DISCLAIMER: This story is Fanfic based on the television program 'The Sentinel'; that show is the property of Pet Fly, UPN, etc. I am informed by counsel that fanfic would fall within the bounds of 'fair use.'

NOTES: A prequel to my story But There Will be Joy in the Morning; also a missing scene/epilogue to TSBS.

SUMMARY: Simon realizes something.

The Natural



Captain Simon Banks looked at the portfolio in front of him. It represented work by many people. His son Daryl had done the charts and graphs on the computer. His secretary Rhonda had assembled the statistics. All the detectives in Major Crimes had provided the data, and Inspector Connor had done most of the writing. All that work, by so many people. And, Captain Banks devoutly hoped, it would be unnecessary.

Captain Banks' hopes were dashed the next morning, when he found a message on his voicemail. The Commissioner's secretary presenting the Commissioner's complements and would Captain Banks attend him, the District Attorney, and the Commandant of the Police Academy as soon as he came in that morning? Captain Banks knew what the meeting was about. He picked up the portfolio and headed for the Commissioner's office.

"Captain Banks," said the Commissioner, "The Commandant has expressed concerns about the applicant you sponsored into the Academy; I must admit that I have my concerns also, and when I discussed the matter with the DA he had a few also." "I appreciate your calling this meeting, Sir," replied Banks," and I hope that I can allay your concerns. All of your concerns." "A good police officer, Captain, must be a person of integrity. Why did you sponsor an admitted fraud?" "I admit that I was concerned, but I discussed the matter with Mr. Sandburg, and am convinced that he is a worthy candidate. I would point out that he never submitted the dissertation to the University, that it was given to the publisher without his consent, and the publisher released portions to the public without his consent. While the document may contain untruths, he never claimed otherwise, and he is hardly responsible for what other people claimed for it. And when he realized what was happening he did set the record straight."

"Nevertheless," said the Commandant, "theappearance of our condoning this sort of thing . . . ."

"I understand your concern, Mme. Commandant, but there are considerations that outweigh it."

"I would like to see what those might be."

"So would I," put in the Commissioner.

"I present to you this chart. The red line represents Major Crime's closure rate. The blue line shows the conviction rate. Note where the lines start moving steeply upward? That rise coincides precisely with Mr. Sandburg's becoming an observer-consultant at M.C."

"Captain Banks, as a detective you know something about logic, and know that one of the first fallacies one must look out for is post hoc ergo propter hoc," put in the DA

"Yes, sir; and if that were the only factor I would not point it out. Look at this list. It represents all of the cases M.C. solved since Mr. Sandburg joined us. Each case with a star represents one on which Mr. Sandburg worked. Each case with two stars is one to which he made a major contribution. Each one with three stars shows one that we would not have solved without his contribution. I would point out that Mr. Sandburg came to use with no police or military training, or any academic preparation—his major was Anthropology, not Criminal Justice.

"These are the reports of all the cases with two or three stars. Both the official report that the Detective in charge filed, and a supplementary report, derived from the Detectives' notebooks, showing the contributions Mr. Sandburg made to the case, contributions which his unofficial status lead us to hush up at the time.

"These reports are lists of the injuries Mr. Sandburg suffered in the course of his consultant/observer work and the hands of various perps and suspects."

Simon began to tell stories about Sandburg's contributions, summarizing the more colorful and high profile cases. The three officials looked at the reports. The DA especially seemed impressed by the injuries.

"Mme. Commandant, candidates for the Academy must go through a variety of psychological tests. What were Mr. Sandburg's scores like? What would you have said about those scores if you had not known about his background?"

"If I had seen those scores on anyone else, Captain Banks, I would say 'Jump on him before he decides to run.' It was only those excellent scores that prevented me from dismissing his application out of hand, given recent events."

"Exactly, Mme. Commandant. Mr. Sandburg," the Captain continued, "is a natural for this sort of work. Detective Ellison's 'Cop of the Year' awards really ought to have gone to Mr. Sandburg---he certainly wouldn't have earned them without Mr. Sandburg's contribution; mind you, Ellison was a good Detective without Sandburg, but with Sandburg he became a great one. To not use this talent would be a waste. I would say that it would come perilously close to a sin."

