Foam on the Large Wave
(Fisi 'o e nauaoam)
Lee was in Nepal again.
It was the same temple, the same inner corridor and then in the
same room where he had spent the short time with Mendez. This time, though, there was no welcoming Prandjit, no
dinner, no light. The room
was mostly dark. There was a candle in a far corner.
Lee felt the wall for a light switch.
He knew there had been one before.
Finally, he found it, but there was no light when he flipped it.
He saw dark and ominous shapes, shadows
exaggerated and grotesque. Suddenly
he tripped over something on the floor.
Feeling around his feet, Lee touched a still, cold body.
He sucked in his breath and crawled toward the candle.
With a trembling hand he picked it up off the tiny table where it
had been sitting and carried it back to the body.
Mendez! He checked for
a pulse. Mendez was dead.
Suddenly it was gone.
There was still darkness, but instead of grotesque shadows, it was
complete. He heard the soft
sounds of machinery and the gentle, almost imperceptible movements of a
submarine at sea. Seaview! He was on board. Then
the memory of the recent past came back.
But how long had he been unconscious?
Lee listened, but heard nothing else.
He was alone. The
smell of antiseptics told him he was in sickbay.
Lee slowly sat up, feeling lightly wrapped gauze
around his burned hand as he did so.
His right wrist was encased in a rigid splint from the base of his
fingers to several inches below the wrist, but there was no cast.
He flexed his fingers. There
was pain, but not any of the numbness as before.
Then he realized just how clear-headed he was. Yes, he was still tired; exhausted, in fact, but he felt no
headache, no nausea, and no fever. One
of those vials must have held the counter-agent for whatever Mendon had
given him. The
dream came back with bruising force and Lee felt panic setting in.
He remembered Mendon’s words--“You will be the instrument in
the destruction of my most bitter enemy.”
Panic was fed by
horror that carved itself on his heart and seared his brain.
Mendon had been talking about the admiral!
He had to see the admiral!
Crane felt the presence of a needle and he again
felt the overwhelming horror of something coursing through his veins.
He tried to reach for the IV, tried to follow its path, but the
bandages thwarted him. Cursing softly under his breath, gasping in sudden panic, he
pondered what to do next when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
He hadn’t heard anyone approaching.
“Yes,” came the voice of the CMO. “You are obviously feeling better.”
“You found the antidote?”
“Yes,” Jamieson answered softly.
He took a tremulous breath and felt a great
shudder course through his body. “Take
it out,” he whispered.
Please. Take it
out.” His voice was a
whisper, but he was hard pressed not to shout his desire.
“Captain, this is the only way I’ve had to
replenish the fluids in your body and to give you the antibiotics you
needed while you were asleep. You
were dangerously dehydrated and had a very high fever.”
“I know, Doc.
And I understand and appreciate what you’re doing.”
Suppressing the horror of what was violating his body, Lee brought
his mind back to what he knew was most important.
“I have to see the admiral,” Lee said, his feeling of impending
doom rising almost enough to choke him.
vital!” He had tried to
sound calm, but was afraid that he sounded hysterical.
Doc said nothing.
Will Jamieson gazed steadily at the man in front
of him—a man still very much under the effects of his two weeks in hell.
There was no doubt in the doctor’s mind that Lee Crane did
have vitally important information, but the psychologist part of his
medical degree saw something else. There
was some deeper need buried far into the heart and soul of the Seaview’s
captain and he wasn’t sure exactly what it was or consequently, how to
go about meeting it. “I
finally ordered the admiral to bed three hours ago, Lee.
It’s four in the morning. He
has been worried about you, engrossed in his project, and therefore not
“I can relate to that sleeping well part,”
Crane said bitterly.
And Jamieson knew exactly what the captain was
talking about. It was his
silence that had brought the doctor in from the main sickbay to check on
Lee. When he was sleeping,
Crane was anything but restful and finally the CMO had given him a
sedative. It was always easy to tell when it wore off.
Doc paused in thought. He
knew Nelson had given strict orders to be informed when Lee was awake and
coherent, so that wasn’t an issue.
“The admiral wants this information.
I know he left orders.”
If the situation weren’t so serious, Doc would
be laughing. Those two men
were so much on each other’s wavelength at times; it wasn’t funny. “I’ll call him, Lee.”
