Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Ona Rosary"

On the outskirts of Chaparral Heights, a white limo reflects the dim street lights as it pulls into an industrial complex. Doug Martel steps out of the vehicle and hurries inside an unremarkable three-story office building. There is no one inside as he passes through several elaborate security screenings. The last one requires him to blow into a tube as his pulse and eye are scanned. A large, metallic door flies open and Doug struts inside.

Doug: (Monotone) Activate full display

The darkened room instantly springs to life with lights and charts. A 3D model of the entire Santa Conchita Valley rises up in the center of the room. Doug focuses his attention on a detailed drilling structure at the base of the Kiyomi Mountains.

Doug: Everything is finally in place

He now saunters over to a cabinet, fetches a bottle of aged bourbon and pours himself a drink. As he downs the contents of the glass, he stares at the flowing white robe hanging before him on a hook.

Doug: (Inspecting a sleeve) This needs a good cleaning

The Martel patriarch slips it off the hook and throws it on. He then presses the buttons on a speaker phone. Griffin answers the other end.

Doug: Progress report!

Griffin: (Crackling over the speaker) This fluke storm caused some minor flooding but we’re still ready to go operational in the next few hours

Doug: I want a specific time, not vague projections

Griffin: (Machines whir in the background) Can’t do that, father, all I can give you is the best estimate – we’ve already pushed this project so far ahead of the original time frame, we’re lucky to…

Doug snaps off the call with a flippant finger push. He paces the room and studies the glowing charts when the phone rings back.

Doug: (Answering) What?

Griffin: (On the other end) I am tired of you hanging up on me before I finish and, before you do so again, you need to be made aware of a growing complication!

Doug: That is why I put YOU in charge of overseeing this – it is up to YOU to deal with the complications

Griffin: AND THIS IS WHY I AM OUT HERE IN THE RAIN AND THE MUD AND WHY I GAVE UP GOING TO THE FUNERAL OF THE FATHER OF THE WOMAN WHO MEANS MORE TO ME THAN ANYTHING AND THE MAN WHO WAS MORE OF A FATHER TO ME THAN YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY HOPE TO BE

It is now Griffin’s turn to end the phone call abruptly. Doug sends the phone flying across the room. Before he can turn back to the display, a cold fist knocks him to the floor.

Turner: Get out of my robe!

Doug regains his composure, scrambles to his feet and cowers in the corner. He quickly sloughs off the white garment and timidly hands it over to Turner.

Doug: I apologize

Turner: (Snatching it from him) Your power envy is nauseating, Douglas

Doug: I have proven my loyalty to you, Gates, over and over again – I deserve to be treated better than a faceless underling

Tuner: My sister deserved to be treated better than a faceless broodmare

Doug: HALF sister

Doug is elevated of the ground with a flick of Turner’s hand. He levitates in the middle of the room, gasping for breath.

Turner: Do NOT underestimate my affection for Stephanie and her children – their only misfortune is having you for a father

Doug drops to the floor and thinks twice about going after Turner.

Turner: You are not one of us, Martel, and you never will be

Doug: Without me YOU would not be where you are

Turner: Let’s cut the theatrics and get down to business… what is the status of the drilling?

Doug: I just got off the phone with Griffin…

Turner: So, that is why it is across the room in pieces

Doug: Please don’t interrupt me!

Turner: Go on

Doug: It is set to begin in the next hour or so

Turner: Any problems?

Doug: None

Turner: That’s good – I was concerned the soot from the volcano would clog the pipes

Doug thinks back to what Griffin was trying to warn him about as Turner now dons the white robe.

Doug: My son reports no problems

Turner: (Evil grin) We are so very close

Doug: Yes

Turner: I am pleased Griffin is there to see this through – do you think Karl John will do his share?

Doug: Now that his father is out of the way, thanks to you, he will not be a problem

Turner now paces the room.

Doug: Erika was more of a threat since she had the brains for Meeramar - fortunately for us, she’d rather play with starfish

Turner: (Tapping his fingers together) Hmm

Doug: By the way, I appreciate you getting rid of von Meer – he’s been more of a hindrance than a friend or business partner these last few years

Turner: Do not thank me yet

Doug: (Nearly choking on his tongue) What do you mean? – he’s DEAD, right?

Turner: I’m not certain

Doug: OH, THAT’S PERFECT – not only did I lose my PREMIER TANKER TODAY, it was for NOTHING?

Turner: Do NOT raise your voice to me, Douglas

Doug: What about HER? – has she been taken care of yet?

Turner: SHE is my concern, not yours…

Turner pulls the hood over his head and goes to leave.

Turner: (Before vanishing) The harvesting flock has been dispatched

Sneaking inside the hospital through her usual route, Darkfin does not waste time with a disguise. As two orderlies cross her path in the hall, she knocks them both out before either one can react.

