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A Runed Reputation (1/2)

Title: A Runed Reputation
Fandom: The Sentinel
Characters: Jim, Blair, Simon, OCs
Word Count: 11,253
Rating: PG-13 ?
Notes: I wrote this a number of years ago and just realized I never posted it here. (Posted on FFN in 02!) My original character of Steven was created around 1980 His stories can be found here: The Eagle Chronicles. Kendra appears in the last one. I think this can be set in either season of The Sentinel. I did start a sequel but now I can't remember where I was going with it. If anyone wants to give it a read and help me finish it, that would be welcome.





A pair of masked blue eyes watched from the shadows as the guard made his rounds. Twenty minutes until he came around again. More than enough time. The figure crept along the hall, bypassing the security cameras until it arrived at the office it wanted. Gloved fingers deftly picked the lock and slowly opened the door. Now where would they be hidden? Not with the other files, that’s certain. While scanning the room, the thief remembered the blueprints. Something was out of place. Ah, there it is. Well stocked bar. Hmmmn, does your sponsor know
about this? Removing the bottles revealed a small latch that opened a small panel and exposed the object of the exercise. With the documents safely tucked away and the office put back to rights, the figure quietly left the way it came.

*****************************

"Can you believe it? The man’s a legend and he’s coming here.”

“He’s only in town because of the British art exhibit. We’ll be on security detail, Chief, so I doubt you’ll get a chance to see him.”

The passenger stared at him in disbelief. “Jim, you can’t mean that you have no interest in meeting him either? His life has influenced so much. What about those movies in the 60s? And I think a few book series as well.”

“Sandburg, he’s British royalty. You won’t get near him.”

“You never know, Jim.”

James Ellison shook his head at his partner’s enthusiasm and pulled into a parking space in front of a tall steel and glass office building in downtown Cascade.

“So, did Simon explain why we’re here?” asked Sandburg as they entered one of the building’s elevators.

Ellison hit the button for the 15th floor. “The theft may tie in with our security detail. The office belongs to Barclay Covington, a British expatriate who is suspected of having his fingers in a few shady pies.”

“So they think that whatever was stolen might have to do with the duke’s visit?”

“Looks that way.” The elevator doors opened and Ellison stepped out of the elevators and followed the noise. He flashed his badge to the uniformed officer who allowed him in. Sandburg held out his observer ID and was waved in.

Ellison was greeted by name by a few of the uniforms and the forensics officer pulled him aside. “We’ve already dusted and there are no prints. There was also no sign of forced entry. We can’t even locate a stray hair. If it weren’t for his claims of something having been stolen, I’d think the whole thing a hoax.”

“Mind if I look around?”

“Go right ahead. I’m all done.”

Ellison stood for a minute and scanned the room, looking for anything out of place. Since he was told there had been no sign of entry, then the existing mess must have been caused by the police. Sandburg was over in a corner watching everything and jotting notes. He registered a few other things that he’d sort out later. He walked over to Covington who was standing by a wet bar behind the desk. His heartbeat was a little rapid but theft and a visit from the police could do that. “Mr. Covington, I’m Detective Ellison with Major Crimes. How did you discover the theft?”

“I came in this morning and when I opened the filing cabinet, I could tell some files were missing.”

“What files exactly?”

“You must understand, Detective, that I deal with very sensitive material that could affect things on an international scale. My clients also pay for discretion. I can’t just tell you.”

“What would happen if they learned what happen here? How will we know when we’ve found them?”

“What I will tell you is that you will find this stamped on the folders.” He drew a series of lines. “This should help you.” He handed it to Ellison who glanced at it before placing it in his pocket.

“Thank you, Mr. Covington. If you recall anything else, call me.” With a nod to Sandburg, he headed out. A thought struck him and he knelt by the door.

“What is it?” Blair asked.

“Just an idea.” Knowing it had already been dusted for prints, Ellison ran his fingers around the keyhole, and then looked closely. Engaging his Sight, the marks surrounding the keyhole became ravines. Only one stood out from the remaining identical scratches. Satisfied, he stood. “Okay, let’s go.”

