Title: Sanctuary
Author: N'Kala99
Disclaimer: They ain't mine.
Summary: Something's after Lucas . . .
Author's Note: There's nothing wrong with the story. I decided to repost
so that you could all find it and refresh your memories without having to
search for it. Enjoy!
Sanctuary
I

He walked down the corridor, unnoticed by the others that passed him. He
smiled to himself. The fools. They wouldn't know what had hit him until it was too
late.

Chuckling lowly, he headed to the one place where he wanted to be.

* * *

Fifteen-year-old Lucas Wolenczak laughed as Darwin, the seaQuest's
resident dolphin stopped the ball that he'd thrown in mid-air, balance it on his nose,
and sent it flying back at the boy. Lucas caught it easily and threw it again,
laughing as Darwin repeated the moves.

Captain Nathan Hale Bridger smiled at the sound. He was supposed to be
talking with Kristen Westphalen, the chief physician, about the recent cases of
illnesses among the crew, but he couldn't help but divert his attention back to the
next room, where Lucas and Darwin were playing. The sound of laughter generated
feelings of warmth within Bridger that Bridger had thought had left him when his
son Robert died. Having Lucas on the ship made him want to be human again.

"Nathan? Nathan!"

Bridger turned back to Westphalen and grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, Kristen.
You were saying?"

Westphalen fixed him with an exasperated look. "Nathan, I know that this
isn't too serious right now, but twenty people have already come down with a new
strain of the flu virus. I have no idea how to treat it. We're just lucky that all it
does is just weaken the affected person. But we should really . . ." She trailed off
when she saw that she had lost Bridger's attention again. She sighed and went to
close the blinds to her office.

"Nathan, please try to focus," she said. "I promise that this won't take much
longer."

Bridger nodded. "Of course. I'm sorry, Kristen."

Westphalen allowed a small smile to slip through. "It's all right. I
understand. I do it myself, sometimes. We are very lucky to have Lucas on board
to preserve our sanity."

Bridger nodded again, this time more thoughtful.

As promised, the meeting didn't last too much longer. Westphalen explained
to him the symptoms, the probable causes, and the treatments in case he or anyone
else came down with the new virus that had been termed 'sea fever'. As far as they
knew, they were the first ones to encounter this new strain, and as a result, had
named it after their original suspicions that being deprived of fresh air and sunlight
had been the cause. Bridger filed the report into his memory banks, then went to go
see Lucas. Westphalen watched them from her window with a smile on her face.

Lucas meant so much to the crew, but to Bridger in particular. Westphalen
knew that he was making up for the years he'd lost with Robert in Lucas, and she
also knew that, in doing so, Bridger was giving Lucas something in return; a father.
The child's own parents had all but disowned him by throwing him onto the UEO's
flagship. Child prodigy or not, he still needed everything a normal boy his age
needed. Loving parents, and friends. At least he had found that much on the
seaQuest.

Tearing herself away from the scene in the next room, Westphalen went back
to the tests she was running on the new virus.

* * *

Bridger leaned against the edge of the moonpool and pet Darwin. "Hey, pal.
Having fun?"

"Lucas and Darwin play!" Darwin cried happily. "Bridger play!"

Bridger laughed. "Sorry, Darwin. I gotta get back to work."

"Work later!" Darwin insisted. "Play now! Chill out!"

Bridger did a double take, then turned to look at Lucas. "'Chill out'?"

Lucas was blushing furiously. The redness of his face stood out in stark
contrast to his fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. "Um . . . new phrase."

"Apparently," Bridger replied. "Where did he learn it?"

"Lucas work later!" Darwin answered. "Bridger work later! Chill out!"

Lucas was even redder now. "He must've heard me talking to Ben this
morning."

"About what?" Bridger's curiosity was up.

Lucas shifted uncomfortably. He didn't want to tell the captain that Darwin
had picked up the new phrase from hearing Lucas complain about having too much
work to do. That would only imply that he couldn't handle the workload, and he
didn't want that. He was just venting, and Darwin just happened to hear.

"Just . . . stuff," Lucas mumbled.

Bridger wanted to know what kind of 'stuff', but decided to take pity on the
boy and turned back to Darwin. "Sorry, Darwin. I can't 'chill out'. I have work to
do. I'll see you later, okay?"

He backed away and slung an arm around Lucas' shoulders as he walked to
the exit. "Warn me next time he learns something new, would ya? I'd really like to
know in advance so that I won't be surprised if he happens to say something
inappropriate in front of some important scientists or something."

Lucas grinned mischievously. "Yes, sir," he replied.

Bridger fondly ruffled the boy's golden blond hair and left for the bridge.
Lucas turned back to Darwin, a thoughtful look on his face.

"Don't even think about it!" Westphalen called from the next room.

* * *

He watched his next intended victim carefully. Would this be the One? Would
his search finally be at an end? Maybe, just maybe, he could find the One before she
did, and finish his centuries long task.

He grinned in anticipation.

* * *

Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg stopped dead in his tracks, suddenly feeling
overwhelmed by swells of nausea rising in his stomach. He clutched at his abdomen
and tried to force it down, but he nearly lost control of his churning lunch.
Swallowing hard, he stumbled down to medbay.

Westphalen ran up to him. "Nauseous?"

Krieg nodded, too scared to speak. Westphalen led him to a bed and pushed
him back. After giving him something to settle his stomach, she set about
diagnosing him, although she already knew what was wrong.

Lucas wandered in from the next room. "Ben? Are you okay?"

