THE SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION
By: Carla Keehn and George Miller
The darkness swirled around him as if to propel him onward with cold, icy fingers. For a moment the fear of the unknown caused him to shudder, but his years of naval training forced the fear to subside. He tried to remain calm. This was not the first time the dream had come to him. His resolve slipped as the penetrating darkness taunted him. You are alone . . . helpless . . . alone . . . it seemed to whisper over and over again as he walked. Despite his training, the fear suddenly returned as the silent darkness was shattered by the sound of his own voice. “Captain Crane . . .” Lee Crane stopped suddenly. No! It’s not possible . . . Crane whispered fiercely to himself.
The voice laughed. “ Not possible? You know better than that, Captain. Don’t you recognize the sound of your own voice?”
Heart pounding, Lee Crane looked up as a figure emerged from the darkness.
“This isn’t real,” Crane murmured, “ this can’t be real!” Face to face with himself, Lee Crane shook as he ran his hands over his face.
His double smiled. “On the contrary, Captain. I assure you I am very real.”
Crane swallowed hard. “Who are you?” he asked in a harsh voice.
The double smiled and laughed. “Isn’t it obvious, Captain? I am you.” The smile disappeared. “ I am the Lee Crane that is buried deep inside you. The Lee Crane that no one is allowed to see!” The double’s voice was bitter. “ Some might say that I am your dark side, Captain.”
“No, that’s not possible!” Crane replied in disbelief.
“Come now, Captain, surely you realize that everyone has a dark side. Even you. Even your friend, Admiral Nelson!”
“What do you want?”
“Patience, Captain, patience,” the double replied. “Soon you will have answers to all your questions.”
Without warning, the darkness seemed to swell up and swallow Crane and everything around him . . .
Sweat running down his face, Captain Lee Crane tossed and turned in his bunk as if in the grip of a violent fever. In pain, he groaned softly, “ No . . .not real . . .No!” Shaking, he bolted up, his eyes flickering around the room. Recognizing the familiar sounds of the Seaview, Crane took a deep breath and sighed. The dream had started five nights ago. The first time it happened, he had dismissed it as a nightmare, nothing more. But now, as the dream returned each night, Lee Crane couldn’t help but allow the gnawing fear inside of him to grow. “What does it mean?” he murmured into the comforting darkness of his cabin, “ What does it mean . . . .”
Admiral Nelson frowned as he looked at his watch. It’s not like Lee to be late . . . His thoughts were interrupted by a slight tap at his door.
“Come,” Nelson said.
The door opened and a weary Lee Crane walked in.“ You wanted to see me, Admiral?”
“ Yes, Lee, come in and sit down.” The Admiral studied Crane’s pale features with concern.“ How’s the specimen collecting coming along?”
“Fine, Admiral, although nothing unusual has been reported. Chief Sharkey has everything secured in the lab until you get a chance to look at them.”
“Good. I’ll try and get down there later. Anything else?”
Crane hesitated before answering. He had tried to convince himself that the dreams meant nothing. The Seaview has just completed a very dangerous mission . . . I’m still feeling the effects of it . . . Crane glanced at Nelson. I have to tell someone . . . I must . . . I must . . .
“Lee, is something wrong?” Nelson thought of all the times he had worked side by side with Crane through many perilous missions. No one on board is closer to Lee than I am . . I’m certain that something is wrong . .
“Admiral, I . . .” Crane gasped as a sharp pain began to throb in his temples.
“ Lee! What is it?” Nelson got up from behind the desk. Crane tried to focus on Nelson through the blinding pain.
“ Admiral . . .I have to tell you . . .” The Captain’s body stiffened for a minute, then relaxed as it slumped down in the chair.
“Lee! Lee!” Nelson shook Crane gently. Quickly he reached for the intercom on the desk.
“Sick Bay, this is the Admiral. Send a stretcher team to my cabin, something is wrong with Captain Crane. Hurry!”
Meanwhile, Crane’s spine tingled as he recognized the cold darkness around him. His senses seemed to scream in terror; he could no longer pretend the fear did not exist. The Captain swallowed hard as his double stepped out of the shadows.
“Feeling tired, Captain?” the imposter said sarcastically.
Crane remained silent as he tried to understand what he was seeing and hearing. That can’t be me . . . that can’t be a part of me . . .
“Don’t trouble yourself to answer, Captain.” The imposter smiled at Crane. “ It’s time.”
“Time for what?”
“Time for me to replace you as Captain of the Seaview! Time for me to be free!” The double continued, his fury building. “Nelson isn’t going to hold me back anymore!”
“ I won’t let you! I’ll find a way to stop you.”
The imposter looked at Crane with a maniacal fury in his eyes. “ You are not strong enough to stop me! No one can stop me!” In an instant the fury subsided. “ You are weak, Captain. So weak. Wouldn’t you like to close your eyes and rest, knowing that you will not be tormented by the dream?”
Crane closed his eyes as the imposter’s words seemed to wash over him like cool water. He tried to fight the hypnotic effect of the words but realized his efforts were useless.
“ You are in torment, Captain.” the voice murmured. “ Close your eyes . . .rest . . .rest.”
Crane’s heart was pounding. His thoughts were in turmoil. The Admiral is in danger . . . the crew . . . the Seaview . . .
“No!” Crane shouted. He fell to the ground as his last bit of strength slipped away.
As the darkness closed in around him, the last thing Crane remembered hearing was the sound of his own laughter ringing in his ears.
Lee Crane’s double, his dark side, made his way out of the Captain's cabin, making sure the door was locked behind him. Finally, he thought, laughing inside, I’m free to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. I’m going to make them pay... make them all pay for all the things they have done to me. I’ll make them suffer. Nothing can stop me now.
The double moved down the corridors toward the Control Room. He knew he would find his most hated enemy there. Admiral Nelson, the man that was the major cause of all his problems. He knew he could simply wait until he was alone with Nelson and kill him. He had no doubt that he could convince the rest of the crew that it was self-defense. But, no, it would be too easy for Nelson to die that way. He would not kill him... not yet. Nelson would suffer dearly first, then, he would die!!
Crane's dark side had many years to think of his plans to destroy Nelson while being locked in the body of Nelson’s closest friend. Nelson had confided in Crane on many things over the years. The Captain knew all of the Admiral's weak points. He knew all the things that could be used to destroy Nelson’s mind. The great Admiral may have fooled all of his crew these past years, but the double knew that Nelson was a coward. He loved the submarine he had created and he cared for his crew. That foolish concern for his men’s lives will be his downfall, the double thought to himself.
When he entered the Control Room, he saw Nelson at the sonar talking with his old friend Chip Morton. The thought of being friends with that spineless loser, Chip Morton, made him cringe inside. He would deal with him later, after Nelson was gone and the Seaview was his.
“Lee, there you are... Are you feeling better?” Nelson asked.
“I’m fine, sir. I just needed a little rest, and the doc helped me out with a few pills”
“That’s good.... because I need you here to get the Seaview to these coordinates.” The Admiral pointed to the charts on the Plotting Table.
“You’re not serious!!”
“What do you mean? This is where we need to pick up the samples crucial to my experiments.”
“I realize you think you need to get to that point, but I say the Seaview is not capable of making it safely to that depth. I’ve got to think of the crew, sir”
“Captain Crane, are you refusing on of my orders?” Nelson leaned closer and added, in a whisper, “Do not disobey me in front of the men!”
“It’s about time the men find out about the danger you are putting them in, or are you going to keep that bit of news from them?” the double replied, loudly enough for the men at their stations to here.
The Admiral was confused and angry with the insubordination of his Captain. He reached for Crane, but the Captain backed away, just out of reach. Lee then put both his hands to the sides of his head and staggered toward the periscope tower. He held onto the rail to get his balance back.
“Lee, are you sure you’re okay?” Nelson asked. He forgot his anger and tried to help the injured man.
“Yes, just give me a moment... Must be the medication” The double looked at the way the men were staring at their Admiral. This is going to be too easy! he thought to himself while faking the dizzyness. He knew that the crew were going to question their own safety in the ordered dive.
Admiral Nelson stared at the double for several moments in silent rage. “I’ll be in my cabin!”
As Nelson turned and left, the double watched in silent triumph.
“Lee?” Chip Morton called, approaching the Captain hesitantly. The double turned and faced Morton, his face filled with barely concealed hatred.
“Yes, Mr. Morton,” the double replied in a cold voice.
“Lee, don’t you think you were a little out of line with the Admiral?” Morton asked concerned.
“Out of line? You seem to forget, Mr. Morton, that I am the Captain of this ship, not you.”
Morton stared at Crane for several minutes, unable to speak. The air in the Control Room was heavy with tension. Morton could feel the eyes of every crewmen in the Control Room on him.
Crane looked around the room. He could feel the men’s fear and tension. It’s time to put them all in their places!
“Don’t you ever forget again which one of us is the Captain of this ship, Mr. Morton.” the double continued savagely, “Do you understand?!” He turned and faced the Control Room crew. “Don’t any of you, ever forget!” He turned back to face Morton. “Well, Mr. Morton?”
“I...I understand, sir.” Morton replied through gritted teeth.
The double smiled at him. “Good. Then take the Conn. I’ll be in the Admiral’s cabin.” He left the Control Room in stunned silence.
“All right, everyone, back to your duty stations!” Morton said as he struggled to control his anger and bring the crew’s emotions under control. The men slowly started responding to his orders.
“What’s the matter with you guys!” Sharkey shouted. “You heard the Exec! Jump to it!”
The men quickly resumed their posts and the Control Room settled back into its normal routine.
“Mr. Morton?” Sharkey asked in a hushed tone.
“Yes, Chief, what is it.” Morton replied knowing already what was on Sharkey’s mind.
“The Skipper...something’s happened to him! You’ve got to do something!”
“Keep your voice down, Chief,” Morton cautioned. “What do you suggest I do about it?”
