Categories > TV > Sentinel

The Cascade Tribune

by queasy 0 reviews

Fake Themefic for the Sentinelangst list. Not Lee Brackett and Garrett Kincaid work together to separate Jim and Blair and threaten one to force the other into doing something not good. Oops. Post ...

Category: Sentinel - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Blair, Jim - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2005-07-06 - Updated: 2005-07-06 - 3461 words - Complete

The Cascade Tribune


~Lost : One uncommunicative sentinel with leg injury. If spotted, please remove walking aid and distract with shiny object. Call police and wait for help.~

A curly head poked into his office, peered around cautiously, and backed out again. Simon watched as the owner of said curly head tip-toed to the break room and poked it in, then withdrew it and meandered off in the direction of the men's room, then returned to poke it under Ellison's desk.

"Sandburg. He is not hiding under his desk," he gritted out, resisting the temptation to check under his own. It would really hurt his ribs, and there was no way anyone could have slipped in with him sitting right here. Not that he thought anyone would want to. There wasn't enough space down there anyway. No. Don't look. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and tried to distract himself by shuffling papers about.

Blair looked embarrassed as he backed hastily out and came into his office again. "Um, I know that. I just thought maybe he left a note or message and it might have slipped onto the floor or something. Just in case."

He glanced down automatically, before he remembered he wouldn't be able to bend enough to check under his desk. No. Don't ask Sandburg to look down there. He might actually do it. There are enough strange rumors flying around already. "I thought the two of you were supposed to be lying low until the media found someone else to harass?"

Tired eyes blinked slowly at him. "So did I. He said he was going to get some camping supplies so we could get away from the phone for the weekend, and then this lawyer calls and asks why he didn't turn up for his appointment. Can I have some coffee?"

He poured out a mug obligingly. Blair took it from him and grimaced at the smell. "French vanilla," he explained at the mistrustful look.

"I dunno what he was thinking, or actually I think I do know, but I wish he'd discussed it with me first," Blair muttered into the mug.

Simon stared into the depths of his own mug. "You two really need to work on the communication thing. I'd tell you to see a shrink, but it didn't help with Joan."

The idiot kid grinned. "What, like couples' therapy? You mean you wouldn't object if we were..."

Simon scowled quellingly, mostly for show, since it had never daunted the younger man anyway. "I said no such thing. Not that there's much difference," he snorted over Blair's quiet chuckle.

Rafe rapped lightly at the door and stuck his head in warily, giving him a strong sense of deja vu. "Captain? There's a package for Sandburg. Videotape of some sort. Sandburg, you haven't been ordering any funny videos and addressing them here, have you?"

Part 1

~Wanted : Friends-in-deed. Current erstwhile friends-in-need are worthless pondscum.~

A man with a distinctly military bearing appeared, his shadowed grim face staring out from the flickering screen. "We know the truth," he said in deep, rumbling tones. "Pack your dissertation and some clothes, and wait at home for further instructions. Do not contact the police."

Rafe blinked. "They do know that they sent the tape to the precinct, don't they?" Everyone inhaled sharply when the camera jerked away and focussed with nauseating shakiness on Jim's unmoving form, slumped in a chair with his hands behind the chair back.

Jim produced a shockingly loud grunt and snort, smacked his lips loudly, and slumped further in his seat. He tipped heavily to one side, head lolling backwards, and commenced snoring. The camera jerked back to focus on the speaker, who stared wide-eyed in the sleeping man's direction, then cleared his throat. "Do as we say, and he will remain unharmed," he uttered in strangled-sounding tones.

"Cade, I think we should re-shoot that," said a slightly hoarse voice plaintively from off-screen.

"Again? You have spare batteries?" snapped Cade irritably. "Leigh, stop recording already!"

"Oh!" The image jerked again, and was quickly replaced by a wash of static.

"Well," said Taggert seriously. "That was interesting, but I've got to get back to work. Tell me when you find Ellison, okay?" He shook his head and left. The other detectives also started to rise, losing interest.

"Isn't anybody going to help me get Jim back?" asked Blair pathetically.

"Not me," demurred Rafe promptly. "I've got a serial killer file on my desk. Sorry."

"Hairboy," Brown gave him a hearty slap on the back. "We're not being heartless and uncaring here. You think there's any real danger to Ellison?"

"He might die of embarrassment when he wakes," remarked Rafe. "Or Conner might die laughing," he added, as a whimper escaped the curled-up Inspector on the couch.

"How about the danger to the kidnappers when Jim gets loose?" Blair made one last attempt. "Simon?" he appealed.

Simon looked regretful. "I would if I could. My ribs, remember?" Blair sighed.

