DARK SECRET OF PARADISE

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Submitted Date 03/24/2020
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Lola Halali stood over Jill Lagas. "Push." She told the woman as she lay on the kitchen table. "Push, sweetheart."

Lola saw the head of the baby emerge. Jill's Mother and older sister were both there comforting her. As she pushed out her baby. All of them gasped. Jill's Mother shook her head. They had heard of this kind of baby being born. The last one had been born four years ago. Jill, her Mother and Sister all began to cry.

Lola shook her head. She couldn't be caught up in this emotion.

The baby was alive. Jill's husband, Paul Lagas was outside. In these one room farms, it was the only way for a woman to give birth to a child in the traditional Waka way. Alone with female relatives and a midwife like Lola.

Jill's still living baby was wrapped in a blanket and handed to her. Despite the birth defect, it was alive. Jill needed to hold the child, to give it love. Worse, it was a boy. Paul had wanted a boy. Not this way. Not one who would eventually die. Or if it didn't die, would be a burden to them instead of a eventual farmer like Paul. With the new ways, that was the least that would be expected of him. He could have been much more.

Lola left the relatives to share their sorrow. "I'm so sorry. If the child doesn't pass in the next few days, take it to Doctor Bao, so you will know what needs to be done."

Jill held the baby and cried. Her Sister held Jill. Their Mother looked over at Lola. Her eyes were full of tears. She nodded. They all knew what would need to be done if the child didn't pass. In the meantime they would care for it as any child. Love it for the short time. In a few days, if it still lived they would take it to Doctor Bao to determine what to do.

Lola packed away her equipment. Normally she would have stayed a little longer, to celebrate with the happy family. This was not a happy time. Lola stepped outside with her midwife bag in her hand. She walked over to Paul who had been outside. Alone. It was custom for the man to be alone as the Mother gave birth.

"Paul, I will stop by the big Lagas farm and tell your Father to come here. You need your own family around." Lola said. She put her finger on Paul's lips. "The baby's got the curse."

"Ain't been a curse baby for near four years." Paul was shocked.

"I know, but we all know that some of us were exposed to bad radiation for a little while." Lola shook her head. It had been accidental exposure during a secret ritual the islanders had in a cave. Not knowing it was filled with radiation.

Lola laid a hand on Paul's shoulder. "Be kind, luv. Don't blame Jill for it. It's just the way of things. I've got to go. I'll tell your da, at the big farm."

Lola left Paul who was trying to keep a firm upper lip. She got on her bike. Riding down the street for a while. Far enough away so no one would see or hear her. Lola let it all out then. Folding her arms on the handlebars of her bicycle she laid down her head and bawled. The poor tyke would be dead. The family horrified and saddened by the event.

Once Lola had cried herself out, she continued to ride her bike to the big farm. It was dark, still early in the night, a sliver of moon. Starlight was bright out here, but not that bright. Paul's Father wouldn't know that before Lola informed him of the tragedy, Lola had cried her eyes out. Lola would try to be as professional and calm as she could. Despite the curse and what would have to be done.

Doctor Bao called Teuila the next morning after Paul and Jill had brought the child to the clinic. Li had hoped that the child might pass while in his care. He didn't often hope someone would die under his ministrations, no true doctor wanted their patient to die. Nor did a doctor want anyone to have to make a determination as to the fate of this type of child.

This was a case of extreme Microcephaly. The child's head was no bigger than a tennis ball. It was obviously disproportioned to the body. If it had been a very small, premature baby it would be different. This had meant to be a large, healthy baby and the head should have been proportionate to the rest of the body.

There were a few islanders with this condition that had not been as serious. They were five or so years old now. Obviously retarded, yet still capable of doing enough tasks that they were not a true burden to their parents.

If this child did survive it would never be able to care for itself, never be able to work, never be able to participate in society. The child would never truly be aware. It would need constant care, that would be an emotional burden to their parents. It seemed cold, but it would have been better if the child did die. The child survived another life. Now, it was up to Teuila as island Chieftess to decide the fate of the child. The parents were already at the clinic. Doctor Bao called Teuila.

Teuila arrived with a haunted look on her face. This was the first time that she had to face this particular situation. Teuila's Father had to make this decision three times after the Castle Bravo Fallout. Each time it had taken it's toll on him. Teuila felt that making these decisions was what killed him.

Teuila hugged Jill and Paul. Whispering comforting words in Jill's ear as she hugged her. "I'm so sorry this happened. We thought all of this had passed us over years ago."

"Do both of you agree to this examination and the decision I make." Teiula had to make this official. If the parents did not give consent it was not possible for Teiula to do what was necessary.

"Doctor. Will this child ever be able to care for itself?" Teiula turned Li. "Or will he be a burden on the resources of the island."

Li sighed. "No." Doctor Bao wanted to lie, but he couldn't do that.. "He will be a burden to his parents if he lives."

Teuila examined the child carefully. She didn't have to take Doctor Bao's word for it. Teuila could tell from the abnormally small head that the child would never be capable, even on a partial level, like some islanders with this problem.

"Leave me alone for a moment. This child is now my responsibility. I take him out of your care. Do you agree? Doctor." Teuila didn't look at Doctor Bao. She was looking at the child in the crib.

"I agree. She is now in your care. God help you both." Doctor Bao was a Protestant.

Doctor Bao left Teuila. Going back into the office. This had been the custom of the island from the beginning of British occupation.

The island Chief took custody of such a child. Making Teuila the only one who was responsible for what had to happen. Nor could she be condemned or prosecuted for any action she took, because she was given the responsibility by everyone involved. Knowing full well what would be her decision.

Before British occupation, the act would have been done with none of the ceremony because the islanders would understand. When the British occupied the island it became more official.

Kane was comforting the couple. Jill was crying. Paul was being stoic.

Doctor Bao had been through this with Teuila's Father. "It might be best if you go ahead and leave. You can see the child again when this is all over at the Funeral Parlor."

Li wondered if he had sounded cold. "I am sorry you had to go through all of this." Li added.

Paul nodded. Placed a hand on Li's shoulder. "Thank you. All of you for what you've done. Tell Teuila we hope to see her at the funeral."

"We will all come." Li said.

Teuila came into the front office of the clinic. She sat down in one of the waiting room chairs. She seemed to be exhausted. Teuila's head hung down. It had to be over.

Doctor Bao was supposed to ask if it was done. He hadn't the heart to ask Teuila when it was obvious she had done it. Kane moved into the next chair and wrapped her arms around Teuila.

"It was what had to be done." Kane told Teuila. "You did what had to be done."

Doctor Bao examined the baby. He imagined what happened. Teuila had picked the baby up. Held it. Said something comforting to it. Promptly breaking it's delicate neck afterwards. Painless and quick. Li noticed that Teuila had vomited on the floor. He would have to clean it up. It was the least he could do for Teuila.

Doctor Bao had been assigned a Jeep that had been found in a island base being used for criminal activity on the island. Kane helped Teuila get into the Jeep. She was in shock, shaking and pale. Li had promised to call Teuila's best friend Sefina. Kane promised Li to stay with Teuila until Sefina had come to comfort her.

As Kane drove Teuila home, Teuila sat still in the Jeep, staring straight ahead. It was an obvious shock. She had stopped shaking. Li had given Kane a barbiturate to give Teuila when she got her home. She would give the bottle to Sefina when she arrived. In case Teuila need another one. Li felt that it was best for Teuila to rest for a couple of days.

Sefina knew the situation. Doctor Bao had informed her. It wasn't normal to tell anyone of the island custom of euthanasia. Only the chief could approve and perform it on a child. Adults were considered capable of their own decisions, but newborn children couldn't. So, it was left to the tribal chief to determine the fate of the child.

Teuila was convinced the the three children who had been born with birth defects after the Castle Bravo Fallout had killed her Father. He had to put them all to death. Some of the children had been born dead or died soon afterwards. Those three he killed seem to take all of the life out of Teuila's Father. When he died of a heart attack, Teuila blamed it on those deaths.

"He had to be strong. He had to be the strong man. The mighty chief of our people. He couldn't let the emotions he felt out. Even with me, but I knew. I told him I knew. I wanted him to talk to me. He wouldn't." Teuila had told Sefina at the funeral. "He said I wouldn't understand. That by the time I was chief he hoped that was one custom I wouldn't have to perform."

Only Teuila had done it, already. Sefina felt it was partly her fault. They hadn't had a serious birth defect in years. Until they had found the cave. Sefina used it for the 'Story of Waka'. The Wakatifilealei which was a story that was sung and danced. They performed it in secret during the full moon once a month. Only the cave had proven radioactive, people got sick, and they had to abandon the cave. Not before the radiation had left it's mark.

Radiation was a evil spirit that was unleashed with the Castle Bravo bomb. It had cursed the island in its anger. Most of the islanders believed that. They often came in conflict with their Advisors, Americans, and the scientists over this. Their advisors had forgotten the customs of the island, even Teuila had not had her customs passed on to her by the old chief. The other islanders had not. The farmer, the fisherman, and the townsman. They all remembered.

Teuila had left Sefina in charge of making sure that the islanders didn't forget their customs. How all things had spirits within them. The dance, the songs, incantations which called the spirits. Teuila also instructed Sefina to conduct the rituals in public. That they no longer had to hide their beliefs.

Sefina was now the spiritual counselor of the island as a result. It wasn't something any of them had anticipated. But the islanders came to Sefina for spiritual advice.

Sefina was a disk jockey, radio reporter, entertainer for the local Waka Radio Station. It was owned by Charlie King, who built the station from the remaining radio equipment left by the United States after World War II. He had become the most successful capitalist on the island.

"I need to go see Teuila. She's very sick and needs someone to stay with her." Sefina said after answering Doctor Bao's call.

Charlie was working on his latest project. A video tape recording machine. He had been working with it for six months. It was his latest distraction. It had cost him a fair amount of money as well. Hearing Teuila's name Charlie looked up from his wires.

"Is she okay. Does she need something? Perhaps Nash can do something?" Charlie put his tools down, stood up and crossed over to Sefina. "If you must go, I guess I can get Flo or Jane to take your place."

"I must go." Sefina stressed. "You know when I was sick, Teuila stayed with me, despite how busy she was. I would be remiss if I didn't do the same."

"I just wanted to make sure." Charlie wasn't happy to replace Sefina in the afternoon. Jane now worked mornings. Flo during the night. Sefina was the best of them, so Charlie put her on during the prime listening hours of his audience. "Go on, I'll arrange for the other two girls to cover for you."

Sefina rode her bicycle to Teuila's house from the station. There were few vehicles on the island. A handful of vehicles existed on the island. One motorcycle, six Jeeps, ten trucks, and thirty or so tractors.

All of them with a monthly ration of gas from the old military gas depot. If you wanted to get around on the island, you either rode a bicycle or walked.

"I'm glad you came, Sefina." Kane was in the living room of the small bungalow that Teuila lived in. She came over to hug Sefina.

"Li told me what happened." Sefina said. "I can't believe there was another cursed baby."

"Tay is asleep, I gave her a barbiturate. I'm leaving the bottle with you." Kane gave the bottle to Sefina. "If you think it's necessary let her take another one tonight before she goes to bed. Li wants Tay to rest for the next couple of days. So, keep the advisors and the rest of the island away from her."

"I will. They think I'm some sort of priestess blessed by the old gods. So, if I evoke the old gods, they'll listen to me." Sefina, despite the situation, smiled at Kane.

Kane laughed. "I'm glad you came, if anyone can help Teuila recover from this it's you."

"I hope so." Sefina knew it had to take a lot out of Teuila to kill a child, even if it was for the good of the child, the parents, and the island. "She'll never really recover, I think. How can you? Only time will help."

Kane got in the Jeep and drove back to her husband's clinic. Her husband had to make decisions similar to Teuila's. To decide when to stop treatment for a dying patient, to decide between a baby and it's mother, to determine the risks of an operation. But, to flat out kill a baby because it could never develop correctly. Even as an act of mercy, Li had never had to do that. She didn't know how Teuila managed to do it, nor could she image what it might have taken out of her soul.

A death of a child this way was supposed to be a secret. Secrets spread. Paul informed his family. Jill told her relatives. Their relatives told others on nearby farms. Farmers told townsmen and townsmen told fishermen. It wasn't long before even the outsiders learned of the rumors. Long before that happened the advisors learned of the incident.

Mike Hatta eventually heard of the incident from the fishermen he represented. Advisor was the nearest his title came when translated from the 'old language' to English. Or so he was told. Nobody he knew on the island of Waka Tifi spoke the 'old language' anymore. He called the other members of the council. Asking for a meeting.

Before he set a date for the meeting he wanted to consult the American scientists. Mike Hatta had been accepting bribes from the Americans since Vic Thrayer had come to the island and brought his criminal organization with him.

Mike was supposed to tell the scientists what the council knew. He missed the coup that Teuila organized to get rid of Vic Thrayer. Mike hoped to make up for that by telling them about the murder of the baby by Teuila. Americans wouldn't understand the reasons for this. They would want Teuila charged for murder.

Mike couldn't just call the two scientists. He rode over to the clinic on his bike. If he called the operator could overhear what he told the scientists. It was also a party line. Anyone picking up the phone could overhear the conversation between him and the scientists. Every Advisor had a phone, most of the townsmen did too. Some of the farms. Mike couldn't take that chance so he rode to the old clinic.

"I heard of this custom." Eddie had met Mike in the old meeting room. The sat in the old wooden chairs that had been left behind when the base was abandoned after the war. "It's not murder, more of a mercy killing."

"I thought you Americans didn't approve of that sort of thing." Mike said. Neither had the British. At that time the old King, Moaro had done the killings in secret.

"I don't. I just don't see what this has to do with us." Eddie had been treading on thin ice lately. When Vic Thrayer left the island he killed Adam Kresler in the clinic. He also left coded messages at his base of operations that mentioned Eddie and Tony as contacts. "Waka Tifi is only under the protection of the United States military, it is not under any actual authority of the United States military or it's government."

"We fly the American flag. We want your military to protect us. Shouldn't we answer to you when our customs come into conflict with your country's law?" Mike didn't become Advisor without making a persuasive argument.

"And it hasn't made a difference before. Why should it now?" Eddie said. "According to our contract with the Waka Tifi islanders we are allowed to use this island as a military outpost during time of war. We are allowed to test the island for radioactivity. We aren't allowed to interfere with the normal functioning of this island's government or authority."

This contract had been made to prevent this sort of attempt to displace the Waka Tifi government. Just as the British had ruled the island under similar conditions for a hundred and fifty years. Waka Tifi had never been a true colony of the British Empire. It had simply been used as a military outpost, harbor, and supply base. When the Americans came, they used the island for the same thing. Now, they had both left. Waka Tifi was independent for the first time in a hundred and fifty years. Teuila and the other council members intended to keep it that way at present.

"So, what do you plan to do?" Mike had hoped they would jump at a chance to get rid of Teuila as tribal leader. "Bring in another Victor Thrayer." "Believe it or not Mike, we Americans learn from our mistakes." Eddie never approved of bringing in Vic Thrayer to begin with. "We'll see how this situation plays out. If you can finagle the council to replace Teuila, all the better. If not, we Americans had nothing to do with it."

Eddie did contact his CIA handler. Informing him of the possibility of the council replacing Teuila. This new CIA man wasn't like the old one. He listened, said nothing, and told Eddie to observe, but not interfere. Until he received orders to the contrary.

Teuila woke up drowsy. She sat up in bed. At some point someone had pulled off her dress. She didn't remember doing it. Teuila was covered with a bed sheet. The window was open. Afternoon noises from the town came through the open window. So did the waves hitting the surf. Bird song too.

Sitting up, Teuila felt dizzy. Slightly sick. Kane had brought her home. Teuila remembered that. Kane had given Teuila a pill. It must have knocked her out. As her memory kicked in Teuila remembered what she did. The action clearly played out in her mind. Teuila stumbled into the bathroom and threw up.

Sefina had been reading one of Teuila's old magazines when she heard Teuila begin to get sick in the bathroom. Sefina remembered the last time she was that sick, it was when she had radiation sickness. Sefina went to the bathroom to see that Teuila had at least made it to the toilet before throwing up what was left in her stomach. She looked at Sefina with large brown eyes that touched Sefina's heart.

"Come on, let's get you back to bed." Sefina helped her friend to her feet. "Kane said that you needed to stay in bed."

"I'm not really sick." Teuila protested. She wanted to explain to Sefina that it was the memory of what she did that made her sick, but held that inside. To make that explanation Teuila would have to relive it again.

"You're in bad shape all the same." Sefina maneuvered Teuila back into the bed room and to the bed. "If you want to change into something more comfortable, I can help."

Teuila was grateful as Sefina helped her out of her underwear and into a soft cotton nightgown. Very short, with no sleeves, because of the tropical weather. Once changed Teuila laid down and Sefina actually tucked her into her bed.

"I feel like a child." Teuila said. Her voice was listless. Teuila heard it. She just couldn't care at this time. "I shouldn't act like one. I need to get up, there are things to do."

