Archivists Note: I've combined both beginning stories into one file. So there are two summaries.
Summary: Chris hires his first team.
Author's Note: Sorry is took me so long. Here is the next part and it has been beta by me so all mistakes are mine. Thanks to everyone for encouraging me on my writing. Again I give a special thanks to Twyla Jane.
Summary: Chris hires his second team and finds an FES.
Author's Note: Whew! This one about burned my one brain cell out. But here it is. I liked to dedicate this one to Malantha Knight because you liked this AU and wanted more. Thanks for e-mailing the encouragement I needed to keep at this.
Chris Larabee walked confidently down the hallway heading to his old friend's dorm room at the Institute School as it was now called. The school handled all the training, information and instructions for the caring and handling of Sentinels, Guides and Telepaths. The school had become a world-renowned leader for research that lead to helping Sentinels and Guides to live together after the initial finding and bonding rituals. The institute also had the only existing research, what little there was, on Telepaths.
Chris hoped he would be welcomed, but after the last meeting a year ago when he...well if he had to grovel for forgiveness he would. He was proud and pleased to know that his one time best friend had finally found his Guide. Buck Wilmington deserved this peace especially after their volatile last meeting when he, Chris, had been drunk telling Buck to leave and never come back. Buck had looked at him with all the pain from the passed year (and then some) finally saying, "Partner, I'm going to tell you this once...You are not the only one in pain!" Holding his hand up to forestall Chris' rebuke, "A lot of us are in pain from the fire that took Sarah and Adam. I will always try to be there for you when you need me, but maybe I need the space just as much as you do. Come find me when you're ready." Then he walked out the door and out of Chris' life leaving him stunned.
His words had stayed with Chris even after he had sobered up the next day. He then realized Buck was not around. That's when he took a good long look at what was going on around him what he had done. But by that time Buck was gone and he knew he needed to get himself straighten out before he looked up his old friend. Then just a few months ago, Judge Orrin Travis (one of three federal judges to survive the viruses) came to him with a unique proposal.
It seemed that the judges had got together with the leaders of the United Communities (formerly United States). They recognized that a special taskforce was needed to help local police with the crime lords that had sprung up. The taskforce would only answer to the judges (specifically Judge Travis). Their jobs would be in helping out the local law and special missions the judges would send them on to root out subversive and criminal groups in the outlands (settlements outside of established communities). After looking, searching for a respected leader, they had decided on Chris Larabee. He still retained the respect of most of the law enforcement even after his drunken spree, but now they knew how deadly he was. Chris always was restrained while he was married (Sarah and Adam did that for him), but after their deaths his swift and deadly arm of justice came forward. He still put the law first in dealing with criminals but if you came at him, he would strike back hard taking you down.
When the Judge first came to him, Chris told him that it would never work unless the group had full authority and he got to pick his own men. The Judge looked Chris right in the eye and said, laying the cards on the table, "We realized this and a covenant was signed between all concerned parties that the taskforce would have just that. You will have the authority to cross all community lines in hunting and capturing criminals. You will also have authority to use any means necessary, even deadly force to protect our citizens. Chris, the people of the country need to feel that security we had before the catastrophes hit. All information and resources will be at your disposal; you will have the authority to take control and conscript the local law to achieve this mission. The local governments and law agencies knew this before we came to you looking for help. This is a heavy burden to lay on anyone, but we feel that you are our best chance. I'll give you some time to decide. Contact me at this hotel. I'll be staying there for the next few days." He said as he handed him a card with the name and number of his hotel. He left him then. Chris did a little research before he went to Judge Travis to accept the job.
Chris' first task was to request that all applications be sent to him for consideration. He then asked for suggestions on a headquarters for the team. He gave the specifics and special housing that would be required then waited for the information. He let it be known that putting together this elite force would take time and he would have the finally say in the hiring. All his demands were being met. Now he came here to the Institute to get his first recruitment, his old friend Buck.
Ah, there was Buck's room thought Chris as he walked up to the door. As he raised his hand to knock, he paused wondering if the connection was still there. He thought Buck then waited. Silence before a wondering feeling came into his mind with the questioned thought of Chris? A pause, then a shouted, "Chris, you old war dog!" as the door was pulled open. Out came a tall dark haired man sporting a mustache and a big grin as he grabbed his old friend giving him a bear crushing hug.
Chris grinned as his friend let him go, swept him into his room before closing the door. He looked his friend over commenting, "You are looking good Buck." He then checked out his friend's room as Buck led him to one of the chairs by the window. As Chris settled into his chair, he noticed the bonding bed and that it was occupied. A tousled head turned to look at the seated visitor then grinned. He looked no more than a young boy with dark hair and big brown eyes.
"JD, come and meet an old friend of mine. I know I told you about him. Meet Chris Larabee, Chris meet my Guide and friend JD Dunne," introduced Buck.
The boy got up to shake Chris' hand and said shyly, "Hi."
"I heard you found your Guide. Congratulations! About time!" approved Chris. "Though he looks a bit young there, Buck. What did you do, rob the cradle?" he teased.
"Hey, I'm sixteen and Buck's only six years older then me!" JD sputtered indignantly. He knew he was young for a Guide, but the age difference between him and his Sentinel was in proportion to the norm. He also knew from the feelings emanating from the man seated before him that he was kidding Buck.
