Warning: This is a story involving characters from 'The Sentinel' and those from First Wave and this is also my first attempt at doing a crossover. I've incorporated the basic story for the character Cade Foster and hope if you had not seen any of the show 'First Wave', you'd still be able to follow along. Be gentle but truthful.
Though this is second in my crossroad stories, it was the first I had written. Be gentle but truthful it ends with what could be a third crossover but we'll see.
The boys are not mine but for a while they have danced in my dreams. This is the outcome of such a dream.
- Conquering the Spirit World -
Cade Foster was just an average man. Educated, good looking and content. He had once made the mistake of doing something illegal but had repaid his debt to society. Time was kind to the man and Cade was fortunate enough to find and marry the woman of his dreams, get a job with a security company and, well, earned himself a comfortable life.
Unfortunately, fate took a drastic shift left and something went wrong. The planet Earth had become the target of visitors from another planet. Aliens who assumed our form and were systematically destroying humanities infrastructure. Hospitals, schools, large cities, small towns - it didn't matter, everyone anywhere was targeted. Humans were being studied for weaknesses and were systematically being destroyed. The aliens were succeeding. This was the First Wave in their attempt to take the planet for their own.
According to a book written by an age old astronomer and visionary by the name of Nostradamos, our planet was earmarked for destruction and was to be destroyed in three waves. Only a select few who have the vision and the strength to fight back could alter these occurrences. Cade Foster, a man who had lost his wife and his life to these aliens, was such an individual. He had killed those directly responsible for the acts done to him personally and found himself an unsung hero in a battle no one knew about. The aliens were clever and had started hunting the man responsible for thwarting their efforts.
Cade had developed new identities due to the fact that the aliens wanted the hunter and, with the help of a somewhat overly suspicious scientist by the name of Eddie whose wiry looks and strange fetishes concealed a computer genius with a penchant for recalling the strangest pieces of information, he continued to fight these aliens, often succeeding.
Always traveling in search of allies, but mostly finding people disbelieving, weak or fearful. It seemed humanity was floundering and only two or three individuals kept up the struggle after meeting Cade. He needed more people to believe in him, to help in this fight for mankind. Earth needed protecting.
Currently the struggle led the crusader to Cascade, Washington. Home of the Jags, good Tube Steaks and the current area of attacks by a serial killer who seemed to be using a designer drug that somehow caused the brain to overload. The reason for these attacks as yet were unknown, still they were strange enough to warrant Cade and Eddie's attention.
Cade had called Eddie and, according to Nostradamos, 'Within the dwellings of society is a holy man and a Sentinel. Separately, the two are strong and brave. Together, they are a powerful force against the threats to mankind. To one the evil will always be visible; to the other the secret of mankind is kept safely tucked away in the light he carries. The holy man, keeper of the light, must face the challenge by defeating those who threaten the spiritual world. A choice will be given, a bond will be challenged.'
"Eddie, how the hell am I supposed to locate this Sentinel person and some holy guy? What if they hadn't met yet? What if they aren't together?"
Eddie listened to the hesitance emanating from the phone piece in his ear, tilted his head and sighed, "Look man, they should be there, they've got to be. My guess is that they have to be some kind of reporters or medical people or maybe even a priest and a follower." Eddie sighed, "Look Cade, the aliens have killed 20 people so far and some of them are children. Most of them are in pairs, lovers, best friends, and co-workers. Cade these guys, whoever they are, are in trouble. The bad guys are looking for these two and you had better find them before these freaks do."
Cade leaned against his current car and sighed, "Eddie it just seems so hopeless. No one cares. Man could die tomorrow and maybe it would be for the better.” He sighed in frustration, “These guys will probably laugh at me like all of the rest."
"Look, I know its difficult but you've met some people along the way and they've made a difference. You've made a difference. Hell, I know I don't want to die and I know you don't mean that about the rest of the world. You have to go on. This matters."
Cade closed his eyes and reluctantly sighed, "Alright, let's give it a try."
Sandburg had gotten up twenty minutes late and now the desperate rush to beat the clock began. "Damn where the hell is it?"
Ellison leaned against the doorway of the younger man's bedroom with a cup of coffee in one hand and a wide grin on his face, "You know Chief, I thought that when you became an official part of the force, you'd become a bit more organized."
Sandburg mumbled something from his current location, deep within his bedroom closet.
Of course a certain Sentinel could always ascertain what his friend said. After all heightened senses had their privileges, as evident by the smile Ellison exhibited as he replied, "I heard that and don't be such a smart ass."
Five minutes later the two men exited the loft and headed to work. Unbeknownst to either, they were being carefully monitored.
Blair hated carrying a gun. He was used to following Jim along, helping him use his abilities and just helping out when he could. Now he was official - Det. Blair Sandburg of the Cascade P.D. - Major Crimes Division and partner to James Ellison. Still, carrying a gun? The damn thing was too heavy and he just didn't plan to use it. He wondered if Jim would mind if he carried his backpack and had his gun in there. He shook his head knowing Jim would balk at the idea. Blair Sandburg was a detective now. Though he did score extremely high on the range, he preferred to use the gun only for target practice. Somehow it just felt wrong to use it in any other manner.
Ellison noticed his partner fidgeting with the weapon's holster and smiled, "Chief, just give it time and one day you won't even notice it's there."
Blair dropped his hands and blushed, "I just don't think I could ever use this thing to shoot another human being."
Jim parked the truck in the department garage and placed his hand on Sandburg's shoulder, "Look I hope you never have to but if you find yourself alone and cornered, I just think it's a good idea for you to have protection." Ellison squeezed the shoulder beneath his hand and smirked, "Besides your Blessed Protector won't let anything happen to you."
Blair smiled, "Thanks Jim." Inwardly he sighed, At least I didn't have to cut my hair.
The two entered Major Crime and were told by Det. Rafe that Capt. Banks and several government types were in his office and they were expected to join them.
Capt. Banks smiled, "Gentlemen, so pleased you could join us."
Ellison entered and noticed the three men in dark suits, same haircuts and same dark sunglasses tucked neatly into their breast pockets. The three looked like emotionless extras for the next 'Men In Black/Matrix' sequels. Definitely FBI or CIA.
Blair noticed the three men and shivered inwardly. Government types were the worst. Something about these three seemed wrong and he suddenly felt very nervous, nauseous.
Jim had noticed Blair's elevated heart rate and unconsciously placed himself between the men and his partner.
Simon stood, "These are two of my finest men. Det. James Ellison and Det. Blair Sandburg. Sandburg and Ellison, I would like to introduce you to FBI investigators Adams, Washington and Kent." Handshakes were exchanged. All the while Blair felt increasingly uncomfortable. He suddenly wanted to grab his Sentinel and run as fast as he could away from these three but fought against the urge. It wouldn't look good to start acting like a nut case in Simon's office.
Banks gestured for the men to be seated. "It seems that the FBI has been investigating the recent serial killings with respect to a strange designer drug that has been destroying the minds of its victims."
The one named Washington stood, "Yes, well it appears that the drug attacks the part of the brain that regulates the creative side of the mind. It inhabits this area and forces it to overtax itself. Small amounts of the drug induces hallucinations and a dreamlike state. Larger amounts of it can cause the body to overload."
Curiosity warred with discomfort. Curiosity won and Sandburg spoke up, "Does the chemical imbalance cause the brain to deteriorate?"
Washington looked at Blair with a feral smile which seemed completely out of place, "Actually yes, it causes the brain to overheat from working so hard and basically the brain melts. Though detrimental to the victim, it truly is a fascinating process."
Jim didn't like the way the three suddenly seemed intensely focused on his partner, "Gentlemen we are aware that the drug is extremely harmful, that it is a designer drug and that we have no witnesses at this moment. Aside from the fact that the killer or killers kidnap two victims each time and seem to use the drug on one and murder the other by shooting them in the heart without any logical reason that we can ascertain, what exactly is it that you contribute to this investigation?"
Adams stood, "What we bring to this investigation gentlemen is that fact that we have made several arrests in a matter similar to this in New York and we have tracked a suspect to Cascade. The man is a big time drug distributor and we intend to stop him now."
Washington stood and passed out the photograph, "He consistently evades the law and has changed his identification so often that it would be in the best interest of all involved if we were to obtain the individuals assisting him." Washington once again pinned Blair with his gaze, "His legal name is Cade Foster, spent time for theft up state, is currently wanted for murder and an assortment of other crimes which includes drug trafficking."
Ellison stood and moved to stand before Washington. He noted that the man was again staring intently on his partner and again Jim didn't like it, "So it seems you have a suspect. What do you need us for?"
Washington looked at Ellison with disdain, "What we want from you and your partner, detective, is cooperation. We need men familiar with the area to assist us and in return we both will be able to stop this drug from polluting the city."
