Disclaimer: The Sentinel is the property of Pet Fly, and SG-1 isn't mine either.
The Ridiculous and the Obscure
We were in the briefing room, ready for the usual pre-mission briefing. At least Captain Carter, Teal'c, and I were ready. JackColonel O'Neillwas fiddling with a radio, putting us off until he could get the scores. I was going through my notes on the social structure of the world the natives called Ellindrial. It was strongly matriarchal, so Sam should lead the negotiations, and there were a couple of odd little cultural quirks that could prove important, if I could only convince Jack to pay attention.
And then I heard a name from my past. "Wait, put that back."
Jack looked at me, but returned to that station. I was aware of Sam and Teal'c trading a curious glance. I ignored them.
"... I just have a short speech prepared here. Um. In our media-informed culture, a scientist receives validation by having his or her work published, and after years of research there is great personal satisfaction when that goal is reached. However, my desire to impress both my peers and the world at large drove me to an immoral and unethical act. My thesis, The Sentinel, is a fraud. While my paper does quote ancient source material, the documentation proving that James Ellison actually possesses hyper-senses is fraudulent. Looking back, I can say that its a good piece of fiction. I apologize for the deception. My only hope is that I can be forgiven for the pain I've caused those that are close to me. Thank you."
And the voice switched to the reporter. "That was the scene today at Rainier University as doctoral candidate Blair Sandburg admitted academic fraud..."
Oh god, Blair, what have you done?
The professor dropping his paper on his desk, the circled red F showing on the title page. "Interesting theory, Mister Jackson, but this is Sociology 101, not creative writing. And 'ancient astronauts' is a concept best left to science fiction. Perhaps you should collaborate with Mister Sandburg, as he seems to be searching for comic book superheroes."
Sharp blue eyes and a quick sardonic smile across the room, flipping up a cover page also liberally scrawled with red ink. A friendship made over cafeteria food and stimulating debates that covered a million subjects.
I blinked, realizing that the rest of the team was staring at me. "I, uh, I knew him in college. I can't believe that he would do that."
Jack grunted. "People change," he said uncomfortably, and changed the subject. "Okay, so what do we need to know to keep from being tarred, feathered, and run off-world?"
I shook off memories of the past and began the cultural briefing.
One thing I really love about being part of a covert military operation? The research department. They can get anything. Which has come in handy a time or two. Before we left for Ellindrial, I mentioned I was interested in Blair Sandburg. The mission took a while longer than we expected, what with one thing and another, and I still maintain that from a single cursory First Contact, there was no way I could have predicted that the chieftainess of the tribe would assume that Teal'c was Sam's bodyguard, due to fragment legends of the Jaffa that abandoned them there, and that at dinner I sat on Sam's right, where her, uh, husband, would sit, and therefore the chieftainess assumed that the extra male, Jack, was, well, a gift.
Anyway, when we got back, research had everything for me. Everything. From newspaper clippings on all the cases Blair worked with Detective Ellison, starting with the Switchman bomber, where he was only referred to as 'a civilian observer' with the Major Crimes Unit.
Tapes of the press conference and an episode of True Crime they were on, a galley copy of Blair's thesis, which is kinda scary because they were all ordered destroyed pending litigation against the publisher. An internal memo from Cascade PD promoting Blair to detective, Major Crimes, which is even scarier. Research can get anything.
A copy of News Update magazine with James Ellison on the cover when they pulled him out of Peru. A copy of Captain James Ellison's US Army Rangers' military records. With addendum debriefing after Peru provided by CIA liaison Lee Brackett, who had turned up in the case files. Yeesh. Imagine Maybourne going freelance...
But the evidence was conclusive. The only thing Blair Sandburg had fabricated was that press conference. James Ellison is a sentinel.
And Blair has officially tanked his academic career to protect him, to continue working with him. To the world at large, Blair Sandburg is a fraud.
Sounds familiar. I had to laugh at it a little. Blair Sandburg found his sentinel. And I've found my alien gods. From the sound of it, his discovery has brought him as much wonder and as much pain as my own.
Neither of us will publish in our lifetimes. Both of us are laughingstocks in our chosen professions. But Blair gets to guide a sentinel. I step through the 'gate onto strange new worlds.
Score two for the lunatic fringe.
~ End ~
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Page last updated 8/15/03.