"Whoa, there kid. Chris doesn't mean anything by that, do you Chris?" worried Buck as he felt his Guide irritation at his old friend's teasing. "Chris, what brings you here?" queried Buck deciding now would be a good time to change the subject. He was also curious to what his old friend was doing there. Their last meeting did not end so well, but as Buck looked at his friend he noticed that he was sober. He was completely sober. Buck had felt the old mind connection that he had missed after Sarah and Adam's deaths. Now the tie seemed to be back as was Chris.
Chris looked at his friend and grimaced as he said, "Well, I came to apologize. Also tell you of an offer that is opened to you if you'll listen. I didn't really know how you would greet me after our last meeting. Whether you would listen or haul off slugging me though I couldn't blame you after what I said. I'm really sorry Buck. The day after you left I sobered up when I couldn't find you. Then I remembered what you said and took a look around finally understanding. Can you forgive me old friend?" asked Chris with regret and sincerity in his eyes.
Buck had known that Chris had changed when he grabbed him in a hug at the door. The drunken Chris would have hauled off and hit him or cursed him. Though Chris wasn't like he had been when Sarah and Adam were alive (he knew that part of him was dead) he seemed to be back to living again instead of looking for death. Using his senses of hearing and sight, he noted that Chris' heart rate and tone of voice were telling him that Chris was being genuine in his request for forgiveness.
Tears sprang in Buck's eyes as he once again grabbed his friend pulling him from his chair into another bear hug. "Awwe, Chris. There is nothing to forgive. We were going through a bad time. You just forgot we were going through it together. You know there's nothing you can do to alienate me. We're friends for life." replied Buck as he released him. "Just like JD and I are bonded forever, you won't be able to get rid of me."
"Oh boy, now you are in for it." groaned JD as he ducked his friend who tried to swing at him. "Cut that out, Buck!" yelped JD as Buck finally got him into a headlock and rubbed his head.
Chris laughed to see that his friend was happy. He decided he needed to know more about the teenager who was now Buck's guide. "What are you studying here, JD?" queried Chris as Buck finally released the kid.
"He's a certified computer genius, Chris. You are looking at the youngest computer expert in the country, heck maybe even the world." boasted Buck.
"Computers...humm," said Chris. His thoughts were snapping as he thought about what a gold mine he would have on the force if Buck and JD joined. "Well, in that case, even though this offer would have been for you too as well JD, being that you are Buck's guide, it goes double now. We will need a computer expert in this line of work."
"What are you talking about, Chris?" questioned Buck. JD joined him at his side as they both listened to Chris explaining the plan of the Federal Judges and how they offered him the leadership position. He went on to explain about the stipulations with the covenant that was signed.
"I can't tell you anymore than that at the moment, Buck, JD. I've been working the last several months looking, reviewing applications and seeking a place for our headquarters. I've come to offer you and JD positions on this team if you want it. I also will need you to come with me this week. You'll have to finish any business you have with the school immediately." finished Chris.
"Whoeewee, Chris! That is some offer! You know I'm in, but JD will have to give you his own answer. JD may be my guide, but I won't treat him like a slave or tool as some of the other Sentinels are doing. He's my sanity and friend. I won't stand for anyone else treating him like a slave either. This is the one stipulation that I have," declared Buck as he pulled his guide in close to his side. JD instinctively placed his hand on Buck's shoulder sliding it up and down in soothing stokes for his Sentinel.
"I finished my school here last year. I was just waiting for this big lug to show up. I've been working on updating the school records to keep busy while Buck took his classes and we just finished our training sessions together. So we're all clear."
It took JD only a moment to make his mind up but before he could give his answer, Chris said, "Wait before you give you final answer guys there is one more requirement when you join this team. You already meet this Buck, but JD may not want to do it. I have to mind link with each one on the team. The job will require that I have a way to communicate with everyone without someone being able to breach our security. My ability lets us do this. This is not for everyone's knowledge. Only Judge Travis knows that we will use my gift and since there is not much research on my skills many will not know about it. Now the question for JD is do you want to work in this group linking to me?"
JD paused and thought again. Chris was right that there was not much known about the abilities of telepaths. It was a scary feeling thinking about someone reading or controlling your mind. He twisted his head to look at Buck feeling the re-assurance course through their link. Turning back around to Chris, he asked, "What will it mean if we mind link? I mean what happens? Can you control us?"
"Kid, it ain't like that!" scolded Buck as he frowned at his Guide.
"What is it like, Buck? I mean I don't know and it is kind of frightening not knowing what it entails when you mind link. Tell me what it is. Does it hurt?" shot back JD to Buck.
Chris started to laugh and shook his head. "What do you know about telepaths, JD? How much have you researched? I know you can't have much information except what little the school lets out. You can't believe what the hype there was years ago from the movies and crackpot theories."
JD blushed as he nodded his head. "There really isn't much out there and the unreliable sources...well they don't paint a pretty picture. In fact, they paint the opposite."
"Well, lets get some things cleared up before you make up your mind," suggested Chris. "First, it is not painful. This is no pain involved in us linking. The best way I can describe it is like turning on a radio. A switch is turned on and you can hear me and I can hear you."
