Title: Lost At Sea
This story was created for Little Albatross' challenge last fall.
On a side note, even before I begin this story, I would like to mention the episode Triangle (Season 6, episode 3) was filmed on the Queen Mary. I didn't intend to write this story because of the filming of this episode. I wanted to write this story because after watching the second season episode of Ghost Hunters it's the one haunted place in North America that I want to visit. Upon reading information at Wikipedia to research this fan fiction I came across the fact that they had filmed Triangle on the ocean liner. Neat!
Irene Douglas stood on the deck of the Queen Mary looking out on Long Beach. Oh, how she loved California so much. It was such a shame that their honeymoon was almost over. Irene turned to her new husband, Dylan, and wrapped her arms around him. She buried her face in his chest and breathed deeply. "Oh, do we have to leave, Dylan?" she murmured quietly.
Dylan chuckled, and lifted her chin. "I'm afraid so, darling," he said quietly and kissed her tenderly. Irene broke the embrace and strode across the deck to look out at the water. "Couldn't we just move here, Dylan?" she asked, not really expecting an answer.
Leaning over the railing, she looked down, to see how deep the water really was. She nearly went tumbling over the side when she got a good look at what was floating near the hull of the ship. "Oh my God, Dylan!" she cried out, as she stumbled back from the railing.
Dylan stepped forward and looked down as well. "Oh dear God…" he muttered, and turned and ran for the reception area. Irene followed closely behind, her face as white as a ghost.
Agent John Doggett stepped into the lavish lobby of the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary was an ocean liner turned hotel which sat in Long Beach, California, with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean from its decks. Nestled in beside the hotel was a Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, and both vessels served as museums as well.
At first it had been unclear as to why Doggett and Scully had been assigned to this case. Until Scully had dug out the case file on the Queen Mary and the two agents had scoured page after page of incidents of hauntings on the boat, as well as the military history of the vessel. And let's not forget that the body that had been found floating near the hull of the ship had been in uniform – a uniform circa World War II.
As Doggett gazed at the exquisite architecture of the lobby, Scully went striding over to the reception desk. Flipping her FBI ID badge out, she smiled at the receptionist, "We're here about the case."
The young lady scrambled from her position behind the computer monitor. "Let me just get the owner, Mike Donahue. He's with the police chief."
Scully and Doggett reunited by what appeared to be an antique – but obviously refinished – loveseat. The two sat down upon the hard-backed chair, and looked about. Finally Scully's gaze came in contact with Doggett's. Electricity seemed to jump through the air between them, and quickly she looked away.
The receptionist came hurrying back with a gaggle of people following her. The owner was obvious enough. His suit and tie screamed upper hotel management. And the police chief's uniform easily gave him away. But the two men following, in plain shirts and jeans intrigued both FBI agents.
Agent Doggett stood up, Scully quickly following. The owner stuck his hand out and shook both agents' hands, "I'm Mike Donahue, owner of the Queen Mary. This here is Police Chief DeLuca. And these fine gentlemen are Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes. They are the founders of a Paranormal Investigative Team, and we've asked them to come in to look at this as well."
Doggett raised his eyebrows, "You really take the haunting of the ship very seriously, don't you Mr. Donahue?"
"Please, call me Mike. And, yes we do. With such a history as this ocean liner has, there's bound to be some paranormal activity. We embrace any findings, and to be quite honest with you, Agent, it attracts more guests."
Realizing his bad manners, Doggett jumped, "I'm sorry, I should introduce myself. I'm Special Agent John Doggett, and this is my partner Special Agent Dana Scully."
"And you're from the infamous X-Files department, right?" Donahue asked, his eyes showing eager hope.
Doggett sighed, and rolled back on his heels, "Yes, we are from the X-Files. I had no idea our reputation would precede us here."
Donahue motioned to the two investigators, "They were the ones who mentioned the department, which was why we gave you a call."
"I see," Doggett replied, and turned to the police chief. "Do we know who the victim was?"
The police chief gave him a perplexed look, "That's the thing Agent Doggett. We managed to figure out who he was, but it makes no damn sense."
"What do you mean?" Scully asked, moving forward. This, of course, was her area of expertise. The paranormal.
