Foam on the Large Wave

 

(Fisi 'o e nauaoam)

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

La’ani watched the prisoner from her position on the floor.  Several things astonished her.  First, that she wasn’t afraid, at least not now.  Second, he had stopped long enough to ask if she was hurt and third, that he was even this far into an escape.  The Leader’s guards were usually quick and intimidatingly large enough to discourage anyone from even attempting an escape.  Of course, it may have been the fact that this man, like her brother, was not that well acquainted with the leader or the evil man that Ali’i Bomar had hired a year ago.  Her older brother, Fautave, had come home at the death of her father last year, found out what was really happening on Hikeru and had confronted the Leader.  He had been killed trying to escape from this very place.   Every day, she felt the pangs of guilt for having told him about Father’s death.  If she had not, Fautave would still be alive, teaching the American children in Hawaii.  How had all of this happened?  What made her lovely homeland become dark and evil and why hadn’t anyone seen it until it was too late?   Someone had, she thought in despair.  A’ona Matua, the old one had seen it, warned them about it, but no one would listen to her then.  Now it was too late.  She pushed such thoughts away.   They didn’t help anyone and they certainly couldn’t bring back her father and brother.

The prisoner, an American, by the sound of his English, sprinted through the door to the kitchen and La’ani heard old Mamala scream.  Teva staggered into the hallway as she was getting up.  He started to ask her something, but he heard the scream, and simply lumbered into the kitchen. 

La’ani was glad.  She knew she wouldn’t have gotten away with a lie but she had not wanted to tell Teva where the American had gone.   La’ani gazed at the mess.  The cooked food was served in rolled leaves.  It saved on dishes and kept the prisoners from using utensils as weapons. Everything Mamala had prepared would end up being thrown away.  Most likely there would be nothing else for the prisoners until dinner and she felt bad for them.   Perhaps some of the fruit could be salvaged. 

She had just finished cleaning up the last of the mess when the door from the kitchen opened with a bang.  Teva and Feke were carrying the prisoner.  La’ani backed against the wall and watched as they carried him, not to his cell, but into the room of torture.   She shuddered.  The man must be very important for him to still be living after such an escape.  But then the other American had been treated the same way.  He had not lasted long. 

As the doors closed behind the three men, she took her tray into the kitchen.  Mamala took one look at the mess and threw up her hands.  “What do we give them now?” she moaned. 

La’ani placed the fruit into the washbasin.  “I will wash this.  At least they will have fruit.”  But the whole time she was preparing the remains of the breakfast, La’ani was thinking about the American.  

 

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Harriman Nelson threw down his pencil in disgust.  It was bad enough that he felt he had gotten Lee into this mess in the first place, but that he couldn’t come up with anything concrete in the effort to find him made him furious.   He looked out the window, where the Seaview sat serene and ineffective, mocking him at the moment.

“Admiral,” Morton said almost apologetically, pointing to the map on the Nelson’s desk.  “I triangulated using the data we had on the make of the jet.  We used Taipei and Oahu as reference points.  I also added in all possible refueling stops.”

Nelson shook his head.  “No, no, Chip, I’m not angry with you.  What you’ve done is excellent work.  But it still leaves us with thousands of square miles of ocean and innumerable islands to check out. He smoothed out the map and then traced the circular area that extended from the lower Aleutians down to northern New Zealand.  “I think it’s south of Hawaii, not north.”

Morton nodded.  “I agree, Admiral, but I didn’t limit the possibilities.”

“I have pulled in all news items dealing with the South Pacific and seen nothing unusual.  I have contacted our people in the area and there is nothing out of the ordinary.  No large building contracts.  No government changeovers.  Nothing!” Harriman stormed.  He began pacing back and forth and almost bumped into his personal secretary who had returned from her vacation two days previously.  “Sorry, Angie.”

“No problem, sir,” she answered with a tight smile.  “But if you were building some kind of covert operation, something big enough to have jets and operatives capable of tracing and then kidnapping top quality spies and scientists, would you advertise?”

“Of course not,” Nelson snapped.  “What are you getting at?” It had been a very frustrating two days at the institute.  Even the jet registry had turned up a dead end.  According to the numbers it was decommissioned and sold for parts and scrap the previous year.  The buyer was supposed to be a junk dealer out of San Francisco.  But that had apparently only been a ruse to cover the purchase of a viable private jet. 

“Whoever this person is, he’s built his operation piece by piece.  He- or she—has been very patient.  I suspect that the labor, except the most technical, is homegrown.  And I bet that most of the materials are stolen.”  Angie shrugged.  “How many governments publicize that things of importance have been ripped off right under their very noses?”

