Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Breaking & Entering"

With Eliza Carthy's "Angels & Cigarettes" CD softly playing, Morrigan McBride rushes around her house in her underwear, laying out clothes and brushing her teeth. She glances at the screen of her laptop and slams it shut.

Morrigan: (Spitting toothpaste) You BETTER be there

She finishes up in the bathroom and returns to her bed. She begins to dress, first slipping on black jeans and then a black turtleneck. The phone interrupts Morrigan's thoughts and she reluctantly presses the speakerphone button.

Morrigan: Hello?

Gracie: Where the fuck are you?

Morrigan: Hi, Gracie

Gracie: That didn't answer my question

Morrigan: Use your journalistic powers of deduction

Gracie: You're home, that's pretty obvious - why are you bailing on dinner with me and Zach again?

Morrigan: No, that's tomorrow night

Zach: (Now getting on the phone) No, that's tonight, M&M

Morrigan: We said Wednesday night at 9:00

Gracie: Right time, wrong day

Morrigan: (Rubbing her forehead) Damn, I'm so sorry

Zach: No problem, just get over here

Morrigan: (Taking out a ski mask) I can't

Gracie: (Curt tone) Why?

Morrigan: Uh, I don't feel that well - it's my time of the month

Gracie: How convenient

Morrigan: I'm not kidding Gracie, you want to come over here and check? - SHUDDUP, ZACH

Zach: I didn't say anything!

Morrigan: It was a preemptive strike

Zach: Smart

Morrigan: (Now taking out some black gloves) Listen, I know that new sci-fi flick is supposed to open this week - we'll all go, my treat

Gracie: Don't try to buy us off, McBride

Zach: Can we get jumbo popcorns and Cookie Dough Bits?

Morrigan: Seriously, I want to do this, I'll even invite KJ along - I promise

Gracie: (Disgusted) Fine, I'll see you at work tomorrow... hopefully

Zach: How about drinks after the movie, will you spring for that as well?

Morrigan: Don't press your luck, Eyes - see you later

After clicking off, Morrigan laces up her black sneakers and straps a black chronograph on her wrist. She sets the time and tinkers with some other buttons.

Morrigan: (Grabbing her stomach) Ugh

After taking a few deep breaths, she shuts everything down and throws on a black trench coat. In the pockets, she stuffs the ski mask, the gloves, a mini camera, some other electronic equipment, and a serrated folding knife.

Morrigan: (Tapping on the terrarium) You be a good girl, T - enjoy your grasshopper, I'm off to deal with another intriguing creature right now... I wonder if I should bring her some worms?

Morrigan steps out of her house and makes her way to her car. She is startled by a figure on the lawn.

Amethyst: Did someone die?

Morrigan: Amy, what are you doing there?

Amethyst: Connecting

Morrigan: With what?

Amethyst: The universe

Amethyst Hill is sitting cross-legged on the lawn with a bunch of crystals and candles set up before her.

Morrigan: Does the universe need me to pick up some brown rice from the store?

Amethyst: OH YEAH, COULD YOU? - the universe would me most grateful

Morrigan: Sure

Amethyst: (Studying Morrigan's attire) KJ left you some flowers yesterday, is this a time of mourning?

Morrigan: (Reluctantly approaching) No, no one died - it's actually a time of the month for me NOT to wear white

Amethyst: You're taking it to an extreme, don't you think?

Morrigan: It's a quirk I have

Amethyst: (Raising an eyebrow) One of many

Morrigan: Speaking of which, what exactly are you... I dunno... performing?

Amethyst: I am NOT a witch, I am a practitioner of alternative faiths and healings

Morrigan: Uh, OK - anyway, what is this ceremony?

Amethyst: (Looking up) There is a Venus-Neptune trine right now

Morrigan: (Sarcastic) Really? - can I tape it and watch it later?

Amethyst: Um, no - but you can help me make blueberry mead when you return

Morrigan: I'm not sure when I'll be back

Amethyst: Off to do some research?

Morrigan: You could say that

Amethyst: Try not to get wet

Morrigan: (Opening her car door) Heh, I have my raincoat

Amethyst: Morrigan... be careful

Morrigan: (Getting in) Did the stars or the stones tell you to tell me that?

Amethyst: (Blowing out a candle) My gut

Taking a circuitous route to the Meeramar corporate headquarters, a modern metal and glass 12-story building overlooking Duquesa Bay, Morrigan parks behind some bushes about a mile down the road. Slipping on her ski mask and gloves, she gets out of the car and slowly advances toward the building. Suddenly, a force from behind grabs her and covers her mouth.

Morrigan: (Struggling) MMMmmmm

Darkfin: We need to work on your reaction time

Morrigan flings the green scaly arms off of her and spins around in an angry huff.

Darkfin: I believe the bank is down the road

Morrigan: (Lifting up her ski mask) Would it kill you to use a simple salutation instead of a wrestling hold?

Darkfin: I enjoy being unique

Morrigan: No kidding?

Darkfin: Are you ready?

