The Adventure of the Mysterious Benefactor

Part 5

by Stacey (SST205 at
"You poor lad." Watson said, placing a surprisingly gentle metal hand on the area of Tennyson's back above the parachute the boy wore.
"Why, those--" Deidre grumbled, clenching her fists.
"Now, Deidre--" Holmes cautioned, looking up at her from where he still knelt in front of the hoverchair. "The Lord said vengeance was His. It is also for the proper authorities, not half-cocked teenaged girls."
Deidre opened her hands and sighed.
"I don't know if the 'proper authorities' would take care of this, Mister Holmes."
The detective turned his head to look at the boy seated on the couch. "Why is that, Wiggins?"
His young guest grimaced. "Y'see, sir, there's still some things you've gotta learn about the twenty-second century."
"Such as?"
Wiggins looked apologetically at Tennyson, who nodded slightly as if to give the go-ahead.
"Well, remember that time you told us about the case where that guy made some kinda machine to disguise his face--and that guy Fenwick got ahold of it?"
"When you ran into him, you saw that mark on his face and asked him if he'd lost his--uh---"
"--his spectacles, yes." Holmes answered. "Inspector Lestrade informed me that no one had worn glasses in a hundred years."
"Well, that was because a long time ago--" Deidre began.
"Whurrr-eeep! Beee-urrr--burrr---eeep---burrreeeep!"
Deidre rolled her eyes. "Yes, Tennyson--December fifteenth, twenty-oh-five--this surgeon and optometrist announced that they had found a way to cure any sight trouble."
Holmes glanced back at the boy in the hoverchair and grinned. If Tennyson was spouting information, it was a sure sign that he was feeling better.
"So--?" the detective started.
"So pretty soon they made up some funky machine or x-ray or somethin' to simulate how a kid's eye function would deteriorate over the years. Once they found out, they'd give the kid a free operation a couple of weeks after they were born if the parents wanted." Wiggins explained.
"No mother or father wanted their kid to look odd, so soon every one-and-a-half to two-week old was getting an eye operation." Deidre finished.
"Mmmm." The detective looked from Deidre to Tennyson. "You've had that operation, haven't you?"
The teen looked him in the eye and nodded.
"If a child had any other sort of difficulty--" Deidre looked at her friend in the hoverchair. "--the parents had the option of sending their child to this special medical center for other operations."
"Yeah, but that couldn't happen 'til a kid was thirteen," interjected Wiggins. "--which was good, 'cause it took quite a while for some families to save the money for certain operations."
Holmes looked steadily into Tennyson's large navy-blue eyes. "Your family wouldn't have had to save the money, would they, Tennyson?"
The boy's eyes grew wider than they already were--if he didn't know better, Holmes would have put out his hands to catch them when they fell out. After a moment, the boy blinked slowly and shook his head.
"How'd you figure that, Mister Holmes?" Wiggins asked, his dark brows drawing together. Deidre had a confused frown on her face.
"For one, Tennyson's attire. A regular jumpsuit is one thing--but an aviator's padded jumpsuit is quite another. It is meant to ease the impact of a parachute-jump landing. I saw it, the gloves, goggles, and parachute in a rather pricey catalog. I've seen one other hoverchair in New London--in a hospital. It, of course, did not have an on-board computer, rear-view mirrors, the bulb horn our Tennyson uses to express mirth, and certainly not a keyboard such as the one he uses to otherwise communicate. The hearing aids, I'm sure, were not cheap, either. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to make Tennyson comfortable until his thirteenth birthday. Finally, Tennyson's last name--Fayre--is the same as that of the chief executive officer of the largest computer technology firm in New London--Ashton Fayre."

On to part 6!
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
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