Thanks to K. Presson, Shi-Nom, Sara, Dani, Teresa, JULES, Kiddo, Ahn-Li Steffraini, and anyone else who read and reviewed Chapter 13.

Also thanks to all those who reviewed along the way, I probably wouldn't have bothered finishing it if you hadn't.

I still haven't bought ownership rights to seaQuest, so I still own nothing, make no money and intend no infringement of copyrights, but all the mistakes are still my own. (I've taken out all the one's I can find, but there may still be some.)

The end of my first seaQuest fic :o)

Chapter 14.

The Captain wished he were Catholic. If he was Catholic he could go to confession and be forgiven for his sins, or more specifically be forgiven for phoning Juliana's parents. Lucas had forgiven him, but the Captain hadn't forgiven himself. He folded the poker hand that Krieg had dealt him in disgust, and looked at the other two men sitting across the table from him, in one of the recreation rooms.

Bridger was having serious trouble keeping his mind on the regular payday poker game; no one else seemed to be having the same trouble. Ford was beginning to relax now that he knew his permanent record was out of danger. Ben was back to his own self, and determined to make back some more of his money.

Crocker and Shan had taken everything in their stride, although they were on duty so couldn't make it to the game, while Tim and Miguel hadn't arrived after their shift on the bridge yet.

The door opposite the Captain opened and Tim and Miguel entered, taking their leave of Lucas, who turned to go down a connecting hallway. The Captain made a split second decision.

"Lucas, why don't you join us?"

Lucas turned and stood in the doorway. "What happened to 'You're too young to gamble'?" He asked sceptically.

"Your welcome to wait until your 21, but I think you're mature enough now." The Captain said. He'd made Lucas promise not to gamble when the teen had first come aboard, worried that some of the less scrupulous sailors would win all Lucas's money off him.

Lucas blushed slightly at the compliment, but smiled and pulled up a chair.

"It's no limit Texas Hold'em. You know the rules?" Bridger asked, wondering if he was doing the right thing. Krieg gave the Captain an innocent look when he received a warning look. Ben had been known to cheat at cards, but was hurt that the Captain would think he'd try to cheat a kid out of his wages.

"Yep, I've played a few times." Lucas said, watching Ben deal, while reaching for his wallet, he was glad he would be betting with his wages and not his allowance. Bridger explained the rules anyway, not sure that Lucas was just saying he new them to keep face with the other men.

Ben won the first hand, amid suspicious looks from the other players. "What? Can't a guy be lucky when he's dealing?"

Tim won the next hand by a narrow call, gaining a good portion of Miguel's pay slip in the process. The Cuban mumbled something in Spanish. Tim laughed and Miguel blushed self consciously, having forgotten for a moment that his friend spoke the language as well as he did.

Over the next hour, the Captain spent as much time watching Lucas as he did the cards. Lucas seemed to be enjoying himself, probably because he'd had a bit of beginners luck; the teen now had almost double his original pay packet on the table in front of him. Only the Captain himself had a larger pot, but he had been playing poker ever since he joined the navy, and could play on automatic pilot.

"All in." The teen said, pushing his pile toward the centre of the table.

Nathan Bridger sat up straighter in his chair. "Are you sure you want to do that Lucas?"

The teen nodded. One by one the other players folded, until it came to the Captain. Bridger looked down at his hand, the ace of hearts, and the ace of spades. The chances of Lucas having a better hand were tiny. He looked back at up at Lucas, the teen met his gaze without blinking.

The Captain weighed his options; he could either put his money in and probably clean Lucas out, adding insult to injury after phoning Juliana's parents, or he could fold, but if he folded it would be because it was Lucas was still a kid, and Lucas hated being treated like a child.

Bridger tapped his fingers on the desk, it occurred to him that if he folded Lucas would never know what his hand was, so he wouldn't know he was being treated like a child, but on the other hand he, Nathan Bridger would know. The Captain took a deep breath, and pushed his money into the pot.

Ford looked at the deck of cards in his hand and swallowed. It had to be close, for them both to be so confidant.

Lucas turned his cards over first, a two of clubs and a four of clubs. The other's looked at each other surprised. The Captain stared at Lucas as if he'd lost his mind.

"It's not to late to change your mind Lucas." Ford said.

Lucas raised an eyebrow, showing he knew perfectly well that it was too late, and that he didn't want special treatment.

The Captain covered his eyes, not wanting to see Lucas's face when he turned his own cards over.

Miguel gasped as he saw the Captain's cards. "Why couldn't I have luck like that?" he murmured, grunting when Tim elbowed him in the ribs. All eyes turned to Ford, except the Captain who opened his eyes to focus on Lucas's reaction now that he figured the worse maybe over, the Commander slowly turned the top card of the deck over.

"The Ace of Diamonds." The Captain almost groaned out loud.

"The Ace of Clubs." Bridger couldn't never before remember praying he'd lose a poker hand.

Ford looked a Lucas, but the teen was drinking his coke, seemingly not in the least bit worried.

