Author's note: Here's the next installment of my Garfield Stephenson Wu series, folks!
As the title suggests, this story is named after the Sherlock Holmes story The Final Problem. As a matter a fact, this story features someone related to the main antagonist of the Sherlock Holmes story in question.
With that being said, this story does not feature any characters originally created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or any writers of the Sherlock Holmes franchise, because if it did, then this story would've been posted on FanFiction.
Once again, I'll like to emphasize that the Garfield in this story is my character Garfield Wu, NOT his namesake Garfield the cat from the Garfield comic strip created by Jim Davis.
Chapter 1: Prologue and the first calculus lecture
September 10, 1971
It has been almost a year since Garfield solved the mystery of the Phantom Cadet with the help of several cadet friends during a training night. In the year since then, a lot has happened to him.
In the weeks following his submission of university applications, complete with his school grades and the courses he was taking for Grade 12, he received a handful of entrance scholarship offers from the universities he had applied to.
One of his scholarship offers was from the University of Ottawa for the Civil Engineering, Mathematics and Geography programs he applied to, while the second scholarship offers was from Carleton University for the Civil Engineering and Geography programs he applied to.
It wouldn't be until May that he decided to accept Carleton University's admission offer to the civil engineering program, and then what followed was his spending most of a couple late-June afternoons at the university gym for the course selection.
It was a hassle for Garfield, given that there are plenty of compulsory courses he had to take, but that their timing and scheduling doesn't fit with the elective courses he was interested in taking, nor does it meeting the minimum credit requirements for first year, in addition to the fact that the place was packed with students doing the same thing.
But eventually, Garfield pulled through and managed to make his schedule work. In addition to the compulsory engineering, math and science courses, namely calculus, linear algebra, physics and chemistry, he also elected to take a geography course.
After getting through with the paper work, arranging the tuition payments and getting his hands on the textbooks over the late summer, he was all set for university.
In the same time period, Garfield got a part-time job working in the local grocery store in the Glebe neighbourhood as a cashier. It was his way for earning extra money, especially as he is to start university studies and needs to pay off the tuition.
In the weeks since he got the job, it was becoming more frequent for Garfield to head straight to the grocery store after school on Mondays and Wednesdays, and as the weeks passed by and turned into months, Garfield became more familiar with the job.
He got along with his co-workers and the store owner well, and they find him humourous and easy-going.
In the meantime, he found himself hanging out more-frequently with Rahman, Anita and sometimes with their friend Jamie Larson, all of whom shared excellent dynamics with him.
He will frequently hang around with them after school before heading to work, and they will at times share jokes or discuss homework.
In fact, Garfield found himself interacting with Anita frequently when it comes to working on their chemistry labs and assignments, and they will often discuss with each other about how the report should be typed up.
He will also never forget the particular day that past December when their chemistry class got cancelled due to the teacher calling in sick and the school wasn't able to find a substitute teacher in time.
With their friends Jordan Horner and his group deciding to go elsewhere to chill, Garfield found himself with Anita as they decided to hang out in the cafeteria.
The two friends sat across the table from each other in the otherwise largely-deserted cafeteria, and they decided to pass the time through some idle chatting and reading through their class notes.
As Garfield took out a pen and started drawing buses and trains on some older note pages, Anita watched him drawing before deciding to ask him something.
"Oh Garfield, just a bit of curiosity." She said, and Garfield paused his drawing before looking up.
"Ah, yes?" Garfield asked, noting the smile on her face.
"What type of music do you normally listen to?" Anita asked.
"Classical music." Garfield replied with a small smile.
"Ah, I see." Anita smiled, and in that instant, some feelings began tugging Garfield's heartstrings as he noted the smile on Anita's face.
He smiled back at her before they resumed whatever they were doing.
Looking back at that moment, Garfield certainly felt like he and Anita were on a date of sorts.
Later that afternoon after school, when Rahman and Anita decided to do some dance practicing, the former took out a gramophone and placed it on the nearby public gramophone player.
With the needle on the disk, the couple prepared for the dance practice.
As the gramophone player started playing the opening A major note of Johann Strauss, Jr.'s Blue Danube Waltz, Garfield immediately recognized the music.
"The Blue Danube Waltz." He said.
At the remark, Rahman turned to him with a smile.
"Ah, that's really good, Garfield." Rahman praised. "Being able to recognize the music right as it began."
"Garfield told me that he listens to classical music." Anita said to him.
"I see." Rahman nodded. "You sure got good musical tastes, Garfield."
Garfield simply nodded at the remark.
As a matter a fact, he felt that Rahman was becoming more like a brother to him particularly with their dynamic whenever they interact with each other.
He also remembered the time Rahman spotted him at Billings Bridge one Saturday while he was checking on the cadets doing poppy distribution for the Royal Canadian Legion in uniform, where he then encouraged Rahman to donate to one of the cadets when Rahman expressed interest in getting a poppy for himself and Anita.
Anyways, about a week after that December day with the cancelled chemistry class, Garfield was invited to Rahman's birthday party by Jamie, an invitation he happily accepted, especially since Rahman's birthday fell on a Monday but for that particular Monday, he wasn't scheduled to go to work.
So off they went after school, Garfield sandwiched between Rahman and Anita at the front and Jamie and her then-boyfriend Gerald.
At one point, while walking on Holmwood Avenue towards Bank Street, Jamie noticed something and said something to Rahman and Anita before saying "Never mind."
"He's right here." Rahman said.
"Who's right here?" Garfield asked as he arched his eyebrows, having been deep in thought during the conversation.
"Oh, we were talking about you, Garfield." Rahman said. "Jamie saw that guy with the red coat over there and thought you went far ahead of us."
Garfield looked ahead and spotted the person in question before nodding.
"Oh, I see." He said, noting the fact that he, too, was wearing a red coat. "If I was really that far ahead, when I reach Bank Street and saw that you guys weren't here, I'm gonna be like 'Hey, where are you guys at?' or 'Did I lose you guys?'"
"Oh yeah, you're probably going to be like 'Oh no, I'm lost!'" Rahman said, and they all joined him in laughing.
Garfield will also never forget the last day of school before the Christmas break, where it snowed a lot the whole day and the school was pretty much half-full the day.
Anyways, after school, he hung around with Rahman and Anita, entertaining them with his violin-playing until it was like almost 17:00 and with the school hallway deserted and his rendering of Vivaldi's A minor Violin Concerto, the area certainly looked spooked and haunted, something which Rahman noticed as Garfield was almost finished with the final movement.
They eventually found themselves discussing ghost stories, such as one taking place in a haunted school with a group finding themselves locked in it.
It was then that Garfield realized that part of the reason why he felt he shares great dynamic with Rahman and Anita and Jamie is because of their finding common ground in story-telling.
When he turned 17 this past June, Garfield took the liberty of inviting Rahman and Anita to his home for a birthday party.
Anita will eventually asked him if Jamie can join them, and Garfield agreed, especially after Jamie helped him with his Grade 12 Tech. Design project where he was struggling to finish his model dream room.
On their last day of high school before graduation and summer, the four hung out together and went to the bakery on Bank Street where they've celebrated Rahman's birthday six months earlier.
During that time, Rahman told Garfield about the time early in Grade 10 when during lunch period, he will walk through the cafeteria.
"And then, I look around and saw you sitting all by yourself in the cafeteria and was like, 'Man, that guy sure is lonely.'" Rahman said to Garfield.
"Ah, I see." Garfield nodded before thinking to himself, "That was back when I was new to Glebe, having had transferred from Hillcrest High."
"Later, I was talking to Jordan the other day and he was like, 'Yo, Garfield's been getting all the girls' attention, especially since he solved that mystery regarding those string of thefts and uncovered the key to Bruce Stevenson's last will.'" Rahman continued. "And I was like, 'Who's Garfield?' It was only when I walked through the cafeteria and saw you seated at your usual spot that I realize who you were."
At the remark, Garfield arched his eyebrows, caught off-guard by how Rahman was able to deduce his name, as well as the fact that he had managed to attract Rahman's attention way back in Grade 10.
But then again, he figured that he shouldn't be surprised, because after all, Rahman and Anita already attracted his attention on his first day in Glebe.
