Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Capers and Kippers"

With the shades drawn and the room darkened, Morrigan types away on her keyboard as the Cowboy Junkies "Pale Sun, Crescent Moon" CD plays softly in the background.

Anon1: Why are you not safe, Morrigan, have you been threatened?

MMcB: not overtly

Anon1: Explain

MMcB: it's just a bad feeling i have

Anon1: Then I do not know what I can assist you with

MMcB: it's called 'being there' for me

Anon1: I am right here

MMcB: your cave is not here

Anon1: This is the best I can do right now

MMcB: u still haven't told me what's wrong

Anon1: I made a miscalculation earlier and, as a result, I am ill

MMcB: HOODS???

Anon1: No -- I ate some bad fish

MMcB: y can't i help u?

Anon1: You can help me by staying right where you are

MMcB: i know i can get to concha dos - i'll bring u some maalox

Anon1: For the final time, NO, do not come here under any circumstances

MMcB: i'm being watched, is that it?

Anon1: It is a valid assumption

MMcB: excuse me while i hold up half of a peace sign to the hidden cameras

Anon1: We cannot risk meeting, at least not until I have my strength back

MMcB: when will that b?

Anon1: I am uncertain

MMcB: tell me one thing

Anon1: If I can

MMcB: r u Nunashish?

Anon1: Ah, reading up on Chumash legend finally?

MMcB: answer the question

Anon1: No, there is nothing mystical about me, I am my own kind

MMcB: as u have said b4 - what about The Clergy?

Anon1: That, I cannot answer - they revealed themselves to me the night of the charity ball

MMcB: no rumors about them before?

Anon1: Only rumors, nothing solid

MMcB: i saw Joenne Mirabello tonight

Anon1: And?

MMcB: the feds r salivating over the magic metal

Anon1: That is not surprising

MMcB: is this the only location for it?

Anon1: In this country, yes - there are only two other sources in the world

MMcB: where?

Anon1: I cannot tell you now

MMcB: this whole thing is insane

Anon1: It is actually saner than you would believe it to be

MMcB: whatever - i don't think she knows about u - the specifics, that is

Anon1: Try to keep it that way for as long as possible

MMcB: i'm really tired all of the sudden, please see me tomorrow

Anon1: I shall try

MMcB: no, u shall DO - feel better - 'night!

Overwhelmed with the need for sleep, Morrigan flips off her computer and barely makes it to her bed. She is out the minute she hits the pillow. Over the next hour, she is confronted with wild dreams. They include blurry images, muffled voices, symbols that don't make sense to her, and the last thing she feels is an overwhelming sense of coldness. She screams and opens her eyes. Standing at the foot of her bed is a naked Amethyst, wearing a solitary crystal around her neck.

Morrigan: WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?

Amethyst: (Blank expression) You must come with me... NOW

Inside the Duquesa Bay Yacht & Polo Club's main dining room, Zach finishes touring the small dance floor with Justine. They wave to KJ having dinner with his parents and return to their table.

Justine: (Sipping her drink) I must say, Zachary, I am very impressed - how did you ever get us in here?

Zach: (Trying to figure out what kind of bread he's eating) A source owed me a favor

Justine: What's the occasion?

Zach: Can't I take a beautiful woman out for a decent meal?

Justine sits in silence and raises an eyebrow.

Zach: (Sighing) OK, OK, I need some info

Justine: (To the waiter) Another shrimp cocktail, please!

Zach: (Sarcastic) Be sure to save some room for dessert

Justine: (Winking) Oh, not to worry, I will

Zach: So, now that you know my ulterior motive, can you please tell me about J...

Justine: Father Greg? - or should I say Father Greg's parts?

Zach: (Stunned) Um... right, yeah, go on

Justine: (Impressed with herself) Actually, you should be glad that I'm here to tell the tale at all - I was nearly caught by my boss - thank goodness he had to stop and chat with big boob receptionist because it gave me the extra seconds I needed to get the body back in storage and look all innocent

Zach: (Chuckling) Justi, you never look, "all innocent"

Shooting a squinty-eyed glare at her dinner companion, Ms. Mirabello says nothing.

Zach: (Retreating into his salad) Ahem... please continue

Justine: As I was saying, once I got the padre back all snug in the fridge, I made up a random excuse as to why I was leaving early and went directly to the SCU lab with some tissue samples - Shelby Willis helped me out with the testing

Zach: Is it wise to get her involved with this?

