Week 2, Taking a Bath
We are about go to Bath for a week of scouting in the 1883 of this close relative of our time line.
We decide to set down in Bristol and take a train to Bath. We find a set-down point in Bristol, and a pick-up point in Bath.
We go out to Bristol on 1 June 1883, buy tickets and as many newspapers as we can find.
Looking through the papers, we find some interesting bits of news:
"Huh?" Responds Chris.
"Get it? Van Der Gehr? The Captain is Lee Verger!"
"Oh." says Sophie. "I didn't know the Captain had a name!" In fact, neither Chris nor Sophie knew that the Captain had a name.
We decide in fact that this is interesting, and oddly calming, in a way, since it's a hint of why there's a red zone here.
Alag and Daewen go skeet shooting several times. Daewen finds she is better shooting skeet with a revolver than a shotgun. Must be the recoil.
Sophie, Chris, and Daewen spend some time riding.
We all hang out in the Pump Room.
Lorelei finds a talkative biddy trying to marry off a son. She chats the biddy up and finds the woman scandalized by Daewen.
We notice in the papers that LeRouge has recovered the Strange Amethyst, but The Gentleman Burglar gets away. LeRouge claims to have spotted the fellow via "zee art ov observation." We caustically opine that maybe LeRouge and The Gentleman Burglar are the same.
Well, that's about it. We have a nice vacation, and don't frighten the horses too badly. We go back to the pantope to regroup.
We decide that we'll change our appearances around a little and swap some names around. Tom becomes a decade younger. Daewen will be using the name of Anna Koski, a Finn. We convince Tom to be Merle Somebody-or-other on account of his aging backwards. Lorelei will be Julia Wilson. Cantrel will be Rafe Mallory. Chris and Sophie will be Robert and Betsy Burns.
We decide to feint our way into London. Daewen was feeling paranoid, and Chris was also wanting to be subtle (Allied Epochs agents are sometimes like that). So we land in Boston, supplement our supply of clothing, and take a ship to London.
The ship is the Emma Pyzant, captained by one Erza Pyzant, crusty and in his sixties. This is his third ship, the other two having been sold (whew!). Capt. Pyzant keeps someone in the crow's nest around the clock, on account of something he saw some twenty-five years ago. We ask him about it, and find that it was The Great Beast with Eyes Like Diamonds. Uh huh. It nearly wrecked the Julie Belle. How dreadful. Its eyes glowed like a Demon From Hell! Gasp! He keeps a weathered eye out for its return. Good!
We also find that the Captain was frightened by a wreck in the Channel once. This one does alarm us, because the description is right out of Dracula.
When we come out of Customs, we start looking for a cab. We notice two fellows across the street. One of the jumps noticeably upon seeing us. We look at him. It's not, repeat not Henderson. Bob, Betsy, and Rafe head across the street to ask him where to find a hotel. We do, chat for a moment, and get his card:
The other one is Dr. Watson. We manage not to gasp. Chris asks him what a consulting detective is, and we are told. We head back across the street. Lorelei probes his mastoid process. They are clean.
We figure that yeah, we probably would make Holmes jump. Clothes are a mismatch, no doubt he could hear our odd speech just from noting the rhythms, several of us are of a different subspecies (and an inhumanly good looking one at that) -- Pfusand being a completely different species. We probably even pace wrong. We find out that SHERLOCK is his wire address, being the first four letters of his first and middle name.
We go off to a hotel and find ourselves a furnished house with a secluded back, a few blocks near Regent's Park. We get new wardrobes, move the pantope door to our new house, and get servants (day only).
During our house-hunting, we drive by Carlfax Abbey. Ruined. Lorelei buys crucifixes for us all.
"But I don't believe in that stuff!" says Cantrel.
"You don't have to -- the vampires do." says Lorelei.
Now our problem is what to do next. We've noticed lots of hints of people from literature here. Holmes, Quartermain, Fu Man Chu, Verne's Adventurers' Club, mysterious vanishings, etc. One working hypothesis is that this universe leaks into ours psychically and many of our people have written about it. The diadem detector glows, but we're getting no direction. Great.
Chris offered the suggestion of enlisting Holmes. Watson really does write up Holmes' exploits. They're in the library under non-fiction. If Holmes is against us, we're probably sunk. Besides, this case sounds up his alley. We're looking for a valuable object. We don't know what it looks like or where it is, but it should be near Regent's park. Possibly within a mile, probably no further than a few light-seconds. Yeah... Tom tells Chris that if he does go to Holmes, he shouldn't lie to the fellow. Chris says he wasn't planning on it. Just misleading.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.