seaQuest: The Dawning
Joey walked onto C deck, cup of hot coffee in hand. Technically, drinks were not allowed in this portion of the boat, but if anyone stopped her, she could just use the excuse that she was new. Taking a deep breath of the salty air, she sighed. With its quiet atmosphere, this had quickly become her favorite place aboard the ship. And, of course, it had the one person who would talk to her like she was a human, not just a walking tragedy.
The dolphin chattered his greeting.
"Ocean! Ocean play!"
Joey rolled her eyes. The captain had introduced her formally as Joceanna, and for some reason the computer had translated her name as Ocean. Joey and Lucas had quickly corrected the misconception, but the playful dolphin found it to be so hilarious, he refused to quit.
"Ocean. Play with Darwin!" he demanded.
"In a bit. Iím just going to finish my coffee firstÖhey!" Joey cried as a splash of salty water rained into her cup. "On second thought, Iím going to play first." She reached into the pool and grabbed a red ball floting nearby. She tossed it to the far end of the pool.
"Here. Go fetch."
Darwin shot after the ball, and, returning, bopped it out of the water and sent it rolling across the deck.
"And they say computers canít translate humor."
Joey whirled at the voice behind her.
"Hey, Joey." He said, retrieving the ball and tossing it back into the water. Darwin, however, had lost interest in the game, and was eager to chat with his company.
"Tim. Swim with Darwin."
"Later?" Darwin chattered.
Tim glanced at Joey.
"Dolphins have a hard time understanding our concept of time." he explained. "Lucas has tried to adjust the programs, but to Darwin, there is only now."
"Now!" Darwin cheered, slapping the water with his tail.
"No, later. When I have put on a wetsuit."
"People swim, no wetsuit. Tim swim, no wetsuit."
Joey had already learned that Darwin referred to himself and other fishy pals as "people", and everyone else was "human." Still, she raised an eyebrow.
"Darwin, certainly you arenít advocating skinny dipping on seaQuest, are you?" she teased.
Tim turned bright red as Darwin asked, "Skinny?"
"You get to explain that to him." He said. Joey shook her head.
"No, Iíve already been warned by Lucas not to teach Darwin anything he doesnít need to know."
"Teach!" Darwin squealed, splashing them both.
"No!" Joey cried, laughing. "Never mind! Sorry I brought it up!"
With one final spout of water, Darwin was off. Probably to find Tony. He knew that Tony would translate anything for him, as long as he thought Lucas wouldnít want him to know. Tim looked at Joey.
"Look what you started."
"He started it. I just couldnít resist." Joey sank to the floor and leaned up against the tank. Tim sat down across from her.
"So, I see you found the best part of the ship." he said. She nodded.
"Yeah, itís quiet here. Hardly anyone comes down here, except for the science staff. And they donít know me, so they donít bother me."
Tim looked uncertain.
"Iím sorry, did you want to be alone?"
"No!" She smiled. "No, itís fine. Please, stay."
"Ok, I will, then." Tim grinned. "So, how are you getting along here? Everyone treating you ok?"
"Um, for the most part. Iím working with the security teams. Some of them have a problem taking orders from a female officer, especially the little sister of Chief of Security, but theyíll get by."
"People giving you a hard time?"
"Yeah. Well, itíll blow over. Jim has to make me work 3 times as hard as everyone else, so soon theyíll realize that Iím here because I can handle it, not because of who Iím related to."
"Itís always hard to be the new person on a boat."
"I know. Itís even harder when everyone on the boat knows about you before they meet you."
Tim looked down to the floor. He knew. Everyone on board knew why seaQuest had taken the attack on the Daytona so personally. He heard whispers in the Maglev and in the cafeteria when Joey had first come on board. Most people were curious about the pilot, some pitied her, and even more resented her. A station on seaQuest was hard to come by, and even though Joey probably could have made it aboard on her own merits, most people considered her a "Sympathy Post."
"Iím sorry." He said. Joey reached over and slapped his arm lightly.
"Donít you dare say that. It has nothing to do with you. I knew what it was going to be like when I came aboard. I knew I was going to be resented. But I came so I could stay close to Jim."
"Yeah, I know. But itís still not right. How are you and Jim, anyway?" Tim tried to change the subject. Joey sighed.
"Weíre good. Itís funny though, because heís so protective of me. We never had that closeness growing up, and it was something I always wanted."
"Thatís right. You guys grew up apart."
