Five Words... Jim


The Eskimos may not have one hundred different words for snow, but they could have, as far as Jim was concerned. Because yes, there are at least 300 different types that a Sentinel can see, and that was before a Sentinel got to grips with the fact that every snowflake in every type of snow is different.

In fact, there are a hell of a lot more types of snow and snowflake than any language anywhere could even grasp.

And Sandburg wonders why Jim doesn't like talking about it, but is a damn sight less cheery in winter than he used to be... and maybe why Richard-Burton-the-explorer-not-the-actor found sentinels he could talk to in South America. Not Iceland.



Addendum to Notes on Sentinel Tests 4,208 (if anyone's counting and yeah, Test Subject so is...)

Application of somewhat acidic organic substances either internally or externally can produce unusually strong reactions, even taking into account the higher sense base levels, but fluctuates according to mental/physiological factors (he happily drinks enough pure dill pickle juice - straight, man - to rot a normal stomach but when I accidentally spill a few drops of vinegar on his oh-so-sensitive Sentinel skin the rash and burning lasts for hours, and man, the bitching goes on for days...)

Note to Self - when performing vital sensory experiments that Test Subject won't like, try harder to convince Test Subject it was an accident (apologies work better when you can stop laughing long enough to do them, self. And keep the 'all in the interests of science' bit for another time... like next century, maybe?)



He saw it all as soon as he fell asleep, like a dream that the Sentinel knew all too well.

Lushly verdant jungle, dim and dappled with otherworldly shadow and light, with massive trees and ominously twisting vines, and the afterimages of faint, obscure little creatures that scuttled in the edges of his site... and, as usual, all of it in a myriad shades of blue and grey.

A medicine man, tall and grave and empty-eyed, his warpaint the peculiar shade of black that made the Sentinel think of blood. A doppelganger with eyes as ice-pale as its skin, and at its feet a jaguar like a blue-black curve of shadow, with flashing teeth.

And behind them, the broken, blue-washed stones of a ruined jungle temple.

Even as he waited, knowing he really wouldn't want to hear - and really wouldn't understand - what his spirit guides had to say, the part of the Sentinel that was forever Ellison couldn't help wondering why his dreamscape couldn't ever have been a nice, comfortable blue-tinged living room. With a couch.

And beer.

Hell, he'd even drink blue beer right now...



So when it was all over, and he'd gotten Blair back from death, and lost a fellow Sentinel to... whatever, he couldn't help wondering what he'd seen at the fountain that day.

Oh he knew what he'd seen.

A dying wolf on the point of leaving through shimmering light... a desperate, furious, determined jaguar silently calling it back.

A flash as pure and white and terrifying as anything he could imagine. A light as brilliant and blinding as any near-death story he'd heard and discounted.

A body blow without form or shape, ripping a wound somewhere within him as the wolf turned, and ran, and crashed into the black cat and everything exploded in that white flash of light.

Oh yes, Jim knew what he - and, it turned out, Blair - had seen as his dreamscape died. What he didn't know was if what they'd seen was Blair's death or his own - or, in some weird, unreal way, they had both died.

And if Blair - or he - were really, wholly alive again.



Sure, as a working cop, Jim's enhanced senses - being able to crank them up, see and hear and taste and all, better and strong - they were useful. In his more honest moments, he'd admit that to himself (in his more insane ones, he might even hint it to Sandburg). Even if they made his life hell on an irregular but frequent basis, he was learning to live with it, and cranking them up, yeah it worked for him. Sometimes.

What hadn't occurred to him for a while (okay, until it occurred to Sandburg and in an honest and totally sane moment he needed to let his friend know that) was the flipside.

Cranking them down. Being able to see and hear and taste and all... and oh, god smell - weaker, hardly at all.

And right now, he stared stoically at the thirteen alcohol-and-corpse-filled-barrels-in-a-walled-up-cellar that made for a cold case straight out of a bad pulp novel, ignored the faltering, horrified - no, be honest, every one of them grey-green-about-the-gills - members of Denver's' Finest milling about queasily, and thanked Fate, the Chopec gods and above all Blair that he was able to...

-the end-