Round Robin

Part 21

by Maureen S. O'Brien (mobrien at

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 first!"

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 souped-up hoverboard.

"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 kerb.

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 might come.

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 inside.

"How very nice of you to pay us a visit," said Holmes, his voice very even.

Lestrade flung open the door. "Moriarty!" she snarled.

On to Part 22!

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