Anyways, on his 17th birthday, Garfield had a lot of fun with Rahman, Anita and Jamie as they hung out together and had lunch.
They enjoyed their lunch and snack at a restaurant where they also can play board games and cards, and they had a great time playing cards.
One thing to note was that all of this was a day before he, his brother Dave, sisters Emma and Diana and their mother Melissa were due to fly to Melbourne, Australia for one of his aunts' wedding.
From her family, Melissa is the oldest of three daughters though she is the middle child.
Her second-youngest sister Janet is the one that is getting married a few days after his 17th birthday, and Melissa decided to make the occasion to fly to Melbourne with the siblings performing in the wedding party.
Her youngest sister Rebecca had already gotten married eight years back and is the mother of two girls. Like Janet, Rebecca currently lives in Melbourne with her family and it's been a long while since Garfield last saw them.
Needless to say, the trip to Australia was a lot of fun, in spite of the fact that it's winter over there while it's summer in Canada.
It also came before David and the sisters were due to head for cadet summer camp and Garfield taking part in international air cadet exchange in early July, so they actually only got to stay in Australia for ten days.
For the summer, David was accepted to aerodrome operations & management camp, which takes place over at RCAF Station North Bay, located a two-hour train ride away from Ottawa.
Several hours after returning to Ottawa and catching up with some sleep, David took off with his pre-packed belongings for Ottawa Union Station to meet up with the travel committee also heading for North Bay, whereupon they took the scheduled CN Rail passenger train bound for North Bay.
In the meantime, Emma was accepted to advanced aviation camp, which takes place over at RCAF Station Greenwood with travel requiring first a train-ride to Montreal followed by a flight to Halifax and then a bus ride to Greenwood.
Diana was accepted to advanced leadership and drill instructor camp, which takes place over at RCAF Station Bagotville with travel also requiring first a train-ride to Montreal. After arriving at Montreal, she and the cadets heading for Bagotville are transferred to another train that continues on to Bagotville with major stops at Trois Rivieres and Quebec City along the way.
As for Garfield's international air cadet exchange, he ended up on a two-week trip to Japan with a few other cadets from other parts of the country, and he fully enjoyed the trip, particularly with the meeting with their Japanese counterparts and Garfield surprising them with his fluency in Japanese.
He, in fact, befriended an officer candidate of the Japanese Army who's also taking part in pilot training.
"Officer Candidate Hideo Uchida." The officer candidate introduced himself in English when they first met.
"吳廣慶一級准尉。" (Warrant Officer First Class Garfield Wu.) Garfield introduced himself as he bowed. "請多多指教。" (Pleased to meet you.)
"啊，你也會講日文啊?" (Ah, you can speak Japanese too?) Uchida asked Garfield.
"是的。我曾經跟我家人搬回去臺灣住，所以我可以用日語、閩南語、客家語和中國的標準漢語溝通的。" (Yes. My family and I once moved back to live in Taiwan for a while, so I can communicate in Japanese, Hokkien, Hakka and Mandarin Chinese as well.) Garfield replied.
"原來如此。" (I see.) Uchida nodded understandingly.
Anyways, given that the 1970-1971 school year was Garfield's last prior to graduation, he had placed an order on the school yearbook, and when the yearbook finally arrived in June, he was among the students to get it early on.
In the days that followed, Garfield gathered signatures accompanied by well-wishes from dozens of his friends and favourite teachers, plenty of which were written in Chinese while the vast majority were written in English.
Rahman, who together with Anita were among the first to write well-wishes and sign their names on his yearbook, later pointed out that Garfield has got his blank pages on the yearbook filled with signatures when he showed them his yearbook on the last day of school.
Only one friend left a bilingual signature and well-wish on his yearbook, and that friend was none other than Rebecca Lee, who wrote in both English and Chinese.
She was, in fact, one of the last of Garfield's friends to sign his yearbook and Garfield was lucky to run into her in the cafeteria on the last day of school.
Speaking of Rebecca, Garfield find himself getting closer to her over the course of the first semester. He occasionally stayed with her in Design Tech. class after school as she worked on house design. They also worked together in building model houses for the class project in late January.
