My fanfiction and other random ramblings

Srebrna, Skald Arkadii (and thoughts on writing)

Archive for March 2018

Average Man – CH 01

leave a comment »

The bench wasn’t either comfortable or uncomfortable. Perfectly average. The day was neither sunny nor very cloudy. The traffic was neither light, nor heavy. Everything was just in the middle, just normal, just… average.
He was average. Maybe less than so in height, maybe more than so in charm – if he remembered to apply it. His face was that specific kind of typical, vaguely handsome, slightly worn that never attracted particular attention. His clothes were neither shabby nor overly chic, and the only distinguishing feature of them was the general soldierly feeling one may have when looking at a man dressed in blacks and greens that don’t actually flatter his complexion, yet suit him perfectly nevertheless.
The heavy cane held between his knees was well-worn and the steel cap that probably clicked with his every step was showing the signs of scuffing. Everything was slightly faded – his clothes, his cane, even his eyes. Yet, when the clouds temporarily gave way to the sun, there were tiny points of glinting brightness dancing on his chest, and as he turned his face to the warmth, pulling the knit cap away, his hair shone of silver and gold.
Even with his eyes closed, he noticed a change in the pattern of traffic on the street in front of him, so he decided to open them just at the right moment to see a black car sliding to a stop in front of him. A door closest to him opened invitingly.
He smiled.
“I have grown out of this habit” he said with voice slightly hoarse with disuse.
“I’m afraid I can’t get out all that easily, Captain” a man’s terse tone made him raise his eyebrows. “But I will, if you wish…”
A pair of crutches on the floor drew his attention.
“No… But we will keep the door open.”
“If you prefer. However I assure you, we will all be much more comfortable if you come with me. At least I’ll be able to stretch this… inconvenience.”
Mycroft Holmes sounded rather annoyed.
John Watson got up from the bus stop bench and slowly, deliberately, made the few steps to the car. He leaned slightly to have a look inside, but, to his surprise, it seemed to be an actual real article this time.
“Hello, Captain Watson” said his… whatever Mycroft was.
“Doctor” he corrected softly. “And not much of that, either, these days.”
“Please sit and let’s go, Captain” the minor representative of the British Government said. “I think… I’m quite sure, actually, that these days, it is Captain Watson that will be needed. The country needs your services. And your presence is, ah, requested and required. If you please.”
He shrugged.
“Not sure how a pensioned veteran can help… someone with a Navy” he snorted softly. “But, why not. As long as I don’t have to march in step with some bigger boys.”
“No, Captain Watson. The task you’d be ask to perform is much less of a team effort and much more of a… solo.”
The passing buildings are replaced by greenery.
“Sounds ominous.”
“Sounds, I’m afraid, dangerous, to put it plainly. However we don’t have any choice, but to ask you to return to active duty. There is a task of particular character that will require both a resourceful operative and, most probably, a medic.”
The car turned to an entrance that John had predicted and he climbed out of the car, leaning slightly on his cane, watching as a burly man helped Mycroft Holmes up and out of the car and supported him until the crutches got correctly sorted out.
“Let’s get in, Captain Watson” the taller man said tiredly. “The sooner we get this one done, the quicker I’ll be able to go home and follow my doctor’s orders. Sleeping, eating dairy and positive outlook on life.”

#

“An operative of the Crown had got cut off from his support network and was taken prisoner by local criminal element. Of the organised kind. Unfortunately we do not have the same type of coverage on the ground as we have at home, and even local government seems to be lacking in resources. We have located the operative with the precision of two by three blocks of buildings, however due to it being a seaside town, many of the cameras mostly show general crowd. Therefore we cannot obtain any better information. Locals are also unwilling to allow foreign power to operate on their area in any manner.”
John nodded in sympathy, but placed the offered folder back on the table.
“What do you need me for?” he asked finally. “I’m not in any type of special services, or…”
Captain Watson” the man in front of him said slowly. “Please do not assume that either your ‘off the books’ training or ‘off the books’ missions were in fact off everyone’s books. There are always records. Especially for trained marksmen, hand-to-hand combat experts and scouting aces.”
John frowned at Mycroft, who, however, seemed even a bit interested, suddenly.
“You’ve been keeping secrets, Doctor Watson.”
“I haven’t been keeping anything secret that I hadn’t sworn to protect with my own life. I never got into details… because I had no idea of the security clearance of people involved.”
“Quite correct, Captain. But at this point Mr Holmes needs to share certain details and whether you can contribute, based on your experience, or not, may change the character of this discussion. We – my employer and me – would like to ensure that you do, in fact, take this case. We will offer all information we have, all network contacts and all resources, if you are amenable to taking this case. At the same time, here, in this room, you are allowed to allude, quote and describe any of the relevant facts from your previous missions. Whichever experience they may actually be related to. Mr Holmes does, after all, have a higher security clearance than either of us.”

