Foam on the Large Wave
(Fisi 'o e nauaoam)
“What is it?” the admiral asked, his voice
filled with concern.
rental! He’s going to drive
the contagion to NIMR.”
“Car rental, Admiral.
Where’s the car rental?” His
voice rose in his anxiety, but he didn’t care.
“That makes perfect sense,” Nelson said and
guided Lee through the airport, down to the baggage area where there were
more people, although still less than normal.
Apparently the entire airport was finally being evacuated.
If Mendon left with the rest of the crowd, he would be free to
spread his terrible destruction.
Suddenly Lee stopped in his tracks.
People jostled him, some muttering deprecating remarks, some
apologetic. He ignored them
all. Something in the
air. Some kind of smell.
It was familiar, but what? Cologne.
Mendon’s cologne. He
remembered and was suddenly in the laboratory again.
airport terminal. Mendon was
here! He had gotten past the
agents at the in-bound flight gates.
And he was now leaving with the rest of the crowd.
But Mendon was here!! Reaching
up, Lee jerked off the bandage. His
eyes instantly began to burn and water, were still unfocussed, but
regardless, he saw Mendon walking rapidly away, a fuzzy apparition of
death with a briefcase held tightly under one arm.
Oh, he looked taller, darker, heavier, but Lee would have been able
to pick the scientist out anywhere, through any disguise.
With his breath held tight in his chest, Lee
started off after his tormenter. “Cover
me, Admiral.” He broke into
a run, shoving the few remaining people right and left.
Anger exploded in his mind and heart.
Finally he had the chance to get to his tormenter.
His left hand gave messages of pain and he realized that he was
flexing it into a tight fist. Good! It could
do that now. Good….
Mendon looked over his shoulder and cried out
sharply. Lee bore him to the
ground in a bone rattling tackle, unmindful of the sharp pain in his right
wrist. He was unmindful of
anything except the man beneath him.
Lee suddenly gasped in shock at the mental picture that flashed in
his mind. Mendon had been at his brainwashing more than three years
ago. He had been one of his
tormenters then, although only in the background.
“Get the case, Admiral!”
He remembered the real reason for his being here even through the
red haze of his anger, pain and hatred.
Lee shoved his splinted wrist against Mendon’s throat and pushed.
“Help me!” screamed Mendon before the pressure
forced the cry into a croaking sound.
Hands tried to tear Lee away from his quarry, but he was now like
one demon-possessed. He could
not, would not let go of Mendon.
“Lee, let the courts….”
“He’s killing him!” came another voice.
Shouts of panic and screams of fear, but Lee ignored them all.
All the frustration, the helplessness, sickness, pain and suffering
were demanding their retribution. They
would not be denied.
“No!” the admiral shouted.
Crane didn’t have any idea if the shout was for him or for those
trying to pull him away from Mendon, but he didn’t care. These were remote bothers, things to be ignored as Lee pushed
harder. Physical pain was
also ignored. All he could
see was the opportunity to exorcise his personal demon.
“Lee!” the admiral shouted, almost in his ear.
“Not this way! Let him sit in a cell. Let him feel and think about what he
did to you!”
What? Lee thought.
He saw that sometime during all of this, he had transferred his
grip to his left hand and was choking the life out of Mendon. His fingers seemed to have gained strength and he continued
“Lee,” the admiral said more softly.
Crane felt a hard knot in his chest begin to
unravel slightly. But
Mendon deserves death! a cold voice told him.
Not this way. His
hand continued to press against Mendon’s throat even as hate warred with
logic. Yes, let him
rot…. Hell, no, kill
He must have said that last out loud, because the
few people left in the area were screaming, calling for help.
admiral was gripping his shoulder and trying to pull him away.
“Yes,” he said in automatic response, without
really acknowledging. With
a great deal of satisfaction, he saw the terror in Mendon’s eyes, the
blue cast to his lips. Lee
saw that the fugitive had released the briefcase, which he had kept
clutched tightly to his chest. The
admiral had it. The admiral
had said something about letting Mendon rot?
Without loosening his grip, he gazed deeply into Mendon’s eyes.
“Do you remember me saying I’d follow you to hell?”
He smiled his satisfaction.
The admiral’s hand fell away.
“I found you, Mendon. I
found you, and I’ll see you in court, you son of a….”
Everything broke apart in an explosion of pain and blackness.
