Year 3, Chapter 4



Inside a small cavern deep beneath the Kiyomis, Amethyst Hill lies curled up on the ground, shivering. Still without clothes, she rocks back and forth, trying to meditate as a folded, blue-colored robe is placed next to her. The Leader of the Clergy enters the chamber and now stands before the prisoner.

White Robe: (Picking up the blue robe and trying to cover her with it) Stubborn child, why must you always defy me?

Amethyst: (Pushing the garment away) I'D RATHER DIE THAN WEAR THAT

White Robe: Considering the temperature will drop to the low 30's in here, you just might

Amethyst: Don't worry, I won't be here that much longer

White Robe: (Reclining against a rock) Oh really?

Amethyst: (Struggling to sit up) You have either two choices - kill me or let me go - and since I'm still breathing, the first option seems a little weak

Gasping for breath, she is suddenly raised to her feet without a hand touching her.

White Robe: Did I not teach you about overconfidence?

Amethyst: (Narrowing her eyes) Yes... YOU DID

The Leader momentarily loses power and snaps backward as Amy gains control over herself.

White Robe: (Now clapping) Brava, your mother would be so proud

Amethyst: (Turning away from the figure) I will NOT let you get to my soul!

The leader silently summons two subordinates in brown robes.

Amethyst: (Watching) You can force whatever you want on me, physically, but I will never comply

White Robe: We shall see

With a simple gesture, the leader directs the other two to keep the squirming woman in place as the blue robe is quickly wrapped around her.

White Robe: (Gently pulling the hood around her face) Why must you struggle against your destiny, why?

Amethyst: It is no longer a destiny I choose to follow

White Robe: HA, as if you had a choice in the matter!

Amethyst: There is always a choice

White Robe: Come, come - I raised you better than that


White Robe: (Now pacing) Not so long ago, you were a very willing participant in this - why do you think the Marked One ended up living under your roof?

Amethyst: I will admit to being led astray by your prophecies - NO LONGER

White Robe: Fight me all you want but you cannot fight what will be - you are aware of the time - you watch the constellations at night

Amethyst: I am also aware that plans do not always go accordingly

White Robe: How very true - follow me!

With the brown figures on either side, Amy reluctantly follows the leader through the cavern into an open chamber. They are looking down from the craggy rock cliff.

White Robe: You are indeed right for I cannot kill my own flesh - but before I return you to your pretty kitties and precious vegetable garden, you might want to consider this...

The leader snaps his fingers and four blue robes appear at the bottom of the chamber. They are carrying in a limp, badly battered man with his eyes blindfolded. Amy angles for a closer look.

Amethyst: No, no... not him - PLEASE

White Robe: We found your friend wandering, looking for something... or someone

Amethyst: ZAAACH

He does not respond.

White Robe: Now that you are aware of the price, be sure to bring us Morrigan by tomorrow eve


Outside the von Meer estate, an enraged Erika has Stephanie pushed up against the sidewall of the garage.


Stephanie: (Struggling) ERIKA, STOP THIS AT ONCE


A florist van pulls up into the driveway, causing both women to step back.

Stephanie: I know you're upset, honey, but this is not going to help

Erika: And I know you're lying to me, Stephanie, you have the same guilty eye twitch as your son

Stephanie: What did Griffin say to you?

Erika: Griffin has nothing to do with this... but I know you do - you know I can do just about anything in this town with my family's name and money and if that means buying every single coroner from here to San Diego to tell me the truth about what really happened, I will!

Stephanie rubs her face and stands in silence.

Erika: KJ and my mother might be too grief-stricken to question the "foul-up" with his body but I don't believe it, not for a second - and since you were the last attending physician to see him... DO YOU NEED ME TO KEEP SPELLING IT OUT FOR YOU?

Stephanie: Erika, PLEASE

Erika: Or maybe we'll bring Kylee Shepperton over here and let the KCON viewers decide!

Stephanie: ENOUGH - get into my car!

Erika: This better not be a diversionary trip

Stephanie: You'll see

The two hop into a tan SUV and take off.


At the abandoned field house on the edge of Fiore Farms, Hector Tapia paces beside the bed of an unconscious Karl Senior.

Hector: I'm going to have a hell of a time getting you into the car by myself

He starts to pack some medical equipment in a bag.

Hector: Stephi is going to kill me, especially if you drop dead... but my family suspects something is going on down here - Francis is already knee-deep in his own shit with the shooting, I'm not about to involve the others

Riding down a dirt path on her motorcycle, Anita comes up on the house and searches for her uncle.


Hector: (Dropping the bags) Shit!

He rushes out the door before she can come inside.

Hector: 'Nita - I thought you had a Coast Guard meeting to get to?

Anita: (Trying to peer inside) I do but I wanted to make sure everything was cool down here... is it?

Hector: It's fine, perfecto!

Anita: Es verdad?

Hector: Really - just a few vagrants looking for some shelter

Anita: This is not the Hotel Fiore

Hector: Where is your compassion, chica?

Anita: I'm pretty much out of it these days - especially with all of the weird crap that's been happening

Hector: (Still blocking the door) They are just harmless vagrants

Anita: Good, they can go be harmless under the pier with all of the others

Hector: I cannot believe I am hearing these words out of your mouth - forget compassion, where is your tolerance?

These words freeze Anita momentarily.

Anita: I will not tolerate my family in danger

Hector: Like I said, they are harmless - in need of a roof and a good meal

Anita: Then take them to the mission, let JC come up with the loaves and fishes to feed them

Hector: They pose no threat to Frank and Carmen

Anita: How can you be so sure?

Hector: I've seen enough in prison to know whom I can trust

Anita: You always have to throw that out there, don't you?

Hector: My instincts are reliable

He looks down at her wrist in a brace.

Hector: Can you say the same about yours?

Anita: That's a low blow

Hector: You never did say what really happened to you and Craig in the copter

Anita: Quit trying to change the subject

Hector: I'd like to know

Anita: That makes two of us

Hector: You know, you can tell me anything - you always have

Anita: I know that and I would if I could - para seguro!

Hector: You've also been tight-lipped about this Marcy woman

Anita: (Sighing) Literally

Hector: Is she just another one of many or is she special to you?

Anita: Look, Hector, another time - what I really need to know is if you know anything about my bracelet?

Hector: You mean abuelita's?

Anita: Whatever

Hector: Not much, that's your mother's legacy - it was passed down to her - why are you curious?

Anita: I need to find out more about it... there's something about it

Hector: I could ask your mother for you?

Anita: (Glancing at her watch) No, that's OK - I need to take off for my meeting - wish me luck... and I want these bums off of the property, pronto!

Hector: Do you honestly think I would put my own sister in danger?

Anita: Not intentionally - now go ask Oni about one of her charities and get them another place to stay - hell, here's twenty bucks, take them for some tacos when you leave

Hector: They'll be gone before you get back, I promise

Anita: (Walking back to her bike and waving her hand) Gracias!


On the way to the Fiore property, Stephanie explains what she knows about Karl's poisoning to Erika.

Erika: (Softly) Thank you for taking care of him

Stephanie: Always

Erika: Have you isolated the toxin yet?

Stephanie: Not entirely, there is still a very strong chance he could die

Erika: (Eyes filled with tears) I'll figure it out in the lab but first I must see him

Stephanie: We're almost there

Erika: I'm sorry for the way I treated you earlier - I was upset

Stephanie: You still are... and have every right to be

Erika: How come you trusted me?

Stephanie: I've known you since before you were born, Erika - there's no way you could have done this to your father - and you were well on your way to figuring the situation on your own

Erika: But you still suspect my mother or KJ?

Stephanie: No, but I don't know who they are in contact with - I just can't take the chance of more people knowing - having you know is enough of a risk

Erika: Can we trust Hector?

Stephanie: It was a spur-of-the-moment decision but I believe it was the right one - no matter what has happened between us, we share a unique bond

Erika: She has your eyes, you know

Stephanie: Please, not now

Erika: Forgive me

A radio news update blares the latest headlines, focusing on the supposed death of Karl. Stephanie goes to turn it off but Erika stops her.

Erika: Wait!

They now mention the on-going manhunt for the still missing Morrigan McBride.

Erika: (Rubbing her hands) I need to find her before they do

Stephanie: What?

Erika: Nothing, nevermind

Before Dr. Gates can question the von Meer daughter any further, Anita Fiore comes zooming down the road towards them.

Erika: Dammit, we don't need to deal with her right now!

Stephanie: Keep calm and let me handle this

Erika: Gladly

Stunned by the sight of Stephanie's SUV headed down the back road to her property. Anita slows down and pulls up alongside the window.

Anita: (Taking off her helmet) Dr. Gates?

Stephanie: Hello, Anita, how are you?

Anita: What are you doing here?

Stephanie: I have some business with your Uncle Hector

Anita: (Spying Erika in the car) Really? - huh, I must say that I'm kinda surprised to see you here, Dr. von Meer... sorry about your dad

Erika: (Gritting her teeth) Thank you

Stephanie: I was just taking her on a ride to clear her head - we need to speak with Hector for a moment and then we'll be on our way

Anita: He's probably still at the field house taking care of some bums

Stephanie:(Nearly choking on her breath) Bums?

