This is Benedict Cumberbatch fan fiction, featuring him in his role as Sherlock Holmes. I don't know Mr. Cumberbatch, the descriptions of his actions in the following serial come out of my own imagination.
The TeleChronomicon Files: Where it is Always 1895
The Benefits of Humans (From The Encyclopedia Hunanica, by Cavan the Sivaboth)
Where does “imagination” come from?
When a writer sits down at a desk and the words flow from the mind to the fingers to the instrument of transcription…from whence come the ideas, the people, the events that make up that story – whether a print story, television script or motion picture script?
For a long time, the Sivaboth had thought that creative humans – a relatively small subset of the human beings who live on the planet they themselves called Earth - were simply tapping in to one of the infinite number of alternate universes that exist side-by-side (like leaves in a book, to use a human analogy) and writing of events that happened in that universe.
Then Leonatus the Sivaboth discovered that this was not so. It was the acts of the humans themselves that created these alternate universes. Each time one of these stories was completed a universe for it to inhabit sprang into being, fully formed.
Leonatus continued his investigation into this human phenomena, and sought to gain access to these alternate universes. He found that those universes created by print – story, novel, or script - were inaccessible to be viewed. But those universes that were disseminated through an electronic medium – radio, and television, and motion pictures when broadcast via the television – could be viewed.
After decades of work, Leonatus perfected his invention - the TeleChronomicon , which enables its controller to view any of these alternate universes desired.
After yet more work, Leonatus turned the TeleChronomicon into the source of a vast entertainment complex. Sentient beings on every planet in the galaxy subscribe to TeleChronomicon broadcasts. The appreciation of humans as the source for this “imagination” – which no other beings in the galaxy possess – has ensured that the Earth and its inhabitants are extremely valuable to the galaxy, and the planet and indeed its entire solar system has been made into a preserve. No beings are allowed to approach it, except for TeleChronomicon technicians.
This preserves Universe-A, our Ur-Universe, for the forseeable future. While in alternate universes Earthlings have invented faster-than-light travel and humans have spread throughout the galaxy, in the Ur-Universe this will never occur.
Leonatus continues to research the practical applications of the TeleChronomicon .
In the TeleChronomicon
In the control room of the TeleChronomicon , technicians Gallahadion and Azra sat at the control console, facing a viewing screen that ran the entire length of the wall. Behind them, in the control chair, sat Leonatus.
CHARGE THE TELECHRONOMICON , ordered Leonatus.
Gallahadion reached out and pressed a button. TELECHRONOMICON CHARGING, he acknowledged.
The dull grey of the viewing screen began to glow. There was a faint humming.
AZRA, LOCATE THE SUBJECT.
Azra pressed various buttons. A smaller screen appeared in the larger screen. Numbers ran across the left side of this screen and across the bottom.
IT IS JANUARY 5, 2015, EARTH TIME, reported Azra.
On the screen, a group of humans milled about on a television set. Cameras and lights were focused upon the furnishings of the flat called 221B Baker Street.
Azra pressed another button and a square of transparent white light appeared over the body of an actor standing to one side of the room, eyes closed, a violin resting under his chine.
SUBJECT HAS BEEN ACQUIRED, Azra reported.
VERY WELL, said Leonatus. ON MY COMMAND
Gallahadion and Azra rested their fingers on the appropriate buttons on the control console of the TeleChronomicon and waited.
221B Baker Street Set, Bottlewood Studios, Bristol, UK, Earth
Benedict Cumberbatch stood patiently on his mark, eyes closed, feeling the polished wood of the violin beneath his chin. Behind him, he heard the murmured voices as director Douglas Mackinnon blocked Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington on their marks while ensuring that the cameraman had everything set up properly.
He, as Sherlock Holmes, would be in focus in the foreground at all times, while Martin and Amanda were blurred behind him.
Benedict was running through his lines and visualizing himself playing the violin. He knew that when he opened his eyes he would be able to see Eos – his violin instructor – behind the lights, and would match his fingering and bow movement to hers.
