(Formerly Truth, Justice and the American Way)
by Laura Picken
Hi everyone! Thanks for all the positive response on "Blair
Sandburg, PhD". This is the sequel to that, although you
don't need to have read that story to get the gist of this one.
(One note of clarification: my X-Files crossover, "Someone
to Watch Over Me", is not a part of this 'universe', and
in no ways relates to this story.) I thought about the options
that they could use to keep Blair in the department, and this
kept popping into my head. Someone mentioned this possibility
in another story (which one it was escapes me at the moment),
and the more I thought about it, the more realistic the possibility
became. Plus, this is a teaser to a case I'm still trying to come
up with. But then again, that's only the beginning. Why spoil
it for you?
DISCLAIMER: You know the drill -- Blair, Jim, Simon and the gang
from "The Sentinel" belong to Pet Fly Productions and
Paramount. I'm using them without permission and definitely not
for profit. I just like writing about 'em. If we keep it clean
and in character, they won't sue, will they? Any and all original
characters, though, are mine, and I'm letting them play roles
here because I have other stories in mind for them, so anyone
who wants to use them _must_ ask me first. And be warned, you
wouldn't like me when I'm angry. ;-)
And now, on with the show
Jim Ellison was a man who wasn't scared of anything. Except for
losing his partner. Over the years, he had come to think of Blair
Sandburg as exactly that -- his partner, his Guide, and his best
friend. He couldn't imagine having to do his job without Blair
at his side. But, with Blair's dissertation published and his
police observer status up for review, he had a feeling that just
might happen. He walked into Simon's office, unsure of how he
was going to say what he needed to say, but sure that this was
the right thing. He knocked on the door, and Simon answered with
a gruff, "Enter."
Jim took his cue and sat down in front of the desk. "Simon,
have you given any more thought to what we can do about Sandburg?"
Simon leaned back in his chair and let out a long sigh. When he
first met the long-haired anthropologist, if someone had asked
him that question, Simon's first response would have been to send
the kid back to the school as quickly as possible. But, as he
began to see the effect Blair had had on Jim, as well as the ability
he has shown to handle himself well in almost any situation, he
began to see Blair as just another one of his men, on the same
level as his partner. Having been hit yet again by the reality
of Blair's civilian status was frustrating him, but he didn't
know how to keep Blair on the force short of shipping him off
to the police academy, which was a solution everyone knew was
unrealistic. Blair had a job, now a real job as an Associate Professor
at the University, and had no desire to become a cop. And, judging
from what little Jim had told him about what happened in Peru
with his senses, Jim wouldn't be able to last that long without
Blair either. He replied, "Yeah, I've thought about it, but
I can't come up with anything that would sound plausible."
"I think I have a way to solve this."
Simon gave his best detective a curious glance. "Why do I
have a feeling I'm not going to like the sound of this?"
Jim winced. "Maybe because I don't like the idea myself,
but it's the only thing I could think of that might work?"
Simon sighed again. "Okay, what is it?"
"We go to Commissioner McPherson, tell her about my abilities,
and get her to hire Blair on as a police consultant?"
Simon cupped his head in his hands and began to massage his temples.
Jim was fiercely secretive about telling anyone about his abilities.
If the information got into the wrong hands, Simon knew, it could
be used against Jim or Sandburg, or, most likely, both of them,
as Lee Brackett had done. To have him come up with this idea meant
that they really had no other choice. "I'll arrange the meeting,
but you have to tell Sandburg, okay?"
Jim nodded. As he got up to leave, he turned to Simon and added,
"Oh, and thank you."
Simon looked up at him, confused. "For what?"
"For working so hard to try and keep Blair around."
"He's your partner, Jim. No cop would be able to handle you
and your 'senses' nearly as well as he can. It would be stupid
to try and force one to try. You'd send them screaming to the
loony bin the first time you heard them mumble something about
you in my office. And if you ever tell Sandburg I said this
Jim interrupted him, laughing as he left the office. "I know,
I know! We'll be pulling traffic duty for a month. See you later,
Blair had no trouble agreeing to the meeting. As always, he was
more concerned about the implications this meeting would have
on Jim's ability to do his job than on the possibility that he
might not be able to assist him. "One way or another, we'd
work it out," he had reassured Jim, "We always do."