Sefina heard a dim spark of anger in what Teuila said. Despite how soft and weak her voice sounded, there was that fire inside somewhere. Sefina felt that was a good thing.

"Let yourself be babied for a little bit." Sefina smiled at her friend. "It's okay to succumb to a little weakness now and then."

"Not for me, I need to set the example. I need to be strong for the others." Teuila knew this to be true, she just couldn't manage it. She didn't want to get up, to be strong, to set the example.

"Bullshit." Sefina's foul language made Teuila widen her eyes. "You lay there for your own good. Doctor's orders."

"Where did you learn that foul language." Teuila managed to scold her friend despite the fog her mind seem to be in. "You've been hanging around the Americans too much."

It wasn't long after that comment that Teuila fell asleep again. Sefina quietly got up and went back to reading her magazine in the living room. She would check in on Teuila later.

At the turn of the 18th century Thomas Jefferson gathered together a group of people and suggested the 'Light Bringers'. Those who would bring the light of freedom to the land. Those who would honor the spirit of the United States of America and all it stood for. Freedom, Justice, Education, and Mercy to all corners of the world.

Vulgate in latin, the light bringers were former Masonic Lodge members from that time. Charlie King's ring resembled that of a Mason's ring. With it's compass and triangle. Instead of a G in the center there was a star. The Morning Star. The light bringer.

There is nothing that man cannot imagine that he cannot create or build if he is willing. If he is willing to build a just society, that is free, well educated, and merciful, then man can create it. All he needed was the spark of inspiration that is from the Divine to accomplish it. That was what the ring's symbols meant. The light bringers or Vulgates would build a society that had all of the qualities that Thomas Jefferson wanted to bring to the world.

Before the Civil War began the Vulgates had been setting the stage for the liberation of slaves in America. No one had wanted a Civil War, but the politics of the time allowed the Vulgates to use slavery as the focus point for the Civil War.

It was the unfortunate assassination of Abraham Lincoln that had been a severe setback for the Vulgates. The Vulgates had hoped to use the reconstruction of the South to improve relations after the Civil War, but with Lincoln's death hotter heads prevailed in Washingtom. The South was persecuted and reconstruction was more of a punishment then amends to the Civil War. Southerners turned their attention to the blacks who were liberated and punished them in turn.

It was some time before the Vulgates could work through the anger and distrust caused between the North and South due to the Civil War. The Vulgates turned their attention to the United State's treatment of the American Indian for a while, unable to make much of a difference.

The Vulgates found themselves fighting a threat to America, the paranoia of Communism. Charlie King had been one of the first to begin questioning the McCarthy Trials of a few years ago. The Vulgates arranged for Charlie to depart America ahead of charges brought about by the McCarthy tribunal. Setting Charlie up in Waka Tifi.

The Vulgate Society had expansive wealth gained over the years of it's existence. It's members existed in all American classes, all levels of government, and in the military. When Charlie King had asked for a armory full of weapons to prevent a possible invasion of Waka, the Vulgate Society had sent up M1's, Colt 45s, and even some machine guns.

Charlie recruited and trained thirty islanders how to use them. Not an army, but as a resistance force. Charlie had revealed his plans prematurely when Victor Thrayer had set up his criminal organization on the island. he had wanted it to be a surprise for any invading military force. So it had, only to a bunch of thugs, instead of a invading military force.

Zach Nathon had questioned the islanders. It appeared to him that Charlie had set up some form of Masonic Lodge on the island. The islanders were members of that lodge and were training to form a militia. After they had cleared out Victor Thrayer's criminal organization the islanders swore their loyalty to Teuila and the Waka Tifi Democracy.

Zach suddenly found himself with a police force when Teuila assigned them to him. Thirty-two policemen were suddenly under Zach's control. He had been officially assigned two before that. Where he was supposed to get the budget for these men he didn't know, until the Council changed his budget to accommodate for the sudden increase.

Drugs and alcohol became Zach's priority according to the council. Most of his policemen actually kept the peace and monitored the export and import of the docks to make sure no illegal contraband made it through into the interior of the island.

Mike Hatta came into Zach's office that afternoon. Zach had already known about the incident in Doctor Bao's office. He had been informed as soon as his men had got wind of it. Mike had decided to make this his next stop before finishing up the arrangements for meeting with the council.

"I want to know where you're loyalties lie." Mike had arranged to meet with Zach in his office.

"With my boss." Zach said honestly. He should have said something a little more political like 'with justice' or 'the islanders'.

"Not to the people of this island?" Mike raised a eyebrow.

"Teuila represents the people of this island. By being loyal to Teuila I am loyal to the people of this island." Zach replied. His answer seemed to take Mike off guard. "Are you saying I have reason to believe that Teuila doesn't deserve my loyalty? That she doesn't represent the best interest of the island?"

"I just think that the Council also represents the people, more so than the Chief of the island. We are the ones who advise the Chief what is the best course for the Chief to take for the island." Mike explained. This man was not stupid, he would have to be convinced that change was for the best.

"I think that the Council is a herd of politicians, who are more concerned about their own agendas than the people they are supposed to serve." Zach decided to make his feelings clear. "If the Council attempts to displace Teuila they will find that the island's law enforcement will not be very tolerant of such an action."

"Are you threatening a revolt?" Mike couldn't contain his anger at this man's arrogance.

"I am talking about enforcement of the law, and remaining loyal to my boss. You have no legal reason to displace Teuila." Zach kept his calm. "Now, if I hear any more talk of revolution I'll have to report my findings to my Council representative and to Teuila."

"Wait a minute, no one is talking revolution. All I am asking is will you abide by the Council's decision if they choose to relieve Teuila of her responsibilities due to her health." Mike said.

"Which means that when Teuila is healthy again you will return her to her former position." Zach smiled at Mike. "Which means that you don't need to worry about my support, because you are acting in the best interest of the island and Teuila herself."

Mike walked out of Zach's office fully aware that he couldn't count on the support of the police office or it's men. It didn't matter, if he could replace Teuila he wouldn't need Zach's support. He could replace the man with a loyal islander.

Nash came over in the evening. Teuila was up. She had eaten some soup. Nash brought her a pork cheese burger, french fries, and a Coca-Cola. Teuila wasn't sure she could eat it. Sefina was happy to devour the cheese burger that Nash had brought for her. Nash had assured them he had already eaten at the Victory Cafe.

"Teuila. Doctor Bao told me that the baby might have eventually died, if not in the next few days, then in the next few weeks." Nash said as they ate. "You can't blame yourself. It was merciful, what you did."

"I'm not ready to talk about this." Teuila said.

"Zach tells me that Mike Hat came to see him." Nash didn't want to lay this on Teuila so soon, but she deserved to know what was happening. "He asked Zach straight out where his loyalties lie."

"Mike wouldn't dare try to press a murder charge." Sefina was angry. She didn't believe that a member of the council would stoop to something like that.

"Mike didn't press charges. He has called a council meeting." Nash said. "Nehili Lagi has already called me. She wants me to assure you that nothing is going to happen anytime soon."

Teuila knew she should be angry. She looked at her cheeseburger. Teuila had only managed to eat a few bites. Her stomach wasn't rebelling against the food. Teuila ate another fry. She should eat, she thought.

She should be angry. She wasn't. It took her an effort just to eat.

"Nehili will handle Mike." Sefina said, when Teuila didn't seem to be even listening. Teuila was looking at her food as if debating if she was even hungry. "Are you okay? Do you want another pill? Maybe you should sleep some more."

"No. If I sleep anymore today, I won't sleep tonight." Teuila didn't want their company. She had a headache from the drug. Fighting to stay awake. "I just want to sit on the porch. Alone. I need to work through this."

Teuila's voice sounded hollow. Sefina didn't like the sound of it. Neither did Nash. "I can go, if you want to be alone with Nash." Sefina said.

"Do what you want, just don't bother me." Teuila got up, leaving the meal on the table and walked out to her patio that faced the sea.

"If you want, I can leave." Sefina said to Nash. "Maybe you can help her more if you two are by yourself."

"No. She's not in the mood to deal with me tonight." Nash said. "I'm going to come back tomorrow. If you can stay the night, I'd appreciate it."

Nash didn't have to ask, Sefina had already planned on it. She walked over to the patio door. She heard Teuila crying as she stood there looking over at the moonlit ocean. Sefina knew that Teuila wanted to be alone, but she couldn't let her friend go through this alone.

When Teuila turned when she heard Sefina coming into the patio. Teuila was going to tell Sefina to just leave her alone. She turned straight into Sefina's hug. Teuila began to sob on her shoulder. Teuila cried herself out after ten minutes. After that she went back in and finished her meal. Sefina knew that it had helped.

Sefina wouldn't go home. She slept on a mat on the floor. Guests who stayed the night either slept on the floor or the couch. Many of the farmers and fishermen slept on mats on the floor. Teuila knew she had to get back to her old self, if she was to get Sefina to go home.

"Go." Teuila told Sefina the next morning. "You have a job. Go to it."

Teuila knew she had to keep herself from feeling that apathy she couldn't fight yesterday. She couldn't manage a smile or sunny attitude, but she put some inflection into her voice. She made herself sound irritated, more so then she really felt.

"I told you last night. I need time to myself. You can come see me after your shift. I want you to." Teuila stuck with this explanation. "If you are here, Nash won't be tempted to ask to spend the night. I just don't need that kind of attention right now."

"Alright." Sefina said, reluctantly. "I think Kane is going to pay a visit, purely for clinical reasons."

"I don't want any more pills. That medicine knocked me flat yesterday." It hadn't just been the pills, it was the shock of what she had done. Today she felt slightly better. Less in a fog, thinking clearly.

"All the same, I think I'll leave you the bottle. In case you need it to sleep at night." Sefina put the bottle on the kitchen counter as she went to leave.

Sefina would bicycle to her home, to shower and change. After that she'd head back to the station. She still had time before she needed to go back on shift.

Teuila watched Sefina ride away on her bike from the front window of her bungalow. She walked over to the kitchen counter and picked up the bottle of barbiturates. Tueila turned the bottle over in her hands for a while. Listening to the pills as the tumbled around the bottle. She put the bottle in a cabinet and walked out onto the patio. To think.

Sefina walked into the station near the beginning of her shift. She saw no one at the desk. She looked into the window that showed the inside of the booth to see both Jane and Charlie talking inside. Sefina checked for the red light that showed the booth was live. Not seeing it she tapped on the window and waved at it's two occupants.

Charlie quickly exited the booth. "What are you doing here?"

"I still work here, don't I?" Sefina was worried that something had happened while she was caring for Teuila.

"Of course you do, but I didn't expect you back today. I thought Teuila was sick." Charlie must not have heard the entire situation, Sefina thought. Or he would know it was more emotional than physical.

"She'll be fine without me for a while. I'll check on her later." Sefina assured Charlie.

"I heard what happened. She won't be fine. Sefina, something like that takes an emotional toll that you simply can't imagine." Charlie said. "I'd rather you stuck around her for a couple days."

"Charlie, she doesn't want me there. She says she has to work through this alone." Sefina was concerned about Teuila, but she respected her privacy. "Like I said, I'll check on her tonight."

Charlie decided not to press Sefina on the subject. He had heard yesterday what had happened. It had trickled down the island grapevine through Flo Lega the night disk jockey. Charlie couldn't get Doc Bao to confirm it, but Kane said that Teuila had taken the death of the child badly.

Kane was discreet enough not to say that Teuila had killed the child. Charlie knew that three such children died when Moaro was King. Each time it seemed to take something away from the old man. Charlie had killed men during the war. He had nightmares about it. How much worse would be killing a child. Even if death would have been merciful for the parents and the child itself.

Nehili Legi had called Teuila that afternoon. Teuila was still listless. Nehili could hear it in Teuila's voice. She had called to inform Teuila that Mike Hatta had ordered a emergency meeting of the council. Most of the advisors had declined Mike's suggestion for a meeting.

"Now is not the time for politics." Nehili assured Teuila. "I know you did what was necessary. I don't like it, but it had to be done. I'm sorry that according to custom it had to be you."

"Thank you Nehili. You know that I trust you. I'm having trouble just thinking right now. It's like I'm trying to find my way in a thick fog." Teuila had known Nehili for years. She was ten years older than Teuila, an advisor when her Father was still king of the island. "I'd like you to represent me at the Council meetings until I can think straight."

"Of course, luv." Nehili was honored that the younger woman would put that much trust into her. "I suppose something like this could set you right off."

"I'll work it all out in a few days, until then, just keep Mike Hatta off of my back." Teuila was feeling a little better, she just needed more time.

"I know you will, you are a strong woman. Get better. Call me when you are ready to meet with the Council." With that Nehili said her goodbyes and hung up.

Teuila hung up the receiver. She wondered if she did the right thing. What was really wrong with her? Kane and Li had labeled it as shock. Well, she must have been over it by now. Hysteria? Was that what it was? An over reaction to the circumstances? This wasn't a disease or an injury. It was a emotional response. Teuila simply needed to get a grip on her emotions.

Charlie King rode over on his motorcycle. It had been the property of Adam Kresler. Given to Charlie by Teuila for his help in arming the natives and helping them get rid of the criminal organization formed on the island by Victor Thrayer. It was one of the few vehicles on the island. It's motor sound was unique. Teuila heard it as she sat on the patio staring at the ocean.

Charlie knocked on the front door. Teuila sat on the patio. She wasn't ready for any more condolences. People treated her like it was her child. As if she hadn't killed it. Or they called it a 'mercy killing'. It was murder. She had murdered a baby because of it's birth defect. Custom or no custom it was something she couldn't forgive herself of.

Charlie knocked again. It was possible that Teuila wasn't home. Charlie looked in the window. The door to the patio was open and there were dirty dishes in the sink. Charlie tried the door. It wasn't locked. Charlie stepped into the Living room.

"Teuila." He said.

Teuila couldn't work up any anger for this invasion of her privacy. She simply sat there. Perhaps if she didn't say or do anything, he would go away. She wanted to be left alone. With the dark thoughts that seem to come and go. With the dark thoughts came the paralysis. That only went when the dark thoughts receded.

The door to the bedroom was open, Charlie looked in, but didn't see Teuila on the bed. He called her name again. He looked out the kitchen window onto the patio. Charlie walked out and sat down on the rail. Blocking Teuila's view of the ocean.

"What do you want Charlie?" Teuila felt a slight rise of irritation. Couldn't they leave her alone. "Have you come to tell me it was a mercy killing. Maybe you came to tell me it will be all right. I don't care. Can't you all just go away."

"No." Charlie said. "We can't. You are too important to us. You are hurting. You don't feel like you can talk to anyone about this. That people can't understand, won't understand. What you had to do has changed you, hurt your soul."

Teuila felt the emotions rising. Those emotions of sadness, anger, self-pity, and host of other dark emotions. "How would you know?"

"I've killed. It doesn't matter who you kill. Killing another person, taking another life, is something you can't really talk about with someone who hasn't done that." Charlie's emotions wanted to break through. He kept his voice level. Kept himself in check. "Nash has killed too. You should talk to him. Ask him about it. It might help."

"No. I'm asking you." Teuila wanted to know.

Charlie took a chair and pulled it next to Teuila's. "It was a man. He was just guarding a facility. I had to kill him in the course of a mission. I had to kill him, complete the mission. When you are doing that, you can't think about it until after everything is done. Then it happens. Then it comes back. Later, when you're sitting alone looking at the ocean. Everything comes back."

"How do you make it stop." Teuila turned to Charlie, the tears falling from her eyes.

Charlie laid his hand on hers, squeezing it. "You don't. You distract yourself. For me it's electronics. The radio station. Having people around, like Sefina, Jane, helps too. Having someone who understands to talk to, that is important. Nash understands. You can talk to him too."

"What about you?" Teuila looked back at the ocean.

"I am always here to talk. Or just here to sit with you. In silence. Sometimes you need that too." So, Charlie sat.

They didn't talk. Somehow, Teuila felt it didn't matter that she didn't talk. Just having Charlie there, and knowing he knew, that helped in a way. After an hour of just having him there. Teuila felt better.

"I've got to go. Talk to Nash, he will understand." Charlie said before he left.

Teuila got up. She did the dirty dishes in the sink. She began to clean up. Put away the sleeping mat that Sefina had slept on last night. Teuila made up her own bed. As if it had taken all of the energy from her, Teuila sat down on the sofa in the living room. She picked up a magazine and browsed the articles. Put it down. Laid down. Went to sleep.

Teuila awoke with a start. It was the nightmare that did it. Breathing heavily she put her hand over her heart. If her Father had felt this way after his nightmares, Teuila knew why he died. She felt as if it was killing her. It was as if she would die if the pounding of her heart didn't stop.

Teuila's heart stopped pounding. Her nightmare was about killing the baby. It was fading now. The nightmare and the actual memory was merging together now. Teuila wasn't crying as she remembered it. She had tried to keep from reminding herself of what she done. Although she dwelled on it for every hour after she had done it. If not thinking of what she did, reasoning why she did it, then trying not to think about it.

