Beyond Cyborg by Pauline
Crouched behind the cover of the periscope mount, Lee took aim and fired, one single shot to kill the man that he had once called friend. But he knew, something told him that this was not his Admiral. It was kill or be killed. He dare not even contemplate what would happen should this maniac take control of Seaview and fire those missiles. Then suddenly it was all over, the crew began to emerge from whatever shelter they had taken from the hail of bullets that the Admiral had let fly around the control room.
Crane ran to the fail safe panel and hurriedly interrupted the countdown, stopping the missiles from firing before returning to stand looking down at the thing lying dead on the deck, killed by his bullet; if dead was the correct term for a machine. As confused officers and crew gathered around him, Lee’s concern turned to what had happened to the Admiral. Where was he, was he still alive?
“Skipper, you’re hurt Sir, better get doc to take a look at you,” Kowalski suggested.
Only now becoming aware of the pain in his arm where Nelson’s bullet had caught him before he had dived for cover, he looked at the blood soaking his shirt sleeve. “Chip...” Lee called, turning, then remembered that his Exec was not aboard this trip. If ever he needed the support of his friend, it was now. Holstering the gun he still held, he seated himself on the periscope island and started issuing orders. “Get a Corpsman down here to take that to sickbay. Chief, I want that computer out of my control room and get a repair party working.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” Chief Sharkey hurried off the find a technician.
By this time, Seaview’s CMO had arrived in the control room, summoned by Kowalski. Putting a hand on Lee’s shoulder, he spoke quietly. “Come on, Skipper, let’s get you to sickbay.”
“Not now, Doc,” Lee shrugged him off. “I’ve got too much to do, it will have to wait.” His mind was already thinking of what needed to be done. He needed to contact the institute and see if Tish has any news of the Admiral.
Jamieson shook his head at Crane’s intransigence. “At least let me stop the bleeding,” he insisted.
“Very well,” Lee sighed in resignation as he gazed around the control room assessing the damage done by the bullets, while Jamieson began working on his injury.
Jamieson worked quickly and efficiently, ripping open the sleeve. He cleaned the wound and secured a dressing over it. “There, that should hold you for now, but if you are not in sickbay in two hours, I’ll come and find you,” he warned, closing his medical bag.
“Thanks, Doc,” Lee answered absently, his mind on other things. Hauling himself to his feet, he began a closer inspection of the damage to the control room. Fortunately, the bullets had not found any vital targets.
After assuring himself that they still had helm control and that the sonar, fathometer and radar were functioning, he set the damage control party to work on the bullet ridden periscope mount. The Chief and two computer technicians were busy removing the Admiral’s new toy. Until that was done, they could not restore communications with the outside world and COMSUBPAC.
Despite his own injury, Lee was more worried about what had happened to Nelson. He walked through the control room to the observation nose and stood staring out of the viewports. He’d never felt so isolated and helpless. Added to which, they had no idea what was really happening back in the states or what sort of reception they would get when they did restore communications. Thanks heavens they hadn’t fired the missiles.
What seemed like a lifetime later, Sharkey broke into Crane’s thoughts. “The computer has been dismantled, Skipper.
“Thanks, Chief,” Lee hurried aft to the radio shack to speak to speak to
COMSUBPAC personally. When he had
finished convincing them that Seaview was once more in safe hands and no longer
a threat to world peace, he asked
Trisha’s smiling face greeted him from the view screen. “Lee, are you all right? Thank goodness you’re safe,” Then her smiled faded as she noticed the bloodstained uniform. “You’re hurt?”
“It’s nothing, I’m fine,” he assured her as he once more became aware of the throbbing in his arm. “Any news of the Admiral?” he asked.
“Yes,” she nodded. “News came through a few minutes ago. Ulrich is dead and the Admiral will be on the next flight.”
“Good,” Lee smiled. Trisha, could you recall Chip Morton, we could use him right now.”
“He flew out to join the fleet as soon as things kicked off,” she told him. “He should be with you shortly.”
“That’s great, thanks, Trisha,” Lee reached forward and broke the connection. Relief and exhaustion washed over him and he suddenly felt faint. Swaying slightly, he grabbed the rail for support.