“Action,” called the director.
Many years ago, Benedict had seen an episode of The Avengers called “Escape in Time.” Each time one of the characters was sent back in time there was a weird musical sound and the sensation of the actor falling backward down a rushing tube. Poorly done and unconvincing, he had thought at the time. But now, for a second, with his eyes closed, he could see himself falling…falling…just like that.
He opened his eyes and began to play….and then stopped.
He didn’t stop because he could not see Eos. He couldn’t see anyone. Where there should have bright lights and more importantly an extremely large camera with crew gathered behind it, there was nothing but sumptuously decorated wall.
Behind him, he heard familiar words.
“It was an affair of international intrigue,” Martin was assuring Amanda.
“It was a murdered country squire,” Amanda snapped back with perfect timing.
Shouldn’t he be playing? Benedict thought, even as the voices behind him continued.
“Nevertheless, matters were pressing.”
“I don’t mind you going, my darling.” That was Amanda, being reasonable. “I mind you leaving me behind.”
“But what could you do?” demanded Martin, laughing dismissively.
Amanda replied, her voice rising in frustrated fashion at the obviousness of her reply. “What do you do except wander round, taking notes, looking surprised?”
That was his cue.
“Enough!” snapped Benedict, lowering the violin even though he hadn’t been playing it.
He turned to glare at them and stopped.
The set was all right. There was supposed to be a sumptuously furnished wall behind them. But there was a ceiling, too. There were four walls. There were gas lights flickering in their jets and an aroma that was a combination of tobacco, after shave, and human sweat.
“The stage is set,” Benedict said, distantly, desperately trying to remember his lines and take in what he was seeing at the same time.
What the hell? Had he gone into this Mind Palace that was going to be the climax of this particular episode? Had he gone insane?
Martin and Amanda…surely not Doctor Watson and his wife Mary…. were looking at him.
Benedict continued in a distant voice as his mind worked desperately. “The curtain rises. We are ready to begin.” He could hear himself speaking – even in rehearsal he’d never delivered the lines better.
“Begin what?” said…Mrs. Watson?...curiously.
Benedict took a deep breath. “Sometimes to solve a case one must first solve another,” he said slowly, musingly, his eyes looking inward. He’d perfected all this during rehearsal, thank God.
“You have a case then?” Dr. Watson sounded delighted and surprised. “A new one?”
“An old one. Very old. I shall have to go deep….”
“Deep?” said Watson. Or was it Martin? “Into what?”
“Myself,” said Benedict.
He took a deep breath
Again Benedict felt himself falling down a horizontal tunnel, (how was it possible to fall down a horizontal tunnel, he thought) through a swirl of kaleidoscopic black and white.
Then he exhaled audibly.
The lights were back. The cameras were back. The people were back. The ceiling was gone. The impossible walls of the flat were gone. He was back on set.
Benedict turned to look at the director.
“You okay?” the director asked.
Benedict smiled quickly. “Of course. I’d just been daydreaming for a second. Very vivid. Sorry. Won’t happen again.”
That’s what it must have been, Benedict thought. Just a daydream..
The director smiled. “Okay, let’s take it from the top, please.”
In the TeleChronomicon
Gallahadion was leaning over the console, checking the various instruments.
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE CREATED, he reported. TELECHRONOMICON OFF. TIMELINE STILL RUNNING. WE HAVE SUCCESS.
Azra flapped his wings a couple of times, excitedly.
WHAT NOW, LEONATUS? he asked. SHALL WE SEND HIM BACK THERE AGAIN?
NO. WE WAIT UNTIL THIS STORY, THIS ABOMINABLE BRIDE STORY, COMPLETES ITSELF. WE WAIT TO SEE IF THE TIMELINE CONTINUES AT THAT POINT, OR IF THE UNIVERSE GOES INTO A LOOP. IF THE TIMELINE CONTINUES, THEN WE CONTINUE OUR EXPERIMENT.
VERY GOOD, LEONATUS.