Teuila was hungry, she didn't have the motivation to fix anything to eat. Teuila fixed some strong tea. Pulled down a jar with biscuits in it. She added sugar and coconut milk. Sitting at her dining table, Teuila managed to eat a couple of biscuits. What Americans called cookies.

Sefina arrived afterward. "I see you cleaned up a little, that's good."

Teuila didn't say anything. She wasn't in the mood for conversation. Sefina took the saucer Teuila had put the cookies on. She fixed Teuila more tea. Teuila added some sugar and milk. Sefina sat on the other side of the table facing Teuila.

"I heard Charlie came by today. Kane says she is coming later tonight." Sefina said. "Is there anything I can do to help you work through this?"

"Charlie helped. He talked to me. Could you ride by the clinic and ask Kane not to stop by. I want to speak to Nash." Teuila felt that Charlie was right. If Nash did understand. If, like Charlie, he had to kill, it might help.

"I don't like leaving you alone." Sefina decided to be honest. "We are all worried about you. That is why Kane wanted to come over after I left. We are so scared."

Teuila shook her head. "About what? Why are you so scared. I'll get over this."

Sefina reached over and grabbed Teuila's hand. "You are just so out of it. You seem to get a little better, then it's like you take two steps backward for each step forward."

People sometimes made the mistake of thinking Sefina wasn't bright. Sefina often seemed like some bimbo, but she proved time and again to be more insightful then most people gave her credit for. Sefina could tell that Teuila was more than just down, she was seriously depressed.

"I know I seem to be getting worse, but I'll work through this." Teuila assured Sefina. "You don't have to fret over me."

"You are my best friend, I don't mind fretting over you." Sefina let go of Teuila's hand. "If you are sure you are okay, I'll go now. If you promise not to do anything stupid."

"That is an easy promise to make. I don't feel like doing anything, stupid or otherwise." Teuila actually smiled at Sefina. Poor girl was really worried about Teuila. It made Teuila feel better just knowing that.

After Sefina left it was an hour before Nash finally arrived. It was actually earlier then Teuila had expected him. Nash brought a basket of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and coleslaw. All takeout from the Victory Cafe. He also brought a couple bottles of Coke that were still cold when he arrived. The chicken was still hot.

Nash placed two plate settings on the table and served out the meal. Teuila picked at her food. She felt bad about not wanting to eat. Felt angry that she felt bad about it. She couldn't work up any real emotion about it. Teuila wanted to talk to Nash, more than she wanted to eat, or be social.

"Charlie told me you killed someone once." Teuila said as she played with her food.

Nash lost his appetite at that moment. "I told him that in confidence."

"He told me because it was something I needed to know. I needed to know that you would understand what I was feeling." Teuila pushed her plate aside. "Can you tell me about it?"

"There isn't a lot to tell, we were attacked while I was doing some reporting on an island the Marines had just taken. A bunch of Japs came out of the jungle and it was a vicious attack. I had a rifle. I shot one of them point blank. In the chest. I remember his face. I see it in my dreams."

Nash never thought he'd share this story. There were too many emotions behind it which he kept bottled up. It was Charlie who convinced Nash to share his story, now Nash had share it with Teiula.

"I picked the baby up. It didn't cry. It didn't laugh. All the baby did was stare straight ahead. It didn't react like a baby should. I figured that this should be easy. Father had showed me how to do it. He promised that it was painless." Teuila believed him. Her Father was tall for an islander, muscular, and active. Until he started having to kill babies that were the result of the fallout. "Like me, he just faded away."

"I'm here, Tay. I love you, I won't let you fade away." Nash promised her.

"I'm already fading away. We all know it." Teuila began to cry. The last thing she remembered was Nash holding her. Nash carrying her to bed.

Sex. Charlie said that a distraction was the best thing to bring her out of this depression she seemed to be stuck in. Nash was anxious, Teuila was desperate. Anything that might take her mind from dwelling on what she did. It had worked. Teuila exhausted herself. She fell sleep in Nash's arms.

Nash stirred when Teuila woke with a start. It had been another nightmare. The nightmare faded quickly. The pounding of her heart was not as bad as before. Teuila looked over at her alarm clock, the glow in the dark markings indicated that it was past midnight. Nash didn't actually wake up, he turned away from Teuila.

Teuila got up and covered herself with a cotton robe. Tying it off, she wandered out onto the patio. Stared at the ocean, the stars in the clear sky reflected off the ocean. Any time that Teuila was worried about events on the island she sat on the patio. Watched the ocean. She remembered that she was living in paradise.

Things seemed much clearer. Teuila didn't feel like she was in much of a fog anymore. She had killed the child out of mercy. That was clear to her for the moment. Perhaps sex did help distract her thoughts so she could look back at the situation more realistically.

She sat looking out at the ocean. Her thoughts began to race. "The baby wasn't really alive." She said to herself in a whisper. "It would have been a burden to her parents. Taken up much needed resources on the island."

Teuila continued to try to reason with herself the necessity of what she had done. She argued with the voice in her head that continued to condemn her for her actions. Nash woke up, noticing that she was no longer by his side. He pulled on his pants and walked out onto the patio. He heard her arguing with herself. A conversation he could only hear one side of.

"You are right. Teuila, it was a mercy killing. Distasteful, necessary, mercy killing." Nash interrupted her dialogue with her inner voice. Teuila stood up and embraced Nash.

"Please hold me." Teuila cried as Nash held her.

"It's going to be okay. We will make it all okay." Nash said as she cried. "I know how it hurts, I want you to know that I love you no matter what."

"How? I killed a baby. Because it was inconvenient. A problem for the island." Teuila shook. "I'm a monster. How can you love a monster?"

"I killed a man. Because I had to. If I didn't he would have killed me." Nash held her tight. "Am I a monster? Can you still love me?"

"That's different." Teuila turned away from Nash. She didn't try to leave his embrace, but she couldn't face him. "You had to kill that man. I didn't have to kill that child?"

"Didn't you? There is a reason this has been a custom since your ancestors settled on this island." Nash held Tay tighter. "You were arguing with yourself about it. You know you had to do it. Nobody else could. Not Doc Bao, he's vowed to not cause harm. Not the parents, it was their child, and if they could have they would have done it."

"It wasn't right." Teuila stared back at the ocean. "I shouldn't have done it. That child was alive. What right did I have to kill it?"

"So was the Jap that I killed. What right did I have to kill him?" Nash asked her.

"He was going to kill you. That baby was no threat to anyone." Teuila didn't see how it was any way similar. "It was wrong for me to kill it."

"That baby was deformed. Mentally it couldn't have functioned even as well as some of the surviving children with microcephaly. This child would have been bedridden all of it's life. It wouldn't have talked, wouldn't have understood any thing. It would have laid there and it would have been nothing but a burden on it's parents who would have to take care of it."

"Him. It was a boy." Teuila slipped out of Nash's grip.

"It was brain dead, Teuila. Doctor Bao said that it was the same as brain dead. With a head that small." Nash was hoping to get through to her.

"It was a boy." Teuila clenched her fists and shouted at Nash. "It was a human being. It was a little defenseless baby."

"That baby boy was a victim of radiation. Of the Bravo Castle fallout from four years ago." Nash said. "You were doing what needed to be done. No one, with any sense, can condemn you for that. You can't condemn yourself from saving the boy from a miserable existence. There would have been no dignity in that life, that boy would have been nothing but a burden."

"I still had no right to kill that poor little boy." Teuila felt her self hatred rise out of her soul. With a scream, Teuila smacked her head with her fists.

Nash grabbed Teuila's hands. She kicked at him. Nash smacked her face. Hard enough to shock her out of what she was doing. Teuila collapsed against Nash. Nash called Doctor Bao's house. Telling Kane when she picked up the phone the emergency.

"I've given her a sedative. She can sleep here tonight. I will send Kane tomorrow to drive her to the clinic. She will stay there tomorrow so that I can observe her." Li said as he packed up his medicine bag. "If you are staying here tonight, keep an eye on her. The barbiturate should knock her out for the rest of the night, but we shouldn't leave her alone tonight."

"I was spending the night anyway, Doc." Nash admitted. "I'll go ahead and wait until Kane gets here with the Jeep tomorrow."

Nash had fixed Teuila breakfast in the morning. She felt better after eating the eggs. She drank coffee, which she kept mainly for Nash, since she had grown up drinking tea. The coffee helped her to wake up.

"You sound normal." Nash commented as he shoveled up Teuila's eggs. "You're voice has a little spark to it."

"You are all overreacting. I'm fine." Teuila knew she wasn't. She just didn't want to deal with all of this fuss. "I just need more time alone. To think all of this out."

"You are not fine. You attacked me last night. You start to get better then you seem to be worse." Nash reminded Teuila.

"You sound like Sefina, she essentially said the same thing." Teuila wasn't too sure they weren't right. Both of them seemed to agree without consulting each other. "Well, I'll stay at the clinic all day and help out."

Kane arrived and Nash walked to the Waka Post where he would work on the evening edition of his paper. The Morning was already being printed. He had put it together last afternoon, before coming over to Teuila's. Nash planned to rearrange some articles. Making sure that the islanders thought that Teuila was physically sick. He thought he might coordinate with Doc Bao to find out what might seem like a plausible explanation for Teuila's isolation until she could 'work things out' as she often put it.

Kane waited patiently while Teuila insisted on cleaning the breakfast dishes. She poured Kane a cup of coffee while Kane waited. She had to change the sheets, make the bed, clean the dishes, the kitchen table. Suggested to Kane she might be busy, so she might want to go on. Teuila said she'd walk to the clinic later.

"Do what you need to do. Li wants to examine you." Kane sipped the coffee. "We'll lock up and ride up together."

People only locked their homes on the island if they were going to be gone for more than a few hours. Kane was suggesting to Teuila that she would be gone for a while. Teuila had already known that they had planned to keep her for observation. She just hadn't wanted to go. All she wanted was to stay at home and not have people watching her like she was a child.

Li did a full examination of Teuila. Physically she was as healthy as the last time he examined her. As Li expected, what was affecting Teuila was not a physical problem. He had just wanted to be thorough. After the examination he had Teuila get dress and sit down on the examination bed again.

Li pulled up the stool he used when talking to patients. "Teuila, have you been hearing voices in your head?"

"I'm not crazy, Li." Teuila wasn't as sure as she sounded. "I hear one voice in my head, it's the same kind of voice we all hear."

"What kind of voice is that?" Li wanted to be sure he didn't misunderstand what Teuila said.

"It's like a self dialogue. Did you do this?What about that? Why did you do that?What were you thinking? That sort of thing." Li nodded and made a note of it.

"Teuila, have the voices been saying anything else lately?" Li noticed the slip as soon as he saw the fire in Teuila's eyes.

"Voice. Doc. A single voice." Teuila tensed up.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. Has this single voice been saying anything else lately?" Li corrected himself.

"No." Teuila knew better. Li was trying to help her. "I mean, yes. Sort of. I keep having these thoughts that I did wrong to kill the child."

"I know you are." Li patted Teuila's hand. "When I lose a patient my inner voice says to me that it is my fault. It tells me that I wasn't good enough. There are times that a doctor must choose to let a person die, instead of saving them. Because in the process their dignity and quality of life will never be what it was."

"That isn't the same, I murdered a baby." Teuila fought back the emotions and tears.

"No. You mercifully ended the life of a child that was dead for all extensive purposes. It's brain was essentially dead. Only his body didn't know it. You did the merciful thing to kill that baby." Li said. "As a doctor I am not supposed to approve of this sort of thing. But, as a person I don't know what else that could be done."

"Thank you, Li. Your opinion is important to me." Teuila felt some of the darkness lift from her. "Knowing that the baby was brain dead helps."

Almost immediately after Teuila said that her inner voice screamed at her. "You didn't know that. You killed the child before you knew."

Teuila silently answered her accusing voice. "I knew when I saw it, I didn't need Li's opinion. I knew."

Her inner voice said softly. "You aren't a doctor." It seemed to pout.

"I didn't need to be." Teuila replied.

Doctor Li didn't need to ask any more questions. He had a good idea what was troubling Teuila. He sent Teuila into the main office. Kane came into the office, leaving the new nurse to take the desk, and to keep an eye on Teuila to make she didn't try to duck out of the clinic.

The Lagas would be burying their child according to island custom. Which means the child would be taken out to the deep ocean, weighed down with stones and buried at sea. Li wondered if Teuila should attend.

"She should. If she doesn't Paul and Jill might be hurt. You know they don't blame her for what she did. For them it was a release from a nightmare." Kane said. "Nor does the family on either side. They knew what needed to be done. I think Teuila needs to know that."

"It will bring up what she's trying to block psychologically." Li argued. "Bring back those memories she has such trouble dealing with."

"Maybe that is a good thing." Kane said. "Teuila can't run and hide from what she had to do. She needs to understand that it was both necessary and merciful."

"She needs to believe it, Kane, to believe that she isn't to blame, nor do we blame her for what she had to do." Li knew that understanding didn't always bring peace of mind, but belief in something did. If Teuila began to believe that what she did was right, it would be right."

Teuila spent the rest of the day helping out at the clinic. There may be only be a little over five hundred adults on the island, possibly a couple hundred children, on the island. That was still a lot of inhabitants in need of medical care compared to the few working in the single clinics.

Kane was trained as a nurse, in addition to the new Chinese nurse everyone knew as Kim. There were a few midwives who cared for people in the rural areas. But it was still three medical professionals for over seven hundred soul.

Among the people Teuila met at the clinic that day was another Chinese woman. Daisy Chun. She was one of the prostitutes brought to the island by Victor Thrayer. Held prisoner at the underground complex that Victor was using to house his gambling operations, prostitution, drugs, and other illegal activities on the island.

Daisy was in for her weekly check-up for contagious diseases. She still maintained her same occupation. Only now it was sanctioned by the island government. Among the things she had to do was pay taxes and come in weekly to make sure she didn't have any diseases that could be sexually transmitted.

"Miss Tay, you are here." Daisy was so excited that she literally jumped up and down. She then hugged Teuila. Who returned her hug with some affection. "They say you sick."

"Not that sick." Teuila could see that Daisy was actually worried. "How are you?"

"Doctor say, okay." Daisy smiled. "I want to thank you. You let me stay on island."

"It was the least I could do." Teuila said. "What they did to you was wrong. They made you a prisoner."

"Yes, but you could send me away. Back to home." Daisy shook her head. "Only me can never go home."

"Don't be silly, Daisy. Of course you can, if you want to. I'll see to it that you are sent home." Teuila wouldn't let expenses stop Daisy from going home, if she wanted to.

"Miss Tay, you don't understand. My parents, relatives, village no want me home. I am disgrace to them. I go home, I disgrace them because of what I am." Daisy shook her head. Staring at the floor.

"You are not a disgrace. Daisy, you are a fine person."

"I am what Americans call a whore. Disgrace to all." Teuila saw the tears flow down Daisy's face.

Teuila forgot about her own problems for the moment. She cupped Daisy's chin in her hand and raised Daisy's eyes to meet hers. "Not on this island. You don't have to be a whore, unless you want to be."

"What else can I be?" Daisy said.

"Anything you want to be." Teuila assured her.

"In that case I want to be like you." Daisy was confused when Teuila suddenly stepped back and turned away. Her hands covering her face as she began to cry.

"I can be an awful person." Teuila said as she tried to get a hold on herself.

"I am an awful person. Miss Tay. I play on people's emotions. To get what I want. Even my cutsie little accent is a fake." Daisy spoke with an English accent. "I was made to come here. It's true, my parents will never speak to me again, nor will any other relative. It's the least I deserve for what I've done to other people."

Teuila had control of her emotions again. "So, you don't want to be like me." Turning back to face Daisy.

"No, that is true." Daisy said sincerely. "I wish I could be like you. You have been kind. Do you know most people cringe when I touch them. You don't do that. You let me stay on the island, when I had no where to go. Then you acted like I could be something more than I really am."

"You can be, Daisy." Teuila got her emotions back under control. "If you want to do something else, other than be a whore, then I will help you."

"I don't know how to be anything else." Daisy hung her head again.

"Doctor Bao, you need help. If nothing else Daisy can help you keep your clinic clean. You can teach her to handle patients, administer medicine, and tend to the patient's needs." Teuila said. "I'm officially employing Daisy at the clinic. What she does here is your discretion."

"All right, Daisy, I'll show you what we need to have done." Kane wasn't sure if employing Daisy was wise, yet she was proud of Teuila. She had just given Daisy a chance that no one else would have, not even Kane would have been so generous.

Teuila left the clinic while everyone was busy. She made sure to instruct Li to offer any of the prostitutes who wanted, a chance to do something other than prostitution. He was to send them to her. Daisy was working hard the last she saw her. Doing whatever was needed to be done.

Teuila felt she wouldn't regret her decision.

Kane was busy with Daisy who kept slipping into her 'cutsie' accent. Kane figured that Daisy had used it for so long that to Daisy it was second nature. Daisy would help the woman clean up, let her learn what she could, but Daisy was one of the heroin addicts that the clinic was treating. She would never be allowed to handle any addictive substance.

