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Lost Future #3 "Court Martial" pt. 2/2

SeaQuest DSV
Lost Future series #3
"Court Martial"

By Cindy Brewer cindybre74@aol.com


Nathan Bridger watched Miguel move into position and knew the second day of his trial was about to begin.He tuned Thomas Ford back in to catch the last part of his sentence.

"......Jonathan and Lt.Brody haven't found the gun,yet."

Nathan's head snapped up,"What?!"

"I said,Jonathan and Brody haven't found the gun yet.THey searched the research facility and they're going to search Seaquest now."

Nathan shook his head,"Thomas,you have to talk them out of it.Tell them to call it off."

Thomas sighed,"You know,Nathan you're making it very difficult for this defense attorney to do his job."

"I'm not the one who asked for you,remember?"

Both men jumped as Timmons banged his gavel,"If the defense corner is through squabbling,maybe we can get started?"

Jonathan was shocked to see his father actually turn
sheepish.

"I apoligize,Your Honor.Just some last minute details that had to be worked out."

Timmons rolled his eyes slightly,"Ms.Hansen are you ready to proceed?"

Kelsey Hansen stood,her red hair pulled into a pony tail,"Yes,Your Honor.The UEO calls Lucas Wolenczak."

********

Lucas Wolenczak nervously fingered one of Darwin's plastic balls in his pant's pocket.
As Miguel Ortiz swore him in,Lucas glared at the prosecutor.The woman who could very well take away the only real father he's ever had.
He had to do something to pay Nathan back for all he had done for him.

Lucas's blue eyes were calm as he faced Kelsey Hansen as she began her line of questioning.

Kelsey crossed her arms,"Lucas,how old are you?"

Lucas forced himself not to squirm,"Seventeen."

"That's a little young to be on a UEO flagship."

Thomas Ford shot up,"Objection!Lucas's age is irrevelent."

Timmons nodded in agreement,"Sustained."

"Alright,I'll withdraw the question.Lucas,how was Nathan
Bridger prior to the trip to Watertown?"

Lucas found himself looking at Bridger,"He was fine.Normal.Smiling,joking with everyone."

Kelsey nodded,"So its safe to say Nathan Bridger was in his right mind?"

Lucas nodded,"Yes."

Lucas saw Kelsey smile and knew he had scored another point for the defense.

"Thank you,Lucas.No futher questions."

Timmons nodded and turned to Thomas Ford,"Mr.Ford,your witness."

Thomas Ford took a long look at the boy on the witness stand.Jonathan had filled him in on some of Lucas's hardships.Sorry excuse for a father.Bridger being the only real family the boy had.

Thomas crossed his arms over his chest,"Lucas,could you please tell us what you saw when you arrived at Watertown."

Lucas shifted in his seat,"When we got there.Secratary Collins was already dead."

Thomas nodded,"And where was Nathan Bridger?"

Lucas glanced at the Captain,"He was standing against the wall in handcuffs."

"Did he say what had happened?"

Lucas shook his head,"No,he just ordered me not to take the handcuffs.Then he ordered Brody to place him under arrest."

Thomas began to pace slightly,"Didn't you think that was a bit unusual?"

Kelsey Hansen shot up,her green eyes flaring,"Objection!Leading the witness!"

"Sustained."

"I'll rephrase the question."

Timmons cut in,"Mr.Ford,if you could hold your question until tommorrow.Because of the late hour,we'll recess until tomorrow at two o'clock."

********

A few hours later Kristen Westphalen found herself watching Darwin play in the 'moon' pool.

"Kristen,play."Darwin commanded pushing a red plastic ball over to her.

Kristen picked up the ball,turning it over and over in her hands,"What have I gotten myself into,Darwin?What have I done to Nathan?"

Darwin swam back and forth waiting for her to throw the ball,"Kristen.Toss."The bottlenose dolphin commanded.

Kristen absently tossed the ball in his direction.
She had thought long and hard about avenging her Father's death.She thought she had known the consequences of her actions.In all her preparation she had forgotten one small detail,that NOrman Collins was now Secretary of the UEO.Not the man who had killed her father years ago.