Krieg managed to give him a small smile. "I'm fine, kid. Just a little upset
stomach. That's all."

"It's more than that," Westphalen said. "You've got sea fever."

Krieg stared at her in shock. "You're kidding me, right?"

"I most certainly am not," Westphalen replied. "You, Lieutenant, have just
earned yourself a few days alone in your cabin under quarantine."

Krieg groaned. "But, Doc . . .!"

Westphalen fixed him with a stern look. "Do not argue with me, Lieutenant.
I'm going to give you something to ease the nausea, and then you are going to go
back to your quarters to lie down. Food and medication will be brought to you.
You are not to leave your bed until I decide that you're well enough to do so.
Understood?"

Krieg grimaced. "Yes, ma'am."

Westphalen nodded. "Good." She gave him another shot, then helped him
to sit up. Lucas moved to help, but Krieg just waved him and Westphalen away.

"I got it," he said, standing. "I guess I'll be seeing ya around."

With that, he stumbled out the door. Lucas watched him leave, then turned
to Westphalen. "Is he gonna be all right?"

Westphalen smiled gently down at him. "He's going to be just fine," she
assured the child. "I'm working on finding some kind of cure right now. You don't
need to be worrying about that. Okay?"

Lucas nodded. Westphalen lightly patted his shoulder, then returned to her
office. Lucas sighed, then left medbay for his cabin. If Krieg was going to be stuck
in his quarters, then maybe he could do something to make it a little less boring.

* * *

NO!

He nearly exploded with anger. How could it not have been the One? He'd
already tested so many people, and with the same result. Why was this taking so long?

He recoiled in fear as a child passed by him. What in the name of Rissa was a
child doing in a place such as this? Acting purely out of fear and self-defense, he
infected the child with the same spell that had been making the others sick, then
vanished.

II

Lucas stumbled to his knees in the corridor, suddenly overcome with waves
of dizziness. He blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision, and rapidly failing.
What was wrong with him?

"Lucas?"

Lucas tried to look up into the worried eyes of Lieutenant Tim O'Neill and
Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz, but found that he couldn't. He moved his jaw several
times as if to speak, but no words came out. A fresh wave of dizziness crashed over
him, and he collapsed, unconscious.

O'Neill managed to catch Lucas before he hit the ground. "Oh my God!" he
cried. "Lucas! Lucas, are you okay?"

"Let's get him to medbay," Ortiz said, scooping the boy up into his arms.
O'Neill ran ahead of him to warn Westphalen of her new patient.

Westphalen gasped upon seeing Lucas, and guided Ortiz to the nearest bed.

"What happened?" she demanded as she examined the boy.

"I don't know," O'Neill replied. "We were just walking when we saw him
fall. He just passed out. Is he okay?"

Westphalen finished her exam and sighed. "I don't know. It's the sea fever,
but it seems to have mutated. I've never seen anything like it."

"Shouldn't somebody tell the captain?" Ortiz spoke up tentatively.

Westphalen looked at him. "I'll do it," she said. "Thank you for bringing
him back to me."

The two men nodded and left. Westphalen pulled out her PAL and raised
Bridger on it. "Captain, I really think that you should come down to medbay. It's
about Lucas."

* * *

Bridger didn't remember running through the ship to reach medbay. All he
was focused on was that Westphalen had called and said that Lucas was hurt. Well,
not in those words, but her voice was enough to tell Bridger that something was
definitely wrong.

Bridger ran into medbay and immediately saw Lucas lying in one of the
beds, unconscious. He hurried to the child's side and gently took one of his hands,
looking up at Westphalen. Westphalen could see the worry shining in the captain's
eyes.

"What happened?" he asked. "Is he okay?"

"I don't know," Westphalen told him truthfully. "Tim and Miguel brought
him in here a few minutes ago. It looks like the sea fever, but very different. I don't
understand. Sea fever isn't contagious simply by the air or by touch, or by any
means I'm aware of. How could Lucas have caught it?"

"Does the fact that it's different have anything to do with him being younger
than the rest of the crew affected?" Bridger asked, brushing Lucas' hair from his
eyes.

Westphalen thought for a minute. "I don't think so," she finally replied. "If
it were the reason, then we would have seen the variations among the rest of the
crew. It has to be something else."

"But what?" Bridger pressed. He gazed down at Lucas, wanting to help and
frustrated that he didn't know how.

Westphalen placed a sympathetic hand on Bridger's shoulder. "I'm already
working on a cure. I think I'm close. I promise you, he'll be all right."

Bridger nodded absently. Westphalen gently squeezed the shoulder, then left
for her office.

* * *

He stopped his search, suddenly overcome with shock. He could feel the spirit
of the One react with the spell, fighting it off as it weakened its strength. The One had
been infected quite recently, but which was it? The last person he'd infected had been
the wrong one. That meant . . .

But it couldn't be . . .

"Leave this place, Sirell," a fluttery female voice called to him. "The One is not
here. Do not torment these gentle people further."

Sirell bristled in anger. "People?" he echoed. "These creatures are not
civilized! How dare you call them people! They are mongrels, and they deserve to be
punished!"

"Vengeance serves no purpose." The owner of the voice suddenly appeared.
Sirell sneered at her.

"You are too late, Tessa," he growled. "I have already found the One. Without
him, this entire puny race will suffer the wrath of our people!"

With that, Sirell vanished. Tessa sighed. Knowing that time was running out
for the One, she hurried off to find him and save him.

