Foam on the Large Wave

 

(Fisi 'o e nauaoam)

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

 

Bomar glared at the door through which his prisoner had been led.  His crippled hand trembled in his pocket.  Finally, he turned away, growling a curse.  A few minutes later, the door opened softly.  Mendon.  “Well?” he snapped. 

“I knew he wouldn’t jump to your side, Mr. Bomar.  He is absolutely loyal to Nelson, that submarine and his crew, as well as to his country.  Captain Lee Crane cannot be bought.”   

Bomar took a deep breath and turned to face the doctor.  Mendon was short, barely over five feet tall, his light brown hair was clipped short, almost to the point of baldness.  His blue eyes were large and round, as though in a state of perpetual surprise.  He had picked up the glass that Crane had left and was stroking his meticulously trimmed beard with long, thin fingers.

“Then he will have to be broken and the information taken by force!” Bomar shouted.  “I will have that information, Mendon.  I have most of the components….”

“But Mendez and Nelson have the rest,” Mendon added. 

“I think that Nelson’s information was duplicated by the others.  Which means that what we got from Delacroix is pretty much the same as what Nelson has. I also know that the admiral was working closely with Mendez on something that was holding up the completion of the propulsion unit.” Bomar clenched his good fist.  “And Mendez gave Crane that information.”  He studied Mendon.  “Why couldn’t you get it with the truth serum?”

“Apparently they have developed a means of deep conscious information implanting,” Mendon said, almost to himself.  “I used a small dosage when the jet came in.”

“You will get the information!” Bomar responded, his voice rising again.

“It will take some work,” Mendon began and then hesitated.  He saw the stormy look on Bomar’s face and added quickly.  “But I believe I will eventually be able to get past the block.”

“Yes, you will,” Bomar hissed.  “Or else we will have to terminate our business partnership.”

Mendon almost choked on the wine he was drinking, but recovered quickly.  “I don’t think it will come to that, my friend.   I have given you a great deal of good service already—and in a very short time.  I am the one, after all, who had the operatives to supply information on Crane’s activities, especially those who allowed his capture.  I am the one who has been instrumental in getting the latest information you have, as well.  And I was the person with the network available to steal all of the little toys you’ve wanted.”

Bomar sighed.  Yes, Mendon had proved himself most useful, but lately he had become distracted from the work that was most important—that of putting together the propulsion unit.  Mendon had his own agenda and Bomar would have to be careful to keep that agenda in check until the scientist was finished helping him. “Yes, you have, but this last….”

“….piece of information is vital.  Yes, yes, I know, but somehow I believe that we would eventually be able to figure it out without outside information,” Mendon said soothingly.  Then he looked startled, as though he had just thought of something.  “Leader, did you send Crane to the laboratory?”

“Of course, he had to know just who his better is.  Why?”   Mendon grimaced.  “You have a problem with my methods?” Bomar asked scathingly, already knowing the answer.

“You have your ways, and I have mine.  However, I personally believe that this is a modern age and like everything else, one has to adapt to more modern methods.  Torture has to become more sophisticated.” 

Bomar shook his head.   “Sometimes the direct approach is best.  Let them know who’s boss.”   He gazed at the doctor.  “You disagree?”

“Not with your philosophy, but sometimes with your methods.   Do you realize that when I break through the block protecting the information, it may be in a form that needs to be written?”

“What?”  Bomar blanched and then he rushed toward a phone.  “Don’t do anything to him; just restrain him!” he shouted.  There was a pause and then Bomar cursed and slammed the receiver down. 

“How badly?”

“Na’alu had only started,” Bomar said tersely.  “Crane still has the use of one hand.”

Mendon nodded.  There was nothing else that could be said. 

“Go down there and get busy.  Do whatever it takes to obtain what Crane carries in his head.”

Mendon almost scurried from the room in his eagerness.  A smile formed on the small man’s lips as he opened the door.  Yes, Bomar thought.  Mendon would eventually get what he wanted but the world would grovel at his, Keith Bomar’s feet.  He would not just be the master of a small island in the Pacific but of whatever he set his sights on.  Crane had looked at him as though he had been crazy when he had mentioned the stars, but it was a reality.  Bomar would take his empire to the stars.   The leader laughed.  No one would taunt him then.  No one would pity or laugh at his ‘disability.’  He would be the master and no one would dare. 

 

         ===============================

 

Lee watched the little man approach.  The heat from the units on the arms of the chair, coupled with the pain of his hand was making him dizzy.  Sweat rolled down the sides of his face as well as into his eyes, but he didn’t bother to wipe it away.  He could only wonder what this man would cook up to do to him. 