Harriman didn’t even have time to shout a
warning as one airport security man jerked him aside and another rushed up
and blindsided Lee, bearing him hard against a large concrete pillar. Mendon had apparently been more aware, because he leaped to
his feet. The scientist took
in the fact that the admiral had a tight grasp of the briefcase, so he
turned and began to flee toward the nearest exit.
“He’s a bioterrorist!” Harriman shouted.
“That man must be stopped!”
Almost before the words were out of his mouth, two
men in plain clothes grabbed Mendon and threw him to the floor.
“Get this building evacuated—now!” Nelson
shouted. “He could be
carrying more biological agents in his clothes.”
That seemed to mobilize the airport security.
Civilians were quickly evacuated from the building without their
luggage, even as the two men held Mendon in a tight grip.
With the suitcase tightly gripped in one hand, Harriman knelt down
beside Lee, who lay still on the hard floor.
The admiral felt for a pulse and quickly found one.
He sighed in relief, but tensed again when he felt a lump forming
on the side of Crane’s head and saw blood on his fingers when he drew
his hand away.
Harriman looked up.
He assumed this new person was yet another plain-clothes federal
agent. “FBI?” he asked.
The agent nodded and showed his identification.
“We have a doctor coming to take care of your captain."
Nelson nodded, got up, looked again at Lee and figured he’d be
all right for a moment. He
strode over to the still struggling Mendon.
“I think you may ultimately wish Captain Crane had followed
through on his impulses,” Harriman hissed.
“ID’s, gentlemen?” he asked the two men holding the
men each reached in their jackets with one hand and pulled out
nodded. “He might have something concealed.”
They nodded indulgently and began to take Mendon
from the terminal. Several LA
policemen had shown up by that time.
“Where are you taking him?” Nelson asked,
thinking that hell would be too good.
“Police station for now and then to a more
secure federal holding, Admiral,” one of the agents told him.
As soon as he could, he would call Washington.
This man should really be in a more secure location now, not
later. He returned to
Lee’s side. A dark-haired,
middle-aged woman approached. “I
am Dr. Dorene Davis. What
happened?” She knelt down by Crane’s side, even as Harriman
began explaining briefly the recent events.
Lee woke to muted talk and soft laughter.
He was in a hospital bed. His
eyes were bandaged. Reaching
back into his memory, he tried to figure out how in the world he had
gotten to a hospital, but he had no clues.
The last thing he remembered was Mendon.
“Mendon!!” he cried out.
The voices grew silent.
“Lee,” the admiral said from near his bedside.
Chip echoed him. “How
are you feeling?” Nelson asked.
“Admiral, uh, what about Mendon? Is he….?”
“Indeed he is, thanks to your keen . . .
whatever it was,” Nelson replied. “That
is the journalistic mystery of the day.”
He chuckled softly.
“Huh?” Lee asked, thoroughly confused.
“First of all, Mendon is being held under high
security, courtesy of the FBI. It
would seem that LA-X is trying to backpedal from their lack of, um, rapid
response to the whole bio-terrorist episode,” explained Nelson.
“And the captain of the Seaview was the
hero of the hour who pulled their bureaucratic butts from the fiasco that
could have been,” added Morton, his voice filled with relieved laughter.
“By the way, the admiral asked a question, I think.”
Lee felt as though he was on a roller coaster of
confusion. “What happened
at the airport? I mean
after I caught Mendon?”
“You mean after you almost killed the scum?”
Chip asked. “To be
perfectly honest, Lee, you would have been doing the world a great favor
if you had followed through.”
Lee remembered the white-hot anger of the moment,
and while he knew the admiral had been right to try and stop him, he
didn’t regret his actions, not in the least.
If Mendon was in front of him now?
He felt his fingers flexing again.
Then he noted the more rigid splint on his right arm.
The admiral took up the story. “Apparently, one of the airport security men thought you
had gone berserk, attacked a passenger and figured the only way to remedy
the situation was to play linebacker and tackle you.
He slammed you pretty hard. Added
a mild concussion to the mix.”
“He wasn’t far off,” Lee said with a feral
smile. “I guess I really
“But by that time the FBI had responded and
Mendon didn’t make it another ten feet,” Nelson continued.
“And also by this time, the local network affiliates had pounced.
The ONI has been having six kinds of fits trying to maintain some
semblance of anonymity for you.”
