The characters and concepts of The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly productions, and the characters and concepts of The Tomorrow People belong to various persons and bodies such as Thames, Tetra, Nickelodeon and particularly Mr. Roger Damon Price, who wouldn't let a good idea die. They ain't mine. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Crossover: Tomorrow People
Sentinel - Blind Man's Bluff, references to Cypher, Rogue, Secret, Dead Drop, Warriors, Vendetta.
Tomorrow People (new series) - origin story, reference to Monsoon Man.
When Blair sees a girl vanish in golden light, he's sure he's had a Golden flashback. When he goes missing the next day, Jim is sure it happened again. They shouldn't have been so sure.
though this is a crossover, no knowledge of The Tomorrow People is required to understand this story. It is told from the Sentinel point of view. The guest-stars happen to be from elsewhere.

This is my first Sentinel fanfic, though not my first fanfic.

I love feedback! If you like it, and don't tell me, then I won't know. If you dislike it, and don't tell me why, then I will continue to do the silly/irritating/whatever things, in my stories, that you didn't like. Flames will be given all the attention they deserve.

March 2000.


(a Sentinel/new Tomorrow People crossover)

by Kathryn A

Two are better than one,
because they have good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow;
but woe to him who is alone when he falls
and has not another to lift him up.

Do I sleep?
Do I wake, dreaming?
Or have I fallen
into madness?


It happened in the stairwell.

If Blair Sandburg had known what was going to take place, then perhaps he would not have bothered getting out of bed that morning. Even if he had, in all improbability, had an inkling of what lay in store, the sheer routine of the day would have lulled him into a false sense of security. In the morning he'd risen, breakfasted, and gone to the police station with Jim Ellison, in his role of police observer, where he had "observed" a bunch of paperwork about their most recent case. In the afternoon, he'd gone to Rainier University, taught a class, attended a meeting, marked some papers, kept his office hours talking to troubled, lazy or difficult students, and run a tutorial for Anthropology 304. The students had rushed off, he'd locked up the room, picked up his ever-present backpack, and decided to take the stairs.

That's when fate hit him with a two-by-four.

He opened the door to the stairs, stepped through, and glanced down. On the landing below stood a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman. It was one of his students from the tutorial. She looked up, startled by the noise he'd made opening the door. Before he could say anything, toss her a friendly greeting, he noticed something else.

She had a golden aura about her.

As he stood, transfixed, the aura shaded into tongues of golden lightning all over her, crackling like fire, seeming to dissolve her into tiny motes of light, which then contracted to a line, a point, brightened, and vanished with a pop and a crackle of electricity. Like a television set being switched off.

Then nothing. There was nobody there at all.

Blair's mouth hung open. Then he started shaking.

"Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man," he muttered, clutching the stair rail. "Not now!" he protested to himself. And what makes now any worse than any other time? Any time at all would be bad. He had hoped that it would never happen at all; that the doctors were being pessimistic. But he was obviously wrong.

He sat down on the stairs and scrabbled through his backpack for his cell phone. Holding it in his hand, he stopped. Maybe he was over-reacting. "Yeah, right," he muttered darkly. "And maybe you'll start screaming about Golden Fire People in the middle of traffic, cause an accident and die. That will thrill Jim no end." Not to mention his mother, Naomi. "Besides, a promise is a promise."

Blair brushed back an errant strand of his long curly brown hair, and dialled the phone.

"Ellison." The usual brusque answer.

"Jim. It's Blair."

"What's happened?"

"It was completely out of the blue, man. I had no warning at all. You'd think there'd be something, like spots before the eyes. Except that they were, of course. Before the eyes, I mean. Spots."

"Sandburg! What's happened? Are you okay?"

"I don't really know," Blair admitted. "I - I had a flashback." There. He'd said it.



"I'll pick you up in twenty minutes."

"You don't have to-"

"I have to. For my peace of mind, okay? I don't want to be worrying about you."

"I don't want to be worrying about me either."

"See you outside Hargrove Hall in twenty."

"Okay, Jim."


"Damn!" Jim said after he hung up the phone. Then he said it again for good measure. "Damn!"

Jim Ellison looked the part for an Army recruiting poster - cropped hair, square jaw, blue eyes, and muscles. Which was no surprise, since he was actually ex-army himself. But right now, the worry on his face belied his tough exterior. Blair Sandburg was many things - grad student, teaching assistant, anthropologist, police observer and sentinel's guide - not to mention a trouble-magnet. But the most important thing to Jim at the moment was that Blair was his friend, a friend in need. He checked his pockets for his car keys, and then crossed the bull-pen to the frosted glass door of Captain Simon Banks's office. He knocked, but didn't wait to enter.

Simon was scowling at paperwork, his dark hand clutching a pen as if he wanted to stab the page instead of write on it. He looked up. "Ellison? What is it?"

"I just got a call from Sandburg, Simon." Not 'sir', but 'Simon'. Put this on a personal footing. "He had a flashback."

"A flashb-" Simon frowned. "Oh. Was anyone hurt? Is the kid okay?"

"Scared. I need to take him to get checked out."

"Of course. Go ahead." Simon waved Jim to the door. "Let me know how it goes."


"You know what freaks me out, man?" Blair said in the truck on the way to the hospital. "It wasn't what I saw, it was the fact that I saw anything."

"What did you see?"

For a minute, the only sound was the traffic noise, the whir of the windshield wipers and the swish of the rain in the gutters. Jim wondered if he should have asked. But Blair was just collecting his thoughts. "She glowed, man. Outlined in gold. There I was at the top of the stairs, and there she was on the landing..."

"She glowed," Jim said. "Is that all?" Was it just a trick of the light?

"No, no that wasn't the freaky part of it, man," Blair said. "It was when she disappeared that I knew I was really seeing things."

"She disappeared?"

Blair waved his hand in front of his face, like a magician assuring his audience that there is, indeed, nothing holding his floating assistant in the air. "She turned into light, and vanished. Poof! People don't just disappear into thin air, Jim. It had to be a hallucination." Blair rubbed his eyes, then opened them again. He turned to Jim. "You know the other odd thing?" he said.


Blair shrugged. "Maybe it isn't odd. I just wonder why it should be Lisa Montgomery that I would be hallucinating about."

"One of your ex-girlfriends? Maybe it's symbolic," Jim said with a smile.

Blair rolled his eyes. "No, no, I have never dated her. She's just one of my students. Rogers Scholarship. Doesn't seem to hang with a crowd." Blair frowned and shook his head. "Why Lisa Montgomery?" Blair put his hands on both sides of his head. "Man, this sucks."

Jim didn't know what to say. "Let's just get you to the doctor, Sandburg, and see what he has to say." A delaying tactic, of course, but he couldn't offer Blair a stupid platitude like 'everything's going to be fine' or 'it's probably nothing to worry about'. Because they didn't know. Yet.

But Doctor Mendez didn't find anything, only a slightly elevated blood pressure, no doubt due to stress. Reflexes, normal. Pupil-response, normal. No slurring of speech, no loss of balance. Blood and urine samples were taken, but they would take a while to process. In the meantime, "Don't drive, don't operate any heavy machinery, and get a good night's rest." Standard phrases when there isn't really anything else to say. But it was all they had.



The breath of the jungle was heavy and warm in his face. It smelled of green and growing things, rotting leaves, flowers, and beasts, both feathered and furred. The canopy of leaves, its verdant hair, filtered the light to greenness. The trees clustered around him like rooted dancers, whispering tales to each other. Over that sound, he heard a rustle, crackling against the dead leaves. A creature, something moving nearby. His eyes followed the sound like a zoom lens. Something white and black. Something small. Something moving. He followed it.

He wove through the trees, getting closer. He could see it. A bird, trailing a wing, a very long black wing. An albatross.

"You don't belong here," he said. "You should be flying."

But the albatross crept away from him, into the darkness.

Jim woke up with a start. That was weird. The aroma of ground coffee beans tantalised his nostrils. Sandburg must be up. He got up, showered, shaved, dressed, and wandered into the kitchen, where Sandburg was sipping his coffee and hovering over the toaster, waiting for his toast to brown.

Jim poured himself a cup of coffee, and took a sip. "Just what I needed -- thanks."

Sandburg turned and smiled. "And good morning to you too, Jim."

"Are you feeling okay this morning, Chief?"

Sandburg shrugged. "I'm fine. No disappearing girls. Not even a bad dream."

Bad dream. No, he wasn't going to talk about it. Sandburg would be all over him, wanting details, rattling on about albatrosses in tribal lore, no doubt. Asking if it was one of those dreams. Not now.

But those blue eyes had missed nothing. "Okay, Jim, give."

Jim raised an eyebrow. "Give?"

"You clenched your jaw when I said 'bad dream'."

Jim shook his head. "It's nothing, Sandburg. Not a nightmare or anything."


"It was just odd, that's all."

Blair gestured at him to go on, his eyes wide, his eyebrows raised.

Maybe he'd better. At least it would get Blair's mind away from Golden flashbacks. The dream probably didn't mean anything anyway. "Okay, so I was following a crippled albatross through the jungle, and it got away from me. That's all. That's the whole thing."

"An albatross? In the jungle? But albatrosses are sea birds."

Jim shrugged. "Told you it was odd."

Blair's toast popped up and he started buttering it. "Maybe its very oddness is significant."

Jim went to the refrigerator and took out a couple of eggs. "You want some eggs with that toast?" He grabbed a pan from the cupboard.

"No thanks, Jim." Blair took out some cottage cheese and alfalfa sprouts and put them on his toast, cut the pieces in half, and took a big bite out of one of them.

"So, you know what the dream means?" Jim popped a slice of bread into the toaster, and cracked his eggs into the pan.

Blair shrugged. "Well, the albatross is considered a sign of good fortune amongst sailors. You know, like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner...
At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name."
He took another bite of his breakfast. "But a crippled albatross in the jungle... Maybe it's a warning of some kind. I'll have to do some research." Jim could see his eyes brighten at the prospect of hitting the books, finding out more, more, more. The kid was insatiable.

"Are you coming to the station this morning, Chief?"

"I need to do some things at Rainier this morning, actually, but I'll be free this afternoon."

"I'll drop you off, and we can meet for lunch."

"I -" Blair began to protest.

"You get to pick the place."

Blair's eyes gleamed. "There's this new Turkish place I've been wanting to try..."

"Just don't ask me to identify all the spices."

Blair turned blue puppy-dog eyes on him. "Aw, why not?"

"Because I want to eat my food, not analyse it."



