Disclaimers: "The Sentinel"
and all its characters belong to Pet Fly and Paramount. "Quantum Leap"
and all its characters belong to Bellasarius Productions and Universal.
Any other characters belong to my warped imagination and Ill gladly take
the blame/credit for them.
Warnings: OFC alert.
This story does contain a recurring OFC from the Road Not Taken series.
Many thanks to my online friends for the support and generally putting up with
me as I worked through this story. Thanks to Marianne, Otter and Catbat for the
sanity checks. Thanks also to TAE for telling me to get back to work. And last
but not least, many thanks to Kathleen & Shallan & Toni Rae for agreeing
to beta this story!
Authors Notes: Major
references to the episodes Switchman and Warriors. Minor references to the episodes
Seige, Night Train, Remembrance, Flight. This story is set in Fall 2000.
// denotes thoughts.
The rain beat
a steady tattoo on the windshield as Jim slowed for the amber traffic light as
it turned to red. It had been another gray rainy day in Cascade, which mirrored
his mood. He would be glad to get home. Time to relax and try to put this whole
mess behind him, unless the Professor had other plans. Hed told Sandburg
he was going to be out for the afternoon. At least that had been his intention
until the rain started to fall.
He had just spent the last two hours in
Bayside Park, going over the scene of a now closed investigation. Unfortunately,
it had not closed to his satisfaction. It had started out with a missing persons
report, the nephew of a local political candidate, Russell Bradford. As it was
an election year, they had respected Bradfords desire to keep it out of
the medias eye. The case was handed to Captain Simon Banks, who in turn
handed it over to his best team, Ellison and Sandburg; developments escalated
and it turned to murder before they had ever been able to bring the Feds into
The light changed and a car impatiently honked behind him, alerting
him to the fact. Jim continued his journey home, driving more on instinct than
//Wed collared the suspect. The evidence gave
the DA an almost airtight case. The kidnapping victim had died before we... *I*
could find him. He had only been sixteen years old and should be out playing football
with friends instead of being buried by his family. Minutes had made the difference,
not hours or days. I *should* have been able to find him, but *I* failed. And
now a family grieves. More people Ive failed. Sometimes, I wonder why Im
even a cop. Maybe I should have considered doing something else with my life,
where being a few minutes late doesnt cost someone his life.//
in thought as he turned on to Prospect Street, he almost missed a familiar car
sitting across the street from the entrance of their building. It appeared that
the occupant was reading while waiting for someone to arrive. Jim remembered then
that Blair was expecting company this afternoon. If she was waiting in her car,
it meant his roommate was running late.
Jim parked his truck and went over
to the car. He chuckled after he rapped on the window, realizing he had startled
Cat. She lowered the window and returned his grin.
running late, is he?
Yeah, I just heard from him about five
minutes ago. He said hed be about 20 minutes late, the line was long at
the store and he couldnt get out of there any sooner. Cat, offered
Jim her umbrella, since he was standing in the rain getting soaked.
dont you come upstairs and wait for him? Im pretty sure the loft is
more comfortable than your car, Jim invited, opening the umbrella.
me a sec, she quickly agreed while gathering the books beside her. Jim opened
the car door, holding the umbrella to try to give them both some cover.
lending library is still open? he joked.
Yes, she replied
with a grin. Blair said hed finished the others.
the topic this time? Spirit guides and how to contact them? Aboriginal dreamtime?
Energy healing? Crystals?
not this time, she
answered with a chuckle. Ive got a couple of books about spirit walks
for Blair. Cat paused as Jim opened the door for her. And hes
got a couple of books I wanted to borrow.
* * * *
Jim ushered Cat into the loft, taking her coat and hanging it after
he placed the dripping umbrella on the boot mat below the coats.
yourself comfortable, he suggested, taking off his own damp coat. Cat deposited
the books she was carrying on the coffee table and sat in the corner of the loveseat,
turning slightly so she could talk to Jim.
Would you like some coffee?