"Do you hear everything I think? Are you going to be able to know whatever I imagine? Even Buck doesn't know everything I think even through our connection." queried JD.
Chris smiled, "No, JD. There is a matter of integrity and trust that goes along with mind linking. I will be honest with you in that yes I could read your thoughts all the time but I have no desire to. I learned my lesson a long time ago with Buck. His mind is just too wild especially concerning women."
Buck looked shocked as Chris laughed. JD sniggered, "I can imagine. Wait, no, I don't want to imagine."
"Now hold on here, guys. I have nothing but the purest thoughts about my women friends." replied Buck in defense. He received twin-knowing gazes in utter silence that lasted a few moments. He turned red as both his friends burst out laughing. "Awww, you are just jealous of my animal magnetism."
After another bout of laughter, Chris asked, "Well, JD? What do you think? You want to be a part of this taskforce?"
JD looked at Buck and sent is own mental question. Buck nodded and thought back, You can trust Chris. With this reassurance, JD said, "Yes".
"Great! Welcome to the Genesis Security Troop. You guys are my first team. We'll take care of the paper work later. Okay, JD, ready to be linked? It will only take a minute."
In for a penny, in for a pound thought JD as he nodded his head that he was ready.
Buck said, "Maybe it would be better if we sat on the bonding bed. It's not painful JD but you could lose your balance after you linked. It's a little startling."
All three moved to the padding on the flooring and sat down. Chris situated himself in front of JD and took hold of his hands.
"JD, I need you to look into my eyes and to keep starring at me. Don't look away and don't be scared when you hear my voice. It will sound funny at first."
Buck had sat behind JD and placed his hands on his shoulders. Giving a squeeze of encouragement to his Guide, he waited knowing what was to come.
JD stared into Chris' eyes and felt a cocoon of peace surround him. As he kept his gaze locked on Chris, he felt a gentle touch brush his mind. A moment of something like a swoosh as if someone was unlocking a door, then a watery voice saying, "JD JD it is okay. It's me Chris. It's okay."
As JD blinked his eyes, vertigo hit and he tilted to his right side. Behind him Buck grabbed JD and brought him against his chest steadying him, "I got you buddy. Just hold on there a minute, you'll be alright." Buck bent his head to inhale the scent of his guide assuring himself that all was well.
JD closed his eyes as the vertigo passed but a great tiredness descended on him. He tilted his head allowing his sentinel access to his neck in order to ground them both. "Wow."
JD, you'll be okay. Just take it easy for a moment. JD drew a breath and opened his eyes. He found himself leaning back against his sentinel as Chris sat across from him grinning.
"Yeah, just caught...HEY! You didn't move your lips!" said JD as he suddenly realized he heard Chris but not with his ears. "Is that it? Did you just speak to me with you mind? WOW! What a feeling! I can't believe it. WOW!"
Buck soothed, "Slow down kid, relax. You gonna feel drained for a bit. You ought to take a little lie down. Come on Chris, let's go sit in the chairs while JD lies down."
"But Buck..." protested JD as Chris got up and moved toward a seat. Buck was forcing his guide to stretch out on the pad.
"No JD. You may not know it but your body just got jolted. You don't have to sleep but rest. We'll still be in the room and you can listen." Seeing that his friend was still going to protest, he growled playfully, "Now this is your sentinel talking to you. Seriously, for both our welfares, you've got to rest. You know how protective I get when you are not up to par. Listen to your sentinel."
JD empathically touched his sentinel to gauge his sincerity. He knew Buck could get over protective of him but not now. He felt the concern and truth of what his sentinel was feeling. J.D nodded and laid his head down. He watched as Buck left him to cross over to sit with Chris.
Chris had been watching the by play between sentinel and guide. He was glad that the kid was alright but more importantly he could sense the bond between them. It was strong, very strong. Chris was pleased. His first team was all he could have asked for.
"Chris, now that we're part of this team. You want to explain a little more." queried Buck as he sat down.
"Not really much move to tell. There will be two more teams to add. We'll be stationed at a place called Four Corners. It's a ranch outside of Denver, Colorado. The house is two stories with eight bedrooms complete with baths for each room. Four rooms on top and four on the bottom. We'll also have a huge fully equipment kitchen and dining room. There is a den, living room and exercise room. Outside is a barn and garage. Another small house is about five hundred yards from the main house. I plan on hiring a housekeeper to take care of the place when we're on missions. All in all our headquarters encompasses 100 acres with the ranch in the middle. We're isolated and I plan to have the ultimate security systems available." Turning to JD Chris said, "That's why I'm so excited about having you on our team. With your computer knowledge, we should be able to make our headquarters impregnable."
JD's head had come off the floor and his eyes were shinning. "Barn? We have a barn? Does that mean we're going to have horses? Can we pick our own?"
Chris blinked for a moment then turned to Buck who was chuckling. "Forgot to tell you the boy loves horses. He was raised around them."
"Oh. Yes, we'll have horses for you to choose from JD. The plan is to have the best available modes of transportation and equipment. We are to become the elite team for our country."
Buck sat back in his chair thinking for a moment. "Chris? Do you have any idea on who else's is going to be on the team? You know you have to be careful. We Sentinels become territorial. You're going to have to establish a pecking order for this to work."
