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seaQuest: The Dawning
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The door to the house slid open and Lucas appeared.
"Hey. The Captain wants to know how the cookingís going."
Natalie rolled her eyes.
"You can go back and report that we are both alive and well, and have no intentions of killing each other."
Lucas grinned.
"Just  checking."
"Actually, weíre done for awhile." Anya said, looking at Tony. "Do you want to get out of here for a little bit?"
"Sure." He waved at Lucas as the two of them stepped around him into the house. Natalie looked at Lucas.
"Did Nathan really send you out here?"
Lucas shook his head.
"No, he didnít." He smirked. "I just wanted to see for myself."
"And now you have." Bridgerís voice rang out behind them. "Natalie, why donít you and Lucas go out and get some wood to bring back for the bonfire tonight? Thereís some in the cabin."
"Cabin?" Lucas asked. Natalie nodded.
"Sure, Uncle."  To Lucas she said, "Yes, thereís a storage shed further back on the property." She followed Nathan through the door and grabbed a light jacket of the coat hook. It was getting dark, and the wind that whipped of the beach could get pretty chilly.
     When the two of them had left, Brody stood up and brought the peeled potatoes to where Miguel had water boiling on the stove. Dagwood looked on with interest.
"What are you doing?" he asked. Miguel looked at him.
"Weíre making mashed potatoes, Dagwood."
"Then I will help." Calmly, Dagwood reached over and grabbed a potato from Brodyís pile. With the scowl of a 2 year old, he clenched his fist, demolishing the potato until it squirted out from between his fingers.
"Dagwood!" Miguel exclaimed. Brody smirked.
"Remind me not to let him hold my sisterís kitten."
Miguel raised an eyebrow.
"Joey has a kitten?"
"Yep. She just got it."
"Where is Joey, anyway? I thought sheíd want to be here."
Jim shook his head.
"Downside of being both a pilot and a sailor. Miramar has her running flights from the Cape to the mid Atlantic colonies."
"Thatís no good." Miguel sighed and turned to Dagwood, tossing him a towel. "Dagwood, we boil the potatoes first, then we add milk and butterÖ"
"And a Brody blend of spices." Jim grinned. Miguel rolled his eyes.
"And spices. And then we mash it with a fork."
"Oh. Sorry." Dagwood picked up the towel and meticulously wiped potato from his fingers.
"Where is everyone?" Loni flew into the kitchen, followed closely by Ford. Jonathan had a worried expression on his face. Miguel shrugged.
"Tony and Nathania went out, Lucas and Natalie went to go get firewood, and the Captain is upstairs somewhere."
"Why, whatís going on?" Brody asked, concerned. Ford held up his PAL.
"I just got a message from seaQuest." he said. "The  hurricane that everyone thought was turning back out to sea has changed itís mind. Itís expected to make landfall tonight."
"What?!" Miguelís jaw dropped. "Where?"
"Thatís why we need to find everyone. ItĎs going to hit less than 20 miles from here."
"Is that bad?" Dagwood asked, looking from Ford to Jim. Jim sighed.
"Yes, thatís bad. Thereís a storm coming and itís going to be bad." Miguel dropped the last potato in the pot and walked out of the kitchen.
"Captain Bridger?!" He called, running upstairs.

     "Hurricane Isabella is expected to make landfall tonight at 11:00 pm." The local reporter droned on as the crew stood watching the vid-screen. "All residents of New Cape Quest and surrounding areas have been advised to prepare their property for the impending storm. Bring all lawn furniture and pets inside. If available, board your windows and secure your watercraft to the docks. Gather in a central room in the ground floor of your house, away from  all windows. Once again, Hurricane Isabella is expected to makeÖ"
     Nathan clicked off the TV.
"Alright. Brody, you and Ortiz go to the docks. Bring the jet skis into the storage shed. Leave the boat in the water, but double tie it."
"You got it." Miguel and Jim left the room.
"Jonathan, you and Loni go and make sure that all windows and curtains are shut. Then, go outside and make sure that everything is secure."
"Aye, sir. Do you have any wood for the windows?"
Nathan shook his head.
"Not enough to cover up all the windows on the shore side. Iím going to the basement and bringing up what little plywood we have. Dagwood, I need your help."
