Miguel Ortiz was alone.
He looked around for someone, anyone, but all he could see was a thick dull white blanket of fog.
“Hello!” He called out. “Jim!? Lonnie!? Anyone!?!” The only reply was the echo of his own voice.
Miguel turned quickly as he heard a noise behind him, and tried to see what is was through the fog. He spun around as the sound came from another direction, and he realized with a sinking feeling that it was all around him.
That’s it! he thought and started to run. I’m outta here!. He did not know where he was going, and at the moment, he didn’t really care. All he knew was that he had to get away from the noise and the fog. He was breathing hard as he traveled fast, but he could still hear the noise. Suddenly, the noise stopped. Miguel skidded to a stop and looked around, breathing hard, trying to quell the panic building inside him.
“Whoever you are, show yourself!” He demanded. A dark shape approached from the dense fog, and Miguel involuntarily took a step backwards. His foot slipped on a stone and he fell to the ground. He scrambled to his feet, and stared defiantly at the figure in front of him.
“What do you want?”
“You,” The figure answered.
Miguel tried to see the other’s face, but could not. “Me? Well, tough luck amigo, but you can’t have me.” He turned and started to run again.
“You can’t run away!” A voice said inside his head.
Yeah? Watch me! Miguel ran out of the fog and sighed in relief. It was short lived however as he found himself on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the ocean. Damn it!
Miguel looked behind him, then back over the cliff. I’ve got no choice. He decided, then stepped into air.
Commander Ford looked at his watch and sighed. He turned to Lieutenant O’Neill. “Get Chief Ortiz on the line, and find out why he’s thirty minutes late for his shift.”
“Aye sir,” Tim O’Neill replied.
Ford turned as Miguel Ortiz came running onto the bridge.
“Sorry sir,” Miguel said as he hurried up the steps to his sensor station. “I overslept.”
Ford looked at him in mild shock. Overslept? Miguel never oversleeps…Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything, he thought as he sat in his chair.
Miguel tried to concentrate on the task at hand, but his mind kept wandering back to the dream that had caused him to oversleep. He typed in a command for Junior, then typed it again. He sighed, canceled the order, then reissued it properly. His thoughts drifted back to the images of the fog.
Captain Bridger walked onto the bridge. “Change headings twenty degrees north,” he ordered.
“Aye sir,” Ensign Lonnie Henderson replied.
“Set W.S.K.R.S. on a perimeter patrol,” Bridger said. He waited a few seconds for confirmation then looked up at Miguel, who seemed to be in his own little world. ”Are you with us today, Chief?…Mr. Ortiz!”
Miguel jumped, and looked at him. “Sir?”
“Set WSKRS on a perimeter patrol.”
“Aye sir,” Miguel replied. Damndamndamndamn.
Bridger gave him a warning look, then sat in the Captain’s chair.
“Something going on?” Ford asked.
“A boat carrying some diplomats lost power and has drifted into unfriendly waters off South America,” Bridger said. “We are going to get them back.” He glanced up at Miguel. “What’s his problem today?”
“He says he overslept.”
Bridger looked at Ford. “Overslept? Miguel?”
“I know. But, whatever is wrong with him today, is throwing his performance off.”
Miguel watched his Captain and Commander deep in conversation, and somehow knew that they were talking about him. He jumped and looked down quickly when an alarm sounded. He cursed under his breath and keyed in a command.
“What was that?” Ford demanded.
Miguel looked embarrassed. “Uh, Junior nearly collided with Mother.”
Bridger stared at him. “Sign off for the rest of the day Chief Ortiz,” he said evenly.
“Aye sir,” Miguel answered in a quiet voice. He stood up and quickly left the bridge.
Miguel grunted in annoyance and pain as his hand connected solidly with the punching bag. His mind alternated between the events on the bridge, and the dream that had caused them. Damn it Ortiz!! How could you be so stupid! It’s just a stupid dream!!
Miguel glanced at the door. “What?” He swung at the bag again.
Lonnie Henderson walked in. “Are you all right?”
