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Blair and the Captain

by ljc

1/07


Summary: An early meeting, after Siege.


Warnings, Ratings: Fan Rated Suitable for Teenagers


Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, Paramount and the SciFi Channel. No money is being made. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was written by ljc with the love of the show in mind.


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Captain Simon Banks spent a few minutes welcoming Joel back to work. He knew he'd never be able to thank him and the others enough for watching out for his son when Kincaid's Sunrise Patriots took over the precinct. He'd wanted to make sure Joel was doing well, and he wanted to make sure he didn't push himself too hard now that he was back and on desk duty.


He took a few steps toward his office and stopped near Rhonda's desk. He'd been making a round of the 'troops'. Everyone was still understandably jumpy, and still grieving over their losses. He tried to keep things routine and let them see his presence on this 'normal day at the office'.


Rhonda was on the phone, so he looked casually around at the rest of his team. They were quieter than usual, but he knew that would change eventually. He needed to watch for problems, because some people would be having a tough time coping.


He heard a distant 'ding' as the elevator arrived on their floor. He saw Ellison's 'cousin' the anthropologist come out and head to the bullpen. He watched as Sandburg glanced at Jim's empty desk and he looked a little nervous when he saw Simon watching him. Sandburg slowly worked his way to the desk Ellison used. He hung up his coat and took out a book, making himself comfortable. Well, Simon thought, he'd change that!


Sandburg! My office!”


Simon plucked his cigar out of his pocket and grinned around it. He still had it ... a bellow like no other. He actually saw people smile when they heard it. It was part of that 'office routine' that happened on 'normal' days.


Sandburg followed him into the office, glancing at the other officers who watched curiously. Simon turned in time to see Sandburg nod and smile at Joel, and Joel grinned back.


Sit down, Sandburg.”


Sure, Simon.”


That's Captain Banks, Sandburg.”


Uh, sure. Captain Banks.”


You know Joel?”


Huh?”


Joel Taggert. He's back at work today.”


Oh, yeah. I met him during the Switchman case and when Kincaid took over of the PD. He backed me up when I got captured. He told Kincaid I was Ellison's partner.” Sandburg grinned for a moment then continued, “Jim told Joel that I was his partner after the Switchman blew up the bus we were on. Oh, but, I know ... I'm just an observer, like you said. Not a cop. I'm fine with that. There's no way I'd want to carry a gun anyway. And I am 'so' not cutting my hair! I mean, I don't have to cut my hair, do I?” he asked worriedly.


Simon wondered if he 'would' cut his hair if he told him he had to, but answered, “No, Sandburg. Unfortunately I have no say over that ... for observers.” The kid still looked slightly worried but so relieved that Simon nearly laughed.


Si ... Captain Banks, why did you call me into your office?”


I think we need to talk about Jim.”


The kid sat up straighter before answering, “I think that would be a breach of confidentiality. I think if you want answers, that Jim should be here to give them not me. Where is he anyway?”


He went to the courthouse to talk to the Assistant D.A. about a case.”


Well, we'd better wait until he gets back,” and Sandburg stood to go.


Simon came out from behind the desk, “Sit down, Sandburg.”


When the kid turned, Simon was quite near him. It startled him for a moment, after all Simon was a 'much' taller and bigger man than he was. Simon could see the kid blink in surprise, but he held his ground which surprised Simon.


Captain Banks, if you're trying to intimidate me, forget it. Jim's already tried it.”


Simon quirked an eyebrow because he didn't believe that for a minute, not about Jim Ellison, ex-covert ops Army Ranger. But then he reconsidered. Jim had seemed accepting of the kid's theories. Maybe there's more to this kid than first impression had led him to believe. “Sandburg, I'd just like some information, and I think you already know how much Jim likes to 'discuss' things.”


Boy, don't I ever,” the kid muttered. He looked at Simon calculatingly, “Maybe we could discuss some things. I know what Jim told you.”


Now it was Simon's turn to mutter, “That would be ... not much.”


The kid grinned as he bounced on his toes. “Do you have something specific to ask? I know I have some questions.”


Simon looked speculatively at the kid, “Like what?”


Well, I'd like to know how he handled himself during the siege on the precinct. Did you notice if he used his senses, or was it, like, straight cop stuff?”


'Cop stuff'?”


You know what I mean.”


Let's sit down.” Simon had to think for a minute. This was strange territory and he needed to know the basics at least. He wasn't sure he even wanted to know the whole story, but to get information he had to share some, and who better to share it with than Jim's so-called expert.


Sandburg ... Jim was ... incredible. He seemed to just 'know' things. He could tell that the stairwell door was welded shut, because it was still warm. I have to tell you, I touched it and it didn't feel warm to me. And then he smelled a guy's aftershave ... through a door. I tried to convince myself he was joking, that he'd really found some 'clue' that told him these things, but later he told me the ... sentinel story.”


You mean, he did all this ... without any backup?”


What am I, chopped liver? I was his backup.”


I mean, in my research, a sentinel has a specific person that backs him up. Watches out for him. Helps him utilize his senses to their best effect.”


That would be the job you intended for yourself?” asked Simon sarcastically.


The kid flushed, “Well, I kinda sold it to Jim that way. I 'am' the only expert around. I have ideas to help him control and extend his senses. But if he used them okay without zoning ...”


Zoning?”


Oh yeah. It's when a sentinel extends a sense so much that he loses control and focuses too deeply. He loses touch with his surroundings, sometimes to the point that he could be hurt, or even ... stop breathing.”


What! And someone's just telling me now!”