"Yes, sir Captain, sir."
"Captain, what about the others?" Loni asked, casting a worried glance at the sky, which was looking more threatening by the moment. Nathan shook his head.
"The girls have grown up around sailors. They know how to read the sky. Hopefully, theyíll realize thereís a storm coming in and bring Lucas and Tony back."

     "Lucas, you have to turn it to the right first." Natalie was saying as Lucas was struggling to open a combination lock which sealed the shed door. Lucas sighed.
"Well, if it wasnít so dark, maybe I could see the numbers."
Natalie pulled her coat tight around her body, wishing that sheíd put on a thermal shirt before they came. She looked up at the sky and gasped at the threatening purple clouds.
"Stormís coming."
 Lucas looked up.
"Oh, wow. I didnít even see it come in."
"Neither did I. Itís a fast one." She looked down at the lock. "Here, let me."
In a moment she had it unlocked, and she pushed open the wooden door. "Come on, lets just get the wood and get back to the house. I donít want to be caught out here when it starts to rain."
"Yeah." Lucas agreed, stepping inside.

     Nathania sat down on the hillside, staring out at the ocean. Tony sat beside her and wrapped his arm around her waist. It was getting dark, and the wind was picking up. Anya hadnít said a word since theyíd left the house, but the expression on her face indicated that there was something troubling going on inside her mind.
"Natty, you wanna talk?" He asked softly. She looked over at him.
"What did you call me?" She smiled.
"Sorry, Bridger called you Natty earlier and I thought it was kind of cute. Is that ok?"
"Yeah, itís fine." She sighed. "I really wasnít expecting Natalie to be here, thatís all."
Tony gripped her waist and leaned his head against hers.
"You and her really donít get along, do you." It wasnít a question.
"Well, itís not exactly like that. I mean," she sighed. "Natalie and I were close once. When we were younger. But thenÖthere was an accident. We were 8 when we found out that Daddy wasnít coming home. After that, I guess things started to fall apart. Nat kind ofÖwithdrew into her computers, and music was the only thing that held me together. Besides Nathan. He was like a rock that we could both lean on. And then we found out that Bobby wasnít coming home either." She shook her head. "It was too much to take. Mom had a breakdown and was hospitalized. Natalie and I were sent to separate boarding schools. Nathan and Carol withdrew to their island, and we didnít hear from them for the longest time."
"Wow." Tony breathed.
"I justÖNat had her own thing, you know? Sheís so smart, especially when it comes to computers. Half the time when we tried to talk, I wouldnít understand a word she said, and sheíd have to explain everything to me. Then, I guess she got tired of explaining. And I got tired of feeling like a complete idiot whenever I was around here. Sheís got so much going for her. She got her PHD the same year I got my BA. Sheís got her own world and Iím not a part of it."
"But youíve got your music."
Anya looked at him.
"I sing and play the piano. And people like to listen to me. But thatís nothing special, Tony. Thatís just what I do. And I love it, really I do. But itís notÖ" she sighed. "Itís not saving the world like Nathan, or teaching at Stanford like Nat. "
"Yeah, but, itís pretty amazing in itís own way. You can sit at a piano and have a thousand people unable to tear their eyes away from you. You release a CD and people pay money to hear you sing. Thatís pretty special, Natty." A drop of rain hit Tony in the face and he winced. "Stormís here."
"Yeah." Anya sighed and stood up. "We should get back to the house."
Tony pulled her close.
"Wait a minute."
He kissed her full on the lips as the rain began to fall around them.

     The rain came fast and hard, drumming on the roof of the shed. Lucas peeked out the door and groaned.
"Looks like we didnít beat the rain after all. If we go out there, weíre going to be drenched."
Natalie smiled.
"So weíll just stay in here for a little while. Itíll pass."
"Yeah." Lucas crossed over and sat down beside her. He smiled in the darkness. Natalie sighed.
"I wonder if Tony and Nathania made it back before the storm."
"Why do you call her Nathania?"
"The same reason she calls me Natalie. We just do, thatís all."
"Ah. I see."
"No, you donít."
"Ok, no I donít. So why donít you tell me?"
Natalie sighed and rested her head in her hands.