Banks noted his detective's confrontational stance and cleared his throat as he stood and faced Ellison, "The two of you were selected due mainly to your success with the golden situation and because of your recent, or rather your partner's, recent exposure to the living drug a while back. A drug that is very similar to this one and is still being looked into. Now I expect you both to give the FBI your complete cooperation so we can get this trash off of our streets."
The silent Investigator Kent stood and smiled, "Det. Sandburg? I would like for you to drive me around to check out any warehouses in the area. I have an idea what kind of place someone like this would hold up in and I just want to see what Cascade has to offer."
Washington smiled, "In the meantime Ellison and I will follow the lead I recently obtained as to Foster's latest sighting."
Simon didn't like this recent turn of events, "Gentlemen we have a task force for this assignment. Det. Rafe and Brown are covering the warehouse district and would be better suited to showing you around."
Ellison nodded, "Sandburg and I will follow your lead and investigate the address you have."
Washington nodded, "The address our informant supplied us with is 329 W. Holes and I would prefer for all of us to be present, just in case. We'll meet you there in say 20 minutes?"
Jim nodded and waited with Blair, who had moved to stand behind his partner, until the three left. Sandburg was unusually quiet and seemed content to be partially concealed, almost as though he wanted to be shielded from the view of the strange government men. Ellison noted that his friend's heart was still beating extremely fast and frowned.
Simon went to stand before his detectives as he closed the door to his office. "Alright what is it with you two? I mean I have no love for the FBI and its strong armed tactics but..." Simon saw that Sandburg had become suddenly very pale.
Blair hadn't moved and felt like the air had suddenly become unbreathable as he noticed that Washington was still staring at him from beyond the office. He spoke without moving, his eyes meeting that of the government man, "Don't trust these men. What they say is a lie. They're here for something else. They want someone else."
Jim turned, looked at his partner and followed his gaze to that of Washington and then turned back to Sandburg. He stepped in front of Sandburg. The reaction was immediate Sandburg slumped into the seat behind him almost as though some invisible strings had been cut.
Banks moved closer to the younger man and Ellison quickly turned and closed the blinds.
Jim then returned to Sandburg's side, "Chief are you alright?"
Blair continued to stare off in a direction that provided him with a view only he could see and understand, "Jim, don't trust them."
Ellison sat in a chair next to Sandburg and placed his hand on the shoulder nearest to him, "Chief, you're scaring me. Blair?"
Sandburg focused on the man beside him. Suddenly he took a deep breath and was stunned to see both the Captain and his partner staring at him. "W-what happened?"
Banks sighed and sat on the edge of his desk, "Sandburg you seemed lost there for a second."
Jim squeezed the shoulder beneath his hand, "Chief you looked so pale and then you acted like you were in a trance of some kind. Do you remember anything?"
Blair frowned, "I don't know, I just saw that FBI guy giving me the 'stare' and I felt sort of uncomfortable nothing more. Why?"
Capt. Banks handed the younger man a cup of coffee, "Because you kept saying that we shouldn't trust those men. Mind you, I never ever trust the governmental types but you seemed more upset by their presence than normal."
Blair looked at his partner who nodded confirmation. "I don't know what to say. I don't remember saying anything."
Ellison straightened up, went to the window and peered out into the bullpen. He noted that Washington and the two others had left. "Chief we stick together on this."
Sandburg stood and shakily went to stand beside his partner. "Do you trust them?"
Jim turned to look into the uncertain face and smiled, "The only one I trust is you."
Blair returned the smile. Trust ensured.
Capt. Banks cleared his throat, "Alright from here on in we keep in constant contact with each other. If these guys are out to gain something for their own benefit, I do not want my men suffering from backlash effects. Understood?"
Sandburg turned towards the captain hoping he looked better than he felt, "Yes Simon and thanks."
Simon watched the two detectives exit his office and frowned. Sandburg was a detective now. That was a difficult thing to accept. It wasn't because the kid couldn't perform on the job, contrary to popular opinion he was a natural. It was just that Sandburg just didn't fit the hard cop mode. Watching him carry a gun seemed odd. Wrong. Yet the he had sacrificed his career and dreams to be Ellison's partner and if that was indeed what he wanted then he deserved to be one. He was brave, loyal and trustworthy. He just seemed to be at odds with his new career and the captain hoped he would soon relax into his position.
Banks smiled, "And if I read the 'Blair Zone' correctly, I had better be sure to create a safety net to catch the two of them when they fall." A good captain knows when to prepare for the inevitable shift. Banks smiled, who says he's not perceptive?
Cade had adopted the name of Cade McKnight. He had found out through Eddie that a Blair Sandburg had published one paper on Sentinels several years ago. Through a bit more digging, Eddie also discovered that Sandburg had been expelled from Rainier University for making further claims about discovering a true present-day Sentinel, a claim that was later found out to be a hoax by the man's own admission. Cade was also in possession of a photograph of Sandburg thanks to the numerous newspaper articles that ran the story.
According to Eddie the anthropology student was now a member of Cascade P.D. Det. Blair Sandburg was a working member of the people he had once considered part of his study project. Cade also obtained a picture of Blair's partner.
Additional records retrieved by Eddie listed James Ellison as a war hero. Exemplary military record and an excellent police record. Son and brother to two very successful corporate business types. Ellison was financially sound and never suffered to the life of poverty. He had received numerous awards for his duty in the service and as a police officer. The man was a pure soldier boy. Someone Cade would have to avoid.
Once again he glanced at Sandburg's photo. The picture had a caption above it that read, "Professor or Prankster" and was apparently taken just after the TA had announced that his study on Sentinels was a lie. The sadness in the eyes of the man in the photograph caused Cade to shake his head, there was more to this story. The eyes said so and reading between the lines had become part of his expertise.
He was drawn away from his musings when he heard some cars pulling up outside the hotel he was staying at and quickly glanced out his window, "Damn, why is this never easy?"
At that moment the man he was studying was headed up towards his hotel room. Beside him was the soldier boy and three others that looked very suspicious.
The test had begun.
Ellison paused and tilted his head, "Chief I think he is going to go around back."
Sandburg nodded and Adams walked up beside the younger man, "Sandburg, Kent and I will go in this way. You and Washington go around back. Ellison, watch the side, my guess is, he'll try to take that way out."
Jim looked to Blair who showed none of his previous hesitancy and nodded in agreement.
The three walked down the hallway, Blair in lead. He knew Jim was listening and felt safe. He waited five beats and then knocked on the room door, which slid open on contact and the three men discovered that Cade McKnight had hastily vacated the hotel room.
He turned to say something to Adams and Kent when he was suddenly jabbed in the neck with a syringe. Stunned Sandburg fell to the floor, his eyes looking up at the two men as they moved toward him. Suddenly someone came from the room across the hall and shot the two men. Before Blair's eyes both FBI agents crumpled to the floor near him, then melted and faded away.
Blair wanted to scream, he wanted Jim to come and wake him from this episode of 'Outer Limits', instead the suspect, Cade Foster, reached for him and placed his now uncooperative body over his shoulder. Slowly reality slipped away.
Jim heard his Guide's heart speed up and when he tried to focus on the other two men, that was when he noticed the difference. Blair's was the only true heartbeat he could locate, the other two had 'simulations' of a heartbeat. Their hearts had a buzz sound about them. He spun around to find a gun aimed at his head and Washington preparing to shoot. Jim kicked the gun out of the man's hand. Washington lashed out and shoved Ellison over several nearby dumpsters. When he recovered, Washington was gone.
The detective quickly ran up the back side of the hotel and discovered that Blair had been taken. His gun and badge were left on the bed. "Oh God, no."
Simon was beside himself. The FBI had no listing of agents going by the names of Washington, Kent or Adams. When Banks provided the bureau with his copy of their well-constructed records the members of the Bureau were stunned. Seems the three identified as construction workers from Arizona who were listed as missing from an extremely rural sight. The three men had disappeared a month ago without a trace or any kind of explanation.
Jim sighed as he gazed out the window of the hotel room, which was currently being investigated by forensics, "Simon it just doesn't add up. Three men come to our station posing as FBI agents, claim that they are after this Cade Foster, someone who apparently really does exist and is a wanted man. They lead the kid and I to a hotel room, which has periodicals with both of our pictures on them. They seem to really want this Foster person, I mean they had all the pertinent info on him, including where to find the man." Ellison closed his eyes and attempted to squelch his frustration before he continued, "And now it's almost as though this Cade or whoever he is, was studying us, hunting for us. Now Blair is kidnapped and I have no idea how all of this is all connected or why."
Banks sat on the bed and shook his head, "I can't figure out how all of this is tied to the designer drug slayings. There are just too many frayed ends." Simon looked at the lost man gazing out the window, "Jim, he knew. I don't know how but Sandburg saw this coming."
"Yeah and I delivered him right into their damn hands," Jim looked down at the badge and at the ID photo of Blair that he held in his hand, "Chief where the hell are you and with whom?"