“I don’t know, sir, but if the Skipper’s in trouble, we’ve got to help him!”
Morton sighed heavily. He and Crane had been friends for many years,even prior to their service together on the Seaview. Morton realized that something was terribly wrong with Crane. It’s almost as if Lee was a different person . . . He turned back to Sharkey.
“Chief, I’ll talk to the Admiral about it and keep you advised.” Morton replied. Morton saw Sharkey open his mouth to take off on another tangent. “Return to your station, Chief. That’s an order.”
“Aye, sir.” Sharkey replied softly watching as Morton returned to work at the Plotting Table. He shook his head. I’ll have my own talk with the Admiral about the Skipper - I’m going to get to the bottom of this!
Meanwhile, the imposter paused outside of Nelson’s cabin door. He felt pleased that the plans he had dreamed of for so many years were finally moving forward. I hate them all! He thought bitterly to himself. His bitterness quickly turned to pleasure as he recalled the expressions on Morton and the crew’s faces in the Control Room. Their fear made him feel powerful. He raised his hand and knocked on the Admiral’s door.
“Yes?” Nelson said in a gruff voice.
“ It’s... the Captain.” the double answered slowly, savoring the words. “I’d like to talk to you, sir.”
After a short pause, Nelson told Crane to come in.
Inside, Nelson and the imposter regarded each other silently for several moments.
“Admiral” the double said, “ I owe you an apology” Crane saw Nelson’s expression soften. “ The “attack” I had earlier left me more shaken up than I had realized. I’m sorry.”
Nelson looked at his Captain warily. This was the Lee Crane that he knew and regarded as a friend. His mind recalled the incident in the Control Room. After all these years of friendship, he had never seen Lee act the way he did in the Control Room.
“I..I understand, Lee, and accept your apology.” Nelson finally replied. “I think that Doc should take another look at you though.”
Crane smiled warmly at Nelson. “I don’t think that will be necessary, Admiral. I’m feeling better now.”
“Still, I insist that Doc check you out.” He reached over and clasped Lee on the shoulder. “ I’m thinking of your health, Lee.”
The imposter felt a feeling of revulsion wash over him. He moved slightly to one side to get out of Nelson’s reach.
Nelson frowned slightly.
“ I really think that would be a waste of my time, Admiral.”
“That wasn’t a request, Lee, it was an order.” An uneasy feeling began to gnaw at the Admiral.
The imposter felt his hatred and rage boiling inside of him. No man can control me! No one will ever control me again! He glared at Nelson. It would be so easy to kill him and be done with it . . . I could just reach out and kill him now . . .
Nelson watched as the Captain raised his hands and began rushing towards him. Alarmed he stepped back out of Crane’s reach. Suddenly, the Captain’s arms dropped and he gasped out loud and grabbed the edge of Nelson’s desk.
“No!” Crane whispered savagely, “No!” The room blurred as he felt his power weaken. The Captain is still trying to fight me! the double thought. I’ll take care of that! Right now. The room came back into focus and the double saw Nelson’s concerned face standing over him.
“Lee, are you all right?” Nelson’s doubts were quieted for the moment.
“Yes...Yes, Admiral, I’m fine.” the double replied weakly. “I think you’re right, sir. I’ll report to Sick Bay right now.”
“I’ll go with you.” Nelson offered, helping Crane sit down.
“No, Admiral, that won’t be necessary.” The Captain left the cabin.
The Admiral stared at the door, his doubts surfacing again. Nelson looked down at his hands. They were shaking. For a moment, a brief moment I thought Lee was trying to kill me! He sat down behind his desk and reached for the intercom.
“Sick Bay, this is the Admiral.”
“Yes, Admiral?” Doc replied.
“Captain Crane is supposed to be reporting to you shortly. He...He had another one of those attacks. I want your report on his condition as soon as possible.”
“Aye, sir” Doc replied.
Nelson sat down and tried to think. Something is wrong . . . very wrong.
Meanwhile, in the corridor, Crane’s double had reached the Sick Bay and paused outside the door. It was true, he had a very urgent need to see the Doctor but not for his own health. No one was going to threaten his plans, no one, especially not the real Lee Crane. He had waited too long for his chance. The double scowled to himself. It would be so much simpler if I
could just kill Crane once and for all, but the time is not right for that. For now, he would have to find some way to keep Crane from fighting against him. The double opened the Sick Bay door.
Crane entered the Sick Bay and looked around. As he closed the door, the Ship’s Doctor came out of his office.
“Oh, there you are, Skipper. The Admiral said you’d be coming. Why don’t you step over here for a few minutes.”
“This really is not necessary, Doc.”
“I’m not so sure of that, Skipper. The Admiral said that you’re continuing to have those attacks. Why don’t we have a look at you?” The doctor motioned him towards the examination table.
The double briefly eyed the Doctor, then turned his attention to the cabinet where the medications were kept. Reluctantly, he stepped over to the examination table.
“You seem pretty tense, Skipper,” Doc said after he had finished. “Is there anything troubling you?”
“I haven’t been sleeping very well the past few nights,” The man replied as he buttoned up his shirt. “ The Admiral’s been pushing me pretty hard lately.”
“Oh?” Doc replied, frowning. “ Physically you seem to be fine shape but there appears to be evidence of some kind of nervous disorder. I think several days of light duty might be in order.”
“Light duty?” The double thought quickly. With Morton as temporary Captain, he would be free to devote more time to his plans. Several days more will be all I need, the double thought with a satisfied feeling, Nelson and his precious Seaview will be a charred hulk in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean by that time! The double tried hard to suppress a cold smile. “I’ll try anything, Doc, if means I won’t have to worry about any more of those attacks.”
Doc stared back at Crane suspiciously. At the best of times, Lee Crane had always been a bad patient, usually refusing to follow his instructions at all. “I’m glad to hear that you agree with me, Skipper.” Doc replied slowly, still staring at him. Doc turned and opened the medications cabinet. After working for several moments, he closed the cabinet, turned around and handed his patient a small bottle of clear liquid. “ This will help you get some rest. This particular medication is very strong, Skipper.” Doc cautioned, “so you’ll need to follow my instructions carefully.”
The Captain took the bottle. “I understand.” he replied in a cold voice. He stood up. “Is that all?”
“Yes, for the moment.” Doc replied, “ If, however, you should have another one of those attacks, I want to see you right away.”
The doctor watched in silence until the man left the Sick Bay. He slowly moved towards the intercom.
“Admiral, this is Sick Bay.”
“Yes, Doc?” Nelson’s voice quickly replied.
“I have the results of the examination of Captain Crane that you requested. I’d like to discuss it with you.”
“Very well, go ahead.” Nelson said.
“ I think it would be better to speak to you in person, sir.”
“I’ll be right down.”
Several minutes later, Nelson sat in Doc’s office as he finished giving Nelson the details of Crane’s examination.
“Do you think that this nervous disorder is responsible for the attacks Lee has been having?” Nelson asked.
“I really don’t know what to think at this point, Admiral.” Doc replied slowly. “I’ve treated the Skipper many times, but this time...”
“This time what?”
“This may sound crazy. Admiral, but this time I felt like I was treating an entirely different person."
“Maybe you felt that because he agreed to your diagnosis right away.”
“No, I thought that, at first,” Doc said. “No, Admiral, the Captain’s personality was different some how, colder. I could tell that, for some reason, he felt repulsed just by my presence in the room.”
Nelson listened intently. As the doctor spoke, he remembered how Lee had moved away when Nelson touched his shoulder.
“I don’t know what to say, Admiral. I’d like to be able to tell you that with several days rest the Captain will be feeling like his old self again, but I’m afraid I can’t guarantee that.”
Nelson continued to sit, deep in thought. He got up and headed for the door. “All right, Doc, keep me informed if there’s any change. I’ll be in my cabin.”
Captain Lee Crane struggled to consciousness. He groaned as the darkness seemed to press against him, to beat him down. Danger . . . he thought, his head groggy, Everyone is in danger . . . His eyes quickly searched through the darkness for an escape, any escape.
“You’re continuing to cause me trouble, Captain.” the voice said. “I don’t like that.”
Lee Crane looked up and saw his double looking down at him with a murderous expression on his face.
“You can’t kill me,” Crane shot back in a weak voice. “ I’m a part of you. You need me.”
The double laughed scornfully. “You’re right, Captain. I can’t kill you. Yet. But soon there will be no more use for you.” the double cruelly kicked at Crane’s weakened body. “Yes, you are part of me! The weak, useless part. You are just as guilty as Nelson! Only I will have to deal with you after he has been punished!” The double’s scorn turned to a cruel smile. “Think of it, Captain. Your crew, your friend Nelson, all dead! And they will all die thinking it was by your hands!” the double taunted Crane, laughing at the prospect.
Crane felt a flash of anger. He tried to raise himself, but the double kicked him back down. “Fool! You cannot stop me! As you grow weaker, I grow stronger and stronger!”
He held the bottle from Sick Bay out for Crane to see. “I will have no more of your interference! This will see to that!”
Without warning, Crane felt as if he were drowning as a sweet thick liquid washed over him. The double laughed as the liquid seemed to choke Crane. Soon, Crane’s body became still again. The double smiled coldly. He wouldn’t have to worry about Crane for a while. Soon the Seaview would be at Nelson’s assigned coordinates. The double laughed again. The crew would soon learn what kind of man Nelson was.
Feeling confident that his actions would keep
Lee Crane unconscious, the evil double could begin to put his plans into effect.
He was pleased with the way things were working out. He had already planted some
doubt in the men about the actions of their Admiral. He would build on this. He
would convince the crew that Nelson was insane, and Nelson would have no ideas
that his Captain was behind it.
Knowing that the Ship's Doctor would report to Nelson that Lee was sleeping in his cabin while under medication, the double realized that Morton would now be in charge of the dive. He would have to work fast. He knew, also, that he must remain out of sight. He was making his way down the corridor when he heard over the intercom speaker...
“Admiral?” Chip's voice said.
“Yes, Mr. Morton. Nelson here.”
“Sir, we’ve reached the diving coordinates."
“Very well. All stop. I’ll be right there.”
The imposter heard the footsteps coming toward him from the direction of the Admiral's cabin. He spotted Nelson’s shadow as he came around the corner. Quickly, the double slipped into a nearby storage room, just getting the door closed as Nelson turned the corner. He remained motionless in the dark room, listening as Nelson approached the door he was behind. He held his breath. If Nelson had seen him and came into the room, he would be forced to kill him now. With his ear to the door, however, the double heard Nelson’s footsteps become fainter. Yes, he had avoided being seen. Nelson would live a little longer.
Opening the door, only an inch, he checked out the corridor. There was no one there and no sounds of anyone approaching. He left the room and made his way to the Circuitry Room. There was no time to spare. He made it to the Circuitry Room, undetected. He took one quick look around, seeing no one, he quickly entered the room.
The imposter went over to a massive electrical panel and began pulling and rerouting the wires to suit his needs. He heard Nelson as he ordered the dive to begin. He only had seconds to complete the changes in the wiring panel. Just two more wires... yes...he finished just as the Seaview began the dive. He ran over to a computer terminal and programmed some new configurations. Finished, he stood back and waited for the results. He knew things were going to begin when the Seaview reached a depth of five hundred feet.
In the Control Room, the crew were watching Nelson. They were all still thinking about what their Captain had said about the danger. They did not want to believe that the Admiral would put them in danger needlessly. Still, you could sense their worry.
Chip began to call out the depth readings... 300 feet... 400 feet... 450 feet... 500 feet... Just then there was a violent reaction of the Seaview. It’s rocking had thrown several of the unsuspecting men to the deck. There were sparks and electrical fires beginning in many of the control panels. The lights went out, putting the Seaview in total darkness for the few seconds that it took for the emergency generators to start. With the generators on line now, the crew was all standing under the eerie red lights. They had left there posts and all eyes were on Nelson.
“Get back to your stations!” Nelson ordered. “Damage Control, report!”
“Damage Control... All ships electrical systems out! Engine Room... Heavy electrical damage. Ship not responding to controls.”
“Morton, can you hold trim?” Nelson asked.
“Negative, sir! We’re still going down.” Chip replied, getting to his feet to check the depth gauge. We’re at 800 feet, still dropping!”
“Sonar,” Nelson demanded. “What’s the depth, keel to bottom?”
Patterson rechecked his gauges, turning to Nelson, he slowly responded. “Sir, keel to bottom is.....”
“Well, sailor. What is it!”
“Sir, it’s 8,000 feet!”
“Sir, 8,000 feet?” Chip asked. He turned to Nelson. “The Seaview can’t withstand that depth. She’ll be crushed...”
“I’m aware of that, Mr. Morton. Get control of yourself! Patterson, scan the area for a plateau. Anywhere where we can put down for repairs. Chip, what’s our depth?”
“We’re approaching 1,000 feet, sir.”
“Patterson, Anything we can use?”
“I’m getting a reading, possible plateau about 500 yards to starboard. Depth of 1,800 feet.”
Nelson picked up the microphone. “Engineering, Nelson here... I need helm control now!”
“Can’t do it sir, not enough power”
“Cut all power to the ship, except Control Room. Send all power to helm controls.”
“All power, sir? Even life support?”
“Yes sailor... All power, even life support. If this doesn’t work, we won’t need life support.”
“Aye, sir!” The ship went dark except for the Control Room, as ordered. Nelson went over to helm control to see if they had control back. They were beginning to get a small amount of control, however sluggish.
The Admiral ordered, “Sail Camera, on”
Nelson and Chip viewed the screen as it activated. Indeed, there was the plateau that Patterson had reported. It was level, but not all that large. With no power from the engines and only slight control it was going to be risky. But, Nelson knew it was there only chance.
“Chip, There it is! Helm, come to course 020... that’s it. Now one my command, full up angle on the planes. Chip, Depth?”
“1,400 feet... 1,500 feet...”
“Helm... correct to course 025... Get ready.....”
“1,600 feet.... 1,700 feet...”
“NOW! All up on the plains... NOW!”
The Seaview reacted to the up angle. They all watched the screen as the plateau drew closer. “All hands... Rig for impact!!!” The nose of the Seaview raised just enough to avoid a direct hit on the plateau. There was a sudden jolt and tremendous scraping sounds as the bottom of the sub crashed to the surface of the plateau. The ship began to slide, slowly losing speed. Men were thrown once again from their stations. The Seaview began to slide over the edge of the plateau before coming to a grinding halt. No one wanted to move...
Nelson grabbed the mike and ordered, “Engineering, restore emergency power to the ship... including life support! Damage Control... Report!”
“Engineering here... Life support on line...”
“Sharkey here... Damage report. Water entering sections 34 and 35, getting under control. All electrical systems still out.”
“Right, Sharkey... Get a crew down to the Circuitry Room. Advise me of the damages and repair time!” Nelson said.
“Yes, sir!” Sharkey turned to the men with him. “You heard the Admiral... Off your butts... Let’s get a move on, there’s work to do!”
Back in the Circuitry Room, a pleased look passed over the double's face. He had the exact results he was looking for. Landing on this plateau would give him even more time to create more havoc. Yes, Nelson would pay for his misdeeds. He heard the men coming towards the Circuitry Room. There was no way he would get out the door now. He looked up at the air vent, opened it and crawled inside. He just closed the screen as the circuitry room door opened.
He looked back through the air duct screen as the men were surveying the damage. He thought to himself... Good luck men... Ha! You’re going to have so much more to do, before I’m through with you and the Seaview!!
Chief Sharkey scowled as he surveyed the charred wires in the Circuitry Room. Sharkey and the men coughed because the air was heavy with smoke and the smell of burnt wiring.
“All right, you guys, let’s get these panels off the floor, for starters.” Sharkey ordered. “We’ve got to get this place policed up before we can do anything else!”
Sharkey watched as the crewmen carefully lifted the damaged panels. He looked closely at the wiring. Some of this looks like it has been tampered with! Sharkey thought to himself. He looked closer at the sloppily spliced wiring. The Admiral isn’t going to be too happy when he hears about this! Sharkey thought grimly to himself. As he continued to investigate, Sharkey’s
eyes briefly rested on the grill to the ventilation duct. Sharkey almost dropped his clipboard when he realized that someone was staring back at them through the grill. That looks like the Skipper! “Hey, Ski, come here a minute!” Sharkey said quickly.
Kowalski hurried to the Chief’s side. “What’s the matter, Chief?” Kowalski asked. “You look like you just saw a ghost or something.”
“Yeah, kid, yeah.” Sharkey replied distracted. He turned to Kowalski. “Take a good look at the ventilation duct. Tell me what you see.”
Confused, Kowalski stared at Sharkey for a minute. “Ugh, sure, Chief,” he replied, looking at the grill. “I don’t see anything except the ventilation duct. ” Kowalski replied after a minute. “What gives, Chief?”
“What?” Sharkey replied. He turned around and looked at the grill. The face was gone. “But, I saw...”
“Saw what, Chief?”
Sharkey stared at the grill for a minute. “Nothing,” he replied in a harsh voice. “My eyes must be playing tricks on me. Back to work!”
Kowalski shrugged and rejoined the crewmen who were now examining the upright panels. Sharkey went over to the grill and opened it as he tried to sort out his confused thoughts. That couldn’t have been the Skipper!” he thought confused. Why would he be hiding in the air duct, unless . . . Sharkey grew more agitated. Unless he was responsible for the damage in here . . .
Sharkey slammed the grill shut. Get a hold of yourself, Francis! he was angry at himself for even thinking that about the Seaview’s Captain.
“Kowalski!” Sharkey said in an angry voice. “Your in charge of the detail. I’ve got to go talk to the Admiral about something urgent.”
Sharkey tossed the clipboard to the surprised Kowalski and headed out the door towards the Admiral’s cabin. Inside the Circuitry Room, Kowalski and the work detail watched Sharkey leave in stunned silence.
“I wonder what got into him?” Kowalski commented in a surprised voice. He turned back to the men. “Let’s get this finished.”
Meanwhile, Chief Sharkey paused outside the door to Nelson’s cabin. Nervous, he took a deep breath, then knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Nelson replied in a gruff voice. Sharkey opened the door and stepped inside the Admiral’s cabin.
“Excuse me, Admiral, but could I talk to you a minute, sir?” Sharkey asked.
Nelson looked at him with a gruff expression. “I thought you were supposed to be checking the damage in the Circuitry Room?”
“I just came from there.”
“And?” Nelson asked, growing impatient.
“It looks like the wiring in the main panel has been tampered with, sir.”
“You mean sabotage, Chief?”
“I don’t know, sir. I could hardly believe it myself, until I saw..” Sharkey stopped suddenly.
“Saw what, Chief ?” Nelson asked, interested.
“I don’t know how to explain it, sir, but....I thought I saw the Skipper hiding in the ventilation duct, watching us.”
“You saw Captain Crane hiding in the ventilation duct?” Nelson said in a sarcastic tone. “I suppose next you’ll be telling me you suspect him as the saboteur!” He stared hard at Sharkey. “You do realize that you’re making some very serious accusations about the Captain, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir.” Sharkey stammered, swallowing nervously. “Admiral, the Skipper’s in some kind of trouble, I’m sure of it. I know he wouldn’t do anything like this unless there was something really wrong with him.”
Nelson glared at Sharkey. “Chief, What if I told you that an hour ago, Captain Crane was assigned light duty by the Ship’s Doctor and placed under sedation for the next several days.” Nelson replied watching Sharkey’s reaction to his statement.
“But, Admiral....!” Sharkey stammered quickly. “It was the Skipper, I’m sure of it!”
