The Register


Chaos reigns at the office and a visitor from the past is impressed by modern standards of bastardly behaviour...

We return you now to Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes and his faithful assistant, Doctor Watson have, through some undiscovered law of quantum science, been transported to the present century...

"It appears we have moved forward in time," the great man decides.

"But that's impossible Holmes," I cried incredulously.

"Not so Watson," he replied, reaching for his snuff container. "Why, on several occasions I myself have considered the possibility while partaking of this fine white powder. Mirror please, Watson. But what really concerns me is why we have been brought here."


"Let us have a brisk constitutional and see if we cannot discover something upon which to test our intellectual mettle."

And so it was that Holmes and I came upon a large building with doors that opened as if by magic. A moving staircase that Holmes surmised was driven by electricity drew us to a mezzanine area where a smoking box lay on the floor.

"I don't know what happened," a man nearby was explaining to a uniformed gentleman. "I'd called the helpdesk because the screen was shimmering, and they put me through to the systems and networks operator. I hadn't even finished telling them about it when it burst into flames."

"Did you hear a clicking sound, not altogether unlike that of a typewriter?" Holmes asked him.

"Why, yes I did," he replied.

"And did you hear a noise on the telephone that may have been chuckling?"

"Now you come to mention it..."

"And what about that?" Holmes asked, indicating a small projection device upon which little people were running in panic.

"That's the emergency response room - there's a panic on because the fire alarms have gone off and the halon activation delay switch isn't working."

As we watch, one of the figures trips over a length of cabling.

"Uh-oh, another one down."

"Would I be correct in assuming that this room isn't used very often?" Holmes asks. "Yeah, that's why the cabling's all over the show," the guard replies.

"And did they perchance call upon the networks and systems people to make the room available to them?"

"As a matter of fact they did."

"Just as I suspected."

"What?" the uniformed gentleman asked.

"I cannot be sure yet," Holmes replied inscrutably. "More investigation will be necessary. If you would be so kind as to direct me to the systems and networks people you were referring to."

"I can't direct you because you need swipe card access to get in and out of the lifts and rooms. I'll take you instead."

And so it was that we rose in a mechanical elevator to an upper floor of the building.

"Just knock on the door and you'll be let in," the guard murmured, almost as if he was afraid of the place.

Wanting to waste no more time, I did this while Holmes thanked the guard profusely and shook his hand. By the time he'd returned to the door, there was still no answer from the room within, although I could see people moving about behind the opaque glass.

"I don't think we're going to be let in, Holmes."

"Nonsense," he said as he slid a small card through a slot. With a beep the door opened.

"Good Lord!" I cried "Where on earth did you get that?"

"The guard's pocket."

"But doesn't he need that to exit the elevator?"

Holmes paused for a moment, listening carefully. A muffled thumping could be heard in the distance... "Apparently so."

Upon entering the room we found two men, a young one with facial eruptions, the other somewhat older, with a sense of power about him, somewhat similar to Holmes. A kind of unspoken recognition passed between them.

"I believe I can now solve this enigma," Holmes said.

"But first a couple of pints," the older stranger cried.

Barely ten minutes later, Holmes, myself, the two men and four women were enjoying a couple of lagers at a nearby tavern.

"Another case successfully concluded," Holmes murmured. "Care for some of my special snuff Watson?"

"Your special snuff Holmes?"

"Yes, the stuff I keep for guests."

"Rather... Bloody hell - that's talcum powder and cayenne pepper. I thought you said that was the stuff you kept for guests!"

"Well of course it is Watson, you don't think I'd take it myself do you?"

"You bastard Holmes!"

Through streaming eyes I saw the two strangers shake Holmes by the hand. Curiouser and curiouser...