Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Search and Rescue

a Sentinel / X-Files Crossover

last in "The Sentinel Files" trilogy

by Laura Picken

Hi all! I'm just going to jump right into this one quickly--it's going to be too long and complex to get into lengthy explanations. Just know that if you haven't read "Someone to Watch Over Me" or (particularly) "Siege", go back and read them first. You won't have a clue as to certain things in this story without them. It might also help you to have read Tate's story "Fatal Flaw".

DISCLAIMER: The Sentinel's characters belong to Pet Fly / Paramount, The X-Files' characters belong to 1013 Productions and Fox. You'd never do this yourselves, so please don't sue. I'm not doing this for money, anyway. Anyone else you see in here that you don't recognize, though, is mine. Please don't take them out to play unless you ask me first.

At this point, you can probably consider this to be in a totally different Alternate Universe from both shows, although you could stick it somewhere in the third/fourth season of X-Files (let's just say that Mulder's alive, but Melissa isn't).

Now that that's out of the way, on with the show...

*****

854 Prospect

Cascade, WA

March 23, 1997

1:52 am

Blair Sandburg looked at the clock and sighed. He hated staying up this late, but it amazed him how often he did just that. [How did Bruce Wayne do it?] he sighed. At first, Jim was his 'project', and he could schedule meetings wherever and whenever their schedules happened to meet. Then when he got his observer status, police work became his 'second life'. He was so desperate to observe Jim in his natural environment that he jumped at the chance to be involved in Jim's cases, as long as he could still be an 'objective' observer and still meet his responsibilities at the University. Sure, it was hard to juggle things, but it would only be temporary, right? Jim would need him less and less, and soon Jim would only need to speak to him occasionally, his dissertation would be published, and he could enjoy a quiet life of academia.

He had no idea how wrong his initial hypothesis would be. Police work was becoming his first life just as much as it was Jim's. Instead of relying on Blair less and less, Jim counted on him more and more to help him not just with his senses, but by applying his knowledge and insight to their cases as well. He was spending far less time at the University than he should be, his students could never get a hold of him anymore, and grading tests and writing papers were things that were fast getting pushed to spare weekends and early morning hours. And sleep? Sleep was becoming a valuable commodity that he would take where and when he got the opportunity. He couldn't even remember when he had gotten a full eight hours.

Blair finished grading his last paper for the night, praying he could get at least five hours of sleep before he and Jim had to be at the station tomorrow when he saw a bright light shoot into Jim's upstairs windows. Knowing immediately something was wrong, Blair raced up the stairs and raced into a scene that would become forever etched in his mind.

His six-foot-plus-tall partner was suspended in the light like it was a stretcher carrying him out of the open windows of the apartment. The wind coming through those windows was ferocious, throwing objects everywhere and sending Blair's long hair flying back behind him. He screamed, "Jim!" and was rewarded with only the hum of whatever machine was taking his friend from him. He screamed out again, and tried to move, but for some reason his feet refused to obey his mind, rooting him where he stood. He could only scream a third time before he was blinded by the light that was taking his Sentinel from him.

*****

As the light cleared from his eyes, Blair got his bearings and ran downstairs. The clock in the kitchen read 4:00 a.m. "This can't be right," said Blair out loud, but then he checked the clock in his room and it, too, read 4:00 a.m. He turned on the television, flipping to the cable programming guide which had a clock in the corner.

It too, read 4:00 a.m.

He ran upstairs again, instinctively thinking that he should tell his partner about this. He stopped when he saw the condition of Jim's bedroom and the open window. The events of two hours prior came flooding back to him, and he sat on the floor in dazed shock.

His Sentinel, his partner, his friend--Jim was gone.

A few minutes later he was woken out of his stupor by a low growling coming from downstairs. He ran back into the living room to see the black panther both men recognized as Jim's spirit guide sprawled out on the couch, batting at the telephone. As Blair picked up the receiver to call Simon, he felt the familiar tug at the back of his consciousness, like a rubber band being stretched to its limits.

