Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Lost Future #3 "Court Martial" pt. 1/2


YUCATAN PENNICLIA
MEXICO
UEO RESEARCH PROJECT--WATERTOWN

Nathan Bridger hated military parades and this UEO transport was essentially that,a parade.The only high point of this whole trip was seeing Kristen Westphlan again.Nathan smiled,he had always wondered how she mad charmed Noyce into letting her head the UEO's most prestigious research facility.But then again Kristen always had a soft spot for marine biology.
He heard Jonathan Ford order docking proceedors,Nathan sighed.It was time to put on his parade clothes.Time to go get their guest.

Doctor Kristen Westphlan unconsciencely rung her hands as she paced the hallway outside the pressure lock.With nervous brown eyes she had watched the second ship to bear the Seaquest name pull up.
Was she really prepared to do this?
Was she really prepared to throw away her career?
Everything she had worked so long and hard for?
She already knew what the answer was.

Kristen stopped pacing as the computer said the airlock was pressurized.She put on her brightest smile.Having served on the previous Seaquest Kristen knew all the security precedures.She knew two guards would come out head of Nathan and his dignified guest would be allowed in after the area was 'secure'.
The small light above the door turned green and a small hiss of air escaped as the door rolled open.
Two Seaquest guards,at attention stepped out.
Kristen smiled softly as Nathan Bridger barreled his way out of the airlock.

Both guards spun around as if they'd been set on fire,"Captain!The area hasn't been secured!!"

Nathan rolled his blue eyes as he glanced at Kristen,"Gentleman relax,this is a research facility not a warzone."

The guards sheepishly stepped aside.

"Hello Kristen."Nathan said warmly,his blue eyes revealing that he wanted to say so much more.

"Nathan."Kristen said in a strong British accent returning Nathan's smile.

'UEO politics.' a voice inside Nathan's head hissed,forcing his attention back to his guest,"Secratary Norman Collins I'd like you to meet Doctor Kristen Westphlan."

Time seemed to go in slow motion as Kristen did the last thing in the world Nathan Bridger ever expected her to do.
He had barely gotten the word Westphaln out when he saw Kristen dive for the nearest guard and yank out his gun.He saw her set it to kill.

"KRISTEN,NO!!"Nathan shouted starting to move toward her.But it was too late.

Kristen began to squeeze the trigger,"That is for my father."She said bitterly as The current head of the UEO lay dead at Nathan's feet,"And I hope you rot in hell."

Nathan's instincts took over as he tackled her to the ground,"Kristen,do you realize what you've just done?"

Kristen didn't reply,her beautiful sable eyes blank and transfixed.

"Kristen,you've just assassinated the Secretary of the UEO!"

Kristen just sat in Nathan's arms,a smile on her face,"I've finally done it Father.I've finally gotten your revenge."

Commander Jonathan Devin Ford was wearing his usual path in the Bridge floor when Miguel Ortiz drew his attention.

"Commander!"Miguel Ortiz called spinning his chair around,"Somebody just fired several shots down there!"

Ford was instantly at Communication head Tim O'Neil's side,"What?!O'Neil,get the Captain!"

Tim O'Neil unconsciencely pushed his wire rim glasses back up his nose as he hit a few keys,"Captain Bridger this is the Seaquest."

Silence.

"Seaquest to Captain Bridger please respond."

Silence.

"Seaquest to Captain Bridger please respond."

Tim looked at Ford and shook his head.

Jonathan reached passed him and hit a button,"Williams?"

Still no answer.

"Anderson?"

If it was one thing Jonathan Ford hated more than anything it was not knowing,"What the hell is going on down there?!Somebody answer me?!"

Ford was both getting concerned and infuriated at the silence.

"BRODY!!"Jonathan barked out causing everyone to jump.

The blond,blue eyed Security chief was instantly at Ford's side,"Yes,Sir?"

"Take Lucas go see what the hell is going on down there."
Brody didn't waste time replying and motioned to seventeen year old Lucas Wolenczak to meet him at the clam doors.

