I am deeply inspired by music. Sometime a song or a line from a song jumps out at me and I get a vision of a scene. Such was the case when I first heard “Shattered” by O.A.R. This is a stand-alone story that fits anywhere into the Voyage timeline.

Break 'til I Shatter

Sharon H

 

~<<>>~

 

The clock on the wall of my office read just before midnight—that time when legends says the time of deaths and births are the highest. One soul leaves this world and another enters. I had seen many a soul leave this world, some on this very boat. On the other hand I had brought my share of souls into this world. Believe me, the renewal of life is always more enjoyable then watching men die.

 

I saw two men die today. Two brave men who did their best to protect Seaview . Their best wasn't proof against the bullets of a mad man. Both men had died instantly one with a bullet right in his heart while the other had taken one right in his frontal lobe. I wasn't the first time I had seen men die and it wasn't the ugliest death I had ever seen. But since when is violent death anything but ugly?

 

I'm a doctor. It's my job to defeat death, turn back the tide of mortality. I take my failures seriously, each death on my operating table—and there have been many—a personal challenge to save the next one who was brought into my Sickbay. I treasured each victory, seeing each life as a chance for that person to make a difference in this world that sees so much evil. Some people were just caught up in the battle of good verses evil, innocent bystanders who get washed away in the tide of events. Then there are others who embrace the battle, make it their own, and go out of their way to see to it that the evil does not prevail. Evil. Evil was the reason three very brave men were in my Sickbay right now, two sedated and recovering, the other keeping watch.

 

I stood up and moved to the door. The curtains were drawn back, giving me an unobstructed view of Sickbay. The admiral had his back to me, his chair positioned in kinda of a half way point between Lee and Chip. He was tired, I could tell by the tilt of his head, the set of his shoulders. His gaze wavered from the two still forms. He considered Lee Crane to be something closer than a brother, more of his son. His friendship with Chip went back to the earliest days of Seaview 's construction. It was a relationship different from the one Harry had with Lee but as deep nonetheless. 

 

I walked into Sickbay and leaned against the exam table. “Shouldn't you be thinking about some rack time? It's going to be several more hours before either of them come around,” I tried, knowing it was a waste of time. Harry wouldn't budge until both men had come around and he spoke with them each. It was the way Harry was wired and I couldn't change that either.

 

“What is wrong with people, Will?” Harry asked me softly. I pulled a chair around and sank into it. I took a good long look at the admiral, not please with what I was seeing.

 

Harry looked tired and old. The lines around his eyes and mouth seemed a little deeper, his eyes carried a touch more sadness than normal. How much of that was the fact he'd been on his feet for the last twenty hours and how much was guilt? I didn't have to ask what he was talking about. Dr. Alan Harlan was the reason I had two corpses in the freezer, and two officers in my sickbay. “Admiral, you couldn't have know what Harlan planned. It's not like he carried a sign that said I plan on trying to take over Seaview . Nobody suspected he was foreign agent.”

 

“Lee suspected. I should have trusted his instincts when he said something about Harlan was off. I should have listened to Lee. I should have known that something wasn't right with Harlan—that something just didn't fit. But I was so caught up in the research, such a promising line of thought that I dismissed Lee's concerns. Even Chip tried to tell me about Lee's suspicions,” Harry said, raking a shaky hand through his own hair.

 

“So who are you trying to blame, Harry? Yourself, because you're human or Harlan because he was evil?  I can tell you right now, neither of these two blames you. Harlan tried to take something that wasn't his. He shot and killed two crewmen and tried to kill two brave officers.”

 

“He was aiming at me.” The statement was made so softly, I wasn't even sure I had heard it.

 

“What?”

 

“Harlan. He was aiming at me. Insisted that Lee surface and when he refused, Harlan threatened to start shooting up the Control Room. That's when Garrison was shot and still Lee refused. Harlan shot Jansen next and he told Lee that if he didn't surface, he would have to pick a target Lee would care about. He aimed the gun at me. Next thing I knew Seaview listed hard to port. Lee shoved me to the deck and the bullet meant for me hit Lee instead. Harlan didn't stop but shoot him two more times. I'll never forget the look on Harlan 's face, Will. He wasn't sane.”

 

This was the first time I heard directly what happened in the Control Room. “How did Chip get shot?”

 

Harry took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I think he was the reason for the list to port. I knew he was standing by Navigation. I was trying to help Lee and I heard him give the order for a vertical dive. That's when Harlan shoot him. Twice, I think. I know I heard four shots. Two bullets hit the console, and Chip was thrown forward when Harlan shot him in the back.”

 

That explained the burns on Chip's hands and arms.

 

“If I had listened to Lee, I could have taken steps to keep Harlan out of the Control Room. Instead I dismissed his concerns and now look: Lee and Chip both in serious condition, trying to protect me, even though I wouldn't listen to him. Chip tried to protect Seaview, and his actions got him two bullets in the back. I should have listened to Lee.”

 

I was quiet for a few seconds. I was going to earn my pay this evening, dealing with one guilt ridden four-star admiral. “Harry, you can't let this eat at you, if you do, it's going to leave a hole in you as serious as the wounds Lee and Chip have. You have to move past this and understand that Lee and Chip would do anything to protect you and Seaview.”

 

“Protect me? They could have been killed trying to protect me. How do I return that favor? It's not something I can say openly. Thanks for taking a bullet for me, how about a nice steak dinner? Do you know what it does to me each time one of them ends up in here? It's like something in me breaks.  Will, how many times can I break until I shatter?”

 

I put one hand on Harry's shoulder, trying to offer my support. I'd know Harriman Nelson for years before I came to Seaview, I knew he was a man of deep passions and deeper concerns. I needed to say something to him he could hold on to, that would give him a perspective on the situation. “You won't shatter, Harry. You're tempered steel, titanium plating. You might bend, but you will never break. You three are the backbone of this crew. I can guarantee you that not one man onboard this boat blames you for Lee and Chip's condition. If you don't believe me, how about I bring Chief Sharkey up here and he can give you an earful?”

 

I had the pleasure of seeing a ghost of a smile flash across Nelson's lips. “That won't be necessary, Will. Francis has enough on his plate without trying to talk this old man out of a self induced depression.”

 

“Then why don't you get some sleep? Like I said, neither of them is likely to come out of it till sometime tomorrow. The blood loss alone will make them sleep.”

 

I watched Harriman sit up a little straighter, saw his shoulders strengthen, and a new resolve settle on his face. “I think I'll sit with them a little longer. You know Lee, he'll wake up early just to prove you wrong. Chip will take it as a personal challenge, if he thinks Lee's going to wake up first.”

 

“Alright, Admiral. I'll be in my office if you need anything or their condition changes.” I settled back down into my desk chair and flipped open the half finished report, secure in the knowledge that all three of my patients would recover from this last brush with evil. I could deal with the next encounter when it happened.

 

 

 

End

srh

 

LOC: appleone19@aol.com

 

 

Shattered

Written by Greg Wattenberg and Marc Roberge

As performed by O.A.R.

 

 In a way, I need a change
From this burnout scene
Another time, another town
Another everything
But it's always back to you

Stumble out, in the night
From the pouring rain
Made the block, sat and thought
There's more I need
It's always back to you

But I'm good without ya
Yeah, I'm good without you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I'm shattered
I always turn the car around

I had no idea that the night
Would take so damn long
Took it out, on the street
While the rain still falls
Push me back to you

But I'm good without ya
Yeah, I'm good without you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I'm shattered
I always turn the car around

Give it up, give it up, baby
Give it up, give it up, now
Now

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
All that I feel is the realness I'm faking
Taking my time but it's time that I'm wasting
Always turn the car around

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around

Don't wanna turn that car around
I gotta turn this thing around