AU – Mycroft Holmes leads the grim war on terror and Sherlock is his best secret agent: cold, calculating and ruthless. He is obsessed with destroying the militant terrorists hiding deep in the disused London Underground – until one momentous day when he meets a child soldier named John.
Genre Adventure/Action, Kidfic, Espionage, Romance, Dark,
Characters Sherlock/Irene, Sherlock&John, Mycroft/Anthea, Lestrade, Sally Donovan, Anderson, Moriarty
Length 40,000+ 16 Chapters
Had this been a proper, authorised mission, Irene would be terribly embarrassed at her lack of concentration. She blamed her sluggish performance entirely on the delicious three-course meal of salmon terrine, roast beef, and sticky toffee pudding.
The three of them – Anthea, Sherlock, and herself – had left dinner under the pretence of needing to get some fresh air in the gardens. All the gear they would require had been packed into their evening wear. Irene personally found the idea of changing into her sister's ball gown for the express purpose of having dinner a bit melodramatic, but the compact grappling hook with its automatic firing mechanism hidden under her dress was even more melodramatic. Anthea clearly thought they were about to break out of Guantanamo Bay.
The long summer day was not yet drawing to a close; the sun was still lingering above the horizon, producing lengthy, slanted shadows in the garden. As they approached the edge of the vast, manicured lawns, Irene looked back up the gently-sloping gardens to the magnificent house dominating the horizon. It must have been an intimidating place to grow up in: all those long corridors and dark, empty rooms. This house was not a blank canvas upon which its owners could imprint some of their own personalities. Instead, the occupants were merely custodians being moulded by the house and its history.
A strong arm shot out in front of her and blocked her path. Seemingly out of nowhere, Anthea produced a can of hairspray and with delicate precision covered the air in front of her. At once a meshwork of laser beams appeared before their eyes, just beyond the decorative metal fence that separated the gardens from the deer park.
"First obstacle," said Anthea, suddenly turning to the left and crouching down to rummage in the wild grass, no doubt looking for the control box that powered the lasers. Irene bent down to help her look and was abruptly reminded of how ridiculous they must seem, crawling around in their elegant evening gowns.
The control box was not hard to locate. Opening it was another matter, but Sherlock had come prepared with a small tube of plastic explosive from heaven-knows-where. Dirt was used to muffle the sound of the explosion, though the plume of soil rising into the sky was conspicuous in its own right. Anthea wasted no time typing in the manual override code as the self-destruct sequence of the control box started to count down.
Another round of hair spray later, the three of them clambered over the fence and into the wild deer park beyond.
"There's at least three teams of guards patrolling the perimeter," Anthea said as they marched purposefully forward without bothering to find cover. She pulled out her Blackberry and called up their current location on what was clearly a non-standard GPS app. A series of moving red dots showed that the nearest patrol team had passed their location while they were still standing in the garden, and the second patrol would not happen upon them for some time.
"Mycroft's getting sloppy," observed Sherlock, fiddling with the lining of his tailored dinner jacket.
"No, he was just relying on me to keep you from escaping," answered Anthea nonchalantly. "Also, he didn't reckon on external help." Just as Anthea finished her sentence, Irene became aware of an almost imperceptible noise approaching and becoming louder. It was the unmistakable sound of helicopter blades.
"I think this will get you back in time," shouted Anthea, as the helicopter appeared over the treetops like a giant bird of prey. "Be sure to thank Q for me."
Sometimes, Irene thought, it's rather convenient to have Anthea for a sister.
The helicopter landed on the roof of Vauxhall Cross and Sherlock sprang out like a leopard, all grace and impatience. He felt exhilarated, adrenaline coursing through his veins like a drug, enhancing his vision, strength and speed. His pupils were dilated, his breathing harsh and his heart pounding.
Thoughts both connected and independent rushed through Sherlock's mind like a whirlwind of information that only he could control. Anomalies amidst the facts had been surgically extracted and segregated into a separate compartment earlier to be analysed now, when the time was right.
The first anomaly, which Irene had not picked up on, was that Mycroft had apparently been planning to send three hundred special ops officers to take down the LRA. That was simply not his style. The man was in love with the idea of the butterfly effect: a seemingly inconsequential act on his part that would lead to a great upheaval further on. In the heat of the moment during his argument with Lestrade, Sherlock had overlooked this weakness of his brother. However, once he had taken the time to analyse it, he realised that a blanket kill order was not in keeping with Mycroft's subtleness.
Sherlock had an idea of what his brother might actually be planning. It seemed a little far-fetched even for a man who wove intricate and torturous schemes, but right now Sherlock couldn't think of other, more likely alternatives.
The second anomaly was and had always been Moriarty. Ever since Sherlock found out that the EMP device was just a distraction, he had known for certain that Moriarty didn't have just a passing interest in this fiasco: he had designed the entire grandiose, complex, and positively Byzantine scheme. He loved plots within plots, deceptions to hide yet more deceptions. It was entirely possible that the nuclear explosion was not the only keystone in Moriarty's grand design. Sherlock was still missing something, something very important – the motivation for this plot.