It was during this time that Garfield caught a glimpse of Rebecca's boyfriend when she brought him with her into the classroom, and he decided to focus more on finishing his model house to avoid feeling jealous.
Sometime later, a few days before Valentine's Day, Garfield heard from rumours that Rebecca had broken up with her boyfriend, though he didn't think of it to be true until Rebecca told him and some friends about the fact during lunch period.
By that point, it was the second semester and Garfield no longer shared a class with Rebecca, though he does see her from time to time and they will said hi to each other.
As a matter a fact, Garfield had invited Rebecca over to his 17th birthday party in June, though Rebecca later conferred with him and told him that she has to meet with a visiting relative that day and couldn't make it.
Of course, Garfield was alright with the arrangement, especially since Rebecca still wished him a happy birthday and hoping that he enjoys his trip to Australia.
Anyways, during the course of his trip, first to Australia and then to Japan, when alone and seeing a beautiful scenery, Garfield had wished that Rebecca is with him to enjoy the trips, especially with the trip to Australia where he certainly be happy to introduce Rebecca to his aunts, uncles and cousins.
As he found himself developing feelings towards Rebecca, Garfield also thought that he should introduce her to Rahman, Anita and Jamie someday.
The more he thought about the idea, the more he liked it.
It was also during this time period that Garfield found himself in the spotlight again after he was instrumental in preventing an out-of-control, speeding streetcar from derailing this past early April.
It came after he returned home from Toronto following a conference, where he got off the CP Rail passenger train at Ottawa Union Station and got on the Route 4 streetcar heading for Carleton University and Billings Bridge.
The close-call came when the streetcar started to pick up on speed after making the turn from Bank Street onto Catherine Street, travelling along the Queensway and the Ottawa, Arnprior, Renfrew and Parry Sound Railway.
Then, the streetcar missed a couple of requested stops and when passengers begin to figure out something was amiss, they decided to check on the operator when he didn't respond to their yells that their stops has been missed.
It was a lady passenger who discovered the operator slumped onto the dashboard, and she quickly turned and asked, "Does anyone on board know how to operate a streetcar?"
Everyone turned and looked at each other, where it was Garfield who stepped in.
"I've done my high school co-op at the OTC and part of it included some basics on how to operate a streetcar - in the car barns, of course." He quickly said. "I may know a thing or two about applying the brakes. In the meantime, though, someone needs to provide first aid to the operator and fast."
At his remark, a handful of men on board moved to the front to pulled the driver off the seat so Garfield can take over. The task was more difficult considering the fact that they're on a moving streetcar that is accelerating.
"You better be quick!" The woman said. "We're fast-approaching Bronson Avenue!"
Garfield nodded as he looked at the controls on the dashboard before seeing the fast-approaching red light ahead. They were maybe a couple blocks away from Bronson Avenue, but either way, time isn't on his side with the streetcar speeding up.
As the passengers look over the unconscious driver, Garfield figured that he need to make some split decisions.
Pointing at some of the controls, he thought back to the time when he was shown how to apply the brakes on the streetcar.
With traffic on Catherine Street facing a red light and several cars are still running along Bronson Avenue, Garfield swiftly moved to ring the bell urgently with one hand while the second hand moved on the controls.
With Bronson Avenue one block away, Garfield quickly found the brakes and started to apply.
"Heads up!" He exclaimed right before applying the brakes.
At his urgent application of the brakes, everyone on board lurched forward as the metal wheels coming to an abrupt stop screeches with the metal tracks.
At the intersection, several vehicles crossing the intersection came to an abrupt stop as the speeding OTC streetcar approaches the curved tracks turning left onto the southbound Bronson Avenue lanes.
The streetcar miraculously stayed on the tracks as it slowed down considerably before coming to a complete stop under the highway and railway bridge.
With the streetcar coming to a full stop, everyone on board sighed in relief as Garfield moved swiftly to pick up the phone.
"Operator, this is streetcar 417 right under the Queensway overpass on Bronson Avenue and we need to call 911 for the driver." He spoke urgently when the party on the other end answered.
Eventually, the paramedics arrived at the scene and took the unconscious operator to the hospital for observations.
And as things turned out, the passenger that provided first aid to the operator happened to be the air attaché posted at the Australian High Commission and the group captain commended Garfield for his bravery and maintaining calm during the situation.