Ill get a fire going in just a moment to take the chill off. I can get you
something else if youd prefer. Maybe some tea? he offered as he started
rummaging through the refrigerator.
Jim may have been making light conversation
with her, but Cat noticed immediately something was wrong. His smile was for her
benefit only. She could see it in his eyes and feel the undercurrent just by being
Coffees fine. Um
Jim? Is everything okay?
Cat asked cautiously as she rested her elbow on the back of the loveseat, cupping
her chin in the palm of her hand.
Yes. Why do you ask? replied
Jim warily, remembering how intuitive she was.
Just a funny feeling
I had. But if you say everything is okay
she trailed off, turning
her gaze away from Jim to the rain dripping down the overhang above the balcony
doors. The feeling persisted. //Okay, so he doesnt want to talk about it
with me. Ill make sure Blair knows, but it will definitely be out of Jims
It is, he assured. What do you take in your
coffee? We still have some cream or would you prefer milk? Sugar? he asked,
busying himself in the kitchen getting three mugs for their coffee.
and sugar is good. You dont need to fuss though
only to stop when she heard the thud of something falling in the kitchen and realized
Jim was no longer in view. From her vantage point in the living room, all she
could see was his hand, which peeked out past the edge of the kitchen island.
Jim! she cried as she ran into the kitchen.
beside him. He was unconscious. She quickly checked him for injuries remembering
the four Bs breathing, bleeding, broken bones and burns.
He was breathing easily. He had a steady pulse. There was no sign of any physical
injury, though she was sure hed have one heck of a bump and a bruise or
two from the fall. There was no sign of fever
yet there was something very
wrong. There was an almost hollow feeling when she touched him. Almost like he
was there, but wasnt.
Cat hurried to the phone and with shaking fingers
dialed the number of Blairs cell phone.
came the answer after two short rings.
Blair, its Cat. How
long are you going to be? she asked with a note of panic in her voice.
just going through checkout now. Why? Is something wrong? he countered hearing
Big time. Jim arrived home a few minutes ago and let me
in, then he suddenly collapsed midway through a conversation.
you see anything wrong with him? Injuries? Anything? Blair quizzed, while
the cashier rang the last of his purchases through.
Hes got a steady pulse. I cant see anything physically wrong with
him, but hes unconscious. Do you want me to call 911 or wait for you to
Ill be there in a few minutes.
Blair handed the cashier the money for his purchase and, without waiting for his
change, grabbed the bags and ran for his car.
* * * * *
The trip from the store had been a blur. The groceries sat forgotten in
the car. He took the stairs two at a time as he hurried to the loft. Opening the
door, Blair saw Cat kneeling beside Jim, draping an afghan over his still form
to keep him warm.
Joining her on the floor, Blair started his own examination.
Has there been any change? he demanded. If he hadnt known how
this had happened, he would have sworn Jim was sleeping.
he done this before? Is this a sentinel thing? Cat asked shakily.
as long as Ive known him, he replied, checking Jims pulse.
do you get a funny feeling
when youre touching Jim? Like now
taking his pulse? she asked hesitantly.
No. What do you mean?
I get this feeling of a hollowness. I dont know how else to
describe it, she offered apologetically. Its almost like his
essence is gone. The part of him that makes him who he is apart from his physical
self. His soul, I guess some might call it.
Blair furrowed his brow
at this comment not knowing what to make of it. Help me get him into the
living room. Theres more room there. We can make him more comfortable.
Cat nodded in silent agreement and helped Blair move Jim into the living room.
* * * * * *
They had just gotten Jim settled when
he heard Cat gasp. He watched as she fell backwards with a look of shock on her
face. She stared at a point above them, nodded wordlessly and then looked at him.
Are you okay? What happened? he asked with concern.
yeah. Im okay. I think
I just saw Incacha, she responded slowly
trying to take in what she had seen.
What? How did you know it was
Incacha? Did he say anything? Blair questioned.
had long dark hair. He wasnt wearing much and his face was painted red.
He said the Shaman of the Great City is the only one who can help Enqueri. Do
you know who this shaman is?
Yeah, I do, Blair responded
absently. //How am I supposed to help Jim if I dont know whats wrong?//
how do we find him? Look him up in the yellow pages under
S for Shaman or G for Great City? she asked in bewilderment.
No. We dont have to go looking for him, Blair began hesitantly.
Seeing Cats confusion, he continued. Incacha called me the Shaman
of the Great City just before he died. But I have no clue what to do. I dont
even know whats wrong with him!
her voice trailed off.
Blair nodded. You said it appeared that Jims
essence or spirit had left his body. How could you tell?
When I tried to connect with him to do a healing, all I could feel
was the emptiness within him. Jim isnt here, she said quietly,
laying her hand on Jims chest. The only thing I can think to do is
a soul retrieval, a spiritwalk, to bring him back, but Ive never tried it
before under circumstances anything like this.
Blair said, trying to take this information in. How do we get started?
I wish wed had our meeting before now. Those are the books
I brought over for you to read, Cat answered wistfully.
always had an interest in this type of thing, Blair admitted. But
I have to admit; Ive never taken Incachas calling me a shaman as anything
more serious than someone whos helped Jim with his senses. Ive come
up with some medicines that have helped him when regular medications threw his
senses off the chart.
Cat reached for her purse, and pulled out a
tape. Its a drumming tape Ive used in the past to help me with
my journeys. I thought you might find it useful with the books on spiritwalks.
She handed the tape to Blair. Put this on continuous play and get a candle,
a lit candle represents the spirit and invites our spirit guardians and helpers
to help us find Jim, Cat prattled on nervously.
set up the tape and the sounds of the drums filled the room. He adjusted the sound
to a comfortable level and then brought a candle over to Cat.
Next, we to do the same type of breathing exercise as for mediation,
she explained as she lit the candle, placing it on the floor above Jims
head. Then you state your intention to retrieve Jims soul. We will
then, hopefully enter a meditative state which will allow us to go to the same
place Jim has gone.
Blair settled into place opposite Cat with Jim
lying on the floor between them. They each closed their eyes and took a deep breath,
releasing it slowly. Repeating this pattern four more times, they let the sounds
of the drumming fill them, their hearts and minds in rhythm with its beat. As
they began their journey, a boom of thunder reverberated through the still loft
as lightening lit up the sky. They did not notice the thunders uncanny resemblance
* * * * *
It was dark. There was little
light, and what light there was only showed various shades of gray in the darkness.
He could sense movement around him, but wasnt sure if it was in the loft
He suddenly felt a pull as if someone had him by the scruff
of the neck and was yanking him upward. He became aware of his body below and
raised his gaze to see where he was being drawn.
He could see nothing.
He could sense his movement had slowed and finally came to a stop, but the landscape,
if you could call it that, told him nothing. It was the same gray nothingness
hed found himself in before. There was no sense of up, down or sideways
here, though he *knew* he was standing on something; but what, he couldnt
tell. He could actually see it shift and move, but it still defied any semblance
A vague shape pulled and twisted and finally, pulled away, separating
from the gloom. This new shape started moving toward him, taking shape, until
he finally recognized Cat.
Where are we? Blair asked, bewildered
by what he saw and felt.
Were in a sort of way station,
she stated, slowing her approach. An *in-between* place. Close your eyes.
Concentrate on Jim and state your intention.
Blair closed his eyes
and started to state his intention when he heard Cat gasp. He stopped and turned
toward her. She appeared to be talking to someone, though he couldnt see
anyone there. She hung her head and slowly joined him where he stood. She was
definitely more subdued than when he first saw her.
Who were you
talking to Cat? What happened? he asked, in concern.
appeared again, she spoke quietly. I had been warned before not to
interfere. It is not my place to help Jim.
I told him I was here to help you, not Jim. Ive
been allowed to stay, to help you, but I have to pay a price. Cat went quiet
and stared at her feet.
What price? Blair asked, alarmed, not
realizing there could be strings attached to this kind of thing.
can stay and help, but youre the only one who will be able to see or hear
me. I wont even have the ability to move things.
be like the hologram Al to my Sam Beckett on this leap then? Ill be glad
for the company. I dont think I want to try something like this by myself.
Uh, yeah, just dont expect me to start smoking a cigar and
wearing tacky suits
Deal, Blair said with a grin,
relieved she was able to stay and help him.
* * * * *
stated his intent as she had instructed before then repeated it several times.
Around them, the gray nothingness started to shift and part taking on vague
shapes. Soon, they found themselves in an alley behind a parking garage.
do you have any idea where we are?
Im not sure. Lets
walk a bit further and see if we can get a better idea.
the parking garage to a street corner, Blair confirmed his suspicions about where
they were. The vehicles in the street, for the most part, had Washington state
license plates. A Paolos Cab whizzed by. Blair looked at the street signs.
They were at the corner of 8th and Waterman.
Okay, I think
its safe to say were in Cascade. Ill try to call Jim and see if hes
at the loft. If hes not there, we can try his cell number.
pulled his cell phone from his backpack and started to dial the loft.
not getting a dial tone. Either the battery is dead or I dont have a cellular
phone in this Cascade.
Pulling a few coins from his pocket, Blair
checked to see if he had enough change to make a couple of phone calls at a pay
phone. He did. Thankfully, he remembered that he still carried the $100 bill in
his wallet. Hed have to check his finances to see how much money he had.
If he didnt have enough, he started to wonder if the credit card he had
would work here. Who knew how long they actually had to find Jim?
something to remember while were here, while this looks like our Cascade,
it isnt. Anything can happen. Anything is possible. To make her point,
she changed her shape before his eyes, becoming a cougar, then returning to her
Point taken, Blair said with wide eyes. I
guess that means I can make the cell phone work if I want to?
not try it again to see? she prompted.
Blair turned on the phone
again and smiled when he got a dial tone. He dialed the number to the loft and
received a message The number you have reached is not in service...
He tried Jims cell phone this time and received the same message.
number works, Blair announced. The disappointment was evident. Lets
check the phone booth down the street. Maybe we can find a listing for him there.
The two walked to the phone booth and checked for a listing. Jim either did not
exist in this Cascade or he had an unlisted number. The fact they were here meant
it was more likely that he had an unlisted number.
Next stop, Cascade
P.D. Well see if Jim is there.
* * * * *
watched people entering and leaving the Central Precinct as Blair stood talking
to the desk sergeant. She was tempted to explore the upper levels of the precinct
to see who else she could find, but chose to wait for Blairs return. It
wasnt a long wait.
Blair left the precinct with Cat following close
behind him. He doesnt work there.
So where does
this leave us? asked Cat.
The only thing I can think of right
now is to search for him in the newspapers, Blair answered. The library
should have those on file, some in hard copy, some on microfiche, and the rest
on CD ROM.
So off to the library? she suggested.
not yet, he countered. Im not sure about you, but Im getting
hungry. Im going to grab something to eat. Are you okay?
of the fun things about being non-corporeal in this place is I wont get
tired or hungry. But because you have a physical form in this reality, it seems
you will, she commented with a wry grin.
if Im going to get tired, then Im going to have to find someplace
to spend the night. I know of a place not far from here where I can grab something
quick to eat and a place to sleep. Blair paused, looking at his watch. Its
4:30 p.m. now, maybe I should think about getting a rental car as well, so that
we can move a little faster than walking. Who knows what were going to face
while trying to find Jim.
Cat nodded with a grin, but silently wondered
what she was going to do with herself while Blair slept. There definitely were
drawbacks to this journey.
* * * * *
the large library and stopped to get their bearings. Do you want to try
the reference area first or get online and see if you can find out something through
newspaper searches? Cat asked.
Why dont I take the Reference
area, while you can start searching online? he suggested and began walking
in the direction of the Reference desk. Blair stopped when he realized there had
been no reply. Looking back, he saw her staring after him. Oh, right. Sorry.
Lets start at Reference, and then do an online search.
you figured out how to start this search? Cat asked. Weve already
struck out at the PD, and both his cell number and the line at the loft werent
The only thing I can think of is to try to locate
him from key dates and events that I know from his life: return from Peru; cases
hes worked; and anything else I can remember. Grabbing a seat, he
sat down and started to rummage through the pockets of his jacket for a pen and
Why dont we make a list of dates first? Cat suggested,
perching on the edge of the table. If more occur to us afterwards, we can
add them. We may not even need all of them.
Okay. We know he
was born, because hes here; but apparently hes never become a cop,
so we can backtrack to September or October 1989 for news of his return from Peru.
July 9, 1991 is when Jim and Carolyn were
married, Blair added.
That should be in the papers then,
Veronica Serris was bombing Cascade for about a six month
period in 1994, just before I met Jim in September. His senses came online while
he was working on that case. She blamed Jim for the death of her father, who was
one of the men who died in Peru.
Why did she blame Jim?
He was the commanding officer of the mission. He survived while the
others didnt. So as far as she was concerned, it was his fault.
shook her head. The next date?
Ahem. Blair heard
from behind. Turning, he noticed a librarian glaring at him.
keep my voice down. Sorry.
Sorry, bout that. I keep forgetting
people cant see me.
That makes two of us. But Im
sure theyre used to people talking to themselves. Lets search between
1989 and 1994. Well dig deeper depending on what we find.
sounds like a plan. So, we start with the microfiche for 1989?
* * * * *
A short time later, Blair made himself
comfortable in front of a viewer for the microfiche spools he had just placed
on the table. Each represented the dates he had earlier identified. Shifting his
chair a bit to the right, he pulled another next to him and smiled and whispered,
You may as well have a seat, this may take a while.
into the chair beside Blair as he loaded the first spool into the sprockets. The
both watched carefully for any mention of Jims return from Peru. There was
The next spool proved that Jim was in Cascade. He and Carolyn
Plummer did marry on July 9, 1991. Blair noticed a few changes from the picture
he had seen before. Both of Jims parents were present, along with the Plummers.
This was an interesting development; and a possible way to get in touch with Jim,
if Carolyn was still around and had not moved to San Francisco.
the records from March of 1994 to the end of the year, there were no mentions
of Jim, the Switchman or even the taking of the Cascade PD by the Sunrise Patriots.
None of it ever happened. Where was Jim?
Any other ideas? Cat
inquired, sounding more than a little worried.
Wait, September of
1997, Incacha and several other Chopec came here hunting for two Vice Presidents
of Cyclops Oil, Blair started. If they came, then there should be
some mention in the papers at least of Torrens death and possibly other
details from that time.
Blair returned the spools theyd already
reviewed and requested the spools for the last six months of 1997.
scrolled through the spools, he noticed that, Bud Torrens had died exactly the
same way he had in September of 1997 in their reality. Two days later, the disappearance
of Gerald Spaulding, another Vice President of Cyclops Oil, was noted along with
the death of Mitch Yeagar, Vice President in charge of Security, also from Cyclops
Oil. The good news as far as Blair was concerned, was that there was no report
of Janet Myers death.
Blair slowed over the next few weeks, looking
to see if any other details could be found about what happened at Cyclops. He
knew if Incacha had been successful, Spaulding would have been tried and found
guilty by the Chopec for killing the land, the water and several of their tribesmen.
The penalty, according to Jim, was death.
Finally, they found a follow-up
article to the disappearance, but not what either of them was expecting. There,
in the October 6, 1997 issue of the Cascade Tribune, in the Business Section,
was a picture of Jim. Above was the announcement of the promotion of James J.
Ellison to the position of Vice President in charge of Products and Chemical Operations
at Cyclops Oil.
//Jim? At Cyclops? Maybe if Janet is still at Cyclops
I think I may have a way in to see Jim, Blair said cautiously.
Lets go online first, to find out what we can about what hes
doing there. I can also see if an old friend is still there.
old friend? At Cyclops?
She was murdered in our reality, but according to the papers, she wasnt
here. Her name is Janet Myers. She was
*is* the Vice President of Environmental
Affairs. She was being used in the Hale Corporation scam which lead to the deaths
Torrens, Yeagar, and Spaulding, who were also involved, he explained. Now
if we can verify shes still there, she might be able to help us meet with
* * * * *
They sat across the street from
the Cyclops Oil building in a rental car Blair had obtained earlier in the evening.
Are you ready, Cat? You know what youre looking for?
Im to look for any traces of either Janet Myers
or Jim at Cyclops. If I find traces of them, then Im to look for information
that will help us locate either of them, she repeated as she stepped out
of the car.
Good. Ill see you shortly. Good luck, wished
Cat crossed the street oblivious to the traffic, which passed through
her. Blair shuddered as he watching her and shook his head when she finally disappeared
inside the building.
Once inside the building, Cat looked for clues as
to where the executive offices would be located. Approaching the security desk,
she looked at the logs of those who had come to visit over the course of the day,
hoping for a little luck. There had been a number of visits from out-of-town Cyclops
people to the upper levels, floors 15 to 22. Her guess was she would find the
offices she sought there.
Walking to the elevator banks, she realized that
they had been locked down for the night. Unless one of the security guard decided
to use them, the elevators would take her nowhere. She found the nearest stairwell
tucked to the left of the elevator bank. She suspected they too were locked as
a precaution. Not that it will be a problem for me, she said to herself
as she passed through the door and started the climb to the 22nd floor.
Working her way down through the building from the 22nd floor,
she found Jims office on the 17th floor. Nice view,
she commented as she looked out over the moonlit harbor. His office was stark
but immaculate. Not a clue was to be had about his whereabouts, from what little
there was on his desk. She took a piece of paper and pen from her purse, taking
note of his phone number, then left for his assistants office.
had a little more success in Karla Withers office. Sitting in front of her
phone was her agenda for the day. She had been making arrangements for a breakfast
early the next morning at the same hotel Blair was staying in. Apparently, Jim
was holding a breakfast for several directors from out-of-town and then they would
return to Cyclops for their meeting.
A second meeting later in the day
with the R & D group was set for one of the conference rooms. They were going
to have a catered lunch. Apparently, they had an in-house caterer for those types
of functions, since the number for the caterer was an extension rather than a
She hurriedly took down the information about both meetings
to pass on to Blair.
Cat explored further, looking for Janets office;
finally finding it on the 15th floor. She took note of Janets
office phone number and noted that her married name was Janet Myers-Allen. At
least Blair would be relieved to know she was still here, and it would be interesting
to see what his reaction would be to the news she had gotten married.
assignment complete, Cat tucked her notes in her purse. Deciding the quickest
way down the stairs would be on four legs rather than two, she changed into cougar
form and hastened to give the information to Blair.
* * *
Thank you, Blair said, hanging up the phone. Well,
thats taken care of. Ive got a wake up call scheduled for seven in
the morning. Hopefully, we can connect with Jim right away and get out of here.
Do you have any ideas on how to confront him? asked
I think, for the breakfast meeting, maybe just watching
and waiting for an opportunity would be the best thing. We dont know what
he will do when he sees me, if anything.
what are you going to do for the rest of the day? she questioned. All
the other meetings are scheduled to be in boardrooms at Cyclops. Even the lunch
is going to be catered by an in-house caterer.
we can play the rest by ear; especially since we dont know whats going
to happen. After breakfast, Ill call Janet to see if she can get me in to
see Jim even for a few minutes. If that doesnt work, then well
come up with another plan. You know
I have to admit, Im curious about
what my other self is doing here. I mean, what happened since I didnt meet
Jim. Maybe I could check on that while Im thinking of it.
