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Murder On The Holodeck Express



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#1 Nuttycomputer

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 08:01 AM

Timeframe: Voyager


"I don't get it."

"Come on. If you paid attention in chapter fifteen, then you would have seen that -"

"I read chapter fifteen," B'Elanna interrupted. "I gave chapter fifteen my full and undivided attention. And I still don't see how that makes Elverstone the killer."

Tom Paris sighed. "Honey," he said patiently, "you have to be able to read between the lines for something like this. Remember? Celandine and Lisetta were talking in the scullery?"

"Yes," B'Elanna replied, clearly not getting the point. "They were discussing... the dinner arrangements for Elverstone's visit." She shook her head. "You're going to have to explain this one to me, Tom, because right now, it's not making all that much sense."

Tom shook his head and set the padd back down on the table. "It doesn't matter," he said.

"What?" The engineer nearly jumped out of her seat. "You make me go through all that, and then say it doesn't matter? Do you have any clue, fly-boy, how much time I wasted reading that - that?" she demanded, indicating the padd.

Tom held his hands out in open apology. "Look, I'm sorry," he told her sincerely. "I just thought that with this weekend coming up, you could get in some practice at ye olde logic and deduction."

"This weekend?" B'Elanna sat back down and gave Tom severe fish-eye. "What about this weekend?"

"Well..."

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"I like the idea of playing detective, but spending a whole weekend on the holodeck?" The Doctor stopped categorising the hyposprays in front of him and looked up at his visitor. "I'm a doctor, Ensign, not a politician. I can't just... disappear for a whole weekend. What if some new strain of influenza or fever broke out among the crew? It might not be so bad if Lieutenant Paris was on hand, but I couldn't trust him with a case of metroprovaline for forty-eight hours, let alone the wellbeing of this crew." He raised a questioning eyebrow. "I'd be returning to a skeleton crew. Literally."

Harry Kim waited for the doctor to finish his little tirade. When it was clear that he was in fact finished for the moment, he spoke up. "Doc, we'll only be gone for six hours," he said. "I'll admit to not having read any medical texts in a while, but I don't really see what could happen in just six hours without you here."

"Isn't that called tempting fate?" the Doctor asked darkly, attention returned to his work. "Accidents have a habit of following Mister Paris wherever he goes."

"Just consider it," Harry told him.

The Doctor looked up again. "How many of the crew will be there?" he asked.

"Uh... no more than six or seven," Harry said after a few seconds' considered thought. "Eight maximum. Aw, come on," he added, following the medic as he circled one of the biobeds and crossed the main part of Sickbay. "Just think - a real mystery for you to solve."

"I get those every day," was the only response.

"What do you mean?" Harry asked.

The Doctor turned and faced him over the desk in his office. "Answer this for me, Mister Kim," he stated dryly. "How many patients complaining of stomach and gastrointestinal pains to me will it take for Mister Neelix to abandon the recipe for his latest replicator substitute?"

Well, Harry had to admit that he had been stumped there. He had nothing to say to that.

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"You've been saying it yourself, Captain," Tom said in tones of perfected seriousness. "We all need some time for rest and relaxation. And with all due respect, ma'am," he added, grinning a little, "that even includes you."

Kathryn leaned forwards, resting her elbows on the desk of her ready room, head on one hand. "When did you say this was going to be, Tom?" she asked, a little gleam entering into her eyes.

"This weekend, Captain," Tom answered smoothly, an innocent look on his face. "Three days in the future and five hundred years in the past."

"Sounds intriguing," Kathryn admitted, leaning back again. "Now. Who else has been roped into this?"

Tom counted off on his fingers. "Harry, myself, the doc even agreed to show up, B'Elanna can't make it, she's too busy this weekend. So far, four if you say yes."

"Four's not really enough for murder-mystery, is it?" the captain enquired, looking equally as innocent as Tom had a few moments before. "How about I bring a guest?" she said, breaking into a grin. "Captain's prerogative."

"Depends who you have in mind," Tom replied swiftly. "Needless to say Michael Sullivan won't be available." At Janeway's surprised look, he elaborated. "I asked him already. Said he's showing someone called Susanna around Fair Haven this weekend."

"Susanna?" Kathryn asked. "She a relation of his?"

Tom nodded. "His niece from England is in the country for a couple of weeks, and wanted to see Uncle Michael for some of it." He grinned. "She was Harry's idea in the beginning, but apparently some of the stellar cartography team are smitten with her already."

Kathryn smiled. "I'm sure you wouldn't have it any other way," she said. "I'll bring a guest this weekend if you get a good mystery for us to get our teeth into."

"Aye Captain," Tom said, giving her a mock-salute. He then slid her a padd across the desk, which she picked up. "Just a few costume suggestions," he informed her. "Nothing like you had with Arachnia, I assure you." He then left the ready room to return to the bridge.

Kathryn flicked through the list Tom had compiled for her, and sighed. "It's a shame," she said to her mug of coffee, which had been sitting quietly off to one side. "I quite liked that outfit in the end..."

