Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters are completely the property of Paramount and Pet Fly Productions. I use them out of reverence, solely for fun and not for profit.
Warnings: This story deals with mature themes.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to Suisan for her help in trying to educate me about the medical issues involved. It isn't her fault if I've mucked this up. It's all mine, sad to say. I am never going to write a sequel, so anyone who feels moved to do so may go right ahead, with my thanks. Help me dig myself out from this, somebody!
Jim Ellison looked up from his desk and turned to stare at Simon Banks' office.
"What, Jim? What?" The questions came from Ellison's hyperactive and unofficial partner, Blair Sandburg. "What's wrong?"
"Simon just called us."
"He did? I didn't hear him? I don't think anyone else did either." Sandburg surveyed the full bullpen and not one of the detectives in it was paying any attention to Banks' office or the two partners he had summoned.
"It sounded as if he could hardly get the words out of his mouth, Chief." He didn't say, he was relying on me to hear him.
Jim turned his laser blue eyes on the deep teal blues of his Guide, and the Sentinel heard the heartbeat pick up, smelled the adrenaline, and watched minor tremours of anxiety course across Sandburg's face.
"Maybe we'd better not keep him waiting then," Blair blurted out, changing focus to the captain's office. "What could be so bad...?"
Neither Sentinel nor Guide really wanted to know the answer to that question, but when Jim ushered Blair into his presence, it was to see an ashen Simon Banks, gaze fixed on the cradled telephone receiver. Clearly, he had something dreadful burdening his soul.
"Simon? Is Daryl all right?" It was Blair's first thought. Simon's dearly loved son was the centre of his life. There could hardly be anything more traumatic for the police captain than an injury to Daryl. "Here, sir, let me get you a drink," Ellison offered as Sandburg rounded the desk to help Simon sit down.
But Banks looked at the two of them, seeing neither, and replied, "It's not about me. It's about you."
Blair and Jim exchanged startled glances.
"What, what about us? Does someone know about Jim?" Blair whispered in turn.
Jim Ellison, Sentinel of Cascade, premier detective with Major Crimes, kept very, very still, waiting for Simon's answer.
"No, not that," Simon said. "But... sit, both of you." With that he himself sought his chair and peered silently into space.
Again, Sentinel and Guide exchanged apprehensive glances, and they sat on the couch, next to each other, both with elbows on knees, leaning into Simon's wash of cigar-scented words.
Then he told them.
"Alex Barnes has disappeared."
"WHAT?" Jim roared and rocketed up, pacing the small room in a race with fate.
"That's not possible, Simon. She's, she's, she's a vegetable! She can't have gotten up and walked out of Carmody." Blair was trying to be reasonable in the face of chaos.
"I didn't say she'd walked out of Carmody, Sandburg," Simon snapped at the police observer. Then he truly looked at the Guide and saw the fear in the eyes of the man Alex Barnes had murdered without a second thought only a few months before, and softened his tone. "She was abducted. They think."
"Jesus, Simon, what the hell does 'She was abducted, they think' mean? And what's this crap about Carmody?" Jim's voice had gone very gentle, and the mismatch with his meaning made his words all the more powerful. This was a man of many gifts and he was dangerous to boot.
Simon took off his wire-rimmed glasses and stroked the worry lines there. How his head ached! "I just got the call," he said, preliminary to explaining that it was a courtesy offered to Detective Jim Ellison and Police Observer Blair Sandburg that a personal enemy who might have vengeance on her mind was on the loose.
But Jim didn't need to hear it and Blair didn't want to. "Cut to the chase, Simon!" Jim ordered.
Simon nodded and fit the glasses back on his head again. "There's nothing on the security cameras."
"So someone broke into the security system and put the tapes on a loop," Blair deduced.
"Yeah," Simon confirmed. "It wasn't until four p.m. that she was found to be missing."
"Jesus!" Jim swore again. "How could they not know she was gone until four p.m.? Don't they have guards or something at Carmody? Rounds by the shrinks? This is asinine! We left her at Conover! Why was she at a private psychiatric clinic anyway?" He flung his arms up in the air, and Blair tugged at his jacket sleeve until Jim gave way and sat beside his younger partner again.
"I don't know," Simon started to say, only to be cut off by Blair.
The two cops stared at the grad student in anthropology and he dropped his head while he told them the rest. "She wasn't making it in Conover. I knew she wouldn't." Blair's sigh seemed endless.