“Have you told anyone else about this?” Nelson asked.
Sharkey shook his head. “I can hardly believe it myself, sir.”
“Okay, Chief, return to the detail.” Nelson ordered sternly. “I’ll handle things from here.”
Sharkey turned towards the door. He paused, as if he wanted to say something else, but seeing the expression on Nelson’s face, he decided not to.
Nelson sat deep in thought as Sharkey left. Maybe Sharkey is right; there was something wrong with Crane, his recent behavior proved that, but to suspect him of sabotaging Seaview? Nelson shook his head in disbelief as he wrestled with his confused thoughts. Finally reaching a decision, the Admiral opened the desk drawer and pulled out a set of keys. There’s one way to check Sharkey’s story. . . one way...
Nelson stopped outside of Crane’s cabin, checking the corridors before he turned the knob. The door was locked. Pulling the set of keys out of his pocket, Nelson selected one and inserted it in the lock. He heard the lock click, but paused before opening the door. There’s still time to go back . . . he thought to himself dreading the task before him. Lee Crane was his best
friend. It was unthinkable to Nelson that Crane could be responsible for the Seaview’s present condition. But Sharkey’s words were still fresh in his mind. Nelson turned the knob and quietly stepped into Crane’s cabin. He stifled a sigh of relief as, through the dim lighting, he saw the outline of Crane’s body, asleep in the bunk. He turned to leave, but stopped. Sharkey had seemed so sure of his facts, what if they were true? Nelson went up to the bunk and gently gave Crane’s shoulder a shake.
“Lee?” Nelson called softly. “Lee....” Crane didn’t answer. Satisfied, Nelson turned and left the cabin.
Meanwhile, in the Missile Room, the double smiled as he completed some adjustments to the Missile Control system. It’s time, he thought to himself, Time to settle some scores! The double laughed to himself. He glanced at his watch. Chip Morton should be along any time, checking the Damage Control report. His expression grew angry. Chip Morton! Always there, waiting... waiting for a chance to take over command, to force me out! The anger subsided as the double eyed the equipment in front of him. You’re in for a big surprise this time, Mr. Morton! He turned, hearing the doorway hatch turn. As Morton entered the Missile Room, the double stepped quietly back into the shadows...waiting.
Chip Morton paused in front of the Missile Control System. He paged through several sheets on his clipboard, scanning each page before turning. The repairs are coming along as scheduled, he thought to himself, satisfied. He knew the Admiral would be pleased by the news, as well as the Captain. Morton reached out and checked several of the settings on the panel in front of him, then flipped the switch which controlled the computerized system which would automatically double check that all systems were functioning properly. As he worked, Morton could hear Sharkey in the corridor, giving instructions to a work detail. Morton turned slightly, listening to Sharkey. Suddenly, he found himself thrown to the deck as sparks and flames shot out from the panel before it exploded outward. Morton rolled around the floor, coughing, trying to see through the smoke.
From the shadows, the double watched, reveling in the scene. He stepped out from the shadows and stood over Morton with a satisfied smirk on his face.
Morton looked up, trying to ignore the pain he was in and focus on his surroundings.
“Lee?” he called in a far away voice.
The double continued to look down on him, smiling. “I’ve always hated you...” the double whispered fiercely. “You’ll never replace me as Captain! I’ll kill you first!”
Morton shook his head as if trying to shake free from what seemed to him to be a nightmare. Weakly, he reached out a hand towards Crane. “Lee...!”
Engrossed in his triumph, the double didn’t notice Sharkey come running into Missile Room. Sharkey stopped suddenly when he recognized the man standing over Morton.
“Skipper?” He blurted out shocked. The double turned to face Sharkey with a twisted, hateful look. Shoving Morton’s body aside with his foot, the double charged towards Sharkey, knocking him off his feet. By the time Sharkey was on his feet again, the double was gone. Sharkey quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher off the wall and put out what was left of the fire. He bent down over Morton’s body and breathed a sigh of relief as he felt for a pulse.
“Control Room this is Sharkey, come in, please ! Emergency!” Sharkey called frantically into the intercom.
“ This is Nelson, what’s the trouble, Chief?” came the quick reply.
“Sir...you’d better get down to the Missile Room on the double. There’s been an explosion and Mr. Morton is injured.” He stopped and looked around, wondering whether to continue.
“Get Mr. Morton to Sick Bay on the double.” Nelson ordered. “I’ll be right down.”
“Aye, sir.” Sharkey replied. He went back over to Chip who was struggling to sit up. “Easy, sir.” Sharkey said in a soothing voice.
Morton tried to focus on Sharkey. “ Chief...did you see him? Did you see Captain Crane?” Morton asked in a pain filled voice.
Sharkey, hesitated, his thoughts in a panic. “Yes, sir. I don’t believe it, but I’m afraid I did.”
Morton nodded, relieved.
Sharkey pulled Morton up, pulling his arm around his shoulders. “Let’s get you to Sick Bay.”
Later in Sick Bay, Nelson and Sharkey waited nervously for Doc to finish his examination. Nelson paced, his thoughts in a turmoil. Damage Control had reported that the Missile Room circuits had been deliberately rewired to explode when activated. He looked at Sharkey, his temper growing short.
“Are you positive you saw Captain Crane?” Nelson said to Sharkey.
Sharkey got up and paced around. “ Admiral, I swear it was the Skipper. It couldn’t havebeen anyone else. “
Nelson stared at Sharkey for a minute. “Chief, it couldn’t have been. I just checked on Captain Crane. He was in his cabin, sound asleep. I saw him.” Nelson replied growing angry.
“I’m telling you it was the Skipper! I saw him. He just stood there, watching Mr. Morton struggle.” Sharkey yelled at Nelson. He shook his head. “I’m sorry, sir. I just can’t believe this is happening, that the Skipper could do something like this.”
Nelson took a deep breath. “It’s okay, Chief, we’re all on edge right now. I want you to finish checking with Damage Control. We’ve got to get the Seaview to the surface as soon as possible.”
“Aye, sir.” Sharkey turned to leave. “Admiral, what about the Skipper?”
“I don’t know right now, Chief.” he replied in a harsh voice. “Return to your station.”
“Aye, Sir.” Sharkey replied softly before he left. Just as Sharkey left, Doc came into the office, wiping his hands.
“How is he?” Nelson asked quickly.
“Shaken up a bit” Doc replied slowly. “Some of the debris was lodged in his back. That’s been removed and the wound treated.”
“Is he conscious?” Nelson asked anxiously. “I need to ask him some questions.”
Doc frowned. “I’d rather that you didn’t question him right now. The wound itself is not serious, but he seems to be quite agitated at the moment.”
“Doc, I need to talk to him now. With Captain Crane incapacitated, I need Chip back on his feet as soon as possible.”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible, Admiral."
“Admiral....” Nelson heard Chip’s voice from the examination room. Nelson pushed past the flustered doctor.
“Yes, Chip. Can you tell me what happened?” Nelson asked anxiously.
Morton shifted uncomfortably on the cot, his shoulder tightly bandaged. “The panel exploded....Lee.....Lee was there. Watching.”
“That’s impossible!” Doc replied surprised.
“Chip, are you absolutely sure it was Captain Crane?”
Morton nodded weakly. “Yes, sir. The look on his face....the hatred...”
“Easy, Chip.” Nelson replied. Nelson helped the struggling Morton to sit up.
“I’m all right now.” Chip replied weakly.
“Admiral, I must protest! This man is not fit for duty.” Doc said strongly.
“I’m fine, Admiral.” Morton replied ignoring the doctor.
“Doc, I need him back in the Control Room in an hour.” Nelson ordered. He turned back to Morton. “The repairs will be completed by then. I want to get the Seaview topside as soon as possible until we find out what we’re dealing with. Can you handle it?”
“Yes, sir.” Morton replied quickly. “I’ll be fine.”
“Good.” Nelson replied. He and the Doctor left the examination room. He turned towards the door, then stopped and put a hand to his head.
“Admiral, are you okay?” Doc asked.
Nelson shook his head. “Just tired.”.
“You’ve been working too hard.” Doc replied going over to the medicine cabinet. He opened the cabinet, opened a bottle and returned to Nelson with a tablet and a cup of water.
“Take this, you’ll feel better.” Doc said.
Nelson eyed the tablet suspiciously.
Doc laughed. “It won’t knock you out, Admiral. It will just help relieve the stress a little.”
Nelson thought for moment, then took the outstretched tablet and water.
“I used this drug on Captain Crane about a month ago, when he injured his shoulder during that dive, remember? He told me it was very effective.”
The Admiral swallowed the tablet and washed it down.
“Thanks.” Nelson said, turning towards the door. “Doc, have you re-examined Captain Crane yet?” Nelson asked
“No. The Captain was definitely not himself when I saw him. I was hoping that I would see an improvement after several days rest.”
“ I see.” Nelson replied distracted as he thought about everything Sharkey and Chip had told him. He opened the door. “I’ll be in my cabin if you need me.”
The Doctor watched in growing concern as Nelson closed the door.
Deeply troubled by his thoughts, Nelson
walked through the Seaview’s long corridors towards
his cabin. He had tried to ignore all the warning signs, unable to believe that
Crane could be capable of the things that Sharkey, and now Chip, were claiming
he had done. Nelson shook his head grimly. The Seaview
and her crew had almost paid with their lives for my foolishness, Nelson
thought bitterly. The evidence was in front of him all the time, Lee’s arrogant
attitude in the Control Room and his attempt to strangle Nelson in his cabin.
And the explosions, first the Circuitry Room, then the Missile Room, both caused
by deliberate tampering with the wiring. Even the Ship’s Doctor was unable to
explain the change in Lee’s personality. There has to be
something, Nelson thought desperately, some detail
that I’ve overlooked that will tell me what’s happening to Lee.
Entering his cabin, Nelson crossed the room and hit the intercom button. “Sick Bay, this is the Admiral.”
“Doc, I want you to re-examine Captain Crane as soon as possible. And I want to be
advised immediately of his condition.”
“Admiral, as I explained earlier, I really don’t think there will be any improvement in such a short period of time.”
“ I understand that!” Nelson replied frustrated. “ I still want him re-examined as soon as possible.”
“Very well, Admiral.” Doc replied. “I’ll see to it right away.”
Nelson sat down behind the desk, shoving aside a stack of papers. So many unanswered questions were plaguing him. A sound, from outside his door, caught his attention.. He stood up listening. Nelson moved towards the door and reached for the knob. Slowly turning the knob, he opened the door and looked up and down the empty corridor. Nelson frowned. Had someone been listening outside his cabin door or was his exhausted mind beginning to play tricks on him. Nelson closed the door and sat on his bunk. Soon after the exhaustion and stress of the day won out and Nelson fell asleep.
Meanwhile, a few steps away in the Captain’s Cabin, the double looked down on Crane’s unconscious body. Nelson was starting to get too close, the double thought quickly. It would be very confusing for the Ship’s doctor to find two Captain Cranes on board. The double working quickly, tied up Crane’s hands and hoisted the body over his shoulder. He had to act fast. Once Crane is out of the way, the double thought with a smirk, I have special surprise planned for the Admiral . . .
In the Control Room, Chip Morton was giving a final review to the Ship’s damage control report. All the repairs had been completed. Chip sighed. At least that was a positive sign, he thought. Setting down the clipboard, his mind wandered back over the events in the Missile Room. He had tried to convince himself that the scene with Crane was a delusion, brought on by his injuries. Morton shook his head. No, he thought, he couldn’t explain what happened that way. Lee Crane was seriously ill. Morton, although frustrated by the Admiral’s reluctance to see that, understood what a difficult position he was in. Deep inthought, Morton didn’t notice Sharkey come up next to him.
“Mr. Morton?” Sharkey said in a quiet voice.
“Yes, Chief, what is it.” Morton replied hesitantly. Unsure of his own feelings, Morton wasn’t eager to discuss the matter with Sharkey or anyone right now.
“ It’s...It’s about the Skipper, sir.”
Morton stared hard at Sharkey. “Go on.”
“Well, sir, the men and I have been talking, you know, about what’s been happening. When is the Admiral going to do something about the Skipper?” Sharkey explained. “Mr. Morton, I can’t believe we’re even talking about this, that the Skipper could....”
“Belay that talk, Chief.” Morton snapped. “We don’t know that Captain Crane is responsible for any of the things that have happened on the ship.”
“But, sir, “Sharkey sputtered, “ The explosion in the Missile Room! You saw yourself how the Skipper acted...”
Morton glared at Sharkey. “Get to the point, Chief!”
“Well, Sir, we don’t think the Admiral should just let the Skipper be running around in the condition he’s in. Someone has got to do something before he kills us all or destroys the ship!”
“And if the Admiral doesn’t do something right away?” Morton questioned Sharkey. “What are you and the men going to do?”
Sharkey shrugged. “I can’t be responsible for what they decide then, sir.”
“Listen up, Chief.” Morton replied through gritted teeth. “As the Executive Officer of this ship, I’m ordering you to tell the men to sit tight until the Admiral can find some way to help Captain Crane. Do I make myself clear?”
Sharkey swallowed nervously. “Yes, sir, perfectly.”
“Good.” Morton replied quickly, “The Admiral hasn’t been responding to the intercom. Check his cabin and report back.”
“Aye, sir.” Sharkey replied as he headed for the spiral stairs.
Morton watched Sharkey for a few moments, then turned his attention back to the reports. Frustrated, he set the clipboard down. The pencil in his hand snapped in two.
Meanwhile, in the Admiral’s cabin, Nelson tossed and turned in his troubled sleep. He coughed. The air in the cabin was heavy with smoke from a fire that was burning
uncontrolled in the room.
Coming around the corner in the corridor, Sharkey sniffed as the smell seeped out from under the cabin door. “Fire...” he whispered under his breath. Sharkey hit the wall on the intercom. “Control Room, this is Sharkey. There’s a fire in the Admiral’s cabin!” The shrill sound of the emergency claxon pierced the air. Sharkey pushed open the cabin door and was almost overcome by a wall of smoke. He coughed and his eyes stung.
“Admiral!” Sharkey shouted, trying to make his way towards the bunk. Sharkey stopped as another person rushed in behind him.
“Skipper!” Sharkey blurted out, not believing his eyes. The coughing grew worse.
Crane rushed over to the bunk. Nelson rolled over, still groggy. Crane sat Nelson up.
“Chief, help me get him up!” Crane shouted.
Sharkey stood, as if paralyzed, not sure if he should believe what he was seeing.
“Chief, I need your help!”
Years of training took over and Sharkey rushed over to help Crane. Between the two of them, they managed to get Nelson’s dead weight into the corridor just as the Damage Control Party and Chip Morton came around the corner. Sharkey and Crane slumped to the deck overcome by the smoke. The Damage Control Party rushed into the cabin.
“Sick Bay, send two stretcher teams to the Admiral’s cabin on the double!” Morton
ordered. Morton paused. He felt his body tense as he saw Crane lying slumped over in the corridor. Then he knelt down next to Nelson, who was trying to sit up. A group of Corpsmen arrived and began administering oxygen to the three men. The Damage Control party came out of the cabin and approached Chip.
“The fire is out, sir.”
“Very well, secure the detail.” Morton replied. He watched anxiously as the Corpsmen worked on Nelson, Sharkey and Crane.
“Get that thing away!” Nelson complained, pushing the oxygen mask away as he tried to get up.
“Easy, Admiral.” Morton replied. He turned to the Corpsmen. “Get these men to Sick Bay right away.”
Morton knelt next to Sharkey as the Corpsmen tried to get Nelson to Sickbay.
“Chief, what happened in there?”
“I went in, the whole place was in flames.” Sharkey explained gasping for air.
“At least you were able to get the Admiral out.” Morton replied, sighing heavily.
“No, sir.” Sharkey replied. He looked over at the still unconscious Crane. “The Skipper got to him first.”
“Captain Crane saved the Admiral?”
“Yes, sir. The smoke almost got me. The Skipper came in, I helped him get the Admiral out, sir.” Sharkey stopped overcome by a spasm of coughing. “ I couldn’t believe it myself, Mr. Morton, but the Skipper was acting just like normal.” Sharkey shook his head. “I just don’t understand what’s going on...”
“Neither do I, Chief.” Morton murmured under his breath as the Corpsmen took Sharkey to Sick Bay. One of the Corpsmen approached Morton.
“What about Captain Crane, sir?”
“Did you hear me give the order to take the injured men to Sick Bay?”
“Yes..Yes, sir.” The crewman stammered. “But we thought.....”
“You thought wrong, Sailor!” Morton replied. “Now get the Skipper to Sickbay on the double!”
Later, in Sick Bay, Chip Morton watched as the Doctor finished treating Nelson and Sharkey.
“Chip,” Nelson called, as he finished buttoning up his shirt. “Did Damage Control have any idea about how the fire started?”
“Yes, sir. It was deliberately set”
“I see.” Sharkey entered the room. “All set, Chief?” Nelson asked.
“Aye, sir.” Sharkey replied. “Doc says I can go back on duty.”
“Chief, report to the Control Room, I’ll be there shortly.” Morton ordered.
As Sharkey left, the doctor entered having finished his examination of Crane.
“How is Captain Crane?” Nelson asked as he and Morton exchanged uneasy glances.
The doctor stared at them in silence with a perplexed look on his face. “I honestly don’t know what to tell you, Admiral.”
“Well did you or did you not examine Captain Crane?”
“Yes, sir, I did,” The Doctor replied slowly. “ I can tell you that he is fully recovered from the effects of the smoke.”
“And?” Nelson asked growing impatient.
“He also appears to have made a total recovery from the nervous disorder I diagnosed
“You don’t sound very sure.” Chip asked.
“Quite honestly, Gentlemen, I’ve never seen a case quite like this before. He seems to be completely back to his old self right now, however, without knowing what caused the disorder in the first place, there is no guarantee against a sudden relapse.”
“Meaning he could loose control again without warning?” Chip asked slowly.
“Yes,” Doc replied, “that’s always a possibility. There’s also a chance that this is a further manifestation of the illness itself where the patient tries to make everyone believe he has recovered while in reality the illness is becoming more acute.”
“What do you recommend, Doc?” Nelson asked.
“I don’t know, Admiral. Right now, I can see no reason why the Captain cannot return to duty. Unless you wish for me to keep him here for further observation.”
“I’d like to talk to him before we make any decisions.” Nelson replied.
“Very well, Admiral.” Doc replied. “But before you do that, I want you to take these.”
Nelson looked down in disgust at the pills in Doc’s hand. “ I don’t need any of those!”
“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that, Admiral.” Doc replied. “Take them.”
Nelson glared at Chip who just shrugged his shoulders. He took the pills and swallowed them quickly.
“Chip, I want you to return to the Control Room and make final preparations to get under way.”
“Aye, sir.” Morton replied heading for the door.
Nelson got up from the examination table. “Now, let’s go talk to Captain Crane. I have some questions to ask him.”
The Admiral pushed past the Doctor, with a determined expression on his face.
Nelson walked into the examination room with the Doctor following close behind. He paused at the doorway for a moment. Nelson felt a sense of confusion and dread wash over him as he contemplated the difficulties of the task before him. No one would be more relieved than I would, Nelson thought desperately, if Lee really was himself again. The air in the room was heavy with unspoken tension.
“Admiral!” Crane said in a surprised voice. “How are you feeling?”
“Fine,” Nelson replied cautiously. “ It seems I have you to thank for that.”
Crane shook his head vigorously. “ No thanks are necessary.”
“The important question right now is how you are feeling, Lee.” Nelson moved closer to the cot.
