Healing the Wild
Author's Note: Okay, so between my life, health, work, and writer's block, I have not been as up-to-date on my story, Danger Down Under, as I'd like to be. However, please know I have not abandoned it!
In the meantime, I had this idea for another story and I simply cannot ignore it as it has completely consumed me. Unlike my other two stories, I am going with what would happen in an episode during the first season so Nathan and Kristin are not married nor is Lucas their son. I do tend to focus on them, though. Please bear with me as I publish the muse that is speaking the loudest at the moment. If you are interested in helping me as a beta or as an additional muse, please PM me. I'd love to know your thoughts!
As always, I hope you enjoy and PLEASE read and review. I'm trying to become a better writer and your feedback helps immensely. Plus, it keeps me motivated to keep going if I know people are reading.
Disclaimer: I did not create the SeaQuest DSV series nor do I own its characters. They are the product of Rockne S. O'Bannon. I am obsessed with these characters and feel like there was more that could have been done after the first season. I write fanfiction purely for fun and not for profit.
Somewhere off the South American coast…
Dr. Kristin Westphalen and Captain Nathan Bridger were scuba diving along a newly rescued wall of a reef. It was a nice break since they had just completed a rather strenuous mission. The coral had grown since the last time they visited and they were curious as to what was causing it.
"Nathan, this reef is extraordinary!"
"Yes, it's a wonder that just a few short weeks ago, this area was in danger of disappearing!"
"Well, the ecosystem certainly has picked up. Look at all this! It's flourished exponentially!"
As they continued exploring the reef, something shiny on the reef wall caught Kristin's eye.
"Nathan, over here. I think I found something." She swam down to a small cave along the side wall of the reef and reached in at what seemed to be a half-buried box, about as big as a playing card and over 6 inches deep. It was a simple metal chest with a lock in the front. Two dime-sized blue gemstones covered the front of the lid and there was a spot where a third gemstone should have been but had fallen out. Kristin was mesmerized as she picked it up.
"This is extraordinary! I wonder what's inside?"
Nathan swam right up to her and took a look.
"Wow. That is one hell of a find. We'd better get this back to the SeaQuest and see if we can find out what's inside. Is it heavy?"
"A little bit. Would you mind carrying it back?"
"Not at all." Nathan picked up the box from Kristin. "You ready to head back?"
"I suppose so. It's still mind-boggling as to how quickly this reef just came back from the brink." She looked back at the cave and noticed a small shiny blue object near where the box was. She reached out her hand to grab for it. As soon as she did, a small, unknown creature that looked like an eel quickly stuck its head out the cave and scared her. She instinctively pulled her hand away but managed to scrape it on a nearby jagged rock. "Ouch!" Kristin pulled her hand back in pain, holding her other hand to cover what was surely a small wound. The small creature swam away from the area too quickly for her to notice where it went.
"Kristin, are you okay?"
"Yes, I think so. Something just scared me and I hit my hand on a rock!" She looked down at her wounded hand and noticed some blood trickling out. She covered it back up and looked at Nathan.
"I'm fine. I just need to get back and bandage it up. The salt water stings a bit. Let's just go." She reached back to grab the small pebble, evidently the missing gemstone for the front of the metal chest.
They proceeded to swim back to the SeaQuest. As they came out of the moon pool, Kristin quickly walked over to one of the walls and pulled out a med unit. She found some antiseptic cleanser and some gauze for her wound. There were a few small scrapes right on the back of her hand and between her index finger and thumb. They were still large enough to leave some scars. Nathan noticed this and put the chest on one of the tables as he looked worriedly at her.
"You alright?" He walked over to make sure.
"Yes, I'm fine. Nothing a little gauze and some time and healing can't fix. Bloody creature. Would have at least been nice to see what it was. The whole area is beaming! Nathan we should consider sending a research team out there to investigate how quickly this reef grew."
"I think we can arrange for that. The implications for reef rehabilitation could be an amazing breakthrough. Now that you're all fixed up, why don't we take a look at what's inside that box?"
"I see your curiosity has gotten the best of you. I'm dying to know what's in it too!" She said with a girlish smile. They both walked over to the table and took a closer look at the metal chest.
"We're gonna need a crowbar or something."
"Captain!" Lucas walked over from the corridor after overhearing the captain and the doctor talking. Kristin greeted him with a smile.
"Lucas! I'll have you know you missed quite the dive. I'm going to have you join my research team to study this reef. It's beaming with life!"
"Isn't this the reef that looked like it was about to die last time we were here?"
"Yes! It's incredible!"
"Well, I wish I had joined you guys after all." He pointed to the box. "So what's that? Buried treasure?"
Nathan spoke up. "It certainly looks like it. Dr. Westphalen found it in one of the hidden caves on the side of the wall."
"Very cool. Are those real gemstones?" He took a closer look.