* * *

Lucas moaned weakly and opened his eyes. He found that he couldn't move
a muscle; it was as if he were tied down to the bed. Upon his awakening, Bridger
leaned over into his line of sight.

"Hey, kiddo," he greeted warmly. "How're you feeling?"

Lucas moaned again. "Tired . . ." he managed to get out.

A look of worry flashed over Bridger's face, but was soon swept away by
another reassuring smile.

"Doctor Westphalen is working on a cure right now," he assured the child.
"Just relax."

Lucas frowned in confusion. "Cure?" he echoed softly. "I'm not sick."

Bridger let out a soft chuckle. "You are now, kiddo. You came down with
sea fever a few hours ago. Tim and Miguel brought you here."

"Hours?" Lucas asked. "Sea fever? But no one else was this bad."

Bridger nodded. "I know. But don't worry. We're not going to let anything
happen. Just go back to sleep. Okay? I'll still be here."

Lucas nodded and closed his eyes. He was asleep within minutes. Bridger
fondly brushed back his soft hair and tightened his grip on the boy's hand,
reassuring him even in sleep that he wasn't alone.

* * *

Lucas looked around the room he was in. If you could even call it a room. He
was surrounded by sheer white light. Nothing else; no one else; was there. He was
alone.

Suddenly, a woman of about thirty appeared before him. She had blond hair
and blue eyes, like him, and was dressed in a white dress. She smiled kindly down at
Lucas.

"Hello, young one," she greeted. "My name is Tessa."

Lucas gulped. "I-I'm Lucas. Where are we? Where's Captain Bridger? And
the seaQuest?"

"Hello, Lucas," Tessa replied. "You are still safe with your friends. I have
merely brought you to a higher plane of existence. You are in danger."

Lucas felt his stomach lurch at her words. "Danger?" he squeaked. "Are my
friends okay?"

Tessa only smiled. "Your friends are not in danger. Yet. It is you who are in
immediate danger, and I am here to help you."

Lucas felt even more afraid. He began to back away from Tessa. "What kind
of danger?"

Tessa reached out to Lucas, but Lucas only ducked her outstretched hand.

"Lucas, please," Tessa said. "I will not hurt you. I only want to help you."

Lucas stumbled further away. "No," he said, trembling violently in fear. "I-I
want to go back to the seaQuest now. Please."

Tessa let her hand drop at her side. "Very well," she said. "But you will need
my help in the future. You will see me then."

With a wave of her hand, the white light grew blinding. Lucas suddenly found
himself paralyzed, unable to move. So he did the only thing he could do.

He screamed.

* * *

Bridger nearly fell over when Lucas let out a bloodcurdling scream and
seized up off of the bed. He jumped to his feet and gripped Lucas' arms to keep the
child from falling to the floor.

Westphalen ran into the room and helped him to hold Lucas down. "What
happened?" she yelled.

Bridger shook his head, gathering the boy into his arms and holding him
tightly to his chest in a hug. "I don't know. He just started screaming all of a
sudden."

It took the both of them to finally calm Lucas down, Bridger holding him and
rocking him as the two hushed his whimpers of fear. When Lucas finally quieted,
he opened tear-filled eyes and looked up at them.

Bridger smiled. "Hey, kiddo. It's okay. You're safe. It was just a
nightmare."

Lucas shook his head vehemently. "N-No," he replied. "It wasn't. I was in a
white room, and this woman called Tessa came up to me and told me that I was in
danger. I was so scared. She wanted to take me away from here, but I didn't want
to go . . . I didn't want to leave the seaQuest . . ."

Lucas broke down into tears. Bridger held him tightly, still consoling the
frightened child. "Shh . . . it's okay . . . it's all right . . . you're not going anywhere.
I won't let anyone take you away from me. It's okay . . . it's all right . . ."

Lucas gradually calmed down in Bridger's arms, hiccuping. Bridger rubbed
his back soothingly.

Westphalen ruffled Lucas' hair. "You poor thing . . . I'll bring you some hot
chocolate. That will settle you right down."

She left the room. Bridger pulled Lucas back, surprised when Lucas
tightened his grip on his uniform. He drew the child back into his arms, not
denying the comfort that Lucas so desperately sought.

Lucas sighed. He was partially embarrassed for his obvious need, but he felt
so much safer in Bridger's arms. He caught the scent of hot chocolate and looked
away from Bridger's uniform and to the mug that Westphalen was patiently holding
out to him. With a grateful look, Lucas took the mug and sipped it cautiously.

"I think I may have found a cure for the sea fever," Westphalen announced.
"I can't be sure until I run a few more simulations, but the prognosis looks good."

Bridger nodded and watched her return to her office, then looked back down
at Lucas. The hot chocolate was nearly gone, and Lucas' eyelids were drooping. He
was fighting off his fatigue out of fear of having the dream again, but his exhaustion
was winning. Bridger gently pushed him back onto the bed, taking the empty mug
from his hands.

"It's okay," he whispered. "I'll be here if you need me. Go to sleep."

Lucas tried to stay awake, but that only made him more tired. His eyes slid
shut, and he drifted off to a peaceful sleep.

He had no more dreams.

III

Sirell wandered the corridors, hunting around for the life force that proclaimed
to be the One. He had been unsuccessful as of yet, but he could feel the One close by.
It was weak. This made Sirell smile. Taking the One would be easy.

Just as long as Tessa didn't interfere.

The thought of the woman made Sirell flinch involuntarily. Damn her. Damn
her and her impudence. She ruined his every attempt at purifying the world of these
insignificant creatures. Didn't she understand the danger that they posed? They
would become even more powerful once the One reached his full potential.