It was at times like these that a loss of usefulness to the ONI
would be welcome. “To hell
“They were only partially successful.
The news feeds still credit you with the save, but ONI has limited
the amount of background and details allowed out.
And they have left word that you are not to give interviews.”
“Oh?” he said caustically.
“The only reason I would consent to an interview would be to
irritate ONI; especially after what they did to me.
In fact….” He
grinned conspiratorially, “Which station did you say?”
“I don’t blame you in the least, Lee,” the admiral said. “You saved a lot of lives and deserve some recognition for
“Well, I’m a little camera shy, so maybe
I’ll let ONI off the hook,” Crane said hesitantly.
“Maybe.” Then he
thought again about what they had put him through.
“That nice looking reporter on KXLA still around?”
Chip laughed uproariously.
“Well, either way, ONI isn’t off the hook,
lad. I have already requested
a Naval review board of inquiry into the planning and execution of this
mission. What they did was
unconscionable,” Nelson said heatedly.
“By the way, not to change the subject, but how did you know
Mendon was so close?”
Very distinctive,” Lee replied.
“Now I have a question.” There
was expectant silence. “What
about the eyes? Found the
counter-agent for that one?”
There was another silence, an awkward one, which told Lee the
“No, but the oculist who’s working with Doc
believes that he has figured out how to stop your body from reproducing
the chemical that is preventing your eyes from working properly.
From there, he believes that it will only be a short time for them
to heal and return to normal,” the admiral explained.
Lee knew that was excellent news, but he
wouldn’t rejoice until it actually happened.
He nodded. “Thanks.
And what can I do to get out of here?”
Again, the two men laughed. Lee
frowned. It was a perfectly
“We’ll let Doc deal with that one,” Nelson
“I’m surprised that he’s not in here now,
hovering like a mother hen,” Lee replied sarcastically.
“He’s been pretty busy with that biological
agent that Mendon tried to release. And
with the chemical agent he used on you,” Nelson said patiently.
“He’s been in and out.”
The admiral chuckled. “But
I think that this time, he’s very adamant about you spending quality
time sleeping and relaxing.”
“I believe his exact words were, ‘The captain’s going to take
a break from saving the world if I have to sedate him!’”
Lee smiled, then he remembered something else.
“I will let La’ani tell you herself,” the
admiral said. “She’s been
waiting for you to wake up and is just outside.”
“I’ll get her,” Chip offered.
“We both will,” Nelson said firmly.
The two men left and Lee was left with his thoughts for a moment
before the door opened again.
are you feeling? It seemed
like such a long time before they would tell me anything.”
He felt her light touch on his left hand and
realized that only a light gauze wrapping remained.
Her fingers seemed to caress without moving and he felt his mood
How long has it been? Since
the airport, I mean?” He
had meant to ask the admiral or Chip.
“It has been over two days.”
“Doc was serious.” Her
fingers still lay lightly on his arm.
“He is feeling ashamed at having been fooled by
Mendon, but otherwise he’s ready to go home.”
“And when is that?” he asked, feeling sad,
knowing that most likely she would be going home rather soon.
She, too, sounded sad.
“I’ll miss you, La’ani.”
And he realized that he would.
He would have liked to show her around the Institute, Santa
Barbara, taken her…. Then
Lee stopped in mid-thought. Was
he thinking of her as a young friend, or like he would one of his nieces
or Meeka, the Tirean girl he had partial custody of?
He realized that his feelings were beyond that and he berated
himself. She was practically
young enough to be his child, not his girlfriend.
He could be taken into custody for contributing to the delinquency
of a minor.
“I will miss you, too, Lee,” she said, her
touch still light on his arm. “But
you know you will always be welcome on Hikeru.”
I would actually like to come and ‘see’ your home.”
She laughed softly and that, too, lightened his
heart. Then suddenly her lips
were on his, in a kiss that was definitely more than that of a child to a
parent or a big brother. And
before he could stop himself, Lee responded in kind, his own lips tasting
the sweetness of her affection. His fingers caressed the back of her neck,
filtered through the long, dark hair. Too soon she pulled away and he was
left with only the wonder of her presence.
Please, come and visit.”
He could only nod at first, then he spoke.
“I will.” But he
knew that, like his profession to want to see her home, it was most likely
a hollow promise. “And
please thank A’ona Matua for me.”
“I will.” And then she was gone.
|Foam on the Large Wave Prologue|
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents|