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Jeez, he's huge! Blair thought as Captain Banks got up from behind his desk and came around to shake Blair's hand.  I bet he can be intimidating.

Almost as if he could read Blair's mind, Banks backed up and leaned casually against his desk. "So…?" he prompted.

"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," Blair said.

"And you're requesting full access credentials to observe Detective Ellison on the job?" Simon asked.

Blair nodded. "Yeah. He is the best on the force, isn't he?"

Simon turned to Jim and asked, "Did you tell him that?"

Jim mouths the word "no", shooting an annoyed look at Blair.

Simon turned back to Blair, folding his arms. "Look, Mr....Sandburg, is it? You don't seem like the law enforcement type. What got you interested in this field?"

Blair could hear the doubt in Banks' voice and took in his closed body language. Shit, he's not buying this, what now? The cousin story? Nah, he'd never believe Ellison and I are related. The captain looked like he wouldn't appreciate the "thin blue line" patter, either.  Better stick close to the truth.  "No, no, I'm not in law enforcement.  I'm an anthropologist.  Studying urban cultures."

At Simon's raised eyebrows, he rushed on.  "As I expect you know, in large societies people agree to give up some of their personal freedoms for the greater good of a safe and peaceful life.  The police are vital members of that covenant; they have a lot of power over the population and a lot of responsibility.  People need to trust their police, and a big part of that is crime-solving.  The gathering of evidence is central to--it's essential to--making sure the guilty are caught and punished and the innocent are not imprisoned."

"And why did you choose Detective Ellison?"

Blair smiled and gave a little shrug, "Good timing.  I was discussing my thesis with a prof. He knew Detective Ellison and was singing his praises.  He made a phone call and hooked us up." He snuck a quick look at Ellison, but his face was unreadable. Must be quite a poker player.

Banks stood up, uncrossing his arms. "Mr. Sandburg, will you excuse us?  I'd like to speak to Detective Ellison alone."

"Yeah, sure, no problem." Blair hoisted his backpack on his shoulder.  "I'll be right out here, man," he said to Jim.

*****

Ellison exited from the captain's office and put his hand on Blair's elbow, guiding him out into the hallway.

"Well?" Blair asked, "Are we in?"

"Yeah, you snowed him pretty well.  I only had to embellish a little."

"Yeah?" Blair asked. "What'd ya tell him?"

"He asked about the professor.  I told him by coincidence he was one of my old Army buddies. Said he practically begged me to help you so you'd get out of his hair."

Blair grinned. "You're kidding! I'm impressed with your ability to tap dance." He rubbed his hands together. "So, he bought it.  What's next?"

"Next, I drop you off at Personnel and I've got a lunch date."  Ellison opened the door to Personnel. "Let me introduce you to Vera."



~~the end~~