Part 9

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at

"The only problem is," Holmes continued, "it is just an idea. If it is indeed the ring, then we must find out how this 'boss' found out about it, and to do that we must find out who the boss is."

"How are you going to do that, Mr. Holmes?" Kristen asked, "All you have are names."

"And the ring," Holmes answered, "which is the most important clue." He again turned to Tom. "From whom did your sister get this ring?" His voice sounded disapproving.

Despite the seriousness of the moment, or maybe because of it, Tom had to smile again. "Do I detect some jealousy?" Before Holmes could reply, he went on, "Our mother gave it to her on her thirteenth birthday." Tom's face grew pensive. "If only she had been there in person to give it to her, then maybe...." He stopped, and shook his head. He had quit thinking 'if only' a long time ago.

"I see," Holmes said, "And what did your mother do?"

"She co-owned a department store chain with our father."

"Nothing before that?"

Tom hesitated; no one else knew about this. Mom and Dad had made him promise not to tell anyone, especially Beth. Then he sighed. They certainly wouldn't mind Holmes' knowing about it, not if would help Beth. After all, Holmes was known for his discretion. And everyone else could be trusted as well. They had already proven themselves with the surprise party.

"Before she met my dad," Tom began, "my mom was a neurologist. She was one of the top scientists in her field, and was working on a top secret project with a group of scientists. There was a physicist, a geneticist, and three others whose occupations I don't recall. Anyway, from what she told me, she didn't agree with what they were doing and tried to get out of it, but she was already too involved. She finally found a way to escape and changed her name. She met Dad, fell in love and they got married." He stopped and stared at some point on the wall.

"They told me this right before that last business trip, before they...died. It was almost like they were expecting something like that to happen." He stopped again and looked at Holmes, then at the other people in the room. "I've never told anyone this before, not even Beth. They made me promise."

Kristen walked over and placed her hand on his shoulder. Deidre came up on the other side of him and gave him a hug. He smiled as he choked back tears.

"When she left, could she have taken part of that experiment with her?" Wiggins suddenly asked.

"Precisely what I was thinking," Holmes said approvingly, "It would certainly explain why Watson couldn't identify the substance, and how it came to be on the ring." He paused, then continued more quietly, "They probably did have an idea of what was going to happen to them. However, we must not jump to conclusions before we receive all the facts. Now, I would like to investigate this group of scientists. Do you remember any of their names?"

Tom closed his eyes to think, then he said, "The only one I can think of offhand is the physicist. Her name was Elaine Fielding."

Holmes nodded in satisfaction. "That will do nicely. I am going to interview her..."

"And I'm going with you," Beth interrupted.

Everyone turned to look at her. She was sitting up on the couch, her eyes spitting fire.

"How long have you been awake, sis?" Tom asked angrily. He didn't want her to have heard any of that.

"Long enough to know that you've been keeping a secret from me," she replied just as angrily, "But that doesn't matter. I know you were just protecting me. And even though you keep forgetting that I'm a big girl now, I still love and respect you. And I'm still going with Holmes. When do we start?"

On to Part 10!

Back to the prologue, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, and part 8.

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