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Your Heart Will Always Be My Home

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the SeaQuest characters. So donít sue me!

Also, I used the song ĎAlways Be My Homeí which was written by Chris Eaton and sung by Rachel Lampa.

Title: Your Heart Will Always Be My Home

Author: NubianGeek

Rated: PG

Category: Romance

Alan Westcott was a greedy man. It was said of him that he would sell his own wife and kids to turn a profit. Everyone knew that he was crooked, but the authorities were hard-pressed to find any evidence to support this. Thus, he led a life Ďabove the law. He had already raided three colonies and the authorities had no proof that he had anything to do with it. He was very rich because of those raids - Not to mention the fact that he also had the colonies. He felt the power rush. He had people to do his dirty work and he stayed away.

His plan now was to scare away the colonists because of the raids and thus get the colony for himself.

"Neat little plan, if I do say so myself" he sniggered as he sat back with the cigar clenched between his teeth.

"Ah, what have you brought for me?" The man rubbed his hands together greedily as he anticipated the treasures that awaited. The other man started bringing in the money and jewelry that were taken in the raid. In fact, there had been several raids. In the first raid they had tried, their Ďarmyí had turned against them when they were ordered to kill everyone in the colony. Even the most hardened criminals that they had found had refused to follow orders.

Since then, they had found Professor Simon Nestor who was an expert in mind control. The man smiled as he thought about how they kidnapped Nestorís family to persuade him to cooperate.

"Alright, we need to plan our next hit. How are you coming with Ďgatheringí more troops?" They had to use different troops for each hit. Too much of the Ďjuiceí, as they called it, and a person could go insane.

"Weíre picking them up as we speak, sir." They smiled at each other.

Danny Mendez had been out with his friends to celebrate his 21st birthday. It had been a good evening - lots of drinking and carousing. His only wish was that his friend Miguel Ortiz could have been there. Miguel was aboard the SeaQuest and couldnít get away for the festivities.

"Iím sorry, kid, but weíll get together on my next leave." Miguel had once dated Dannyís sister Rosalita in high school. Even though things did not work out between Miguel and Rosalita, Danny and Miguel had remained friends.

As Danny left the bar that evening, he didnít see the man watching him from the shadows. Danny was just what the man was looking for. He was big and muscular, but he was drunk so he would be easier to handle.

"Hey, whatís going on?" Danny asked as he was thrown into the back of a van.


Caroline Richards was not a sailor. She was still wondering what had possessed her to sign on with the SeaQuest. She was a research librarian and also had a PhD in Psychology. She was scared to death of water and boats.

"Why are you doing this?" Her best friend Nancy asked.

"I just want a change. I need to get away." So that was how Caroline came to the SeaQuest.

Because SeaQuest was a research vessel, they needed to have someone in charge of organizing and maintaining the research materials.

The morning of her first day, Caroline headed for the galley for breakfast. She felt a little self-conscious. She always did when she was faced with a new situation.

She didnít know anyone, so she headed to an empty table and sat down. Lonnie Henderson noticed the new girl and went to sit with her. She decided to introduce herself.

"Hi! Iím Lonnie." Caroline eyed the perky girl suspiciously. She always hated perky.

"Iím Caroline. My friends call me Pepper." Why did she say that? She didnít want this perky person calling her Pepper.

"Oh, Pepper, wait until you meet the rest of the guys. Everyone on SeaQuest is so friendly."


"Move out. Kill anyone that gets in your way." The orders were shouted over the headsets as the group headed out to various points in the colony.

"Oh God, why am I here?" he kept asking himself. It was like one of those dreams where it looks like youíre watching a movie, but youíre actually in it. The people were running and he was shooting. He didnít want to shoot; he couldnít help it.

Suddenly, one of the security people of the colony jumped out and shot him. All went black.

One Week Later

Tim was lonely. The other guys had gone on a well-deserved shore leave. They would hit the bars and houses of ill-repute. He was tired of it. He wanted a nice girl; someone who made him feel warm and tingly inside - someone whose eyes would light up when he walked into a room.

He sat in his room trying to read a book on ancient African civilizations. But, he couldnít stop thinking about it. He made a mental list of the kind of girl that he wanted. He was thinking about this when Loni knocked on the door.