Li didn't know that Teuila had made her escape until he had taken a moment from his work to check on her. Neither the Nurse nor Kane had noticed. Teuila, according to Kane must have been gone for ten minutes. Li wondered if he should take that as a sign that Teuila was getting better since she had taken off without informing anyone. That took some initiative that she hadn't been showing lately.

Waka Post was also the only print shop. There was a large printing press, a smaller one, and even a very old fashion press with type settings. When the large press was running the noise drove most people out of the room. The islanders who ran the large press wore ear plugs.

Teuila was happy to see the large press was quiet. She had a mild headache. She came into Nash's office to find him at his art deco desk working on papers. He looked up and was halfway across the office before Teuila could even close the door,

"You are supposed to be at the clinic." Nash said as he hurried across the room.

"I came to pay you a visit. I wanted to ask if you if you wanted to have something to eat." Teuila put her arm around Nash's waist and smiled at him. "Well you certainly sound better. But, I thought you were feeling better before and you relapsed." Nash escorted Teuila out of the office. "I'll go with you to the Victory Cafe for some lunch, but after you go back to the clinic."

"Why? I'm not crazy. I've been having a few emotional problems, I admit, but that doesn't make me crazy." Teuila let Nash guide her out of his shop. "I also wanted to know if you'd come with me to the funeral for the little boy tonight."

Teuila's voice lowered. The sadness that had been haunting her showed for a moment. "I don't think I could face it alone."

"Maybe you shouldn't go." Nash heard the sudden change in her voice, from the bright Teuila he used to know to the sad creature she had become.

"I am responsible. It is my duty as the Chief of this island to attend." Teuila was getting some spark back in her voice.

"Won't the family resent you being there?" Nash figured there had to be some hard feelings there. Someone wouldn't understand that it was necessary to put the child out of it's misery.

"I have to go. If they accuse me of being a murderer, it is their right. As leader of this community, I have to face any accusations they may make." Teuila had a determined sound to her.

"All right. I'll be there for support. I think you should have some others with you." Nash didn't like the two of them being the only ones there who weren't family.

"Most of the island will be there. Sefina, Kane, Tim, Jane, Li, Charlie, will all be there. Lola the midwife who delivered the baby will be there too." Teuila assured Nash. "I hear she has taken the whole thing nearly as hard as I have."

Li had been furious that the two women had let Teuila slip out. It was Daisy who took the blame for Kane and the nurse. She acted contrite and sorry. Li wasn't fooled, but admired Daisy for wanting to protect the other two women from Li's anger.

"She is either at home, gone to see Nash, or to see Sefina." Kane was sitting behind her desk. Li was standing to the side. Nurse Kim sat beside Daisy in chairs in the waiting room. "Do you want us to check each of these places."

"No. I need all of you at the clinic. Telephone Nash, Charlie, and Teuila's house. If someone has seen her, they'll tell us. Call Zach Nathon too, maybe he can get the word out to his officers to keep an eye out for Teuila."

Daisy's eyes widened. "You not arrest Miss Tay."

"No. We aren't going to arrest Teuila. We just want to make sure she is safe." Kane explained. "She wasn't feeling well, we were supposed to look after her."

"It's all my fault." Daisy said. "I distract you, she run away."

"We've been through that, everyone was busy." Li had admitted that it was as much his fault as it was anyone's. "It wasn't anyone's fault. In fact, Teuila may have played us for fools. She is very smart."

"That's why she's Chieftess after all." Kane added.

 

Teula sat at one of the outdoor tables of the Victory Cafe. The deck of the Victory Cafe looked out over the ocean and beach. Nash had excused himself to use the water closer, or the bathroom as Americans often called it. She amused herself by rereading the Cafe menu. Which most islanders knew by heart.

Over the past fifteen years the Victory Cafe had much the same menu. The only real difference was that when the War ended the bar was closed. Otherwise much of what was served fifteen years ago was still served today. All American-styled food. The most recent change was the Cajin blackened fish, which Teuila wasn't willing to try again.

Nash sat back at the table. Teuila just looked at Nash. A face similar to Kirk Douglas. His brown hair starting to gray. Crow's feet at the corner of his eyes. These signs of aging only added to his attractiveness. The hazel eyes that stared back at Teuila had a certain empathy in them. A sensitivity that Teuila didn't always see in men's eyes.

"I love you." Teuila said. It just came out. Teuila didn't normally blurt out what she was thinking.

"Marry me." Nash smiled at her. His eyes anticipating the answer. Teuila's heart melted for a moment.

"Where's my ring. It's not a proper proposal without a ring, so I won't answer you." Teuila wanted to say yes, but she wasn't sure that now was the time. "It has to be proper with a ring and you kneeling before me."

"Aren't we a princess." Nash laughed. "First I have the ring and you say no. This time I don't have a ring, you refuse to answer me."

"I am a Queen." Teuila drew herself up. Being five foot four, she didn't draw herself up very far. "No mere princess could handle my job."

Nash laughed again. He forgot his proposal, thrilled to see that Teuila had regained some of her humor. "Say you love me again."

"You first." Teuila insisted.

"I love you." Nash leaned across the table and kissed her.

They were half-way through their meal when Charlie and Sefina joined the two of them. Sefina hugged Teuila and sat beside her. They both noticed that Teuila seemed more active, alive. Her plate was empty of food.

"Kane called, she was worried when you left the clinic." Sefina said after she placed her order. "You should have told her. You were there for observation, you know."

"I know. They had a chance to observe me all morning." Teuila was tired of being observed. Analyzed. Judged. "I wanted to see Nash, get something to eat, and enjoy life again."

"You scared us all, taking off like that." Sefina was put out. They were trying to help Teuila and she kept fighting them.

"I'm sorry, but I told everyone I have to work this out in my own way." Teuila snapped back.

"Teuila, we all love you. We want to help." Charlie hoped to avoid a fight between Teuila and Sefina. "We don't mean to smother you. We just want you to know we are here for you."

Teuila turned to Charlie. Her temper was still up. She suddenly remembered how he had sat with her on the patio. Told her about how he had to kill another person. She saw how it had affected him. What it had took to confide in her that secret. Teuila couldn't be angry at the man who had confided in her.

"I'm sorry. Sefina, forgive me, I didn't mean to snap your head off." Teuila calmed herself down.

Nash looked concerned. He didn't know why, Teuila was known to have a temper that could suddenly flair up. Sefina accepted the apology, but she was still stewing over the argument. Short as it was. Charlie went back to eating as if nothing had happened.

Kane arrived in the Jeep with Li. "I'm not going back to the clinic." Teuila said as they approached the table."

"You should have said something." Kane was as furious at Teuila as Li had been with her earlier. "I called all over the island trying to locate you."

"I'm not a child, I don't have to answer to any of you." Teuila's temper flashed again. She was sick of being fussed over.

"Then don't act like one." Sefina let her own anger show again.

"Then stop treating me like one." Teuila shot back.

"Lets not bicker." Li said. Li pulled a chair over to the table for Kane, then grabbed one for himself. "Teuila. You are suffering from anxiety and depression. Now. I don't want to pressure you, but I have a drug with me called lsoniazid. If you feel you need it, you can take it."

Li handed the bottle of thirty pills to Teuila. "Take one now, if you feel better. let me know. It won't hurt you. It's not addictive."

(Author's Note: In actuality Isoniazid and Iponiazid caused blood toxicity and liver damaged. There were few other drugs for depression at that time. Both of these drugs were originally developed for Tuberculosis. Their use for depression was considered when it was noted that the drug caused euphoria in patients. From what I read, B6 vitamin helped with this side effect.)

Li and Kane drove Teuila home so that she could prepare for the baby's funeral that night. Teuila took the bottle of Isoniazid and placed it in her medicine cabinet next to the barbiturates that she had been given earlier. If she did need them she would take them.

Teuila dressed in a black sleeveless dress. She put a black shaw over this. Because of where she was going Teuila put on a pair of gray boat shoes. She found her black hat. A pill box hat. It had been a little while since she attended a funeral. The last one was for John Tamati.

As the strong young men rowed out the canoe out to sea the islanders sang the song for journeying to the underworld. It wished the soul to be happy and joyful in the other world beneath the sea. As Teuila listened to the others sing she cried. Nash held her. Sefina and Charlie were standing with Jane Tamati not far from them.

It wasn't that long ago that John Tamati, Jane's brother had made a similar journey. No doubt that was fresh in Jane's mind as the rowers went out into the darkness. As the rowers disappeared a number of the funeral goers began to leave. Jill and Paul would stay and wait for the rowers to return to be sure the body of their child was properly accepted by the ocean. It would be, it always was, the rowers would never tell a relative that it wasn't. They would keep it to themselves.

Teuila walked over to Jill and Paul. "I will stay with you if you like." A Chieftess was expected to offer to stay. Especially in this situation.

"Thank you, Miss Tay, but Paul and I know you've been ill. You should go home and rest." Jill hugged Teuila. Paul merely nodded.

Li and Kane gave Teuila and Nash a ride home. Teuila didn't want Nash to stay at her bungalow, nor would she go to his apartment. It didn't seem right to have sex right after a funeral. Nash seemed to feel the same way. After kissing Teuila goodnight, Nash walked back to his apartment.

Teuila went to her medicine cabinet. She took out the two bottles. Wondering if she should flush their contents down the toilet. Teuila was too tired tonight to need either one of them. Between working at the clinic, the emotional toll of the last few days, and staying up for the funeral, Teuila was sure she'd sleep through the night.

Teuila did sleep soundly. Some time early in the morning the dreams started. Her Father was talking to her. Holding the lifeless body of a baby in his large hands. Her Father in the canoe with the two men. Being rowed out to sea, waving goodbye to Teuila.

Another dream Teuila is standing at the rocky shore, dead babies floating in an ocean filled with blood. "You will become like me." She heard her Father say behind her. Teuila turned to see her Father's decaying body staring back at her.

Teuila woke letting out a gasp. Her heart seemed to be pounding. Teuila tried to control her breathing. Teuila saw the first morning light coming through her window. She had slept most of the night. She had a mild headache. Teuila sat up in bed for a short while, then finally got up.

Going to the bathroom Teuila opened the medicine cabinet and took a couple aspirin for her headache. She looked at her face in the mirror. There were shadows under her eyes. Some wrinkles were beginning to form in the corners. No gray hair, but at thirty-three years old, she could expect them in the next ten years or so. It was her eyes that caught her attention. There was a haunted look to them. Teuila knew it was recent events that reflected in her eyes.

Nehili visited Teuila that day. "We will have to have a meeting soon. Mike Hatta is pushing for one. He has lost some of his status with the rest of the council. Of the twenty-five people he represents only five are supporting him at the moment."

"What did he do?" Teuila asked.

They sat on the patio of Teuila's bungalow. Teuila looked at the ocean and remembered some of the dream she had that morning. Blood and babies floating in the ocean. It was just a glimpse. A memory. A disturbing one.

"Teuila?" Nehili seemed concerned. "Are you okay."

"Yes." Teuila came back to the present. "What happened to put Mike Hatta on the outs with the council and his people?"

"He accused you of murdering that baby." Nehili said. "We all knew that was an act of mercy. He didn't expect us to sympathize with you. When you were suffering for your actions Mike tried to manipulate that. Saying you weren't mentally stable enough to continue as chieftess."

"I was acting irrationally for a while." Teuila said. "I did murder that little baby. That is why I was so irrational. Li gave me something to help me sleep, something to help me cope with the depressed feelings I was having."

"I talked to Li. We were all concerned." Nehila was glad to see that Teuila seemed to be rational. "Li wants you to let the council handle some of the island decisions, but I think you should be at the next meeting so that the coucil can see that you are rational and feeling well."

"I agree." Teuila knew she was right. "Mike may have been trying to supplant my authority, but it seems to have backfired. My being at the next meeting will help to affirm that I'm in still capable of making decisions."

Council meetings were held in an old church building that had once been Methodist. Instead of an altar and podium, the raised dais in the front of the church now held a table that contained ten chairs on either side. At the head of the table was a chair that Teuila sat in. It appeared no different from the other chairs. The chair was good enough for her Father it was good enough for Teuila.

Teuila did wear a tiara at the table. It had been given to her by her Father as a joke. Once Teuila turned sixteen her Father had her sit in a chair at the other end of the table. Facing him. So, that Teuila could see his reactions as he dealt with the Council. One of the questions that Teuila asked was why her Father didn't have a crown if he was king. He laughed. The next day he presented her with the tiara made of rhinestones and silver in front of the Council.

Despite being given to her as a joke, Teuila wore it proudly. It was a cheap department store prop, but it was given to her by her Father, in front of the Council who had applauded. It always reminded Teuila of the special moment and her Father's sense of humor.

All Council meetings were normally open to the public. During the war a few meetings were held behind closed doors. That ended when the war ended. A few islanders came during the Council meetings. Sitting on the pews where the parishioners used to sit during services.

Today there pews were full. There were a few children who had accompanied their parents. As Teuila came out and sat in her Father's old chair, the twenty council members rose out of respect. After Teuila had seated, she motioned for the council members to sit.

Teuila spoke first, as was custom. "I would like to thank the Council for it's patience." Teuila began. "I understand that there are members of the council that question my authority and my sanity. All I can say is that I intend to continue to do what is best for the island."

Mike Hatta started to stand. "I am not finished, Mike. Do not break custom. I know you have some problems with our customs, but most of us prefer to honor those customs. Do you?"

A murmur broke out in the audience. Teuila ignored it and continued. "My reasoning for a fifty percent tax has been questioned."

Teuila pulled out a number of papers and laid them on the table. "I have ordered over two hundred assorted prefabricated homes. Our farmers have been living in tin and wooden shacks, some houses dating back a hundred years. Our farmers will receive new homes according to family size and quota. Those who paid more will receive more."

Mike tried to rise again. Teuila sent him a stern look. "I am not finished." Teuila said firmly.

"I have no doubt that fishermen who live in town, in the small villages on the islands are wondering what this had to do with them. You too will have new homes, known as 'trailer homes' in America. Cheaper, yes. The amount I saved on these 'cheaper' homes have been invested in new boats."

"Some of you have good homes, made good quotas, and even have good boats. Your taxes will have paid for your neighbors to have good homes, good boats, and that will increase their quotas. I do not think you will begrudge this good fortune for your neighbors."

"As for your good fortune, your taxes will now be cut by thirty percent, as will every other person on this island. In addition I have bought fishing equipment and supplies for all of the fishermen, these will also benefit you."

"Townsfolk. If your homes are in need of repair, the money is available. Other money will go into road improvement, bicycles, public buildings. We will have trade schools, improve the public library, a tourist hotel, and many other things to benefit the town."

"Having addressed the tax issue, let me continue on to another issue that Mike Hatta has brought up. Recently I euphanized a infant at the request of it's parents. I have asked Nehili Lagi to call witnesses to this incident, so that the Council can question the reasons and intent of this death."

As Teuila sat, Nehili stood up to address the Council. I call on Lola Lagi to appear before the Council and explain her role in this incident.

Lola Lagi came up from the pews to ascend the dais and face the members of the Council. She stood at the other end of the table facing Teuila. Teuila smiled at her. She gave Teuila a nervous smile.

"I delivered a baby with the curse." Lola started.

"What do you mean by that?" Nehili asked.

"It had the very small head of those babies that have been exposed to radiation while developing." Lola said. "I told Jill that if the child didn't pass, she should take it to Doctor Bao. So that he could determine what needs to be done."

"Thank you, Lola, you may take a seat now. I call on Jill and Paul Lagas to come and speak to the Council concerning their role in this incident." Nehili would continue to be able to speak and call witnesses until she sat down. As long as she remained standing, she was in control, in accordance to the customs of the island.

Jill and Paul both approached the Council. "When Lola asked us to bring the baby to Doc Bao when it didn't die, we did so. We knew what it meant. We knew custom. So, we brought the baby to Doc Bao, because it was a mercy."

"I didn't want to do it." Paul said, his voice sounded rough with emotion. "But, my Da said it was for the best. Jill, she birthed him, but she said it too. It didn't seem right. When I looked at him, though, I knew it had to be done. His head weren't no larger then a orange. It wasn't normal for a child that big to have such a little head."

"Thank you, Jill. Paul I know this was hard for you, but it was for the best." Nehili assured Paul. Mike Hatta gripped the table. Nehili thought Mike would break custom and speak out of turn.

"Doctor Bao, will you come forward now, to address the Council." Nehili said. He was the last of the witnesses before she would ask Teuila to speak.

"Jill and Paul's baby had severe Microcephely. It's head was disproportionate to it's body. The brain was severely damaged as a result. It kept the body alive, but a I suspect that the only brain functions the baby was capable was the very basic functions that were keeping the baby alive."

"Are you saying that the brain was not capable of thought? That the baby would never have developed into any form of intellect?" Nehili asked.

"Yes." Doctor Bao replied.

"Haven't other babies had this Microcephely and survived to become at least partially productive to our society?" Mike could ask a question, since Nehili did.

"Yes, but not as severe as this child. They suffered from moderate retardation. This child's brain was limited to only such functions that kept the baby alive. It told the heart to beat, the lungs to breath, the bowels to evacuate, but that is all it did." Doctor Bao said. "For all intents and purposes it was dead. The baby's brain just didn't know it."

