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    Written by: Greg Stevens   Produced by: Posie Jacobs   Directed by: Russell Webb

Alison and Michael walk into the study at Dural, Michael saying as they do so, "Just as well you're not my patient." Alison asks, "Why's that?" Michael tells her, "You'd still be in hospital under observation." Alison points out, "Wasting valuable bed space." She adds, "I feel fine. Honestly." She then walks over to the safe. She hesitates, but then reaches into it and removes a floppy disc. She sticks it in the computer as Michael says incredulously, "You're not going to start work?" Alison, however, tells him, "Not start. Finish." She then adds, "Thankyou for all your help: driving me to the hospital... driving me back again. You certainly know how to time an entrance. Let's face it: I'd probably be dead if you didn't." Michael shrugs, "Must be a habit, I guess, being in the right place at the right time. I treated Wayne for exposure when he stumbled into my camp a couple of weeks ago." Alison stares at him and asks in surprise, "Wayne? When he got lost in the bush?" Michael smiles, "Yes. We ended up having quite a chat that night. That's why I dropped over: I thought he might still be in need of a friendly ear." Looking thoughtful, Alison says, "Um... what did Wayne tell you?" Michael replies, "It's personal." Alison sighs, "Come on..." Michael, however, insists, "Alison, what's discussed between a patient and doctor..." Alison completes, "Must remain strictly confidential. I know." She goes on, however, "What did he say? Anything about me?" She adds, "Choice report, I'll bet." She then goes on, "Let me tell you a few home truths about Wayne Hamilton. The fact that I was bitten by that snake is entirely his fault. It was a set-up. Wayne couldn't care if I lived or died." Michael stares at her. Alison asks, "Does that shock you?" Michael nods, "Yes, actually." Alison continues, "I don't know what Wayne told you, but I imagine you're here because you can see a little money in it." Michael growls, "I think they gave you too much anti-venom." Alison raises her eyebrows and just shrugs, "No matter. You're too late, anyway: by the time Wayne surfaces, there won't be any money left - so, you're wasting your time." With that, she returns to the computer, a nasty smile on her face...

On the island. Wayne is feeling Tick's brow. Ginny asks, "Has he got a temperature?" Wayne replies, "I don't know. Feels hot." He then hands her a cloth and asks, "Could you go and wet this for me, please?" Ginny takes it and runs off down to the water. When she's gone, Wayne strokes Tick's forehead and says, "It's OK, mate. Won't be long before we have you out of here.

As she heads down to the water, Ginny hears the noise suddenly of an approaching boat. She then spots the craft heading towards the island and she squeals in delight, "Wayne!" A smile of relief crosses Wayne's face and he sighs, "Thank God." The boat pulls in at the edge of the island and Glen and the driver climb out. Glen tells Ginny, "This guy picked me up. I got back here as fast as I could." Ginny gives him a hug, smiling, "I'm just glad you're here." Glen then tells her, "Get on board. I'll be with you in a sec." He starts approaching Wayne, who's carrying Tick down towards the craft. Glen offers, "Here, I'll carry him for you." Wayne, however, snarls, "He's my son." Glen points out, "You look like you're ready to collapse." Wayne just snarls, "You really played the big hero today, haven't you? Probably end up with some sort of medal." With that, he limps off, leaving Glen looking frustrated.

In the study at Dural, Alison is telling Michael, "Wayne won't be back for a couple of days - so your little scheme will have to wait." Michael sighs, "I'm no blackmailer. Wayne stumbled into my camp and poured out his heart to a perfect stranger. Only people who feel very much alone pour out their hearts to perfect strangers. That's why I'm here: a friend, if he needs one - and from the way you were talking earlier, it sounds as if he might." He adds, "'By the time he surfaces there won't be any money left.' Isn't that what you said? Planning a little pilfering are you?" Alison just retorts, "He won't believe you if you tell him. I'll say you made it up." She then checks, "Will you tell him?" Michael, however, shakes his head and growls, "I don't want anything to do with either of you. Snakes left to guard computer discs... one out to ruin the other... you assuming I want to blackmail Wayne just because he confided in me... You're a joke - both of you." Alison snaps, "Wayne nearly bankrupted my best friend - deliberately. What I'm doing is no worse than what he did to her." Michael asks, "Is that an excuse, is it?" Alison snaps, "It's the truth." Michael retorts, "Yeah, well, I think I'll just bury the snake and be on my way - before I end up with a knife between the shoulder blades. Interesting meeting you." With that, he walks out. Alison stands there, looking thoughtful.

Tick is lying on a stretcher in a hospital corridor. A nurse is standing next to him, holding a drip. A doctor is examining him. Wayne is looking on and asks in concern, "He's going to be OK, isn't he? I want the best doctors." The doctor retorts, "They're here." Wayne adds, "If you need to bring in a specialist, money's no problem." The doctor just looks at the nurse and says, "Straight up to pre-op; tell Sister I'll be there in five minutes." The nurse and an orderly wheel Tick off. When he's gone, Wayne cries to the doctor, "He mustn't die, doc. He's got to live. He's my only son." The doctor assures him, "We're going to do the best we can, Mr. Hamilton. In the meantime, you'd better get down to casualty and have that leg seen to." He walks off. Wayne goes to follow him. Glen, however, grabs his arm and says gently, "Hey, come on. We don't want you dripping blood all over the floor. You'll upset the cleaners!" With that, he leads Wayne off in the opposite direction. Ginny watches them go.

Gordon and Beryl are walking up the driveway towards Dural. Beryl is holding Robert, but she puts him down and allows him to toddle alongside them. As they continue walking, they spot Michael emerging from the house, holding the dead snake. Gordon asks Beryl in surprise, "Who's that? And what on earth is he carrying?" Beryl comments in surprise, "It's a snake!" Michael walks towards them and smiles, "Afternoon!" He then indicates the snake and adds, "Broad-headed snake." He walks off past them, leaving Gordon and Beryl looking surprised!

Inside, in the study, Alison is looking at the computer screen and mouthing, "Password..." She types in 'ISABELLA' and presses <Enter>. A series of figures appears on-screen and Alison smiles, "Bingo! Tick, you're a marvel!" She suddenly hears a noise at the front door and then Gordon's voice saying, "I can't work how a snake could even get into the house." Looking concerned, she sighs heavily and then heads out into the hallway, where Michael is saying to Gordon and Beryl, "I wouldn't worry too much: somehow I doubt any more have made their way inside." Gordon, accepting this, comments, "You said you came over here to see Wayne." Michael nods, "That's right." Alison joins them as Gordon continues, "Instead, you found Alison locked in the study, suffering from snake bite." Michael nods, "Yes." Gordon asks Alison, "You alright now?" Alison replies, "After a shot of anti-venom and several hours in hospital, yes." Gordon demands, "What were you doing in the study in the first place?" Alison retorts, "Looking for company papers; what do you think?" Gordon tells her curtly, "The thought had crossed my mind that you might be trying to break into the computer again." Michael raises an eyebrow as Alison retorts, "That's right: think the worst. For your information, I wasn't anywhere near the computer." Michael's eyes open wide at her lies! Gordon tells Alison, "I don't believe you. Let's take a look, shall we?" He steps towards the study. A look of fear crosses Alison's face. She's saved, though, as the 'phone starts ringing and Gordon goes to answer it. He listens and then says, "Both of them?... When?... Are they alright?" He listens and then says, "Yes, yes, of course. I'll come over straight away." He hangs up and then tells the others, "That was Glen. He and Wayne and Tick and Ginny got themselves stranded on an island. Apparently, Wayne and Tick are injured. Glen, it seems, swam to the mainland and raised the alarm. I said I'd go to the hospital straight away." Beryl says quickly, "I'll come with you. I'll leave Robert with the babysitter." The three of them head out. As soon as they're alone, Michael demands of Alison, "Did you organise that little lot?" Alison retorts, "I didn't expect anyone to get hurt." Michael gasps, "There's no end to you, is there?" Alison snaps, "I needed time - and I'm just wasting it standing here talking to you." With that, she marches back into the study. Michael follows her, saying, "I thought I'd board-up the window." Alison snaps, "I thought you were leaving; something about a 'knife between the shoulder blades'." Michael shrugs, "Everyone's entitled to change their minds. Besides, I'm a student of bizarre human behaviour. This is the best case study I've ever come across. If I hang around a bit longer, I might come up with enough chapters for a book!" Alison just stands there, writing down the figures on the computer screen. Michael comments, "You don't feel the slightest bit guilty, do you, about those people in hospital? What if one of them dies?" Alison retorts, "They won't." Michael growls, "You hope." Alison just snaps, "Do you mind? I have work to do, and I don't need you acting as my conscience - so will you get out?" Michael stares at her. He then turns and walks off.