Sirell couldn't allow that to happen. No matter what the cost.

Sirell continued down the corridors, wondering just where in the hell the One
was hiding.

* * *

Westphalen carried in the needle that held the cure that she had been looking
for since the whole ordeal began. She walked up to where Bridger was napping
beside Lucas' bed and gently shook him awake.

Bridger rubbed is face tiredly and looked first at Westphalen, then at the
needle. "You found a cure?"

Westphalen smiled faintly. "I hope so. I've run as many simulations as
possible, and all of the outcomes were very good."

Bridger tightened his grip on Lucas' hand and nodded. Westphalen leaned
over and injected the boy with the needle. Lucas moaned slightly and shifted in his
sleep, but didn't awaken. When all of the needle's contents had been emptied,
Westphalen covered the puncture wound with a white bandage, taped it up, and
then stepped back.

"What now?" Bridger asked.

"We wait." Westphalen pulled up an empty chair and joined Bridger in his
vigil over Lucas.

* * *

It was well into the next morning when Lucas finally awoke. He didn't feel
quite so weak; if anything, he felt better. He looked over to find Bridger and
Westphalen both asleep at his bedside. The sight made Lucas smile.

Westphalen stirred and opened her eyes. She smiled upon seeing Lucas
awake and watching them. "And what is so funny, young man?" she demanded
lightly.

"You," Lucas replied. "And the captain."

Bridger snorted softly, then fell back into a deeper sleep. Westphalen tried
not to smile, but Lucas was already doubled over, laughing. Finally, Westphalen
gave in to the giggles that threatened to overwhelm her. Bridger awoke abruptly,
startled.

"Well, good morning to you, too," he replied in response to their laughter.
"I'm glad to see you feeling better." This last was aimed at Lucas.

Lucas quieted down and looked at Westphalen. "You found a cure?"

Westphalen nodded. "You seem to be doing much better. I want to run a
few more tests to be sure, then you'll be free to go."

Lucas scowled, but nodded. He turned to Bridger, who was stretching.
"Um, sir? Maybe you should get to the bridge."

Bridger looked at him. "You sure you're okay?"

Lucas nodded. Bridger smiled, stood, and kissed Lucas on the forehead.
"I'm always here if you need me. For anything. Got it?"

Lucas nodded again and watched Bridger leave. Westphalen came back with
a tray of food for Lucas to eat.

"Now, you eat all of this here, do you understand?" Westphalen asked. "I
need to go make some house calls and distribute the cure for sea fever. I'll be back
in about a half-hour. Think you can manage on your own for awhile?"

Lucas nodded again, knowing that she was really asking him to behave and
stay put while she was gone. Satisfied, Westphalen set the tray down in front of
him, collected enough of the cure for the infected crew members, and left.

* * *

Sirell stopped abruptly. The sensation was gone. Whatever had been
weakening the One was gone. There was no way to find the One now. At least, no
more easy ways.

Sirell roared in fury. Someone was going to pay for this. Focusing all of his
energy, Sirell transformed into a replica of their hideous shape and transported himself
into their dimension.

* * *

Westphalen was just returning from her rounds of distributing the cure
when she happened upon a crumpled heap on the ground. Gasping in surprise, she
turned the young man over and examined him.

He had blond hair cut short, in a military crew cut, and wore a seaQuest
uniform and stripes that said he was an officer- an ensign. Westphalen didn't
recognize him, but then, she hadn't been around the ship much since the sea fever
had made its appearance. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with him
physically, but to be on the safe side, Westphalen called for a stretcher and a med
team.

* * *

Tessa stared in horror as the woman before her knelt beside the unconscious
figure. Sirell had crossed over to find the One! He must be more afraid of the One
than she had thought. Maybe, just maybe, this One was really the same One
prophesied to bring peace between the two cultures. A peace that Sirell and his group
did not want and could not afford.

Tessa decided to follow the child called Lucas around, just to make sure that
Sirell stayed away from him. One good thing about Sirell and his people was that they
were terrified of children. Perhaps she could use that in her favor.

Tessa vanished in a burst of white light.

* * *

Sirell opened his eyes and immediately recoiled in fear when he saw the child
standing at his bedside. The child jumped back as well, startled as to the stranger's
reactions.

An older woman with brown hair and eyes ran into the room. "Oh good,
you're awake." She turned to the child. "Lucas, I thought I told you not to get out
of bed. You're still recovering from the sea fever. Now go lie back down."

Lucas sighed, but did what he was told. The woman- the name on her white
labcoat said Westphalen- turned back to her patient and smiled.

"Well, I'm glad to see you're awake," she said warmly. "Do you mind telling
me why I found you on the floor in the hall?"

Sirell thought quickly. "I got a little dizzy and passed out. It's nothing.
Dizzy spells are pretty common in my family."

Westphalen raised her eyebrows. "Oh, really? I don't remember any of the
crews' medical files stating anything like that."

"Oh, well, they're nothing, really," Sirell lamented. "Just nuisances. They
don't usually get so bad, but what are you going to do?"

Westphalen seemed appeased by his response. "Well, I can't find anything
else wrong, so you're free to go. But if you feel like you're about to pass out again,
then I want you to come down here right away and tell me. We can't have you
collapsing at your station, now can we, Ensign . . .?"

"Swift," Sirell supplied. "Ensign Swift."

"Well, then, Ensign Swift," Westphalen said. "You're dismissed."