Joe Kahali spoke. "You understand that according to custom that killing such a child is considered merciful."

"Yes, I know your custom. I left it to Teuila to implement that custom." Doctor Bao replied. "I could have offered to do it, but it is against my Oath to do so."

"Thank you, Doctor Bao. I must now ask Teuila to speak at this time." Nehili said, before Mike could ask any other questions.

Teuila stood. "I examined the baby. I determined that the baby was severely malformed. Doctor Bao had told me that the baby would not be coherent of it's surroundings. I followed the custom of our people and killed the baby as my Father had taught me."

Teuila began to cry as she spoke. She thought of her Father, how it had haunted him. Just as it had haunted her. Since she had killed that child. Teuila sat in her seat. She tried to maintain control. Tears flowed down her cheeks. Teuila laid her head down on the table, continued to cry.

Nehili was speaking. "We see the toll that this has taken on you Teuila. Please forgive us for making you relive this tragedy."

Sefina was talking to her. Teuila felt someone lift her out of the chair and escort her off the dais into the back room where the minister had once had a study and meditated when the building was a Church.

Nehili continued to stand as Sefina and Jane escorted Teuila away. The tiara Teuila always wore had fallen off and lay on the table. Nehili walked to the head of the table and picked up the tiara and held it up to the Council.

"We all applauded when King Maoro gave the tiara to Tay as a joke." Nehili said. "At the time none of us knew what a responsibility came with this cheap little department store tiara made of rhinestones and silver plated metal. Now, we have witnessed the terrible reality of that responsibility."

"We cannot relieve Tay from this responsibility simply because it is politically expedient, or simply because we want too. Or because we don't agree to her adherence to our old ways." Nehili said to both Council and the islanders. "She is our Queen, she is hurting because she acted as Queen. She should not be further punished for something that she is punishing herself for."

The islanders and Council shouted agreement. Mike did not shout, stand, or applaud. He tried to make himself as small as possible. His position was elected by the fishermen he represented. At the moment he was worried that he would not be elected the next time voting came around.

Nehili visited Teuila the next day at her bungalow. "After you left in tears, both the Council and the rest of the islanders were willing to agree with anything."

They were having tea on the patio. Teuila poured Nehili more tea as she talked. "Since you are Queen, we certainly can't replace you. Nor do we wish to make you a purely diplomatic figurehead. To be honest, it took a keen mind to develop a savings plan that would replace a majority of the houses on the island, the fishing boats, and make road improvements."

"I have no doubt dropping their taxes made the islanders more receptive to my tears." Teuila said.

She was not feeling her best. The Council meeting had drained Teuila. She had taken a barbiturate to help her sleep. She still hadn't touched the Isoniazid. Teuila had learned that it was the same medicine that was used for tuberculosis. A dozen cases had broke out on the island during the Pacific Campaign. Teuila had been among the islanders willing to help those islanders who had caught the disease.

"Sharing the information as to why the taxes were so high only with my most trusted advisors took Mike off guard." Nehili was one of the few people who knew.

"My Father had started the high taxes when he was King, because it was necessary with the war going on." Teuila's Father had never lowered the rate, because after the war there was a great deal of financial difficulties for the island. "When Da died I just didn't care at first, until I saw how much was coming in. Then I began to realize how much Da saved already."

"Prefab homes, trailer homes, all rather luxurious for islanders, but dirt cheap as well. All ordered from mail order catalogues. That was brilliant." Nehili was very impressed.

"Taxes are still high, but I intend to use it for further improvements for the island. Eventually taxes will fall to fifteen percent." Teuila felt that in just a few years the outrageous taxation would come to an end.

"Teuila. Have you thought about a flag for the island." Nehili had heard a lot about the adoption of a new flag for the island.

"The old Union Jack flew over the island for years." Teuila remembered when she was a child, seeing the British flag flying outside the old Governor's Building.

"Well, we can't justify using the United Kingdom's flag. As for the American flag, well they are going to change it some day to forty-nine stars. We'll have to buy all new flags anyway." Nehili smiled at Teuila. Her friend forced a smile, that became easier once she started.

"The United States still promises to protect us from invasion or other threats." Teuila appreciated all that the United States had done for the island, both during, and after the war. "I don't have a problem flying their flag as long as they are willing to assist us."

Nehili started to object. Teuila held up a hand. "I'm not saying we shouldn't have our own flag, only that there is no rush, and I still want to fly the Stars and Stripes at the New Court Building."

"I'd like the islanders to have some say in this." Nehili said. "Maybe we could make a contest for the children and adults to give designs and ideas. Of course, the Council will pick the best ideas and submit them to you."

"Actually, that sounds like fun. Since I'm taking a break from the Council, it will also give me something to do, but I want to see all of the design ideas. And a decision with the Council concerning the final picks."

"I hoped you'd like the idea." Nehili agreed. Teuila had transferred most of her decision making to the Council, with Nehili as their leader.

"I also want to suggest that any further children who have severe malformation be given over the the executioner." Teuila said. "I can't go through that again. I'll understand if the executioner can't or won't do it. I just know that I can't do it again. It killed my Father in the end, I think that it will eventually destroy my soul."

Nehili understood. "I can't imagine what you've gone through the last few days. But, after seeing you break down during the meeting, I have to agree."

Before Nehili left she laid Teuila's tiara on the patio table. "I know you're Father gave this to you as a joke, but it's the symbol of your rule. I used it during the meeting to stress that."

"I know, that is why I continue to wear it. To remind me of my responsibilities. Not to mention to remember not to get too full of myself." Teuila took up the tiara and turned it over in her hands.

"Yesterday, I used it to remind the Council and the islanders of the same thing. It will be some time before Mike gets too full of himself again to believe he can replace you." Nehili had a new respect for the tiara that was no more than a child's toy.

"If I only knew. If Da knew he would have never joked about it." Teuila tossed the tiara onto the table.

"Well, it helped you last night." Nehila left as Teuila stared at the tiara on the table.

Teuila finally got up and put the tiara in it's usual place in her dresser drawer. Among panties, girdles, and bras. Stockings and garter belts that were more for Nash, then for wearing in public. Teuila closed the drawer that contained her most private things. She had a wave of depression come over her as she talked to Nehila.

Before the depression could consume her, Teuila started cleaning up the tea service. Bringing it in from the patio. Once that was done Teuila refused to let the depression take her. Teuila went out to the Victory Cafe. She sat at a table that looked out over the ocean. Teuila ordered iced tea. Sat at the table, looking out at the ocean.

At the bottom of the ocean, according to Waka legends was the underworld where the dead went to live among coral reefs and colorful fish. Only to return to Waka one day in another form. Teuila wondered if she went out into the ocean, she'd find the underworld. To return without the horrible memory of the child she had killed.

Teuila sighed. Where did these dark thoughts come from? Her life was good. People loved her. She was in a position of power where she could do good for her people. Teuila was already making plans to make life on the island a paradise. What did she need the paradise of an afterlife for, if her paraside was on the island? Angry at herself Teuila left the cafe, leaving half of her drink on the table.

She went over to the clinic. Kane was at her usual place in the waiting room. There were ten islanders waiting. Teuila smiled at Kane and the islanders who were waiting in the room. Doctor Bao was in the examination room in the back. Teuila didn't see Daisy Chun.

"Where is Daisy?" Teuila saw Kane point to the infirmary.

Teuila went into the infirmary where Daisy had a bucket and rag, cleaning the dust off window seals and anything else she could think of. There was a broom and dusk pan. A mop bucket. Apparently Daisy was working hard. Hard and angry, similar to how Teuila sometimes work when she was upset or frustrated.

"Daisy?" Teuila saw Daisy's head snap up. She bared her teeth, then saw who it was. She huffed, looked down again.

"What's wrong?" Teuila was sure that Daisy was about to take her head off verbally. "Aren't you being treated well."

Daisy threw the rag into the bucket and turned to face Teuila. She forced herself to calm down. Sat on one of the infirmary beds. Biting her lower lip she tried to hold back her temper.

"Everything is wrong. Daisy not treated well at all." She grumbled.

"What is it? Is it Kane and Li, are they abusing you?" Teuila doubted it, but Daisy might perceive it that way. She had never had to do clean up work before.

"No. I see in their eyes, they don't approve of me. Only they no show it." Daisy kept reverting to what she called her 'cutsie accent'. Daisy usually spoke fair English when she chose to. "Nobody else believes Daisy can be anything but 'bitch in heat'."

"Who is that? Who called you a bitch in heat." Teuila wanted Daisy to succeed. To be more than a prostitute. Wanted to give Daisy that chance.

"Men who want Daisy. You know, the sex, not really want me. Women who are married to men who sleep with me. They think I want to take their men, I don't want worthless men who cheat on them. Only money."

Daisy took a breath. "I want to stop. No more men. Make my money this way. Do good things for people. Only they won't let me."

"It's not up to them." Teuila sat on the bed and put an arm around Teuila. "It's up to you. You have a chance to prove them wrong. I'll help you as much as I can."

"Why do you help me?" Daisy looked at Teuila tears falling from her eyes. "Why help?"

"Because I can. I am Queen of this island. That means I am responsible for every individual for this island. When you were brought here by Victor Thrayer, you became my responsibility as well."

"But, I'm an awful person. A used to use opium. When I'm feeling bad I want to use it again. Despite knowing I shouldn't, that using it is like a living death. Before I use opium again, I'd rather die. Sometimes I think it's better to just die."

Teuila was quiet. Daisy just sat there. She wondered if Daisy thought Teuila was shocked by this revelation. "I think about dying too."

Daisy's shocked look told Teuila she must never have thought that someone like Teuila would think about wanting to die. Teuila gave Daisy a tight hug then released her.

"Since I killed the little boy, I've been thinking about dying. Wanting to, because of the pain." Teuila told Daisy. "Your pain is different from mine, but we essentially are feeling the same thing. You are probably one of the only people on the island to really understand how I feel."

"But, you are Queen. You have money. Friends. Everyone on the island loves you." Daisy was holding Teuila's hand.

"Not everyone loves me. Some people don't want me to be Queen. Money isn't that important. I have both power and money, but when it comes to buying forgiveness for what I did, it's useless. My friends don't really understand how I feel."

"Just like you have to live with your past actions and the consequences, so do I. Instead of drugs and prostitution it's murder." Teuila felt she could justify it, but it didn't matter, it was murder.

"The baby. But people don't blame you. It was the radiation from the bomb that did that." Daisy was confused.

"Radiation malformed the baby, but I killed it. I took the life of a defenseless baby. I can never forgive myself for that. I couldn't control the circumstances that led up to the end result, but I had a choice. I could have let the child live."

Daisy shook her head. "It was not alive. Not according to Doctor Li. It breathed, but didn't think, there was no soul."

"We don't know if it had a soul or not." Teuila shook her head. "It might have died the next day or never died. If I hadn't killed it."

"You killed it out of mercy." Daisy used the same argument that Teuila had heard everyone else use. "Only it doesn't help to know that. All you can think of is that it was alive and you killed it. Like most people think I wanted to be a prostitute, but can't see that I had no choice."

"What do you mean?" Teuila knew little of Daisy's past.

"You don't think of the merciful thing you did. You think about how you had to kill it. Not out of mercy, not because it was custom, but that it was alive and you killed it."

"No, about the prostitution. Someone forced you into prostitution?" Teuila put her problems aside. She wanted to know what happened to Daisy.

"My name is Dai Tai. It means first boy. What it really is, is a prayer that after me a boy would come. My parents were poor and girl babies aren't wanted, only boys. Boys are important because they can support the family. Girls are a burden."

"So, my parents prayed for a boy. When that didn't happen, they sold me, when I was old enough, to a Madam. Man after man came in my room and raped me. Until I was 'ready' to be sold to men."

"You poor thing." It was all that Teuila could think to say. It didn't seem sufficient considering the horror the poor girl must have gone through.

"They forced me to take opium at first, but then I wanted it. It was like little bits of death. For a time I died, and the pain, the humiliation, the guilt all stopped." Daisy shuddered. "Then I came here. I was locked in the room and couldn't get out. They would beat me and only give me heroin when I made a profit for them. I never got any of the money."

"All my fault." Daisy sniffed. Straightened up and stared at Teuila. "If I had been born a boy, if I'd run away, if I died before all of this happened it would have been better. Only I didn't die, I wasn't a boy, and I was too afraid to run away."

"It is not your fault. Things happened to you that were unfair, unjust, and beyond your control. That doesn't make what happened to you completely your fault."

"Not completely. But maybe some ot it." Daisy sighed. "I could have tried to run away if I wasn't such a coward, I could have killed myself."

"You were young. It's not easy to simply kill yourself, we have this instinct for survival. Besides, you eventually found a way to get away from the prostitution and drugs. All you have to do is stick with it."

"Only because you helped me. Now, I help you." Daisy stared intently at Teuila. "It wasn't completely your fault. Things led up to this. Things you couldn't stop. You did what you needed to do, because it was the only merciful thing to do. That doesn't make it murder, doesn't make it your fault. Just like it wasn't my fault I was raped, pimped, and forced to take drugs."

For the first time, Teuila had something to think about. "We blamed ourselves for circumstances that were beyond our control. Now, we have to learn to live with the guilt and shame that resulted from our actions in the past."

"Yes. We need each other, because we are the only ones who understand each other." Daisy said. "It may not be the same thing, as you said, but it's the same feeling. Guilt, humiliation, and self pity."

Teuila and Daisy went over to the sink and washed their faces. Talking with Daisy had helped. Daisy was intelligent. Much more than people would have given her credit for. With some education Daisy could go far on the island.

"We need to talk again sometime." Teuila told Daisy. "When we are feeling down and are thinking those dark thoughts we have."

Daisy smiled, nodding. "But what will people think?"

"That you are my friend." Teuila said. "And they damned well better be nice you."

"Is everything all right?" Kane asked as Teuila left the infirmary.

Teuila nodded. "Better then when I came in."

Kane didn't ask about the conversation that Teuila and Daisy had. She did see a difference in Daisy's attitude. Daisy hummed, she was happy again, like she was when she first came to work at the clinic. Instead of snapping at people she began to talk nicely to them again. Kane was glad that Teuila had talked some sense in the girl. Because Li was thinking of firing her, and Kane was agreeable to it, until now.

Teuila arrived at the Waka Press next. From the way that Nash was yelling at the two men who were running his press something was going wrong. Teuila could hear Nash over the running press. Something about the evening edition being late.

Deciding that this wasn't the time for a visit, Teuila cut out from the shop before Nash noticed her. She walked on towards the radio station. As she walked, Teuila wished she had stayed, to invite Nash to lunch at the Victory Cafe.

Waka radio was a two story building. It had a large broadcast tower. Which reached beyond the island and for several miles into the sea. Anyone with a radio on their boat could pick up the signal. If the conditions were right, other islands picked up the signal as well.

Inside the station Teuila noticed the new girl sitting at the desk. She was very young. No more than a teen-ager. Teuila watched the girl stand up and curtsy. Teuila was confused.

"Good Morning, Queen Ahiri." Said the girl.

"Good Morning, but just call me Miss, not Queen." Teuila was never comfortable with people using the title. Technically she wasn't a Queen, Princess, or anything of the like. Merely a tribal leader. Chieftess.

"But you are the island's Queen, aren't you my Majesty." Teuila rolled her eyes. Were people going to call her that now?

"Chieftess. I am the tribal chieftess, we aren't so grandiose to have a Queen. Despite what you might have been told. Now, what is your name." Teuila smiled at the girl to let her know she wasn't upset with her.

"Missy Tamati." Said the girl.

"You're Johnny's little girl." Teuila had forgotten that John had a girl. "How is your Mother?"

"She's okay. Thank you for asking. She misses Papa though." Missy looked down at the desk. It appeared to Teuila that Missy missed her Papa as well.

"How is the pension your Mother is getting. Is it enough?" Teuila hoped that the family wasn't in financial trouble. Teuila hadn't had much time to really check on John's family.

"It's plenty for the two of us." Missy was still standing. "I'm just working here part time, so Aunt Jane can do broadcasting. She likes it, and Mr. King, he wants her to get more practice."

Since John had died in the line of duty, Teuila made sure that his wife, Mary, got a pension. Mary had originally protested that she didn't need charity. It had been Sefina who explained to her that her husband had died while in the course of his duties, so she deserved to be compensated for his loss. Teuila explained that the British and Americans both compensated the widows of those who died in duty to their country.

Teuila turned towards Charlie's office. To see the words 'Studio One' on the door. The largest room, originally a war room, in the station Charlie had used it as his office. The huge room littered with electronic equipment. There was also a red light over the door, similar to the light outside the broadcast booth which turned on when recording.

"Mr. King is through that door, the first office to the right." Missy explained. "He doesn't use that room as an office, now that he's going to use it as a broadcast room."

"His video tape machine." Teuila remembered it because it was huge, expensive, with bulky cameras as well. "Mr. King's folly."

"What was that, Miss Ahiri." The girl didn't use Queen, at least.

"Nothing, Missy." Apparently the girl didn't know that Charlie's friends wasn't very impressed with his attempt to create a television station on the island.

Up until now, this part of the building hadn't been used for much. Sefina had a room she used to freshen up in. Now, Charlie had his office in this section. Teuila was sure that the other four rooms in this corridor were used for storage, if Charlie used them at all.

Charlie's office was now smaller, but it had all of the same furniture he had spread out in his old office. Scarred and battered the furniture was left over from when the radio station was a communications base. A metal desk painted a matte green, wooden file cabinets, a leather office chair, and two other leather chairs sat in the office. There were two bookshelves filled with electronic books.

Teuila knocked and was told to come in. Charlie was sitting behind his desk with a microphone. The micropone had a cord running from it, that was coiled on the desk. A loop of string hung from the other end.

"What is that?" Teuila hadn't seen a microphone like this one.

"A micropone." Charlie looked up and smiled at Teuila.

"What kind of microphone?" Teuila forced a smile back at Charlie.

"It's called a lariat mike." Charlie hung it around his neck. "It goes around the neck, like this, and can be hidden by a shirt or jacket."

"What about that long cord? Won't people notice it?"

"It can be hidden by clothing. If the subject wearing the mike is seated that would make it easier to hide the mike. It would be used mainly for interviews and things like that. It can also be placed in a pot of flowers or near a person and pick up sound."

"You didn't come here to talk about my toys." Charlie put the mike aside and turned his attention to Teuila who sat in one of the old leather chairs.

"Actually, I just came to see what you were up to. That and possibly talk Sefina into having lunch with me." Teuila said. "I have a feeling that Nash will be busy today."

"Really?" Charlie's face lit up. "What's got him so busy?"

"Trouble with his printing press, I suspect. Nash looked like he was in a mood, so I left before he noticed I was there." Teuila said.

"Tequila, my dear, you might have made his day. After all, he loves you." Charlie used his pet name for Teuila.

"Tequila he might have wanted, but the drink, not me." Teuila had never even seen a bottle of Tequila, she had no idea what the drink was like.

Sefina declined Teuila's request to go to lunch. She had been paying far too much attention to running the station these days. Between this and the time she spent announcing in the booth Sefina was quite busy. On top of that Sefina had taken up the tourist shows in the town square of Kingston.

Teuila left the radio station and began to walk towards the interior. Past the newer town buildings. The paved roads led to gravel roads made of ground shells. Surrounded by farmland Teuila didn't realize how much time had gone by. Or how far she traveled. A bicyclist passed her by, slowed then turned around.

Teuila recognized the rider as the midwife who had helped Jill Lagas deliver her child. Teuila tried to search her memory for the woman's name.

"Miss Arihi, I don't know if you remember me, I'm Lola Halali. I testified in front of the Council." Said Lola.

"Yes, I remember. Thank you. How are you doing?" Teuila remembered her name now.

"I have ten women I'm tending. Jill and Paul Lagas are trying for another child." Lola didn't mention that some women were afraid their children might end up like Jill's. "I told Jill that her next baby shouldn't be tainted by the radiation. I hope I'm right."

"Doctor Bao says that any children born now shouldn't have the radiation taint now that no one is meeting in the radioactive zone." Teuila assured Lola. "There will be no more babies like Jill's."

"Thank God for that." Lola said. "I hope you never have to do what you did again."

"I pray to God that I don't." Teuila didn't pray, but in this case she would if she thought it would be answered.

"How are you taking it? We all know that you blamed yourself for killing the baby, but it wasn't your fault. What you did was merciful. I'm sure you know it. I just have one question."

Teuila looked at Lola perplexed. "A question?"

"Yes. Why didn't you have the executioner perform that act of mercy?" Lola saw Teuila's face go blank for a moment. Then she nodded.

"Because it is the duty of the island's Chief to perform that duty. The executioner is for the criminals who do not deserve a Chief's attention. Jill's child was not a criminal, but a malformed baby who needed it's life ended as mercifully as possible."

Lola saw the logic in this. "Remember that Teuila, that the child was not executed because it did nothing wrong. You provided a merciful death. You did nothing wrong either, despite how much it hurt you."

Teuila got it. She had been right, to mercifully end the baby's life. Lola was right about the pain it caused Teuila. As Teuila turned around and walked back to her house she felt that the black cloud that had been hovering over her had lifted slightly. It might not ever go away. It could fade.

Teuila stopped back by the radio station on her walk back into town. Sefina was just getting off work. Charlie invited them both to lunch at the victory cafe. Charlie and Teuila rode ahead on his motorcycle. Teuila loved having the wind blow through her hair, clinging tightly to Charlie as he drove the motorcycle at low speed through the pedestrian traffic of the town.

Sefina followed on her bicycle. Going slower, but she would arrive their faster than walking. Getting there ahead of Sefina, Charlie took advantage of the situation to talk to Teuila.

"I want to ask you if you'd make a video tape. Explaining your position on the island, your intentions at present, and in the future. A interview for prosperity." Charlie hoped that Teuila would accept.

"A record? A video record? That is interesting." Teuila was intrigued.

"Yes, this new video tape is the future. As long as there are Video tape recorders, this record will be seen by future generations." Charlie's fascination with his new toy was obvious.

"Charlie. Could I make such a tape for my successor?" Teuila had an idea.

"The tape would be for everyone, for the entire island." Charlie assured her. "For historical purposes."

"Of course, I understand you want to make a public record. Could I make a private record, just for my predecessor?" Teuila wasn't sure who would proceed her. Possibly her child by Nash, maybe some other islander. Possibly a president like in the United states. That didn't matter. What mattered is that Teuila could advise that person.

"Yes, we could make you a series of instructions through the years, so that your predecessor could benefit from the experience you gain over the years." Charlie felt he understood what Teuila wanted.

"Yes, both. A historical record and a private tape." Teuila said.

Nash arrived at the Cafe, his hands were stained with ink. There was a look of anger and frustration on his face until he saw Teuila sitting at a table with Charlie. He felt the tension ease out of him. Charlie and Teuila waved Nash over to their table.

"We'll waiting for Sefina." Teuila explained. "You are just in time. Charlie and I were talking about making a video tape for prosperity."

Nash laughed. A short brief burst. "What? There isn't anyone who has a television on the island to see it."

"It isn't a broadcast, just a recorded interview between Teuila and myself." Charlie explained. "We can record it, then play it later, when there are enough TV's on the island to make broadcasting it worthwhile."

"Charlie, this is the chicken and the egg. You won't have enough TV's on the island to make broadcasting worthwhile, until you are broadcasting, and there is no sense in broadcasting if there are no TV's on the island." Nash said. "It's a catch twenty-two."

"I should expect so many metaphors from a newspaper man." Charlie replied. "I'm working on that. I think that we need a television in the Victory Cafe that people can watch while they eat."

"Don't be silly." Teuila shook her head. "People like to talk and socialize when they eat. I was hear earlier today and realized that what I wanted was to share my meal with my friends. I certainly didn't want to watch Television."

Sefina walked up at that moment. "Hey, what happened. Did your press explode or something, you are covered in ink."

"Only my hands, it came from manipulating a lot of parts to get my press running again." Nash had nearly fired his pressmen for allowing the press to continue running after it had begun to show signs of malfunctioning.

"It won't wash off, it'll have to fade out."

"At least it didn't splash onto your face. I don't think I'd appreciate dating a man in blackface." Teuila teased.

"Well, speaking of dating, when are you two getting engaged." Sefina pushed. "You know the whole island has been waiting for you two to agree to marriage."

"I offered." Nash said. "I've offered twice."

"The first time you caught me off guard, I wasn't ready." Teuila lied. She had been afraid that the islanders wouldn't accept Nash as her husband. "The second time he didn't have the ring with him. I bet he still doesn't have it with him, so he can't propose until he does."

"So, I need the ring, to ask for your hand, and what else. Bend down on one knee?" Nash grumbled.

"I don't care what you do, as long as it's romantic." Teuila smiled at Nash. "I think I deserve a romantic proposal."

"This is what you get when you try to marry the Chieftess of a tropical paradise." Charlie said. "You should set your sights a little lower if you wanted an easy relationship."

"I never said I wanted an easy relationship." Nash took Teuila's hand. "If romantic is what you want, I'll make it romantic."

Teuila sat in her bed, her back against the headboard. The moon was bright, shining silvery light through the window of her bedroom. Nash was asleep beside her. It was a good thing that Teuila was smaller than Nash, because the bed wouldn't be big enough for the two of them.

Teuila was of purer islander blood. She wasn't sure if there were any islanders of pure blood left. A hundred and fifty years of British occupation had created a great deal of interbreeding. During the war, other races had come through the island besides the whites. Chinese, Aborigines from Australia, Indians from India, even Blacks from America. At one point Japanese Americans came through the American Base.

One of the most interesting groups was a number of men from a American Indian tribe known as the Navahos. They were called 'Wind Talkers' and handled radio communication. They spoke in their native language, which confused the enemy, since there was no way to interpret their language.

Teuila had always thought it fascinating that the Navahos had retained their cultural language. Only a few words of the original islander language survived today. Most of the words were names like Teuila and Sefina which no longer had any know meaning accept to a very few older islanders.

Teuila looked down at Nash, laying on his side, his back to her. In this profile she saw the strong shoulders, blond hair, but not his face. Teuila took her hand and touched Nash's shoulder. Caressing it. She felt lucky to have such a patient man. When Nash asked again, Teuila would accept the ring. Romantic proposal or not.

"That is not romantic, that is embarrassing. What if she rejects you again, this time in front of all of these tourists." Sefina pointed out what she felt was a flaw in Nasher Spencer's plan.

"How is it embarrassing? Tay said she wanted it to be romantic, how it is so unromantic to announce in front of the entire island that I love her and want to marry here." Nash also felt it would end the rumors that he was just using her for her position and sex.

"Teuila is not a very public person, despite her position, or because of it." The were sitting in Charlie King's office discussing the situation. Charlie was the closest friend Nasher had on the island. "She likes to keep her personal life private, even though she is Queen of this island."

"Chieftess." Sefina corrected. "Islands don't have Queens."

"Britain is an island, it has a Queen, as we well know." Charlie pointed out.

Sefina sent Charlie a scalding look. "That is like saying Australia is an island. Waka is a true island. Britain is a overgrown excuse for one."

"I didn't make that judgement call, I'm just reporting it." Charlie replied.

"Can we get back on subject." Nash respected them both. He wanted their opinion as to how to proceed with the whole engagement thing.

Teuila took the glass bottle containing the Isoniazid out of her medicine cabinet. It was still full. Teuila was still having her dark moods, she still woke up short of breath with her heart pounding, still had nightmares. As she held the bottle in her hand she considered what to do.

If Teuila took one of these pills she might keep taking them. Just like she worried about becoming dependent on the barbiturates to help her sleep. She had used the barbiturates sparingly. Teuila didn't want to be dependent on a pill to make her feel good, a pill to make her sleep, another to counteract the bad affects of the first two and so on.

Teuila got on her bicycle simply because she hadn't used it in a while and brought the Isoniazid back to Doctor Li at the clinic. Teuila had expected an argument.

"I only intended it as a temporary solution." Doctor Li put the bottle with his other medicines in a locked glass cabinet. "It can cause liver damage if used extensively. All I ask is that if you begin to feel suicidal or severely depress you come in and see me."

"I'm only keeping the barbiturates because some nights I have trouble sleeping." Teuila admitted.

"Those can be addictive, so be careful taking them." Li had done a cursory examination of Teuila. "If you continue to have trouble sleeping I suggest you check with me and we'll find some alternatives."

"Is Daisy in the building somewhere?" Teuila wanted to talk with her.

"I sent her with Lola Halali to the farms. She might make a good midwife and we need a few more." Li had seen a remarkable improvement with Daisy. "If people can get around what she used to be, and accept her for what she is now, I don't see a problem."

"If they can't get around it?" Teuila asked.

"You might remind people she is your friend. That might prove very effective." Li told her.

Mike Hatta sat in the old military medical clinic taken over by Edward Reed and Antonio Fetcillo. The two Americans had misplayed this one. Now, Mike was going to take the fall. The two of them didn't see much they could do about it at the moment.

"We wait." Eddie said.

"Wait!" Mike shouted. "For what? I'm going to lose my position. If that happens you two are going down with me."

"I wouldn't suggest letting that happen. That would mean that you were in a conspiracy with us to commit treason. If you think that you are in a bad position now, how would you like facing execution." Eddie reminded Mike.

Tony nodded. "That is the present punishment for treason against the island. Of course, Ed and I would be deported, but you are facing execution."

Mike was furious. These two had gotten him into this situation. They had promised to make him President of a new island democracy. What Mike had gotten was lose of respect and power. Both of which Mike felt were the same. Especially outside the island.

"Mike, the islanders can be easily persuaded. We both know that at heart the majority of islanders are like naive children." Eddie held the view that most whites did concerning islanders. "All it takes is a little push in the right direction and they will turn on the present government. We all want to see Waka develop into a proper democracy. So do a majority of the islanders."

"We made a bad decision, Mike. Now, we have to take the fallout and try again." Tony backed up Eddie. "Despite your loss of position with the islanders you still have the support of the United States. That means we are prepared to compensate you financially for your loses."

Eddie knew that money spoke where Mike Hatta was concerned. He should have led with this proposal, he had to hand it to Tony for thinking this up on the spur of the moment.

"I was going to get to that, Mike." Tony picked up where Eddie left off. "We will compensate you for your loss of position. Not only that we will fund you in a new campaign for retaining your position and much more. The United States has deep pockets, all we ask is that you provide us with a little assistance with our ultimate goal, to make Waka a capitalist democracy."

Mike left the compound richer, more confident then he had been since he failed in his coup at the recent Council meeting. Eddie and Tony kept their mole in the Council of Advisors on the island. Money would buy Mike's election to Advisor again.

Eddie went to the radio communications room and contacted his CIA handler. The encoded message informed him what they intended to do next. The handler sent them a message back in code.

"Confirmed. Enact as soon as possible." The handler replied.

"Confirmed. Enact as soon as possible." Charlie King repeated the message to Teuila.

"It's time we acted then." Teuila said.

"Are you sure about this. The American's won't take this lightly. They might consider it an attack against American citizens." Zach Nathon was there in the room where Charlie King had the interception radio set up.

Charlie King had been spying on the communications of the two American scientists and the CIA handler in Hong Kong since he had connected the two scientists with the criminal Victor Thrayer. With the help of his contacts in the Vulgates. The secret society had long arms that embraced a number of agencies. Including the CIA.

"This isn't like Victor Thrayer's organization, I don't intend to go in with gun's blazing." Teuila assured Zach. "Charlie, I want to promote you to my Internal Security Advisor. Do you have a conflict with that?"

"I don't think that the people I answer to would have a conflict with it. My people only answer to the President of the United States. If he has a problem with it, then they will, and I'll step down." Charlie explained. "In the interim, with no present orders to the contrary I accept."

"Who do you answer to?" Teuila doubted Charlie would give her a straight answer, but she had to ask.

"As I said. Ultimately I answer to the President of the United States." Which was not quite accurate. Charlie answered to the Spirit of America, that essence that made America what it is. What made America truly Great.

Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Thirty-forth President of the United States had been given a 'Book of Secrets' by his predecessor Harry S. Truman. It had been passed down from one president to the next since George Washington first took office. Secrets so classified that only the president was allowed to relay them to his predecessor. In that 'Book of Secrets' was the acknowledgement of the Vulgates or Light Bringers. A quasi religious organization that stood for the 'Spirit of what made America great.' As the Book put it. They often took instructions from the United State's President, but operated independently most of the time.

The exact hierarchy of this organization was unclear. What they did do was stop the McCarthy Trials in their tracks. They also managed to put a blanket over FBI's Herbert Hoover, who had quickly learned to avoid their agents.

President Eisenhower was familiar with the island of Waka. It was considered a essential, strategic port during the Pacific Campaign of the last war. Although obscure, the island was considered important because it was considered obscure, which made it perfect for a base of operations again in any future actions that might take place in the Pacific, such as the Siam conflict that was brewing.

When the Vulgate's agents requested a relocation of certain American citizens on the island, President Eisenhower saw no problem with the request, despite the fact that they were CIA agents. If the island's Chieftess wanted the old military medical clinic as a new hospital for the island, he saw no reason not to relocate the scientists. It was well known that it was best to keep the Vulgates as a friend, then make them an unnecessary enemy.

"It's a Presidential Order, we are to evacuate the clinic to new quarters." Eddie crumpled up the letter and threw it across the room. "Provided by the generosity of the Waka people."

"What new quarters?" Tony asked.

"We have provided you with a trailer home for your personal use and a prefab garage modified to become a laboratory. It is very large and quite capable of holding your equipment. Once it is completely built you will be able to move in immediately." Teuila assured the two scientists.

"So, you got your way." Eddie knew that Teuila had been after this clinic for years. As a island hospital.

