By: Carla Keehn

Admiral Harriman Nelson shook his head as he and Captain Lee Crane surveyed the damage in the Seaview’s lab. Carefully, they dug among the mixture of shattered glass and oozing chemicals.

“What a mess!” Crane commented as he stepped in a puddle of brown liquid.

“That’s the understatement of the year, Lee.” Nelson replied. Nelson poked around the table, taking in the damaged vials and jars. “Lee, a lot of valuable equipment and information has been lost here. I want you to find the men responsible and bring them to me!” Nelson ordered sharply.

Crane gave a heavy sigh. He realized that finding the men responsible was not going to be an easy task. He reached for the intercom. “ Missile Room, this is the Captain.” Crane said.

“ Missile Room, Aye.” came the quick reply. “Sharkey here.”

Chief, get a cleanup crew to the lab on the double. There’s been some kind of . . . accident here.” Crane ordered. He looked at Nelson’s scowling expression. “Don’t worry, Admiral. Chip and I will find out how this happened.”

Later, an exhausted Lee Crane and his executive officer, Chip Morton, paused outside the door of the Officer’s Mess. Hours of investigation had brought them no closer to finding out what happened in the Lab.

“We’re not getting anywhere, Lee!” Morton complained, “The Admiral isn’t going to be happy either.”

“ I know, Chip, but I can’t help feeling that the answer is right in front of us. Crane replied.

“ How can that be?” Morton went on, “ We’ve talked to the men on duty watch, we’ve been over every inch of this ship looking for some clue.”

Crane glanced around as Morton talked. He eyes came to rest on the door labeled Officer’s Mess. “ You’re wrong, Chip.” Crane replied, “we haven’t looked everywhere.” He started towards the door. “Follow me.”

An hour later, in Nelson’s cabin, Crane and Morton stood in front of Nelson’s desk with two crewmen. Crane and Morton watched the ensuing confrontation with veiled amusement.

“ You were doing what in the lab?!!!” Nelson thundered at the crewmen.

“Admiral, please calm down!” Crane intervened, fearing for Nelson’s blood pressure.

“Quiet, Lee!” Nelson snapped. Realizing that Crane was right, Nelson paused and took a deep breath. “ Okay, start at the beginning and tell me again what happened.”

The Ship’s cook and his assistant exchanged worried glances. The cook pointed a shaking finger at a tray on Nelson’s desk that had a coffee pot and two cups on it.

“Well, Admiral, “ the Cook began, remember how earlier in the day you and Captain Crane complained about how the coffee tasted? That’s when I got the idea!”

“The idea for what?” Nelson asked gruffly.

The cook trembled slightly. He turned to Crane, hoping that he would get more sympathy from the Skipper.

I take pride in my work, Skipper!” the cook continued. “ I can only do so much with these Navy rations, you know! So after you and the Admiral raised a fuss, I decided to make my own blend of coffee. Only things kind of got out of hand and . . . well, you know the rest.” Crane looked at Nelson, whose expression changed from anger to concealed amusement.

“Captain Crane.” Nelson said in an exasperated voice, “get these men out of here! I’ve got work to do.”

“Aye, Sir!” Crane replied as he and Morton hurried to get the Cook and his assistant out the door.

Nelson watched them leave with an amused expression on his face. He looked at the tray on his desk and smiled. Yes, he thought to himself, it was quite an explosive brew!

The End

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