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June 12th, 2007


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10:22 am - The Sentinel (with crossovers) Fic Rec (the Imperfections series by Dasha)
I've been enjoying this long-running AU series ever since Dasha put up the second installment (second full story, really) at the Cascade Library. It's just gotten better as it has progressed, and I thought it was about time I recommended it to you all.

AU. If Blair's washing out of the guide program, who's taking care of Jim?

Imperfections (currently at 9 stories in length) is what AU should be. Detailed in its differences from canon (Sentinels are known, and guides are trained; Jim's first guide was Lee Brackett, which didn't work out well), yet not so far off that the characters and milieu become unrecognizable. Showing canon events from another perspective (including using specific cases from the series), and giving us twists on canon relationships.

Many people have told AU stories where Sentinels and guides are known in modern society, but this is the most realistic one I have ever read, the most interesting in terms of world-building, and the least dystopian. The ongoing academic discussion in Dasha's universe, over the best way to handle the sentinel-guide relationship (emotional attachment vs. professional competence) alone is fascinating, though it only forms a subplot of experience for Jim and study-related comments from Blair and Jack Kelso.

This is also one of the only multiple crossovers I’ve read that completely works. Dasha does this by crossing over characters, and character dynamics, rather than wholesale universes. Details and emotions are important, and she pays close, careful attention to those, while never letting her cameo characters take over the story, which still belongs to Jim and Blair. (Detours into other povs become prominent in Imperfections IX, but still don’t distract from the story--rather, they add a thick layer of suspense and peril.)

And I can't forget what an excellent a writer Dasha is.


Jim had to lean sideways on the balcony to catch a glimpse of the little group on its way to the park. He wished he were going too, but it was his party.

The whole event was supposed to be mostly for Stephen, right? Get Jim's brother in a room full of sentinels, let him see the truth of their normalcy and weirdness and make his own judgment. Well, that and matchmaking Joel and Marcia. Possibly Blair had had some kind of 'sentinel education' ulterior motive.

Maybe that was what was going on. Maybe Jim was looking around at a room full of sentinels and--? What? Freaking out? He wasn't freaking out. These were his friends. Well, friends and irritating acquaintances. Nothing shocking or new here.

Jim sat down on one of the folding chairs. Joel and Marcia were standing awkwardly in the kitchen, not looking at each other, but talking in each other's general direction. Jim couldn't bring himself to eavesdrop; they were pathetic enough without being a spectacle.

By the table, Jack and Vecchio were talking about sentinel medicine. Jack was being patient--far more patient than when he talked to Blair. Vecchio's qualifications as a guide must be truly horrifying.

Fraser and McKay were on the tiny balcony next to Jim, arguing about hockey like it actually mattered.

Stephen's wife Linda was sitting on the couch with Sheppard. They were exchanging pet stories, which was so trivial and *mundane* that it felt kind of surreal.

Jim listened outward. The park was small and close. Chloe's squeal was piercing. "Daryl, throw it really, *really* high!" Jim wondered if Stephen would worry less if he knew that his daughter was still easily in range of Jim's hearing. Or would he decide once and for all that Jim was just too odd to expose his family to.

At the table, Sharona was trying to convince Adrian that it was safe to eat the potato chips.
Joel and Marcia were headed toward the door together. It was a good sign, but their body language said they were still at the negotiation stage. Because it was important to Jack, Jim hoped it worked out for them. Well, maybe he hoped it for himself, too. If Marcia could have a good relationship with a normal human, then anybody could.

Rodney laughed suddenly--a sharp, unexpected sound--and began to sing the Canadian national anthem. Fraser jumped in on "True patriot love in all thy sons command," and the sound of it changed. The harmony was very tight, and did things in Jim's ears that he had no words for. Most music lately had been a little disappointing. Recorded music sounded flat and canned, and even the best speakers sounded weirdly limited. *Live* music, while vibrant and vivid, was usually a little off--acoustically uneven or slightly off pitch. Jim hadn't noticed any of this before, when he'd had normal ears and a normal life. He'd sort of gotten used to it since coming on line.

Except the two guys singing "O Canada" on Jim's balcony were perfect. The difference was like moving from black and white pictures to color. Or from recycled building air to wind on the beach. The same, but completely different.

