Foam on the Large Wave
(Fisi 'o e nauaoam)
Harriman moved to the edge of the deck.
Kowalski carefully pulled Crane up on the deck, Porter helping from
behind. The captain
seemed barely conscious, but he suddenly stirred and stood up.
It was as though he had realized where he was and protocol had
taken over. He leaned heavily
on Porter as he turned toward the assemblage on deck.
The two women were now on board, Nelson noted remotely.
Under normal circumstances, Lee would have placed
himself at the butt of many jokes by coming on board in a lava-lava.
However, no one was laughing.
One look at the captain of the Seaview was enough to show
that Lee was standing by sheer will power alone.
Nelson was appalled. Crane
was gaunt and pale, his body shaking as though from either total
exhaustion or fever. Somehow, Nelson thought both might be the case.
Although there were no visible injuries, Lee was a very sick man.
“Per . . . permish . . .” Crane stammered, his
voice barely above a whisper.
“Granted!” Nelson cried out and reached to
The rescued man acted as though he hadn’t heard.
Lee swayed slightly, but continued standing.
“Permission to come aboard,” he repeated.
Then with a groan, he collapsed, even taking Porter by surprise.
Harriman caught him in his arms and with the
seaman’s help, lowered Lee to the deck.
He was burning up with fever.
“Doc!” he bellowed.
“Right here, Admiral,” the CMO said, his voice
tight. He knelt down by
Crane’s side and began his examination.
A female voice made Nelson glance up.
The two women were standing just outside the small knot of men
ringing their injured captain. The older one was addressing him in a melodious Polynesian
tongue. All he caught was his
name, drawn out in the South Sea’s way where consonants were never
pronounced together. The
woman had a commanding presence, as though she was a queen, despite the
disheveled gray hair and water dripping from her brightly colored sarong.
Nelson felt no less authority from her than from many of the
dignitaries he had met through the years.
Knowing Lee was in good hands, he stood, deciding to give her any
honor that might rightfully belong to her.
His French was not extensive, but he tried it anyway.
“A’ona Matua somewhat understands the language
of the Tahitians, but she prefers to speak though me,” the younger woman
said. “Allowing you to talk
in the language most comfortable to you, Admiral.”
That they knew his name indicated that Lee had been with them for
at least a short while. “Thank
you for caring for Captain Crane,” he said with a slight bow.
The young woman quickly translated and A’ona
Matua replied. “What the
A’ona Matua did was to use her small skills to keep Lee alive long
enough to get him to your doctor. What
the evil one has done can only be undone by one of your own doctors.”
The admiral glanced back at the CMO and at Lee, who was still lying on the deck. “What did Mendon do to him?” He almost hated asking.
“I am La’ani Rana’oanui.
I worked in the place where Lee was being held,” the young woman
She was interrupted.
“Admiral,” Jamieson called out.
“We will arrange quarters for you in a moment,
but you will have to excuse me,” Nelson said.
He turned to the doctor.
“Admiral,” the CMO began.
“I am taking the captain below.
I need to run tests but besides a burned hand, he has the most
virulent case of influenza I have ever seen. I’m going to use the quarantine room.”
"And I think these ladies, most particularly the younger one,
might be able to give you more insight into what happened to Lee on the
“I would appreciate all the help I can get,”
“Admiral, we have visitors,” Morton called out
from near the conning tower.
As the med techs gently carried the injured man
below deck, the women following, Nelson turned his attention to the sea.
The fishing canoes were paddling alongside the Seaview.
Some of the Polynesians gaped at the huge submarine in abject awe,
while others approached with steely determination.
Several men on deck started to pull side arms from
their holsters, but the admiral ordered them to stand down. “Look sharp,” he admonished them. “But don’t do anything for the moment.”
The canoes lay bobbing, tiny ducklings around a
monstrous blue-gray duck. One
of the foremost men hesitated and then clambered aboard.
He stood in front of Nelson, looking around briefly and then
looking back at the admiral. “This
is the ship of Lee, the prisoner La’ani rescued?”
“Yes,” Nelson said, also nodding. “This is the Seaview.”
“Lee promised A’ona Matua that we would be
safe here. We have no place
now. We have helped and the
leader Bomar and the evil one will be angry,” the man said, his voice
shaking with more than unfamiliarity of the language.
Nelson glanced at the gathered men and mentally
shook his head. What in
the world was Lee thinking? But
then he knew exactly what the captain had been thinking.
Sick and injured at the hands of two morally corrupt men, Lee had
promised safety for these people from the same fate.
“Admiral, you’d better make up your mind
soon,” Chip said, close to his ear.
“Sonar’s picking up a single plane heading our way and the best
they can tell, it’s got some ordinance.”
“Lee made the decision,” Nelson replied.
To the Hikeru men, he ordered, “Get on board now.
Your leader is sending someone to bomb us.
As one the fishermen clamored up the side and
quickly followed the Seaview’s men on board.
“Prepare to dive,” Morton shouted. The order was repeated inside the sub.
The officers were the last inside and before
Nelson’s feet had left the ladder, the submarine was underway. The dive was steep and swift, but the first depth charge hit
aft with enough force to knock the Polynesians off their feet.
The crew was used to it and hung on.
“General quarters!” Nelson ordered.
“Take us out of here. Full
Another depth charge blew, causing the submarine
to shudder and tip, but not slacken speed.
A third was felt, but had almost no effect on the flight of the
powerful child of ingenuity and the sea.
Nelson found that he had been holding his breath, but slowly
“Orders, Admiral?” the XO asked.
“American Samoa, Commander,” Nelson said
without hesitation. “We
can’t keep our visitors very long.
Take them down to the wardroom for now.
The men will have to share their racks with our visitors for the
next couple of days.” Then
as though to himself, he added, “As
soon as we can, we come back.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” Chip said crisply, also
ordering an end to the general quarters.
“I’ll be in sickbay.”
Harriman left without looking into the worried faces around him.
In sickbay, he saw the two women sitting on a bunk, but he only
nodded to them. He crossed
the small room to the quarantine area.
He knocked on the door, but when he heard the commotion from
within, he didn’t wait for an answer; he just barged on in. Crane was on the exam table, thrashing wildly, his
screams that of a terrified man. It
was all the physician’s assistants could do to keep him on the gurney.
“No more! Please, no
more! Leave me alone!”
“Lee!” Harriman rushed to his captain’s side
and placed a hand on his shoulder. It
was shoved away by the agitated man.
“What’s going on, Jamie?”
“I was only trying to give him a sedative so I
could take care of his injuries,” Doc panted.
“But as soon as the needle touched him, he went berserk.”
Of course, he would, Nelson thought.
“Jamie, back off for now.”
“I haven’t kept you apprised of what I learned
from the double agent, but Lee’s regimen the past two weeks has been one
hypodermic after another. If
my knowledge of his captors is correct, he has been not only injected with
truth serums, but other psychosis inducing drugs.
He’s acting terrified, because he is terrified.
Can you give him something orally that will do the same thing?”
“Yes, I can,” Doc said.
“But we have to get him to calm down first.”
The admiral nodded and leaned closer, placing his
hand gently on the injured man’s chest.
Crane was shaking, his breath a hoarse panting. “Lee, settle
down. Everyone is going to
leave you alone now,” Harriman said soothingly.
Crane’s eyes were tightly closed, but he did as
he was told, turning toward the admiral.
“Not a trick?” he asked plaintively, his voice trembling.
Harriman’s heart wrenched.
He hated to think of the details of what they had done.
“No trick, Lee.”
The captain’s face was slick with sweat and
Nelson took a cool cloth from one of the assistants and placed it on
“Admiral?” Crane asked.
“Admiral, is that you?”
“Yes, you’re home—and safe, Lee,” Nelson
reassured his captain.
Lee reached up with one hand, fingertips touching
the admiral’s chest. Nelson
was appalled to see how badly it had been burned.
Then Crane shuddered and cried out, his pain welling from somewhere
deep inside. “You didn’t
know. Please tell me you
didn’t know.” Then he bit
his lower lip, as though trying to keep further words inside.
“Know what, lad?
What?” Harriman asked, although he thought he did know what Lee
was talking about.
Supposed to be….”
swear to you, Lee, I didn’t know that was anyone’s directive. I would never do that to you.
Believe me. I would
never do anything like that to you,” Nelson said softly. Crane reached up again.
Harriman took his outstretched hand, careful not to touch the raw
“They told me you had.
Called me sacri . . . ficial lamb, but I knew—deep inside.
I knew…. Shouldn’t
have ever doubted. Sorry
“Lee, you had every right to doubt.
Damn them, you had every right.
I should have seen it.” He
felt his heart tearing apart inside.
What had Mendon done? And
the ONI? Damn them, too.
Crane cried out in pain.
“Admiral, please. Hurting.”
In horror, he saw that he had squeezed the burned
hand. He let go.
“Oh, God. I’m
Crane moaned and sucked in several deep breaths
before responding. “
S‘kay.” He smiled wanly. “Home. Feels
Harriman noticed that the CMO was holding a small
cup. “Lee, are you
thirsty?” Crane nodded and Doc handed Nelson the cup.
“Here’s something for you to drink.”
The admiral held Lee’s head and shoulders up while he drank and
then he handed the empty cup to the nearest assistant.
Gently he eased Lee back down.
. . . it stays down.”
Nelson hoped it did, too.
“Just relax, Lee.” Almost
instantly, it seemed to Harriman, the medication worked.
Crane sagged into sleep.
The admiral backed away and let Doc and the
assistants do their jobs. His
eyes prickled and he swiped his sleeve across his face to try to regain
some measure of control. Then
he heard a sound and turned.
La’ani was standing just inside the door, tears
coursing down her cheeks. He
walked the short distance and gazed into her dark eyes.
“Doc will take care of him.
He will probably want some information from you soon, though.”
“He and you will probably want this,” she
replied, holding up a waterproof canvas bag.
Harriman hadn’t even noticed that she had been
carrying something. “What
“Lee and I stole these from the evil one’s
room of torture.” She
handed him the bag.
He looked inside and gasped.
Numerous tiny vials were neatly packed to avoid breakage.
“Are these what I think they are?”
“Lee said they would be useful.
He would not leave before we got them.
That was when he hurt his arm.
He told me these would help prevent sickness that Mendon might give
people—including his own sickness.”
Harriman turned to Jamieson, who had been
listening to the exchange. “Doc, I’m taking
these to the lab. I want a
blood sample immediately so I can match one of these to Lee’s malady.
That ‘influenza’ is a biological agent that Mendon gave him.”
“God help us,” the CMO breathed, his eyes
large. He gave hurried
instructions to the assistants and turned to Nelson.
“Lee said that what the evil one had given him
was not yet ready. It would
not give sickness to anyone else,” La’ani said quickly, understanding
the doctor’s fears.
“Are you sure?” Doc asked.
“Lee was with us for a little more than a day.
No one else has become sick.”
“We’re taking blood samples now, Admiral.
I’ll get one to you in a few minutes.
Right now, he’s got over a hundred and four temperature and
we’ve got to get it under control.”
Nelson turned to La’ani.
“I’m sorry to leave you and Ms Matua, but this is important.”
“Yes, it is,” La’ani nodded. “Please find the one that will help Lee.
He has been through so much.”
“I know he has,” Harriman said, taking her
hand and squeezing it gently. “Thank
you.” He left with the bag and went to the lab.
Quickly setting up his equipment, the admiral was ready to begin
when one of Jamie’s assistants came with a blood sample.
“Do you need some help, Admiral?” he asked.
“The CMO told me to assist you.”
“Yes, I want you to label and store the vials as
I examine them. Prepare the
blood sample for microscopic study,” he ordered.
It was as though the time stood still.
Everything was so slow. Harriman
went through each vial, rejecting each when the markers didn’t match.
He was beginning to despair when he looked at the next to last one.
He checked it again, comparing both the sample and Lee’s blood
sample. “Yes!” he hissed.
Looking up, his eyes gleaming, he saw that the seaman had been
watching him intently. Harriman
grinned. “Let’s get this to Doc.”
“Is that the antidote, sir?”
|Foam on the Large Wave Prologue|
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents|