I'll Take That Bet
I have no rights to the TV show "seaQuest DSV," and I am not making any money with this story. This story is a translation of my German fanfiction, "Wetten dass..." And was a Christmas Present for Samusa.
A big "Thank You" goes to my wonderfull beta-reader Jackie.
That afternoon, the seaQuest had docked at the harbor to take food and other supplies on board. Now it was evening, and the crew had a brief shore leave, as the next day they would be shipping out again.
Several of the male members of the senior crew and Lucas were sitting in a pub near the harbor. Bridger had insisted on going to a pub where the majority of the drinks served were non-alcoholic. One reason he had done this was because Lucas was with them; after all, the boy was just 16. Another reason was because he wasn't keen on having to deal with a hungover bridge crew tomorrow.
Dr. Westphalen, Lt. Commander Hitchcock, and Commander Ford had decided to go to the theatre instead.
Lucas Wolenczak, the only teenager on board the top UEO submarine, was observing the goings-on around him closely, sneaking a look at his watch from time to time.
The strange behavior of his charge didn't escape Captain Bridger's attention, but he decided not to say anything. If Lucas's thoughts were on one of his experiments, then it was always best not to disturb him. Usually, if left alone, the boy would end up talking about it without prompting.
Ten minutes later, the computer genius let out a groan and looked at the others around the table. "I can think about it all I want, but I just don't get it," he said, shaking his head.
Benjamin Krieg smiled from ear to ear. "Mark this date in your calendar - our genius admits that for once he doesn't get it!"
The teen stuck his tongue out at the supply officer. "Really funny, Ben, really funny."
Nathan turned to Lucas. "What do you exactly mean?" He had the feeling that he would now hear about what had been going on in the boy's head.
Lucas looked around at them all. "You know, I've been watching for the last 45 minutes. This is also something I noticed in school." He paused briefly. "Why are women always going to the bathroom in packs?"
Benjamin Krieg, Miguel Ortiz, and Tim O'Neill burst out laughing. Chief Crocker and Captain Bridger, on the other hand, managed to hold it back. The teenager had just named one of the mysteries of the female species.
"Hey, I'm serious!" Lucas explained, apparently quite annoyed. "In the last 45 minutes, the ladies room had been used 15 times, and of those times, only three women went in there alone. The other 12 times, two women went together. The women who went in alone came out again quickly, but the ones who went in together took ages. What is taking them so long? What are they doing, besides going to the bathroom and maybe touching up their make-up? Are they making nasty remarks about the guys they came here with?"
The captain was grinning. "That's an intersting theory you have there. At least it's one possible explanation, but I guess we will never really know. Unless, that is, we ask."
The blond boy shook his head. "I already asked one of my former classmates, but I didn't get a real answer. She only said it wasn't so boring if they went together. But hey, that can't be normal. After all, we men don't do it. If I asked Ben to come to the men's room with me right now, you all would look at me funny."
Krieg acted like he was absolutely horrified. "Don't you dare!"
Tim O'Neill smiled. "Maybe there's more to this make-up theory than you originally thought. Say a woman needs... what, 2 minutes to touch up her lipstick? And when they go in together that makes it 4 minutes."
Benjamin shook his head emphatically. "No way! Touching up lipstick doesn't work at all. No woman wants to wear the same color as her friend." The lieutenant got a thoughtful expression on his face. "I think that going to the restroom together is something that comes from the times of the Neanderthal. In those times, one of them would always stand guard to watch for any danger while the other one would squat behind a bush and do her business. And somehow, this behavior still applies."
Ortiz raised one eyebrow. "Hear! Hear! So says the woman expert."
It seemed that Krieg hadn't heared the ironic tone in Miguel's voice and now looked wisely at the teenager. "Indeed. Listen closely to me, Lucas, you can learn a lot about women from me."
Their youngest crew member looked skeptically at Ben. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, we all know that I have a way with women. After all, I was married to one of the prettiest women in the UEO," said Krieg knowledgably.
"'Was' being the operative word," said Lucas quickly.
Miguel smiled; he had been thinking the same exact thing, but the teenager had spoken faster.
Krieg put his hand to his heart dramatically. "Oh, that hurt! But at least I know more about this than you do. After all, your first girlfriend was your computer."
"Hey, I may be only 16, but that doesn't mean I don't know anything about women."
"Yeah, sure sonny!" It sounded like Ben didn't believe a single word.
The others followed the discussion with interest. It was almost like a tennis match. But Nathan stopped that mental comparison; as self-confident as Lucas appeared on the outside, he was just as unsure on the inside.
Lucas was silent for a moment. "Are you challenging me? If so, you've succeeded brilliantly." A smile was playing around his lips.
Now it was Ben's turn to think about this. Of course it was tempting to show the teenager that his knowledge had limits. After all, there was almost no subject that the teenager didn't excel at because of his intelligence. But was it fair to agree to a bet? After all, he was older than Lucas and therefore had more practical experience with women. "Okay... I suggest an easy three-part bet."
"And that would be?" asked the computer genius doubtfully.
"We think of three different topics that have something to do with women and make a bet about each one."
Captain Bridger didn't like the sound of this, but he knew that he couldn't keep them from doing it. If these two had gotten an idea in their heads, then they would go through with it. He also didn't have the heart to forbid Lucas to do it. By doing that, he would make the teenager look like a small child in front of the others, to say nothing of the fact that the genius would be very angry with him. "I don't think that a three-part bet is such a good idea. A four-part bet is better. That way, you have a chance to tie."
"Okay, doesn't matter to me. What about it Lucas? Come on, let's shake on it." Ben stretched his hand toward the teenager.
The blond boy thought about it for a moment. "What are we betting for?"
"$200 and the loser has be the winner's slave for two weeks. You know, doing things like washing laundry, running errands, bringing dessert or giving up water rations... that kind of thing."
Bridger took a deep breath. $200 wasn't chicken-feed, especially for somebody who earned as little as Lucas. "Lieutenant, I don't think that this is fair. Your salary is much more."
Krieg gave in; he also realized that he had picked too high an amount of money. "Okay, how about we change that to $20, but the rest stays the same. What do you say, Lucas, do we have a deal?"
The computer genius hesitated for a moment, but he couldn't back down. After all, he'd had to go and open his big mouth! He held his hand out and shook Ben's. "I'll take that bet."
The supply and moral officer smiled, certain of his impending victory. Oh, it would be so nice having a personal butler.
Miguel Ortiz thought that it was finally time to lighten things up, even if it would cost him. He looked at O'Neill, who was sitting diagonally from him. "Hey Tim, I need to go to the restroom. Are you coming too?"
It didn't take long before the attention of everyone in the pub was drawn to the table with five adults and one teenager that just couldn't stop laughing.
To Be Continued…
Written October 2004, Translated Winter 2005/2006