Part 2

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)

Holmes sat back in the chair provided him by the Director of the Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Through half-closed eyes he studied the man. He appeared to be in his late fifties, with the pale features of one who has spent most of his life indoors. Charles Buchannon also had caloused fingertips, a sign that he had once played a stringed instrument.

"Mister Holmes!" Buchannon exclaimed, his voice carrying only a slight trace of accent, "I did not call you here for you to simply sit there and fall asleep! This is very important!" Holmes noted with slight amusement, that as the man's temper rose, so did the accent.

Holmes sat up and looked Buchannon in the eye. "My dear Doctor Buchannon," he began, "My methods are my own, and I do things my own way and in my own time. I was simply studying you if you must know. I have rarely fallen asleep on a client, and only when what they have to say is of no interest. Now, tell me why you think your missing violin has anything to do with the disappearance of the Artificial Intelligence Chip?"

Buchannon simply stared at Holmes with his mouth agape. "H..how..could you possibly..?"

Holmes, made a bored gesture. "Quite simple really; judging by the callouses on your fingertips, you play a stringed instrument of some sort. The awards hanging on your walls all have something to do with violin concerts. Those, and the various violin cases hanging in a prominent position led me to believe you played that instrument.

"There is a space on the wall between two of those cases, and is faded enough to make me believe a violin once rested there. You kept glancing at that spot with a worried frown, before you would look at me, agitated. As for the part of the Chip, you were intrusted to its care by the inventor before he disappeared. For you to seem so worried over what I might think of a missing violin, the two would have to be connected somehow..even if only in your mind."

Buchannon stared at Holmes for a long minute before he shook his head as if to rid it of something. "Well, I had heard...and of course read about you but...I never believed..." He shook his head again. "But that's beside the point. Mister Holmes, the chip and violin disappeared ten years ago, with my daughter. I..didn't think anything of it until..until the man..he had been a boy at the time actually, returned and asked for it. Of course, I went to get it and then remembered I had placed it in the violin, since no one but myself ever used them. I had forgotten that my daughter had run away, taking the only violin she ever used, and the one I had stupidly placed the chip in."

Holmes nodded, and sensing there was more, questioned, "The man was not well pleased with you I take it?"

"No, he wasn't. But..I'm glad I didn't have it..I found out later that he wasn't really the one who had created the chip. The boy genius who had done so, died in a boating accident. That's why no one could ever find him. The man who came to my door was...well...he was a scientist I once knew very well...he was using an elastomask. Mister Holmes, I want you to find my daughter before he does. I shudder to think what could happen to her if they get a hold of her first."

"Did this scientist go by the name of Martin Fenwick?" Holmes asked nonchalantly, as though the answer didn't matter to him.

Buchannon instantly relaxed. "You've heard of him, then? Good, then you know how he works." The older man gave him a pleading look. "Please, Mister Holmes, even if my daughter were not involved...that chip would be very dangerous in the wrong hands."

Bleh..I don't like the way that came out..but..it will start to make sense soon...if you haven't already got the whole mystery figured out anyway....

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