First of all, apologies for not reviewing as well as I should have been – to be honest, that's one of the reasons I stopped writing fan fiction – I feel so guilty when everyone takes the time to review my stories (Thanks to everyone who does, by the way, I really do appreciate it) and then I don't review theirs as often as I should. And, yes, I know I said I wasn't going to write any more seaQuest fics, but I've got insomnia, so here goes anyway.

This is a follow on type of thing from the series one episode where environmental terrorists take control of seaQuest. In the episode, to the best of my memory, one of the terrorists finds Lucas in his room, and after dragging Lucas out, discharges his weapon into Mammal engineering.

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Six Items.

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'Lucas, I really don't think it's a good idea for you to go in there...' Ben started, but Lucas was already opening the door to Mammal Engineering.

He looked around his room with a blank expression. To untrained eye, i.e. Ben, it didn't look that different to normal – well, except for the smashed computer screens and the bullet holes in some of the hardware.

To the very highly trained eye, that would be Lucas, it was a mess. Not the normal mess of plates, the ones that he really did intend to return to the mess hall one of these days, and re-programming projects abandoned in various stages of completion across every clear surface. But, what Lucas would call a 'real' mess.

'How bad is it?' Ben asked, carefully observing his friends lack of reaction.

Lucas didn't answer, he just picked his way across the debris that covered the floor and cleared a place to sit on the bed. He wanted to shout that it was terrible, but somehow there didn't seem to be a lot of point, shouting wasn't going to do any good – it wasn't going to repair the damage, or clear up the broken glass, it wouldn't even put his filing system back in order.

'Is there anything I can do to help?' Ben tried again, it wasn't natural for Lucas to be this quiet, and he hadn't even said anything remotely sarcastic since the terrorists had left the ship. Somehow a quite Lucas worried Ben far more than an angry Lucas.

Lucas looked up at Ben, and smiled wryly. 'Well since you ask, you can go and find a rubbish bin while I sort out what's to be chucked.'

Ben tilted his head to one side in confusion and Lucas analysed his last sentence. Was there any excessive use of programming language? No. Has any scientific jargon slipped into a normal conversation? No. Any words you need to be a member of MENSA to understand? No. And then he came to the last item on his mental list of reasons people gave him funny looks in the middle of a conversation. Was he using British terms and phrases again? Bingo, there it was.

'I mean a trash can, to put all the junk in.' He rephrased his request.

'You could have said so in the first place.' Ben commentated, 'there was no need to get complicated about it.'

'Tell that to Dr. Westphalen.' Lucas complained. 'It's her fault, not mine.'

Again, Ben looked at Lucas in askance.

Lucas sighed, realising he was not going to get the rubbish bin, or the trash can, or whatever it was called, until he gave Ben some sort of explanation.

'In Britain they call a trashcan a rubbish bin. You work with Dr. Westphalen as often as I do and it will rub off on you too.'

Ben smiled and went off to find... something to put the broken bits and pieces in. While Lucas examined a computer chip, that had somehow ended up on the floor in the middle of a pile of dirty washing, he wondered why, in a ship full of Americans, did Dr. Westphalen, the only British person in the senior crew, manage to get everyone to change to her way of speaking.

It wasn't as if she demanded that everyone so, it was just that she always, always, kept to her own way of saying things. And, Lucas smiled as he thought about it, she'd look, well it was a combination of mildly confused and slightly disapproving when people used Americanisms around her.

And spelling, Lucas chuckled to himself, every time he handed in a report on an experiment; she would, without conscious thought correct any American spelling to the British versions. Not to mention the spell checkers on all the computers, there wasn't one computer on the science decks that hadn't been adjusted to Westphalen's choice of spelling and grammar.

Lucas shook his head and went back to sorting through the damage. It was no use, he decided, he would have to start a whole new organisational system. Right, where to start? Clothes – they were simple to sort out. One pile for clean on the bed and one pile for the wash in the corner. For several moments Lucas searched through the room throwing all the clothes on to one or other of the piles. Then he found the pile of baseball shirts that he was sure had just come back from the laundry. He picked them up and was about to put them on the top of the pile of clean clothes when he noticed a mark on the top one.

Putting the pile of shirts down he examined the mark more closely. It wasn't a mark at all, it was a hole – Lucas sat on a corner of his bed and stared at the hole. On one hand, he knew it was just a hole in a shirt that he had never particularly liked, on the other hand it was a bullet hole and, from what he remembered about anatomy, the bullet hole was right over where his heart would have been if he were wearing the shirt.

The next baseball shirt had a hole in it too, and the next, right down through the pile. Lucas told himself that they were pieces of clothing, but when Ben came back with the rubbish bin, Lucas, after just a moment of hesitation, dumped all the shirts into it, ignoring Ben's inquiring look.

'What do you want me to do to help?' Ben asked.

The teenager looked around the room. What was the next thing to do? He wondered. 'I suppose the dishes need to go back to the mess hall.' Lucas finally said, and the two of them began to slowly gather them up – there was quite a collection.