The doctor stood off to one side, intently studying Crane’s reactions to Nelson’s questions.
Crane’s expression became more worried. “I...I don’t know how to answer that, Admiral. I don’t understand what’s been happening to me.”
“What exactly do you remember?”
“I remember reporting to your cabin and having some kind of attack. The next thing I remember is hearing the alarm and waking up in my cabin.”
“That’s all?” Nelson asked skeptically. He shot a quick glance at the Doctor. “ Come on, man, think!”
Crane became more agitated. “That’s all I’ve been doing!”
“Surely there is some detail, something that you’ve overlooked!” Nelson continued. “You expect us to believe that you remember nothing about trying to strangle me in my cabin....”
“No!” Crane shouted.
“About the explosion in the Missile Room, threatening to kill Chip Morton and trying to sabotage this submarine??” Nelson said in an angry voice.
“No, No, No!!!” Crane shouted back. Crane pounded the cot with his fist, then he closed his eyes and rested his head in his hands. “ Admiral, what’s happening to me, I feel like I’m trapped in some kind of nightmare!”
The doctor, looking worried, hurried over to the cot. “ I think that’s enough for now,
Admiral. I don’t think this type of questioning is really necessary.”
“I disagree, Doc.” Nelson replied in an abrupt tone. “Well, Lee, do you still maintain that you can’t remember these things, even though there are witnesses that can testify against you in these matters?”
“I told you I can’t remember anything!” Crane shouted in a harsh voice. He shook his head as if to clear it. “ I’m sorry, Admiral.” he went on in a calmer tone. “ I don’t blame you for not believing me.”
Nelson studied Crane thoughtfully for a moment. “Doc, you said earlier that you were ready to release Captain Crane from Sick Bay?”
“There are a few minor tests, I’d like to finish up, but that shouldn’t take too long.”
“I see.” Nelson replied. Nelson hesitated, then stepped over and placed his hand on Crane’s shoulder. Nelson inwardly breathed a sigh of relief when Crane didn’t pull away. “Take it easy, Lee.” He said in a kinder voice. “ I’m sorry I had to be so hard on you When you are finished here, report to my cabin.”
“Aye, sir.” Crane replied in a voice little above a whisper.
Nelson turned and left the room.
“I’ll be right with you, Skipper.” Doc said, following behind Nelson to Doc’s office.
“Well?” Nelson asked the Doctor.
“I don’t know, Admiral.” Doc replied slowly. “ If what we just saw was an act, it was the performance of a lifetime.”
Nelson nodded his head in agreement. He wanted to believe Crane, but his instincts still were not satisfied. “ I think there’s one more test I’d like to try.” Nelson said to the doctor his mind racing. “Doc, I want you to keep Captain Crane here for at least another hour. Can you do that?”
“Of course, Admiral.” Doc replied, “ What are you going to do?”
“I’ll be in the Control Room, if you need me.” Nelson replied heading out the door.
Meanwhile, in the examination room, the double had a pleased, satisfied smile on his face. The most crucial part of his plan was a success, he thought to himself. Not only was Sharkey and the Ship’s doctor convinced by his story, but Nelson had fallen for it too. His first taste of power had caused him to make mistakes, mistakes that had caused Nelson to suspect him. But now that they were convinced he really was Crane, the final phase of his plan could begin. It’s only a matter of hours now, Admiral, the double thought, before you and your precious crew will be destroyed.
Later, in the Control Room, Nelson was huddled around the Plotting Table with Chip Morton and Chief Sharkey.
“You mean you’re just going to let the Skipper out of Sick Bay, just like that!” Sharkey stammered.
“Chief, “ Chip said in an annoyed voice, “get a hold of yourself.”
“Mr. Morton, he just can’t march back in here, giving orders, after everything that has happened!” Sharkey ranted on.
“Chief, get a hold of yourself, or I’ll lock you in the brig!” Nelson said sharply.
“I’m sorry, Admiral.” Sharkey replied in an ashamed voice.
“Admiral, exactly, what is going on?” Chip asked.
“I’m not sure, Chip. I don’t really have any definite information to give you, it’s just a feeling that I have.” He looked at Morton and Sharkey intently. “ You’ll have to trust me on faith, Gentlemen, and just follow my lead. It’s the only way to help the Captain right now.”
“Aye, Sir.” Chip replied.
“I’ll be in my cabin. I want you to stand by until you hear from me.” Nelson said heading for the spiral staircase.
Sharkey and Morton watched him leave. Sharkey turned to Morton, shaking his head in disbelief.
“I don’t get it, Mr. Morton, I just don’t get it.” Sharkey muttered under his breath. “ I hope the Admiral knows what he’s doing.”
“So do I , Chief.” Morton replied softly, “so do I.”
In the Admiral’s cabin, a weary Nelson sat down behind his desk and sighed as he realized how disgusted he felt with himself as he recalled the scene in Sick Bay. I had to do that, he told himself forcefully, I had to push Lee, to see how he’d react. As Nelson reached over and poured himself a cup of coffee, he realized that the next test would be just as hard, not only for him, but for Morton and, most of all, Chief Sharkey. Nelson took some small comfort in the fact that Sharkey seemed to be having a harder time than any of them trying to understand all the recent events that had happened. Sometimes, Nelson thought grimly, I think things would go a lotbetter around here without the Chief. Shocked by his own thoughts, Nelson looked around him nervously. I really must be on edge, he thought. Nelson got up frombehind the desk and began pacing around. The Chief is always making things more difficult, the Admiral’s thoughts went on, as if to torment him. And then there was Chip. Maybe Crane was right to try and kill him, after all he’s so....so Navy, so unimaginative. Nelson stopped cold in his tracks, shaking hishead and rubbing his temples.
“No, “ Nelson said out loud to no one in particular, “No....” But the thoughts were coming faster and faster, as if there was another person inside Nelson, as if he was thinking someone else’s thoughts. Kill them all, the voice whispered fiercely, kill them all, before they kill you . . . Nelson went over to his desk and opened the top drawer. He reached in and pulled out a revolver. He pulled back the trigger. He knew the gun was already loaded. Nelson’s expression changed. He smiled cruelly and laughed as he caressed the gun in his hand. They’ll never get him. Nelson knew that no one on the ship could out-think him. But it would be fun to watch them try, he thought. It would be amusing to watch, then he could destroy them, one by one, each one dying in a way different from the other. As a scientist, he would appreciate the challenge of inventing ways to destroy the crew. Suddenly appalled by his thoughts, Nelson slammed his fist down on the desk over and over again, hoping the sudden pain would break his train of thought.
“No! No!” Nelson shouted closing his eyes as he tried to stop the thoughts from coming. He grabbed the coffee pot and cups and smashed them against the wall. “No!!” Nelson screamed again. “ I can’t kill the crew.... I won’t.....I won’t.......” he muttered savagely. Nelson dug his fingers into the desk, then collapsed against it, sweat running down his face. He lay still for a few minutes, gasping for breath. Suddenly, he reached for the intercom.
“Sick Bay...this is the..Admiral.” Nelson called, still out of breath.
“Yes, Admiral, what is it? You don’t sound like yourself.” Doc replied quickly.
“Never mind that!.” Nelson snapped. “ Did you say that you gave Captain Crane the same pills that you gave me?”
“Why, yes, Admiral. As I said, earlier, I gave the Captain that medication after he injured his shoulder in that diving accident about a month ago. Why do you ask?”
“How long did you give those pills to Crane?” Nelson asked, ignoring the Doc’s question.
“Let me see, I believe for about a week.” Doc replied in a puzzled tone. “ Admiral, I don’t understand your sudden interest, but although this medication is new to me, it was developed and thoroughly tested at the Institute.”
“Are there any known side effects?”
“None, sir, that I’m aware of , but this is a relatively new drug that has not had widespread use.”
“Thank you, Doc.” Nelson replied. “What’s your report on Captain Crane.”
“He’s on his way to your cabin. I was just about to call you. All tests indicate that Captain Crane is healthy and fit for duty.”
“And there was no sign of the mental disorder you saw earlier?”
“A slight indication, due, I must say, begging the Admiral’s pardon, to your rather unusual method of questioning the Captain.”
“I understand, Doc.” Nelson replied with a slight smile. “ Nelson out.” Nelson sighed as he surveyed the mess in his cabin. The pills had to be the common thread, the clue that had been missing in the puzzle. The Admiral wiped a bead of sweat off his face, as the realization sank in that he had barely survived the psychological attack brought on by the limited dosage of the medication that he had received. Crane had taken almost three times the amount that Nelson had. A plan was forming in Nelson’s mind, as he heard a rap on the door.
“Admiral, it’s the Captain.” Nelson heard.
Nelson smiled. “Come in, Lee.”
The double entered the cabin and closed the door.
Crane looked around the cabin, surprised to see the pieces of smashed glass laying on the floor.
“Admiral, what happened in here?”
“Oh, nothing, Lee, nothing. Just a slight accident.” Nelson replied in light voice. He stood up and walked around the desk. “ I believe Mr. Morton and Chief Sharkey are waiting for us in the Control Room.” Nelson explained, motioning Crane towards the door.
Crane paused, still looking at the mess and eyeing Nelson suspiciously.
Chip Morton was too caught up in the paperwork in front of him to notice Nelson and Crane come down the spiral stairs in the Control Room. Chief Sharkey, as well as every other sailor in the Control Room stopped, as if holding their breath in anticipation of what was going to happen next.
“Ugh, Mr. Morton....” Sharkey called, pointing towards the two men.
Morton looked at the Chief briefly, then at Nelson and Crane. Inside, Chip’s stomach churned as he thought of the last discussion he and Crane had in the Control Room. Nelson and Crane paused by the plotting table. Nelson realized that everyone in the room was looking at him, expectantly.
“In order to restore a sense of order to this vessel, I want to clear up several questions that I know have been on everyone’s mind.” Nelson said addressing the Control Room.
