Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Awash"

Alone and chanting, the white-robed head of The Clergy is suddenly interrupted by two underlings in blue robes. The two stand by a cavern wall as their leader effortlessly floats down from a ledge to their level.

White Robe: Your report

Blue One: Our mission was successful

White Robe: Has the priest transcended?

Blue Two: Violently

White Robe: Excellent - and McBride?

Blue One: The prime suspect

The white-robed leader clasps its hands in glee and paces around the dark, sandy floor.

White Robe: So, everything went according to plan

The two in the blue robes look at each other.

White Robe: (Noticing them) Did it?

Blue One: (Hesitant) Yes...

Blue Two: Except for one minor glitch

White Robe: (Voice lowering an octave) GLITCH?

Blue One: Morrigan was indeed lured to Saint Brendan's

White Robe: That has already been established

Blue Two: Unfortunately, she never actually set foot inside the church itself, she was outside in the parking lot and then abruptly left

A growl of displeasure is heard from the leader.

Blue One: (Nervous) It... it was as if she was warned somehow

White Robe: BY WHOM?

Blue Two: (Taking a step back) That, we do not know

The leader only answers with an enraged release of breath.

Blue One: But we will find out, I can assure you

Blue Two: Morrigan was feeling ill, I believe her leaving so suddenly was legitimate in nature

White Robe: (Approaching Blue Two) For both of your sakes, you better hope that this is true

Blue One: The objective was met, Master

White Robe: Maybe... but it will be more difficult to prove the Marked One's guilt

Blue Two: I am fully confident in that we will be able to amend this matter and her guilt will be unquestionable

White Robe: Make sure that it is - has she been in contact with The Other yet?

Blue One: No, but we are certain that they will meet up again soon, especially after the circumstances of this evening

Blue Two: We have subordinates keeping watch

White Robe: She must not leave with her

Blue One: How... how can we prevent that? - Aleta Oscura is most skilled, the last few times...

Suddenly, Blue One is hurled across the way and slammed up against a stone surface by the simple wave of the leader's hand.

White Robe: I AM WELL AWARE OF THE LAST FEW TIMES

Blue Two: (Taking two more steps back) We are just wondering if we are allowed to prevent The Other from taking her by any means necessary?

White Robe: (Grabbing Blue Two by the throat and choking him) NO, we need them separated but we need them both alive - IS THAT CONCISE ENOUGH FOR YOU?

Blue Two: (Gasping) Yes... of course

White Robe: (Throwing him down next to the other) It better be or the next "glitch" will be at the base of your brain stem

Arriving at Duquesa Bay's Harbor Town, KJ pulls over his Porsche and Erika jumps out of the back seat after saying a quick "goodnight" to her brother and Ms. McBride. Watching the blonde run into the distance, KJ takes off down the highway.

KJ: (Glancing at Morrigan): Are you OK?

Morrigan: (Looking out at the water) I don't understand why we left your sister off in the middle of Harbor Town?

KJ: Her boat is docked at the marina

Morrigan: She should be at a hospital for that cut over her eye

KJ: She doesn't really care for doctors

Morrigan: But she's a scientist?

KJ: Heh, exactly - listen, she probably has some magic kelp cure or whatever brewing up in the SCU lab for that eye

Morrigan: That's a little creepy

KJ: It's her job - pharmaceutical companies are constantly banging at her door for the next big wonder drug - there's great hope in the ocean

Morrigan: Right - when we're done plundering the rainforests, we can turn our attentions there!

KJ: It's called progress

Morrigan: Tell THAT to the Dodo bird

KJ: I spoke to Griffin earlier and he's cool about the car

Morrigan raises an eyebrow at a smirking KJ and the two chuckle.

Morrigan: Very funny, but I'm still worried about your sister - the way my luck is running tonight, I don't need her blinded by my poor driving

KJ: One thing I've learned since the age of four is that Erika generally knows how to take care of herself - you really don't need to worry

Morrigan: I suppose

KJ: (Taking Morrigan's hand) I am more worried about you

Morrigan: (Snippy) Are you saying I can't take care of myself?

KJ: No, not at all - it's just that you fell into some serious shit here tonight, Morri, and I'm afraid it's going to get worse

Morrigan: Heh, count on it!