"Itís a long story, Lucas."
Lucas looked up and listened to the rain on the roof.
"Well, it looks like we arenít going anywhere for awhile."
Natalie got up and crossed her arms across her chest.
"Itís complicated. Really. Nathania and I, well, weíre two different people. We always have been. I mean, look at who she is. Sheís the famous one...well, she will be someday.  Iím just the one who no one knew what to do with."
"What do you mean?"
She turned around and stared at him.
"I mean that I was the one that no one expected. And once I was here, no one knew what do think of me. They had their daughter, and her name was Nathania. Hell, they even tried to name me after her. They always expected me to be like her, but I wasnít. Nathan was the only one who got me, who understood who I was, and that I was different." A tear rolled down her cheek. "But then Bobby was lost at sea, and I had no one. And they sent me off to boarding school. So I played along. I did the only thing I could, and the only thing I was good at. No one wanted me, so  I didnít need anyone either. I studied, and I did what I had to do, and I graduated. And I went on to Stanford and I tried to be like the only one who Nathan noticed anymore."
Her hand flew to her mouth. She hadnít meant to go that far. Lucas stood up.
"Wait, Nat..."
She held up a hand to stop him.
"No, wait. I...Iím sorry. I shouldnít have said that."
"No, no itís ok." Lucas said softly, walking over to her.  He touched her arm lightly. "Iím sorry."
"What for?" She looked at him and he bit his lip.
"For making you feel like I took the Captain away from you. For taking so long to figure this out."
Natalie shook her head.
"No. Iím sorry. Itís just...I wasnít expecting Nathania to be here...and it really shook some things up, thatís all."
Lucas wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her into a hug
"Come here."
She lay her head on his shoulder and laced her arms around his back. It felt so good to be held by someone again. Lucas held her close. He couldnít believe it had taken him this long to figure out the hostility she had always had towards him. After her own father died, Captain Bridger had been her other father. And Lucas was his other son.  Lucas got what Natalie wanted. He sighed and carefully led her over to the woodpile where he sat down, pulling her down beside him.
"You know, Nat." he said softly, " I know something about not being what the parents wanted. I mean, my own family didnít know what to do with me either, so they dumped me on the UEO and seaQuest. I think in some ways they were scared of me, because I could do something they couldnít understand. I donít know. But I do know that weíre more alike than you think."
Natalie sniffed.
"Great. Second best again."
Lucas shook his head.
"No, I didnít mean it like that."
"I know." She smiled weakly. "It just feels like that sometimes." She sighed. "God, I wonder when this storm is going to let up." She stood up and opened the door slightly, and was blown back by the force of the wind.
"Whoa!" She exclaimed. It took her full weight to latch the door shut again. "I guess someone didnít watch the weather reports, cause this is a BIG storm." Natalie moved her hands along the wall, feeling along the cracks. "Thereís supposed to be a PAL out here in case of emergency...Ah, here it is." She picked it up and waved it at Lucas. He could barely make it out in the dim battery light. She flipped the switch. "Uncle Nathan?...Nathan Bridger..." She sighed. Lucas stood up.
"Maybe the batteryís dead."
She shook her head.
"No, itís got half of a charge on it. Maybe itís the storm?"
"Maybe." Lucas took the PAL and clicked it on.
"Captain Bridger, itís Lucas."
There was no answer. Lucas shook his head.
"Maybe theyíre not listening."

     Nathan grabbed his PAL off of the kitchen counter. He had heard the signal when he was digging through the junk drawer for a box of nails he could have sworn he had dropped in there.
"Hello? Natalie? Nathania?...Damn!" He swore. Ford appeared around the door.
"Everything ok, sir?"
Bridger held up the PAL.
"One of the girls is trying to get through."
Ford looked confused.
"They carry PALs?"
Bridger stopped.
" they donít. Tony doesnít have his either."
"Lucas doesnít have his on him."
"So then, where did it come from...the shed! I always leave one in the shed in case of emergency. The girls must be there."
"That means Tony and Lucas are there too. Good. At least they found shelter."
"Maybe not." Bridger sighed. "The shed is old. I donít know if it can withstand the wind."

     Tony gripped Nathaniaís hand and struggled against the wind.