"The Seven of Hearts." Bridger covered his eyes again.

"The Five of Clubs." Bridger froze for a moment, took his hand away from his eyes, he looked at the cards on the table and then at Lucas. What were the chances?

Ford licked his lips nervously, and turned over the last card.

"The Three of Clubs..." Now they were all staring at Lucas, who put down his coke, and calmly started counting his winnings.

The Captain opened and closed his mouth, but no sound came out. "You knew...?" he said.

Lucas looked up from his counting. "Of course." He said smiling.

"But... How?" Ben asked.

"Do you remember that computer game I showed you when I came back from node three?" They all nodded.

"In that game, you need to be able to keep track of a 144 bit sequence. So, after that, a 52 bit sequence is easy." The teen shrugged, and went back to counting.

"You counted cards? You cheated?" Ford said shocked.

"It's not cheating if you count them in your head, only if you use something else to keep count." Lucas said, cheerfully.

The Captain looked at what was left of his own money all 18 credits, and then at the money in front of Lucas, trying to figure out what had just happened.

Tim made a show of looking at his watch. "Oh, look at the time, we'd better be going." and sheperded the others out of the door.

After they'd left, Lucas got up and walked towards the door as well. Before he left, he looked back towards the Captain who hadn't moved.

"Captain?" Bridger looked up at Lucas, and the teen continued. "Do you feel less guilty now?" Lucas smiled at the Captain and then closed the door to the recreation room behind him when he left. Nathan Bridger sat in the empty room and threw back his head and laughed at himself.

He'd got rid of most of his guilt, and been reminded not to underestimate the usefulness of computer games, and it had only cost him most of his salary and a little bit of his pride.

***** ***** *****

Ben was waiting outside for Lucas, but drifted away to his storeroom when Lucas refused to teach him how to count cards for the sixth time.

Lucas went into his room and logged on to the inter-nex to tell Wolf-man about the card game.

"Hey, Wolf-man, You there?"

The little cartoon for wolf-man popped up, but didn't say anything.


He didn't get an answer, but the icon showing he had e-mail popped up. Lucas clicked on it and opened the e-mail.


Juliana told us what happened, that was so evil.

You need to apologise, and find some way to make it up to her.

Don't expect me to talk to you until you do.


Lucas flicked back onto the cartoons. "Wolf-man, I've tried to explain to Juliana, it wasn't my fault!"

No response.

"Don't you think this is just a bit childish, taking sides like this?"

The Wolf-man cartoon left the screen.

Lucas tried to get hold of Biff, but got much the same response there, a message saying that Biff was siding with Wolf-man.

Lucas turned the screen off in disgust. "That went well, he said to the empty room." He went off to talk to the only person on the boat who always understood him.

***** ***** *****

Katie was on her way to the moon pool to apologise to Darwin for accusing him of stalking her. She stopped in the doorway, when she heard a voice inside. About to turn away and come back later, she stopped. It seemed that she was the only one of the boat who hadn't been eves dropping lately so, feeling mitigated, she stopped to listen.

"Lucas sad?" she heard the dolphin asked.

"Kind of." Lucas replied.

"Why Lucas sad?"

"Biff's not talking to me."

"Why Biff not talk?"

"Because Wolf-man's not talking to me."

"Why Wolf-man not talk?"

"Because Juliana's not talking to me."

Darwin seemed to think for a moment, then said, "Human people strange, dolphin people make more sense."

Lucas laughed, "You're probably right fish face. Juliana's just really mad at me."


"It's a long story, Darwin. You want to play catch?" Darwin whistled happily, Lucas wished everyone were so easy to please.

Katie turned made her way towards her quarters, leaving her conversation with Darwin for another day, thinking that Lucas had come out worse from the whole fiasco. She sat down in front of the vid-phone and, having found the number for Juliana's aunts in the on-line directory, waited for it to connect.

When the screen showed a teenage girl Katie Hitchcock began.

"Juliana, don't hang up. I'm not going to try to explain everything that's been going on here; it would take forever. But I'm going to give you some advice..."

Juliana sat by the vid-phone and looked at the young female officer on the screen, and for some reason she found herself saying, "OK, I'm listening."

***** ***** *****

Lucas walked back to Mammal Engineering and wondered what to do now. Darwin was out feeding, he didn't feel like working, and he'd already got maximum scores on all the computer games he had onboard. He was just lying on his bunk staring into space, and rapidly getting board, when the vid-phone sounded.

Flicking on the screen he almost feel off the bunk in surprise when he saw Juliana looking back at him.

"Hi, Lucas, I'm ready to hear that explanation now..."

***** ***** *****

The End.

***** ***** *****

Well, my first seaQuest fic is now finished :o) Hope everyone enjoyed it.

I'm going to start another story soon, although the updates may be a little less regular since I'm working on a couple of other things at the moment as well, including a degree.

All reviews, comments and major credit cards are welcomed on the review page, just press the button at the bottom of the page and an operator will be with you momentarily ;o)