12/20/16

If Sherlock Holmes met Captain Picard

A Sherlock crossover? For me?!
Yesterday, on Instagram, I promised I'd post an old Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfic here on my blog. If you don't know Next Gen or Sherlock Holmes (from the books) this is going to be like reading in a foreign language. Ancient Nerd, perhaps. (She says, beating you to the punch before you can make fun of her.) So you may want to skip it if you're not into that kind of thing.

If you like nineties sci-fi, the original Sherlock Holmes or gathering intel with which to mock me later, by all means, read on...

It took Holmes a mere matter of minutes to realize he was not at all in London. A feeling of too much familiarity had sprung that trap within minutes of his waking. Yes, it was 221 B Baker Street and indeed, the view from his window showed those old familiar sites. He could still hear the clip clop of horses’ hooves. A delicate frost formed around the windowpanes, like always. It wasn’t that anything was wrong. It was that it was all too right.

To most people, the doldrums of existence are comprised of the never-ceasing ebb and flow of daily routine. It was the same-ness that wore down their observational capabilities. For Holmes, whose microscopic insight was constantly taking note of the world around him, sameness did not exist. There was too much constant variation for that to be possible. He may have the same type of tea every day, but that did not mean it was the same cup. Every day the portion was slightly altered, the amount of water it steeped in differed, the condition of the china itself changed by wash or wear. Every moment of every day constantly differed from the next. Anyone who could really see the world knew that.

Only those dreaded days without a problem to solve gave him an experience remotely like routine. That’s what he was, a problem-solver. Not a mystery man. He dreaded, no, loathed the very word “mystery”. That was just the trumped-up frippery, the linguistic sleight of hand done by newspaper men to lull the unwashed masses into behaving themselves. As long as the headlines shouted mystery, they would go about their day, satisfied enough not to mention the many personal injustices they would face that very hour. Entertained into submission. How he longed for life before notoriety.

Holmes shut his eyes and searched his mind. These are dark and unfamiliar thoughts. Too emotional. It was almost as if…perhaps he had spent too much time studying the mental health (or lack thereof) of the bothersome Dr. Moriarty. Bothersome. Another theatrical word. Not like him at all.

                  Holmes’ mind was musical. Each day created a new rhythm. Though one day was similar to the next, it was the thousand tiny differences that kept him alert. Like someone trying to repeat a song they’ve only heard once, the familiar melody of London was always there, but the variations were too. Yet the melody this morning was identical to yesterday's, and the day before. The same shouts and echoes, the same wheels on cobblestone and all in the same order. Just as a needle skipped a record, the patterns all around him were the same despite the interruption of him noticing. And if they were always the same, how did he notice? Any why?

He heard the bell ring downstairs. Moments later, Mrs. Hudson knocked on his door. Sherlock simply replied, “Not now.” He heard her shuffle the good doctor away, mumbling some muffled self-conscious explanation. He knew instantly that it was his new lodger come to inspect the rooms. Dr. Watson was his name. That’s why this day was familiar. He’d done this before. All of it. How is it possible he could lament his newfound fame when he had not yet achieved it? How did he know Watson would make him a public figure if it hadn’t happened yet? Holmes stood by the door, unmoving, for minutes.

He hypothesized aloud, “What if life is indeed cyclical, perhaps performed in some manner of routine? Even Shakespeare himself said, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ How do the players know they play?”

He lit a pipe and paced for an hour. He remembered a zoetrope he had once seen. He pondered Descartes. He thought about trifle. His mind was tacitly gathering the gossamer threads of a conclusion. He only needed to wait. To think. To smoke.

Hours later, several experiments later, he discovered an invisible doorway. It was three a.m. London time when he walked through with no thought toward his personal safety. It lead to a mysterious corridor, brightly lit and sparsely furnished. The hum of some great and distant engine was perceptible. The thrum through the soles of his shoes was soothing. He could only conclude it to be some type of giant military machine. Suddenly, he was in the belly of a seemingly docile beast. A ship sailing a smooth sea, perhaps.

When he encountered two of her officers in this corridor, he was asked some questions, escorted away and told to wait. Just before the officers left him, they touched a symbol on their left breast and spoke to the air, which then spoke back. It was a sophisticated communication system, indeed.

Holmes now stood in what appeared to be some kind of meeting room. There was a long table and many chairs. The d├ęcor was positively Spartan, with beige carpeted floors and walls. But then, there was the view from the long thin window running the length of the room. It was the night sky, but not as Holmes had ever seen it before. There was depth and dimension, as if he were suspended in the very ether of existence. “All a stage indeed,” he mused aloud.  