Jim didn't breathe until they finished. Except they didn't finish. Rodney started again at the beginning, and this time Ben came in as a shadow, just slightly behind and singing in French. Pitch and timing remained perfect--except perfect was too shallow a word for the bright feeling that seemed to grow in Jim's hands and feet and gut.

Again they finished and started over. This time they alternated lines in French and English. Ben stepped closer to Rodney, and the resonating voices seemed to merge and then multiply. The hairs on Jim's arms were already standing up, and now they began to shiver with sympathetic vibration. He'd had no idea--no idea--that any sound like this was humanly possible. Yet here he was, hearing it, and the impossible music seemed to hold secret meanings Jim couldn't even guess at.
This time, when they reached the end of the verse they really did stop. The silence was shocking. Sudden, cold, solid, like a thing Jim could touch. The quiet filled every corner of the room--almost every corner of the *world*--for a long moment, and then the party guests applauded. The thin, flat sounds trembled against Jim's skin.

Jim held still, not trusting himself to move. He was standing up, but didn't remember moving. He wasn't sure where the floor was. Or where he would go if he did move. Or what the hell he'd just heard. He didn't know--

Stephen--his movements sounded worried--was crossing the room, closing fast. Jack caught him at the door to the balcony and halted him. "He's fine, Stephen, give him a minute."

"Look at him. He's--something's wrong. What's it called? Zoning?" Stephen's voice, quiet but near panic. Jim tried to rouse himself, but it was hard to think, impossible to focus.

"He's zoning, yes. But he's fine. He's in a safe environment. He's not under stress. He's processing a very complicated input. Let him be." Jack's voice, level and calm. Jim breathed in and out, trying to collect himself enough to focus on their faces. They weren't standing very far away.

"You're a guide," Stephen said hesitantly. "You work with Blair."

"I'm his supervisor."

Jim wasn't sure how far away they were. Or who else was around. He tried--hard--to shift his attention, but the senses had taken charge and Jim had no control.

Stephen smelled like pain. He smelled like worry and fear and shame. Jim thought, He gives a shit, and it should have been a comforting thought. A relief. A certain place to start: Stephen cared.

But instead of feeling a relief, a thawing, a warmth--all Jim felt was the same, flat, empty feeling he'd felt about Stephen for years.


And here are the links, to each of the stories, in order. (They can also be found at Dasha's listing at The Cascade Library.)



The Sentinel: Imperfections series, by Dasha ( dashamte )

Imperfections
AU. If Blair's washing out of the guide program, who's taking care of Jim? Crossover with Monk. (149K in two parts)

Imperfections II: Believing in Fairy Tales
AU; multiple crossover. Sentinels are disappearing all up and down the West Coast. This is not a good thing. (158K in two parts)

Imperfections III: Visiting
AU. It's a holiday. They have time off. What can go wrong? (100K)

Imperfections IV: Necessary Parts
AU. Blair starts work 'for real,' Naomi visits, and Jim faces some horrifying truths. It should all be a piece of cake. Rated PG-13. (189K in three parts)

Imperfections V: Passing Through the Underworld
AU. Crossover. Blair tries to straighten out Jim's love life, a nasty murder case gets complicated by the out-of-town experts sent in to 'help,' and nobody is quite as reasonable as they'd like to be. Violence warning. (365K in five parts)

Imperfections VI: What Comes Around
AU. Crossover. Something unexpected comes up. (111K in three parts)

Imperfections VII: Running Up That Hill
AU. Crossover. Sometimes you get all the breaks. This isn't one of those times. Warning: Strong language. (172K in four parts)

Imperfections VIII: One Warm Line
AU. Crossover. Jim's finally getting his feet under him. The rest of the world? Not so much. Warnings for language and minor violence. (271K in four parts)

Imperfections IX: Unexpected Places and Other Strange Roads
AU. Really, something had to be done about Brackett! Multiple crossover. Warnings for violence and language. (357K in five parts)


One small caveat: while this entire series is gen, Dasha has also written additional "detour" stories featuring some of her crossover characters. Some (like the CSI ones) are gen; others (SGA, Due South) are slash. So if you like the series enough to go looking for the detours (try her LJ), just be aware of that.
Current Mood: enthralledenthralled

(30 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:June 12th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
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The x-overs made my brain hurt. Do you have to be familiar with the x-over characters to enjoy the story. (I.e., does she flesh them out enough for the reader to appreciate them without having to be previously familiar with them?)

