Sherlock Holmes and the FISA Memo Case
More Notes From Dr. John Watson as Discovered by Dr. Fred Eichelman
I never thought my friend Sherlock Holmes would care to leave London for another ride in that infernal H.G. Wells time traveling machine to the future United States, but he not only did so he managed to take me with him. I had already stored away my notes of his story of going to that nation’s capital and rather hoped he had forgotten the idea of going back. Surprisingly it was only a couple months later that Holmes caused me to leave a very satisfying breakfast. Mary knows that it is hard to resist an adventure and she promised that she would see that my medical practice covered.
So there I was, bundled against the cold on a bench that is placed on what they call the National Mall in view of their Washington Monument, built in honor of their first president. I couldn’t help but remember a Punch Magazine wag calling it “the world’s largest dart.” I was intrigued to join the great detective because he was as usual on call whenever his brother Mycroft needed him. Mycroft Holmes has been considered the real government of The Empire having his finger in every thing and respected by both The Crown and Parliament.
Holmes informed me during that morning visit that “Mycroft does not just run the Empire’s network of spies, he is the network. He has organized teams in every major nation in the world, friend and foe. His agents once planted are in their assignments for life. Their families and descendants are bound to continue in service.”
I had to ask, “Holmes, what do we have to do with this? That you are requested to return to what seems like another world? And why me to join you.”
“Elementary my dear doctor. The story I told you about my short time there intrigued Mycroft as he has a very important team in the United States. One I was shocked to learn is led by a person from our past who we assumed had died. Irene Adler Norton, now a widow back in her native land. And you are needed to make a record of this though it must be considered not for release.”
It was no wonder Holmes wanted to make this trip and it was no problem for Mycroft to convince Wells to let us use the machine. So there I was on a cold bench as Holmes went off on his own as he so often does. Of course Irene Adler would be long deceased in 2018, however her picture remained on the mantle over the fire place at 221B Baker Street and the memory of “The Woman” would never leave him.
I finally saw Holmes returning and noticed that he had been to the monument which so dominated the area. “Come with me old boy, apparently the entrance code still works.” I had no clue what code he referred to and joined him at the base of the monument. The cold weather kept the usual number of tourists away and Holmes walked around to the back of the monument pressing various surface areas. “Aha, Mycroft is as clever with codes as when we were boys. I am pressing the right sequence of times in several places and….”
He was interrupted as part of the wall moved forming an opening and without hesitation he stepped inside pulling me along the opening closeing as soon as we were in. It was dark at first and finally lights came on to ignite a stairway going down. We walked for what seemed like forever until we came to a sealed metal door. Holmes then whistled a tune and it opened with him grumbling “You would think they would have changed combinations.”
“Oh but we do,” a feminine voice chuckled, “however M felt it necessary to go to the original for you Mr. Holmes.”
“M,” I said, “Who is M and how did you, know we were coming?”
As our eyes adjusted to the light we beheld a striking young woman and Holmes gasped, “It can’t be you Irene.”
She smiled, “I am code named Irene and they say I do resemble portraits of my great great grandmother Irene Adler Norton. I must say Mr. Holmes you resemble closely pictures we have seen of you in the Strand Magazine.” Warmly she grasped my hand “And Dr. Watson your stories have been collected and handed down in my family through the years. In fact we know more about you two than we do M.”
Holmes smiled. “I should not be surprised you expected us. My brother certainly wrote a message for the future, say a letter to be opened on this very date announcing our coming.” Then to me he added, “M is surely a code name for Mycroft, the type of thing he liked to do.”
“I scarcely believed it myself when I opened the tin box that has been stored here for ages.” Irene informed us. “However, it seems that anything is possible these days and somehow you have arrived on a day that we are trying to solve a puzzle. Something missing. Would you come with me please?”
We followed her into a hallway that was lined with glass windows where we observed a number of people, mainly female, on phones, going over maps and on devices Holmes identified as computers. Finally we came to a large office with over stuffed furniture, filled book cases and a large oak desk. “Sit down” she invited “I sent for tea.”
I had to ask, “Is this operation run by the crown? How is such an elaborate underground funded.”
