Home > Mpala > Mercy Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Disclaimers and Warnings in Part 1
eyed Jim as he watched Blair leave the room.
"I suppose you are ready to hear what the plan is for you, if you
will agree to it."
sarcastic snort escaped from Jim. "Like
I have any kind of say in the matter?"
but you do, my dear detective. You
definitely have a say. It might not
be in the manner of *your* choosing but, trust me, you do have a say."
on with it then. What is it you want
from me? And how does Sandburg fit
into this little scheme of yours?"
Jim's eyes were cold as he turned his steely gaze on Hunt. Hunt grabbed the nearest chair and sat stiffly in front of
the cot, his eyes never wavering from the detective's.
am merely extending your possibilities, sir.
Opportunities you must have thought were lost to you when the kid's paper
was discovered. It doesn’t take a
genius to figure out you had ties to the sentinel theory the little professor
was expounding upon in his research. I
am sure you had aspirations as well. The
disappointment of an early discovery just before his paper was presented must
have been overwhelming. Did you continue
to associate with Mr. Sandburg out of necessity or had he actually grown on you?
I can see how that could happen."
to the older man's diatribe, Ellison tried his best not to seem annoyed.
"What exactly are these possibilities you think might need extending?"
I should ask you to tell me, but you will probably do the same thing your counterpart
initially tried and feign ignorance. To prevent the wasting of time on such ridiculous endeavors,
I will cut right to the chase. Were
you and our scientist friend not engaging in research that you thought might be
to your ummm.... mutual... benefit?"
continued to meet Hunt's direct gaze head on.
"I guess you could say that."
Information once divulged to a lunatic such as this could never be retrieved.
It was best to be as vague as possible.
Who could know how much Sandburg had found it necessary to reveal or how
much he could even recall?
I thought so. I also expect you were
curious how much you could accomplish with heightened senses.
How much of the world would be at your fingertips, so to speak.
I am sure ideas occurred to Mr. Sandburg, though he seems loathe to admit
obviously can't speak for Sandburg, Hunt.
I don't have a damned clue what is going on in that screwed up brain of
his. All I can tell you is he was
studying the department, and yes, I hoped I might learn something that could help
me in my job. Nothing dramatic about
it, nor anything which might interest you, I fear."
chuckled as he shook his head. "So,
this how we are going to play it, my dear detective?
Do you realize how naive you sound?
After some *convincing*, Mr. Sandburg told me about your senses... in as
much detail as he could in his present weakened condition.
He had hoped to tell me more, in fact he tried very hard, but his memory
problems could not be overcome quickly enough.
I knew we could not wait the extended amount of time that his poor warped
mind could take to mend without being discovered.
So, much to his chagrin, we had to "contact" you."
laughed derisively at his captor, "Contacted me?
Is that what you call this? You
know you are in a shitload of trouble, Hunt.
Sandburg, too. The courts
do not take kindly to the kidnapping of its law enforcement officers."
needn't worry about that, Ellison. With
my assistance, you will find your thwarted plans back on track.
You will also find me a far more accomplished partner than the long haired
kid you’ve been forced to tolerate. I
think you will find my experience and ideas superior to anything you could have
dreamed. All it takes is your cooperation
and assistance in finding the missing information that the young professor cannot
seem to retrieve."
type of information would that be, Hunt?"
need to know your weaknesses. As
you know, there is the adage: you
are only as strong as your greatest weakness.
I am sure that this angle has occurred to you and Sandburg.
He told me he had done some documentation of something he calls "zoning"
in which you lose control of your senses.
I think this area might be the first we should concentrate on.
Once this is conquered, we can surely move forward quickly."
me a clue here, Hunt, what is it that you think we can do together?
What kind of plans do you foresee that would keep me from wanting to return
to my life?"
same plans you and the wanna be anthropologist had, sir. Just on a grander scale.
Why dream small when the world is at your command?
Think of the information we could gather and sell, the riches we can acquire
with your special abilities and my knowledge?
To coin a cliche, the sky is the limit."
this was how it was to be played. Jim
could feel his pulse spike at the realization of the magnitude of this man's insanity.
He also knew that Blair had recently been injured and would not be able
to tolerate such rough treatment much longer in his weakened condition.
His fear for the safety of his friend was as intense as ever, so strong
in fact, he had never even felt the sense of relief he was expecting when he found
him. Jim realized this was the defining
moment wherein all his instincts and all the things he had learned would be needed
to overcome this madman. Fear had
no place here.
what do we do with Sandburg? I admit
I've kinda developed a tolerance for him after all this time."
Jim waited for a response with a nonchalant air, although he knew this
information would be very revealing and would certainly direct his future actions.
didn't disappoint him. He gave Ellison
a sidelong glance before replying, "I am not sure your Mr. Sandburg will
be able to assist us much longer. I
would suspect that your cooperation in certain matters would go a long way to
insuring his health or what remains of it."
allowed himself a smirk. "From
what I saw in here a little while ago, I might not even have a chance to make
a difference anyway. Looks like you’ve
already taken your turn at beating the hell out of him, Hunt. What did he do, piss you off?"
suddenly rose from his chair. "I’m
sure you must be starved. Blair will
be in soon to bring you some food. I
strongly urge you to eat. And to
keep you from wasting all our time with mundane escapades, I must warn you that
he will have listening devices on him. At
the least sign of a plot or his injury, dire consequences will be paid."
