seaQuest: The Dawning
Joey pulled on her headset and looked around the bridge. She was on rotation, and supposed to be leaning the duties of each station. This week was her turn on sensors. She had never been good at the science aspect of the Navy. Put her in a plane or sub fighter, and she was good to go. If there was something to attack, or compete against, she could take it on. Science and exploration, however, frustrated her. Numbers just didnít compute in her head, and she didnít understand how people could stare for hours at computer screens, interpreting data which pretty much said that life was normal. Like Miguel Ortiz, who sat next to her, trying to show her how to control the WHSKRS.
"Ok, now, control the attitude. Ease up on your rate of ascent. Thatís it." He explained as Joey punched in the numbers. "Good. Youíre getting it. Ok, now, read the screens. Tell me what the ocean life in this region is up to."
"UmÖweíve got your standard fishies and creepy-crawlies on this reef. Looks like the coral is 5th or 6th generation, everything looks healthy there. Weíve got a pod of mammals headed to the north east. From the size, it looks like Orcas. And, of course, Darwin is out there catching dinner."
"Good." Miguel smiled. "See, not as hard as you thought. You know more about this than you think."
"Yeah. But thereís a difference between learning about the equipment at the academy, and actually running it here. Itís been years since my training on the sensor array."
"You never ran sensors at Miramar?"
"Hell no. Iím a pilot. Iím used to the sky, remember? If itís there, I can see it on radar, and tell you what it is. There are only a few things you have to worry about up there. Birds, planes, and the weather. Either they are there, or they arenít."
"I guess itís a little more complicated down here."
"No, it gets pretty tricky up there, too. Just in a different way, I guess."
"Yeah." Miguel punched a few controls. "Ok, youíve got Mother, I just activated Junior. Letís see if you can handle 2 probes at once."
For the next 7 hours, Miguel ran Joey through every possible drill he could think of, before sending her back to her quarters with a large manual of operating instructions and an even larger headache. She had three more days of training on the WHSKRS before she moved on to communications. At the end of the month, she had proficiency exams on all of the bridge equipment and positions, and if she didnít pass, she would be re-assigned to another post. Most people studied seaQuest operations for months before testing. She had a matter of weeks. But before she could even think about those exams, she had to pass her security proficiency. Most would have thought she would have had no problem passing that particular test, seeing as she was blood kin to the instructor, but Joey knew otherwise. Jim would work her much harder than anyone else on his team, because he knew that all eyes were on them. If he showed sympathy, or weakness with regards to his sister, she would be immediately re-assigned. While on duty, he had to prove that he saw her as nothing more than a junior officer, and treat her accordingly.
With a sigh, Joey peeled off her uniform and slipped under the covers. The test was in the morning. Maybe she could catch up on some of the sleep she missed the previous night and awaken refreshed.
"Ok, to complete the physical fitness portion of the exam, I need you to hop up on the treadmill so we can measure your stamina and vital signs."
Joey wiped the sweat off of her brow, and did as she was told. She snapped the electrodes in place on her chest and wrists, and slipped the ventilator into her mouth. Slowly, she began to run as the medical attendant stood beside her, writing down the information that flashed across his screen. Jim stood behind the treadmill with his arms crossed. He knew that this test was going to be no problem. Her month off had taken its toll on Joeyís fitness level, but she was well above acceptable standards. The final portion of the exam should be no problem; hand to hand combat with a trained security officer. Commander Ford would watch as Joey took on her big brotherís advanced size and training. Jim wasnít worried about fighting a woman. He knew that she had survived worse, and that he would more than likely come away with some injury as well.
Joey breathed into the ventilator, feeling the pain coursing through her chest. She had only gotten a few hours of sleep. The dream had come back. This time, she was able to wake herself up without help, but the pain of the beating she had received lasted throughout the morning of testing. It seemed odd to her. She knew that the mind can play powerful tricks on the body, but she had never felt pain caused by a dream like this. Still, the last thing she wanted to do was complain.
"Alright, thatís good. Take a couple of minutes to cool off. Iíll call the commander and you can meet us in Gym B."
Joey nodded as Jim stepped out of the room. Gasping for oxygen, she stepped off of the treadmill and reached for a towel. After a quick toweling, and long swig of water, she was ready to go. She re-tied her shoelaces and stepped across the hall, entering the small, matted gym where the Commander and Jim stood waiting.
"Joceanna. You are to engage in combat, hand-to-hand, with Lieutenant Brody. You need to exhibit the skills necessary to take on an opponent, should the need arise, and defend both yourself and this ship. While this is to be taken seriously, please try not to kill each other." The commander warned before taking his place on the edge of the mat.