Sirell nodded and stood. He cast a wary glance over at Lucas and quickly
left med bay. Westphalen stared after him, shaking her head.

"Odd person," she muttered as she headed back to her office.

IV

Sirell walked down the hall, ignoring the stares of confusion and curiosity
that were thrown at him. He hated this race. Hated them with a passion. Humans
were so . . . unworthy of life. They were the most revolting, disgusting creatures to
ever grace the planet that they called Earth. How they even gotten as far as they
had after killing each other and his people was still a mystery to him.

And that child. Sirell suppressed a shudder at the memory. He more than
hated children; he feared them. They possessed such power within themselves that,
if it were ever harnessed, it would be unstoppable.

Sirell wandered through the corridors, looking for the One. Once he found
and destroyed the One, then he could leave this horrible existence.

* * *

"Okay, Lucas, you can go," Westphalen announced. "Just be careful, and
don't over-exert yourself. I don't want Tim and Miguel to bring you back here like
they did yesterday."

Lucas fidgeted restlessly. "Okay, okay," he said. "Can I go now?"

Westphalen grinned. "Yes," she replied.

That was all Lucas needed to hear. He jumped to his feet and ran from the
med bay in search of his friends that weren't on duty. Westphalen shook her head
after him, laughing.

Lucas ran down to Krieg's quarters and banged in the door. Krieg answered
after a few moments. His expression brightened after seeing Lucas.

"Hey, kid!" he exclaimed. "Tim and Migs told me about what happened!
You okay?"

"I'm fine," Lucas replied. "Just bored."

Krieg grinned mischievously. "Creatively bored?"

Lucas matched his grin. Before he could reply, he heard a faint voice, a
woman's, call his name. Lucas . . .

Lucas looked around wildly. "Did you hear that?"

Krieg eyed him worriedly. "You sure you're okay?"

Lucas . . .

Lucas jumped back, looking for the source of the voice. Krieg gripped his
arms worriedly. "Lucas?"

Just then, Sirell rounded the corner and came to a dead halt. Energy from
the One radiated off of one of the two standing before him, but one of them was the
child. He froze.

Lucas twisted in Krieg's grip and saw Sirell watching them. Sirell's image
distorted into that of a hideous black creature, standing seven feet tall with three
yellow eyes, no nose, and no mouth. Upon seeing this, Lucas let out a yell of
absolute terror and struggled out of Krieg's grip, tearing down the hall at top speed.

Lucas' reaction also sent waves of pain to Sirell. Sirell stumbled back into
the wall, weakened by the force of the child's mental attack. Before he was noticed,
he slipped away.

Krieg was too worried about Lucas to notice Sirell. He debated following
him, but at the speed he was going, Krieg doubted he would be able to find him.
Instead, he raised Bridger on his PAL.

* * *

Lucas ran into his cabin and, slamming the door behind him, locked it. He
had never felt more terrified in his entire life. The sight of the creature in the hall
sent shivers through his spine.

Lucas collapsed onto his bed, curled into a tiny ball and shivering. Why was
this happening? Why were strange voices calling him? Why was he seeing
monsters in the halls of his home? Why wasn't he safe anymore?

He buried his face into his bedsheets and began to sob.

* * *

Tessa's heart went out to the frightened child. She knew that no living being,
regardless of their race's past transgressions, should have to suffer so much. But it
was becoming more and more clear to her that this child was the One. He carried
within him such promise of great power.

Even more so, Sirell was close to discovering this little fact himself. If not for
his deathly fear of the child, then he surely would have killed Lucas.

She knew that it was time for her to cross over. Knowing that it would take
great energy, she tapped into her reserves and focused.

* * *

Lucas started when he felt a gentle hand on his arm. He looked up in
confusion. Hadn't he locked the door?

Tessa stood over him, a kind smile on her face. Lucas let out a shout and
scrambled as far away from her as he could.

"How the hell did you get in here?" he demanded shrilly. "What are you
doing here? Why won't you just leave me alone?"

"I can't, Lucas," Tessa replied calmly. "You need me."

Lucas shook his head. "I don't believe you."

Tessa looked at him sadly. "You must. Your life, and the lives of those you
love, are at stake."

They were interrupted by a knock at the door. "Lucas?"

"Captain!" Lucas headed towards the door, but Tessa stopped him. Lucas
backed away from her, too scared to go near her.

"Stay away from me!" he yelled.

The pounding on his door became more urgent. "Lucas?" Bridger called.
"Are you all right? What's going on? Lucas?"

Lucas tried to unlock the door, but Tessa intercepted him. "He can't help
you, Lucas."

Lucas backed into a corner of his room and curled into a ball, trembling and
sobbing. "Why are you doing this to me?" he cried.

The door was shaking under the pressure if Bridger ramming into it, trying
to get it open. It finally gave, spilling Bridger and Krieg into the room. They
stopped and stared at Tessa before Bridger knelt in front of Lucas, gathering him
into his arms.

Tessa moved towards Lucas, but Krieg grabbed her arm, stopping her.
"That's far enough," he growled.

Tessa didn't seem to notice. She was too busy staring at Lucas.

Bridger glowered at her. "Lieutenant, escort her to the wardroom. I'm
going to have a talk with her personally."

Krieg nodded and physically hauled the woman from the room. Bridger
looked back down at Lucas, who was still crying hysterically. He couldn't
remember seeing the boy so scared. Hell; he couldn't remember seeing anyone so
scared.

"Shh," he hushed. "It's all right now. I'm here. I won't let anyone hurt
you."