“What did you see?” asked Sandburg once the elevator doors closed.

“Whoever broke in was a professional. I could barely detect the mark from the lock pick.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t just from a key?”

“Totally different marks. There were a few things I picked up.” They walked down the hall. “Did you notice that wet bar?”

“Yeah. Not one bottle was opened.” Sandburg shook his head. “No way would all bottles go dry at once.”

“The shelving behind it was a different shade as well.”

“It’s a cover,” said Sandburg. “A hidden safe?”

“Only thing I can think of. Must be where he keeps the ‘sensitive’ files.” Ellison pulled out into traffic.

“The thief knew exactly where to look. Nothing else was searched. There was something else. I smelled perfume.”

“A woman. Can you identify the scent?”

“No, it wasn’t tropical, I’d recognize that,” he said, remembering those months in the Peruvian jungle. “I think it was something more common. I’m sure it’ll come to me.”

“So where now?”

“Check in with Simon to see what he makes of this.”

*********************************

Simon Banks sat nervously behind his desk and looked at the young woman facing him. She had her hair in a fashionable shoulder-length cut and wore her dark business suit like a uniform. She sipped her coffee patiently as he made another apology. “I’m sorry, Miss Stuart. Detective Ellison usually isn’t late.”

“That’s quite all right, Captain,” she said. “I was a trifle early.”

Simon peered out of his window. At that moment, Jim and Sandburg walked in, deep in conversation. Simon strode to his door. “Ellison!”

“What do you want, Simon?”

Sandburg shrugged and sat at Jim’s desk.

Ellison walked into the office. “Shut the door.”

“Sure thing.” Jim did so then noticed Miss Stuart. “Oh, that’s right. You must be from the British Consulate.”

She stood. “Kendra Stuart,” she said, holding out her hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Detective.”

“Thank you, I think,” he said with a glance at Simon as he shook her hand.

“I thought it best to inform you of his Grace’s itinerary and the arrangements for the consulate’s gala.” She pulled a file from her attaché case. “This is a set of the blueprints that includes the placement of all security cameras and keypads.”

The three heads looked over the plans making comments and critiques until they all agreed on the placement of men and off-limit areas.

“Here is a copy of his itinerary. I think it is straightforward, but should you have any questions, please call me. I included my number at the consulate and my cell phone. Good day, gentlemen.”

“Miss Stuart-“

“Kendra, please.”

“Kendra, what perfume is that you’re wearing?” asked Jim out of nowhere.

She smiled. “Lavender.” She left the office.

**********************************

Blair looked up from his notes as he heard the door to Simon’s office open and saw a striking woman walk out. From his seat, he had an ideal view of her trim legs thanks to her short skirt. He watched, entranced, as those legs scissored across the room. Realizing how barbaric he was acting, his gaze moved up to her face. She looked somehow familiar but he couldn’t place her. Since the door remained open, he strolled over to find out what was said.

“Why did you ask about her perfume?” Simon was asking.

“It was something new and I need to know these things,” Jim answered.

“You asked about her perfume?” asked Blair. “Was it the same?”

“No, but it was a familiar scent like that.”

“What are you two going on about?”

“The thief who broke in last night was a woman,” Blair announced.

“And how do you know this? Were there any prints? Any hair samples? A fingernail?”

“Well, no, but Jim could smell a faint floral perfume. It had to be the thief.”

“What about police or a client?”

“No, Simon. There were no women police officers there this morning and I don’t think his clients would be the floral type.”

“So did he tell you anything about the stolen files?”

“Nothing about the content, only that this symbol was on the folder itself.” Jim pulled out the sketch and Blair pulled it aside. “Recognize it, Chief?”

“It looks like Ogham. I could check my books at the university to see what it means. That might give us a lead of some sort.”

“I’ll give you a lift,” said Jim. “Then I want to stop by the British Consulate and take a look around for myself.”