So why, now, sitting outside the Commissioner's office, did he
feel like a 12-year-old who had been caught sneaking into the
varsity girls' locker room and now had to face the High School
The Commissioner's administrative assistant led the three men
into the Commissioner's office, and they sat down. No sooner had
they sat down, however, when they stood up for the older woman
who had entered the room. Jim and Simon exchanged their greetings
with the Commissioner, who then introduced herself to Blair. "Professor
Sandburg? I'm Commissioner Diane McPherson. It's nice to finally
Blair was still so stunned by his initial impressions of this
woman and the fact that she called him 'Professor Sandburg' that
he almost didn't respond. With her piercing blue eyes and slightly
graying, but otherwise jet-black hair, she looked for all the
world like she could be Blair's mother. He quickly composed himself
and replied, "It's a pleasure, Commissioner."
She commented, "The chief forwarded me a copy of your dissertation.
You seem to have ascertained a lot of valuable insights into police
work. Congratulations, I'm sure you must be very pleased with
Nervously, he replied, "I am. Thank you."
She motioned for the three men to sit down as she took her place
behind her imposing mahogany desk. "Now, I understand that
your status as a police observer is coming up for review, Professor?"
Blair nodded, and the Commissioner continued, "I don't understand.
I thought that once the dissertation was published, your work
here was done?"
Jim and Blair glanced at each other nervously. Simon had come
over and the three of them had gone over how they were going to
explain this to the Commissioner for an hour last night, reviewing
every possible obstacle she could throw in their way. Leave it
to her to cut to the chase. Blair nodded, and Simon interjected,
"True, the paper is finished. However, in the time that Mr.
Sandburg has been with our division, he has been able to contribute
significantly to the division on many occasions, and we would
like to see his relationship with the department continue on a
more permanent basis."
The Commissioner ruffled through her papers, and came up with
the file she had been looking for. Opening it, she asked, "I
take it this has something to do with the work he does with you,
Jim nodded, and drew in a deep breath. "Yes ma'am. During
Blair's time at the department, he has come to assist me in a
very specialized function. As we worked together, we began to
realize that after he published his dissertation, we would still
need to continue to work together on a more permanent basis."
Diane then asked the question everyone was dreading hearing. "And
what is this specialized function, Detective?"
[Now comes the tough part.] Jim replied, "Just before Blair
came to the department, I began to have some difficulty with my
senses. I began to see and hear things that, to other people,
simply weren't there. There was nothing physically wrong with
me, yet, when I was tested, it became clear that my senses had
become amplified, acutely sensitive far beyond the levels of most
people. What I was hearing was real, it just may have been in
the next room, in the next building, or down the block, and far
out of the other person's normal hearing range. Blair's work,
to that point, had been studying people with similar sensitivities,
so a friend of his introduced us, and he and I started working
together to help me control and direct my senses so they can be
used as an effective tool in my work."
The Commissioner looked skeptical, but asked, "And you continue
to need Mr. Sandburg to assist you in this fashion?"
Blair and Jim both nodded. Blair replied, "Cases of people
with Detective Ellison's abilities date back to pre-civilized
cultures. In those times, they were called Sentinels -- people
with acute sensory ability whose duty it was to protect the tribe
from danger, help scout for food, etc. Each Sentinel would have
a 'partner', called a Guide, who would help him control and focus
his senses when necessary. That is what I do for Detective Ellison."
Diane nodded, "I see. Of course you are aware of how crazy
this story sounds."
All three men nodded in agreement. Jim then responded, "Would
you like us to demonstrate?"
Curious, the Commissioner nodded. Blair then asked Diane, "Commissioner,
would you please be so kind as to go into the other room and whisper
something to Captain Banks? Oh, and turn up the radio."
Diane nodded in agreement, rose, and motioned for Simon, who escorted
her into the waiting area. She whispered to Simon, "I think
you've finally gone off the deep end, Simon--bringing these two
in here and expecting me to believe their story! You really think
these guys are telling the truth?"