Lucas seemed calmed by this statement. His cries finally quieted down, and
he looked up at Bridger. "C-Captain . . . Wh-Why is all this happening t-to me?
What did I do wrong?"

Bridger hugged Lucas. "You did nothing wrong, kiddo. I'm going to go find
out just who the hell that woman is and what she wants. I know that you're sick of
medbay, so I want you to stay with Lieutenant Krieg. Don't leave his side, okay?
I'll come get you when I'm done."

Lucas nodded and sniffled. Bridger helped him to his feet and led him to
where Krieg was waiting in the wardroom. Leaving Lucas safely with Lt.
Commander Hitchcock and Ford, Bridger quietly told Krieg not to let Lucas out of
his sight, then dismissed him. He then turned to the woman who sat calmly at the
table.

Tessa could tell immediately that the man standing before her was furious.
Though he didn't appear to be, anger radiated off of him in waves, only revealed in
his dark eyes. He was clearly protective of the child.

"Who the hell are you and what are you doing on my ship?" he demanded
quietly.

Tessa found herself almost taken aback by his hostility. She knew that
humans were a primitive people, but she didn't think they were capable of such
fierce qualities of protection and love.

"I am Tessa," she introduced herself. "I came to your ship because Lucas is
in grave danger."

This only seemed to infuriate the man more. "The only danger I saw was the
danger you posed to him."

Tessa shook her head. "You misunderstand. I am here to protect him."

"From what?" the captain demanded.

Tessa knew he was still angry, but now curiosity shone through his eyes. She
smiled faintly.

"You will not believe what you hear," she began. "But for the child's sake,
you must try."

Bridger sank into a chair across from her as she began her story.

"I am from a separate dimension than yours," Tessa explained. "We can see
you and observe you, but you cannot see us. We cannot interact unless we travel
here ourselves, and that is very difficult for us to do. We once coexisted in the same
dimension, but a horrible and bloody war broke out, and we were forced to separate
our species into two separate dimensions. Since then, there has been something of a
grudge against your kind."

"What do you mean?" Bridger asked. "How come there is no reference in
our history that coincides with your claims?"

"You have long forgotten about us," Tessa told him. "Though we share the
same blood, our races are very different. I am not as you see me. I only exist in
corporeal form because that is the only way to exist in this dimension. The
separation of our two peoples happened so very, very long ago, when the world was
new. Some of my people have come to see that the war was a mistake. Others,
however, harbor a hatred of your race. It is so great that they are determined to
destroy you."

Bridger shook his head. "Do you have any idea what you're saying?"

Tessa nodded sadly. "There is a prophecy that was foretold by a prophet of
both our cultures that claimed one day, the One would be born into this world and
heal the wounds between our peoples. He is of both descents, which is why he will
be able to do so. I believe that your Lucas is this One."

Bridger only stared at her in disbelief.

"Unfortunately, a member of the other faction, the ones who wish to commit
genocide on your people, also believes this," Tessa informed the captain. "He has
been going around your ship for the past few of your weeks, testing everyone to see
who it could be."

"The sea fever," Bridger muttered. "Do you mean to tell me that he is the
cause?"

Tessa nodded. "But they all became mildly sick. The spell was designed for
the One's life force to react poorly, weakening it, even, so that he could find him."

Bridger paled. "Why hasn't he come after Lucas yet?"

Tessa smiled. "In Sirell's faction, children are feared and hated. They
possess a power so great that, with a single thought, they are weakened. Sometimes
even killed. Sirell's fear of Lucas is what has kept him from finding him. The fact
that he even cast the spell on Lucas was purely by mistake. Lucas is safe, but not
for long. Sirell will eventually overcome his fear long enough to find and kill
Lucas."

Bridger buried his face in his hands. "How much time do we have?"

"Sirell is already here," Tessa said. "He's already become a member of your
crew."

Bridger's head snapped up. "He's what?"

Tessa nodded.

"How can we possibly hope to find him?" Bridger demanded. "There are
almost three hundred people on this boat! We'll never find him in time."
"Unfortunately, Sirell can alter his appearance, so I won't be able to tell if it is him,"
Tessa replied. "However, children are blessed with the gift of true sight. Lucas will
be able to tell, no matter what form he takes. That is why he was so upset earlier.
Sirell's true form is quite hideous to your human standards."

"No. Absolutely not." Bridger stood and began to pace. "Even if what
you're saying is true, there is no way I will place Lucas in that kind of danger."

"If you do not, then Lucas will die," Tessa told him bluntly. "You have no
choice, Captain. Lucas poses a very real threat to Sirell and his faction, and they
will not stop until Lucas is dead. They cannot afford to let him fulfill his destiny."

Bridger eyed her silently for several minutes. "All right," he agreed quietly.
"But once we find this 'Sirell', what then? We can't let him go. He'll only try
again. How do we . . .?"

"He must be killed," Tessa said emotionlessly. "I have full authorization
from my government to dispose of Sirell. Others of my government are assigned a
member of his faction. They are being reformed or removed. Sirell already made
his choice. He chooses death over reformation."

Bridger stared at her in shock. Tessa only shrugged.

"We are a brutal people, Captain," she admitted. "But believe me, this is
necessary."

Bridger sighed. "All right. Just how do you propose we go about finding
Sirell?"

Tessa grinned humorlessly. "You won't like what I have in mind."

V

Sirell found the man he'd seen earlier sitting in a large room with many
other humans, eating with the child. Sirell grimaced. He wanted to get the man
alone so he could be sure of which one could be the One. He was hoping that it was
the man, but a feeling told him that it was the child.

