Disclaimer: The main characters are not mine, this is an amateur effort written purely for the fun of it, and no money has exchanged hands, and it is not intended to breach the copyright of Paramount and Pet Fly Publication.

With thanks to Joy and Gail

Ships that pass in the night

Blair Sandburg, post grad student now working on his Masters, looked up when the door to his office opened. His hand dropped down to clutch the aboriginal war club that was resting by the side of his chair as he recognized the three men, John and Michael Felton and Tommy Bennett.

Any student of ethnic heritage, hell anyone that did not fit into their neat little fascist world, was in trouble. Blair had already gotten their calling card a few nights before, when a push had pitched him down the stairs and a boot in the ribs had been followed by the snarled comment that little Jew bastards should be seen and not heard. No one could prove it had been them, as usual they had ten witnesses all ready to swear they hadn't left their fraternity house. Campus security had looked into it, but surprise, surprise, they had drawn a blank, and now the trio was back for round two.

The taunting started as soon as the door closed. At this time of night, ten o'clock, there was no one to hear, and the three of them were going to have fun. As John swept the work off his desk, Blair jumped back, trying to put some distance between them, but like jackals they spread out, ready to cover any avenues of escape.

Tommy closed the distance on the left, his grin broadening when he saw the club. “Do you think that is going to do you any good, Jew boy? Now, you take your punishment, little man, and we might just let you walk away at the end of this. Your kind should have been killed at birth, bastard to a whore. I…”

“Got a problem, Chief?” a voice came from the doorway.

Michael, without turning snapped, “Get out, if you know what's good for you. John, Tommy make sure …”

It was not his night to finish sentences, as his brother's voice, edged with nerves said, “Mike…”

Michael turned; the two men filled the doorway. They gave no indication that they were going to be moving anytime soon. The taller of the two pushed away from the doorjamb, his whole appearance screamed cop. His face was hard and Michael found himself fixed by ice-cold eyes as, for the first time, he felt a lick of fear curling up from his stomach. The second smaller man had an easy smile plastered on his face, as if he was really going to enjoy what was going to happen next.

“Cops.” Michael breathed the one word.

The first man shook his head. “Just call us concerned citizens.”

John snapped, “Concern this.” He swung, but the man easily blocked it and with one blow, put the young thug down on the floor. Then, before Michael could react, he was caught hold of by the shirtfront and smashed up against the office wall.

“Simple message here, sport, that even a moron like you can understand, you leave the kid alone, or I am going to be your worst nightmare, understand me?” He punctuated the final words with a slam into the wall.
The smile was divested of all amusement; a great white would have been friendlier.

The second man said with a grin, “Sir, I think you have to release your grip to let him talk.”

The iron fingers flexed and Michael managed to drag in a strangled breath.

“Y… y… yes…”

“Yes what?”

“Yes, Sir.” Michael could not take his eyes off the man holding him. He was scared. Hell no, he was beyond being scared, he could see death in that room and it was facing him.

“Now get out.”

The man heaved him effortlessly to the door.

Blair watched his would-be attackers flee the office. Now he was alone with his rescuers and he didn't feel any happier, the tall man was now turning his attention to him, and he looked like his own worst nightmare. Short hair, his whole image yelling cop or military; had to be some establishment gig. Finally he got his mouth to work. “Who are you guys?”

The icy stare and smile vanished in a second to be replaced by real warmth. “Your tax dollar at work, Chief.”

“RIGHT…” Blair drew the word out, “Not that I am not pleased to see you guys, I am kinda so not into pain, man, but where did you spring from?”

“Just lost travellers, we were looking for Dr Stoddard, or rather his office. Know where we can find him?”

“Sure, next floor up, room 412.”

“Thanks, kid.”

Blair's mind was whirling. Not cops, and the smaller guy had called the taller one sir, then the tax dollar crack. Military, they had to be.

Then he heard the smaller one's voice going out, “How did you hear all that from the stairwell, sir.”

“Ears like a bat. Remember, Jenkins.”

“Eerie Ellison strikes again.” Then, “Sorry, sir.”

Blair sank into his chair, and then suddenly sat bolt upright as the implication of the last words sank in. // The stairwell's 100 feet away! How the hell could he have heard them from there? There's no way unless he was… // Blair caught up his notebook and headed towards his mentor's office. He could not let this one get away. He took the stairs two at a time and slid around the corner, but the door to the office was in darkness and the two men had vanished. He tried the door but it was locked. Dejectedly he turned and walked away.

“I will find you. You're my Holy Grail. One day, man, one day.”

Captain James Ellison turned back from his position near the office door toward Lieutenant Ron Jenkins. “The kid's gone,” then to the older Anthropology professor, “Dr. Stoddard, our apologies for all this cloak and dagger stuff, but we really do need your help. You're one of only three westerners who have made contact with the Chopec, and any information you can give us would be of assistance. Our information is rather sketchy.”

Eighteen months later.

Blair Sandburg sat in the dentist's office, leafing through the five-year old National Geographic, when he picked up a Time Life magazine and, for a moment, just stared at the picture. It was of a Ranger Captain. There was an almost stunned look on his face. Blair heard his name called and he hesitated a fraction of a second before he pushed the magazine into his bag. He could not get over the impression that he had met the guy, but all he was sure of was that he could not leave the magazine behind. He was drawn to it. It was important. He had little way of knowing just how important it was.

The end.

February 2001

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