Simon then whispered back, "I don't pretend to understand
it, Diane. I've just seen enough evidence to know that it's true.
And you have Jim's records from the past couple of years. You
know how his arrest and conviction statistics have gone way up
since he's been teamed with Sandburg."
Diane replied, "Then why hasn't any of this stuff come out
in his case reports?"
Simon replied, "You remember when Danny Choy was murdered?"
Diane winced slightly and nodded. It always hurt to remember when
one of her 'boys' died. Simon continued, "The defense lawyers
ate him alive on the witness stand. Said that there's no way he
could have seen the killers from the distance he did, even though,
with his abilities, it was completely possible. He couldn't say
anything without making his senses a matter of public record.
After that, he was a lot more 'guarded' about what he put in his
Simon then turned off the radio and escorted the Commissioner
back into the room. She asked Blair, "So, what was I talking
to Captain Banks about? I take it the two of you were eavesdropping?"
Blair shrugged. "I didn't hear a thing--Captain Banks very
considerately put the radio up so loud people were listening to
it in Oregon, so that's all I heard. Jim?"
Jim looked the Commissioner straight in the eye and said. "Number
one, you think we're all crazy, which I have to admit, I did too
when this first started to happen to me. Simon asked you to look
at the evidence, which I agree speaks for itself. Number two,
you're wondering why I didn't put the times when I used my 'senses'
in the reports. Simon told you about the Choy murder case, and
I'm sure you definitely understand what kind of a public relations
challenge this department would face if all of a sudden my 'abilities'
became a matter of public record."
Diane was intrigued. It does seem like the detective had heard
every word. She then remembered something on her assistant's desk,
and decided to come up with a little test of her own. The door
was still open a crack, so she asked Jim, "Tell me, detective.
As you can tell, I don't have a coffeemaker in my office. I don't
touch the stuff, and what coffee my assistant gets, she get from
the cafeteria downstairs. Can you tell what kind of coffee she's
Jim closed his eyes, and drew in a deep breath. Simon and Blair
watched the familiar clench of his jaw and tilt of his head and
he tried to filter out the other scents in the large office to
isolate the smell he was interested in. He then replied, "French
Vanilla, with hazelnut creamer and two sugars. And it's cold."
Surprised, Diane got up, went over to her assistant, and calmly
asked her, "Julia, what kind of coffee did you get this morning
from the cafeteria?"
Julia replied, "French Vanilla. I wanted to try something
new this morning. Why do you ask?"
The Commissioner's face went white as she asked, "No reason.
Oh, by the way, how do you take your coffee?"
Confused, Julia replied, "A little hazelnut creamer and two
sugars. I like it sweet. Why?"
Diane shook her head, as if she was trying to brush off the shock
of what she just heard. "Just curious. Thank you."
As Julia shrugged off her boss' odd behavior, the Commissioner
walked slowly back to her office, then turned and asked Julia,
"Oh, and Julia, please bring me a copy of the XF1013 contract
and a 1099 form for Professor Sandburg."
Julia nodded, and walked over to her file cabinet. "Right
Diane then closed her door and walked slowly back to her desk.
It was pretty clear to the three gentlemen that she was convinced
of Jim's abilities. She just had a couple more question to ask.
"These abilities of your--they can get out of control?"
Jim nodded. "If I focus too much on something with one or
more of my senses, I'll start to drift mentally--almost like I'm
in some sort of trance. In a high pressure situation, this can
become dangerous, and has become dangerous many times. Blair has
been able to talk me through the balance of being able to use
my abilities without losing that 'focus'."
Diane then asked, "And how many people know about your abilities,
Jim replied, "Only those of us in this room, and a ex-CIA
agent named Lee Brackett. I believe you read the report on him?"
The Commissioner nodded. "So no one else knows?"
"No one that we know of, ma'am."
At that point, Julia discretely entered, carrying the contract
and the 1099 form. Diane thanked her, and she discretely left.