Chris was nodding his head, "Yeah, I know. That's why I've picked you because you have only four senses. Your sense of touch, smell, taste and sight are all enhanced. There are not that many Sentinels and Guides in the world so I had all the records of every team in the country download on our computer. I have spent the past several months looking at pairs. The other Sentinel and Guide team I plan on contacting has hearing, touch, smell and sight enhanced. This pair is on the campus also. I would like for you and JD to come with me tomorrow at the scheduled appointment I have with them."
Buck shook is head as he said, "That's all good and well Chris, but what if we clash. You know how antsy we Sentinels get with others around. What happens then?"
Chris looked at his friend. "That's why I came to you first. I want you in the troop. If you can't work with this team, we'll keep on looking until we find a team that you can work with. I need you Buck. I need someone I know I can trust to keep me in line. You know what I mean."
JD had lain back down as he said, "Does that mean Buck is going to be the first Sentinel?"
Chris shook his head, "I don't know JD. If I can find my last team, I don't think so. There will be three teams of Sentinels and Guides in this troop. I haven't found anyone yet to fill the last team."
Buck sat up straighter as he looked at his friend. "Chris, if I have four senses and this other team has four senses that means your looking for a FES to lead the pack. Because that is what you are getting you know. A pack...a pack like that there hasn't been since before the catastrophes. IF you find a FES with FBG you'll have a team that will be hard to beat."
Chris nodded his head, "IF I find a FES! The problem is I haven't even found an un-bonded one yet. Do you know of any FES?"
"No." said Buck as JD shook his head.
Chris sighed, "I was hoping oh well. Maybe the other team will have something."
"Who are the others, Chris?" asked JD
"They are a team from the Atlanta community. They are here for a forensic conference being giving on campus. Both sentinel and guide work together in the police department there. They applied when the positions became available. Most departments know about a special unit being gathered. Like I said, I've been going over applications for awhile. When I realized they were going to be here, I decided to kill two birds with one stone so to speak."
JD had literally sat up excited. "You don't mean Nathan and Josiah, do you? We know them, don't we Buck!"
"How did you know their names?" puzzled Chris as he looked first at JD then Buck.
"Chris, if they are here at the school we know them. There really is not that many sentinel and guides. Besides, JD meets almost everyone at the school because of his computer skills. Naturally, we have the gathering so that sentinels and guides can mingle without killing each other." stated Buck.
JD added, "Not to mention that there are not that many sentinels with four enhanced senses either."
"I know." confirmed Chris. "So you think you can work with them?"
"Hell, yes!" assured Buck. "I don't think will have any problems in that department. Nathan is an exceptionally Sentinel though he only works in the Forensic department. Josiah balances him out with his compassion and understanding besides being a great profiler."
"Good. Now how about showing me around then let's get some lunch."
Buck looked at JD who had lain back down. He could fill the urge to bond with his guide growing. This would have to be taken care of first.
"Can we meet you for lunch, Chris? JD and I have to have some time together first. Linking to you has unsettled him. We'll show you the campus after." confirmed Buck.
"He means we have to bond. You can tell him Buck," said JD to a flustered Buck. "I'm sure Chris knows all about sentinels and guides, don't you?"
Chris laughed out loud as Buck sputtered that he knew but you don't have to advertise it. After a few moments of a flustered Buck, Chris decided to let him off the hook. "Okay, Buck, okay. Where do you want to meet?"
"How about the café on campus?" asked JD of Buck.
"Perfect! We'll see you there in about an hour, Chris. The café is near the "
"Buck, I know where it is. Remember that I went to school here too. I'll meet you guys there in an hour." voiced Chris as he rose from his chair. After shaking hands again with JD and Buck, Chris left their apartment.
As Buck shut the door behind his friend he turned to JD. A gleam entered his eyes as he walked toward his guide. JD felt the connection flare between them as the need to bond rose up.
Chris was half way down the hall when he swiftly turned back around. He paused listening. When he heard nothing else he continued on his way. He could have sworn he heard a growl.
It had been their last lecture and a rough one. The school's hall had been packed with not just Sentinels and their Guides but with any police officer who worked in or with Forensics. So many emotions in the cramped room had wreaked havoc on the Guides causing their Sentinels to get aggressive. Not to mention the bristling of so many Sentinels in one room. It took all the control and strength the Guides had to keep their Sentinels from going into Blessed Protector Mode (BPM). Things could have gotten messy. Even the two enhanced sense pairs were tense and edgy. When the lecture was over there was a mass exit of the pairs heading toward their rooms to bond. No one stopped them...none dared.
Josiah Sanchez awoke within his Sentinel's arms on the bonding mat. Dark arms were wrapped around him from behind. He lay still so as not to disturb his friend's sleep. His Sentinel having four enhanced senses meant that Josiah's empathy had to be high. The sensations that had hummed between them at the lecture took every bit of his training in keeping Nathan Jackson calm. He had to keep a hand constantly on his friend's shoulder to help boost his shield up while rubbing it up and down to soothe the Sentinel's nerves. Even then many of the crowd's strong feelings were leaking through. Some of the emotions were easy, light and pleasant. Others...he shuddered. He felt the arms around him tighten accompanied with a sigh escaping from his Sentinel as he woke up. His friend shifted seeking to scent his neck. Josiah tilted his head back a little onto Nathan's shoulder giving access to his Sentinel.
