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by Russell Bates

The following story was sold to Filmation, but for whatever reason was never produced. Russell Bates, the writer of this story, has kindly condensed the script into a story outline for your reading. Note: the photos illustrating this story come from other episodes, as it would be impossible to produce pictures from an unfilmed story. They are here simply to help illustrate the action. Enjoy!


The ARK II is on a coastal beach where the Arkonauts are investigating the comeback of sea life in a small area. RUTH and ADAM are working with lab equipment on the sand, examining specimens kept alive in aquarium-like flasks. JONAH and SAMUEL are out scuba diving and collecting, keeping in touch via wet-suit teleradio. Briefly, we HEAR this area is almost pollution-free, apparently due to an underground exchange with fresh water from the land; hence the return of sea life in the area. Suddenly, a spear thumps into the sand in front of Ruth and Adam. To their dismay, an angry group of coastal cave dwellers has slipped up on them and cut them off from the ARK II. Ruth quickly calls to Jonah and Samuel for help, but she and Adam seem trapped as the men advance, spears at the ready.

Just as the men are closing in, Jonah and Samuel emerge from the surf.

The cave dwellers spot them and shout fearfully, "Sea spirits!" The two in wetsuits and headgear resemble just that: dark things that have risen from the sea. Scared witless, the cave dwellers flee for the cliffs. But one young man falls over a rock, knocks himself unconscious, and is left behind.

Jonah and Samuel are relieved to find Ruth and Adam unhurt. They quickly go to the unconscious boy, afraid he may be seriously injured. But he revives quickly enough under Ruth's ministrations. He is frightened all over again at Jonah and Samuel. But this hurriedly turns to amazement as the 'sea spirits' remove their headgear and reveal themselves to be young men like himself.

The boy's name is ARGENT, which Samuel translates as 'silver', like the boy's hair color. Ruth says that they weren't doing anyone harm and asks Argent why they were attacked. Argent replies that this part of the sea is his village's main food supply and his people were angry that strangers seemed to be stealing from it. As well, it is the one way his people maintain peace with other villages, by trading and sharing the food that is here. Jonah reassures him that they only want to study the animals, intending to release them later. Besides, the ARK II makes the food they require.

Just then, the cave dwellers return, intent upon rescuing Argent and driving the strangers away. Their boldness partly is due to seeing that the 'spirits' only are people like themselves. But Argent stops them and says the strangers are friends, that they are not there to steal the food. The leader, KARL, is suspicious but he trusts Argent's word. Samuel shows the men that the specimens indeed are unharmed; he points to an ugly and unlikely sea animal and asks if it is used for food. At Karl's nod, Samuel says, "Yik! Who'd want to eat that?"

Abruptly, one of Karl's men cries out and falls to his knees, painfully ill. Ruth quickly examines him, then says it looks like symptoms of poisoning. Argent explains that others of his people are sick the very same way. Karl says that he fears some kind of fever is breaking out.

Doubtful, Ruth takes the man to the ARK II for treatment. Karl carefully scrutinizes Ruth's bedside manner, which she shruggingly accepts. Jonah and Samuel change into their safe-wear. Adam in the meantime dutifully has continued to run Ruth's experiments and analyses, watched curiously by Argent and the other cave dwellers. Outside again, Ruth shows the others that the sick man almost is fully recovered. He indeed was poisoned and though she couldn't identify the agent, obviously her treatment worked. Karl is impressed and asks if the Arkonauts might return with them to the village to help the others. Jonah readily agrees; that's one of the reasons the ARK II has come here.

Ruth checks Adam's work and is alarmed when she reads the printouts from the analyzers. It's in their food supply, she says. Not pollution, but some kind of natural poison. Samuel remembers from history that this coastal area once was quarantined in warm weather because certain plankton were poisonous and made the fish and shellfish dangerous to eat. Jonah tries to explain to Karl and Argent that it is the seafood, not fever, that is making their people sick. But just then a runner comes down the hill and tells the cave dwellers that the village is about to be attacked.
Alarmed, Karl orders his men back to the village. Jonah and Samuel break out the Roamer, Ruth and Adam load some equipment, and the four head the Roamer down the beach to follow the men.

At the settlement, we SEE that several men stand on the cliff above the caves, shouting, waving fists and spears, making noises with bull-roarers, and threatening to rain rocks down on Karl's people. Some of the cave dwellers run about, confused and afraid. Others stand over the ones who are sick, trying to protect them. It is obvious that an attack now entirely would be successful and, at just that moment, the attackers start down toward the settlement.

The arrival of Karl and his men stops the attack cold. Loud threats are exchanged. But before anything else happens, the Ark Roamer arrives; the sight of it and its occupants definitely halts all hostilities.

The attackers' leader, RAYMOND, signals for a truce and comes alone into the village. There he angrily tells that people in his village are falling ill, just like Karl's people. "You are to blame for spreading the fever! If it grows any worse, we will be back to exact a terrible revenge!" Raymond and his people leave.

Ruth begins treating the sick and Samuel runs tests on the food and water. Jonah again tries to explain to Karl the true cause of the sickness. Finally, Karl understands. "If this is so," he says, "then it is true. We only wanted to share with others, to avert war. But all we did was to spread the sickness and bring war. Now we must go hungry and prepare to be attacked."

Jonah says that they were doing right and there was no way they could have known it could go wrong. Karl says no, this sickness came before, not nearly as severe and so it was ignored as an inconvenient part of life. There is but one thing to do. His people have a secret place, a miniature sea where a spirit dwells. In times past, when the ocean harvest was good, young men were sent with a part of the harvest as a living offering of thanks to the spirit in the secret sea. Now it must be done again, this time to ask that sickness be sent away and thus a war be prevented.

Jonah scoffs at such an outlandish superstition, but Samuel cautions that such beliefs often have some basis in fact. Maybe they'd better find out before criticizing. Jonah agrees, then asks if he and Samuel might go with the young men to the secret sea. At first, Karl refuses; only his people ever have gone there. Jonah then volunteers the ARK II's animal specimens in exchange for being allowed to go; after all, valuable time would be taken up trying to catch the offering and our specimens already are caught. Karl hesitates, but with hunger and more illness and a war threatening, he agrees.

A quick trip back to the ARK II and then the party of young men, headed up by Argent, is ready to depart. Jonah and Samuel carry packs with their scuba gear inside; the aquarium-like flasks are slung from poles and carried on shoulders. Ruth sees them off a little wistfully. But she and Adam are more than busy treating the sick cave dwellers.
The trip is arduous and dangerous; a wild animal has to be scared off with a bright light gun. At last, they reach the place. It appears only to be a fair-sized natural lake, with a fresh-water stream emptying into one end. But Samuel tests the water and declares it is salty. This must be the other end of the underground water exchange we found on the coast! Tides draw out fresh water here and replace it with salt water. Argent and the others start the offering ceremony. A sudden inspiration strikes Jonah. If this has gone on for years, he says, then maybe, just maybe...

Jonah stops Argent and tells Samuel to break out the scuba gear. As they begin changing into their diving suits, Argent is aghast: You can't go down there! The spirit...! But Jonah reminds him that the Cave Dwellers mistook wet-suited men for spirits; maybe they're just as mistaken about something down in the secret sea. Argent is doubtful but allows them to continue.

Once underwater, Jonah and Samuel find an almost unbelievable world, teeming with fish, snails and slugs, polyps and sea anemones, shellfish, crabs and lobsters. A true sea in miniature. Then they spot something else: a large, dark, vaguely human shape seen hazily in the murky distance: mysterious, scary, covered with sea moss that waves in the currents.

They cautiously go closer and discover that it is the coral-encrusted metal statue of a woman with arms outstretched. Some sea spirit, Samuel says over wet-suit teleradio. He hands Jonah a camera, moves up to pose with the statue, and Jonah shoots a few photos with underwater flash.

Back at the village, Jonah shows the photos to Karl and the others, proving it only is a statue and not a spirit. But, he adds, it still is important; its rusting bronze puts just enough copper in the water to keep the secret sea free of poisonous plankton. The seafood there is safe to eat. Karl's people unwittingly have stocked a food supply there that can be tapped, in fact even shared, when animals in the sea are unsafe to eat. Karl is stunned, but the photos are undeniable, especially the one with Samuel upside down in the statue's arms, sticking out his tongue at the viewer. Karl breaks into a smile and says, "My people and those in other settlements need not fear hunger or sickness or war for a long time to come!"

He thanks the Arkonauts but Jonah tells him that all the team did was to share their knowledge. The greatest part of this already existed: the willingness of Karl's people to share with others. You can't live without sharing, Jonah says. I guess that's what life is all about.

Arrangements are made to treat sick people in the other villages. It is a tired crew of Arkonauts that finally returns to the ARK II. They stow away their gear and otherwise prepare to move on. Samuel says that this gives him more hope for the future. then asks why it took mankind so long to learn such an easy lesson. Jonah only shrugs and replies they should be thankful that it ever was learned at all.

Ruth agrees with Jonah and then steps to the door of the ARK II. As she opens it, Adam suddenly jumps into the doorway wearing a wet-suit shirt and a diving mask, startling her. Samuel says, "Oh, no! It's the sea spirit!" As they laugh and continue to put away their equipment, we HEAR...

ARK II...Log Entry One Hundred Sixteen. Time...seventeen hundred hours. Today brought our mission right home to us. Sharing what you have with others is one of the most human of qualities. Without it, you lose something that is not easily replaced. And with the world as it is, we cannot afford that...

No part of this story outline may be reproduced in any form without written consent from Russell Bates.