Rating: R (D, V.) Disclaimer: I don't own the series or any of the original characters and I receive no monetary profit from this story. I do claim the characters "Marian", "Hope" and "Eric" as my own and do allow the use of them (with recognition) to other writers under the rules of Asprin's shared universe. Any similarity to persons dead or alive is purely coincidental.
Marian lay on the foredeck, bouncing roughly as the boat churned across the waves. A distant part of her mind noted that she was glad it was a dark moonless night, she couldn't see the water that she was so deathly afraid of. She twisted her arms again, trying the strength of the knots that bound her but they still bit into her wrists. Eric saw her shifting and she could faintly hear his laughter over the sound of the engine.
"It's no use darling." he shouted over the noise of the boat.
Marian wished she could get the gag out of her mouth for just a moment so she might curse him but it was as firmly tied as her legs and arms.
The boat slowed then stopped. Marian tried to kick her husband as he dragged her to the side of the boat.
"Good-bye Marian." Eric said coldly, throwing the anchor over the side.
The rope that bound her legs whipped over the edge pulled by the iron anchor and Marian tried to scream as she was dragged into the icy Atlantic. The last thing she saw before the water closed over her head was Eric laughing and waving to her.
Darwin slid through the water chasing fish that he really had no intention of catching but he was in a playful mood. The seaQuest was below and behind him awaiting the morning to depart port and return south to Florida. Darwin had left the sub at the suggestion of his friends Bridger and Lucas. They had told him that the boat would not surface again for several weeks and he should get some fresh air while he had the chance. Lucas had declined to accompany him, but Darwin did not mind too much to be alone for a little while, he had a knack for finding someone to play with.
Darwin heard a boat racing across the water and he leapt to keep up with it. Darwin chased alongside the boat, bounding above the waves to eyeball the deck. Perhaps the people on board would stop to play with him as many often did. The boat slowed to a stop and something heavy splashed into the water on the other side of the boat followed by a smaller splash. The boat slowly pulled away and Darwin leapt up, hoping to catch the occupants attention but the boat turned and sped off. Curiosity drove Darwin to see what had fallen off the boat and he hastily dived to find it. He bumped against something that struggled in the water and he was startled into flight but came quickly back to see what it was. To his surprise he found it was a person. Darwin knew that people didn't swim this deep, except for his friend Tony. Tony was a different kind of people and he could sense that this person was not like Tony. Darwin discovered the taunt rope that led into the depths and he bit the rope in two. The body slowly rose to the surface, it's struggles were lessening. Darwin pushed it and the person made a noise that sounded to Darwin like one of fear and pain. Darwin swam around the floating person, the wind had come up and was making choppy waves that chilled the dolphin. He wanted to go back to the warmth of the sub but he didn't want to leave the helpless human. Darwin nudged the person again and he felt a piece of rope. He caught the rope in his mouth and gently pulled. The body floated along beside him. Perhaps he could take the human back to Kristin. Kristin took care of Lucas when he was sick and hurt, perhaps she would help this person too.
Darwin swam faster, heading back to the seaQuest, towing the human beside him. He got to the point where he was directly above the sub, he knew he would have to dive down to reach the entrance that would take him inside the boat. He nudged the person again and it made the noise of pain. Darwin clacked his best encouragement and dove swiftly under still dragging the human.
He swam as rapidly as he could to the sub and inside being careful not to let the unprotected body strike the portal that was the entrance to the ship. Quickly he pulled the unmoving body up to the moon pool, released it and sped off down the tube to Lucas' room. It was "night" aboard the ship and Lucas and Tony were both asleep when he rocketed into their room. Darwin clacked loudly and banged against the plastic swimtube until Lucas awoke.
"Darwin, what's the matter boy?" Lucas asked rubbing his eyes sleepily.
"What's the big deal?" asked Tony irritably.
Darwin squealed and shot off to Med Lab to wake Kristin as he had Lucas and Tony.
When Kristin called to the dolphin, he sped back to the moon pool to wait for the three. Lucas and Tony soon arrived followed by Dr. Kristin Westphalen.
"What's the matter with Darwin?" asked Kristin, running in with her emergency medpac.
"I don't know." said Lucas.
Darwin squawked again and leaped up, splashing the trio. Lucas wiped the water out of his eyes and reached over to switch on the vocorder.
"Kristin help!" said Darwin's electronic voice.
