Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Sign Waves"

At a USCG base south of Chaparral Heights, Captain Phelps and Lieutenant Fiore board their helicopter and take off into the night sky. Craig sighs and studies some charts as Anita hovers at the appropriate altitude over the Pacific Ocean.

Craig: Anita...

Anita: NO

Craig: You don't even know what I was going to say?

Anita: Whenever you start a sentence with my first name in that annoying tight-ass tone of yours, it's never good

Craig: Look, my commanding officer is starting to come down on me about these after-hour trips in the bird - I don't know how much longer I can spin it without him getting suspicious

Anita: I'll get Sandy to say we're helping SCU with research - in a way, we are

Craig: The cost of fuel for this guzzler is starting to outweigh "good relations" with the university - "hunting for Darkfin" is not going to cut it, we need something solid to show him or he's going to cut off our access altogether!

Anita: It won't be much longer, I can FEEL it - these bizarre concussive waves that we've been picking up on the instruments are more than some random anomaly - Sandy says they're being emitted by some kind of sea creature, he's just not sure what it is

Craig: And he's absolutely ruled out a horny dolphin?

Anita: (Scowling at him) Yeah, I'm pretty sure he has!

Craig: OK then, let's start in where we left off last time - head for sector six

The chiseled woman does a sharp turn and smirks as the equally-chiseled man clutches his seat.

Craig: HEY

Anita: (Winking) There's no reason we can't have a little fun while we're up here

Craig: Speaking of fun, have you found a new playmate or are you still obsessing over that actress chick?

Anita: Who says I can't do both?

Craig: Ah

Anita: There's just something about Jamie, I've been crushed out on her since I was a kid - I even bought "Tiger Beat" for her, man!

Craig: I thought her name was Marcy?

Anita: Oh yeah, that's her real name, but she'll always be "Jamie" to 99.99% of North America and overseas syndicated markets

Craig: That's kind of sad when you think about it

Anita: (Raising an eyebrow) Hmm, my mind is elsewhere

Craig: Surprise

Anita: What about you, Cap, did any of those yacht bimbos come through for you... pun intended?

Craig: Ahehe... um - you could say that

Anita: (Slapping him a high five) ALRIGHT, SCORE BABY - which one? - the short blonde with fake boobs?

Craig: Nope

Anita: The dyed redhead with fake teeth?

Craig: Try again

Anita: The white girl pretending to be black?

Craig: Strike three!

Anita: C'MON

Craig: I'll give you a hint, she has an accent

Anita runs through the women in her mind and then suddenly slaps Craig on the arm with a map.

Anita: Oh God, you mean Ursula, aka MRS. MARTEL?

Craig: BINGO

Anita: That's just disgusting, Phelps!

Craig: WHY? - she showed up at my place the other night with a bottle of champagne and wearing absolutely nothing under her fur coat... LIKE YOU'D EVER TURN THAT DOWN

Lieutenant Fiore looks sheepish.

Craig: (Noticing) Uh-huh, that's what I thought

Anita: BUT... SHE'S... MARRIED - Jesus, what is up with you and other men's wives? - first, it's my sister, now it's Martel's Yugo-trophy

Craig: She came to ME, remember?

Anita: Still, there are plenty of single girls out there, try to find ONE

Craig: You mean, you've actually left some for me?

Anita: (Patting his shoulder) You're not just my captain, you're also my friend

The two chuckle and look out the window to the water below.

Craig: Sector six, dead ahead!

Just past the breakwater off the shore near Beacon Point, Darkfin gives Morrigan some last minute instructions before they swim out to sea.

Darkfin: (Right arm wrapped around Morrigan's upper body) Because I will have to support your weight along with my own, I will not be traveling at my normal speed

Morrigan: I'm still not quite sure how this is going to work - I mean, I DO know how to swim

Darkfin: Yes, but you could never keep up with me, therefore, I need you to relax and follow my rhythm

Morrigan rolls her eyes as she clutches the waist of Aleta Oscura.

Darkfin: Do you know what a sine wave looks like?

Morrigan: Are you speaking math to me? - DON'T

The two stare at each other for a moment.

Darkfin: (Blinking) Let me use another example... do you like Ribbon Candy?

