Journey to New Europa
Chapter 26, Checking up
We left our heroes back at the hotel, ready to resume our investigations into the Assassination Bureau and its mysterious director, Mr. Ivan Dragomilov.
Robbie quickly scans the morning "Times." Nothing, not even much mention of our daring daylight raid on the Temple of Ra. Of course, come to think of it, we took the nearest reporter with us when we left...
We churn through some standard social reference works, like deBrett's "Peerage," "Who's Who," and the city directory. Very little shows up. The house isn't in the reverse directory (a common enough oversight) and Dragomilov isn't in the main one. He appears in a very brief note in a "Who's Who" from 24 years ago, and that's it.
Katrina takes Robbie with her and makes inquiries at the "Times" offices. Dragomilov makes occasional appearances at balls, soirees, and diplomatic functions, but always in passing, in the background.
Meanwhile, Kate, Tom, and Mithriel decide to investigate Mr. Dragomilov directly. They make their way to 17 Deerfield St. and, cloaked in invisibility courtesy of Mithriel, poke around the front and back yards. All looks normal, upper-middle, Victorian Londoner -- no excessively large ash pit, no suits of armor cracked open and sucked empty, no empty bags of Purina Dragon Chow littering the dust bins.
Tom sends a Second Sight viewpoint in the back door. He spots a large, khaki-clad fellow preparing a breakfast in the kitchen, then Dragomilov himself answering correspondence at his desk. Some extended viewing reveals some of the sheets on his desk are in code. Tom contact Robbie telepathically and downloads the encoded pages to the robot for possible code-cracking. There is also a background report on Mr. Hall, remarking that "his recent travels suggest he may have some knowledge of Bureau activities," followed by a VERY deferential suggestion that Dragomilov might want to exercise caution. It is signed "M."
Further clairvoyance reveals the very large, cossack-looking butler Hall reported and a smaller functionary. That's all. No evidence magic. Lower upper-class sort of place. Lots of books.
Based on his own memories of seeing Dragomilov via Tom, Robbie draws (well, outputs) a pointilistic (well, dot-matrix) image of Dragomilov at his desk, to show to Katrina. It's hauntingly familiar, but Katrina can't identify it. Tom gives Robbie a live feed of Dragomilov and Robbie tries again. This picture owes more to direct human perception, and so is more of a contour drawing. Katrina reacts very thoughtfully to this image and walks off, pensively.
We disengage from these lines of inquiry and go pay a call on Holmes. It's been barely a day since HE saw US, but it's been well over a month since WE saw HIM, thanks to our recent world-hopping. We dump our data to him, including introducing our new team members, Robbie and Salimar. He is understandably intrigued and admits to spotting that Robbie was a lot heavier than his appearance would suggest, along with a "je n'ai sais quoi" about his movements that was not normal.
Holmes does not recognize the pictures of Dragomilov ("not by either artist"...). He responds to the account of the double deaths in Madrid by mentioning four recent deaths in Luxembourg.
We offer Holmes our services in his investigations of the World Crime League. He thanks us, but is extremely cautious about actually setting us on anyone. He suggests we might investigate Major Murchison some more. He also supplies us with the address of Prof. Thurston Stoutworthy, the professor of medieval history and theology at Oxford, who dropped a vase on a minister's head, as we determined by retrocognition, a few months ago.
Stoutworthy and Murchison look like our next lines of investigation.
Copyright © 2003, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.