sailor appeared at the head of the steps leading down from the plane.
He looked back as he descended a few steps and waited.
The next person that approached the steps was Captain Lee Crane,
somewhat worse for wear. Even
at a distance, the NIMR men could see that he had bruises and his left arm
was strapped in a sling. He
came down hesitant, but under his own steam and keeping within arms reach
of the sailor before him. He
approached his boss. "Admiral,
it's good to see you."
glad to see you too, son. Let's
get you home." He waved
his arm toward the staff car.
stared at Lee and went up to put his hand on Lee's good shoulder.
Without saying anything, Chip gave his arm a squeeze and piercing
blue eyes looked deep in amber brown eyes. "Lee, when we get to the
medical center, I'm going to ask you to do something for me.
Don't question me. It's going to be important for you to just do it."
center? There's no need to go
there. I'm fine."
next stop is the medical center and you will stay there until I'm
satisfied that you are fine."
there's no need. Admiral
Starke made sure I saw his medical people. I'm fine."
just signed for Starke's package. I
have to make sure it's in good condition. Captain Crane, you are going to
have a checkup by the ship's doctor and Jamie, I expect a full checkup and
course, Admiral, that is if we can get him moving."
a sigh, Lee replied, "Aye aye, sir."
the medical center, Lee was perched up on the side of the examining table
and was trying to button his shirt as Jamie ushered Admiral Nelson and
Commander Morton into the room. Chip
went up to Lee and took over the buttoning chore. Standing and listening
to Jamie's report, Chip watched Lee.
he has a concussion, broken and dislocated shoulder, and cuts and bruises
over much of his body. He's
dehydrated and has lost weight. I going to keep him overnight, rebuild his
fluid level by IV, and pump him full of antibiotics.
Then we'll take him into surgery tomorrow morning and reduce the
dislocated shoulder and put a cast on his arm."
I just want to go home."
time, Captain. From the looks
of your eyes, I bet you have one big headache.
Once we get you settled, I'll give you a mild sedative to bring the
pain level down. We'll be
doing neurology checks throughout the night.
So for right now until we move you, settle back."
just do it."
I said I would ask you to do something for me."
over at Chip, Lee nodded.
I want you to lay down and I'm going to take your shoes and socks off. I
want to look at your right foot."
we've gone through too much, you look and sound like yourself, but I've
got to know for sure. I've
got to see that scar from Academy days."
at him strangely, Lee nodded.
helped him to lie down and as the Admiral and Jamie watched, Chip removed
Lee's shoes and socks. He
examined the area between the two little toes on Lee's right foot and
looked up into Lee's quizzical eyes. "It's there. Welcome back,
what's going on? Why this and
why have all three of you been staring at me since I got off that
me, Captain. We don't intend
to keep you in the dark, but before we answer that, let's get you settled
in a bed and get the fluids and antibiotics started."
guess I can wait a little longer, as long as I get a full report,
Admiral replied, "Oh you will, Lee. You will."
he was settled, Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton took turns telling the
story, with small asides from Doctor Jamieson.
Jamieson stayed more to observe the Captain and to stop the
conversation if his patient tired out. Finally the story was told and Lee
looked at them with a thoughtful look on his face. "That explains why
I was taken and I know now I wasn't hallucinating when they took me."
do you mean, son?"
I was on my way out of town when I was ran off the road. The blue sports
car that nearly swiped me had spun out and came to a stop not far from me.
No one was moving and I got out of my car and went to check on the
leaned in to check him and he came to life, grabbed and pulled me down and
through the window of the car. His
passenger put a cloth over my mouth and nose. I could smell something and
was getting lightheaded. Before I passed out, the driver said he would
need these and took my signet ring and my wallet. I heard him tell the
other guy to transport me in my own car to the airport. I imagine it's
still there in long-term parking. Admiral, the driver sounded and looked
like me." Lee suddenly yawned.
I think we need to let the Captain get some rest."
Jamie I think we should."
the two men turned to leave, they looked back to see Chip Morton reach
into his pocket, bring out a signet ring, and slid it onto his friendís
finger. They observed the slight grin on Lee's face as he slipped into
weeks later Lee expressed to Admiral Nelson an interest in meeting Les
Wayne. It was easy to set up
a meeting in Huntington Beach and since he had an upcoming mission planned
for Seaview, Nelson looked forward to seeing Betty Hazard also. Betty
suggested a favorite cafe of hers and Les that had an easy atmosphere for
talking while on the pier. She
asked that both Chip and Dana be invited as well. It was a late Friday
afternoon when they flew down in the flying sub to Huntington Beach.
The "The World Famous End Cafe" was at the end of the
pier overlooking the ocean. It
was well known for its excellent food.
Betty, Les and Dana were waiting for them at the Cafť.
again Lee had the feeling of hallucinating when he gazed upon his
look-a-like. Both men were of
the same height and even though Lee had not gained all of his weight back,
they were close to the same size. As
they sized each other up by looking into identical amber eyes, the others
held back, curious as to how Lee and Les would react to each other. After
a long wait, Lee held his right hand out and upon contact, pulled his copy
into an awkward hug while protecting his left arm. The two men led the
others into the cafť.
didn't take long until they were all dining. As they finished their meal,
Admiral Nelson looked over to Les and said, "Les, one of the reasons
I'm glad to see you again is to let you know what we have found out about
since this happened I've been trying to make sense of it.
There's still things in my life that I don't remember, but I'm
having more and more flashes every day."
I think we need to tell you the story of what happened to you. Some of it
you know; some you don't. I'll
start with Lee's involvement first.
was going on a short vacation and had left town to travel down to
Oceanside. He hadn't gone far when he was run off the road and kidnapped.
While your twin took over his life, complete with Lee's ring and
wallet, Lee was taken by another man to the airport in his own car and
flown in a private plane to Mexico.
twin stopped on the outskirts of Santa Barbara and went into a grocery
store. His blue sports car
was hit by a woman's grocery cart. She
offered to repair it and it was put into a repair shop. He called the
Institute and told Lee's brand new secretary that he had put his car in
the shop and he was going to get a rental car and continue on.
He must have thought he would be able to come back, get the car out
of the shop and exchange it for Lee's car at the airport.
stopped in Huntington and stayed in a hotel for a few days and was
enjoying himself here on the beach. He
went to the library, we're not sure why, maybe to make a copy. We found a copy of sheet music in his car.
That's where Joe Sands found him and tried to kill him. Dana found
him and called for help. He was put in the hospital with no memory.
Sands was originally after you for writing an article about the Mob and
the amount of ex-Mob people hiding in the witness protection program.
Unfortunately for you, you recognized Joe as one of those people
and confronted him. He determined to kill you and almost did, putting you
in the hospital also with your memory gone. I can imagine what Joe thought
when he kept running into identical men.
local newscaster thought that identical men in the hospital were good
press and she kept telling everyone about you and where you were. Joe Sands didn't have to do much research to find and try to
kill both of you. He didn't
succeed that time, thanks to Dana, here." Admiral Nelson smiled at
the young lady who was sitting between Chip and Les.
couldn't identify you through fingerprints, since both of you had injured
your hands and fingers. Lee has good teeth and you both had perfect teeth,
so dental records were no good. Betty and I came up with a plan to
separate both of you when you came out of the hospital and expose you to
your familiar environment. We
hoped it would bring your memory back.
If that didn't work, we would switch you and try again.
were released first and flown to Santa Barbara as Lee. We thought the other man was you and I stayed to help Betty
get him to her house when he was released. This time, Joe Sands was
successful in killing him as he came out of the hospital.
remembered a small scar that Lee had on his foot and when he looked at
your foot, it wasn't there. He
knew that you were Les and not Lee, so we brought you back to Huntington
what if I were my twin?"
that time, we didn't know we were dealing with three men. So we truly
thought that Lee was dead and you were Lester Wayne."
did you find Lee then?"
has a friend in Naval Intelligence who was informed of Lee's whereabouts
and he rescued Lee. His
friend's boss, Admiral Starke, returned Lee to us."
did you figure out that there was three of us?"
would you fill Les in on your research?"
I had my staff research your and Lee's backgrounds. I assumed that you
were twins. The file they
amassed was thick. I didn't
get a chance to go through it until after Lee's funeral.
I really thought we were burying Lee and he was your brother.
you remember having your feet printed at the hospital?"
I thought that was weird."
that was the key to finding out that you were a twin. You were adopted at
the age of two from a catholic orphanage.
So was your twin and incidentally, so was Lee. But the records
showed that you and your twin were in one orphanage and Lee was a single
birth in another orphanage. Your orphanage had copies of you and your
who was he and why did he help to kidnap Lee?"
name was Lucas Anderson. He was adopted by a couple of doctors and grew up
in a privileged, yet unloved world. He was the rich kid who got into
trouble at every chance. His adopted parents were killed in a plane crash
and when everything settled, he found that they had mortgaged everything
to the hilt and he was penniless and on his own.
had some old girlfriends who were models.
They made some contacts and got him some modeling jobs. A marketing executive for a toy company saw a picture of him
in a magazine. He was the
exact image of Lee. Lee and
Admiral Nelson had invented a new toy, but were not going to do anything
with it. Lee was kidnapped to
get information from him about the toy and Lucas was hired to substitute
for him until the exec got his information. That brings us up to
leaned over toward Les. "We may not be brothers, but how about we act
like brothers and go see what we can find in this town?"
like fun. I know some hot
spots that are fabulous."
a minute, Lee."
got gifts for you." He handed Lee a black beaded rosary, which Lee
put into his pocket. "I'm not going to let you go anywhere without
this around your neck." Pulling
a necklace out of his pocket, Chip handed to Lee Starkeís cowbell. This
got a scowl from Lee.
mind if we tag along?" asked Dana, unwilling to give up on either the
blond-headed Chip or the dark-headed Les she had gotten to know.
at Les, Lee noticed the smile in the man's eyes. "Sure, we can make
it a foursome."
you are not dismissed yet."
too have a gift for you Lee, as well as one for Chip and Les."
off your watches, men."
to obey the Admiral, Chip took his off and reached over to take off Lee's.
do what the Admiral asked. He won't hurt you."
watch came off and was laid on the table with the other two.
Nelson reached down to a package he had on the floor by his chair and tore
it open. He brought out three
watch boxes and looked into each one of them. He passed two identical
diver's watches to Lee and Chip and a silver band watch to Les.
not the only one who wants to track you, Lee.
Admiral Starke said Chip and you had too valuable heads for me to
lose. I don't intend to let that happen.
There is an extra button on your watch.
Punch it and the satellite system above will pick up a signal that
will be bounced to the Institute. Each
watch has a different frequency. You
can be tracked and located, even underwater. Les, I don't want
to put you into a position of being kidnapped because you look like
Lee, so you also have been assigned a watch with a separate frequency.
be leaving to go back to the Institute in the morning and Seaview's next
voyage begins tomorrow morning at 0700, gentlemen, so enjoy your night on
the town. Betty and I are
going to sit here a little longer and enjoy some Irish coffee."
grins on the younger menís faces, chairs were pushed back and all stood
up. Lee laid the cowbell in front of Admiral Nelson.
As they hurriedly turned to leave, Les turned back with a twinkle
in his eyes and a smile on his face, "I always wanted a new watch!
Thanks, Mom and Dad."
left Betty laughing at the look on Admiral Nelson's face.
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