Year One: Duquesa Bay
Chapter Six

"Human Behavior"

    On the 57th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper, KCON reporter Kylee Shepperton is representing the station at a meeting with network executives. On top of a polished, cheery wood table, she is naked and on all fours as three middle-aged men in various stages of undress from their tailored suits take turns performing sexual acts on her. The persistent, musical ringing of her cell phone interrupts them.

Kylee: (Wiping her face) Excuse me for a moment, gentlemen

    She crawls over the end of the table where her purse is and takes out the bright pink phone.

Kylee: Yes? - Dammit, Turner, now is NOT a good time - look, I'm right in the middle of something... literally - no, I do not know what's happening in Duquesa Bay, I'm on the other side of the fucking country, and unless it's a 7.0 with the epicenter in downtown Santa Conchita, I could care less... wait a minute, wait a minute, calm down - what is going on? - HOLD ON

    The woman glares up at the man directly in front of her.

Kylee: Mr. Anderson, I can't really do that and talk on the phone at the same time, you're going to have to entertain yourself for a moment... so, Turner, you're telling me we have bodies washing up on shore, a train wreck, and oil seeping into the river in one day? - when did Satan let all Hell break loose? - what about that new reporter, I thought you were getting her to cover for me - SHE WHAT? - OH MY GOD - well, isn't that just PERFECT... give me a little longer to come to terms with the network boys, once we close the deal, I'll be on the next flight... OK, bye!

    Kylee sighs, puts the phone away and crawls back to her original position.

Kylee: Now, where were we?

    Back in Santa Conchita, the blast from the exploding train and oil nearly knocks the USCG helicopter out of the sky.

Anita: (Fighting for control) SON OF A...

Craig: YOU GOT IT, ANITA, HOLD ON, KEEP IT STEADY

Anita: (Leveling off) WHERE IN THE HELL THAT COME FROM?

Craig: (Into his radio) WHO GAVE THE ORDER TO LIGHT IT?

Anita: DEAR GOD, MCBRIDE WAS HEADING BACK FOR THE TRAIN WHEN IT WENT UP

The River of Fire!Craig: FORGET HER, SHE'S NOTHING MORE THAN A CINDER, WE'VE GOT TO CONCENTRATE ON GETTING THIS THING UNDER CONTROL - NOW, WHO GAVE THE GOD DAMN ORDER TO LIGHT THIS?

    A voice squawks through the speakers.

Voice: No one gave any orders to begin the burn, Captain - it just kinda happened on its own

Craig: BULLSHIT, IT DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN ON ITS OWN, SOMEONE SPARKED IT

Anita: I have a bad feeling I know EXACTLY who did

Craig: So HELP me, if your nature-freak brother-in-law or any of his lab buddies are involved in this...

Anita: (Clenching her teeth in anger) ALETA OSCURA

Craig: I think the fumes have GONE TO YOUR HEAD, LIEUTENANT

Anita: At least I don't have my head up my ASS... sir

Craig: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Anita: I said it in plain English, not Español

Craig: We'll take this up again later, Fiore - right now, we need to track where the new smoke is headed, wind speed, AS WELL AS, come up with a way to protect our necks once the higher ups come looking for a scapegoat - and if you say LAYTO OSKERBA again, I will THROW you out of this chopper!

Anita: Craig, save yourself the embarrassment and just call her "Darkfin" from now on

    Amongst the confusion on the ground, Zach stands in bewilderment, looking at where part of the bridge once was as rescue workers try to suppress the fire and tend to the injured man from the train. Gracie rushes over to him.

Gracie: Where is she, Eyes, where's Morrigan?

    Zach does not respond.

Gracie: (Shaking him) I SAID, WHERE IS SHE? - ZACH, ANSWER ME, WHERE IS SHE?

Zach: (Voice wavering) I think she's dead, Gracie - I... I told her not to go back - some guy... she went... I don't... I told her...

Gracie: (Crying) SHIT, SHIT SHIT SHIT, I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING

    Dr. Javier "Sandy" Sanchez and Dr. Shelby Willis from Santa Conchita University's biology department arrive on the scene to help coordinate the cleanup efforts.

