title: A Science Apart

by pari

rated: G

seaQuest 2032. Bridger, Lucas. They aren't mine. This is a look at where they were, what they felt, and where they were going when the show ended. (see end of story for full disclaimer, etc.)


Coldplay, The Scientist:

"Nobody said it was easy,
It's such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be this hard


The Captain was leaving.

It shouldn't have startled him as much as it did. He'd seen Michael. He'd seen the look in the Captain's eyes as he'd talked about Robert, about Miguel and Wendy - that empty look. Robert hadn't died. He'd been alive for years after he'd been declared dead and he'd never come to his father - his own father - with the truth. Wendy and Miguel were gone. Wendy had helped the Captain live again, and what had he to live for now? Who could he trust? Robert's death had nearly killed him. Perhaps no one was as they seemed.

Perhaps the Captain had no reason to stay. The world had become something he didn't like, the UEO had become something he didn't like, and the SeaQuest had become its cause. The Captain no longer felt at home on his own boat.

Lucas shouldn't have been startled, but he was. It wasn't like Bridger had just walked away without a word, but he might as well have. Lucas wouldn't have gone with him even if he'd asked - the seaQuest was his home, his cause…

But he would have liked to have been given the choice.

He would have thought that the Captain would care whether or not he had one.

He would have been wrong.


"I was just guessing,
At numbers and figures,
Pulling your puzzles apart


He was going to do it. Good God, he was going to do it. Risk everything all on his theory, and they were going to let him do it.

Was this what he'd taught him? This mule-headed arrogance? This inability to back down? Pride?

Perhaps he'd been proud, as well. Perhaps he shouldn't have assumed he could distance himself from what the world had become, and that the others would eventually follow. Perhaps he'd underestimated their need to be led, and should have pushed his own confusion and grief aside to help them deal with theirs.

But Nathan didn't think much of should.

The SeaQuest should never have been used as they were using her. Jim Brody should never have died during some god-damned Macronesian publicity stunt.

Lucas should never have worn a naval uniform, or worn it quite so well.

He shouldn't regret Lucas's having grown into a man - a man unafraid to follow his own beliefs, right into Hell if he had to.

But he did.


"Tell me your secrets,
And ask me your questions,
Oh, let's go back to the start.
Runnin' in circles,
Comin' up tails,
Heads are a science apart


A good soldier.

He was a good soldier.

Damn it, he'd been nothing but a good soldier, ever since he'd seen them carry Jim back onto the boat, just to watch him bleed out in the medbay after all that they'd been through, all that they'd survived.

He'd been nothing but a soldier ever since he'd stepped into his uniform. There hadn't been time for anything else. Was it so hard for the Captain to understand that? Was that where this tight-lipped refusal to talk about anything remotely GELF related came from? Hurt that Lucas hadn't yet done the soul-searching the Captain obviously expected him to do? He was obviously still waiting for Lucas to say that it had all been a joke. A fluke. He'd lost his mind and he'd enlisted, but he was better now and everything was going to be like it had been before…

Nothing was like it was. And he couldn't go back.

Or did the Captain really believe that bullshit about being a good soldier and just doing whatever the fuck he was told?

No. Lucas knew he didn't. There wasn't much else he was certain he did know anymore…but he had to have known the Captain a bit better than that.

Hadn't he?


"Tell me your secrets,
And ask me your questions,
Oh, let's go back to the start


He couldn't deny it. He couldn't say that he hadn't been a part of that travesty at Banaba, because he had been. He wished to God he'd had the strength then to walk away that he liked to think he had now, but he had been a part of what had happened, he hadn't walked away, and he couldn't change that.

He couldn't explain that to Lucas. What would be the point? Lucas knew he wasn't the sort of man to condone what had been done on that island. At least, Nathan hoped that Lucas knew him at least that well. Lucas hadn't taken kindly to the last time he'd questioned the young man's decision to join the military, and Nathan really wasn't in the state of mind to repeat that little performance.

That's really all this amounted to, wasn't it? The military. That is what having those stripes on your shoulder meant. Performing. Doing what you think is right - or even what you know is wrong - and being haunted by it weeks, months, years later.

There was a time when Nathan's stripes had meant something more to him. But he couldn't remember that time as anything more than a dim memory if he tried; couldn't remember what had made that time so different from now.

What was so different about Lucas? How could he confront Nathan one moment, as fiery in his temper as always, and bow down the next, as Nathan spoke of being a good soldier and not asking questions.