He couldn't let the child see him. If he did, then he would alert his friends of
his presence and would only make things worse.

He started to leave, and froze.

Tessa!

Tessa was walking with another, older man, and they were heading for the
very table where the child was sitting. The child looked up and tensed at the sight of
Tessa, but the older man quickly sat beside him. Sirell turned and left. It was the
child. That meant that his mission was even harder than he'd anticipated.

Time was running out.

* * *

Lucas stared up at Tessa fearfully. "You couldn't just stay in my dreams?
You had to come here and get me?"

Bridger circled his arm around Lucas' shoulders. "It's okay, Lucas. She's
only here to help. She won't hurt you. I promise."

Krieg looked at Tessa, then at Lucas. "Would someone please explain to me
what is going on here?"

No one answered him. Tessa looked at Lucas.

"You saw something today that made you frightened," she stated. "Tell us
what it was you saw."

Lucas ducked his head, embarrassed. "You won't believe me."

Bridger lifted Lucas' chin and gazed into the boy's shimmering, blue eyes. "I
promise you, I will believe you."

Lucas seemed somewhat satisfied with Bridger's response. "I-I saw Ensign
Swift, b-but it wasn't him. He turned into this monster. He was all black, with three
eyes, and he was really tall. I got scared, and I ran away."

Tessa nodded. "That's him, all right."

Lucas glanced at her, then back to Bridger. "Captain? What's going on?"

Bridger sighed. He really didn't want to endanger Lucas, but something told
him that if he did not follow Tessa's plan, then Lucas would not survive.

"Lucas, I want you to listen carefully, okay?" he asked. "There is someone
on this ship who wants to hurt you. Tessa was telling the truth when she said that.
And that she wanted to help. I don't like what she plans to do to capture him, but it
is the only way."

Lucas' eyes were growing larger and larger as Bridger spoke. He began to
tremble slightly, but refused to let his tears fall.

"This man, Sirell, will be looking for you," Bridger continued. "We – Tessa
and I – are going to let him find you alone. But you won't be alone. I'll be nearby.
He won't hurt you. Once he lowers his defenses, we'll catch him and send him
away."

Lucas could no longer look at Bridger. He stared down at his tray, tears
sliding silently down his cheeks. Bridger engulfed him into a reassuring hug.

"He isn't going to hurt you, Lucas," Bridger assured him. "I won't let him
hurt you. I promise. I wish there was some other way, but there isn't. I'll be close
by in case anything happens."

Lucas pulled himself together and extricated himself from the captain's
death-grip. He looked up at Tessa.

Tessa smiled kindly at him. "Sirell won't hurt you," she assured him. "He's
afraid of you. As a child, you possess the capability of driving him back with your
mind. You did it this afternoon, when you saw him."

She held out her hand, palm facing up. In it appeared a large crystal
attached to a silver chain. She placed it around Lucas' neck.

"This will help you focus your energy and deflect it off of him," she
explained. "You don't have to do anything. It works along with your thoughts and
emotions. With it, Sirell won't be able to get near you without getting hit with
energy from you."

Lucas looked down at the crystal, shocked to see it already pulsing a faint
white. He looked at Bridger and saw the same expression of surprise mirrored on
his face.

Krieg was completely lost. He looked at Tessa, then Lucas, then Bridger,
then back to Lucas. "When this is all over, I hope you'll explain all this to me."

Lucas gripped the crystal in his hand. "What do I have to do?"

* * *

The plan sounded simple enough. All Lucas had to do was wander the
corridors by himself, avoiding any and all contact with other crew members.

Of course, it wasn't as easy as all that. He was terrified. Some man, some
stranger, was wandering the halls as well, wanting to hurt him. Or worse. Lucas
knew that the captain would never intentionally place Lucas in harm's way if he
could help it, but Lucas felt betrayed. It wasn't Bridger's fault, but why did he have
to do this? What had he done to deserve this?

Lucas' musings carried him into the moonpool. Darwin wasn't there; he was
out hunting for fish. At the moment, Lucas wished that the dolphin were there with
him. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't feel so scared.

A cold wind blew through Lucas, and he shivered. Something was very, very
wrong. He turned.

And gasped.

Gasping was all he could do. The scream was caught in his throat. Lucas
backed into the edge of the moonpool.

The monster called 'Sirell' advanced, stopping when the crystal around
Lucas' neck began to glow brightly. His eyes narrowed.

"I see Tessa got to you first," he snarled. Lucas winced: the monster's voice
sounded like a beast growling in anger. "No matter. She will not see her One
survive."

Lucas was utterly lost, but when Sirell stepped forward, he instinctively
lashed out with his mind. Sirell stumbled back, surprised.

"You have more power than I anticipated," he observed. "But you are no
match for me. Give up now, and your death will be quick and painless."

Lucas slid to the ground, scared out of his mind. Where was Bridger?
Wasn't he in enough danger for them to come rescue him?

Fear seized his heart when he saw Sirell approach.

* * *

When Sirell first appeared, dressed like a member of his crew, Bridger
started to go into the room and stop him when Tessa stopped him. Bridger shot her
an incredulous look.

"What are you doing?" he demanded.

"Sirell is too powerful for us to stop him," Tessa told him quietly. "Lucas
will weaken him for us."

"The hell he will." Bridger shrugged out of her grasp and started forth again
when his feet were suddenly planted firmly into the deck. His head snapped
around, his eyes flashing in anger.

"If you go in there, Sirell will kill you," Tessa explained calmly.