Wayne is sitting with Ginny in the corridor at the hospital in Sydney. She asks, "How's the leg?" Wayne murmurs, "Still aching a bit. Not as bad as it was, though." Ginny then asks, "Have you thanked Glen for what he did?" Wayne looks at her sharply. She adds, "You should: he risked his life. That shark could still have been around." Wayne continues looking at her as she adds, "You can't just ignore what he did. If Tick's going to be alright, it's mainly due to Glen." At that moment, Glen joins them with cups of tea. He hands them over and then sits down. Wayne asks, "Owe you any money?" Glen replies, "No - it's on the house." Wayne then says sheepishly, "That crack I, er, made at the island, about the medal... it wasn't fair. The fact is, you did save us. Without you, I probably wouldn't be here - and neither might Tick." Glen looks at him and then comments, "Wasn't easy, was it - apologising to me?" Wayne retorts, "It's the hardest thing I had to do in my entire life."

It's evening-time. Wayne is standing in the hospital corridor, sighing to Glen and Ginny, "It can't be much longer - they've had him in there for hours." Beryl and Gordon are sitting with them and Gordon assures his son, "They'll tell us as soon as they know something." Beryl chips in, "I think I might go and get some takeaway for everyone; seems like it's going to be a long night." At that moment, though, the doctor walks up to them. Wayne demands immediately, "How is he?" The doctor tells him, "Out of surgery. He's in recovery." Wayne asks, "Can I see him?" The doctor warns, "He's still suffering the effects of the anaesthetic." Wayne insists, "I'll wait." The doctor hesitates, but then says, "Alright - but your son needs all the rest he can get. Don't stay too long." With that, he walks off. Wayne looks at his father and murmurs, "He's going to be OK." Gordon places his hands on Wayne's shoulders and smiles, "I'm glad."

Sometime later, Ginny and Glen are standing in the corridor at the mansion. Ginny asks, "What are we doing back at the boarding house?" Glen points out, "It happens to be where I live!" Ginny smiles wickedly, "I'm being invited to stay the night, am I?!" Glen, however, groans, "All I want to do tonight is sleep - by myself." Ginny mutters, "You're not going cold on me, are you?" Glen sighs, "Ginny, I'm tired. Today I swam ten kilometres. I'm not into marathons, OK?!" Ginny tells him, "Only joking. I'll get a taxi." With that, Glen gives her a goodnight kiss. He adds, "I'll see you tomorrow." He then heads into his room, leaving Ginny standing in the corridor, looking thoughtful.

Gordon and Beryl arrive back at Dural, Gordon carrying Robert. They head into the lounge room. Michael is sitting in there and he stands up as Gordon and Beryl walk in. Looking surprised, Gordon asks, "What are you still doing here?" Michael explains, "I stayed behind to board-up the broken window... when the police came." Gordon asks in surprise, "What did they want?" Looking at Beryl, Michael says gently, "They found your daughter's car, Mrs. Palmer - Susan's - at the beach. Some of her personal belongings were in the glovebox: watch... wedding rings... They also found these." He holds out Susan's shoes. Beryl takes them, looking shocked. She murmurs, "They look like Susan's." Michael tells her, "The police thought they might have been. They were found near the edge of the water. Apparently, someone - a witness - saw Susan walk into the water fully-clothed." Beryl shakes her head slowly and murmurs, "Susie can't swim." Michael tells her hesitantly, "The police think your daughter has committed suicide, Mrs. Palmer." Beryl stares at him. Her eyes glaze over suddenly and she then collapses onto the floor.

Alison is sitting in the lounge room at Charlie's, looking at a map, when she hears the front door bang. Ginny walks in and sighs, "What a day." Alison comments, "So I've heard. What's all this about being stranded on an island?" Ginny tells her wearily, "Glen and I wanted to go somewhere to be by ourselves last night, after the party - so I suggested the Hamilton yacht. I heard you talk about it; thought it was a great idea at the time, but we fell asleep. Next thing, we're sailing off into the wide blue yonder with Wayne and Tick." Alison asks, "How did you come to be stranded?" Ginny explains, "We went ashore for a picnic and the stupid captain just left us there." Alison murmurs, "Strange..." Ginny goes on, "It gets worse, believe me: Tick fell on a fishing knife, running when he shouldn't've been, and he was hurt real bad, so Wayne decided to swim for help. Only thing is, a shark comes along." Alison bursts out laughing and says, "It didn't try to attack him, did it?" Ginny retorts, "It was going to. He just got out of the way in time. Trouble was, he cut his leg on some rocks, trying to get out of the water." Alison carries on laughing. Ginny snaps at her, "It's nothing to laugh about, Alison." Alison giggles, "It would've been if the shark had actually managed to get hold of him." Ginny cries, "He could've been killed. Don't you care?" Alison retorts, "Not about Wayne." Ginny insists, "He was trying to save the life of a ten-year-old boy; would you still be laughing if he had died?" A serious look crosses Alison's face, and she murmurs, "No. Of course I wouldn't. I doubt I'd ever have forgiven myself." Ginny stares at her and asks, "Why did you say that? It wasn't your fault." Alison says quickly, "No, I was thinking how I put the idea of Tick being Wayne's son into the boy's head; if I hadn't done that, he wouldn't have been on the island in the first place. That's what I meant." Ginny asks suspiciously, "Sure?" Alison retorts, "Of course I'm sure." Ginny, however, says curtly, "I reckon you had something to do with it." Alison laughs, "What?" Ginny retorts, "Having us dumped on the island. Wayne thinks you did, too; he said so." Alison insists, "That's ridiculous. Wayne's talking through his hat." She sits there looking worried, though."

