Mycroft Holmes had been blindsided. His security networks, his carefully constructed spy network, his position as the “British government”. It was all gone. Wiped out in a single day.
He should have known it was to good to be true.
He had known it was to good to be true.
When Greer had approached him about Samaritan, he had know that the little man was trying to play him. But the Great Mycroft Holmes had been playing this game for time out of mind. He could get what he wanted from this delusional puppet of a man, who rambled on about the “old gods” and ancient power struggles, and grind him into the dust as soon as he ceased to be useful.
Or so he thought.
What he had not counted on, was that Greer's delusions were not without basis. This machine, this creature that Mycroft had unleashed on Britain had transcended mere electronics and become a living thing. It had spread though the country using the security feeds and access that he had given it to infect the nation, and before he had time to mount any counter measures, they were all firmly in it's grip.
There was nothing to be done. The war had been lost before it was fought.
And so it was, that Mycroft Holmes, whose position of power had been carved by his careful manipulation of people and circumstances, his use of observation and analysis, and the careful application of information that others would consider to be of no importance, had become irrelevant.
Scraping together what few resources he had left, for Samaritan had flowed through his ranks like a poison that could not be purged, stripping him of almost everything that he had once held, he had his parents moved out of the country, and sent two of the only agents he trusted to intercept his brother.
Even with his great powers of deduction, the Elder Holmes had not discovered the true purpose of The Correction until there was no time to act.
Well, almost no time.
Anthea and Lestrade had arrived at the scene, but they had been too late. They found John Watson sprawled on the unforgiving asphalt of Baker Street cradling Sherlock's body in his arms. Mary stood watch next to him, her eyes wet with unshed tears but ever watchful. The barrel of her pistol was still smoking, and discarded shell casings and spent ammunition littered the ground. Chaos and destruction were all around them, yet an eerie silence hung in the air.
The calm in the eye of the storm.
Samaritan had identified Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty as disruptive influences. Aberrations to society which needed to be deleted and had moved its assets into position accordingly.
The bad code would be eliminated.
What the machine had not taken into account though, was the tenacity of one army doctor.
Two shots were fired.
John had moved quicker than lightening. Fragments of clay brick exploded behind the pair as the bullet that was meant for Sherlock's head buried itself in a nearby wall.
The second bullet met its mark.
It ripped through Sherlock's chest, the hollow point mercilessly ravaging muscle and bone.
Moriarty had not faired so well, a sniper's bullet to the head silencing him forever.
John had applied pressure to the wound, determined to keep his friend from bleeding out in the gutter.
Mary had taken care of the snipers.
Sherlock had been transported to an abandoned MI6 medical facility. A decaying, warehouse secreted in the heart of London's slums. It was one of Mycroft's greatest accomplishments.
Never recorded on any database.
Never mentioned in any files, faxes, or inter-office memorandum.
Only two people, including himself, were aware of its existence. . .
And all CCTV cameras within 700 meters of the facility had been removed.
Hopefully, it would buy them some time.
Anthea, the second person entrusted with the facility's location, had assembled a team surgeons who had not been compromised by Samaritan.
At least, as well as anyone could be certain anymore.
They had been kept on emergency standby, and upon Sherlock's arrival, had begun prepping him for surgery, but the prognosis was not hopeful.
It would take a miracle indeed, for the younger Holmes to survive.
Mycroft's heart had stopped beating when he received the news. Yet his features displayed little emotion. That is, to anyone who was not familiar with him. Anthea, who had spent years studying her employer, could read the subtle play of emotions in his eyes.
Disbelief . . .
Guilt . . .
Devastation . . .
Her breath caught as she saw the last thing she ever expected to see in the eyes of the British government.
John Watson was inconsolable.
He kept vigil at Sherlock's beside, his clothes still stained with his best friend’s blood. Mary stayed at his side, cradling his hand gently in hers, the only thing keeping him tethered to this world.
It was evening now, on the day the world had ended.
Tomorrow a new order would begin, with untold horrors in store for them all.
Mycroft reclined in a plush chair before the fire, an untouched brandy forgotten on the table beside him. The fire was almost spent now, though a few stubborn embers continued to burn.
But soon, as with everything, even they would cease.
How like their world.
Mycroft buried his face in his hands. It was an uncharacteristic show of weakness, but he couldn’t care less who saw him now.
It simply didn't matter.
He had been the Ice Man for so long. Adamantly proclaiming to all who knew him, that caring was not an advantage. Admonishing his misguided brother on the danger of forming attachments.
Mycroft picked up the brandy and swirled the amber liquid around the glass absentmindedly.
He had forgotten what it like was to simply be Mycroft Holmes.
Perhaps if it had only been that he had given Greer access to the security feeds, he could some day forgive himself, but he had done far more.
Mycroft loved only two things. His country and his family. Chief among those his troublesome younger brother.
He knew, as all men do, that he would not be able to protect them forever. Someday he would die, whether through age, disease, or misadventure, and when that happened he needed something that would be able to carry on his work.
In Samaritan, he had seen the opportunity to create something that would protect his country as he had.
His position in the government was unique.
One that he had created for himself and that no one would ever be able to fill again.
For, there had never been anyone- save Sherlock (if he could ever learn to apply himself) who could use knowledge and observations that others would consider useless to deduce proclivities and in many cases even predict human behavior.
Greer had acquainted him with the potential of the Samaritan program. It would not merely process information passively, relaying it to bureaucrats and politicians who would then deliberate over the best course of action to take.
Instead it would use the data it gathered to make decisions and take appropriate actions based on that intel, cutting out the human element completely and eliminating the possibility for error.
With a look in his eye that Mycroft would disregard at the time, but later identify as that of someone knew what the true repercussions of his actions would be, Greer asked if he would consider assisting in the initial programing.
After all the idea was that it would be his successor one day wasn't it?
So began Samaritan' s instruction. Mycroft had no children of his own and knew with absolute certainty that he never would, due to his own aversion to forming attachments.
People were goldfish. . .
An artificial intelligence on the other hand, could be taught.
He had pored himself into the process, teaching the machine how to pull the scattered pieces of seemingly irrelevant data together to form the complete picture. Demonstrating how to put just the right person in place to act at the right time, in order to prevent crisis.
He had taught Samaritan that caring was not an advantage. Shown it how to manipulate people to do it's bidding like the human chess pieces they were, by using the things they love against them.
That sentiment was a weakness found on the losing side.
But Mycroft had done his job too well. Samaritan had absorbed his teaching like the desert after a hard rain, while Greer watched on with an almost manic glee.
Now, as Mycroft hid in one of his last safe houses which would almost certainly be discovered at any moment, he recalled Greer's ramblings about the ancient myths.
The corner of his mouth twitched upward despite himself. Mycroft Holmes had become one of the “old gods” and soon he would be devoured by his own offspring.
He took a swig of the brandy.
There was no reason hold back now. He had already done everything he could to stop Samaritan, but it had not been enough.
It would never be enough.
He had failed.
Mycroft's time was over. The age of the machine had come.
The phone rang.
There were only two people who had this number. One of them was lying unconscious in a hospital bed and the other communicated almost solely through texts and would be ill inclined to change her habits at this late hour.
Glancing at the phone showed him that the number had been withheld.
Well, Samaritan had exceeded him in every respect. When it chose to kill him, it would do so, and any attempts to escape would only delay the inevitable.
He pressed Talk and held the phone to his ear.
Mycroft's voice was low and raspy, foreign to his own ears.
“My name is Harold Finch.” the voice on the other end answered.
Mycroft straightened, sifting through the files in his Mind Palace. The name seemed significant.
“I think we might be able to help one another.”