Kristen smiled softly as she remembered how excited her father was when he got command of one of the UEO's first underwater research stations.
Steven Westphaln had made so much progress in diseases.Then Collins had cut his life short without a second thought.
The so called jury had called the explosion an accident.The buildings structure had weakened from the intense water pressure and ruptured a gas tank.
All twelve scientists had been killed instantly.
That had been little comfort for Kristen and her mother.
Because of Norman Collins her children had never known their grandfather.

Kristen had vowed he would pay,but she had never counted on Nathan Bridger having to pay the price.
Darwin's ball bumped against her hand and Kristen absently began a game of catch with the dolphin.

CHICAGO,
ILLIONIS

"You're certainly burning up the phone lines tonight."Jonathan's mother Caroline Ford commented with a smile as she set a cup of hot chocolate in front of Katie.

Katie instantly turned sheepish,"I'm sorry,Caroline.I wasn't even thinking.Do you need to use the phone?"

Caroline smiled as she patted Katie on the shoulder,"No,I was just curious."

Katie sighed,"I've been trying to contact a few friends in the UEO to find out what happened to Kristen's father.Its Jonathan's only hope of clearing Nathan of a treason charge."

Caroline smiled as she picked up the wodden tray,"I'm sure you'll find something."

Katie turned back to her rollodex,"I hope so."

UEO RESEARCH STATION--WATERTOWN
YUCATAN PENCILA
MEXICO

Jonathan Ford found himself up to his elbows in papers and files.All on Kristen Westphalen and her family.
Knowing Kristen was the key to this whole mess,he had Tim download everything he could find on Kristen and anyone else with the name Westphalen.
He had no idea that Kristen had done so much.

Jonathan waded through the sea of papers as his com screen beeped.He absently hit a button,"Tim,I'm not taking any calls right now."

Tim O'Neil's voice was concerned,"Commander,its your mother."

Jonathan's head snapped up,"My mother?"He repeated as cold fear gripped him,"Put her through,Tim."

Caroline Ford's concerned face flashed on the small screen,"Jonathan,I'm sorry to interupt you."

His paperwork forgotten,Jonathan stood,"What's wrong,Mom?"

"I know I'm probably overreacting.But she never leaves Joshua alone....."

Jonathan felt his spine go straight,"Mom,slow down and tell me where Katie is."

"That's just it,Jonathan,I don't know.She was here using the phone when I left for the store.When I got back Josha was screaming and Katie was nowhere in sight.Jonathan there wasn't even a note."

Ford began to pace his quarters,"Something's wrong.Katie would never leave Josh by himself."He looked back at his mother,"She hasn't called?"

Caroline shook her head,"That's why I'm so worried.Its been hours."

"Don't worry,Mom.I'm sure she's fine.I'll make some calls and if she's not back with in twenty four hours I'll take the next plane home."

"Maybe she found something."Caroline said,thinking out loud.

"Found what?"

"Well,earlier when I asked her why she was making all the phone calls she said she was trying to find out about Kristen's father."

"Her father?"Jonathan repeated,scurrying over to his desk.After a few minutes of searching he yanked out a manila file folder.

"Mom,try not to worry.I'll make some calls.I'll let you know as soon as I find her."

"Thank you,Jonathan."Caroline said absently,as she ended the call.

Jonathan picked up all materials protaining to Steven Westphalen and quickly left for his father's quarters.

********

Thomas Ford's dark eyes were full of concern,"Katie's disappeared?"He repeated watching his son closly.

Jonathan paced his father's guest quarters feeling helpless,"Mom said she left Katie making phone calls when she went to the store last night.When she got back,Josh was crying and Katie was gone.All her things are still there."He stopped and looked at his father,"Dad,she would never leave Josh by himself.I might as well get this over with."

Jonathan walked over to the com unit,"Tim,can you connect me to the Chicago system?"

Tim's voice was curious,"Sure,Commander.Anything in particular?"

Jonathan felt his eyes close,"All hospitals.Katie's missing."

Tim's voice was full of concern,"I can do that for you,Commander.It'll only take a few minutes."

"Its okay,Tim.You go back to the systems check.Keep an eye on LONER it seems to be going off line too easily.I don't want it to into neutral during a crisis."