"Whereís the house!?" He screamed in her ear, his voice barely audible above the roar of the storm. Anya looked around.  The storm seemed like it was all around them, and the rain fell in sheets. She couldnít see anything. She wasnít even sure they were headed in the right direction anymore.
"I donít know!! Iím all turned around!!!"
"Donít tell me that!!!"
Anya groaned and looked up to the sky. There was no moon, and the clouds hid the stars. She had no idea which way to turn. She took a deep breath and let it out. She closed her eyes. Trust your instincts, she thought. She gripped Tonyís hand.
"This way!!" She led them off into the darkness.

     Miguel came into the house, followed closely by Brody. Both of them were drenched, and their clothes stuck to their skin.
"Whew!" Miguel said, pushing the door shut behind them and stripping off of his shirt. Bridger appeared in the entryway.
"Did you see the girls?" He asked impatiently. Brody shook his head.
"No, sir. Thereís no sign of them. We got everything strapped down though."
"Thank you." Bridger turned back to the kitchen. "I could use your help!" He called over his shoulder. Both men followed him into the kitchen where Dagwood stood beside Loni and Ford, holding 6 pieces of plywood at his side.
"Is it time to cover the windows now?" Dagwood asked.
"Yes." Bridger said, handing a hammer to Brody and a box of nails to Miguel. "We need to seal up the front at least, otherwise we are going to have broken glass to clean up in the morning."
"Understood, sir." Ford said, heading toward the door. Jim looked at Miguel and smirked.
"Well, we wanted a Thanksgiving to remember."
     Natalie sat back down on the woodpile, and rested her head in her hands. Lucas sat down beside her and draped his arm over her shoulders.
"Hey." He said. "Itís going to be ok, Nat. The storm will pass."
Nat shook her head.
"Iím not worried about the storm. Iíve lived near the water most of my life. Iíve lived through hurricanes. This is nothing."
"Then why do you look like youíre about to cry?"
She sighed.
"Itís justÖIím sorry. I shouldnít have said anything earlier. I donít blame you for anything, and I donít begrudge you for being more a part of my family than I ever will be."
"You have nothing to be sorry for." He gripped her hand. "You know, put me in front of a computer sytem, and I can tell you any detail. But when it comes to emotions and people, Iím lost."
"Because people donít act logically or predictably."
"Yep." he smiled. "You sound like youíve heard that before."
She squeezed his hand.
"Nathania threw that at me during one of our many disagreements. I had nothing to say to that. Itís the truth. Itís why I prefer technology to humans. Because computers donít lie, they  only react according to what you put into them."
"And computers wonít leave you behind." As she nodded,  Lucas leaned over and kissed her forehead. Natalie looked up in surprise.
"What was that for?"
Lucas blushed.
"I..uhÖIím sorryÖ"
"No, donít be." She reached up and touched his cheek, pulling his lips to hers in a sweet kiss. When they separated, Natalie closed her eyes and leaned her cheek against his. Lucas closed his eyes, every nerve tingling from the feel of her soft skin on his own. He took a deep breath.
"Natalie, not everyone will let you down."
"I know." she breathed. She could smell his cologne, a light, earthy scent, and it triggered some emotional connection deep inside her. She brought her arms up and wrapped them around Lucasís chest, feeling his hands massage her back. She looked at him, and for the first time noticed how striking his eyes were. They had the blue of the ocean early in the morning. She wondered why she hadnít noticed until that moment how attractive he was.  Maybe because sheíd always seen him as an obstacle between her and Nathan, the family she wanted. And now she was seeing him as a part of it. The sweetest part.
     Lucas watched her as she watched him, wondering what thoughts were running through her mind. He was equally confused and intrigued by Natalie. Until this moment, he had always thought that she had hated him. He had only spoken to her a few times, and each time he had tried to make conversation, she had shut him out entirely. Now, it was as if he was meeting her for the first time. Slowly, he leaned and locked his lips against hers once again..
     The door burst open, slamming backwards against the wall with a loud crash. Torrents of water, pushed by gale force winds, flooded into the room. Natalie screamed and jumped up. Lucas pushed her back with his arm, protecting her with his body.