“Fine,” Miguel answered. “Did you want something?”
Lonnie sighed. “Will you stop trying to beat the crap out of that bag for a few moments?”
Miguel stood back. “Look, I really don’t feel like talking to anyone at the moment, okay? That’s why I came here.”
“Not too many people use this fitness room.” Lonnie agreed. “They’re more into the hi-tech exercise equipment in the other rooms.” She looked around the room, smiling slightly at the punching bags, weight sets, and manual treadmills. “I kind of like it in here…not as ‘sterile’ as the newer equipment.”
“Will you stop trying to make conversation,” Miguel said, “and just say what it is you came for.” He paused. “Sorry. I didn’t mean for that to come out the way it sounded.”
Miguel sighed. “Nothing’s wrong. I made a mistake on the bridge…and I’m annoyed at myself for making it.” He turned back to the bag. “Now, if you don’t mind…”
“No way, Mister,” Lonnie said. “There’s something beyond that bothering you.” She smiled softly. “Come on…it might do you good to talk about it.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you’re nosey?”
“Yep. All part of my charm.”
Despite the mood he was in, Miguel had to smile at that response. He punched at the bag a few more times before he turned to her again. “Destiny.”
“Destiny,” he repeated.
“What about it?” Lonnie had a confused look on her face.
Miguel sighed. “You asked what was bothering me, and that’s it.” He looked at her confused face. “Dreams, and destiny…and how my time is almost up.”
THE NEXT DAY
Lieutenant James Brody looked out at his team and began to speak. “The plan is simple. In, get the diplomats, and then get out. We received a radio call from the ship, and they made it to a small island about twelve clicks east of the mainland.” He glanced as his PAL sounded. “Brody here.”
“There’s a weather front moving in, Lieutenant,” O’Neill announced. “Rain, winds, fog.”
“Thanks,” Brody replied and turned his PAL off. He looked at the five people again. “Perfect weather to sneak in unannounced.”
Miguel stared at him. Fog? He felt a chill run through his body. This is it buddy, destiny is calling your name.
“All right. Let’s get to the shuttle,” Brody ordered.
Brody stood on the beach and looked around. “Is this the right place?”
Lonnie looked slightly insulted. “Yes. These are the coordinates I was given.” She took any comment about her piloting skills seriously. “Maybe they had to find shelter. I mean, just look at the sky, you can tell there’s a storm coming.” As if hearing her words, the wind picked up considerably.
Brody sighed. This was just what he did not need…a bunch of civilians making a rescue difficult. “Okay, spread out. Team two, search the beach and jungle south of here. We’ll go north. Meet back here in two hours.”
Miguel stopped walking and turned. For the past hour, he had had the distinctly eerie feeling that he was being watched. The image from his dream popped into his mind. Get a grip Migs! It was just a dream!
“Miguel?” Lonnie asked. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Miguel said slowly. He started to walk again, looking up as the rain turned from a fine drizzle, into a downpour.
“Oh, great!” Brody exclaimed. He stopped, a puzzled look on his face. “Where was their boat?”
“Pardon?” Lonnie asked.
“The boat these diplomats were suppose to be in…where was it?”
“It was docked on the beach…where…we—“ Lonnie trailed off. “It wasn’t there.”
Miguel sighed. “So, either they sent the wrong coordinates, or…I got a bad feeling about this.”
“So do I.” Brody reached for his PAL and flicked it on. “Brody to seaQuest.” He waited. “Brody to seaQuest.” Static was all he received in reply. “Try yours.”
Both Lonnie and Miguel tried to reach the seaQuest, but with no luck. A part of Brody wanted to scream, and throw his PAL against a tree, but he held back the urge. Instead, he lifted his gun and pointed it at a tree. He pulled the trigger…nothing happened.
“Well, don’t that just beat all,” Brody said sarcastically. “We waltzed right into a trap.”
“Electromagnetic field?” Lonnie asked.
“That would effect the PAL and weapons,” Brody said absently. “Only question is, who set it?” He tried his PAL again. “Team one to team two.” Static replied. “Figures,” he sighed. “Let’s get back to the shuttle.”