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"I am not wearing a dress."

"Look," Harry said, trying to sound forceful and, well, failing, "however much the idea may appeal to you, Georgian women in the nineteenth century did not wear Starfleet uniforms, or even anything remotely resembling trousers."

Li Morwenna squared her shoulders and gave Harry a glare to be proud of. "I. Refuse. To wear a dress," she stated calmly, the only signs of her annoyance being a slight reddish tinge to her nose ridges.

Harry started panicking, although he tried his best not to let it show. "I never said you had to wear a dress," he replied, trying instead for the diplomatic approach. "All I said was that you can't wear trousers."

"Which equates to the same thing," the Bajoran engineer shot back instantly. "A dress."

"You could always wear a skirt," Robert Mackie offered, standing off to one side, watching the other two ensigns with a somewhat amused expression on his face; at Morwenna's look in his direction, however, he backed up a couple of steps and acquiesced. "It was only a suggestion!" he said, holding out his hands in defeat.

Not taking her eyes off Voyager's science officer (and not blinking, either), Morwenna considered Robert's suggestion out loud, before stalking off down the corridor silently and vanishing around the corner (incidentally, she had indeed decided on the compromise of donning some kind of a skirt).

Robert watched her go, and then turned back to Harry. "She'll be there," he said confidently.

"How can you be so sure of that?" Harry retorted, rubbing the back of his neck briefly.

Robert shrugged diffidently, a smirk growing on his face. "Because she loves a good mystery," he informed the science officer in a mock-conspiratorial tone. "Doesn't like being in the dark too much when there's an answer to be had."

Harry grinned. "She'll love what we've cooked up then," he replied.

"Any clues as to what to expect?" the Scotsman asked slyly.

"Not a single one," Harry told him. "You'll just have to wait and see."

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Three days later...
"Welcome to the manor," Tom announced, looking around at the small group of people clustered in front of him, in the centre of a richly coloured (and somewhat large) entrance hall. "This is Starflit House, country seat of the second Earl of Maquis and his wife, Lady Kathryn Janeway." He ignored the smirks and general rolling of eyes and continued. "The Earl and Lady Janeway have invited close friends and colleagues for a celebratory weekend." He then added, in his normal voice, "You should all know your characters by now."

The other people nodded.

"Doctor John Doe, physician to the Earl and his wife," the Doctor announced dryly, bowing slightly, the tails in his dinner-style jacket rustling slightly.

"Henry Kim, ambassador to the court of St. James from China," Harry said, trying (and failing) to keep a straight face.

"Robert Mackie, Member of Parliament and hunting partner of the Earl," Robert stated.

Morwenna was next. "Morwenna Mackie, Mister Mackie's wife," she said. (It had been decided that some of the "characters" would be paired off, to create "teams" for the mystery, and she and Robert had opted to go with each other than Tom or Harry make the decision for them.)

"And I," Tom declared with a sweeping flourish of his top hat, "am Thomas Paris, a born and bred gentleman, and close personal affiliate to Lady Janeway. And if you would all step this way," he continued, indicating a sweeping spiral staircase behind them that led upwards and into a long, rectangular room, lavishly decorated and with a magnificent view of the Scottish moors.

"This is where we part ways for the "night"," Harry explained, taking over the reins from Tom. "Now, we have an odd number of people, so the groups will be a little uneven. Doc, you're with Tom." The Doctor bristled a little, but said nothing. "The Earl and Lady are together," he added, trying not to blush, "and I'm with Bob and Morwenna. Rooms have been prepared by the household staff, and the program will take things over from here."

As he finished speaking, three of the holographic household staff appeared as if from nowhere; they each commandeered one of the groups of officers and led them through different doors at the opposite end of the parlour.

Kathryn and Chakotay were eventually shown into a bedroom that was probably about the size of Kathryn's childhood home, if her proportions were correct. The room's main feature was a colossal king-size bed, covered with what turned out to be sumptuous silken sheets.

"Not bad at all," Chakotay said, breaking the silence. When she turned around to look, Kathryn saw him sitting on the edge of the bed, hands splayed along the different layers of coverings. "I'm not sure what I did to get this sort of inheritance, though," he smiled.

"Whatever it was, it can't have been to do with those breeches," Kathryn told him with a half-smile, indicating the riding apparel that her first officer had been bedecked in by the holodeck program (and diplomatically choosing to ignore the exaggerated dress that she herself was wearing).

"Or that dress of yours, o dear wife of mine," he shot back instantly, smiling dryly.

Kathryn grinned back and settled herself on the chair next to the dressing table, and sniffed when she realised that in order to do so she had to sweep out the reams of material from underneath her. "I have no doubt we'll find out about that inheritance of yours sooner or later." At his slightly confused expression, she elaborated. "If your character turns out to be a suspect in the murder you'll have an entire past history that we get to delve into and analyse."

"Have you done this before?" Chakotay asked.