"His name is Jeremy O'Rourke. Major Jeremy O'Rourke." Donahue stressed, but Doggett seemed oblivious to his intentions. So Donahue further elaborated, "O'Rourke went missing in 1942. He and a few other American soldiers went overboard during a gale off the coast of Scotland."
Doggett stared at Mike, "Then maybe he didn't really go missing."
"You don't understand, Agent Doggett. The man we found was not a day older than twenty seven."
Doggett raised an eyebrow, "Then perhaps it's not Major O'Rourke. Perhaps it's just a kid in his uniform."
Donahue turned to Scully, "I thought you guys believed in the paranormal."
Scully threw him an apologetic look, "Agent Doggett is… new to the X-Files, sir. He casts doubt upon all cases, and to be honest with you, we do manage to solve many cases because of his doubt. Not to mention we haven't gotten enough information about the victim."
Donahue gestured for the two agents to follow him, "Please come this way. All the evidence the police have is in my office."
The receptionist watched as everyone left the lobby. Once everyone was gone, she went back to her computer, and resumed chatting online with her boyfriend.
Scully sat down across from Mike Donahue, while Doggett stood behind her. The police chief went around the desk, and began to sort what must have been the evidence.
DeLuca tossed a waterlogged wallet onto the desk, and Doggett picked it up. Opening it, the first thing he pulled out was ID for one Jeremy O'Rourke. And O'Rourke had been born in 1915. Amazingly, aside from the water damage, the information inside the wallet was very well-preserved. Even Doggett had to pause at that. Time tended to yellow paper, and none of the items in this wallet seemed to be aged. Immediately Doggett began to think that what he was looking at was a hoax.
He was about to speak his mind when the ship began to shudder. "What the f-?" he began as a picture on the wall fell, and smashed to the floor. The groan of tearing metal could be heard throughout the ship, and as the ocean liner sliced through the protective rock wall enclosing both it and the submarine, the ship's shuddering worsened. Doggett fell to the floor, while DeLuca grabbed hold of the desk to keep himself steady. The two paranormal investigators stumbled but managed to keep their balance.
As the shuddering began to ease, and the steady drone of engines filled the air, Mike Donahue ran to the window and looked out at the moving scenery. "What the hell? What's happening? No one's driving this thing!"
Doggett picked himself up off the floor, and moved toward the window, "What do you mean no one's driving this thing?"
"Just that! It's impossible. This thing can't even be started! What the hell is going on?" Mike cried out, turning away from the window. Cries of confusion began to be heard throughout the whole ship. Everyone left Donahue's office to try and calm the guests down. After all, one dead body was not enough to close such a prominent hotel down – not even for a day.
The wreckage the Queen Mary left in its wake included the 'boarding gangways' which had been welded to the ship and the shore. Now they lay half in the water, half out. Live power lines were left floating in the water, and the submarine that had nestled in closely to the ship now bobbed by itself, lonely, and tugging on its own lines in what some could imagine as a weak attempt to follow its companion out to sea.
Night had fallen. The guests had all finally determined they were no longer going to enjoy a happy holiday in California, and most had retired to their staterooms. Others were wandering the ship, above and below deck. Still others had encircled the two paranormal investigators and were excitedly asking them if this had anything to do with the hauntings aboard the ship. Jason continued to adamantly say no while Grant conceded that it was a possibility, although he had never witnessed anything like this before. Both agreed that this was definitely paranormal however.
DeLuca, Donahue, and the two agents had gone to investigate why the ship had started. When they had entered the control room, they had found it lit up. Controls were moving, gauges were showing pressure, everything was in running order. But there was no one there.
DeLuca turned to Scully, "How much you want to bet there's absolutely no fuel running this thing, either."
"Can we find out?" Scully asked.
Donahue shook his head, "It's too dangerous in that section of the ship. We have it blocked off to the public."
Doggett stared at him, "Why?!"
Donahue became angry, "Well, because it's no longer a ship, Agent Doggett. It's a hotel. It physically can not be running right now. We had the engines stripped years ago. Also, one of our worst hauntings is located near one of the engine rooms."
Doggett looked sceptical, "I'm not the general public, Mike."
"I know you aren't, but I'm telling you! Even I have witnessed unusual things down there!"
