Disclaimer - "Mystery Case Files" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Big Fish Games, Elephant Games, and Eipix Entertainment. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters. Original characters, however, are mine - please contact for permission before using. This includes Darnell as a defined, fleshed-out character in his own right.

In Her Majesty's Service
by DragonDancer5150

Chapter 4 - Family

Darnell shut off the water and stepped out of the shower, drying off before wrapping the towel around his hips to head into the main area of the hotel room. It had been almost a week now since he'd nearly frozen to death in Dire Grove, but he would be grateful for hot water for the rest of his life because of it.

He thought about his new assignment. And that he should let his family know. He wasn't married, so that made things easier, at least. It was midnight, which made it six p.m. back home in Houston. He picked up his cell phone – his "mobile", as the British called it (he was learning a lot of new British vocabulary thanks to Thomas) – and sent a text. "hey sis, can u get on skype?"

He was brushing his teeth when his phone sounded a text alert five minutes later. "now? sure whats up? u ok?"

"yeah, im fine. got news. good news. wanna talk in person." He grinned, shaking his head at himself, and added, "face2face"

"ok b there in 10"

Darnell finished getting ready for bed, then threw on a pair of jeans and a polo shirt and set up his crime computer. The specialized laptop was standard issue for MCF field agents but also unique to the agency. It wasn't, however, really designed to run something like Skype, but Darnell had managed to get the software to work anyway. It helped that he was buddies with some of the guys in the IT department, too.

Soon, the line went live to a woman in her late twenties with heart-shaped features. Like him, his sister Catherine had their father's olive skin and dark brown hair, nearly black. They also shared their mother's golden brown eyes.

"Hey, Baby Bro! What's up? Did you get caught in that massive, freak icestorm they had over there, or were you in Wales by then?" Despite the lightness in her tone, it was evident that she'd been worried.

Darnell felt bad for not contacting her sooner to let her and their stepdad know that he was all right. He hesitated, though, not sure yet how much he could reveal on the incident – he needed to talk to Simmons. "Yeah, I got caught in it, but I'm fine. Hey, Cathy, did I send you photos of the Silver Streak I've been renting?"

Cathy laughed. "Yeah. That is the most British car I think I have ever seen."

"Yup, it kind of is," Darnell agreed with a snicker. "I really like it, though. I'm thinking of buying one."

"Yeah? Do they come in a left-driving option? Or whatever you'd call that. Drivable in the States?"

"I, uh, I wouldn't be driving it in the States."

She blinked in surprise. "No?"

Darnell shook his head. "I've been offered a position as a foreign attaché to the Royal Security Service – think FBI – in a division that at least occasionally serves the royal family directly."

"Whoa, really? Like the mystery of that old mansion you solved last year?"

"Something like that. And whatever else they decide to send me out on."

"Nothing too dangerous, I hope." She caught herself in her concern and sat back, putting on a smirk. "I mean, c'mon, gotta look out for my little brother. Even if he is a Fed."

Darnell thought about the specter he'd fled – Charles Dalimar – from Fate's Carnival, then facing the monstrous lunatic and his horrible son at Ravenhearst, and everything he went through in Dire Grove. Shoving it all to the back of his mind, he put on a grin of his own. "Probably nothing too dangerous. And I'll be home three months of the year. It has to do with income tax laws – ours, not the Brits', since I'll still technically be an employee of MCF. I've been offered three months stateside, and I asked for June, July, August so I can be home when the kids are out of school. The rest of the time, I'll live here in London. Thomas is going to help me find an apartment while I'm stateside packing."

"Thomas?"

"Sorry. Officer Thomas Blackwell. He'll be my . . . they call them agent handlers here. Kind of like my supervisor back home. Agents aren't direct employees of the Royal Agency. They're overseen by agent handlers. Thomas has been assigned to me as a sort of liaison as well as help me settle in over here in general."

"Good." Cathy paused, studying him. "The kids are really going to miss their favorite uncle."

Darnell grinned, though there was a bittersweet twinge to it. "I'll really miss them too. And everyone. But that's what Skype's for, right? Anyway, listen, it's almost twelve-thirty here, so I should go. My flight tomorrow's at noon, and I should hit JFK about three their time. I think that's two in Houston."

"God, time zones and shit are weird."

Darnell laughed. Partly because she was right – the flight was eight hours long but he'd land seemingly only three hours later by the local clocks – and partly to hear his sister cuss. Their stepdad had raised them to never cuss, something Darnell still held to out of respect. In contrast, both Cathy and their middle sister Linda had dropped that as soon as they'd moved out of the house. They were adults now; they could if they wanted. They did not, however, do so in front of their stepdad.

"Yeah, they really are. Anyway, I'm back out of New York at five-thirty and arrive at Ellington around eight, your time. I'll call you when I get home so you know I got there okay."

"You'll get a cab home or something, right?"

"I've already got a pick-up with SuperShuttle. No, I'm not driving, not after all that. It'll be something like three or four in the morning London time by then, I think."

"Good. All right, well . . . you have a good night, Dell. Be safe, and we'll see you in a few days."

Darnell hid a mild grimace. Linda had been two-and-a-half, not quite three, and Cathy four, when Darnell was born, and she couldn't pronounce his name. As much as he had always disliked it – he wasn't a computer, thank you very much – the nickname had stuck. Rather than comment, though, he just nodded. "I will. I love you, Sis."

"Love you too, Bro."


x


NOTE: The first time we see the Master Detective's Silver Streak is in Dire Grove. "Madame Fate," "Return to Ravenhearst," and "Dire Grove" came out over a span of three years, but in-game, there's probably only a week in there, tops, since each investigation would only have taken a matter of hours to maybe as much as a day each, I think, and it would have only taken him (or her – for simplicity, I'll stick to "him") a matter of hours to drive from one location to the next. And we know that he did go directly from one to the next in succession. Madame Fate was surprised to see the Master Detective when he first entered her tent, so she didn't summon him there. And as an American agent only holding an "honorary" place with MI6 at the time, it's unlikely he was in England on another assignment before stumbling on the carnival. So my headcanon is that he was originally in the country on vacation.

Admittedly, that doesn't explain why his "rental" in "Dire Grove" has an MCF shield hood ornament and medallion in the center of the steering wheel. But it does explain why the car looks so nice with a beautiful dash, while the next time we see it, in "Escape from Ravenhearst," it's suddenly "an old clunker" with a beat-to-hell dash. The fabric's badly torn up, and the clock has a bullet hole in it and is being held in place with a piece of gum. Headcanon is that's how he was able to afford to buy a 60+ year old classic automobile.