#

“An operative. Missing, probably taken by hostile foreign powers? Stuck behind and at risk of… what?”
Mycroft sighed.
“Of death. They aren’t allowing him to recover from his wounds, so we can be rather sure the infection will set in soon, and, untended, he will die. He holds information so vital enough to the Crown that we want to send our best, Captain Watson. I would have gone myself – I actually had, but due to unforeseen weather change…”
“You slipped and broke your leg?” John summed it up shortly.
“It was a tad bit more complicated, but yes, that is a correct description. However, due to insularity of society in that region, we cannot send anyone else who could be interpreted as a government representative. They wouldn’t be able to use my network of contacts – they are not linked to me in my official capacity.”
John played with the handle of his cane for a moment.
“How can I help then? I don’t have access to your contacts, either.”
“But you do have yours, Captain.”
There was something in the tone of the man next to Mycroft that made John bristle slightly.
“I don’t even know which region we are discussing – and what forces are stationed in the area – what type of society…”
“Kotor Bay” Mycroft said with disgust. “And please, John, don’t try to convince me that you don’t know the language – languages – and that you have no idea who is stationed in that area.”
The thinner, more aristocratic man glanced at Mycroft quickly.
“I have informed you, Lord Thomas, that I know Captain Watson personally. I also know most of his military record, excluding the parts that I have intentionally ignored. I’m sorry, John” he nodded towards the soldier. “I had to know.”
“Which parts?”
“Pardon?”
“Which parts did you intentionally skip?”
Mycroft sipped his tea in silence for a few seconds.
Which parts.”
“The details of the so called off the books trainings and operations. I was going to check them one day, but… It became irrelevant.”
“You mean I became irrelevant” John said calmly. “No longer of interest to the Holmes’ family, until you need a wind-up soldier to be taken out of his quiet, well-padded box and used in some secret, underhanded operation. Very well. Let’s assume I agree. What kind of support can you offer me? From where will I be on my own? If I manage to procure the operative, how do you expect me to get out of there? What do you know about the organisation that is holding him? How do you know his current health status? Details, Mycroft. And even if I have these” John stood up and stretched a bit “you will still have to convince me that I want to do this. Not because the Crown needs me – the Crown probably doesn’t even know. After all, we are not meeting in any official location, just three blokes having a nice tea in a secluded part of the Palace. I don’t see either military officials or anyone who could be interpreted as a special ops command. This means you need my consent to run this mission, you can’t just order me to do it. Which means this is not fully, officially sanctioned unless I actually agree. So, Mycroft. Convince me. Sell this mission to me.”
“Just saying that the man is a British citizen and we have an obligation to take care of our own is not enough, I suppose.”
John pursed his lips and blinked slowly.
“I understand your military pension is not a substantial amount” the taller man said slowly. “But you are still waiting for proper processing of your… additional records. I could expedite this, if you wish. All the medals that are waiting to be officially…”
John actually smiled and Mycroft shook his head minutely.
“This is not the approach which will work with Captain Watson, I’m afraid” he half-grinned. “That much I know from experience.”
“That would mean adjustment of your rank, Co…”
“No” John said simply. “Mycroft?”
“That man will die if you don’t help, John. They are keeping him chained, tortured – using physical, chemical and psychological stimuli. At this point they are not torturing him to make him talk. They are just killing him in stages.”
“Chemical and psychological?”
Mycroft swallowed and adjusted the placement of his broken leg.
“They have induced a deep dependence on one of the drugs they distribute and now are withholding it. They are also…” he closed his eyes for a moment. “Holding an associate of our operative. And torturing her, too, in a manner that you will be able to discern as soon as you guess who that woman is.”
John turned to look out of the window and stood there, silently.
“Dear God” he said finally. “Poor sod. And poor her. I’m assuming their methods have everything to do with her… profession.”
“Indeed.”
“And they hooked your guy on their local product, which is probably either some very high-quality designer shit or, conversely, street crap cut with baking powder, talcum and pipe cleaner?”
“Unfortunately, the second one. And it’s not pipe cleaner, but close enough. The toxicity is high, but so is also… the high. People buy it and die, but new ones come and buy more. Our… operative has higher tolerance than others, but he succumbed and will require long treatment, should he survive the next few days. And that depends on you.”
“You will be given all resources, transport, equipment, medical supplies including basic overdose treatments. There will be air support and ground support waiting just outside of direct zone of Kotor and Dobrota. You will have to stabilise him and get him out of there.”
“Them” John corrected calmly.
“Excuse me?”
Them. I hope you didn’t consider the possibility of me leaving Ms Adler behind, sir. Whatever else I am, I am mainly a British male” John smirked. “An officer. Maybe not a gentleman, but definitely a doctor. I will not be leaving Irene Adler in hands of someone who is using her to torture someone else. Also, she may be really bloody useful if she owes me a favour. One day.”
Mycroft nodded slowly.
“She would also be owing a favour to the British Government, so it is in your own interest to help me with her, too.”
The aristocrat frowned, but nodded.
“Does this mean you accept the mission?”
John smiled blandly and kept his eyes on Mycroft.
“I will…” the ‘minor official’ paused for a breath. “I will owe you a favour, John. If you agree. A personal favour.”
The soldier nodded and Lord Thomas started pulling out documents.
“Reactivation, with full supplies, support and funding of anything that you will have to pay in a manner of bribes or regular payments for services rendered. You get full combat pay from the moment you leave the Palace until the moment the man in question – and Ms Adler – are safely on British soil, including any required stay in hospitals closer to their current location, should the need for immediate treatment arise. There is a British military command that you’ll be officially assigned to, in order to give you a ‘location’ in the ranks, but the commanding officer will be informed of the special character of your mission and any orders he gives will be superseded by your mission brief and your own decisions regarding next steps. You only have to inform him when you start and when you are expecting to be needing support. Your temporary promotion will make you a Major, bringing you to the same rank as the local CO. These folders contain full description and photographic documentation that we had obtained. Also the contacts that Mr Holmes had made and that have showed willingness to cooperate with someone else than him. They are however not very reliable…”
“If they are willing to talk to others, they may be talking to everyone.”
“Indeed, Captain. How long do you need to prepare…?”
“Have the airplane ready” John smiled and turned back towards the window, hands in his pockets. “I need a transport home, twenty minutes to gather my personal supplies and then a ride to the airport. I will accept basic pay for the duration of the mission, according to my current rank. Anything more please have donated to the veteran fund. Won’t be much, but hey, it may actually double their budget for this decade. I will also need medical assistance during the flight in, and a team ready at any pickup point. Including at least one female medic in each of these.”
“You are sure you will need…?”
John snorted and shrugged.
“I am rather certain I will be also bringing Ms Adler with me, yes. And I’m also reasonably sure she will not be willing to undergo treatment at my hands. Considering her profession, whatever they did to her will leave her with enough trauma to not allow herself to be touched by a male medic. I am being reasonable, yes.”
“Thank you, Captain” the taller man said stiffly. “As of this moment, you are reinstated, with temporary promotion to Major, to be reconfirmed at the end of your mission. The country is grateful for your service.”
“Very well” John nodded curtly. “Please have a car ready. Preferably staffed with someone I will recognise. I really did grow out of that stupid reflex.”
“Anthea will accompany you” Mycroft said softly. “Is that acceptable?”
“Anthea will be fine. Until… until the next time, then, Mycroft.”
“Thank you, John. I owe you.”
“Yes, you do.”
“John?”
The soldier turned quickly from the door.
“Your cane.”
“Keep it, Myc. You will need it more than I.”
“I will make sure you have the needed support on the plane. I hope it will be enough.”
John shrugged.
“It will have to be. It’s a three hours flight, make sure it’s someone competent.”
Lord Thomas looked between them in confusion.
“I was invalided out, sir” John pointed out calmly.
“I thought it was your leg…”
“Common mistake. It’s my shoulder.”
“There is an experimental treatment that Cap… Major Watson can try. Even applying first round may bring promising results” Mycroft supplied. “I will be sending one of the doctors who are running the trials, John.”
The soldier nodded stiffly and strolled out of the opulent, bright room.

#

“Are you sure…”
“Perfectly.”
“And he will do it?”
“He took the mission, Thomas. He is, after all, an officer. Above anything else, John Watson is a soldier.”

DPDT – Chapter 06 – And then we soar so high

leave a comment »

Mina sighed, heaving up the rolling suitcase to put it on the tiny porch.
“You know what…” she felt her voice tremble. “Even… even if this doesn’t work out. Even if we are found out in like a week time. We will still have that August.”
“And a bit of July, and a bit of September” Rose corrected.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Srebrna

2018/03/10 at 01:20

DPDT – Chapter 05 – And then we run so fast

leave a comment »

“Holding out until Halloween means that we’ll be spending our birthday in the wrong houses” Mina pointed out.

“What? What do you mean?”

“I mean that October twelfth is earlier than November first.”

“October eleventh” Rose corrected her mechanically. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Srebrna

2018/03/01 at 01:16