Beryl is sitting up on the couch in the lounge room at Dural. She hands Gordon a glass she's holding and then says sadly, "I don't know how I'm supposed to get in touch with David. God only knows where he is. I suppose I'll have to organise one of those police radio calls." Gordon tells her sympathetically, "Don't you go upsetting yourself - there are plenty of people who can take care of that side of things; you just concentrate on getting better. We don't want you falling into another dead faint." Michael walks in from the hallway and asks Beryl, "How are you bearing up?" Beryl tells him, "I'll be alright. I just want to keep my wits about me in case we hear any news." Michael nods, "OK." He then announces, "I have to go to work - I'm on duty at ten." Gordon comments to him, "Your hospital's the one where they've taken Tick. Can you tell Wayne to come home? I'll explain what happened." Michael nods, "Of course." With that, he turns and heads out. When he's gone, Beryl murmurs to Gordon, "I knew Susie was unhappy, but I didn't know how desperate she was. I should've tried harder to get her to talk about it - then maybe none of this would've happened. It's just so hard to believe that she'd go off like that... it's not the sort of thing she'd do... she's never been one to give in. Being pregnant... no, I don't believe it. No. Susie would never take her life - and certainly not if it meant taking the life of her baby. It's against everything she's ever believed in." Gordon comments softly, "I've only known her for a few months. You know her a lot better than I do." Beryl murmurs, "Yes - and I know she'd never commit suicide; I know she wouldn't. There's got to be some other explanation, Gordon; I only wish to God I knew what it was."

Tick begins to stir in his hospital bed. Wayne is sitting with him and he starts stroking Tick's brow as he says, "Save your strength, fella. Don't push it. You're going to need it, mate. All the things I've got planned for you... the fun we're going to have... I'm going to make you the happiest little boy in the world, Tick. I know I've got a lot to make up for... all those years I wasn't around when you were growing up... You just wait and see: I'm going to be the best father in the whole world; the best father a kid could ever want."

Sitting with Gordon in the lounge room at Dural, Beryl murmurs, "She was such a beautiful little girl... so beautiful. Strangers used to come up to me in the street - people I'd never met before - and they'd say... that she was just like a little doll..." Tears well in her eyes as she continues, "It was the blonde hair and blue eyes... I used to always dress her in blue... We had such a wonderful relationship; we understood each other so well. If she's gone, Gordon, it'd be a terrible shame..." With that, she starts sobbing into her hands. Gordon says gently, "You know nothing's wasted. Think of the joy that she brought into people's lives..." Beryl takes his hand and sobs, "I know what you're trying to say, but I can't see it." Gordon insists, "You will. I remember I went through the same thing with Nancy. I still remember the anger: why did it have to happen to me? Why couldn't it have been somebody else? But that eventually passed, and one day I could think of her without the pain anymore. I still missed her, but I had peace of mind. Be patient, eh?" Beryl nods slowly through her stream of tears.