Oh, man. Jim didn't tell you? He is 'so' not going to be happy about me telling you. It doesn't need to be as bad as you think. You see, that's what I'm here for, except ... maybe he doesn't really need me if he went through the siege okay without my help.”


Good, then Ellison wouldn't need this kid's help. Then he fumed silently for a moment when he reconsidered. He had remembered something else. “Sandburg, there's one more thing. When we went into the sewer to get to the precinct, Jim was nearly overcome with the smell. I thought he was going to lose it. I almost sent him back and went on alone.”


Sandburg looked thoughtful, “His smell was dialed up even in the sewer. He didn't need it there, his other senses would have been more useful. Maybe he couldn't dial up one without dialing up all the others. Maybe that's what kept him from zoning.”


Dialing up?” asked Simon, wondering whether the kid had just been talking to himself.


It's a control mechanism. To increase one sense or the other I told him to envision a dial-like-device that he could use to mentally control his senses. We'd been working on it but his control isn't perfect, and it needs to be so automatic that he doesn't have to 'think' about it, just do it.”


Simon felt a bit of respect begin to grow for the kid. He wondered what else he had to say.


Captain Banks, I've been working with Jim for just a short time. I try to be there when he thinks he'll need to use his enhanced senses. I've cautioned him not to use them excessively when there's no one there to ground him. We both know that Jim will get into tough situations when I can't be with him. I'm working on ways for him to ground himself. If he can accomplish that, then maybe we'll have that problem licked.”


Why did the kid look so dejected? Oh yeah, Jim in control means he won't need Sandburg. Simon sat back and asked pointedly, “Then where will you be, Sandburg?”


Well, I guess I won't need to be an observer. But Captain, I've already been able to help Jim. I've talked him through controlling his senses and doing things he doesn't seem to be able to do on his own. I think it will be a while before he has that kind of control. It would take a lot of practice for him to do things like that without help.”


Okay, like what? Give me examples.”


The kid bounced back quick. He grinned then answered, “Well, I helped him identify some scents that led us to identifying Veronica Serris as the Switchman. Jim had spotted a scrap of fabric and I coached him until he identified some botanical scents, and we went to this shop that sold them and ...”


What else?”


Oh, well ... when, when he was looking for the bomb. I told him to listen, not to look. That was close, man. Real close. I guess he might have thought of it himself, but you know, in the heat of the moment, and not being used to 'using' his senses to help him on the job, well it didn't occur to him to listen for it ... that he even 'could' listen for it.”


Simon squinted at the observer's rambling explanation. Sandburg had gotten a faraway look on his face as he'd spoken more and more quietly. He'd been right there with Ellison. 'Working' with him. Coaching him. He'd have to ask Ellison for his side of it, but if the kid was telling the truth, that was good work. They'd saved a lot of lives, and come close to losing their own.


He looked down at the personnel file again. He just couldn't reconcile what he read there, with what he saw before him. The kid looked like an escapee from a homeless shelter. Seeing his home address he considered that it might not be too far from the truth.


Did Ellison really trust this ... kid ... to back him up? Was Simon really considering letting this continue? Jim had saved Daryl's life, among others, Sandburg's included. Could he take a 'sentinel' off the job when the results had proved so beneficial? Could he take the sentinel's 'partner', his safety-net away from him if he could really help Jim?


Simon rocked back in his chair, watching a concerned grad student try to puzzle out the puzzle-that-was-Jim Ellison. Good luck to him, he thought. The kid looked truly concerned, and he had definitely been disappointed when he thought that Ellison was working so well on his own.

That left Simon with other concerns, “Sandburg, don't think you're going to move into this observer thing and become his 'real' partner. He needs control, and you can probably help him with that. I have no idea how Jim's senses work but I have to admit that your dial suggestion sounded like it would help. But Jim's an independent guy. He's not going to want you, or need you, to hang around for long. You're an observer. That's it.”


Sandburg seemed discouraged. “I know, Simon. I'm an observer. It's just that I've been looking for a sentinel for almost twenty years, ever since I came across a reference when I was a kid. I know this is a research project. I know Jim is my subject ...”


I hope you know the limits of that,” Simon interrupted angrily.

What?”


Research project ... subject. Jim's a person, and my friend. I'm going to warn you right now that you'd better treat him with respect and dignity, or you'll have to answer to me.”


Oh man, you have me all wrong ...”


Do I?” To give him credit, Sandburg did seem to stop and consider my accusation.


Simon, I'm a scientist. I know I may use words that seem impersonal. But I need to keep my observations objective. I'm well aware of my ethical responsibilities to my ... to Jim. You must understand that I have to remain scientifically detached. When you testify in court, you have to do the same thing, but even if you're detached you still remain ethically bound to do what's right.”


Simon rubbed his face in frustration. The kid made a good point, but he still felt uneasy about the situation. “All right, Sandburg. We'll see how it works out with Ellison. Just remember, I 'will' be watching.”


Simon? I'm glad he has a friend like you. He needs someone watching out for him, especially when ... I'm not around.”


When Sandburg started to get up, Simon said, “There is one more thing you could help me with, Sandburg.”


What's that, Simon? I'll help if I can.”


I read Jim's version of the report on the siege and, uh, ... well I could use a little help ... explaining things from my viewpoint.”


The kid relaxed back into his chair and gave a relieved grin, “I call it obfuscation, that is, to obscure something from sight.”


As long as this won't involve lying on an official report.”


Whatever 'Simon Says',” he said with a cheeky grin.


Old joke, kid. Don't use it again if you value for life. We'll work on the report this afternoon, if you're free then. Ellison's here. Go check in with him and ... do whatever you do.”


I'll do my best, man.”


Simon hoped he would because he'd be watching them both.


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finis