Anita: Yeah - I should be helping out but I need to report to HQ

Erika: (Scowling) Don't let us keep you!

Anita: Actually... I still have a few moments - maybe I'll follow you two back in case you need an extra hand

Erika: (Peering at the wrist brace) How IS your hand, Anita? - are you sure you can handle a motorcycle with your injury?

Anita: I can handle it fine... thank you for your concern

Erika: How exactly again did you hurt it?

There is a long, silent pause.

Anita: You know what? - I actually do need to get going - please give your family my condolences, Rikka... my sister should be over there with a casserole soon - if there's anything else we can do, be sure to give us a call!

Erika: (Monotone) Thank you

Stephanie: Bye, Anita!

And with that, the two vehicles drive off in opposite directions. Stephanie and Erika reach the field house just as Hector is loading some equipment into his car.

Stephanie: Hey, Hector - what are you doing?

Hector: I'm getting him out of here - Anita almost found out and it's only a matter of time before Carmen and Frank start stumbling around - WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE?

Without saying a word, Erika rushes inside to see her father.

Stephanie: It's okay, she's safe

Hector: Are you sure about that?

Stephanie: I'm not sure about anything anymore

Hector: We still need to get him out of here

Stephanie: Where are you taking him?

Hector: I have some friends up north that owe me a favor - they have a cabin about two hours from here

Stephanie: NO - he'll never survive the trip!

Hector: I'm running out of options, Stephi!

Stephanie: We'll take him to the Quartz Lake Inn

Hector: Oh right - we'll just check him in with the baggage

Stephanie: Big Joe will take care of us

Hector: You're bringing in another outsider? - this whole town will know about Karl by nightfall

Stephanie: Joe is a former priest, he can be trusted

Hector laughs and shakes his head.

Stephanie: Let's move

They hurry inside to find Erika silently grasping her father's hand and holding back the tears.

Erika: (Barely above a whisper) His vitals are very weak

Stephanie: (Coming over and checking Karl) I know, sweetie, but we have no choice - help me with his transfer

Erika: Where are we going?

Hector: (Packing up more gear) To the Quartz Lake Inn

Erika: Of course - Joe is back at the house but I know how to get in through the wine cellar

Stephanie: (Unhooking an IV bag) Let's make it quick but careful

Erika: (Looking up) Mr. Tapia

Hector: Hector, por favor!

Erika: Hector... thank you for everything

Hector: No problem - it has actually given me some wonderful source material for my current literary project

Stephanie: (Exasperated) Still dreaming about the great unwritten novel, Hec?

Hector: It's almost done, it really is

Erika: (Double checking everything) I think we're all set

Stephanie: (Putting a hand on the senior von Meer's leg) Hang on, Karl, time for another ride

Hector: Let's go!


Now dressed in a velour jog suit borrowed from the Quartz Lake gym, a fully cognizant Morrigan anxiously awaits Joe Tiszo's return.

Morrigan: (Still limping with her bandaged foot) This is crazy, I need to do something - I can't just stay here!

She pulls the hood of the jacket over her head and packs a few bottles of water in a sack.

Morrigan: I have to get to Concha Dos... I have to get to her

Before Morrigan can climb the stairs leading out of the cellar, a service elevator suddenly opens on the opposite side.

Morrigan: (Under her breath) Shit!

She hobbles quickly in back of some wine racks and observes the scene before her. Hector, Stephanie and Erika wheel in Karl senior. Morrigan gasps in astonishment causing Erika to look in her direction.

Hector: Did you hear something?

Erika: (Turning away) No, keep him steady - his blood pressure is fluctuating

Stephanie: It was probably just a rat - let's hope Joe gets back soon so we can get Karl into a proper room

The three continue to set up Karl in the cellar as Morrigan is frozen silent.

Hector: I'm going back upstairs to keep an eye out - do you need anything?

Stephanie: As tempting as Joe's chardonnay is, I think we'd be better off with some water

Erika: Actually, Steph, would you mind getting it? - I'd like to spend some time with my father alone

Stephanie just stares at Erika for a minute.

Erika: Don't worry, I'm not going to kill him

Stephanie: (Guilty expression) I was not thinking that

Erika: (Taking her hand and squeezing it) Yes, you were thinking that... thank you for being so protective of him

Stephanie: I'll be back in a few minutes - come on, Hector

After the two leave, Erika places a soft kiss on her father's forehead and casually makes her way towards the wine racks. Morrigan holds her breath and slowly creeps behind another rack. The two play a short game of maze chase until Morrigan ends up backing into Erika.

Morrigan: Oh... hi - your father's okay - are you okay?

Unable to find the right words to respond with, Erika reaches out and pulls Morrigan into a hug.




Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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