Jim let the phone ring as he waited at the lights. "Answer the phone, Sandburg. Don't you know the meaning of 'meet me for lunch'?" When the light went green, Jim turned into the university grounds, barely avoiding a huge puddle in a dip in the road. The rain pelted down as if the sky were leaking.

Okay, so Sandburg wasn't in his office, but the 'just stepped out for five minutes' argument had worn thin after half an hour. Besides, he wasn't answering his cell phone either. Jim's fingers beat a tattoo on the edge of his steering wheel, and his jaw clenched. Had Sandburg had another flashback?

He pulled up in front of Hargrove Hall. No sign of Sandburg, no long-haired young man waiting by the steps. Should he leave the truck here in the loading zone, or try to find a parking spot? Something told him there just wasn't the time to waste. He turned off the ignition, got out, locked the car, and ran through the rain into the building. He went straight for the stairs.

Instincts passed to him from his ancestors came to the fore: a Sentinel protects the tribe, a Sentinel protects his guide. The sinking feeling in his gut spoke to his instincts, shouting that Blair Sandburg, his guide, was in definite need of protection.

As Jim approached Sandburg's floor, he extended his hearing, listening for Sandburg's voice, his breathing, his heartbeat. Voices there were, discussions and phone conversations, the humming of computers, the clacking of keyboards, the thumping burble of the refrigerator in the staff kitchen at the end of the hall, the breathing, the heartbeats, the...

Stop. Filter out what you don't want. Listen. Sandburg's words, echoing through his memory.

Jim stopped at exit of the stairs. Stopped, listened, filtered.

No Sandburg.

Jim walked as quickly as he could without running, to Sandburg's office. He knocked on the door. It swung open. His heart clenched. Not locked. He stepped inside, though he knew that nobody was there.

No scene of wreckage or chaos met his eyes. No broken lamps or scattered books, no telltale spots of blood on the floor. Sandburg's backpack sat undisturbed next to his desk, as if he had, indeed, just stepped out. Except that he wouldn't have left his door unlocked. Had Sandburg stepped out of his door, in the pursuit of some vision that only he could see? Wandered off to God knows where? Stepped under a bus?

But there was something... something in the air, something out of place. He could almost taste it, feel it, smell it. He concentrated.

"Ozone," he said to himself, and frowned. "Ozone?" As if someone had been doing some heavy-duty arc welding. He shook his head and put the thought aside.

Something glittered on the floor. He focused on it. Something metallic. He bent down and picked it up. It was silver, in the shape of a crescent moon, with a smiling face and one glittering eye. At the top there was a small loop - it was a pendant, or an earring, or a charm, fallen from its chain. Not the kind of thing that Sandburg would wear. He pocketed it.

He left Sandburg's office and questioned the other occupants of the floor. Had they noticed anything unusual? Had they seen Mr. Sandburg? When had they last seen him?

"Well, there was a student here early," one of the secretaries said, "looking for him. I told her to wait by his door, that he would probably come soon. He did, we said good morning, but he went past too fast for me to tell him about the student."

"Did he seem fine to you?"

She smiled. "Very fine."

"What did the student look like?"

"African American, straight dark hair, shoulder-length, usual student clothing, jeans, white blouse."



"Was she wearing any jewelry?" Jim fetched the silver moon out of his pocket. "Like this?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. Maybe. I'm not sure."

"You don't happen to know the student's name, do you?"

The secretary frowned in thought. "Louise? Lisa?"

"Last name?"

She shook her head. "Sorry."

"Thank you, anyway," Jim said.

The secretary smiled. "Any time."


Jim slammed the phone down. "Nothing!" he said. "Nobody fitting Sandburg's description has been admitted to any of the local hospitals, nor picked up by the police - and he isn't in the morgue either."

"Well, that's a good sign," Simon said. "He isn't dead."

"Maybe they just haven't found his body yet."

"Jim! Pull yourself together. So he missed lunch. Maybe he just went to an unexpected meeting."

"And left his backpack behind?"

"Why not? If it was nearby, he wouldn't need to take it, would he?"

"All right, all right. Maybe I am over-reacting. I just feel responsible."

"Jim! This is not your fault. The blame is firmly in the laps of Jacobs and Kaminski, the ones that made the Golden in the first place, the ones that sent those doped pizzas to this department."

"But if Sandburg hadn't been here, he wouldn't have eaten that slice of pizza."

"Yes, and he might not have eaten the pizza anyway. It might have been me. Or anyone. You can't second-guess yourself like that, Jim."

Jim sighed. "You're right. But if Sandburg doesn't turn up tonight, then..."


Jim Ellison stared sightlessly at the computer screen on his desk. The grey clouds that had been weeping all day made sunset invisible, and the fluorescent lights made the dimming of daylight unnoticable. But the time had gone, with no sign of Sandburg. No unexpected meetings. No reports of a long-haired wild-eyed amnesiac found wandering the city streets. It was as if he'd vanished off the face of the earth. Jim rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to ward off the threatening headache. I should be doing something. What? I've done everything I can think of. Nobody has seen him. What kind of a flashback could he have had that would cause him to sneak off? Surely he would have been yelling and carrying on like he did the first time? Unless he saw something that frightened him. But then he would have run off, which somebody would have noticed.

Where the hell are you, Sandburg?

He's not dead. I'd know it if he was dead.

Why hadn't anybody seen anything? Wait a minute. Somebody might have seen something. The student. "God, you are an idiot, Ellison!" How many African-Americans of average height, with dark straight hair, named Louise or Lisa could there be at the university? At least it was something he could do.

He was on the phone five seconds later. Forty-five minutes later, he had a list of thirty names. Two hours after that he had crossed off all but two of them.

Then Simon insisted he go home.


The loft was cold and empty. But Jim had known that before he'd opened the door. No sound of breathing nor beat of heart. No pen scratching on rustling pages. Nobody home. His steps echoed hollowly as he stepped through the door. Sheer habit made him hang up his damp coat. He checked the answering machine. The message light was blinking. He pressed play. His own voice emerged from the tinny speaker.

"Sandburg, if you're there, answer the phone. We were supposed to have lunch, remember? If you aren't there now, call me back when you get this message."

Another message. "Sandburg, where are you? It's Jim. If this is a joke, it's not funny."

And another. "Sandburg, if you're there, please pick up the phone. Call me. You've got me worried, Chief. If there isn't anything wrong, I'll wring your neck. Just call, okay?"

And another. "Sandburg, this is your hourly wake-up call. Call me on my cell phone."

Jim sat on the couch in the dark and stared at nothing. The rain beating against the balcony doors was a counterpoint to his thoughts. What had happened to Sandburg?

O! what a fall was there, my countrymen;
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.


She was waiting outside Blair's office. Lisa Montgomery. Okay, just because the last time he'd seen her, she'd vanished in a puff of light, didn't mean he had to be afraid of her. It wasn't her fault there was the aftermath of a drug playing havoc with his brain cells. Then she turned around and saw him. Too late to back off now.

She practically ran up to him. "Mr. Sandburg, I know this isn't office hours, but I have to see you," she said.

His worries suddenly seemed trivial. "It's Blair," he said. "Just let me get the door, and we can talk." He opened the door and dumped his backpack beside his desk. She entered behind him, eyes jumping from the shelves of books to the odd tribal mask, the ornaments, and his prized fishing spear, almost as if she expected them to jump off the shelves and attack her. He closed the door behind her, and sat on the edge of the desk. "What's the problem, Lisa?"

She stared at him, as if she didn't know how to begin. "Please," she said, "please don't tell anyone. About yesterday." Then the words came tumbling out, "I'd have to leave, and I don't want to leave, not again, I like Cascade, I like Rainier, I like Anthropology, I don't want to have to start over again, please don't tell anyone what you saw."

Baffled, Blair echoed, "What I saw?" What did his hallucinations have to do with anything but himself? Unless it was something else he was supposed to have seen when he was actually hallucinating.

"I know you saw me, you were at the top of the stairs, but I was already going, I couldn't stop. I know I shouldn't have done it, but I was running so late, I took a chance and you saw me."

Right. Okay. Tread carefully here, Blair, you don't want her to know that you have no idea what she is talking about. What had she been doing in the stairwell that she thought he'd seen? Taking drugs or something? Was it safe to ask - oh what the hell - "What exactly were you doing, yesterday?"

"I teleported." She stared intently at him, as if to gauge his reaction to her bald statement.

Whoa, Blair. Is she saying what I think she's saying? "You teleported." Is this some kind of joke? Is she putting me on? Some elaborate practical joke? On the other hand, if it wasn't... a little ember of hope glowed in his chest. Maybe it wasn't Golden. Maybe he wasn't seeing things. "Teleported. As in vanished, vamoosed, disappeared into thin air, in a flash of light." Or maybe she's just trying to drive me crazy. Mind games. Psychological torture.

"Psychological torture?! Why would I do that?" Lisa exclaimed.

"What?!" Blair yelped, standing up. "You can read minds too?"

Lisa looked stricken. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to." She put her face in her hands, and said despairingly, "I try so hard to fit in, try not to do it, but it just happens."

"Whoa," Blair said, gently pulling her hands away from her face. Her eyes were swimming with unshed tears. Any last thoughts he had that she was lying or joking or playing games died at the sight, as a single tear trickled down the side of her face. His heart went out to her. "Don't cry," he said. Oh man, I wasn't seeing things. I wasn't. It wasn't Golden. What a relief. It wasn't a flashback.

"A flashback?"

Blair smiled ruefully. "Man, you really are good."

Lisa's eyes widened. "I did it again? Are you sure you aren't - no of course you aren't - but I haven't picked up on a stranger so easily since -" She stopped.

"Since when?"

"Since Adam. When I was sixteen." She shook her head, briefly. "But that's why nobody can know. Nobody." She clenched her fists. "I was stupid. I shouldn't have come." She stepped backwards. "Goodbye, Mr. Sandburg. I enjoyed your classes."

"Lisa! Wait a minute!" Blair said. "Why on earth do you have to leave? Why is my knowing what you can do, such a terrible thing?"

"But you aren't the only one, are you?" she said. "You tell a friend, and they tell a friend, and soon enough they will find out, and we won't be safe any more."

Is she paranoid, or what? "Lisa -"

"I am not paranoid!" Lisa exclaimed. "But I should have known you wouldn't understand."

"No!" Blair said, stepping between her and the door. Then he snorted, and said ruefully, "But then, I can't stop you leaving, can I? Not even if I locked the door and swallowed the key." He held up his hands. "Please, Lisa, hear me out."

She folded her arms and looked at him.