Shelby: (Checking her pager) Where in the world is Erika? - I thought for sure she'd be the first one here

Javier: She's probably stuck in traffic, the 101 is completely shut down and Riverbank is a total mess

Shelby: I heard from one of the firemen that some reporter got caught in the explosion

Javier: Yet another tragedy, I'll be glad when this day is finally finished

Shelby: (Looking out over the water) I hate to say it but this fire is a godsend

Javier: (Pulling a bag of cashews out of his pocket and snacking on them) Yep, this was shaping up to be one colossal nightmare

Shelby: Those government buffoons cannot be counted on to do anything right!

Javier: (Looking up at Anita's helicopter) You know as well as I do how protocol bound they are, gotta get a triplicate order to use the toilet

Shelby: Would you be defending them if your sister-in-law weren't one of them, Dr. Sanchez?

Javier: Excellent observation, Dr. Willis!

Shelby: Hmm

    Shelby takes some of Sandy's nuts, lays them reverently on the river's edge, chants and does a small but energetic dance.

Javier: (Looking embarrassed) Is now really the right time for you to be doing your Santeria?

Shelby: It's "Ocha" to me and it is indeed the right time, I am giving thanks to Olorun for preventing the death of this great river

Javier: (Rolling his eyes) Ah

Shelby: You have your beliefs, I have mine!

    Heather Raleigh, a cute, young woman with glasses and freckles bounces over to the two of them with some jars and plastic bags in her hands.

Heather: Hey Sandy, I'm done collecting my samples, the others should be done soon too

Javier: (Squeezing her shoulder) Thank you, Heather, you and the other students are an immense help!

Heather: (Giggling) Hi, Dr. Willis, I loved your lecture in class yesterday

Shelby: Really? - and what part in particular did you find most fascinating?

Heather: Um... all of it was very cool!

Shelby: (Sideways glance at Dr. Sanchez) Mm-hmm

Heather: (Smiling coyly at Dr. Sanchez) Well, I think I'll take these back to the lab and get started on them

Javier: I'll come by later to get your analysis

Heather: (Leaving) Great... bye, Dr. Willis!

Shelby: MM-HMM

Javier: What is that tone in your voice?

Shelby: I'll be glad to take a look at Ms. Raleigh's... DATA... for you - after we're through here... go home to Ona Rosa and the children!

Javier: Mm-Hmm

    Further up the river, away from the lights and commotion, Darkfin surfaces with Morrigan in her arms and heads for the shore with Pete the Border Collie dog paddling behind them. She gently settles the reporter on the sand and takes her pulse.

Darkfin: (To the dog) Look after her

    Darkfin holds out her left hand, crooks her index finger once and summons her trident. It flies out of a still burning patch of water and returns to her grasp. With that, she quickly dives into the murky depths and disappears as Pete begins licking Morrigan's face.

Morrigan: (Drifting in an out of consciousness) Quit it, Mike... I don't feel like it right now

    The dog starts to bark and jump around her.

Morrigan: (Fully opening her eyes) What... what happened?

    The big brown KCON newsvan is taking a beating as Gracie kicks the sides.

Gracie: THAT NO GOOD FOR NOTHING WHORE

Zach: That's not fair, Grace, we didn't have enough time to really know McBride

Gracie: I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT MORRI, I'M TALKING ABOUT THAT SLUT, SHEPPERTON - SHE SHOULD'VE BEEN HERE COVERING THE STORY, NOT BLOWING THE SUITS IN NEW YORK - KYLEE SHOULD BE THE DEAD ONE RIGHT NOW - DAMN THAT BITCH TO HELL

Zach: Call the station and send another team to cover for you, we both need to get out of here and clear our heads

    The two start to leave when Pete runs over to them.

Pete the DogZach: (Noticing the wet, oil-covered dog) Hey Boy, where did you come from? - come here, we'll get you some help... it's OK, c'mon

    The dog prances around, barking, and encourages the two to follow him.

Gracie: Zach, get one of your fireman buddies to take care of the dog, I want to go home!

Zach: (Chasing after Pete) I just want to see what has him all upset

Gracie: (Under her breath) Maybe Timmy fell down the well again...

    Gracie sighs and leans her head against the side of the van. Moments later, a stunned, silent Zach rushes up to her, grabs the camerawoman's arm and drags her with him down the slope to the river's edge, where Pete stands next to Morrigan.

Gracie: (Quickly covering her eyes) OH MY GOD, I DON'T WANT TO SEE HER BODY

Morrigan: (Turing her head slightly) Gracie, is that you?

Gracie: AAAAHHHH

    Takanachi goes over to McBride's side and holds her hand.