“No argument there,” Miguel said and started to walk. He stopped and turned.
“What?” Brody looked behind him.
Miguel stared into the thick fog that was forming. “Don’t know. I got the feeling that we’re being watched.”
“It‘s the fog.” Brody didn’t sound convincing.
"Maybe," Lonnie said as she looked around. "I know I'd feel safer back at the shuttle."
Brody started to walk back in the direction they had come from. "Stay close," he advised.
The figure sat in a tree, and watched as the three made their way through the wet, fog filled jungle. She smiled slightly and jumped easily to another tree to follow them.
They walked in silence through the rain-slicked rocky terrain, until Brody stopped and looked around in confusion.
"What?" Lonnie asked.
Brody stared at a large rock. "Didn't we pass that awhile ago?" He asked and pointed.
Miguel sighed. "We've been walking in a circle for the past ninety minutes," he said in a quiet voice. He stared at the gun in his hands. "And these things are useless!!!" He threw it across the small clearing, not watching as it clattered against a tree.
Brody and Lonnie looked at him in shock. "Relax Miguel," Brody said. "We'll get back to the shuttle." He watched as Miguel sat on a rock and leaned back. "Miguel?"
"I heard you," Miguel replied. He ran his hands over his face and stared into the gray fog above him. No we won't, Jim…don’t you see what's gonna happen??
What the hell is his problem? Brody looked around. "Well, we've got two choices. Either we try to find our way back to the beach, and to the shuttle, or we camp here for the night and go to the shuttle in the morning."
"I say we camp here," Lonnie said. "If we try to find the beach in this weather, we might get lost."
"I got a news flash for ya, Lonnie," Miguel said from his rock. "We're already lost."
"No we're not," Lonnie responded. "We know where we are…it's the beach that's lost," she joked, trying to get Miguel out of his mood.
Miguel finally looked at them. "You think this is funny?" He asked in an angry voice.
"No, I don't." She paused. "What is wrong with you?"
"Wrong?" Miguel stood up. "Why, whatever ever could be wrong? I'm on an Island, in the middle of a storm, sitting a few clicks from an unfriendly country, searching for some diplomats who may or may not be here, and you ask me what's wrong??" He walked up to her. "Why nothings wrong, Lonnie…in fact, everything's just wonderful!"
Lonnie stared at him in shock. "Miguel?" I guess our talk yesterday didn’t work.
"Forget it, okay!?" Miguel said and turned away. He looked into the fog and shivered involuntarily.
Brody touched Lonnie's arm. "Take first watch," he whispered into her ear. "Go on." He waited until Lonnie had moved a reasonable distance away before he turned to Miguel.
"All right, Chief, care to explain that little scene?"
"No, I do not, sir," Miguel said without turning around.
Brody sighed lightly. "Come on Miguel…You're usually the one to find the humor in a situation…You haven't been yourself for the past couple days. What's bothering you? And I want the truth, not some sarcastic reply."
Miguel turned. "The truth?" He looked past Brody, then sighed. "I'm gonna die on this stupid island."
"What??" Brody stared in confusion. "Why do you say that??"
Miguel sighed heavily. "I'll take second watch."
"Drop it, okay?" Miguel went back to his rock and leaned down on it. Stupid island…stupid fog…stupid dream!!…Stupid destiny! Well, here I am…on an island, deep in the fog…Come and get me babe!
The person stood on a branch and looked down at the figure of Ensign Lonnie Henderson as she stood watch. Perfect. The figure jumped effortlessly to the ground beside a startled Lonnie and smiled.
"Hello," the person said, and grabbed Lonnie before she could yell out a warning.
Miguel stood and started to walk in the direction Lonnie had gone. Brody looked up at him.
“Where are you going?”
Miguel turned. “I’m going to relieve Lonnie...she’s been on watch for about three hours.” He turned back and continued.
Brody sighed as he watched him leave. He hopped off of the rock he was sitting on, did a few stretches to get the circulation moving in his legs, then whirled around as a twig snapped behind him. He looked in shock at a face from the past.
“Wha—,“ Was all he managed to say before something hard hit him in the chest. He felt a shocking pain, and absently wondered how someone, even a person like her, could hit so hard. He fell to the ground as the person approached, but managed to swipe her feet out from under her before darkness overtook him.
The woman picked herself up from the ground, gave Brody a dirty look, then effortlessly picked him up.
Miguel looked around the edge of the clearing. "Lonnie? Where are you?" Must have circled around to the other side he decided and walked back to the temporary camp.
He stood in the clearing where they had set up camp, and stared at the ground. Signs of a small scuffle were evident. "Jim? Lonnie?" He called out as panic gripped at him. The only reply was the wind. He looked around frantically…and realized that he was alone.
Captain Bridger paced from the Moon Pool, to the communications station, then back. "Any word yet?"
O'Neill looked up at him. "None, sir." He went back to his communications console, and tried to get his mind off of his friends. He had been trying to reach the landing team for the past six hours, but all he could raise was static.
“Captain? This is Piccolo,” a voice came over the speakers. “There’s something on the news that I think you should see.”
“Not right now, Tony,” Bridger said. He looked as the news appeared on the main screen. “Seaman…I said—“ He trailed off as he saw the person on the screen.
“That’s Senator Brach?” Ford said in a disbelieving voice. “He’s suppose to be on that island.”
Bridger stared at the screen as a horrible feeling of trickery and betrayal built up inside him. He turned to O’Neill. “Get me every communication we have concerning the supposedly lost diplomatic cruise…and get me UEO Command.”
Miguel stood in the middle of the clearing, cursing in Spanish, half expecting the noises he had dreamt of to start. He tried to tell himself that this was only a horrible coincidence, and that there was no way that he could have actually foretold his death in a dream. He heard a slight whispering noise, froze momentarily as fear ran through him, then turned.
“Come on out!” He yelled, forcing his voice to be strong. “I know you’re out there!” He stepped back as a dark outline appeared in the fog, and frowned as the vision became clear.
“Mariah,” he hissed.
“Surprised to see me?” Mariah asked in her most innocent voice.
“Disappointed is more like it.” Miguel took a step back. “What do you want?”
“Me? Well, tough luck amiga, but you can’t have me.” Miguel tried to push down the sickening feeling of déjà vu he was experiencing. He knew what he had to do…he turned, and ran. The one thing I dream of that comes true, and it’s gotta be this!!!
Mariah smiled slightly and started after him. She decided to let him run until he thought that he was safe, then she would swoop in and grab him.
Miguel ran, his breath coming in ragged gasps, his lungs feeling ready to burst. He sighed as he ran out of the fog. Figures he thought as he saw the cliff edge in front of him. Well, this is it. He turned and, not seeing Mariah, started to run along the edge of the cliff. His foot slipped, and he grabbed out to steady himself. A hand shot out of the trees, and held on to him.
Miguel jerked himself out of Mariah’s grasp, backed up, and glanced over the cliff to the water below.
“The hunt is over,” Mariah said. “And you have lost.”
Damn! I’ve got no choice. “Wanna bet?” Miguel said. He smiled sadly, blew her a kiss, then stepped off of the cliff.
“Nooo!” Mariah yelled as she reached for him. She stared at the empty air for a few moments, sighed, and turned away.
Captain Bridger leaned back in his chair and stared absently at Darwin swimming through the aqua-tubes as his mind ran over the conversation he had just finished with UEO Command. He had basically known what to expect, but it had still been an angry disappointment to actually hear it. There had been no lost diplomatic cruise, no communications with the seaQuest, and they had no idea as to where the information about the cruise had come from.
Where it came from?? Bridger thought as he watched Darwin. I know where it came from…someone who has the UEO access codes. He reached forward, pushed a small button on his desk, and spoke. “Is your team ready, Commander?”
“Yes, sir,” Ford’s voice replied. “Anything new from UEO Command?”
“Do you know who might have done this?”
