seaQuest: Dodging Bullets

Chapter 1

Dr. Kristin Wesphalen was exhausted, not just physically but emotionally. Not for the first time she wondered if she was just getting to the point in her life, both as a human being and a doctor, where some nice quiet research facility or small hospital community would be best suited for her.

After seeing her daughter, Cynthia, her friend, Malique, and the refugee children off, she was lying in her quarters with a cool clothe over her eyes, trying to desperately rid herself of the headache pounding between her eyes. The shot of tequila that she had earlier to relax had helped a little, so she had another and then another.

The ugliness of humanity in the world, and, by extension, the sea, was beyond comprehension at times. The murder of children, accepted as the norm in too many violent cultures, was too much to stomach. Having her own daughter, whom she loved more than her own life, in the middle of it such terror and danger was almost more than any mother could bear.

To a parent there was no greater loss than the death of a child and the life Cynthia had chosen put her at extreme risk, but how could not a mother be proud of such a daughter: a woman who strove to put her own life above those of others and try to make the world a safer place for children. Of course, Kristin was in no mind to recognize the irony of her situation. Her daughter had tried to measure up to her mother.

A mother that was too much woman for her father to handle-a hero, noted scientist and doctor whose accomplishments eclipsed his own. Another great irony was that Cynthia was so much like her mother but unlike Kristin, he could deny his daughter nothing thereby by proxy doing for his daughter what his ex-wife was doing out in the world as well.

A light knock on her door went unnoticed. The tequila may not have stopped her worry but the third shot had made her a bit more forgetful.

The second time her visitor knocked, Kristin called out, "I am coming; hold your proverbial horses, please."

The seaQuest doctor opened the hatch to find Captain Nathan Bridger standing outside with a shy, hesitant smile on his handsome face.

"Nathan! How lovely! Please come in."

"I thought you might be feeling a little down after Cynthia left."

He noticed the low lighting. Kristin's lovely red hair had come undone from its usual loose bun and was curled around her face. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and eyes bright.

"Please, have a seat," she said gesturing to her small sofa. "Would you like something to drink?"

He smiled, eyes dark in the dimmed light. "I'll have what you're having."

"Okay," the doctor gave him a flirty smile and poured him a shot of tequila.

He took it from her hand, somewhat surprised, as she sat down on the opposite end of the sofa, tucking her feet under her.

Holding out the glass as a toast to her, Nathan threw back the drink and placed the small glass on the table beside him.

"That bad, huh?"

"No. What mother wouldn't want a daughter who was as wonderful as Cynthia? I am glad she's found her calling and I am very proud of her." Her words didn't match her glistening eyes and her mouth which gently trembled.

"Hey," Nathan reached for her, and before she knew it, Kristin was in his arms, head on his chest, crying softly.

Through her tears, he heard her say, "I know I am being a worry wart and silly mum, but she is still my baby."

Rubbing her soft hair, Nathan said "She is a tough woman, just like her mother, who is anything but silly. Beautiful, strong, loving, all that, but not silly."

Kristin leaned back enough to see his face, his arm still around her.

"Thank you, Nathan. You're quite the charmer, you know?"

"Well, if there is someone worth charming…." He stopped.

"How many of these," the captain picked up the glass, "Have you had since you got off duty?"

"A couple. Is that a problem, captain?" Her eyes were burning into his with an intensity that was causing a stir that in areas that only Kristin could stir lately.

"Noooo, but perhaps you should take a rest."

Instead, Kristin gently pressed her full soft lips against his.

Nathan gently tried to pull back, unwilling to take advantage of her slight inebriation.

The doctor took hold of his chin and pulled him back to her. Finally, breaking off the long sensuous kiss, she whispered, "My dear Captain Bridger, I was sneaking off to drink with my mates while you were still drinking mother's milk, so if you are suggesting that I am too influenced by alcohol to know exactly I am doing," she kissed him again lightly, "then you are very mistaken."

Nathan smiled, "Well, in that case, I will admit, I've wanted to kiss you since I first laid eyes on you in the passageway berating Commander Ford. Those flashing eyes, that beautiful face, and that fiery spirit…." He stopped and placing his hand on the back of her head, softly pulled her back to him, gently opening his lips to meet hers. The latent, controlled fire that both of them had denied for so long took finally took control.