And how confusing is it to read about "Joel" when I've been watching NX? *snerk*

Loved the description of the performance of "O, Canada!"

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From:izhilzha
Date:June 12th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
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The xovers are basically played as Original Characters in the story. You don't have to know anything about them (there are some I don't know, especially in IX), but those you do (and you, specifically, will know many) will make you squee at how she has transferred them into her universe. At least, I think it will.

I told you she was a good writer (well, you know that anyway, having read some of her other fic).
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From:wneleh
Date:June 12th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
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I've been unfamiliar, initially, with almost all - no, I think, *all*, of the characters that she's brought in from outside TS. I've since become fans of the characters and several of the shows by googling them to see where they came from. (Figuring out who John and Rodney were was esp. hard, because the next story I found them in was a slash AU. I'm now pretty nuts about SGA.)

- Helen
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 13th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
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And that's probably the best recommendation for this series, right there. That use of crossover characters in such a canonical (sort of) way that readers fall for them, without infringing on the story of Jim and Blair.
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From:starwatcher307
Date:June 13th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
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I second izhilzha's rec. If you don't know the x-over characters, they work well as OC's, because we "see" them through Jim's and Blair's eyes; they draw conclusions about these strangers, the reader uses that information, and the story progresses nicely.

I think one very engaging thing about this series is that the sentinels and guides are as varied as RL people; there's no "set" way for either of them to act and/or react; we see difficult adjustments as well as easy adjustments.
.
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 13th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)
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one very engaging thing about this series is that the sentinels and guides are as varied as RL people

Yes, yes, yes! How she makes them all real is definitely one of the things that keeps pulling me back to the series.
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From:wneleh
Date:June 12th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for starting a discussion of Imperfections! I read Nine all in a rush, and I've been trying to figure out what element I'd want to talk about in my LJ.

Comments:

- In some ways, it felt like a build-up for Jack's autumn conerence (wish I could submit an abstract!)

- The smarm-lover in me would have liked to see more of the Charlie-Don story developed. I hope it gets its own detour!

- What really jumped out at me in Nine was how authority played out in relationships, in particular the Blair-Jack relationship.

I really should reread... I've been hesitant because the quality of Dasha's work makes me very unhappy with my own, and I've been trying to get a TS story together the past week (unsuccessfully.)

- Helen
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From:feliciakw
Date:June 13th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
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- The smarm-lover in me would have liked to see more of the Charlie-Don story developed. I hope it gets its own detour!

Okay, now you're makin' me twitchy, 'cause AUs with N3 tend to do that. Who's the sentinel and who's the guide? My guess would be law enforcement (Don) is the sentinel and academic (Charlie) is the guide.
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 13th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
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Okay, my friend. Do you trust my opinion on N3 fic? This is one of the better (most in-character) ones I've seen. Don is still FBI; Charlie is still a math prodigy and professor. Essentially, canon remains intact...except that Charlie is a sentinel and Don is his guide. I was a bit twitchy when (right smack at the end of XIII) I realized she was bringing N3 into the mix, but imho she played the relationships very well, played Charlie very well, and used them in her story effectively, to boot.
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:June 13th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
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Okay, so. I cheated. I skimmed the Eppes parts. My brain hurts. I mean, seriously. I'm not sure I can take that many x-overs in one story.

And right now? Colby as Chinese mole is about all the N3 "AU" I can take. And that's canon.

But I know you enjoy this series. :-) And she is a very good writer.
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 13th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
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*crosses arms and glares* If you cheat, how will you know if you like the actual story?

That settles it. I'm gonna bug you till you read this. :-)
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From:feliciakw
Date:June 13th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Charlie as sentinel and Don as guide has some unique possibilities. Because it approaches things from an angle I don't think I've *ever* seen anyone take . . . at least not in-depth. What if the *guide* is the one whose job takes him into harm's way on a regular basis? Charlie might be the sentinel and better equipped as a "protector" genetically, but he's also a civilian with minimal experience in actual law enforcement/dangerous situations. A sentinel whose guide is constantly being shot at or harassed by the mafia or drugged or whatever, while the sentinel must stay in the office . . . Could be interesting . . .