***************************************

Kendra sat in the office that had been allotted to her for her stay in Cascade. She felt confident about the security arrangements for her grandfather’s visit and was pleasantly surprised at how well Detective Ellison understood the need for discretion. When she had originally spoken to Captain Banks for local assistance, he had promised his best man and that seemed to be true.

She pulled up the man’s file on the computer so she could get a better idea of what she would be dealing with. He was a local boy who grew up without a mother and a success-driven father. He eventually left home still a teenager and joined the army. Hmmm, a captain with Special Services and Covert Ops. Interesting. She leaned closer to read the next bit that seemed like something out of Hollywood. Ellison and seven other members of an anti-insurgent team were listed as MIA and presumed dead after their helicopter crashed in the Peruvian jungle. Eighteen months later, a recovery team was sent in after satellite photos showed the remains of the crash. They found seven graves and one survivor. Ellison had been taken in by the natives and continued on with the mission he had been given.

She sat back. He and Grandfather could certainly swap stories. She rubbed her eyes and continued to read.

Not long after his return to Cascade, he decided to join the police. He started out in Vice and transferred to Major Crimes about six years ago. After his first partner, he seemed to only work alone and had the best arrest record in the division. She noted, however, that despite his need to work alone, he allowed an observer to be partnered with him two years ago: a graduate student in anthropology from the local university. That must have been the man with the long hair I saw at his desk. Kinda cute. Well, Detective Ellison is quite good-looking too. In a rugged American sort of way. The intercom on her desk buzzed. “Yes?”

“There’s a Detective Ellison here, to see you, Kendra. He says you know him.”

“Send him back.”

She stood and walked in front of the desk where she took up a casual pose leaning against it. She looked down at her clothes to make sure they were straight and unwrinkled. There was a knock at the door. “Come in.”

Ellison walked in. “Good afternoon, Detective. I wasn’t expecting to see you again so soon.”

“I wanted to look at things for myself. It will give me a better idea for planning instead of blueprints.”

“Certainly. I should have made the offer myself. Just one moment.” She pressed the intercom. “Manisha, I’ll be out of the office giving Detective Ellison a tour of the building and the grounds. Take any messages and notify me immediately if it’s urgent.”

“You got it,” came the reply.

She stood. “Shall we?”

************************************

As Jim stood, he caught a reflection in the mirror, and, engaging his Sight, he could see that she had been doing research-on him. The tour encompassed the front entry, the kitchens, and the first floor offices. Kendra was very personable and knowledgeable of the building and its security. She also knew all the employees, greeting them by name. She was the very opposite of what he thought royalty-British or otherwise-to be. But from what he could remember, the present royal family was far from typical. He’d have to check with Sandburg about her history.

The tour concluded in the ballroom, which ran the full length of the back of the house. A series of French doors opened onto a garden. “As you can see, this is where the majority of the action will take place. We’ll have our own security mingling and I would appreciate some of your men as well.”

“I’m sure I can find a few men who would be willing to rub elbows with the rich and famous.” He walked into the garden. “Is there a way in from the street?”

“A gate that we keep locked and chained.”

“Will you be meeting you grandfather at the airport?”

“Yes, I will. May I call on you should I need extra support?”

His phone rang. “Excuse me,” he said as he answered it. “Ellison.”

“Jim, I think I’ve deciphered the writing.” Sandburg sounded more excited than usual.

“OK, I’ll come by and pick you up.” He shut the phone. “Sorry, but I need to go. I think we’ve covered everything.” He shook her hand. “Again, please call if you need me.”

“Thank you for dropping by, Detective. I appreciate your assistance.”

Ellison drove over to Rainier University and found a parking space near the anthropology department. He could hear Blair’s tribal music the minute he entered the building even without his enhanced senses. He walked into the cluttered office to see Sandburg at his desk, head bent over the three volumes spread on its surface. “Hey, Chief.”

Sandburg looked up. “Great, you’re here. You can’t believe what I found out. It’s Ogham, Celtic writing found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and parts of France. It’s a fascinating study, actually.” He stopped when he realized he had become the professor. “Anyway, it spells out Séntanta, which is the birth name of the Irish hero Cuchulainn.”

“So?”

Sandburg grinned. “Thinking it might have possible criminal meaning, I called Jack Kelso and he told me it’s the codename of an international art thief.”

“So the file could contain names of connections, clients, and locations of original paintings.” Ellison leaned on Sandburg’s desk. “I wonder if this ties in with the duke’s visit.”

“Well, he did steal art in Paris once.”

“That was from the Nazis, Sandburg.”

“So you do know some of his history.”

“There might be a connection. Maybe Séntanta is out for vengeance, stealing back items he feels were once his-or his family’s.”

“The duke was once involved with something like that in Rome. All these wealthy men were being robbed and the connection was that they had been collaborators.”

“I don’t recall hearing that one.”

“The paintings had never really been stolen so no charges were filed.”

“Interesting story, but it has no bearing on this case. You don’t become an internationally wanted thief without stealing.”

“So what’s our next move?”

I am going to check Interpol’s files on the guy and see what his past record is. Cross check that against Covington and we might find out what the two have in common and what the files were doing in his possession in the first place.”

***************************************

Blair sat back from the computer monitor, removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He wondered how some people could just sit in front of a screen all day staring at names and numbers. The only connections he could find between Séntanta’s victims had been that they were all wealthy-which was a prerequisite to afford major works of art. They were in different lines of work, lived all over the world, and concentrated on different art periods.

He was ready to call a temporary halt when a word jumped off the screen. “Of course!”

“You got something, Chief?” asked Jim.

“I might. Let me check something.” He pulled up the names of the victims again and checked their business holdings. “I’ve got our connection.”

Jim came and looked over his shoulder. “And that is?”

“Northern Ireland. One way or another, they have all supported the British involvement.”

“And our man sees himself as a hero of Ireland and this is his way of harassing the enemy.”

“Exactly.”

“Now we know why he’s in Cascade.” He walked to Simon’s office and knocked on the door before entering. “Simon, we’ve found out what that design means.”

*******************************

Kendra sat on the floor of her hotel suite, documents spread in front of her. There had to be something here that could shed light on his plan. The new file included blueprints of Cascade’s art museum as well as the security schematics. If only she could figure out how he would go about it. She knew for a fact that despite being given the same exact plans and objective, no two thieves had the same approach.

She reached for the police files on his past crimes to try to divine how he would go about this. Unfortunately, nothing came to her. She stood and stretched before pouring herself more cabernet. She could only stare at the files for so long. Perhaps something would come in her sleep.

The phone rang and she answered it on the second ring. “Hello.”

“Kendra,” said a familiar voice.

“Grandfather! How are you?”

“A little worn out. Thank God, there are only a few more stops on the tour. And you? Any progress?”

“Some. I just have to process the information.”

“I should be there around noon tomorrow and we can work it out together.”

“Wonderful. I need to talk this over with someone who won’t question how I got the information,” she said with a smile.

“Did Covington report the theft?”

“Yes. I talked with the police this morning about security at the consulate but nothing was mentioned about Covington.”

“Until they feel the two events are tied, they wouldn’t mention it to you.”

“Even though he’s a British citizen?”

“I’m not sure how that all works, but perhaps you could inquire after reading about it in the paper.”

“I think I can get Detective Ellison to tell me about it.”

“You have him wrapped about your little finger, eh?”

“Hardly,” she scoffed. “He’s very no-nonsense and I think we’ve reached mutual respect.”

“And does that respect include telling him the truth?”

She hated how he could go straight to the heart of the matter. “Perhaps before I leave. Right now, he sees me as head of security. If he knew the rest of my job here, it could confuse things.”

“I can’t wait to meet him.” Kendra could hear the smile in his voice. “Until tomorrow.”

“Until tomorrow.” She replaced the receiver and sat back on the couch. Could she make it through the assignment without Ellison or his friend learning the truth? She hoped so for the sake of the complications it would avoid.

*******************************************

Ellison tried to call Lady Kendra from the loft but she wasn’t answering. He handed Sandburg the phone as they got into the truck. “Hit redial, Chief, and tell Ms Stuart what we pieced together.” He couldn’t see Sandburg’s face but he knew he was staring. “Just make the call.”

Ellison heard the phone beep as it redialed the number Kendra had given him yesterday. He listened with one ear as Sandburg talked in more subdued tones than usual. He then heard him say goodbye and shut off the phone. “Well?”

“Why didn’t you tell me you knew her?”

“I only met her yesterday and I didn’t think it that important.”

Not important?” He just stared ahead out the window. “Man, I was just talking with royalty.”

“What did she have to say? Will she meet us at the museum?”

“She’s already there. And I thought we had an early start,” he said with a yawn.

Ellison grinned as they pulled up in front of the row of converted Victorian townhouses that made up the Cascade Museum of Art. Despite the early hour, there was a sizeable crowd. Police ID got them past the “Donations” turnstile and into the main hall. It had been arranged that the room for traveling exhibits would be on the center floor of the center building making it a bit tougher for thieves plus casual patrons would have to pass through a large portion of the museum to get there.

Kendra was already there overseeing the placement of some of the larger pieces. “Detective Ellison, a pleasure to see you again.” She looked at Sandburg. “You must be Mr. Sandburg. Oh, please excuse my poor manners. Kendra Stuart.” She held out her hand.

Ellison was amused to see Sandburg’s mouth open and close without a sound. “Ms Stuart, I am impressed. This is one of the few times I’ve seen Sandburg speechless.”

That goaded him into speaking. “Blair Sandburg. It’s an honor to meet you, Lady Kendra. I just never expected it.”

“No need to address me as ‘Lady’ Kendra, Mr. Sandburg.”

“Blair,” he said in a slightly infatuated tone.

They moved on through the exhibit, checked, and tested all the security measures. Ellison took it upon himself to check the surrounding rooms as well to make sure no one could get in that way.

“When is your grandfather due to arrive?” asked Ellison.

She looked at her watch. “In about fifteen minutes. We were here much longer than I thought.” She started for the door. “What are you waiting for?” she asked with a smile.

Sandburg grinned, smacked Ellison lightly on the arm before following Kendra. Ellison merely sighed and walked out after them.

***************************************

The man shielded his eyes from the sun as he stepped from the jet onto the tarmac. No sign of her yet. One of his two shadows stepped forward. “We need to get you inside, sir.”

He thought them a bit overprotective, but why waste energy arguing at his age. “Keep an eye out for my granddaughter.”

“Once we get you in a secure area.”

James Richard William Charles Stuart, the duke of Edinburgh, looked back at the plane and watched as the treasures were unloaded directly into an armored car. His mind then ran through a number possible theft scenarios but everything he could come up with had been accounted for. Granted, his old life as a thief was years ago, but he always felt Steven Taylor was the “real” him as opposed to the life to which he was born. Just as they were to enter the terminal, a sporty red sedan drove onto the tarmac followed by a two-tone pickup. He stopped and watched as the young woman stepped out of the sedan, a genuine smile on his face. He walked over and gave her a hug. “You’re looking wonderful.”

“You old flatterer. You look as handsome as ever.” She stepped back and introduced him to the two men from the truck. “Grandfather, this is Detective Jim Ellison of the Cascade Police and his friend, Blair Sandburg.”

“It is such an honor, Your Grace,” the young man declared effusively. “I honestly didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity.”

“Well, I’m glad to have made your day, Mr. Sandburg,” he said with a smile.

“My day? More like my millennium.”

Steven then turned to the detective who merely uttered a polite “sir” and held out his hand.

“I hear you’re the best Cascade has to offer, Detective Ellison.”

“I just do my job, sir, and don’t pay attention to what anyone says.”

Steven smiled. “Can’t ask for more than that.” He looked at Kendra. “I guess I should follow up on my job and take a look at the museum.”

“Of course. We just came from there, but I know you need to see it for yourself.”

“If you’ll excuse me, I have a few leads to follow up on.”

“Certainly,” said Kendra. “We can’t monopolize your time. Thank you for your assistance this morning.”

