Paul Taylor knew that he should be dead. It was down here in plain old black and white according to the report that the Future's Web had managed to aquire from the Nelson Institute of Marine Reasearch. It had taken some time for him to convince the doctors at the Future's Web Facilty that he was well enough to find out just what the hell had happened to him, but as he read the report he became more confused.. The bizzare nature of Institute had caught up with him again....
continuing the story from
Future's Dead and Future's Web
The thick brown dossier seemed innocent enough. However this was the very dossier that he had been waiting for and it excited him in so many ways. For the better part of two hours now he had been trawling through all of the new facts and figures. As he leafed through the papers he became more and more impressed by what the Nelson Institute of Marine Research had achieved over the last few years. The young man propped up in his plain hospital bed made sure that he read everything at least three times. During these hours he wondered what other things Admiral Harriman Nelson and his submarine Sea-view had dealt with that were not down here in print.
He still remembered the bizarre nature of the Institute and was sure that it would have changed that much. There were some strange rumours concerning the Nelson Institute of Marine Research, everything from sea-monsters, phantoms to aliens from outer space. Not that it bothered him in the long run. He would soon find that as he recovered greater changes that he would have to get used to. However there was one thing that had not changed. Paul Taylor was still mesmerised by Seaview, and of course her computer system, fascinated him.
He read through all of the data that the Future's Web deemed as, a must read. He soon found very quickly that computers were not the things that the Institute was renowned for. It was all down here in good old black and white. The whole notion fascinated him, how one man's dream had been made into reality. The Institute had for many years been working in harmony with the sea. Now even with the endorsement of the President himself. He rubbed his tired eyes; he had to come up to speed on just what Admiral Harriman Nelson had achieved with the Seaview on its continuing voyage to the bottom of the sea.
Future's Web the whole organisation was all down to a time paradox. Pem and his time travel device had a lot to answer for. Harry Nelson, Admiral Harriman Nelson's son from another time, had been living in a web of his own making. Fate had placed him the no win scenario. No doubt there was many an officer who thought Harry Nelson's command of Future's Web had been at the best haphazard, at the worst incompetent. Over the years Harry Nelson had set the forces of destiny in motion.
With a whole week of shore leave given to the crew of Seaview, Patterson had been looking forward to a good few weeks relaxing and catching up on the latest Black Prince book that had been released while Seaview had been at sea. However he had not reckoned on his shipmates. When Kowalski and Riley had caught up with him his first thought was that he was about to be persuaded on to another of the Surfboarding expeditions. Not that Kowalski had much interest in boarding, he was far more interested in who he could find on the beach. However he soon found that for once they were going in a completely different direction to the sea and any thoughts of a quiet week were quickly forgotten.
"You're going up the Tehachapi Mountains? At this time of year?" was all that he could ask.
"Beats the beach man," Riley replied. Now, Stu loved the beach and it's culture. Patterson had known Stu for almost a year since he joined the sub and his surfboard was almost part of him. Now Riley was saying that a week up a cold and wet mountain was better than a week with a surfboard. Patterson did not know if Doc should be informed of this turn of events.
"Beats the beach?" All that Patterson could do was repeat what Riley had just told him.
"Yeah," said Kowalski. "We're going to visit a friend of mine up at Green Sands."
"Not at the 'Little Green Men', commune? You've a friend there Ski?"
"He's been up there about six months. Said that the world was such a mad place, Green Sands sounded a very sane option."
"Sane? To await the arrival of little green men?!"
"I don't know Pat. Maybe they've already arrived."
"Have I missed something?" asked Patterson.
"Well it was from a friend of a friend that I heard about a place called Area 52."
"Sure he didn't mean Area 51?"
"Nope, this was in the Pacific."
"That place on Til'rama that Seaview just visited with had enough security clearance that they could start world war III?"
"Yep, Area 52," confirmed Riley.
"So you think that his friend's got more information?" Asked Patterson.
