A/N: This will be something different for me. As you may know, I always try to do something a little different each time. And, there is only one person I need to challenge and impress, and that's myself. So, this will definitely be a challenge for me. I've never really pursued the science-fiction side of seaQuest, not because I don't enjoy it, but because I never thought I could write well enough to do it justice. But, I've come up with a rather sci-fi storyline that I can't ignore. So, that's where this came from. I have been doing my research, and I will do my best to write a well-thought out and logical story. That's my only worry with sci-fi, that it sounds less than genius. So, it would be lovely if you could encourage me along the way since I'm still convincing myself that this is a good idea. I'd also like you to know that since I'm still developing certain elements of the story that I may not update daily. However, I'll do my best to at least update weekly (although I'm sure it will be more often). Of course, this story will cover several genres as usual.
And, I know there are several fans who enjoy Kristin and Nathan romance as I do, so I assure you, there will be some romance as well. This story will be canon. However, I've chosen a starting point that will allow for some canon romance. This story will be set between 'The Good Death' and 'A Higher Power'.
Disclaimer: SeaQuest DSV and its characters are not my creation. They are the creation of Rockne S. O'Bannon as a 1990's television series. This work of fanfiction is for entertainment purposes only and is not for financial gain. I am just borrowing the characters for a bit and promise to return them unharmed and in their original condition, maybe just a bit happier.
November 25, 2019
It had been a week since Cynthia, Malique, and the children had left on launches, and things on the boat had gone back to normal. Unfortunately, they'd also been rather boring. There were no rescue missions of any sort, and the seaQuest was simply patrolling. There wasn't much fun in that.
But at the morning staff meeting, Nathan made an announcement. "We'll be spending a few days in Pearl for routine maintenance." He looked directly at Ben Krieg. "Although we'll have a bit of free time, it is not intended as a vacation. There will be plenty of work to do around the base, and you're all expected to report to duty as normal."
"And I would never consider otherwise, Captain," Ben answered in an over-compensating manner.
Nathan rolled his eyes slightly. "Whatever you say, Mr. Krieg. We should be arriving by 0900 hours tomorrow morning. Until then, business around here will go as scheduled. Is that understood?" Again, Nathan gave Ben a look.
"What?" Ben answered innocently. But he then recovered, "Yes, sir."
Nathan's eyes twinkled with amusement. "I just needed to be sure we were all on the same page. All dismissed."
As the senior staff began filing out of the ward room, Kristin lingered behind. She waited until everyone had left, then approached Nathan. A few days in Pearl Harbor meant something else, and she hoped to get his approval.
She waited until Nathan turned to her. He immediately noticed the smile on her face. "The news excites you, does it?"
"You know me so well. I was thinking…"
"You never stop thinking, do you?" he teased.
She gave him a look. "Nathan."
"Very well; I'm listening," he replied.
She took a breath and said again, "I was thinking since you'll all be busy with military work, well, there's no reason I can't do some work of my own."
"Of course not," Nathan said with a shrug. "But why are you telling me? You've always done as you saw fit when it comes to your research, and I don't see why it should change now."
She gave him a mysterious smile. "Because I was hoping you'd help me, that is, when you're allowed free time. And, I thought it would be a learning experience for Lucas. But, how am I going to convince a hormonal teenager to be more interested in science over the bikini-clad young women walking the beaches?"
"And that's where I come in?" Nathan guessed.
"That, and I thought you'd want to come dive with us."
She nodded. "The reefs around Pearl are just swimming with life, no pun intended. It would definitely be a great benefit to my research…and the others would find a dive relaxing."
"So, you want the whole crew involved?"
"As many as we can round up, yes," she replied. "The more helpers we have, the more specimens we can catalog. What do you say?"
She gave Nathan that look, the one he just couldn't refuse. He knew Bill was going to have him working as much as possible, but he couldn't say no to Kristin either. "Fine, I'll do what I can."
She let out a little whoop of joy and gave him a tight hug. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. I promise, you won't be disappointed." She started running out of the room, now ecstatic that she had something more exciting to look forward to. "And don't forget to talk to Lucas," she added.
"I won't," Nathan promised, a smile coming to his face over how excited Kristin was now. He only hoped he could convince the crew to show as much enthusiasm. He quickly headed to the bridge.