Sandburg felt as though he were floating. Disjointed. "Jim?" Slowly he opened his eyes and was met with the piercing blue eyes of the man who killed the two ... things in the hotel room and possibly was responsible for the serial murders. Blair wanted to scoot away from him but his body still would not cooperate. Instead he was forced to lay wait to whatever the man had planned.
Cade had seen the blue eyes open and widen with terror. Slowly, cautious not to add to the man's fear, he went to sit near Sandburg, "Mr. Sandburg you've been given a drug which causes paralysis to the central nervous system. Try to relax and allow your body to slowly work it out. The paralysis is temporary. Please try to calm down, I promise I won't hurt you."
Cade shook his head in amazement, the kid shouldn't be able to speak and yet he was able to call for his partner. "I wasn't able to help him, Mr. Sandburg. They weren't after him so he's unharmed. You're the target and you're safe. Please just relax."
Blair closed his eyes, "Jim." Slowly he drifted off to sleep.
Cade tilted his head and considered the man currently sleeping on the bed in his newly acquired hotel room. He had learned to reserve two rooms, just in case something like this occurred and this time his caution was well founded. Blair appeared to be in his early twenties and yet his file mentioned him being in his thirties and closer in age to Cade. Still, this 'kid' seemed innocent, devoid of the harsh lines created by time and its hard lessons. Cade wondered if this was the atypical 'holy man" for today's modern time and if so did holy men carry guns?
Ellison covered the hotel area several times. He had gone over everything and still found not one single clue. Simon ordered the man to return home. "Jim I will call you if we hear anything. I've assigned a car to watch the loft tonight. These guys might have been after both of you."
Jim knew it was a losing battle and he was looking for something that wasn't there so he returned home. He hoped the kidnapper would call, ask for a ransom or demand he trade his life for that of his guide's but somehow Ellison felt Blair was the objective and they had what they wanted.
He paced his living area riddled with guilt. His Guide told him not to trust the three men and Jim had promised to not leave his side. Instead he was overly confident that the three wouldn't harm his partner if he was nearby. He was wrong and now found himself focusing on the one unaccounted for aspect of this situation - Cade Foster. Was he dangerous? How did he fit into this situation? Was Foster the serial killer or just some name supplied by the bogus FBI men to attract Blair into a trap?
Ellison leaned against the window facing out of his loft. He and Blair had so much more to work out, to discuss. The kid was a brother to the older man and secretly he was also the son Jim never thought he would have in the future. Ellison had gradually come to understand his captain's reluctance to have his son, Daryl, follow in the crime solving business. Being a cop was dangerous business. Jim had been lucky so far, Sandburg was quick and careful but now he had a gun and he gained the right to step into the face of danger. This very thought caused Jim to worry. Blair was his responsibility, not someone who should face danger head on. It wasn't because the younger man was a coward but because some indefinable instinct deemed Ellison the protector in their relationship. Blair was his to watch over and the other was the keeper of Jim's sanity and very soul.
Time passed. No calls, nothing and Ellison eventually headed up toward his bed still deep in thought.
Blair breezed into his life, an academic and a man willing to help him with his heightened abilities. Time shifted and the two became friends. They each learned to trust the other. Of course it took Jim a while longer but he had learned a valuable lesson. He now accepted that he needed and treasured his friend and guide. Neither seemed able to exist if the other should die. They had the kind of friendship that fictional stories were comprised of. The kind of friendship the average person only heard about. These two lived the dream.
Both also understood and accepted the fact that someday either marriage or death would separate them. Both expected the latter some time down the road. Still Jim wondered if by accepting Blair as a legitimate part of his working world, had he in turn allowed Sandburg to move that much closer to his demise.
Four hours and many thoughts later, sleep continued to elude the detective. He rose from his bed in frustration and walked downstairs when he spotted a very agitated panther sitting in front of Blair's room. He slowly moved toward the cat when a voice called to him from behind.
"Sentinel, the Guide faces a challenge and you must be prepared for the possible end to his time with you."
Jim froze, "An end? No. Death?"
Incacha stood in front of the balcony doors slowly moving towards the sitting area and motioned for Jim to join him on the very couch he had once died on, "Enqueri listen and understand the reason this must be so." Incacha sat beside the agitated man. "Shamans are guardians of the earth's spirit world. The light the young one carries is hated and feared by those not of this world. Creatures who have selected this place as their battleground. The outworlders have no idea what a shaman's true power is and the young one will be forced to prove it to them. It is his duty and as such he may be asked to sacrifice more than either of you had thought possible."
Jim hesitated, "Please, I-I thought he was my Shaman and I was his Sentinel. My duty is to protect him and he, I."
Incacha smiled, "It is true, he is yours to protect but he is not 'yours'. He also has duties to perform. A Shaman must protect the world of dreams and spiritual enlightenment. He has guided you and others to this place and has done so without fully knowing he has done so. He was born into this gift and has done well with it. Now the young one must try to protect this world and may die in the process. If he succeeds, the one who watches over him now may ask him to join him. It is his right to ask since it is he who faces this fight as part of his destiny. The Shaman may decide to join the one with the spirit of an eagle." Incacha grew serious, "Sentinel it is his duty to select what is best for the spirit world, for all of mankind."
Ellison closed his eyes and fought against the emotions warring inside.
Incacha smiled, "Ask."
Jim opened his eyes and fear shone through them, "I need him. He is my friend. I can't do this without him."
Incacha stood and walked to the panther, which trembled with the fear Ellison seemed to project. "He is your light and he has served you well. The one who guards him now has need of his services. The young one can help so many more by serving the other but his importance here is equally important. A choice. Surely Sentinel you do not want others on this world to suffer the fate that you once almost did. The fate Alex suffers from today."
The Sentinel shook his head as he stood, "I do not wish that fate on any but it is my duty to serve him as well. Where he goes I must follow. It is what I know, what I believe."
Incacha smiled, "Follow the light, Sentinel but be careful not to put the flame out with your need to possess it. The young one has much to decide and to perform. The one who now tends to the young Shaman is the protector of all of human kind. He travels in isolation and seeks enlightenment, companionship to dispel his lonely battle. The young Shaman, if asked and accepted, can provide that for him just as he did for you. To deny this to the man with the spirit of an eagle would be wrong."
Ellison lowered his head. "Blair is mine to protect."
Incacha smiled, "Still stubborn and still clenching the jaw I see. In time you will do the right thing, it is in your nature as well. Go now, your spirit guide will lead you to the light."
Blair stirred and woke. This time, though feeling a bit weak, he had control over his body and became aware of the man asleep nearby on what looked like an uncomfortable chair which had been placed between the bed and the door out of the room. A room with one window and a bathroom with no way out.
Sandburg then took in the face across from him. Etched on the young face was exhaustion brought on by what Blair thought was a lack of a decent night's sleep. This Cade Foster did not seem like a murderer, he seemed too trusting. After all Blair wasn't tied or beaten and the phone was next to his bed. Slowly Blair remembered the past events and gasped. The things, Adams and Kent - Washington they were not of this earth. "Aliens?"
Cade heard the voice and was startled from his sleep. He met the gaze that seemed to seek something from his very soul. These eyes saw only the truth. "Yes."
Blair blinked as he accepted the truth without question. Nothing else could explain it. "What do they want from me? Why me?"
Cade cautiously slid forward in the chair he sat on. The explanation was difficult for most to accept. "They want to destroy all of the human race. It is said that you hold the key to the next movement against them." Cade paused and seemed openly surprised to find the other simply listening, "Wait, you believe me?"
Blair nodded, "Why not? You don't appear to be lying and you haven't tied me up or threatened me. You've left the phone plugged and near the bed." Then Blair paused, "Oh my god, where is Jim?"
Cade saw the fear in the younger man's eyes and quickly wanted to stifle it, "He was outside when you were being attacked. It is you who they wanted and considered special. You are the holy man."
Blair flinched, "How did you...? No Jim. He ...I" Blair scooted away from Cade.
Cade stood. "According to Nostradamos, the astrologer... Are you familiar with the man's writings?"
Blair nodded, wishing Jim was here to stop the words his soul seemed to fear but also accept.
Cade wished he could wipe the fear from the eyes that locked onto his but time was short and these alien monsters were ruthless. Too many times he had seen this look and too many times the fear seemed to destroy an innocence that most fought to keep intact. Slowly, reluctantly he proceeded, "It was written that 'Within the dwellings of society is a holy man and a Sentinel. Separately, the two are strong and brave. Together, they are a powerful force against the threats to society. To one the evil will always be visible, to the other the secret of mankind is kept safely tucked away in the light he carries. The holy man, keeper of the light must face the challenge and defeat those who threaten the spiritual world. A choice will be given, a bond will be challenged.'"
Cade stood and crossed in front of the bed Blair was on. "Look Mr. Sandburg I need your help against these things. I think you are the holy man they will fear. I can't explain how but I just do. Please, I have asked for assistance from others. Some accept and others run. You aren't under any obligation and you may leave at any time." Cade looked at the young man with a question forming in his mind, "How is it that you so easily accept what I say is unusual to me but maybe that is what makes you the one I read about. Please, I am asking you, please will you help me?"