~Kincaid against Truth, Justice and Basketball - Former Sunrise Patriot speaks.~

"I knew I remembered that face!" Brown gloated, throwing down a file in front of Blair. "Greg K. Cade, Jags fan and former Sunrise Patriot. He quit when Kincaid decided to hold the Cascade Arena hostage and has been fairly quiet since. Can't find a Leigh in connection with him though."

"Argh! What could he want with me or Jim?

"No idea." Brown shrugged. "Nobody's sure why he took up with the Patriots in the first place. He's a bit of a pacifist. Parents were hippies. Maybe the mastermind is this 'Leigh' person."

"You think Cade's going to call you here or at home? He did have the tape delivered here." With his nose buried in his so-called "serial-killer file", Rafe absently accepted an envelope from Rhonda and carried it to Taggert, then did a double take. "I'm not the office boy!" he barked after the grinning secretary's retreating back.

"I don't know and I don't care," Blair muttered fervently. "I'm not going to run around worrying about it. If he gets the answering machine, he'll probably call Jim's desk anyway. If he even has our home number."

~Sentinel Pest Control Services - Bothered By Bugs? Rats Running You Ragged? Call us today for a quick and easy solution to all your pest problems!~

The phone rang, and Blair jumped to answer it, switching it to speakers so the others could hear. "Blair Sandburg here."

"Mr Sandburg? Uh, hi, you received the tape, right?" He nodded and Megan put on the trace.

"Yeah, I have."

"Have you... what? They... You put a tracer on us!" the voice accused. "I'll call one more time," he added, and the line went dead.

Five minutes later, the phone shrilled again. "Why aren't you waiting at home anyway?" demanded Cade. A pause, then, "Can't you tell the cops to go out?" Nobody made any move to leave. "Never mind, you'll probably tell them everything afterwards anyway."

"Why did you send the tape to the police department if you didn't want the cops on it?"

"We forgot your h... uh. Look, you were practically camping there, okay? If we'd sent it to your apartment you wouldn't see it until next week. Just do as I said. Get your dissertation, pack whatever you need for camping out a week, your partner's backup piece and ammo, and go to Cascade State Park to wait for further instructions." ~click~

The phone rang again. "What?!"

"Don't bring the cops if you want your friend safe. We will know."

Blair yanked at a handful of hair in aggravation. "Why are you doing this? Jim's not a sentinel!"

"Of course he's not! You are the sentinel."

"Wha...?" Blair felt his mouth drop open. "I'm not!"

"Do you think we're stupid or something? You join the department, and all of a sudden Ellison's solve rate hits the roof and he becomes Cop of the Year. They've been using you, taking the credit for everything you did, Mr Sandburg, and now they've made sure you can't get away from them anymore. We're trying to help you escape from the damn pigs, for goodness' sake. Go and get your things already!" ~click~

"Gee, Hairboy, is that true?"

"Wow, I didn't know Ellison was so evil. I mean, I knew he could be horribly grouchy sometimes, but that's really evil," mumbled Rafe. "You should just leave him to fend for himself. Let the nice kidnappers have him." Megan keeled over again, wheezing unattractively.

The phone rang. "Can we have the number for your cell-phone?

Some days, Blair thought, it just didn't pay to get out of bed.

Part 2

~Bermuda Triangle in Cascade State Park? 15 trekkers have been lost in the nature reserve this month alone. Park rangers suspect pranksters have planted a misleading sign.~

"First Hairboy, then Sandy, and now Sentinelman. If they give me another silly name I swear I'm joining Cade. At least I get a Mr Sandburg out of him... Hey, where did everybody go? Guys?" He backtracked to the last fork in the path, remembering that he'd been distracted listening to Cade's instructions while they went ahead. He stared at the sign. He'd taken the left turn as instructed, not bothering to read it.

It was labeled 'Restrooms This Way'.

"Damn," he breathed, torn. Should he go after the others, hoping to catch up with them or that they would turn back to look for him, or should he forget them and go straight to Jim? Anxiety gnawed at his gut. The kidnappers did not seem to intend any harm to anyone, but he wasn't sure if Jim's sleep was drug-induced. Particularly worrisome was the knowledge that he had been taking painkillers so he could use his leg. If they gave him something, not realizing he was a sentinel, and it reacted adversely...

His cell-phone chirped. "We're waiting for you. Does Detective Ellison always sleep so... so loudly?" Cade's tentative voice was accompanied by a sonorous rumbling with an uncanny resemblance to distant thunder. It decided Blair instantly.

"I'm on my way," he told Cade. "Did you want me to follow the path to the restrooms?"

"Yeah... I think so. We changed them around last month. Didn't expect so many trekkers to come by looking for the restroom. They're idiots, I tell you. I mean, you'd have thought they would realize something was wrong after a mile or two with no sign of the promised loo. Heh."

~Keeping pets may reduce stress and increase life expectancy.~

Blair found himself sharing, however reluctantly, Cade's opinion of the lost trekkers as he pressed his back against a rocky cliff face, balanced precariously on a ledge perhaps six inches wide, if that much, overhanging a sixty foot drop down a steep incline generously sprinkled with sharp-looking rocks, garnished with unfriendly thorny bushes and cut through by rabidly foaming rapids. All this trouble for a restroom when there were so many convenient bushes behind every tree? Idiots. Unless, of course, he'd already passed the place without noticing it. Had he?

A magpie's sudden screech startled him for a moment, and he missed his footing on the loose soil, scrabbling in vain for a handhold as he began to slide downwards. Just as he thought he had probably gathered enough momentum to start tumbling down, strong jaws lined with distractingly sharp teeth closed firmly on his arm, gripping him until he managed to find fairly secure handholds and footholds.

"Urrr?" said his gray-furred rescuer through a mouthful of arm, somehow managing to sound questioning.

"Yeah, I'm okay now, thanks man, uh, wolf?" The large canine (whose canines he tried to not think too much about) released his arm and backed away as he pulled himself up, shaking with the adrenaline rush of yet another near miss.

"How about saying it with a doughnut?" asked the wolf. He glanced around quickly. It seemed to be the wolf, unless the rocks had taken to talking.

"What?" he asked, hoping his overwrought imagination had conjured the friendly voice.

The wolf cocked its head, giving him a patient look. "You know, 'thanks'. You could thank me with a doughnut. With chocolate sprinkles or powdered sugar. A cousin in Chicago recommended them highly."

"You... Are you my spirit guide?" He glanced down the slope to check if his body was lying down there.

The wolf shook itself briskly. "Spirit guide? What are those? Don't you have to feed them too? I'm not a spirit. Doughnut?" Sitting back, it scratched itself furiously.

There seemed nothing for it but to go along with this strange apparition. "I didn't bring any doughnuts," he told the hopeful, expectant-looking beast. "How about a muesli bar?"

It drew itself stiffly up, fur bristling in affront, almost snarling. "Muesli? Muesli? Do I look like a hamster to you? Muesli!"

"I didn't think wolves ate doughnuts either," he muttered under his breath, and the wolf growled.

He quickly raised his hands placatingly. "Look, I don't have any doughnuts with me, but I'm looking for a friend of mind who loves doughnuts. He got kidnapped by some nuts-um-insane people. If you help me find them, he could buy a box of doughnuts and share it with you."

"You sure?"

"He'll buy the doughnuts anyway, and I'll definitely make him share them with you. Different flavors even, if you want. Can we get off this ledge now?"

~Man falls into ditch, finds buried treasure.~

Once he reached safer ground, Cade called again. "You're nearly there, "he said encouragingly. "Keep going."

It made Blair stop short. "Wait! You knew we were going to reach the misleading sign and called just in time to separate us. And you didn't call until I cleared the dangerous area. How did you know where we were?"

He could practically hear the grin in Cade's voice, which lost years instantly. "You'll see when you get here, I promise. You're not alone, you know."

He forgot to breathe for a moment. "You're a sentinel," he whispered in shock, as his heart paused to absorb the news and his gut twisted in remembered terror, then he shook off the paralysis and began to run, the excited wolf bounding alongside and yelping startled queries.

They rushed through the dense vegetation where it had been pushed aside or trampled by the restroom seekers and burst into the cabin that loomed up suddenly before them, heedless of danger. An agitated youth with prematurely graying dark hair jumped up as they entered.

"Who were you talking to?" he demanded nervously in a rasping voice. "When you nearly fell off the trail, you were talking to someone. Spirit something. Doughnuts. Muesli." He stared at the wolf, distracted. "Where did you get the dog?"

"Dog? You can see it?"

"Who are you calling a dog, you furless puppy? I'm a wolf!"

"Yeah, of course I can," said the youth, eyeing the hostile wolf warily. "Why?"

"Cade!" Blair remembered. "Where's Cade?"

Cade appeared at the door to one of the rooms. "Mr Sandburg. It's good to finally meet you. But I'm not a sentinel."

"Then who is?"

The young man cleared his throat awkwardly. "Hi. I'm Leigh Beckett, and I'm the sentinel."

Part 3

~"My clothes itched." Flasher denies intent to expose himself indecently.~

The name struck Blair as disturbingly familiar, and he racked his memories for the cause. "Leigh Beckett... Beckett... You're the flasher they arrested in the community library... about the time the Sunrise Patriots took over Cascade Arena. How did you... you two?"