He turned toward the intercom, but Crane reached out and awkwardly
caught his arm.
“No, Doc, I’ll go to his cabin.”
Now Jamie did a double take, aghast at the
suggestion. “Captain Crane,
you may be feeling better, but you’re not that much better.”
“The admiral’s cabin is secure. He has the
equipment to get part of what I have for him,” Lee insisted.
Jamieson thought the voice sounded almost
plaintive, pleading. That
need, the doctor thought again. That
desperate need to be a viable part of what was going on around him.
That’s it! Jamie thought. Lee
Crane had a deep, unverbalized need to be in control of
something—anything, in an existence that had spiraled totally out of his
control. “Let me undo
the IV’s and help you up,” he finally agreed.
“Then we’ll see.”
He felt exhaustion in the body that leaned against
his, even after eighteen hours of rest and intravenous fluids. How the hell Lee had managed to dive and swim under that
gunboat and live was beyond him. When
Crane was free of the various liquid cocktails, he slid to the floor,
where he stood wavering slightly.
“You all right?” Jamie queried.
“Sure as hell have felt better,” Crane
admitted in a soft voice.
“Let me help you to the admiral’s cabin.
Then I can guide you back when you two are finished.”
As soon as Jamieson had said the words, he knew he had said the
have to do this myself.” Then
Lee laughed, a short bark that held a bitter edge.
“I told someone once that I knew the Seaview so well that
I could walk her blindfolded. Well,
now’s my chance to prove it.”
“That’s not the issue, Captain,” Jamieson
“The issue is that I may not ever be able to
walk her corridors again!” he shouted angrily.
As though fighting an inner battle for control of his emotions, Lee
added in a lower, calmer voice. “Let
me at least do this, Jamie. Let
me do this vitally important thing . . . myself.”
Jamieson said nothing.
Everything in his training told him that what the captain proposed
was not only unnecessary, but also dangerous.
Lee wasn’t physically able.
He studied the angry, desperate, frightened—yes, Lee Crane was
scared. He was frightened of
losing everything that was important to him.
“You sure you have the stamina to get to the admiral’s
cabin?” he asked.
“Of course,” Crane said with a wry smile.
“Up the corridor, ladder, down corridor….”
“You made your point, Captain. But I want you to promise me something.”
“What?” he asked dubiously.
“Use the intercom if you have trouble. Less than
twenty-four hours ago, I wouldn’t have given much more than a tinker’s
damn for your chances. Pumped
full of all kind of garbage and nothing to eat for Lord knows how long.”
“Your concoction is guaranteed,” Crane
Bravado, thought Jamie.
“I would have given you the high test IV if I had known you
wanted to make an excursion.”
Lee smiled. “By
the way, I promise. Just
promise me that you won’t send one of the men to shadow me.”
“I can’t do that, Lee and you know it.
When you leave, if I think you need someone just in case, I won’t
frowned, but said nothing. Jamie
helped the captain on with the rubber-soled service shoes and then pulled
out a robe, helping Crane put it on.
“I assume you realized that you only have a sprained wrist.
I have only immobilized it, but I still want you to avoid using the
hand to do more than touch things.”
“Thank goodness for small favors,” Lee
“Let me help you to the door. Doctor’s prerogative.”
Crane nodded and leaned on Jamieson as they moved
to the door. Again, the
doctor questioned his decision to allow the captain to do this.
They stopped in front of the door and the CMO opened it for his
patient. “Coast is clear,
Captain,” he murmured.
“Thanks, Jamie,” Lee replied in a fervent
voice. He stood quietly and
then turned down the corridor toward officer’s country.
Jamie was pleased to see that although the
skipper’s pace was slow, it was steady.
The man was going to make it come hell or high water, he thought
with a shake of his head. He
went back into the sick bay and shook the dozing medical technician.
“Cooper, I want you to very discreetly follow the captain.
He’s not to know you are behind him unless it appears he’s
going to get hurt.”
“Then I heard you two right? The skipper’s heading to the admiral’s cabin on his
The rating nodded, shoved his feet in his sneakers
and then slipped out of sickbay.
Doc picked up the private line that would connect
him with Admiral Nelson. After
several moments, a sleepy voice answered, almost incomprehensibly. “Admiral? It’s
It was as if a switch had been flipped.
“Uh, much better, Admiral.
But I do want to warn you that you have a visitor coming to your
There was a pause and then a muffled curse.
“At this hour? You? And if Lee
is better, couldn’t you have waited another hour?”
“No, not me.
I’m afraid your visitor isn’t quite aware of the passage of
time just yet,” he said and then paused, deciding just how to break
this. Bluntly, he decided almost instantly. “It’s Lee.”
There was another pause and Jamieson held the receiver an inch or
two from his ear.
“What the hell possessed you to let him go
wandering the corridors in his condition?”
“Admiral, his physical condition isn’t what
prompted me to give in to his demand,” the CMO said meaningfully. “And I sent someone to follow discreetly, just in case.”
There was a moment’s silence and then the voice
answered more softly. “I
think I understand, Jamie.”
“I figured you would, Admiral. When he’s finished giving you the information he told
me was so vital, let him bunk in your cabin. I don’t want him back until
he’s rested and had some breakfast.”
“And when he’s sacked out, call me.
I want to check him over.”
“Yes,” Nelson said simply.
Jamieson set down the receiver and then picked up
a lukewarm cup of coffee. He
looked inside the cup and grimaced, then went ahead and took a swallow. There was nothing to do but wait, he thought tiredly.
Nelson replaced the receiver and pondered a
moment. Lee had felt it
imperative to see him at this hour. Of
course, Lee had slept for almost eighteen hours.
Mendez’s information? He
shook his head. No, there had
to be more. Something else
had impelled Lee to see him alone.
Doc had hinted at a psychological need.
He would have to talk to Jamieson a bit more about that. He knew
that what motivated his captain right now was pretty much determined by
that two weeks in Mendon’s ‘care.’
But Lee would also have a concrete reason to see him, not just some
deep-seated need to prowl the corridors blind.
Harriman looked down and realized that he was only dressed in his
underwear. Then he chuckled
softly. Captain Crane
wouldn’t know. That quickly
sobered him at the thought of a possible future.
He threw on his pants and shirt and had turned to heat up a cup of
instant coffee when someone tapped softly on his cabin door.
Harriman almost said ‘come in,’ but he
didn’t. Although the
admiral had left his door unlocked when the doctor had placed the
‘curfew’ on him, he realized that even so, Lee wouldn’t be able to
negotiate the knob without difficulty.
Quickly, he turned and opened the door.
Lee was leaning against the frame catching his breath.
As the door opened, he straightened up.
Out of the corner of his eye, Nelson saw the med technician gazing
at them. He nodded and the
man slipped silently back down the corridor.
“Admiral, I have some important information.
Is it all right to come in?”
“Do you think I’d say no?”
Lee grinned sheepishly.
“No, but on my way I remembered what Doc said about the time.”
Harriman put his arm around the captain’s
shoulders. His breath caught
in his throat as he guided the injured man into his cabin.
“Lee, it’s just good to have you back.
I don’t care about the hour.”
He shut the door behind them.
“Have a seat on my bed while I make us a cup of coffee.”
While he poured water from a bottle into a couple of mugs, he
watched Lee. Even though it
was obvious that the man was physically exhausted he didn’t hesitate,
managing to navigate quite well around his desk and to the bed set into
“Doc said you had something important to tell
me,” Nelson prompted, even as he put the two mugs into a tiny microwave.
“I figured he’d call you,” Lee said, leaning
with a sigh against the wall.
You didn’t think he would?”
There was a grin, characteristic of the young
captain. It heartened Nelson
to see it. “No, I figured
he would,” Lee admitted. “Kind
of surprised me when he let me out of sickbay.”
“Surprise wouldn’t cover what I felt,”
Harriman quipped. He pulled
the mugs out and then realized that Lee might have problems with his. “You ready for some coffee, lad?”
“When it’s cooled a bit.”
Nelson nodded and placed Lee’s cup on the desk.
“Admiral, Mendon’s going to plant a contagion among his enemies—very, very soon. I think my escape will push his timetable ahead. He called it his jihad. He worships Josef Mengele and he managed to create a different variant of this damned virus twice in a six day period,” Lee said in a rush. “We need to go back now. He once worked for the Republic, so I believe that he’ll target the U.S., probably LA or San Diego or . . . Santa Barbara.” He stopped abruptly and took a deep, shuddering breath. “But I think his real target is . . . you.”
|Foam on the Large Wave Prologue|
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents|