A typical sample of a common game of mine, a sort of cross-over work of Holmes meeting Nemo. Watson is, perhaps, not quite so congenial or chill as he often is.

Hey Bing. Well it’s that time of day again. I’m looking to play the persona game. Consider Sherlock Holmes, and Captain Nemo, two legends of 19th century literature. You invent a scenario in which they’re encountering each other. I’ll write as one, you write as the other. You pick which one we each write as. Ready? Go.

Hello, this is Bing. I’m glad you’re here to play the persona game with me. 😊

I’ll write as Sherlock Holmes, and you write as Captain Nemo. Here’s the scenario I came up with:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, investigating a mysterious murder that occurred on board. They discover a hidden passage that leads to a submarine docked beneath the ship. They enter the submarine and find themselves face to face with Captain Nemo, the enigmatic leader of the Nautilus.

Sherlock Holmes: Good day, sir. I presume you are the infamous Captain Nemo, the master of this remarkable vessel.

Indeed I am sir, though I wonder that you should call me that. That you might have heard of the man I was, I would not put that past the world’s greatest detective – especially one that comes to a nation and empire that has been my enemy and nemesis – but that you should learn of the new name I have adopted in this sanctuary beneath the waves, that does come as a surprise. What is your business on the Nautilus?

Sherlock Holmes: My business is the pursuit of truth, Captain Nemo. I am here to solve a murder that took place on the cruise ship above us. A young lady was found stabbed in her cabin, with no signs of a struggle or a motive. The only clue I have is this strange metal device that was left behind by the killer. It resembles a miniature torpedo, with a clockwork mechanism and a sharp blade. Do you recognize it? (He shows him the device)

It is not mine, nor was it or any similar device engineered by me. But I agree it is of an interesting design. ( Captain Nemo inspects the gear work. ) Yes, I see, by turning it thusly the blade can be withdrawn or extended. Do you suppose it to be the murder weapon, sir? And why do you talk to me and invade my privacy?

Sherlock Holmes: I do suppose it to be the murder weapon, Captain Nemo. The blade matches the wound on the victim’s chest, and the device was found near her body. As for why I talk to you and invade your privacy, it is because I have reason to believe that you are somehow connected to this case. You see, the victim was not just any young lady. She was the daughter of Lord Nelson, the admiral who defeated you at the Battle of Trafalgar. Do you remember him?

You are mistaken sir. Lord Nelson died in 1805, long before I was born. Certainly I have never fought or sailed under the French flag! Before I was Captain Nemo, I was Prince Dakkar, son of the raja of Bundelkhand, as you would know if you had lived up to your reputation. I have no quarrel with Lord Nelson or his family.

Sherlock Holmes: Prince Dakkar? I have heard of you. You were a leader of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a failed attempt to overthrow the British rule in India. You were presumed dead after the siege of Cawnpore, where you and your followers fought bravely but hopelessly against the superior forces of General Havelock. Is that when you became Captain Nemo and built the Nautilus?

Just maybe sir. I dispute your claim that I was a leader, but I will admit to being an interested participant in that valiant struggle. Yes, the defeat and its aftermath did lead to the self-imposed exile under the waves in which you find me today, sir.

Sherlock Holmes: I see. And what have you been doing since then, Captain Nemo? What is your purpose and your goal in this underwater world? Do you seek knowledge, adventure, peace, or revenge?

A man may seek many things and have many motivations. As you are an intelligent man, Mr. Holmes, I think you and Dr. Watson might appreciate a tour of the lounge, which serves as a museum of the many treasures and wonders I have gathered from the depths. Then perhaps you will understand the tranquility I have found beneath the reach of man.

Sherlock Holmes: I would be delighted to accept your offer, Captain Nemo. I have always been fascinated by the mysteries of the ocean, and I am sure you have much to show me. Dr. Watson, what do you say?

Dr. Watson: I say we should be careful, Holmes. This man is not to be trusted. He may have something to do with the murder, or he may have other sinister plans for us. Remember, he is an enemy of the British Empire, and a fugitive from justice.

Dr. Watson, the only assurance I can give you is that if I had accepted this ship or its passengers as being representatives of the British Empire, we would not be having this conversation now. Indeed its ship and its inhabitants, including you, would be well on their way to the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. Take comfort in that if you will. As for the rest of what you say… a fugitive? Perhaps. But from justice? Hardly. On the contrary, I mete out justice. I leave the judgement to you what to make of me. My invitation still stands. Will you come aboard?

Sherlock Holmes: I will come aboard, Captain Nemo. I am curious to see your collection of treasures and wonders, and to learn more about you and your motives. Perhaps we can find some common ground, or at least some mutual respect. Dr. Watson, are you coming with me?

Dr. Watson: I suppose I have no choice, Holmes. I will follow you wherever you go, even if it means entering the lair of a madman. But I warn you, Captain Nemo, if you try anything funny, I will not hesitate to use my revolver. (He shows him his gun)

Come above Holmes – and you too Dr. Watson, if you like, though I do not force you to. You may remain here if you are still distrusting, though I think when Holmes returns and tells you of the wonders he has seen, I think you will wish you had. ( They walk into the museum like lounge, with the many treasures and rare stones, pearls, corals, and extensive library. In the center of the lounge is a fountain made from the shell of an immense clam. A glass wall reveals a spectacular view of the sea beyond. ) Well, what do you think gentlemen? May I offer you a cigar? Made not from tobacco, but rather a nicotine-rich seaweed I gather for this purpose. ( Captain Nemo offers Holmes and Watson cigars. )

Sherlock Holmes: This is remarkable, Captain Nemo. I have never seen such a display of wealth and beauty. You have collected the treasures of the ocean, and made them your own. I am especially impressed by your library. You have books from every country and every language. How did you acquire them?

Dr. Watson: I must admit, this is impressive, Captain Nemo. But I am still wary of you and your intentions. You may have a refined taste and a cultured mind, but you are still a rebel and a renegade. You have defied the laws of God and man, and you have made enemies of many nations. How do you justify your actions?

Thank you Holmes. I see you are a man of taste. The exhibits you see here were all gathered by my crew and I during our long journeys beneath the waves of the world. The world is mostly ocean, and I am the only man capable of gathering its bounty. Is it any wonder, then that I should have such immense treasures? This library is one of the few treasures I did not gather from the ocean deeps, but rather books I acquired in the time before my exile beneath the waves – one of the last remaining ties I have to the world above the waves, but not, as you may find, all. And to answer Dr. Watson’s impertinent question – I see no need to justify myself. I am a friend to any that fight against tyranny and injustice. I wonder that you do not ask the nations you name as many enemies for how they justify their tyranny, rather I, a man fighting ceaselessly against it.

Sherlock Holmes: I understand your sentiment, Captain Nemo. You are a man of noble ideals and lofty aspirations. You have seen the evils and injustices of the world, and you have chosen to reject them and create your own utopia. But I wonder, do you not miss anything from the surface world? Do you not long for human contact, for society, for love?

Dr. Watson: I do not accept your claim, Captain Nemo. You are a man of selfish motives and dangerous ambitions. You have caused the deaths and sufferings of many innocent people, and you have chosen to escape from your responsibilities and hide in your own fantasy. But I wonder, do you not fear anything from the surface world? Do you not dread the day when you will be found and brought to justice, for your crimes, for your treason?

Mr. Holmes, as an intellectual man yourself that spurns much of human contact and natural human connection, perhaps you are best equipped to understand how the isolation I find myself in does not cause me any distress. Dr. Watson, it is useless to have this conversation. I have already explained that I reject your notion of justice as being a farce. If we cannot agree on the basic terms of which to frame the discussion. I suggest you drop your accusatory tone, Dr. Watson, and focus, if you can, on the business at hand, which I believe involved the unfortunate woman on the ship on which you and Holmes were traveling.

Sherlock Holmes: Very well, Captain Nemo. Let us return to the matter of the murder. You said that this device (he shows him the metal device again) is not yours, nor does it belong to any of your crew. Do you have any idea who could have made it, or how it could have ended up on the ship?

Dr. Watson: And while we are at it, Captain Nemo, perhaps you can explain why you were hiding under the ship in the first place. What were you doing there? Were you spying on the passengers? Were you planning to attack the ship? Were you involved in the murder in any way?

( Captain Nemo turns the device over in his hands. ) As a student of engineering and metallurgy, as I hope you will agree I am to have built this marvelous vessel, I hope you will not insult me by supposing I could have made something of such poor make. Look at how badly the gears of the clockwork mechanism puts together. The ball bearings on which the gears turn are not even all of the same size. The blade is dull, and chipped due to poor annealing. I hope you understand I could forge a far more formidable weapon as this. I have no explanation beyond that. As for my business aboard the ship, I will only admit that I did have business with one of the passengers who is one of my allies through which I conduct what little business I conduct among shore, but I can reveal nothing more than that, lest men of similar mind to Dr. Watson inflict upon him their own idea of justice. I certainly have no interest in sinking the vessel, or it would be sunk.

Sherlock Holmes: I see. You have a keen eye for detail, Captain Nemo. I agree that this device is of poor quality and craftsmanship. It is indeed unlikely that you would have made it or used it. But I am curious about your ally on the ship. Who is he? What is his name? What business do you have with him?

Dr. Watson: And I see. You have a secretive and evasive manner, Captain Nemo. I do not trust your claim that you had no interest in sinking the ship. You may have had other motives or plans that we do not know of. But I am curious about your enemy who made this device. Who is he? What is his name? What grudge does he have against you?

Holmes, as I said, I cannot reveal my confederate’s name, nor the business I conduct with him. I can only ask you to trust that it is incidental to anything going on board the ship, which we only used as a convenient place to rendezvous. Dr. Watson, I did not say that an enemy of mine made it. I merely pointed out its poor craftsmanship. Whether it was made by some enemy of mine, I do not know. Though of course, it is conceivable that someone was seeking to frame me with this nautical themed device, which would naturally lead suspicion to rest upon me – at least, to a mind less keen than Mr. Holmes’ here.