KJ: What do you mean?

Morrigan: I'm being set up because of a story I'm pursuing

KJ: What's it about?

Morrigan: I can't say... not yet

KJ: OH, C'MON HERE

Morrigan: I'm sorry, KJ, but it's just too important and I'm not going to risk it

KJ: You do realize what you're facing here? - Murder One of a beloved priest in a state that has the death penalty - can it be any clearer?

Morrigan: My story has more riding on it

KJ: (Doing a double take) YOU'RE FREAKING SERIOUS - unless it's about space aliens firing death rays at our nation's capital, I don't think so!

Morrigan: (Recognizing a beach she met Darkfin at before) Pull over

KJ: WHAT?

Morrigan: PULL OVER, I want to walk the rest of the way home

KJ: NO, NO WAY

Morrigan: I'll be fine

KJ: (Speeding up) NOPE, I'm trying to be understanding here but I will most certainly NOT let you go running off alone into the night after what happened earlier

Morrigan: I said I will be fine

KJ: Isn't that what you said before you went to St. B's?

Morrigan scowls at KJ and sighs.

KJ: Do you WANT your body to be found floating in the bay, is that it?

Morrigan: (Realizing it would be easier for her to come back later) I appreciate your concern, I really do... I guess I should go home and get some rest

KJ: (Kissing her on the cheek) I lo... um, I really care about you, Morrigan - deeply - and I don't want anything to happen to you - if I wasn't such a dolt tonight at the pizza parlor, maybe none of this would be happening right now

Morrigan: (Returning the kiss to his cheek) Don't you dare blame yourself for my actions, KJ, I had to go to Saint Brendan's tonight regardless of what happened

KJ: Why?

Morrigan: I wish I could tell you, I honestly do

KJ: (Rubbing his face) OK, if you won't tell me, would you at least tell your lawyer? - I'm not a criminal attorney but I know the best ones in town... you'll meet with them tomorrow

Morrigan: I can't afford...

KJ: (Holding his hand up) DAMMIT, MORRI, if you won't trust me with your story, would you at least trust me with this... please?

Morrigan: (Smiling) Thank you

KJ: (Squeezing her hand) We're going to beat this, I promise!

The two finally arrive back at her house on Willowbrook and park in the driveway. KJ gets out and checks around the house as Morrigan goes up to her front door.

KJ: Once the media finds out about you, it's going to get ugly here

Morrigan: I have no doubt that it will

KJ: Pack up a few things, you can stay with me at the house

Morrigan: Yeah, that will really endear me to your family

KJ: Dad already adores you, Rikka is never around, and mom would find fault with Mother Teresa living with us, so don't worry about it

Morrigan: Again, I am moved by your overwhelming generosity but I'm not dragging you into this mess anymore than I already have - if something happened to your sister or your folks... or you because of this, I could never live with myself - besides, it would look like I was hiding - I did nothing wrong, there's no reason for me to hide

KJ: (Ominous tone) Oh, I think there is

Morrigan is alarmed by his voice.

KJ: Whoever is after you won't stop - if you won't stay at the house, at least consider my suite at the Del Pilar

Morrigan: I'll think about it

KJ: (Gently approaching her) Seriously?

Morrigan: (Flirtatious) I'll... think... about it

KJ: (Bending in) We could go there now, if you'd like

Before she has a chance to respond, KJ begins to kiss her. Reluctant at first but in need of comfort, Morrigan takes him into her arms and they start to make out. As they back up against the porch wall, a sudden image of Darkfin battling the hooded figures flashes across her mind.

Morrigan: (Breaking off) Uh... this is nice but I need some air

KJ: Do you want me to stay the night?

Morrigan looks at him.

KJ: I'll sleep on the couch, of course

Morrigan: Thanks, but I really need some time alone to try to sort out everything that's happened

Picking up on his disappointment and not looking to get into another discussion, Morrigan goes over to him and kisses him sweetly several times.

Morrigan: (Taking his hands in hers) Swing by in the morning and I'll make you some of my famous blueberry waffles?

KJ: (Nuzzling her nose) Deal - are you sure you'll be alright?

Morrigan: (Unlocking her door and going inside) Yep

KJ: I'll have Meeramar security guards stationed in front of your house

Morrigan: KJ

KJ: It's no problem, really... LOCK YOUR DOOR

Morrigan: (Doing so) Thanks - goodnight!

She watches him as he slowly walks back to his car. KJ takes one more look around, waves to Morrigan in the window, and then leaves.

Morrigan: I should be making love to him right now, what is wrong with me?

A voice from in back startles Morrigan.

Voice: You have too much on your mind

Morrigan: (Flipping on the lights) JESUS, AMY, YOU SCARED THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF ME

Amethyst Hill is quietly sitting at Morrigan's kitchen table with her cat in her arms.

Morrigan: What are you doing here... check that, what are you doing IN here?

Amethyst: (Serious expression) Roshumba was very worried about you, there was something malevolent in the air tonight

Morrigan: You can say that again

Amethyst: (Patting her cat) When you did not answer your door or your phone, I let myself in to wait for you... and to do a cleansing of your rooms with sage

Morrigan: I thought it smelled like fresh potpourri in here

Amethyst: What happened?

Morrigan: Well, I saw a bad movie, ate some bad pizza... oh, and I was framed for killing a priest!

Amethyst: (Jumping up) You need to have your runes read RIGHT NOW to figure out what's coming next!

Morrigan: In all honesty, I don't really want to know what's coming next

Morrigan goes over to her front door and opens it.

Morrigan: I appreciate your concern, Amy, but I seriously need to pee and then get some sleep... you can read my runes tomorrow

Amethyst: (Taking the hint) Fine, Roshumba and I will be back at dawn... and be sure to light that amber candle I left by your bedside

Morrigan: (Half smile) Thanks - oh, and be prepared for hordes of media vultures trampling your lawn

Amethyst: (Winking and closing the door behind her) No problem, I'll just add it to your rent!

Finally alone, Morrigan rushes to the bathroom and then changes into a swimsuit and sweats. She spots the blinking light on her machine and plays her messages back. Zach and Gracie leave long, rambling supportive messages.

Morrigan: That's sweet of them - I wonder if they'll stay that sweet when things get really hideous?

There is a message from her KCON boss.

Turner: McBride - you are officially on suspension - don't bother coming into work until this garbage is cleaned up!

Morrigan: I'm sure Kylee is thrilled

There is one more message on the machine but, for some reason, it won't play.

Morrigan: (Skipping it) Whatever!

Digging out her notepad, she calls Joenne Mirabello's number and leaves a message.

Morrigan: (Curt) Find a time for us to meet tomorrow and call me back

As she is about to head out the side entrance, Morrigan pauses, zips over to her room, lights the candle, and then heads off towards the beach.

Back at the Fiore farmhouse, Anita goes over the events of the evening with her parents and uncle as Craig offers his support.

Anita: Are you sure about your story, dad?

Frank: (Banging his hand on the table) I don't know how many more times I have to explain it to you, girl - Father Greg was shot, I went outside, there was the gun, Padre Juan was with me when I picked it up - THE END

Craig: (Shrugging his shoulders) A priest backing up your father's story - you can't ask for a better witness

Anita: Maybe, but you can't escape the fact that dad's prints are now on the murder weapon - someone with power and money can easily twist it around to make him look guilty

Hector: (Scoffing) You don't have to tell me that

Craig: (Aside to Anita) But your father's stroke, he doesn't have the strength, anyone can see that

Anita: My father is still an expert hunter

Craig: With a rifle - a handgun is an entirely different matter

Anita: Try explaining that to novice jurors

Carmen: Why would someone want to go after my Frank when the police already have Morrigan McBride? - she admitted to it!

Anita: No... she only admitted that it was her gun

Carmen: (Aghast) Are you standing up for this she-devil?

Hector: Anita is right - I think someone is trying to get to her because of the story

Carmen: (Waving her hand in disgust) AY

Craig: What story?

Hector: I called Morrigan over to the church tonight - I wanted her to meet your mother as a source

Anita: What kind of source?

Hector: She wants to do a piece on the ancient burial grounds

Anita: And why would someone try to stop her from doing that when even the freaking high school newspaper has done a story on it?

Hector: I don't know

Frank: McBride couldn't have killed Father Greg - anyone who risks their life to save a dog certainly doesn't have it in them to kill a man of the cloth!