Wayne emerges from Tick's room at the hospital. A look of surprise crosses his face as he spots Michael walking past, and he calls, "Michael! What are you doing here?!" They shake hands as Michael replies, "I work here; didn't I tell you?" Wayne recalls, "Yes, you did, now I think of it." They start walking along the corridor slowly. After a few seconds, Wayne says, "It's a bit embarrassing..." Michael asks, "Why?" Wayne replies, "For me." Michael, however, assures him, "First thing they teach us in Med School: never repeat a confidence." He then adds, "Oh, I have a message from your father: he wants you to go home straight away. Something he wants to tell you." Wayne queries, "You've been out to the house?" Michael points out, "You did tell me to look you up!" Wayne smiles, "I'm glad you did. I'm just sorry I wasn't there." He then asks, "What did dad want? Did he say?" Michael, looking down at the floor, murmurs, "No. No, he didn't." Wayne comments, "I'll find out soon enough." He then suggests, "We must get together and have lunch." Looking uncomfortable, Michael nods, "Yeah, we must." Wayne asks, "When?" Michael, however, tells him, "I don't know. My job... you never know when you're going to be on duty." Wayne comments, "Surely they must roster you off on some days?" Michael replies, "Yeah, but they have nasty habit of calling you back on whenever they feel like it." Wayne stares at him and accuses, "You don't seem too keen on having lunch." Michael hesitates before saying, "Wayne, up in the mountains you painted a pretty black picture of yourself. It didn't worry me too much because I thought it was mostly the shock talking; the effects of being lost in the bush for a couple of days. When I turned up at your home this afternoon, I found Alison. She was locked in the study and had been bitten by a snake. All your doing, apparently. It seems you were quite prepared to leave her there. I don't think you're the type of person I want as a friend." Wayne just turns away and growls, "I wouldn't bother feeling too sorry for Alison. In fact, you're wasting your sympathy on the wrong person: one bite of Alison and it would be the snake turning up its toes." Michael, however, retorts, "It didn't happen like that, I'm afraid. I killed the snake and took Alison to hospital. Fortunately, she made rather a speedy recovery." Wayne turns to him and growls, "Tell you what, Michael: you organise another bed here at the hospital - because by the time I'm finished with Alison she'll need it. She's poked her nose into my business once too often." With that, he hobbles off, leaving Michael looking worried.

Alison is talking on the 'phone in the lounge room at Charlie's, asking, "When did he leave?" She listens and then, glancing at her watch, comments, "Won't be long before he's here." The caller is Michael, using a public 'phone at the hospital, and he tells Alison, "Something else you should know: the police turned up at the Hamiltons' after you left this afternoon. They think... well, all the signs indicate that Susan has committed suicide." Looking stunned, Alison mouths, "What?" She listens and then asks, "When?" She listens again and mouths, "My God." She then asks, "Does Wayne know?" She listens and murmurs, "Yes, I see. Thanks for the warning... Yes. Bye." She hangs up. From the couch, Ginny asks, "What's going on?" Alison tells her bluntly, "Susan's dead." A look of shock crosses Ginny's face and she gasps, "No..." Alison tells her, "Apparently, she drowned." She then goes on, "I know I had the occasional run-in with her, but I always liked her." There's suddenly a loud hammering on the front door. Alison comments to Ginny, "That'll be Wayne. Stand by for fireworks..." She heads out to the hallway and opens the front door. Wayne immediately storms in and wraps his hand around her throat, pushing her back against the wall. He snarls, "You almost killed my son." Alison demands, "What are you talking about?" Wayne snarls, "Don't play dumb with me or I'll knock the living daylights out of you. You're responsible for us being left on that island, aren't you?" Alison retorts, "No." Wayne snaps furiously, "Aren't you?" Alison yells, "Yes, alright, I was. So what? I needed time alone with the computer." Wayne removes his hand and growls, "Didn't work, though, did it? It was a waste of time: I heard you got bitten by snake." Alison mutters, "You thought you were being clever, didn't you?" Wayne snarls, "Yes I did. I'm just sorry you survived." Alison retorts, "I'm just sorry Susan didn't survive you." Wayne stares at her and demands, "What?" Alison replies lightly, "Haven't you heard?" Wayne snaps, "Heard what?" Alison tells him tersely, "Susan's dead. Your wife's dead, Wayne. Drowned." Wayne gasps, "That's a lie." Alison tells him curtly, "Suicide. It seems she'd taken all she could. All the mental torture you'd been handing out. You killed her, Wayne - as surely as if you'd held her head under water with your own hand." Wayne starts backing towards the front door, looking shocked. As he hits the frame, he turns and runs off. When he's gone, Ginny says to Alison, "You didn't mean that." Alison, however, retorts coldly, I meant every word." Ginny cries, "The man just lost his wife." Alison just snaps, "And he's going to lose a hell of a lot more. Wayne's the type of person who goes through life deliberately hurting other people. You saw what he did to Charlie; she's just his latest victim. Well, now it's time to pay the piper - and boy is he going to pay..."


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