The last gasp of the previous nightís storm whipped fine droplets of water in the older manís face. Large waves rolled onto shore. White caps curled toward the sky. At first the water and sky appeared to be one canvas with only the white foam providing any differentiation.
Then there was a slight patch of blue in the distance. It wasnít much, but it gave definition to the clouds. As though trying to escape the cheerful bit of light, the clouds gathered and dashed toward him. The patch grew larger and was joined by other blue patches. Bright sunlight shot through the galloping clouds. The rays speared almost as brightly as a laser. One was joined by another and then another.
The foam of the white caps sparkled in tiny rainbows. The clouds brightened before they dissipated and the water took on the color of the blue sky. The blue-ness became almost painful and the man reached toward his jacket pocket just as a shining gray cylinder broke the surface of the water. The water parted in homage as it rose and fell as graceful as a dolphin. His eyes widened in wonder and his hand stopped as though paralyzed.
She is a Siren, the man thought; beautiful, alluring and deadly. She called to him and he almost groaned with desire. Then he shook his head. Seaview was for younger men. He had created her for all of mankind, even if they didnít know it. He loved her, put everything he had into her. Watching, Harriman Nelson felt he knew what a parent must feel at the birth or accomplishment of a child.
There was a twinge in the plaster cast leg and another in his back. This lovely child of his needed more energy than he had to give now. It was up to Lee and Chip and the others to keep her satisfied. Harry banged his cane against the cast in disgust. His eyes snapped back to Seaview. She was not doing flank, but had to be close to it. It was wonderful watching her, even if it was painful being left behind.
"This is temporary, Admiral," a soothing voice said from behind him.
Harry didnít turn around. "No. I know my limits, Doc. Itís time to retire."
"Youíll retire when youíre six feet under," Jamison said with a chuckle. "Thatís what is amazing about you. You donít know your limits. At least when youíre not feeling sorry for yourself." The doctor was now standing next to his patient admiring the view. "You were told she was an impossibility all those years ago. You were told you were overreaching yourself. I remember reading that this dream was going to reach out and slap you on your six."
Harry grunted but continued to watch his greatest achievement recede toward the horizon.
"It was because you didnít know your limits that you made Seaview possible. Seaview, NIMR, the Flying Sub and any number of other inventions and improvements. You may be down temporarily but you are certainly not out."
"How many submariners do you know that are my age?"
"One. The only one who could still be out there battling all the demons of the world and beyond." There was a pause and another chuckle. "And sending their asses back to whatever black hole they came from."
"You were the one who told me to take it easy."
"I was also the one who told you to quit smoking, but did you listen to me?"
This time Harry smiled. "So you think I can still keep up with the young dogs, Jamie?"
"I believe you can out-think them till theyíre asking permission to kick themselves in the butt," Jamison quipped, then cleared his throat. "There will be times, like now, when we have to stand down and recoup that energy we used to have in abundance. Then weíll charge in and do what weíre good at. Hell, Admiral, someday youíll be speaking at my retirement party right before you take Seaview out again."
The submarine disappeared from view. "Sheís a hard lady to let go of," Harry mused.
"Then donít let her go, Admiral. Sail her forever." They watched the crashing waves a while longer.
"Maybe I will." Harry turned to walk back to his house. "ThanksÖ."
"Part of my job," the doctor replied lightly, following his boss.