I will recount to you now a case so singular in its peculiarity and obstinacy that it vexed my friend Holmes to such a degree that the poor wretch considered renouncing his rather lucrative self-employment as a consulting detective.
Mrs. Hudson had just prepared breakfast as our boy brought in a gentleman of seemingly certain ill-repute. His unkempt beard was filled with crumbs of an altogether alien nature, his ascot ill-fitting and rather repulsively showing a great deal of his sizable underbelly. The chap had a nervous manner, born no doubt out of intense social reclusiveness. He bore a strange escutcheon upon his chest: a sort of medieval war-helm with two spiked ears on either side, shaped like an inverted trapezoid.
My friend Holmes bade him sit down, and the gentleman did so at once after nodding skittishly at me.
“Have you examined it?” he came right to the point.
Holmes crossed his hands under his great eagle-like nose, as he was wont to do when facing a particularly insidious problem.
“I have. The results were… disconcerting.”
“I don’t care, Holmes, I don’t care! There is a great legacy at stake here! What did that ruffian DO to it?”
“Calm down, my dear fellow. Have a cup of tea.”
“Get to the point, Holmes. I know of your reputation: if anyone can answer these questions, you can!”
I must admit, I was having difficulty keeping my composure at the rude manner of this early-morning intruder. Holmes spoke again before I could, however.
“And indeed, your questions are sure to be many.”
“COUNTLESS! I mean… why did Sentinel Prime not take the Matrix of Leadership when Optimus offered it? If he was going to sell them out anyway, wouldn’t that be a handy thing to have in your pocket?”
The man was mad. My eyes flickered towards Holmes, who seemed to be keeping a steely façade still.
“Allow me to answer a question with a question. Who shot Sentinel Prime down originally?”
What was this? Some sort of code privy only to my friend and this stranger? The man’s eyes widened.
“The… Decepticons, surely?”
“Why would the Decepticons shoot down the only person able to work the device they supposedly made the alliance for in the first place?”
“H-Holmes, stop it… I hired you to ANSWER questions, not… confound me but deeper!”
The stranger clenched his teeth, and started taking on a reddish hue.
“Why did they take the pillars but leave Sentinel on the lunar surface if he was the key? Surely Megatron must have known.”
The fat man brought his hands up to his temples in a panic. I understood the intent, if not the meaning, of Holmes’ words now. He was using the strangely emblazoned guest’s own madness against him, hoping to drive away the unpleasant company and increasingly foul smell.
“Stop it, Holmes… Stop it!”
Holmes rose out of his seat, a terrible sight to behold now in all his fury.
“Where does the Allspark fit into all this? Wasn’t the war on Cybertron originally about that? Why does a robot need a cloak? Is Washington not a much better demoralizing staging point for an invasion rather than the barren wastes of Illinois? Who gave that custodial crew military issue arms? How do a husband and wife of supposed middle-class means procure holiday transportation fit for supremely wealthy African entertainers? Why do robots have facial hair? WHY WAS MALKOVICH EVEN THERE?”
With such a primal cry of despair as I had never heard, and with surprising agility, the heavy-set man arose and flung himself through the window. Still screaming, he catapulted himself through Baker Street until he finally escaped our sight.
“What the devil was that all about, Holmes?”
“There goes a new breed of man, Watson. One that, if unchecked, will mean the downfall of civilization.”
“There are… more?”
But Holmes was, in his typical restlessness of mind, already focusing on a new problem that presented itself.
“Are you free tonight, Watson? I’ve been informed of the presence of a ballet company in town that I have not yet had the pleasure of witnessing.”
I consented, as I thoroughly enjoyed bears in small hansoms.