The Commissioner then handed the forms to Blair. "Professor,
I am prepared to offer you a permanent position as a consultant
to the department. You will retain all access that you had as
a police observer, and your duties will be to assist the Major
Crimes division in any way they find necessary, specifically in
relation to your continued work with Detective Ellison. Simon,
if you want to assign Detective Ellison a partner from the other
detectives on the force, that is your prerogative, but the Professor
here will work with Detective Ellison regardless." When she
said this, all three men visibly relaxed.
Diane could tell that this is what the three men wanted, but she
was also fascinated by this unusual situation, and did have a
few things in mind for the Sentinel and his young Guide. But before
that, a few things needed to be clarified first. As Blair was
about to speak up, the Commissioner, who by now had fully regained
her composure, stopped him. "Professor, I am aware of the
need for the continued discretion as to who knows about the detective's
'abilities'. As far as anyone outside this room goes, you will
only be known as a consultant to the police department, nothing
more. Anyone who wants any more information on you or your work
will have to go through me to get it. The contract you are holding
is a special private contract that the department also uses for
psychics we keep on retainer."
Simon looked shocked -- he had no idea the department kept psychics
on retainer. And if he didn't know, he was pretty sure no one
else did either. When she noticed Simon's expression, she continued,
"No, Simon, as I'm sure you've just realized, it's not common
knowledge that we have a few psychics on retainer with the department.
They're a small group, hand-picked by me. They're my last resort
before a case is retired as unsolved, and they're paid only if
the information they give leads to an arrest using other viable
evidence. I see no reason why Detective Ellison and Professor
Sandburg's 'secret' should be treated any differently than that.
Unless anyone has any objections?" The room was quiet.
When no one spoke up, Diane continued, "All right then. Gentlemen,
this will mean one change, though." All three men sat up,
attentive. This meeting had gone much better than anyone had expected,
and they were waiting for the other shoe to drop. She turned to
Blair and Jim and stated, "I don't like this business of
you two filing reports that are less than accurate."
Before Blair or Jim could object, Diane continued, "Although
I understand your obvious need for secrecy, I still want to see
the truth documented for the record. Therefore, I'm going to ask
that you two start filing two reports for each case. Detective
Ellison, you will need to file the official report, as you have
been doing to this point. That is the report that will continue
to be a matter of public record. Professor Sandburg, I am going
to need you to file a separate report, detailing everything about
the case, including any 'unique' investigative techniques you
and your partner may have used. If Detective Ellison saw something,
I want you to tell me how far away it was. If he heard something
that you used later in the case to gather other evidence, I want
to know where he was in relation to what he heard. I think you
get the idea?" Blair nodded.
The Commissioner continued, "These reports are to be hand-delivered
to me by one of the three of you. They will be kept under lock
and key in my office at all times, and only myself, Julia and
those in this room will have access to them unless all parties
agree to the contrary. Once delivered, those reports will never
leave this room, with the exception of copies that Professor Sandburg
will be at liberty to make for his research. Are we in agreement
on this?" After an involuntary groan at the thought of double
paperwork, both men nodded.
Noticing their annoyance, Diane reminded them, "Careful,
gentlemen. Remember, I could have simply let Professor Sandburg's
observer status run out and had you deal with the consequences.
I think you should consider yourselves lucky you got out of this
with the deal that I gave you. Are we clear on that?"
All three men responded, "Clear, ma'am."
Satisfied, Diane turned to the file she had pulled from her desk
earlier. "Very well, then. That will be all for now, gentlemen.
I will contact you when I need you."
Taking that as their cue to leave, the three men got up, said
their "Thank you"s to the Commissioner and left. As
she left, she said to herself, "They told me when I got this
job that Cascade was a peaceful, quiet little city. 'Nothing like
New York,' they said. Now I've got a file of Unsolved Mysteries,
a team of "Mission: Impossible" psychics, and a detective
whose senses are so overloaded needs a human 'guide dog' to help
control them. What's next, Rod Serling showing up to take over
She could barely make out the uncontrolled laughter of Jim Ellison
as he stepped into the elevator.
Well, that's it folks! Stage Fright is our boys' first case under the Commissioner's new rules. Check it out!