It's the guide's job to watch the sentinel's back. But in the case of Don and Charlie, Don is the one who needs his back watched. (And I know many in the fandom who would gladly volunteer for the job . . .)
[User Picture]
From:wneleh
Date:June 13th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
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In this AU, it's an OSHA rule that a sentinel needs to have a guide on the job. This makes sense, and is very economical considering how effective sentinels are at many things, for most job categories.

If I'm reading the series correctly, though, there are times this is a problem - when a sentinel wants to do something with his/her life which would be perfectly reasonable for a non-sentinel, but for which the constant presence of a guide isn't really required (if the sentinel is basically healthy) and for which no employer is going to pay, essentially, double, since guides are professionals. University Prof. (in most fields) is this sort of job. So (though Dasha isn't explicit about how the relationship works) Don being guide-qualified and on the books lets Charlie do his thing, I'm guessing.

- Helen
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From:feliciakw
Date:June 13th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
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I see what you're saying, and maybe I should drop out of the conversation since I haven't read the series. :-) My thing is that while Charlie can have his job at the university, he can't always be in a position--would very rarely be in a position--to provide proper sentinel-like protection to his FBI agent guide. Does that make sense?

Instead of the guide (i.e., Blair) constantly worrying about the danger the sentinel was in, and would he zone out, and such (ala umpteen bajillion TS fics), it would be the sentinel (i.e., Charlie) worrying about not being able to be with his guide to provide heightened sensory protection to the law enforcement guide going into a baddie-infested warehouse or steam tunnel or whatever.

It just kind of makes for an interesting variation.
[User Picture]
From:wneleh
Date:June 13th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
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I see what you're saying, and maybe I should drop out of the conversation since I haven't read the series.

Aww, if you drop out we'll just be sitting here going "oh, wow" at each other.

Instead of the guide (i.e., Blair) constantly worrying about the danger the sentinel was in, and would he zone out, and such (ala umpteen bajillion TS fics), it would be the sentinel (i.e., Charlie) worrying about not being able to be with his guide to provide heightened sensory protection to the law enforcement guide going into a baddie-infested warehouse or steam tunnel or whatever.

In Dasha's AU, sentinels don't seem to be too much more inclined toward protective behaviors than the normal population; so Charlie probably isn't any more worried about Don than any other close brother, even though his hearing could give Don a safely advantage. Maybe. Dasha hasn't really fleshed this out too much.

Guides are *officially* made, not born, but Dasha has dropped a couple of hints that this may not really be; or maybe being a guide long enough changes someone. Though even Brackett twigged (spoiler) as a guide, so it isn't a matter of quality...

- Helen


[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:June 15th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
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In Dasha's AU, sentinels don't seem to be too much more inclined toward protective behaviors than the normal population

Yeeesss...that's accurate, I guess. Except when it comes to their guides being around other sentinels. And even then the get-away-from-my-guide vibe really varies with the particular sentinel and his or her own psychological issues. Marcia is terribly protective of Jack, but I don't recall Rodney being possessive of John. And Grissom and his team cover the whole spectrum.

Guides are *officially* made, not born, but Dasha has dropped a couple of hints that this may not really be

Another thing I love about her universe. I've always leaned more towards the idea that "guide" is more of an office or position than a genetically coded partner. So the training, the classes, the AG(N), AG(A), etc...I love that. And the fact that there are competent and incompetent guides. It just makes so much *sense*. :-)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:June 13th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
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Helen's assessment is correct, but I imagine that it is rather a cause of concern for Charlie--especially since the point is made that his first guide was his mother, who died. And Charlie's reaction to Don being shot bears that out.
[User Picture]
From:wneleh
Date:June 14th, 2007 11:09 am (UTC)
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Browsing through VIII and IX quickly - are you certain Don is in the FBI in Imperfections?