Bridger sighed to himself. “I have a fairly good idea.”
“So do I, sir…so do I.”
The cages hung motionless in the wide cavern. It was dark, damp, and had a large lagoon taking up most of the bottom.
Lonnie glanced around as she heard a sound, and tried to focus on where it had come from. She saw a shape in the cage next to hers, and sighed in relief. "Jim?!"
Brody looked at her slowly, and sighed. "I was kinda hoping that this was a dream." He sat up and leaned against the bars. "Any idea what's going on?"
Lonnie shook her head. "No…you're the first person I've seen since Mariah grabbed me."
"I was kinda hoping that seeing her again was a dream too." Brody looked around the cave they were in. "Any sign of Miguel?"
"No…Maybe she hasn't caught him yet." Lonnie leaned forward and put her arm through the bars of the cage. "Can you reach me? Maybe we can link the cages together and try to find a way out of here."
Brody stuck his arm through the bars and reached as far as he could. "Damn…maybe if we swing the cages?" He looked up at the chain holding the cage. "It looks strong enough." He glanced down at the water they were suspended over. "Only problem is we don’t know how deep that water is…in case the cages come loose." He froze when he saw a shape in the water.
"What?" Lonnie looked down. She saw a fin gliding along the top of the water, followed by two more. "Sharks??" She shook her head. "That lady does not play fair."
Brody's eyes never left the water as he followed the path of the fins. "No, she doesn't." He jumped as a grinding sound filled the air, and the cages began to lower towards the water.
"Oh no!!!" Lonnie screeched. "Jim!!"
"Do something!!" Panic filled her voice.
Brody looked at her in shock. "What do you expect me to do???" He fell to the bottom of his cage as it came to a halt about one foot from the surface of the water. He jumped back up as a fin touched the bottom of his foot.
"Gawd!!!! Damn it!!!" He yelled. He tried to push himself further up the sides of the cage but slid back to the bottom. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Damn you Mariah!!"
Lonnie kept one eye on Brody, and the other on the sharks circling their cages. "It's okay Jim." She said in a quiet voice. "They can't get us while we're in the cages."
Brody looked at her, and Lonnie could see fear in his eyes. "That's not overly comforting to hear."
"You don’t like sharks?"
"Oh, I love sharks…with tartar sauce," Brody quipped. "Other than that, I detest, despise, loathe, hate and generally do not like them!"
"You don’t like my pets?" A voice asked. "I'm insulted."
Brody swung around in his cage and stared at the woman standing on the water's edge. "Who the hell are you?"
"My name is not important," she said. "What is important however, is the information you can give me regarding Captain Bridger and the seaQuest."
Brody stared at her hard. He had seen her face before, but he could not recall where. "Sorry lady, but all I can supply you with is my name, rank and serial number…beyond that, well…you're outta luck."
The woman smiled coolly. "You are making this much harder than it has to be Lieutenant James Brody." She signaled with her hand.
Brody jumped in panic as the cage he was in began to lower itself the rest of the way to the water's surface. He looked at her. "Uh…let's not be hasty now…I'll be no good to you torn into pieces."
"You won’t be torn into pieces," the woman replied. "The cages are meant for this. The most that will happen is that you'll get up close and personal with my pets." She turned to leave. "Do rethink your position on giving me what I want."
Lonnie watched quietly until the woman left, then she started to move her cage back and forth. "Hold on Jim! I'm going to try to grab onto your cage…keep you out of the water!"
Brody tried once again to climb the sides of his cage as the water level rose above his knees. He clamped his mouth shut against a yell as a shark bumped the cage.
"Jim!" Lonnie yelled. "Jim!!" Brody looked. Lonnie had a grip on the top of his cage. "Can you grab onto mine?! Pull yourself up!"
Brody jumped at the top of his cage. His fingers brushed the top, missed, and he fell to the bottom of the cage. His hand went through the bars and into the water. "Arrggghhh!!!! It touched me!!!" he yelled in a panic, scrambled to his feet, and jumped again. This time he connected with the bars and held on tight. He reached out and grasped onto Lonnie's cage.