"So what did you do, Sandburg?" Jim demanded to know. His Guide had the most generous nature on the face of the earth. Somehow, the Sentinel knew, Blair Sandburg had found it in himself to lessen the plight of the rogue Sentinel, only weeks after she had managed to kill him. Jim hated it when Blair's generosity backfired on him. It had happened before. Sometimes it had been Jim who had made it happen.
"Jim," Sandburg pled, hands out, "she was a vegetable. You know she fried her circuits in Mexico. You know that, Simon!" He was sounding desperate, but both friends nodded, and the colour began to tint the Guide's cheeks again. "When she entered Conover"the state facility for those either unfit for trial, as Alex was, or judged not guilty by reason of insanity"she was violent and incoherent, babbling about the temple and the Eye of God and black jaguars and golden jaguars and wolves and all that stuff. They were filling her full of antipsychotics and sedatives and she kept coding every day or so."
"So you did what?" Jim chopped through the telling like a machete.
"I, um, I told them she'd probably do best if she were placed in a sensory deprivation tank for the maximum amount of time possible. I put her doctor, Dr. Hendricks, on the track of getting a sensory dep tank for the facility, through Rainier. It was more cost effective to send her to Carmody, which already had one, than put a tank in at Conover, and she wasn't considered any kind of risk to others. So they transferred her over."
The police captain and the detective looked at each other. That sounded safe. What had gone wrong?
Blair stopped for breath and continued. "She was still freaking from sensory overload, cycling between catatonia and sudden violent psychotic breaks, but when they put her in the tank almost 24 hours a day, she calmed down. I had to do a lot of fast-talking to get Hendricks to try it, to get her off the drugs and try it, but it worked. It worked!"
There was enough sadness in the declaration that Jim dropped the hard-ass routine. "So what happened next, Chief? You stayed in touch with Hendricks?"
"Oh, yeah. He was a total moron, and I have no doubt that if he were a real physician he'd be out in practice somewhere rather than shoving psychoactive shit down the throats or into the butts of women in straitjackets, but he remained the physician in charge so we stayed in touch. He was kinda dependent on me to advise him about how to deal with her." Blair's words were bitter. "He had no idea he was dealing with a maxed-out Sentinel. No one's supposed to know you exist, Jim." He raised his face and Jim saw the fight for self-mastery there. "I had to tell him without telling him, and it wasn't easy. But in the end he dumped her in a sensory dep tank and she mellowed out."
Jim moved a little closer to his Guide. "Mellowed out?" he asked. "Like, how?"
The sympathy in his Sentinel's voice was balm to the Guide's inner pain. "She was never going to recover sanity, Jim. You know how far gone she was."
Jim closed his eyes and remembered.
There were two pools of lovely, limpid water, side by side, made for... whom? A Sentinel, and someone else. The Sentinel's mate, perhaps? Or, if things had been different, the Sentinel's Guide?
Jim could only guess. He had neither the extensive knowledge of the state of being of 'sentinelness' which was his Guide's, nor the connection to the mystic that fired Alex Barnes's art with images and fervour from ages past. But this was Alex's scene to direct, and she didn't want a Guide playing any part. Certainly not a Guide whom she had killed and who was supposed to have stayed dead. A Guide revived by his spiritual bond with the very Sentinel she intended for her mate, and whose unexpected presence in her fond ambitions had made her determined to kill him again, when she got around to it, when Jim wasn't there to stop her.
Alex had had a lonely dip in the pool before the others caught up to her. She had seen things, felt and heard and scented and tasted things, so far beyond the common touch that she was hardly human any longer. She wanted that splendour for her mate. She wanted apotheosis for herself. She deserved to be God.
Jim couldn't talk her out of it. She held a gun on Blair Sandburg and Inspector Megan Connor and when her mood changed to violence, Jim had entered one of the pools, embarking on a kaleidoscopic journey of sensory input and spiritual imagery that left him shaken to the core, but knowing that in his darkness, whenever it came and however it fell, it would be Blair Sandburg who would be his light.
When Jim entered his pool at the point of Alex's gun, she had embraced the second one. Her journey of self-discovery began with greedy delight in her apprehension of the minor seismic movements of the plates of the earth, the breeze from a butterfly's wing, the bawling of a big cat somewhere nearby.
