by Maureen S. O'Brien (mobrien at dnaco.net)
Lestrade rubbed her hindside. Not the most graceful dismount. Still,
any landing you walked away from was a good landing. A few of the crowd
that had materialised on quiet Baker Street cheered as they scurried
back to the safety of Marylebone Station and Oxford Street. Watson
set down the trellis, careful not to kill the ivy. Holmes gave her a
sharp look and a hand up.
As Holmes pulled her up, a laser sizzled past her ear. She smelt
burning human hair.
"I suggest we adjourn to 221B," Holmes said calmly. "Irregulars
She nodded. Watson tossed her an ioniser from his chest compartment,
then began firing bolts from his wrist to cover the kids' escape
while slowly moving backwards toward the kerb. Lestrade followed his
example, as did the unarmed Holmes. Behind them, Tennyson skimmed low
across the street, easily beating Wiggins' sprint and even Deidre's
"The Dragon Lady's back in town," Lestrade said as she fired. "You
know about her, Holmes?"
"I believe she controlled a good bit of London's gangs and organised
crime, fifteen or twenty years back," Holmes answered, "and that her
empire fell rather abruptly." He glanced behind them. "The Irregulars
are across. Let's join them."
"An excellent idea, Holmes," Watson agreed fervently.
Lestrade and Holmes jogged across Baker Street. She occasionally took
a potshot behind them, just enough to make those thugs keep their heads
down. Watson couldn't move quite so fast, so he made a virtue of it,
covering their escape.
221's outside door hung open and the Irregulars had prudently
vanished inside. Lestrade stood beside it, snapping off shot after shot
toward Camden House across the street. Then the thugs stopped firing
from the upstairs window, and she suspected that the Dragon Lady had
ordered them to come downstairs and follow them across the street.
"Come on, Watson!" she yelled.
"Coming, Lestrade," Watson sang out, only now reaching the other
Holmes watched the thugs poke their heads outside. "What very
persistent gentleman callers you have, Lestrade."
She snorted. "Let's all get inside."
"Yes, let's," said Watson. "I want to get a look at that head injury
of yours." He held the door open for her.
Lestrade hurried inside. "I want to find us all someplace a little
more defensible to hold off the Dragon Lady. I mean, the cavalry should be
coming any minute, but we have to hold out till then." Holmes followed,
then Watson. Holmes locked the door and they started up the seventeen steps.
Watson looked puzzled. "Cavalry? Oh, you mean backup. Yes, I called
as soon as we saw the laser fire, but it will be at least five minutes
before anyone else arrives."
Lestrade thought of the flags she'd deliberately tripped as she worked
in the Defense computer and smiled to herself. The cavalry really
Holmes took the sitting room doorknob into his hand and opened it
a crack. "Meanwhile, why don't you tell us about your life working
for the Dragon Lady, Lestrade?"
Lestrade froze mid-step. How....
"I'd like to hear about that as well," said a cool, smooth voice from
"How very nice of you to pay us a visit," said Holmes, his voice very
Lestrade flung open the door. "Moriarty!" she snarled.
On to Part 22!
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