The link, the bond between Sentinel and Guide that only called attention to itself in cases of life-or-death danger, had blazed to life.

But there was no signal coming from Jim's side. Only darkness.

*****

It took thirty minutes for Simon Banks to get down to the loft with a full Forensics team. None of the team even knew what kind of a crime had taken place, they were just told to look for anything 'suspicious'. Simon didn't even know what was going on, but all he needed to hear was that the 'link' between Ellison and Sandburg had blazed to life again, and he was on the phone. He had enough experience with his most unusual team and their mysterious 'link' to know that if the link was ignored for any reason, one or both of them would most likely end up dead.

As Simon followed the team in, he noticed the distraught look on Sandburg's face, and asked, "okay Sandburg, what's going on here?"

"Jim was kidnapped, sir. About three hours ago. I watched it happen."

Simon exclaimed, at barely a whisper. "You watched it happen! And you couldn't stop it! No, of course you couldn't stop it." He knew both men well enough that if it were at all possible to have stopped something like that, Blair would most likely have died trying. Simon then asked, "well, did you at least get a good look at whoever it was?"

Blair grimaced, and automatically Simon knew he wasn't going to like the sound of this story. The younger man replied, "not exactly, sir."

The two men pulled up chairs at the kitchen table, and Blair began to tell his story. As he finished, Simon ran a hand through his hair and absentmindedly scratched the back of his head. He was going to ask Blair if he expected the captain to believe such an outlandish story, but he took one more look at the kid and held his tongue. Blair looked like hell. The kid may be known for lying, but this time one look at him showed without a doubt that he believed his story one hundred percent. As far as Blair Sandburg was concerned, everything he had just told Simon was the absolute truth. [Now the question is,] thought Simon, [it may be the truth according to Sandburg, but is it the real truth?] He patted the kid on the shoulder and motioned for him to get his jacket and keys.

Blair asked, "where are we going?"

Simon replied, "I want to take you over to the hospital, get you checked out."

Blair looked confused and dejected at the same time. His response was not so much a question as a statement of fact. "You don't believe me, do you."

Simon tried to be as reassuring as possible. It wasn't easy. "It's not that I don't believe you, Blair. I just want to make sure that you're physically all right and that you haven't been slipped any drugs or anything. Humor me, will you? I promise, we'll get to the bottom of this."

Blair's mood improved, but only slightly. "Okay, Simon. Let's go."

The captain informed Serena Chang, who was heading up the Forensics team, that he was taking Blair to the hospital, and asked her to lock up on her way out. He then ushered Blair out the door.

*****

Cascade General Hospital

March 23, 1997

6:30 a.m.

Simon was roused away from the waiting room's view of the sunrise by the shrill ring of his cell phone. "Banks," he barked into it. As he recognized Serena's voice, his tone softened. "Serena, what do you have for me?" As he listened to the Forensic tech describe what little information they were able to get from their thorough search of the loft, he rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to relieve a little of the stress that was building. She had found almost nothing 'suspicious', even around the open window and broken clutter in Jim's bedroom. The only thing they had to go on right now was Blair's testimony about what had happened. Simon sighed deeply and ended his conversation, "all right, Serena. I'm sure you did all you could. Go home and get some rest."

As he closed the connection and put the phone back in his pocket, the doctor escorted Blair back out into the waiting room. He walked over to them and asked the doctor, "so, doc, what's the prognosis?"

Doctor Markinson replied, "as far as I can tell, captain, everything checks out. I did a blood workup as you requested, but the preliminary findings came up clean."

Simon sighed again. "Okay, doctor. Thank you." The two men then walked out of the hospital.

As they headed to Simon's car, Blair asked, "now do you believe me, Simon?"

"I never said I _didn't_, Sandburg! But at this point, you're our only lead."

"Forensics didn't turn up _anything_?"

As Simon shook his head, Blair hit the top of the car hard in frustration. Blair asked, "so now what?"

