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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30

Child: "Mummy what is all that orange above our heads?"
Mater: "Why, those are links to previous chapters of, "Sherlock Holmes in Space -- The Knower."
Child: "Oh. And that orange squiggly beneath us?"
Mater: "That's the orange antimacassar!"
Child: "And below that?"
Mater: "It is the current chapter of "Sherlock Holmes in Space -- The Knower" of course.
Child: "Why?"
Mater: "To make children like you ask questions."
Please note, the first part of the current chapter contains some of my response to last Thursday's WriteOn (8 PM Eastern) assignment which happened to involve the loss of the Duffel Bag of Least Resistance. SensibleShoes came up with the name of the object, though, as you will see, I did choose my own color scheme.

Sherlock Holmes in Space -- The Knower -- Chapter 31

a story by jabney based on (the now public domain) characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Losing something in Hell is a blasted inconvenience. Imagine you are slogging through foreboding streets, the streets of Hell itself, and you are sharing your thinking with another person. And then imagine being teamed up with another pair similarly linked, two people - one mind, and one of them, Evan, speaks up, "We've lost the Duffel Bag of Least Resistance."

"You mean, you've lost it," said his mind-linked partner and former boss, Otis. "Director Parrish is certain to insist on one before he releases the Knower Credentials to you. Was it one of the scratchy ones or a genuine MacGuffin?"

"A MacGuffin" said Evan glumly, "A ruby red on toast brown, with long-lasting cherry-scent MacGuffin."

"Ouch!" said Otis. "Do we have time to search for it, Mr Holmes?"

"Search for the Duffel Bag of Least Resistance, or head for the stairs that may be our only chance to exit Hell, provided we reach the stairs before nightfall? Not much of a question, I should think," said Sherlock Holmes.

Otis said, "It is Hell after all. Perhaps we must each experience our own Hell to get to the stairs. How about you, Mr Holmes? Have you been experiencing your own Hell down here?"

"I have indeed. It is in the knowledge that all my thoughts and memories are accessible to a writer. And even though that writer is my good friend Dr John Watson, nevertheless knowing of that degree of access is a form of Hell."

"And you, Dr Watson? Your Hell?"

"It is discovering the inadequacy of words."

Holmes cleared his throat and said, "And I trust they shall remain inadequate, eh Watson?"

"My lips are sealed Holmes."

"It's not the lips that I am concerned about Watson. The inkwell, on the other hand..."

Otis said, "Do be fair Mr Holmes, I'm sure that Dr Watson is the very soul of obscurity and discretion."

Evan looked at Otis then me and said with a laugh, "I know what it's like to be the tag-along, Dr Watson."

"Not on this case though," said Sherlock Holmes, "Scroll down to your notes during Edgar and Cody's visit, you know, the part about... here, let me." The text of interest reached the screen, then Holmes said, "Read that page Watson."

The Knower said, "He's right, Cody. We have already taken a risk with the timeline by bringing Dr Watson and his friend here to our time. We should not reject the additional benefits that may result when the secondary object starts to function as the main object indicated he would."

The silence that followed might have been less agonizing had it been interrupted by The Scream. How the face of Sherlock Holmes reacted I cannot say because I was engaged in a sudden and intense study of future carpet-weaving techniques. The voice of Sherlock Holmes, however, sounded reasoned, calm and slightly bemused. "You've made Watson blush. Do I need to be aware of the "main object's" mission?"

"You already are," said Cody, "You do, he writes."

I said, "I still don't understand what that was all about. Do you Holmes?"

"I should guess it has to do with the nature of time travel. What say you Otis and Evan?"

"It fits the scenario," said Otis, "On a trip to the future, one of the time-travel pioneers no doubt saw Dr Watson's book about the SS Oligarch but didn't have a chance to skim through the book to find out what happened."

Evan said, "I'm certain that if there was a chance, nevertheless Cody would not have taken it, assuming it was Cody, and therefore he would not have known why the two of you were here."

"So Holmes, you were brought here to solve a mystery after all. And if this is Hell, I'd say we are right in the midst of one. But where is the fire?" No sooner had I said those words than there appeared a fire. But it was a campfire.

Evan said, "All we need to make this scene complete is four sticks and a bag of marshmallows."

"Careful Evan," said Otis, "Remember what happened in that movie."

Evan laughed and said, "I'd better wait until we are out of here before I tell you what that's all about, Dr Watson. It seems our words down here have unintended consequences at times."

I said, "Get us out of here!"

"Nice try, Watson," said Holmes, "But I think it will take more than a simple command spoken to the wind." Suddenly there came a gust carrying a foul stench out of a pit which also suddenly appeared. It was blocking our path.

"What we could use right now is a bridge," said Otis. At this, music started playing with a voice repeating something that sounded very much like, "Take it to the bridge." Evan and Otis started laughing uproariously and Holmes and I looked quizzically at one another.

"I'm glad you find this funny," I said, "But look at this pit that's blocking the path. How deep do you think it is, Holmes?"

Holmes said, "Otis or Evan, perhaps you know whether science has managed to discover something smaller than the atom."

"Lots of them, Mr Holmes, though the Higgs Boson is the only one I can think of at the moment," said Otis.

"You mustn't leave out leptons and muons," said Evan, "They practically rhyme with each other."

"Well, Watson, you get the point, if you take the smallest one of those and divide it in half, you need then go only one half more to get your answer, which is nothing. Look," said Holmes as he stepped over the edge of the abyss and the pit vanished, and the path reappeared.

"So that was what you meant by asking Dr Watson to note the horizon as it appears or doesn't appear here," said Evan.

"Here, as opposed to on deck," said Otis.

"Yes," said Holmes, "and that means, Watson?"

"I suppose it means that we are either infinitely small or even an abstraction. But there is something else that preys on my mind. I fear that the key to all of us getting out of here safely is for Sherlock Holmes to announce a solution to the mystery of why we got here in the first place."

"I fear you are correct, Watson," said Holmes.

"So have you a theory, Mr Holmes," said Otis.

"Indeed I have a number of theories. However, I imagine postulating the wrong theory would produce a most unwelcome surprise. Watson, since you are co-inhabiting my thoughts, and I your thoughts, that is true, I shall rely on you to help me translate thoughts of the concrete into abstract expressions."

"I suppose this is Hell, Holmes. Usually a modern writer seeks to transform the abstract into the..."

"Watch out Doctor!" said Otis as he managed to pull me out of the path of a falling piece of concrete pavement which had somehow managed to take flight above my head, "At least words have weight in Hell."

Originally posted to jabney on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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