Morton said nothing, only watched the pair as though he was in the audience of a tennis match. 

Nelson was suddenly quiet as well; his eyes on the map, but his thoughts were far from it.  When he looked up, there was a gleam in his eye and a determined set to his mouth.  He walked the short distance to his secretary and kissed her soundly.

She stared at him in shock and then smiled broadly.   “What do I do to get a date?” she asked slyly, obviously impressed by his uncharacteristic attention.

“Continue to help us find Lee,” Nelson said. 

Her smiled vanished.   “Gladly, Admiral.  I would do that without the promise, but I am definitely going to hold you to that.”

“Continue to look for information on that jet.  There has to be something out there we missed the first time—some middleman.”  He began pacing again.  “The problem is that we’ve been too heavily concentrating on the jet.  We need to work on this other angle, too.”  He continued to pace.  “Get manifests of large scale building projects and see if any of those types of materials are missing from any of the larger contracting companies, especially those specializing in the South Pacific.”  He gazed directly at both Morton and Angie.  “Look around for any references of missing ordinance.”

“Ordinance?”

“Yes, Commander, ordinance.  Do you think that anyone with the capability to put the spy community on its ear wouldn’t also be stockpiling weapons?” Nelson asked.  “Start with losses from Pearl Harbor and west coast bases.  I also want checks of Russian and Chinese losses.  Australian as well.”  The admiral tapped the map.  “There’s something I’m missing,” he repeated.

“Admiral?” Angie ventured.

Nelson looked at her expectantly.  “Yes, Angie.  Have you thought of something else?”

“Maybe,” she replied.  “Should we possibly have Dr. Jakov on this?  To profile this mysterious enemy?”

“Have Linda work on that,” Nelson ordered.   Angie nodded and quickly left the office. 

 

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Lee felt as though his brain was on fire.  Images of giant octopi, run-wild plankton, mutations gone bizarre raced through his mind.  He opened his eyes, hoping for the reality of his cell to douse the wildfire images rampant in his mind and he saw a shimmering haze of deep-sea mystery in front of him.  He lost all sense of what was real and what was dream.  It was all real.

Blazing torpedoes aimed directly at him; eyes opened on their warheads and leering mouths filled with sharpened shark teeth, laughed hideously.   Voices echoed in his head.  You are doomed, you are ours.  We have been waiting for you, Captain.  You cannot hide from us.”    Lee closed his eyes again, but the horrible scenes kept coming, repeating, and becoming more and more vivid.

He was swimming in the ocean and a huge whale was coming at him.  He was in the Flying Sub and it burst into flames, plowing toward land—no, toward the Seaview, with terrifying speed.  He screamed as he hit and breached the hull. Bodies burned like paper dolls, the submarine exploded and then sank.  Horror filled his lungs along with super-heated seawater.  Suddenly he was in a diving bell, bouncing in the deepest, pitch-black trench of the ocean, careening on the edge of a precipice overlooking an even deeper abyss.   Lee tried to scramble back and felt a cold rock wall.  The wall threw arms around him and he screamed again.  There was no defiance as there had been earlier, no bravado or sense of control, only terror.  Horrible, debilitating terror, the result of the past, which had grown beyond proportion into a present of overwhelming horror. 

Lee put his hands over his ears and still the voices, the deadly entities beat at him.  Again he opened his eyes and for a brief second, he saw a door before the horrible, combined enemies closed in on him again.  He rushed for it, tried to claw it open, scraping already bruised hands.  The blisters on his left hand opened and oozed, then bled.  Lee was determined to pull the bars out of the small slot, but he failed.  He beat on the door and screamed for help, but he was alone with his demons.  Crouching on the ground, curled up as tightly as he could to protect himself from the forces conspiring against him, the captain could only pray for an end, even as he screamed at his demons to leave him alone. 

 

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With a scarcity of words that was characteristic of him, Na’alu gave his report to Bomar and stood silently, his body at attention while he waited for his leader’s next command. 

“That blatant idiot!” Bomar shouted.  How did Mendon expect to get information from someone beset by insanity, or from someone so imbalanced that they would want to do themselves in?  “Come with me,” he said tersely.  No wonder Mendon had been so vague the past few days when Bomar had asked for progress reports. 

It only took Bomar a few minutes to get to the laboratory where Mendon was working furiously, almost trotting from one table to another.  The scientist looked up in surprise. 

“You call yourself a scientist?” Bomar thundered.  The anguished cries of the American could reach his ears even here.  “I hired you to get what I wanted, to build my empire, to get this vitally important information and then help me put it together.”

