The Constabulary was swarming with staff. And it was only ten at night. Usually, the staff was minimal, with mainly custodians and the few who had to maintain it for the assorted criminals that insisted on interrupting a sane man's sleep, but tonight, though early by some standards, it was bustling like a mad beehive, with people swarming in and out.
The Inspector, listening to his Chief Constable read a long list of missing people, watched through his office window as straggler after straggler went to the front desk to complain. He could almost hear their voices.
"Yes, that's right. Sergeant." The red-haired Irish man said rubbing at his snout, which is what it appeared, so long it was.
The Sergeant looked at his log, then at the Irishman. "And you're telling me, Mister.."
"McGregor. That your wife has been missing for four days and you've only now come to report it?"
McGregor looked down into his dirty cap, which was wet from the melted snow that had been upon it, turned it a few times to gather his thoughts and clarity. "It wasn't like that."
"Then how was it?"
"She was never one to stay at home at night, if you catch me drift."
The Sergeant did. "Midnight Angel."
McGregor looked around, afraid someone else had heard, but the long line behind him had not. They were all taking to each other, or lost in their own thoughts.
"Something like that. But of a higher nature, if you pardon me words."
The Sergeant sighed, then looked over at the Inspector and rubbed his forehead, indicating it was another one.
The Inspector nodded back to let him know he had been understood, then turned his attention back to the Chief Constable, his eyes burning with exhaust, his stomach growling from hunger and his temper warming up like a coal fire about to explode.
Inspector Bloodstone had a migraine. His head felt like it was going to explode, the same time as his temper was about to as well. Constable Evans was running down a long list of missing persons that dated from the vanishment of the missing mummy. How could so many things go on like that for so long without someone getting that it?
He looked up at the Constable, who continued to ramble off names, then back at his own list. Evidently much longer than it should have. And he had to accept responsibility for it, because it was in his jurisdiction. "Drat it all!" He cursed to himself.
Constable Evans was startled out of his reading and gave the Inspector a searching glance. "Sir?"
"Nothing, Constable. Proceed."
Constable Evans went on and so did his migraine. Getting bigger and bigger and...
"And that's what we saw." Wells told Sherlock, as he and Jules sat opposite both him and Watson, who was looking the best he had in days, even with the lack of sleep.
Mrs. Hudson hovered nearby, wringing her hands, worried that he was pushing himself too hard. He looked over at her and gave her such a warm and reassuring look that her heart melted.
"If you don't mind, Mister Holmes, I'll be retiring for the night."
"Please do, Mrs. Hudson. And thank you for attending to us so late."
She smiled, then exited to her own room, which was now on the same floor next to Watson's. They still hadn't chosen to stay in the same room. Though engaged, they treated their affair on the up and up like any common and decent folk would. They were not like those scoundrels in the East who slept with women and men before they were married officially.
She came over and gave Watson a quick kiss on his forehead, and he her and then she left, a bright smile on her face.
Wells noted it and looked at Watson. "She truly loves you, Watson."
"Aye. That she does." He sighed.
"So when's the luck day?" Jules asked, his own face lit with amusement, knowing full well it had to be close by the look on Watson's face.
Sherlock looked to Watson, who became embarrassed and changed the topic. "And you believe this merchant ship could be a headquarters for this...this..."
"We can't be sure." Jules answered.
Wells went on. "But we've had experience with its kind before."
Sherlock became alert. "Oh?"
Wells and Jules both exchanged veiled glances, then looked at him.
"Let's just say it's not outside our parameter of exploration and leave it at that." Jules answered.
Sherlock saw he could gain nothing further by pressing it. "So what do you suggest we do then?"
"We understand you have some influence with the Queen?"
Watson nodded. "Some, but still why not just ourselves..."
Wells stood up in alarm. "Are you daft, sir. You would be overwhelmed!"
The absolute fear and uncertainty in Wells' face caused Watson to choke up for a moment, which Sherlock used to jump in. "By what?"
Wells and Jules exchanged glances again. "Look, maybe we shouldn't have bothered you two with this, but when we heard what you were investigating..."
Jules continued. "We spoke to Lord Graystone and he sent us here immediately."
"Where is he?"
"Watching the ship. He and the Lady Shareen."
"Well then." Sherlock responded, rising. "Perhaps Watson can speak with the Queen, while we speak to Inspector Bloodstone."
Watson rose also, but didn't look too happy. "Yes, and if we're both lucky we just might be able to pull this off without losing our heads. Me especially. You know how much she requires her beauty sleep, Holmes."
Sherlock looked at Watson. "Just use your usual charm."
Watson almost choked.
Inspector Bloodstone rose from his desk and gathered the documents that Constable Evans had left with him, before he went to his station outside to help with the citizens complaining at the desk. The numbers had grown to the point where it had become almost a madhouse inside the station. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever known such a phenomenon, except during the times of the White Chapel murders and the dreaded "Jack."
Memories of those horrid times assailed his senses a moment, causing him to rail uncertaintly on his feet. Constable Evans rushed over to steady him. "Sir, you must eat something."
The Inspector waved him off. "I'm fine. Just tired."
Constable Evans shook his head. "You can complain all you want, sir, but I'm not letting you move one step further until you eat at least one of the sandwiches, Constable McGurky just made for all of us."
The Inspector was weakening when he saw the heap of fresh sandwiches, when Sherlock walked in, looked around a moment, saw him, then came forward. "Inspector, I will need every man you can spare."
"Why sir is that?" The Inspector demanded, his anger getting the best of him as he almost spat out the words.
Unmoved by the emotional nature of the Inspector, Sherlock gestured at all the people. "Unless you want to see this happen to most of the good citizens of this city, I would suggest the sooner rather than the later."
The Inspector looked at the lonely stack of sandwiches, then at Constable Evans. His night was ruined once more. "Oh dear God in heaven, he pleaded within himself, will this insanity never end?"
As if reading his mind Sherlock said. "The worst is yet to come."
Constable Evans saw the look on the Inspector's face and gave up his war to feed him. He ran to a Tesla klaxon and began winding it. As he did so an alarm arose within the building, then up and down the streets across the city.
The war had begun for the safety of London and it was not certain that humanity would win it.