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Tigger Holmes and the Case of the Unexplained Soldier

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Tigger was looking in the mirror, admiring himself in the new leather jacket Rabbit had bought for him.  Suddenly, he heard a voice, which appeared to be coming from within the mirror.

Something old and something blue
What we need right now is to contact you!

“Er, hello!” Tigger said.

Queen Hepzibah’s face appeared in the mirror.  “Oh good, Tigger Holmes, I was hoping to find you,” she said.

“We’re not at the palace at the moment - we’ve come on holiday for a few days – so I can’t arrange to fetch you.  Do you do consultations by mirror?”

Tigger had never done a consultation by mirror before, but he didn’t see why it should be a problem, so he said, “Of course, your majesty.”

“Excellent.  Now, we’re staying at a hotel, which is very nice, it has a swimming pool and a buffet.  And there are a group of soldiers who keep marching up and down the stairs.”

Rabbit came to find out what Tigger was doing.

The Queen greeted him through the mirror.  “Hello, Mycroft,” she said, with a smile.  “I was just explaining to Tigger about the soldiers at our hotel.”

Rabbit waved a paw and said, “It doesn’t sound very restful, having soldiers marching up and down.”

“Oh, they’re all right.  The boys are having a whale of a time marching up and down after them.  The nursemaid simply sits on a chair at the bottom of the stairs and rights them whenever they fall over.  We couldn’t have asked for better entertainment.  And Septimus and I just sit in the bar.  But that’s not the problem.  If you give me a minute, I can probably show you.”

Something new and something green
Show Mr Holmes what we have seen!

The view in the mirror slowly changed from Queen Hepzibah’s face to the hotel’s main stairs.  Tigger and Rabbit watched as a troop of soldiers marched smartly up the stairs and back down again.  The soldiers were completely enclosed in white armour, with white helmets encasing their heads.  There seemed to be a march playing, but the music was somewhat muffled.  Tigger suspected that while the pictures for remote mirror consultation were clear, the sounds became rather distorted.  Nevertheless, it sounded like a very imperial march.  In the middle of all the soldiers in white armour there was one soldier in black, who in addition didn’t appear to be wearing a helmet. 

There was a click, and Queen Hepzibah’s face reappeared in the mirror.  “You’ve seen the problem?” she asked.

“Oh yes,” Tigger replied.  “That soldier doesn’t belong there, and he doesn’t look as if he knows what’s happening.”

“Exactly.  The Grand Old Darth of York Vader, he’s the one in the black armour wheezing along behind them – he and Septimus go back years – he doesn’t know where that particular soldier’s come from either.”

“It’s a bit hard to tell anything much from a distance,” Tigger said rather dubiously.

“Of course it is,” the Queen replied.  “Why don’t I arrange to bring the soldier up to the mirror?  I’m sure you’ll know what to do then.”

“That would be very helpful.  But won’t the Grand Old Darth object?”

“No, not at all.  He wants his troops to be happy and this young man clearly isn’t.  They’re about to stop for tea, so after then, if that would be convenient.”

“That will be no problem at all.”

While they waited for Queen Hepzibah to return, Rabbit put the kettle on, and he and Tigger had some tea as well.

After a little while, Tigger heard King Septimus’ voice.  “Does this really work?  It all looks rather fuzzy to me.”

“You need to stand at the same distance you normally stand when looking in a mirror,” the Queen replied.

Tigger went over to the mirror and said, “Good afternoon, Your Majesty.”

“Oh, it’s Tigger Holmes.  Look, Vader, in the mirror.”

A helmeted head appeared.

“Good afternoon, Darth,” Tigger said.

“He speaks too,” the Grand Old Darth of York Vader said.

The Queen sighed.  “Of course he does.  We’re having a mirror consultation.”

“Fascinating!  How does it …”

“Let’s not get distracted by the mechanics,” the Queen said firmly.  “Tigger, are you ready to continue?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“You,” she said, “Come here!  I do wish we knew what your name was, I really don’t like being rude.”

Tigger watched as the young man approached the mirror.  He barely raised his eyes to look into it.

“Hello,” Tigger said.  “My name is Tigger Holmes.”

“I’m the Winter Soldier.”

“Do you know where you come from?”

“No!”

“Hmm,” Tigger said.  “I wonder.  You definitely don’t belong with these soldiers.  I’d say that somewhere there’s a group of black dressed soldiers who are missing you.”

The young man looked terrified. 

Queen Hepzibah clearly also noticed his expression, for she said, “Don’t worry we won’t send you back if you don’t want to go.”

“Of course we won’t,” the Grand Old Darth of York Vader said very loudly, making the young man jump.  “Question is, how did he get here in the first place?”

“Has anything particularly strange happened recently?” Tigger asked.

“There was an earthquake yesterday.”

“Was there?” King Septimus asked.  “I remember, I asked whether the earth had moved for you, didn’t I, dear?”

“What you actually said was, ‘Hmmm, do that again,’ if I remember rightly,” the Queen replied.

“Yes, well,” Tigger said hurriedly.  No-one needed to know any more about that.  “I suspect your Winter Soldier slipped through then.”  The young man bit his lip.  Tigger continued, “In fact, I think he may have been escaping.”

“Is that true?” the King asked.

“Yes,” the young man whispered.

“What?” the Grand Old Darth shouted.

“You’ll have to speak up,” the King said.  “Vader’s rather hard of hearing, it’s the helmet, you know.”

The young man took a deep breath.  “I wanted to go home, but I couldn’t find it.  I found myself here instead.”

“That settles it, you can stay with us until we found out where your home is,” the Queen said decisively.  “It will still help if we knew what your name was.”

“Of course we know what his name is,” the Grand Old Darth said.  “He told us he’s Winter the Soldier.”

“Um,” Tigger said, “I don’t think that’s quite right.”

The Grand Old Darth ignored him and instead said, “Right, come along, Winter.  We’ve got some marching up and down to do before supper.”

The young man and the Grand Old Darth marched off together, and then the young man slowed down to the Grand Old Darth’s pace.

“Thank you, Tigger Holmes,” the Queen said.  “We may need your help in finally getting ‘Winter’ home, but in the meantime, everything seems all right again.”

“My pleasure, your majesty,” Tigger Replied.

The image in the mirror faded and the last thing Tigger heard was Septimus asking his wife whether she fancied nipping off to bed for a while before supper.  Fortunately, at that point the sound also disappeared.