“I am,” Mendon said stiffly, recovering from his initial surprise.  “To use the vernacular, I am softening the captain up.  I am breaking down whatever deep barriers are in place to protect the secret.  By destroying the inner core of Captain Crane’s being—his personality, I believe I will eventually be able to easily pull out the information you want.”

“How can you get information from a suicidal subject?” Bomar asked, his voice still dangerously loud.

“Suicidal?” Mendon repeated.  Then he shook his head.  “No, he’s not suicidal.”  Mendon gazed at Na’alu who stood nearby, his arms folded across his massive chest.  “So you don’t trust me,” Mendon said softly.

“I don’t trust anyone these days,” Bomar said, his voice softer, but no less deadly.  “I realized that you get great pleasure from your chemical experiments.  I also know you want to develop biological, as well as chemical agents,” Bomar said.  “And that you have limited number of guinea pigs here.”  He leaned toward Mendon.  “You can have Captain Crane when you get what I want from him.  I want him under strict surveillance until the psychotic behavior passes,” Bomar ordered.”

Mendon frowned and began to say something.

Bomar cut him off.  “If you are so sure that this type of drug ‘therapy’ will work, then bring him in and try to get the information now,” Bomar suggested.  “I would love to be proved wrong in this instance.”

Mendon nodded.  “I was planning on trying in a short while, but now is as good as then.”

“I sincerely hope you succeed,” Bomar said coldly.  He motioned for the Polynesian to go and get the prisoner and then he turned back to Mendon.  “It’s been almost a week since we brought Crane here.  I want to get that missing information, get the device built before Nelson figures out where his captain is.”

Mendon laughed.  “There is no way they could find that out.  The transmitter was found and destroyed before they were twenty minutes from the airport.”

“Don’t put anything past Nelson,” Bomar said sourly. 

“I don’t, but in this case, I know I am right,” Mendon snapped.  Then he added in a more mollifying tone.  “I have retrieved very useful information, Leader.”

“Yes, if I wanted to command the Seaview,” Bomar retorted.  Then he sighed.  “All right, some of that may come in useful in the future.  I am keeping the tapes.” 

Na’alu came back; another guard helping him carry the struggling American.  This was not the same self-confident, almost cocky man he had tried to entice into his organization a week ago.  If not for the present need, Bomar would almost have a bit of the same pleasure that Mendon got from his ‘experiments.’   It bothered him not at all for the submariner and erstwhile spy to be taken down a peg or two. 

The drug had seemingly given Crane strength.  It took both guards to get the American on the table and strapped down.  The man appeared to have been in a brawl.  Na’alu did as well, sporting several large bruises on his face.  “Like a demon,” the other guard said tersely, backing away. 

Crane’s eyes were open, but it was very apparent that the captain was seeing something no one else could see, demons of the drug’s making.  Mendon managed to inject something into the prisoner’s arm.  Crane calmed slightly, but still pulled and tugged at the restraints.  After a few minutes, Mendon began asking questions, the first few generic then quickly getting to the heart of the matter.  All answers were jumbled combinations of reality and fantasy and none even remotely resembled what Bomar was looking for. 

“You’re not getting anywhere,” Bomar said, his voice rising in anger again. 

“It takes time, Leader,” Mendon said evenly.  “I will keep working and the deep seated memories will slowly surface.”  Bomar cursed.   “Leader, hear me out.  We will get this information.  It is more difficult because of his conditioning. As you ordered, I worked several days with the truth drugs and they didn’t work.  I realized that I had to do something else.   He is not suicidal, and even if that manifests itself, I will guarantee that he won’t succeed.  What I am doing is methodical and the only way to get what you want.”

“You said that before.  Explain yourself,” Bomar grumbled.

“I mean, Leader, that in order to get what has been planted, we must first strip away everything else.  I am using the psychochemicals to weaken his personality markers.  I will use the biochemical agents to weaken his body, which will make his mind more susceptible to a different round of psychochemicals.  Eventually, there will be nothing left to hold the information we want and I will be able to get it quite easily.”

“You can do that with these drugs?” Bomar asked. 

Mendon shrugged.  “The great Josef Mengele did it.”

Bomar said nothing for several moments as he watched the prisoner thrashing weakly against his bonds.  “Very well.  Do what you need to do.  Let me know what happens, and remember what our ultimate goal is.  Everything else is secondary.”

“Yes, Mr. Bomar,” Mendon replied placatingly.   He glanced at the American now lying sedate on the exam table.  “I understand, Leader.”  Bomar left.

 

 

Chapter 8
Foam on the Large Wave Prologue
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Contents
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