Chapter 5

"Kristin and Bridger hurt?"

Darwin asked, his innocence and concern evident even through the electronic translator.

Lucas leaned down, his heart heavy. He'd dealt with his own parents' horrible relationship, and the Doc and the Captain, well, they were the closest to the real thing he'd ever had. The boy actually fantasized sometimes that they were his parents.

"Darwin, the doc and the captain are angry at each other and we need to help them not to be."

"Why angry? Bridger and Kristin mates."

Lucas couldn't help laughing.

"I think you're right, but they don't want to admit it or each other to know."

"Why?"

Lucas hesitated, "Beats me, Fish Face, but will you help?"

"Darwin help. Humans not smart sometimes."

The boy smiled wryly, "Darwin, you sure got that right!"

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Dr. Wesphalen made her way to her science station near the moon pool in order to check on some experiments there. Algae was not the most exciting of things to watch grow, but it did grow quickly so that was a plus.

Passing the moon pool, the red head noticed Darwin. The dolphin never failed to cheer her up, and she moved to the edge of the pool, leaning her arms onto the ledge.

Picking up and turning on the vocoder, she asked, "Darwin, how are you today?" Her elegant voice drew him to her.

"Darwin not good."

Concern immediately etched her features.

"What do you mean, 'not good'?"

Darwin rolled to one side, "Darwin eat bad fish. Darwin hurt."

"Oh, dear! When, when did you eat the 'bad fish?' How bad is the hurt?"

The dolphin was Academy Award material. "Since last night. Hurt. Kirstin get Bridger?"

"Of course, darling, right away. You hold on and I'll get the captain, and we're going to check you out and try to make it all better."

Putting the vocoder down, the doctor immediately went to a com unit.

"Wesphalen to Bridger."

When the doc's voice came over the captain's speaker, the bridge froze, listening.

Taking a deep breath, Nathan answered, "Bridger here. What can I do for you, Dr. Wesphalen?"

"I need you to come down to the moon pool. Darwin is not well and is asking for you."

Bridger was moving as he answered, "I'm on my way. Commander Ford, you have the bridge."

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Nathan was there so quickly that Kristin thought he had been running. When she got closer, she realized that he had by his level of respiration.

"What seems to be the problem?" His hands were reaching for his friend, rubbing his side.

"He keeps complaining that he had 'bad fish.' When I asked when, he says, 'last night,' then he asked for you."

Finally Nathan turned to Kristin, gods, he didn't realize how much he missed that beautiful face until he was this close to her again. He could smell the lightly scented soap she wore.

"I just started getting things in order after I called you. Darwin asked for you, so that's the first thing I did, call you." Her brown eyes were filled with concern.

She so wanted to reach out and put her hand behind his head and pull him to her to comfort him, but not now. Darwin, first.

"Thank you, Kristin. Let's get started." Turning back to Darwin, through the vocoder, he said, "You're going to be okay, buddy. Just hang in there."

"Darwin not worried. Kristin and Bridger work good. Kristin and Bridger good."

Both of the humans looked down, slightly embarrassed. Their past behavior of the last few days didn't back up the innocently pure belief in them Darwin had.

Nathan patted Darwin gently. "Yes, my old friend, Kristin and Bridger good. We will help Darwin."

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