But within seconds she reaped the vile reward for her self-aggrandisement. Like Semele, she had never been meant to know such things. Like Semele, she burned, a moth in the flames of her self-built funeral pyre. Unlike Semele, she was not consumed, but lived on, tortured, raving, a sight pitiable for those who did not know her crimes, and those like Sandburg, who could forgive her in her madness.
Jim Ellison could not and would not forgive the bitch who had killed the man he loved better than he loved his brother, the one who was his chosen brother of the heart, Blair Sandburg. Let her burn. May her flames fill the halls of Hell.
"She was so far gone," Jim groaned. "Simon?"
"Yes, she was. Unsalvageable."
"Looked good on her!" the Sentinel pronounced fiercely. The jungle cat was the avatar of his soul. It never asked forgiveness and never gave it.
"Jim," Blair put in, "let it go, man. She's crazy, and I swear, I believe she was helpless. Certainly Hendricks had nothing to help her with!"
The others were bobbing their chins. That's how she looked to them, too, in Mexico.
"So someone else got her out, for his own purposes," Jim speculated.
That seemed to be the consensus in the captain's office.
"Who would think a madwoman worth abducting?" Blair asked, puzzled.
Then enlightenment beamed through the room.
"Brackett!" three voices yelped.
The cry brought two of the bullpen detectives to the door of the office to find out what was the matter.
"Okay," Simon said after he cleared the others out of his office, "we all know this isn't going to be a crime in our jurisdiction. The FBI have already been called by Carmody."
"I expect the CIA will take an interest once they figure out that Brackett's involved," Jim put in darkly.
"So I guess it's up to us unofficial guys to take on the case," said the civilian observer. He waited a beat while his friends glared at him. "Hey, you gotta love the irony! Heh, heh, heh!"
Simon and Jim looked despairingly at each other. Both knew Blair was trying his best to keep from being all-out terrified and for that reason alone, they forbore to slay him. He apologised sheepishly, and the three men got down to business.
First, Blair touched base with Jack Kelso, his 'in' with government agencies that didn't let much out about their doings, and explained the situation. Jack agreed to nose around for information, and call Simon back on a secured line.
Then, the Sentinel and Guide headed out to Carmody Psychiatric Clinic. They knew they were safer together than apart. Alex had no Guide and she was no Sentinel with a mission of protecting a tribe. They were more than a match for her.
Dr. Craig Hendricks was there to meet them, a tall, skinny man in his late forties, hair thinning rapidly, face obscured by horn-rimmed glasses. His most unfortunate feature was a badly underslung jaw, but only because the glasses hid the watery blue eyes.
Not a man to encourage confidence, but perhaps someone a psychotic might consider so harmless, he could be trusted with The Truth.
"Dr. Hendricks," Blair said, extending a hand. "This is my partner, Detective Ellison."
"Yes, yes, of course." Hendricks managed a grimace for a grin. "How do you do?"
"I'll do a lot better when I know just what went on here," Jim announced. "Where was Barnes supposed to have been kept? What security measures were in place? I need to see the conditions she was kept in."
An ancillary physician with a pale blue lab coat over a navy broomstick dress moved out of the shadows. "I'm Dr. Varley. I treated Alex Barnes while she was here, under Dr. Hendricks' instructions. I can show you around."
Jim nodded to her, threw Blair a glance that said, "Question the oaf," and started after Varley.
They wandered long, slanted corridors, turning right and left and right again, always heading in a downward direction. When the colour on the walls had gone from pale shrimp to lavender to mint and finally to cream yellow, the Sentinel realised they were at least two levels beneath the ground.
"What's on this level?" he asked abruptly.
"Maintenance rooms, storage, the sensory deprivation room, and on the far side of the building, the lower level of the parking garage."
Jim didn't like the sound of that. "Parking garage. Is there any kind of security arrangement to keep people from breaking in?"
Dr. Varley, a middle-aged faded blonde with brown eyes, smiled as she responded. "No, we're more concerned with people breaking out or wandering off than people breaking in." Then she heard what she'd said and the smile disappeared. "I guess when we accepted Ms. Barnes as a patient we should have been more aware of the potential for something like this happening. We really only considered whether Ms. Barnes could benefit from treatment here and if she would be a risk to the clients." She sighed.
