Chance Encounter D.L. Witherspoon Author's Notes: This is really short because the longer a person's exposure to Section One, the greater the chance of death-- in one form or fashion. A brief primer for those not in the know: La Femme Nikita-- Sundays at 10pm on USA Network Nikita and Michael are operatives for Section One, "the most covert anti-terrorist group on the planet. Their ends are just, but their means are ruthless." In other words, they are the blackest "white hats" you've ever met. Most of their operatives are murderers who "die" in prison and are resurrected to serve the Section. Fail the Section and you are "canceled" for real. The Sentinel-- Tuesdays at 7, 8, 9, and 10pm on the Sci-Fi Channel Detective Jim Ellison has all five of his senses--sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste-- heightened. Helping him keep these senses under control is Blair Sandburg, an Anthropology grad student who acts as his partner. Jim's sentinel abilities are a secret except to Blair and their captain. CHANCE ENCOUNTER by D.L. Witherspoon (Posted 11-24-97) Despite the silencers Jim Ellison heard the shots. He and Blair Sandburg had just parked in the lot of a new restaurant when the gunfire reached his sensitive ears. Being a cop, he reacted instinctively and raced in the direction of the sounds. Jim found himself at an abandoned warehouse and he slowed his approach, drawing his weapon from his back holster. Blair had taught him to control his senses with mental radio dials, so he turned up his sight a notch or two in order to see into the darkened interior. To his right, he saw vague movement on a catwalk high above the floor and another turn of the dial revealed a beautiful blond woman running across holding a gun, followed by two men who were also armed. He heard the click of a hammer and knew one of the men was getting ready to fire. Since he had no idea which side was the good side and which was the bad, he did as he'd been taught. "Cascade P.D. Hold your fire!" he yelled. The blonde froze. The two men turned their weapons on Jim. He now knew his targets. He shot one of the men and before he could get off a another shot, the blonde blew the second man away. With their common enemies out of the way, Jim and the blonde stared at each other. She could see him clearly because of the light spilling through the open door near him but she thought she was safe in the shadows. Jim, however, saw the wary look on her face and began to wonder. There was something about the way she held her weapon and the black outfit she wore that nudged an old rumor he'd heard back in his army days. "Nikita, report." Jim followed the sound to a tiny microphone in the blonde's, no, Nikita's ear. His skin crawled and he started to turn away. Just then a gasping Blair peeked around the door. "Jim, what is it, man? You want me to call back-up?" Jim heard Nikita's soft intake of breath and saw the tightening of her grip on the gun. "Nah, Sandburg. There's nothing going on here. Just a false alarm." "You don't do false alarms, Jim," Blair argued. Jim's blue eyes met Blair's. "Trust me this time, Chief. I didn't hear anything or see anything. Nothing occurred tonight but dinner." Blair nodded, hearing a protective tone in Jim's voice. Something had spooked his partner and whatever it was, Jim had decided it was best to leave it alone. Fine. He trusted Jim implicitly. "Okay, big guy. About this dinner. I need your help in deciding what I want, the seafood or the chicken. Now if I can talk you into getting the chicken, you'd let me have a taste, wouldn't you?" he asked as they headed back toward the restaurant. Jim smiled and turned to the warehouse one last time. "Take care, Nikita," he called softly, then closed the door and followed the anthropologist who was still discussing the menu. "Michael, send in housekeeping." ***** "You were compromised and you didn't say anything," he said harshly. They had gone through this before with her and the results had been time consuming to say the least. "I wasn't compromised, Michael," Nikita argued. "The man couldn't see me well and he never asked any questions. In fact he told his partner nothing happened." "I thought you said he was a policeman? He shot someone and saw you shoot someone and never asked any questions?" She shrugged. "It was as if he knew." Michael frowned. "Knew what, Nikita?" "Knew what I was, what was happening." "Tell me everything you know about this man," Michael ordered, his concern growing. The existence of Section One was not readily known and its activities were strictly off-the-record. This police officer had no business even being aware that there was a group such as the Section, much less recognize the trappings of a mission. Nikita sighed. "He was tall, muscular, with short hair. He identified himself as a Cascade police officer and his partner called him Jim." "And the partner?" "He never came into the warehouse. But Jim called him Sandburg." "Anything else, Nikita, that you're not telling me?" Michael pressed. He disliked sounding so dictatorial, but it was for Nikita's own good... and the Section's. She shook her head. There was no way she was telling Michael Jim had called her by name. It would mean instant cancellation and Jim didn't deserve that. "That's all that happened, Michael. Can I go home now?" He looked at her, wondering what she was hiding and hoping that whatever it was, he could protect her from the consequences when it came to light. "Go," he said dismissingly, turning his head toward his computer monitor. "Have a good night, Nikita," he added softly. "You too, Michael." She smiled and left. It took him less than an hour to find out the man's name. It took him much longer to study Jim Ellison's background, mainly because it was so fascinating. Too bad he had never been to prison; he would make a fine addition to the Section family. Flagging Ellison's record, Michael shut off his computer and left the Section for the night. Patience wasn't exactly a trait of the Section but when necessary, it had been known to wait until the time was right. Sooner or later Ellison would be available... and then, just like Michael and Nikita, he would be reborn-- as a child of Section One. THE END?