"Hey!" Lonnie said as Brody tried to catch his breath. "There's a latch on the top on your cage!"
Brody looked up quickly. "Can you reach it?" Lonnie nodded. "Do it then! I'll hold the cages together."
The cages swayed slightly as Lonnie let go. She reached out as far as she could, and put her fingers under the latch. She pulled at it, squealing in delight when it opened.
"Lonnie, you're an angel!" Brody waited until she grabbed hold of his cage again, then he hoisted himself through the opening. He looked down at the sharks. "Sorry, no snack time today."
Miguel moaned in pain and opened his eyes. He sat up slowly and looked around him. He glanced down, sucking in his breath when he saw where he was. The small outcrop sat about 100 feet above the angry ocean and about 25 feet from the top of the cliff.
"I'm not dead!" Happiness surged through him. "HA! Up yours, destiny!!!" He looked back at the cliff and sighed. "Now how the heck am I gonna get off of this thing?" He gasped in pain as he tried to stand, and put his arm against his right side. Miguel slowly lifted his shirt, and whistled at the bruise he saw. "Damn, that hurts." He heard a noise from above and pushed himself against the cliff face. Oh, no, you’re not gonna get me now Mariah.
"Hello down there!?"
Miguel's eyes opened wide at the voice and he looked up. "Commander Ford!? Am I ever glad to see you!"
Ford turned slightly. "I found Miguel…get the harness." He looked back down at Miguel. "Why are you standing on an outcrop?"
"I always stand halfway down a cliff in the middle of a storm," Miguel answered back. "Didn’t you know?" He grimaced slightly at the look Ford gave him. "I jumped."
"Miguel," Ford warned.
"Honest, sir," Miguel stated. "Just get me up from here, and I'll tell you the whole sordid story."
Bet it's a good one. "Okay, here comes the harness," Ford said as he started to lower it. "Be careful."
Miguel grabbed painfully at the harness when it reached him and slowly put it on. "Okay, I'm secure. Get me off of this thing."
Brody and Lonnie made their way silently through the cavern in search of a way out. It had been fairly easy to swing the cages far enough in order to jump to the shore, and so far no one had appeared to try to stop them.
"Wonder how Miguel is doing?" Lonnie whispered.
"Yeah." Brody tried not to think about what Miguel had said about him going to die on the island. He suddenly stopped walking and turned to face Lonnie. "I know who that woman was."
"Ever heard of Marilyn Stark?"
Commander Ford stared at Miguel as he reported on what had happened since they had landed on the island. Miguel accepted a steaming mug of coffee from Doctor Wendy Smith, then continued. "So, I get back to the camp, and Jim's not there. Then Mariah pops up out of no where…chased me, and I jumped off the cliff."
"I see," Ford said as he picked up his radio.
"That won’t work sir," Miguel reminded him. "This electromagnetic field I mentioned…That's why we were not able to contact the seaQuest. It seems to effect communications, and weapons…but obviously not shuttles." I’d like to get a look at the setup they have…must be a beaut.
Marilyn Stark stared in anger at the sight of the empty cages as they hung over the cavern's lagoon. She turned to he woman beside her. "How did they get out?"
"I do not know," Mariah replied.
"Well find them!" Stark ordered. "And I really do not care if they join their dearly departed crewmate."
"As you wish." Mariah nodded once, and walked away. Dearly departed? What is that suppose to mean? Does she mean the one who jumped off the cliff? Mariah stopped walking as she thought about it. I didn’t want for that to happen…did I? No. I only wanted to bring him here…jumping was his own choice.
Mariah was slowly starting to regret her decision to join forces with this Marilyn Stark, one time captain of the original seaQuest DSV. She had thought that their combined hatred for Bridger and his crew would see an end to the seaQuest, but now she was seriously doubting that fact. Experience should have taught me better. I thought these same things with 'the Marauder', and those plans failed. Along with these thoughts, Mariah was also having doubts about Stark's sanity.