With that proclamation, Hunt turned and went out the door without a backwards
begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off.––St. Francis
sat on the cot and allowed himself to feel emotions which he had put to the side
throughout his ordeal in the cold and dirty little room.
He let the frustration rise to the surface and pounded his fist into the
thin mattress. His frustration was
based in fear and he knew it. He
was as aware of the fear that pulsed through his veins as he was of his own beating
heart and in that anxiety there was only one foundation.... Sandburg.
Jim had never been as confused by the younger man’s actions as he was now.
Although he trusted him implicitly, the detective knew the events of the
last few months could have easily taken their toll.
It was this thought that was his undoing.
Grief found its accustomed place by fear and Jim bowed his head with the
combined weight. But as he heard
Sandburg’s footsteps in the hallway, he realized that his slight reprieve was
over. Blair was alive and so was
he. They would make it out of this
place or die trying - together.
entered the room carrying a tray with a sandwich, chips and another bottled water.
He walked over to Jim and said with a sad smile, “Sorry this is the best
we can do, Jim. Carter won’t allow
me to feed you a meal that requires utensils until he knows you won’t try anything.”
dipped his head down in an effort to meet his partner’s eyes. “That’s okay, Sandburg.
I haven’t felt much like eating anyway.
How are you doing?”
weary eyes met those of his friend. “I’m
good. Just a little tired is all.”
He gave a slight nod to Jim as he said this, indicating that he truly was
doing okay.... considering. Jim smiled.
glad to hear it. You kinda scared
me a bit earlier. Can you talk a
minute or do you have to get back right away?”
Jim did not want to be the cause of further injury to the anthropologist.
actually Carter asked that I talk to you.
He wants to know if you would permit me to begin some tests in some of
the areas we had contemplated before my dissertation was made public.”
Sandburg rolled his eyes while he kept his tone even.
Jim’s grin widened.
what tests, Sandburg? You know I
hated those damned things when it was just you doing them.
Now I get to have an audience? You
gotta be shittin’ me!” Jim’s sarcastic
tone was at distinct contrast with the smile of gentle affection that lingered
on his face.
quickly looked away to hide his own wide grin.
Recovering, he made his tone
sound hurt. “Jim, Jim, Jim, you never
gave me any credit for what I’ve shown you.
I know there were times when you must have hated going through
all those tests, and I assure you, if I had direct access to my research
notes or if I could just *remember,* well, you wouldn’t be submitted to all this.
Truthfully though, Carter has helped me formulate a plan that is even better
than the Brass Ring one. We just
need to concentrate on certain areas this time.”
what the hell would those areas be, Chief?
Something involving electric shock, I hope.” Jim couldn’t keep from smirking as he spoke.
Blair made a quick cutting motion with his hand.
man. You gotta be nuts. We just need to explore the levels of sensitivity you have
with each of your senses which could cause you to go into a zone.
I suggested to Mr. Hunt that we start with hearing since that’s the sense
which tends to spin you into one most often.”
raised his eyebrows. “Well, I tell
you, it might be good to find out the conditions that seem to make me go into
one of those. If we use my senses
like we had planned, a zone could be *very* inconvenient.”
As he spoke, Jim gave Blair a thumbs up sign. He trusted his friend and finally knew that in spite of his
apparent faulty memory and injuries, a plan had been formulated.
Hunt was smart, but he was crazy.
He would bet on Blair any day if it came to a showdown of wits.
He realized he had to be sharp enough to pick up on any opportunity that
Blair might throw his way.
looked relieved and turned as if to go out the door as he said, “Okay, then.
Sounds like we got ourselves a plan.”
Jim realized he had to make contact with his guide before he left.
Some ancient instinct or mere need for reestablishment of their connection
demanded this from him. Jim reached
out to his friend and grabbed his shoulder, careful not to disturb any of the
listening devices. Blair looked in
his eyes and blinked away the sudden moisture which appeared in his own.
Jim felt his heart clench as he reached up and gently stroked a long curl
away from the younger man’s face. He
let his fingertips linger at Blair’s temple and felt the reassuring heartbeat
as he continued to look in his eyes. Once
again the promise of the sentinel/guide bond asserted itself and both men smiled
with renewed conviction before Blair broke quickly away and left the room.
and the guard were in his room with various types of recorders and earphones as
soon as dawn arrived. His captor’s
face was somewhat apologetic as he began setting up the equipment.
“I’m sorry the facilities here are so rustic. As soon as we finish our
first task, I will see what I can do about moving you somewhere that has provisions
for a shower. Blair will bring you
something for breakfast in a moment and then we can get started.”
rose from the cot and sat on its edge. He
eyed the various machines Hunt brought in as he thought how good it was going
to feel to snap the cuffs on this lunatic as he read him his rights.
Hopefully, Hunt would give Jim an opportunity to knock him around a bit.
would rather just get to it, Hunt, if you don’t mind.
