We Have Some Reservations About Your Computer Habits, Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes looking thoughtful in balck suit and shirt

Did I remember to logoff on my computer before I left the flat?

Okay, yes, I’m a computer nerd, but I could not help noticing all of the times Sherlock merely closes his laptop or opens his laptop and starts working *without logging off or on.* This is particularly annoying in Reichenbach Falls when he knows all the bad guys are after him. Let’s not even talk about John wanting to get a little of his own back.

Alright, let’s talk about that. Check back tomorrow for the flash fanfic.

It’s Password Protected

by J. H. Watson
~ 1,800 words

“Oh, you’re back early. I estimated it’d be at least the pudding before your date claimed she had a headache.”

John Watson sighed. He counted on just one date that wasn’t ruined by his flatmate. “I thought you were working at Bart’s tonight.”

“The patient didn’t die. Thrown my entire schedule off.”

“How inconsiderate.”


Sherlock Holmes had his back to John and hadn’t looked up from whatever he was reading on his computer screen. John figured he might as well get the worst over. “Sherlock, I’d like you to meet my date. Mary, I’d like you to meet my flatmate and colleague, Sherlock Holmes.”

The young woman said, “Pleased to meet you.”

Sherlock turned around and looked her up and down and cocked an eyebrow. He radiated disapproval.

Mary added, “Glad to see you like our products.” She gestured towards the MacBook Pro Sherlock had been working on. “Let me know if you have any problems.”


“I can help.”

“I doubt that.”

John stepped in, giving Sherlock a warning look. “Mary works at the Apple Store, Sherlock. She’s an Apple Genius.”

Sherlock made a noise that was somewhere between a snort and a snigger, but definitely derisive. This was made clear by the face he pulled and the way he rolled his eyes. Mary smiled and said, “You don’t like the job title?”

Sherlock stood up and walked forward so he was looming over the far shorter woman. He replied, “It hardly takes a genius to work in tech support.”

Mary didn’t take a step back, but simply looked up and said, “Well, I didn’t choose the job title.”

“But you chose the job.”

“True enough.”

“Does it make you feel like a genius explaining to the technologically illiterate how to charge their iPods?”

“Does it make you feel like a genius to abuse dead bodies?” Mary peered around Sherlock to look pointedly at his computer.

He stepped back and slapped his laptop closed and replied, “It’s scientific research.”

“Is that what they call it these days? I guess ‘necrophilia’ is a bit dodgy on the CV.”

John stepped in and said, “Let me just grab that coat and we’ll grab some dinner.”

Sherlock said, “Good idea. There’s nothing in the fridge except for that tongue. And I plan to dissect it tomorrow.”

“I was talking to Mary, Sherlock.”

Sherlock started to say something when his phone rang. He looked at it the screen and said, “It’s Lestrade. Come on, John. He’s got something for me.”

John tilted his head towards Mary and replied, “I’ve got reservations.”

Sherlock waved a hand as if swatting away an annoying fly and said, “Well, of course you do, John. She works in retail and thinks she’s a genius.”

“I mean dinner reservations. I’m on a date, Sherlock.”

Sherlock’s brow wrinkled as he asked, “What are you trying to say?”

“I’m not going with you. I’m going to dinner…with Mary…on…a…date.”

John held Sherlock’s gaze for several moments. Sherlock’s expression turned into a pout and he said, “Fine. Don’t wait up.”

“I wasn’t planning to.”

Sherlock flung his scarf around his neck and stormed out of the flat. John turned to Mary and said, “Sorry about that.”

She smiled and John felt as if his blood had turned all effervescent. Mary responded, “So that’s the famous Sherlock Holmes.”

“That’s him. Let me just grab that coat.”

“How long do you think he’ll be gone?” Mary moved closer to John and smiled at him again. “Are you certain you want to go out?”

John hesitated. He’d hoped he’d get off with her, but he hadn’t expected to score this quickly, especially after Sherlock put a spanner in the works. He said, “I’ve got reservations.”

“Of course you do. Your flatmate is a socially inept, arrogant sod who doesn’t know to log out his computer before leaving it.” Mary looked towards the desk where Sherlock’s MacBook Pro sat, the little light rising and fading — like a visual version of a slow rhythmic breath to indicate it was merely sleeping. John glanced at the computer and then back at Mary. She wore a very wicked grin.

John thought of all the times Sherlock had “confiscated” his computer, hacked his password, read his emails, scanned John’s browser history, and, in general, violated his privacy. He looked at Mary and felt torn. He said, “I’ve got reservations at a romantic little Italian place.”

Mary leaned in very close. John unconsciously glanced down, getting a very clear glimpse of cleavage, as she replied, “We could order take-away and light some candles.”

“We don’t have any candles.” John was leaning slowly closer and closer, his gaze fixed on her lips.

“We could fire up that bunsen burner on the kitchen table. Or the fireplace, if it works.”

Their lips were practically touching now as John said, “It works. I don’t suppose you could fix it so I could get into his computer any time I wanted.”

“I could fix it so you…” Here her lips grazed John’s ear as she whispered,  “…can do anything you want.”

John didn’t remember falling into the kiss until he surfaced a minute later and asked, “Chinese or curry?”


Sherlock came staggering into the living room, yawning, wrapped in his sheet to find John enjoying a hearty breakfast. John looked up and grinned, “Good thing no one else is here.”

“Your date left ten minutes ago and Mrs. Hudson is at the market.”

Sherlock settled himself at the table as John got up, poured a cup of coffee and added two spoonfuls of sugar. As the coffee was set before him, Sherlock said accusingly, “You moved my computer.”

John sat back down and sipped his own coffee. “We had dinner in.”

“Obviously. Chinese. She ate both fortune cookies,” Sherlock said as he booted up his computer.

A moment later Sherlock stiffened, coffee cup nearly to his lips, his eyes staring fixedly at the computer screen. John raised his eyebrows and asked, “Something interesting? Mycroft start another war? The police solve a case without you?”

John watched Sherlock’s face try on different expressions — changing faster than a teenage girl trying on outfits before going out on a date with the hottest boy in class. Finally, it chose shocked consternation.

“Someone has hacked my computer. My computer!”

At that moment the computer meowed. Sherlock stared at the machine as if it had turned into a viper. John casually took another bite of his breakfast and pretended to read the paper. Sherlock began a furious tapping at the keyboard. About a minute later the computer offered another meow.

John turned the page of the paper and asked, “Why’s it making that noise?”

“What noise?”

The computer meowed again.

“That noise.”

“Apparently, it means I have mail.”

Sherlock clicked something and the computer began to purr. He pulled his hands back in alarm.

John took another sip of coffee and continued to “read” the paper. “So how did the hacker crack into your computer?”

Sherlock continued to click and type, looking more alarmed with each result. “I don’t know. It would take a genius to figure out my password.”

“Really? A genius?”

Sherlock looked up and stared ahead, muttering, “Why would Mycroft—”

“Would you like a little help?” John asked as he picked up his plate to take to the kitchen.

You?” Sherlock said derisively.

John returned to the table with a fresh cup of coffee and looked over Sherlock’s shoulder. He made a face of disbelief as he studied the screen. “And you make snide comments about my porn.”

Sherlock tugged the sheet tighter around himself. “Don’t be ridiculous. The hacker put that on my system.” He leaned forward as one image slipped onscreen. “What exactly are they doing? Is that a—?”

John reached over and clicked on iTunes. “Interesting playlists, Sherlock. Never really saw you as a Bieber kind of guy.”

“That’s not my music. Where’s my Bach?”At that moment the computer erupted in song. Sherlock released his sheet and placed his hands over his ears. “What is it?” he screamed.

John reached over again and closed iTunes as he said, “Goth.” He made a few more clicks, shook his head, looked at Sherlock and tsked.

Sherlock replied, “That’s not my browser history.” He read the screen and added, “What’s a My Little Pony?”

John said, “I think I could fix this for you.”

Sherlock waved him off and pulled up a terminal window. The computer made a farting noise. “Please. I’ve already pointed out it would take a genius…” Sherlock stopped, his hands resting just above the keyboard. He turned to look directly at John and said, “Your date. What’s—her—name.”


“Make her undo whatever she did.”

“What’s it worth to you?”

Sherlock wrapped himself in his dignity. “Are you blackmailing me?”

“No, I’m holding your computer for ransom. So what’s it worth to you?”

Sherlock held John’s gaze. Neither man blinked as time stretched thin. Finally, Sherlock asked, “What do you want?”

A small smirk flickered across John’s face before he said, “You are never to ‘borrow,’ ‘confiscate,’ or in any other way access my computer without my permission.”


“And you have to do the shopping for a month.”

“One week.”

“Two weeks.”

“Agreed. Now call your girlfriend, ” Sherlock ordered.

“I don’t have to,” John  said as he smiled and pulled Sherlock’s computer over. John started working. A couple of minutes later, he pushed the computer back to his flatmate.

Sherlock stared at it, did a few survey clicks and said, “She’s good.”

John wore a self-satisfied smirk as he said, “According to her, I’m not so bad myself.” He sipped his coffee.

“She’s not really an Apple Genius.”

“Apparently, she is. Double firsts in Computers. Doctorate from M.I.T. But if you mean is her job tech support, no. She’s only working there temporarily as part of some top secret Apple R & D project.”

“And you’re planning on seeing her.”

John gave a big smile and crossed his legs as he replied, “Oooh, yes. Lots. Got a date tonight as a matter of fact.”

A tiny smile flashed on Sherlock’s face. “Too bad she leaves for California day after tomorrow.”

“What?” John put down his newspaper.

Sherlock shrugged and gave a sad face. “What will  you do for tech support then?” Sherlock glanced at John’s laptop sitting on a stack of books.

John appeared unconcerned as he replied, “Maybe I should mention, she made me root superuser on your system.”

Sherlock’s comic sad face turned to one of genuine alarm.

John added, “And she told me about the Unix command rm -rf and I will use it if provoked.”

As John folded his newspaper and stood up, he added, “You may want to put on your trousers before going shopping. List is on the counter.”

### End ###




Facebook Twitter Email

5 thoughts on “We Have Some Reservations About Your Computer Habits, Sherlock

  1. Anne Zanoni

    Sherlock said, “Good idea. There’s nothing in the fridge except for that tongue. And I plan to dissect it tomorrow.”


    Ransom! Meows!!! GO JOHN, go! And Mary — brilliant! Mycroft needs to chat with her come any other RF experiences–

    Oh… Root superuser!

    I may print this out and take it upstairs so I can read it again during lunch… Fantastic!

    1. Watson Post author

      Yes, Mary would have explained to both Holmes Boys that you *can’t* actually create a line of code that could hack into all computers. I coness I have to force a HUGE suspension of disbelief on that score each time I watch RF. I know that the justification has been given that it’s about the other , non-nerd people believing it’s possible, but Mycroft did capture Moriarty and torture him to the breaking point (“I owe you.”) because of rumours about this line of code. So Mycroft had to be buying it.

      I will crawl back into my cave and sit in front of the screen glow and not talk about this anymore.

      Meanwhile, I hope Sherlock has learned the valuable lesson: Don’t taunt the Apple Geniuses! You never know their actual backgrounds.

  2. Anne Zanoni

    There are several theories running around the ‘Net… one that SH and MH cooked it all up so that SH could play JM and win. So to speak.

    (And he did play JM, didn’t he? “Ordinary” SH pretending that he’d fallen for all the hooey — not when he was checking wifi for people watching 221B, for chrissake! He probably hacks into IP addresses for fun when people posted on his blog too–! I knew someone who would tell me what city I was in whenever my IP changed… and ask what I was doing.)

    The FinalProblem tumblr is quite extensive also. Oh, the loads of RF theories therein, lovely! 🙂

    And someone posted on Twitter the IOU theory. Which I’m quite taken with. Because I could not believe that SH had not planned =something= for JM leaving Bart’s — or not leaving it, as the case might be.

    Think all of these are on my blog somewhere; I need to put them into a nice index eventually. The (I)believeinMycroft tumblr is the first one, btw.


    1. Watson Post author

      Sorry. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who just can’t lie to himself about certain things like plot holes, even in my favourite novels, movies, and shows. (I’m perfectly capable of lying to myself about things like oh, whether I *really* NEED this book even though I don’t have enough money for the food this week or that I have *time* to work on Sherlock Cares and reply to comments, even though I have this absolutely hard deadline for this project that is *almost* done, but I just can’t bring myself to lie about the important things — like plot holes.)

      Things like IP addresses are part of the inherent information passed between computers on the Net, including WiFi connections (I’ve got a ballcap that identifies WiFi signals…) But I’d have to reinterpret every scene and choice made by the Cumberbatch and the director to justify a belief that it was all planned to play Moriarty (not to mention the Canon that Sherlock does his best rabbit-out-of-the-hat thinking when he’s under the gun whether it be finding kidnapped children, decoding emails for psychopathic dominatrices, or solving puzzles to prevent people from going boom).

      The reality is that it was a “Speilbergism” as I call them; the sacrificing of plot or character continuity to get a bigger emotional response from the audience. Scalzi calls it “lazy writing” in Redshirts, and I have to agree. There was a *lot* of lazy writing in Reichenbach Falls that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

      I might be able to accept that Moriarty has one-off apps on his smartphone and that he could crack the in-house cable system in the jurors’ hotel rooms, but the entire “everyone believes that everything Sherlock did was a fake” completely falls apart upon even a casual second glance. Sure, the papers might run with a scandalous story that *implies* Sherlock fakes some of his cases, but even the most cursory review of some of his work would make it obvious to the police that not all of it *could* have been faked.

      Starting with his pitiful attempt to suggest he researched John before they met. This would require getting Stamford to lie and lie in wait at just the right park, at just the right time, to spot John, stop John, somehow get John to *volunteer* that he couldn’t afford London, then introduce John to Sherlock — after Sherlock had targeted John for his flatmate. John would also know that the near-death experiences they both suffered were hardly faked, not to mention the random, off the cuff deductions Sherlock made just to show off — for which he would have been forced to get Seb in on to convince John with the story about uni.

      And, of course, if we do accept this alternate reading of all the events in much of earlier episodes and *all* of Reichenbach Falls, then Mycroft’s confession to John, contrition, and apology to Sherlock in Act 3 are entirely meaningless and make his character far less sympathetic — and intelligent! If Mycroft doesn’t believe in the security key code, then he’s the meanest, nastiest, most vindictive, vicious brother since — who? the Roman emperors? the Tudors? the sons of Henry II? the Borgias? the Corleones?

      I mean, with the resources he had at hand, not to mention Moriarty imprisoned, *I* could have come up with better ways to take down Moriarty and his organization. Bond Air was treason, for crying out loud! And Mycroft had the text — and Adler — for evidence! (We will *not* discuss the giant plot hole of Mycroft releasing Adler when she most certainly had a *number* of criminal charges that could be held against her, not the least of which were treason, terrorism, blackmail, extortion, and I’m pretty darn certain illegal narcotics and tax evasion, if nothing else.

      See what I mean? Second Season is rife with plot holes and “lazy writing;” they couldn’t have the “cute save” ending without Adler being released, so the *logical* behaviour was sacrificed for the emotional play because it was easier than finding a reasonable solution, which would probably have required Sherlock behaving in an immoral or criminal fashion (e.g., breaking her out of jail).)

      Basically, at this point, we must invoke Occam’s Razor: the simplest explanation is the most likely. And the simplest explanation is that the decision was made to sacrifice plot logic and continuity for the sake of the emotional build of the story, so Mycroft and Sherlock believed Moriarty had some kind of digital super-key code.

      I confess it’s one of the primary reasons why I’ve never become a Whovian; absolutely adore the actors, most of the characters, the witty banter, but the deus ex machina and “rabbit-out-of-the-hat” plotting to jerk a few more tears sends me hitting fast-forward. I think it’s one of the reasons why Blink is so popular as an episode. By taking The Doctor out of most of it, Moffat was able to focus on telling a coherent and consistent story without having to bend it around expected Dr. Whoisms.

      It’s why the Study in Pink is so wonderful; the essential plot holds together and drives all of the actions and reactions. We don’t have to suspend that much disbelief to follow Sherlock uncover a mad serial killer who forces people to poison themselves —- and the emotional arc of John’s bonding with Sherlock fits on that plot frame perfectly.

      I’m just crossing my fingers and lighting candles to any dieties who might listen that Moftiss and Company, in their desire to make Season 3 even more dramatic, don’t throw plot consistency and logic completely out the window, “jump the shark,” and do it with a triple somersault. I’ve already pulled Castle from my 2012-2013 subscription list because, after the death of Cannell, they used every standard hack artificial emotional clicje in the book (serial killer who fixates on the hero; killer who fixates and targets the heroine; “good guy” cops who turn out to be “dirty” but sacrifice themselves nobly to atone, giant conspiracy run by cabal of super-rich men who control the city politics and police, etc.)(but I am delighted that The Big Bang Theory, which I feared had jumped the shark but came back last season in a huge way, is now available for subscription through iTunes). Some day the television is going to learn that pandering to the “shippers” is the road to doom.

      I really do blame this cultural epidemic on Spielberg; the moment E.T. made that darn bicycle fly, the entire reason for him to have gotten stranded was gone and, therefore, any reason for the rest of the movie. (Don’t ask about the hospital scenes. Really. Don’t ask.) I’ve also had a friend explain I have to understand that plot logic isn’t important in Japanese anime either; it’s the beauty of the artwork and the emotional impact of the scene. This explains why, aside from Howl’s Moving Castle, I watch Japanese anime in small doses with large gaps in between.

      And I’m no longer allowed to watch with other anime fans present…

      Again, sorry, this is one of my buttons that you accidentally pushed. I’ll go take my medicine now.

  3. Anne Zanoni

    =chuckles= Don’t apologize for having opinions and caring!

    If I didn’t care about stories, I wouldn’t push ’em, argue about ’em, read them over and over, tear holes in them… Except that hey, I get to do that last one and people still don’t lynch me.

    Well, not normally.

    This will be the first season of Sherlock that Moffat doesn’t write the first ep. That alone will make TEH interesting. I suspect whatever s3e3 is, that will rip our hearts out worse than RF.

Comments are closed.