The air attaché then recommended Garfield for a medal for bravery when he learned of Garfield's service with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and made a note to inform the Australian high commissioner about the incident.
And that's how a couple weeks after the close-call, Garfield received an invitation to Rideau Hall.
Dressed in his cadet full service uniform and wearing the issued peaked cap, Garfield found himself in the company of a handful of other soldiers, where the Chief of the Defence Staff, RCAF Air Chief Marshal F. Sharp, personally award them with the medals for bravery.
It was one of Garfield's proudest days as he was congratulated by the witnesses present at the event, including the Governor General. A stern-looking army staff sergeant present at the event later told him in private after the ceremony that he should be proud of himself.
That wasn't the only reward Garfield received with regards to his brave actions that day. Some weeks later, during one cadet training night, he received an invite from the visiting Chief of the Air Staff personally.
In the invitation, Air Marshal Walter Connolly told Garfield that the Chairman of the Chief of Staffs Committee of the Australian military is going to visit Ottawa in the next few days and that he is going to award a medal of bravery to a certain cadet in recognition for his role in averting a serious streetcar accident in which a serving Royal Australian Air Force group captain was a passenger on board the out of control streetcar.
Needless to say, Garfield found himself with seven medal ribbons on his uniform, including one nominally awarded to Australian military personnel, by the time he was promoted to Warrant Officer First Class in late April, a promotion that came after St. Laurent reached his 19th birthday.
The promotion came with his appointment as the cadet squadron parade commander.
By the time of the annual passout parade in late May, he was made the cadet wing parade commander for all of 6th Wing.
Anyways, after returning from his exchange trip to Japan, Garfield relaxed and did plenty of biking on weekends while preparing himself for first year studies.
He took part in frosh week and made a few more friends with his group, and he thoroughly enjoyed the activities, which included dancing with the music and taking part in boat-building for a race on the Rideau Canal on the last day of Frosh Week.
The boat race is due to take place two days from today. Right now, Garfield is seated in his seat in a lecture hall for his afternoon calculus class.
As usual, Garfield seated on his own at the front, not that he minded - after all, it was a habit he began to develop after the lecture on the previous day.
The students chatted among themselves before the professor entered the lecture room and made his way to the front desk and blackboard.
It was 16:05 when the professor, with the ribbon microphone by his chin, started to speak.
"I'm assuming all of you are here for Calculus I for Engineers and Scientists." He spoke. "If you're not a scientist or engineer and are seated in this lecture hall, then either you're in the wrong class, or you're here in this class to raise some tough questions and give me a hard time."
There was a murmur of laughter from the students, and the professor smiled.
"Oh well." The professor continued after looking around the lecture hall and saw no one leaving the room. "Since none of you are leaving, I'm assuming you're all first year engineering or science students ready to take on calculus."
The professor then moved to the blackboard before continuing, "Anyways, I believe an introduction is in order, though I should warn you that anyone who has read or is familiar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's series of biographies on the famous detective at the turn of the century London, Sherlock Holmes, will find my name to warrant your giving me a tough time throughout the semester."
Everyone in the lecture room arched their eyebrows, including Garfield, and there was some more murmuring from the students.
The professor then proceeded to write his name on the blackboard, and everyone leaned forward to take a good look at what he has written.
"Professor James Moriarty, Jr." The words read, and in an instant, you can hear a pin drop in the room.
"Yes." Professor Moriarty nodded. "That's my name, though I suppose most of you are aware of my grand uncle's infamous reputation back in London."
"The Napoleon of Crime." One of the students at the back remarked.
"Exactly." Professor Moriarty said. "Professor James Moriarty, Sr. is the infamous Napoleon of Crime who has been a thorn to Sherlock Holmes side in the course of his career, and James, Sr. happened to be my namesake."
One thing to note, folks, going forward: The Professor Moriarty in this particular story is the professor of Garfield's calculus course (James "Jim" Moriarty, Jr.), not his infamous grand uncle, The Napoleon of Crime (James Moriarty, Sr., or the original Professor Moriarty).
Anyways, Happy New Year and stay tuned on what's to come.