Blair closed his eyes and saw the faint silhouette of his animal spirit. The wolf seemed to be waiting, anticipating. Blair opened his eyes and understood. "Yes Mr. Foster, I will help you. I must."
Slowly Blair slid forward and stood before the man who seemed like a soldier battling a lonely war. Blair extended his hand, "Please call me Blair."
Cade suddenly felt inexplicably calm. "Thank you Blair and please it's Cade."
Blair turned away and sat on the bed again, "I just wish Jim were here."
The door to the hotel room suddenly swung open, pushing the chair in front of it out of the way, "I'm here Chief."
Blair smiled but was suddenly pulled away from his friend. Cade stood in front of Blair, gun ready as he faced the rather tall 'soldier boy' he recognized from the photos he had seen earlier, "How the hell did you get in? Put your hands up."
Ellison had raised his hands and noted that Cade had taken a protective stance in front of Sandburg. A stance that was normally his, "I came to help. I am ... the other half of this prophecy."
Blair quickly stepped around Cade and stood between the two men. "Guys, please. Cade, he is not one of them. He means what he says, he'll help us."
Cade lowered his weapon and looked deeply into Blair's eyes. Blair said 'us' not you but 'us'. "You trusted me. I will try to do so in return. Det. Ellison, my name is Cade Foster."
Jim placed his hand on Blair's shoulder and extended his other hand towards Cade, "Hello Mr. Foster, it is a pleasure and from what I was told an honor to meet you."
Cade raised his eyebrows, he had never during all this time been regarded with such praise, so quickly and he reached out and shook the hand extended to him, "You two are definitely out of the ordinary."
Sandburg sighed, he suddenly felt better. Jim was here, together with Cade, the challenge would be met. "These weirdos from space won't stand a chance."
Ellison shook his head and smiled. Cade chuckled, "Well with that kind of enthusiasm, who would?"
The Sentinel watched the other man with caution and again began to review his time with his Shaman. Cade was the one Incacha said would take his guide from him. He would, and probably had, gained Blair's trust and faith and eventually his companionship. The thought caused the stoic man to look away from the two. Never in his life had he needed or sought the constant presence of anyone in his life. He was a soldier. Needing someone or something to complete yourself was a sign of weakness.
Blair had changed all of that. A man who travels alone is strong but he who has been granted the companionship of someone to whom he can confide, laugh, cry and just share a quiet moment with is the luckiest of all men. Blair had given James Ellison a way out of his cold lonely life and never once treated him as a freak of nature or judged him negatively. In fact Blair treated him like he was indeed 'the holy grail'. Something his own father never did. Blair became Ellison's true family. Now James Ellison had friends, different outlooks on matters that once were simple black and white. Blair was his light - Blair was Jim Ellison's 'holy grail'.
Blair went to join Cade, who was calling someone named Eddie. Five minutes later Blair was on the phone speaking with this Eddie person in that language that Ellison had secretly deemed 'GeekSpeak'. In truth it was the language of highly educated men. A language that most average people tolerated but one Ellison had come to admire when watching his friend speak it.
Cade hesitantly sat on the other end of the bed and faced the detective who unconsciously took over the chair situated between the door and the bed. Ellison seemed to be content to take up sentry duty. "Detective, my friend Eddie says you're possibly a Sentinel. Someone with heightened senses and also a very good detective. I read that Blair was on his way to achieving quite a good standing in the academic world and that now he suddenly changed his career. If you don't mind me asking, why is Blair a cop? I mean, well, he just doesn't seem the type. Does this have to do with your senses?"
Ellison looked towards Sandburg knowing the kid trusted this man and mentally decided that Cade should be trusted by him as well. Trusted to a degree, "The reason Blair has chosen to be a cop is to be able to continue assisting me on the job, but it is not the main reason. He is very good at what he does and has saved quite a few lives in the process. This was his choice. As for my senses, I have some difficulties controlling the way they work. Most people smell coffee. I smell coffee, the detergent used to clean the cup, the perfume on the hand of the waitress bringing the cup, the fluoride in the water mixed with the coffee," Ellison sighed, "It can be overbearing. Blair has been able to show me how to filter out what needs to be noticed and what should be ignored."
Cade looked over at Blair who at the moment was sharing some pun with Eddie. The kid was pacing and gesturing with his free hand. It seemed that nothing could tie him down. Cade smiled, "He is quite animated."
Jim looked away and nodded, "So how about you tell me what exactly am I ignoring the detective side of my job for. Why are you a wanted man? Who or rather what are these things and how did this philosopher gain such insight?"
Cade repeated what he had told Blair and noted that Ellison seemed somewhat skeptical but willing to listen. Blair had completed the call to Eddie and came to sit on the bed beside Cade. He seemed more relaxed. Ready.
Ellison continued to quietly listen to Cade and afterwards stood and went to the window to make certain that they were safe. He had a lot to absorb. Blair looked at Cade and hesitated before he spoke. "You lost someone special to these beings."
Cade noticed that the words spoken weren't formed in a question but a statement. "My wife."
Blair looked down and placed his hand on the other's, "You won't be alone anymore."
Cade looked at the young man beside him, "Answer something for me please."
Blair smiled, "Sure, if I can."
"If you are a holy man. What kind of holy man carries a gun?"
Blair looked away, "The kind who would do anything to protect his friends and his city. I've never used the gun and I hope I never will but if I do, it will be because I have no other choice."
Cade placed a grabbed onto the others hand, "I hope you never do. Something tells me it would change you somehow and you seem to be fine just the way you are." Just then Cade's cellphone rang and he rose to answer it.
Blair looked over at Jim who stood gazing out the window. Softly he whispered, "Jim you okay?"
Jim closed his eyes and sighed. He couldn't rid his mind of the words that Incacha had said to him. The bond could be broken and Blair could leave. Blair would willingly leave to work with someone else. He lowered his head trying hard to dispel the fear and hurt he felt deep in his soul, hoping to conceal the emotions from his friend. "Yeah Chief, everything is fine."
Blair noticed that Jim didn't look at him, "I'm scared Jim."
Ellison turned around and moved to go sit beside his Guide on the bed. Sandburg looked at his friend and smiled sadly, "Jim this is so strange. I don't even know what is expected of me. Only that I am expected to succeed. What exactly, I don't know and what if I fail?"
The older man smirked, "You won't. I won't let you."
Blair smiled, "Cade said that this is a battle only I can face."
Jim looked away, "You and Cade."
Blair tilted his head, "Hey, Jim, I am still your Shaman remember?"
Ellison smiled and decided that he had to share his fear with his friend. It was a lesson he was still practicing and it was hard, "I found you today because Incacha sent me. He said you would have to choose between the duties you've accepted with me or to work with Cade. He told me our time together is possibly nearing an end."
Blair closed his eyes, "Jim in my soul I belong here, with you. I know nothing else and want nothing else. Cade does need me and I will help because it feels right but, please don't write me off. I need to know that you'll be there for me."
Ellison smiled, "I always will buddy." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "I wanted to tell you something. Those men or things -- well, when I was with Washington and he and I fought, I noticed that he didn't have a heart. They weren't like the ones we faced with Faith. I mean they had hearts but somehow it was a simulated sound not like yours and mine."
Blair's face altered and the scientist inside was poised, "How did you know? Did you hear a difference? Cade said a Sentinel would be able to see the difference."
Cade ended his call to Eddie and came to stand beside Blair. A stance that seemed almost protective and was suddenly unbearable for Jim to watch. Carefully he kept himself from reacting, "No, his whole being seemed to 'buzz' and his face altered for a second. It was eerie."
Cade frowned, "You heard his heart? My God you really are a Sentinel."
Ellison gazed at the man, "Yes. I told you I was the other half of the prophecy."
Cade was stunned as he suddenly realized that life wasn't this fair. Nothing with respect to these aliens was ever easy. "We have got to get out of here."
Blair stood, "Why?"
Cade looked to Ellison. "Detective when someone is being hunted how often is it that the prey just falls into their lap?"
Jim tensed, "You think this is a trap?" Quickly he engaged his hearing on the area surrounding the hotel room.
Cade pulled out his gun, "Blair you're the one they want. Please stay close."
Quickly the men exited the hotel. Jim placed Blair in front of him, his gun was drawn and he noted that he had left Blair's with his superior. "Chief whatever happens, I am here for you."
Blair smiled, "Jim whatever happens, promise me you will go on."
Ellison never had a chance to respond. All three were shot with darts. Cade was able to shoot three of their assailants, Ellison two and wounded two.
All three were unconscious before they hit the ground.
Blair woke and found himself hooked to a series of strange machines. He was on a table of sorts and realized he was in a lab. "Jim?"
"Right here Chief." Blair sighed in relief and immediately searched for Cade and saw that he too was on a table. "Oh God Cade. I am so sorry."
Cade smiled, the kid was the one they wanted the most and he was apologizing to him. "I'm the one who is sorry Blair."
"How very moving but all of you will be examined and Ellison and Sandburg will be cloned. We have need of such traits to use in our battle over you who infest this world."
Jim frowned, "Washington, I should have shot you when I had the chance."
Washington ignored him and walked over towards Blair. The look in the man's eyes made the young Shaman cringe. "You don't look like much and you were really quite easy to capture." Washington slid his hand down the side of Blair's face and smiled, "All those people we killed in order to locate you. But we had to be sure that you were the one."
Blair frowned and tried to pull away from the hand on his face, "What the hell are you talking about?"
Washington laughed, "We searched for people who characterized the traits described in Burton's and several other writings. We even studied you and Ellison a few years back but neither of you seemed to be in as close a partnership as described in the studies on Sentinels and their Leaders. It seems time did change everything. The drug killings were used to flush you and your partner there out and into the open. 'A Sentinel is predisposed to protect the tribe and the leader is in turn protective of his Sentinel.' It worked like a charm. You and Ellison were considered the best and very dedicated to help your kind. "
Washington smiled as he opened Blair's shirt and slid a hand down the side of his captive's neck. "You my dear Sandburg were the anomaly. You gave yourself away. A learned man who suddenly relinquishes his identity to be a detective. Well, the moment you did this we knew you were the one. It is not in your behavioral trait to carry a weapon or to become a soldier. You are a peacemaker. Ellison is the soldier and special to some but nothing more than a servant to a cause like ours." Washington leaned closely to the now shocked man, "My dear chap you have no idea how many of Ellison's type there are out there. We have destroyed quite a few. It is you and your kind that is difficult to find in what most consider a jaded world."
Blair closed his eyes and held his emotions in check, "What is it you need from me you monster?"
Washington smiled, "It is said that your kind can lead men to a fantasy world where dreams help mankind to hope. We want to enter into this so called area of the subconscious mind and alter it to suit our needs. Men follow their dreams and you will allow us to change it so that they follow us. We will be their dreams. We will inhabit every moment of their lives and destroy whatever hope is found there. Awake and asleep." Washington walked to the back of the room and returned with a syringe. "We have a way in which to accomplish this. There are several of us who have the ability to enter the dreams but the amount of time that your kind stays in this state is too limited. We need more time. Recently we were able to test this drug on a few of your kind. Many died. Now let's see if it was worth the trouble."
Blair stared in complete horror, "Jim?"
Washington laughed, "Your Sentinel can do nothing to help you in this place. " Washington placed his hand on the side of Blair's face and turned it so that his throat was left unobstructed. He plunged the needle deep into the jugular vein and then removed the needle. He laughed at the way the man trembled on the table, "Your kind is so pathetic. This drug will force you to enter into a meditative state. We will then merge our minds to yours and will be able to enter this other world and alter things to our satisfaction. You will be the catalyst for the next step in destroying humans. If this drug overtaxes your brain, well, unfortunately Mr. Sandburg you will die. Tell me. Are you frightened?"
"Get the hell away from him." Ellison strained helplessly against his restraints, which held him up against a wall. Washington turned and studied him. "As I've said I have killed quite a few of your kind and learned to regret it. It seems that killing Leaders or as you like to call them 'Guides', enables your kind to go astray. Alex Barnes was a perfect example." At Jim's stunned look he laughed, "She was one of our test subjects. I, personally, killed the person that would have been her Guide weeks before she would have met her and Alex systematically killed quite a few humans. Sentinels are nothing without the control afforded by their precious Guides. Your kind are quite good at being the murderous monsters you see us as."
Washington stepped closer, "In fact, Sentinels can be extremely destructive without guidance. Perhaps I should make mention of your type to the proper people. Your kind don't enjoy scrutiny and you, my dear detective would make a wonder lab rat. I think I shall allow you to view Mr. Sandburg's destruction and then set you loose."
Ellison stared deeply into the eyes of the being before him, "He dies and I promise you that I shall destroy you with my bare hands."
Washington laughed as he ignored the threat and walked over to Cade, "Cade, haven't you told your newly acquired friends that it is impossible to defeat us?"
Cade laughed, "I've taken more of you out than I can count. Humans aren't that easy, if they were you would come right out and destroy us. Instead you continue to try to understand us in order to destroy us and still each time you fail."
Washington took the needle he had plunged into Sandburg's neck and plunged it into Cade's. He stepped close to the shocked man, "Saved a bit for you. Thought you might enjoy the experience."
Blair turned his head and looked at his friend, "Jim, take care of yourself. Don't forget me."
Ellison had tears filling his eyes, "Don't you dare give up on me. You hear me?"
Blair could hardly make out his friend's image. He felt as though reality was being slowly pulled away from him, "Jim, I'll see you on the other side." With that final statement, Blair fell unconscious.
Cade soon followed.
Jim could hear his Guide's heart slowing down. He felt helpless. "Please Chief, be careful. I need you."
Washington laughed, "The experiment begins. Ellison, I shall leave you here to see your friends die. Then I shall release you. A man with a dead partner in a drug lab, a man with Sentinel powers and a man who claims to have seen aliens?" Washington chuckled, "You will either be committed or dead soon enough."
Washington stepped to the room beyond, placed a set of headphones on his head and closed his eyes. Ignorant to the fact that he had just stepped away from one angry and lethal Sentinel he went to enjoy the fruits of his labor unconcerned with the deadly threat that now faced him.
Blair felt himself float away from his body. Slowly he seemed to drift towards darkness and then he found himself in the jungle, "Jim?"
"No, I'm afraid you're stuck with me."
Blair turned and found Cade had joined him in the grounds near a temple. Blair looked around searching for his Sentinel and found no one else. It seemed odd, this was Jim and his place. He closed his eyes and tried to center himself.
"Uh, Blair would you mind telling me where we are and who dressed me up?"
Blair opened his eyes and smiled, Cade was wearing a black tank shirt and black cargo pants. He had a revolver and several clips attached to his pants. He also had several packs of plastic explosives attached to him. He was a soldier. Different from the type that Jim was but he appeared just as lethal and brave.
Blair looked down at himself and found himself in the same thing he was dressed in when he was kidnapped. He looked back at Cade and spoke calmly, "Here, in this place you appear as you are deep in your soul. No disguises, just who you are at heart." Blair sighed, "Guess I don't get any special commando gear."
Cade laughed, "You are who you appear in both worlds."
Blair looked at the man quizzically but before he could speak a voice thundered around them.
"You are not a warrior young one. You are the keeper of the light."
Cade reached for his gun and realized that there was no one to aim at and he suddenly wondered if the gun had bullets and whether or not it could protect them here. Slowly he moved to stand beside Blair. "Blair?"
Blair looked at the other man and smiled. "You are now in the spiritual world Cade." Blair laughed at the disbelief staring back at him. "Hey you introduced me to aliens. Now allow me to show why I believe the strangeness you shared with me so easily." He paused and looked passed the other, "Behind you, my friend, is my spirit guide."
Cade turned around and was met with the gaze of a very large and fierce looking wolf, yet for some reason he felt safe with it nearby-not intimidated. Blair smiled at the stunned look and proceeded with his introductions. "Oh, and I believe that must be your animal spirit."
Cade followed Blair's line of sight to the largest eagle he had ever seen, perched in a tree above them. Suddenly the bird swept into the air and dived towards Cade who ducked.
Blair smiled, reached his hand out and allowed the bird to talon onto his unprotected arm. Cade was astonished at the trust the other showed. Blair smiled brightly, "Hello my friend, you're a real beauty."
The bird let a loud shriek, the color of its feathers seemed almost golden and lent the bird an air of invincibility. "You guys!" Blair chuckled at the man who now stood several feet from him, "Soldiers on the outside, pure mush on the inside. Here Cade this is yours and always has been." Blair smiled reassuringly at the man before him. "Please don't fear one of life's greatest gifts."
Cade hesitantly let his arm raise and just as gently the eagle left Blair to join Cade. "Uh, what exactly is an animal spirit and just where the hell are we?"
Blair chuckled, "This is the spirit world. Here one comes in search of enlightenment and direction. Very few travel this path and fewer still are granted an animal spirit. You, Jim and I are very fortunate. They embody the part of nature that lives within us. You have the heart of an eagle and I have the heart of a wolf."
Just then the ground shuddered and Cade nervously turned around as the eagle soared away from him and perched on a branch nearby. Blair saw Incacha step through the jungle foliage and Cade immediately stepped between the two. Blair smiled at the overprotective nature of the other and placed a hand on the man's shoulder, "He's a friend Cade. You can trust him. Cade Foster this is Incacha, a Shaman who has now left our world to exist here."
Incacha smiled, "Hello young soldier. It is an honor to meet a man willing to sacrifice his future for that of so many others."
Cade hesitantly returned the smile, "Unfortunately sir, I came by this position without much choice."
