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Sherlock Holmes and a mystery? They go together like... well, Holmes and Watson. So, dear reader, let us begin with a mystery. At least it might be a mystery to some.

Do you know the lemniscate
The lemniscate
The lemniscate
Do you know the lemniscate
That lives in dreary Hell
There will be a clue after this listing of previous chapters:

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
Chapter 31

The clue: "Lemniscate" is the official name for a typographical symbol. It is invoked (on a Windows desktop keyboard) by pressing the "Alt" key and, while that key is still being pressed, typing "236" using the numeric keypad. (This does not appear to work using WordPad, however.)

Further explanation of this academically-approved term awaits beneath the orange antimacassar (which term, for some reason, has yet to receive the blessing of the world of academia.)

Sherlock Holmes in Space -- The Knower -- Chapter 32

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


"So many springs and sprockets, faces, levers and jewels."

I sensed the thought and I also sensed that the thought did not emanate from the mind of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes sensed the thought at the same time and I knew that he too was puzzled by the origin. I looked at Otis and Evan, and Holmes shook his head and said, "No." It was not from either of them.

"We must be careful with our spoken words, so please, Otis and Evan, think carefully before you answer; did you both just sense something unusual?"

"Let me answer, Otis, I think I've got it. Yes Mr Holmes, we did. Our... references were to what... seemed to be... clues."

"Likewise," said Sherlock Holmes. "Please continue."

"I... was aware that the references seemed to be... rather modern. That is, contemporary to Otis and me, but probably not to you and Dr Watson."

"Aha!" said Holmes, "While the references that Watson and I perceived might seem quaintly old fashioned to you. And yet I fancy our respective sets of clues lead to the same abstraction."

"May we safely speak of abstractions, Mr Holmes?" said Otis.

"I think we may."

"Time is involved," said Evan.

"Time." said Holmes. "I seem to recall a qualifier, what was the exact adjectival phrase, Watson?"

"So many."

Holmes continued, "Then the abstraction of, "Times" seems more precise. What say you?"

Otis said, "That might make more sense, though perhaps I should hope not: ours also had this," and Evan and Otis each drew a circle with his respective left shoe in the dust of the pavement. The circles met to form ∞ -- a lemniscate -- the symbol of infinity.

"The two of you work well together," I said, looking at the lemniscate.

"That they do, Watson, as do we. At least in this version of reality," said Sherlock Holmes. "One thing I believe we all have in common is that none of us has knowingly replicated himself. What happens when that is not the case?" No sooner did Holmes finish that statement than, from a previously unnoticed byway, there appeared a pair of familiar faces. It was Edgar and Cody.

"Fancy meeting you two," said Otis.

"I'd have thought you would have figured a way out by now," said Evan, the new Knower.

"Sadly we have," said Edgar, Evan's predecessor. "But it requires mutual consent."

"So the two of you cannot come to an agreement?" I said.

"I'm willing to do what Cody wishes. The question, however," said Edgar, "Is which Cody's wishes do I honor." At this, there appeared another Cody, only quite a bit older.

The older Cody and the Cody we knew glared at each other and simultaneously said, "Go to Hell."

Sherlock Holmes looked around at our gloomy environs then said, "I suppose, what with the unpredictable consequences of words in this place, that is probably the safest thing either of you could have said."

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