“No problem.” He headed back to the pickup. “Chief?”

Sandburg hesitated. .

“You’re welcome to join us, Blair,” said Kendra. “In case we have a few more questions.”

*****************************************

Blair sat in the back seat of the car and could not believe his amazing luck. Here he was, a nobody outside his own social sphere, sharing a car ride with a living legend.

“What do you do, Mr. Sandburg?” Steven asked.

“I’m an anthropology grad student at Rainier University.”

“What are you doing riding around with the police?”

Blair chuckled. “I’m working on my doctorate. The central hypothesis to my dissertation is how the quality of evidence gathering at a crime scene can affect the capture of a perpetrator and ultimately the outcome of the trial,” he said, falling back on the story he, Jim, and Simon had concocted.

“Sounds rather interesting.”

“Oh, it is. Though at the moment, I’m regretting not having chosen hero worship and social icons.”

Kendra gave an unladylike snort of laughter. “That’s a new way of asking him for his life story.”

“So, you want to know what it’s like when people think of you as a hero? The adulation was strange at first when I had been so used to not letting people know what I did. It wasn’t long after that I missed walking down the street without being stopped or gawked at.”

“How long after the adulation did you want a normal life?”

“Oh, I grew tired early on. There were times I could use it to my advantage, but I knew a return to a normal life was beyond me. There are still moments when things get to be too much that I wish none of this happened.” He looked in the rearview mirror. “Why this specific line of questioning, Mr. Sandburg?”

“Just curiosity, your grace.” That wasn’t a lie, either. He knew Jim sometimes yearned for a normal life without heightened senses but at least the public didn’t know about it. Aside from the pointing fingers, he’d be seen as a freak and scientists would line up to experiment on him.

He was spared any further explanation when they reached the museum. Kendra pulled into the employee parking lot and the three of them walked in the rear entrance. Blair watched the duke as he seemed to scan the entry with his eyes. He smiled. I guess he never gave up all the ways of a thief.

**********************************

Kendra saw the look on Blair’s face as they entered the museum and knew he was watching Grandfather. He seemed to have this effect on everyone. She couldn’t wait to hear his opinion on the two once they got to the hotel. As they continued to the exhibition room, Grandfather made observations not only about security, but of the different works of art they passed. If only I could have that much information.

When they reached the room, she and Blair stood in the entryway as her grandfather examined every case, every opening, and every niche. He then walked back to them. “Top notch job, Kendra, though I never doubted that.”

“I’m glad you approve. I took into account the architecture and tried to make things as unobtrusive as possible.”

He looked at Blair. “Mr. Sandburg, how old is this building?”

“About four or five years.”

Grandfather smiled. “Not the museum, the original building.”

“Oh. 1890’s, I think. I’m sure we can find out at Information.”

“Hm, did anyone check the cellars? Victorian houses have a number of doors. Something might have been overlooked during the conversion.”

“I didn’t even think of that,” said Kendra. “I just worked off the museum prints.”

*************************************************

Ellison approached Covington’s office but slowed when he heard muffled voices. He zeroed in on them and he could hear them as if he were with them.

“What do you mean you don’t have it?” demanded the unknown voice. Ellison noted it had a slight Irish lilt.

“The office was broken into and the file was stolen. The police are investigating.”

“You called the police?”

“The building’s night watchman-“

“You could have said nothing was stolen. What if they open the file when they find it?”

“I told them it was sensitive. They wouldn’t open it without my approval.”

“Unless they find some reason to do so. I’ll check back with you periodically and I hope to hear good news.”

Ellison toned down his hearing back to normal and pretended to examine the floor directory as he watched Covington’s doorway. The man who came out had short auburn hair and stood about 5’7”. He set the face to memory knowing that he was Séntanta. After the man entered the elevator, Ellison went to the front window and got the description of the man’s car as well as the license plate number. He then called the station. “This is Ellison. I want a suspect followed.” He gave them the information. “No one is to approach as he should be considered armed and dangerous. Notify me of where he goes.”

Now he just had to get Covington to turn. He walked down the hall to the office. “Mr. Covington, I have a few more questions I’d like to ask you.”