Darkfin: (Hustling down a corridor) Quickly, quickly, quickly

She hears the wheels of a gurney advancing in her direction. She flips up to the ceiling and sticks there as a nurse and patient go by. The half-conscious patient sees Darkfin hanging above him.

Darkfin: (Putting her finger to her lips) Shh

Patient: (To the nurse) What did they give me in this IV?

Darkfin: (Jumping down) Almost there

Darkfin hurries up a flight of stairs and makes it inside the supply room before more doctors walk by.#

Darkfin: Sorry, Stephanie

Opening a large bio hazard bag, Darkfin begins to fill it with syringes, vials, IV bags, pills, and other materials.

Darkfin: (Searching another cabinet) Where did you hide the sodium compounds?

As she goes to reach the top shelf, Darkfin becomes dizzy and falls to the floor. She notices the patches of human flesh getting wider and sprouts of blonde hair on her head.

Darkfin: Not now, please not now!

Darkfin starts to vomit as blood drips from her nose. She does not notice the door open in back of her.

Penny: Need some help, Fish Lady?

Darkfin: Penelope

Penny: (Eyes glowing again) ‘Cause I sure could use yours

Darkfin: (Wheezing) Saline solution… top shelf?

Penny rummages through the supplies and finds a large vile.

Penny: (Holding it up to Darkfin) Is this it?

Darkfin: YES

Aleta Oscura grabs the vile, pops a syringe, fills it with the fluid, and jabs the needle into her neck vein.

Penny: Ouch… cool

Darkfin’s transmogrification does not progress any further.

Darkfin: (Attempting to stand) How… how did you know I was here?

Penny: (Helping her) I wondered about that myself

Darkfin: (Studying her eyes) You are one of them

Penny: I guess I am but I have no idea who or what THEM is

Darkfin: I will explain it to you - another time – I need to get back to…

Penny: (Pushing Darkfin back) Uh-uh, you need to explain it to me right now!

Darkfin: Penelope, please

Penny: Or your little secret WON’T be safe with me

Darkfin: (Pushing the girl back harder) THERE IS NO TIME FOR THIS

Penny: You know, I have Lieutenant Fury on my case about this – maybe we should talk to her? - she’s around here somewhere…

As Penny is about to open the door, all the lights go out. There is a long pause. The hospital’s back-up generator does not kick in. Still no lights as the room is eerily quiet.

Darkfin: Now what?

Penny: They’re here and they’re coming… FAST

At Ona Rosa’s hospital bedside, Anita clutches her sister’s cold, lifeless hand and sobs as monitors and machines barely blink and stir. Hector is behind her as Frank and Carmen sit on the opposite side of the bed and cry.

Anita: Oni… why?

Anita stares at the ligature marks around her neck as a ventilator pushes artificial breath into Ona Rosa’s lungs.

Anita: I don’t understand… are those marks from her rosary beads?

Hector: The nuns found her – they were on their way to evening prayers when… the rosary was around her neck

Carmen wails in anguish and runs into the bathroom to vomit. Frank hobbles after his wife to make sure she is okay.

Anita: (Whispering to Hector) There’s no hope, is there?

Hector: There is always hope… but the doctors say she is brain dead – no one knows how long she was without oxygen before the paramedics arrived – she has arrested three times already

Anita: (Wiping tears) Oh, God

Hector: Stephanie is doing all she can, she has a call out to the best neurologist in LA – we’ll know for sure when she hears from him

Anita: Where the FUCK is Javier?

Hector: I don’t know – we left the kids with the neighbors – the university is doing their best to locate him

Anita: Tell ’em to try all the Motel 6’s

Hector: ‘NITA… not here

Anita: WHY? – she can’t hear me, she’s a god damn turnip now!

Hector: ANITA

Anita: Maybe it’s about TIME she hears what a lowlife cheating piece of shit her husband IS

Hector grabs his niece up out of the chair and forces her away from the bed.

Hector: (In her face) I know how upset you are but you need to STOP your mouth before I put my fist through it, CLARO?

Anita: (Throwing his hands off of her) Go to hell

Carmen and Frank return from the bathroom. They pass by Anita as if she wasn’t there.

Carmen: (Whimpering to her husband) They promised it wouldn’t happen to her… they promised us!

Anita: (Overhearing) PROMISED? – who promised? – what are you talking about?

Carmen is aghast as she realizes she spoke out loud.

Anita: (Pulling her mother’s arm) MAMI?

Frank: (Pushing her away) Not now, Anita

Anita: DO YOU KNOW WHO DID THIS TO HER?

Hector now rushes over and literally pushes Anita out of Ona Rosa’s room.

Hector: Take a walk

Anita: I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SISTER

Hector: I said, TAKE A WALK, ANITA – come back when you can act like an adult

As Anita stumbles back into the hallway, she runs into KJ. He catches the last part of the conversation.

KJ: Your sister? – did something happen to Ona Rosa?

Before Anita can answer, KJ brushes by her and Hector. He hurries into the room and can’t believe his eyes.

KJ: God, OH GOD, NO – WHAT HAPPENED?

Anita glares directly at her uncle and then to her parents.

Anita: ASK THEM

Anita now charges down the hall, past the waiting room, to the elevators. The lights suddenly go out. When everyone realizes the emergency power is not coming on, panic sets in. Doctors and nurses grab flashlights and scurry into patients’ rooms.

Anita: Oh, God – Oni’s machine!

As Anita heads back, she stumbles into Morrigan around the corner. McBride freezes in her tracks before the snarling lieutenant. The ambient light from the windows and the glowing trident reflect on both of their faces.

Anita: YOU… ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS, TOO?

Morrigan steps back and holds the trident in a defensive manner.

Anita: (Preparing to lunge) First, Father Greg, now my SISTER – quemadura en infierno!

Morrigan jumps aside as the hoods fly up the hall towards Anita.

Morrigan: Tell that to them

Anita: (Turning around) Oh, shit

Anita ducks just in time as a hood sweeps down in her direction. Morrigan bats one away with the trident and it goes soaring up into a ceiling panel.

Morrigan: JUST LET THEM GO BY, THEY’RE AFTER SOMETHING

Anita whips out her handgun and unloads into one of them.

The blue hood sputters and collapses to the ground. Morrigan watches the others head down the hall towards Ona Rosa’s room.

Morrigan: Or someone…

Before the hoods can reach the room, they are blown back a concussive wave. Darkfin rounds the corner with Penny following behind with her fingers in her ears. The wave only stuns the brown hoods. The other in blue grabs Darkfin by the throat.

Penny: SO NOT HAPPENING

The Renselier daughter bites the blue hood on the arm. The arm starts to smoke and releases its captor. Penny and Darkfin spin away before the hood explodes into flames.

Morrigan: (Helping Darkfin to her feet) I’d hate to see what would happen if she had braces

Darkfin snatches the trident from Morrigan and goes to work on the remaining hoods.

Anita: Leave some for me!

As Darkfin battles on, Morrigan and Penny stand guard at opposite ends of the hall. Anita crashes a glass case and plucks a fire extinguisher from the wall.

Anita: TIME TO TAKE A POWDER

She empties the contents in the hood’s face and then clobbers it on the head with the canister.

Anita: Time to see who exactly these fucktards are

Anita pulls back the blue hood and wipes away the powder and blood. She squints and holds up a pen light. She is shocked by the face staring back at her.

Anita: JASON CLARK? – what the…

Before she can finish, Jason leaps up with eyes aglow and sends Anita flying across the room. Before he can turn around, the trident bursts through his chest.

Darkfin: One less problem

Morrigan: (Rushing over) JASON? – why?

Darkfin: CONCENTRATE, MORRIGAN, WE ARE NOT FINISHED

The last hood continues for Ona Rosa’s room. Anita chases after it with a potted plant. She catches up to it, hurls the ceramic kitten vase and it shatters against the hood’s back. As it turns around, Anita plucks up a large shard and is about to jam it into the hood’s throat.

Hector: (Stepping between them) ANITA, NO

Anita: Tio?

Hector: It has a job to do

Before Anita can react, Hector knocks her unconscious.

Across the way, Dr. Stephanie Gates is in the middle of treating her youngest granddaughter and several other emergency room patients.

Stephanie: (Barking orders) I WANT ALL NON-CRITICAL CASES EVACUATED INTO THE PARKING LOT, ASAP

Hannah: Ganni, I smell smoke

Stephanie peeks into the hall and stares at a hood on fire.

Stephanie: KEEP IT FROM THE…

Before Stephanie can finish her sentence, it crawls closer to a large oxygen tank. Darkfin sees what is about to happen and flings herself over Morrigan. Penelope lets loose with a blood-curdling scream as she ducks inside a room.

Stephanie: (Throwing herself over Hannah) Save us

A massive explosion rocks the entire hospital.

With the white robe covering his face and body, Turner arrives at an ultra-secluded resort on the edge of the Don Alessandro mountains. The private bungalow overlooks Duquesa Bay where the glow of the hospital fire can be seen in the distance. Outside on the patio, a woman dressed in the same white robe reclines on a chaise.

Turner: (Bowing to her) It is nearly ready

The woman does not answer. She extends her hand for him to kiss it. As he does so, her coral-colored fingernails gleam against the darkness. Cinched around her waist is a helix-like chain loop belt made of Nereidium.

Turner: (Playing with the belt) Our time is nearly here

The woman pulls the belt loose so her robe falls open to reveal her nude body. As Turner bends to admire it closer, she slings the chain around his neck and spins him into the iron fence. The bones in his arm snap like toothpicks as he slams against it.

Woman: My time is already here

She draws the white hood back from her face. Long black braid interrupted with an irregular streak of white fall across Samadara’s body.

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Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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