"First, I only told two people what I saw yesterday; my friend Jim, and Doctor Mendez at Cascade General. And both of them are positive that I was - that I didn't see what I thought I saw. You see, last year -" Do I really have to tell her about that? Yes, I guess I do. "Last year, I ate - by accident - some pizza laced with Golden - a designer drug that causes hallucinations. When I saw you yesterday, I thought I was having a flashback. That I was seeing things. That it wasn't real. So nobody is going to think that it was real, okay?" Blair took another breath, encouraged by the fact that she hadn't gone anywhere.

"Second," he continued, "a question: who are they, and why do you have to hide?"

"They kidnapped my mother," she answered, chin in the air. "When I was sixteen. Men from Scientific Intelligence - like the CIA only more technological. They threatened to kill her if I didn't do what they wanted. Yes, they were rogues, they went to prison, but power like mine, well, it's an irresistible temptation, isn't it? Some people would do anything to get it, to use it."

"I hear you," Blair said. "I know exactly what you mean."

"How could you?"

"I have a friend," Blair said quietly, "who has certain extraordinary gifts... and we've run into men like that." Okay, one man, Lee Brackett. Col. Oliver didn't count, really - though he probably would have tried to use Jim if he'd known. "Believe me, I understand."

"So you see why I have to leave."

Blair shook his head. "You can't spend your life running, Lisa. That isn't a life at all."

"But it isn't my life that depends on this!"

"Your mother -"

"Not just my mother," Lisa said.

"You're protecting someone." Was it the "Adam" she'd mentioned earlier? Or had Adam been a victim?

"Of cour-"

At that moment, the door behind Blair opened. He didn't usually lock the office when he was in; it was taken for granted that people didn't just barge into an office if the door was shut. He turned to see who it was. "I'm sorry but -"

The jolt took him completely by surprise. He caught a brief glimpse of blonde hair, dark glasses, red lips and black clothing, before his legs turned to jelly and his sight to grey. Lisa! What about Lisa? The world went dark.


Awareness. Headache. Ache. Which way was up? Back. On back. What? Lisa! Blair opened his eyes and sat bolt upright - or tried to. Spots danced before his eyes. His body didn't want to move. He shut his eyes and pushed himself up with his arms supporting him behind his back. Whatever he was lying on gave underneath his fingers, like a sponge. His arms trembled. He felt as weak as water, as if his body was made out of boiled spaghetti. What had that - woman? - hit him with? Where was he?

He opened his eyes, carefully. White walls. Dull light. Double doors. Beneath him was a bright garish mattress - a cheap foam thing, with cloth cover in stripes, spots and diamonds, in clashing colours. In the opposite corner, there was another mattress of the same kind, with someone on it. Lisa! She lay on her back, black hair spilled out around her, wearing the same jeans and blouse she had on in his office. She was unconscious.

He tried to get up, but was too weak. He lay back down, rolled over, off his mattress onto the salmon-pink carpet, got up on his hands and knees, and crawled over to her.

"Lisa!" He shook her. No response. She seemed to be breathing okay, though, and she didn't appear to be injured. She was just out cold. Maybe whatever-it-was had affected her more than him. "Lisa! Wake up!" Her head lolled, but her eyes remained closed.

Damn. They had to get out of there. He didn't know why the hell they'd been knocked out and kidnapped, but it surely wasn't for any good reason. But until Lisa woke up, they weren't going anywhere. He had to think.

He sat himself down on the end of Lisa's mattress, and pushed himself back so that he was leaning against the wall. How long had he been out? He checked his watch but it was dead. The digital display was completely blank. Great. So much for lifetime guarantees.

From where he was sitting, he could see the rain beating against the room's one window, but nothing outside but dull grey. In the wall to his left, double doors. In the wall behind him, to his right, a door. He crawled over to it, and pushed himself to his feet by leaning against the wall. He tried the handle. It turned, but the door didn't give. Bolted from the outside, perhaps. Figured.

He then staggered over to the window, using the wall for support, nearly tripping over the edge of his own mattress to get there. The rain trickled down in ant-crazy paths as he looked past the raindrops to see the blank wall of another building. Grey concrete. So it hadn't been the clouds he'd seen after all. He looked down. It seemed like they were several stories up. Okay, so this was either an apartment block or an office block. Hopefully they were still in Cascade. But maybe they weren't. Maybe it was the next day and they'd been moved hours away, to Seattle or even further. Just a city building, in some city, somewhere.

Blair shuffled over to the double doors and pulled on the handle of one of them. A built-in wardrobe. Empty. Not even coat-hangers hanging from the rod. On the top there was a large shelf, and deep shelves on one side, to about half-way down. Then there was a panel, covering something up. He peered through a crack in the join. Oh. A hot-water tank. Definitely an apartment.

He slapped at the panel in frustration, and noticed what was on his right wrist: a large clunky bracelet made of metal and plastic, fitting snugly to his wrist. Though there were lumps and bumps, none of them seemed to be a clasp - at least, there was nothing he could clip or move or push. It all stayed firmly in place. He glanced over at Lisa. Yes, she had a bracelet too. The non-coincidence seemed suddenly sinister. Was there a reason their captors hadn't tied them up? Like they felt as if they didn't need to?

Blair sagged down against the wall until he was sitting down. He clasped his arms around his knees and rested his head on his arms. His headache felt slightly better that way.

Who had kidnapped them? If this had happened to himself alone, then he would have assumed it had something to do with one of Jim's cases; or to do with Jim, some psycho seeking revenge or leverage against Jim. It's not as if that hadn't happened before. Don't go there, Blair. Don't even think about it.

But then, maybe it wasn't Blair they were after. Considering what he and Lisa had been talking about just before it happened, maybe the target was Lisa. In which case, these would be highly organised professionals - and those bracelets probably weren't ornamental. What? Tracking devices? Or what?

The problem was, that whatever the case, he had no assurance that these people wouldn't just kill both of them as soon as they had what they wanted. Or kill one of them sooner, if that one was considered expendable. Shit.

"Jim," he muttered to himself, heart pounding, "I hope you're looking. Just keep on looking, man."


Blair heard a rustle, and lifted his head. Lisa was stirring. He leaped to her side. "Lisa!" he hissed. "Get out of here. Get help."

She stared at him blankly.

Oh man, was I dreaming all that? Can she teleport or not?

"Can't," she whispered, her dark face blanched to a browny-grey. "Dizzy. So dizzy." She shut her eyes, and then opened them, as if shutting them made it worse. "Think I'm going to be sick."

Blair massaged her temples. "Take deep breaths - through your nose. Let it out slowly. That's right."

"Drugged me."

"Why you and not me?"

"Disor-" She took more deep breaths. "So I can't teleport."

He sat down on the end of her mattress, positioning himself so that her head rested against his legs, and massaged her scalp.

"Thank you," Lisa whispered.

The bolt on the door slid back, and the door opened. Two people entered. The first was a woman, the same woman Blair had glimpsed in his office. Her blonde hair was as smooth as if it had been glued into place. Her face was not so much cold as neutral. Her eyes were hidden behind the armour of dark glasses. She wore a suit-jacket, a short skirt, and long black stockings, and in her gloved hands she held something like a gun. Solid and heavy-looking, yet what it shot obviously wasn't bullets. In anyone else's hands it would have looked like a toy. But with the business end pointed their way, it seemed anything but laughable.

The second person was an older man, with grey streaks in his dark hair. His black trenchcoat was damp with the rain.

"Well, how touching," he said sarcastically.

Lisa gasped. "Colonel Masters!"

"How nice of you to recognise me," he said. "How long has it been? Six years?" He scowled. "Six stinking long years, because of you, and your friends, and frigging boy-scout General Damon."

"You got what you deserved," Lisa said, attempting to sit up. She paled, turned, and threw up on the carpet.

"Hasty, hasty," Masters said. "The drug will wear off soon enough, and then you'll do exactly as I say."

"Never!" Lisa choked out.

Blair glared at Masters. "You'll never get away with this!"

"Ah, but I will, Mr. Sandburg. If I don't, you're both dead. Along with Lisa's mother." Col. Masters took a device from the breast pocket of his coat. It looked something like a walkie-talkie. "See those fine bracelets you're wearing? On the right signal, they will inject the wearer with a lethal dose of poison. Any attempt to tamper with them will do the same. They are also locator beacons. Any loss of signal, say, from teleporting to the other side of the world, and the remaining hostages will be killed."

"I want to see my mother!"

"You know I can't allow that. Get you two in the same room together and you would teleport her away with you."

"At least let Mr. Sandburg go," Lisa said. "He hasn't done anything to you."

"That is immaterial," Masters said. "I need two hostages. One here, one in reserve. So you don't get any ideas about teleporting anyone away. If you try, the other hostage will forfeit. Your mother is one hostage, Mr. Sandburg happens to be the other. Having him here in front of you will remind you what is at stake." He smiled at the woman standing next to him. "And don't think that anyone will rescue you. Gloria is the best there is. Nobody saw her. Nobody heard her." He indicated the gun Gloria was carrying. "It's a marvellous weapon; silent, and adjustable. The lower settings stun. The higher settings kill. All thanks to Mr. Benjamin Franklin." He leaned over them. "Nobody knows where you are."

It wasn't until after their captors had left that Lisa started crying.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I can't help it. I'm sorry. This is all my fault. I should never have gotten you into this."

"Hold up there, Lisa, you didn't get me into this, they did," Blair said. "Who are they, anyway?"

"That's Colonel Masters. He's the one that kidnapped my mother. He's supposed to be in jail. From Megabyte's description, I think this is the same Gloria who was working with him then. Heart of ice, muscles of steel." The tears came again. "I should have just left."

"They would have just kidnapped someone else," Blair said, pasting on a smile for her benefit. "We've got one advantage, though."

"Really?" Lisa said sarcastically. "And what's that?"

"I have a really gifted friend."

"That will do us a great deal of good, locked up here."

"He's really gifted in the bloodhound department," Blair said. "No matter how silent Gloria was, she must have left something. What's more, he's a cop, he's my roommate - and I was supposed to meet him for lunch."


An hour later, Masters and Gloria came back.

"You and Gloria are going on a little trip," Masters said to Lisa. "If I recall correctly, you can't teleport to places you aren't familiar with. Gloria is going to help you get familiar with them. Fine institutions, banks. If you get strategically lost you can look right into the vaults. Teleport in later and bypass all the security."

"You want me to rob banks for you?"

"It's a start," Masters said. "Money is useful for so many things." He pointed at Blair. "You're coming too. We're relocating this operation."

At least he let them use the bathroom before they left.

Blair almost laughed at their transportation. "A VW bus? I thought your type always used black vans." The windows, however, were tinted. The back windows were covered on the inside with dark curtains that were completely fastened down.

"Shut up and get inside."

They shut up and got. Masters drove. Gloria kept an eye on them. They said nothing. They drove around the busy streets. From what little Blair could see when they stopped, they were still in Cascade, and it was still raining. Three times they stopped and parked, and twice Gloria took Lisa out with her. The third time, Gloria went alone. From the bags she brought back, she had obviously been buying supplies.

They drove on. A back street. A parking garage. An elevator. Another apartment. Another room, with two beds on opposite sides of the room, and actual furnishings.

"Behave. You know what will happen if you don't," Masters said.

Blair sat down on one of the two beds. "I guess we wait."

Lisa sat on the other. "It's hopeless."

He, of course, had to be contrary. "Nothing is ever hopeless."

"There is no way your friend could find us."

"Well, we'll have to give him some clues, then, won't we?" Blair then sat cross-legged on the bed, and pulled out one of his hairs. "Ouch!"

"What are you doing?"

Blair looked up, and then noticed Gloria standing in the doorway. The most unnerving thing about her was the way she never spoke, and the fact that you could never see her eyes. "Just filling in the time," he said, and started carefully tying knots in the strand of hair. He turned his eyes back to Lisa. "Did I ever tell you about the Indian flood epic of Manu?"

Gloria turned away.


"Did I ever tell you about the Indian flood epic of Manu?"

Lisa stared at him. "You want to discuss anthropology at a time like this?" She couldn't believe it. They'd been kidnapped. There was nothing they could do about it without endangering themselves and her mother, and he was just sitting there tying knots in a strand of his hair.

"What better time?" he said, seemingly cheerfully, eyes darting to the doorway that Lisa couldn't see.

Then she realized he was trying to change the subject with creepy Gloria possibly listening to them. Listening to them? God, how could she be so stupid? The bracelets were probably bugged, too. With all that, here was Blair Sandburg, trying to cheer her up. What did she think she was doing? She'd dragged him into this, into her life, when he should have been safely teaching. He was one of the best lecturers she had - he made it come alive. And here she was, complaining. "I'm sorry," she said.

"Don't be," he said. "The Manu flood epic is probably a bad topic when it's raining like this."

She couldn't help but smile.

"Of course, the number of flood epics across many different cultures is used by some to support the Biblical idea of a universal, world-wide flood," Blair continued, moving into full lecture mode. "On the other hand, it could simply mean that floods are worthwhile things to keep stories about. Natural - or supernatural - disasters, and the heroism that inevitably results... they are remembered, and mythologized."

"But you've got to wonder..."

"Wonder what?" Blair's bright eyes overcame her hesitation, and she forgot, for a moment, where she was.

"Wonder if Jung wasn't right - I mean - the collective unconscious. So many of the same stories turn up all over the world, in tribes that could never have met."

"Except, perhaps, in dreams," Blair murmured. Blair put the hair he had knotted carefully to one side, and winced as he pulled another from his head.

"You believe in dreams?"

"Some of them." He gave a wry smile. "Of course, even if you do get a warning in a dream, it doesn't do you any good if you don't understand it until it's too late."

"You were warned about this?"

He shook his head. "Not me."

Lisa flashed on the image of a man, Caucasian, with cropped hair and cool blue eyes, a square jaw and a sense of towering strength. What she felt from Blair was almost an ache, wishing he was with... "Jim?" she asked.

Blair blinked at her. "You're doing it again," he said.

She was glad her dark skin hid the fire in her cheeks. "Sorry."

"Don't be," he said again. He added, with a teasing smile. "I just wonder about your exam results..."

"Mind-reading doesn't help write essays," Lisa said. "Megabyte used to think that if he was telepathic, he'd never fail an exam again, but he was wrong."

"He became telepathic and failed exams?"

"Well, he would have failed exams if he'd tried to use telepathy," Lisa said. "It's much harder work trying to read someone's mind than it would be to just study the old-fashioned way. With another telepath, it's different."

"So you think that I-"

"No," she interrupted. "You're just more open than usual. Like..." Comparing him to Adam had been wrong. Adam had been sharp and clear, like crystal. Blair was like water, rippling, sometimes still; open to the wind, the earth, the sky. A face came to her mind, brown against dappling leaves, sharp smile flashing white against weathered skin - Speaks-to-Trees. Would Blair be insulted, to be compared to someone primitive, uncivilised? Of course not. Blair Sandburg was an anthropologist. He would understand. "Like a shaman," she said.

The blood drained from Blair's face. "Like a shaman?" he choked out.

Another flash. A face, a man, dark-skinned like an Indian, dark haired, painted, with feathers. Dying.

She was almost as shaken as Blair. "What-?" she breathed. You don't want to know, Lisa. You don't want to know. It's none of your business. "It's a mercy," she said to herself.

"What's a mercy?" Blair said, as if desperate to change the subject.

She looked at him, startled. She hadn't realized she'd said it aloud. She decided to answer his question anyway. "That most people aren't easy to read. That I can't hear what they don't say." She thought of Speaks-to-Trees and smiled, ignoring the ache in her heart. "I'm glad I can always hear what they do say, though."

"You're glad that you're not deaf?" Blair said with puzzlement. He looked back down at the strand of hair he was knotting, sighed, threw it on the floor, and plucked another one from his head. He started tying knots again.

"No, I mean, they don't have to be speaking English."

Blair's eyes widened. "You can understand any language? That's amazing! What a boon for fieldwork!"

Lisa smiled at his enthusiasm. "Yes, it is." Her smile turned wry. "When they don't take me for an evil spirit, that is."

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again.


He loped through the jungle, padding on his black paws. Hunting, looking for the wolf, looking for Sandburg. His breath whistled through his lungs. He tasted the air. The scent was on the wind. He ran.

There. He stopped his headlong pace. There was a clearing, a dancing space, of lower trees and brighter light. There stood the grey wolf, something white on the ground before it. He stepped closer, standing on his two feet. The wolf whined, nuzzling at a white bird with black wings. The albatross was terrified, not knowing the wolf only wanted to help. The bird hopped away through the clearing, trailing a wing. The wolf followed.

The ground collapsed underneath them, with a crackle of broken branches and rustling leaves. The wolf yelped and barked, scrabbled but failed to escape from the fall. The albatross fluttered, then collapsed.

He looked in on the edge of the pit trap. It was too deep and steep for him to climb. He smelled the raw wound of the fresh-turned earth. The edge crumbled, and he leaped back, before he could fall in himself. He looked in again. The wolf had morphed into Sandburg, long hair wild about his head. But no matter the form, he still couldn't climb out. The dirt stained his hands brown as he scrabbled at the walls. They rained earth on him, and he raised his hands to protect himself from the near-collapse.

The albatross was a patch of white in the dark. "You can fly, damn you!" he said to it. "Get help. Why won't you fly?"

Jim woke, panting as if he'd been running. He'd fallen asleep on the couch. That damned albatross again. He should ask Sandburg if - Sandburg. Sandburg is the wolf? What did that mean? Except... one thing. Sandburg isn't missing. He isn't sick. He's caught in a trap. He's been kidnapped.

But what the hell did the albatross have to do with it?


"Simon, we need to put an APB out on Sandburg."

"We've already notified the hospitals -"

Jim shook his head. "I don't think it was another Golden flashback, Simon. I think he was taken."

"But nobody saw anything, Jim."

"Exactly. Nobody saw anything. The last person who might have seen something was either Louise D'Archet or Lisa Montgomery. I haven't managed to track down either of them yet -"

Simon's phone rang. He picked it up. Talked. Jim refrained from listening in. Without Sandburg there to anchor him, he didn't want to use his senses more than absolutely necessary.

"I'll put my best people on it," Simon said, and hung up. He sighed. "Okay, Jim. I'll put the APB out on Sandburg. I'll get Rafe to look for this Lisa and Louise." Before Jim could say anything, he held up his hand. "But I need you focused. Here." He tapped the phone. "I'm assigning you to this one. Two bank robberies. Last night. First National and Wells Fargo. So clean they look like inside jobs. Except -"

"Except that both of them were hit in the same night."

"Not much to go on, but -"

"Your spider-sense is tingling?"

"My cop-sense. Get down there and take a look."

"Yes, sir."


"None of the alarms were tripped, the vault is on a time-lock, and the lock wasn't tampered with," Martins said. "But the day's turnover is gone. None of the new bills, just the deposits."

"So that they wouldn't be traceable by the serial numbers."

Martins nodded. "Had to have been an inside job. Pretended to put the money in the vault, took off with it instead."

"Except that nobody's taken off."

"Too suspicious, they aren't stupid."

Jim nodded absently. "I'd like to take a look at the vault."

Jim walked up to the vault, trying to spot any anomalies. Fingerprints, of course - of all the usual people who opened it. Nothing there. He stepped inside, breathed deeply through his nose. Let out his breath. Turned around. Filter out the usual. What's left?

He spotted the hair on one of the empty shelves. To the side - as if it had been placed there. He picked it up with tweezers. Sniffed at it. Herbal shampoo, natural oils... Sandburg. His Guide. His anchor. His safety. He could drown himself in that scent, and never come back again. He felt as if he were on a swaying tightrope, about to fall. The balance, the control of his senses, that was all Sandburg's doing, and Sandburg wasn't there. Don't zone, Jim, don't zone. Don't let yourself fall. Don't let yourself fall into that black hole. He dug his nails into his palm; maybe that would distract him away from zoning. He sniffed again, carefully. It was Sandburg's hair. No question. He let out a breath, and unclenched his hand.

Then he noticed something else. The hair was - it had knots tied in it. Three close together. Three further apart. Three close together. S. O. S.

A call for help.

He found another strand at the second bank. Knotted just like the first.

Then Rafe came back with the report that Lisa Montgomery was missing.


He saw her against the grey, as if she were the only solidity in an ocean of formless thought, the only being in a plain of nothing. She was in pain. She was in agony. He could see through her dark skin, see the poison pulsing through her blood, down from her wrist. He put out his hands, glowing with healing.

She stepped backwards, stumbling away from him, fending him off. Pleading. Don't you see? she said. It's better this way.

"No! Lisa!" Adam called out, and woke up. It was dark. The luminous dials on his alarm clock read something after four o'clock. Lisa! Lisa! he sent. Are you okay? Lisa! It was like shouting into a sound-proofed room. Nothing. He couldn't feel her at all. Was she dead? Had she died already? No. He'd know.

