Part 3: Smoke and Mirrors


Cascade, WA—same day


Jim and Blair were finishing up some paperwork at their desks.  Jim didn’t need heightened senses to feel the tension at the station.  They’d been staking out the warehouse where the Cult of Darkness had been staying.  For four days they’d taken turns with other officers in Major Crimes helping the FBI.  There had been no sign of Kuk, yet.  The FBI wasn’t going to make a move if they didn’t have a good chance of bagging the top man.  Now it was just a waiting game…and Jim was not a patient person.


Simon threw open his office door and stuck his head out.  “Ellison, Sandburg!  Get going!  They’ve spotted Kuk.  He’s at the warehouse.”


The two of them jumped up and headed out the door without a word.


In no time there were at the outer perimeter of the stakeout.  Blair couldn’t understand why Jim never let him drive—especially when Jim drove like a madman.  Blair seriously thought the only reason Jim hadn’t run over anybody was that the citizens of Cascade recognized his truck and hid whenever they saw it coming.  Thank goodness they did.  It wouldn’t look good for the department to have a detective who ran over puppies and little old ladies.  Under normal circumstances, Blair would’ve teased Jim about his driving, but he could see how worried Jim was about how the raid would go down. 


The two of them quietly moved into position beside Rafe, Henri, and an FBI agent named Dubois.  The minutes slowly ticked by in complete silence.  Suddenly Agent Dubois perked up.  He signaled for Rafe and Henri to come with him in one direction.  He motioned for Jim and Blair to make their way around the side.  Jim and Blair crept around the side until they met up with another detective and two agents.  The five of them slowly moved towards the warehouse.  They all positioned themselves by the door and pulled their gas masks down over their faces. 


Blair saw what the agents were carrying.  He looked over at Jim, but Jim was still watching the door.  Blair whispered so low, no one but a Sentinel would be able to hear him.  “Jim.  Turn your hearing down.  They’ve got flash-bangs.”


Jim nodded slightly to let him know he got the message.  In Jim’s headphone, only one word was said.




The FBI was taking no chances.  They shot a mixture of flash-bangs and tear gas canisters through the windows of the warehouse.  The flash-bangs would temporarily blind and surprise while the tear gas would blind, hurt, and disorient.  One of the FBI men kicked in the door.  From all sides of the building, agents and officers were busting in through doors and windows.  Uniformed officers waited on the street to catch escapees and haul away the people the others subdued.




Rafe and Henri were struggling with a burly man who was screaming like a maniac.  He elbowed Rafe in the eye.  Rafe twisted the man’s arm behind his back and upwards painfully.  Henri kicked the man in the bend of the knee to make him go down.  They finally got him handcuffed as two other cops came to take him away.


Similar scenarios were happening throughout the warehouse.  Most of the people surrendered peacefully.  A few, however, tried to escape or fight.


Jim struggled with a reluctant arrestee, but all the while maintained an awareness of his Guide.  He always did.  Just because his partner was now a cop and carried a gun, didn’t mean he’d stopped worrying about him. 


Blair ducked and weaved as a teary-eyed cultist swung wildly at him.  Blair managed to grab one of his arms and pull it straight out to handcuff it.  He spun the disoriented person around before he could react and put the cuff on the other wrist.  He spun the man again and again until his unsteady feet crumbled beneath him.  Another officer came over to cart the dizzy man away.


Jim smiled at his partner’s unique ways of taking out perps.  Sandburg was no great fighter, but he’d had to take self-defense at the academy.  Jim had also decided to teach him some basic fighting techniques he’d learned in the military.  He was reluctant at first, because there were things he didn’t want to expose Sandburg to.  A lot of the techniques he’d learned in Covert-Ops weren’t meant to simply disarm an opponent—they were designed to maim or kill.  These were skills that Jim had to keep in check.  He knew Sandburg could be as tough as he needed to be, but he didn’t want to change the person his Guide was.  Hurting and killing people were against his nature.  Jim was able to work out a style that would help his partner, but not turn him into a killing machine.  But sometimes he surprised Jim with a few weird moves of his own—moves straight out of the Sandburg Zone.  They worked, so Jim wasn’t complaining.


Jim noticed three men slipping away in all the confusion.  There was something odd about one of the men, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.  “Sandburg!  This way!”