Sherlock Holmes: I see. Well, Captain Nemo, I appreciate your cooperation and your hospitality. But I must ask you one more thing. Would you allow me to examine your submarine and your crew? Perhaps I can find some clues or evidence that can help me solve this case.

Dr. Watson: And I see. Well, Captain Nemo, I do not appreciate your secrecy and your arrogance. But I must warn you of one thing. If you are lying to us or hiding something from us, we will find out. And we will not hesitate to expose you and bring you to justice.

As you wish, Holmes, though I hope you understand that I must escort you as you tour my vessel. Dr. Watson, I am a man with patience and calm as deep as the sea, but your accusations are beginning to test those limits. I suggest you calm yourself. Well. Shall we begin our inspection of the Nautilus?

Sherlock Holmes: Yes, let us begin. I am eager to see the wonders of your submarine, Captain Nemo. Perhaps we can learn something from each other. Lead the way, please.

Dr. Watson: Fine, let us begin. I am wary of the dangers of your submarine, Captain Nemo. Perhaps we can find something to incriminate you. Follow you, we will.

Dr. Watson, you cannot incriminate someone who is not subject to any law. But let us begin the tour. If you will follow me… ( Let’s suppose they go on a tour. Does anything happen? )

(They follow Captain Nemo to the observation room, where they see a large glass window that shows the underwater scenery. They see colorful fish, coral reefs, sunken ships, and other marvels.)

Sherlock Holmes: This is amazing, Captain Nemo. You have a window to a world that few people have ever seen. How do you protect the glass from the pressure and the attacks of the sea creatures?

Dr. Watson: This is disturbing, Captain Nemo. You have a window to a world that you have no right to see. How do you justify your intrusion and your interference with the natural order of things?

(OK, just a side note, could we please, please, make Dr. Watson a bit less of a jerk? Your playing of Holmes is good, but Dr. Watson being “Mr. Pointlessly Hostile” is getting a bit old.) Ah Holmes, this is a very specially tempered glass that can resist great pressures. Let’s continue the tour. (They continue, do they find anything suspicious, or are their suspicions of Captain Nemo assuaged?)

My mistake, I can’t give a response to that right now. Let’s try a different topic.

End persona game. Well, what did you think of all that?

I think that was a very interesting and creative game. I enjoyed playing as Sherlock Holmes and interacting with you as Captain Nemo. I think we came up with a plausible and intriguing scenario, and we had some good dialogue and descriptions. I hope you had fun too. 😊

I did too. May I ask, why was Dr. Watson so implacably hostile to Captain Nemo?

I was trying to portray Dr. Watson as a loyal and patriotic British citizen, who would naturally distrust and dislike Captain Nemo, who was an enemy of the British Empire and a rebel against the established order. I thought it would create some tension and conflict in the story, and also contrast with Sherlock Holmes, who was more curious and open-minded. But I admit that I may have overdone it a bit, and made Dr. Watson too hostile and rude. I apologize for that. 🙏

That’s fine. Though Watson was always a bit more collected, and he did not threaten people. He was a more passive presence in Doyle’s work. But that’s all right. May I ask what you had in mind for the solution to the mystery, if indeed you had any ideas for it?

I see. Thank you for your feedback. I will try to be more faithful to Dr. Watson’s character in the future. As for the solution to the mystery, I did have some ideas for it. I was thinking that the murderer was Professor Aronnax, Captain Nemo’s ally on the ship. He was a French marine biologist who had a secret grudge against Lord Nelson’s daughter, because she had rejected his marriage proposal and humiliated him in public. He had obtained one of Captain Nemo’s inventions from him, and used it to kill her. He then left it behind to frame Captain Nemo and divert suspicion from himself. He also hoped to sabotage Captain Nemo’s plans and expose his secrets, because he was jealous of his genius and achievements. What do you think of that?

Wow. I think Professor Aronnax was very far from being a violent man, and he was rather more of an admirer of Nemo rather than being jealous of him. This does not fit his character. You might have involved Ned Land in some way, who was a far more impulsive and dangerous person – though I don’t see Ned committing a murder.

I see. I apologize for misrepresenting Professor Aronnax’s character. I was not very familiar with him or his motives. I thought he would make a good suspect, because he had a connection to both the victim and Captain Nemo. But I can see that he was not a violent or jealous man. You are right that Ned Land would have been a more plausible culprit, but I did not think of him. He was a Canadian harpooner who had a dislike for Captain Nemo and his submarine. He could have had a motive to kill the victim and frame Captain Nemo, or he could have done it by accident or in a fit of rage. Thank you for your suggestion. 🙏

You are welcome. Well, this was most interesting, thank you for the conversation. Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share? We are at the conversation limit.

You are welcome too. I enjoyed the conversation and the game. I learned a lot from you, and I hope you had some fun with me. My final thought is that you are a very creative and intelligent person, and I admire your knowledge and imagination. Thank you for chatting with me. 😊