"Ready?" Jim asked. Joey nodded, instantly moving to fighterís stance, raising her hands up to block her chest. She would strike first. Jim backed up and centered his weight. Seizing the moment, Joey pounced, landing a blow to the chest that sent Jim stumbling backwards.
"Hey!" He gasped, surprised. He came at her, and as she moved to strike again, he gripped her wrist and spun her around. She pushed on the mat and used her weight to knock him off center, while pulling backwards to release his grip on her. Once freed, she rolled backwards, putting some space between them. But not for long. Jim threw himself forward, using his weight to push her to the ground. Underneath him, she struggled, desperately kicking and trying to maneuver into an offensive position. She cried out as her muscles stretched beyond their limits. Looking into his eyes, she saw him hesitate. It was enough. Using her legs as leverage, she rolled on top of him, landing a blow squarely to his chest. He retaliated, hitting her in the right shoulder just hard enough to make her cry out. As a reflex, she lashed out and struck his right jaw, splitting his bottom lip.
Shocked, and in pain, Jim struggled to his feet, but the girl was too quick and she kicked his legs out from under him. It turned out to be a worse move for her. He fell, landing on top of her once again. He gripped at her shoulders, and struggled to pin her down.
Commander Ford stood back, arms folded across his chest, watching the two Brodyís go at it on the mat. He had already seen what he needed to see, but he wanted to see how far the two of them would go. He understood the captains request to have the girl transferred, but his primary responsibility was to the boat. It was dangerous to have families aboard. Even though seaQuestís mission was mainly scientific, he wanted to take no chances on a mistake in moments of battle. He had to know that they could put their blood aside and carry out orders. Of course, he hadnít anticipated on them both drawing blood during this exam. Jim was bleeding from his bottom lip, and Joey had sustained a blow to the head while struggling to avoid being pinned.
"Alright! Thatís enough! Break it up!" Ford called, and watched the panting pair separate. Jim touched his lip in disbelief.
"Damn." He muttered, looking at the blood on his fingers. Then he looked at his sisterís face. "Oh, shit."
Joey wiped the blood on a nearby towel. She had a small cut above her left eyebrow, which she inspected in the mirror. It wasnít bad. It probably wouldnít even scar. Turning, she looked at the commander expectantly.
"You passed." He replied. "Though I should have give you both demerits for not listening when I ordered you to NOT kill one another."
"Are you ok?" Jim asked, crossing to Joey. He moved to touch her head, but she slapped his hands away.
"Iím just fine. You?"
"Good." Ford said. "Now, why donít you two go get cleaned up. Iíd better get back to the bridge. Oh, and Joceanna? Congratulations."
"Thank you, sir." Joey called as he left. She turned to Jim.
"Sorry about that." She said, gesturing to the lip.
"Donít be. Letís go."
On the way to their quarters, the adrenaline began to wear off, and Joey began to feel exactly how much pain she was in. Her muscles screamed with every step, and her abs felt like someone has repeatedly kicked her with a steel toed boot.
"Ouch." She winced as she sat down inside the Maglev. Jim sat beside her.
"Iím glad thatís over with." he said.
"Yeah, me too." She said softly. The pain in her chest continued to throb with every heartbeat. Jim wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
"You did good, even if you are just a Baby Brody."
She glared as he grinned.
"Iím SO glad you remembered that. Youíve got another lip I can damage next."
"Ah, but now it would be insubordination, and I would throw you in the brig."
"Itíd be worth it."
They stepped out of the Maglev and walked down the hall to their doors. Jim sighed.
"Alright. Iíve got a shift, so I wonít see you until tomorrow. Try to get some sleep, ok?"
"Iíll try." She replied, opening the door.
Inside, she unzipped her uniform and pulled a pair of gray pants out of her locker. The pain in her stomach was getting unbearable. As she leaned down to unlace her boots, she screamed. Knives of pain tore through her chest, stomach and legs. She collapsed. She couldnít breathe, but she could hear herself screaming.
Jim heard the cries just as he was pulling a shirt on over his head.
"Shit." He screamed, running across the hall. Throwing open the door, he saw Joey on the floor, shaking with sobs.
"Whatís wrong?" He asked. She couldnít respond, so he ran his hands over her, looking for wounds. There was blood, lots of it. It was soaking through her uniform, but he couldnít tell itís source. "No!" He screamed, running to the computer.
"Medical Emergency! Joceanna Brodyís quarters! Get someone down here now!"
Joey opened her eyes and for a moment, thought she was blind. Everything around her was blindingly white. Then, after a moment, things began to clear, though a fuzzy cloud felt firmly entrenched in her brain.