Simon motioned for the younger man to get in the car as he replied, "your guess is as good as mine." He started the engine and pulled out in the direction of the police station.

As they drove, Blair's analytical mind went to work. He had to figure out something, for Jim's sake. He tried to send a message through the link for what had to be the tenth time that morning, but he got no response. Jim wasn't dead--that was the only thing right now of which Blair was absolutely certain. No, Jim was simply unconscious, which was no change from the time he had been taken four hours earlier.

Which brought Blair's thoughts back to the scene he had witnessed earlier that morning. This was not your normal kidnapping, by any means. And Blair _knew_, without a doubt, that he wasn't seeing things. [So what the hell happened back there?] he thought. He tried to replay the events in his head, the way he had taught Jim to do, to see if he could see any faces or anything, but it was futile. The only thing that stood out in his mind was the zone-out, if you could call it that. But for two hours? It was possible. Maybe Jim zoned on the light when it hit his room, and the link passed the zone-out on to him when it had kicked in. No, if they had zoned-out in tandem, they probably would have met on the bridge somewhere. Something else was going on here. An idea flickered in the back of his mind, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Knowing it would probably come to him later, he set it aside as Simon pulled into the department parking lot.

*****

Cascade Police Department

Major Crimes Division

March 23, 1997

8:00 a.m.

Simon brought a cup of coffee over to Blair, who was sitting at Jim's computer looking for all the world like he had zoned out. He called to the younger man, "Blair?"

Blair jumped, startled, and turned to see not his partner, but Captain Banks behind him. He had been jumpy all morning, and after most of the guys in the Bullpen had come over to him, offering their reassurances that wherever Jim was, they would find him and take care of the guys who took him in the first place, everyone but Simon gave the kid a wide berth.

Blair apologized, "sorry Captain, it's just that every time I turn around…"

Simon didn't have to complete the thought. "I know. Have you been able to pull any ideas off that machine yet?"

In any other situation, he would have laughed at the comment, but at that point it went mostly over his head. "Not really. The information I've found has been interesting, but all it does is make me sound like more of a crackpot than I already am."

[This ought to be interesting,] thought Simon. He leaned over Blair's shoulder to get a better look at the screen and ordered, "well, let's take a look."

Blair pulled up the information he had been reading, and Simon glanced over it. It was an article from a group called NICAP detailing one woman's experience watching her daughter being "abducted by aliens". [Jim? Abducted by aliens? You gotta be kidding me.] But then he read more of the article and realized that the woman's experiences had an uncanny similarity to the story that Blair had told him. He scanned further down the page and noticed that the woman had been interviewed by two FBI agents. The names sounded familiar, but he couldn't place them. He pointed out to Blair, "it says here the woman had been interviewed by two FBI agents. Do you think they might have worked on cases similar to what happened to Jim this morning?"

Blair stared at Simon in confusion for a minute. "She was interviewed by the FBI? I hadn't read that in the article?" He turned back to the computer and scrolled down to the appropriate paragraph.

The idea he had been trying to recall earlier in the morning hit him like a ton of bricks the minute he found out that the woman in the article had been interviewed by FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Blair stammered out, "oh. My. God," as he realized who most likely had his friend. Mulder and Scully had been quite clear as to what these people were like, and exactly what he should do, "in case something happened."

As Blair pulled up a form to write an e-mail to Scully, Simon looked at the younger man in confusion. "Those names ring a bell for you, Sandburg."

Blair sighed. Apparently, Simon didn't remember the agents as vividly as either Blair or Jim had. Then again, he didn't know that Mulder was a Sentinel, and that the four of them had been corresponding for over a year now. And the Bureau had been good enough to leave out their involvement in the Washington Towers rescue over the Christmas holiday, so Simon didn't know about that, either. [Time to refresh Simon's memory,] thought Blair. "Do you remember the Marcus Christopher case?"

Simon thought for a moment. "You mean the one where--" Realization dawned on his face as he now recognized the names of the two unusual FBI agents who worked out of the basement in Washington. He directed Blair, "contact them. Let them know what happened, and get back to me with what they say."

