Round Robin

Part 11

by Maureen S. O'Brien (mobrien at

Not to hog, but I need to clarify a few things.

"Coincidence," Holmes mumbled to himself, as he sat in the front seat of the hovercoach with his eyes closed.

"Did you say something, Holmes?" Watson asked politely, knowing full well what his sensors had heard.

"Coincidence," Holmes said more loudly, straightening in his seat. "Doesn't it strike you that chance and coincidence have played far too great a role in Lestrade's misfortunes? She happens to be coming home just as a constable is in hot pursuit of a criminal. She happens to be hit on the head in such a way that she loses her memory. She happens to get the urge to leave the restaurant -- out the WC window, and not in some more customary fashion -- at which point she happens to go to Moriarty's current base." His eyes hardened. "Someone has been playing us for fools, and I think I know who.

"Watson, you go on to the Bank of New London and look into their robbery -- it could only have been an electronic one, after all. First, however, drop Wiggins and I off at New Scotland Yard. We are going to talk to a certain young criminal -- and a constable, as well."

An imperative beeping broke in.

"Yeah, what about me and Tennyson?" Deidre demanded.

"You will stand by in the hovercoach to assist Watson." Deidre opened her mouth to protest, but he raised his hand and she subsided. "Meanwhile, I believe you should familiarize yourselves with the contents of a file named 'Robin Hood'. You'll find it on my computer, in the directory named 'L'. I believe you know the access code and remote password, Tennyson?"

Tennyson confirmed it as the hovercoach swept down the Thames toward New Scotland Yard's slanted walls.

"Then we're off. Come, Wiggins!"

Holmes stalked away, Wiggins following him. Watson took off again, heading toward the City, that square mile or so which contained one of the world's great financial districts. Deidre sulked.

"It's all right for you two," she complained as she tried to peer over onto Tennyson's keyboard as he called up 221B's dataline and the file. "Watson, you get to go investigate the bank records -- and Tennyson, you get to play with Mr. Holmes' secret files. What do I get to do?"

"Practice patience," Watson said tartly. "A very important investigative skill indeed."

Tennyson laughed, and Deidre made a face.

"Holmes does put some thought into these assignments," Watson assured her more gently. "And believe me, I think you'll find that file more than a little interesting." He parked the hovercoach next to the Bank of New London's discreet and solid walls, behind a cruiser whose presence clearly disturbed the City workers walking by. "I'll be interested to hear what you think of it," he added, getting out. "This shouldn't take long."

"Well!" Deidre commented. "If it's got Watson making mysterious hints, this file must be something stellar! Turn the screen so I can see, Tennyson."

Tennyson, not thrilled with the idea of trying to scroll along at Deidre's pace, pressed a button and dumped the file into the memory on her comlink.

Deidre, satisfied, settled back to read. She wasn't silent for long. "Okay, so ten years ago somebody broke into a bunch of computers and sent copies of the records to the police and the news. And a bunch of military and industrial bigshots got convicted of sending soldiers into danger on purpose during the War. And nobody ever found out who the hacker was. Yeah, we had that in History. Big scandal. Big deal."

Tennyson, who was a little further along, pointed out that one of the soldiers who had been a victim had the last name of Lestrade.

"Why'd you do it?" the desk sergeant asked, honestly curious. "Your dad taught you better than to leave evidence behind, for one thing. And then, you try to get away by assaulting a copper? What were you thinking, Sacker?"

"I didn't do it!" Sacker protested frantically. "Sure, I stumbled into her, but it was an accident. And I didn't even knock into her that hard. She didn't get no concussion from me!"

"Sure, Sacker," the sergeant answered as he finished entering in the paperwork. "Who's going to believe that line?"

"I will," said Holmes, striding over to the desk. "Who brought in this man?"

"Constable Dashiell," the sergeant said, goggling a little. "You mean to say that Sacker really didn't hurt Inspector Lestrade?"

"I told you!" Sacker said triumphantly. "My dad didn't raise us to be tackling no inspectors, especially not crazy ones like that Lestrade."

Holmes turned to Sacker, ignoring the sergeant. "And when you turned back around at the end of the hallway, Sacker, what did you see?"

Sacker's eyes widened. "How did you know?"

"I saw your footprints when I came to see Lestrade, just after you made your rather abrupt exit. Now, what did you see?"

"That constable stopped and bent over her with this white rag, like he was wiping her face or something."

Wiggins broke in excitedly. "That's why she went unconscious!"

Holmes nodded. "Probably a hypnotic. And Dashiell was waiting for you, almost as soon as you started breaking into that doctor's flat?"

"That's right, Mr. Holmes." Sacker frowned and whispered, "The Professor sold me out, didn't he?"

Holmes shook his head. "Not at all. Moriarty has his faults, but it would be bad business for him to betray his own people. No, this is the work of an outsider making a play for New London's organization. By giving me a very good reason to go after Moriarty, she hopes to clear him -- and me -- out of her way."

Sacker paled. "You mean the Dragon Lady."

"Oh, very likely."

On to Part 12!

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