With a short oath, the short, thin-faced man, went to the panel and turned off the heat units.  The heat almost immediately dissipated.   In a few minutes, he stood before Lee, now wearing a lab jacket.   He took Lee’s burned hand and examined it.  “Good thing you’re right-handed, Captain.”

“Yeah, terrific,” Crane muttered, grimacing at the pain the man’s handling of his hand was causing. 

“It will eventually heal, but you will most likely carry scars,” the man said, letting the hand drop. 

Lee’s breath hissed between his teeth.  “And what’s your role here-- Rasputin or Mengele?” he asked caustically.

The smaller man said nothing for a moment, then he frowned.  “I am Dr. Paul Mendon,” he said quietly. 

“Apparently not a medical doctor, unless you’ve forgotten your Hippocratic oath.”

“Captain, this is not a pleasant situation for anybody….”

“Yeah, right,” Lee snapped sarcastically, unable to ignore the pain. 

“Captain Crane, your, uh, attitude is not helping,” Mendon said, his voice even.  Lee could tell the doctor was irritated, though.  “You have some information my leader needs.”

“Wants,” Lee corrected. 

“And he is determined to get it.  I will try to be as humane as I can doing it, but….”

The captain sighed and said nothing.  Mendon was spouting BS, but it would do no good to argue with him.  The scientist pushed up one sleeve of Lee’s shirt. 

“What are you doing?”

“Something to loosen your tongue a bit.”   Mendon smiled. 

Lee jerked his arm aside and seemed to have the scientist at a stalemate, but growled orders to Na’alu brought the guard to his side.  Lee felt the steel hard hands clamp his arms to his side and the scientist plunged a hypodermic needle into his right shoulder.

“You can wait outside the door, Na’alu.  There will be no further problems,” Mendon said.

The Polynesian studied Lee, who had stopped struggling, and then he shrugged and left the laboratory. 

“This is a little different than the first dose,” Mendon said, more to himself than to Lee.

The captain felt a buzzing in his ears and a peculiar lethargy begin to steal over him. He could see some of what Mendon was doing, but it didn’t seem to matter much.  The scientist dragged a table with a tape recorder near his chair, pulled a stool next to the table and sat down. 

As he turned on the machine, he studied Lee.   “Tell me your name,” Mendon requested. 

“Lee Crane,” Lee answered tonelessly. 

“Is that your full name?”

“No.  Lee B. Crane.  Middle name’s Benjamin,” Lee answered.  Then he began to laugh.  “Should have been something else.  Grandfather called to give his idea on my name when I was born.  Started to spell, V, for Vanderbilt, for the people he worked for when he was younger, but a storm cut him off.”  A tiny voice in the back of his mind was ranting at his babbling of family stories, but there was nothing to be done about it.  A smaller voice was quite pleased that Mendon was drumming his fingers impatiently on the small table.   “Dad thought he said B and added my middle name….”

“Does Admiral Nelson have all of the information on the new propulsion drive?”

Lee wanted to say ‘what propulsion drive?’ but he couldn’t.  “I don’t know.”  Did the admiral have all the components?  Was he part of the set up?  No, he couldn’t have been.  Nelson would never have sent him out if there hadn’t been need.  “No.”  He slipped a bit further into his torpor and the little voice in his head got quieter and quieter.  He couldn’t even focus on the questions he was being asked and barely registered the sound of his voice answering.  But what seemed only a short time later, Lee heard Mendon asking a clear and distinct question.

“What is Admiral Nelson’s secret private code?”

The inner voice that had been silent had returned with full force and it provided the answer.  “Go to hell, Mendon.”

The scientist looked a little shocked and then he smiled.  “You are more resistant than I thought, Captain, but next time I will add something to make you even more cooperative.  As it is, I do have to thank you for the information you have given me.”

In chagrin, Lee saw that the tape was over half expended.  He wondered what he had babbled. 

“Oh, yes, you are a font of information, Captain, but I think we will take a short break.  Later, we can get together and chat some more,” Mendon said pleasantly.  The scientist called out and a different guard entered the room.  “Escort him to his cell.  I want him back first thing in the morning.”

The guard nodded, unbuckled the strap holding Lee in the chair and jerked him to his feet.  With the Polynesian gripping his shirt, the captain had no choice but to go exactly where Bomar’s strongman wanted him to go.  Lee was aware of his throbbing hand again.  He gripped his left wrist, hoping that partially cutting off the circulation would help.  It did a bit and he watched his surroundings more attentively.  It was an underground corridor like the other one, but this one was larger, presumably to house prisoners.  Wooden doors were set at approximately eight-foot intervals, but that varied, depending on the location of natural fissures out of which the cells seemed to be constructed.  The end of the corridor loomed near, but they stopped before they got to it.