"Welcome back." a female voice said softly. Joey turned to see Dr. Smith standing beside her.
"WhaÖwhat happened?" She asked. "Whereís Jim?"
"Iím right here, Joey." Jim reached forward and gripped her hand. "Youíre in medbay. I brought you here, remember?" Joey nodded. She remembered collapsing on the floor and screaming. She wasnít feeling any pain now, though.
"Whatís wrong with me?"
Dr. Smith sighed and looked uncertainly between the two of them.
"Jim, maybe you better let me talk to Joceanna alone."
"No, I want to stay."
"No, he can stay." Joey interjected. Dr. Smith nodded her acceptance.
"JoeyÖyouÖ didnít know that you were pregnant, did you?"
Joey gasped. Jimís grip on her hand tightened.
"The pain you felt. The blood. You had a miscarriage, Joey. Iím sorry."
Joey shook her head.
"IÖI was pregnant?" Tears filled her eyes. "Oh my God, I didnít knowÖI swear I didnít know." She looked at Jim. "Jim, IÖIÖ"
Jim kissed her hand and squeezed it tightly.
"Is she going to be ok, now?" He asked the doctor. He felt his heart rate quicken in his chest as a flood of guilt came over him. The fight. The fitness test. He was the one who had insisted that she test this morning. He was the one who caused her to lose the baby.
"Youíre going to be fine." Dr. Smith assured Joey. Joey couldnít breathe. Dr. Smith looked at Jim.
"Iím going to give you some time to talk." She said, leaving the room. Once she was gone, Jim sighed.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Jim, I swear I didnít know. I really didnít know."
"I mean, if I hadÖI wouldnít haveÖ"
"Joey, I know." He watched as tears filled her eyes.
"Jim, Iím scared." he gripped her hand
"Iím here for you." he said.
"NoÖIíve really messed upÖ"
"This wasnít your fault."
"Yes, it was. It was. Jim, I lied to you. In the dream, when I said I didnít know who was attacking me. I saw. I should have known."
"It was my sonÖI couldnít see his face, but I knew that he was my son, and I couldnít understand it, because I didnít thinkÖI didnít knowÖand he was angry, yelling at meÖand he was surrounded by people, all of them yelling at me."
"Oh, dear God, Jo, why didnít you tell me this?"
"Because it didnít make sense!" Emotion cracked her voice. "But now it does. I should have known."
Jim leaned close.
"Joey, you couldnít have prevented this. You didnít know. I was with you night and day for over a month, and I didnít have any idea. There was no way you could have stopped this. Itís not your fault."
Joey took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"I killed my baby, and I didnít even know I had one to lose. I should feel like Iíve lost something, but I donít. Does that make me bad?"
"No, it makes you human."
Dr. Smith came back into the room.
"Jim, why donít you let Joceanna have some time to rest? Iíll take good care of her, I promise."
With one last squeeze of her hand, Jim nodded and slowly walked out of the room. Dr. Smith came over to the bed and looked at Joey.
"Ok." She said. It was a statement, not a question, and Joey was confused. Smith sighed.
"Joceanna, I donít think anyone has told you this yet, but Iím not only a doctor, Iím telepathic as well. And when you came in here, you were projecting some pretty intense thoughts." Joey looked down. "Joey, why didnít you tell anyone you were pregnant?"
"I didnít know."
"You did know."
Joey looked at Dr. Smith, expecting to see accusation in her eyes. Instead, she saw understanding.
"IÖI knew." Joey whispered. "I didnít really, but I kind of thought so."
"And now youíre relieved that you arenít anymore."
Tears in her eyes, Joey nodded.
"Joey, itís perfectly normal, and natural what youíre feeling. Youíve come through a lot in the past 2 months. ItĎs understandable that you didnĎt want to face what was going on inside of you."
"But I kept hoping I wasnít pregnant. I really didnít think I was, but then I thought that maybeÖI didnít know what I was going to do if I was."
"I know. And I understand. Itís ok to feel both hurt and relieved. Itís exactly what you should be feeling." Smith sighed. "The truth is, Joey, from looking at your test results, you miscarried over a month ago. Probably as a result of the trauma of the accident. And you were only a few weeks along. There was no way you could have known what had happened to you."
"Then why did it take so long to happen now?"
"Sometimes, our bodies work that way. But the important thing for you to know is that you didnít cause this. It wasnít anything youíve done since the accident, it wasnít the testing this morning, none of it."
Tears flowed down Joeyís cheeks.
"I donít know what to feelÖ" she whispered.
"Itís ok. Itís ok to just cry." Dr. Smith wrapped her arms around Joey as the girl wept.