Why now? If the power station had been there for over sixty years, why blow it up now? If the terrorists had been successfully using the Underground as a base, why destroy it now?If Moriarty was confirmed dead and happily working from the shadows, why show his hand now?
Questions without answers, like ships without anchors, tossed and rolled in Sherlock's mind.
As Sherlock had expected, a tall, lanky young man with a mop of curly black hair very much resembling his own ran up the steps to greet them. He was wearing an oatmeal-coloured cardigan and thick-rimmed black glasses that together made him look like a stereotypical socially-awkward nerd.
"Irene, Sherlock," he said breathlessly. "Anthea called and asked me to help out. I'm not really supposed to be doing MI5 work –"
"We know, Q" said Sherlock abruptly. "Contact Lestrade at MI5 and have the special ops standing by."
"Sherlock, they've been told to stand down by Mycroft."
Sherlock twisted around, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling with apprehension. Considering that Mycroft had already given the special ops team a blanket kill order, why would he pull them out now? There could only be one explanation, and it confirmed all of Sherlock's worst fears.
"So they're not getting ready for an assault?" he asked, scrutinising Q's expression.
"Heavens, no. Lestrade's currently in the Grand Dorchester drinking his wages."
They had reached the lift by now, and Irene hastily pulled out her mobile. "We need to warn Mycroft about the power station; he obviously doesn't know," she said impatiently.
"Stop!" Sherlock grabbed her phone and covered the touch screen with his hand. His first deduction regarding Mycroft's plan had been correct.
"Sherlock, a nuclear power station is about to explode under Westminster!"
"What?" Q looked from Irene to Sherlock as if he was trying to decide which one of them would break the charade and yell surprise!
"Q, get Lestrade, and make sure your boss doesn't find out about our presence – I have a feeling Gareth Mallory is in on this, too."
Q hesitated before nodding determinedly. Three minutes later, Sherlock and Irene were sitting in a deserted open-plan office. Lestrade's voice crackled over the speaker on the desk in front of them.
"Sherlock? Have you heard the news? MI6 have taken over the entire bloody operation and we're left out in the damn cold. Bloody Six and their bloody, bloody superiority complex. If I ever get hold of Mallory I'm going to shove these beers so far up his nose, it'll mash his brains."
"Aye! Hear, hear!" cried Gregson and Dimmock, who were presumably drinking their share of the aforementioned beers. Gregson, the head of Section C, and Dimmock, the commander of MI5 special ops, clearly had also been given the afternoon off, and were just as affronted by the prospect of losing their operation to MI6.
"Listen, Lestrade, Gregson, Dimmock: you have to get your teams and the special ops unit ready within the next half-hour. We need to raid the Underground," insisted Sherlock.
"Are you crazy?" said Lestrade. "Us, defy an order from Mycroft Holmes? You might get out of it alive, but I don't want to spend the rest of my days in some godforsaken Libyan prison being 'treated humanely'."
"If you give a damn about the potential intelligence we could get out of these rebels, you'll do this!" snapped Sherlock.
"I am not trading intelligence for the careers of my officers. Besides, even if we do capture any rebels, MI6 would just confiscate them and have them shot anyway," replied Lestrade gravely.
Sherlock took a deep breath and willed himself to remain calm. Throughout these last few weeks, he had been desperately trying to find some way of preventing the wholesale slaughter of the LRA base. If weapons were drawn, the special ops would make no distinction between terrorists and a brainwashed child.
John, it all came back to John. There was no point in pretending he didn't care about the boy anymore: it would just be deluding himself. There was a connection there – a rare, fragile bond that Sherlock had never experienced before – and he was terrified of losing it.
"There's a bloody great stock of uranium under Westminster!" cried Sherlock. "It's a power station left over from the Second World War. That's the thing they're going to blow up! Oh, the actual explosion will be a mere hole in the ground, but the radiation cloud released will cover most of Western Europe. And if that doesn't bother you, maybe you should consider the fact that the uranium would soak into the groundwater, polluting the Thames and all our reservoirs, making England completely uninhabitable!"
There was only silence over the line and when Sherlock looked up at Q, he could see that the man's face had turned a ghastly shade of grey.
"Does Mycroft know about this?" asked Lestrade finally. His voice sounded much weaker than before.
"Of course he does," said Sherlock, "and we have to stop him!"
"What? Why?" demanded the voices of all three very confused MI5 officers over the speakerphone.
"Mycroft hasn't really sent MI6 to complete your operation! He needed to make sure that none of us would be in the Underground when he sets his plan in motion. He is going to single-handedly stop the explosion and kill all the rebels," explained Sherlock.
"How?" This time Q joined in the unanimous chorus of questioners.
"He's going to flood the Underground with water from the Thames before the bomb can go off. Without the required heat, a nuclear meltdown cannot happen – and without some kind of warning, the rebels will be drowned! We have to stop him. We need those terrorists alive, or the information they possess will be lost forever."
What he didn't say was that he needed John alive.
From the other end of the line, there was nothing but a stunned silence.
Nuclear Meltdown vs Nuclear Explosion.
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