"Lucas!" He heard a manís voice called. He turned around and saw Tony and Nathania stumbling across the threshold.
     Tony guided Anya into the room, and the two of them grabbed the door and, using their combined body masses, pushed it shut and slid the latch shut.
"Whoa, what happened?" Natalie stood up and  crossed over to her sister, staring at a cut across her cheek. Tony, for the first time noticing the blood, gripped her face.
"Oh, my God."
Anya touched her hand to her face.
"Iím fine, it must have been a branch or something."
"Does it hurt?" Tony asked, inspecting the nasty gash closely.
"A little. But Iím too numb to notice." Anya looked down at her clothes, dripping with water and clinging to her skin. Lucas cleared his throat and Anya turned to him.
"I take it the storm isnít passing."
Anya shook her head as Tony spoke up.
"No, itís not. And it looks like itís going to get a lot worse before it gets better."
"We barely made it back here." Anya agreed, squeezing the front of her shirt, water streaming to the floor. "You canít see anything out there. I couldnít get us back to the house."
Natalieís eyes widened.
"I didnít hear anything about a storm this big, did you?"
"seaQuest has been charting a hurricane in the Atlantic for the past 48 hours." Lucas suggested. "Maybe weíre getting some of the kickback off of it."
Tony shook his head.
"I donít know what it is, but I donít think weíre going anywhere for awhile."
"Were you able to get a hold of Nathan?" Anya asked. Natalie shook her head.
"The storm is affecting the PAL. I canít even tell if weíre broadcasting, let alone if someone out there can hear us."
Anya groaned and looked down.
"Iíve got to get out of these clothes." She looked up at the small storage loft above their heads. "You think Nathan has blankets or something up there?"
"Probably. Thatís where he keeps the hurricane food and emergency kits."
Lucas looked at Tony.
"You alright, man?" He asked. Tony nodded.
"I think Iím better off than the rest of you. It is water, after all. And Iím part fish."
Lucas nodded as Natalie and Anya exchanged confused looks.
"What?" Natalie asked. Tony shook his head.
"Never mind." He looked up. "Shall we go see if we can dry off?"
"Yeah." Anya moved to the wooden ladder that was built into the side of the shed and the two of them began to climb the stair. Lucas came up behind Natalie and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"They sure know when to make an entrance, donít they?" He whispered in her ear. Natalie smiled and gripped his arms with hers.
"Yeah, they do." She spun around in his grip and kissed him again.

     Anya pulled herself onto the loft and looked down below where Lucas and Natalie were kissing. She smiled and looked at Tony.
"So, do you think we interrupted something?" She whispered. Tony looked down at the couple and grinned.
"Go, Lucas." he said under his breath before returning his gaze to Anya. "A guy, a girl, and abandoned shed in the woods. What do you think?"
"I think I need to dry off." Anya said, pushing aside some tarps to reveal a wooden navy cargo trunk. She flipped open the latches and pulled the lid open. Her eyes widened. "Aha! Blankets." She pulled one out and tossed it to Tony. He grinned and reached down to slip out of his soaked T-Shirt. Then he stopped.
"What?" Asked Anya, worried at the expression on his face. Tony shook his head, uncertainly. He didnít mind his gills, but there was a certain element of insecurity here. He really liked Anya, and didnít want to make her uncomfortable. And he didnít want to see the look on her face if they repulsed her.
"Tony, whatís wrong?" She asked, wiping her face off with the edge of the cotton blanket she had pulled out. With a sigh, he slipped out of his shirt, and then looked into her eyes, fearing her reaction.
     Anya took a breath. She had heard about gill research, but had never seen an actual subject before. She was intensely curious, but bit her tongue when she saw his worried look.
"So thatís what you meant by part fish." She said, softly. Tony nodded. Anya smiled.
"Itís fine, Tony. Donít worry about it."
     Tony couldnít tell if she was really ok, or if she was just covering her emotions.
"You, sure?" He asked, wrapping his blanket around his shoulders. Anya nodded, and bit her lip, realizing that she needed to get out of her shirt, but that there was no privacy.
"UmÖTony, close your eyes or something, k?"
Tony raised an eyebrow.
"I showed you mine, now you show me yours." He cracked. Anya laughed.