- Helen
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:June 14th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
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It wouldn't have been mentioned in VIII, I don't think...I do remember that he's referred to as being in law enforcement, but I don't specifically recall if that was FBI or police or what. (I need to read IX for a second time. Oh, the hardship.)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 11th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
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Huh. I think I made a poor assumption...I'm in the middle of re-reading IX, and I think the "law enforcement" references I recall have to do with Charlie consulting for various groups, nothing to do with Don. *looks hard at Dasha* I may have to request more Numb3rs people in the next installment, or a Numb3rs detour, to clear up some of this. :-)
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:June 13th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
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(Con't from previous)

But, in N3 canon, Charlie is the one with the unique mad (math) skillz, so I suppose . . . Charlie as sentinel? I suppose . . .
[User Picture]
From:starwatcher307
Date:June 13th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
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.
Love, love, LOVE this series! I recced it in my LJ back about story three or four (can't find it now; no matter).

What I really like is the variety of reactions for both sentinels and guides -- some sentinels find it easy, some difficult -- and guides treat their sentinels differently according to the schools of thought in which they've been trained. I appreciate that it's not all cut-and-dried. And, as you say, Dasha's writing is stellar. When she does divert from canon (Jim is more fragile in reaction to his senses than we're used to seeing), she's created a solid, thorough background to support it.

And lest the idea of a 'fragile Jim' scare anyone off, she does show him growing in competence with his senses, becoming more secure in his new sentinel skills, more able to handle the occasional ups and downs that being a sentinel brings.

I'd like to quote from Jim and Blair's first meeting. Blair has been told that he won't make it as a guide. Joel has asked for help for his friend Jim, whose guide seems to be abusing him. Joel takes Blair to the hospital, where Jim has been taken after a bad reaction.

The pale man on the bed was looking in his direction, but not *at* Blair or at anything at all. Joel stepped hesitantly forward. "Jim... Jim, this is a friend of mine. He's in the anthropology program at Rainier."

"Guide...." He didn't sound impressed.

"Not exactly," Blair murmured. Not now, and not ever. If this was what happened when the wrong kind of person got hold of a sentinel, he wouldn't risk doing this to someone. Never. Angela had been so right to stop him before things could go too far. "Jim, where is your guide?"

A tiny movement, more a slump than a shrug.

"Ok. Can you tell me how you feel?"

"No...." Blair could barely hear the soft answer, and the sob that seemed to accompany it must have been a figment of his imagination.

"So, I'll just put that down as 'indescribably awful,' then?" The quiet joke was out of his mouth before Blair realized it. He was every bit as rough and insensitive as Angela had said. He had no business looking after vulnerable people.

Before he could stammer out an apology, though, the faded blue eyes fastened on Blair's face. "Good one."

The response was encouraging, and Blair tried again: "Are you spiking or sick or both?"

Jim's eyes narrowed, thinking. "Sick, mostly. But there's like... this feeling. Like I'm claustrophobic all of a sudden."

Blair nodded sympathetically. "Yeah. That happens sometimes."

"Mm?" Jim made a soft, inquiring noise, not quite making it to curious. It hardened something in Blair. A guide should have explained this, provided ways to cope. It wasn't right.

"Your senses are a little off. What you see of the room doesn't match the ambient echoes you hear. Maybe some depth perception problems. The room seems the wrong size, so you want to be out of it."

"Oh...." He considered that, rousing a little more.

Blair watched him, a little surprised at how quickly Jim was settling down. He'd expected a sentinel so distraught would be intractable for hours. Maybe he could move a little faster. "Jim, I'd like to talk to you about requesting another guide."

"Won't make any difference,"

"I know it feels like that. But a competent guide can do a lot to improve things."

No answer.

"Jim, how long since--ah--"

"Lee," Joel said softly.

"Right. How long has Lee been gone?"

A shrug. "This morning, maybe."

"You're not supposed to be left alone like this. He's supposed to be here for support. He's supposed to mediate things with the hospital staff."

Anger flared faintly. "I know."

He knew. Apparently he knew the rules weren't being followed and that he'd been thrown to the wolves. Blair felt fury welling up from his very toes, and he clamped his teeth shut over it. Dear lord, dear lord, this wasn't right. He hadn't wanted to believe it could happen, but whatever was going on, there was no excuse that would justify *this*.

Go. Read. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
.
[User Picture]
From:wneleh
Date:June 13th, 2007 10:10 am (UTC)
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It's funny - reading this snippet, and the one in the original post, really brings home how much Dasha is doing in each passage. Like, here we not only see Blair and Jim meet, we learn about how Blair sees himself, how he perceives others, and get a pretty good idea of what Jim's about, mediated through Blair. And there's a bit of world-buidling too.

- Helen
[User Picture]
From:vamysteryfan
Date:June 13th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
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There are many things I love about Dasha's Imperfections series. I like the way Sentinels are recognized there. It's treated not nonchalantly, but matter-of-factly - guides have training, supervision. Sentinel and Guide status are recognized in law (and how much do I love that it's governed by OSHA). It took me a long time to finish the latest but RL got in the way. Normally I gobble them up and then sit in speechless awe.

One reason her crossovers work for me is that the characterizations are really well done. I do know most of the shows she references and the characters are in character even in the different context. Shawn and Gus from Psych are those characters in a Sentinel context, ditto Duncan and Joe, Monk and Sharon. But the best is Rodney and John. I expected John to be the sentinel, but it fits to have it the other way around. It's not stereotyped that the warrior (from the other show) is the sentinel in this universe.
[User Picture]
From:wneleh
Date:July 2nd, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
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Heh, I owe my SGA obsession to Imperfections, because it's what got me to google John and Rodney. Though I stayed confused a while because the next SGA fic I found was Seperis's Arizona (Iz, don't check it out, it's slash!)

- Helen
[User Picture]
From:wneleh
Date:June 15th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)

OK, here's a favorite passage of mine

(Link)
To cheer you up, and keep the ball rolling, here's one of my favorite 'Imperfections' (non-smarm, non-climactic) passages. It's from Imperfections One:

    Jack wasn't alone. A second man in an ill-fitting sweater sat in one of the visitor's chairs. He didn't move when Blair knocked on the doorframe and poked his head in, but Jack looked up and motioned him in. "Blair, I believe you've met Detective Ellison."

    The strength of the relief Blair felt surprised him. He'd been trying not to think about it since there was nothing he could do, but he'd been worried that Jim wouldn't really believe that information and a competent guide could make a difference in his life. But if he'd come to the department, then he was hopeful and attempting to exert some control. Blair had to swallow hard before answering, "Yeah. We met on Tuesday." Moving slowly, Blair took the second guest chair and dumped his backpack and manila envelopes in a heap at his feet.

    Jim was staring hard at Jack, not speaking. Jack was looking at Blair, though. He folded his hands on the desk and said, very carefully, "Detective Ellison is here to find out who he has to bribe and how much to get you into this spring's exam cohort."

    Blair froze, noticing distantly that even his skin seemed odd and cold. "Oh, no. Damn it, Jim, you don't want me!"

    Anger flashed in Jim's eyes, quickly suppressed. "Dr. Kelso, you should know that Blair was unaware of this request. He is not responsible."

    "You're kidding--you didn't really.... Oh. You can't do this," Blair hissed. "It's not legal!"

    "No," Jim said levelly. "It's against university policy but it's not illegal."

    "It's immoral."

    "I don't see how. I'm not hurting anyone. You *want* to be a guide. I want to work with you. It can't possibly make a difference to the university or to anyone else."

    "Jim," without meaning to, Blair took Jim's nearest hand between his own, "there's a reason why I'm washing out of the program."

    He felt Jim begin to back down. The interest faded from the sad blue eyes and the hand Blair was holding began to sweat. But despite the slight slump to his shoulders, Jim's voice was steady when he said, "I've been doing some reading. We have a guide downstairs in forensics, AG(N)." Accredited Guide (Nurse) was a slightly more intimidating credential then AG(A), Accredited Guide (Anthropologist), but AG(N)s were rare and highly specialized. The sentinel in forensics must practically be a basket case to rate one. "We had a long talk. Sharona said it isn't about state criteria or an imaginary list of necessary personal attributes. She said it's about rapport and trust and support. She said all that matters is that I get the support I... need, that I have a *right* to that, and that nobody--nobody--is in a position to evaluate the situation but me."

