."
He pushed the tiny switch that caused the window to go down as the man came near.
"State your business, sir."
Holmes looked him in the eye. "I am here to see Ashton Fayre."
"Sorry, sir--Mister Fayre isn't seeing anyone this evening. "
"Please--it is of the utmost importance. "
Holmes hoped that the look of urgency on his face would sway the young man. Fortunately--
"Well, I'll try it, sir, but I can't guarantee anything."
He turned and walked to a control panel that stood on a pedestal by the fence. Holmes saw the guard push a button and heard a voice from a speaker, but could not make out the words. The young man turned and called, "What did you say your name was, sir?"
"I didn't. My name is Sherlock Holmes."
The guard's jaw dropped, and he whipped around to inform the person on the other end of the line who was calling. Within seconds he had pushed another button, and the electric beams directly in front of the car appeared to dissolve.
"Go right in, sir! " the guard called.
Holmes nodded his thanks, and waved Watson on.
"He seemed rather impressed with you, Holmes. " Watson observed.
"Either that or he thinks something's terribly wrong behind the walls of this place," Holmes answered, frowning deeply. There was something terribly wrong--but not in the way the youth at the gate thought, he was sure.
Watson parked parallel to the front doors of the building, at which he and Holmes entered.
Inside the building it was cheerful enough; brightly lit with a potted plant here and there on the front couther or a clerk's desk.
"The man is so rich, he probably has a servant to care for each one of those plants," Holmes murmured.
Watson focused his visual sensors on a potted palm in a corner and scanned it. "Probably not, Holmes. That palm over there is made of a rather life-like plastic."
"Excuse me, Mister Holmes?"
The detective looked up to see a young dark-haired woman behind the desk in the foreground of the room. "Yes, miss?"
"Mister Fayre is expecting you. Just take that elevator there, and it will bring you right to his office."
Holmes looked to where she was pointing--a glass-walled elevator to the right of the palm. "Thank you, miss. Come, Watson."
The two took the elevator to the top floor of the building. When the elevator stopped, the two stepped out the open door into a wide waiting room.
Holmes glanced across the room at yet another small palm tree. "Real, Watson?"
Watson scanned it. "Sorry, Holmes, plastic."
The compudroid's companion stepped farther into the room, glancing down at a low table with a metallic top. The table was covered with neat rows of magazines.
"No one visits here much," Holmes said in a low tone.
"Why do you say that, Holmes?" Watson asked, picking up Holmes' low tone with his keen audio sensors.
"Look at these books," Holmes answered, jerking his chin toward the table. "They all appear brand new."
"Fayre obviously has a lot of money. Perhaps he renews them often."
"No, I highly doubt that. Look closely at the table surface. What do you see?"
Watson focused his optical sensors. "A layer of dust--about a millimeter thick."
Swish! Flutter!
"Oh, dear!"

On to part 15!
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6,Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10,Part 11,Part 12, and Part 13.
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