In the year 2280, I received my doctorate in medicine from St Bartholomew's, the Royal Order's main medical and scientific research facility. I was duly attached as a field doctor to 5th Battalion of Her Majesty's Royal Legion. From then on, I was Second Lieutenant John Watson, the expertly trained doctor, saving hundreds of lives a year. Until, however, I was shot in the shoulder, by a crossbow bolt from an Atomguard soldier. If not for the courage of Murray, my captain, the Atomguard surely would have put my head on a spike. But he sent me back across from no-man's land, on the back of his horse. I was left with a limp, as, for all I could think, it struck a nerve. And so, with my health irretrievably ruined, I was discharged, and had to retreat to civilian life.
A month later, I was assigned a psychotherapist, and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. My left hand, the dominant one, was left with a tremor, from my PTSD. My therapist informed me that keeping a diary of everything that happened to me would help in adjusting to civilian life. But, as I told her, nothing interesting ever happened to me. I, however, could not have been more wrong. For my injury hadn't ended my adventures. For they were only just beginning.
8:15 AM, Thursday, the 8th of October, 2291
Baker Town, The London Wasteland, The United Kingdom
I limped along the busy streets of the settlement, careful not to hit any rad-chickens with my cane. I just needed to clear my mind. I'd been cooped up in that hotel room for too long, merely pondering on what to write. So far, I had been right, for nothing intersting had happened to me. Behind me, a slightly familiar, male voice called.
"John!" He shouted, "John Watson?" I turned around, to see a rather pudgy man, dressed in a lab coat.
"It's Michael Stamford. We trained together at St Bartholomew's." He said.
"Michael!" I said, pleased to see a familiar face for once, "It's been ages."
"Eleven years, if I remeber correctly." Said Michael, "Last I heard, you were fighting the Atomguard and getting shot at."
"That sounds about right." I replied.
"So what happened, then?" Michael asked, pushing his glasses up his nose.
"I got shot at." I said, pulling down my shirt and revealing the wound on my shoulder.
"You poor devil!" Michael said, "You'll have to tell me everything! I've got a table booked at a nice little café here. If it's not too much for your limp, we can go there."
I filled him in on everything that had happened to me, and had finished off my tale as we sat down in the café.
"That's quite some adventure!" Michael said, "And I though my work at the local clinic and St Bart's was interesting. Tell me, John, where are you living?"
"Oh, I've been staying at the hotel, but I'm thinking of moving to a cheaper settlement, like St Pancras. You can hardly afford Baker Town on a Royal Legion pension. Not unless I get a flat-share."
"So why don't you?" Michael asked.
I laughed, "Who'd want me for a flat-mate?"
"You know, you're the second person to ask me that today." Said Michael.
"And who was the first?" I asked, intrigued.
"I can take you to see him if you want." Michael suggested, "He's currently at St Bart's, doing some chemical research. I'll book a carriage. It should be at the town gates in twenty minutes."
9:00 AM, Thursdar, the 8th of October, 2291
Saint Bartholomew's Hospital, The City of London, The London Wasteland, The United Kingdom
The main chemistry lab of St Bart's had been improved greatly since I was a trainee. It was rather empty, except for one man, holding a pipette and a glass vial of acid.
"Wow," I announced, looking around the laboratory, "Nothing like my day."
"Good day, Michael." The man greeted my companion.
"Ah, I was just looking for you!" Michael said to the man, "This is Doctor John Watson, an old friend of mine."
The man put his work down on the table, walked over, and shook my hand. He was a tall, thin man, who looked on the good side of his twenites. His skin was pale, as though he spent much time inside, and his hair was black, and slicked back. He wore a black suit, and a purple shirt, with the top button undone. Suddenly, he asked me, "Atomguard, or Children of Atom?"
"What?" I asked the man.
"Where you fighting the Atomguard, or The Children of Atom?" The man repeated. His voice was deep, but not in your typical deep-voiced manner. More in the manner of someone who likes to aver-dramatize everything.
"The Atomguard," I answered, turning to Michael, "You told him about me?"
"Nope," Stamford said, "Not a word."
"Then how did he-" I was cut off by the tall man.
"Stamford, this terminal isn't working, do you have anything I can send an email on?" He asked.
"Oh, here," I said, reaching into my pocket and handing him my second hand Pip-Pad, that my brother had recently given me, "Use this."
"Thanks." He said, slowly taking the pad from my left hand, "You don't mind the violin, do you?"
"What?" I asked, once more.
"The violin." He explained, "I play. Potential flatmates should know what to expect from each other."
"If Stamford didn't tell you anything about me, then how do you I was looking for a flatmate?" I asked, surprised.
"Simple!" The man said, as though it was, "Less than a day after I mention to Stamford that I'm looking from a flat-mate, he shows up with an old friend, clearly retired from the Royal Legion, who is clearly looking for a flat-mate also." He handed me my Pip-Pad back. "Listen, I've got to dash, I think I left my riding crop in the morgue."
"You're riding crop in the morgue?" I asked, horrified, "Is that it, then? We don't know a thing about each other, and we're getting a flat together?"
"As a matter of fact, I know quite a bit about you." The man said, slipping on a long, double-breasted coat, "I know you recently retired as a doctor in The Royal Legion, after a nasty injury. Your therapist thinks your limp is psychosomatic, and she's right. You're unemployed, but refuse to go to your brother for help. Possibly because he walked out on his wife, but more likely because of his alcoholism."
I was shocked into silence. How could he possibly know that? He was right about everything: My time in the Royal Legion as a doctor, that my therapist thought my limp was psychosomatic, and my brother, Harry, walking out on Clara, his wife, and Harry turning to alcohol. He seemed to just know it all.
"As for myself," the man said, tying a dark blue scarf around his neck, "The name's Sherlock Holmes, and the address is 221B Baker Town. See you there at noon tomorrow." He walked through the door, flinging it shut behind him.
As I opened my mouth to speak, Stamford stopped me, and said, "Yes. He's always like that."