Bright New Future

(1) "In The Beginning" (Sentinel)

By CiceroCat
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 29th January 2001 (2)

This is the second of CiceroCat's stories, and shows even more heavily the Susan Foster influence, since this AU setting is more like the GDP series; a near-futuristic setting, where Guides are second-class citizens. There also seems to be a bit of borrowing of an idea from Y.S. McCool's "Upgrades" universe, but that may be a coincidence. Again, this author manages to leave the worst horrors of the GDP universe out of this story, and refrains from giving Jim animalistic behaviours (yet), while at the same time giving a reasonable explanation as to why Blair is downtrodden and distrusting. Yes, a WimpyBlair, but not as wimpy as the one in GDP.

The opening is really good -- a tense, immediate scene which manages to give us background and backstory without any boring exposition.
    "In a few short minutes, a new century, with new possibilities will be upon us. New heights reachable by way of ever advancing technology. . . "
    Pant; thump; pant; thump. . .
    Gotta hide, gotta hide, gotta. . . Panting heavily, breath visible in the frigid air, his rhythmic footsteps pushed out all superfluous thought. He barely gave the booming voice from loudspeakers any attention, a voice that told of a grand future in store. A future he probably wouldn't see.
    Dark, so dark. She's gonna find me, it's not gonna work.
    ". . . A greater future is at hand, a future that is our heritage, our destiny. . ."
    Shoes squeaked loudly on slick concrete sidewalks, as he slid. Cursing, he went down on three limbs, his hand catching and levering him up from the cold, unyielding surface, as he cut too sharp around a corner.

Guides here aren't grovelling slaves, but they have been denied civil rights. (I can see the Dark Angel influence mentioned here also) It wasn't entirely clear whether the abuses Blair had suffered were legal or not, however; whether they were the exception or the rule.

One thing that also isn't clear is why the Major Crimes gang seems to be concealing that Jim is a Sentinel, nor why they make the offer to Blair. (Again, it would be nice to see something from Jim's point of view). It also isn't quite clear what happened in the very last scene; I'm sure the author knew, but not me. There's also no reason that I can see, in the second-last scene, why Blair would think that a strange cop would shoot him, on the word of a stranger. That's a bit extreme.

But I am looking forward to the next one.

Addendum: nominated for favourite alternate universe story, 2001 Cascade Times Awards.