He stared at the cracked plaster ceiling. He couldn't just lie here and wonder, and he certainly couldn't sleep. He got up, turned on the light, washed and shaved quickly, combed his straight brown hair and dressed. Periodically he would try to contact Lisa. No answer. No sense of where she was. Not even the usual silent presence that said she was ignoring him, just as she had ignored them all for so long; ever since Kevin... He didn't want to think about that. There had been nothing anyone could have done. For now, he had to find out what was going on with Lisa. Maybe her mother would know something. He did a quick mental calculation for the time zone difference between the Australian east coast and the American west coast. It would be morning there. Daylight. He rummaged in a drawer and picked out coins and green bills from a miscellany of currencies. It was always good to be prepared.

He stood still, in the middle of the room, and shut his eyes. He was enveloped in a golden glow, that crackled, sparkled, dissolved, and vanished; and him with it.


Jim stepped out of the elevator on the fifth floor. He checked the numbers on the doors. 505, 507... 511. He stopped next to the door and leaned against the wall. Better check to see if anyone was home.

He extended his hearing to the inside of the apartment. There was one person breathing, one heartbeat - no, there were two, and they were having a conversation.

"We've got enough trouble without you coming along and adding to it!" Mrs. Montgomery, presumably.

"Look, Mrs. Davis, I'm just trying to help." Another voice, male, with an accent. Davis?

"It's not Davis now, it's Montgomery."

"Sorry. But Lisa's in trouble. I know she is. I can't reach her."

"Of course she's in trouble! She's missing!"

"Missing? Did you tell the police?"

"They didn't believe me. Said she hadn't been missing long enough."

"Did you tell them what happened six years ago? What happened four years ago?"

There was something about that voice - the way he strung words together, the way he pronounced sounds, that was naggingly familiar. Foreign - but not obviously European. Something Jim had heard before.

"Of course not - they wouldn't believe that either. And that's all done with," she said, less than confidently. "Col. Masters is in jail. The Professor is dead. It's done with."

Masters? Jim wondered. Where have I heard that name before?

"Then why is Lisa missing?" the unknown male said. Jim could hear him start to pace. "You know she couldn't be held against her -- is she sick? Is she drugged? Was she in an accident? But what kind of accident?"

Jim finally remembered where he'd heard that accent before: Edward Crown, the Australian jewel thief. Sounding more "British" and less thick than Crocodile Dundee, it had taken him time to place it.

Ping! The sound of the elevator bell was deafening in Jim's ears. He winced, and straightened up. Down the hall, a damp, grungy youth banged on the door of flat 502. No point in trying to listen any more.

Jim gathered himself together and knocked on the door of 511.

"Who is it?"

"Police." He could hear only the one set of breathing inside, one heartbeat. What? Where had Mrs. Montgomery's visitor gone? Out the window?

The door opened, still on its chain. A wary brown eye in a brown face peered through the crack, and looked up at Jim.

"Mrs. Montgomery?" He flipped out his badge. "Jim Ellison, Cascade PD. I'd just like to ask you a few questions - about your daughter."

"Well, now you take me seriously!" Mrs. Montgomery closed the door, unlatched the chain and opened the door again. "I've been worried out of my mind!" In height, she came up to Jim's shoulder. She wore a plain dress, and an apron with white and brown stains on it. On her wrist, she wore a large chunky bracelet. The smell of baking and chocolate filled the apartment. Her plumpness showed she was obviously not averse to sampling her own cooking. "And all they say is, that she's probably taken with a boyfriend. Boyfriend! I'd like it if she had a boyfriend! But no, all she thinks about are her studies. Musical an-thro-po-logy. I say, why not just study music? She has a wonderful voice, and she can play anything. But she says she wants to know about people. People! How can she know about people if she doesn't meet any?"

The apartment was a mixture of the cheap and the exotic. The carpet was worn. The couch was a trifle shabby, but covered with a throw-rug that obviously came from Mexico. One wall had a set of brick-and-plank shelves against it, the top half of which contained artifacts, mostly native musical instruments - drums, gourds, flutes and strange things with strings. The very top shelf held a mask that would have done Sandburg proud. The lack of dust, and the pattern of fingerprints on the instruments showed that they weren't for display - they were actually used.

A line of carved African elephants marched across the left half of the mantle-shelf above the heater. Each elephant was smaller than the one in front of it. The mantle also contained a set of pastel-coloured cats which looked at first to be china, but turned out on closer examination to be made of plastic. In the centre of the shelf there were photographs, framed, of a young woman, taken at different ages. The largest one was a smiling portrait of a teenage girl. Lisa Montgomery. In the later portraits, the smile never seemed to reach her eyes.

"Mrs. Montgomery, when was the last time you saw your daughter?"

"Yesterday morning," she answered. "At breakfast. She lives with me here, though she's going to Rainier. She's got a scholarship. She's very clever."

"Did she say where she was going?"

"To the university. She went early because she wanted to see one of her professors. She was worried about something. I thought it was her grades, though she's never failed anything. I never could understand all that stuff."

One of her professors? Well, that fits. "Did she say who she was seeing? Was it Blair Sandburg?"

"Sandburg? That might have been it." She frowned. "I'm not sure."

Jim took the crescent-moon charm he'd picked up in Sandburg's office from his pocket. He showed it to her. "Did your daughter have an earring or jewelry like this?"

Mrs. Montgomery looked at it. "Why that's hers - I gave her a set of earrings exactly like that for her birthday! Where did you find it?"

"In the office of Blair Sandburg." Should he say any more? She seemed to be the type who would easily get hysterical. On the other hand, she could have vital information. "He's missing too. Do you have any idea why someone might want to kidnap them?"

"Kidnap? Nobody would want to kidnap my baby girl. Nobody could kidnap - who is this Blair Sandburg? Maybe he kidnapped her. Maybe they went off together...?"

"I assure you, Mrs. Montgomery, Blair Sandburg didn't kidnap anybody," Jim bristled. "And he was not planning a romantic tryst with your daughter, either. The last time anyone saw either of them was yesterday morning." Jim took a deep breath and calmed down. "Can you tell me anything that might be able to help?"

"I've told you everything I know." But the way her heart faltered and her breath caught, told Jim that she was lying.

"Who were you talking to just now?"

Mrs. Montgomery refused to meet his eyes. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Does the name Masters mean anything to you?"

"No." Another lie.

"What about Davis?"

"No." Another lie, and she was obviously frightened. "Why don't you stop asking stupid questions and go out there and find my daughter?"

"If you don't answer my 'stupid' questions, we may not be able to find your daughter!" Jim glared at her.

This was too much for her. "I don't have to take that from you! I pay my taxes! Why don't you go and do your job? I'm the victim here! Go and harass some criminals! Get out!"

Jim got. He'd obviously pushed her too far, and she was too frightened to talk. She wasn't some perp he could lean on. Just a mother frightened for her daughter. One with something to hide.


Back at the station, he asked Rafe to start looking for information on Lisa Montgomery, Lisa Davis, Colonel Masters, and particularly for incidents in 1992 and 1994.

He'd barely turned away from Rafe's desk when his cell phone rang. He pulled it out, and flicked it open. "Ellison." But there was nothing but a dial tone. A chill ran down his spine. Despite all his common sense that said it was just a wrong number, something else told him that it was significant. He just didn't know what its significance was.

He shook his head. He wasn't going to find out anything by just standing there. It was time to look at the security tapes from the bank.

Three hours later, when the world seemed like a black-and-white fast-forward haze, Simon stopped by the conference room where the videotape was set up. Just in time for Jim to notice something.

He stopped the tape, rewound it, and stepped forward. Paused. He looked at the image, the face turned to the camera. "Well I'll be... that's Gloria Masters. I'd know those sunglasses anywhere." Standing next to her... "And that's Lisa Montgomery. What the hell would Gloria Masters want with her?"

"Who's Gloria Masters?" Simon asked.

"Dammit, I should have realized!" Jim muttered, ignoring Simon's question. "Why didn't I make the connection before? Colonel Masters!"

"Jim, would you mind explaining to those of us who cannot read your mind?"

"Um, right." Jim collected his thoughts. "Colonel Masters was in Intelligence. CIA, SIA, that sort of thing. I never actually met him. Gloria is his daughter. She followed her father's footsteps. The guys called her 'Ice Empress'."

"Ice Empress?"

"Too tough to be an Ice Queen."

"I... see," Simon said, obviously not seeing. "So why would she kidnap an anthropology student, and Sandburg, and rob banks? If that's what she's doing and it isn't just coincidence."

"I don't know."

But another hour's scanning of the tapes from the other bank showed Gloria Masters and Lisa Montgomery at that bank too.

"But what are they doing?"

"They could be casing the joint. You can see they're looking at the vaults."

"But why would Gloria Masters take Lisa Montgomery with her?"

"I don't know."

Jim rubbed his eyes and leaned back. "There's something bothering me about the Montgomerys. It may be that her name used to be Davis, but it can't be her maiden name, or she wouldn't have denied knowing anything about it. And the stuff they had there - those artifacts, those musical instruments. Maybe I've been hanging around with Sandburg too much, but I'd swear they were the real thing. I recognised styles from Peru... Mexico. But there were others there too, they looked Asian, and African. Now that says to me, a lot of money, or a lot of travel, or both."

"Or they could be on loan," Simon pointed out. "You told me Sandburg had artifacts on loan from the university for his research."

"He's a post-grad student; a teaching fellow. He's got his own office. Lisa Montgomery isn't any of those things. Sure, she's got a good scholarship, but she doesn't have that kind of pull."

"So? Are you saying Lisa Montgomery is a criminal?"

"Who spends money on tribal music artifacts and on nothing else? No, that doesn't make sense either. It's just bugging me."

At that moment, there was a knock on the door. Rafe poked his head into the room. "Hey, Jim, thought you'd still be here." He noticed Simon. "Sir. I think you'd both better see this."

He continued talking as they made their way to his desk.

"I've been researching what you suggested, Jim. Colonel Masters has an FBI file, but it's sealed. He was arrested and convicted of something in 1992, but that information is also sealed. The worst thing is, he escaped prison three weeks ago."

They sat down around Rafe's desk. "When I looked for Lisa Montgomery, I found more cold trails: no priors, no drivers license, no telephone."

"She lives with her mother - the phone would be under her name," Jim pointed out.

"Just covering all the bases," Rafe said. "There's not much on her: scholarship to Rainier, good student. That's about it." Rafe tapped a few commands at his keyboard. "However, this is where it gets really interesting. There is a Lisa Davis, and something did happen in 1992. I'm just not sure if I believe it."

A headline plastered itself across the screen. The Virginia Post. Local Girl Vanishes. The photograph along with the article was recognisably... Lisa Montgomery. And the contents of the article... "...During the local talent show last night, Lisa Davis, aged 16, vanished into thin air, in front of the entire audience..."

It was when she disappeared that I knew that I was really seeing things. Sandburg's words. Could he have not been seeing things?

"Of course, it's probably just sensationalist reporting," Rafe said.

"Maybe," Jim said. "Or maybe not."

"Oh?" Simon said.

"Sandburg told me what he saw Tuesday night, and that was it." Jim waved hand at the screen. "He saw Lisa Montgomery vanish. Given this, maybe it's too much of a coincidence."

"You mean, he didn't have a flashback after all?" Simon said.

"Sandburg had a flashback?" Rafe said.

"The jury is now out on that," Jim declared. "Maybe he saw what he thought he saw, and just assumed that it was too weird to be real."

"That still doesn't explain why he's missing," Simon said.

"But it does make kidnapping a more likely proposition," Jim said. "Unfortunately, it still doesn't tell us where he is."

If I wash myself with snow,
and cleanse my hands with lye,
yet thou wilt plunge me into a pit,
and my own clothes will abhor me.


He couldn't move. He was tied down, chained to a dentist's chair. The shackles on his arms and legs clinked. The gag in his mouth made it hard to breathe. He was choking. Someone was pouring something down his throat. He coughed and tried to spit it out. But they poured it down, held his nose. He couldn't breathe! He swallowed, and coughed.

His bonds were gone but he couldn't move. His limbs were like lead. But he had to hold on, because the elevator was falling. They were falling, plummeting, squealing, screeching. Jerked to a stop. Falling like a tossed pebble, a plaything of gravity. Stopping. Plunging. Halted, swaying. The bomb was ticking. He cut a hole in the floor. He watched the bottom falling, falling down.

He climbed through the hole down into the parking garage, but the golden fire people were coming through the walls. They were coming through the floor. He had to climb up, climb up where they couldn't get him. He could see the sky, but the walls of the pit were too steep and crumbly to climb. They had to get out. Him and the white bird with black wings, the bird that sat limply on his shoulder. He could see Jim, silhouetted against the green. But Jim couldn't see him.

"You've got to tell him," he said to the bird. "You've got to tell him I'm here."

Blair woke in the dark. What a weird nightmare. Birds and pits, Lash and Golden and falling elevators. God, was Jim ever going to find him? Jim didn't even know he'd been kidnapped. He would be going on the assumption that Blair had had another flashback. What if Jim wasn't asked to investigate the bank robberies? What if he didn't find the clue Lisa had left? What if he didn't understand it? And even if he did, how was Jim going to find them?

He stared at the darkness for a long time.


Blair woke from a groggy doze. He felt watery sunlight on his eyelids. I'm late! He sat up with a jerk. What? This wasn't his bedroom in the loft. It was - Masters. Lisa.

He looked across to the other bed. Lisa wasn't asleep. She sat cross-legged on the floor, with her eyes shut and her hands over her ears. Blair scrambled out of bed.

"Lisa! What is it?" If it had been Jim, he would have had a fair guess what it was - senses gone haywire. With Lisa, he didn't have a clue - unless telepaths had overload problems too? He touched her arm. "Lisa, listen to me," he said in the calm, level voice he used to bring Jim out of zone-outs. "Listen to my voice. It's Blair. Come back, Lisa."

"Go away. I'm not here."

Blair was startled. That's not what I expected. He knelt in front of her and touched both her arms. He pulled gently, and her hands came away from her ears. "Lisa, open your eyes. You're here. You're here with me, Blair."

She opened her eyes, but they didn't see him. "He mustn't find me," she said.

"There's no-one here but you and me, Lisa," Blair said.

"He mustn't find me. He'll die."

"Lisa, come back to me here," Blair said, more calmly than he felt. "There's just you and me. Listen. Listen."

"Blair?" Lisa said in small voice, seeing him at last. Then she gasped, "He mustn't find me!"

"Who mustn't find you?"

"Adam. He's looking for me. If he finds me, he'll come, and they'll kill him."

Adam? Hadn't she mentioned that name before? Blair frowned. "Excuse me, but how is chanting 'I'm not here' going to stop someone from finding you?" Except of course in primitive cultures where such things would be a kind of magical spell or wish...

Lisa rolled her eyes. "Telepathically." Her face made it clear she thought the answer had been obvious. She lowered her voice to a whisper, as if she were afraid of being overheard. "We can sense each other telepathically. Sort of feel where the other person is. If you know someone, you can teleport to where they are, even if you've never been to that place before. But Col. Masters doesn't know that, and I'm not about to tell him."

"So, your friend Adam is like you. He can teleport, and he could teleport right here, where you are, because he knows you."

"Unless I hide myself. It's not very easy to do." Lisa sighed. "But I've had practice."

"But why on earth don't you want your friend Adam to find us? He could help us get out of here!"

"No!" Lisa said. "I'm not going through that again. I'm not going to let it happen again."

"Let what happen again?"

"What happened to Kevin - it was my fault. Professor Galt caught us. Wanted to experiment on us. Kevin wanted to help, but it went wrong. My fault, don't you understand? Kevin is dead because of me. Dead! I'm never going to let that happen again!"

Oh, god. Guilt. Blair knew what that was like, in spades. "I hear you," he said. "I've said that myself. 'I'm never gonna get kidnapped again' - and gee, look here, I've been kidnapped again!"

"That wasn't your fault!"

"And Kevin's death wasn't your fault. You didn't kill Kevin. Somebody else did. Or are you trying to tell me that you physically murdered your friend with your own hands?"

Lisa looked horrified. "Of course not! We can't kill."

"Then it isn't your fault."

"It is. If I hadn't been captured -"

"If I hadn't been kidnapped. If I hadn't been dosed with Golden. If I hadn't taken up with the wrong girlfriend," Blair interrupted. "Oh, I know that song. I've sung it a million times. If I hadn't been such a fool, then Jim wouldn't have risked his life to save me." Oh, yes, he'd pummelled himself about that again and again. But seeing someone else fall into the same spiral, made him realize something about himself. "But you know one thing that's a dead certainty?" he said. "Once I am in trouble, then there's nothing I can do to stop Jim looking for me." Which, is of course, why he always felt so guilty. Because Jim always risked himself. Like clockwork. Only it wasn't clockwork, was it? "That's his choice. That's what true friends do." Blair's eyes blazed. "Adam is your friend. He's looking for you because he cares. And if your friend Adam is any friend at all, then not being able to find you is just going to make him look harder."

Lisa shook her head. "I've got to keep him safe."

Blair raised his hands. "But it isn't your choice to make. We can't keep them safe, any more than they can keep us safe by wishing it. You've got to realize that."

"He is not going to find me," Lisa said.

Blair stared at her. "Well, if you aren't going to do something, I will."

He stood up and went to the door. This was a fully furnished apartment. That meant it probably had a phone. Even though he didn't know where they were, a trace on the call could locate them. He just had to make the call without being discovered.

He opened the door a crack and looked out. The apartment was one of those where everything came off one central living area - the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the entrance. Which meant, if you wanted to keep an eye on things, you'd just stay there. But there was no one there at the moment. He scanned the room further. There. A small table by the wall, with a chair beside it. A phone.

Quickly he crept out and made a bee-line for the table. He sat down on the floor next to it, hoping to be less visible that way. Less obvious, anyway. His heart pounded. He picked up the phone and dialled a number he knew by heart - Jim's cell phone.

It rang once.

He heard a yell. "No!"

And then he was struck by a bolt of lightning.


The surface he lay on was hard. The air was damp and cold, and his head ached. "Oh, man," he muttered, putting a hand to his throbbing temple.

"Blair?" The voice was barely audible, but it was Lisa's.

He blinked and turned his head. Concrete kissed his cheek. The light was dim, but he could see a wall of light brown... something. Boxes, and crates, and vertical pillars, narrow, dark metal. It was a warehouse. Then he saw Lisa, kneeling, looking at him anxiously. He tried to sit up. Something clanked and pulled at his feet. There was a heavy chain, rusty-brown, padlocked around his ankles. The other end was wrapped around a pillar and padlocked. Blair sighed and tried to smile. "Well, at least my hands are free, and I'm not gagged." He sat up sideways, pulled his knees up, and rested his elbows on his knees. His head pounded. "God, I'm sick of this," he muttered.

Lisa opened her mouth to say something, but he held up one hand to forestall her. "And don't say it's all your fault. You didn't get me into this." He ran a hand through his hair. "But I think it's up to you to get us out of this."

Lisa shook her head. "I won't let it happen again," she said.


"You want me to kidnap General Damon?!" Lisa exclaimed.

Colonel Masters' craggy face didn't change expression. "I understand your abilities are greater than I was led to imagine. It should prove no difficulty."

"But you'll kill him!" Lisa protested. She knew he would. The hatred boiled off him like a dark cloud. She could never comprehend killing, let alone actually kill someone. It wasn't in her nature. It was an instinct as deep in her as that which made her able to warp space and touch minds. But she could feel his hate.

"That isn't your problem."

"I can't do it. I can't. I can't!" He didn't understand. She couldn't be party to killing. That was why she'd been doing his bidding from the start. To prevent the deaths. If she didn't care, she could have left in an instant, and he would never be able to find her again. But she did care. It wasn't as if she didn't know Bill Damon, Megabyte's father. He was one of the few people who knew everything about them, who could be trusted to keep their secrets. After all, Megabyte was one of the Tomorrow People too. He'd never betray his own son.

"Don't be hysterical," Masters said. "Or do I have to kill your mother to get you to see sense?"

"How do I know you've really got my mother? Where is she?"

Masters smiled. "I don't need to have her. All I need is a bracelet on her arm, and this." He patted his breast pocket. "She has absolutely no idea of the danger she's in. Better for everyone, don't you think?" He looked at his watch. "I'll give you an hour to think about it." Then he turned on his heel and left.

Lisa collapsed to her knees. What was she going to do? She felt numb; too numb even to cry. No matter what she did, someone would die. Someone would die. The burden was too great. Every step was a mis-step, a plunge into an endless fall. If she obeyed Masters, General Damon would die. If she refused, her mother would die. If she contacted Adam, he would die, or be captured. All because of her, and her damned abilities. If she'd never been born, it would never have happened. If she'd died at the hands of Professor Galt, it wouldn't have happened. If she were dead, there wouldn't be anything to quarrel over. There would be nothing to exploit. If she were dead.

Her eyes widened with realization. Wouldn't that be better? Wouldn't it? A fourth way lay before her. Another endless fall. But the darkness was a welcome abyss. An end of impossible burdens. A way out. Everywhere was fear and death. Why not take the fear and death on herself? It was her fault after all. Then no-one else would get hurt. It would be over. It would all be over. Her lips pressed together with resolution and she started fiddling with the bracelet. If she managed to trigger the anti-tampering mechanism, it would activate the poison, and kill her. Death without error. Now, before she lost her nerve.

