Thoughts And Actions
by Shell Lee

Tony lay awake on his bunk, staring at the ceiling in his and Lucas' room. He was supposed to be on shore leave with Lucas right now. He was supposed to be top side with Lucas out hunting up some entertainment. What he wasn't supposed to be doing was laying here listening to the sounds of seaQuest at night and thinking thoughts no one should ever have to think.

He could always feel her, but at night with only his thoughts for company he could feel her even more. He knew she was always there, surrounding him, calling out to him to come join her. It was at these times, when Lucas was gone, that he wondered why he didn't just go join her. Then he remembered, they would stop him, just like they had that first day he came aboard.

Tony could remember the first time he ever felt her, the ocean calling out to him, calling to something deep down in his soul. It was about four mounts into the experimentation. Four months. That first day he had asked the doctors what it was. All the doctors did was jot it down in their notes, and never answered the question.

It was his first day in the tank when knew it was her he felt. That left about a year for him to wonder what it was he was feeling. He knew that the general consensus around the ship was that it was one surgery and he had gills. It wasn't. It was several surgeries and months of gene therapy. A long drawn out ordeal. One he would happily go through again just to know what it felt like to have _her_ flow over his skin, under his clothes, and through him. To just know her so intimately, to smell and hear everything underwater with out anything in between him and the ocean, no breather, no goggles, no tanks, sometimes even no clothes. It was the single thing he loved the best.

But if you had given him the chance back then to go back to his cramped cold jail cell, he would have begged you for the chance. It was hell, to feel every little thing, to know that the end result might not even be human. The doctors had taped it all. He knew, he knew because Wendy had copies of the tapes. Every rant, every rave, every up and down had been recorded. From the first treatment to the last time the doctors put him in a tank to study him. It was all there. Recorded so psychologists could know what to expect and maybe how to help people deal with the fact the they might not even be human any more.

He didn't even have a name as to what he was, and that hurt him more than not being human. The doctors thought that it'd be easier on him if they didn't name what he was. They all thought that it would create the illusion that he was still human, as if there was a human some where that could breathe water and feel the fucking ocean. No, they didn't help him. They only made it worse.

He had thought about talking about it, all he went through in that one year, four months and five days, but who could he talk to? Most of them wouldn't understand. Wendy might come close but anything she felt would be second hand through him. No, no one could understand.

Lying on his bunk in the still of the night, with out Lucas' constant typing to focus on, his own exhaustion couldn't take hold and end these thoughts. And he could still feel her, surrounding him, calling to him.

Maybe a dip in the moon pool with Darwin might help him sleep.

***

Lucas lay back and looked at the hotel room he and Tony had rented for the night. Getting away from seaQuest on shore leave was hard and most got room on land for the nights they could, spending as much time away from the ship as they could.

It was an accident down in engineering that had kept Tony onboard the seaQuest. The older man had been needed, and now Lucas had the hotel room all to himself, but he didn't like being alone. He couldn't sleep without the steady snoring of Tony below him, even though early on it had kept him awake more often than not, like right now it's absence was keeping him awake.

Lucas knew he shouldn't have left the ship. He knew that Tony didn't sleep as well with out someone there. He should've stayed on the ship.

There was nothing he could do about it now, though. He knew about the nightmares that visited his friend at night. Boy, Tony would get a kick out of that! Lucas didn't know how or when it had happened but somewhere along the line the ex-con had become his friend. Tony could get to him like no one else, except maybe Ben Kreig, but he was long gone, and not likely to come back.

Lucas didn't know but he suspected that Tony felt better when he was typing on his computer rather than being quiet and letting him sleep, even though he always complained about it. Maybe it distracted Tony from his thoughts. Lucas knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was more to Tony Piccolo than met the eye, and much more than he ever chose to show the world.

Lucas was proud to call him his friend, but even he knew almost nothing about Tony. The ex-con and current member of the seaQuest was, for all his talking, very secretive. Oh, he talked about his past sometimes, but it was like trying to pull teeth, and trying to get him to talk about more recent events, like his time spent in a government research facility, was even harder. Lucas had gotten precious little information out of him about it. When he talked to Wendy, though, he found out it was more than she got, even with scanning him.

Since that talk he had made it his personal mission to get his friend to talk about it. Like Tony had taken on a withdrawn teenager and forced him out of his shell. It was the least he could do for his friend.

Right now though all he could do was wait till morning and hop on the first shuttle back to seaQuest, to make sure one genetically altered, New York, ex-con knew he wasn't alone.

***

Tony was in their room when Lucas found him the next morning. He was as quiet as he could be but Tony still heard him.

"Luke, shouldn't you be on shore leave?"

"Somehow it just wasn't the same without you there." Lucas took a deep breath, this was the hard part. "I kinda, sorta, wanted to talk to you about some stuff."

"Sure, what do you want to talk about?"

"Well, you know my dad and me aren't really close? Right?" After Tony nodded his head, Lucas went on. "I just need someone to talk to. He dumped me here, without a friend, and different, smarter than the rest of the crew, I didn't make too many friends. There was this one guy, Ben Kreig, but he left after the ship crashed.

"Now, I feel like I truly fit in. I have more friends, and stuff. I have you to thank for it. No don't say anything just hear me out." Tony closed his mouth, ready to deny that it was only him, or that he had nothing to do with it, or maybe some smart ass comment, Lucas didn't really know or care.

"Things have happened, and your like... the brother I never had. You take me places, and let me do stuff. You even got me a fake id!" Lucas took a deep breath, this was the hardest part, and would either get Tony to talk or drive him away. Lucas was really hoping it made him talk.

"I was up all last night, because you weren't there snoring, and I know you're always there for me to talk to, but I know you need to talk to someone too. Tony, I'm here, and don't take this the wrong way, but I'm curious as hell about what happened to you. Talk to me here. I'd just like to know."

Tony stood there and stared. He stared for so long, Lucas was wondering if he would ever answer.

"Ok." It was in a small voice, unlike the boisterous one he usually used, startled Lucas. "But I don't think you would understand."

"Give me a chance. I might just surprise you."

"No, you won't, you can't understand. You can't imagine..." He trailed off.

"Imagine what? I won't know unless you tell me."

"It's too horrible. Bridger would kill me if I told you."

That made Lucas angry. "Well, guess what? I don't need Bridger's permission. I've seen some awful things, and been through some awful things. Tony, why won't you talk to me?"

"You can't understand! I'm not even HUMAN! Do you know what it's like to live with that? Can you imagine what I went through for a year? I knew they were going to change me. I could feel the changes. I knew I would never be human again. AND I COULDN'T DO ONE SINGLE THING ABOUT IT! No, you can't imagine." Tony turned around and headed for the door.

"Wait. I had no idea..." Lucas was speechless, he really couldn't imagine that. Spending every day around humans knowing that he was once human too.

"I know you don't." And the ex-con left Lucas scrabbling for words, in the room they shared.