Cat said cautiously. Please, dont get sidetracked. If you start going
off on a tangent, we might lose Jim. Or worse still, I might end up losing both
of you. And in my current state, there isnt much I could do if that happened.
Okay, he agreed, noting the concern on her face. I do
have one favor to ask though
Whats that? Dont
you want me to hang out at Cyclops all day tomorrow and sit in on
Jims meetings? Hmmmm
Just think what a corporate spy would give for
this kind of opportunity, she continued with a grin.
not what I was thinking, although you may have to do a bit of that to help me
keep tabs on him.
Okay, so what did you want me to do?
asked Cat, her curiosity piqued.
Teach me how to change like you
into animal form. Whats the trick?
Cat fell back on
the bed laughing. Blair, you know that old joke about getting to Carnegie
Yeah. Practice. You mean thats all there is to
it? he asked skeptically.
Thats the secret, she
confirmed. Youve already started learning how to do it just by manipulating
the ability to use your credit card and cell phone here. You also seem to have
an unlimited supply of cash too, Ive noticed, she teased. Its
also the same way I was able to take notes. Neither of us brought anything
with us. But, weve both materialized other tools, like your backpack
and my purse.
You mean I can do the same thing, only on a bigger
scale? he prompted.
Start small, like changing the color of
your shirt, Cat suggested. Just focus on the change you want to make.
Just approach it like you do mediation, relax while doing it. It works better
than trying to force it.
Blair closed his eyes and his face blanked;
slowly, the shirt changed from a light blue to a dark green.
Blair. Why dont you take a look? she suggested with glee.
looked down to see that the shirt had indeed changed color. For the next couple
of hours, he tried different articles of clothing changing both color and style.
Finally, he tried changing his clothing from coat to shoes. Once he was satisfied
he could do it, they settled down to a companionable silence to watch television
until Blair drifted off to sleep.
Sleep well, Blair, she said,
as she vacated the chair. It was going to be a long lonely night. Feeling restless,
she decided to go for a walk, promising herself to be back before Blair received
his wake up call.
* * * * *
So, what did you
do all night? Blair asked. When I woke up in the middle of the night,
you were gone.
Well, since I didnt need to sleep I went
for a walk, Cat responded, watching Blair order his breakfast. Youre
great company when youre awake, Sleeping Beauty, but you dont talk
enough in your sleep for me to stick around all night.
did you go? he prompted.
Hes here, she announced
with a nod. You could set a clock by him, she remarked, noting the
time was exactly 8:00 a.m. according to the watch Blair was wearing.
strode into the room with an air of a man used to getting exactly what he wanted
and settled at a table on the opposite side of the room from them. Dressed in
a conservatively tailored gray suit, adding to the imposing figure he cut. Somehow,
seeing him this way, and adding the glare Jim was capable of, Blair shuddered
at the picture it painted. This might be more difficult than he had expected.
A penny for your thoughts, Cat offered.
just wondering what it will take to get him to come back with us. He looks just
a little too comfortable here, he mused. Im beginning to wonder
if he remembers any of his life before this.
If he doesnt,
Im wondering what it will take to shake him, she murmured. He
looks positively cold, which isnt exactly surprising after seeing his office
at Cyclops. I wonder how his marriage to Carolyn fared in this life.
other men soon joined Jim. Blair watched as their host greeted them. He was smooth,
but Blair could tell by the way the men sat in their chairs that they were wary
Over the next half hour, Blairs gaze rarely strayed from
Jim as he absently nibbled on his bagel and drank his coffee. Jim had noticed
his attentions and it was obvious he wasnt pleased, but he offered no sign
Cat, watch the room and let me know when no ones
watching. I want to try something, Blair whispered, his eyes locked with
Jims at that moment. From the look on Jims face, storm clouds were
gathering. This was Blairs chance to try to throw Jim off balance.
clear. What are you
? she started, but stopped as she looked back at
him. Briefly, as a waitress had stepped between Jim and Blair, Cat found herself
sitting with Simon.