Morrigan: (Eyes lighting up) OH MY GOD, I LOVE RIBBON CANDY

Darkfin: I have no Ribbon Candy for you - now that you have the appropriate mental image, I want you to envision us following that pattern when we swim

Morrigan: Why didn't you just say "up and down?"

Darkfin: Because, technically, it is not up and down - we will be arcing in precise intervals - intervals that are ten seconds apart, so you need to time your inhalation of air to exactly when we surface

Morrigan: Basically, we're playing "Dolphin"

Darkfin: That is another appropriate example - are you ready?

Morrigan: I'm not saying this is going to happen or anything but what if, um, I lose my timing?

Darkfin: Do not worry, I will know if you are in distress

Morrigan: OK then, take me to your Fortress of Solitude!

And with that, they are off under the water. Morrigan is amazed at how quickly Darkfin can swim, even while carrying her along side. Feeling like she is on an amusement park ride, the smaller woman is able to adapt to the motion quickly and is proud of herself for not messing up the breathing times. About ten minutes go by before they reach the island of Concha Dos and descend into a sea cave. Once they surface on the other side, Darkfin helps Morrigan step out of the water and into her secret laboratory.

Morrigan: (Gasping a bit) That was fun

Darkfin: For you

The curious KCON reporter strolls around the entire area, taking in the sights of the rock walls and sand floors that contain a fully-functional lab with a refrigerator, x-ray machine, and a hyperbaric chamber.

Darkfin: (Watching her) Looking for something?

Morrigan: Huh? - sorry, just searching for animatronic pirates

Darkfin: (Going over to her computer) We need to begin the tests

Morrigan: I suppose you don't have any potato chips around here?

Darkfin: Only squid in the livewell

Morrigan: (Arms folded) It's not quite the same without pesto sauce... and deep frying - so, what shall I call you - Aleta Oscura... Fish Stick... Finny Fin Fin?

Darkfin: The Anglo consensus seems to be "Darkfin"

Morrigan: But what do the Danes and Jutes prefer?

Darkfin: (Preparing several syringes) What is behind the wall of sarcasm?

Morrigan: No one has ever scaled it before - SCALED, ha

Darkfin simply looks at her.

Morrigan: Well, if someone does succeed in scaling the wall, then they have to cross the Moat of Suspicious Animosity and conquer the Castle of Quiet Despair

Darkfin: That does not sound so difficult

Morrigan: Be on the lookout for trolls

Darkfin: Please come here and sit down

Against her better judgment, Morrigan takes a seat and allows Darkfin to draw a blood sample. She is also subjected to several other physical tests.

Morrigan: (Eying the expensive lab equipment) I would like to know how you got all of this stuff here... did the mothership beam it down?

Darkfin: (Checking the woman's body temperature) I have my ways

Morrigan peers at the many test tubes and beakers before her. She pokes at a partially dissected sea cucumber with her finger

Darkfin: (Looking in a microscope) Please do not touch anything

A defiant Morrigan leans over and licks an empty glass jar.

Darkfin: That jar used to contain turtle urine

Morrigan blanches with a slight gag.

Morrigan: Can I ask you a question?

Darkfin: (Jotting down some notes) You can try

Morrigan: Why don't you have gills?

Darkfin: My lungs can adapt to an aqueous medium for breathing

Morrigan: Sort of like a baby in a womb?

Darkfin: Not quite

Morrigan: Does this mean you're natural or man-made?

Darkfin: I prefer the term "enhanced"

Morrigan: (Scoffing) Oh, brother!

Darkfin: I need you to unzip your suit

Morrigan: (Nervous) Umm, why?

Darkfin: I would like to listen to your heart

Morrigan: (Acquiescent) Fine

As she does, Darkfin notices a tiny scar along the top of Morrigan's right breast.

Darkfin: (Absently tracing it with her finger) How did you get this?

Morrigan: (Slapping her hand away) I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS FOR ONE DAY - TAKE ME HOME

Morrigan strides towards the tidal pool.

Darkfin: I deeply apologize for any perceived inappropriateness, I just need to know as much as I can

Morrigan: You know FAR more than I do - how do you know I won't come back here with a fleet of Navy ships?

