He walked out of his room, and headed down the hall. His destination was nowhere in particular and he just felt like roaming around for a few hours. He heard voices at the end of the hall, and stopped walking until the voices had passed. He didn’t really feel like talking to anyone, although he couldn’t figure out why. That had been the reason he left his warm comfortable bed and gone for the walk.
Most people on the seaQuest thought of him as a "happy go lucky" person…the type that was never sad or upset at anything. At most times this was indeed true, but there were those moments when things just seemed to get to him. This was one of those times.
He tried to think about why he felt so lonely as he walked. There was certainly no real way of feeling lonely on the seaQuest…there were always people around, someone to talk to. No, it must have had something to do with what he had been doing that day. But it had been a typical day…Hadn’t it?
He stopped walking when he found himself heading in the direction of the bridge. He didn’t want to go there. Going there would mean facing his friends, and trying to be the happy person they expected to see. He wasn’t ready for that. Not yet at least. First he had to figure out why he felt this…longing?…sorrow?…loneliness? He sighed when he realized that it might be all three. But why?
Why should he be longing for something? He had mostly everything that he could want out of life. He had a loving family, great friends, a good career and an excellent reputation at what he did. So why the hell should he be longing for something? Or…was it a someone?? He started to walk faster at that thought. He had never felt the urge to settle down with one woman, so why should he consider it now. Sure, there had been a few women who he had fleeting notions of being with for the rest of his life, but those feelings usually passed. He pushed that thought to the back of his head, and concentrated on the other two problems.
He walked around a corner, and almost bumped into Jim Brody. He talked to Jim for a few minutes about non important things.
"Hey, are you all right?" Jim asked.
"Fine." He replied. "I just…I have to…" He trailed off, not sure how to explain his thoughts.
Brody smiled. "You have some things to think about, and need some space to do it in."
He smiled slightly. "Yeah."
"Okay. I’ll talk to you tomorrow." Brody tapped him on the arm. "If you figure out what it is you need to think about, and want to talk, you know where to find me."
He smiled. Brody understood. "Thanks."
Brody left without another word.
He watched as Brody left, then continued on his way. Why didn’t I try to tell him? Jim’s a good guy…been through a lot…he’d know what I was talking about. Hell, do I even know what I’m talking about?
Okay, so scratch that…maybe it’s not loneliness I feel. So that just leaves longing and sorrow. No, not longing, I already worked through that one…I think. Sorrow. What do I feel sorrow about? He walked into a rec room, he wasn’t even sure which one, and was relieved to see it empty. He went to the couch and sat down on it.
Sorrow? He pulled his feet up onto the couch, leaned against the arm and put his head on his hand. This one I’m going to have to think about. Maybe if I tried to sleep, I might know. It had been Lucas, of all people who once told him that your answers sometimes come in dreams. What have I got to lose? He closed his eyes.
"Sir?" Lieutenant Tim O’Neill called out. "I am picking up a distress signal."
Commander Jonathan Ford looked at him. "From where?"
"It’s an Island, about one hundred fifty kilometers west of us." O’Neill said. He listened more. "They report earthquake activity."
All eyes turned to him. They knew that an earthquake that close to them could mean trouble.
"Ortiz." Ford turned to Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz. "Send the WSKRS out as far as you can, and check for tsunami activity."
"Aye sir." Ortiz replied. He keyed in a few commands, and sent Loner out.
Ford turned back to O’Neill. "Contact UEO command, inform them, and ask for instructions. And get the Captain to the bridge."
Captain Bridger looked over the preliminary readouts of the earthquake, and sighed. Two 7.5’s, and a 5.6…not good. He had of course ordered the seaQuest to the Island to help in the evacuation, but now he was just waiting for official orders saying so.
"Any sign of a tsunami?" Bridger asked without looking up.
"None yet." Ortiz answered.
"Aren’t we safe from a tidal wave in here?" Tony Piccolo asked.
"Basically." Ortiz told him.
"Sir?" O’Neill said. "I have confirmation from UEO command to aid in the evacuation."
"Good." Bridger stood up. "Lieutenant Brody, prepare a team."
"Yes sir." Brody stood also.
Bridger held up a hand. "Stay close to the docks. We don’t know if we’ll have to leave in a hurry."
An endless stream of people pushed by them in a frantic attempt to get onto the seaQuest or one of the other evacuation ships. There had been three aftershocks since they had been there, and the team could not wait to leave. They were glad that there had been no signs of a tsunami, and that the warning period was over for one.
Ortiz froze as yet another tremor shook the dock, and he instinctively grabbed onto a post. Brody looked at him.
Ortiz nodded. "Yeah…I’m just not fond of earthquakes…Give me a hurricane over this any day."
"I agree." Brody said. They were both from Florida, and had both been through many hurricanes.
Another tremor hit, this one a lot harder than the others. Brody grabbed onto the same post Ortiz was holding, and watched in horror as people started to shove their way on the docks. People were knocked into the water, while others were trampled underfoot.
"Please remain calm!" Brody tried to yell, but his words were lost in the noise. The tremor stopped, but people still continued on their mad rush to the rescue ships.
A woman passed by, and was knocked aside. Without thinking, Ortiz reached out for her. She slipped out of his grasp and tumbled into the ocean. The movement caught Ortiz off balance, and he fell in after her.
"TONY! Take over!!" Brody yelled. Piccolo waved an acknowledgment. Brody rushed to the side of the dock, and looked over. Ortiz was floating in the water, looking frantically around him.
Ortiz glanced up. "I have to find her!" He disappeared under the water. He surfaced a few moments later, inhaled deeply, and dove under again.
Brody started to climb down the ladder from the dock to the ocean. If he was right, it would take him to where Miguel would surface. He was right. When Ortiz came up from out of the water, Brody reached out and gabbed onto his shirt. Ortiz looked at him in shock.
"I have to find her Jim!" Ortiz looked around. He spotted a shape in the water. "THERE!" He pointed. Brody let go.
Ortiz swam to the figure, grabbed it and turned it over. It was not the woman he had been searching for. He stared in shock at the face of a child no more than ten.
He bolted upright and looked around until he realized where he was. He ran his hands over his face and sighed. The answer comes in a dream.
The earthquake had happened almost three months ago, so why was it just now bothering him? He had gone to see Doctor Wendy Smith after they had gotten the survivors off the Island, and talked through his frustrations on not being able to save the woman who had slipped through his grasp on the dock. Quite a few sessions with Wendy had convinced him that her death had not been his fault. About the dead child, he told no one, and he had asked Brody not to either. Brody did not think that it was in his friends best interest, but he agreed.
Sorrow. He knew now what it was that he felt. He had pushed the sight of the child away, not wanting to deal with it. That had probably been his biggest mistake. The image sat in his subconscious, building up over the months, waiting to be acknowledge. But why now?
He tried to remember what he had done that day that could have triggered the memory. Usual work day, nothing overly interesting…typical dinner, then he went back to his room to read the newspapers his sister had sent him from home.
He sat up straighter at that thought. He remembered glancing over an article about a child drowning in a community swimming pool. He did not want to read the article, not knowing why. Now, he knew why. That little article about the child had awakened the memory of the other child he had grabbed in the water. A child who was taken from his family….perhaps even the child of the woman he had tried to find but couldn’t. A chill ran through him as he thought about it.
He knew what he had to do. He stood up, and ran out of the rec room, not stopping until he reached his target. He knocked on the door.
The door opened, and Jim Brody looked at him. "Miguel?"
"I need a favor."
Brody moved to the side and motioned him in. "Sure. What is it?"
He walked into the room and turned. "I need you to come with me to see Wendy." He paused slightly then rushed on, his words a jumble . "I can’t get rid of the feeling of staring into that little child’s face. You were there, I asked you not to say anything about it, I need to get rid of…"
"Slow down." Brody said. "Start from the beginning."
He told Brody everything. From the feeling of needing to be alone, to the sorrow, the dream, the newspaper article. Brody listened quietly.
"Okay." Brody finally said when the other man had finished speaking. "I’ll go with you to talk to Wendy."
"I should have done this months ago."
Brody smiled slightly. "What matters is that you’re doing it."
They walked out of Brody’s room. Ortiz had to admit that he felt a little better, and talking to Wendy would make him feel even more so. He just wanted to get this sorrow out of his heart, and having good friends to lean on was the best place to start.