"Lisa! What are you doing?" Blair crawled towards her, as far as the chain would let him. "Are you trying to get yourself killed?"

"It's the only way, don't you see?" Her eyes pleaded with his. "If I'm dead, he won't have any reason to keep you."

Blair's face blanched. "Lisa, don't!" he said desperately. "Don't you understand? If you're dead, he won't have any reason to keep us alive."

She stopped.

"If you die, they'll just kill me and leave," he continued, urgently. "He'll find some other way to get to General Damon. You won't save anybody. It will be for nothing. Please. Just contact Adam. Let him get help. Tell him to contact my partner, Jim. But for God's sake, don't kill yourself!"

She was suspended, caught between decision and action.

"Just tell him not to come. Tell him why. Just talk to him, okay?"

Maybe he was right. Maybe she was behaving foolishly. Maybe not every fall was a fall to death. Maybe there was some hope after all. Maybe the burdens weren't all on her shoulders.

She took her hand away from her wrist, and closed her eyes. This was a fall over which she had no control. But she took the plunge anyway. Adam? she sent.

Sometimes you wake up.
Sometimes the fall kills you.
And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.

Margaret Davis/Montgomery contemplated the empty sugar cannister as if it were an affront to her existence. How could it have happened? She'd run out of sugar. How could she bake brownies if she'd run out of sugar? If she was baking brownies, she knew that Lisa would come home safe. Lisa loved brownies, had since she was little. Lisa would hurry home if she knew her mother was baking brownies. So long as she was baking chocolate brownies, she wouldn't have to think about anything but Lisa coming home soon.

But she'd run out of sugar. If she left to buy more, Lisa might come home and she wouldn't be there. If she didn't get more sugar, she couldn't make any more brownies.

She contemplated the empty sugar cannister. She was so tired. Too tired to move out of the chair she sat in.

There was a flash of light in front of her. She blinked. There, on the other side of the kitchen table, stood a young man with red hair, wearing jeans and a white T-shirt.

"Mrs. Davis! Thank God you're okay! We haven't much time."

"Megabyte?" she said groggily.

He grabbed her right hand and touched the bracelet on her wrist with his other hand. He frowned in concentration. The bracelet glowed briefly, and came off.

"What are you doing?" she protested. "That was a prize!"

"So that's how they got it on you," he muttered. He carefully latched the bracelet together again and put it down on the table. "Next time, don't accept gifts from strangers. Especially tall blondes in sunglasses and a suit."

"How did you know -?"

He leaned over her. "That was Gloria. She works for Colonel Masters - who escaped. Who has Lisa, and if I don't get you out of here right now, either one of them could come in here, guns blazing, since they know where you live, and I don't know if they noticed the temporary loss of signal from the bracelet. So come on."

Margaret's jaw dropped further and further during this speech, and she felt all her strength leave her, like water down a drain. "Where?" she managed to ask.

"To the island," Megabyte answered. "I'll try not to land us in the water." At that, he stepped around the table and pulled her to her feet. "We can get your things later, if we need 'em."

He put his hands on her shoulders, and they both vanished in a flash of light.


Jim's cell phone rang.


"Detective Ellison? We need to talk."

It was the voice, the one with the accent - the mysterious Australian. "Who are you? How did you get this number?"

"That isn't important," the voice said. "Lisa Montgomery and Blair Sandburg are being held at a warehouse, 1460 12th Street, by Colonel Masters, and Gloria. He's got a radio-controlled device which will inject poison into them if he activates it. There isn't much time. We've got twenty-five minutes before he'll force Lisa to kidnap General Damon."

"Whoa, wait a minute," Jim said. He wrote down the information on a pad, finished it off with the words trACE THIS CALL, and shoved the pad at Simon. Simon was dialling his phone a moment later. Keep him talking. "Who's General Damon?"

"Colonel Masters' old boss," came the answer. "He was responsible for his arrest."

"And he wants revenge, is that it?"

"Yes," said the voice. "We think he's going to kill Damon. You can't let that happen. They have to be stopped. There's more than one life at stake."

We? Who else was involved? "How do you know all this? This morning you didn't even know Lisa had been kidnapped."

"How did you - I found out," the voice said. "What can I do to make you believe me? Do you want to meet in person? Pick a place. Just so long as it's private, and you're alone."

"Why me?"

"It's your partner, and I'm told you can keep a secret."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jim said.

"Not on the phone," came the reply. "Get somewhere private. I'll call you back in five minutes." Then there was nothing but a dial tone.

Simon put his phone down. "It's a pay phone on 12th street," he said to Jim. "I've got units on their way now - silent alert. We don't want to spook them."

"Spook who? The caller, or the kidnappers?"

"You think he was telling the truth?"

"It's a better lead than anything we've got so far. I'm going."


Adam looked at the seconds ticking by on his watch, and wished that he'd worn a raincoat instead of a jacket. The glass of the phone booth was speckled with misty raindrops, and the air he breathed was cool and damp. He'd said five minutes. Would Ellison do as he'd asked? Had Ellison believed anything he'd said?

This morning you didn't even know Lisa had been kidnapped. How the hell had Ellison known that? Even if he were the cop assigned to Lisa's disappearance, and had talked to Lisa's mum, she would hardly have discussed him with the cops. Not teleporting telepathic friends who drop in because they've had a premonition of danger. Even if she had, there would have been no way Ellison could have known that a strange voice on the phone was the same person Lisa's mum might have talked about. Something else struck Adam. Ellison hadn't asked who Colonel Masters was, or Gloria. He'd only asked who General Damon was. And he'd implied that he already knew that Lisa had been kidnapped. Even Lisa's mum didn't know that.

Ellison must be a hell of a detective. Or he was psychic.

Do I really need to do this? Yes. He had to make Ellison believe him, even if that meant telling him everything. The chain of trust he was relying on... Lisa said that Blair said that Ellison could be trusted. Would that be enough? No matter. He had no choice.

The five minutes was up. Adam picked up the phone, put in his coins and dialled the number.


"Are you alone?" Adam asked.

"Yes. So?"

Adam reached out for the connection, the sense of where Ellison was. He didn't understand how it worked, but talking with someone on the phone made it possible to "find" them in the ether. The first time he'd done this, he hadn't even thought about it - they'd been trying to save Mr. Bishop's life, and considering impossibilities had been out of the question. They'd just done it. "Brace yourself," he said, and reached.

There was a flash of light in the dim day, and then there was nothing in the phone booth but a dangling receiver.

Adam found himself seated in the right hand-front seat of a pick-up truck in a basement car park, along with numerous police cars. The police station. Ellison was in the drivers seat. The cop swore, short and pungent. Adam recognised Lisa's image of him - as well as the voice. The man was obviously nonplussed. But not for long.

"You're like Lisa Davis, aren't you?" the detective said.

"You know about that?" Lisa Davis. Lisa's real name. How had he known? Of course, once you knew that...

"Old newspaper archives never die," Ellison said, confirming Adam's guess. "Front page of the Virginia Post. Is that why she changed her name?"

"One of the reasons," Adam answered. Might as well plunge right in. "My name's Adam Newman. I'm a friend of Lisa's. We're both... what we call Tomorrow People; the next stage of human evolution. Teleportation is only one of our gifts. We're also telepathic - at least, with each other." Ellison's eyes bored into him, and Adam had the feeling that he was listening to more than just his words. He took a breath, and continued, in the silence, "Lisa contacted me and told me the situation. Telepathically. We have to trust each other. That's the only way we'll get both of them out alive. That's all I want," he said, desperately trying to make Ellison believe him. "We don't have much time."

"Ask her how Sandburg is."

What? He believed me? Just like that? Maybe he is psychic. Except that he didn't have that kind of aura.

"Stop gawking and ask her."

Lisa, Ellison wants to know how Sandburg is. Adam sent immediately. There was a pause, and Lisa relayed the reply. Adam said, "Sandburg said he feels better for knowing you're on your way, and you still owe him lunch at the Turkish place."

Ellison smiled. He turned his key in the ignition and said, "Then let's get going." They pulled into traffic, siren blazing.


Colonel Masters and Gloria came out through the maze of boxes. "Time's up," he said, and snapped his fingers. Gloria stepped up to where Blair was sitting, grabbed him by the hair, and shoved a gun into the back of his neck.

Adam! Megabyte! They've got a gun on Blair! I'm going to have to get General Damon. Aloud, Lisa said, "I'll do it, I'll do it!" She took a breath, her heart pounding. "But it will take a little time. I might not be able to find him right away."

"Just do it," Masters growled. "Or your friend here gets it. If you aren't back here in ten minutes, I'll give you all a taste of poison. A lower dose isn't necessarily fatal, just agonising."

"I'm gone. I'm gone," she said, and pictured Megabyte in her mind. She reached for the place he was, and went. One second of brightness later, she was in a room, smaller, dim. Bedroom. Lamp. Megabyte and his father stood by the bed. General Damon was slightly dishevelled, his dark brown hair mussed as if he'd just been woken up, but he was fully dressed and alert.

"Megabyte!" She held out her wrist. "Can you get it off? Can you disable it? So he doesn't know it's disabled? Is my mother okay?"

Megabyte placed his hands over the bracelet. "Yes, she's fine. Sunning herself on the island. I can get it off..." The bracelet came off as he spoke. He turned it over and ran his fingers over the inside. "The rest will take a little work..."

Lisa turned to General Damon. "I'm sorry about all this."

He smiled. "Don't be. Comes with the territory." He took a gun out of the top drawer of his bedside table, and checked it over. "Glad I can help - for once."

"What do you mean - for once?" Megabyte protested. "You've helped plenty of times."

"And the other half I don't find out about until it's all over," Damon said dryly.

Megabyte handed the bracelet back to Lisa, and helped her put it on. "That should do it. The locator still works, but the rest is disabled."

Adam? Lisa sent. Where are you and Ellison? Adam? But there was no answer.


Five minutes earlier...

"Shit!" the Australian suddenly exclaimed next to him, over the sound of the siren. "They've got a gun on Blair. We've run out of time. Pull the truck over."

"What?" Jim said, still weaving through the peak-hour traffic.

"Park the truck!" Adam said. "I'll take you there myself. We haven't time for this traffic."

Jim glanced quickly at Adam. "What do you mean, take me there yourself?"

"I can take another person with me when I teleport. I just have to be touching them."

The implications weren't lost on Jim. "That's how Lisa was going to kidnap General Damon."

"Is going to," Adam said. "We've just moved onto plan B - only 'kidnapping' isn't quite what we have in mind. Park the truck. We're about to become the second pincer of the cavalry." He muttered under his breath, "I hope."

Jim pulled over at the first spot he saw, and turned off the siren. The truck was barely stationary when Adam leaped out the door on his side. Jim did likewise, locking the truck. By then, Adam was standing behind him.

"Ready?" Adam asked, putting a hand on Jim's arm.

"I guess," Jim answered. But he was wrong.

The air burst on his eardrums and sinuses like a solid wall. He shut his eyes against the sudden too-bright light. A cacophony of noise hammered at his ears. He covered them with his hands. Stenches - exhaust, oil, wet concrete - made him gasp. He staggered and went down on one knee. Concrete and grit grated at his knee through the thin material of his pants.

Loud, too loud, even through his hands, a voice. "Detective Ellison, what's the matter?"

Control. Control. Control the dials. They eluded him. Relax. Don't panic. In through the mouth, out through the nose. In through the mouth, out through the nose. In through the mouth, out through the nose. One at a time. Turn down smell. Picture a dial, and turn it down. One notch at a time. One notch - explosions, percussive, repeated, drilled into his ears, distracting him. A car. It was just a car. He gasped a breath, and his mouth was filled with the taste of carbon and burned oil. Focus. Got to focus. A touch, on his shoulders. Warm. Warm even through the damp air. Focus.

Then he heard, sharply, Focus on what?

On an anchor. Warmth on his shoulders. Concentrate on the touch, Ellison. Dial down your hearing. Dial down your smell. Normal levels. Normal. One at a time. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

He blinked and looked around. Buildings. Street. Hands on his shoulders. Adam Newman. His touch. Not Blair's.

"Are you okay?" the Australian asked anxiously. Jim could hear his heart racing. It must have really given him a scare.

"I'm fine." He stood up and brushed off his knee. "Remind me to never do that again," he said.

"What happened?" Adam asked. "Nobody's ever reacted to a teleport like that before."

Sandburg would doubtless have been formulating theories at a mile a minute. But he himself could think of nothing to say. Even partial explanations would take too much time. "Let's just concentrate on the rescue plan, okay? I'm fine now."

"Are you sure you're okay?"

I won't be okay until Sandburg is safe. "I'm fine. Now, where are they?"

The white-painted wall of 1460 12th Street was covered with graffiti; black spray-painted squiggles that were a language of their own. Adam pointed out a side-door. Jim tried the door. "Locked," he muttered. "Damn. I wanted it quiet."

"Wait a minute," Adam said softly. "Let me. I'm not the best one at this, but I'm not completely hopeless." He held one hand up against the lock. There was a glow, and Jim could hear the tumblers turning. There was a final click, and the handle turned in Adam's hand.

"How'd you -" Jim began. "Forget it, I don't want to know." He took out his gun and thumbed off the safety. He held up his other hand. "Get behind me." Adam moved away from the door, and Jim eased it open. He looked through the crack, and listened.

Dimness. An aisle of boxes. A voice. Male.

"Time's almost up, Mr. Sandburg."

Three hearts beating.

"You'll never get away with this!" Sandburg! He's alive. Almost as soon as the thought went through his mind, Jim was moving.

He barely registered Adam's mutter, "Go, Lisa, now!"

He wove through the maze of boxes as if it were a superhighway; or a jungle path, with he, the hunter, tracking his prey.

"What's one more unsolved murder?" the voice said. Logically, Colonel Masters.

Five hearts beating.

"Don't move, Masters!" Another voice. A stranger. "Or I'll drop you where you stand."

"Put your gun down, Damon," Masters said. "Or Mr. Sandburg here, dies. You can't kill both of us fast enough to stop that."

The final turn. Masters, holding something rectangular in his hand, like a cell phone or radio. Behind him, a brown-haired man pointing a gun at Masters. Damon. Standing beside Damon was Lisa Montgomery. What grabbed Jim's attention was Sandburg, kneeling on the floor, and Gloria Masters shoving something gun-like in the back of Sandburg's neck. There was no chance. If he dropped Gloria, a spasm in her trigger finger could kill Sandburg anyway.

But he could even the odds.

"Cascade PD!" he yelled. "Drop your weapons!"

Then everything seemed to happen at once.

Gloria looked up, startled. The brief distraction was enough for Lisa to act. She vanished from Damon's side, reappeared behind Gloria, touched her on the back, and they both vanished.

Masters moved his right hand towards the device he held in his left. Damon shot him, and shot him again. Masters fell, and the device clattered to the floor.

Adam appeared next to Sandburg. He touched the bracelet on his wrist, ripped it off, and threw it away. Then he started working on the padlock at Sandburg's ankles.

Jim was by Sandburg's side a moment later. "Sandburg! Are you okay?"

Sandburg clutched at Jim's arms. "Jim! I knew you'd find me! Man, am I glad to see you."

"Couldn't have done it without your telepathic friends here." Jim clapped Adam on the shoulder, just as Adam unwrapped the chain around Sandburg's feet.

"Thanks, mate," Adam said. He smiled at Blair. "Hi. I'm Adam Newman."

"Blair Sandburg." They shook hands.

Jim pulled Blair to his feet. They turned to face General Damon.

"Nice shooting," Jim said. "Jim Ellison, Cascade PD. You must be General Damon."

"Retired," Damon said. "From the forces, anyway. Speaking of which, where are yours?"

"Still on their way," Jim said. "I was bluffing."

Damon raised an eyebrow. Before he could speak, Lisa reappeared in a flash of light.

"That was brilliant, Lisa!" Adam said. "Where did you take her?"

Lisa grinned. "I dumped her in the bank vault."

Sandburg laughed. "Well, she was after all that money."

"She just can't take it with her," Lisa added.


And why? Thou has delivered my soul from death;
mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

The sky was a new-washed blue, with white woolly clouds herded by the wind. The air smelt of salt and fish. The sun sparkled on the water. The waves slopped against the pier, and rocked the boats anchored there. More boats glided on the waters of the bay. From the shore came the sounds and smells of the Saturday morning market, callers of bargains, the aroma of hot-dogs and frying donuts.

Jim and Blair stood silently on the wooden pier, munching hot-dogs.

"Lisa decided to stay, you know," Blair remarked. "At Rainier."

"With Masters dead, and Gloria in jail, she doesn't have anything to worry about," Jim said.

Blair shook his head. "Masters was in jail before, and he might not be the only one. The reason she doesn't have to worry," Blair smiled, "is because she's got friends to look out for her."

"And you're one of those friends, Chief?"

"I hope so." He looked up at Jim. "Aren't you?" The question was rhetorical. Blair leaned against the rail, and looked at the boats dancing on the water. "She was so afraid to ask for help, she was paralysed. But I think she's learned... that true friends help no matter what." He straightened up and smiled at Jim. "Like you do."

"Thanks, Chief." Jim laid his arm across Blair's shoulders. "The feeling is mutual."

They stood, and munched, and gazed, in silent companionship.

Blair noticed a curve of white and black floating against the blue of the sky. "What kind of bird is that? I don't think it's a seagull."

Jim focused his vision. White, with black wings. From the underside, the wings were white in the centre, edged in black. "It's an albatross," he said, and smiled.

The End

Time Line:

This takes place, in the Sentinel universe, sometime between "Vendetta" and "Foreign Exchange". This takes place in an ideal universe where the Australian stuff in "Vendetta" was accurate, instead of the complete bull we saw on the screen.

I am assuming that this is in 1998, and that "Blind Man's Bluff" took place in 1997.

In the Tomorrow People (new series) universe, the Origin story took place in 1992. Lisa Davis was then sixteen, so in this story she is 22. Since she was never heard of again, I thought I'd try to explain it. I wasn't originally intending to kill Kevin off, but it does explain why Lisa would be so paranoid about contacting the others, and why we never heard from Kevin after "The Culex Experiment". However, I have no intention of writing the story in which Kevin dies. Too depressing.

For those who are interested in The Tomorrow People, I should explain that two incarnations of this series were made, both called The Tomorrow People, and both using essentially the same concept: kids with psi powers who are the next stage of human evolution, and can't kill. The first series (often known as the Old Series or the Original Series) was made and set in the seventies. The second series (known as the New Series), was made and set in the nineties, with no reference at all to the previous series. The man behind both versions of this show was Roger Damon Price.

Acknowledgements and Thanks:

Firstly, and most importantly, thanks to Carikube for encouraging me to write in the Sentinel universe in the first place. Not to mention feeding the hungry tape-machine.

Thanks to Beth B, Donna Kirking, Jonathan Burns, Shelley Knepley and Vickie Ward Gillespie, betas tres bon, for pointing out ignorance and silly errors, style weaknesses and plot holes, and encouraging the good stuff.

Thanks to Becky for her Sentinel Transcripts page http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/3650/ts.htm without which my ignorance would only have been bounded by a dozen episodes.

Thanks to Nightowl for her Sentinel resources page http://home.istar.ca/~nightowl without which I might have fallen into more error than I have.

Thanks to Laura Picken, for the idea of the poison bracelets, which I shamelessly stole from her story "Sentinel, Watcher, Warrior, Guide".

The bank robbery idea I stole from the SF novel "Jumper" by Steven Gould (thanks to MantaRay for reminding me who the author was)

Thanks to The Albatross Project http://www.wfu.edu/albatross/ for information on albatrosses! Any mistakes are my own.

Thanks to Compton's Encyclopedia Online, http://www.optonline.com/comptons for information about Flood legends.

And absolutely, positively, thanks to all those senfic authors, especially K. Ryn and Shelly, for giving me such a high standard to live up to. This, I hope, is a small repayment for my hours of reading pleasure.

The Quotes:

(Thanks to the Oxford Book of Quotations, my concordance, the Beatles lyrics page, and my Sandman collection.)

"Two are better than one,
because they have good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow;
but woe to him who is alone when he falls
and has not another to lift him up."
-- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Do I sleep?
Do I wake, dreaming?
Or have I fallen
into madness?
(This isn't actually a quote, I wrote it for the story)

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798)

O! what a fall was there, my countrymen;
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
-- William Shakespeare "Julius Caesar" (1599)

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
-- John Lennon & Paul McCartney "I've Just Seen A Face" (from "Help!")

"If I wash myself with snow,
and cleanse my hands with lye,
yet thou wilt plunge me into a pit,
and my own clothes will abhor me."
-- Job 9:30-31

"Sometimes you wake up.
Sometimes the fall kills you.
And sometimes, when you fall, you fly."
-- Neil Gaiman "The Sandman: Fear of Falling" (1993)

And why? Thou has delivered my soul from death;
mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
-- Psalm 116:8