Tim sounded hesitant,"If you're sure."

"I'm sure."Jonathan assured him and clicked off the unit.

"You think she's hurt?"Thomas Ford asked.

Jonathan dialed the first number and waited for the call to go through,"She would never willingly leave Josh alone.Something's happened,I can feel it."

Thomas came up behind his son,"Give me half the list."

Jonathan smiled a thank you and passed half the numbers over to his father.

********

Kristen Westphalen's brown eyes were furious as she glared into the vidphone.

"I told you to keep her out of the way,not hurt her.I thought I made that very clear."

The man Kristen knew only as The Shadow grinned slightly,"I understand,but she didn't want to come willingly.I had to persuade her."

Kristen sighed,this was getting worse and worse every minute,"How's the baby?"

The Asian man looked shocked,"Doctor,I do have some princiables.I would never hurt a helpless infant."

"Just keep her tied up,until the trial is over with."

The man bowed,"As you wish.Do you want me to contact her husband?"

Kristen shook her head,"No,just send a message saying that Katie is unharmed and will be returned after the trial is over."

********

Jonathan Ford glared at Nathan Bridger through the green security grid.

"Okay,Nathan.I'm tired of playing games.I want some straight answers."

Nathan sat on his bunk.leaning against the wall,"Jonathan there's nonthing new to say."

Jonathan's patience was at its limit,"You dragged me into this,Nathan.Now my wife has been kidnapped and God knows what else."

Nathan shot off the bunk,"Katie's been kidnapped?By who?"

Jonathan shook his head,"I don't know.I got an anoymas message saying that she was unharmed and would be returned after the trial."

Nathan closed his eyes briefly,"Jonathan,I'm sorry."

"Save your apologies and just tell me what's going on."

Nathan looked away from him,"I can't."

Jonathan sighed,"I know about Collins and Kristen's father.I know you've been covering for her all along.Now why can't you just admit it?!"

Nathan raised his head,"The same reason you couldn't if it was Katie."

Jonathan glared at Bridger feeling completely frustrated and helpless.Before saying something he'd regret he turned on his heel and left the brig.

********

Trying not to let his fear show,Jonathan returned to his father's quarters.

"Anything?"

Thomas Ford shook his head sadly,"No."He tossed down the data disk in frustration,"None of the hospitals had Katie listed as a patient."

Jonathan leaned back against the wall,"What about Jane Does?"

Thomas shook his head,"None."

Jonathan sank down onto the bed,"Dad,I don't think I can go through this again."

Thomas Ford sighed inwardly,hating to see his son in so much pain.He placed a gentle hand on the young commander's shoulder,"I'll make your flight arrangements."

Jonathan nodded absently.He rose and quietly left the room.

********

Lieutenant Jim Brody brushed blond bangs away from his eyes as he sat down in the cafeteria.He and his security
teams had scoured every inch of this ship,and they still hadn't found William's gun.

Brody rubbed a tired hand over his face.He had no idea where to look next.Tony had come up with nothing around Watertown.He tried to think like an assiassian.If he was planning to murder the top offical of the UEO and knew he wasn't going to escape.Where would he dump the gun?
Brody sighed,he still drew a blank.
Jim's blue eyes glanced up as Jonathan Ford joined him at the small table.

Jonathan smiled slightly,"You look like how I feel."

"What's up?"Brody asked,sensing the change in Ford's mood.

Jonathan felt his wall go down.He and Brody had become fairly close since Jim had come on board.

"Katie's missing.She's been kidnapped."

Brody's eyes widened in shock,"Kidnapped?Who?Have you got demands yet?"

Ford shook his head,"No,well yes.I recieved a note saying she'd be returned unharmed after the trial."

Brody's blue eyes lit up with curiousity,"Bridger?"

Ford shook his head,"I already talked to him.I think he was
as surprised as I was."

"Then who else?Maybe this doesn't have to do with the trial at all."

Ford looked like a man whose world was turned upside down,"Then why the note?"

Brody shook his head,and was silent for a moment,"Do you want me to go to the States and look for her?They couldn't have taken her very far."

Jonathan smiled,"Thanks,Jim.No,I need you to stay here since you're the next in command."He leaned closer to Brody so no one else could hear him,"Jim,Lucas and i know Bridger is covering for Kristen.It has something to do with her father.I think Katie found out what and that's why she was taken.I told Lucas to help my father out,but I need you to continue to search for the gun."

Brody sighed tiredly,"Jonathan,we've searched everywhere we can think of.Its just not here."

"It has to be here somewhere.Interview Williams again.Somebody had to see where that gun went."

Jim nodded,knowing this was going to be a long week.

CHICAGO,
ILLIONIS

Jonathan Ford paid the cab driver as he arrived at his mother's house.He felt a smile creep onto his worried face as he heard Josh cry.
He had barely reached the porch,before Caroline Ford rushed out.She gave her son a brief hug.

"I'm so glad you're here."Caroline said feverently as she ushered him into the house.Josh was in his play pen.

Ford looked at his mother with concern,"Has something new happened?"

Caroline unclenched her right fist, revealing a silver chain,"This came in the mail today."

Jonathan glanced down at her open palm.He gently took the silver necklace and stared at the tiny sea turtle charm.

Jonathan closed his eyes briefly,"I don't suppose there was a return address?"

Caroline shook her head,her black eyes fearful,"No.Jonathan,what's going on?Josh hasn't stopped crying."

Seeing how tired his mother was,Jonathan instantly picked up his seven month old son.

Joshua instantly stopped crying,feeling safe in his father's arms.
Remembering that Josh was here when Katie was taken,Jonathan immediately checked his son for wounds.

Caroline's face softened,"He wasn't hurt."

Jonathan sat down in an old wooden rocking chair.Staring lovingly at his son,"There's so much of Katie in him."

Caroline kneeled next to her son,"Jonathan,did Nathan know anything about this?"

Ford shook his head,"No,he was as surprised as I was."

Jonathan was about to hand Josh to his grandmother when he noticed something on the wooden floor that made his blood turn to ice.

Caroline's cove choked with tears,"I was hoping you wouldn't see that."

Jonathan put Josh back in his play pen as he exaimed the stain.

It was blood.Jonathan knew it could only be Katie's.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"What good would it have done to worry you more?Besides I only found the stain when I started to clean up the destruction they left."

Jonathan stood and gently put his hands on his mother's shoulders,"I'm sorry we got you into this,Mom.I'll take Josh back to the Seaquest.I can't do anything more here."

Caroline turned away from the window,"Please be careful,Jonathan.I don't want to lose both of you."

Jonathan hugged the small woman tightly,"I will."

UEO RESEARCH LAB--WATERTOWN
YUCATAN PENNICILA
MEXICO

"Ooooooh,look how big he's gotten."Ensign Loni Henderson cooed as soon as Ford stepped out of the airlock.

Jonathan smiled,"Loni,can you take him for a moment?"

Loni's expression turned sheepish seeing the armload of bags and baby carriers.She quickly took Josh,"I'm sorry.Can I take anything else?"

Jonathan struggled with his armload untill he shoved a moblie with little sailboats attached at her.

Loni's smile widened as she took the mobile,"I wonder who's
idea this was?"

Ford sighed,"Can you just open the door?"

Loni laughed softly as she opened the door for him.

Jonathan stepped onto Seadeck and quickly walked to the Mag-Lev,"Has anything new happened with the trial?"

Loni shook her head,Josh trying to grab one of the cloth boats,"No,I think Timmons is getting frustrated with everyone.Brody kept asking for a delay until he found the gun."

Jonathan smiled,"Anything?"

Loni shook her head,"No,and he's getting really frusterated.I don't think he's sleeping."

"Thank you for riding Mag-Lev."

Jonathan sighed as he stepped off the Mag-Lev,"I know the feeling."

Loni could see how worried Jonathan was even though he tried his best not to show it,"Any news on Katie at all?"

Jonathan unlocked the door to his quarters and dumped everything on his bunk before replying,"My mother received Katie's necklace in the mail."

Loni let Josh play with her fore finger as she heard something in Ford's voice,"What else?"

Jonathan grinned,"I can't keep anything from you anymore,can I?"He turned to look at a picture taken at his wedding,"I know she's hurt,Loni.There was blood on the floor."