The guard pulled a narrow wooden beam out of a metal slot set into the doorframe and pulled open the door.  Old-fashioned, but effective, Lee thought..  The Polynesian pushed the prisoner inside.  The American found himself in an approximately four by eight foot rough-hewn rock walled cell.  The light was practically non-existent, and Lee looked to find its source.  There was a small rectangular hole about foot by four inches, set high in the door.  It was about eye-level for him and he gazed out, trying to judge the activity.  There was none.  Crane judged that it had to be past midnight.  He paced the confines of his tiny cell.  There was a cot on one side and a tiny lavatory in the corner. 

He sighed and sat down on the bed.  It creaked, but held sturdy.  Somehow, he had to get away from here.  He knew that Mendez had developed a way to implant the information that others couldn’t extract from him, but was it absolutely foolproof?  No, nothing was absolutely foolproof.  And Lee didn’t want to admit it, but he felt the gnawing of fear.  He shoved it aside, but he knew that it was lurking below the surface of his conscious thoughts.   How far would Bomar and Mendon go to try to get this information?  Bomar’s stunt with the hot-plate, and Lee knew that it was the leader’s stunt, was crude and it was only the intervention of Mendon that both hands hadn’t been burned.  But of the two, it was the scientist that Lee was more afraid of. 

He had mentioned Mengele, and had noticed, even through his pain, the flicker of more than irritation in the small man’s eyes.  There had been admiration.  Mendon admired the Nazi butcher of WWII, the “Angel of Death.”  The lab was here for experimentation and like the Jews in Nazi Germany; Mendon was using prisoners here on Bomar’s island for his experiments.  Him.

By his own admission, Mendon had used truth drugs, two variations.  What would be next?  Crane knew Bomar wanted him alive and able to communicate the information he had received from Mendez.  Now he understood that the phone call to the guard, Na’alu, had been from Bomar who had realized that he might need his hands to communicate if they broke through the block that guarded the precious information. 

That small revelation gave Lee scant solace although it provided a small bit of hope.  He leaned back against the cool stone wall, and felt the beat of the sea join that of his heart.  It helped relax and calm him much as the subtle movements of the Seaview did when they were at rest on the surface.  It helped mute the pain of his burned hand.  He wondered if he should attempt to bandage it and then decided against that move.  Cloth would only burst the blisters and cause even more pain. 

He needed to get back to the more important matter at hand—how to escape.  That was foremost, and not just because it was part of his duty, but because he needed to get the information of this place and the operation of the two men in charge.  There was also the idea that Lee simply didn’t want to stick around for Mendon to enjoy intensive chemical experimentation on his body. 

But when the guard came to unbolt the door early in the morning, Crane had not come up with any solutions.  So he tried the only thing he could think of.  As the guard motioned him out of his cell, Lee complied docilely enough but as he walked out, he threw his weight against the door, shoving the guard off balance.  A karate chop to the side of the neck with his good hand brought the guard to his knees gasping.  Lee sprinted down the corridor to the door he had come through earlier.  It was the only way out.  Go for it! he coaxed himself.  Maybe, Lee Crane, old boy, you’ll get lucky today.

A few other prisoners were awake and curious about what was going on; softly calling out for him to release them, but Lee couldn’t take that chance.  He reached the wooden door and hesitated only a second.  Hearing the guard stir behind him and more prisoners waking up, Lee simply threw the door open and kept running. 

--Right into a young Polynesian woman with a tray of food.  With a cry of surprise, she fell to the floor, food flying everywhere.  Lee hesitated and saw her frightened look.  “Are you all right?” he asked softly.

She gave the barest of nods, her eyes still large in fright. 

“Good,” Lee said and headed toward the door he was unfamiliar with.  He would take a chance with this one, hoping it would allow access out of the prison.  He was running through a small kitchen.  An older woman looked up, saw him and screamed.  Crane didn’t try to reassure her, just kept on running.  He passed through the narrow room and out another door.  This one opened to a cavern; a storeroom by the looks of it.  He dodged around stacks of boxes and crates, noticing at a glance that the information on the outside was in various different languages.  Some were in Russian, some Chinese and some in English and a few European languages.  What he saw in English seemed to indicate parts and machinery.  It would appear that Bomar was building something big. 

Crane overhead voices.  He also heard the steady beating of the ocean against rocks, and headed in that direction, trying to discern where the voices were coming from.  A pop from one side startled him and he turned to find a swirling, noxious cloud of gas wafting into his face.  The world spun and then darkened. 

 

 

Chapter 7
Foam on the Large Wave Prologue
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents
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