At the word stage, Holmes was reminded of a cheap cabaret into which he had once chased a thief. The theater was small and dark. On the creaking wooden stage, there sat a portly songstress, perched atop a wooden cutout of a waning moon. At the time, he thought it a tacky and preposterous display. He almost cracked a smile, seeing his own hawk-like expression in the reflected glass window. No frost gathered here.

Just then, a whooshing sound, the same one he heard for the first time after cracking the code of this living illusion. It was a motor, no doubt about it, used to propel the doors open and closed. He was supposed to panic upon this discovery. That was evident in the faces of the crew he had surprised. In place of panic, all he felt instead was a wash of satisfaction. The warmth of knowing it would be a long time before he faced his dreaded enemy again. Yes, boredom was now a distant foe. Holmes spun on his heels to greet the strangers.

“Mr. Holmes,” said a bald man in the Queen’s English as he walked around the table and extended a hand, “I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.” Holmes glanced at the man’s hand and extended his own for a firm shake.

“I trust I am not too far from the Queen’s country after all.” Holmes kept his signature cool, but his mind was working a mile a minute. Faster than anyone could discern, beneath his icy pallor and steely gray eyes, his mind churned over possibilities and probabilities. Apparently our colonies extend further than I realized. Before me stands the distinguished head of some militaristic regime. Perhaps a general. 

Holmes could deduce this by the small pips on his burgundy uniform’s collar, signifiers of rank for sure. The military man was accompanied by two people in differing uniforms. They stood behind him, in a mute state of respect.

One was a woman in purple with long dark hair, who seemed to be returning Holmes’ thorough and silent assessment. The military man glanced at her quickly; she nodded at the general and smiled gently. The military man took a deep breath and nodded back. Familiarity and comfort exchanged between them.

Ah, then he is a good leader.

The other was human apart from his deformed ears that drew into a sharp point. He had a strange way of wearing his dark straight hair, short with a blunt fringe across the forehead. Holmes instinctively looked to his right to impart an observation to Watson. Oh, but they hadn’t met yet. That’s right. He glanced at the empty space where Watson should be; confounded once again by memories of his companion while also trying to make sense that he woke on the very day he was to gain him as a roommate. The intellectual noise was enough to drive him to distraction. Almost.

“Indeed, you are very far from London Mr. Holmes. I am Captain Picard. This is Ambassador Spock and Counselor Deanna Troi. I’ll be happy to explain everything to you. Please, have a seat.” The Captain gestured toward a chair with strength and reason. He seemed to be perfectly calm, even at the physiological level. Holmes however, was not.

Ah, captain. Not general.

Holmes eyes were beginning to light, the way they did anytime he was presented with a pleasant quandary. He knew that whatever details were about to follow, they would surely be fascinating and challenge him beyond any problem Dr. Moriarty himself could ever produce. Everyone took a seat.

Unless Moriarty somehow managed to produce this too. Yes, very possible indeed.

Holmes didn’t waste a moment as he settled in his chair, “I’m grateful for the hospitality Captain, but your explanations won’t be necessary.” The Captain looked puzzled and the other two simply looked on, Counselor Troi looked almost amused. Mr. Spock did not display any feeling at all. “I’ve worked up quite a hypothesis, and the events leading up until this moment have told me all that I need to know. Would you like me to explain?”

Before the Captain could speak, Spock began to talk. “Mr. Holmes, your reputation precedes you. Your intellect is well-known to all of us, in particular to me. Because you lack context, what you may not have discerned for yourself is that I am, in effect, your descendent.”

                  “This is simply not possible,” Holmes said as he leaned in eager to make the correction. “I am a player. Shakespeare was more correct than I'd ever imagined. If, in fact, he is not just one of the many Matroyshka dolls that lie within my own stage, if you take my meaning.” Holmes tapped a finger on his left temple.

Picard also leaned forward, “I’m happy to report that William Shakespeare was real. As are you, now." He put a particular emphasis on the word now. "We’ve had some glitches in our holodeck…our stage, as of late. You may be here because the presence of Ambassador Spock has lead another, formerly dormant player…”

                  “Moriarty.” Holmes settled back in his chair, determined to pay attention without interrupting this time. He had never met a single person who could match his intellect, now he was surrounded by a roomful of like minds. He would need to exercise restraint, both for the sake of dignity and gathering information.

Spock began again, “It is possible, in a way you have not considered Mr. Holmes. I am a descendent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” Spock detected the shift in Holmes’ focus, directly to the tips of his ears. “On my mother’s side.”

                  “Ah,” Holmes nodded with excited approval.

Spock continued, “Perhaps this phrase will seem familiar to you, ‘If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth.’”


For only the second time in his life, Holmes was completely bewildered. Not since he stood before the empty safe of Irene Adler, had he felt so utterly and pleasantly confounded. Holmes could only muster two questions, “Tell me how you know my very personal philosophy?” and “Who is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?”

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