The two of them moved stealthily down the hallway, more in sync than they realized.  Jim led the way, gun drawn, all the while listening to strange sounds ahead.  He could hear an odd humming noise and four heartbeats.  Three of them were men’s heartbeats.  With help from Sandburg and his “fun” little tests, Jim had learned how to distinguish between most male and female’s heartbeats.  In general, they didn’t beat at quite the same rate.  But the fourth heartbeat…he couldn’t figure that one.  It was very strong, but had an odd rhythm.  Maybe someone with a heart problem?  It didn’t sound like any he’d ever heard—and Sandburg had made sure he listened in on patients whenever they were at the hospital.  He said that if they were going to be stuck there Jim might as well get in some practice.  Maybe it was an animal of some kind.


Jim nodded at Sandburg who positioned himself on the other side of the door.  Sandburg whispered, “One, Two, Three.”  Jim burst through the door, diving to one side, while his partner dove to the other.




A white haired old man stood near the wall, two young body-builder types moved between him and Jim and Blair.  Blair noticed the strange tattoos on their foreheads.  Some kind of raised symbols that looked like they were carved into their skin.  Blair’s area of expertise was South America so he couldn’t be sure, but the symbols looked Egyptian.


Jim tried not to look at the full-length mirror behind the old man because it shimmered with a strange golden light.  He didn’t want to zone-out now.  But he still heard four heartbeats besides his and Sandburg’s.  There were only three men standing before him.  Where was the fourth?  Suddenly he found it, not believing his ears.  The white-haired man.  He was giving off two distinct heartbeats!  How was that possible?


“Jim!  Whatever your concentrating on, stop it!  You’re going into a zone-out.  Listen to my voice.  Let it keep you grounded, man.”


The old man looked furious.  “The mirror is not ready!  Keep these interlopers busy!”


One of the men pointed an odd, curved device at Jim. 


“Jim!  Move!”


A burst of energy shot from the strange object.  Jim rolled away just in time.  If  Sandburg hadn’t yelled…  What was that?  He’d never seen a weapon like that before.


The cultist raised his weapon again.  Blair shot him in the arm and he dropped it.  The other one charged at Blair and struck him with his staff.  He dragged the stunned Blair over to his leader. 


Jim ran to help his partner, but the wounded guard stepped in his way.  Jim punched him in the face.  The man staggered back a step but didn’t fall.  He punched Jim in the stomach then backhanded him across the face.  Jim fell to the floor, but quickly got back up.  He’d underestimated this guy.  Not again.  He laid a stunning roundhouse kick to the man’s head then struck out with a fist straight into his opponent’s throat.  The man dropped like a brick, gasping for air.


Meanwhile, Blair was held fast by the other guard, facing the old man.  “Hey!  You can’t kill me!”


The white-haired leader looked him over with disdain.  “And why not?”


Anything to stall.  “Uhhh...  I’m too young to die?  I haven’t earned any officer-of-the-year awards yet?  And it will really make my partner mad because it’s my turn to dust and vacuum the loft this weekend.”


“You are a fool.  I, Kuk, God of Darkness, hold your fate in my hands.  The trivial details of your pathetic human life mean nothing to me.  I decide when you die!”


“Oh, wow!  You’re Kuk?  The Kuk?  I’ve never met a god before.  This is so cool!  My area of expertise is native South American culture, but Egyptian mythology is fascinating, too.  It’s such an honor to meet you!”


Kuk stared at him for a moment, confused by his strange banter.  “Of course, it is an honor.  It will be even more of an honor to be killed by me personally.”  He raised his hand.  He was wearing some type of jewelry that fit over the hand and fingers.  He splayed his fingers, palm outward, in front of Blair’s face.  Blair suddenly felt like his whole body was vibrating violently.  He cried out.


Jim shot the guard holding Sandburg.  He flinched as the bullet tore through his leg, dropping Blair in the process.  The old man was intent on Sandburg, still hurting him with the device on his hand.  Jim ran at the cult leader, knocking him away from his partner.  The two of them fell against the mirror and disappeared in a flash.  Blair watched groggily as it flared up and then folded in on itself.  There was nothing left.  No mirror, no Kuk, no Jim.


Jim?  “JIM!!!!!”




Part 4