Doggett scoffed, and Donahue moved closer to him, "There are a lot of hot spots on this ship, and I think you would do well to steer clear of them, Agent Doggett. Especially in this situation."
Doggett looked at the time, "Well, perhaps I'll start tomorrow. It is getting kind of late. I don't suppose you have any extra available rooms?"
Donahue looked uncomfortable, "About that. You two are going to have to share. Don't worry. I have a room with two double beds."
Doggett and Scully looked at each other. This would be interesting.
What Donahue didn't tell the two agents was that the room he had put them in was one of the many hauntings on the ship.
The two agents fell asleep in their respective beds that night after a long discussion about exploring the ocean liner in the morning for evidence of foul play. Scully seemed to believe that this was being caused by the paranormal. Doggett, on the other hand, just knew that there had to be someone behind it all. And he intended to find out.
But apparently the ship had other plans for John Doggett. Or perhaps the dozens of ghosts that walk the halls of the ship didn't like the non-believer scoffing at their existence. Either way, at roughly three in the morning, the closet door banged open, causing both Doggett and Scully to jump awake. "What the fuck was that?" Doggett cried out.
Scully, being closer to the closet, pointed at the opened door. "I think… I think it was the door," she whispered. And just as she had uttered the statement, the closet door banged shut again. Scully cried out, and immediately jumped from the bed. As the door banged open again, Doggett tried to reason, "It must be a draft. Or the movement of the ship."
"I can hear it latching shut, John!" Scully cried out. And once she said that, Doggett realized he could hear it, too. And then they could hear children laughing. John pulled back the sheets, and flung open the stateroom door. Only, when he looked out into the hall, there were no children – no anyone to be seen. As he turned back into the room, the door slammed shut.
As he looked over at Scully, finally he knew his senses were lying to him. Standing at the foot of the bed was a young girl. A doll in one hand, the other reaching out to Scully, she opened her mouth and asked the scared Agent, "Have you seen my mommy?"
Before he could even begin to utter a word, this phantom child disappeared. Scully was scrambling around the bed, and into John's arms. "Oh my God, John, did you see that?"
John continued to stare at the spot where the young girl had been, "Y- I… I don't know what I saw, Dana," he said, as he encircled her with his powerful arms. "I can't explain any of this."
Soon after the short appearance of the little girl, everything became calm again. It was a long time before either of them got to sleep.
The agents were awoken the next morning by DeLuca knocking on their door at the hour of seven. Doggett groaned, as he rolled away from Scully. He paused in his waking process, and looked over at her. Then everything came flooding back. The little girl, Scully terrified, he himself not all that calm. They had curled up in the same bed after some time, and lay together, taking comfort in each other's warmth. Scully awoke, "We're coming!" she cried out as she jumped out of the bed. She looked over at Doggett, who was still sitting in the bed. "What?" she asked.
Doggett shook his head, "Nothing."
He quickly got out of the bed, and ran a hand through his shortly cropped hair. Opening the door, he glared at DeLuca, who was still impatiently trying to get their attention. "What?" he almost roared.
DeLuca stepped back from the door, "We've figured out, with the help of a historian that happened to be on board, where the ship is heading."
This immediately attracted Doggett's interest. "Oh yah?"
Scully came up behind him, her hair in its usual bob after running her fingers through it. "Where are we headed, DeLuca?" she asked, already in pristine Special Agent mode.
The three made their way toward the central lobby, while the police chief explained the route. "We're taking a route the ship must have taken years and years ago. We're heading to Scotland."
Doggett turned to Scully, "You know, I expected this to be a short in and out thing. A day or two at most. I packed lightly, And left anything that could be used in the car."
Scully shrugged, "What can I say, Doggett? Always expect the unexpected while assigned to the X-Files."
Doggett walked ahead of them, grumbling, "Someone remind me to thank my travel agent when we get back."
DeLuca turned to Scully, "It's not like he's the only one in this situation. What the hell is his problem?"
Scully shrugged. "He's a New Yorker."
They spent the rest of the day with Jason and Grant, much to Doggett's chagrin. The two investigators took them on a tour of the ship to all of the 'haunted' areas. And Donahue was polite enough to allow them access to the engine rooms. Upon inspecting the engine rooms, all four were not surprised (well, perhaps Doggett was) to see that the ship was running on basically nothing.
As the day progressed more and more sightings of ghosts were being announced by passengers, although nothing came close to what Doggett and Scully witnessed. Scully had immediately spilled the story to the investigators, and Grant had ended up going to their room to set up an audio recorder.
Jason and Grant had come prepared, as they had been called in about the hauntings. So unlike the two agents, they were more than well equipped to spend a few days abroad. Equipment had been set up in some of the hot spots, and a few guests were excitedly helping out.
There were no immediate worries, as the power still seemed to be working, and the kitchens were well stocked. And there was cooking staff on the ship as well. Everything was going according to hotel schedule – except that slight problem of being out at sea.
Doggett dropped himself onto a sofa in the lobby, and sighed. "Did anyone try turning the ship around manually?" he asked, as Donahue walked up. "Why yes, Agent Doggett, we have. Do you think we are just a bunch of monkeys running this hotel?"
Doggett made no response as he leaned his head back, and closed his eyes. This just couldn't be happening. He had no explanation for any of it, and both he and Scully knew. It was killing him. He must have rested for a bit for when he awoke he was alone in the lobby. Or so he thought. Getting up from the sofa, he looked about. Not even the receptionist was at her post. He strode toward the hall that led to his stateroom, and stopped when he heard a cough behind him.
Turning around Doggett caught sight of a man standing next to the sofa he had been sitting on. How?! As if that wasn't strange enough, the man was dressed in a World War II era uniform. And if Doggett wasn't mistaken, the man could be the identical twin of the man in the ID he had looked at before this whole mess had started.
The man reached out to John, "Please."
"What?" John asked, moving toward him, his hand reaching for his gun. "What do you want?"
The man sighed, and looked down. "I just want to be put to rest."
"Huh?" John's hand dropped away from the gun. The lights in the lobby flickered, and the man looked up once more. "Must I be forever lost at sea?"
"You're not lost at sea! You're right here!"
"I want to be buried with the rest of my family."
Doggett was starting to understand. But should he really play along? "You aren't lost at sea, Major O'Rourke. You will be buried next to your family."
O'Rourke stared at him, "Really? Do you mean it?"
"Yes! So long as we get off this ship in one piece, I will make sure it happens!" John said, as the lights went completely out, and the ship began to list starboard. The metal frame of the ship began to groan, and John, for once in his life, believed he was witnessing something paranormal – something he could never explain.
O'Rourke nodded his head, "Thank you, John." He said quietly, and turned and walked briskly away, as his form slowly melted into thin air.
John stared in awe at where the man had been. And then the ship was righting itself, and the lights were coming back on, and people were running into the lobby. John became part of the crowd of scared passengers, and when Donahue came out and told them everything was fine, the ship was alright, people slowly made their way back to the rooms.
John slowly made his way to his own stateroom, and found Scully asleep. Throwing his boots off, and throwing all cares to the wind, he got into the same bed, curled up against her, and breathed deeply. Turning around, Scully opened her eyes groggily, "What's wrong, John?" she whispered.
He buried his face in her red hair, "I don't know what's happening. I can't trust my own eyes."
Scully put an arm around him, and kissed him on the forehead. "It's okay, John. You just have to believe."
Together they lay like this, until both had fallen asleep.
Scully awoke the next morning with Doggett's arms wrapped around her, and she found she felt safe – something she hadn't felt in so long. She lay like this for a bit, not wanting to wake Doggett up, but finally, not being able to stay in this position for long, she gently extricated herself from his warm embrace and went to the window. Looking out, she was surprised to see seagulls circling above the ship.
Seagulls? That meant land! She moved back to the bed and shook Doggett awake, "John! There are seagulls outside."
Doggett groaned, and rolled away from her. "We're near land, John!"
This finally got Doggett out of the bed. Together they hurried out to the lobby, but found no one around. Making their way out to the upper decks, neither spoke a word. Ahead of them was Long Beach, CA. The submarine was still snug in the port that the Queen Mary had broken free of, and people were on the shore, watching, waiting.
Both agents finally stood on land. Doggett had never felt happier about touching down on the soil. But he knew he had something to do. What had happened could not be explained, and he was finally admitting this, both to himself and to Scully.
Jeremy O'Rourke's body would be buried next to his family, and Doggett would make sure of that.
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