"Show me the tank room, then," Jim demanded. He had already scanned the hallway with his hyper acute vision and sense of smell. He knew what route had been taken to haul the sick woman out of the asylum. But he needed to see what his Guide had arranged for Alex Barnes. He had come close to requiring just that kind of care himself, before he had met Blair Sandburg and learned to control his senses so that they would not control him.
So it was with a sick feeling of relief and horror that Jim looked at what should have been Alex Barnes' future and was nearly his: a bare, blank room with a tank of treated water, dense enough to let the patient float effortlessly and warmed to skin temperature.
"We bring the lights down for her," Varley mentioned, "and there are sound baffles. She wears soft caps over her eyesockets. There's virtually no sensory input for anyone in the tank. But still, you know, I think she could hear me coming whenever I came down to treat her."
Check your emotions at the door, Ellison. Just do the job. Just do the job.
The Sentinel took a deep breath. "Oh," he countered, "and why is that?" He automatically noted the use of tenses in Varley's speech: she was like a survivor of an accident victim, who was not yet prepared to admit the truth, that the victim not alive and was never coming back. Jim deleted Varley from his list of suspects; the living lie detector felt the accord between the woman's words and her autonomic nervous system's functioning. Varley was not dissembling. "Why do you think she knew you were coming?"
"Well, she started acting up as soon as I would reach the interchange between Lilac and Buttercup. Um, those are the names of the levels, for the paint colour." Dr. Varley's cheeks pinked up. She waved at a camera in the corner. "That was on constantly. The nurses said that about eight minutes after I'd leave the main desk, Ms. Barnes would start thrashing in the tank. It's a long walk down here. We learned early on not to use the elevator. She'd start moving toward a psychotic break every time we did."
Jim searched the room, empty but for the tank, the camera and an IV stand with loose tubing flapping around. How hollow an existence. "That's how she was fed?" he asked.
Varley sighed again. "Yes. The drip is the only way to keep her alive." She closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them again, a new fierceness in her. "The woman is waiting to die, Detective. I can hardly believe I agreed to this treatment for her, but I saw what she was like on standard drugs, and how many different ones nearly killed her."
"Hendricks took full responsibility for Ms. Barnes' care and examined her weekly, but I was the one who carried out her treatment on a day-to-day basis. And if I hadn't thought this was the only way to prolong her life expectancy and enhance her quality of life, I would never have agreed to it. She is so sick. So sensitive. I had to put painkillers in her glucose tube so she could bear the pricking of the needle. I've never seen anyone in a condition like hers and I hope I never do again. She was in torment. Death would have been kind." Varley rubbed the bridge of her nose.
Jim was lost in his own thoughts. His own fears. His mind travelled back to Mexico. He would never be like Barnes, never in a grey void. There was laughter and conversation, new taste treats and the scent of candles, soap and shampoo and unguents that felt good on his skin, all of these were in his, Jim Ellison's, life. Blair Sandburg ensured that.
Alex Barnes, would-be god, had damned herself.
Noises echoed down the corridor. Jim came back to himself then. The FBI agents were chattering about the lack of security, how the nurses at the main station were the 'security guards', sparing a half a second a shift to glance at the monitor trained on Barnes, how the tape had been gimmicked so it always showed the woman unmoving, adrift in nothingness.
It was just as Jim expected, and so was the short shrift the two agents gave him. "Go home, Detective," the taller one in the navy pinstripe suit said forcefully. "You can't help here."
"I know it's hard when you're personally involved," the shorter one in the grey pinstripe suit said soothingly," but it's the best you can do for yourself and Mr. Sandburg. He's not actually in law enforcement, after all."
Bad cop, good cop. Jim bade them and Dr. Varley farewell.
Upstairs again, Jim rendez-vous'd with Blair in the visitors' rotunda. He put out a long careless arm and half hugged his partner under cover of swinging him around to face him.
"Jim?" Blair asked.
The Sentinel looked at him, his heart in his eyes for one long second.
"Jim," Blair answered. He always wore his heart on his sleeve.
Ellison knew it was going to be all right, whatever happened. As long as the two of them kept faith together, it would be all right. And Blair had all the faith in the world.
So he drew his partner down into a short huddle to exchange notes. Blair reported that Hendricks seemed a little 'off' to him, but he wasn't sure if Hendricks was just scared of the repercussions to his career or if he had had something to do with Barnes' abduction.
Jim spent all of thirty seconds with Hendricks before the CIA ops showed up. Hendricks' eyes grew cartwheel-sized, and he nearly went into cardiac arrest. Oh, yeah, Jim concluded. Hendricks was Brackett's key to the asylum.
"Mr. Sandburg. Mr. Ellison," the first op declared, clearly having been briefed well on this job. "Your presence here is no longer required."
"And you would be the Men in Black, I presume," Blair said dryly. The two ops just stared stone-faced.
"It's Lee Brackett who conducted the abduction," Jim said helpfully, "with Dr. Hendricks' help. Dr. Varley is clean."
"Thank you for the information, but we already have Ms. Barnes in custody," the second op announced. "She will be returning to the care of this institution any moment now."
"Where was she?" Blair yelped excitedly. "How'd you find her? How is she?"
Jim put out a hand and tapped his partner's shoulder. A finger to the lips and Blair was quiet, a finger pointing toward the doors, and Blair gasped.
Alex was being brought in on a gurney. She was catatonic and in a straitjacket and the horrible past of her psychotic break in Mexico aligned with her ghastly present in a sensory dep tank and a future in which she suffered as no one before her ever had. It was... unspeakable.
Jim couldn't suppress a shudder, and then it was Blair's arm turning him away from the sight, his voice whispering comfort no one but a Sentinel could hear.
They would never know if Alex heard the Guide comfort his Sentinel. Nor if she were tortured with the knowledge that she threw away all possibility of an eternal friendship like theirs, for the chance of becoming a god. Only Alex knew that.
"As you can see," the first CIA op put in, "we have everything well in hand."
"Isn't that all nice and tidy?" Jim asked nastily. "Brackett abducts her and you bring her back all within, what, twelve, fourteen hours? Just what did you find to do with her in that amount of time?"
"Detective Ellison," the second CIA op gritted frostily, "these accusations are unbased and it could be very dangerous if you continued to make them."
"Men in Black," Blair said with disgust. "Jim, do we have to be here any longer?"
The clear plea for release from the godawfulness of the last couple of hours wrought a change in Jim Ellison. Suddenly he didn't want to be there any more than Blair did. "Nah, Chief. We have the case wound up. Oh, the Fibs are in the basement. As Hendricks isn't making a break for it, I guess he's one of yours. Enjoy yourselves, gentlemen. We'll leave the litter to you."
Jim ushered Blair out of the foyer without a backwards glance, and the two drove to the police department rapt in silence. After Jim parked the truck, he joined Blair at the elevator and they took the ride up still silent. But Jim's arm was wound around Blair's neck again, and each knew he was not alone.
Simon was waiting impatiently. He couldn't have phoned the information to his best team; it was far too highly restricted and in fact, Simon feared his own office had been bugged. When he saw the Sentinel and Guide step off the lift, he made for them instantly.
"Down to the showers," the police captain ordered abruptly.
Jim and Blair exchanged startled glances, and got back on the elevator.
When in the shower area, Simon waited for all other officers to clear out, and then turned on the water. White noise. As free from detection as they were likely to get in the PD.
"Give, Simon!" Jim demanded.
Blair stared fixedly, quiet for once.
"I heard from Jack Kelso," Simon reported.
"And?" Jim was impatient.
Simon glared back. "There's rumours in certain places of a deal cut with Lee Brackett."
"Yeah, Simon, we kinda figured that," Blair said tiredly.
"There's more, isn't there?" Jim announced.
The Guide's eyes grew bright again.
"The rumours have it that there is a covert government operation underway to engineer genetically superior soldiers," Simon continued.
"But Alex is back at the asylum," Blair stated, in obvious confusion. "What did they do? Take a sample of her germ plasm for analysis? Impregnate her? She's not likely to live till the next statutory holiday, let alone long enough to bear a child. Whose sperm would they use, anyway?" He turned to Jim, seeking the Sentinel's, the ex-Covert Ops Ranger's, opinion.
Jim took a long, deep breath. His face clouded over, lightning in his eyes, thunder in the clap his fist made against his palm.
"What?" Simon asked excitedly.
"What, what?" Blair bounced verbally.
"They don't need Alex Barnes for their genetic engineering program," Jim concluded darkly.