Captain Banks knew that the Commandant was a Roman Catholic and that two of her brothers were priests; the DA was an Episcopalian and Senior Warden of the most High Church parish in the Diocese of Seattle. That last remark was calculated to strike home. The Commissioner, however, remained unconvinced.

"Captain Banks, this is not Sunday School. Talk of sin really has no place here. How am I supposed to deal with the press on this? Explain that a self-confessed liar is considered worthy to join Cascade's Finest?"

"You won't have to, sir. Mr. Sandburg is going to cut his hair; I did a computer model and believe me, he will look like a totally different person. Also, he will go through the Academy and onto the Force under his middle name—Jacob. Sandburg is a fairly common name; I don't think anyone will connect B. Jacob Sandburg with Blair J. Sandburg as long as he stays out of the limelight for a while."

"What about when he testifies in court? Won't the defense lawyers bring up his past?"

At this point the DA spoke up. "I think that we can deal with that," he interjected, "in pretrial. We'll simply ask in pretrial for an in limine motion to prevent questions on his life before joining the force; to keep from appearing to shade him, I'll make it a part of our standard motions for all cases in which a member of the Force must testify. If that fails, we'll bring it up first and give him a chance to explain. It will look as though the defense attorney's case is so weak that he has to search the detective's closets for skeletons rather than directly confront the evidence or offer counterevidence of his own."

"I'm still not sure," said the Commissioner, "a thirty-year-old ex-teacher becoming a detective? I don't like it. Aside from anything else, there will be jealously for his going straight to Detective."

"Commissioner," said the Commandant," you've been out of the field too long. The police force has nothing on my mother's bridge club as a gossip-factory. It is probably, if what Captain Bank's dossier says is true, common knowledge that Mr. Sandburg has been functioning as a Detective—without pay or benefits or recognition—for the past four years. Good cops have a strong sense of justice; they will see it only as setting things right. I withdraw my objections."

Simon looked at the Commandant and the District Attorney. Both of them looked convinced, but the Commissioner seemed recalcitrant.

"I still don't like it."

"Commissioner," said Captain Banks, "have I done a good job as head of Major Crimes?"

"Yes, Banks, you have."

"Do you think I'm a good cop?"

"Why yes, of course I do."

"Then please, trust me on this."

"Simon, believe me I'd like to, but I . . ."

Simon stood up, pulled his badge off his belt, unfastened his holster, and laid both of them on the table. "Mr. Commissioner, I have told you that Major Crimes' excellent record is directly attributable to Mr. Sandburg's contribution. We were a good unit before, but with him we are an excellent one. Frankly, I don't know how we will be able to maintain the standard we have achieved with Mr. Sandburg if we loose him; I have never given less than my best to the Department, and I don't intend to start now."

He turned to leave.


Banks turned around. The Commandant and the DA looked worried. The Commissioner looked like he was about to have a stroke.

"Banks, I don't like ultimata. The only reason I'm not telling you to not let the door hit your butt on the way out is that I know that you are not in the habit of pulling this sort of stunt. Yes, Banks, I trust you. If you say you can't do your job at 100% without Sandburg, then you can have him. But if things don't work out, your head will roll. Do I make myself clear?" "Yes, sir, very clear."

Simon gathered up his gun and badge and left; it took all his willpower not to run. He made it to the men's room and promptly threw up.

He made his way back to Major Crimes, and sat at his desk. He felt stunned. Threatening to resign. He hadn't known he was going to do that until he had done it; he had certainly not gone in with the idea of presenting that ultimatum. When had Sandburg become so important to him? And when did he realize how much Sandburg had contributed to Major Crimes? Was it after the report? No, he had realized it before—the report merely quantified it.

"Hey, Captain?"


"Sandburg went to the barber this morning to get shorn. We're having lunch afterwards. Care to join us?"

"Yes, Detective, I'd like that."

"What was that meeting about?"

"Oh, nothing important."