Dexter bumped his head against the back of his detached seat and the blue clear sky became black and thick, the fingertips of the Dark Passenger reaching out into his mind seconds before unconsciousness overtook the man's body . . .

Dexter opened his eyes, groaned at the sunlight that filtered through the trees overhead and hit his eyes dead on. He blinked away the spots, all the while checking himself to make sure nothing was broken. All clear. He was still strapped into the seat which had been jettisoned out of the Labor; one strap was biting into his shoulder, so he carefully released the harness, only to tumble harmlessly into the moss-like grass beneath him.

He gathered himself to his feet and began to assess the situation at hand. Stranded in a Floridian forest, the smell of summer and fire hanging heavily in the air, and no Captain Doakes or his Labor in sight. And here was poor unlucky Dexter, standing by himself yet not harmed, but not sure where he was. He wasn't even sure how close he was to the crime scene. Dexter took a step forward, wobbled a little, but made it. Inside his head, the Dark Passenger began to stir, uneasy, then settle in the forefront of his mind. He was in survival mode now.

So Dexter began to make his way through the clearing, leaving behind the lone Labor seat. He imagined someone would come by and junk it, either the police or someone looking to make a few bucks at the junkyard (a slowly thriving business for those who hated legal employment). A branch snapped underfoot and he winced. He tried to make his next steps a bit lighter, not wanting to attract any unwanted attention. He didn't know if his attacker had followed him, looking for some easy target pratice.

And that's when Dexter's mobile let out a loud shrill, completely destroying any chance of sneaking out of there incognito. A flock of birds flew away with a loud series of caws, annoyed by the manmade noise. With a sigh, Dexter answered his cell to the sound of his sister Deborah's loud shriek of a voice.

"WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, YOU GOD DAMN IDIOT? DID DOAKES REALLY EJECT YOUR SEAT? WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF RODEO ARE YOU TWO PLAYING OUT THERE ---" and so forth for a couple of minutes more, Dexter holding the phone a half inch away from the phone so as to not risk permanent hearing loss.

"Calm down, dear sister, everything is under control," Dexter managed to say before Deborah launched into another full-blown screaming rant about everything was far from under control, peppered with expletives as usual. Once she was calm enough, he continued. "I don't know where I am, let alone Doakes or the Labor who attacked us." He resisted the sudden urge to say "over and out" knowing how riled up Debs was already.

"Shit. Shit." She sighed heavily before continuing. "Okay. For Christ's sake, stay where you are and keep your phone on. We're coming to get you, you idiot." And there it was, the familiar click of Deborah hanging up and leaving poor brother Dexter out to dry. As usual.

And, of course, he could have chosen to actually follow his sister's advice and stay put, let them track him down with the mandatory chip in his phone --- but he heard something rustle unnaturally in the bushes nearby, something larger than the usual squirrel, and Dexter knew that wasn't happening any time in this century. He pocketed his mobile and slowly moved in the direction of the sounds, which were progressively becoming louder and more frequent.

There it was; a large cluster of shrubs, quivering like something was behind it. Dexter pulled out the gun from its holster --- not something he enjoyed carrying, but it did make him look more threatening. Far more threatening than his ID, which said "mechanical analyst" in annoyingly big red font for all the world to read.He drew closer, the Dark Passenger raising up on edge and ready to take control if necessary.

Dexter pulled back the brush to reveal Captain Doakes, lying in a pile of leaves, eyes screwed closed as he groaned and clutched at his side, which was dotted in red. Blood. Dex's nostrils flared at the harsh copper scent.

Doakes opened his eyes and grimaced. "The fuck ---" He coughed. "What the hell? Why aren't you injured?"

Dexter shrugged. "Guess I'm lucky. Must have been born under a good sign."

As usual, Doakes' eyes narrowed in irritation. He sat up, the movement making him wince. "Get the fucking med kit from the evac seat already," he spat through gritted teeth before easing himself back onto the ground.