Mariah walked through the tunnels quietly in search of her prey. Join their dearly departed? Does that mean that she wants me to kill them? Well, the female I would have no qualms against killing…but Brody? Mariah stopped walking once again as she realized what she had thought. No…why would I hesitate against killing Brody? He was once my captor…If anyone deserves to die, it is him. She started again, but could not get rid of the feeling of sorrow at the thought of having to kill Lieutenant James Brody.
Wendy sat beside Miguel on a log as she checked out the bruise that ran from his right shoulder blade to his hipbone.
"Yeowch!!" Miguel cried. "Be careful! That's where I landed."
"Sorry," Wendy said. "Why did you jump?"
Miguel shrugged lightly. "I had no choice. Either that, or be captured by who knows what."
"You said 'who knows what'," Wendy pointed out. "Why?"
Miguel looked at her in amazement. "You're not actually going to try to psychoanalyze me, are you?"
Wendy took a tensor wrap out of her medical bag and started to apply it to Miguel's ribs. "Should I? Is there some other reason why you may have jumped off the cliff?"
"Destiny?" Wendy asked as she wrapped. "Why do you say that?"
Miguel sighed, and told her about the dream he had two nights previous. "It all seemed so real. So…well, when I got here, and saw this island…just like in my dream…I knew."
"You knew that you were going to die," Wendy stated. "Miguel, not all dreams are harbingers of the future. In your dream, all you knew was that you jumped off of a cliff--" She stopped. "Okay, maybe this dream foretold you something, but it did not foretell your death."
"I know that now," Miguel whispered. "I can't believe that I let my mind run away over this."
Wendy smiled lightly as she finished wrapping Miguel's side. "Why don’t you go back to the seaQuest with the shuttle, and get some sleep?"
"I can't," Miguel said as he slowly put his shirt back on. "Lonnie, Jim, and the rest of the team are still on this island somewhere. I have to help look for them."
"I could make it an order, Chief."
"And I could refuse that order," Miguel said, but knew full well that he would do no such thing. "Wendy, please…I promise not to jump off anymore cliffs." He gave her his best ‘charming’ smile.
Wendy thought about it as she put her medical kit back in order. "All right, Miguel. I won’t order you back to the seaQuest…but…if I think that you are in the least bit danger of injuring yourself further, then I will deem you unfit for duty."
"Fair enough," Miguel said. He stopped as a thought occurred to him, and started to laugh.
"What is so amusing?"
"I just realized…My dream…Mariah is my dream girl!" He laughed harder, then stopped when pain shot through is side. "Aiiieee!!!! Whoa!!! Guess it wasn't that funny after all."
Marilyn Stark sat at her desk and watched the video screens in front of her. She could feel her anger rise as she switched through channels in an attempt to locate the ‘fugitives’. “How could they have just disappeared?” she asked aloud. She knew that Mariah would find them, but she was not sure if the Dagger would actually kill them.
“She is unpredictable,” Stark said to herself. “I may have to watch out for her.” She thought about how good it would feel to finally get rid of Bridger and the seaQuest, and decided that picking Mariah to do the dirty work had been a wise choice. Too bad about Ortiz jumping off that cliff…I kind of liked him.
Stark remembered fondly the time she was the Captain of the world’s most powerful submarine. Ahhh, what power I had…the ability to do anything! She blinked a few times as the reality of her past came crashing down around her once again. Then that idiot Bridger had to take it all away from me!…It’s not like I was actually doing anything wrong…the world needs wars!
She stood and walked out from behind her desk. “Well Nathan, I am about to take your crew from you! Starting with these two that I have!” She started for the door, but stopped. “Sorry about Miguel…but, hey…shit happens.”
Tony Piccolo pushed a branch out of his way, and looked into a clearing. He froze as the muzzle of a gun landed against his cheek.
"Tony?!" The gun was removed instantly.
Tony sighed in relief, let go of the branch, and yelled as it sprung back into his face. He grabbed at it again and held it away. "Coulter?"