"I don't know. I'm the first to admit that they're a strange lot up there," remarked Kowalski. "However there's been something niggling at the back of Stu's and my mind ever since the beginning of this mission when we brought that courier aboard with our new orders. Feels a bit like a tune that you can't get out of your head. Almost like an echo of something that you think you should know, but somehow you don't."
"And you don't know where you learned the tune in the first place. I've had that same feeling. And we're sure not going to get the answers from that lot on Til'rama." Remarked Riley.
"And for some reason you think the answers could be up at Green Sands?" asked Patterson.
"I can't think of a better place to start," said Kowalski.
"Coming?" asked Riley.
"Someone has to keep you two sane!"
It was a long drive up to Green Sands and after two hours Patterson was beginning to regret agreeing to come.
"You know, Ski. You still haven't told me who this friend of a friend who's been telling all this secret stuff," remarked Patterson from the back seat of the car.
"Oh, I'm surprised that I haven't mentioned his name before, Pat. I think he's called Mysta Pem or something like that," said Ski as he drove up a narrow mountain road. "All that I was told that he travelled a lot and had picked up the information on his travels. I was told that he was staying at the Sands for a couple of weeks. I just hope that we can catch him before he moves on."
It did not improve Patterson's mood that when they did arrive they were informed that they had missed Pem. Even Ski's friend had moved out some three months ago and had left no forwarding address. It would have helped if a community that awaited the arrival of aliens had at least been on the telephone. It would have saved a six-hour pointless round trip.
"Don't worry," piped in Riley. "I'm sure if this Pem's got some more information he's sure to get in touch with us again."
Jamie had never understood before about the silken thread that binds us. The family ties that could never be broken. No matter how many times she went over in her mind the past events she still knew that she would not have done anything differently. Tonight it had gotten to the stage that her mind would not rest on the subject and it was denying her the sleep that her body so craved. She often found that walking on the small private beach walking on the small private beach took her mind off things, especially at sunrise. But even as she walked all she could think of was the past six months and the part she had played in her brother's death and downfall. No, she could not sleep, and she was sure she would be having that trouble for a long time to come.
Her brother had told her many times how he'd wanted to conquer the world. She remembered how that at the age of four they had both tried to sneak into an American naval base on one of the more remote islands. She had been only been doing it for fun. However, she was sure that her elder brother had something more planned for that day.
Even at that age she'd known that what he was doing was wrong, and so the day had been cut short by her demanding that she wanted to go back to her mother at the top of her voice just at a crucial moment. From then on her brother had left her out of his plans, but she knew that he was making them. She also knew that ever since high school he had schemed to hold the world to ransom some way or other. However she now worried that for the first time in his life her brother had a plan that could work. Fifteen years on since he had last let her in on any of his schemes he had again trusted her with a small bit of information. Jamie had decided that the best course of action had been to talk it over with an old friend who was more into computers and submarines and all that kind of technology. And so for the second time in her life she had betrayed her brother to the Americans.
Her brother had wanted to rule the world, but again her conscience got the better of her. Soon she had gotten her friend involved in something far more complex than just the highjacking of one submarine. She had backtracked to try to answer some strange questions that neither she nor her CIA friends could answer and that had led her to Future's Web and Harry Nelson.
It had been over a year now since the death of her brother. Her brother the 'would be' terrorist who had delusions of world conquest. Being given the submarine Darwin had been like giving a baby a loaded gun. But there were others that had been caught up in her brother's deadly plans and it would take them all a long time to recover. As she walked back towards the beach house that had she had called home for the past few months she saw telltale signs that she was not the only one that was having trouble sleeping. She had found herself thinking that Paul Taylor had been hit by a car in 1971, but due to the Pem device was bounced here, to 1975 and then picked up by Future's Web. She had also heard about the events on the SSRN Seaview.
She had heard that Admiral Nelson had still to find how the Taylor who had been on his sub had come to die of multiple injures on his sub while gaining an appendix that he had removed two years previously. Just thinking of the ramifications of it all was giving her sleepless nights. No wonder this whole escapade was such a closely guarded secret. Time travel theories she hated them. However Paul Taylor had to live with them for the rest of his life.
