Chapter Three-

Nikki boarded Victory just before Jono did, and shot him a dirty look before disappearing below decks to her cabin. Kate sought her out soon after.

"Nik? What's going on?" Asked Kate, stepping inside Nikki's cabin.

"Are you asking as a friend, or my superior officer," said Nikki.

"Friend Nik, you know that. I'll put my superior officer face on later. What's going on? You're rarely late to duty, and you're usually sick as a dog for that to happen," replied Kate. Nikki sat on her rack and pulled her knees to her chest.

"Did I ever tell you I slept with Jono?" Asked Nikki softly. Kate shook her head.

"No. I thought there wasn't anything going on with you two," said Kate.

"There wasn't. I had a few too many drinks, and he ended up back at my place with me, and I don't know… things got out of hand," said Nikki, wringing her hands nervously.

"And now things are awkward between you and Jono," supplied Kate.

"Yes, but not just because of that. Kate, I'm pregnant," said Nikki, tearing up.

"He doesn't want the baby?" Asked Kate softly. Nikki shook her head.

"We were fighting about it this morning before we left. He wants me to have an abortion Kate, an abortion! I can't do that to an unborn child. He's so angry about it Kate, and I get it, I really do, but he's being so unreasonable. I want him to stop and think for a moment. He doesn't have to contribute; I'm okay with that. I just want him to talk to me." Nikki stopped talking as her stomach rolled, and she pushed past Kate to the bathroom. Kate followed her into the tiny room and held back Nikki's dark hair as she threw up.

"Take the morning off, get yourself under control. Dutchy can take an extra watch. I'll grab you a bottle of water from the mess; make sure you drink it, and get some rest. I'll come back to check on you before lunch, okay?" Nikki sat back and nodded.

"Thanks Kate," replied Nikki.

"Just… look after yourself, okay?" Nikki nodded and crawled back to her rack. She was asleep in moments, and Kate wondered how much sleep she had gotten in the past few weeks with all of this on her mind. She slipped out of Nikki's room and headed towards the kitchen. She bumped into Dutchy along the way.

"Dylan! I'm sorry, I didn't see you there," apologised Kate.

"You okay?" He asked.

"I am. Listen, are you okay to take an extra watch? Nikki is feeling off colour, and I've told her to rest for a little," said Kate. He nodded.

"I'll just grab a brew first, and then I'll be up on the bridge with you in five," replied Dutchy. Kate followed him to the kitchen first, grabbed a water for Nikki, and then headed back towards the bridge. Stopping off at Nikki's room, she left the bottle of water next to her rack, and then closed the door, leaving Nikki to sleep peacefully. Kate sighed as she trekked her way back to the bridge.

"NAVCOM given us our orders?" Kate asked Jono.

"Patrol out near the border; there have been reported sightings of FFV's out there," replied Jono stiffly. Kate nodded and glanced at Ryan.

"Very good. White, get us on our way."

"Chief Engineer Andy Thorpe. Most people call me Charge," said Charge as he introduced himself to Alex. He shook Alex's hand vigorously.

"You must be Pete's replacement. Looking forward to working with you." Alex nodded.

"I've heard a lot about you from Kate. Still miss your monkey?" Asked Alex, smiling.

"Wha…?! How…?! Never mind. We'll get along well. Look out for 2Dads though; he'll be looking to play a practical joke on you. Sure, people will tell you he has mellowed since finding out he's going to be a dad, but he hasn't really," said Charge.

"I'll keep my eyes peeled," said Alex.

"Spider's your second; he's a good kid. Does some stupid things, but he's a good kid. Listen's to orders, acts in the best interest for others. Nearly got himself blown up once trying to save a kid. Definitely Bosun material," said Charge. He stopped at the kitchen and grabbed a brew from Chefo.

"What happened with you guys and IA? Kate hasn't told me what happened, and I know Kingston and Lawson are due for their turn this month, which means I get interviewed later. What happened?" Asked Alex, grabbing a bottle of water from the kitchen.

"Oh, that was a debacle in itself. We were at the Samaruan Islands, doing a drop, when they opened fire on us. Long story short, the number that was used to alert the Samaruans was traced back to Lexie Hunt's phone. They took us all off duty for a month to work out that she didn't do it and that she was set up. To be honest, it was a bit of a farce," replied Charge, heading for the outer deck. Alex followed him; this was the best way to learn about the crew. To hear it from other crew members, and Alex knew Charge had been around longer than most of them.

"So what's Lexie like as a sailor?" Asked Alex, leaning against the railing.

"She's quiet. I've not really heard a peep from her, and she seems to complete her work. She's our navigational officer, and she's not really steered us wrong yet," replied Charge.

"I've heard a lot about your radio officer, Robert. Is he really that neurotic?" Asked Alex.

"Good old RO. Yeah, he is. Don't touch his bonsai, don't ask him to do anything illegal, and don't ever mention plagues or disease; he's a bit of a neat freak," supplied Charge. Alex took another sip of his water, and felt his stomach roll. Charge clapped him on the back.

"Well, I've got to get back inside, look after those engines. Don't stay out here too long," suggested Charge. Alex nodded, and waited for Charge to leave. As soon as he was certain he was alone, he emptied the contents of his stomach into the ocean below. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, and it only took moments for Alex to realise how unwell he felt.

He never got seasick…

So what was going on?