    "Detective, I need to speak to Blair for a few minutes. Would you wait outside?" Jim nodded mechanically, let go of Blair's hand, and left without a word. As he shut the door, Blair reached for the white noise generator sitting on Jack's desk, but Jack shook his head. "What I am about to tell you is not a secret, but I need you to pay attention to me, not to him."

    "Jack, I didn't--"

    "After the abrupt end to my career in the field, I spent two years working in assignments for the company. Lee Brackett was one of the guides reporting to our department... people like him are the reason I got out. Two sentinels died in his care in five years. They weren't combat deaths, Blair."

    "Fuck."

    "He's right about rapport. What the hell did you do?"

    "I told him life didn't have to be hell. I was doing a favor for some guy I hardly knew. Aw, god, Jack, his eyes.... He was so hopeless."

    "Blair, if I could arrange for you to sit that exam tomorrow, I would."

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From:wneleh
Date:July 2nd, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)

Interpretting Jim's hallucination

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I hope you're not bored of this yet!

I've been trying to make sense of Jim's hallucination in Imp IX. Here's how things map:

He saw rain, in Cascade--and that was right, yes, it rained at home--but the rain was streaked with soot, the sky crying in black trails, something terrible, something terrible--

I'm taking this as some sort of apocalyptic vision, perhaps just post-TSbyBS, perhaps hunderds of years in the future.

He saw the criminologist from Las Vegas--the one Sandburg was so ambivalent about--on a sunny sidewalk. He was wearing a ladybug patterned tie, checking his watch, caught by something across the street. He turned and stepped off the curb. His guide cried out and leaped after him, but he didn't hear her, and her hands were just a moment too late to pull him back from the speeding Volvo--

Does this map to anything in CSI-Vegas canon?

No, stop! But Jim was caught in the images. He had no control. They didn't stop. He saw a beautiful, thick jungle, a flowering tree, a sweet-smelling vine. And the smoldering wreckage of a helicopter scattered over an area the size of two basketball courts. Memory, and god, one he didn't want. Blood-smell and burnt-flesh smell and bowel smell. The enemy was already gone, and Jim could hear Tyler moaning in pain--

The crash, of course.

No, no--

He saw Sandburg leap into water. Deep water, bottomless water. He was pursuing someone in that water, someone who turned and fought viciously. He caught Sandburg hard in the stomach with his knee and shoved him down beneath the surface--

'Murder 101' - I wonder how this would play out in the Imp universe? Could Imp!Jim ever be secure enough to express real anger at Blair?

A thin-bladed knife with a wooden hilt. It had been cleaned, but there was still blood in the cracks where the metal met the wood.

'Dead End on Blank Street,' right? This would be really interesting, I think, retold in ImpVerse.

Heat. Color. The sound of glass breaking. Jim cried out and reached for Blair, but of course Blair wasn't with him. Only memories--

Confused by this. Maybe TSbyBS events? But of course not the overall plot.

Of all these, I think I want the apocalyptic fic most. After the guide conference.

- Helen


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From:izhilzha
Date:July 2nd, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Interpretting Jim's hallucination

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I hope you're not bored of this yet!

Not a chance. :-)

I've been trying to make sense of Jim's hallucination in Imp IX.

Oh, fun! I really need to reread IX...just haven't gotten around to it yet.

He saw rain, in Cascade--and that was right, yes, it rained at home--but the rain was streaked with soot, the sky crying in black trails, something terrible, something terrible--

I'm taking this as some sort of apocalyptic vision, perhaps just post-TSbyBS, perhaps hunderds of years in the future.


I'll agree with you on that one, although I do recall wondering how exact this bit is...the emotional part of the imagery made me think it might not be quite as apocalyptic as it seems, except in Jim's own view. But your idea is more likely correct.

He saw the criminologist from Las Vegas--the one Sandburg was so ambivalent about--on a sunny sidewalk. He was wearing a ladybug patterned tie, checking his watch, caught by something across the street. He turned and stepped off the curb. His guide cried out and leaped after him, but he didn't hear her, and her hands were just a moment too late to pull him back from the speeding Volvo--

Does this map to anything in CSI-Vegas canon?