Darkfin: You have yet to return to the Kiyomi caves with a battalion of Army tanks

Morrigan: (Pacing) You know, you think you're some kind of key source for me - sorry, you're nothing but a key source of insanity... and a killer no less!

A quiet Darkfin remains at a distance.

Morrigan: If I gave you up, this would be the story to put me behind Tom Brokaw's anchor desk, yet, I come here and let you draw blood from me - how do I even know you're drawing blood? - maybe you're implanting me with your anchovy fish babies

Darkfin unsuccessfully tries to stifle a grin.

Morrigan: Wow, you just smiled - there IS some human in you!

Darkfin: Not that much

Morrigan: Enough to be a 36C cup

Darkfin: (Going over to her side) Jealous?

Morrigan: Maybe

Morrigan: Blame your mother's gene for that - but be grateful that she passed on something better to you

Morrigan: What are you talking about?

Darkfin glances down at Morrigan's left foot and then walks over to a shelf. She pulls out the chest containing the ancient book and shell bracelet. An intrigued McBride follows and observes the reverent way in which Darkfin handles the shells.

Morrigan: That's a beautiful bracelet - may I?

Darkfin: (Quickly stashing it away) NO... that is not what I have come to show you

Morrigan: Where did you get this book?

Darkfin: (Flipping through the pages) It was passed on to me

Morrigan: (Trying to recognize the writing) Is that Sanskrit?

Darkfin: A form of it

Morrigan: How old is this book?

Darkfin: Older than Duquesa Bay

Aleta Oscura finds the appropriate page and shows it to her guest.

Morrigan: (Instantly recognizing the symbol) That's the mark on the bottom of my foot! - I don't understand?

Darkfin: (Suddenly closing the book) You will... each piece of the puzzle at a time

Morrigan: NO, DAMMIT, YOU TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW, RIGHT NOW - I AM SICK AND TIRED OF ALL THIS MYSTERY SHIT - I'VE HAD IT WITH FISH WOMEN AND WEIRDOS IN BATHROBES... SAY SOMETHING

Darkfin: Nereidium

Morrigan: Excuse me?

With a quick motion, Darkfin summons the trident out of the tidal pool and into her hand.

Morrigan: I was wondering what happened to your pretty swizzle stick

Darkfin: Nereidium is what this is made of - it is what the clasp of the Duquesa's Tears is made of... it is the metal of your mark, the metal in your blood

Morrigan: (Trying to think) Wait a minute, wait a minute... WHAT?

Darkfin suddenly loses her balance and catches herself.

Morrigan: (Noticing) Are you alright?

Darkfin: (Rubbing her head) You have learned enough for tonight, I must take you back

Morrigan: I'll go, but I need something from you, first

Darkfin: You are in no position to make demands of me

Morrigan: (Going up to Darkfin and pointing her finger into her chest) I think I am - it's time for YOU to start helping ME when I ask for it

Darkfin: (Eyes blazing) Do not poke me!

Morrigan: You're lucky I don't cover you in tarter sauce and call you dinner!

Darkfin: (Stepping towards her) Care to swim home alone?

Morrigan: (Stepping back) I could

Darkfin: Good luck with the sharks

Morrigan is suddenly silent.

Darkfin: (Softening her tone) What exactly do you need my help with?

Morrigan: Research on a story

Darkfin: And what do I have to do?

Morrigan: Help me break into an office

Darkfin: You cannot do this alone?

Morrigan: (Half smile) It would be a lot easier with your help - you can scale walls, I know it

Darkfin: Which office?

Morrigan: Meeramar Shipping - specifically, Griffin Martel of the PCOC

Erika: (Thinking for a moment) When?

Morrigan: I'll send you an IM

Darkfin silently nods and then takes Morrigan by the hand.

Darkfin: Time to go

Now half way to the shore, Darkfin suddenly picks up on the distress call of several dolphins. She stops where she is and swims Morrigan over to a nearby marker buoy.

Morrigan: What's going on?

Darkfin: (Sensing a fishing boat a few miles away) Someone has decided to use illegal tuna nets again - three dolphins are tangled... I will be back for you shortly

Morrigan: WAIT

Aleta Oscura pauses.

Morrigan: Set the dolphins free but don't kill the fishermen - a slight maiming, maybe, but please no murdering tonight!

Without an answer, Darkfin turns and sets off in the direction of the boat. Morrigan holds on tight to the buoy and strains to hear a growing rumbling. Moments later, Craig and Anita's helicopter approaches from the north.

Morrigan: (Looking up) THAT'S JUST GREAT

The helicopter draws closer with its searchlight.

Craig: I'm getting tired, Fiore, let's pack it in

Anita: I'll turn around at the marker buoy and we'll call it a night

Looking through her IR goggles, Anita catches something out of the corner of her eye.

Anita: (Throwing off her goggles) Aim the light on the buoy and hand me the binos, quick!

Craig: (Doing so) What do you see?

Anita: (Looking) I'm not sure, I need to get closer

Craig: It's probably just a seal

Anita: AY, DE MI

Morrigan is smiling and waving to the helicopter.

Anita: IT'S MCBRIDE

Craig: (Grabbing the binoculars) WHAT? - IS SHE INSANE?

Anita: SHE KNOWS SOMETHING, SHE KNOWS SOMETHING

The helicopter hovers low to the water and drops over a ladder. Craig's voice comes on the loud speaker.

Craig: MS. MCBRIDE, PLEASE CLIMB UP... NOW

Morrigan slowly does and flops into a seat in back of the two Coast Guard officers.

Craig: (Handing her a blanket) What on earth are you doing out here this late? - do you know how cold the water is?

Anita: (Staring at her unzipped wetsuit) I think it's pretty obvious she knows how cold it is

Morrigan: (Glaring at Anita) I'm on an impromptu scuba dive

Anita: Where's your tank? - how come you only have a bra and panties on under the wetsuit instead of a regular bikini?

Morrigan: (Zipping her suit up) How kind of you to notice... I said it was impromptu - besides, I'm in International Waters, I can do whatever I want!

Anita: WRONG - IW is another 10 miles out and you're sitting on USCG property

Morrigan: Fine, if you're going to arrest me, you need to arrest the dozens of sea lions that also sit on your precious property

Craig: Tell us what you're doing out here and we'll let you go

Morrigan tries to think of something as she stalls for time for Darkfin. However, before she can respond, a mayday call comes in over the radio. It's from the fishing boat.

Anita: (Snarling back at Morrigan) SHE'S OUT HERE, ISN'T SHE?

Morrigan: (Casually looking at one of their maps) I have no idea who you're talking about, lieutenant

Anita: (Snatching the map out of Morrigan's hand) I should push you out that door right now and use you as bait!

Morrigan: (Getting up) That's fine by me, I have better things to do than sit here with you two!

Craig: (Stopping her) HOLD IT, HOLD IT, EVERYONE JUST STAY SEATED AND CALM DOWN... Anita, head for the ship - Ms. McBride, I highly suggest you explain to me what you are doing out here or I could get you in a lot of trouble you don't need

Morrigan: And I could get you in a lot of bad publicity YOU don't need - I'm researching a story on illegal night fishing and how the Coast Guard is seriously LAGGING on the job

Anita begins to curse in Spanish but Craig whispers something into her ear. Moments later, the helicopter hovers over the ship, flooding it with its searchlight. Three battered crewmen are strung up in the fishing net while another one, badly bruised but alive, signals to Captain Phelps. There is no sign of Darkfin.

Morrigan: (Letting out a sigh of relief) Satisfied now?

Anita: (Shaking her finger back at Morrigan) NUNCA... NEVER

Suddenly, Morrigan takes notice of Anita's metal bracelet and grabs her wrist.

Morrigan: WHERE DID YOU GET THIS?

The lieutenant is caught off guard and quietly pulls her hand away.

Anita: It's a family heirloom... why?

Morrigan: (Now nonchalant) It's... it's very beautiful

Anita: (Suspicious) Thank you

Craig: FIORE, STOP CHATTING LIKE A GIRL AND HOLD THIS BIRD STEADY, I'M READY TO GO DOWN ON DECK

Anita: (Turning back to her duties) Yes, captain

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