"Well, what are they gonna do with her germ plasm? They can analyse it but they can't reproduce it in others," Blair said. "Not yet, anyhow, and besides, Hendricks could have provided a swab or a blood or tissue sample, whatever, without all the folderol of abducting her!"
"Look, Chief," Jim addressed his best friend, setting his hands squarely on Blair's shoulders. "Brackett was in prison when everything in Mexico went down. He must have heard about it and through his contacts sold the concept of Sentinels to the Pentagon or whoever is running this program. They let him out and he goes for Alex Barnes and returns her in less than a day via the CIA, with some lame cover story created for the news media."
"Yeah, okay, so?"
Jim turned his attention to his captain. "Simon, what did Jack say exactly about this genetic engineering program? How's it been set up?"
"He said," Simon came out with the data slowly, his own face lined with doubt, "that they've got some baby farm somewhere with a bunch of hormone-soaked human brood mares, and they're ready to roll with turning out the soldiers."
"Cloning?" Blair said with disbelief.
"The only way possible," Jim agreed. "They didn't want Alex Barnes, they wanted her eggs."
All three men fell into utter stillness. An army of Alex Barnes clones. Psychotic Sentinels. And with Dolly the sheep, the technology was there. All they needed was her eggs, the eggs that carried the Sentinel genes.
"They, they couldn't have done it, could they?" Blair whispered at last.
"Yeah," Jim croaked out over the vile taste in his mouth, "they could. With Hendricks' help. He'd have had to be injecting her with hormones, maybe even before she was admitted to Carmody. The Carmody suggestion fit so well with the abduction plan, I wonder if that's why he 'bought' it!"
Blair was green.
"Modern surgical techniques, no concern for Alex herself, all they had to do was shoot her full of sedatives, make a couple of incisions over the ovaries, suck the eggs out and stick 'em in cold storage." Jim was pale as he recited the steps. "Cauterise the blood vessels and a couple of band aids over the incisions would be the sole evidence anything like this ever happened. She couldn't tell anyone; no one would have believed her, even if she wasn't already catatonic. And, Hell, they probably airlifted her to a black medical facility and had the factory line going so they wouldn't even have to flash-freeze the eggs! Just whip 'em all out for fertilisation, one by one." He caught the looks on Simon's and Blair's faces. "I was a medic, remember?"
The others nodded.
"So they have what they wanted," Simon said bleakly.
"Yeah, and I'll bet I never get another look at Alex," Blair shouted in a rage, "'cause they know I'll try to confirm it." He was muttering imprecations.
"Chief! Chief! Chief!" Jim yelled in the Guide's ear.
"What? I'm not deaf you know!" Blair rubbed his aching head.
"Time to give it a rest."
"Jim, what?" Simon refused to believe what he had just heard.
"Well, what can we do about it, Simon? Blair?"
The others shot a look of horror at each other.
"There's nothing we can do. Is there, Jim?"
"No, Chief. Nothing I can see."
"And it gets worse, doesn't it?"
"They're not gonna stop with Alex, Simon."
"There is only Alex and Jim."
"Yeah, but that's not what he means, Captain."
"See, Simon, when all those little Alex clones reach puberty, they'll harvest their eggs and so on, and so on, ad infinitum, like litters of puppies or breeding beef on the hoof."
The future would soon be flooded with armies of Alex's.
Simon had his fingers at his temples. "Well, at least Brackett's not a traitor. Think of that in the hands of an Adolf Hitler or Idi Amin or Saddam Hussein or any other dictator you care to name."
"Yes, but..." Jim hesitated.
"Spit it out, man," Blair urged.
"Anyone who controls a force like the one we're contemplating is on the way to being his or her own little dictator."
"Alex. Mad for power and thousands like her. She, they, would control the world." Blair's voice was thin.
"They, they wouldn't," Simon protested. "They'd never get together long enough to achieve anything. They'd kill each other off."
"Maybe," Jim allowed. "But they'd destroy the world in the process."
For the first time in his life, Blair actively wished for the death of another human being. Of course, it was too late.
Three men mourned for the world their grandchildren would be born into. Then they went home, and Blair called Jack Kelso. If Alex's Armageddon were to be stopped, it would be by the work of others. Sentinel and Guide were just the early-warning system on this peril to the tribe, the tribe Earth. They had completed their duty, by sounding the call to arms. It had been a loathsome duty to fulfil.
~ End ~
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