Ford's concerned voice halted him,"Brody,take Dr.Smith with you."

Jim Brody nodded in understanding and told the Mag-Lev to stop at Med-Bay.

*******

Lieutenant Jim Brody raced out the pressure lock and came to a sudden halt.So sudden that Lucas and Wendy slammed into him.
He never expected to see Nathan Bridger handcuffed and the UEO Secretary on the floor,dead.

Brody glared at the nearest security guard,"Ensign!Take those handcuffs off the Captain,now!"

The young guard looked akward,but didn't move.

"He's been ordered not too,Lieutenant and I'm giving you the same order."

Brody's blue eyes showed his confusion.

Wendy Smith glanced up at Brody,"He's dead."

Lucas came out from behind Brody and yanked the keys from Ensign Williams,"This is a mistake."He said as he started to put the key in the small lock.

Nathan twisted away from him,"That goes to you too,Lucas."

Lucas was flabergasted,"Captain,why?"

Nathan did his best to look defeated and solem,"You don't turn traitors loose,Lucas."He turned to Brody,"You arrest them."

Jim Brody looked extremely awkward,"Captain...."

"That's an order,Lieutenant!"Nathan Bridger said more harshly than he intended to.

Brody looked like he wished he was anywhere else,"Nathan
Bridger I'm placing you under arrest for the Murder of Norman Collins.You have the right to remain silent.If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you...."

As Lucas stared in shock he heard his PAL beep,"Yea?"

Ford's worried voice came back,"Lucas,what's going on down there?"

Lucas's blue eyes found Kristen's,"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me."

"Commander,Collins is dead."

"WHAT?!"Ford yelled causing Lucas to hold the PAL away from his ear.

"That's not the worst of it."

"There's more?"Ford asked,increadously.

"Commander,the Captain was just arrested for Collins's assassination."Lucas said slowly,thinking how strange those words sounded together.

*******

UEO General Hank Timmons's black eyes widened to the size of half dollars,"COLLINS IS DEAD?!"

Acting Captain of the Seaquest,Jonathan Ford paced the Ward room as Timmon's face glowered from the small screen,"Believe me,General it gets worse."

Timmons face seemed to fill the screen,"How worse,Jonathan?"

"Nathan's been arrested."

Timmon's black eyebrows shot up,"Bridger arrested?On what charge?"

"The assassination of Secretary Norman Collins."

********

"Could you give us a minute alone,please?"Kristen asked the guard.

The guard hesitated,but retreated to the hallway.

Kristen stared through the green energy bars that crisscrossed the brig's door,"Nathan,why?"

Nathan rose from his seat,"Don't you know by now,Kristen that I would do anything to protect you?"

Kristen stomped her foot in frustration,"Nathan,it was my fight.I was prepared to suffer the consequences."

"No you weren't,"Nathan shook his head,"You thought you were,but you weren't."

"Nathan,you're going to be courtmartialed.You have to tell them the truth."

Nathan spread his arms out,"You think I care about the Navy?Kristen,the only reason I ever let Noyce talk me back was because of this boat."

Kristen was about to reply when the guard came back,"I'm sorry Doctor,but your times up."

Kristen's brown eyes met Nathan's blue ones as she followed the young guard out of the Brig.

********

Jonathan Ford paced his quarters,talking to his wife always helped him think.

"Katie,this just doesn't make any sense."

Katie Hitchcock Ford balanced one month old Joshua on her knee as her blue eyes glanced at her husband with concern,"Jonathan,he would never kill anybody.Especially not the Secretary of the UEO."

Jonathan stopped and turned to face the small screen,"Katie,did I completely misread the man?"

Katie shook her head fiercely,auburn hair flying,"No,Jonathan.We both served with him too long.There's a piece missing from this whole mess."

Jonathan sighed,"And unfortunately that's my job to find out."He smiled at his son,"Katie,do me a favor;call Kristen.See what you can get out of her.She witnessed the whole thing."