"I don't understand the hostility in your tone." Teuila's tone might have seemed sweet and innocent, but nobody was fooled. "Your location is close to the most radioactive part of the island. It is isolated. Perfect for your kind of research, on the interior with no distractions. I mean, that is what you are here for, to study the effects of radiation on the island. Well, this is the perfect location for that."

"Of course it is." Eddie snarled. "Just perfectly isolated."

Teuila threw a pile of papers at the two men. "That was the coded messages we found in the lair of Victor Thrayer. They implicate you as having full knowledge of his activities. That is treason."

"The only reason I'm not having my executioner sharpen his blade is that it wouldn't do to chop off the heads of two American citizens at this time. You two are getting more than you deserve, at the very least I should export your worthless hides off my island."

"Why don't you?" Tony had to ask. He didn't know why she didn't.

"Diplomacy. Besides, as long as I know where you two are and what you are, I figure I don't have to worry about someone else on the island I don't know trying to overthrow our government." Teuila took another paper out of the briefcase she had brought with her to confront the two men at the clinic. "You will also sign this."

Eddie took the document and glanced at it. "I understand that as a guest of the island of Waka I shall not participate in nor contrive with any person or persons who would in any way obstruct the proper government of the island. It I do participate in any such activity I will be subject to the laws and procedures concerning such activities. Without hope of reprieve, immunity, or exportation."

"This means that if we are convicted of we could theoretically be executed." Eddie didn't think he could be compelled to sign such an document.

"If you do not sign this document you will not be allowed to remain in Waka." Teuila had already arranged for Eddie and Tony to be exported if they didn't sign. "Now, it is your choice. I have the documentation that could embarrass your government if revealed to a nation like the Soviet Union or China, for example."

"Go ahead. Nobody will believe you in the United States." Eddie decided Teuila was bluffing. "They are communist countries after all, all it will prove is that you are communist yourself."

"Or I could give the documentation to Australia and Britain. As for China, I wasn't thinking so much as the People's Republic of China as the Taiwan Republic of China." Teuila wasn't bluffing. These documents would become global news if these scientists didn't do what she wanted.

"Those documents would make interesting reading." Teuila smiled at the two men. She pushed the paper over to them.

Teuila gave Charlie King back the papers he had provided for her when she got the two men to sign the documents. Which were now secure in Charlie King's safe at the radio station. Teuila watched Charlie take a lighter and burn each sheet of paper one by one. Burning the proof of the United States involvement in attempts to overthrow the Waka government.

"Am I going to regret this?" Teuila asked as she watched sheet after sheet fall into the metal trash can in the process of incineration.

"They have served their purpose. You have to understand that ultimately, my loyalty lies with the United States. These documents, if released, could seriously compromise my country." Charlie dropped another paper into the flames in the trash can.

"I'm beginning to think that your position as my security advisor might be compromised by your loyalty to the United States." Teuila still wasn't sure that the papers shouldn't be locked up with the documents that Eddie and Tony signed.

"Your island is under the protection of the United States. You're security is paramount to the security of the United States. Anything that interferes with Waka's security interferes with the security of the United States, even if that threat is internal." Charlie let the last paper fall into the waste basket. "Therefore, my loyalty to the United States compels me to consider any internal threat to Waka as a threat to the United States."

"Even if the United States is behind that threat?" Teuila didn't understand how the same nation that threatened the security of her government could be the nation that would protect it.

"Especially if the United States is the threat." Charlie watched as the flames of the papers became smoldering ashes. "You see, the United States is a large country with many opinions as to how things should be done. Some opinions are good for the country, others not so much, but all views are heard and considered."

"On occasion the United States are going to make bad decisions prompted by bad opinions. That is when people like me have to decide what decisions are bad, and try to correct them, before they hurt my country. Even if that means going against the present government or the very organizations that are designed to protect the United States."

"You think that the United States is making bad decisions based on bad opinions. But who are you to judge what decisions are bad or good?" Teuila was beginning to see some of the logic in what Charlie was saying.

"All I can do is bring light to the darkness. I can only see what that light can reveal within that darkness. I can't necessarily promise that what I see is accurate or right. Only that I am trying my best."

"Cryptic, if not accurate. I suppose we can only do our best with what little we have revealed to us about the greater scheme of things." Teuila said.

Teuila rode her bicycle back home. By the time she started out it was dark. Kingston was her home for many years, when the Americans had a base on the island, some women didn't go out at night. These days the town was considered fairly safe at night. Some fishermen in the docks district might cause trouble now and then, but 'honest' women stayed away from the docks at night.

As for the fishermen's wives and daughters, well one had to think twice before messing with one of them. If they didn't slice a man open, the male relatives would. That was one of the things that American soldiers at the base on Waka had learned immediately, you didn't mess with fishermen's families.

It wasn't far from the clinic that Teuila encountered Daisy being harassed by two men. They were townsmen, both of them, working at one of the carpentry shops in town. They were holding Daisy against the wall while she protested that she just wanted to walk home.

"Hey!" Teuila shouted. As she road up.

"Ahh, Miss Teuila, we are just having some fun." Said one of the men.

"You are harassing that young woman." Teuila dismounted her bicycle. The men still had Daisy pinned against the wall.

"She's just a whore, Miss Teuila. Acting like she's special." The other man was the one holding Daisy against the wall.

"Daisy is a midwife now, working for Doctor Li. She doesn't need men like you harassing her." Teuila was several inches shorter then the men she confronted. She wasn't afraid, she was angry.

"Once a whore, always a whore. I remembered her from the gambling palace, she was always hopped up opium. Smoked it." The first man said approaching Teuila.

"Once a bastard, always a bastard. You went to that gambling palace when you knew it was illegal, that it was hurting the island and other islanders." Teuila stood almost toe to toe with the first man, looking up into his alcohol glazed eyes. "You two are drunk too."

"It's not right calling me a bastard, Miss Teuila. I have a Father and I don't mean no harm. We just want a little something from Miss Daisy, we'll pay her too."

"She doesn't want your money or you." Teuila felt like slapping the man. "Unless you intend to rape her, leave her alone."

"It's not rape if it's a whore." Said the other man.

"If Daisy doesn't want it, it's rape, whether she is a whore or not." Teuila pushed fast the first man and strode up to the second, who let Daisy go and faced Teuila. "Will you rape me next? After Daisy and I will you rape Sefina or some other girl?"

Teuila was beginning to realize her situation. Daisy and Teuila were alone with these drunk men who obviously weren't thinking straight. Daisy had slumped against the crying. The second man stared at Teuila as if he was going to rape her instead.

It was the first man that came to his senses. "We're sorry, Miss Teuila. We were just out having fun, we didn't mean no harm. Right, Tommy." Said the first man.

"Don't use my name, you idiot." Growled Tommy.

"I know who you are, Tommy. Mitch over there too. Did you think that I wouldn't know the people who are part of my island." Teuila had only known Mitch's name from the patch on the overalls he was wearing. Mitch had been good enough to supply Tommy's name. "You both need to apologize to Miss Daisy, then go home and get some rest. First thing in the morning, you will be at the Police Station. Where you will wait for me to come in and talk to you when you are sober."

"Why should we?" Tommy said.

"Unless you want to work at the new sewer plant, in the worst job there, you had better be there." Teuila wasn't in the mood for any macho display.

"We'll both do as you say, if I've got to knock Tommy out and drag him home. Then we'll both be at the Police Station like you said." Mitch grabbed the second man by the arm and forced him down the street.

Teuila helped a shocked Daisy along the alley and over to the clinic. Kim was working as the night nurse. Kim looked at Daisy's torn dress and figured that something had happened to the former prostitute. If it wasn't for Teuila being with Daisy, Kim wouldn't have cared. Kim didn't want to upset the leader of the islanders or her employer, Doctor Bao.

"I want Daisy to sleep here tonight. I don't know where she lives, but I think she is about my size, so I'll bring her some clothes early in the morning. I don't want her going home tonight." Teuila brought Daisy into the infirmary. There were ten other patients. All of them asleep.

Once Daisy was in bed, Kim accompanied Teuila into the main office. That was when Kim asked what happened.

"Two men didn't understand that Daisy wasn't working the streets any more. They tried to take advantage of her." Teuila told her.

"Are you sure Daisy didn't entice them?" Kim didn't like Daisy working at the clinic. Not after the girl was a prostitute. That had tainted Daisy in Kim's eyes. "After all, the girl is what she is."

Teuila was not in the mood for Kim's prejudice. "What is that? Daisy was sold into the life of a prostitute, then forced to use opium. The girl is a victim of malice."

"Oh, Miss Tay, they all say that. You can't believe that sort of girl." Kim had been told all of her life what kind of girl Daisy was. Tay was an islander, innocent of the ways of cities like Hong Kong. "They all say it wasn't their fault, instead of just accepting they made a bad decision in life."

"We islanders aren't as naive as you think." Teuila shook her head. "I was educated in Hong Kong and the United States."

Teuila switched to Mandarin. "I even learned a little of your language."

Switching back to English Teuila continued. "I believe Daisy, because I've heard sob stories, and I don't think Daisy is lying."

"You speak lousy Chinese." Kim barely understood what Teuila had said. "But I'm sorry for doubting you."

Kim swore she wouldn't underestimate Teuila again. She also decided to treat Daisy with more respect. If the girl had been a victim like she told Teuila, then Daisy had only confided in Teuila. She hadn't told Doctor Bao or his wife. Teuila might not have known that Daisy had only confided her story to her. Or she might not have repeated it.

"Why did she keep it secret from the rest of us?" Kim wondered out loud.

"She didn't tell anyone else?"

"No, Miss Tay, she didn't. I'm thinking you were right now, because she likely didn't think she'd be believed." Kim now wondered why she told Teuila. "I'm surprised she told you."

"We shared confidences. Only I didn't know she had confided in me." Teuila said. "Please don't repeat what I told you. I'll let Daisy tell the others when she feels she is ready."

Kim nodded. She would confide in Mrs. Bao who would tell Doctor Bao. Kim felt they should know what happened to Daisy. Up until now Kim had thought Daisy had simply been a bad person, choosing this path as an easy way to make money. Now, Kim felt sorry for Daisy.

Teuila left the clinic and managed to bicycle back to her bungalow without incident. Teuila hadn't needed a pill to sleep through the night. She had fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She woke up after the sun had risen that morning.

After a breakfast of sweetened coconut milk, pancakes made from the same coconut milk, and pork sausage Teuila walked along the beach. It had been years since Teuila had taken the simple pleasure of walking along the beach and picking up shells.

Since the tourist industry began on the island earlier in the year, the so-called 'shell mongers' have made it a habit of gathering up shells washed on the beach. What had been a casual activity of gathering and collecting shells or making jewelry from shells was now a commercial industry on the islands. The Council had to actually make a ruling that some shells had to be left on the beach for tourists to pick up on their own. More importantly, for native islanders to pick up.

Teuila picked up a large conk shell, some smaller shells, and some bright coral. Not that she needed them, or even really wanted them, just because they attracted her at the moment. Teuila felt she could give them away to people she knew. Sefina wore shell jewelry during her dances.

Teuila washed the sand off her bare feet, slipped them into sandals.She brushed her windblown hair. Straightened her red blouse. Checked her white capri pants for stains then slipped on a simple gold chain necklace. The pendant at the end of the necklace was a gold plated heart that opened up to reveal pictures of her Father on one side and her Mother on the other.

Teuila went out to the garden as she left the house she picked an orchid and placed it in her hair, behind her ear. She didn't bother with her bicycle, preferring to walk to the Police Station.

Mitch and Tommy were sitting in the Police Station looking nervous. Tim was working the reception desk when Teuila came into the station. He had seen the two men come in looking guilty of something, but they didn't want to tell Tim what all of this was about. When Teuila appeared, both men stood up to face her like children who had been caught stealing biscuits from a jar.

"Miss Tay, I want to apologize for our behavior last night." Tommy said. "We don't usually behave so poorly."

"I don't intend to discuss this in the lobby." Teuila made sure the anger she felt seeped through her voice. "Tim, I'd like to talk to these two men in private."

Tim knew Teuila well enough that when she used this particular tone in her voice she was deadly serious. If she wanted something when she used that tone you gave it to her.

Zach watched from his office as Tim Lagi escorted Teuila and the two men who had showed up in the lobby to one of the interrogation rooms. It amused him that a girl, dressed in capri pants, a red blouse and a flower in her hair scared two men stiff.

Zach still looked at Teuila as a girl. To Zach the woman looked in her mid-twenties, not mid-thirties. Admittedly, the incident with the malformed baby seemed to age her for a while, today she seemed to have recovered from the mental torture she had been through.

Once Teuila walked into the interrogation room with the two men she let loose. "How dare you two men attack a woman on the streets of my town."

Tommy started to say something. Teuila cut him off. "I don't want to hear it. If a woman says no to you. You accept it and move on. I don't care if that woman is another man's wife or a prostitute."

"You two are examples to the other men in this town. You are skilled laborers. That makes you important. Men to be admired and looked up to. How are other men in lesser positions going to accept your actions from last night? If it's okay for you to behave like criminal outsiders then why should they be any different."

"Miss Tay, we were just letting off steam." Mitch complained.

"I know people on the island drink illegally. For the most part I turn the other way." Teuila admitted. "I let you let off steam. That is why I made prostitution legal in the first place, because I felt that was one way men like yourselves could 'let off steam' as you put it. In time I will legalize alcohol, since banning it seems useless, but at present drinking is illegal. Rape will always be illegal, I don't care if it is a prostitute, if you rape someone you will be executed."

"We understand, Miss Tay, but---"

"No excuses are acceptable. This incident will not happen again. If it does, I will not be this lenient. Am I clear!"

"Crystal clear, Miss Tay." Mitch said.

"Get out of my sight."

Teuila had learned from drill sergeants and officers how to address disobedient men. She merely skipped the curse words that the sergeants used and some of the officers did at certain times. She did adopt that commanding authority that the men had.

Watching the two grown men some inches taller than Teuila was practically stumbling over each other to get out of the door of the interrogation room reminded Tim Lagi to never mess with Teuila. If Mike Hatta had known who he was messing with he would never had tried to take out Teuila on a political level.

Teuila walked out of the interrogation room calmly, collective. As if she hadn't just ripped two men apart with her words. She smiled at Tim and waved goodbye to him. Just the smile and gesture was enough to make Tim feel special. That was the effect that Teuila had on most islanders. All it took from her was a smile and a wave and she made them happy.

Teuila stopped at the clinic, she had a dress she had packed into a spacious handbag she sometimes carried. Most of the time it contained papers, notes, or documents concerning island politics. Today, all Teuila had carried in her bag was the dress.

Teuila came into the clinic waiting room smiling. Talking to the five or so people in the waiting room. Saying hello to Kane. Daisy was in the infirmary, already at work caring for the eleven patients in the infirmary. One had come in early this morning.

Teuila stopped at Jill Lagas' bedside. The girl was pale, her eyes hallow. Her husband had not come in. Dark circles had formed around the young woman's eyes. Teuila picked up Jill's hand and held it for a while, until Jill woke up.

"Miss Tay. What are you doing here?" Teuila had heard that listlessness in her own voice in the last few weeks.

"I heard you weren't feeling well, so I came in to visit you." Which was a lie. Teuila had not even known Jill was in the hospital. It wasn't until Tay brought in the dress for Daisy that she learned Jill had come in that morning.

"Paul says I'm not really sick, that it's my imagination. Truth is, I'm afraid Miss Tay." Jill admitted.

"Afraid of what?" Teuila continued to hold Jill's hand Jill suddenly squeezed it tightly for support.

"Of another tainted boy." Jill relaxed her tight grip.

"I've told that you don't have to worry about that." Teuila assured her. "It was just exposure to that radiation in the cave that caused the defect in the child you had. If you get pregnant this time the child will be normal."

"You don't know that." Jill replied.

"No, not for certain, but we never can know the whole scheme of things." Teuila was beginning, just beginning to understand the scheme of things behind her own depression. One thing was that she could help others like Jill, because she had been through it.

"Paul hates me." Jill was crying now.

"I doubt that." Teuila had gone through this too. Thinking that her friends should hate for what she had done. "It wasn't any fault of your own."

"He does. He hasn't touched me. Worse, is I don't care. I'm afraid if he does I'll have another tainted baby." Jill was also ashamed. That she had brought a tainted child in the world in the first place. She didn't admit that.

"Maybe he is afraid that the tainted baby is his fault. Maybe it isn't your womb that he fears to be tainted, but his seed. Do you think it is possible that he's afraid to seed a tainted baby as much as you are afraid to grow another one in your belly."

"No, he's so assured. So collected. He wouldn't think that way." Jill thought she knew her husband, that by living with him, she knew how he was.

"Some men don't wear their emotions on the surface. They don't think it's a manly thing to do. Paul is that way. You've lived with him, you know he is." Teuila had experience with men. She knew how they acted, how other men expected them to act, and the pressure society placed on them to act in a certain way.

"Talk to Paul. Let him know how you feel. Ask him if he wants to touch you. Decide if you can let him touch you. If not, maybe it's time to leave the marriage. You can't stay married, afraid to touch each other. Afraid to pleasure each other. Afraid of having kids. You two have to talk it out. To decide if you can get over what happened. If you don't you'll just both be unhappy."

Teuila offered a few more comforting words. She left the clinic to head home. Teuila felt the darkness trying to engulf her again. She stopped by the Victory Cafe. Ordered a cheeseburger. Even though it was ground pork, not beef, it was still Teuila's favorite food. The food she turned to when she felt she needed comfort.

Nash had taken Sefina and Charlie's advice and decided against proposing to Teuila in the middle of one of the tourist shows on the stage. He went to Teuila's house while she was gone. The doors were unlocked. No one locked their houses unless they planned to be gone for awhile.

Despite the ban on alcohol, Nash had managed to obtain a bottle of red wine. He had cook at the Victory Cafe prepare two dishes of a pulled pork flavored with pineapple and coconut that was popular on other islands. With this came rice grown on the island, mixed with curry, and a salad. While Teuila was gone, Nash sat up the dinner. Then waited with the velvet lined box that contained the engagement ring in his pocket. He would present it after the dinner.

Mike Hatta wasn't done with the situation concerning Teuila and the Council. He might be thrown off the Council by his actions, but he would make sure Teuila got hurt as well. When he heard about the incident between Teuila and the two men Mike bought them a bottle of Rum from the black market on the docks.

Teuila found Paul Lagas at the Farmer's Market in the Dock District. It was still afternoon and safe enough for 'decent' women. He was selling his crop of sweet potatoes. One of the staples of the island farms. Teuila had asked around about him and found his booth.

"Paul, your wife thinks you blame her for the death of your child." Teuila made sure that other people couldn't hear this conversation by keeping her voice low.

"Well, you know island rumor, most of what people say isn't true." Paul dismissed it as best he could.

"This comes from your wife." Teuila said. "She is in the clinic, thinking you don't love her."

"Well, there's nothing wrong with her. I told her as much. Told the Doc too." Paul was annoyed that Jill had insisted on going to the clinic.

"Not all sickness is physical. Some people get sick in the mind. Sick in the heart too." Teuila hoped she could get through to Paul how serious this was. "If you don't tell her you love her, she might not get better."

"How do I know she loves me. When I touch her she flinches. Got to the point I don't try anymore." Paul didn't want to admit how it hurt him for her to flinch away from him.

"She loves you. It's that she's afraid. Like you are. That you two could produce another tainted baby." Teuila saw Paul look down and away.

"Are you afraid of that too? Paul, it's okay to be afraid." Teuila touched Paul's hand. "You two won't produce another tainted baby. That is what the Tony and Eddie, the scientists that know, say."

"It was a boy, Teuila. A boy." Paul wanted to cry, but islander men didn't like to cry. It wasn't their nature. "It hurt so much. To see it that way. To know what had to be done for it."

"I know. You wanted a boy so badly. Someone to work the farm with and pass on the land. Only to have it all snatched away from you. Will you let Jill be snatched away too? Or any other chance that you two can ever have another child taken as well? You have to go to her."

Teuila watched the booth, did her best to sell the crop Paul had brought to the market. While Paul hurried to the hospital to talk to Jill. Three hours later the couple walked back to the booth. They had talked and decided to try to make another go at their marriage.

Teuila noticed the late hour and decided to stop by Sefina's for the night, since she could make it there before nightfall.

Aside from the three hours it had taken Paul and Jill to talk things out. They had spent another hour and a half with Teuila talking about profits she helped them make and praising her for helping them. Teuila patiently waited for the couple to pack up and depart the market. After she went to Sefina's house satisfied she had helped the couple work out their problems.

Mitch, Tommy, and Mike were working on their third bottle of rum. Mike had been nursing his own glass, letting the two men get drunk. They proved to be mean drunks. After having to break up a fight between them and nearly getting attacked by both men in the process, Mike had convinced them that Teuila deserved to be put in her place.

"Yeah, just because her Father was King, what makes her think she is so much better than us." Tommy said, the meaner of the two men. "She's been too high and mighty. Maybe us skilled laborers need to put her in her place."

Mitch had a better idea. "We attack her and we get in trouble. Lets go do Daisy. She's nothing but a whore. People will think she deserved it."

As the two men stumbled off through the door of the carpentry shop that they worked in, Mike gathered up the two empty bottles of rum. The third the men had taken with them. Mike had arranged with one of his loyal constituents to lie about his whereabouts. The fisherman would testify that Mike was drinking with him that night and nowhere near the carpentry shop.

Daisy had worked late. Talking with Kim the night nurse, who was now making a special effort to befriend Daisy. Daisy didn't know if it was because Daisy was friends with Teuila that the night nurse was interested in her. Daisy liked talking someone who was basically from the same culture as she was, and could talk about the same general things in Chinese.

Mitch and Tommy were too drunk to wait for Daisy to come out of the clinic. Kim was not an islander. The Clinic was also near enough to the docks that Kim felt it was prudent to lock the clinic doors. When

Tommy found the door locked he smashed open the window. Ignoring the screams of the two women in the waiting area.

As Tommy fumbled for the lock, Kim and Daisy fled to the examination room behind the office and locked the door. In the infirmary the patients heard the breaking window and screams from the women. Of the patients, there were four women, six men. All six of the men were capable of getting on their feet. Most of them were suffering from typhoid brought on by bad hygiene.

They staggered towards the infirmary door while the other men broke into the clinic. Tommy had seen the women go into the clinic. The sick men who tried to interfere with Mitch and Tommy were too weak to take on two strong laborers in their twenties.

As Tommy and Mitch simply pushed through the sick men who tried to stop them, Kim took two scalpels out of a drawer and handed one to Daisy.

"Be careful, they are sharp." Kim told her as she took a vial of hydrogen peroxide out of a cabinet.

Kim opened the vial and waited as she heard one of the men begin to kick the door of the examination room. She threw the vial into Tommy's eyes as he came through the door. He turned, running right into Mitch who had come in behind Tommy, clutching his eyes and screaming. Kim threw the vial itself at Mitch's face. Too preoccupied and drunk to duck the glass vial shattered as it hit Mitch's forehead sending broken glass and the remaining hydrogen peroxide into Mitch's eyes.

At this point the other men piled onto the two laborers. Forcing them from the clinic. As soon as the blinded men were forced back out into the street Kim called the police.

By the time the constables got to the clinic both Mitch and Tommy were gone. They had taken off towards the ocean. Tommy had been able to see enough to guide Mitch to the beach. Once there both men washed the peroxide out of their eyes with seawater, which burned nearly as much as the peroxide had. Tommy's sight improved. Mitch complained that he still couldn't see very well.

They worked their way along the beach to the docks. There were tramp freighters that did trade with island natives. Both men had no trouble finding a freighter who accepted them as crew. Both men had started out as fishermen. Which helped them get aboard. The doctor wasn't the best, but he helped clean up their vision. Mitch would be still partially blind in one eye for the rest of his life, but Tommy eventually could see clearly again.

Mike Hatta had his own plans. He had planned to rape Teuila and blame it on the two men. Mike used a bandana to mask his face. He found Teuila's house unlocked and walked in. Surprising Nash who had laid down on Teuila's bed to wait for her. Nash was bigger and stronger, he charged Mike and tackled him. Mike stabbed Nash with a knife he had brought to intimidate Teuila into doing what he wanted.

Knowing that he was out matched, Mike ran out onto the patio and jumped over the railing onto the beach. He ran off into the night. Nash held his hand tight over his arm where Mike had slashed him. It was a deep gash that would need stitches.

Nash had arrived at the clinic in a police Jeep. He had learned that they were heading there because of a disturbance. So, he rode along. Once he arrived Kim stitched him up and told how Tommy and Mitch had attacked the clinic. Presumably to get at Daisy. Daisy was still upset. Kim had insisted that Daisy stay at the clinic infirmary until the two men were caught.

"I leave for a night and the whole island falls apart." While the incidents happened the night before Teuila and Sefina had been drinking wine and listening to the late night radio show. "Can't I even spend the night with a friend without someone breaking into my place and slashing my boyfriend."

Zach had located Teuila and arrived at six in the morning to explain the events of the night before. He had taken one of the Jeeps out to the little house. Teuila had made Zach promise to wait for her, while she prepared herself to meet Nash at the hospital.

Teuila had no resemblance to the two women that Zach had learned to admire back in the 1920s, but in her spirit she was similar. Back when Zach was younger these women had influenced him. They had both passed away. Teuila reminded Zach of the spirit he admired in them.

"How is Daisy doing?" Teuila asked once she was ready and climbing into the Jeep.

"That night nurse, Kim, she helped keep her calm. I have to say that this Kim was pretty shrewd. She locked herself in the back room with Daisy. Got out a couple of Doc's scalpels and threw some liquid in the men's eyes when they broke in." Zach was very impressed with Kim's actions.

"Why was Nash at my place anyway?" Teuila didn't know why Nash would have stuck around after realizing that she wasn't home.

"It looked like he brought you dinner. We found the meal on the table and in the oven." Zach had sent men to Teuila's bungalow. "The burglar must have known you were gone, but didn't expect to find Nash in your bed. They had a fight in your bedroom. During that encounter he slashed Nash in the arm. So he could get away. I don't think he actually intended to hurt him. Just disable him, or he would have aimed at the torso."

"Maybe he had intended to and got Nash's arm instead." Teuila couldn't figure why someone would break into her house. "Everyone on the island knows I don't have anything of value. Not like outsiders. Islanders place a different value on things."

"I'd say it wasn't an islander." Zach had already heard something similar from Nash. "Someone from one of the ships heard you were Chief of the island and figured you'd have something of value."

"Walks into my home, because no one locks their doors here. Instead of finding the house empty, they find Nash waiting for me to come home." A thought suddenly entered Teuila's mind. "Oh, my god."

"What is it?" Zach saw Teuila's expression change to something like shock.

"I just thought of what might have happen if I had been there alone." Teuila lied. The excuse seemed reasonable to Zach for the sudden exclamation Teuila had made.

Teuila found Nash sitting on a bed in the infirmary. One sleeve on his shirt had been torn away and there was a bandage wrapped over Nash's bicep. Teuila came straight to Nash and embraced him. Careful of his injured arm.

"I know what you intended to do." Teuila said as she sat next to him.

"Oh, so you made sure you wouldn't show up." Nash teased. "Ran off to get drunk with Sefina, as I heard it."

"Word gets around a lot on this island." Teuila was surprised just how things did get around.

"Well, now that you are here." Nash pulled out the ring he had in his pocket. Offering it to Teuila. "Will you marry me."

"Not as romantic as you wanted it. Is it." Teuila took the ring and put in on her finger. "Yes. Because I love you. I didn't realize how much I wanted you until recently. How I needed you."

"I can't imagine you needing anyone. You are the strongest person I know, that is why I love you. I hope that you will lend some of that strength to me." Nash put his arm around Teuila's shoulder.

Teuila leaned into Nash. "You have no idea how I need your strength."

Teuila had realized a dark secret about herself. She wasn't strong at all. She needed help. The baby had made her vulnerable to the darkness that had threatened to engulf her. Before she had killed the baby, Teuila thought she hadn't needed Nash. Want, desire, enjoy. But, never needed. Now, Teuila realized that Nash was what she needed for herself.

It wasn't just the sex. It was the person. Nash was the person who Teuila needed to cope with the events that were happening in her life. The man's personality. His patience. His kindness. His love. Teuila needed all of this. She had thought of the sex as a distraction that helped her cope, what she had needed was Nash. If it had been the sex, any man would have done. It was only with Nash that she had wanted to share her body. Now, Teuila wanted to share her entire life with Nash.

Mike Hatta had secluded himself in his house at the docks. Until he heard from one of his loyal constituents that the Waka Police thought a sailor had tried to burglarize Teuila's house. Mike hadn't just been afraid of being found out, he secluded himself because he was nursing bruises Nash had given him.

When Mike heard about the engagement between Teuila and Nasher Spencer, he laughed. He would play on the prejudices of the islanders. The townspeople might support Teuila, but the farmers and fishermen would never accept an outsider as their King. He would have his revenge on Teuila Arihi after all.

Nehili smiled at the fisherman who came to report Mike's latest propaganda against Teuila and her engagement. He was one of Mike Hatta's people, but she had been paying him to keep an eye on Mike. Knowing what Mike Hatta was up to, Nehili worked quickly to counter his efforts. Reminding the population that Mike Hatta was the ancestor of an outsider. His great grandfather had been British.

Teuila had admired her engagement ring as she walked to her bungalow. She had to clean up the remains of the uneaten meal. The pork had been put in the oven to stay warm, it was removed by the police who checked on the bungalow. Sitting on top of the stove, the dried up pork spoiled. The sides were cold and unappetizing after setting out for hours. Only the unopened wine was salvaged from the meal.

Nash had gone to his shop to make sure his morning edition of the Waka Post made it out in his absence. Teuila found her bedroom was as much of a mess. The bedding had been messed from Nash sleeping on it. Blood was on the floor from where Nash had been bleeding. A small table by the window had knocked over by the fight. It's contents had fallen on the floor.

Teuila sighed and picked up the broken shells, the crushed coral. She had picked up from the beach, while she was feeling better. For some reason Teuila found herself crying. She couldn't stop herself. Finally, Teuila wiped away her tears, picked up the mess left by the fight.

As she picked up the broken shells, Teuila saw her diamond engagement ring flash in the sunlight. She looked at the ring. It pierced her dark thoughts. She was going to get married. To the man she loved. More importantly. Teuila would bear an heir to succeed her.

"Isn't she a little old to bear a child." Mike said bluntly.

"She's only thirty-three." Eddie said. "She's got ten years at least before she's 'too old'. If she bears an heir, as some people suggest she might, it's going to mean a continuation of the monarchy which is bad for your plans to capitalize on the islanders."

"I serve the islanders, I don't capitalize on them." Mike said.

"Save that speech for your constituents." Eddie told Mike.

"You say you are already starting a campaign to discredit Teuila because of her engagement to Nasher. Do you think that we could use the fact that Nasher is a outsider to dethrone his child from the throne of Waka."

"No. First of all the child won't be considered Nasher's. It will be Teuila's. The woman bears the child, so the woman is considered the one the child actually belongs to, not the man."

"Wait, men participate in the act. Without them women can't get pregnant." Tony said.

"Yes, but no one can be sure who the Father actually is. Only the Mother and Father know for sure, and sometimes the Father merely assumes that is his child." Most outsiders had to have this explained to them. "But, everyone knows who the mother of a child is, since she carries and bears the child."

"Are you saying that all that matters is that Teuila bears the child, not that Nasher is the Father." Eddie hadn't expected this. "What about Teuila's Mother. What if she didn't bear King Moaro's child, but someone elses."

"Won't fly, Teuila acts too much like her Father." Mike said.

"Acting like her Father, and being of Moaro's blood are two different things." Eddie liked the idea of discrediting Teuila's lineage.

"It's a bad idea to try it. You know what happened the last time we tried to discredit Teuila." Mike had taken the fall for that one too.

"Maybe we can just get the rumor started. In such a way that it's not traced back to you." Eddie knew that Mike couldn't have such a rumor connected to him if it backfired. No amount of money and bribes would save Mike a second time.

Nash paid for a dinner with Teuila, Sefina, and Charlie. They discussed wedding plans. Teuila didn't want to marry right away, but a date was determined for sometime in August. With Sefina as the brides' maid and Charlie as Nash's best man.

Lola came up to the table with the two couples. Lola congratulated Teuila on her engagement. "Jill may be on her way to having another baby."

"How wonderful." Teuila was happy that the couple had another chance.

"She missed her flow for the month. It's not definite. Of course, but it's a usual sign." Lola explained. "If she is, there is no reason she shouldn't be able to bring a healthy child to term this time around."

"I hope so. I guess there will always be that fear, won't there." Sefina said. "As long as the testing goes on and the threat of more radiation is there, we'll be afraid of tainted children being born."

"I think it's time we began speaking out against these tests." Teuila had been considering this for some time. "To make a statement about the toll on people in the Pacific that these tests are taking."

"The United States is one of the primary testers of nuclear weapons, if the island takes an official stand against nuclear tests, the United States Government won't be happy about it." Charlie spoke up. The United States already had problems thinking that Teuila might be communist, she didn't need to call attention to herself by speaking out against nuclear testing.

"The United States already is unhappy with my 'communist' stand as they call it." Teuila said. "What more can they do."

"Withdraw their protection." Nash suggested.

"No." Teuila smiled. "I've already had discussion with the British Ambassador in Hong Kong. If the United States withdraws their support, the British will happily step in and continue with the same agreement that Waka has with the United States."

"The United States may want to displace Teuila, but they want to keep the island as a possible base in any future Pacific conflicts." Charlie knew this to be true. "No matter what happens, the United States won't withdraw it's protectorate status."

"I guess the United States will just have to be unhappy." Sefina laughed. "So, how to you plan to protest these nuclear tests."

"I'm going to have Charlie make a video recording about what happened in 1954." Teuila explained. "How it has affected us. To reveal the dark secret that haunts our paradise."

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