Breathing deeply of his Guide's scent that was like nutmeg, Nathan grounded them in their bond. "You okay?" he whispered worriedly close to his ear.
"Yes," replied Josiah. "I'm sorry. I was thinking about the lecture and some of the emotions that were being projected."
"Don't. Those types of people aren't worth it," said Nathan as he lifted his head from his Guide's neck.
Josiah twisted around until he was on his back facing his Sentinel. He looked up at his friend who now was leaning over him. Reaching up he stroked his fingers down Nathan's face drawing away the anger that had flashed there. "I know. They don't understand about us, our bond. So therefore they fear us. They don't realize that most of us are here with these gifts to help and protect them. At the lecture the emotions were amplified a hundred times. I'm okay now." Placing his hand on Nathan's chest to strengthen their connection, he asked, "How are you doing?"
"Better. At least I don't feel like ripping someone apart now." Nathan placed his hand over his Guide's as he cocked his head listening. "Especially now that your heart is not racing like it was going to explode. How are your shields?"
"Full strength," replied Josiah. He felt Nathan test their link. Grinning he said, "As you can see for yourself I'm fine. Or do you want to do a full scan?"
Blushing at being caught, Nathan smacked his friend on the chest. "Don't be a smart Alec. You know I have to be sure. And don't tempt me or I just may do it!"
Chuckling Josiah pushed his Sentinel away as he sat up. Yawing as he stretched, he asked, "What time are we suppose to meet Mr. Larabee?"
Nathan looked at his watch. "In about an hour."
"Good," Josiah said. "Gives us time to clean up. You want to go first?"
"Yeah. You have a tendency to hog the hot water, besides I know you'll want to center yourself first." Getting to his feet, Nathan went to the closet they shared. Opening the door he rifled through the clothes there until he found what he wanted. Turning he headed for the bathroom. "I'll be done in ten minutes then you can take your shower."
Josiah had already crossed his legs and closed his eyes to center himself. Without looking at Nathan he mumbled sentinel soft, "I'll be ready."
Chris Larabee, Buck Wilmington and JD Dunne were sitting in the conference room of Sander's hall waiting to interview, hopefully, the second team of Genesis Security Troop. The day before, after having lunch, had seen the trio making arrangements for moving Buck and JD's things to their headquarters. They had talked long into the night discussing roles and responsibilities of this new group. Now they waited for Nathan Jackson and his Guide Josiah Sanchez to arrive.
"You think they'll join?" asked JD sitting at the conference table beside Buck.
"They did apply for the job." answered Chris as he was studying the files on Jackson and Sanchez. Something caught his eye so he asked, "JD? How old are you again?"
"Well, I know Buck is twenty-two so that makes a six year difference between you. There's a six-year difference between Sanchez and Jackson too. But it's in reverse. I thought all Sentinels were the oldest in the pairs?"
"No not always. In some cases the Guides are older. Not many though." replies Buck.
A knock came from the door. Jumping up, JD went and opened it. "Hey, Nate. Josiah. Come on in. Chris is waiting for you."
Moving aside to let them in, he shut the door then sat by his Sentinel shoulder to shoulder. Buck smiles up at the two newcomers warmly as they walked over to the conference table. "Josiah. Nate. Good to see you. This here is Chris Larabee."
Chris stood up to shake both Nathan and Josiah hands. "Glad you could make it."
"Thank you. Didn't know you and JD would be here Buck." said Nathan as he and his Guide sat down.
"Yeah well Chris and I go way back." responded Buck.
"Their here also because they've already joined the GST." added Chris as he sat back down.
"Really," mumbled Josiah. Looking at the other two, he theorized, "So this team is going to consist of Sentinels and Guides? Interesting. But isn't JD a little young for this type of work?"
"Hey! I can do the job!" exclaimed JD indignantly.
"Whoa tiger." Buck grabbed his Guide before he could stand.
"He's the best for what his job will be. Besides he's Buck Guide." interrupted Chris. "And as you have said, this team will be made up of Sentinels and Guides. Three pairs to be exact. Let me brief you on what this team is actually going be doing."
In the next half-hour Nathan and Josiah were informed on what, who, where and why this team was being formed. The only thing they were not told was about Chris' ability. At the end of the briefing, Chris said, "There is more but that's all I can tell you for now. If you join, I will be able to brief you on the rest."
Josiah put his hand on Nathan shoulder to open their connection. Nathan turned to his Guide to have a brief silent conversation. A few minutes went by before Nathan nodded his head and said, "We're in."
"Good, but what I'm about to reveal may just change you mind. I know that you heard about this job through the Atlanta department. What I'm about to tell you only Judge Travis knows. Not even the other two judges know. I am leading this team because of my ability as a telepath. I will need to mind link with my team for security purpose. See, we need a form of communication that no one can breach."
Nathan and Josiah were both startled by this development. Nathan asked, "Why would we need such extreme precaution? We have the best technology there is to block such bugging." Looking at his Guide, he received another nod. "Also, what is this mind linking? Are you going to control us?"
Chris looked at the pair. Sighing he said, "We have to have the precaution because we will be going into situations were we won't know who to trust. There has to be a way to reach all of you at the same time without interference. And no, I can't read or control you. Or rather let's say I won't."
