The Canary Maker

Part 4

by Daibhid Ceannaideach

General Disclaimer

Upon our second arrival at the Wilsons' house, Lestrade rapidly bypassed the security systems. "Basic stuff." she said, "By the way, you know without a warrent this is breaking and entering?"
"Of course it isn't," replied Holmes, "This is Miss Wilson's house, and she has given us permission to be here."
"Hmm. If it turns out this is all a waste of time, she might forget that. Or not want to admit it to her uncle."
"Then it is as well that it is most certainly not a waste of time."
The conversation had brought us to Miss Wilson's room. As we opened the door, her canary, detecting Holmes and Lestrade's brain patterns, began singing.
"It certainly is relaxing." said Lestrade.
"Don't be relaxed by it, though." Holmes barked. "Stay alert. And keep one hand on your ioniser."
"I think I see it, Holmes." I said suddenly. "The canary sends its victims into a relaxed state, then emits that scream. The shock is enough to cause a cardiac arrest in those succeptable."
"Well, nearly, Watson," Holmes replied, "But I suspect Mr Wilson is more subtle than that. A scream is rather noticable, as evidenced by the one given by Mrs Honour Wilson. That passed largely unremarked, but if there had been a pattern... No, Mr Wilson has used a bit more ingenuity."
After half an hour, the canary suddenly stopped singing. It paused briefly, then began the shrieking I had heard before. Lestrade and Holmes did not react because, I realised, they could not hear it. The sound was a hypersonic one, intended only for robotic ears.
What did react was the lamp. The soft blue light became an angry red, and the curious nodules that had puzzled me before began unfolding, becoming spindly legs. Before long the thing looked like a monstrous spider, with glowing red eyes. Fluid dripped from disturbingly realistic mandibles. It began approaching the bed, gripping onto the table as it went.
"The scratches!" Lestrade murmered. The robo-spider, apparently sensing life, headed towards us.
"Of course." replied Holmes. "Now shoot it! Now!"
Lestrade, who had almost been in a trance, raised her ioniser and did so. The monstrosity shrugged the beam off.
"I hadn't anticipated that," Holmes muttered. "Watson, it's up to you. I don't *think* it has any weaponry beyond its horrific appearance, but we can't afford to take the chance. Smash it!"
I raised a metal hand, and did so. The mandibles attempted to bite me but, of course, had no effect. For a second the mess of wire and holochips contunued moving. I brought my fist down again, and the red light faded. The creature was dead.
"What was it?" Lestrade asked, shaken.
"I suspect it was what Wilson was working on at Technological Magic." replied Holmes. "Doubtless his termination was when they abandoned such animatronics in favour of holographic projections. After all, what use is a roboticist to a CGI lab? But come Lestrade. We still have to arrest Wilson."
We descended to the cellar, where Wilson was still working with his canaries. "Ah, Mr Holmes," he said. "I take it my plan has failed? A pity. But if you expect to take me, I'm afraid I must decline." Turning slightly he shouted "Song twelve-alpha!" to the canaries. Instantly they all began singing a single shrill note, but not the ultrasound that I had heard before. This was a sound within human hearing, and painful enough to send Holmes and Lestrade to the floor. I, of course, was not affected, but before I could do anything , Wilson, who I now observed was wearing ear-protection, threw a handful of robo-spiders at me. I struggled to fight them off, but there were too many. I briefly observed Holmes struggling to reach into his jacket pocket, then everything went black.

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