Katie smiled,"Sure,I've been meaning to call her anyway."She paused as she studied her husband,"Jonathan, are you alright?"

Jonathan sighed as he stared at his son for a long moment,"Yeah,I just wish I was home with the two of you instead of arresting Nathan Bridger for treason."

Katie smiled softly,"It'll all work out,Jonathan.I'll call back tonight to see how you are."

Jonathan nodded,"I love you."

Katie smiled,"I love you,too."

********

Nathan Bridger felt Jonathan Ford's harsh,disappointed stare even before the Commander,or should he say Captain entered the room.

Nathan didn't get up as Jonathan approached the cell.Instead he relaxed and crossed his arms behind his head,"Jonathan."

"Captain,what's going on?"

Nathan smiled,"I think you know the answer to that,Captain."

Ford winced at his new title,"You and I both know you didn't kill anyone,so why don't you level with me?"

Nathan still didn't look at him,"I snapped for a moment,Jonathan.It happens all the time."

Jonathan shook his head fiercely,"No it doesn't."Ford had a sudden flash of insight,"You're covering for someone."

He saw Bridger's body stiffen.

"That's it isn't it?"

Nathan remained silent,"Captain,I can't help you if you don't tell me."Ford motioned to the guard to stand by the door controls,"You tell me right now that you're innocent and I'll get the UEO to launch a full scale investigation to find the real killer."

"No!"Nathan said more forcefully than he intended,"Jonathan,quit fighting for me.Its over.I had a moment of weakness and I'm willing to suffer the consquences."

Ford shook his head,"No,Captain I'm not going to quit.You helped me through the worst time in my life.I can at least return the favor."

Jonathan turned to leave,but Nathan's soft voice halted him,"Please,Jonathan if you want to return that favor;let justice take its course."

Jonathan turned to face his commanding officer.A man who had long ago earned his respect,"I can't."

Nathan shook his head in exsperation,"Why can't you,Jonathan?Why can't you let the courtmartial happen?Why can't you assume command of the Seaquest?Its what you've always wanted?"

Jonathan smiled,only slightly,"Because its not right."
With that statement,Commander Jonathan Devin Ford turned on his heel and left the brig.

*******

"Oh,look how big he's gotten."Kristen Westphlan said softly staring at little Joshua's smiling face.

"He has a healthy appitite."Katie said with a soft smile as she shifted her son to her other knee.

Katie studied her friend,when Kristen didn't respond right away.

"Kristen,are you alright?"Katie asked,letting her concern show,"What really happened down there?"

Kristen felt her face pale,"Katie,you best put that darling little one to sleep.I'll try to visit you as soon as I can."

Kristen didn't miss Katie's concerned frown as she ended the call.

********

"Jonathan something's not right with this whole mess."Katie said a few hours later.Joshua sound asleep for the moment.

"I know,Katie.I gave Nathan every opportunity to say he was innocent and he just begged me to drop it.Have you had a chance to talk to Kristen?"

Katie nodded,"I talked to her as soon as I got off the phone with you.Jonathan,I couldn't get anything out of her.Everytime I brought up the shooting she kept changing the subject."

Jonathan let out a long sigh as he sat down in a winged back leather chair.Looking every inch like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders,"Katie,I don't know what to do here.Do I go along with what Nathan wants and just stand by and watch him be courtmartialed for something I know he didn't do.Or do I investigate and possible stir up more trouble?"

Katie shook her head,"What does the UEO want you to do?"
Jonathan sighed,"The court-martial is going to take place here."

Katie did a doubletake,"On board Seaquest?!"

Jonathan nodded,"Poetic isn't it?

"Jonathan,is that all that's going to happen?"

Jonathan glanced up at his wife,"What do you mean?"

Katie held up her hands,"Is he just going to be courtmartialed?Jonathan,we both know the sentence for treason."

Jonathan Ford literally shoved up the shirt sleeves of his blue uniform,"That's it.Whether he wants my help or not,he's going to get it.."

********

At 0900 hours the next day General Hank Timmons and his 'entourage' arrived on the Seaquest.Some of them out for Nathan's blood the others just want to find out what happened.