"Hey Tim, didnít you go into town like the rest of the guys?" He had thought that maybe him and Loni would get together, but they were just friends.

"Iím just catching up on my reading."

There was one thing about good friends, they always knew when the other was lying.

"Girl trouble?" She guessed. Tim looked sheepishly at her and nodded.

"Well, I met the new research librarian today. She seemed very nice." Tim looked a little skeptical. He had been set up on a lot of blind dates before. They never seemed to work out.

The next day, on the way to the bridge, Tim ran into Miguel.

"Hey Miguel. Whatís up?" Miguel didnít look too happy.

"My mom called. My friend Danny was killed on Primis III. He was raiding the place." They had all heard about a band of desperados that were raiding colonies. None of them ever thought that they would actually know any of them.

"Hey, Iím sorry."

"Thanks. His mom called my mom and my mom called me. Theyíre investigating it. Danny never got in any trouble before. We donít know how he got mixed up with those guys."

When Tim and Miguel arrived on duty a few minutes later, Captain Bridger was informing the bridge crew that they were being sent to investigate the raid on Primis III. Tim and Miguel exchanged glances.

"Sir, my friend Danny Mendez was killed during the raid on Primis III. He was one of the raiders."

Captain Bridger saw the look in Miguelís eyes. He knew that the young man wanted to find some answers about his friend.

"Ortiz, why donít you join Dr. Perry and myself on Primis III." Miguel nodded.

"Uh, captain, Iíd like to come too, if thatís alright?" Bridger knew that Ortiz and OíNeill were friends. Ortiz would need the support of his friend during this time. He nodded his approval to OíNeill.

As Tim and Miguel entered the galley for lunch, they could see Loni and another woman sitting at one of the tables. Tim guessed that this was the new research librarian. She sure didnít look like any research librarian he ever knew.

"Hi guys. Come and join us."

Caroline cringed inwardly. She hated meeting new people - especially men. She was very self-conscious about her looks. When she was little, she was always taller than the other boys. She was tall and skinny - all arms and legs. Of course, over the years, she had filled out, her skin had cleared up, and her reddish-brown hair had grown out long and lush. She was still not satisfied.

"Guys, this is Pepper, the new research librarian. Pepper, this Tim OíNeill and Miguel Ortiz." Pepper kept her eyes down on her plate and barely acknowledged them.

"Oh, sheís just a little bit shy. Sheíll come around once she gets to know you guys." They continued talking. Ortiz filled Loni in on his friend Danny and how he and Tim were going to be helping with the investigation. They also talked about their plans for the upcoming shore leave.

When Pepper finished eating, she mumbled something about having work to do and, thankfully, left the table.

Pepper went back to the safety of the library. "Why do I always have to do this?" She asked herself. It wasnít a very good way to start things off. She climbed the ladder to put away some materials. She thought about the guys that she had just met. More exactly, she thought about Tim OíNeill. When she met him, her heart raced.

"Hi, remember me?" It was Tim! Pepper lost her balance and grabbed at the ladder for support. She felt herself falling because the bookcase was not bolted to the wall. Tim moved quickly and caught her before she hit the ground.

"Are you okay?í Tim asked. Pepper realized that she was in Timís arms. Holey Moley, she thought as she jumped three feet into the air.

"Iím sorry. Iím such a klutz." Tim was amused, but didnít want to hurt her feelings by laughing.

"I just stopped by because I thought that you were a little uncomfortable. I wanted to make sure that you were okay?" He realized that he was rambling.

"Iím sorry. I just get nervous. Itís not that I donít like you guys." Well, the perky one was irritating.

"Will I see you at dinner?" Tim asked flashing a bright smile.

"Sure." Pepper returned a bright smile. She could tell that she wouldnít get any work done that afternoon.


Alan Westcott straightened his tie and walked into the conference room.

"Gentlemen, thank you for coming today. Iím here to talk to you about Westcott Enterprises development plan for Primis III."


At dinner that night, Pepper felt a little more comfortable. She kept looking to Tim for reassurance. Whenever she started a conversation, she would get a friendly nod from him letting her know that she was doing okay.

