And in conclusion...
March 13, 2034
12 Hours after Macronesian cruiser Tasmin left site of St. Helens sinking
Mars had been helicoptered from the cruiser Tasmin to the presidential compound directly in Sydney. Once alone inside the residential quarters, Mars had stood in the middle of the expansive rooms, staring blankly. She had spent weeks on a cramped rust bucket with its people and noise, and had survived an attack that had lasted no more then six hours, but had felt like days. Now she stood in the quite of the plush mansion, the city noise not reaching beyond the expansive gardens and lawns. It was late and most of the staff were gone beyond a night assistant and security, not that she would have wanted company from any of the staff. Instead, Mars stepped into the scalding hot shower, trying to wash away the pain of the last day, wanting only to hear the rushing water block the voices in her head.
For the first time Mars took stock of the condition of her body. Her nose had been a clean break, minor really. The ribs where she had been kicked would heal in a couple weeks if she took it easy the doctor had said. Even Lucy had said that technically she hadn't even drowned, her throat had closed shut before water had entered her lungs and they had been able to open her airway before her pulse had stopped. It was of little comfort, at least death would have been quiet compared to the screams she kept remembering. She ached to hear her son's laugh instead.
Alex was at an opera for the night with some delegate from the ever revolving list of visiting countries. He had needed little more than confirmation she was alive before going about business. Mars hoped he would be gone well into the night talking and smoking cigars with whoever it was that had come to Australia to make an alliance, and hopefully the woman he took with him would hold his interest too. Yet as she slipped on a pair of underwear and ragged old grey sweatshirt with "Boston" in red across the front, she heard the clink of glass from the master suite outside the bath.
"I had hoped you would come to me tonight." Alexander Bourne spoke with his back to Mars as she walked into the bedroom, pouring a glass of scotch.
"Thought it would be rude to interrupt your night, especially in my current condition." Mars leaned against the doorway, bare legs below the sweatshirt that was a couple sizes too big.
"Would have been less rude than me leaving the Russian ambassador in the middle of the second act in order to make sure you were safely back."
"You knew I was just fine."
Finally he turned to face her. He sipped at his scotch, eyes smoldering as he looked at the younger woman.
"Yes, well, now we're here aren't we? And yet I hear that the P-Orion is once again at the bottom of the ocean and the whole cause of this catastrophe missing. I'm starting to wonder about my investment and encouraging you on this project, perhaps it is too much even for you."
"My ship broke up exactly how it was suppose to, your investment wasn't wasted. Call it a real life scenario. And whether we have the thing or not, we now know the Chaodai are closer to cloaking technology."
"What did happen to this satellite?"
"Last I saw it was lying next to its dead owner. Was told it had been left there, never had a chance to be brought up and secured. From the scans we saw, that part of the ship was ripped open in the torpedo blasts and strewn over the canyons. If it was even still intact there would be no way to find it at this point. The bright side is we may not have it, but neither does the UEO or the Chaodai."
"And the Chaodai will soon be short their scientists to try and create another. I've already sent Jefferson out."
"Without me!" She pushed herself off the doorframe, storming towards Bourne.
"You are in no condition to be cleaning up this mess. You tend to get sloppy when you're angry. I've decided you'll stay here for the next two weeks, rest, prepare for what is next."
"I was going to go to Africa for a week, to see my son…" Mars was cut off by the scotch glass flying past her head and shattering against the wall next to her.
Before she could react she felt Alex's hand wrap around her throat and she was pushed down onto the bed, his weight pinning her down.
"I am your commander, you do not tell me what you will or will not do!" He was furious. " This mission means more then anything else, including our son, and without you it cannot move forward. You should have been off that ship the moment you knew it was taken, but instead you stay to play the hero and to take commands from the UEO! You could have cost us everything. I own you Mars LeConte, I made you, not the UEO!" His hand squeezed, adding bruises to the red line along her throat.
Mars gasped for breath, choking once more as she felt the pressure increase. Mars tried to speak through the darkness rushing on her, but the words just came out in guttural sounds. Then the pressure was gone and her vision cleared. She felt the back of his hand brush her cheek, his body weight shifting as he brought his hips to hers.
"Good girl. You don't need any distractions. Just think Mars, in two weeks, the SeaQuest will be mine, and in her captain's chair will be my god of war." Alexander whispered in his ex-wife's ear as he slid his hand up her bare thigh, felt her give in to him out of exhaustion, and he made up for the weeks away from her.
"Captain, I think you should see this." Lucas fell in step with Nathan Bridger as he left Lonnie Henderson's quarters after a long talk.
"Lucas, I'm not a captain anymore, and if Captain Hudson hears that, I may be asked to leave sooner then expected." The two men walked down the quiet corridors of the SeaQuest to Nathan's guest quarters.
"I don't know what else to call you." Lucas admitted.
"Nathan works quite well." He opened the door and indicated for the younger man to enter first.