"Anything's possible, were the last words you told me, Harry. And now look what you've done!" Even from the far end of the beach Jamie could tell that Taylor was still not taking the news too well. He had not yet fully recovered from his injuries from the car crash, and was just catching up on how the time-line had been altered. "It's fine for you Harry as per-usual, Mission AOK!!"
Taylor kicked the sand in utter contempt at the new time-stream that he had found himself in. He was only just now fit enough to start moving around and it would seem that it had not taken him much time to find access her computer. "If it would put matters right I 'd bloody blow up your father myself!" He ranted.
As Jamie watched from a distance she noted that for once Harry had slightly underestimated how his colleague would take the news of just how much they had changed this time-stream. All that she would have to do now was to try to calm and tell him that a new life with the CIA awaited him, a man with no past, to the outside world was dead, could fit in very well with her plans. For in reality this would be his second new life. And while her brother had been stopped she was sure that there were a lot more people like him out there who wanted to rule the world.
The research submarine Seaview cut through the frigid wastes of the north west passage of the Bering Sea. Standing on the bridge, Admiral Harriman Nelson looked out over the vast expanse of cold bare ocean. The biting easterly wind tried with some success to cut though his thick parka to make its presence felt from his fingers to his toes. He noticed that the temperature was dropping even more. Just three weeks ago he had been complaining to Crane about the heat. He had come up here to try to clear his mind, to put everything into perspective everything about Future's Web, and Paul Taylor's role concerning the future of Seaview. He had reviewed and the computer programme that had been found close to Taylor's broken body and found that most of the data had not survived the energy wave that had killed Taylor.
However, the legacy of Future's Web, the organisation that Taylor worked for, well, that was another can of worms. It had been six months ago since Seaview's visit to their island base of Til'rama and still the multi-national task team that made up the Web refused further access to its files.
Nelson knew that the American contingent of the Web wanted to help with the forming of a Presidential Hearing to ascertain if any of their hardware had been gained by computer piracy or industrial espionage. The Web's CEO had told them in no uncertain terms that they did not answer to any one country. Nelson could tell that the small American presence in Future's Web itself was constantly hitting a brick wall when it came to trying to get the Web to change it's stance.
Even the new CEO, a Frenchman called De Rekarts, had threatened to sanction the Americans, blocking any changes to the Web's command style, before they could even be considered by the other countries. In the long run, Nelson's friend Captain Ford had been right. The Web disregarded common laws of the land and held the United Nations in contempt'. However Nelson had been wrong about the American side of the Web, for without them Nelson was sure that the Web would have caused global chaos by now.
Nelson did not know why he and Seaview had not been brought into the picture sooner than they were. Why had Paul Taylor and the rest of the American team at the Web protected the Institute so much from the so called alien menace that the Web had been set up to protect the world?
Someone had to talk some sense into Future's Web before they started another world war. Taylor had said that the Seaview was the Web's back-up sub. It would seem that Taylor and his team had been using the Institute as a back up as well, when the Web got too big for their boots. Admiral Harriman Nelson would make sure that he would get the Web to answer all his questions. He would make sure that the Web again worked for the United Nations, not the other way round.
Nelson's mind was so preoccupied that he failed to hear Lee join him on Seaview's bridge. It was not until he was handed a small mug full of steaming coffee that he knew that he was not alone.
"Here I think you could do with this," said Crane.
The look of gratitude from Nelson was all that he needed. Crane could tell that even with all the beauty that surrounded them, Nelson was far from relaxed. After the events of the past few months he wondered if anything would be able to relax the Admiral, or himself for that matter. Would they ever be able to relax their guard? They were the only two on the sub who knew the true reason Taylor had come back to the Seaview, how the Earth was fighting for its life against an unknown alien menace. They were now both part of that war and only time would tell if they would survive the experience.