Incacha frowned, "Your wife was the catalyst but you still have choices and you still choose to continue. You are a man of honor and someday you will find that the battle you fight is not in vain nor is it a lonely one." Incacha turned and met the gaze of the young shaman beside him, "Come young one we haven't much time."
Cade was about to follow the two men into the temple that suddenly appeared behind them when the wolf stood before him. Blair turned, "Cade, I'm afraid you've gotta wait out here. I promise I will be right back."
Cade smiled, "Somehow I know you will."
Blair entered the temple and as he did so he remembered the last time he was here, or at least it seemed like the same temple. He remembered watching Jim chose to stand beside Alex while he was forced to watch the two kiss. He remembered wanting to be untied and far from this place. Jim didn't need him then.
Incacha placed a hand on Blair's shoulder, "Young one, the Sentinel has not repented for his transgressions and yet you sacrifice who you are, your very essence to be at his side. This cannot be."
Blair flinched at the man's words, "But it is my duty to protect the Sentinel."
"As it is his duty to protect you and the tribe. Do not misplace the need to serve with the idea of becoming a servant. You are to protect and guide your Sentinel. You are not his to own."
Blair met the man's gaze defiantly, "The choices I made were my sole decision."
Incacha smiled, "You are a shaman young one, it is your destiny and it is an honored path. Here on this world it is your duty to protect the spirits under our domain by using your very essence. Outside this world it is the duty of the Sentinel to protect and defend. You are his guide, his confidante and the other half of his soul. You cannot become a soldier though often times there have been Shamans who have been assigned that path. This is not for you. It is simply not meant to be."
Blair looked away, "I-Is there a time when he will no longer have need of me."
Incacha waited until the younger man looked into his eyes, "Your souls are bound together for life. Nothing, not marriage, not distance, nor any disagreements, even death cannot alter this. You are a part of him and he is a part of you. The bond you share may break but your souls remain - One."
Blair nodded and looked at Incacha with saddened eyes, "You brought me here for a reason." The other said nothing, he simply waited, "I must release the bond between Jim and I now. Here in this place."
Incacha nodded, "You must be free to do as is needed on this world. The bond may be a hindrance to you and to Enqueri."
Blair felt tears drop from his eyes, "It will be hard. I-I will miss him."
Incacha again said nothing.
Blair closed his eyes and felt as though his heart would break and mentally sent a part of himself towards the Sentinel. Quickly the bond that often felt like something Blair created deep in his imagination seemed to ebb away taking his heart with it. Blair whispered to the only man capable of hearing his soul, "Accept my gift and please forgive me Jim."
Jim wasn't prepared, he suddenly felt safe - certain and just as quickly the feeling altered and he felt disconnected - lost. He wouldn't accept this, couldn't. Then he heard Blair whisper, "Forgive me, Jim." Slowly the body on the table arched and then sighed. The sound of the heartbeat that meant everything to him suddenly stopped. Blair died.
Jim felt his world end, his breathing froze. He listened with his senses fully open and then he screamed, "NOOOO."
The panther appeared before him and Jim met its gaze with tear filled eyes, "Please you must go to him. Help him. Die for him." With that the panther leapt into the wall behind him and disappeared.
Just then Washington walked over to the distraught captive and laughed. He placed a syringe into Ellison's arm and then released him from his restraints. As the captive slid to the floor the alien snickered, "Soon you will wake and in your arms will be one very dead partner. Then your nightmares will begin."
The mistake was made. Drugs would have no use in his body, he had control. His shaman had given him a gift and he accepted it. Revenge was sought.
Sentinel and man joined. The beings responsible for the death of his Guide would pay. With a grin that would have caused his guide to worry, Ellison rose from the floor and stood before the man with the syringe still in his hand.
Washington screamed in terror as his throat was ripped from his neck. The alien disintegrated before Jim's hate-filled eyes. Slowly the Sentinel slipped into a zone.
Blood had been shed, the battle had begun.
Cade waited for the Blair and his Indian friend to return when he noticed several figures emerging from the jungle. None had faces, they simply were black figures from head to toe. Cade reached for his gun.
One of the figures laughed and his voice boomed from somewhere beyond. "The game begins human. Prepare for the destruction of this world and then the next."
Cade fired and was stunned to see the beings absorb the shot. Cade ducked and rolled behind a boulder nearby, "Shit, kid I really could use your help right now."
Cade tossed several explosives and was able to keep the creatures back for a while. He turned to see if Blair had emerged from the temple and was struck from behind.
"Human your need for assistance is your undoing. Alone one can destroy many."
"Perhaps it is for that reason that you now seek a new place to exist." Cade turned his head to see who spoke and blinked twice, Blair Sandburg had appeared but he was different somehow. More confident and seemed less real. More a part of this world and his voice - it seemed to surround the entire area. "You have foolishly entered this world and assumed that it would be an easy victory to overthrow. You are an abomination to Earth. To the very essence that is humanity. You are not welcomed here and you will leave."
Several of the black beings surrounded Blair and ignored Cade and one spoke, "Then let the battle begin."
The being closest to Blair grabbed his wrist. Blair felt energy from his body slowly being sucked away. Blair seemed to weaken. Suddenly a black panther lunged into the air and ripped the arm from the dark creature forcing it to land on the ground beside the Shaman. Blair smiled as he felt renewed strength flow through him. He closed his eyes and placed his hand on the wounded creature, "If it is my energy that you seek then by all means feast gluttonously."
At first the being seemed to weaken the younger man even more but soon things were reversed. The creature tried to disengage itself and couldn't. It shrieked in agony as it dissolved. Others soon replaced the first but soon suffered the same demise. Each dissolved before Cade's eyes.
Cade shot the few who came his way and began to worry about the holy man, his friend as the creatures continued attempting to exhaust the others powers. The young shaman seemed to be fading. Almost as though he were becoming transparent. "Blair you have to stop. You'll die."
Blair released two already dying aliens, preparing for more as he turned to face Cade with a weakened smile. Several aliens still surrounded the two and more hid in the foliage outlining the battleground. Blair looked around the area where he stood and then looked at his friend, "Cade you have fought and wondered if the battle was worthy of your sacrifice. It is. You have wondered if it is appreciated. It is greatly appreciated. You have wondered if the price of your beloved wife went unnoticed. It hasn't and she waits for you on the other side. She will be there to meet you when it is your time. You are an honorable man. The battle continues but on this plane, it shall be won quickly. It is my duty here to face these creatures. I do so by following your example. I give of myself wholly and without reservation."
Cade was stunned at the sound coming from the younger man, he seemed older, wiser and less afraid of the uncertainties surrounding him. Blair was special. He needed to be protected. The world would be colder without his existence. "Please Blair you're needed on the other side as well."
Again Blair looked around himself and then faced Cade with a calm but saddened smile, "Tell Jim I am sorry. I thought that we had more time. Tell him to continue."
Cade stepped closer as he realized that the kid was giving up. Cade hadn't felt this frightened since his wife had died in his arms. He was again losing the life of someone special to these damned monsters. Blair never questioned his role in this. He merely accepted it. The kid was brave, loyal, honest, trusting and someone Cade never knew could exist in his misguided world. Blair was indeed an anomaly, but one the world needed more of. "Please Blair you can't give up. The world needs you. I need you and your strength."
Blair smiled, "Go Cade. My duty is here and the assistance you have granted me was welcomed. Now you must return. Protect the Earth. Know that death is not an end but the doorway to another existence. I promise we will meet again."
Blair reached out and placed his hand on Cade's shoulder and smiled, "Go back to mankind and remember what you have learned here. You are not alone. There are others willing to fight and it is you, my friend, who must show them the way."
Cade felt Blair's touch on his shoulder and then he felt as though he was being pulled away.
"No Blair wait. Please." Unfortunately no one heard his plea.
Blair allowed a few tears to fall from his eyes as Cade faded from view. He then turned and faced those who now surrounded him. "The battle on this plain ends now. Your eradication begins." Blair stretched out his arms and smiled, "This is for you my friends." He closed his eyes and his body altered to that of pure light.
The creatures tried to retreat and seemed suddenly frozen in place. Each shrieked in terror.
The light brightened to pure white and when it dimmed, nothing was left but the spirit world as it was meant to be. A wolf howled as it took off running deep into the jungle followed closely by a fiercely protective panther and one deadly looking eagle.
Cade woke in the lab and saw Ellison standing over what may be the remains of an alien just outside of the lab's doorway. Cade then noticed that he was no longer restrained and rose to walk over to Ellison. He reached out and touched the large man's shoulder. The reaction was immediate and shocking.
Ellison felt the touch and suddenly jerked away from falling into the deep darkness of his zone-out. He turned and grabbed the man who had touched him and pinned him against a wall by the neck. Prepared to kill the assailant, he was faced with a familiar image. "Cade?"
Cade nodded as Ellison released his hold. "Is it over?"
