Home > Mpala > Mercy Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4



Disclaimers and Warnings in Part 1

Hunt 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."

A sarcastic snort escaped from Jim.  "Like I have any kind of say in the matter?"

"Oh, 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."

"Get 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.

"I 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."

Listening to the older man's diatribe, Ellison tried his best not to seem annoyed.  "What exactly are these possibilities you think might need extending?"

"Perhaps 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?"

Jim 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? 

"Yes, 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 it."

"I 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."

Hunt 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."

Jim 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."

"You 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."

"What type of information would that be, Hunt?"

"We 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."

"Give 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?"

"The 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."

So 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.

"So 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.

Hunt 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."

Jim 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?"

Hunt 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 glance.


Friendships begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off.––St. Francis De Sales

Jim 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.

Blair 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.”

Jim 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?”

Sandburg’s 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.

“I’m 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.

“No, 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.

“Ummm.... 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.

Blair 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.”

“And 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.

“No, 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.”

Jim 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.

Blair looked relieved and turned as if to go out the door as he said, “Okay, then.  Sounds like we got ourselves a plan.” 

Suddenly, 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.


Hunt 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.”

Jim 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.

“I 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 we break.”

Hunt 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.

As 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.

The 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. 

Finally, 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.” 

Blair 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.”

“See 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.” 

“Don’t 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.

The 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.

Mercifully, 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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