It had been one year since the first reports had begun to surface about dealings in covert plans for a the satellite system in the Future's Web defence Network. After another many months back-tracking by the CIA it became apparent that Captain Dalton, who had seized control of the Future's Web sub Darwin had not been the top man in the, as yet unknown, operation.
A new breakthrough came when a snatch of communication had been intercepted just off the coast of Cellos by a British Naval Destroyer. Whoever now had control, was in need of a computer specialist for some delicate tinkering with a stolen computer program. Would it be the programme that could ultimately control the 'Pacifica Angel' that overshadowed most of the Southern Hemisphere? Was it now under a new ownership that was not at all friendly to the United States? The CIA knew only one man who could find out.
It had been just over a year now since Paul Taylor had thought about the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. While he had been there, he had enjoyed working on the Seaview's computer systems. Yet now he was not so sure if what he remembered actually happened in this time-line. He had found it would have been slightly complicated for him to go back to work for Nelson and the Institute.
It was while he was resting on the pacific island of Til'rama, after being joining up with Harry Nelson, that he heard that the CIA was looking for someone with his qualifications to oversee part of the Watchman Accord. He had jumped at the chance. It was while there that he had first caught rumours about Tim Dalton, and just what he had been up to, or would have been up to if the Web, and their so called enemy, had not got in the way. While talking to a British colleague one early morning he determined to find out if the rumours were true and that Dalton had been indeed only a middle man.
Taylor wondered why the CIA had chosen Cellos Island for his meeting. The only thing of interest here was that it was the breeding ground for a group of rare porpoises. Numerous marine scientists could often be found at the small Nelson Research Unit found just about half a mile away from where he was to meet his contact.
".....And it would seem that it was not only my brother that was hell bent on world domination, Paul." Jamie said somewhat casually as she sipped her drink on the terrace of the Blue Parrot.
Taylor wondered how she could just sit there so coolly and tell him how a member of the Nelson Institute was about to hold the world to ransom. According to all the information that Jamie had just given him, someone at NIMR was involved, someone who had set up a base on a remote island, someone with a lot of money and influence.
This could get very confusing for him, for she could well be describing either Admiral Harriman Nelson or his son Harry from a future that no longer existed. However he knew that neither of them would have collaborated with Dalton. Harry Nelson had seen what Dalton had been capable of. Even Dalton's sister had known what he was capable off and had worked against him. He tried to remember other names that would fit the same profile but anything or anyone could have changed. He would do just as Jamie had suggested and grab the opportunity that she had given him to find their man. It was a long dangerous route, but it could be successful.
Ironic, that was what Paul Taylor would have said if anyone asked. He wondered if the powers that be at the Pentagon had a warped sense of humour when he heard that his contact was also his new partner. He was to team him up with the sister of the man that had caused him to be out of time, as it were. Even now after working with her for just under a year, at the back of his mind he did still wonder just where her loyalties did lie. For now through, he was on his own. They had found out that Dalton had been working for someone when he had taken over the Darwin. That was something else that he was worried about. His little sister must have known about this man, so why had this information taken so long to surface. It did not ease matters that because of the sensitivity of this mission Jamie was only to be his pick-up off the island if anything went wrong. For the next few months he was well and truly on his own.
For many years now Doctor George Black had been watching a world going mad as he watched the gentle waves lap around his feet, and wondered if the human race would survive the next fifty years. He knew that to survive, extreme measures had to be taken now.
He had already tried to hire local mercenaries from the area of his island research unit. However, their leader had decided that Black had more money than sense and after taking his money had disappeared. Then there was the other activity in the area that defied belief. The whole of the Pacific had so many so called secret bases that he would not be at all surprised if he did not have a couple for next door neighbours.
Black however, found that if you did not try to hide what you were doing in a top-secret base and blended in so well with the background of a large respected company, such as the Nelson Institute of Marine Research, then you had a greater success rate to all of these fly by night megalomaniacs and their secret bases that such large institutions set up specifically to hunt them down.
If you lived in a forest, Black made sure that he looked like a tree. Soon he would start cutting down the dead wood. The last few months had been the biggest gamble.
Black did not know what it was about this programmer, Paul Taylor, but somehow he did not trust this new employee that he had brought in from the mainland. Black would be the first to admit that his feeling could only be that after so many years having to work under Harriman Nelson, and his plan for him, he just did not like working redheads. As the weeks had gone by the feeling had grown so much that he had brought his plan forward fully out into the open. If there were any traitors in his ranks, now was the time that they would show themselves, and Black would be ready with a few tricks of his own.
As Paul Taylor made his way down the narrow tunnel he could not help but wonder if he would ever be as good as Jamie on this type of mission. Black had indeed recruited Tim Dalton, but it had not been ascertained if Black and Daltons agenda's were one and the same. The whole of the Pacific was becoming a megalomaniac's playground, but as yet Black had not shown his true colours. However when that moment was to come, Taylor would make sure that Admiral Harriman Nelson would be one of the first to know. And if Black got aggressive by trying to use the Angel system that he thought he had so well hidden in his computer, it would only prove beyond a show of a doubt just how much a traitor Black was. Black would be destroying all of his work by his own hand.
"Okay, I want a list of possibilities and I want them, yesterday. I have conformation as of," Doctor George Black glanced at his watch, "O530 this morning, that Captain Lee Crane of the Seaview will be docking here in three hours. Nelson has taken the bait, but we need a trap that's fool-proof."
Everyone in the control room could tell that George Black was nervous. He had been the same way for months since the set back with the Darwin. That sub was to have been the new Seaview. However somewhere along the line the dream had either died, or had been warped. Dalton, the late Captain of the Darwin would have classed Black as a gullible marine scientist. Lee Crane would not be given a chance to call him anything. Seaview would soon be getting a new Captain; one under George Black's influence. The bait had been laid, now all he had to do was to let have Captain Lee Crane have his fatal accident.
"Shoot him down?" asked a young computer operator as he glanced up from his computer console.
"Not the right accident angle there," remarked Black.
"Poison?" inquired another.
"Traceable, or curable. Again it won't look like an accident."
"Hey, how about an electrical short that'll make Nelson's happy captain light up like a Christmas tree when he tries to undog the outer hatch when he arrives on the base."
"That has posssiblities. Get someone to work on to it now."
To say that Captain Lee Crane was shocked when he heard the conversation that was happenening on Cellos, as he brought FS1 into land at the NIMR unit there, was an understatment. However, it would seem that he was not as shocked as George Black wanted.
Carne had seen and heard it all in full video color thanks to a deep cover CIA agent that had managed to transmit this telling conversation to Admiral Nelson who had sent it on to him in FS1. Just in the nick of time.
Paul Taylor was being recalled from the island and was to be picked up by his partner. Black had made his move and now the world, including NIMR, knew him for the traitor that he was. Taylor had survived all of the espionage and now all he had to do was leave the island. He would leave Admiral Nelson deal with Doctor Black, for now he must know that he was beaten. With FS1 already in the area it could only mean that Seaview was close at hand. Taylor had made sure that even if Black did try to fire the Angel Satitilite System, his computer virus in the system would prevent its firing. He had left Black with a choice; it was up to him which way he would go. Black would have to do was to surrender without a shot being fired.
Paul Taylor glanced up into the sky just in time to see a manta ray like yellow craft fly low over the beach and head quickly off-shore. Taylor was glad that Crane had taken his lead to get away from the island before George Black could complete his deadly plan. Being on the island had opened a can of worms for the Institute and now it would be up to Admiral Nelson to put his house in order before another of his employees decided to try to kill him.
Taylor was about half way along the beach when the sky suddenly darkened and he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck begin stand up on end. He was reminded of another time and another place when he had felt the same sensation. This time through he knew what was about to happen. He had to find some cover fast. However, as he ran up the beach towards some small caves, all hell broke lose as the whole of the beach was suddenly like the churning sea. For the last metre of his run he was flung through the air like a rag doll and he hit the entrance of the cave entrance with a sickening thump. His last thought as he sank into unconsciousness was that his plan had not worked quite as well as it should have.