Cade couldn't meet the eyes looking at him, trying hard to conceal the sorrow Cade felt in his heart, "Yes Ellison. Blair destroyed them."
Jim nodded and reentered to the lab. To stand beside the body of his friend as it lay on the lab table. Cade made certain that there weren't any more creatures present and then came up behind Ellison. "He wanted me to tell you that he was sorry and that he had thought that you both had more time. He said he wants you to continue."
Jim looked at Cade with tears pooling in his eyes, "Thank you. I-I need to be alone with him. Please."
Cade nodded and placed his hand on Blair's, "Thank you for making me see that there is a reason to continue this fight." Cade closed his eyes. "Blair you should have returned with me." Cade turned away from the heart breaking sight, one he had become all too familiar with. Death. Slowly he went in search of a way to contact Ellison's superior and to assist with the body of his brief but good friend.
Ellison looked down at the lab table and slowly removed the restraints from the small body of his friend. He looked up to the ceiling and began trembling as he wept. Reaching for the lifeless body and pulling it close, he spoke softly. "Chief I won't do this without you. I'm sorry." Jim gulped for air. His control shattered. "I can't."
Slowly the Sentinel opened his senses to the fullest range possible as he tightly held the body of his Shaman within his arms. "We go together."
Suddenly a voice boomed into the lab, "Stop! How dare you commit this crime?”
Jim opened his eyes and was met with the angry gaze of Incacha. "I need him." His voice barely a whisper.
Incacha stepped up to the two figures, "Then why do you insist on distancing yourself from him. He has sacrificed much to be your Shaman. Tell me Sentinel what is it that you have sacrificed on his behalf?"
Jim closed his eyes and tilted his head so that his laid against that of Blairs, "I have failed him in the past. I was trying to change. I had hoped ..."
Incacha interrupted the distraught man, "He gave up his dreams because you once again distrusted him. He publicly humiliated himself in order to gain this trust. He altered his very being to become something that to this moment, and of which you are quite aware, he is uncomfortable in doing. He would have taken a life to prove his loyalty and in the process would have damaged his spirit. All this he would do for you in order for you to have his continued presence."
Jim shook his head, "I never asked him to become something he didn't want to be."
Incacha's voice boomed in anger, "Nor did you do anything to alter this outcome. Your Shaman has prevented you from taking your life once before and yet you stand here ready to end this life because of fear."
Jim was furious, "He is-was-is my Shaman, my friend, my brother. He is everything I never had in my life, including my son. You called him my light. Well damn you, without him my life is dark and I am blind. I should have been with him at this battle. You denied me that right. I should have held him in my arms as he relinquished his life and again I was denied this right. He is mine to care for and I am his to guide. I would give my life for his and willingly. If I cannot protect him in this world then allow me to join him in the next."
Incacha smiled as his voice echoed in the lab, "The bond is reasserted. Close your eyes, Sentinel and see with your heart."
Without question, Ellison closed his eyes and maintained his hold on the body of his Guide. Suddenly he was in the jungle near a river. He walked toward the river and saw a body lay on grass growing nearby. Slowly, unbelievingly, yet hopeful, he approached the smaller body and reached out to touch the shoulder of the man on the ground. "Chief?"
The body was limp and the head simply rolled to face him. It was Sandburg. Jim repeated the gesture of pulling the younger man close to him. On his knees he began to rock with the body in his arms. That was when he heard Incacha's voice, "Return the gift he gave to you earlier and all will be restored. Keep the gift and you travel alone but without the need for a Guide. You will be whole. The sacrifice is yours to make."
Jim looked at the face of the man he held and knew that to be whole was to have Blair alive and his heart beating a signal that meant safety to the Sentinel. Control was nothing without someone to understand your secrets. Someone who is there sharing time where once there was no one. The someone who taught you, guided you back into a life that was worth protecting, worth living. Without hesitance Jim returned the light that Blair had given up so freely. A flame brightened and engulfed the two.
When Ellison woke he was in a hospital bed. Simon Banks quickly joined his bedside. "Jesus Jim, for a while I didn't think you'd ever come out of that coma. The doctors said that whatever you were given was a pretty nasty drug. Something like a sedative but they can't decipher what its exact components are."
Simon reached for the pitcher of water and poured some into a glass with a straw and handed it to the detective. As Jim sipped from the straw as his gaze shifted to the bed beside him. His Guide was there.
Jim stretched his hand towards the other and Simon quickly stepped around. "Jim the doctors will be here in a minute. What the hell happened in that room? It looked like a lab of some sort and the two of you were being experimented on."
Ellison slowly sat up.
Simon stepped aside as the doctor suddenly appeared, "Mr. Ellison please. You are too weak for this kind of sudden movement."
Ellison ignored the man and stood, slowly walking towards the other side of the room. "Chief?"
The doctor sighed, "He has been comatose for quite a while and we have been unable to understand why. It's almost like he refuses to wake. We will start testing him for brain damage shortly. The drugs that were given to the two of you were pretty strong. Now please sir you need to go back to bed, your still are extremely weak."
Ellison looked at the doctor for the first time, "Please leave."
The doctor was about to say something when Simon placed a hand on his shoulder. "I'll be right outside, Jim."
Simon had been around Jim and Blair for too long not to know when the detective needed privacy. For some reason the older man seemed to need to 'connect' with his friend. Sandburg had come close to being taken from life once before and Ellison would never be able to handle that again.
Ellison waited until the two had closed the door and then placed his hands on both sides of his Guide's face, "C'mon Chief, I made the sacrifice now please choose to return. I need my Guide, I need you."
Blair heard a voice call to him. He wondered why he was still in the jungle and stood up. His spirit guide appeared and circled him and ran into the foliage. Blair looked towards the temple and then towards the area where his spirit guide ran. Then he heard the voice, "I need you."
Blair smiled and ran after his spirit guide, who was running in the direction of his friend's voice, "Jim?"
Jim grabbed an arm full of groggy Guide and held on tight, "Oh God Chief, I thought that you ... Please don't do this to me ever again."
He released his tight hold and was met with a sleepy smile, "Alright Jim. I'll try." Blair sleepily looked around the room and then back at his friend, "Jim -- they gone?"
Ellison nodded, "Yeah kid they're gone."
Blair smiled and sighed, "Jim, I can't be a cop. It isn't my path. I ..."
Ellison hugged his friend, "We'll figure out something. I promise."
Blair nodded and then fell asleep in the safety of his friend's arms. Jim held him for a while quickly checking his vitals as only a Sentinel could. When he completed his examination he brushed his Guides forehead with a kiss. "I'm glad to have you back buddy."
The days that followed their hospital visit were accompanied with questions from various departments in law. The FBI wanted to know what had happened to the men calling themselves Washington, Adams and Kent. Men, who were eventually listed as missing due to the fact that no bodies had been located.
Simon wanted to know what happened in the lab. Ellison and Sandburg wisely choose to remain vague about their captivity. Sentinels were one thing - aliens from outer space would have freaked the Captain of the Major Crimes Division altogether. Instead the drugs left behind by their 'missing' captors and just the look of the lab itself was enough to answer most questions. It was reported that it was the act of some unknown drug dealers who probably wanted to harm a couple of cops.
No one seemed concerned with Cade Foster, since no one, no humans other than Sandburg and Ellison, had actually seen the man.
Det. James Ellison returned to Major Crimes with one hesitant, newly unemployed roommate. They entered Simon's office and were motioned to have a seat.
Banks noticed that the normally talkative Sandburg was quiet. The captain smiled, "Gentlemen so happy to see you both back on the job. There has been a rash of burglaries at some of Cascades finer art shops. Seems whomever is doing this is interested in artifacts dealing with First Nations People. I need you and Sandburg on this yesterday."
Sandburg scooted forward, "But Simon I'm no longer a detective and, well, I have no reason, at least not a legitimate reason to be here. Jim said I should come and see you but other than to say goodbye, I ..."
Jim placed his hand on the top of his friend's arm and squeezed it. Ellison would figure something out. He had his friend beside him, alive, whole. Nothing else mattered.
Blair met his friend's gaze and took a deep breath.
Simon shook his head, time to prove once again, the real reason he was a captain, "Sandburg in this office and while you operate in this department under my command you will refer to me as Capt. Banks." Simon tossed a small leather bound wallet at Sandburg.
Blair looked at the captain and then his friend. Slowly he opened the wallet, inside was his old badge but now it read 'Special Consultant and Profiler for the Major Crimes Department'.
Sandburg's mouth opened and closed. He was speechless.
Banks chuckled, "I love these moments when the impossible is achieved. To answer the questions that are forming in both you and your stunned partner's faces, please allow me. First you are still employed by the Cascade P.D. Yes, you are still Ellison's official partner. You are a certified police officer and what that means is that although you may or may not carry a weapon, it is up to your discretion, but you are expected to report to this office as usual and to continue assisting as only you can."