"Hoss, are you telling us that we can't even trust the other departments?" asked Buck as he looked at JD. They hadn't thought about inside traitors.
Chris nodded his head yes. "If we work as a team and do our jobs right, there may be other troops formed."
"Power corrupts absolutely." stated Josiah. Looking up he noticed the glare from Chris. Sliding closer to his Sentinel, he continued, "Not you Mr. Larabee. I can see the Judge has some doubts about higher authorities somewhere. It only makes sense with the way the world is now."
Nathan feeling the uncertainly of his Guide, threw his own glare at Chris. "Why did they pick you besides you having this telepathic ability? Couldn't any telepathy do?"
Chris smirked. He was impressed with the pair's questions. That is what he wanted from his team. They would question to find the best answer and then work together to get it done. "Let me ask you a question. Do you know of any other telepaths?"
Silence reigned as they all glanced around at each other waiting to see if anyone else knew. Getting negatives from all around, he asked another, "Do you know of any list that contains names of any telepaths?"
Again there were negative replies. "You won't find any. We're in hiding."
"Why?" asked JD.
"Because we don't want to be used by anybody. There are governments, rebels, and dictators who would use us to topples others."
"Then how did Travis know about you?" asked Josiah.
"Because I'm one of the few who can use their ability to fight back and don't give a damn. See other's can only get hints on reading people. I can read minds by linking but I can also cause pain."
"So you could use your power to take over if you wanted to." stated Nathan.
Closing his eyes to read the man in black, Josiah replied, "But you won't. There is a sense of justice and morally in you. In fact all you care about is justice not power." Opening his eyes again Josiah's lips moved but the other couldn't hear him. Only his Sentinel could as he cocked his head to hear. Whatever the Guide said Nathan agreed to.
"Okay, you've answer the first part. Now what about this linking."
Chris smiled as he explained to Nathan and Josiah what would happen. After a few more questions with reassurances from JD and Buck, the Sentinel and Guide agreed to join.
"Great. Welcome aboard." Chris suggested, "Why don't we adjourn to my room. It's large enough for us to talk some more. We can do the linking there. It also has a pad."
Agreeing, they all moved to Chris' place. Moving to the pad, Chris sat down surprising Nathan and Josiah. JD sat upon the arm of a near by chair that Buck had already sat in to wait for Chris and the other to finish.
Buck soothingly said, "It be best if you sat down on the mat, fellows. It's quite a jolt to your systems. It don't hurt, just unbalances you for a moment."
Shrugging their shoulders they wearily sat down in from of Chris. "Okay, we should do Josiah first then you Nathan. You need to just keep looking into my eyes. Don't look away even when you hear my voice."
Within a few minutes, Josiah then Nathan were linked to Chris. Both were lying down with Nathan wrapping his arms around his Guide breathing in his scent.
Chris tiredly leaned back against the wall that the bonding mat was close to as he closed his eyes.
"You all right, Chris?" queried Buck as he looked concernedly at his pale friend.
"Yeah, Buck. Give me just a minute. Never linked two in a roll like that." He replied as the color returned to his complexion. "Have to remember that." Telepathically he asked 'How are you two doing?'
"Fine. Just a little tired." answered Nathan for them both not realizing Chris spoke to their minds.
"Great, because I have a question for you two. I've explained about the teams and how the last team to join will consist of a FES and FBG. I haven't been able to locate one on file or list. Do either of you know of one bonded or unbonded?"
Josiah, leaning back into his Sentinel, hesitates for a moment before saying, "Nathan? There's Vin."
Nodding Nathan elaborates, "Vin Tanner, unbonded FES. He would not be on any list, as he's never been registered. Lives with some Indian tribe in the West community. We only know about him because of an incident last year that brought him to Atlanta. He'd be about, what, eighteen?"
"About." replied Josiah to his friend.
"What happened in Atlanta?" asked Buck.
"Tanner was on a hunt." answered Nathan. "Seems this Eli Joe kidnapped and then murdered his foster brother. Boy tracked him all the way to Atlanta before capturing him. Controlled himself enough that he didn't kill him out right but brought him in. But whatever he did before he finally turned him in had the man whimpering, confessing to his crime." Here Nathan chuckled. "Boy shore made an entrance. There was one other four enhanced sense Sentinel in the building. The boy didn't get within two feet distance of headquarters before we knew he was there. You ever met a FES before Buck?"
"No, can't say I have. Didn't know any were alive."
"You'll know it when you do. They carry a power that can't be missed when they're aroused and this boy was hunting! Being unbonded he had us all spinning with what he was sending out. The department sent all the Sentinels and their Guides home except us four enhanced ones. They wanted us to stay to help control Vin if he busted loose. He could have and would have taken us out if he went into a blood lust. Nothing the department could have done about it as he was FES and legally he had a right to claim death hunt."
"But he didn't. He brought that man in for trial. Stayed a few days to finish the paper work then went back home. He stayed with us for those few days. After the urge of the hunt left him, you could feel that he was a quiet kid. The crowds made him nervous." informed Josiah.
"Do you know where he is at the moment?" inquired Chris.
"Just that his tribes in the West Community. We could put out some feelers to pinpoint a location. I suspect we'll have to go to him not have him come to us. Being an FES and unbonded, he probably will be going into Guide search mode soon if he hasn't already got one." replied Nathan.
