Cover Image created by me (Brina). Please do not take it.
Giving credit where credit is due: The idea of "Basil of Baker Street in the 22nd Century" and all characters associated to that idea are the property of Mary Christmas. Myerricroft Basil (who is not mentioned by name in this story) is the property of Mademoiselle Irene Relda. The story has been written with her permission. The Basil of Baker Street mystery series is the property of Eve Titus. The Great Mouse Detective is the property of Disney.
The thin, tan mouse sat brooding in his favorite chair. In the past, he would have smoked his pipe, but no more. His precious violin – a gift from his mother and older siblings – had long ago been sold off by someone the mouse did not and would never know. Instead, he had a newer, more modern violin that he could play if he wished. However, he did not want to destroy the silence.
The fire burned warm and bright but did not crackle and pop as it had those very long years ago. The fuel for the fire had changed.
Everything had changed…
Yet, Basil of Baker Street still clung to the past as best as he could.
Sighing, he rose to his feet and walked to the window. Even the homely clutter that had once been accumulated in his flat was gone. The papers and objects that had once been strewn about had been filed carefully away (or, possibly in some cases, auctioned off to the highest bidder). Nothing was the same as he remembered it. It would never be the same again.
Green eyes stared sightlessly out at the world beyond the window. Their owner tried to imagine away the hovercraft whirring here and there; tried to imagine away the electric street lamps. He tried to replace reality with the memory of horses pulling carriages as they trotted down Baker Street, their hooves creating that distinctive clip-clop sound as they hit the pavement. In his memories, the light of gas lamps lit the street ahead of the horses, guiding them towards their destinations. The image was perfect…
Of course, the illusion could not last. The dream-like image was suddenly shattered as a hovercraft speeding by tried to evade a New Scotland Yard pursuer. The loud siren of the police vehicle effectively killed the remembered clip-clop of hoof beats the detective had heard.
He adjusted the red smoking jacket (if one could call it that since tobacco smoking was now outlawed) that he wore. Not even the jacket was the same. It was merely a copy of his original one just as the rest of his clothes were copies of the clothes he used to wear.
The detective supposed that he should be thankful for this "second life" so to speak. The future was baffling and fascinating at the same time. It was amazing how much Mousedom had changed since the last time he had seen it two hundred years before.
And yet, it also meant that no one he had known and confided in was there to meet him. Old friends had passed on years ago. The only person he knew that was even remotely linked to his past was Inspector Alicia Vole, a descendent of the chief of Scotland Yard he had once playfully argued with.
The Greatest Detective in All Mousedom paused. That statement wasn’t entirely true. The mechmouse he lived with had a personality created from his good friend Doctor David Q. Dawson’s journals. Still, it wasn’t really the same. There were days when it felt like the mechmouse merely copied his old friend.
Sighing more deeply than before, he turned back to gaze at the gas-fueled fireplace (the logs in it were merely for show). His favorite chair and the green chair his old friend had once sat in faced each other. He half-expected the good doctor to sit in the plush green chair and wait while the housekeeper fetched some of her delectable cheese crumpets. Vaguely, he wondered what the surgeon would have said at that exact moment in time.
"Basil, don’t look so melancholy!" the remembered voice of David Q. Dawson chided kindly. "Smile! Who knows? It just might make you feel better!"
Just like two hundred years before, a small, sad smile formed on the detective’s lips. Only this time it did not make him feel any better. The owner of that voice only existed in his memory and the memorybanks of his robotic companion.
The mechmouse known as Dawson was presently in his own room. Basil did not know exactly what to call the activity Dawson performed that resembled sleep. "Recharging" was possibly the word for it, but the detective chose not to ask out of respect for the mechmouse’s privacy.
He slowly walked back to his old chair (he had discovered that the two chairs were the same as the ones two hundred years ago much to his relief and delight) and sat down. He stared into the flames of the fire, watching as they danced to some unheard music.
Music. Yes, that just might ease his troubled mind. Basil reached for the instrument that had taken the place of his violin and rested it on his shoulder and beneath his chin. He slid the bow smoothly across the strings and forcefully tried to banish an illogical disappointment from his mind. He knew the instrument sounded exactly like a violin except for the fact that it sounded a bit synthesized. However, that fact did not ease the sudden stab of loss.
The melancholy tune he played was the same tune he had played the night he had met the original Dawson, but it was not quite the same. The feel of the instrument was wrong in a way. When he had played his old violin, it had felt as though his mother or one of his siblings had laid an encouraging or comforting paw on his shoulder. This instrument had none of that comforting feel.
Basil almost threw the instrument across the room or into the fireplace in his frustration and grief. Somehow he kept playing the instrument despite these feelings. He played on, the sound of the music a grim reminder of this thoughts and emotions.
He had been brought back to life for the sole purpose of capturing the clone of his hated archenemy Professor Ratigan. However, what would happen to him after he had done so? One of two things would most likely happen. One, New Scotland Yard would continue to allow him to work under Inspector Vole. Two, the Yard would let him go and live in this high tech, twenty-second century world and most likely take away his second Dawson.
His bow slid to a stop. The first possibility was comforting in a way. Hard work would most definitely make him less uneasy in this strange time. The second possibility made his blood freeze. To be truly alone in a world where your best friends are dead, where the friends you have made are taken from you, and where your one reason for being alive was through? The thought frightened the tan mouse.
As he thought a little more about that second possibility, he realized that his conclusion had been wrong.
No. He wasn’t afraid of that life.
The famous Basil of Baker Street was terrified of it.
The Great Mouse Detective gently set the instrument down with trembling paws. Small beads of sweat formed on his brow. His ears twitched erratically, hoping to pick up a familiar sound from long ago. His tail twitched madly, drawing small, crazy figure eights in the air with the tip of his tail.
Basil had never enjoyed thinking about his purpose in life, but now he had no real choice. He knew that while he would savor the victory over Ratigan, his purpose in this second life would be complete and his future would become as uncertain as the time during his education at Oxford that he had spent trying to decide his future career. Still, he would rather face that uncertain future than take the cowardly way out of somehow managing to lose Ratigan again and again in order to delay the inevitable.
For the first time since he had been literally raised from the dead, he felt truly tired. He may have been young in body, but he was still old in mind. He was surprised to find himself wishing halfheartedly that the adventure would be over soon and he could simply be left in peace.
The famous detective shook his head, forcing the wish out of his mind. He knew that there was nothing else he would rather do than to continue his work. The only reason he had retired two hundred years ago was because his body simply could not keep up with his mind any longer.
He closed his eyes, wishing for sleep to come. As the blissful folds of slumber began to take hold of him, he noted that no matter what was in store for him, he would always be looking back.
A sudden sound reached his tired ears, and he half-opened his eyes to see two translucent figures before him. One – a stout, older mouse with a mustache – sat in Dawson’s old chair while the other – a kindly housekeeper that appeared about as old as her companion – held a semitransparent tray filled with cheese crumpets, tea cups, and a teapot.
"Careful, Mrs. Judson," the mouse seated in the chair told her, reaching carefully for a cheese crumpet.
"Sorry, Dr. Dawson," the ghostly landlady apologized. She smiled warmly at Basil but said nothing else.
Basil blinked blearily at the pair as the translucent image of his good friend smiled in a friendly yet worried manner.
"Basil, you don’t look well. Go back to sleep, dear boy!" the doctor scolded him kindly.
The Great Mouse Detective smiled at his old friends before closing his eyes once more.
He slept the rest of the night with only the companionship of ghosts.
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