Cat watched Jim, who was watching their table; his
eyes narrowing when he saw the young man who had been watching him had been replaced
by another vaguely familiar face.
Okay, we have some recognition,
and a little surprise, but hes not giving away much. Blair, dont sit
down at the poker table with this one
Cat warned. Welcome back,
she said as a patron crossed between the two tables and Blair changed back.
slow smile formed as she watched Jim choke on his coffee. He realized his uninvited
observer was back.
You never warned me it was that difficult to hold
another form, Blair admonished.
Why do you think I suggested
you start small? she replied. It takes time and practice. Im
surprised you were able to take on Simons form, let alone hold it as long
as you did. It was effective though.
At least Ive caught
his attention. Now I know I can get through to him, Blair said thoughtfully.
Just be careful how you get his attention. Remember, I can change
like you just did without attracting attention. You cant. If anyone else
sees you, how are you going to explain it? she cautioned.
no more quick changes, at least not out in the open. Blair paused briefly.
Cat, do me a favor? Blair asked, continuing without waiting for a
reply. Keep an eye on Jim and let me know when hes getting ready to
leave. I need to get in touch with Janet at the office. I want to see if she can
get me in to see Jim today between meetings.
Blair pulled out both
his copy of Janets phone number and his cell phone as he stood and ducked
around the corner. Dialing, he prayed silently that Janet would answer. Catching
the eye of the waitress, he had his coffee cup refilled, assuring her hed
be right back. He wanted to be as far out of Jims earshot as possible, just
* * * * *
May I speak to Janet Myers-Allen,
please? Blair requested, stumbling over the hyphenated last name.
she answered hesitantly. May I ask who is calling? she demanded, knowing
this call was being made from an unfamiliar outside line as the call hadnt
been passed through her assistant or receptionist.
sorry. This is Blair Sandburg, he started to explain.
Sandburg! Oh my God! Its been ages, she replied in disbelief.
you wouldnt believe whats happened since we last saw each other,
he said with relief. Look, Im sorry to have called you on the wrong
line. A friend passed this number on to me. I was hoping to ask a favor from you.
Sure! How about we get together this weekend for dinner to talk over
old times? We can discuss this favor you want then. Besides, I want you to meet
my husband. Ive mentioned you to David a few times.
was kind of hoping I could beg that favor from you today. It would really mean
a lot. We could still get together on the weekend for dinner if you wanted,
he countered, trying not to hold his breath as he waited for her answer.
wish I could Blair. Im just about to leave for the airport. Im leaving
town on business for the next couple of days, she said apologetically. What
kind of favor is it? Are you sure it cant wait until the weekend?
Actually, I was hoping to get a few minutes with one of the other
VPs at Cyclops and hoped you could help me. His name is James Ellison. Is there
any possibility you can help arrange that? Blair crossed his fingers hoping
she could help him.
Just a second, Blair, she asked.
He could hear her tapping her keyboard to check. Blair, Im sorry.
I wont get a chance to talk to either J. J. or Karla until I get back Thursday.
Hes in meetings over the next two days. Were both in the middle of
preparing reports for a big meeting which is coming up in a couple of weeks
time. I wish I could be of more help.
Thats okay Janet,
Blair replied. You dont know how nice it is to hear your voice again.
Ill talk to you when you get back, he offered quietly, knowing he
might never talk to her again if he was successful in his task.
* * * *
The waitress noticed Blairs return to the table and presented
him with the bill. Charging it to his room and leaving a tip, he busied himself
with his coffee until the waitress left.
No luck with Janet,
Blair told Cat. Apparently shes on her way out of town and wont
see Jim or J.J. as she calls him until Thursday. Jims in meetings
for the next two days.
Options? Cat inquired.
got an idea, but we need to leave now. It looks like theyre getting ready
to leave and I want to see his reaction if we can beat him to Cyclops, he
said with a grin.
* * * * *