Irene laughed, “We have not received a dollar or a pound from the old country since my grandmother’s day. We are self sufficient volunteers, most of us in other occupations. I myself was am actress for a while as were others in our group. Kind of an Irene Adler tradition. We also have a number of code names for example our most popular at the present time is Politichicks.”
“And your reason for existence?” Holmes asked.
“We believe in our country, the American dream that some see as old fashioned. We are devoted to freedom and protecting our constitution,” she replied.
“Oh yes,” Holmes mused, “I studied your constitution as a youth in Cambridge. A real model for a Democratic Republic. And when I was here a couple months ago I found your nation very divided with enemies both inside and outside the government.”
Irene sighed and then opened her desk. “Here is a document that was released a few days ago. I have added notes to explain some of names used like FBI, DOJ and FISA. Somehow it does not seem complete”
“Yes, yes,” Holmes replied never liking time taken for what he considered incidentals. He took what appeared to be several pieces of paper sniffing at it briefly and began to read. Tea was brought to us by two comely young ladies and after serving they sat down to join us.
I enjoyed the tea and biscuits that were added however Holmes ignored them. Instead he paused and took his pipe out. “I know tobacco is not so popular in your present time, however this demands at least a one pipe solution.” Irene smiled and indicated he should go ahead.
Soon Holmes appeared surrounded by smoke and from time to time he would utter a “Humph.” Then having finished he commented, “Very incomplete indeed.”
Irene seemed to not take that well and demanded “What do you mean by that. Some of our best minds put that together using the best in resources and evidence.”
Holmes replied tersely , “For what it is supposed to be it is very good. It leaves no doubt there is corruption in your Federal Bureau of Investigation at the top, we have found that in our own Yard (referring to Scotland Yard), corruption in other of you departments and in the political party opposed to your president. Enough implied here to send people to prison. However, something is very much left out.”
Holmes had handed the papers to me as he spoke and then asked “Do you see it Doctor?”
I perused it and shrugged, “I am afraid not.”
Homes scoffed, “How often must I remind you that you see, but you do not observe. Often the missing pieces tell you more than what may appear as the facts.”
Just then a memory of one of our past cases came to me and I commented, “You mean like the dog that didn’t bark?”
“Precisely” Holmes agreed and then proceed to fill the others in. “Watson does love to romanticize our adventures and in one he titled ‘The Adventure of the Silver Blaze” he recounted an adventure involving the disappearance of a race horse and a murder. One clue was a dog that normally barked at intruders and was very quiet at night toward a suspect. Quiet because the suspect was known by the dog and ignored the deed that was done. I believe Watson referred to it as the ‘curious incident of the dog in the night time.’”
Before any of us could ask what that had to do with the document Holmes stood up and began to pace as he explained. “Yes, there are names here of people who deserve to be charged with criminal acts under the laws of your nation, any civilized nation. That even includes a woman who ran for president recently. However, with all of this going on, call it a conspiracy, there had to be a number one.”
I knew where Holmes was going, “Are you saying a modern Moriarty, someone who is or was at the top, the weaver of a web of crime.”
“Precisely” Holmes agreed “and I have to wonder if this information is planned for a later report and was intentionally left. Likely because of the attacks your liberal media would make once revealed.”
Irene sighed, “If you mean who I think you mean then there will be Hell to pay.” I was a bit shocked hearing a woman of this future time so blunt and she continued. “It will take a great deal of precision to bring this out.”
Holmes looked levelly at all in the room. “It is apparent to me that the head of the Department of Justice and these top figures in the government were under the watch of the president just recently in office. It needs to be shown that he or financial backers who may have controlled him, had full knowledge and gave full approval to all that is described here. Your presidents do know what is going on beneath them and even their silence is approval. Like the silent watch dog”
Irene stood up looking Holmes in the eye proclaiming, “We have considered this and I have believed it from the beginning. I feel relieved that the world’s greatest detective confirms the feelings I have.”
“No surprise” Holmes laughed, something he rarely did. “I have no doubt you had figured this for yourself as after all your ancestral grandmother Irene Adler was the only person in my career to outwit me. I think I will need to return to witness your eventual victory.”
I knew it was time to leave as our machine was due to return in a few minutes. I also knew that the world’s greatest detective would not resist wanting to return to this period.