Hiding the cheery look that threatened to appear on his face, Dexter walked back to the clearing and the chair, which looked worse now that he wasn't sitting in it. One side of it was heavily dented; the top of the seat looked scorched. He felt around on the undented side of the chair, his palms oddly dry given the situation, and found the catch that released the compartment for the first aid kit. Med kit, he corrected himself mentally, rolling his eyes at the police jargon used for such simple things.

Holding the metal white box in his hand, he contemplated leaving Captain Doakes there to die. He could always claim by the time he got there, the man was already dead. (He would wipe a single false tear from his eye as he explained to LaGuerta how brave Captain Doakes had died in his arms, or something equally sickeningly sentimental). But then again, they were already tracking him via his cell phone, which he had stupidly left on. They already knew where both he and Doakes was. Put two and two together, bumbling little Dexter, you get a convinction for manslaughter, and that's no fun.

So, with a bit of a heavy heart, Dexter trudged his way back to Captain Doakes' prone form, first aid kit in hand. Even though Doakes was more trouble that he was worth, he would live long enough to see another sunset. He knelt down next to a practically growling Doakes and managed to pry the man's hand away from his side. Something was stuck in his side, causing him to bleed out slowly. Ouch. There was nothing in the kit that he could use to take the fragments out, so he started to put a gauze bandage over it to stop the bleeding and hold it until help arrived. This was all rather difficult when the patient kept mumbling cusses in his direction, as if innocent Dexter was the cause of the whole thing. Which maybe he was, in an oddly karmic sense, but that was neither here nor there.

A swift wind whipped through the area, blowing around leaves and various debris. Dexter could hear the familiar, almost welcome sound of a chopper's blades slicing through the once still Miami air, sounding not very far away from where they were. So tracking their cell phones had worked after all --- which meant he had a whole lot of Deborah screaming and LaGuerta fuming to look forward to. Oh joy, he thought, anticipating the reception by his superiors to be anything but a joyous one.

Two Hours Later

The overhead fan was doing nothing to cut away at the heated tension inside the debriefing room. LaGuerta was standing at the front of the normally crowded room, except today there was only the captains and head officers from both first and second sections --- and, of course, poor Dexter Morgan, sitting next to a rather steamed Deborah, who looked ready to choke someone to death.

So far, they had learned the following: the mystery labor who had attacked them may or may not have been their suspect; both had disappeared without a trace shortly after the body was found; Captain Doakes had been hit with shrapnel in his side and wouldn't be out of the hospital for another week. Dexter considered spending some extra time at his bedside in an attempt to look supportive, but the murderous look the man shot him before being wheeled into the operating room told him enough. This all meant that Section 1 needed a temporary Captain before it fell apart from disorganization. Funny thing was, there wasn't any kind of procedure for choosing a temporary Captain. There wasn't the budget for a temp, even for such a high-ranking position of importance.

"First things first," LaGuerta said, "As of now, this room is the center of an emergency voting procedure to choose the temporary replacement of Section 1's Captain Doakes." Her gaze swept over those before her, daring anyone to contest her decision. "Everyone will write a name on a slip of paper, fold it, and hand it to me. You all have fifteen minutes. For partiality's sake, I will not be voting except as a tie breaker." She turned her back on everyone as a gesture to begin the secret vote.

Predictably (safely, Dexter thought) he wrote Deb's name on his slip before folding and turning it in. She was probably the most capable person in the room streetwise, and that was including LaGuerta. Not to mention her piloting skills were top notch, despite the academy refusing to ackowledge them, always looking towards her other assets as reasons to not promote her.

He felt a series of glances pass over his head as he sat in his chair, and he wondered if he made the right choice. Well, of course he did, Debs was the right choice no matter what. Still, when the last man gave him a quick look before turning in his slip, Dexter had a feeling there was going to be a right coup in this very room --- and him in the middle.

LaGuerta turned round and began looking through the slips. "Shit." Two more slips. "Shit." The last one she threw over her shoulder. "Fuck. Dexter Morgan, I hereby assign you temporary captain of Section 1."

Dexter couldn't hear the sudden outburst of cheers and claps, as he was too busy blacking out.