The war was getting uglier by the moment. Nathan supposed not asking questions would be a good skill for Lucas to develop. He supposed he should fear the young man's passion greater than his silence.

The thought that the silence might only be a prelude to what was to come terrified him.


"I was just guessing,
At numbers and figures,
Pulling your puzzles apart.
Questions of science,
Science and progress,
Do not speak as loud as my heart


They couldn't just do nothing. It wasn't that simple. The firma strain was their responsibility; their fault. They couldn't just walk away and expect the problem to fix itself. He couldn't just walk away, and Captain Bridger shouldn't ask him to.

But he hadn't asked, had he?

No. He had just expected Lucas to take his lead and back off, the way he'd backed off from everything else. The seaQuest, the crew. Lucas.

Maybe Captain Hudson was right - maybe Lucas wasn't as upset that Bridger wouldn't admit that he could be wrong, as he was upset that Bridger was capable of being wrong in the first place. Maybe it was difficult finding out your father was human after looking up to him, all your life, as so much more.

But Bridger wasn't Lucas's father.

No one was.

And Lucas had already known that the Captain was human. He just hadn't thought it would hurt so much when the Captain realized the same thing about himself.


"Questions of science,
Science and progress,
Do not speak as loud as my heart


He couldn't stay.

Not on this ship. Not now. This war wasn't his, and he'd had quite enough of wars that weren't his own, thank you.

He'd had quite enough of standing on that bridge, or striding off it, with his people at his side, only to watch them suffer or die.

He knew that some of them wouldn't understand. Lucas… Lucas wouldn't understand. At first. But it would come to them. They would realize that their destinies stretched far beyond the hull of this ship the same as he had. He would be there for them when they took that step.

But for now…

For now he had to be elsewhere. He had to be somewhere he could feel as though he'd lived through Hyperion, not just survived. He had to let these people live. He'd led them straight to their deaths once before; he would not do it again.

He would not survive their deaths again. Jonathon and Tim, sinking to the ocean floor in their shattered sub… Miguel and Jim and Tony riddled by bullets… Wendy and Lonni dying in that explosion on the Kraytacks' ship. Lucas, struggling on, fighting for the Resistance…dying on an alien shore, all alone…

He wouldn't stay here with them, burdened by the memories, the ghosts, he'd spared them. He couldn't. He couldn't protect them in a world he didn't even know.

He'd leave them with someone who perhaps could. And he'd pray that Oliver knew what had been left in his hands.


"Tell me you love me,
Come back and hold me,
Oh, when I rush to the start.
Runnin' in circles,
Chasin' tails,
Comin' back as we are

Nobody said it was easy,
Oh, it's such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be so hard.
I'm goin' back to the start


"The Wallengren Rise has fallen, Macronesian forces are swarming over the Canary Abyssal Plain," O'Neill reported to the suddenly silent bridge.

Before anyone could absorb that news, Henderson added, "We're surrounded, sir, by five Macronesian Attack subs. They're flooding their tubes."

"We don't have the intercepts to take their torpedoes out," Captain Windom shook his head. "Even if we did, we're out-gunned."

There was a pause. And then, quietly, "I'm well aware of that, Captain."

Windom and Ford exchanged a look. The Commander turned to Ensign Wolenczak.


Lucas typed at his console. "I'm trying, sir. But the algorithms are more complex than anything I've dealt with before."

"Then you better start guessing."

Lucas didn't look up from his work, but his question hung in the silence that descended. "And if I'm wrong?"

In Lucas's mind, he pictured the Cobra, Lysanders swooping in on her from all directions, attack subs swarming like frightened krill.

He pictured the Macronesians. Not as nameless, faceless bodies shoved into fighters and dropped in the water like bombs - but as people. Women and men, sometimes boys. Stationed on their ships, oblivious to what Lucas was at that very moment attempting to do. His fingers stilled.

"We're dead anyway," Commander Ford replied.

Lucas blinked.

And in a moment he would remember for years to pass, he inputted the final command sequences through his console.

The codes worked.

Deon's platform systematically began to destroy every ship within the entire Macronesian fleet.

The SeaQuest was left untouched.

The bridge crew cheered.

[ the end ]


This fic covers episodes 3.01 Brave New World, 3.07 Equilibrium, 3.09 Good Soldiers, and 3.15 Depths of Deceit (unaired. Script by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin.) Lyrics are from Coldplay's The Scientist, as mentioned above.

A/N: Please let me know what you think of this. Thanks.