"They would appear to look like sapphires, but I'll have to test them to make sure." She took the loose one out of her belt pouch and held it out for them to see. She then stuck the sapphire in the hole on the box and it seemed to click almost immediately as the casing around the hole held it in place.
"Wow. Doc, you just stumbled on a fortune. Do you get to keep all this?"
Nathan interjected. "It wasn't an archeological dive and we have no way of knowing who this belongs to. Unless something is inside that tells us otherwise."
"But Nathan, this could be of major historical importance."
"We'll settle this once we know what we're dealing with."
Lucas jumped in. "Yeah, doc. Let's see what you got!"
"We need a crowbar, first." Nathan spoke rationally.
"Crowbar?" Lucas looked disappointed. "Cap, come on. Get with the present. A laser cutter is so much more effective."
"Call me old-fashioned. Some things just work." Nathan defended himself.
Kristin giggled and Lucas smiled as he responded. "I'll grab our laser cutter."
He walked over to the main lab bench and searched through the drawers, wielding the aforementioned tool victoriously.
"Doc, you want to do the honors?" He held out the tool for her to accept.
"On second thought, Lucas, I don't think I should. My hand isn't feeling up to it." She held up her bandaged hand.
"Yikes. What happened?"
"Oh it's nothing, just a few scrapes from a rock. It's not terribly painful, but I'm worried I might not have the best coordination without both hands."
Lucas nodded and looked at Nathan. "Cap? You want to handle this?"
Nathan smiled and replied. "Why don't you show us how it's done, Kiddo?"
Lucas looked a bit shocked and smiled widely. "Really? You sure it's okay?" He looked at both of them.
Kristin responded. "Absolutely, Lucas. Now get on with it. We can't wait to see what's inside!"
"Alright. Here goes nothing." He held up the tool and aimed it, holding the side of the lock with his other hand to keep it steady.
"Just be careful and don't hurt yourself." Nathan couldn't help himself.
"I think I got this. Thanks."
After a few seconds, the lock was cut and Lucas shut off the tool and unhooked the lock.
"Now, I insist that the Doc open it and discover her treasure."
"Well, that I think I can manage." She smiled and reached for the box, slowly lifting the top and letting everyone have a good view. There was a lot of velvety red fabric. She carefully lifted some of the fabric, searching for the contents. They all looked completely entranced by the glass-looking orb that lay inside. It looked like a frosted light blue marble.
"Wow. Why such a huge box for that?" Lucas asked what was on all their minds.
"I have no idea." Kristin reached in and pulled up the orb gently. It wasn't very big but it certainly looked nice.
"What is it?" Nathan asked.
"I'll have to do some lab tests. But it feels very light and the coloring doesn't look like a pearl or any other material I can think of."
"Looks like a dud. Could be a marble." Lucas didn't seem too impressed.
"That is a possibility. It may not be anything more than just glass."
Nathan was just as confused. "It's strange that someone would go through the trouble of putting this in a locked metal chest."
Lucas thought for a moment. "Maybe it's one of those geo-cache treasure hunts. You know, where you hide something and then post coordinates for other people to find your treasure?"
Kristin didn't look convinced. "Maybe. But whatever this is, I'd like to take a closer look at it. It certainly is beautiful. And the whole thing makes for a lovely jewelry box."
Nathan confirmed. "Technically, you found it so I insist you keep it. At least until we know what it is."
"Of course, Captain." She carefully wrapped the orb in the fabric and placed it back in the box. "In the meantime, I'd like to send a research team to go out there and collect some samples. We should take a closer look at these creatures and see if we can isolate what's caused this breakthrough."
"I agree. Send them out immediately. Might as well take advantage of the downtime while we're here. Lucas, what do you say…you want to join in this time?"
"Sure, Cap. I'll get ready."
The science team were able to collect a few samples and lay them out in various large 90-gallon tanks near the moon pool. There were over 30 different types of species and coral spread between five tanks. Several members of the team were preparing solutions and documenting the various creatures in the computers.
After placing her new box in one of the drawers, Kristin sat at one of the benches with Lucas. They were documenting the animals in one of the tanks, when she noticed a fist-sized bright yellow fish approach a much smaller blue fish and attack it violently. The blue fish had a relatively large bite in it and Kristin worried for it's health and safety. She immediately grabbed a small net and isolated it from the rest of the tank into a smaller bowl with the same reef water. Neither of them was prepared for what they saw next.
The smaller fish slowly started tilting on its side, as if it was dying. All of a sudden, a rather bright flash of light beamed from the bite wound.
"What in the bloody…" Kristin whispered to herself in shock and confusion. The fish had completely healed itself and was actively swimming around again in the bowl in the span of 10 seconds. Kristin looked at Lucas, who had the same puzzled and amazed look on his face.