I've been thinking this over, and no, I can't find anything in CSI: Vegas canon to map this from. Grissom is almost never in mortal danger in the show at all (I think I can count 3 times, and only one of those was outside the lab). It's not mapped from any other character/situation, either.

Also, in canon, the operation to save Grissom's hearing was successful. I think this is wholly something from Dasha, though that's certainly not preventing me from freaking out a bit over it.

No, stop! But Jim was caught in the images. He had no control. They didn't stop. He saw a beautiful, thick jungle, a flowering tree, a sweet-smelling vine. And the smoldering wreckage of a helicopter scattered over an area the size of two basketball courts. Memory, and god, one he didn't want. Blood-smell and burnt-flesh smell and bowel smell. The enemy was already gone, and Jim could hear Tyler moaning in pain--

The crash, of course.


Indeed. Very disturbing description of it, too.

He saw Sandburg leap into water. Deep water, bottomless water. He was pursuing someone in that water, someone who turned and fought viciously. He caught Sandburg hard in the stomach with his knee and shoved him down beneath the surface--

'Murder 101' - I wonder how this would play out in the Imp universe? Could Imp!Jim ever be secure enough to express real anger at Blair?


Interesting! This one threw me a bit, because I'm prone to interpreting some things more literally, and Blair+water is always going to = SenToo, to me, even though we've passed that possibility already in the Imp universe. I can see how it could be referring to "Murder 101," though. Good catch. And a good question!

A thin-bladed knife with a wooden hilt. It had been cleaned, but there was still blood in the cracks where the metal met the wood.

'Dead End on Blank Street,' right? This would be really interesting, I think, retold in ImpVerse.


Oh my. I haven't seen that episode in a while, but yeah... that sounds about right, and I would pay Dasha to go there in one of her installments. :-)

Heat. Color. The sound of glass breaking. Jim cried out and reached for Blair, but of course Blair wasn't with him. Only memories--

Confused by this. Maybe TSbyBS events? But of course not the overall plot.


Yes, again, I'm very unsure about this one. It's meant to be confusing, I think--for Jim, as well as for us. Glass breaking, Blair not being there.... Hum. Maybe some version of TSbyBS (thinking about a sniper firing through the window at Major Crime).

Of all these, I think I want the apocalyptic fic most. After the guide conference.

I am eagerly awaiting the guide conference. :-) The one I want most after that...? Probably the CSI one. I love how she's brought them into her universe. Except I don't want Grissom to die!
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From:wneleh
Date:July 3rd, 2007 12:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Interpretting Jim's hallucination

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I've been thinking this over, and no, I can't find anything in CSI: Vegas canon to map this from. Grissom is almost never in mortal danger in the show at all (I think I can count 3 times, and only one of those was outside the lab). It's not mapped from any other character/situation, either.

I saw something in your LJ about Sarah being hit by a car or something at the end of this last season. Could this be an alternate version of that?

Probably the CSI one. I love how she's brought them into her universe. Except I don't want Grissom to die!

I hoping Dasha has more plans for them; hoping that she wouldn't have gone through the bother of reimagining them as sentinels and giving Grissom and Sarah their relationship, and having the surgery fail, to not explore it in more depth.

RE: The black rain in Cascade - it *was* near the start of the vision, so, you're right, it may have been something that Jim was interpreting very darkly because he hadn't gotten any sort of bearings yet.

- Helen


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From:izhilzha
Date:July 3rd, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Interpretting Jim's hallucination

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I saw something in your LJ about Sarah being hit by a car or something at the end of this last season. Could this be an alternate version of that?

Assuming Dasha was working from spoilers (which could be, given the timing when IX was being written/beta'd), then yeah, that's a possibility. Sara didn't actually get hit by a car in the finale, but she did wind up deliberately pinned underneath one (as part of a particularly insane killer's revenge plot).

hoping that she wouldn't have gone through the bother of reimagining them as sentinels and giving Grissom and Sarah their relationship, and having the surgery fail, to not explore it in more depth.

I'm pretty sure she will--for one, she already gave us that lovely long Detour with the Vegas team (the scene with Grissom and Doc Robbins is probably one of my favorite bits of smarm ever), and for another, Jim actually has them in his vision! That's a big deal, here, I think.

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