"JD, when we get to headquarters and you have the computers up and running, send out a request for information to the West Department. I'm a little concerned about his age but he is the only FES we've found yet. How do you Sentinels feel about having someone so young over you." Chris was worried that it might not work out with the other being older.
"Hell, Chris, it don't work out that way. As Nathan said, he's more powerful then us when provoked. The only thing you need to worry about is if another FES shows up. Nathan, did you have any problems with him? Anything that set you sense off?"
"No, Vin was quite pleasant."
Josiah chuckled. Then looked at Nathan and burst out laughing. Nathan looked at his Guide with a 'what' look. Tilting his head he listened as Josiah whispered which caused Nathan to turn red. "Now Josiah there's no reason " he paused as his Guide went again into gruff laughter.
"What? What is so funny?" asked a curious JD.
Nathan gave Josiah a chagrined look before replying, "The only thing you have to watch out with Vin is his humor. Boy's got a wicked sense of humor."
Laughter shook the frame that Nathan held as he growled out playfully, "No respect. Just no respect."
One month later
The lone figure sat upon the hilltop midst the warm fall day. Winter would be coming soon, he thought. He stretched his hearing out to listen to the frogs croaking a mile away. He focused his sight on the sparrow perched upon a tree branch half a mile further. He sniffed the air smelling the wood smoke of the village fire two miles away. He felt the air change heralding the arrival of a storm for tomorrow. He was here to calm and center himself. Eighteen years old Vin Tanner, Sentinel born, was worried. He knew he was going to have to leave the only life he had every known to seek his Guide. The frequencies of his jaunts to the hilltop forest to center him were increasing.
Then just yesterday Estelle, the old medicine woman of the tribe, told him that his path was going to change. Unknown friends were coming to take him to this Guide. He didn't know how to feel about the changes that were coming and he knew they would come. In one way he was frightened. The village had been his home all his life. In another way he felt anticipation. Estelle had said that one of the unknown friends was his heart brother. His heart brother would lead him to his Guide his soul brother. A fiery need raced from his soul spreading throughout his whole body as he thought about his Guide. He needed him soon before the blank spells got so bad that he was lost forever. Last year, when he hunted for his foster brother's killer, had been the first time he had been outside of the tribe's boundaries. At that time he hadn't been in much of a mood to examine his surroundings as he had been hunting. It had been after he caught Eli Joe that he noticed his locale. Atlanta had opened his eyes to modern life. Electricity, cars, refrigeration and crowds all jumbled up together. He had marveled at the wonder around him but he hated crowds. While he had been focused on his prey, nothing swayed his attention nor bothered him. When the hunting lust had left him he noticed the crowds. His senses had suddenly registered the multitude sights, sounds, smells and tastes. He could actually taste different things in the air. His senses were set to high but he got them under control. He had come back home to the tribe going straight to Estelle for help. He had been so unsettled that she sent him out to the forest to this hilltop alone to center him. As his need increased to be alone since his return, he knew the time for his Guide was drawing near.
'Vin' He cocked his head and listened. He heard Estelle say "Vin, David reports that there are strangers on the outskirts of the village to the east." He stood and focused his senses scanning the area. There! Five men moving his body tingled. Sentinels! There were at least two Sentinels with the group. He heard their chatter and complaints zooming his sight searching to see them. He grinned as he found them. He knew at least two of the men. He gathered his things and raced to the village to meet Nathan and Josiah.
"What's the problem Buck?" snickered JD as he watched his Sentinel fight his way through another thorn patch. Every since they had had to abandon their vehicles to walk to the Comanche village, Buck had found more briar patches then seemed possible. What amused everyone else was that so far none of the others had fallen into a single one yet.
"That's right. Laugh at my expense. You don't seem to appreciate the fact that I find these ouch ouch things so you don't get hurt ouch! Damn it!" groused Buck as he pulled another sticky vine from his shirtsleeve.
The others were openly grinning as they watched their tall friend untangle himself once again from the thorny vines. Suddenly both Buck and Nathan went still. JD and Josiah edged closer to their Sentinels on full alert. They felt it. A tingling rang up and down their spines.
In the mental link Chris heard Buck say 'He's here.' He looked around trying to spot a body or shadow. Chris saw Nathan tilt his head in that listening pose then suddenly smile.
"Come on out Vin. Your scaring Buck over there." murmured Nathan as he turned to face behind them.
From the shadows that Chris could have sworn that he checked stepped a tall teenager with startling blue eyes. He had light brown long hair falling to his shoulders. He was dressed in blue jeans with a tan shirt under a buckskin jacket. Moccasins covered his feet up to his knees while a barely seen knife handle poked out from the top. He was carrying a strung bow with the arrows strapped crossways to his back. If you didn't know that it was 2001 you would have thought he stepped out of the old west.
A smirk adorned his face as he spoke, "Searched for anymore frogs lately, Nathan?"
A mock growl rumbled from the black Sentinel as he crossed the distance between them to greet his friend. "No and I better not find any in my bed either Tanner!"
Josiah had followed and after Nathan had shaken the boy's hand while slapping his back he pulled him into a bear hug. "Good to see you Vin!"