Loni's brown eyes were concerned,"Have you gotten any new demands?"

Jonathan shook his head,"No,that's why I feel so helpless. I know she's hurt somewhere and I can't do anything."

Loni gently set Josh down on the bunk,and put a comforting arm around Ford's shoulder,"You two have made it through worse stuff then this,Jonathan.It'll work out."

Jonathan stared at Josh lovingly,"I hope you're right."

*******

Nathan Bridger felt the heavy weight of the metal handcuffs as he was brought into the courtroom he was beginning to wonder how he had gotten into this mess.Then his blue eyes found Kristen's across the defense table and he remembered why. At all costs he had to protect her.
He had given up the Navy once he could do it again.
Nathan took in Thomas Ford's worried face and knew today was not going to be an easy one.

"What's on the game plan today,General?"Nathan asked as he sat down.

Thomas lowered his voice to a whisper,"What we didn't want to happen.I guess my son's trip to Chicago got us on the prosecution's bad side.She's putting Kristen on the stand."

Nathan shot up so fast that the wooden chair toppled over with a loud clang,"Thomas,she can't do that.You have to figure out some way to keep her off the stand."

Thomas shook his head,"I'm sorry Nathan.Its out of my hands.She's already on the list."

"I don't care.Put my name on the list if you have to,but don't let her take the stand!"

"Nathan...."

Whatever Thomas was about to say was cut off by Miguel Ortiz's call to order.

"Be seated."Frank Timmons ordered as he took his seat at the table,"Mr.Ortiz,call the case."

Ortiz looked visibly uncomfortable,but replied,"Yes,Sir."He cleared his throat,"The UEO versuses Nathan Bridger,the charge high treason.The Honorable Frank Timmons presiding."

Timmons almost smiled,"Thank you,Mr.Ortiz."He turned to the prosecution,"Ms.Hansen,are you ready to proceed?"

Kelsey stood,"Yes,Your Honor."

Timmons turned to Thomas Ford,"Mr.FOrd?"

Thomas quickly stood,"Yes,your Honor."

Timmons nodded,"Ms.Hansen,call your first witness."

Kelsey nodded as she glanced down at her notes,"The UEO calls Kristen Westphlan."

Kristen was as shocked as everyone else in the Ward room,but she stood and quickly crossed the space between the first row and the witness stand.
Kristen tried to smile as Miguel swore her in,but failed. All she could think of was Nathan throwing his career away just to protect her. Who said the men always had to be the noble ones?

"Doctor,what is your current postion?"Kelsey asked as she absently tapped a pencil against the table.

Kristen cleared her throat,"I'm in charge of Watertown,which is a UEO research facility."

Kelsey came around the table,"I see,and isn't Watertown the UEO's most prestigious pet project?"

Kristen nodded,trying not to sound flippant,"Yes,I think it is."

"Doctor,how in two years did you manage to go from being the Seaquest's chief medical officer to the chief scientist at UEO's most prestigous research facility?"

Thomas Ford stood,"OBJECTION!Doctor Westphalen isn't on trial here!"

Kristen sighed inwardly,'I should be.'

Kelsey glared at Ford,"Your Honor,I'm trying to establish credibilty of the only murder witness."

Timmons nodded,"Overrulled."

Thomas Ford sighed and sank back down.

Kelsey turned her sights back on Kristen,"Let's skip ahead to two weeks ago,Doctor.March 14th to be exact.Can you tell the court what happened when the Seaquest arrived at Watertown?"

Kristen swallowed hard,her brown eyes flying to Nathan who nodded,"Well,as soon as I found out the Seaquest was coming I went to meet the Captain at the airlock."

Kelsey nodded,"Did you know that Secretary Collins was on board?"

"Yes."

"That was classified information,Doctor.How did you happen to find out?"

"I still have a few friends on board Seaquest."

Kelsey's eyes narrowed,"And these 'friends' just handed over classified information?"

Kristen forced a smile,"They knew I wouldn't tell anyone."

Timmons banged his gavel as laughter spun around the crowded room.

The Ward room fell into silence.

Kelsey decided to go in for the kill,"Isn't it true that you and Nathan Bridger are more than friends?"

Kristen winced,"We did have a realtionship,yes."

"And did you see your ex-lover pull the trigger on Secretary Collins?"

Kristen's gaze flew to Nathan.

Nathan saw the frantic look on her face and knew she was about to crack,'Come on,honey.Just answer that one question.'

Kristen remained silent.

"Answer the question,Doctor!Did you see Nathan Bridger pull the trigger?!"

Thomas Ford shot up from his chair,"Objection!Counsel is clearly baggering the witness."

Before Timmons could decide Kristen cracked.

"ALRIGHT!NO,NATHAN DIDN'T PULL THE TRIGGER!I DID!"

The audience was on their feet.

"KRISTEN!"Nathan shouted.

Thomas Ford tried desperately to do some damage control,"Your Honor,she is clearly under alot of stress.She doesn't know what she's saying!"

Frank Timmons banged his gavel,trying to restore order.

"YES,I DO KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING!I KILLED COLLINS AND I WON'T HIDE THE TRUTH ANY LONGER!!"

Timmons banged the wodden gavel so hard,he almost cracked it in half,"THAT'S ENOUGH!!"

The room fell into a murmured silence.

Timmons temper had finally broke,"I WANT THIS COURTROOM CLEARED!"

When no one moved,Timmons stood,"NOW!!"

Dark blue uniforms quickly filed out of the room.

Frank Timmons felt a migraine rapidly approaching he turned to his witness.

"Dr.Westphlan,do you understand the consequences of what you just said?"

Nathan stood,"No she doesn't!"

Kristen's brown eyes turned pleading,"Nathan,please.I can't let you go through with this."

Nathan turned to the judge,"Your Honor,she doesn't know what she's saying!"

Kelsey chimed in,"She knew she was under oath when she said it!She's in her right mind."

'I'm not sure if I am.'Timmons thought to himself as he massaged his forehead,"ENOUGH!!"

The squabbling stopped.

"I'm calling recess until I can sort this mess of a trial out.Until then,Captain Bridger you're confined to your quarters.Doctor Westphalen,you're under arrest for the assassination of Secretary Collins."
Timmons banged the gavel once more and stormed out of the room.

*********

"Why didn't you level with me?"Jonathan Ford asked his prioner.It was close to midnight.

"What good would it have done,Jonathan?"Kristen said softly not getting up from the hard bunk.

"I would've helped.I was trying to help."Jonathan started to pace the brig,"There has to be someway to get you out of this mess.Did he attack you in anyway?Were you forced to defend yourself?"

Kristen laughed,"With two security guards and Nathan Bridger arund?No,Jonathan thank you for trying,but I knew the consequences going in."

"Where's Katie?"

Kristen looked away from him,"I beg your pardon?"

Ford's eyes softened,"Please,Kristen.I'm asking you as a friend.I know you had somebody take her,when she got too close."

"It got so out of hand."

Jonathan had to fight the urge to stamp his foot,"Then make it right.Tell me where she is."

"I don't know."

"Kristen,she's hurt.Badly,I think."

Kristen's gaze flew to Jonathan's worried face,"He promised me he wouldn't hurt her.I made him promise."

"Who?"

"I don't know his name,Jonathan."

Ford was getting impatient,"Bull."

Kristen glared at him,"That's the truth.I don't.I only know him as Black Wind."

Jonathan began to say something,then decided against it and left the brig.

********

Jonathan Ford shook Lucas Wolenczak awake.

Lucas stared at Jonathan as if trying to remember who he was,"Commander,what time is it?"

"Its late.I'm sorry to wake you,Lucas but I need a favor."

"What's up?"Lucas asked trying to rub sleep from his blue eyes.

Jonathan prodded the sleepy teen toward his computer,I need some background info on somebody named Black Wind."

Lucas was finally awake,"Black Wind?"He repeated as he booted up his computer,"Any particular place I should start?"

"Criminal records and known hired guns."

Lucas looked at Ford with curiousity,but decided not to ask.

If Ford wanted to hire a known assailant,then that was his business.

********

Morning had long since come,when Lucas's computer beeped telling him it had found a certain file.

"Commander,"Lucas called out jerking Ford out of his catnap,"I think we found him."

"Who is he?"Ford asked leaning on the back of Lucas's chair.

"Black Wind AKA Hiraku Kimo.He was born in Tokyo,Japan on October 22,1990.He has been tied to numerous kidnappings and assults,but never convicted."

Jonathan's black eyes turned the color of coal,"He will be."He clasped the teen on the shoulder,"Thanks Lucas,I owe you one.Go back too sleep."

Lucas nodded,and stumbled tiredly back to his bunk.

*********

Katie Hitchcock Ford awoke to find herself staring at a gray metal ceiling that seemed somewhat familiar. She turned her head to the right and was instantly awarded with a sharp wave of pain.
When the pain subsided,she saw her husband,slumped in a nearby chair;sound asleep.

"Jonathan?"Her voice came out as a croak,but it was enough to wake him.

"Katie?"Ford asked anxiously,"Are you alright?"

Katie winced as a new wave of pain hit her,"Where are we?"

Jonathan tenderly brushed brown bangs away from her face,"On the Seaquest.After Kristen finally told me who she hired.It was easy to track him down."

Jonathan felt his anger flare as fear shot through Katie's eyes.If they allowed him just a few minutes with that Bastard they wouldn't need that jail cell.

He saw his wife glance around Med-Bay,"Its okay,Katie.He won't hurt you any more,I promise."

Katie nodded,and her eyelids fluttered closed.

Jonathan pulled the blue blanket up under his wife's chin.He turned,feeling someone behind him.

Wendy checked the readouts on Katie's monitors.

"Will she be alright?"Jonathan demanded.

Wendy pulled him away from Katie's bed,"In time,she will be. She has several broken ribs,broken collar bone.Not to mention the bruises."

Ford had been dreading the answer to this question,but he had to know,"Wendy,did he rape her?"

Wendy could feel Ford's rage and shook her head,"No."She replied firmly.

Jonathan felt relief wash over him as he sank down into the chair,"I'll kill him."

Wendy Smith placed a firm hand on Ford's shoulder,"Jonathan,let it go.We already have one murder trial on our hands.We don't need another one."

Jonathan nodded as he stared at Katie's sleeping form,"I know you're right,but when I think of what he did to her...."

Wendy's brown eyes were full of empathy,"What you're feeling is normal,Jonathan.But when Katie recovers she's going to need your support."

Miguel Ortiz poked his head in,"Thought you'd like to know,the Judge is back."

********

Kristen Westphalen walked into the Ward room,her head held high.Her brown eyes without fear.
She sat down next to Jonathan's father as Miguel called the court to order.
Timmons sank heavily down into his chair,glad that this circus of a trial was finally over.

"This has been an unusual trial from the start.I've talked to Doctor Westphlan and Commander Ford has given me information on her father and the circumstances surrounding Steven Westphlan's death.I know psychological trauma is an old excuse for murder,but I think in this case it fits."

A murmur spread through the crowded room.

Frank Timmons banged his gavel,"Now,I'm not saying that Secretary Collins death will go unpunished."
Timmons glared at Ortiz,who instantly turned sheepish and he cleared his throat,"Will the defendant please rise?"

Kristen took a deep breath and slowly stood.

"I'm ordering the defendant to go under a psychiatric examination."He raised his voice over the buzz that had risen from the crowd."Also,Kristen Westphaln will no longer be allowed to work for the UEO under any circumstances."
Kristen winced as Timmons banged the gavel one last time and left the room.

********

Three days later Nathan Bridger was once again watching Kristen Westphlan pack her bags.He leaned against the door jam,his arms crossed over his chest.

"Isn't there anything I can say to get you to stay?"Nathan asked softly,"We never really got a chance to talk about us."

"I know,Nathan and I'm sorry I got you involved in this."Kristen zipped up her bag,"But I think I need to take some time and sort my life out.Figure out what I'm going to do.Where I'm going to work."

Nathan crossed over to her and gently grasped her shoulders,"You know where I am if you need anything."

Kristen lightly carassed his face,"Thank you,Nathan.For everything."

Nathan sat down on the small bunk,as he watched the woman he loved walk out of his life once again.But somehow he knew that this time,it wasn't for good.



The End