"What's wrong?" Lucas asked, concerned. "Are you hurt?"
Darwin swam in circles toward the back of the moon pool. He leaped up again calling "Tony, Kristin, Lucas help!"
Tony jumped into the pool and stopped when he saw the body floating in the pool.
"Cripes, there's someone in here!" he shouted. He swam quickly over to the body and pulled it back toward Kristin and Lucas. When he got into the light he swore softly.
"Help me get her out." Kristin said briskly.
Tony and Lucas helped her lift the woman out of the water and lay her on the deck. Darwin swam close to the edge, pushing himself over the lip of the pool. "Kristin fix?" he asked.
Kristin checked the woman's throat for a pulse. "She's breathing and she's got a pulse, it's faint though."
"Someone beat the hell out of her," Tony said angrily. "tied her up and threw her in to drown!" He pulled out his knife and cut the ropes around the woman's wrists and gently removed the gag that covered her mouth. He handed the knife to Lucas. "Cut her feet free."
Lucas crawled to her feet and cut the rope that bound them. "Kristin, she's pregnant." Lucas whispered.
Kristin and Tony looked at Lucas then at the woman. Her stomach was indeed rounded with child.
"What kind of sick bastard would do this?" growled Tony.
"She's bleeding." said Lucas anxiously.
Kristin lay her hand on the woman's stomach. "She's in labor."
"I'll carry her to Med Bay." said Tony.
"There's no time." said Kristin crab walking beside Lucas. "We'll have to deliver the baby here. Tony, you put your hands here and push down when I tell you. Lucas," She thrust the teen between the woman's feet. "You'll have to help the baby out."
"Me?" yelped Lucas. "I can't deliver a baby!"
"Lucas help!" cried Darwin leaping up. "Lucas must help or it will die!"
"Push her feet up." Kristin ordered Lucas.
The teen did as he was told, averting his eyes as Kristin pulled the hem of the woman's dress up over her swollen belly.
"Now push, Tony."
Kristin watched as the woman had another contraction and the doctor ordered Tony to push again."Lucas, do you see anything?" she asked.
Lucas made a face and Kristin glared at him. He quickly peeked at the woman. "No." he grimaced.
"Push again, Tony."
After a couple more contractions Kristin asked Lucas again if he could see anything.
"I think so." he said uncertainly.
"Put your hand down and feel for the baby's head." said Kristin.
"Yeech." said Lucas.
"Do it." Kristin commanded.
"Alright, alright." Lucas turned his face away and put his hand between the woman's legs, feeling for the baby.
"Do you feel it?" the doctor asked.
"Yeech! I feel it." said Lucas.
"Put both your hands down there and when the baby's head and shoulders come out, you'll have to pull the baby out a little and turn it over."
"I can't." said Lucas. "This is just too gross."
"Yes you can." Kristin said gently.
"Lucas help baby." Darwin said splashing to the edge of the pool again.
"Push hard Tony." said Kristin at the next contraction. "Push!"
The baby slid out into Lucas hands, he pulled gently and turned the baby face up. It slid completely out as Kristen and Tony pushed again.
"It's a girl." said Lucas, his voice cracking.
Kristin leaned over, clamped the cord and cut it. Tony grabbed a towel off a supply cart and handed it to Kristin. She wrapped the baby and handed it back to Lucas who sat down, staring wide eyed at the child in his arms.
Kristin quickly checked the woman, she wasn't breathing and she had no pulse. Kristen began CPR knowing in her heart that it was too late to save her. After several minutes, Kristin stopped. She sat back on her heels and covered her face with her hands, weeping softly.
Tony got another towel and pulled down the woman's dress and covered her with the towel. He didn't know what else to do, he'd never seen Kristin cry and Lucas was still mesmerized by the baby he held. The baby began to cry and Darwin leaped up again.
"Kristin fix?" asked Darwin.
"I did all I could Darwin." said Kristin sadly. "She's dead."
"Baby not dead." said Darwin. He splashed up on the lip of the pool again. "Darwin want to see baby."
Kristin wiped her eyes and smiled as Lucas stood up and walked over to show the baby to the excited dolphin.
"What baby name?" Darwin asked.
"I think we should call her Hope." Tony said softly.
"Hope is alive!" shouted the dolphin, spinning in the pool.
Kristin walked over to Lucas and put her arm around him. "Yes." she smiled at the newborn in his arms. "Hope is alive."