“Certainly, Detective. Please, do sit down.” Covington took a seat behind his desk. “I have nothing new to add to my statement.”

“Maybe not, but I want to straighten a few things out. Now, you said the files were sensitive and you had them locked in this cabinet.” He motioned with his head toward the cabinet.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I find a few things wrong with that. The cabinet lock shows no signs of tampering and, if the file was as sensitive as you say, why wasn’t it locked up in your safe?”

Covington spared a nervous glance to the bar. “I’ve been meaning to have a safe installed, but I haven’t decided on one yet.”

Ellison knew he was lying; the man’s racing pulse told him that. “Maybe your friend Séntanta can help you pick a model. I’m sure he has some expertise in that area. You might want to ask him next time he stops by.”

With a self-satisfied smirk, Ellison left the office. Just as he got into the pickup, his phone rang. “Ellison.”

“That suspect you wanted followed is at the art museum. A team is waiting outside.”

“Tell them to maintain position. I’m on my way.”

At the first red light, he called Sandburg. “Hey, Jim. What is it?”

“Séntanta is there at the museum.” He gave Blair the man’s description. “Just watch. Don’t confront him.”

“Sure thing. Damn!”

“What is it, Chief?”

“Lights are out. You don’t think…”

“No, he wouldn’t pull the theft now. He wouldn’t make it out. I’m about two blocks away. If there’s any trouble, there’s a team outside.”

“OK, Jim. I’ll tell Kendra and her grandfather what’s going on.”

“Good. Stay with them.”

************************************************

After Blair had left to answer his phone, Steven and Kendra studied the plans. “Look there,” he said. “That is an opening to the street. We should check to see if it is still accessible.”

“That should be near the car park where we came in.”

“We’ll check it out when Mr. Sandburg returns.”

At that moment, the lights went out. “Wonderful,” muttered Kendra.

Steven swore under his breath. He was shoved aside as the patrons rushed by for the exit. “Séntanta. It has to be. Must be here to get the lay of the land.”

“Casing the joint, eh?” asked Mr. Sandburg from somewhere to his left. “That was Jim telling me that Séntanta was in the museum.”

“He needs to work on his timing.” Steven patted down his clothes but couldn’t find what he needed. “Kendra, do you have a light?”

“Of course.” She rummaged through her bag and soon a strong beam of light cut through the room. “Never without it,” she said with a smile.

“Shine it over here,” he told her.

Kendra directed the beam toward the counter and revealed a clear top. The blueprints were gone.

“Man, now he knows how to get in.”

“What do you think, Detective?”

“I think now we know what was in that missing file,” came Ellison’s voice as he walked up to them.”

“How did you know he was there?” asked Mr. Sandburg.

“I have something of a sixth sense when it comes to police,” he joked.

Kendra turned the light onto Ellison’s face and he covered his eyes with his hands and turned away. “I’m sorry, Jim. Are you all right?”

“Yeah, just need to wait for my eyes to adjust.”

Steven thought it a bit more than that and filed the information away for later consideration. “Mr. Sandburg mentioned that there were police outside. Did they see Séntanta?”

“No. He must have gone out with the crowd.”

“Or another way,” Steven mused. “He does have the blueprints after all. I think he might be making a dry run.”

Ellison looked at him, probably wondering why he didn’t think of it. “OK, I’ll go track him down. You stay here and see if you can get the power back up.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Kendra.

“Ms. Stuart, I can’t allow you to-“

“Risk my life chasing a dangerous criminal. I know the speech. In front of witnesses, I absolve you of anything that might happen to me. Now let’s go.”

Ellison looked at Steven. “She won’t listen to me either, Detective.”

“Fine,” he said resignedly. “But I call the shots, ok?”

“Whatever you say.” She turned to him and Mr. Sandburg. “Don’t wait up.”

Mr. Sandburg laughed as they walked away. “Now that would be something to witness.”

“I wouldn’t want to bet on the winner. Now let’s find a flashlight and see what we can do here.”

Part Two.

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