Beckett flushed a deep crimson. "I fell asleep and got locked in overnight. I'm claustrophobic. I panicked. My clothes started itching, everything was too loud and smelly and everything, and nobody believed me when I tried to tell them."

Cade grinned, patted him on the back. "Shared a cell in lockup when I turned myself in to try to warn the cops. Not that they believed me, but I tried. We spent the night commiserating over their pig-headedness. Even if I thought I'd been locked in with a schizo. Until your dissertation got leaked. It was clever of you to pretend Ellison was your subject, but why did you turn around and call it a fraud?" "

"I'm not... where's Jim?"

The wolf perked up. "The doughnut guy?"

"He's sleeping inside," answered Cade, stepping aside to let Blair hurry past him into the bedroom where he found Jim sprawled over a cot, unbound. The wolf leapt directly onto the cot unchallenged, tail wagging enthusiastically. The semi-reformed ex-Sunrise Patriot frowned, brow creasing in bemusement. "Hasn't woken up once."

"Did you give him anything? How did you get him?" Blair grabbed the snoring sentinel's shoulder and shook him. "Jim!"

Jim groaned, turned over, and covered his head with a pillow.

~Travel in groups for safety, children told.~

"We didn't do anything to him," denied Cade vehemently. "We were just going to knock him out or something when he got into his truck and fell asleep. Just... just toppled over."

"Jim!" He pulled off the pillow and shook Jim harder. "JIM!"

Jim finally jerked upright and blinked blearily into the yellow eyes of the excited wolf. "Huh? Blair?"

Beckett blinked. "I feel kinda sleepy," the young sentinel announced as he sat down on the floor and leaned... over. "Haven't been able to sleep since Ellison started snor... zzz."

Jim finally began to look more alert, taking in his surroundings quietly. "Sandburg. What happened? Where am I?"

"Leigh! Wake up! What 's wrong with him?" Cade grabbed his friend and pulled him upright, shaking him until he opened his eyes and managed to sit on his own.

Blair stared from one dazed sentinel to the other, a bulb slowly lighting in his head. "I think I know what happened. Beckett, you're local, right? Born and grew up here?"

"Yes?" Slow blink.

"What's going on, Chief?"

"You were kidnapped. Only Beckett here is a sentinel of Cascade too, and not a psycho, so you must have subconsciously decided it was safe to rest after all the excitement of the past week with the Iceman and the diss and all that, and you fell asleep. Then Beckett couldn't sleep because he had to guard you, and when you woke up it became his turn to rest. I think."

Cade stared at them wide-eyed. "You're not a sentinel? Ellison really is one? But I thought a sentinel would have to be fast and little so he could scout and get warnings to his tribe quickly?"

Blair jumped up and waved his arms wildly to encompass Jim, Beckett, and everything. "I thought he would have to be a big tough warrior-type to protect his people! I knew my sample was too small! My diss really was a fraud! ARGH!"

"Kidnapped? Sentinels? Fraud? What?"

"Two sentinels! Cool! Are they going to fight? Do something?" demanded the wolf. "Can I have my doughnut now?"

"No, they're not! And there aren't any doughnuts here! You have to wait until we get back to the city!"

Three pairs of eyes fixed on him. "Why are you talking to the wolf?"

"I have to wait some more? For carrion's sake, save a human in a moment of weakness, and you pay and pay and pay. If I'd known it was going to be so much trouble I wouldn't have followed you," it grumbled, flopping down on the cot.

"Didn't you hear that?"

"I heard... doggy noises," muttered Jim, with a look that suggested he suspected insanity. The expression was shared by the other two.

"You're the one who's supposed to be hearing funny things," Blair accused.

~Compromise is rarely equal give-and-take, say experts.~

"If he's really hungry, I could fix him a hotdog," offered Beckett shyly. The wolf's ears pricked with interest.

"Hotdog? My cousin mentioned those too."

"You're not feeding wild animals in my cabin!"

"I know, I know," allowed Beckett tolerantly as the wolf followed him eagerly to the kitchen area.

"Okay, but you're not keeping it as a pet! Put a plate on the floor before you feed it."

Jim and Blair watched them argue over who would bring the wolf to get a license and for shots.

"I wonder if Megan and the others have found their way out yet," Blair mused, remembering them at last.


~Cascade Telecommunications : Keep in touch with those you care about.~

"So, if you have any sensory problems or run into any more sentinels, you call me, deal?"

"Yeah, thanks. Take care on the way back, okay? Don't fall off the ledge again."


"Weird day, wasn't it?

"... I guess. Don't remember most of it."

"You know, Jim, we've really got to work on that communication thing. Even Simon said so."

"I know."

The End
Sign up to rate and review this story