Once he was off-duty, Nathan walked into the mess hall for dinner. He was rather pleased to see the senior staff sitting together, so he took a seat at the table as well, sitting between Kristin and Lucas.
"So, are you excited about our trip?" Nathan asked Lucas, taking a bite out of his veggie burger.
"I guess," Lucas answered, "except the doc has tried to convince me that going diving will be more fun than cruising the beaches."
Nathan raised an eyebrow and looked at Kristin.
"I told you so," Kristin muttered under her breath. "Hormone-crazed."
Nathan sighed. "I did say this wasn't a vacation."
"Yeah, for all of them," Lucas said, motioning to the rest of the senior staff. "But technically, I'm a civilian."
"On a military vessel," Nathan reminded him. "And you're also a member of the science staff, which means you are to follow the doctor's orders."
Lucas frowned. "So, that means I don't get any beach time?"
Kristin took one look at the young man and noticed a slight pout on his face. She reached her hand out and rested it on top of his. "Look, I'm not trying to torture you, really. I just want to show you how wonderful the exploration of the reefs can be. I'll tell you what; you promise to help me, and I'll make sure you get some beach time where I won't be hovering over you, deal?"
Lucas smiled. That was a good compromise. "Okay, deal."
She patted his hand, feeling satisfied before pulling away. "Oh, good," she replied with a sigh of relief. Then she added, "Besides, you may never know what we might find. Perhaps even buried treasure."
The others chuckled softly to which Kristin saw as her golden opportunity. Maybe she wouldn't need Nathan's help after all.
"And, if we did find anything, I'm sure we could split the profits."
A hush fell over the group as they pondered on this.
Finally, Ben spoke up, "Did…did you say profits?" That word was like music to his ears. Any way he could make a quick buck without actually having to do much work was right up his alley.
Kristin smiled. This was definitely what she'd hoped. "Of course. You know, the oceans are full of gold and jewels. It's just the little matter of finding it that can be the hard part. But if you're willing to-"
"I'm there," Ben broke in without missing a beat. "As soon as I'm done with whatever the admiral has in store for us on the base, I'm all yours." He held out his hand to shake.
Kristin took his hand. "Well, thank you very much, Mr. Krieg. I never knew you were so dedicated to my quest in exploration."
Ben waved a hand. "Well, I'm always telling everyone how we need to support our science personnel more. I figure this is the best way, to lead by example."
"Yeah, right," Katie muttered, rolling her eyes.
Kristin merely smiled. "Well, we'll be in touch then." She turned to the rest of the group. "Anyone else interested?"
A few other hands rose in the air, much to Kristin's delight.
"Thank you for volunteering," she gushed. "We'll iron out all the details as soon as I speak with Admiral Noyce."
The others nodded, and the group concentrated on their meals. Soon, various members had finished and left the table so that Nathan and Kristin were the only ones left.
"You know, that was very devious what you did," Nathan finally told her.
Kristin batted her eyelashes. "I have no idea what you mean."
Nathan chuckled softly. "I think you've been spending way too much time around Mr. Krieg."
She smiled. "Well, maybe I have learned a trick or two from him, but at least I'm not attempting to sell bioluminescent fecal matter. And I didn't lie exactly. I simply said 'if'. If means there's a possibility."
"Yes," Nathan agreed, "but you failed to mention the odds of actually finding any of that treasure are slim to none."
"It's just like the lottery or betting on a horse race, and we both know the others would do those things in a heartbeat."
"I suppose you're right. Your secret is safe with me."
"I had no doubt it wouldn't be," Kristin answered. "You're still planning on being there too, aren't you?"
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he promised.
She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Good…because if you weren't, I was going to drag you there myself."
The next day, seaQuest pulled into port right as scheduled. Admiral Noyce was there to greet them.
Kristin made a bee-line for him. She wanted to be sure to speak to him about her plans so that he wouldn't have her volunteers doing some sort of military exercise at the last minute.
"Good morning, Admiral; might I speak with you privately?"
Admiral Noyce was slightly taken aback. The doctor had little or no interest in any of the military; he was surprised she wasn't leaving the base right away. "Uh, of course, Doctor. Just give me a moment, please." He shook Nathan's hand in greeting and spoke with him a few moments before seeing Kristin.