Justine: I trust Shel, we belong to the same Weight Watchers group

Zach: And that automatically grants loyalty?

Justine: It's the same kind of loyalty you have for your pool-playing buddies

Zach: Wow, are you ever screwed!

Justine: Bad example - how about this, we take tennis lessons from the lady sitting at the table to your left

Zach: (Craning his neck) Mrs. von Meer? - really?

Justine: Don't sound so shocked, I can do more than bowl, you know

Zach: (Taking her hand and kissing it) I know

Justine: So, now that we've established Shelby as a trusted source, do you want to hear about our findings?

Zach: Absolutely!

Justine: It turns out Father Gregory Porter is really "Father John Doe"

Zach: What do you mean?

Justine: Try to follow along, Newspaper Boy - here, I'll simplify it for you... he's NOT whom he CLAIMS to be

Zach: And whooom exactly would he be?

Justine: Good question! - I have no idea - the better questions are "why does he have different body parts" and "how could he technically be over 200 years old?"

Zach: (Dropping his fork) WHAT?

Justine: Shhhh - we're in an exclusive club, a club I want to belong to someday, please behave appropriately

Zach: (Trying to find his voice) Those... those were some pretty powerful conclusions you came up with there, Justi, care to elaborate?

Justine: I know, and that's why Shelby and I went over them a half a dozen times and each time, the results were the same - this man, and I use the term lightly, has several different organs from several different people and yet they all worked harmoniously and without rejection... until...

Zach: Until what?

Justine: I'm not sure - but the bullet was the least of his problems

Zach: How is this possible?

Justine: I wish I knew - but it gets even better... the bone sample we took, dates him at around 200 years of age

Zach: Unreal!

Justine: Exactly! - and, of course, my boss is sitting on all of this information, I don't know who he's involved with or what his deal is

Zach: You need to find out

Justine: Eh, no - that's your job, I want to keep mine - why don't you ask Morrigan? - she's the epicenter of this weirdness, maybe she knows something about "the man" she shot?

Zach: I don't think she shot him

Justine: (Digging into her shrimp cocktail) Then, I don't want to find out who did

Zach: (Absently) Huh, and I just wanted to find out about Joenne

Justine: (Aghast) WHAT ABOUT JOENNE? - IS SHE INVOLVED WITH THIS?

Zach: Shhhh - remember, you want to get into this club?

Justine: I DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THIS CLUB...

Everyone turns around and looks.

Justine: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT MY SISTER

Zach: Justine

Justine: TELL ME, ZACH

His cell phone starts to ring.

Zach: (Answering it) Hold on... hello?

Gracie: It's me

Zach: Where are you?

Gracie: I'm on my way back to KCON - when I wiped Morri's machine, I left some dummy files as a decoy and installed a tracker program to signal me when someone tried to access them

Zach: I'm on my way

Gracie: NO, stick with Justine and try to find out some more info - I'll let you know as soon as I know something

Zach: I'll be there in ten

Gracie: ZACH

Isaacson starts to leave the table.

Justine: You are not going ANYWHERE until you finish about Joenne!

Zach: In the car, c'mon, HURRY

KJ and his parents watch as Zach and Justine rush out of the room.

Pauline: (Picking at her entree) I swear, the element the club is attracting lately is cheapening it by the second

KJ: (Chewing) Whatever you say, mom

Pauline: It's one thing for your sister to be antisocial and rude in a place like this but when commoners do it, that's just abysmal!

Karl Sr. (Staring at his pasta) Erika is rarely in a place like this these days

KJ: Commoners? - are we in a royal palace? - behold, ye thin body and golden tan, thou art truly a serf in queen's robes!

Karl Sr.: (Sweating) Son, please don't torment your mother with Elizabethan English at the diner table

Pauline: I'd rather have him torment me with that instead of dating that troublemaker McBride

KJ: (Sighing) Here we go again

Pauline: Look, Griffin tells me that Meeramar is on the verge of something big, you need all of your focus on that, NOT this girl's constant problems

KJ: Dad can handle it

Karl Sr. (Chugging his water glass empty) I want NOTHING to do with Martel's PCOC project, we need to keep Meeramar as far away from this mess as possible

Pauline: THAT'S NONSENSE, KARL

KJ: Why do you say that, dad?

Karl Sr.: BECAUSE... what he's... cough... getting into... wheeze... is going to... gasp... bring us all down

Pauline: (Concerned) Karl?

KJ: Dad, are you alright?

Karl Sr.: (Losing the color in his face) I feel... very cold

The elder von Meer slumps over into his dish.

Takanachi arrives at the station and sneaks in the side entrance. She cautiously approaches the darkened newsroom floor and makes her way towards Morrigan's cubicle. She hears a light tapping on a keyboard.

Gracie: (Peering around the corner) CLARK - WHAT IN THE HELL

Jason: (Jumping up) SHIT, GRACIE, YOU JUST GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK

Gracie: (Angry) WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON MCBRIDE'S COMPUTER?

Jason: (Forcing a smile) What are you doing here so late, G-sneak? - everyone's in studio

Gracie: DON'T PULL ANY DIVERSIONARY BS AND ANSWER THE QUESTION

Jason: (Calmly) I'm just... I'm just trying to find something, that's all

Gracie: (Folding her arms) And what exactly would that be?

Jason: I don't need to answer to you, Fingers

Gracie: Do you want to answer to Gates?

Jason: (Smirking) Is that a threat? - because if it is, I'm sure Turner would LOVE to find out who diddled around with this computer... and my money is on the one with the cute, squishy face standing before me

Gracie: (Aghast) How... wh... SQUISHY? - why do you think it's me?

Jason: (Casually glancing around) I don't see anyone else here, do you?

Gracie sighs and tries to think of what to say.

Jason: Look, if you must know, I'm trying to find out what story McBride was working on before she left - everyone here assumes it's a big one and everyone assumes that it's going to be passed along to Kylee if it hasn't already

Gracie: That's not the only thing that's going to be passed along to Kylee

Jason: So, I figured I'd beat her and everyone else to the punch

Gracie: Why? - you're a sports reporter!

Jason: And that's exactly the reason - you think I want to be stuck shouting final scores the rest of my life? - I want to be a real journalist

Gracie: You do realize you're in broadcast, right?

Jason: Yeah... does Eyes have a job for me at The Beacon?

Gracie: Are you ready to live on peanuts and drive a Geo Prism?

Jason: (Grimacing) Oooh

Gracie: You'll be a chick magnet for sure

Jason: (Flirtatious) As long as I attract one chick in particular, I'll be fine

Gracie: (Blushing) HEY, I'M SUPPOSED TO BE MAD AT YOU

For the first time, the two of them relax and chuckle.

Jason: Seriously, I know I can do this and do a great job with it, I just need to break out of sports and this story will hopefully be my ticket

Gracie: Um, you do know that Morrigan is on the verge of being carted off to prison?

Jason: (Genuinely remorseful) Yes... and I'm real sorry about that - she seems like a sweet girl and if there's anything I could do for her, I would, but I also have to think of my career and the too few opportunities that are out there, especially for people like us

Gracie: I know

Jason: I mean, Christ, no one is circulating out of these jobs anymore - no one can advance up as long as people like Henshaw and Steel have their asses parked there for eternity

Gracie: Heh, did you hear about that anchor in LA finally dropping at 80?

Jason: See what I mean? - I know it's a harsh move to pull on McBride but the game goes on

Gracie: You could try doing what Shepperton does but I don't think Gates is your type

Jason covers his face and gags. Gracie suddenly notices a cut on his upper wrist.

Gracie: Jason... can I ask you something?

Jason: Anything

Gracie: Truth?

Jason: (Holding up his right hand) Word

Gracie: You've been sporting some rather nasty bruises and cuts lately - what is up with that?

Jason: (Short pause) You know I like to play hard - my pick-up games get brutal, no question

As Gracie mulls over this response, the sound of the elevator interrupts.

Jason: NOW WHO?

Gracie: Dammit, we're both going to get our asses kicked for being here - quick, let's hide in Ortega's cube and peek out over his Diana Ross dolls

Jason: (Following her) Good idea

Both are stunned to see a hooded figure float out of the elevator and head their way.

Jason: (Whispering) Who in the hell is that?

Gracie: WHAT in the hell is that?

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