Gracie: HELP, GO GET HELP, ZACH - DON'T STAND THERE GAWKING, GO

    The still speechless Isaacson takes off with the dog running after him.

Gracie: Hey there, Morri, hold on... you're going to be just fine... Zach is going to get help, OK? - HOLD ON

Morrigan: (Coughing) I don't think I'm very telegenic right now...

Gracie: (Brushing some mud off of Morri's face) You look great, Sweetie, don't you worry!

Morrigan: Do I have to work tomorrow?

Gracie: (Laughing) I'll see what I can do

Morrigan: (Starting to lose consciousness again) Gracie

Gracie: Yeah?

Morrigan: I... I saw the hand - I saw the hand, Gracie

Gracie: What hand? - Morri... Morrigan - HURRY UP, ZACH

    Up in the sky, Craig and Anita continue to assess the situation.

Craig: (On his radio) The fire is under control, but they want us on the ground, PRONTO

Anita: They just want to parade our uniforms in front of the media and make us answer the hard questions

Coast Guard HelicopterCraig: (Rubbing his eyes) As if we haven't done that enough today

Anita: What are we going to tell them?

Craig: Haven't the slightest clue - I'll buy you a steak if you come up with a PLAUSIBLE explanation for the fire

Anita: Sorry, I'm having pasta with the folks and you already KNOW what... or should I say WHO... I think started it

Craig: (Sighing) You might as well just say god damn space aliens set it!

Anita: Who knows where this creature came from, it could be...

Craig: DON'T START, DON'T... YOU... START

    Anita mumbles something in Spanish under her breath.

Craig: SPEAK ENGLISH

Anita: (Half-smile) YOU... ARE... A... LIMP... DICK - is that better, Captain?

Craig: At least I have one!

    The two glare at each other for a moment and then break out into wide grins.

Craig: Let's head back to base, Lieutenant

Anita: Fine, we need to refuel anyway... wait a minute - WAIT A MINUTE

Craig: (Trying to see what she's seeing) What?

Anita: GIMME THE INFRARED, QUICK

    Grabbing the goggles before the perplexed man even has a chance to hand them over, the excited woman falls silent as she focuses on the object in the river.

Anita: (Slapping her thigh) LA DIABLAAAAAA HA HA HA - I SEE YOU, I SEEEEEE YOU - I KNEW IT

Anita's view through the binoculars

Craig: WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU BLABBERING ABOUT NOW?

Anita: (Calmly handing over the instrument) Take a look for yourself

Craig: (Doing so) I see NOTHING but some debris and... uh... uh... oh my...

Anita: TELL ME IT'S A DOLPHIN, TELL ME IT'S A DOLPHIN - GO ON, TELL ME IT'S A FUCKING DOLPHIN

Craig: (Still looking at the unmistakable silhouette of Darkfin) I... um... heh, we can't say for sure exactly what it is until... OOOMPH

    Lieutenant Fiore sharply banks the helicopter left in a rapid descent, causing Captain Phelps' face to smash up against the glass.

Craig: FIORE - THIS IS NOT AN EPISODE OF AIRWOLF

Anita: (Leveling off) Sorry

Craig: (Rubbing his jaw) Do you know how much these porcelain caps cost?

Anita: (Still giving chase) THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY, CRAIG

Craig: Our opportunity for what, SUICIDE?

Anita: (Unbuckling herself) We can't get too close to the surface or she'll see us - once we're right on top of her, take over the controls!

Anita's combat knifeCraig: Whatever insanity is in your head right now, NO - AND THAT'S AN ORDER

    Anita takes off her shoes and watch, puts away her wallet and pulls out a double-edge combat knife.

Craig: DO YOU HEAR ME?

Anita: (Taking her helmet off) Not very well

Craig: IT'S BEEN YEARS SINCE I'VE FLOWN SOLO

Anita: (Positioning herself) I know you know how to fly this thing, you're checked out

Craig: WE'RE LOW ON FUEL

Anita: (Focusing on her intended target) You should have enough

Craig: SHOULD?

Anita: (Opening the door) Get ready, Craig

Craig: This is NOT going to happen!

Anita: Time to fillet a fish!

Craig: FIORE, FIORE GET BACK INSIDE

    Looking back at her captain one last time, the woman clenches her knife tightly and dives off the helicopter.

Anita: EAAAAH

Craig: ANITAAAA

 

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