"So, what are we going to do this weekend?" Loni asked. They were continuing a conversation that they started at lunch. Tim noticed that Pepperís face turned again to her plate, so he asked, "Pepper, what do you like to do for fun?" Pepper was suddenly nervous now that the attention was on her.

"Well, thereís this Christian coffeehouse called ĎThe Alternativeí that my friends and I like to go to. They have Kareoke." Everyone looked at Tim who was the resident religious person.

"Hey Tim, you like going to those places donít you?" Loni was pushing.

"Um, Pepper, would you like to go to ĎThe Alternativeí this weekend?" Pepper hadnít liked the way everything was happening. It was almost as if Tim were pushed into asking her out. She lowered her head and voice and said, "You donít have to do that." Tim could tell that she was embarrassed.

"I want to." He said softly.

The next day they arrived at Primis III. Bridger, Ortiz and OíNeill arrived at the medical facility to begin their investigation. They were going to hear the autopsy report on Danny Mendez.

"He definitely died of a gunshot wound to the chest, but we found something interesting. We found this unusual substance in the bloodstream. Its ant pheremone."

Back on board the SeaQuest, Tim. and Miguel went to see Pepper in the research library.

"Ant pheremone? Thatís a new one." Pepper was saying as she found the materials that they had asked for. OíNeill and Ortiz gathered the books and headed for the door, forgetting one of the vials that they had brought with them.

As Pepper worked around the room, she didnít see the vial until it was too late. The vial fell to the floor shattering into a million pieces.

"Great!" She thought as she knelt to pick up the glass.

"Ouch!" Another bright moment in her day, she thought. Just then, Loni decided to drop by.

"Hi, are you excited about the date?" Pepper hated talking to people about her business.

"Yeah, I guess. Iím a little nervous."

"I think that you should kiss him the first chance you get." Loni was having too much fun playing match maker.

"Kiss him? I canít kiss him." Loni wasnít listening.

"Yes, you should definitely kiss him." Something happened at that moment. She couldnít explain it. She didnít even hear Loni leave.

"Hey, did I leave those vials in here?" Tim had come back to get the vial and she had the irresistible urge to kiss him. She felt herself moving toward him.

"Oh, here they are. Hey did you break one of...." Tim never got to finish the sentence. Pepper wrapped her arms around him and kissed him thoroughly on the lips. She knew exactly what she was doing, but she couldnít stop herself.

"What was that for?" He said in disbelief.

Oh, God. She had done what she had wanted to do since the first time that she saw him and what Loni had suggested.

She had to run - had to get away. And she did.

"Wait. Where are you going?" She had gone to her room. She couldnít face him. How could she do that? He wouldnít want to ever see her again. He would think that she was some sort of fruit cake. She threw herself on the bed and began to weep.

"Pepper, can I come in. Please." He could hear her weeping through the door. He tried the door and found that it was unlocked, so he went in.

He saw her - lying on the bed crying softly to herself. "Hey, you know it wasnít that bad a kiss." He sought to lighten the mood of the situation.

"Iím so sorry. I couldnít help myself." That was a new one. A woman kissing him and telling him, she couldnít help herself. Tim was amused, but then he started thinking.

Pepper, did you break the vial that I left in the library? And did some of the liquid get on you?" She nodded her head, but still wouldnít look at him. Tim gently pulled her up by the shoulders. He then lifted her chin so that she was looking at him.

"You were right. You couldnít help it. Its ant pheremone. I think that we need to go and talk to the captain." Pepper flinched when he said this.

"Donít worry. I donít think that we need to tell him the whole story." They both smiled at this.


"Sir, I think that weíve found something." Tim began. "We believe that the band of raiders were injected with this ant pheremone. Ant pheremone allows the ant in charge to give orders to the rest. They have to be obeyed." Tim looked at Pepper when hew said this.

"So, it was a mind control device. Good job, Lieutenant."

It helped Ortiz to know that his friend had not done those things of his own free will.


"Youíre kidding!" Pepper was talking to Loni and telling her about her embarrassing moment with Tim.

"I wouldíve loved to be a fly on the wall and seen his face when you kissed him." Pepper was still a little embarrassed, but she was thinking about that kiss.