"And, what can I do for you, Doctor?"
"Well, I apologize for my rude greeting, Admiral, but I wanted to catch you before you had a chance to corrupt my plans."
Bill sighed. Now that sounded more like the doctor he knew. "Corrupt your plans?" he repeated.
Nathan, who had been standing nearby, overheard the conversation. He decided to go help Kristin, just in case her intentions became misconstrued and the admiral got angry. "Uh, well, since we're still going to be working, the doctor wanted to do so as well."
"Oh," the admiral answered, his tone indicating a bit of curiosity. "And what did you have planned?"
"Well, I wanted to collect some specimens from the coral reefs."
"That sounds like a fine idea; I wish you luck on the matter." He turned back to Nathan. "Now, I'd like to discuss-"
"Wait," Kristin interrupted, placing a hand on Bill's shoulder. "I'm sorry, but I wasn't quite finished yet."
Bill turned back to her. "You certainly don't need my approval."
"What Kristin is trying to tell you is that she'd enlisted some of the crew to help, including myself."
"When they're finished with you for the day, of course," Kristin added. "I certainly don't want to step on your toes. I just wanted to inform you so you didn't decide on a last-minute military drill of some sort," she explained.
Bill nodded in understanding. "Now I understand, Doctor, and I assure you, I don't have a lot planned. We're just making some general repairs and adding some new security equipment. My only involvement will be seeing to it that every military crew member is properly versed in the ins and outs of the new system. That won't take long at all. So, you needn't worry."
"Oh, thank you so much, Admiral," Kristin gushed. "Well, then, I should be going. I have work to do." She turned to Nathan. "See you at the hotel, Captain."
Bill and Nathan both watched her go.
"She's like a kid in a candy store," Admiral Noyce observed. "I'm not sure I've ever seen her so excited."
Nathan shrugged. "Well, when you consider our last few missions, they haven't exactly been a walk in the park."
"I know; that's why I wasn't intending to work anyone too much during your time here in port. I thought she would appreciate a bit of fun," Bill countered.
"To her, this is fun," Nathan answered. "And you'll never guess who's agreed to help her."
"Not Commander Ford."
"No, but I wouldn't be surprised if she has him convinced by the end of the day," Nathan replied. Then, he paused and waited for another guess. When one didn't come, he added, "Ben Krieg."
"No," Bill replied in a shocked tone.
"Yes," Nathan confirmed. "You really should have been there. You'd have been impressed."
"I think I'm going to have to speak with her about that before you leave. I think she can give me some tips."
Nathan chuckled. "Indeed."
The rest of the day was uneventful. Kristin let the others have their fun, deciding that tomorrow, the real work would begin. Besides, she promised Lucas some time on the beach, and he would have it.
When Nathan returned from the base, he knocked on her door.
When she answered, he gushed, "I'm all yours, like I promised."
She smiled. "I think that could be taken two ways, Captain."
Nathan blushed. "You knew what I meant. Are the others ready?"
She shook her head. "No, I wasn't going to make everyone work tonight. Besides, I promised a bit of free time. I thought that I'd wait until tomorrow."
"Really? But you seemed so excited…"
"Yes, but the others don't seem to share my enthusiasm; not even you," she noted.
"Didn't I say I was excited for you?"
"Actually, no," she replied.
"Well, I am."
"Yes, but you're not exactly jumping for joy."
Nathan placed his hands on her shoulders. "I assure you, I find it fascinating."
"Well, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, even though I'm not sure if I believe you. You're just trying to be sweet to me."
"Is it working?" Nathan inquired.
"Maybe," she replied, her eyes smiling.
"So, what are your plans instead?"
"Well, the others went down to the beach. I thought I'd do the same."
"Have you eaten dinner yet?"
She shook her head.
"How about we go find somewhere to eat…just the two of us? We can discuss our plans for tomorrow's dive, and I'll listen with an attentive ear," Nathan promised.
"You certainly know the right thing to say to charm a lady," she quipped.
"Well, I know the right thing to say to charm you. Is it working?"
"You're getting warmer," she said with a smile.
The next day, Kristin swung into action, expertly leading the dive. It was early afternoon, and the team consisted of Dr. Levin, Nathan, Lucas, Ben, Tim, Katie, and a few members from Kristin's science staff.
