Monday, January 16, 2017

Holmes, the Colorado Rapids and the “Balkanized Accounts”: Tale No. 5

Holmes and Watson Puzzle over the Case
(Image: Wikipedia Commons)

By David Rusk

Revised November 23, 2021
Originally published in Black and Red United, January 16, 2017

Preface: This is the fifth in a series of Tales from Buzzard Point that explores the rich traditions and myths surrounding the legendary DC United soccer team and its fabled history at Buzzard Point. The Tales from Buzzard Point are historical fiction and parody.

Editors Note: We are fortunate to begin 2017 with the product of investigative research by Rawley Vaughan, who has uncovered yet another unpublished manuscript of Dr. John H. Watson, companion and chronicler of Sherlock Holmes’ many adventures in crime detection.

Mr. Vaughan discovered this tale during a recent trip to London while visiting the redeveloped St. Pancras railway station. Evidently, some of its rooms had been makeshift storage for the British Library, and these forgotten pages were uncovered during a nosy inspection of random closets.

Holmes and Watson Engage in a Conversation

Holmes and I spent our morning tea reading accounts of the Boer War in The Times.

“The sun never sets on the British Empire, eh, Holmes?” I remarked, not expecting a reply. One can imagine my surprise when he did.

“Have no fear Watson, that is one of the few things the sun does.”

“I say, Holmes, that’s rather----“

“Morning post!” interrupted Mrs. Hudson, barging in with a small stack of paper on a pewter plate. “This one looks like the hand of your brother, Mr. Holmes. Oh, and good morning, Dr. Watson.” She nodded at me while presenting the post to my esteemed confederate.

His eyes darted across the page faster with each line they consumed.

“Hmmp!” A pause. “Ah-HA!” He carelessly stuffed the note in his waistcoat pocket as he reached for the globe. After a spin-and-a-half, he rested an erect finger on the nether regions of the Austrian Empire. “Mycroft, my dear Watson, asks about the sunset of another empire.”

“How do you mean?” I asked, sidling up to the dusty globe.

“The question is the Balkan one.” My quizzical look disappointed him. Shaking his head, Holmes mumbled, “You are crippled by the last war, enthralled by the current one, and blind to the next!” My confusion cubed. “Come, Watson! We are invited to the most conniving place in London: the Balkan Desk of the Foreign Office.”

We hired a hansom cab to take us to Whitehall. Its imposing buildings gleamed above the mud and waste in the street. We found Mycroft waiting for us in the ornate lobby, from whence he led us upstairs to a corridor, then downstairs to another corridor, and then down again—if we were subterranean I would not have been surprised. He opened a heavy door that had muffled the cacophony within.

“Don’t mind them. Anarchists in training,” explained Mycroft, as if such a statement made sense. Holmes’s brother escorted us down a smoke-filled hallway where the number of languages spoken was only outstripped by the amount of paper from myriad files strewn about the floor. We passed by the Albanian desk, manned by an insouciant Mr. Salihi, as well as the Bulgarian desk of Mr. Stoichkov, who was kicking the stuffing out of a lad who must’ve brought him some tepid tea.

Finally, at the end of the hall, was a wide door with clouded glazing that read in old gold “Balkan Concerns, Orthodox and Catholic.” Mycroft knocked thrice and, receiving the muffled proffer, put his hand on the knob, made eye contact with each of us with a cocked head and wry smile, and opened the door. “Ah, Mr. Boscovic! So kind of you to make time for this visit.”

A Discussion with Boscovic and Jakovic

The man behind the dark desk stood and greeted us, and then introduced the younger man still seated, clutching his cap. “May I introduce Mr. Jakovic? Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson.” Handshakes and nods. “Mr. Jakovic is a clerk at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Two days ago he received an unexpected message."

“At Greenwich?” I asked incredulously.

“Well—“started Boscovic.

“Perhaps I should explain.” And so Mr. Jakovic began. “I am native to my homeland of Croatia, though my life has brought me to the dominions of Her Majesty. Presently I am employed by the Royal Observatory, where the task is, well, to observe.” We all took a seat; Holmes, finding none, leaned against the patina of Mr. Boscovic’s desk.

“We look. We listen. But often we only see or hear what we set out to.” Holmes’s eyebrow arched, which elicited yet another sly grin from Mycroft. “As Mr. Boscovic says, two days ago I received a message, though not on a device designed for communication."

“Beg pardon, but how,” I had to interject, “how did you know the message was for you?”

“My dear Watson, do your surroundings not answer that question?!” blurted Holmes. “The message clearly was in Serbo-Croatian.” That reproach warranted four strokes of my moustache. “Jakovic here is probably the only conversant of that language at Greenwich. Furthermore, that the message was received on a non-communicative device suggests we are dealing with a technology of another realm.”

“You mean another planet?” queried Mycroft.

“Balderdash!” I chortled. “Spare me this fiction. Let the man tell his tale.”

“Dr. Watson, sir, your colleague is not wrong,” continued Jakovic. “I cannot explain it, but it arrived as Morse code, in Serbo-Croatian, by some means transmitted to our largest Leyden jar. I cannot explain it, but…yet…it is a communication, somehow, if not me.”

“Pray tell, young Jakovic, what was this communique?” demanded Holmes.

The Croat’s grip of his cap slowly loosened before he placed it on Boscovic’s desk. He sighed and began, “The message came from America. It’s from Mr. Tesla.”

Nikola Tesla?!” interjected Mycroft, with a name I did not know. “My word! How can you be sure?”

“He signed it, sir, so to speak.”

“I could sign a note ‘Tesla’ all the same,” added Holmes. “But I grant you, there are only so many speakers of your mother tongue who can send a message unexpectedly across an ocean. Pray, continue.”

A Message from Nikola Tesla

“Yes, sir. Mr. Tesla is in a place called Colorado Springs. Well, let me translate it for you” Jakovic reached for his cap and removed several sheets of paper tucked in its inner lining. “The message repeated for hours before stopping abruptly. I recognized it as a communication about the fifth go ‘round.” He unfolded his cache and recited:

From the Experimental Station in Colorado Springs. Attention to the authorities of the British Crown. Urgent message from N. Tesla: My station is proving exceptional at sending and receiving transmissions of energy. Four days ago I surveilled the confirmation of a transfer of funds to an organization in the nearby City of Denver from an unexpected source. Its potential detriment to me—and to you—warrants my transfer of this intelligence. Ten million guineas were sent from the Woolwich Arsenal to an entity known as the Colorado Rapids.

Authorization on both sides was given by one Stanley Kroenke, who owns several concerns in and around Denver. I fear that this Rapids outfit is but another front of my old nemesis, Thomas Edison. If my suspicions prove true, he is being financed via a misappropriation of money from Her Majesty’s royal arsenal. Thus, this development appears to weaken the British military while strengthening my rival. What these Rapids intend to do with such a fortune is beyond me, but I fear they will use it to make my presence here unbearable. Please provide a telegraph reply via Washington, DC, instead of New York, as I fear that Edison has tapped the lines near his base in New Jersey.

Yours in freedom, Nikola Tesla.

“I say…” muttered I to a silent room.

“Stranger than fiction,” supplemented Mycroft, spreading his eyebrows with his fingers.

We all drank it in like rare Burgundy.

Holmes and Watson Engaged in Rapt Discussion
(Image: Wikipedia Commons)

Naturally, Holmes broke the peace. “Let us determine what we can know and what we cannot.” He spun himself into a corner of Boscovic’s office and put his hand flat against the wood-paneled wall. “We know the transfers to and from the accounts of the Woolwich Arsenal. We know how Tesla communicates in this medium. …Furthermore, we can know the official dealings of this Mr. Kroenke. We cannot know, here in London, details about his rabble of Rapids. We can know whether our interlocutor is the great inventor, Nikola Tesla. And, unfortunately, he cannot confirm our identities or allegiances.”

“If we could turn one of those ‘cannots’ into a ‘can,’ I dare say, we could make some sense of this case,” offered Boscovic. The room concurred.

“May I suggest the following,” asked Holmes without actually asking. “Jakovic and Boscovic should go to Greenwich to respond to Tesla that none other than the world’s first consulting detective is on the case, as a courtesy to a fellow genius. Ask him by what means he transmitted his prior message, so we might better receive future ones. Await his reply. Meanwhile, we three to Woolwich, for red ink in the arsenal books. Once Tesla replies, please chase us there. Hmmp?!”

He barely finished before he stormed out the door. I, doglike, followed. The clacking of his shoes was an echoing staccato above the haze of strange languages. The game was, as they say, afoot.

Mycroft Holmes Unlocks Doors at Royal Arsenal

The Royal Arsenal at Woolwich is a secret brick city, with many factories but one purpose: arms. It lies on the south Thamesbank, in the grey miasma of East London. I knew of it but had never thought I’d be allowed inside—let alone would want to witness its industrial hell. But an afternoon with the Holmes brothers can prove unpredictable.

I am no longer surprised when a quiet word from Mycroft can unlock a door that a pick or even a key cannot. Twenty minutes after passing through the massive Beresford Gate, we entered a surprisingly well-lit office with four clerks evidently immune to interruptions, given the furious noises of neighbors. Who appeared to be the head clerk had a small private office at the back of the common room. Mycroft strode across to knock, gained entry, and two minutes later both men emerged with raised eyebrows.

“Mr. Wenger, may I introduce my brother, Mr. Holmes, and his companion Dr. Watson.” Wenger was a tall, bespectacled man, wearing a red neck tie and a grey, button-down sweater.

“How do you do,” he said with a strong Gallic accent. “I hope I can help you, but I must warn you, uhh…our records are organized around...uhh…commodity purchases. I mean to say, zis is not a bank.”

“Quite right,” started Sherlock. “By the by, Alsace or Lorraine?”>


“Ah! Lovely dogs you have there.” Holmes continued, “Given your warning, let me ask you this: Does the Royal Arsenal purchase commodities from the American state of Colorado?”

“Hmm… I don’t know that place. All of our American commodities are handled by a…a…”

“Middle man?” I offered.

“Hmm… perhaps. We only deal with our agent, who is based in New Jersey. It would be foolish to try to manage acquisitions in America from here in London.”

“Who is your American agent?” Mycroft asked.

“Ha! Brother, who said he was American? He’s merely in America.”

“Well, who said it was a he?” retorted Wenger, which drew a delayed smirk from both men. “Look, if your inquiry is concerned with transfers of funds to the United States, we can confirm zose occur. But as to which state – or matching zat to a particular commodity – our records would be silent.”

“Understood,” acquiesced Holmes. He clapped his hands, removed his gloves, and found a window out of which to stare.

“My curiosity must be satisfied,” I said, rather indecorously breaking the pensive mood, “How does a foreigner rise to such a position at the Royal Arsenal?”

“I’ve had this job for 20 years, sir. Would it be less surprising if I faked my accent, and you learned my nationality later?” Wenger was indignant but he had used that line before.

Mycroft caressed with a diplomatic glove, “Of course we’re not questioning your loyalty or fitness, sir. We’re merely trying to understand a foreign hand’s receiving coin from, we believe, this office.”

Wenger snapped back, “Khnnh! Our oil is Persian, our saltpetre American, our…fortified wine Portuguese. Welcome to the world, sirs! Foreign hands all ‘round,” shaking his own before Mycroft’s stoic stance.

Sherlock was waiting for such a rattled moment. He pounced: “Tell me, Wenger, who is Stanley Kroenke?”

He was stunned. But more stunning was the pregnant pause of the junior clerks in the room. Then this truly was the dynamite in this facility, I thought.

“I… Wh…” With his mouth agape and nearly drooling, Wenger looked about the room, making vacant eye contact with everyone, both us and his clerks.

“Perhaps…” He slowly walked back to his office. I was half-worried he would reach for a revolver – or worse (who knows what one could find or fashion at an arsenal). Instead, to my relief, he reached for his overcoat. He donned his coat, which was one of the new-fangled designs that has a zipper—about which I had read a review from the Chicago World’s Fair—but the small device flustered him. After five failed attempts, he sighed, crashed his arms by his sides, and thought about his next sentence, which was: “I fear it is time you met our American agent.” We all relaxed at this concession, but re-tensed after he said, “Her name is Irene Adler. She is from New Jersey, near our base of operations at the Port of New York. She is in London presently, just on the north bank, the Docklands.”

Wenger exhaled while the three of us gasped. “She can tell you more about Mr. Kroenke. If I dared, it could be the end of my job, or…”

“Say no more,” I consoled, for he uttered a name that links the Royal Arsenal to Moriarty. We needed him alive.

Then, suddenly, Boscovic and Jakovic burst into the room. “He wrote back!” cried the latter.

“Come, come! What say?”

From the Experimental Station in Colorado Springs. Attention to Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Urgent message from N. Tesla: A detachment of the Rapids has left their camp at Commerce City, outside Denver, for Colorado Springs, and has committed acts of sabotage against my laboratory as well as acts of intimidation against my assistants. My suspicions about Edison’s hand have hardened, and only await the proof I hope you find. The transfers of guineas from Woolwich to Denver continue (at a rate of ten million guineas per fortnight), and now are joined, quite inexplicably, by a gargantuan transfer to the town of Los Angeles in California (of twenty million guineas).

“In re your question about my methods, exposing too much would be unwise via any medium, but I feel I should explain my predilection for transmitting via Washington, DC. There is a power source immanent to the City, localized near its centre, so far as my calculations can determine. This power is great enough to beam my messages across the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps your relative familiarity with the national capital can help me identify the font of this beneficent energy.

Yours in freedom, Nikola Tesla.

The room waited silently for Holmes’s response. He fumbled for his tobacco purse in his right waistcoat pocket, brought it before his eyes, and squeezed as if it were a ripe fig. A tilt of the head and a frown. “My two-pipe problem is met with meager rations.”

“All the same, Holmes, one oughtn’t smoke in an armaments factory,” I cautioned.

My remark elicited a chuckle from Wenger, who leaned on the clerk’s desk nearest me. “People hear explosions in zis place all zee time. Some intentional, some accidental. I often wonder if a truly destructive blast would even be noticed, at least for some time.

As the new saying goes, the lightbulb above Holmes’s head turned on. “I say, Monsieur Wenger, could you confirm the quantities cited by Tesla?”

“In aggregate…yes, perhaps,” shrugged Wenger with a nod to his actuarial stable. The clerk quartet proceeded to rifle through miles of ledger, while Holmes pivoted to Jakovic.

“There will be multiple messages to transmit. First, notify the Black and Red Band of our case. Ask them about the Rapids. And ask them whether they have any idea of where or how Tesla’s transmissions are powered across the Atlantic via some relay over the District of Columbia.” Jakovic scribbled down Holmes’s missive and looked up again when finished. “Second,——”

“It doesn’t add up!” blurted one of the clerks. Wenger strode around to review their work. After a conference, he instructed his colleague to continue. “Over the past month, Tesla accounts for forty million guineas. But the transfers to America totaled one hundred fifteen million, over the same time period.”

“So,” chimed Mycroft, “seventy-five million in commodity purchases, say?”

“Impossible,” retorted Wenger, his French accent more pronounced. “Zat would violate our transfer policy.” Wenger succeeded in affixing his zipper, then said with fresh confidence, “It appears zat tens of millions of guineas are staying in New Jersey. Ms. Adler surely knows more. I must confront her!”

“You’ll do no such thing, my good man,” said Mycroft. “My brother knows her, and, more importantly, knows her associates.”

“You’re afraid they might kill me?”

“I’m neutral on that point. I’m afraid they might blackmail you. For now, only we know you know too much.” Mycroft unveiled his pocket watch, then looked at his brother. “Four o’clock. Sherlock, hire a dinghy to ferry you to the Docklands. I’ll return to Westminster whilst our Balkans hie to the Royal Observatory."

“I’ll send you an expense report in my best penmanship! Good sirs, tell Tesla to communicate with our friends in Washington, the Black and Red Band. They may possess some local knowledge about the strange power source. And amend your wire to the Band so they can prepare to receive one of Tesla’s.” The room started to disperse.

“Oh, and Sherlock—” The room froze once more. “You have until first light before I notify the Yard.”

A Meeting at the Docks

It’s but a short, dreary ferry across the Thames. On the south bank, the arsenal’s forges faded into the fog, just as the false stars of electric light came into view on the north. They poorly illuminated the Royal Albert Dock and the several railways serving it. The air was thick—not merely dense with fog, but awash with a slurry assaulting all of man’s senses. Noise, wetness, putrefaction. In a short queue of small crafts waiting to utilize the undersized North Woolwich dock, we bobbed for a bit by the bulwark.

“There’s something missing. Something we haven’t seen,” muttered Holmes.

“We know that the Rapids are receiving misappropriations from the Arsenal, and they’re using that money in part to disrupt Tesla’s work,” I replied. “And Adler’s involvement suggests the hand of Moriarty.”

“But why?!”

“Well…Moriarity could be supporting Thomas Edison. He is based in New Jersey, Adler’s home state.”

“My dear Watson,” he said with his characteristic brusqueness, “That was all patently obvious from the start.” Our dinghy approached the dock. “The unseen, the shadows—they are what we must find. If Moriarity is part of this, the shadows are where he would operate.”

Walking through the docks, I was amazed at the diversity of vessels from our empire and others. But which one might host Irene Adler? Buenos Aires, Colombo, Halifax… Odessa, Melbourne, Havana… Bombay, Valparaiso, Trieste. We durst not ask too many questions about our quarry, lest we flush her out too soon. We were searching for a woman in a place full of men. The night aged to reveal our futility.

Around eleven o’clock we paused near the entrance of the Victoria Dock to reassess our situation.

“This haystack needle does not want to be found,” I offered.

“Quite. And like all needles worthy of the name, it can injure.” I had admonished Holmes when he inquired about the price of opium from the ship from French Concession in Shanghai, and his lack of stimulant was now degrading his patience with obvious effect.

“Shall we target ships bound for New York, Holmes?”

No response. “Holmes?”

“—Well, why not, Watson?! If only to show you that is the last place to look!”

Near three in the morning, we were all the way back at the Royal Albert Dock, with our frustration turning into anger. My thoughts wandered from our task at hand to the events of the preceding day.

“I say, Holmes, remember back at the Royal Arsenal when you wanted to send a telegram to the Black and Red Band?”

“Well, what sort of replies do you think you are most likely to receive?”

“A fair question, my dear Watson.” Nearly his highest praise. “Of course, the most likely response is none at all. The second most likely response is that they have no idea what I’m talking about yet bother to tell me so.”

“Right, right… And the most likely response that could further us to our goal?”

“Hmm. Yes… The members of the Black and Red Band we met on our trip were a potent mixture of passion and knowledge. They have accomplished much yet strive to achieve even more. I am hopeful that at least one of their number may know something that can explain how Tesla can use a power source in their vicinity to use his extraordinary communication machine.” He put the back of his gloved hand to his lips and squinted hard at the middle distance.

“I say, that was quite a trip Holmes,” I reminisced. “And we felt Moriarty’s hand then, too—with that infernal Red Bull concoction.”

No sooner had I said the name of the Napoleon of Crime than Holmes had jolted off towards one of the ships we had surveyed already four times or more. He stopped by the gangway of the ship from Trieste, the main port of the Austrian Empire. “Yet a needle can leave a thread… Watson,” he said as I caught up to him, “let us board.”

“—Not so fast, Holmes.” Through the nighttime fog, we heard a familiar voice halt our progress. The body of Inspector LeStrade came into view, soon joined by a companion. I was confounded as to why he would be here before Mycroft’s promised deadline of dawn.

“LeStrade…,” said Holmes as he composed himself with false confidence. “I assume you know why we’re here?”

“Did you think you can traipse about the Docklands all night without my hearing about it? The deerstalker isn’t in fashion amongst the stevedores, my good man.” Holmes kept a poker face, which he rotated slowly towards the unknown man to LeStrade’s right.

Discussion at the Docks
(Image: Wikipedia Commons)

The inspector picked up on the cue. “Ah yes, Mr. Holmes, may I introduce Mr. Lewis Neal of the Bank of England. Mr. Neal, this is Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his associate, Dr. John Watson.” We met Mr. Neal in our most tired state. He handed me his business card, which bizarrely presented his last name with every letter capitalized.

“Hardly banker’s hours, Mr. Neal,” Holmes posited. “Is this a personal visit?”

Neal waited for LeStrade’s tacit consent before responding, “If only. Before close-of-business yesterday I was alerted from a high source to investigate the inflows to the import/export account of the Royal Arsenal.”

“—Inflows, say you?” interjected Holmes.

“Quite. The tip led me down a rabbit’s hole, it took me several hours to follow it all, but my findings evidently prompted an alert to Scotland Yard.”

My temper was shortened at this late hour. “Why make us tarry?!”

“Easy, Doctor,” softened LeStrade. “It should come as no surprise that Holmes’s brother is he who tasked the Bee-Oh-Ee. I know why you’re here. So listen to why he’s here,” he said, gesturing at Neal.

“A-as I was saying,” Neal continued, “In recent months the Arsenal has received extraordinary inflows from an account in Jersey.”

“New Jersey?” I asked.

“No sir, Jersey of the Channel Islands, under the Crown. Later I deduced that this account was merely a pass-through for an account in Vienna for one Red Bull GmbH.”

“Ah-ha!” exclaimed Holmes. “I see now. The Kroenke connection of Arsenal-to-the-Rapids is but a red herring! It is meant to throw us off the scent of the real crime, that of the Austrian Red Bull sending money to America. We have found the shadow under which Moriarty hid!”

I was still ornery at being delayed. “So why stop us from boarding that ship? Do you know whether Irene Adler is on board?”

“Aye, she should be,” said LeStrade. “And you must know that this is well above my pay grade.”

“I understand,” conceded Holmes. “You need to let her go, so you can learn eventually who her true American beneficiaries are.”

“Precisely. Look, I’m sorry, but—“

“Yes, yes. Come, Watson. Let us go home and rest until we hear some good news.”

Solving the Case with the Help of Nikola Tesla

We arrived home just before dawn, exhausted and somewhat defeated. I fell asleep amid the bustle of the waking city.

Mrs. Hudson woke me just shy of noon. “Dr. Watson! Mr. Holmes asked me to rouse you, I’m so sorry. Would you please join him in the study? I’ll bring some tea and biscuits, just let me get them…” I quickly got dressed and combed my moustache—I have a tight routine after all of these years.

I entered Holmes’s study to see him standing across the mantle from a dark-haired, handsome man. “Ah, Watson! This is Mr. Harkes from the Embassy of the United States. Harkes, this is my associate, Dr. John Watson.”

“Hey, another John!” burst the American with typical overfamiliarity. And this one worked at their embassy! God help them. “I was telling Sherlock here about a cable I received from the Black and Red Band, of which I am a member. Turns out we have witnessed strange power surges in the District; indeed, they emanate from our home base, Buzzard Point.”

Holmes, doubtlessly hearing this for a second time, emitted a knowing smile. “See, Watson—our irregulars in the American capital have proved their mettle once again.”

“Yeah, as Sherlock here was saying,” continued Harkes, “you are aware of the special power of that site. Well, evidently it has been magnified by a newly-built power plant.”

“And this facility functions as Tesla’s relay,” I concluded. “Fascinating.” Mrs. Hudson entered with tea and sundries. “Tell me, Mr. Harkes—“

“Please, call me John.”

“Ah, very well. Tell me, did the Black and Red Band know of the Rapids of Colorado?”

“They’re regarded as a provincial outfit. But now we know their means and are ready for them. Don’t worry: should we meet on the field of play with a trophy at stake, we shall defeat them.”

The three of us then sat down to enjoy Mrs. Hudson’s provisions while Mr. Harkes regaled us with stories of his transatlantic career. He even spent some time as a double agent for Red Bull GmbH—quite remarkable. After nearly two hours, Mrs. Hudson, came again at the door. “Your brother is here to see you, Mr. Holmes!”

In walked Mycroft in his imposing style. “Oh, hello, Mr. Harkes, good to see you again.”

“You two know each other?” I asked.

“Indeed we do, Doctor. We had a grand old time thwarting the international trade unionists trying to infiltrate Sheffield.” Mycroft placed his hat and gloves on the side table and reached into his breast pocket, and pulled it out waving a brown, translucent paper. “Sherlock, this is perhaps our final message from Tesla. Jakovic brought it to me not half an hour ago.”

“I trust its contents merit your escorting it here?”

“In truth, I have not yet read it,” he replied as he handed it to his little brother.

“Hmmp!” said Sherlock as he snatched the page. He scanned it in silence before handing it to me to recite, and turned to face the fireplace as I began:

From the Experimental Station in Colorado Springs. Attention to Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Urgent message from N. Tesla:

Dear Sir, the harassment and sabotage of the Rapids has forced me to abandon my facility here in Colorado. I will pack what I can, but I fear I must begin my work anew.

The Black and Red Band have been most helpful, and based on their local observations I deduce that the font of the energy that propelled my communication to London comes from Buzzard Point, Washington, DC. May this force forever confound any troupe of Rapids!

While I would like to continue my experiments at Buzzard Point, I fear that will have to wait until I can throw Edison off the scent. I will keep it a secret, and instead build a new relay station nearer to him, on the Long Island of New York. This relay station will be a decoy for the real one at Buzzard Point. I hope I live long enough to build a facility there; if not, may future generations take up my work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Yours in freedom, Nikola Tesla.

“My word!” I offered as a crude coda. “What a sad end for Mr. Tesla.”

“My dear Watson... I think his work is just beginning.”


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