Foam on the Large Wave
(Fisi 'o e nauaoam)
After A’ona Matua’s announcement, there was
several moments’ silence.
Lee sincerely hoped that the death the woman was
talking about wasn’t any of the villagers.
“Admiral, there’s a mountain side house not far from the
harbor—the compound. Any
lights or activity?” Lee asked.
fires near the same area where you signaled us, Lee,” the admiral
A’ona Matua said something else.
“They are fires of victory,” La’ani
“Victory?” Nelson repeated.
“Over what?” Then
he stopped and continued in a slightly puzzled voice.
He glanced back at A’ona Matua and La’ani. “Friendly?” Both
“Dr. Mendon has gone.” How
he knew, he couldn’t tell, only that it was so.
The death? Bomar’s?
Again, he didn’t know, only suspected but he suspected that his
guesses were right. His voice
was devoid of any emotion, but he still felt dread.
Could the scientist have perfected his contagion by now?
“Any sign of the jet, Chief?
Sharkey grunted an acknowledgement of the question
and Lee waited. Finally,
“Not getting any readings on any kind of large equipment or ordinance,
Skipper, but with the vegetation apparently right up to the runway, it’s
hard to tell for sure. No
Lee said nothing.
We’ll find out what’s going on better from the ground,” the
admiral declared after a moment’s silence.
The Flying Sub came in steeply and then leveled
out just before it hit the ocean a half-mile or so beyond the reef, Lee
guessed. They skimmed below
the surface through the break in the reef and then coasted onto the beach
above the water line. Nelson
cut the engines and they waited.
Finally, A’ona Matua spoke.
“I want to walk on the soil of my own land,” La’ani
“Wait until we reconnoiter,” the admiral said,
his voice sounding wary and concerned.
Lee smiled softly. Despite her protestations to
him before, the old woman had missed this twenty square miles she called
home. He unbuckled his
seat belt and stood up. “Admiral,
I believe it’s more than safe for her.
If they don’t respect her, they certainly respect her
position.” The old woman
said something and then took his arm.
They walked to the rear hatch.
“I think that’s self-explanatory, Lee,”
La’ani said with a soft laugh.
“Go ahead, then, if you are sure.
Sharkey opened the hatch.
“Wait a moment, ma’am,” he said to A’ona Matua.
He touched Crane on the arm and the captain stepped onto the wet
sand. He heard the surf
booming against the reef and breaking more sedately against the rocks
along the beach. He held his
arm out for the old Polynesian woman and she stepped out.
The murmur of her name told him that there was at least a small
group nearby waiting for her. La’ani
quickly joined them and the murmuring grew louder. With A’ona Matua’s
guidance they walked toward the waiting group. Lee heard the other three
men following them.
There was a quick conversation between the
Hikeruans and then La’ani spoke. “Bomar,
the leader, is dead. It is
believed the evil one did it. After we left, the guards heard gunshots
from the leader’s house and they checked.
It was then they found Bomar dead and the evil one gone on the
small jet,” she told the men from the sub.
A’ona Matua spoke to the Polynesians waiting on the beach and
they murmured among themselves. La’ani
offered no translation this time.
There was more talk in the Polynesian language.
Finally one of the men spoke up.
Lee thought he recognized the voice.
“The evil one left on the jet with Na’alu,” Teva said.
“Na’alu had told us that the leader had demanded revenge
against those who dared to invade our island.
He named someone called Admiral Nelson.”
The name was slightly convoluted by the parameters of their own
language, but Lee and the rest knew to whom they were referring.
“And he named the ship called Seaview, the one that took
away some of our people.”
La’ani said something to them, and then
translated, “I told them that Na’alu was wrong.
The submarine saved our countrymen as well as A’ona Matua and
myself. However, they had
figured that out for themselves and disabled the minefield near the reef. They have chosen to get rid of everything that the evil ones
brought to our island.”
“I wondered about that,” the admiral said
thoughtfully. “That was
quite a feat, to not only disable, but to get rid of them.”
“Teva and his men have watched the leader’s
actions for a long time and were able to do the job when it was necessary.
In fact, some of the men had been trained to use the computers that
controlled the weapons and had even installed the few weapons that Bomar
had collected.” She paused.
“They only finished the minefield just before we arrived.
They had the fires on the beach to celebrate their victory in
ridding the island of the things of the popoa’a.”
“Popoa’a?” Lee asked.
“Foreigners,” La’ani said softly. “Those who are left here are wanting to rid Hikeru of all
that the leader and the evil one brought.
And they wish for no more popoa’a on our island.”
“Where does that leave us?” Nelson asked.
The firelight softened her features.
“You are the exceptions. After
what A’ona Matua has told them, you will always be welcome.
Lee acknowledged what La'ani had said with a nod,
but felt his anxiety level rise as he realized that Mendon would only have
left if he had the means to exact his revenge.
“When did Mendon and Na’alu leave?
And what time is it now?” He
had lost all sense of time in the past several days.
“Oh three hundred hours, Skipper,” Sharkey
Lee cursed under his breath.
“That means you men deactivated those mines in
less than six hours!” the admiral said, incredulous.
Lee heard several of the men laughing.
Then one answered. “After we found the dead leader, we had to prepare for the
return of our next leader, the queen, to whom the rule of our island
belonged all along since the death of our former queen.”
Even though still thinking about Mendon, the
captain caught the last comment.
The admiral asked before he could say anything, though.
“Queen?” Nelson asked.
“La’ani?” Lee ventured, surprised, but not
all that surprised.
When La’ani spoke, her voice was soft.
“Yes, the queen who married Bomar was my grandmother’s eldest
daughter. My father was her younger brother.
I am his eldest child.”
“You have your work cut out for you, but
congratulations,” the admiral told her.
Lee echoed the sentiment, but added, “This
isn’t over with yet.”
“I agree,” La’ani said.
“Great evil has left our island, but it reaches to others.
We cannot allow that.”
“Did Mendon tell anyone his plans before he
left?” Admiral Nelson asked.
“That one didn’t say much more to any of us
except to order us to do his bidding.
The leader wasn’t much better,” one of the men said.
“He said something about an airport,” someone
“Wouldn’t it make sense that Mendon would want
to release his virus at a major metropolitan airport?” Lee asked.
“Probably close to the Institute.”
LAX, he was thinking as the most likely spot.
“Yes,” Nelson mused.
“And that little jet wouldn’t have the range to go all the way
from here. He would have to
refuel in Tahiti, most likely, or perhaps Hawaii.”
“Or take a commercial jet,” Jamieson
Lee heard a short, surprised intake of breath.
“You’re right!” the admiral cried.
“What better way? You could easily hide something of that nature and if
all else failed, release it on the plane.”
It was a morbid thought, but a perfectly feasible
one, Lee thought. “And he
took Na’alu with him. Two
chances. We’ve got to find
them . . . and quickly.”
“Lee, while the Chief and I contact the Tahiti
Airport Authority, you and Doc see if you can find anything in the
laboratory,” Nelson said.
For a quick second, Lee Crane felt a clutch of
dread, but he squelched it and nodded.
“The doctor isn’t familiar with the prison and
I am under a bit of restriction.…”
“I must take care of things with A’ona Matua
before it is time for us to leave, Lee, or I would come with you.”
“Us?” Lee stammered.
One of my countrymen has been led down a path of destruction and I
plan on stopping him if I can,” La’ani said.
There was an increased confidence and authority in her voice. It became her well. “Teva
and Ra’oana will accompany you and Dr. Jamieson,” she added.
“Teva?” Lee frowned, remembering his days as a
prisoner under the care of Na’alu, Teva and the other guards.
“Lee, Teva was not happy with what he had to do, especially more recently,” La’ani said softly.
She was standing near him and he not only felt the
warmth of her voice, but also the warmth of her body.
Lee nodded. Doc took
his arm and the small group walked the narrow path that led to the storage
area under the mountain. Although
he couldn’t see anything, Lee could still feel a chill as they entered
the complex. Jamieson led him
with sure steps, but Lee pretty much knew the way.
It was burned into his mind.
“To the right, Doc. This
corridor leads to the laboratory.”
They crossed the threshold into the large room of his torture and
he stopped short.
all right, Lee?” Doc asked.
“Yeah,” he said, but he had to struggle to
keep the quaver out of his voice. “Welcome
to Doctor Frankenstein’s lab,” he added acerbically.
He pointed in the direction that he hoped were the cabinets where
Mendon had been keeping his experimental drugs and antidotes.
“I’m going to take anything that I think would
even remotely prove helpful,” Doc said.
“Teva, help me put these things in this case, please.
Ra’oana, would you look around and see if there is anything else
that might be helpful. Notes,
vials like these, anything.”
Without saying anything, the Polynesians moved
around the room. Lee heard
drawers opening and closing, papers rustling, feet padding on the hard
floor. He stood there
picturing the past, trying to come to terms with it.
So intent was he, that Lee didn’t hear the approach of anyone. A hand touched him on the shoulder and he jumped.
“You okay, Captain,” Doc asked.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said softly.
“Hard to believe I was only in here for two weeks.”
“Some moments in time have much more impact than
others,” Jamieson said philosophically, then he added fervently, “Lee,
you’ll get over this. It
will just take a little time.”
“Did you find anything?” the captain asked,
purposefully ignoring the doctor’s encouragement.
“I think so, especially some notes that might
very well have bearing on what he put in your eyes.
I’m going to pack it all up and then we can check out Mendon’s
Lee could think of nothing to say. The scents and sounds of this place were assailing him and
his mind was supplying the memories, real and imagined. Sometimes it had been hard to differentiate the two.
Lee!” a voice kept calling over and over. The tenuous line to horror, the silken cord that bound him to
Mendon, broke, at least for now and Lee shook his head, clearing away the
last vestiges of fear. “Lee!”
Jamie shouted, almost in his ear.
The doctor had a tight grip on his shoulder and
Lee was surprised to find himself sitting down on a straight-backed chair.
He had not remembered moving.
“I’m all right,” he said softly.
“I needed your help, but I was afraid this was
too much for you,” the CMO said angrily.
Lee knew that Doc was angry with himself rather
than at his patient. “I’m
all right, Jamie. Just a
flashback. That’s all.” He
could hear the doctor fuming.
Finally, Jamie checked his pulse and then sighed. “Well, I’m done in here. Ra’oana, where is Dr. Mendon’s living quarters?”
“Up in the leader’s house,” the Polynesian
“Captain, I want you to go back to the village
with Teva,” Doc said. “I’m going to see if Mendon left anything in
his room. It shouldn’t take
“No, this time follow my orders and get the hell
out of here,” Jamieson said.
Secretly Lee was relieved.
The young Polynesian led him back to the village.
Lee sat by a fire, feeling the warmth on his face, listening to the
banter and songs of the young men. Occasionally
one of them tried to engage him in conversation in English, but Lee had
very little to say. Eventually,
he was left to his own thoughts and his fatigue.
He leaned back, feeling the sand for any surprises, then laid down.
He saw a jet. It was a commercial airliner, TWA, the logo on the tail declared, flying into LA Ex. It landed, sat on the tarmac for a while and then the passengers disembarked down stairs that had been slowly rolled out. The passengers coming down the stairs were skeletons, walking with briefcases and purses in their bony hands. Joints creaked and clacked together. They chatted as though nothing was wrong, but as they passed people on the tarmac, each normal person fell to the ground and then became a skeleton as well. Lee woke up with a gasp and sat up. “Admiral! Where’s the admiral?” he called out.
|Foam on the Large Wave Prologue|
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents|