After her illuminating conversation with Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, Bookworm sent a missive to Dr. Obolensky, asking for a meeting. Eventually, he replied, naming the old bridge as the place to meet. She felt rather a qualm about that, as it wouldn’t leave her many avenues for escape, but she decided to take the chance.
She saw the airship well before she saw the doctor. As she strode up the incline of the bridge, she saw Dr. Obolensky ahead, seated on a chair he must have brought for the purpose. She drew near…but not *too* near. “Well, Doctor.”
“Good evening, Miss Hienrichs. I understand you wish to have a chat?” He raised an eyebrow.
Bookworm nodded. “We know what you did to Mr. Holmes and me.”
“Well, I should hope so,” he replied impatiently. “Mister Nom had explicit instructions, and dullard though he is, if you make the orders simple enough, he follows them.”
“Heh.” Somehow, she wasn’t surprised at that. “We have three questions for you–“
“Just three?” Dr. Obolensky asked, insouciantly. Well, then, ask away. I can spare that much time from my busy schedule.”
“One–did you know that this process would result in actual transference of skills and traits, not just sharing of them?”
“Well, do realize this was something of a first test of the device. So, I take it Mister Holmes isn’t his usual self then?”
Bookworm hid her dismay. ‘Damn the man,’ she thought furiously. ‘That he would be so casual with our lives and minds, and use an untested devise on us!’ “So you didn’t know,” she asked aloud,” that it would transfer more than Mr. Holmes’s boxing skills to me?”
She smiled sardonically as Dr. Obolensky pulled out a notepad and scribbled a few notes. “Well, I expected *some* extraneous traits to filter through, one can only influence what he dreamt about, not dictate,” he said. “If he was, for instance, to indulge in a favorite meal after a fight, I would not be surprised if you found yourself with a taste for it.”
“Hmmm, yes. I can see that. I’ve rather quickly developed a talent for the violin. I also keep trying to smoke a pipe…though my body quickly lets me know that that’s not welcome.”
“Indeed?” Dr. Obolensky chuckled. ” Yes, that would be quite disconcerting, and a bit more than I planned. But not bad for a first trial.” He rubbed his chin.
“Well, then. I think I already know the answer to my third question–whether or not you know if this will reverse itself.”
Dr. Obolensky grinned. “Well, then, enlighten me as to my answer!
“Given that this was a trial run, and there have already been unexpected results, you do not know with any certainty.”
“That is quite untrue.”
Bookworm raised an eyebrow very high. “Indeed?” ‘Perhaps I didn’t receive much in the way of Mr. Holmes’s deductive skills after all,’ she thought wryly.
“While there is always *some* portion of uncertainty in any fresh experiment, I am quite aware of the principles involved,” he said firmly. “You can reassure your tobacconist that your patronage is only temporary. The brain is quite amazing, and will, barring physical damage or replacement, find its way.”
Bookworm allowed some relief to cross her expression. “I see.”
” For instance, if you will allow me a bit of conjecture,” he continued, and she nodded warily. “No doubt your playing of the violin is as skilled as Mister Holmes was…on pieces to which he was already familiar. However, should you attempt to play some piece of music to which he had not himself learned, you would find yourself flummoxed.” He nodded to himself. ” The effect is quite akin to my Hypnotic ray.”
Bookworm listened as he continued, interested almost in spite of herself. “Mister Holmes obviously has not forgotten what I borrowed from him, he’s just…misplaced the pathway in his brain to where it’s stored, if you will. No doubt a consequence of the copying process. That will make the device quite a bit less useful, unfortunately.” He tsked to himself.
Bookworm hid her relief, and fixed the doctor with a stern eye. “I’d suggest you refrain from further such experiments on us.”
He chuckled. “Only if it’s absolutely necessary, I assure you. I would have chosen another test subject, had not it dovetailed so neatly into the events.”
“Hmmm, yes.” Bookworm thought back to the events surrounding the boxing match, and couldn’t help but agree, though she’d never tell him that. She paused, then said, “Well. I do thank you for the information. I do prefer to think you’re correct about this being temporary.”
“Well, if it isn’t, take comfort in the fact that if it isn’t, you’ll not have to worry about thugs in dark alleys ever again.” Dr. Obolensky chuckled.
“And, much as I’d *prefer* to arrest you for assault upon Mr. Holmes and myself, I have the feeling that would be a futile attempt.” Bookworm looked past him to the airship, and saw movement inside. He had support, of course, support that would, she was sure, prevent her from taking him into custody. She let her hand drift a little closer to her revolver, though, just in case.
Dr. Obolensky smirked. “Well, considering New Babbage’s delightful lack of a judicial system, I believe you’re right.”
“There’s always the new asylum,” she replied.
“Do you really believe me to be insane, Miss Hienrichs?”
“Insane? No. Dangerous? Absolutely. I think they’d make room for someone like that.”
He chuckled. “Perhaps.”
“And even if we have no judicial system,” she continued, an idea dawning, “I’m sure you’ve committed crimes elsewhere where such is in place.”
“Oh certainly, but I assure you, all of those places are quite happy to have me here, instead of visiting them. Why, I suspect the Clockwinder may even be getting paid for keeping me from bothering Europe.”
Bookworm froze a little, wondering if there really was something behind that, or if it was merely a bow drawn at a venture. “Now then, did you have any more questions?” Dr. Obolensky continued. “Do get them all out–I’m unlikely to be this helpful later on, you know.”
“Heh. Nothing pertaining to this subject…and nothing that you’re likely to answer, I’m sure.” She stood her ground as he stood up from the chair.
“Well then, let me just compliment you on your new sense of style,” he said, looking over the blue suit she was wearing. “Must be more of Mister Holmes influence, but you’re looking less ladylike every day.” He tipped his hat as someone emerged from the airship and carried the chair inside. Bookworm bit back a retort, and contented herself with a cold nod.
“I’ll be off, then!” he called from the entrance. ” Good evening, Miss Hienrichs! My apologies to Mr Holmes!”
Bookworm watched as the airship ponderously lifted away from the bridge, carrying Dr. Obolensky…well, who knew where? She herself made her way off the bridge and headed home. Once there, she penned a note to Mr. Holmes, telling him the gist of the conversation, and her hope that Dr. Obolensky was correct that their behavior would return to normal. She sent the note off by urchin delivery.
Soon afterwards, she heard Mariah enter the house, and went down to relate the conversation to her. “Do you trust him on this?” Mariah asked.
“Strangely enough, I do,” Bookworm replied. “As I told Holmes and Watson, he has no need to prevaricate now. So, hopefully, these strange…habits will die away soon. In the meantime…” She paused, a thought striking her. “In the meantime, I’ll go visit my parents. Father doesn’t smoke a pipe, so there won’t be any around to tempt me. Nor are there spare violins about the house.” She smiled.
“A good idea, Miss Bookworm,” Mariah replied, smiling in return. “When would you like to leave?”
“As soon as possible after the party, I think. I’d rather leave before my change becomes too noticeable to people.”
Mariah nodded. “I’ll make the arrangements.”
((OOC–It’s nearly time for my yearly trip to Yellowstone, so I had to write myself away somehow. *grin* Leaving tomorrow afternoon to spend the night at my parents’ house, so from then until late Sunday, I’ll be internet-less. Have fun with the krakens!))