You can have Sandburg wait on the cold toast or whatever he’s concocted.
I ate that crap he brought in last night and I think I can make do until
smiled and shrugged. “Whatever you
prefer, detective. I suppose the
sooner we start, the quicker we gain our objective.”
At that, there was a knock at the door. The guard opened it and Blair appeared,
carrying a duffel bag on his shoulder and another tray with a bottle of water
and a biscuit. He handed the tray
to Jim with a slight smile as his eyes implored him to eat.
Jim could see the exhaustion on his face and the lines of pain around his
eyes so Jim reluctantly accepted the food and water from his friend.
It was time for this to be over.
he slowly chewed the biscuit, Jim watched the two other men set up the sound equipment
after bringing in a table and chairs. Blair
knew that at one time Jim had developed quite a bit of control over his hearing.
Jim could only sit and speculate how much thought Sandburg had put into
plotting an escape. The guard opened the door and took up position outside in
the hallway. Ellison speculated that
Hunt was protective about who would be allowed to view the coming activity.
The sentinel snuck a sidelong glance at his guide as he took a long swig
of the water. Blair met his eyes
and then turned to Hunt. “Everything is as ready as it’ll ever be.”
The message was not lost on Jim.
morning progressed slowly. Jim was
submitted to test after test of varying tones and sounds.
Some very low and rhythmic, some loud and distorted.
Hunt observed the entire proceedings in a place close to Jim’s side, watching
every move intently. Jim felt sure
he was armed and ready to shoot if the slightest indiscretion presented itself.
Blair pronounced, “I think we’re close to an answer.
Let me try something here.” He
reached into the duffel bag and brought out a portable audiometer. “This puppy
is pretty cool, I rigged it from a device that uses earphones, but I figure I
can get the desired results better this way.” He disconnected Jim from the recorders
and earphones and readied the device. As he did, he said assuredly, “This should be what we’re looking
for. And if it isn’t, I have a different
instrument in the bag which should do the trick.”
smiled confidently as he met Jim’s eyes.
Ellison allowed himself a small glance in the bag next to Sandburg’s chair
and was amazed to see the end of a piece of heavy pipe wrapped loosely in a towel.
Jim looked back slowly at Sandburg and caught the young man’s grimace of
pain. Blair grabbed his head and rubbed his temples as Hunt made
a move to stand. “I’m okay. I’m good.
Just had one of those flashes, Carter.
I can handle it.”
that you do, Mr. Sandburg. I wouldn’t
want to have to take over at this late point.
You have managed not to disappoint me thus far.”
worry, man.... I got it under control. Jim
might need to watch his dials though.” Hunt
looked at the anthropologist in confusion and acted as if he was about to comment.
At that moment, Sandburg turned the knob on the audiometer.
The shrill sound emitted seemed to take Hunt by surprise and he glanced
quickly from the sentinel to Sandburg. Jim
immediately took on a fixed stare and slumped over a bit, as if his total being
was concentrated on the high pitched tone.
At the same time, Blair bent over in his own chair while clutching his
head and the meter clattered to the floor, but continued to sound its ear shattering
scream. Jim was at the bag in the
same second Hunt bent down to reach for the device and in one movement he had
the pipe uncovered and swinging. Hunt saw his action just in time to move far
enough away to receive a blow to the upper shoulder.
As Jim reached back to take another swing, he caught sight of Blair out
of the corner of his eye. Blair stumbled
back from the table, hands still on his head and began murmuring something over
and over. Jim completed the swing
and caught Hunt across the chest. Jim
smiled as he brought the pipe up with one hand again and moved in close to his
target. At the last minute, with
Hunt’s eyes wide with shock, Jim hit him full in the face with his other fisted
hand. The man who had caused Ellison
so much anguish over the last few months fell with a resounding thud to the floor.
commotion in the room had escalated to the point where it could be heard in the
hallway over the squealing meter. As
the guard opened the door and rushed in with pistol drawn, a heavy wooden chair
came down with force over his head. He
staggered a bit, blinked as he tried to regain his focus and was met with the
sight of a staggering sucker punch as Sandburg hit him full in the nose.
The last thing he would remember before hitting the floor was a blur of
hair and flannel as it descended upon him in fury.
the audiometer slipped into battery saving mode leaving the room in an almost
eerie silence. Jim rolled Hunt onto
his stomach as he looked up to check on his partner’s condition and was surprised
at what he found. Blair was at the
door, tremors shaking his body, the hand he had used to punch the guard several
times held tightly to his body, as he pulled the door open with the other.
“There’s rope in the side pocket of the bag, man.
Hunt was smart but his greed sometimes made him careless.
I know he wanted something from us, but God, for the life of me, I don’t
know what. There’s a phone in the
office of the adjacent building. Use
it to get help. I’m sure you know
somebody who can get you out of this mess.
I gotta go now. It’s been
real.” With that, Blair staggered
out of the door and down the hall. The
anguished sound of Jim screaming his name only added momentum to his flight.
Gasping for breath, Jim bowed his head in defeat as he heard his friend’s
footsteps retreating into the distance.
Mercy would ask its terrible price from him once again.
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