Ben looked down his stack of plates 'How many dishes to you have in here altogether?'

Lucas looked up and tried to balance another plate on top of the tottering pile he had built. 'I'm not sure,' he said distractedly. 'Why?'

'Because the cook has just had me order another two-dozen because he was running out at meal times - maybe if I take these back I can cancel the order.' Ben said, but Lucas wasn't listening, he was staring at what looked like half a robotic mouse.

'What have you get there?' Ben asked softly, looking over his young friends shoulder.

'A project I worked on when I was little.' Lucas said.

'What was it?' Ben prompted when Lucas didn't add anything more.

'I was a robotic hamster.'

'You designed a robotic hamster?' Ben said, more than a little bit confused. 'Why?'

Lucas shrugged, 'It seemed like a good idea at the time.'

The tangled bits of metal followed the shirts into the bin.

'Couldn't it be fixed?' Ben asked, noting that with each item going into the bin Lucas was getting quieter and more withdrawn.

A simple 'No' was the only answer forth coming.

After a few more minutes searching all the plates had been found and Lucas handed them to Ben to take back to the kitchens.

All that was left on the floor now, were the computer components, the books and a few bits and pieces he kept for no particular reason, but which had found their way into his room one way or another – All that was left on the floor, in fact, was his life.

The books were next off the floor – all placed carefully on the shelves. As the last book was slipped into place, Ben came back, but within a moment he had been turned around and was heading off to the laundry with a pile of washing. Now that he could reach the wardrobe Lucas fastidiously put all the clean clothes away. The computer components were the next to be sorted. One by one they were taken off the floor and put in the bin or one of the boxes on the shelves.

Lucas made the bed, straightened all the things on the desk and even tidied the wires the flowed from the back of the computer. He found some screws and re-attached the panel that he had removed from the air conditioning duct – the duct that was so useful for leaving his room when the Captain grounded him.

Then Lucas ran out of things to do. He looked at the aqua tube, and the neatly made bed and the shelves full to bursting with textbooks; Lucas looked everywhere in fact but at the floor. When there was nowhere else for him to look Lucas finally gave in and looked down at the floor and at all his possessions that had nothing to do with work. Six items were left.

One of them was a CD-ROM, Lucas turned it over and over in his hands – there was no label on it – there didn't need to be, Lucas new what was on it, and that was enough. He had only put the CD in his computer once, but he knew every word it contained – it was a message from... Lucas closed his eyes – don't think about it he told himself. Opening his eyes Lucas moved across the room to his desk and placed the CD in a draw.

He looked back at the floor. The next thing was a soft toy. Lucas picked it up. They had been on shore leave – he remembered it so clearly. Ben had been trying to win on those fair ground stalls all day and then just as it was getting dark and they had been ready to go back to the ship – he'd won. Lucas smiled as he remembered the look of surprise on Ben's face. And he remembered too that Ben had chosen the soft toy dolphin from among the prizes, and that Ben had given the toy to him.

Thirdly there was a small trophy. On top there was a small statue of a man diving into a pool. Lucas looked at it for some moments. Of course he had lots of trophies at home, but they were all for academics, and, Lucas thought, didn't really count. How could a trophy count for anything, Lucas wondered, when you knew as soon as you entered the competition that you were going to win? But he could remember the nerves he had felt before the swimming competition, and the joy at knowing he'd won something because he had spent hours in the pool training and not because nature had seen fit to give him an unfair advantage from the start.

The rest of the items were photos – one was quite old and showed a small blonde boy with two happy smiling adults, a man and a woman – a mother and a father. Lucas picked the photo up, the frame was broken and the glass that had protected the picture was smashed. Lucas quickly set the photo aside on a high shelf before it brought back too many bad memories, before he remembered how few times since the photo was taken all three of the people in it had been so happy together.

The other two photos had survived the shooting in tact and weren't in the least bit damaged. Lucas smiled a little as he looked at them. One was taken on the last shore leave – Ben, Tim, Miguel, Katie, Crocker, Shan, Kristen and the Captain all smiled out from the photo. The other photo was of Lucas himself and Darwin. It had been taken at the same moment as Darwin had decided that Lucas to too dry and needed to be splashed.

Both days were so clear in his mind. He looked down at the empty floor and then back at the two photos, the trophy, and the toy dolphin. Maybe he thought, maybe all anybody needed in their life were three or four items – providing, of course, they represented the right things.

When Ben came back from the Laundry he found Lucas curled up on top of his nicely made bed holding two photos in one hand and with his other arm clutching a fluffy toy dolphin. On the bed next to him was a small trophy. Ben smiled down at the teen, tip toeing across the room he gently removed the photos and the trophy and placed them on the desk, and pulled the blanket that was folded across the bottom of the bed over the sleeping form. He decided not to remove the toy dolphin.

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The End.

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Ok, that's it for now, nothing fantastic I know, but if you have any comment please take the time to review.

There may be a few more short stories coming along soon, or maybe a longer chaptered story, I haven't decided yet. If you have any preference let me know when you review.

Cadi.