(With the assistance of Reel Covert Surveillance, LLC & ImagiNation, IBU)"So, Sherlock, I see you've got your violin in your lap," Watson observed. "Were you playing before I arrived, perhaps?"
The consulting detective nodded, stroking the body of the fine instrument. "Playing, Watson? No, not really. I was composing a dirge, actually."
"Really, Holmes? A dirge?" Watson asked with some surprise. "Whose demise has roused you to attempt such an effort? Particularly after your own recent... er... challenges."
Holmes smirked a little as he spoke, "There you are again, John, with a euphemism. But, your question is to the point." Putting flame to his pipe, producing a cloud of blue smoke, his voice seemed for a moment to be disembodied, in the vapor. "Whose demise has moved my cold heart to admit the feverish delusion of grief? What loss, you may well ask, is great enough to penetrate the armor of self-sufficiency and independence Sherlock Holmes has fashioned?"
"Indeed, Holmes, I'd not meant... "
"No, John, don't protest," Holmes said gently. "Perhaps it was nearly being removed from the game, as you mentioned, made me aware how marginal, how expendable each of us is. How perilously fragile our existence is, despite our best defenses."
"You surprise me, Sherlock!" the doctor said. "Surely, with everything we've seen these many years, you must have understood! We all suffer, we all die."
"But, Watson, I believed we were exempt, immortal, eternal."
"Now, you don't?"
"What's changed, Sherlock? We've both been revived more than once."
Holmes almost smiled at the remark. "Indeed, Watson, we have come back from the dead a time or two." He mused a moment before going on. "I believed 'the game' would go on forever, and as long as the game was afoot, I'd always be a part of it," Holmes explained, "with you, of course, there too."
"And now... ?"
"The game is over, Watson," said Holmes. "It is for the demise of the game that I grieve," he added, and fell silent.
Dr. Watson sat in his own cloud of silence, for a moment, but his was a bewildered silence, unlike Holmes' gloom. "Sherlock, please, what are you saying?"
Holmes' eyes appeared to sparkle a moment, perhaps with tears-- smoke or sadness? --as he met his friend's gaze."Barring the appearance of Maitreya or a World Teacher or some wise and benevolent extra-terrestrial beings capable of facilitating the universal transformation of human beings into conscious, peaceful creatures overnight... in short without a miracle, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that our species is committing ecocide. We are ending the possibiity for human existence on our home world. Thus, the game is over."
"Surely, you must acknowledge signs of hope, Sherlock, signs of resistance? You can't truly think it's finished."
"Of course, there is resistance, but it's much too little, John, and much too late," Holmes said sadly. "Before the apparent election results in the US were known, it was already beyond doubt. Rising sea levels, more extreme weather events (so-called), increasing levels of greenhouse gases. The petroleum-dependent global economy has catastrophic consequences. Now, even mitigation is out of the question. This generation will be helpless to stop the collapse happening around them."
"Holmes! Stop! You're looking through the darkest lens," Watson objected. "Yes, it's bleak, but we don't quit, no matter how difficult."
Holmes smiled, a little. "Your optimism has always been an annoying comfort in difficult moments, but here it is entirely misplaced. I should say the election results in America have sealed our fate and hastened the end considerably."