She nodded. "Just the once. Third year of the Academy. Four of us went to England for a semester, and we stayed a weekend in a small nineteenth century palace on the south coast with three other people." Kathryn smiled, remembering, and then put on a somewhat exaggerated English accent. "I was Katarina Blomfield," she informed him.

Chakotay grinned impishly. "Were you the murderer?"

"Oh God, no," she replied, returning to her normal voice. "I was a lady."

They both laughed.

Then a distant scream broke the laughter, and the mood.

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By the time Kathryn and Chakotay had made it back down to the parlour where they had started from, there was already a small crowd of people clustered around something (or someone?) on the floor. As the two got closer, the group dissipated somewhat and the pair could begin to try and see what was going on.

However, before they could actually see what all the fuss and commotion was about, a flustered voice rang out from behind them.

"Out of the way... I'm a doctor!"

From pretty much out of nowhere, the Doctor appeared, wielding his black briefcase (and sporting a... fetching stethoscope around his neck) around in one hand. Without saying anything else he knelt down in the middle of the rapidly reappearing crowd...

...and promptly ruined the authentic-looking atmosphere by pulling out a medical tricorder from the briefcase, and running it over the unconscious form of a uniformed maid from the "house".

"Is she alright?" Chakotay asked, looking genuinely concerned.

"I hope so," Kathryn answered in a low voice.

A second later, "What happened?" It was Harry. "We heard a scream, and... woa."

Beside him, Tom, Robert and Morwenna all nodded mutely, all eyes trained on the Doctor and his "patient", as he continued to wave a relic from the twenty-fourth century over an effigy of someone from the nineteenth. Had the situation not been quite so tense, Robert would probably have found that quite funny. As it was, he had to settle for looking worried, along with everyone else until...

"This woman is dead," the Doctor announced dryly, not a hint of sincerity in his voice.

"Ah gee, Doc." Tom. "So that's why they call it a murder-mystery." Beside him, Harry snickered but said nothing.

The Doctor glared at him. "I wouldn't find the situation so amusing if it was one of you lying there unconscious," he shot back. "Although with you Lieutenant, I might be forced to make an exception. Which reminds me, you've got an appointment with me first thing Monday morning."

Tom shut up, although both Harry and Morwenna were snickering quietly to themselves now.

"So, is this the murder we've got to solve, then?" Robert asked.

Tom shook his head. "Actually," he said, rubbing the back of his neck, "Harry was supposed to be the victim."

"What?!" Harry protested. "Why me?"

In response, the helmsman shrugged. "You make a good dead body, Harry," he said, somewhat sincerely. "After all," he added blithely, "you have had experience. But anyway," he continued, choosing not to look at his friend, "we've got a victim." The 'dead' maid was indicated. "How about we solve the murder?"

"How do we know if we've got it right or not, then?" Kathryn asked, and beside her Chakotay nodded, still looking at the body on the floor.

"Oh, we'll find out," Tom replied darkly. He then lightened up a little. "Harry wasn't the only... option for murder victim, shall we say."

Harry didn't look happy.

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It is usually around this point in the proceedings that the mystery-solving exercise would be described in a fair amount of illustrative detail, including some of the more memorable side-plots and humorous events; for example, Harry miming Tom's painful and prolonged death to an amused Robert and Morwenna, or Kathryn's reaction to the discovery that high-brow Georgian women drank copious amounts of tea rather than coffee.

Unfortunately, the solution of this particular mystery was found a little quicker than normal, namely because there was a sentient hologram determined to play detective to the best of his ability. It was because of this that the mystery was solved within about an hour, rather than the three to five that Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Kim had envisaged. (For anybody still following the plot, it was the housekeeper's sinister-looking husband (the butler, a Mr White) who had done the dirty deed and killed the maid, although much to the Doctor's chagrin, it was not with the candlestick in the study.) Therefore it would not be advisable that the conclusion to this was shared in any greater detail than this... condensed version.

Needless to say, all seven people who took part enjoyed the activity, each to various extents, and once the Doctor had returned to Sickbay amidst a dark comment about skeleton crew and routine physicals, it was agreed among the remaining six that Emergency Medical Holograms would no longer be asked to take part in murder-mysteries with organic companions.

And if they were ever asked why that was?

"Some mysteries are best left unsolved."

#2 Alex Mcpherson

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 05:00 PM

*after 10 minutes reading*
oh u finished?
*wipes sleep from eyes* sorry lol. just not big on cleudo.

#3 Duo Maxwell

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 06:48 PM

Nice!

#4 Mr. Fibbles

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 01:54 AM

Nice, but it was kinda... Ehh at the end where you just end it all of a sudden... Itdve been better if youd told out the ending in the story.
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#5 Nuttycomputer

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 05:59 PM

I kinda had to end it at the end there. My complete version is not so much more or less a short story. It's actually a vew pages longer so i just wanted to finish the story so it would work.

#6 Rigs

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Posted 21 July 2004 - 04:16 AM

Very nice!




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