The double shifted, uncomfortably, his anger rising. He should have known Nelson was up to something. He had expected a thorough questioning after the fire, but not this. Nelson certainly is an unpredictable enemy, he thought to himself.
“The Ship’s doctor and I have questioned Captain Crane thoroughly and are in complete agreement that he is recovered and fit for duty.” Nelson continued. He turned to the Captain. “ Lee, is there anything you would like to add?”
Crane swallowed nervously, silently cursing Nelson for putting him on the spot. "Yes, Admiral,” he replied after a few minutes of heavy silence. “ I can offer no excuse for my recent actions.” Crane began, looking at Chip and Sharkey specifically. “ I realize that not only have I caused the Admiral to doubt my ability to command this ship, I have also caused you to doubt me as well. I hope that we can put this behind us once and for all.”
Nelson nodded, remaining silent. He continued to look at Crane.
“Return to your stations.” Crane ordered sharply.
The men, still surprised, slowly began moving back to their posts.
Losing patience, Crane turned to Morton.
“Mr. Morton, is this kind of lax discipline that is practiced when I’m not in the Control
“No, sir.” Chip replied with a scowl. “Chief, what’s the problem?”
Sharkey approached Crane hesitantly. “Well, sir, with everything that’s happened...”
Crane glared at Morton and Sharkey, then turned to Nelson. Nelson glared at the men, his anger rising.
“Captain Crane is the commander of this ship and I will not tolerate having his orders questioned!” Nelson raged at the two officers and the Control Room crew. “Is that understood?”
“Aye, Sir!” Morton replied quickly.
Sharkey turned to the crew. “All right, you guys, you heard the Skipper! Get moving!”
Crane watched Nelson. He felt a sense of relief and power surge through him. So Nelson really has been fooled, the double thought to himself.
“Mr. Morton!” Nelson continued.
Morton stepped over to the Admiral. “Yes, sir?”
“I am putting you and Chief Sharkey on report.” Nelson saw Sharkey’s jaw drop.
Morton shot Sharkey a quick look of warning.
“Your conduct towards Captain Crane is unbecoming of an officer and has no doubt influenced the crew’s behavior. See to it that this does not happen again.” Nelson finished.
Crane watched the exchanged with fascination, a slight smile forming on his face. Nelson turned back towards him. “ Lee, I think that, under the circumstances, you and I should review the damage ourselves.”
“Of course, Admiral,” Crane replied quickly enjoying the looks of discomfort on Morton and Sharkey’s faces.
“We might as well inspect the exterior hull damage from the flying sub. I want you check out the Flying Sub personally, then let me know when you’re ready to launch.” Nelson continued.
“I’ll take care of it at once, Admiral.” Crane replied. The double smiled, as he savored the goal he had so long dreamed of. Nelson was playing right into his hands. Alone, on the Flying Sub, it would be easy to finish off Nelson, then the Seaview.
“Kowalski!” Morton shouted. “ Get a replacement for yourself and assist Captain Crane with the flying sub.”
“Aye, Sir.” Kowalski replied, shaking his head at what he had just seen and heard.
“Thanks, Chip.” Crane replied still smiling. “ I hope there won’t be any hard feelings about this...this little incident.”
Morton, his anger rising, shook his head. “No, Sir.” He replied in an angry voice, “there won’t be.”
Nelson watched until Crane and Kowalski had disappeared into the flying sub and Kowalski closed the hatch.
“Chip,” Nelson began, “ I want you and Chief Sharkey to report to my cabin at once.” Nelson then turned and left the Control Room.
Sharkey turned to Morton with a stunned look on his face.
“Mr. Morton, what the heck is going on around here? First the Skipper, now the Admiral...” Sharkey sputtered.
“I don’t know, Chief, “ Morton replied, “ but I can tell you one thing. I don’t care what the Admiral says, there’s something wrong with the Skipper.” He started towards the spiral stairs. “ Let’s go. Maybe we can get the answers to some of our questions.”
Nelson paced impatiently as he waited for Sharkey and Morton. His mind was deeply troubled. He knew that if he pushed Crane hard enough he could determine once and for all if what he suspected was true. He felt a nagging fear deep inside that it might be too late to save any of them, especially Lee Crane. His thoughts were interrupted by a tap on the door.
“Come in!” Nelson said impatiently.
The door opened and Morton and Sharkey stepped in.
Morton looked calm as if he was withholding an opinion until the Admiral had spoken.
Sharkey, on the other hand, was still flushed with agitation from the episode in the Control Room.
“Admiral!” Sharkey began quickly, “ would you mind telling me what’s going on around here?! First the Skipper starts acting strange, now you....”
Morton waved a hand to silence him. “Chief!”
Nelson shook his head vigorously. “That’s okay, Chip. I’m sure you both have many
questions, but now is not the time. In fact, gentlemen, time is something we’re very short on right now.” He motioned towards the chairs in front of his desk. “ I think that once I’ve explained some things to you, you’ll both understand why I had to arrange that scene in the Control Room. I had to be sure, absolutely sure before taking further action.”
“Sure of what, Admiral?” Morton asked, puzzled.
“Gentlemen, “ Nelson began once Morton and Sharkey were seated, “ what would you say if I told you that the man in the Control Room is not Lee Crane, at least not the Lee Crane that we know.”
“Not the Skipper?” Sharkey replied
“How is that possible, Admiral?” Morton asked. “ How could there be two Lee Cranes?”
“I know this is hard to believe.” Nelson replied. “I know he looks and sounds like the Captain, but I have reason to believe that the real Captain Crane is hidden somewhere on this ship, unconscious or worse.”
Morton and Sharkey remained silent, too stunned to speak.
“I believe that at some point, the real Captain Crane suffered some kind of drug induced mental breakdown that caused him to split into two personalities, one good, the other evil.”
“How can you be sure about this, Admiral? What if you’re wrong.” Morton asked.
“I’m afraid there’s no doubt in my mind, Chip.” Nelson continued. “We all know that the real Lee Crane would never have said and acted the way we just witnessed in the Control Room. Earlier, when I left sickbay after the fire, Doc gave me the same medication that he gave the Captain about a month ago. I suffered a similar episode as the real Lee musthave, though less violent. Through sheer will power, I was able to fight the effects of the drug. I’m positive that Lee was trying to tell me about this before he had his first attackhere in my cabin. For some reason, he was not strong enough to fight back.” Nelson stood up. “ If what I suspect is true, none of us have much time before the evil Crane strikes again. Once we’re away in the Flying Sub, I want every corner, every inch of this ship searched for the real Captain Crane. We’ve got to find him before its too late.”
“So the explosions, the fire.... all acts of sabotage.” Chip said, thinking out loud.
“Exactly, Chip. All deliberate acts to destroy us as well as Seaview,” Nelson replied. “Gentlemen, we have no time left for more explanations!”
“But, Admiral,” Sharkey sputtered excitedly, “ you can’t go out alone on the Flying Sub with that...that joker! He’ll kill you!”
“There’s no other way, Chief. It’s impossible for us to search for the real Lee Crane otherwise. The Captain’s life, Our lives, as well as the life of every man aboard is in danger as long as the imposter is loose on this ship. We have to get him off Seaview as soon as possible!”
“Admiral, this is the Captain.” Came the voice over the intercom.
“Yes, Lee?” Nelson replied, his voice concealing all traces of suspicion.
“The Flying Sub is ready for immediate launch.”
“Very good, Lee. I’ll be right there.” Nelson replied. He looked sternly at Morton “Chip, I want you to notify me as soon as Captain Crane has been found. Otherwise, if you do not receive any communication from me within the hour, I want you to blow the Flying Sub out of the water.”
“What?” Morton and Sharkey exclaimed almost at the same time.
“You heard me, Gentlemen.” Nelson replied in a grave tone of voice. “ That’s a direct order. Do you understand?”
“Aye, sir.” Morton replied slowly as Nelson’s words sunk in.
“Admiral, you can’t be serious?” Sharkey sputtered.
“Very serious, Chief. I can’t impress upon you enough the danger everyone will be in if this imposter is allowed to return to Seaview.”
Nelson moved quickly for the door.
“Good luck, sir.” Sharkey said.
“You’d better pray that we all have good luck.” Nelson replied darkly as he took off towards the Control Room.
In the Control Room, Nelson found Crane waiting for him by the flying sub hatch.
“Ready, Lee?” He asked pushing past Crane and opening the hatch.
“Yes, sir. What took you so long?” Crane asked becoming suspicious. He looked around the Control Room quickly noticing Sharkey and Morton’s absence.
“I confined Morton and Sharkey to their quarters until further notice. I wanted to make sure that my orders had been carried out.”
“I see.” Crane murmured softly, following Nelson into the flying sub.
Meanwhile, in the Missile Room corridor, Morton and Sharkey were beginning their search.
“Do you think we’re too late, sr?” Sharkey asked Morton in a low voice.
“I don’t know, Chief. But if the Admiral’s right, and the Skipper is here somewhere, I know that we’re going to search every inch of this ship until we find him.”
“But you wouldn’t really...you know...do what the Admiral said about destroying the Flying Sub, would you, sir?” Sharkey continued nervously.
“The Admiral made it a direct order, Chief.” Morton replied in a hard voice. “ I don’t have any choice.”
“But, sir, the Admiral will be killed too!”
“Don’t you think the Admiral realized that when he gave the order, Chief?” Morton snapped back at Sharkey. “ You’re wasting time! Continue the search in this section, we’ll move forward.”
Meanwhile, Nelson skillfully piloted the flying sub out of her berth.
At last, the double thought, at last, I finally have Nelson exactly where I want him. Nelson will pay . . . The double glanced around, eyeing the laser controls. First the Seaview, then Nelson. The double almost smiled with pleasure as he thought of Nelson being forced to watch the destruction of the Seaview and her crew. Alone, on the Flying Sub, no one can stop me! No one! The double turned to look at Nelson in silent anticipation.