"Um, no."
With a sigh, Tony closed his eyes. Or pretended to. He let his lashes slip open just enough to get an image of Nathaniaís breasts, partially covered by her bra, as she slipped out of her shirt and covered up with a blanket. She knew that he was peeking, and she shook her head.
"You can open your eyes all the way now." She shook her head so that her hair fell forward, and with one hand creeping out of the blanket, she wrung it out. Water streamed to the floor.
     A branch hit the roof above them, and they both jumped.
"Damn, itís getting worse." Tony said, peeking over the railing. Natalie and Lucas were pressed together against the woodpile.
"Um, that has got to be uncomfortable." Anya commented.
"I donít think they care." Tony said, grinning. "At least weíve got blankets."
Anya raised her eyebrow.
"And what exactly were you planning?" she asked.
Tony scooted closer to her.
"Oh, nothing." He said, letting one hand  play with her hair. She leaned forward, and kissed him full on the lips, letting her hands slide under his blanket to stroke his chest. He groaned softly and she smiled against his lips. Feeling her smile, he kissed her more passionately, letting his tongue slide along her lips.
     The door blew open, whipping water into the shed and knocking out what was left of the light. In the darkness, Natalie called out. Tony gripped Nathaniaís hand and gently guided his hands along the railing, guiding them both to the ladder.
"Lucas!!!!" He called out. The wind forced him up against the wall as he tried to make his way down. The water was whipping so hard against his back it felt like it was stripping flesh. "Aw, Christ!" He screamed, looking up. He couldnít see Anya, but he could only assume that she was making her way down after him. He lifted his hands up as his feet touched the floor. "Nat!" He called. He felt the fabric of her jeans, and, tightening his grip on her waist, he lowered her to the ground.
     Anya couldnít see or hear anything, the wind was roaring all around them.
"Natalie!" She cried, straining to hear her sisterís voice. All around them, the wood of the shed was creaking and groaning as it took the onslaught of the hurricane. A hand closed around Anyaís wrist and Lucas leaned close to her.
"We have to get out of here! The whole thing is going to come down!" He screamed. Natalie grabbed onto Lucas.
"We canít go out there!"
"Well, we canít stay in here!" Tony screamed, locking his arms around Anyaís waist, looking up as water began to drain through the roof. "Weíre leaking!"
Natalie looked around, desperately searching for options. There were none.
"Ok! Everyone stay close, and donít let go!" She fought her way towards the door, fighting against the winds. She brought one arm up to protect her eyes. She couldnít see anything. Lucas grabbed her waist with his hands, and followed behind her.

     Jim, Nathan, Jon, Loni, Miguel, and Dagwood were sitting in a circle in the  second guest bedroom near the basement stairs. It was the only room in the house without windows, and the basement was already flooding.  A solitary battery light sat in the center. Jim grit his teeth in the dim light.
"I canít takes this." He groaned, shifting restlessly. "I canít just sit in here when the rest of them are out there somewhere."
"Iím with him." Miguel motioned to Jim, jumping as a crash of thunder rocked the house.
"Why does it do that?" Dagwood asked to no one in particular. It occurred to Loni that Dagwood hadnít been to the surface in a long time, and probably hadnít seen too many hurricanes.
"Itís just thunder." she assured him. "It canít hurt you, itís just really loud."
"Oh." Dagwood didnít look reassured. Bridger looked between Jim and Miguel.
"I donít like it any more than you do. Weíre just going to have to hope that they are staying put."

"Which way?!" Lucas screamed. Natalie didnít hear him, she just kept pushing forward. The wind knocked Anya to the ground and Tony scrambled to pick her up.
"You ok?!" He screamed. She nodded, and stumbled ahead, further into the darkness. The pressure from the wind was popping her ears and she swallowed deep, trying to clear them. Suddenly, her feet hit gravel.
"The boat path!" She screamed, recognizing the trail they used when moving the boat on its trailer. Quickly, she grabbed onto the back of Lucasí shirt, turning the couple towards her. Wildly, she motioned with her arms to her right.
"The path!" Natalie screamed, pulling Lucas towards the house. Staggering and stumbling, the four of them forced there way up the path onto the back porch of the house.