I realized when my twisted mind came up with the idea for this series that not every Sentinel fan would like it. But the character of Jill Alison got under my skin and inside my head, and she won't shut up.
What I'm planning to do with this series is rewrite some of the most important episodes of The Sentinel, in a universe where *the Sentinel* is not Jim Ellison. There'll be some other changes along the way too, but Blair will still be the irrepresible anthropologist we all love. He just has his hands full with a different kind of Sentinel. And how could I resist the opportunity to fix all those niggling problems the powers that be left us?
This story, more of a snippet really, introduces Jill.
KA-BLAM! The loud explosion rocked the Army helicopter, and Captain Jill Alison struggled to keep her bird in the air.
"What the hell was that?!" came the shout of the mission commander, Captain James Ellison, over her headphones.
"Ground to air missile, sir! Someone knows we're here!" A second explosion knocked out the rear rotor, and she had a split second to call out a warning to the team of Rangers in the back. "Hang on to something, we're going down!" Whirling out of control, the Huey struck the treetops with a whump, then plummeted silently to the jungle floor.
"Ohhhh..." The sound of someone moaning in pain roused Captain Alison to consciousness. When the sound came again, she realized she was the one crying out. Fuck! What the hell had happened? Crash...we crashed. Shit, the rest of the team! She fumbled at her safety harness with her right hand. Her left arm was hanging at a strange angle, and judging from the pain, was broken.
Finally freeing the catch, she leaned over to her copilot, her fingers searching for the pulse at his throat. "Marty? Aw, damn it, Marty..." They'd flown together for five years. Blinking back tears, she finally looked back into the cargo area, and promptly threw up.
Once her stomach had quit heaving, Jill took a moment to consider what she had to do. Radio for help. She took a good look at the shattered control panel. Okay, just not using that radio. The away team had radios in their gear. She could look while she checked to see if there were any survivors. But first she needed to do something about her arm. Using her knife to cut off a long section of her safety harness, she fashioned it into a makeshift sling. It wasn't great, but at least it would keep her arm immobile until she could get to the first aid kit.
Crawling into the back of the copter, she began to check for pulses, listen for breathing, anything to let her know someone else had survived the crash. Out of the six man insertion team the chopper had carried, only one Ranger had survived, and he was in bad shape. As carefully as she could, Jill hauled him out of the wreckage and to the meager shelter provided by a fallen tree. Going back to the aircraft a couple more times, she returned with water, supplies, and a first aid kit. She'd also found a radio, but didn't succeed in raising anyone.
She treated Capt. Ellison's wounds as well as she could, then tended to her own. By that time, night had fallen and, not wanting to risk a fire that could possibly draw those who had shot them down, she kept a silent watch in the darkness.
Once again the noise made by someone in pain woke her, only this time it was Ellison crying out. Jill crawled to his side, laying her hand on his forehead. Damn it, he had a fever. "Jim, you awake there, buddy? I need you to drink some water and take some medicine for me."
"Unnngh..." Ellison's eyes slowly opened, and he stared up at her, his gaze unfocused. "Al? What in the hell happened?"
Holding a bottle of water to his lips, she made him drink a few sips before she answered him. "We crashed, Jim. We're the only two that made it. I'm sorry..."
He groaned again, then said, "Not your fault, Alison. Did the best you could." He was silent for a long time, and Jill was beginning to think he'd passed out on her, when he asked, "How bad is it?"
"Honestly, Jim, I don't know. You've got internal injuries, a fever, and probably some broken bones. Neither of us is gonna get out of here without help, buddy, but I won't lie to you. I can't raise anyone on the radio, and I don't think whoever shot us down is going to rush to our aid."
Jim seemed to ponder that for a moment, then he said, "I know you weren't part of the mission, Al, just our ride in, but if I don't make it, someone's got to continue. I'm going to brief you on our mission."
"Jim, look, we're going to get out of here, even if I have to carry you out on my back, okay? So let's not start being pessimistic--"
"Damn it, Jill! Shut up and listen to me!" Ellison's hand darted out and grabbed hold of her sleeve, his gaze intense.
She bit back whatever else she had been about to say, knowing she couldn't deny the request, make that the order, of a man she had known and respected for longer than she'd known Marty. She and Ellison had gone through boot camp together, and had met when they kept getting each other's mail. A smile flickered on her lips at the memory, then she turned her attention back to what Jim was saying.
"Our mission is to contact the local tribe, the Chopec, organize a militia, and hold the pass. You got that, Al?"
"Yeah, Jim, I got that." She shifted his position slightly so that his head was lying in her lap. "Now get some more rest. I've got a lot to do at first light."
But by first light, Jim Ellison, Jill's long-time friend was gone. But she was not alone. The Chopec had come looking for her.
~finis~ for now....
Email the Author