"You wanted to kiss him, didnít you?" Pepper lowered her head as her cheeks colored.

"Iíd say thatís a Ďyesí." Pepper nodded.

Captain Bridger had given the information he received from OíNeill to his superiors.

"Our next move is to find out who is behind this diabolical scheme." Bridger knew what he had to do.

"Yes sir, Iíll get right on it." He knew what he had to do and he didnít like it. He didnít like putting his people in danger. He called Ortiz and OíNeill to the wardroom.

"I need you to go down to that bar where your friend was last seen and ask some questions. Maybe someone saw something."

Dressed in UEO uniforms, OíNeill and Ortiz made their way to Johnnyís Seaside Cove. Boy, this was a seedy place, Ortiz thought. But, he had heard that Danny and his friends were fascinated by it.

They went straight to the bartender. They wondered if this were Johnny.

"Hi, we were wondering if youíve seen this man?" Ortiz flashed the picture of Danny.

"What if I have?" Tim and Miguel exchanged glances.

"Look, do you remember seeing him?" Ortiz was becoming impatient.

"Yeah, he was here. He was celebrating his birthday or something with his buddies. Then he left. Itís as simple as that." They could tell that the bartender wasnít going to say anymore.

"I was here that night." They looked over to the corner of the room to find what looked like a dirty heap of rags. Tim and Miguel were surprised to see a head rise up from the dirty pile.

"I was here that night. Iím here every night." They eyed him carefully to see if they could trust his information. He wasnít drunk, yet. It was too early in the day. They sat down.

"I saw them. They were snatched. Your friend wasnít the first and heís probably not going to be the last." They realization dawned on them at the same time. They were using this bar to get their victims.

"Do you know who? Who is snatching these guys?" The man held out his hand which meant that he wanted money. Both Tim and Miguel reached into their pockets and pulled out some bills and threw them to the rag.

"A guy named Benson comes around and kinda eyes the place, you know, looking for recruits. And then surprise, surprise, the guy he eyes ends up missing." So now they knew how it was being done, and they had a name.

When they returned to the SeaQuest, they gave Bridger the information they had gathered.

"Weíll inform local law enforcement to stake the place out. Theyíll be coming for new recruits soon according to their time table." Bridger was glad that his people would be out of it for the time being.

"Come on buddy. You have a date to get ready for." Tim grinned sheepishly and followed Ortiz out.


"So Vinny, who were those guys that came to see you?" Vinny, the bartender, was scared. He had a right to be. Benson had a reputation of being tough.

"They were from SeaQuest, but I didnít tell Ďem anything. It was the Ďold maní." The Ďold maní that Vinny referred to was well known in the bar. But, Benson was thinking about Ďold maní right now.

"SeaQuest, hmmm. What a prize. I wonder what Westcott would give me for SeaQuest?"


Pepper had been off duty an hour and she still had not decided what to wear that evening. Her closet looked as if it had exploded. She finally decided on a beautiful, flowing, coral dress and strappy sandals. She left her hair down which would be a change from the severe bun she wore to keep it out of her face. She was able to finish dressing and clean up a bit before there was a knock on the door.

When Tim laid eyes on her, he didnít think that it was the same woman. The woman that he knew had been rather bookish, but attractive. This woman was - wow!

"Ready?" She asked, because Tim couldnít speak.

They were going to have dinner first and then go to the coffeehouse. As they sat down they were both feeling a little nervous. They had bonded at work, but this was different. They started off with just small talk, but then, as they began to relax they began to talk of other things. She told him some about her childhood and he shared with her about his. Neither of them had too traumatic a childhood, so it was easier for them to relate to one another. Timís parents had both been part of academia and so had hers. Tim also talked about his language training and she confessed that languages were hard for her.

"How do you keep them all straight. I would get confused." Pepperís talents seemed to be on the creative end of the scale. She loved to sing and dance and write. All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening.

As they headed over to the coffeehouse, they held hands and began talking about religion. Tim talked about being Catholic and Pepper talked about being Baptist.

"Although, I did go to Catholic schools. Go figure." They had both been raised in a Christian home. Pepper was relieved that Tim would not feel uncomfortable in the coffeehouse.

Tim was happy. The coffeehouse was a good idea. There was dancing, but there was also a quiet area if you just wanted to talk. Finally, the highlight of the evening, and what ĎThe Alternativeí was known for, the kareoke. Pepper usually hated this: watching people struggle through songs. But tonight was different. She was having so much fun, she didnít notice Tim slip away and put her name in the basket.

"Our next victim is Caroline Richards." When she heard her name called, she still didnít understand.

"Hey Pepp, thatís you." Omigosh, she thought. I knew I hated these things. It wasnít because she couldnít sing; it was because they didnít usually have songs that she knew.

As Pepper made her way to the stage, she ran through different courses of action. She could go back down and refuse to do it. "You canít make me do kareoke!" But then she would look like a wet blanket in front of Tim. No, she would have to go through with it.

She was surprised when she saw a song that she knew. She knew it so well, she didnít even have to look at the monitor. Tentatively, she began:

Your heart will always be my home

No matter where I go

No matter what may come

Youíll be my shelter in the storm

A harbor safe and sound

Where only true forgiveness can be found

But stay... I want to run away

And go it all alone

When will I ever learn from my mistakes

And I canít live without Your love

Cause Your eyes have seen beyond the things Iím guilty of

I wonít be afraid to turn back down the road

Cause Your heart will always be my home



About halfway through the song, she realized that it had a double meaning. It was supposed to be a Christian song, but she found that the words also fit Tim. She couldnít take her eyes off of him. Tim also realized the double meaning. He felt as if she were singing to him. At that moment, he realized how truly beautiful she was.

As they walked in the moonlight holding hands, Tim was dying to kiss her. They reached a spot near the water where there was a low wall. Pepper hoisted herself up to sit on the wall and look at the moon. IT was then that she saw the first star appear:

Star light, Star bright

First star I see tonight

I wish I may, I wish I might

Have the wish I wish tonight

You could tell that it was something that she had said since childhood. She closed her eyes to make the wish. When she opened them, Timís face was right there. He took her face in his hands and kissed her deeply. Pepper wrapped her arms around

his neck and ran her fingers through his hair.

As their passion ignited, Tim had to remember that they were in a public place even though there didnít seem to be that many people around.

"Letís get out of here." He suggested.

As they rushed down the street, they couldnít guess what would happen next. Their minds were to full of what they wanted to happen next.


Where was she? She awoke in darkness. All around her was the smell of garbage. She didnít want to think about the scurrying noises that she heard. Her next thought was..."Tim!" She heard herself say. The next thing she realized was that she was in pain. Finally the cloud of pain took over. She gave in to the darkness.


Tim awoke in agony in a concrete cell. His next thought was... "Pepper!" His voice was ragged. He didnít know it, but he had been screaming her name for a better part of an hour before he had finally passed out.


When Pepper awoke the second time, she was in a white room with a soft bed. She felt safe.

"Caroline." It was Captain Bridger.

"Tim, where...?" Bridgerís face frowned.

"Heís missing. Can you tell us everything that happened?" She told him everything which wasnít much.


"Ah, youíre awake, Mr. OíNeill."

"Who are you? Whereís Pepper?"

The man circled the room taking his time. This would have to be done delicately.

"It seems that you have something that I want and I have something that you want." Tim knew what it was that he wanted, but what did this madman want?

"You see. I want SeaQuest. I figure that you can help me to get it. In return, you will get Ms. Richards." Hearing her name made Timís heart ache. Even though it was only their first date, he was already beginning to have feelings for her.

"What, exactly, do you want?"


Miguel came to pick Pepper up from the hospital the next day.

"Is there any word at all about Tim?" was the first thing that she asked.

"No, Iím really afraid that heís going to end up like Danny."

Neither one of them wanted to dwell on this too much.

"What can we do?" Miguel thought about it and then said, "Iím going back to that bar."

"Iím going with you." Miguel started to protest right away.

"Look Miguel, Tim is missing somewhere out there and Iím not just going to sit here doing nothing." She was serious and he could tell that she really felt something for Tim.

"Okay, but let me do the talking. Boy, Tim would kill me if anything happened to you."

He had done it. He had betrayed the SeaQuest. It wasnít like it wasnít the first time that he had done it. They would forgive him. Theyíd say "You were held captive. You were beaten and starved. They held the woman that you care about captive doing God knows what to." Yes, they would forgive him, but the question was: could he forgive himself?

Miguel grabbed the man behind the bar by the shirt and pulled him inches off the floor.
    "I know you work for them.  Now you tell me where they took our friend."
    "Yeah,  and if you don't,  I might have to blow your head off."  Where the hell did she get that gun,  thought Miguel.
    "Alright,  alright.  I'm not mixed in with them.  They just use my bar, you know,  for scouting purposes."  Miguel let the man down and took the gun from Pepper.
    "There's a warehouse on the corner of Dwight and Fullman."
    As they raced out of the door,  Pepper stopped Miguel.  
    "Wait,  aren't we going to call someone?"  Miguel gave her a dirty look.
    "This from a girl who pulled a gun on someone and said that she was going to blow their head off?"  Pepper just shrugged her shoulders.
    "I just want to make sure that he's there before we call in the troops."  They rode to the warehouse in silence.  Pepper was thinking about all of the horrible things Tim might be going through.  She suddenly broke down and started crying.  This was totally out of character for her.     "It's going to be okay,  Pepper.  We're going to find Tim.  He's going to be okay.  Are you praying for him?"  She nodded.  Even though Miguel was a lapsing Catholic boy,  he respected the beliefs that Tim and Pepper had.

    "Please,  I've given you what you want.  Why are you still doing this?"  They were still beating him and starving him.  He was starting to hallucinate.
    "Maybe I just like torturing people.  By the way,  guess what I did to your girlfriend before I killed her?"

    "Well?"  Pepper looked around nervously.
    "Well,  there's something going on in there."  They went around to the side of the building.
    "It looks like a laboratory.  Okay,  I think we have enough to call in the troops."
    "I want to be there."  Miguel gave her an exasperated look.
    "Please,  Miguel."  He could tell that she was just thinking about Tim.  
    "Okay,  but let's just get out of the way when the troops get here."
    Out of the fog came many figures.
     "They're here to beat me again."  He thought.  And he tried to get away.  Then she appeared.  The beautiful woman of his dreams.  But,  she was dead.
    "No,  you're dead!"  He tried to get away.  Oh my God,  she thought.
     "Tim, it's me,  Pepper.  I'm not dead."  She ran to him and held him.  He had been beaten.  She was crying and he was crying.
    "Oh,  tim. . . it's okay.  I'm here."  She held him as he cried.
    Was he still dreaming?  She was here.  She was dead and now she's here.  I'm no longer alone.  He held onto her as if he couldn't let go.  Then she turned into the fog and held nothing in his hands.
     He was falling through a gray mist.  Forms approached and were beating him in slow motion.  He felt the pain but somehow he was detached from the situation.  He remembered screaming.  Was it his voice he heard?  He was weeping again.  Was it him weeping?  He was begging for his life.  They were mocking him - toying with him like a kitten with a ball of string.
    Suddenly out of the haze,  she came.  He knew that he was hallucianting now,  because she was dead.  She can't be here.
    "Oh God,  please make this be real."  he whispered.
    "It is real,  Tim.  We're here to save you."
    "Are you real?"  he whispered again.  Pepper took him into her arms and held him.
    "I'm real.  You're going to be okay.  I promise."  She kissed his forehead and rocked him gently.  Ortiz looked on not wanting to intrude upon their private moment.  He was glad that he didn't lose another friend.

    Alan Westcott's cronies were arrested,  but Alan Westcott got away.  Professor Nestor was released and his family returned.
    As for Tim and Pepper,  Tim spent a couple of days in the hospital recouping after his ordeal.  Pepper,  along with various members of the crew,  came to visit him often.  On one particular occasion when Tim and Pepper were alone,  Tim said, "You know,  we never did finish our kiss."  He had a very mischievious look on his face.
    "Oh,  really?"  Pepper leaned over and kissed him deeply on the lips.
    "Now you have something to look forward to when you get outta here."  With that,  she gave a little wink  and flashed a cover girl smile.