Morrigan: Yes - now, see that guard down there? - I'll distract him while you do the rest... NO KILLING - just knock him out and we'll hide him behind that concrete planter. Next, you'll climb up the building, find some kind of opening on the roof, and make your way inside

Staring at the smaller woman, Darkfin says nothing.

Morrigan: (Holding up some equipment) Once inside, you will use this - I borrowed it from the boys in KCON's A/V department - it will trick the security cameras into a time loop... just hook up these cords and press this button

Darkfin: And what will you be doing, trying your best to look inconspicuous?

Morrigan: I'll be waiting at the side entrance, come get me once the camera loop is established - we'll have exactly 30 minutes to do what we need to do

Morrigan rummages through her pockets.

Morrigan: Here, strap on this watch so we'll be in perfect sync

Darkfin continues to stand there with her arms folded.

Morrigan: Take it!

Darkfin: I do not need a watch

Morrigan: Oh, I don't mean to insult your time-telling super power but I would feel more secure if you wore it

Darkfin turns around and strides off to the complex with an angry Morrigan trailing behind.

Morrigan: Seriously, I have everything timed down to the second

Darkfin: I thought you were deficient with number comprehension?

Morrigan: I can count!

Darkfin: Keep your watch, Ms. McBride, and your camera equipment

Morrigan: NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND - I DON'T WANT TO GET CAUGHT

They now pause on a grassy slope near the side entrance.

Darkfin: You will not be caught, I can assure you

Morrigan: If you don't like my plan, FINE - tell me exactly how we're going to get inside? - maybe you like hurling your trident... where is it by the way... and leaving a trail of bloody bodies behind, I just want to go in peacefully and check out some files - no heroics, no emergency service personnel, no...mmmMMM

Darkfin covers the woman's mouth again and holds up a Meeramar key card.

Darkfin: There will be no need to harm the guard, scale the building, or use your video gizmo - this card bypasses it all

Morrigan: Hrrrmpdummattt?

Darkfin: (Withdrawing her hand) I apologize

Morrigan: How did your get that?

Darkfin: You are not the only one with sources

Morrigan: (Scuffing her foot) Damn, I went through all of that planning for nothing!

Darkfin: It was a valuable mental exercise

Morrigan: GO TO HELL

Darkfin: I am there with you already

Morrigan: (Quietly) What do you mean?

With one deft move, Morrigan is thrown down hard on the ground with Aleta Oscura covering her body, hands gripped around her throat.

Darkfin: (Taking deep breaths) It is taking every ounce of will power I have right now to keep from snapping your neck

Morrigan: (Gasping) Why?

Darkfin: (Bearing her teeth) It is your time of the month, is it not?

Morrigan: Eh... how... yes?

Darkfin: (Now in her ear) The same instinct that can sense it is also the same one that commands me to kill and feed

Morrigan: (Trembling) Dear God

Darkfin quickly jumps up and hurries off to the entrance.

Darkfin: (Swiping the key card) Come along, Ms. McBride!

Morrigan reluctantly follows.

Morrigan: (To herself) I knew I should have brought some worms

Riding in his silver Lexus, Griffin Martel answers his cell phone.

Griffin: Yes, father - I understand - no, you will not be disappointed... in fact, I think I'll swing back to the office and recheck some figures - I will, goodbye

He swings the car into a quick u-turn and rides back to the Meeramar HQ. Now inside Griffin's office, Morrigan quickly searches through his files, snapping pictures with her minicam and speaking mental notes into a dictaphone. Darkfin stands off to the side, keeping watch.

Morrigan: (Reading a brochure) HA, I knew it!

Darkfin: What?

Morrigan: This type of machinery is not used for oil - he's drilling for metal

Darkfin: The proper term is "mining"

Morrigan: (Slamming down the papers) "Drilling," "mining," "scooping out with his digits" - it doesn't matter!

Darkfin: For someone whose profession it is to be a wordsmith, I would highly think it would matter

Morrigan: I can't believe I'm being lectured by the seafood special

Darkfin: What do you think he is mining for?

Morrigan: The same stuff your pitchfork is made out of, the same stuff that's supposedly in my blood... Nereidium

Darkfin: That is a valid assumption - why?

Morrigan: Can you imagine the weapons of mass destruction that can be made from this and the gazillion dollars of profit to go along with it?

Darkfin: I do not need to imagine those scenarios... they haunt my thoughts in the day and my dreams during the night

Morrigan: You need to tell me more

Aleta Oscura goes over to a global map on the wall.

Darkfin: There are only three known veins of Nereidium in the world - two are buried so deep, it would take centuries to reach them

Morrigan: What about the third?

Darkfin: (Facing her) It can be reached within the year

The sudden sound of approaching footsteps causes the two of them to freeze. Griffin Martel is now outside his office door. After entering his security code, he ambles inside and notices the mess of files on his desk. He slowly goes over to it and slams his fist down.

