John stared at Sherlock for a considerable amount of time, during which he tried to work out whether or not his friend had finally discovered hyperbole, or if this was just some sort of strange code for, ‘we’re out of milk again, and I’m going to behave oddly until you buy some more.’ Weighing the likelihood of both scenarios, John seriously contemplated checking the contents of the fridge.
Ignoring John’s terribly confused expression, Sherlock reached for the squarish device and slid it open to stare intently at a blue light that winked and flashed without rhythm. In the span of about two and a half seconds, Sherlock’s face wore a series of expressions from outright terror, mild confusion, and absolute joy.
“Ah! Yes!” he said as he slid the ring onto his thumb. “We’re in luck. Thank Zarquon. I did not want to try my luck with the Vogons.”
“I’m still dreaming,” John declared as he gathered up his bags. “He’s talking even more nonsense than usual.”
“We haven’t got time for you to stand around talking to yourself,” Sherlock said as he rather acrobatically managed to slide into his coat without actually taking off the laptop case. “Our ride’s in Islington. Come on!”
He grabbed John by the cuff and pulled him in the direction of the door.
“All right!” John said, reaching for his own coat. “Calm down. I’m coming.”
“Not fast enough. Let’s go,” Sherlock insisted. “I don’t know how long it’ll be here. I’m surprised it’s here at all.”
He was halfway out the door by the time John managed to pull on his coat and gather his bags. By the time he made his way to the pavement, he found Sherlock turning off of Baker Street, apparently set on walking to Islington if no cab presented itself. John ran to catch him up, surprised that when Sherlock did finally manage to hail a cab, he waited long enough for John to climb inside.
“Islington,” Sherlock told the driver.
“Where?” asked the driver as he pulled away from the kerb.
“Don’t know yet,” said Sherlock. “Just go in that direction and I’ll tell you when to stop.”
John found himself with an all too familiar feeling that he should be apologising on Sherlock’s behalf, but he was far too tired and far too confused to bother. He considered for a moment trying to get Sherlock to explain the situation again, but Sherlock’s focus was so intently centred on his blinking black device that John wasn’t sure he’d even hear his own name being called.
What John needed to know about this situation, and what Sherlock was completely neglecting to tell him was that at that very moment, a Vogon constructor fleet was poised above the planet in preparation to demolish it in order to make way for a hyperspace express route. What John also did not know, even though it would have benefitted him in this situat ion, was that the device that held Sherlock’s attention at that moment was a SubEtha Sens-o-Matic, which Sherlock was currently using to detect the presence of space ships that had been at that moment in their general vicinity. And the reason Sherlock was so focused on getting to Islington as quickly as possible was because there was one ship that gave off a slightly different reading than the fleet of Vogon ships above London, and if the pilot of that ship had any sense in his head or heads, he would have been off the planet several hours before. That the ship was still in London at all had filled Sherlock’s head with more scenarios and possibilities than he rightly knew how to handle.
What Sherlock Holmes didn’t know at that moment, but at a point later in the narrative will come to realise rather quickly, was that the pilot of this particular ship over this particular area of London had less sense between both of his heads than the main branch of the Malthaby Galactic Bank.*
Luckily, Sherlock did not know this yet, which was why he ordered the cab to stop and was out the door before John had even realised anything had happened.
“Sorry,” John said as he paid the cabbie, leaving him with a very sizable tip. “It’s the end of the world, or something. He’s not always this bad.”
“Quite all right, sir,” said the cabbie as he counted out the cash. “Would you like me to wait for you, then?”
John glanced out into the darkness, barely able to see Sherlock as he looked around frantically.
“No, I think we’re meeting someone here.”
Not wanting to get Sherlock even more wound up by making him wait, John gathered his bags and rushed out after him. He looked around, trying to see whatever it was Sherlock was looking for, but all he could see was just an average night in an average part of town.
“Telling me what’s going on yet, or should I start guessing?” he asked.
“I already told you,” Sherlock said impatiently. “The world’s about to end, and we need to get off this planet.”
“What does that even mean?” asked John, finding this game rather tiring.
Sherlock stared at him, wearing his very exasperated face. “Human beings,” he said. “How do you survive inside those tiny brains of yours?”
John couldn’t stop himself from laughing. “And you’re implying you’re something else? Yeah, I’d buy it.”
“Good,” said Sherlock as he grabbed hold of John’s wrist and squeezed tightly. “That’ll make this a lot easier.”
Before John was able to ask what the hell Sherlock was on about this time, he disintegrated.
*The Malthaby Galactic Bank is the only bank in existence that stays in business by making it common practise to keep its vaults completely empty. When a person opens an account with them, they are given a spade and an old coffee tin with instructions on the best w ay to bury their money to prevent it from being found by anyone else. Most Malthaby customers end up filing for bankruptcy within the next fortnight, as the instructions given to them are so effective that finding the buried coffee tins is impossible without the aid of a highly trained Arcturan Mega Bloodhound.