Kristin handed out equipment to her science staff.
"What about us?" Ben inquired.
Kristin smiled. "You will be our eyes. If you think you've found something, don't touch it. Simply call one of us over, and we'll decide if we're allowed to collect samples or not. Some things are protected."
Ben sighed. "Even if we find gold."
"You do know the chances of that," Lucas said, "are-"
Kristin handed Lucas his rebreather. "I think you ought to test this, Mr. Wolenczak." She then turned to Ben. "Even if you find gold," she confirmed. She then gave Lucas a look, and he simply nodded, knowing when to keep his mouth shut.
So, a short time later, the group was beneath the water, collecting samples of various organisms and taking photographs with an underwater camera. Kristin was surprised at how well things were going. And, after four hours, they'd collected enough research to keep them busy for months on seaQuest. Mostly everyone was on the boat, so she was about to call the others out of the water and pack up for the day when Ben, who was still in the water, spoke into his microphone. "Uh, Doc?"
"Yes, Mr. Krieg?"
"I think I found something."
"We have enough samples to fuel our research for quite a while. Thank you, but I think we're finished here."
"It's not a sample," Ben replied.
"Exactly what is it then?" Kristin pressed.
"It's buried in the sand, but from what I can see of it…it looks like a chest."
Kristin hesitated for a moment. She'd already taken her wetsuit off, but the idea of a chest was intriguing. She doubted it contained any sort of treasure, but it could contain ancient artifacts. She turned to Nathan. "Care to go back down?"
Nathan had overheard the conversation. "I'm getting my wetsuit back on."
With the group working together, they were able to get the chest out of the water before it got dark. It was an old wooden trunk with rusted, metal hinges and a keyhole on the front with a large, rounded lid. It looked like it could have been used for travel or storage in years past, but it was large enough to have anything inside, really. Surprisingly, though, the wood looked in fairly pristine condition, which was contradictory to the condition of the metal and brass. Save for a bit of algae growth, it looked flawless.
Once they were out of the water, Ben looked at it carefully. He tugged on the lid. "It's locked."
"What do you think's in it?" Lucas asked.
Kristin shrugged. "We'll have to get it back to seaQuest to find out first."
"After we check to make sure it's safe," Nathan reminded. "It could be something war-related."
Hours later, they were in the seaQuest labs, cataloging the samples they'd taken. But Ben was getting impatient.
"When are we going to open this?" he said, motioning towards the chest.
"All in due time, Mr. Krieg. Sorry, but I thought our living samples required more attention," Kristin said dryly. "Patience."
A short time later, all the cataloging and classifying had been finished. Nathan had been satisfied when x-rays of the chest showed no grenades or mines. However, what the x-ray did reveal was...disturbing.
"Doctor, are you seeing what I'm seeing?" one of Kristin's assistants asked.
"I certainly hope not." She moved closer to the x-ray image, but no matter how she looked at it, it looked like...bones. She shook her head. Surely, it had to be something else.
"Those look like-"
"Yes, I know what they look like, but..." She turned to the younger woman. "...we must be mistaken."
"I think it's about time we just find out, hm?" She nodded her head towards the door, and the two of them walked into the other room.
Kristin called the others to gather around the chest and handed Ben a crowbar. "I thought since you'd found it, you should have the honor."
"Wait," Nathan protested. "You're just going to let him open it like that?"
Kristin shrugged. "You have a better suggestion? How else are we going to get inside of it? There's no key, and I don't think any of us cares to wait for a locksmith."
"Yes, but what if there's something dangerous inside?"
Kristin chuckled. "Dangerous? We've already confirmed that's not the case. Besides, it's just a chest; no harm ever came from opening a chest."
"I think they said that in that movie," Lucas said. "And then, the mummy chased them all over Egypt."
"Yes, well, that chest was cursed. I doubt this one is. It looks rather ordinary to me," Kristin replied. "Probably just some old vases."
Nathan sighed. He couldn't argue with the doctor's logic. "Fine; proceed, Mr. Krieg."
Ben carefully pried the chest open so as not to damage the trunk in any way. But, as he broke the seal and opened the lid, there was an audible, collective gasp shared amongst the group.
"It's…it's a body," Kristin stammered, unsure what to make of it.