Kristen Westphlan paced the guest quarters.Ford had called her to tell her that the trial was to begin at two that afternoon.
It should be her trial.She had done all the planning and thought the consequences through.Why had Nathan Bridger stepped in to try to protect her?
Was it possible that he still had feelings for her?After how badly their relationship had ended?After all the harsh and angry words?
Kristen let out a long sigh.She knew this was going to be a long and difficult day.

*******

Jonathan Ford paced his quarters.He hated this whole mess.Latestest development,Nathan Bridger had denied an attorney.Which shouldn't really have surprised Jonathan.
Nathan had insisted to him more than once that he was a condemned man.And condemned men don't need attorneies,right? Well,whether Nathan liked it or not he was at least going to have representation.

Jonathan glanced at his watch.TIme was running out. Where the hell was that launch from Myrtle Beach?

Jonathan jumped slightly as his comscreen beeped,"Ford?"

Tim O'Neil's slightly harried voice came back,"Commander you wanted to know when MR-4 arrived.It just docked."

Jonathan relaxed,"Thank you,Mr.O'Neil."
He headed out the door it was time to go get his father.

*******

General Thomas Ford,retired ducked as he fit his six foot two inch frame through the airlock.
Thomas Ford was a handsome man in his mid seventies.He had been surprised by his son's request to represent Nathan Bridger at his court-martial since it was the first thing his son had ever asked of him.

He had enlisted in the Navy at eighteen,fresh out of high school.Naive and anxious to see the world.He had gotten interested in the Law while serving on an aircraft carrier.Luckily,he had a supportive Commanding officer who let him take some night classses.He was thirty five when he finally graduated from law school.The UEO offered him a job and he had been with them ever since.

Even though he had been forced to retire at Seventy he still had a small lucrative practice in his home town of Chicago.Which was fine with him,since he could be close to his wife of nearly fifty years and now his new grandson.
Thomas saw several Seaquest crew members straighten to attention and glanced up to see his son coming down the hallway.

Jonathan Ford enveloped his father in a huge hug,"Dad,thanks for coming."

"Your welcome."Thomas said as they started back toward
Jonathan's quarters,"You must have known how board I was getting with shuffleboard."

Jonathan laughed,causing startled glances from pacing crewmembers,"Dad,you've never played shuffleboard a day in your life and you know it."

Thomas turned serious,"Now what's all this nonsense I hear about Nathan Bridger killing Norman Collins?"

Jonathan ushered his father into his quarters before replying,"Dad,it just doesn't make any sense.I've given him every opportunity I can think of to say he's innocent.But he just refuses.He just keeps begging me to drop my investiagtion,just let him be court-martialed."

Thomas sat down on the bunk,"But you can't."

Jonathan shook his head fiercely as he put down his father's suitcase,"I know he didn't kill him.I know he's protecting someone,most likely Kristen.But he won't admit it.I can't just stand by and watch him stand trial for something he didn't do,Dad.Not after all he did for me when I thought Katie was gone........"Jonathan's voice broke as his eyes closed at the bad memory.

Thomas Ford stood,seeing his son's pain.He clasped Jonathan on the shoulder,"I know,son."He glanced around Jonathan's quarters for the first time,"Nice place.How about a tour after I talk to my client."Thomas did a double take back at his son,"He does know about me,right?"

Jonathan studied his feet,"He will in a few minutes."

********

Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz wished he were anywhere else but in the Seaquest ward room which was doubling for a court room.He unfortunately had been drafted into the role of a bailiff.

Miguel sighed as he heard General Hank Timmons bang the gavel.'At least he had a good view of the proceedings.'
Miguel jumped as he heard Timmons clear his throat.His face turned sheepish as realized he had missed his cue.

Miguel cleared his throat,"United Earth Ocean/Organization's court-martial hearing of Nathan Bridger.General Hank Timmons, presiding."

Hank Timmons sighed as he glanced at the standing room only,Ward room,"Thank you,Mr.Ortiz."

Timmons sighed again,at least he didn't have to deal with the press.He cleared his throat as he turned to the prosecution.

Nathan Bridger squirmed in his seat.He just wanted this all too be over.Though knowing Timmons as he did,Nathan knew this was going to be a very long trial. Nathan felt a smirk on his face,amybe not as long as the Simpson trial of the late 1990's,but it'll come close.Timmons was no Lance Ito but he hated the press just as much.Which was probably why seaquest was the spot for the trial.

Kristen shifted nervously in the first row of chairs.This wasn't right.She couldn't let Nathan go through with this She was about to stand,to dismiss this whole mockery of a trial when she felt Nathan's warning gaze.She sighed and settled back into her seat.

When they had talked in Nathan's cell he had told her no matter how ugly it got,not to say a word.They both knew that Nathan would more than likely just get a slap on the wrist,but if they were to find out Kristen,a civilian had killed Collins.Well,let's just say the UEO wasn't beyond the death sentence for prisoners convicted of high treason.
Kristen's brown eyes flew back to Timmons as he pounded his gavel.

"Listen up.This is an unusual case from the start.A respected Captain."Timmons paused glancing at Nathan,"Accused of murdering the Secretary of the UEO.I'm setting ground rules before this case gets out of hand.No one who has a key part of this trial will give any interviews.Plus,I will not have this courtroom turned into a circus.Any theatrics and I'll clear this room."He paused glancing at the crowd,"Understood?"

Murmurs of 'Yes,your Honor' came from both sides.

"Alright them,let's get this thing over with."Hank Timmons turned to the prosecution,"Ms.Hansen,are you ready to call your first witness?"

Lieutenant Commander Kelsey Hansen brushed a stray red hair from her face as she rose to her feet,"Yes,Your Honor.The UEO calls Lieutenant Jim Brody to the stand."

Nathan wasn't surprised.It made sense considering Brody was first on the scene.He just hoped Brody didn't do anything stupid like lie on the stand.

Ortiz gave Brody a small smile as he placed a leather bond Bible in front of him,"Raise your right hand.Do you swear to tell the whole truth,so help you God?"

Jim's blue eyes found the Captain's,"I do."

"Be seated."Timmons said as Brody took the witness chair.

Kelsey Hansen walked slowly around the prosecution table as she began her questions,"Lieutenant,what is your current duty?"

Jim cleared his throat,"Security Chief."

Kelsey nodded,her green eyes sparkling,"And you led the team that discovered Secratary Collins' body,correct?"

Brody nodded,"Yes,after we discovered shots had been fired and none of our team was answering Commander Ford sent us down to investigate."

Kelsey tapped a pencil against her fore finger,"And 'us' would be?"

Jim Brody shifted in his seat,"Lucas Wolenczak and Doctor Wendy Smith."

Kelsey nodded,"And what was the condition of Nathan Bridger when you found him?"

Jim's blue eyes glanced at the Captain,who nodded,"When we arrived he had handcuffs on."

"And where was Secretary Collins?"

"He was on the floor."

"Doing what?"

Jim smiled,not being able to resist he said,"You can't do very much when you're dead."

Laughter spun around the room.

Timmons banged his gavel,"That's enough,Lieutenant.Save the wisecracks for the locker room."

Brody winced,"Yes,Sir."

Kelsey stifled a sigh,"Alright,we've established that Collins was already dead when you arrived.Where was the weapon?"

Jim Brody thought for a long moment.So long that the prosecution repeated her question.

"Lieutenant,where was the weapon?"

Brody glared at her slightly,"I'm trying to remember."Finally he replied,"I don't recall seeing one, Councler."

Shocked murmurs spread through the crowd.

Kelsey's green eyes glared at the blond,blue eyed lieutenat,"You're supposedly in charge of security,but you don't look for a murder weapon?!"

Jonathan's father shot up,"Objection!Mr.Brody is not on trial here."

Kelsey looked at the judge,"I'm trying to establish the witness's credibility.If there's a coverup here,the UEO has a right to lead its own investigation."

Timmons nodded,"Overruled."

Nathan winced and glanced at Thomas Ford.Grateful to Jonathan that he had called him.
Thomas Ford stifled a sigh and slowly sat back down.Score one for the prosecution.

Timmon's glanced at Brody,"The witness will answer the question."

Jim Brody forced himself to relax,"I didn't look for a weapon right away,because I assumed it was one of the guard's guns that would be accounted for later.My main concern was getting the handcuffs off of Bridger."

Kelsey Hansen paced slightly,"So you're admitting you tried to cover for your commanding officer?"

Brody shook his head,"No,I mean yes.I tried,but he ordered me not to."

Kelsey nodded skepticly,"And that was the end of it?"

"Yes."

"Has the weapon been accounted for?"

Brody's expression turned uncomfortable,"No."

Thomas Ford shot up,"Your Honor,we can't have a murder trial without a murder weapon!"

Hansen rolled her eyes,"Your Honor the Defense is clearly grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to get more time.There have been hundreds of documented cases of murderers being convicted without the murder weapon."

Timmons sighed inwardly as he glanced at the chronometer.
"If you two would relax for a moment and put your gloves away."

Both lawyers backed off.

"Okay,let's break for now.Give the investigating team time to locate the missing murder weapon.Court resumes at ten tommorrow morning."

With a final pound of the gavel,the room slowly began to clear.

*********

Lucas Wolenczak's stomach growled,waking him up.Not that he had slept much anyway.He sighed,rolling over he saw Darwin looking depressed as a dolphin could look.
Seeing how depressed Darwin was only made Lucas more adgitated,and worried.He threw off his covers,knowing that if he didn't talk to Nathan he would give himself an ulcer.
Lucas landed with a loud thump from his top bunk.

"Wolenczak,you make any more noise and I'll have to pulverize you."A tired Italian voice muffled from the bottom bunk.

Lucas was instantly sheepish,"Sorry,Tony.Go back to sleep.I just have to talk the the Captain."

At that Tony Piccallo was instantly awak,"Wolenczak,you can't due that.You're a witness for the prosecution tommorrow,remember?"

Lucas winced,"That's exactly why I have to talk to him,Tony.I know he didn't do this."

Tony sighed,wiping sleep from his eyes,"I know he didn't ethier.None of this makes any sense.But why risk a contempt sentance,Lucas?"

Lucas's hand was on the door wheel,"Tony,he's been there for me more times than I can count.He's the only person who's ever loved me like a Father should.I can't let him go through this without at least talking to him."

Tony sighed,knowing he wasn't getting any more sleep that night,"Hold up,Wolenczak."Tony called throwing on some clothes,"I'll be lookout."

Lucas grinned at his friend and stealthily crept into the empty hall.

******

Nathan Bridger was roused from a dreamless sleep,by the feel of someone's eyes on him.His blue eyes shot open.He turned to see seventeen year old Lucas Wolenczak sitting Indian style just outside the green energy grid.

"Lucas!"Nathan hissed,"Go back to bed,before Timmons finds out and throws you in here."

"It's okay,Cap.Tony's on lookout."Lucas stared at the older man for a long moment.Trying to remember his life before he met Nathan Bridge.He couldn't.

"I had to talk to you before they put me on the stand tommorrow."Lucas whispered,even though there was no one else in the brig,"I had to hear you say it."

"Say what,Lucas?"Nathan said kneeling in front of the energy grid,"There's nonthing more to say."

Lucas shook his ead in exsperation,"Cap,Jonathan and I both know you didn't shoot Collins and were going to go to Timmons tomorrow to see if we can head an investigation team."

"NO!"Nathan shouted,"No,Lucas.No investigation."

Lucas frowned,"Why,Captain?Why do you want to go down in
flames for something you didn't do?"Lucas just didn't understand.

Nathan's blue eyes turned pleading,"Please,Lucas.If our friendship ever ment anything to you,get Jonathan to drop the investigation."

Lucas shook his head,"Cap,I can't just sit by...."

Nathan took the teen's hand through the space,"Please,Lucas.I need you to do this."

Lucas was more concerned than every,"Why aren't you fighting this?"

Nathan spread his arms out,"Fight what?The UEO?YOu know as well as anybody that there's no love lost between me and the UEO.The only reason I ever came back was for this ship and for you."

Lucas sighed,"You just want us to sit by while they take away your freedom and the Seaquest?"

Nathan closed his eyes briefly,"Yes,I knew the consequences.Please Lucas,I've never asked you for anything."

Lucas heard Tony hiss "Wolenczak" and knew someone was coming.

"Alright,Captain.I don't like it,but I'll do it if that's what you really want."

Nathan nodded.

Lucas almost smiled,"I can't make any promises about Jonathan.He really wants to clear your name."

Nathan grinned slightly,"I know Ford's stubborn,but do what you can."

This time Bridger heard Tony's warning,"Wolenczak!"

Lucas rose to his feet,touching Nathan's right hand silently as he scurried after Tony,just missing Miguel Ortiz on his way to his quarters.

********

Jonathan Ford stared at Lucas in disbelief,"He wants us to do what?!"

Lucas glanced around Sea deck,"Drop our investigation."He repeated.

Jonathan rubbed his face tiredly,"I guess I should have expected as much."He glanced at Darwin in the moon pool,"Do you really believe he did it?"

Lucas shook his head,"No.I think he's covering for someone."

Jonathan nodded,"I know who."

Lucas stared at him,waiting for him to continue.

"Lucas,who else besides you would the Captain risk everything for?"

Lucas's blue eyes widened,"Kristen."

********

Lieutenant Jim Brody yawned widely.He glanced at his watch and did a double take at the time,"6:45?"He said out loud as he glanced around Westphlan's research facility.
He and his security teams had been here since five scouring every crevice.
They still hadn't found Williams gun.

Brody sighed as he clicked on his PAL,"Ok guys,let's regroup back at the main entrance.The thing just didn't walk off by itself."

The PAL winked off as Brody turned to scan the beige walls,"It has to be here somewhere."

Jim knew that if they found that gun they could clear the Captain.

*******

Kristen Westphaln opened the door and almost slammed it shut when he saw who it was.She knew that look on Jonathan Ford's face all too well.

"Kristen,I know its early,but we have to talk."

Kristen just nodded as she let Ford in.He was followed by Lucas and Wendy Smith.

Jonathan stiffled a sigh,"Kristen,we know what happened."

"I don't know what you're talking about,Jonathan."Kristen said busying herself.

"We all know Nathan's covering for you."Jonathan grasped her shoulders forcing her to look at him,"Please,Kristen tell us what happened down there."

Kristen's brown eyes betrayed her.Ford could tell she desperately wanted to tell them.

Kristen shook her head,"I can't."

"Kristen,we only want to help."

"Jonathan,I love you and Katie like family,but I can't tell you."She glanced at Wendy and Lucas,"Not about this."

Lucas could see tears creeping into Kristen's eyes as she took a last look at the group before quickly leaving her quarters.

Ford immediately glanced at Wendy who shook her head.

"She wants too,but something's holding her back."

"What happened down there?"Lucas wondered,his blue eyes filled with worry.

********

Jonathan Ford met Jim Brody as he was stepping out of the launch,"Anything?"

Jim shook his head,sadly,"I hate to say we came back empty handed,but......"

Jonathan leaned his right arm against the grass hopper shaped vechile,"Then we're back to square one."

"We're not out of this yet,Commander.There's still a couple places we haven't searched,yet."

Jonathan looked at his Security chief with surpise,"Where?The only place they could've dumped it was Watertown."

Jim shook his head,"She could've brought it back on board Seaquest or dumped it in the ocean."

Jonathan sighed,"Okay.Have Tony check out the water by the building."He turned to look around Seaquest,"The thing has to be here somewhere."

*********

go on to the next part