Figment of the Imagination: Profiler With a Twist

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to either Profiler or Just the Ten of Us. They are owned by their respective companies. (Please read & review afterwards.)

Author's Note: Since it likely has never done before, I decided to write a story that contains a tad of Profiler's final episode and combines it with a touch of Just the Ten of Us, a favorite sitcom of mine.

Atlanta, Georgia, early evening. County jail. Agent Rachel Burke has just been arrested.

Rachel Burke sat in the interrogation room, all alone, not knowing what to expect. She was in handcuffs, the result of an investigation gone wrong, as she had knowingly disregarded orders from the top.

The tough, take-no-prisoners former Quantico instructor knew that her career was on the line. How could she have thrown herself into a situation like this? How could she have done something that was going to be extremely risky from the start? The thoughts were becoming too much to bear.

"I know this is going to be it," Rachel softly said to herself, a tear forming at the corner of her eye, her auburn hair uncharacteristically strewn all over the place. "How could I? I worked so hard to get to this point, and it's now going to be taken away from me? John, Bailey, my VCTF colleagues – what will we do?"

A few days earlier, Bailey had been told that the Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF), which had been based out of Atlanta for its entire existence, would possibly be closed down for good due to the fact that it required a huge budget to keep its operations afloat each year. Congress had been appropriating these funds for the budget, but with other priorities on their agenda, the majority of legislators decided the VCTF had been kept open one year too many. The Senate voted 98-2 to immediately cease funding the team.

Rachel was enraged by the possibility of the unit shutting down for good. They wanted her – no, they needed her! She was a profiler, the best of the best, the cream of the crop! She had an excellent, established track record at the Agency, thanks to her unique ability to see through the eyes of anyone and everyone, whether that person was a perpetrator or victim. And she had no intention of ever stopping until all of the vicious criminals who roamed the streets of Atlanta and everywhere else were caught and brought to justice.

So there she was, Agent Rachel Burke, member of an elite FBI team and profiler extraordinaire, sitting alone, handcuffed and helpless, in a jail. She had an inkling that if she was going to be incarcerated, it would only be temporary. However, deep down she realized that her life as she knew it was going to be over soon. It would never be the same again.

The door to the room suddenly opened, and a plainclothes officer nonchalantly stepped in. Rachel decided to play it cool.

"Um, Agent Burke?" the officer said. "We're, um, ready to take you to your cell. It's that time now."

"I'm not going," replied Rachel indignantly. "I have not committed any crime."

"Well, I'm sorry, Agent Burke, but I'm forced to take you away at this moment," said the officer.

"Who's forcing you?" asked Rachel through gritted teeth.

"My superiors, ma'am," replied the plainclothes cop.

"In that case, you can tell your superiors that I am not stepping into that jail cell," snapped a now-angry Rachel.

"In that case, I am required to bring in some reinforcements," sighed the officer. Then he shouted, "Boys! Can you give me a hand here and take the agent to her cell?"

At that moment, two uniformed cops arrived, swiftly entered the room and proceeded to lift Rachel up to be taken away. Not willing to go quietly, the profiler became quite agitated and combative. She was not about to be placed behind bars!

"I demand you put me down right this instant!" shouted Rachel, her face turning as red as her hair out of anger. "This was an unlawful arrest, you got me for something I didn't do and you'll be hearing from my attorney pretty soon!"

"Madam," said one of the uniformed officers, "If you want, we could do this the easy way or the hard way."

At this, Rachel began to flail around wildly and yell at no one in particular. "I'm not going to jail! You know I did nothing wrong! I don't deserve to go to jail! Bailey! John! This treatment is not fair! Somebody help…"

(Scene abruptly shifts)

Eureka, California, ten years earlier. Lubbock home, about 11:30 p.m. It's a stormy night, with rain and wind.

"No! No!" Cindy Lubbock wailed as she thrashed around in her bed. "I'm not going to jail! I don't deserve to go to jail!"

"Cindy! Cindy, please!" shouted her twin sister Wendy, jumping on the bed and trying to control her sibling. "Will you get a hold of yourself for God's sake? You're probably having a bad dream!"

"I'll say!" exclaimed their older sister Marie. "I never saw anyone have a nightmare like that since the Nancy girl from the Elm Street movies." She took the small candle she always kept lit at night on her nightstand and brought it in the direction of her twin sisters in order to get a better look.

"This treatment is not fair! Somebody help…," Cindy continued to scream. As soon as she saw the light coming from the candle, she immediately calmed down and stopped yelling. She looked at her sisters' faces and appeared rather confused.

"Bailey? John?" she asked quietly. "Where's my unit?"

"Cindy, what are you talking about?" asked Wendy, a sincere look of concern crossing her face. "There's nobody here named Bailey or John. It's me, Wendy – your twin!"

"And Marie," said their older sister.

"Connie, too," replied their other sister groggily, having just gotten up to see what the commotion was.

"I don't understand," said Cindy. "I was in Atlanta one minute, and I'm back here the next. What's going on?"

"That was definitely a nightmare you were having," said Marie. "The unmistakable signs were there."

"How do you know?" asked Cindy.

At that same moment, the girls heard footsteps on the staircase leading up to their bedroom. The lights immediately came on.

"All right, what's going on here?" exclaimed Coach Graham Lubbock rather loudly. He was followed by family matriarch Elizabeth and younger kids J.R. and Sherry. The four older girls were not pleased to see that their father was holding a golf club.

"Where's the culprit? If he did so much as to touch one of you girls…" Coach continued.

"Graham, will you put that club down?" scolded Elizabeth. "There's no sign of a break-in here and you know that we lock all the doors and windows at night. Cindy!" Elizabeth rushed over to the bed where her oldest daughters were gathered and took her auburn-haired girl's head into her arms. "Cindy, are you all right, sweetie? From what we just heard, it sounds like you had a terrible nightmare, but you can tell Mom what your dream was about."

"This better be good," said Coach rather reluctantly.

"Cool it, Graham!" Elizabeth told her husband. "Cindy, what happened?"

"Well, Mom," said Cindy, clutching her teddy bear and looking around at her mother's and sisters' faces, "I had this strange dream, but it was kinda cool at the same time. I was living in Atlanta, under the name of Rachel Burke, and I was an FBI agent! I used to work at the Quantico base, and then I was transferred to the Violent Crimes Task Force, working with these guys named Bailey and John, and I was a criminal profiler, catching the bad guys! Oh God, was it intense!"

"A profiler?" snickered J.R. "You couldn't even 'profile' all of your old boyfriends!"

"J.R., you keep your mouth shut or I'm going to wash it out for you!" snapped an angry Wendy. Her brother quickly got the point.

"But you know," Cindy continued, "I don't really know what a profiler does. What do they do anyways?"

"I can answer that," Sherry chimed in as she joined her mother and sisters at Cindy's bed. "According to the Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary, a 'profiler' uses certain methods to identify the perpetrator of a crime, based on the analysis of the nature of the crime and the manner in which said crime was committed. These profilers can get a sense of a criminal's personality if they know what choices he or she made before, during, and after a crime. For instance…"

"I think we get the point, Sherry," interrupted Coach.

"Anyways," continued Sherry, "Cindy, I think that this Rachel Burke character you described is a figment of your imagination. She isn't real – she was just part of your nightmare."

"What did I tell you!" said Marie. "It was only a nightmare you had, Cindy. And Sherry, may I ask where you learned all about criminal profiling?"

"Easy," replied Sherry. "From my criminal justice class at school."

"But that's a senior-level class!" exclaimed Connie.

"That's beyond the scope, Connie," said Elizabeth. "Whoa, Cindy, you're crying! What's the matter, sweetie?"

"It's coming back to me now," cried Cindy, tears softly coming down her cheeks. "I was arrested in my dream, and taken to jail. For something I didn't do! How can they arrest somebody and throw them in jail for something they didn't do! I felt so vulnerable, Mom. The cops were taking me away, and I was doing everything in my power not to go with them. Oh, what did I do? What did I do?" Cindy continued to cry, still clutching her teddy bear.

"Sweetie," said Elizabeth, "Those things didn't really happen to you! You were just having a terrible nightmare, as Marie said earlier. Look – you're not in jail! You're safe and sound at the Lubbock house, surrounded by your family."

The rain continued to come down hard outside, as did the strong winds. Suddenly, a loud burst of lightning struck just outside the window! Cindy yelped and leaped into Wendy's arms.

"Mom, I think she's back," sighed Wendy. "This episode cost us quite a few minutes of sleep and I need to go running first thing tomorrow morning!"

"Wait!" exclaimed Cindy. "I just remembered: I have a creative writing assignment due next week. I just got an idea. This Rachel Burke character may be existent only in my mind, but I can write about her in my story. That's it! I can pretend I'm Rachel, and write about her adventures as an FBI profiler for my assignment!"

"And I can help you with your story, Cindy," said Connie. "After all, I am a contributor to the literary journal at school."

"Oh, thanks Connie!" said Cindy. "Who knows? I may decide to join the FBI in the future and nail down bad guys!"

"You? An FBI agent? I can just picture you running after a bad guy," J.R. laughed. "That'll be the day!"

"Graham Lubbock, Junior!" yelled Elizabeth. "Go to your room!"

"All right, I'm going," muttered J.R. as he skulked down the stairs.

"You know, all this talk about nightmares and FBI stuff is making me hungry," exclaimed Coach. "How about a late-night snack of milk and cookies?"

"Good idea, Dad," said Wendy. "Come on, girls, let's go to the kitchen!"

"All right!" said her sisters as they got off the bed and headed for the stairs. Their mother just smiled and looked at them lovingly.

"Cindy," said Connie as they walked down the stairs, "Here's a good title for your story: Rachel Burke – Profiler. You can start by mentioning how she joined the Violent Crimes Task Force in the first place…"

And there you have it: Rachel Burke does exist, but as a figment of Cindy Lubbock's imagination