Dreaming can be Deadly

Title: Dreaming can be Deadly

Author: Me, Yessie

Rating: PG?

Disclaimer: I don't own Sea Patrol or any of the characters.

Warning: Contains character death.

Author's comment: Thanks to Wiggle34 for the Beta and for help with the title.

Comments and criticisms are welcome

He was being chased by Madeline Cruise's hit-men. She had been in prison for 3 months now, but had somehow managed to hire some hit-men. They had tracked him down and tied him up, but he had managed to escape. He had managed to get his hands out of the ties that bound him. He had managed to outsmart and escape from his captors. Or so he thought.

It was now an hour later and he was running for his life; his pursuers were hot on his heels. All were carrying semi-automatic AK-47 assault rifle. The looks on their faces were full of hatred. The shear looks on their faces were those that you wished only to see in nightmares. They were trained to kill and kill they would, given the opportunity.

To the sides of him were majestic Morton Bay figs, their dark green glossy leave rising towards the sky. The sun was shining, causing the leaves to shine in the light. They were in fruit at this time of year with the little yellow fruit both on the trees and scattered on the ground. Several were crushed as he ran past on the grass below the trees. Though these trees were large, their girths are three to four metres, it was no use hiding behind them. The men would know he was there. His pursuers were merely meters away, but strangely they had not yet tried to shoot him. He was unable to escape, so his best option was to keep running. So that is what he did. .

He didn't stop to examine the scenery around him; he just kept on running. Onward he ran; onward hoping those chasing him would tire abandon their chase or that they would just shoot him so he did not need to run any more. He was getting tired, but he would not give up. Giving up would be fatal.

The air felt strangely cool as he ran. The only heat was caused by his running. It was summer in Cairns, there was no way he should have been feeling cool.

The air was dry; the only humility came from the sweat on his brow. None of the humidity that characterised the tropical summer was present. He did not have time to ponder this though as he was running for his life. Nothing else mattered,

Suddenly he started running up a steep hill. It was weird; the hill had not even been in his vision a second ago. A minute ago the terrain had been mostly flat with minimal unevenness, but now the terrain he was running on was rising sharply. It felt like loose gravel under his feet, none of the firmness he had been feeling was now present.

The ground he was running on began to go steeply downhill as quickly as it had gone uphill. He was suddenly skidding uncontrollably down a slope of loose rock that felt similar to a scree slope. Nothing could halt his fall. Nothing could stop him sliding, the rocks causing grazes on his bear forearms and side.

When he reached the bottom of the hill that was made of a large pile of red dust and white rocks, he felt a falling sensation, like that of falling off a cliff.

He woke with a start. There had been nothing in his dream that had indicated a cliff was nearby. He awoke and realised that he had been dreaming, but it was too late. He had been sprinting in his sleep and had slipped too far down the slippery pile of rock and had now fallen into the mine shaft. By time he realised where he was nothing could help him. This was where he would die after falling into a mine in Coober Pedy, while running from mercenaries in his nightmare.

These nightmares had plagued him since Swain's death, since he had been shot by Ms Cruise. He thought he could deal with it, that the nightmares would go away, but they had not. His pride had stopped him from getting help; that pride ultimately would lead to his death.

Down, down he fell until he reached the bottom of the mine shaft 90ft below. He landed with a thud. His legs were crushed with the force at which he landed on the hard sandstone at the bottom of the mine shaft. Both legs were broken with the force; crushed beyond recognition. His head jerked violently and smashed on the solid rock wall. His nose was now flat against his face; his skull was cracked. His blood could be seen splattered on the sides of his earthy grave.

He died at impact. Death was instant; nothing could be done to help him. No one was around at 0300hours anyway.

If anyone had been around, they would have heard a muffled scream quickly followed by a sickening thud as the strong navy man landed at the bottom of the mine never to return to the surface alive.

No-one would find his body for hours as the whole town was sleeping in the comfortable surrounds of their dug out, where the temperature outside reached sub zero.

It was now 0800hours and the crew were starting to rise from their sleep. They had been sleeping at an underground hotel…well it was actually just cut into the side of a hill, but they were completely underground. The walls were made completely of sandstone, so the air felt dusty, but they were warm and that is what mattered.

The crew were in Coober Pedy because they were required to go to a defence meeting that was being held in Adelaide while Hammersley was in dry dock in Darwin. The conference went for 3 days and the dry dock took 2 weeks so the brass had decided to send them on a team building exercise.

This team building exercise required them to travel in a bus up the centre of Australia to Darwin.

The first stop had been Port Augusta, where they had stayed one night. Early the next morning, they had left Port Augusta and travelled to Woomera, the place where those preforming the nuclear tasting after the 2nd world war were based. The actual tests were completed miles away in Maralinga, but the museum is at Woomera. It was there, by the side of the museum, where the crew had been served breakfast.

That afternoon they arrived in Coober Pedy, where they would stay the night before travelling on to Alice Springs, Uluru, Daily Waters, Mataranka (where there are hot springs), Katherine, and then to Darwin. They were required to complete some team building exercises along the way at each destination.

Soon after they got out of bed, Kate realised something was wrong: something was very wrong; she could sense it in her gut.

Kate looked around the crew and suddenly noticed that Dutchy was not there. Where was he? He was not normally late out of bed, in fact during this trip he had always been the first.

Kate decided to go and check his bunk to make sure that he was still in bed, but as she opened the curtain that separated the sleeping compartments one thing was very apparent; Dutchy was not there. Dutchy had left the hotel at some time during the night.

Walking outside to the breakfast area Kate quickly silenced the noisy crew. She then asked if anyone knew where Dutchy had gone or if any had seen him that morning.

The answer was a resounding "No."

Kate organised search parties and gave them all strict instructions to look where they were going at ALL times and to look for any signs of Dutchy. They were not to run or walk backwards at ANY stage. Both of these actions could prove fatal, especially with the shear amount of mine shafts, all 1 million of which were at least 90 foot (roughly 25 metres) deep. A fall from that height would prove fatal, especially as they would be falling on to very hard sandstone that can only be moved by dynamite, a mining pick, or drilling machines. If they needed anything they were to radio Kate as she would have a satellite mobile phone with her.

When they reached the bottom of the hill, they were just about to split up when Kate saw some unusual foot prints. Judging by their size, shape and the amount they dug into the red dust, this person was well built, bare foot and had just started sprinting. These foot prints were only a few hours old so they decided to follow them, figuring that they could lead them to finding Dutchy.

They followed the foot prints as they meandered along the few streets towards the outskirts of the town. They knew instinctively that if this person didn't stop running they were in danger of running into a mine shaft, even though they were now fenced off. If this person was running so fast to get away from something, they would most likely jump over the fence. Finally the crew reached a pike of rock that had been extracted from one of the mines recently. The pile had skid marks going down towards the mine shaft at the bottom and no more foot prints around.

Carefully they made their way to the edge of the mine shaft and used their torches to see down to the bottom. While they couldn't see who it was at the bottom, it appeared that the person had blonde hair and was quite obviously dead. There was no way that anyone could survive that fall, especially with the amount of blood that was scattered on the sandstone walls. They suspected the identity of the person, but that could not be confirmed until the body was retrieved. This scene was now a crime scene so they could not extricate the body.

The local police were called immediately and with the help of the new coxswain, the body was retrieved from the bottom of the mine.

When the crew saw the body, no doubt remained about whom the body belonged to.

They didn't know why he had been running. They did not know why he was so fearful. They didn't know about the nightmares, but they did know one thing.

The Body at the bottom of the mine belonged to Dylan "Dutchy" Mullholland.