Griffin: (Exasperated) GOD DAMN YOU, DAD, STOP CHECKING UP ON ME - I CAN DO THIS

Carefully positioned on the ceiling overhead is Darkfin with Morrigan clinging to her back. They stay as silent and as still as they possibly can.

Griffin: (Dialing his phone) Rikka... please pick up if you're there - look, I would really appreciate your thoughts on something - and... and I also need to see you, you're the only one who... you know... I don't know... I love you - please call me back when you get this message

He hangs up in disgust and places another call as Darkfin tenses up.

Griffin: KJ, it's Griffin - do you know where your sister is? - why am I not surprised... listen, do you have some time, I could use a hand with some Meeramar business - no, I don't want your father involved - can't Ona Rosa work on that issue herself?

It is now Morrigan's turn to tense up. She can tell Darkfin is starting to lose her grip from the extra weight.

Griffin: Look, Kage, I'm not asking, I'm TELLING you to get your ass over here right now - no, you DO NOT have time to drop by Morrigan's house for a quick visit... I don't CARE how long you haven't seen her - quite frankly, I'm rather disappointed in Ms. McBride, I thought she would be more of a challenge, journalistically speaking - I'll see you in ten!

As Griffin bangs down his phone, Morrigan drops down from the ceiling and pulls a stunned Griffin into a headlock. Darkfin is just as stunned.

Morrigan: (Deep, gruff voice) OK, RICH BOY, HAND OVER YOUR WATCH

Griffin: (Squirming) TRY AND TAKE IT, FUCKER

Morrigan knees him in the kidney and pulls out her knife.

Morrigan: (Holding it to his throat) DON'T MAKE ME CUT YOU

She motions to Darkfin to knock out the window. Aleta Oscura does so as Morrigan snatches Griffin's platinum Movado and takes off his tie. She blindfolds him with it, and binds his hands and feet with the telephone cord. Morrigan now grabs his wallet and empties the cash out of it.

Morrigan: (Same voice) You call the cops on me and you're a dead man!

Morrigan holds on for dear life, piggyback, to Darkfin as they climb down the side of the building. Hopping to the ground, the two start to run.

Darkfin: Truth be told, you had no intention of finding out about the Nereidium, you just want an accomplice in crime

Morrigan: Yeah, I figured a cold-blooded killer would make a dandy side-kick - you were about to fall, I had to do something

Darkfin: Your quick thinking was fairly impressive

Morrigan: Don't worry, I'm donating the money to charity

Darkfin: What about the watch?

Morrigan: (Smirking) I'll have to think about that

Aleta Oscura suddenly stops and scans around. She runs off, leaps, and glides up to the building's corner and remains out of sight.

Morrigan: What are you doing?

Darkfin motions for her to be quiet. The security guard from earlier now stands before Morrigan.

Morrigan: I KNEW we should have taken him out earlier

The guard draws his gun but looks past Morrigan. She turns around to see three, hooded figures directly in back of her.

Morrigan: AW, MAN

Before the guard can fire, he is sent hurtling into a tree by one of the figures. The other two grab Morrigan and throw her into the Meeramar fountain but not before taking her trench coat and vanishing as quickly as they appeared.

Morrigan: (Sitting up and spitting water) NOT AGAIN

Darkfin comes over and helps her up.

Morrigan: WHERE IN THE HELL WERE YOU?

Darkfin: Observing

Morrigan: (Giving her the middle finger) OBSERVE THIS

Darkfin: Sometimes, you need to study your enemy

Morrigan: Why are they doing this?

Darkfin: They are testing you... your resolve

Morrigan: (On the verge of tears) They took everything - this whole evening was a WASTE

Darkfin: Not entirely - you now have confirmation of your suspicions, it is time to do further research and formulate several plans of action

Morrigan: Plans you will undoubtedly be a part of

The sound of KJ's voice echoes across the way.

KJ: DUDE, ARE YOU ALRIGHT?

He rushes over to the unconscious security guard as Darkfin quickly leads Morrigan away. The two are now back by the hidden white Mustang.

Darkfin: Go home and rest, stay warm

Morrigan: I need to pick up some brown rice

Darkfin: Tomorrow is another day

Morrigan: Of dementia... despite what happened, I really appreciated your help tonight

Darkfin: It is now your turn to help me when I need it

Morrigan: (Grimacing) More tests?

Darkfin: Yes - I shall contact you soon

Morrigan: I take it I can't tell anyone about my Nereidum knowledge yet?

Darkfin: That would be correct

Morrigan: Can I at least tell my tarantula?

Darkfin: You need to leave now before the police arrive

Morrigan: Cops, why not make this a total party?

There is a long, uncomfortable silence.

Morrigan: (Starting the engine) Let's go, I'll drive you back to the beach

Darkfin: NO

Morrigan: No?

Darkfin: It is not safe for either one of us to spend anymore time together tonight

Morrigan: Why, do you think the hoods are coming back?

Darkfin stares intently at a bleeding scrape on Morrigan's hand.

Darkfin: (Turning and leaving) They would be the least of your concerns

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Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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