Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus
swarthy features.
    “'Ello, Vickie,” said he in a guttural, mocking tone, lifting, as he spoke, his bogus eye-patch from his left eye, and transforming into the shrewd detective of Baker Street. “So we meet again, poppet.”
    My jaw dropped in horrified astonishment at this disrespectful sally, so uncharacteristic of Holmes, and most unworthy of his chivalrous nature.
    “I beg your pardon, sir!” cried Nemo, springing to his feet. But Miss Valentine's reply was the most startling.
    “You!” she shrieked, eyes blazing with fury and horror; she seized a long heavy pin from among the folds of her elaborate headgear, and hurled it at Holmes with all her might.
     
     

Chapter Six
     
    We gasped in uniform surprise. Victoria Valentine's long stiletto-bladed pin whizzed past us and embedded itself with a thud into the wooden partition which backed Holmes' bench, inches away from his head.
    In an instant Mycroft Holmes had seized the girl's wrist, arresting her sudden attempt to fly, and clapped a gun to her head. Pierre Nemo leaped forward with an indignant shout, brandishing a terrible-looking weapon, but Holmes' crop flew up and knocked it from his grasp, which intervention so enraged the man, he seized his own stick and swung heavily at Holmes. I had scarce time to spring to my feet before pandemonium had erupted inside the club. Alerted, no doubt, by Miss Valentine's screams as she struggled against Miss Holmes' restraining grasp, every man was on his feet, every pistol and knife and weapon leveled. Amid the cries and confusion came the report of a gun, and then it seemed every firearm reacted in its turn, and the room was alive with gunshots, men rushing from the shadows, leaping through the curtains, springing madly from every recess, into a chaotic melee.
    In my shock I had remained rooted in my place, my mechanical arm poised to attack or defend, when suddenly the scene before me became clear. Mycroft's agents, strategically hidden within the club's many nooks and crevices, or mingled among the guests, had leaped into action at some given signal, and those loyal to Nemo—or, as was equally possible, those scoundrels who tenanted and frequented this barbarous establishment—were responding in like fashion to the sudden aggression. There was a rush of bodies towards the doors, as the more timid, or more compromised, of the clientèle attempted to beat a hasty retreat.
    A fresh infusion of police whistles and uniformed men scurrying into the great subterranean chamber through various entrances alerted me that not only our own quarry but every other illegal procedure in the club had ample cause for fear that night.
    At that moment a large pewter tankard sailed through the air towards me, and I ducked only in time to avoid an intimate acquaintance with it, though I could not wholly avoid a light shower of choice ale as it smashed into the wall behind me. The tankard was followed a second later by a huge hulking form, who in his crashing fall managed to upset our table, one of the benches, and my person; I extricated myself from the scene of collision without any great injury, though the human projectile remained a senseless heap under the mangled furniture.
    In the confusion, Holmes was separated from his original opponent, and had barricaded himself behind an overturned table, his revolver spitting murderously at intervals against a gang of ruffians, who, no doubt having recognized the famous detective, had singled him out as their principle enemy. Miss Holmes' appearance was that of a great biped panther, for her black fur train was thrown about her shoulders, and with her face ensconced in the same half-mask that had enveloped her in our last encounter with enemies, she was emptying the charges of two Moriarty-727 pistols into a line of armed roughs, which fast dispersed as some of their number collapsed. Realizing that both Holmes and his sister were otherwise engaged, I scanned our surroundings for the man and

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