Nelson’s thoughts were in a turmoil. He could feel the tension growing inside of him as he looked at the Seaview through the viewport. Time was slipping away quickly, and still no word had come about the search for the real Crane.
The imposter eyed Nelson suspiciously, his senses alert to any possible danger.
Nelson shot a quick look at the imposter then turned back to the Seaview. “Lee,” why don’t you take the flying sub out about 400 yards, just to make sure we haven’t missed anything.”
“Very well, Admiral.” the double replied quickly, turning back to the controls.
The Flying Sub gracefully moved through the water, then came to a gentle stop.
The double turned back to look at Nelson. He felt his rage swell up as he found himself face to face with the nose of the Admiral's service revolver.
“So, Admiral,” the double said in a cold voice that sounded hard with bitterness, “ our little game is finished. Too bad, really, I was beginning to enjoy it.”
“Who are you?”
The double smiled at Nelson in amusement. “I should think that would be obvious, Admiral. I am Lee Crane, Captain of the Seaview.”
Nelson shook his head in denial. “ I don’t know who, or what, you are," he replied, taking a step forward, “but I do know that you’re not the real Lee Crane.”
“Put the gun away, Admiral!” the imposter said, laughing at Nelson. The smile left the imposter’s face as quickly as it came. “We both know you won’t shoot. Not as long as you think there’s a slight chance that you’ll find out what happened to your friend, the Captain” the imposter finished, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Nelson faltered, lowering the gun slightly. “What have you done with the real Crane?”
“You’re showing your weakness, Admiral.” the imposter continued taunting Nelson. “As I knew you would. You see, Admiral, I know you very well, very well indeed. I knew that one day I would be able to use your sickening compassion for your crew and your submarine to my advantage!” The words came fast and clipped. “That day has come, Admiral!” The imposter took a deep breath. “Indulge me, Admiral, for a moment. How did you see through my little masquerade?”
Nelson swallowed nervously. He glanced nervously at the chronometer on the wall. Ten minutes left. Ten minutes and still no word. Nelson knew that Morton would follow his orders to destroy the flying sub. If I can stall the imposter for ten minutes more at least the Seaview will be out of danger. At least then, Morton and Sharkey will be able to find the real Lee. . .
“Thinking of your friend, the Captain, Admiral?” The imposter continued sarcastically. “ Perhaps he’s dead; maybe he wishes he were dead!”
Nelson felt the double’s words slice through him.
“Are you suffering, Admiral? You are, aren’t you! I have waited years to see you suffer, to see you in the kind of torment that I have suffered for years! All because of you, Admiral! Because of you!!”
“Who are you?!” Nelson choked out the words as his senses tried to understand what he was seeing and hearing.
“Come now, Admiral, don’t tell me that you, a man who claims to be a scientist, can’t figure that out! I am Lee Crane, the ugly, dark side that no one is allowed to see! The side that was trapped, trapped inside by the weak, useless Crane that you manipulated for years. I could have had a brilliant career, except that you were always in the way, always putting your interests ahead of mine! But all of that has changed now, Admiral, hasn’t it?”
Nelson remained silent, his thoughts spinning wildly. This can’t be Lee . . .this hateful, twisted creature bent on revenge can’t be Lee . . . Nelson had suspected something like this but realized he was unprepared for the intensity of his adversary’s attack.
“Surprised, Admiral?” the imposter continued as if reading Nelson’s mind. “Surely you must realize that this darkness . . . these seeds of destruction lie in every man, even you, Admiral.”
“And the real Crane?” Nelson asked hesitantly.
“Dead, Admiral! He was of no further use to me, or anyone, not in the condition he was in.”
The Admiral lowered the gun. Time is up and still no word from the Seaview. The only thing left to do now is wait . . . wait for the flying sub to be destroyed.
“Your plan has failed - Commander Morton has orders to destroy the flying sub. The only thing either of us have to do now is sit back and wait.”
The double screamed in rage. “You wouldn’t dare!”
“Commander Morton has orders to destroy the flying sub thirty minutes after our departure unless he receives my countermanding order via radio. As you can see, “ Nelson stopped, nodding at the chronometer. “ time is up. Your years of planning have been wasted!”
“No!!” I’ll kill you now!!” he lunged at Nelson, knocking the gun out of the Admiral's hand.
Meanwhile, in the Control Room, Morton swallowed nervously, as he realized that the thirty minutes had expired. He looked out the viewport, then at the intercom microphone anxiously.
“Control Room, this is Sharkey!”
“Go ahead, Chief.”
“Mr. Morton, we need more time! We’re almost through in the Reactor Room
corridor.” Sharkey explained frantically.
Morton paused aware that the Control Room crew were watching him intently. “I’m sorry, Chief. The Admiral’s orders were clear. We’re out of time.”
“Please, sir, wait! Don’t fire!”
Morton heard Sharkey’s voice move away from the microphone. In the background he could hear Sharkey talking to one of the men.
“Mr. Morton, stand by - one of the guys has found something!”
In a storage area near the Reactor Room corridor, Sharkey felt his heart begin to race as he and his men saw Lee Crane’s still body behind a large pile of crates. Even in the room’s subdued lighting, Sharkey’s stomach churned at the sight of the Skipper’s pale drawn face. The Skipper can’t be dead! he thought desperately. Sharkey turned to his men. “What are you guys standing around for - get the Skipper out of there!” Once the crates had been moved aside, Sharkey knelt down beside Crane’s body. He untied the ropes binding the Captain's hands and removed the tape that was across his mouth.
“Skipper!” Sharkey pleaded, shaking Crane gently. "Come on, Skipper, snap out of it!”
The body remained still.
Sharkey headed for the intercom by the door. “ Sharkey to Control Room! Emergency!”
“What is it, Chief?”
“It’s the Skipper, sir, we found him . . . Mr. Morton . . .he’s in bad shape, sir.”
Morton felt a sinking feeling in his stomach. If Lee dies anyway and the Admiral also loses his life . . . “Chief, get the Captain to Sick Bay on the double!”
“Aye, sir.” came Sharkey’s reply.
“Sparks, any luck yet raising the Flying Sub?”
“ No, sir, not yet. The equipment checks out okay, they must be receiving our transmission, sir.”
Even though the Admiral’s deadline had passed, Morton had to try and make contact with Nelson. He picked up the intercom mike.
“Seaview to FS1. Admiral, this is Morton. Admiral, if you’re receiving this, we’ve found Captain Crane. Repeat, we’ve found Captain Crane.”
On the flying sub, Nelson and the double were engaged in a fierce contest. Morton’s words cut through the fog in Nelson’s mind.
Poised at the laser, the double also paused to listen, his face contorting into an uncontrollable rage. He turned savagely on Nelson.
“It’s too late, Admiral! The fact that I’m still here proves that you’re too late! Crane is not strong enough to survive! You’ll never defeat me! Never!” The Seaview forgotten for a moment, the imposter lunged at Nelson.
In the ship's Sick Bay, Morton watched anxiously as the Ship’s doctor ministered to lifeless body before him.
The Doctor glanced up at Morton.
“How bad is it, Doc?”
“From the look of the things, I’d say he’s been given a large dose a very powerful sedative. Too large, perhaps.” The doctor replied as he opened a cabinet and took out a hypodermic needle with some clear fluid in it.
“Is he going to be all right?”
Absorbed in his work, the doctor remained silent. If I can just bring him around . . . the doctor thought to himself, then he’ll have a fighting chance . . . After administering the injection, the doctor turned to Morton.
“Now all we can do is wait . . and hope that the injection will bring him around."
On the Flying Sub, a helpless Nelson watched the imposter close in. His thoughts were in a turmoil. Why hasn’t Morton followed my orders and destroyed the Flying Sub? he thought grimly. Nelson realized his death would be meaningless if the imposter were able to get back aboard Seaview. Through his hazy vision, Nelson saw the imposter stop suddenly. He doubled over, as if in great pain.
“No!” The imposter screamed in a thunderous rage. “ No! No! No!” Feeling his strength ebbing away, the imposter fell on his knees. “ I’ll be back, Nelson!” he spat out the words hatefully. “ You haven’t seen the last of me . . .I’ll . . be . . back!!”
The last thing Nelson remembered was the sight of the double slowly fading away. Nelson knew that it would be a long time before he would ever forget the expression of hatred that he had seen on the imposter’s face right before he disappeared. Then, without warning, the darkness closed in and Nelson lapsed into unconsciousness.
Several days later, Morton watched in relief as the Ship’s Doctor completed his examinations of Nelson and Crane. Having one of them in Sick Bay is bad enough, but both of them at the same time . . . Morton thought to himself.
“Well, Doctor, what’s your diagnosis?” Nelson asked in a gruff voice. Never a man to sit idle, Nelson was anxious to be released from the Sick Bay.
“There’s nothing wrong with you that a tour of duty won’t cure, Admiral.”
“That’s good news, Admiral.” Crane added as he buttoned up his shirt.
“And the Captain?” Nelson asked.
Amused by the exchange, Morton had the feeling that he wasn’t the only who would be glad to see Nelson and Crane released from the Sick Bay, given their reputations as bad patients.
“Are you sure I’m all right, Doc?” Crane asked in a worried voice. “There’s no chance of a relapse?”
“Relax, Skipper.” The Doctor replied. He reached down, picked up a bottle of pills that had been sitting on his desk and threw the bottle in the trash. “This all started because of those pills.”
“He’s right, Lee.” Nelson added. “The medication built up in your system until it caused a severe psychiatric breakdown.”
“That explains the nightmares and a lot of other things.”
“Exactly.” Nelson said. He got up off the examination table. He looked at Crane. “Well, Captain?”
Nelson said motioning Crane and Morton towards the door. “Set a course for home.”
“Aye, sir.” Crane replied as he and Morton headed for the Control Room.
Return to story index,
The Story Index
Return to Home Page,
The New Captain's Log