Simon stood and stepped around his desk, "Sandburg your expertise in deduction as well as your expertise in abstract matters makes you an asset to the department. In fact I received a call from the Chief and it was mostly his idea to instigate this Profiler position for you. Seems he feels your presence is needed here and that you intuitive way of viewing a scene would be an asset to out department." He looked at the other man and sighed, "Of course, Sandburg will still be partnered with you when he isn't attending classes on forensics, social behavior studies and so forth. During those times I am sure there will be paperwork for you to do."
Sandburg stood and seemed ready to hug the bigger man. Simon cleared his throat. 'Time to avoid the impossible', "Now get out of here and report to Sgt. Wilbur at the 59th Street Art Store."
Ellison placed a hand on his partner's shoulder thankful that his friends looked out for each other, "Simon, I mean Captain -- thanks."
Simon shook his head, "Catch these thieves and do the department proud."
Sandburg was about to leave when he turned and gave the captain a hug. "Thanks Simon."
Capt. Banks fought hard to sound harsh and failed, "Just keep up the good work."
Blair released his hold and smiled, "Yes Captain sir."
Simon watched the two exit Major Crimes with smiles plastered on their faces, smiles that matched the one he wore. Sentinel business aside, life was back to normal.
Blair leaned against the truck and sighed. Life was truly a wonderful thing. Jim was inside getting some last minute information from the manager and he was waiting by the truck. That was when he noticed a man looking at him from across the street. Blair smiled and quickly went to join him.
Cade had heard that the young holy man had survived and though he knew he had to leave for his next destination in Chicago, he wanted to see Blair one more time.
"Cade, oh man, you look great. I am so glad everything worked out all right. How's Eddie?"
Cade laughed at the enthusiastic man in front of him, "Well I am glad to see you are doing just fine. Eddie is great. We all are thanks to you."
Blair smiled but his voice sounded solemn, "I was my duty. Nothing to be thanked for.” He smiled and shrugged, "So where are you headed?"
Cade looked into the eyes before him and knew that this man could be trusted with all his secrets, "Chicago, it seems there is a prophecy which describes 'that the two that work as one will be able to destroy those who experiment on the aged - the past must not be destroyed'.
Eddie has discovered that several elderly people have disappeared mysteriously and someone is still using their identifications. Seems our pals are still doing business but here where I can get at them more easily."
Blair looked hard at Cade, "If you want, I will come with you. You might need my help."
Cade looked at the man before him and smiled, "Blair Sandburg, I have no difficulty believing that you would follow me to the very depths of hell to save mankind. It is because of this that I want you to stay here with Ellison. Here you are protected. Jim is doing a terrific job keeping you in line. I can't promise you the same amount of safety and you my friend need protecting."
Blair looked away, "I can take care of myself you know. I'm not a child."
Cade had to mentally hold back the laugh that threatened to overtake him. Blair may not be a child but sometimes a statement like this accompanied by his child-like mannerisms made him seem less adult-like. "You would sacrifice what you have here, your work, everything just to help me?"
Blair looked directly into Cade's eyes, truth shining in the gaze, "Yes. Mankind is more important."
Cade tilted his head, "And what about Ellison, the friendship you two share."
Blair smiled sadly, "Nothing can change what he and I share. We will always be friends - bonded if you will. It will be hard but, again, in saving mankind one must make sacrifices." Blair looked back towards the truck. He knew what he would be giving up, he knew it would tear at his soul but if it were necessary he would do it.
Jim would understand. Hopefully Jim would forgive him.
Cade saw flashes of all the emotions the man beside him was feeling -- he knew what he had to do.
Cade stepped closer to his friend and waited until Blair met his gaze, "Your love for mankind makes you one of the most special men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. It's the person that you are that needs guarding. As I said before, Ellison is doing a great job at watching over you, I don't think I would do as well and I really don't feel it would be right to try. Failing would mean certain death for either of us."
Cade closed his eyes and took a deep breath, knowing he too was making a sacrifice, Blair would be able to dispel his loneliness, share the burden of watching mankind struggle. Blair could help Cade face the threats to mankind. Still, "Please Blair, I need to know that if I ever needed to restore my faith in the world - in humanity, well, I need to know that you'll be here. Safe."
Blair nodded, "I'll be here. I promise."
Cade reached out and hugged the smaller man, "I will never forget you or the gift of my animal spirit."
Blair hugged him tightly, "Remember you are no longer alone. I promise."
Cade moved back and began to walk away when he heard Blair call to him, "Cade?"
"I no longer carry a gun. I thought you should know."
Cade smiled, "Thank you. You are a shaman, you have no need for weapons."
Blair smiled and returned to the truck.
Cade walked around the corner and was met with the other half of the prophecy. Somehow he just knew that the other would be nearby. "Hello Det. Ellison."
Jim smiled, "I came to thank you and to give you this." He handed Cade a rather thick envelope.
Cade pulled out the contents of the envelope and then looked up in surprise. "What is all of this?"
Ellison smiled, "I worked in Covert Ops and was able to clear some of the charges against you which were listed on the U.S. Department of the Federal Bureau of Investigations data system. Basically, now the list is half as long. I have also been able to arrange travel to your next destination in Chicago and to arrange for you to be met by two men that I and Sandburg have worked with once before and trust. These two will assist you with the search on who is harming the elderly."
Cade looked up in surprise, "How did you know? I mean only Eddie and I..."
Ellison smiled, "I am a Sentinel and a cop. I have my ways. You're not the only one with contacts. Anyway I owe you and if you ever my need help please know that you can call."
Cade shook the detective's hand, "Please take good care of him. He is a very special man."
Ellison nodded, "He once called me his Blessed Protector. Believe me it is a title I have taken very seriously."
"Thanks again detective." Cade nodded and quickly disappeared.
Ellison watched the younger man leave, thankful that he refused to take Sandburg with him. Thankful that fate had allowed the Sentinel to have his Shaman at his side. Still Ellison felt sorry for Cade. The world was a cold and lonely place. Cade faced that reality every day - alone. Silently Ellison hoped that the loneliness would end soon for Cade.
Blair saw Jim walk from the place where he had seen Cade. "You said goodbye?"
Jim nodded, "Yeah and I gave him some contacts to check in with when he reaches Chicago." He looked at his worried friend, "He'll be okay."
Blair nodded and the looked at his friend, "Contacts?" Blair frowned and then smiled, "Oh God Jim. Tell me you didn't."
Ellison smiled, "Hey they can handle it. Besides the minute Cade gets a look at the dog, he'll know he can trust them."
Blair chuckled, "Thanks a lot Jim."
Jim entered his truck and Blair following same. Inwardly the man smiled, his circle of friends was growing rapidly. True they weren't your typical everyday types but hey nothing about he or his friend the Shaman was typical.
"Hey chief let's go see a man about a fetish."
Blair chuckled, "Well alright."
ONE DAY LATER - Location: O'Hare Airport - 6 p.m.
"Ray, I told you as much as I think you can handle right now."
"Look Fraser, we're partners, buddies, I told you to tell me all of the information Ellison sent to you. I mean so this Cade is a friend of Ellison and ..."
Fraser sighed, "Ray."
Still the other man continued, "so he is deeply undercover and we are to ignore the false arrest records."
"Fine, I'm cool with all of this."
"You said he can help with our case so how much more could there be? I can handle it."
Fraser placed a hand on his partner and friend's shoulder and stilled him from further questioning. "All in good time. Please Ray I know what I am doing."
Cade exited the plane and was immediately confronted by a man with a gun. He had been following Cade since he exited the baggage collection area and now cornered him near the Men's Room.
Cade shoved his bags at the man and a struggle ensued. The gun had been tossed to the side. Suddenly Cade was joined by a man in a Canadian RCPM uniform and another dressed in a leather jacket and jeans. They pulled the attacker away from Cade. The assailant pulled a knife and was shoved from behind by the Canadian into a wall behind him. The knife had turned on the assailant who turned to face the three with a shocked expression. Then the man landed on the floor, melted and disappeared.
Cade looked at the two men beside him, "Thank you both." He took a minute to catch his breath, "Gentlemen, my name is Cade Grant and," taking the hand of the man in the leather he proceeded to greet him, "you must be Det. Ray Kowalski and you sir must be Constable Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Police."
Fraser immediately focused on the man before him and smiled, "Yes, Mr. ahhh Grant, a pleasure I am sure. Ellison and Sandburg send their regards. Perhaps you would like to join us at a restaurant in the Loop area. We can discuss the case, among other things, and how we can benefit from your expertise."
Ray suddenly snapped out of his initial shock and faced his overly calm partner, "Wait a minute a guy attacks you in the Men's Room, a public Men's Room, and then gets stabbed. But does he die? No. He - he, what? Fraser is this the additional tidbit you left out from Ellison and Sandburg's message? Fraser?"
Fraser shifted from one foot to the next and sighed, "Oh dear."
Though the road ahead was definitely going to get more dangerous Cade found himself laughing, Ellison was right these two were colorful.
The End --- ?????
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