"Yep. Mainly letters. I was moved around a lot, from home, to shelter, to street, and then back again. Jim and I used to send letters to one another, but it was so hard on both of us. So we lost contact. ItĎs nice to be back together again. HeĎs really the only family I know, besides Manda. IĎll put up with whatever I have to, just to feel like I belong with family again." Tim leaned forward and rested his hand on her shoulder.
"You know, Joey. I donít know if anyone has told you this, but Iím really glad youíre here."
Joey smiled weakly.
"Thanks, Tim." Tim smiled and stood up. He was already going to be late for his shift on the bridge. Just before he stepped onto the Maglev, Joey called to him.
"Tim?" He turned.
"IÖuhÖthanks. I needed to hear that."
Tim smiled and nodded before the doors slid shut behind him.
In her quarters, Joey lay back on her bed, pulling the thick blue blanket over her shoulders. She had been allotted the guest quarters across from Jim, which was more than she deserved. The room wasnít huge, but it was larger than most other officers of her rank possessed. Everything was blue and white, keeping with the standard décor of the ship, and Joey had brought a few small items from home. Each officer was allowed one duffle of possessions, so she didnít have much, but she did manage to bring in a small collection of books, and a beautiful blue glass dolphin which rested on her desk. She snuggled her pillow and closed her eyes. She had 7 hours before her next shift. Just enough time to get some shut eye.
The room turned deathly cold. As Joey struggled to open her eyes, she became aware of her bonds. A blindfold dug into the soft flesh of her eyelids. Rope bound her arms and wrists, the rough kind used for tying masts at sea. A think stench filled her nose, and she gagged on the cloth filling her mouth. Plane fuel. She would recognize that smell anywhere. Crying, she fiercely struggled against the ropes before realizing that she was not alone. A swift blow to her stomach sent her rolling on the ground, gasping for air.
"Be still." A voice whispered harshly. She froze, struggling to calm her racing heart. The pain in her stomach began to swell and throb before spreading to the rest of her body. Hands grabbed at her, twisting her limbs, tearing at her hair. All around her, voices. Some screaming her name, swearingÖothers just screaming in agony. As the pulling turned to blows, Joey screamed against the gag, searching for a way of escape. Over and over the kicks and punches came. She could feel her flesh tearing, and the wetness of the blood as it spilled from her wounded body.
Jim jumped when he heard the scream. Slamming his book shut, he raced into the hallway.
"Joey?" He cried, running the 5 feet to her door. "Jo, open up!" He pounded on the door. He heard her crying inside the room and it was too much for him. He threw his weight up against the door and slid the latch open, sending the heavy metal slamming into the wall.
Joey wrestled against the arms that pinned her down. The pain returned to her stomach, as blow after blow rained down. A hand reached forward and tore off the blindfold, ripping a handful of hair away with it. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she looked up and saw the face of her attacker.
"Joey!" Jim touched his sisterís shoulder gently. She jumped at his touch, crying out. He leaned forward and shook her gently. "Joey, girl, you have to wake up. Come on." With a whimper, Joey opened her eyes.
"Jim!" Her eyes widened with fear. Desperately, she looked around the room, trying to decide where she was.
"Jo, itís a dream. It was only a nightmare. Itís over." Jim assured her, stroking her hair softly. Joey took a breath and leaned back.
"Shh, itís ok." Jim laid down next to her and wrapped his arm over her shoulder. "Itís over."
"How did youÖ?"
"You were screaming."
"No, donít be." Jim kissed her forehead as her breathing returned to normal. "You ok?" he asked. She nodded. "You wanna talk about it?" Joey took a breath.
"I was being attacked. I was all tied up and couldnít get away from them, they just kept coming at me, and there was no way out."
Joey looked at him.
"I..I donít know." She lied. "I couldnít see them." She glanced at her clock and groaned. "Shit. Iíve got duty in 2 hours. Thereís no point in going back to sleep."
"No, probably not." Jim sat up. "Iíve had dreams like that. No matter how much I try to fight, I canít stop it. Are you sure youíre going to be ok?"
"Yeah, Iím fine. It was just a dream." She sighed. "Sure as hell felt real."
"I hate that." Jim rolled off the bed and stood up. "Iím going to be in my quarters, if you want to get up and get ready for work. We can go get some food before duty."
"Iíd like that, thanks."
As Jim walked out the door, Joey sat up, wincing at the pain coursing through her body.
"Must have been some dream." She muttered, swinging open her locker door.