Kowalski as usual appeared at his side. “You all right, Skipper?”
“Huh? Oh, Kowalski, yes, I’m fine, thanks,” Lee turned to Lt Williams. “Are we still under the ice pack?”
Cradling his injured arm, Lee joined to Lt. at the plot table to check their position. “Lay in a course for open water and take us up to five hundred feet,” he ordered. “Sonar, let me know as soon as we are clear of the ice.”
“Captain, I have contact with a chopper from the Forrestal. They have Mr Morton aboard, Sir,”
“Very well, thank you,
“Aye, aye, Sir. Blow ballast, surface, surface. Man the sail hatch,” Williams ordered.
The surface klaxon sounded and the deck detail appeared from the aft hatch, ready to scramble as soon as they broached the surface.
Lee waited until they broke the surface. “Mr Williams, you have the conn. I’ll be in sickbay. I want to see Mr Morton as soon as he comes aboard.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” Williams acknowledged.
Williams saluted the Exec as he dropped onto the deck. “Welcome aboard, Sir.”
Morton returned the salute and pushed his cap back on his head. “Mr Williams, where is Captain Crane?”
“In sickbay, Sir. He told me to tell you that he wants to see you as soon as you were aboard,” the Lt told him as they moved away from the ladder.
“What’s the Captain doing in Sickbay? Is he all right?” Morton asked anxiously.
“yes, Sir – nothing serious,” Williams assured him.
“What the hell happened?” Chip asked, looking around the control room.
“It looks a lot worse than it is, sir,” Williams told him.
“What about the Admiral?” Chip enquired as he shrugged out of his coat and handed it to a waiting crewman.
“You mean the Cyborg, Sir? Captain Crane killed it.”
Chip stared at the officer. Nothing made sense. He needed to get to sickbay and talk to Lee. “Carry on, Mr Williams, I’ll be in Sickbay.”
Jamieson looked up from his desk as the Captain entered. “Captain, ready to let me take care of that arm?” he asked, getting up from his desk.
“In a minute, Jamie. Once Chip get’s here,” Lee perched on the examination table. He didn’t know how much longer he could have kept going if Chip hadn’t arrived when he had.
“Hmm, I’ll take a look while we’re waiting,” Jamieson said as he helped Lee remove his shirt.
“Ouch!” Lee gave an involuntary yelp as Jamieson eased the arm out of the sleeve.
“It’s your own fault,” Jamieson admonished as he gently removed the dressing. “You should have let me do this earlier, now I’m going to have to put you out for a while to do a proper job,” Jamieson warned before giving an injection.
“What?” Lee glared at him accusingly.
“It’s only a pre-med,” Jamieson added quickly. “It will take the edge off. Now lie down please.”
Lee sighed and obediently swung himself up onto the table and lay down. His arm was throbbing and his head was starting to spin. “Doc, what have you given me?” he demanded.
“Just lay still, Skipper. You’ll feel better soon.” Jamieson told him.
“Need to hand command...over to...Chip,” Lee protested, fighting to stay awake.
A moment later an anxious Chip Morton entered and hurried to stand beside Crane. “Lee?”
“Hello, Chip,” Lee smiled up at his XO.
Chip regarded Lee for a moment and then turned to Jamieson. “How bad is he, Doc?”
“The Captain is going to take a little nap while I clean and stitch his arm,” Jamieson replied cheerfully.
“Will you two quit...talking about...me...as if I’m not...here,” Lee complained sleepily. “Take over, Chip...take us home.”
Lee could almost hear the amusement in Chip’s voice as he felt himself drifting; it was getting harder to stay awake.
“Keep me informed, Doc,” Chip turned to leave.
“Of course,” Jamieson nodded, turning his full attention to his patient. “Aren’t you asleep yet?”
Grateful to relax at last, Lee closed his eyes and let the drug carry him into oblivion.
Chip stood in the aft hatch surveying the control room. Things were slowly returning to normal,
although several areas would require a fresh coat of paint. From the look of
things it was amazing that no-one had been seriously hurt or killed. Stepping
through the hatch, he proceeded to inspect each station on his way to the plot
table. He still didn’t know what had
happened aboard. All he knew was that
the government had received a threat from Ulrich to target
“Ahead standard, Aye,” a voice responded promptly.
Chief Sharkey approached him. “Good to have you back Mr Morton. Sir, how’s the Skipper?”
Morton looked up from the charts. “He’ll be fine, Chief.”
Sharkey nodded and grinned. “That’s great to know.”
“Carry on, Chief.”
“Aye, Sir – thank you, Sir,” Sharkey turned away to continue supervising the repair crew.
Although he knew that Lee’s injuries were not serious, Chip still wished that Jamison would report. He found himself reaching for the mic to call sickbay, but stopped himself; best to let Jamieson work in peace.
The next hour passed without incident. The routine of the control room had returned to normal. The shock of the past hours now fading from the minds of the crew - Chip could only guess what Lee and the crew had gone through. Happily, things had turned out all right. Lee would soon be back at the conn. It would take more that a bullet in the arm to keep Lee down and Chip smiled as he wondered how long it would be until Lee started to pester Jamieson to let him out of sickbay. He could almost hear Lee telling Jamieson that a bullet wound in his arm was not serious enough to warrant an extended stay in sickbay.
“Sickbay to Morton,” Jamieson’s voice came over the speaker.
Snatching the mic from its clip, Chip answered. “Morton, go ahead doc.”
“I’ve finished working on the Captain. He’s still out, but he’ll be fine.” Even over the PA, Jamieson’s voice was re-assuring, but Chip still wanted to see for himself.
“Thanks, doc,” returning the mic to its clip, Chip turned to Williams. “Take over, Mr Williams. I’ll be in sickbay if I’m needed.”
Chip sat beside the bunk where Lee was safely tucked in and sleeping peacefully.
“He won’t be awake for hours yet,” Jamieson told him, coming to stand beside the blond.
“I know,” Chip answered, his gaze never leaving Lee.
Jamieson put a hand on his shoulder. “He’ll be okay, he’s not in any danger.” He assured him. He didn’t add that he was keeping Crane sedated, knowing that as soon as he was awake he would want out.
“Why wasn’t I here?” Chip asked rhetorically.
“It wouldn’t have made any difference,” Jamieson told him, although he knew that nothing he said would make Chip feel any better. The XO took his duty to his Captain and friend very seriously and would be blaming himself for not being there when Lee needed him. “Here, you’d better have this,” Jamieson gave Chip the gun that Lee had been wearing when he’d come to sickbay.
Chip stared at the gun before taking it from the doctor. “Do I need to post a guard?”
“I’m just the doctor,” Jamieson shrugged. “No-one tells me anything, but Lee didn’t seem concerned. I think he just forgot that he had it.”
They all worried that one day Lee wouldn’t make it through one of his reckless exploits, although he couldn’t blame Lee this time; there had been no reason to suspect that anything was wrong when Seaview had sailed. Events had just caught up with them this time. Jamieson hoped that it wouldn’t happen again. Unfortunately there were too many Ulrich’s in the world. Mad men bent on world domination for whatever reason, and all too often it fell to Seaview and her crew to stop them. He gave Chip’s shoulder a squeeze. “Go and look after the boat, I’ll call you when he wakes up.”
Morton spent the next six hours dividing his time between the control room and sickbay. He was getting worried, every time that he’d checked on Lee, he had still been asleep. The surgery had been minor and he should have come around hours ago. “Are you sure he’s okay? Shouldn’t he be awake by now?” he asked Jamieson.
“I’ve sedated him,” Jamieson admitted.
“Why?” Chip asked carefully.
“Because in my opinion he needed to rest. When he came down here he was exhausted. That combined with shook and loss of blood because he refused to let me treat him until you got here,” Jamieson complained.
“He’s not going to be happy when he wakes up.”
“Yes, well, he’s damn lucky to have gotten away with it so lightly,” Jamieson sounded tired.
“He’s the Captain; there were reasons why he couldn’t leave the conn with a junior officer.” Chip was surprised to find himself defending Lee, but under the circumstances he could understand why Lee had refused to let doc treat him at the time.
“And if he gets an infection because he waited to get it treated? It’s my job to look after the health of the crew, including the Captain. I can’t do my job...”
Chip smiled, it was usually Lee complaining that Jamieson wouldn’t let him do his job. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, Doc. We all know that Lee is a difficult patient.”
Jamieson shook his head. “I over reacted, I shouldn’t have sedated him. I took advantage and I’ll apologise when he wakes up.”
“I’ll watch Lee. Why don’t you go to the control room and ask
“If you’re sure? Thank you, Mr Morton.”
“No problem, doc,” Chip pulled up a chair and settled himself beside Lee’s bunk. “Lee?” Chip spoke softly, hoping for some response from his friend. He wasn’t all together convinced that Jamieson was telling him everything; he needed to hear it from Lee; even if he was lying through his teeth.
Jamieson had finally chased Chip out of sickbay with orders to hit his rack. After checking with the control room, he had made his way to his cabin. He rose early the next day and after a shower and shave, made his way to sickbay.
Jamieson looked up from his paperwork but made no comment. Chip was pleased to find Lee sitting up, drinking coffee. He could just make out the bandage showing beneath the sleeve of Lee’s pyjama jacket and he noted that Lee was using his left hand to hold the cup.
“Morning, Lee,” Chip greeted.
“Chip,” Lee smiled, his honey gold eyes meeting Chip’s.
“How are you feeling?” Chip dropped into the chair that he had vacated the previous evening.
“Fine, thanks. Doc’s says I’ll be back on duty in another twenty four hours.”
“What’s the rush? Afraid I’ll take your job?” Chip teased.
“The Captain and I have reached an agreement. If he behaves, you can take him to the wardroom for breakfast. Then he is going to his cabin to rest. I want to give the anaesthetic time to clear his system,” Jamieson interrupted as he walked over to join the two officers.
“Quick, fine me some clothes, before he changes his mind,” Lee joked as he started to climb out of the bunk.
“Just make sure you follow orders. If I find you in the control room, you’ll be back here so fast, your head will spin,” Jamieson warned.
“Yes, Jamie,” Lee grinned.
Jamieson shook his head.
At lunch time, Chip took a tray to Lee cabin to visit with his friend. He knew that Lee would be bored confined to his cabin, especially as he would not be able to do paperwork because of his injury.
“Chip, come in,” Lee greeted him from the desk.
Chip walked over and put the tray down on the desk. Looking at the log laying open in front of Lee, he shook his head disapprovingly. “I thought that you were supposed to be resting?”
Lee leaned back in the chair and sighed. “It’s only my personal log.” He closed the log and placed it in the drawer.
“You won’t help your arm heal if you don’t rest it. Eat,” Chip ordered, taking the cover off the plate of sandwiches.
“I’m not very hungry, I’m still digesting breakfast,” Lee complained.
Chip smiled. As Lee had missed several meals while asleep, Chip had made sure that he had eaten a good breakfast. He reached over and took a sandwich and started eating while he watched Lee. He knew that bulling Lee would only make him dig his heals in.
After a moment, Lee took one of the sandwiches and started eating.
They ate in silence; Chip was surprised that Lee ate two sandwiches as well as the soup and even managed the chocolate fudge brownie. “Lee what happened?” Chip asked finally. He’d had the Chiefs version of events and Jamieson had shown him the Nelson/Cyborg.
Lee stood and started to pace. “Ulrich’s cyborg almost tricked me into
firing our missiles. The computer it had
us install was controlling everything,” Lee paused and turned to Chip. “We had
orders to proceed to launch co-ordinates...we thought,” Lee hesitated, running
a hand through his hair. “I nearly fired
“Lee, I’m sorry.”
“What have you got to be sorry about?” Lee asked.
“I should have been here.”
“I’m glad you weren’t, I didn’t have to worry about you getting hurt.”
Lee wasn’t in the habit of opening up about his feelings to anyone and Chip wasn’t quite sure how to respond.
Lee seemed to come to a decision and moved to use the PA on his desk to call the control room. “Mr Williams, what’s the weather like topside?”
“Variable 3 to 4, sea is slight, visibility good with temperature of 16 degrees, Sir,” Williams reply came over the speaker.
“Very well, carry on.” Lee smiled at Chip. “How about some fresh, un-revitalised air, Mr Morton?”
“Er, Lee, Jamie said you weren’t to go near the control room,” Chip reminded him, a little surprised by Lee’s sudden apparent desire for fresh air. Seaview was his life and running submerged had never bothered him before.
“Oh, come on Chip, where’s your sense of adventure?”
“I would have thought that you’d had enough excitement this cruise,” Chip nevertheless followed Lee out of the cabin.
“What’s our position, Mr Williams?” Chip asked as they entered the control room and joined the lieutenant at the plot table. After checking their position on the charts, Chip turned to Kowalski on sonar. “Anything, Kowalski?”
“No, Sir – the scope is clear.”
“Mr Williams, take her up to periscope depth,” he ordered as he pressed the button to raise the scope.
“Nine-Oh-feet, aye, Sir,” the surprised officer acknowledged.
Chip stepped up to the periscope and waited until they reached periscope depth. After checking that everything was clear topside, he gave the order to surface. He smiled in amusement as a crewman arrived with coats for the two of them. He accepted one with a nod of thanks and shrugged it on as he let the lookout go up first and open the deck hatch.
Seaview floated majestically in a tranquil sea, on the bridge, Lee and Chip stood gazing out over the sparkling water, each occupied by their own thoughts. Chip had known Lee long enough to tell when something was bothering him. “Want to talk about it?” he prompted.
Lee shook his head without turning and continued to look out across the sea.
“Lee, talk to me, buddy,” Chip put a tentative hand on Lee’s shoulder.
“Chip...” Lee turned to look at him, his expressive honey gold eyes full of emotion.
“It’s over, Lee. The Admiral is safe and Ulrich’s plan has failed.”
“I know, Chip...but suppose I’d been wrong? It would be Nelson lying dead in sickbay, instead of that thing with his face.”
“You know the Admiral better than anyone, you wouldn’t have made that mistake,” Chip tried to re-assure Lee.
Suddenly they were interrupted by Jamieson’s voice over the speaker. “Captain Crane, please report to sickbay.”
“That sounds like trouble,” Chip commented.
A small smile appeared and Lee acknowledged the call. “Be right there, Doc.”
He accepted Chip’s offered hand and Chip sensed that something had changed; Lee was back to his old self and would be back in command regardless of Jamieson’s orders.
Crane sat on the exam table while Jamieson changed the dressing and re-bandaged his arm.
“If you don’t rest that arm, Captain, I’ll be forced to confine you to sickbay,” the doctor threatened.
“Okay, Jamie, I promise.”
“Don’t be so impatient,” Jamieson continued while he finished with the bandage and proceeded to prepare a sling for the arm.
“Forget the sling, Jamie,” Lee protested.
“Sorry, Skipper, it’s either a sling, or you stay here,” Jamieson told him firmly.
“Now, do you need anything for pain?”
“No, no more pills, Jamie,” Lee slipped down from the table. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”
“Hmmm, where have I heard that before, Jamieson muttered, clearly not convinced.
Lee headed for the door. “Thanks, doc,” not giving the doctor time to argue, he made a quick exit and pulled the door closed behind him.
Lee was awakened by a knock on his cabin door. “Come in,” he called, sitting up. He didn’t remember falling asleep.
“Hello, Lee, how are you?” A familiar voice asked.
“Admiral?” Now where had he come from? Lee wondered, still half asleep.
“Are you all right?” Nelson asked, crossing the cabin to the bunk.
“Not you, too?” Lee shook his head in mock disgust; obviously the doctor had already spoken to Nelson.
Nelson chuckled. “Doc giving you a hard time?”
Lee grinned. “A little. It’s good to see you Admiral. I was worried about you,” Lee admitted as he slid down from the bunk.
“Why don’t you join us in the nose for coffee and we can swap stories,” Nelson invited.
Lee nodded. “I’d like that, Admiral.”