Coulter smiled. "Am I ever gad to see you guys! We couldn't raise Team One on the radios….the seaQuest either."
Commander Ford walked by Tony and entered the clearing. "Everyone all right?"
Coulter looked at him in mild confusion. "Of course, sir…why wouldn't we be? We had to take refuge here up on the mountain side from the storm though." He noticed Miguel in the group. "Where's Brody and Henderson?"
Miguel sighed in frustration. "Mariah has them."
Ford turned. "We don't know that for sure, Chief."
"Seems the most logical conclusion, sir," Miguel answered.
Ford stared at him for a few seconds, then walked to Wendy.
Coulter turned to Miguel. "Now what's this about Mariah?"
Wendy glanced at Ford. “Yes, Commander?”
“Are you sure Ortiz is all right?”
“Beyond that rather nasty bruise he has, Miguel is fine…why?” Wendy sat down on a rock.
“That’s my point,” Ford said as he searched for the right words. “He’s fine…shouldn’t he be…I don’t know…angry?”
“Angry?” Wendy’s brow creased in thought. “No, he’s not…He’s relived at being alive, but I sense no anger from him. He is, however, anxious to get going.”
“You sense that?”
“No,” Wendy said. “I can see that.” She pointed to Miguel, who was pacing around the clearing, and looking down across the island.
Lonnie leaned against the wall of the cave and bent down. She took her boot off, shove a stone out of it, then put it back on. "Okay, let's go."
"I'm afraid you are going nowhere," Mariah said as she walked from around the corner and stood in front of them.
Both Lonnie and Brody turned to run in the opposite direction, but Mariah was too fast for them. She caught up quickly, reached out and grabbed Lonnie by the arm.
"Jim?!" Lonnie yelled. Brody skidded to a halt and turned. "Go!!! Keep running!!!"
Brody stood momentarily, then turned.
"You leave, and I will kill her," Mariah promised.
Brody stopped, and turned slowly. He glared at Mariah. "Why?" he demanded.
"Why would you kill her? She's done nothing to you." He looked at Lonnie, who mouthed the word “Go!”
"Because I feel like it," Mariah answered.
"Feel like it???" Brody sighed. "Or ordered to?"
"It makes no difference, Brody. Now, would you come here, please."
Brody stood where he was. "You know the UEO's policy on dealing with terrorists." He paused. "Why are you with Stark?" He had to know.
"She is helping me destroy the seaQuest." Mariah tightened her grip, causing Lonnie to gasp in pain. "Now come here!"
"Helping you?" Brody asked and held out his hands. "I don't see her anywhere…seems to me that you are doing all the helping here."
"The results will still be the same," Mariah replied. "The rest of your crew will be looking for you two, and they will meet the same fate as your friend."
Brody stared at her. As my friend?? "And then what? Stark keeps you around? You're a liability Mariah…as soon as Stark gets what she wants, she won't need you anymore."
Mariah seemed to be slightly taken aback by that. "No. She will still need me."
"For what?" Brody asked as he slowly moved backwards. "That lady needs no one…Come on Mariah…Think!" Mariah closed her eyes, and Brody took a large step backwards. He was standing at a corner and glanced around it.
Mariah's grip loosened slightly on Lonnie. "She will need me," Mariah insisted.
"Why don’t you come with us?" Lonnie asked, trying to get Mariah’s attention off of Brody's retreating figure. "Get us out of here, and we'll forget that we ever saw you."
Mariah glanced down at her. Lonnie looked at Brody for help in convincing her.
"We could do that," Brody agreed. He didn't want to leave Lonnie in the clutches of this woman, so he decided to try her tactic first. "It has to be a better idea than waiting for Stark to destroy you."
Mariah looked at him. "No. Why do you always confuse me?"
I confuse you??? Brody tilted his head slightly. "I'm not Mariah. It is your conscience talking to you." Ohh, am I ever in over my head here. "You know what the right thing to do is."
Mariah stared at him, then let go of Lonnie’s arm. Brody heard a noise behind him, turned around, and came face to face with a gun.
TO BE CONTINUED.....