Grunting from the big mans squeeze Vin smiling return the embrace. "Dang it! Leave me some ribs unbroken Josiah."
Pushing the boy away from him, Josiah looked him up and down. "You've grown. Added another couple of inches to your height."
Sweeping his hand down his body he said, "Yeah. Estelle and the women made me some new clothes." The greeting being over with his two friends, he turned to the others asking, "Who you got with you?"
"Vin, that other Sentinel standing over there is Buck Wilmington with his Guide JD Dunne. The blond man is Chris Larabee. We've come to talk to you about something." introduced Nathan.
After shaking Buck's then JD's hands, Vin turned to the black clad man. They both went still as their eyes met. An instant connection was made between the heart brothers. Vin stated, "Estelle said you were coming. Let's get to the village so we can talk. Not far about another mile."
Turning he led the group westward as Chris pondered this new development. He knew he was already linked to the seemingly easygoing man. But how? The others sensed that something had happened but knew they would have to wait for their answer.
The whole village had turned out to greet either friends or foe. Seeing their Sentinel leading the group with a smile on his face told them they were meeting friends. The women hurried to prepare food as the tribal leaders went to meet their guest.
Estelle the old medicine woman went up to her ward since his mother had died at the age of five looking into his eyes. She then turned to the black clad man giving him the same scrutiny as Vin. Nodding her head, she said, "You have found him and now he will lead you to your soul brother." Staring at the others she gasped and said something in their native language to the leaders. Heads turned as the leaders marveled. More Sentinels and these had their Guides!
Stepping forward, the Chief said, "We are honored to have you here among us. Please come as a feast is being prepared for you." He then led them to the main campfire in the center of the village.
Tables and chairs were being brought out as cloths were spread. Word scattered quickly that among the guest were more Sentinels. A festive air engulfed the village as preparations were made not only for the feast but also for sleeping arrangements. Formalities were quickly dispensed as the five men were shown to the honored guest seats. Children gathered as they watched Sentinels and Guides take their places.
JD had a constant hand on Buck's shoulder as he felt the undercurrent of emotions running through the crowd. Happiness and excitement were the feelings but even those could be too much for the sensitive Guides. Nathan and Josiah sat side by side with shoulders constantly touching. Chris had been seated beside Vin at the long table that accommodated the six men. Chris would mental check in with his men several times as the festivities progressed.
Finally, the tables were set with food as the tribe gathered to eat. Women served the men and children first before sitting down to join them. Buck, JD and Vin dug into their meals with gusto. Shaking his head at the pair, he and the others joined in. Soon the meal was finished and tables cleared. Vin led the others to his home on the outskirts of the village.
The tribe from the time of the catastrophes had reverted back to the ancient way of life. Teepees for homes and horses for transport. They hunted for food while growing their own vegetables. The modern life was evident only in the utensils, clothes, weapons, storage containers and the education of the children.
Pulling the flap back on his abode, Vin invited the other to enter. Each man was surprised as they entered to find a comfortable interior. Blankets covered the ground with a banked fire in the center where the smoke exited out the hole in the top of the teepee. The canvas walls were unadorned but the poles each held different items from dried herbs to small animal pelts. A water barrel was placed just inside the doorway and beside it looked to be a plastic ice chest. One side of the room had a bed for sleeping while the other side looked to be a portable closet made of PCB pipes. All in all a hodgepodge of past and present mixed in one area.
Vin stepped past the five men and motioned for them to take seats around the campfire. "Hope the food was to your liking. Not often the tribe gets to greet newcomers."
"The meal was great!" exclaimed a sated JD. The others quickly agreed that they haven't had such a fine meal in a long time.
Chris said, "We've come to offer you a job working with a new police unit that is being formed."
Vin tipped his head to the right side as he looked into the sage colored eyes of the leader of this group. Chris stared back as a whole conversation was had within a few minutes. The others knew they were talking but were confused as to how. As far as they knew Chris had not linked to this FES.
Suddenly Vin nodded his head saying, "I'll go."
"Whoa, wait a darn minute. What's going on? Chris?" asked Buck.
"Vin just agreed to join our troop." answered a smiling Chris.
"Are you already linked to him?" asked Josiah as he had watched the silent proceeding between Vin and Chris.
Chris nodded yes as he said, "I don't know how but we are."
"We're heart brothers. Estelle said you would come with unknown friends and take me to my soul brother." interjected Vin.
"Soul brother?" inquired Nathan. "What's a soul brother?"
"Who's Estelle?" asked a confused JD.
"The old medicine woman of the tribe. She is also a seer. She said you would come and I would start a new path. I guess being a police officer is my new job." replied an unconcerned Vin. Looking back at Chris, he asked, "So we can leave in the morning if you want. Want take me long to pack my stuff up."
Chris said, "Sounds good to me. The quicker we get back to headquarters the faster I can tell the Judge that the team is formed, except for your Guide of course. We can discuss what our jobs are and get up to par on the team's role in the country. Then we can prepare for our first case."
"Good. We'll be up bright and early at sunrise. I can lead you through to a shortcut back to your vehicles. Meanwhile, you can rest here until you individual teepees are done that will house each pair. You can stay here with me Chris."
"We get to sleep in a teepee? How cool!" exclaimed JD. They spent the rest of time before going to bed chatting and getting to know one another.