A/N: I hope you guys are enjoying the story so far. While it seems slow to start, I promise it will start picking up soon. I am trying to get out at least one chapter a day as life allows. As this is my first story to be published on here, I welcome all reviews, whether it be to ask questions about the story lines, to help improve my writing, or to just give me your opinion on the story concept so far. I do respond to all reviews privately.
Yucatan Peninsula - Bridger's Island
Lieutenant Commander Bridger emerged from the launch shuttle following the vid-link conference with Jackson and McGath. He had his orders - prep the SeaQuest crew for transport to the UEO base in Pearl Harbor. He had a feeling it wasn't going to be an easy task. His father wouldn't take orders from anyone, least of all him. While he hasn't spoken to his father in over 20 years, he highly doubted his father had changed at all.
He walked up to his father and looked at him. "Captain Bridger, I have spoken with Lieutenant Jackson and Secretary General McGath. Additional launch shuttles are being sent from the mainland. We are to escort you and the entire crew to the UEO base in Pearl Harbor for debriefing," he informed his father. He figured the best way to deal with the situation was remain completely professional and keep his emotions and the fact the man standing in front of him was his father out of it. He saw the questioning look in his father's eyes, knowing his father was most likely wondering why his own son led him to believe he was dead all this time, but right now was not the time to deal with it.
"Very well, Lieutenant Commander," Nathan said. While he was conflicted with emotions of finding out his son was alive after all and wondering why his son allowed him to be led to believe he was dead all these years, there was more important matters to deal with at hand. "I do have to speak to my crew. I apologize but it is SeaQuest business, of which you do not have the clearance so I'd appreciate a moment with my crew before the shuttles arrive." Nathan spoke coldly and professionally. While a part of him was relieved to know his son was alive after all, he was extremely angry that his son couldn't even let him know he was alive. The Lieutenant Commander nodded and motioned for his team to leave the crew to their business.
After his son and his reconnaisance team walked back towards the shuttles, he gathered his SeaQuest crew. He turned his back to the shuttles and spoke in a lower tone than he normally did. "The UEO is sending additional launch shuttles to escort us to the UEO base in Pearl Harbor for debriefing. We have a problem to face. The freedom movement on Hyperion depends on us keeping their secret. Does anyone have a problem with this?" he asked his crew. He scanned the faces of his crew. No one spoke up to dissent his assessment at all.
Lucas made a move to speak. "Captain, if the UEO plans on debriefing us on where we've been for the last ten years, what are we even supposed to say? It's just a shock to most of us that we've been gone for ten years! How do we explain disappearing?" Ford looked at Lucas and knew he was onto something. What exactly were they supposed to say?
Captain Bridger looked at Lucas and the others. "I really don't know, Lucas. To us, it hasn't been ten years. All I know is we have to protect Tobias and his friends on Hyperion." The entire crew nodded in agreement. Somehow, someway, they would find a way out of this without devulging all of the secrets from Hyperion. Ford, Henderson, Lucas, Bridger, O'Neill, and some of the others that knew the whole story knew they would be the biggest targets for interrogation by UEO brass as they made up the main inner circle upon SeaQuest.
Lieutenant Commander Bridger stood by the shuttles. He turned to his ensign. Luckily, his ensign had learned how to read lips to a point, not to mention he did have some psychic powers. Granted, he was nowhere near the parapsychologist that the late Dr. Smith was, but he was working hard to develop his abilities. "What are you picking up, Ensign?" He couldn't overhear his father and the SeaQuest crew talking, but hopefully the ensign could sign some light on what was going on with the secrecy.
The ensign watched the SeaQuest crew for a few more seconds and then turned to his commanding officer. "Lieutenant Commander, I'm not picking up much. They are being careful how they position themselves so it's harder to read them. Also, I assume because of having Dr. Smith on-board, they learned how to shield themselves from psychics because I'm picking up more feeling of blocking than anything to be read. However, what I have caught onto is the fact they are shocked at the fact they've been missing for ten years. Sir, I think they believed it has only been a few weeks, not ten years, that they've been gone." The Lieutenant Commander nodded and thanked the ensign for the report. He knew his father was skeptic of people with ESP. He had heard from one woman that his father had some himself, which is probably what makes him such a good captain. He needed to figure out a way to break through all that.
While Captain Bridger was speaking with his crew and Lieutenant Commander Bridger awaited with his team for the launch shuttles, a thought came to mind of someone that might be able to get through to the SeaQuest team and maybe get to the bottom of what happened ten years ago, and maybe they could also find out where SeaQuest might be. Someone who knew the SeaQuest team well and might know of a way to get the Captain to talk.
Just as he turned to head to his shuttle to make a vid-link call, his PAL came alive and was informed the shuttles were five minutes out. Looking to see how the SeaQuest team was doing and seeing they were all quiet, he approached his father. "Captain Bridger, if you'd gather your crew, the shuttles will be arriving in less than five minutes." The captain acknowledged the information and informed his crew to be ready to board the shuttles. They all nodded and lined up on the beach, waiting for the launches. "I will be back in a few minutes, Captain. I must make a report before we head off to UEO Pearl Harbor." With that, he saluted his father and walked back to the shuttle. He informed his team to monitor the SeaQuest crew and help with getting them onto the launch shuttles. They all acknowledged the order and begun to organize the SeaQuest team into sections so they could get the shuttles loaded as fast as possible.
Bridger quickly radioed ahead to the ensign who remained onboard to prep for two vid-link calls before they were to depart from Pearl Harbor. First one was to Lieutenant Jackson to inform her they'd be heading for UEO Pearl Harbor shortly and that he needed McGath to issue an order for a personnel transfer. The other was to an undersea scientific colony off the coast of Hawaii. There was someone there they needed in Pearl Harbor. He knew it just might be the key to unlocking the ten year disappearance of the SeaQuest team.
"Jackson," Lieutenant Jackson answered her vid-link on the first ring. "Hey, Bridger, how's it going over there?" she asked.
"Doing ok, Jackson. The crew seems to be confused. Ensign Johnson senses they are surprised they have been missing for ten years," he informed her. He explained everything going on. Jackson chastised him for allowing Johnson to use his ESP abilities to gain information. Her main argument was about the ethnics of using such skills without permission. "Jackson, we don't have time to debate ethics of ESP and mind reading. I need you to do me a favor."
"Now what is that, Bridger? Have a better psychic on hand in Pearl Harbor to spy into these people's minds?" she snorted back. While not afraid of people with ESP abilities, she hated the types that think there's no problem with entering someone's mind without permission or those that give such orders.
"Lieutenant," Bridger stated, obviously impatient with Jackson and her snotty attitude. He didn't like what Johnson did any more than Jackson probably did, but they needed some kind of information. "I need you to make a call to McGath and get a transfer order issued. There is someone we need in Pearl Harbor that could help unlock the mystery of SeaQuest disappearing. I have a feeling it's going to take someone they trust to get them to open up."
Jackson listened to what Bridger had to say. "That is probably a great idea, Bridger," she told him, pleasantly surprised at his idea. She told herself it just might actually work. She agreed to contact McGath to get the order issued and finished up the vid-link call. As she hung up, she hoped this path did reveal some information as to what happened to the SeaQuest crew. She also hoped they'd find out where SeaQuest was. Despite liking her job currently, she really wanted to be away from all the politics and go back to her first love - science. She put in the call to McGath and hoped he was receptive to the idea.