Carmen: Don't be so quick to judge, Francisco, just because she has a kind face

Hector: And a nice ass, too

Frank, Craig, and Hector cackle as Carmen storms into the kitchen.

Anita: (Glaring at her uncle) HEY

Hector: What? - I was just waiting for you to say it, Anita

Ona Rosa's car speeds up the driveway.

Anita: Ah, good, the relief is here!

Ona Rosa: (Rushing inside) Where's mom? - DAD - my God, tell me everything that happened?

Frank: (Pouring himself a drink) NOT AGAIN

Craig: Where's Sandy?

Ona Rosa: (Hugging her father) With the kids - I don't understand what's going on?

Anita: (Slipping on her jacket) Ma and Tio will fill you in - c'mon Captain, we need to go

Craig: Where?

Anita stares him down.

Craig: See you all later!

The two amble off towards Anita's car.

Craig: Care to fill me in, Lieutenant?

Anita: Time for a little night fishing

Craig: ARE YOU SERIOUS? - NOW?

Anita: McBride is a lot of things but she is not a killer

Craig: So?

Anita: I bet I know exactly where she's at right now

Craig: (Pondering for a second) You think?

Anita: She'd be the first one I'd turn to if I were in this dung pile

Now at the remote beach she passed by earlier in KJ's car, Morrigan strips off her sweats and goes for a swim just past the breakwater.

Morrigan: (Searching in the distance) Dammit, where are you - I really need to talk to you!

Minutes pass by with nothing happening. Morrigan decides to head back to shore. Suddenly, two green arms grab around her waist and direct her towards a jetty.

Morrigan: (Perching herself on a rock) I WISH you would give me some kind of warning

Darkfin: (Joining her) I did... your human ears could not detect it

Morrigan: You... you could have been a shark

Darkfin: Yes, I could have been - it was most unwise of you to swim out here

Morrigan: I needed to see you

Darkfin: I know

Morrigan: You know? - HOW do you know?

Darkfin: I just do

Morrigan: (Throwing her face into her hands) UGH

Darkfin: Why do you need to see me?

Morrigan: (On the verge of tears) I'm in serious trouble... and I have no idea how to save my ass this time

Darkfin: (Reluctantly wrapping her arm around Morrigan's shoulder) Tell me everything

Now sobbing, Morrigan returns the gesture with a desperate hug and recounts the earlier events of the evening. Darkfin senses that they are being observed from afar but does not say or do anything to frighten the already upset woman.

Morrigan: (On the verge of tears) I mean, this is like a chess match and I can barely hold my own at checkers!

Darkfin: I will be here to assist you in all matters

Morrigan: Um, it looks like Kylee Shepperton will be taking over the story I started on the Chumash Burial grounds

Darkfin: (Angered) SHE CANNOT HANDLE IT

Morrigan: SHE'LL HAVE TO WHEN I'M PUT IN PRISON

Darkfin: I will not let this situation get that far

Morrigan: Are you going to risk exposing yourself to save me?

At first, Darkfin turns away and does not respond.

Darkfin: Trust me... I will figure it out

Morrigan: Look, the drilling for the Nereidium overrides both of us - we are going to have to trust others to help us - Gracie Takanachi and Zachary Isaacson are trustworthy...

Darkfin: (Bearing her teeth) I SAID NO - AND THAT IS FINAL

Morrigan: (Just as angry) When you figure it out, be sure to let me know - OH... and we have ANOTHER problem by the name of Joenne Mirabello!

From the edge of the pier, Anita and Craig watch Morrigan and Darkfin through binoculars.

Anita: (Smirking) TOLD YA

Craig: What are we waiting for? - let's go get them!

Anita: (Grabbing his sleeve) HOLD ON - it might be best if we just observe them for now...

Craig: (Stunned) Am I hearing you correctly, Fiore?

Anita: Look, my father has unwittingly become a pawn in this game and I'm going to make DAMN sure he's on the winning side... there's a much bigger, tastier fish out there for us to catch - we simply need to find it

Craig: And how do your propose we do this?

Anita: By using our favorite green sardine and her little buddy as bait

The two return to observing Darkfin and Morrigan as three hooded figures watch all of them from a sea cliff.

Hood: (To the others) MUTATIS MUTANDIS

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