"Better me than Lucas," Bridger shot back.

Tessa shook her head, saying nothing. Bridger turned his helpless gaze back
to the shuddering child on the floor of the next room, so close, and yet, so far.

* * *

Lucas froze in panic when Sirell stopped inches away from him. He looked
up at the enormous creature, not knowing what to do.

Sirell reached a hand/talon down to Lucas, and yelped. He withdrew his
hand quickly. Lucas stared at him in shock, confused.

Sirell stared back at Lucas in equal amazement. The child's skin burned!
He was indeed the One! Sirell would be unable to touch him as long as the crystal
hung from his neck.

Sirell reached down to take the crystal. Lucas realized what he was after and
turned his body away, so that the creature's talons brushed against his skin once
more, burning him again.

Sirell roared in anger, making Lucas flinch. Ignoring the pain, Sirell gripped
the child firmly by the front of his shirt and lifted him high into the air. Energy
crackled around the two, causing the both of them to scream. The crystal around
Lucas' neck was a blinding white. Fingers of white light extended from the crystal
and wrapped themselves around the small child, almost like a blanket. This was too
much for Sirell, and he dropped Lucas. Lucas fell to the ground in a heap.

* * *

Bridger struggled to run at the sight of Lucas screaming in pain and terror,
but Tessa's restraint held. He turned to glare at her.

"Enough!" he yelled. "Lucas is being hurt! I thought you said that he
wouldn't!"

Tessa didn't reply. She was waiting for what she knew was to come.

* * *

Lucas sobbed uncontrollably, curling his body into a tight ball. The light still
encased him, making it impossible for him to see. Not that he wanted to, but if he
was going to die, he at least wanted to see it coming.

He heard Sirell shout something in an unidentifiable yet familiar language
and pound on the cocoon surrounding him. Lucas flinched and curled up even
tighter, his mind making the cocoon even stronger. Sirell couldn't reach him here.
He just hoped he could hold out long enough for Bridger and Tessa to realize that
he needed help.

* * *

Sirell paused his pounding, breathing heavily. His goal was within his grasp!
It infuriated him that he couldn't reach it. He sat thinking for a minute when he
remembered a spell that would weaken the cocoon of light that protected the child.
Closing his eyes, he began the low chant.

* * *

Tessa abruptly released her spell over Bridger and rushed into the room.
Sirell was still meditating when Tessa sent a bolt of blue light his way. Sirell
screamed once, then vanished. Tessa vanished along with him.

Bridger knelt beside the heap of white light that he knew surrounded Lucas.
He wondered how he was going to even get Lucas out of there, or how he was going
to get in there to Lucas. Sirell hadn't had any luck. Still, he had to try.

He lightly touched the surface, feeling the heat that radiated off of it and onto
his skin. The light mingled with his hand, then gave way as Bridger pushed it
inside. He continued to reach inside until he felt the fabric of Lucas' shirtsleeve.
Letting out a cry of relief, Bridger reached inside and pulled Lucas into a tight hug.

Lucas recognized Bridger instantly and collapsed into his waiting arms,
sobbing uncontrollably with relief. Bridger held him and rocked him until he
finally calmed down. Exhausted, Lucas drifted off to sleep.

Bridger lifted the child into his arms and carried him to be checked out by
Westphalen in medbay. He wasn't going to leave Lucas alone for a minute after
this.

VI

Bridger sighed and rubbed his face tiredly.

It was the middle of the night, and he couldn't sleep. Each and every time he
closed his eyes, he saw Lucas being hurt by that . . . monster.

Lucas, for the most part, hadn't awoken since the incident in the moonpool.
After being given a clean bill of health by a very concerned and confused
Westphalen, Bridger had carried the boy back to his own bunk and tucked him into
bed. There was no way that Bridger was going to let Lucas sleep alone in his room
tonight.

Bridger groaned and stood up from the couch on the other side of his room,
stretching as he went. He walked over to the bed to check on Lucas.

Lucas was still asleep. He was lying on his stomach, the bed covers pulled up
to the middle of his back. One hand rested on the pillow in front of his mouth; the
other was twisted beneath his body. Bridger smiled and pulled the covers up to
Lucas' shoulders, then fondly brushed the hair from the boy's eyes.

A burst of white light behind him caused Bridger to turn and move
protectively in front of Lucas. He glared at the figure standing there.

"What do you want?" he whispered, still angry at being kept away from
Lucas.

Tessa smiled faintly. "I have come to tell you that Sirell will not be bothering
Lucas anymore. He has been dealt with in the customs of our people according to
our laws."

Bridger sighed. He felt glad that that creature would no longer hurt Lucas.

Tessa wasn't finished. She stepped forward and placed a gentle hand on
Lucas' back. Lucas sighed softly, but didn't wake up.

"Lucas is a very special child," she stated. "He does not know of his destiny,
and that should remain that way. But he will need much guidance as he matures to
his full potential. You must watch over him as you have, or he will become lost. He
needs you now, more than ever."

Bridger gazed tenderly down at the slumbering child. "I need him as much
as he needs me."

Tessa nodded and backed away. "He has sanctuary here on this ship. No
harm will come to him as long as he remains here. A warning, captain: this is not
over. Others will come. To marvel, or to hurt. You must be ready."

Bridger's head whipped around, but Tessa was gone. The words she had left
behind sent chills down Bridger's spine. He sat on the bed beside Lucas.

I will not let anyone hurt you, Lucas, he thought. They'll have to go through
me first.

The end