Lucas was carrying his personal tablet computer and quickly made himself comfortable typing away.
"So you said Commander Keller died a couple years ago right?"
"That's what Mars said."
"Right, and I looked up all I could about his death. It's all the basics, all the articles written in eulogy and such. He did die in his sleep, a sudden heart attack that he probably never felt according to the autopsy doctor."
"There's worse ways to go." Like drowning, Nathan thought.
"Right, but here's where it gets interesting. I looked up the information about his funeral. Of course there was a big memorial and such, but there was also the smaller family burial at Arlington. Only a few pictures were published, but here." Lucas handed the tablet over to Nathan who sat on the edge of his bunk.
There were a few pictures from a Times article. One showed Scott's only daughter Marcy at a podium in the middle of a speech, another the honor guard carrying the casket. It was the third that caught Nathan's attention. It was a candid shot with a caption that read "Family and close friends gather to mourn." Again Marcy and her three children were there, standing amidst a small group of people. Nathan didn't recognize most of the people, but he easily picked out Mars LeConte black dress matching her flowing black hair. Next to her, looking older and thinner, and a little more wary then the last time he had seen the man, stood Mars's father Tobias. The date was November 2030.
"That's not all either. I found the arriving flight Michael was on to the embassy. He was listed as an unaccompanied child to be picked up only by an embassy staff member. There was no woman with him identified as his mother."
"So what the embassy told me was wrong, but why?"
"That I don't know, but I checked the flight roster. Sitting across the aisle and one row back was?" Lucas knew the guess Nathan would say.
Lucy Nunn dropped from the last few rungs of the short ladder down into the cramped sub, making a smacking sound as she landed in her flip flops.
"Going to break an ankle doing that one of these days." The deep voice said behind her as hands gently grabbed her waste.
"Momo, look at what I just survived. You really think a ladder is going to scare me. Do you know that most injuries from latters occur when-" She felt those hands lift as their owners knew she was safely on the ground again.
"You're babbling Doc." Momo said.
Lucy turned around and hugged the tall, muscular Dagger behind her.
"Gave us quite a scare." He released from the hug and began walking down the short corridors of their smuggling sub.
"Don't think you were too concerned when you gave my cousin tongue."
"It was mouth to mouth."
"She had started breathing again."
"Had to make sure ya know. He's in there." Momo gave a cocky grin, grabbed Lucy's duffle, and headed back the way he had come.
Inside the cramped Captain's Quarters, a man sat in dim light behind the Captain's desk. A scruffy beard of a couple weeks growth covered his face, yet even in his mid-forties barely any grey was showing. Deep lines formed around his eyes and mouth as he studied the heavy round satellite, now dented and broken on the desk, before looking up at Lucy with blue eyes, his features smoothing out as he smiled.
"Don't ever do that again." The man said, leaning back in the metal folding chair.
"Or you'll do what?" Lucy sat down on the edge of the desk, turning the picture frame sitting on the corner around to look at the young blond haired boy in the frame.
"Make sure you get a position in the middle of Iowa well away from anything dangerous."
"Iowa has tornadoes. Mars and your dad are ok."
"Of course they are, they had you there. I'm assuming this hasn't interrupted any rumored plans has it?"
"Nope. Can you believe so much death for such a little thing? Did you find it ok?" Lucy toyed with the broken pieces.
"Wars have been fought over less. And yes, the radio tag was sending loud and clear. Good thing you dumped it when you did, would never have found it if it went down with the boat. You know you came that close to ending our chance at this." He held up his thumb and pointer finger inches from each other.
"Don't worry. The SeaQust is still on schedule to be at the way station which means Alexander Bourne is still on schedule to be there too. In two weeks the Macronesians will be stealing the flagship of the UEO with no one to stop them." Lucy grabbed the grungy Boston Red Sox hat off the man's head looking at it.
"And in two weeks we steal the SeaQuest from the Macronesians."
"I do love irony. You know Bobby, the Red Sox haven't won a series since 2013, and you were technically dead that year." She placed the hat back on his head backwards.
"Hey now! True fans don't abandon their teams during dry spells or in fake death. Don't you have work? Get out of here." He threw a wad of paper at her.
"Oh I've got a video date instead of work." Lucy said heading for the hatch.
"Lt. Tim O'Neil."
"Is that…?" He made circular motions around his eyes indicating glasses.
"Sweet little Lucy Nunn finally finds a guy as geeky as her huh? Does this mean no more bum boyfriends? " The man jokingly mocked.
"My taste in men is not that bad!"
"Yes it is."
"At least I didn't marry Alexander Bourne." Lucy pointed back heading for the door.
"Ya well I'm sure your cousin who is so apt to keep her opinions to herself is thrilled with you hooking up with a SeaQuest officer. Go get to your date, that's an order." The man looked back down at the sphere as Lucy walked towards the hatch before turning around and giving a salute.
"Yes sir, Captain Bridger, sir."
FINISHED! If you made it this far, thank you.