Blair quickly replied, "yes sir," and went right to work on the e-mail.

*****

J. Edgar Hoover Building

Washington, D.C.

March 23, 1997

8:30 a.m.

[Finally, a day to catch up on all this paperwork,] thought Mulder. For once, they were between cases, after having worked on that last serial killer case non-stop for almost six weeks. It was only through his ability to see the killer watching the last crime scene from 50 yards away using high-powered binoculars that they were able to finally catch the guy and put him behind bars for good. Now that they had their first day back in the office, Mulder realized how much paperwork they had bypassed in the pursuit of justice. [And I guess that pursuit has now caught up with us.]

He logged in to her computer and heard the familiar beep that told him he had new e-mails to read. He pulled up the list and noticed the urgent tag next to Blair Sandburg's familiar address. [Strange, he usually writes Scully.] As he read the e-mail, he realized that paperwork was going to be the last thing on his mind for a long time to come.

He was checking his service weapon and gathering up his things just as his partner, Dana Scully, was walking into the office to start her day. Bypassing the pleasantries, he declared, "don't get too comfortable, Scully, we have to go see Skinner."

Surprised, she replied, "and Good Morning to you too, Mulder. What's this about?"

"We have to go to Cascade. Jim Ellison's been abducted."

[Jim? Kidnapped?] thought Scully. "Mulder, I know how close the two of you are, but this happened to him once before, hasn't it? Can't the Cascade PD…"

Mulder cut her off. "No, Scully, you're not hearing me right. He hasn't been kidnapped, he's been _abducted_."

Dana's face went white as she heard Mulder emphasize the word 'abducted'. This wasn't a kidnapping case. Jim Ellison was now living the same nightmare that she once had to go through. "Is Blair--?"

Mulder completed her thought. "He's fine--he's the one who alerted me. Their link kicked in, although Blair is pretty sure at this point that wherever Jim is, he's unconscious."

"Should we tell the Gunmen?"

Mulder thought about it briefly. "Good idea. I'll call Byers, ask him if we can borrow the truck."

As Scully gathered up what she would need to talk to the Assistant Director, she volunteered, "I'll go up to see Skinner and let him know what's going on."

She was out the door and on her way to the elevator before Mulder even had a chance to question the idea.

*****

Assistant Director Walter Skinner had just sat down at his desk with his first cup of morning coffee, when he heard a knock on the door. Assuming it was his secretary, he called, "come in, Ellen."

He looked up and instead of seeing his gray-haired secretary, he found himself looking into the eyes of one half of his most troublesome team. She looked like she had just had the wind knocked out of her. "Is there something I can help you with, Agent Scully?"

She replied, "yes sir. Agent Mulder and I need to go to Cascade, Washington immediately."

Even though he had a sinking feeling that he knew the answer to this next question, he asked it anyway. "May I ask why?"

"Sir, we have just received word that Jim Ellison has been abducted."

[That's what I was afraid of,] thought Skinner. "And Mr. Sandburg?"

"He's fine so far, sir. He's the one who alerted us to the situation."

Skinner pushed a button on his desk that was his direct intercom to his secretary. "Ellen, I need you to make reservations for three people on a flight out to Cascade, Washington this afternoon. And if you could bring the papers to grant a paid leave of absence I'd appreciate it. Oh, and get Mr. Smith on the phone for me."

Over the intercom, Ellen could be heard replying, "yes, sir."

Scully asked, "three people, sir?"

"Detective Ellison saved my life once, Agent Scully, as I'm sure you remember. I think it's time I returned the favor. We can't write this up as an official investigation, so we'll be on paid leave-of-absence until Detective Ellison is found. I'll call you with the flight information as soon as Ellen has it."

Before Scully could even have a chance to continue to question the idea, Skinner declared, "that will be all for now, Agent Scully. I will contact you later."

Scully turned and left the office to tell Mulder the change in plans.

*****

[On to Part 2] [Back to Fiction Page]