"Is the satellite in position?" asked a nervous George Black. This was the first time that Paul Taylor's' computer program was fully in control of the Pacifica Angel Satellite System.
Watching the small radar blip that was the Flying-sub getting further away from his island was doing nothing for his nerves. For over a year now he had built up his island chain, protecting the vast reaches of the Pacific from the likes of Admiral Nelson and his pitiful attempts at saving the world. Captain Phillips was the only true commander of Seaview. Captain Crane did not fit into his plans. He would show Seaview that his sub the Darwin would either be their salvation or destruction. Mister Dalton had been right, before his untimely death, Black would make the world stop and listen.
"Fire," Black ordered the computer.
The high altitude satellite caused an unseen shadow as it aligned its orbit. With one swift movement it opened its solar panels to change from deterrent to avenging angel. Black knew that he would soon be under arrest but he would take out as many as he could before they got him.
Jamie Dalton looked at her watch again for about the tenth time in five minutes and gave a frustrated sigh. She was still sulking because she had only been given the job of back up on this mission to the island of Adui. The CIA for some months now had been back tracking her late brother's movement, and that had led them here. She glanced at her watch. It did not ease her nerves that she was sure that her new partner, Paul Taylor, did not totally trust her due to her family ties. Being related to an ex-megalomaniac with delusions of world rule was something that you did not write home about. Jamie was still trying to come to terms of just what her brother had done, or could have done, and as she sat alone at the bottom of the ocean in her small craft she had had ample opportunity to reflect.
'What the hell was that?' she said to herself as her small submarine's protests cut into her thoughts. Her craft suddenly gave a large shudder, bringing her mind sharply up to date and the mission in hand. Something had major had just happened on the surface. She would only find out later that the only thing that had saved her and her craft was that she was still at the bottom of the sea and out of range of the eletromatic-pulse of the Angel. She had been lucky, she was soon to find out, that others, her partner included, had not been so fortunate.
She had been listening quite a while to the radio traffic to and from the island. She had listened with mounting concern as Black had been pushed into a corner and he had come up fighting. She had always thought Black to be, as her brother had, a gullible rich marine scientist with delusions of being a megalomaniac. In the end, Black had more fight in him that either of them had thought. Black had left his mark in history. Now it was up to her to pick up the pieces. As she warmed up her craft she wondered just how many she would have to rescue this time.
Mists swirled and visions appeared, only to be snatched away before they could fully develop. Sensations thudded at his brain…
Paul Taylor opened his eyes and looked up directly up into the cool green eyes of Jamie.
"Have I died again?" was all that he could ask. "I sure as hell feel like I should've." Paul tried to get up from sand. "How long?"
"Long enough for me to have a near panic attack Paul. Rescue a Seaview Captain and see what one hell of a mess George Black as left us with."
"Under arrest, but we've still got to get you off the island before Nelson and Seaview turn up. Nelson's going to have his work cut out with the fall out from this Paul. It could even dwarf the problems with Future's Web," said Jamie as she helped Taylor up from the sand.
"You don't think they had anything to do with Black's sudden appearance as Dalton's middle man do you?" Taylor got to his feet he swayed slightly. "God! Anymore missions like this and I do think it'll be the death of me."
"After this mission you don't think I'm going to let you loose on your own again do you?" asked Jamie as they made their way slowing to the shore and Jamie's rescue craft.
Harriman Nelson was concerned for his friend and Captain, Lee Crane. He had tried to ease his concern by throwing himself into one of his newer research papers but he found that as he worked in his office onboard Seaview, it did not ease his concern.
As he reached for his pen he noticed out of the corner of his eye how the rest of his office seemed to be slightly out of focus and through his seat he could feel a slight fibrillation from his engines that was not normal for his super-sub.
By the time Nelson had reached the main corridor he knew for certain that his fears had been well founded. As the whole of Seaview was rocked by explosion after explosion the Admiral found himself propelled up towards the Circuit Room a lot quicker than he had anticipated. Tendrils of thick black electrical smoke rolled out from the cracks of the ventilation ducts. As he fought his way closer to the Circuit Room he could feel the heat that was still being radiated from behind the door.
"Don't go in there Admiral!"
Nelson turned at Chip Morton's voice, who had just arrived with both Patterson and Kowalski dressed in fireproof suits. "All electric systems have been blown by an alien energy pulse."
"Alien?" echoed Nelson.
"Alien to the Seaview, Sir." Chip did not want to worry the Admiral with the next part of the report, but he needed to know all of the facts. "The centre of the pulse, as far as I can tell was just off the coast of Cellos." It passed through Nelson's mind that Lee was in the epicentre of the pulse, but he had to put the worrying thought to the back off his mind and think of more pressing concerns.
"The nuclear reactor's fine, Sir. It's just the Circuit Room that's the problem." Chip motioned for Nelson to step back from the door so that Patterson and Kowalski could deal with the fire then they would be able to survey the damage.
"I hope that Lee didn't encounter this pulse as well, Admiral, as the Flying Sub wouldn't have stood a chance."
It had been six hours since the Circuit Room had been repaired, but Sparks could still smell the acrid smoke that lingered in the room as a warning of what had nearly been the death of the Seaview. Full repair could not be completed until they had made the Cellos base secure and had fully considered the fate of their Captain.
Lee Crane knew that he had to be in Heaven. At first the sound was wrong. Where there should have been the throb of the Flying Sub's engines, there was the light crashing of waves. The smell of burning electric's had been replaced by the light tang of salt. It was almost as if he was on a beach, but he knew that there was no way that he could have escaped from the stricken sub.
His mind flickered back to his last fragmented memories. He had tried to move to the smouldering panel that held the Flying Sub's structural integrity. As his mouth filled with salt water he had tried desperately to reach for his neck radio. There was no way that he could have reached dry land the state the sub had been in. He almost could not bring himself to open his eyes to see where fate had brought him. As he did so he was wreaked by severe retching. The pain burned up his body, telling him how close he had come to drowning. He felt his mind beginning to shut down. When he opened his eyes again he saw that he was not alone.
"Lee, take it easy." Admiral Nelson knelt down in the sand by his stricken friend. Kowalski standing next to him with Doc. It had taken them far too long to repair Seaview and when sonar had reported the wreck of the Flying Sub they had feared the worst . As he saw Crane, he could see their fears had not been far from reality. "Doc's here Lee, take it easy, then you'll be able to tell us what happened here." Nelson was pleasantly surprised at how fast Chip and his team had managed to find Lee.
"How is he Doctor?"asked Chip as he made his way from the top of the beach with Patterson.
Nelson quickly brought Crane up to speed. After repairs had been made to the stricken Seaview, six hours previously, sonar had picked up the wreckage of the Flying Sub some one hundred and fifty fathoms below them after they'd made for the island. Make-shift repairs had gone on round the clock, but full repairs could only be made when they had reached Cellos.
"From the evidence of what's happened here the only thing that could knock out a base of this size and FS1 would be the Angel System," said Nelson.
"Only Future's Web has access to the Angel," remarked Lee. "From what I heard George Black has a lot questions to answer."
Taylor had sat here for two straight hours now going over his figures that he had placed deep in the heart of Black's computer. The death blow to the whole of his system if he had tried to fire the Angel at anyone. A complete failure, a near disaster as Jamie had told him in no uncertain terms.
All that he could think of was that his cover must have been compromised when he had been on the island. He had said from the very beginning that he was not happy about going onto the island alone and now it would seem that they had known he was coming. However, if that was the case, why had he managed to get off the island alive?
Was he missing something in all this, like a certain Pem device? That was a topic that he did not like to think about. Time travel. Would he be forever looking over his shoulder whenever two and two on any mission did not add up? Even when he did not know why he had survived at all?
Oh, the Web scientists had a theory; they seemed to have a theory for everything. According to them when he bailed out through the Pem device he was caught in the slip stream effect and pushed back almost to when they had taken off. It was almost as if he had never left. It was his past self, the Paul Taylor, not time travelling, that had suffered the true effects of the Pem device. Taylor knew that he should be dead. He was a living echo of another time. However, it was down here in plain old black and white. How much he hated the forces of destiny.
Paul Taylor would have to be the first to admit that his plan with George Black's computer had not gone quite as planned. He had been picked up successfully by Jamie some hours ago. It would seem the word overkill could well be in her CIA report. It was only pure luck that they had still been in the area when FS1 had been put out of action by the energy wave that the Angel had produced.
But it would have been too counter productive to stay in the area. For a man who was to the out-side world, dead, it would have raised too many questions to stay around. Jamie had made sure that Captain Crane had made it to a safe recovery area and then made best possible speed away from the area. Now as he sat and contemplated just what he could have done differently on the island, and hoped that his actions would not cause any serious repercussions for the Nelson Institute of Marine Research and for Admiral Nelson.
"Captain?" Sparks called from the radio shack, "Captain, I think you better hear this."
Captain Crane was at the plotting table with Chip; he turned towards the radio shack. Lee was to Sparks in just a moment, "What is it?" Sparks handed a separate set of earphones to the Captain.
Lee, while continuing to listen to the radio, reached for the intercom mic. "Admiral... Crane here..."
"Nelson here, what is it Captain?"
"I think you'd better report to the radio shack immediately."
Hearing the urgency in Lee's voice, Nelson replied, "On the way, Captain." He pushed the intercom off and headed for the door.
Lee was listening intently as Nelson entered the room. "What do we have, Captain?"
"Sparks picked up a call from Washington to the Watchman Task Force concerning Future's Web." Lee added handing the Admiral the headphones, "listen for yourself."
The Admiral continued listening as Sparks continued to note everything on paper. As the message became unreadable he turned to Sparks, "You're losing the signal. Can you get it back?"
"Trying, Sir" Sparks said as he turned dials, trying to tune in the
frequency. It began to get clearer.
"Fine, Sparks... that's better."
The signal then broke off. Nelson reached for the notes that Lee had taken
"We need more details." Turning to Sparks, "Open a secure call to the President."
Lee looked to the Admiral, "The President? Do you think it's necessary?"
Nelson answered, "Lee, they're going to need all the man-power that they can muster."
"Admiral," Sparks said, handing the headset to the Admiral, "I have the
The Admiral took the phone and said, "Mr. President, Admiral Nelson here, Code 51, scrambled..."
Both Lee and Sparks could only hear the Admiral's side of the conversation.
"Yes, Sir... Yes... we intercepted a message to the Watchman Fleet. Is this
"Yes," Nelson continued. "I understand. It's been confirmed then? I see... so it is just a possible at this point... do you have the anticipated coordinates? Yes, Mr. President. We'll get right on it... Yes, Sir... will keep you informed."
Nelson handed the headset back to Sparks and ordered the connection ended.
"Lee, let's go... we need to talk."
When they reached the observation nose, Lee asked, "Well, Admiral... what did the President say?"
"At 01.30 this morning the Future's Web flight 778 was lost outward bound from Til'rama, Lee."
"The energy pulse that knocked out FS1?"
"The one and the same. All availble craft in the area are joing in the search, as time goes by, they fear the worst."
"Do we know who was on the flight?"
"The whole of the American command-sector of Future's Web. The only part of that Multi-national task force that was asisting fully with the Presidental hearing later this month with Globe-net computers."
"I could not have put that better myself, Lee."
"Admiral I don't recommend that you take the Flying-Sub out," Chief Sharkey told Nelson as he knelt down to open the service hatch that led to the Flying-Sub. "We've only just managed to patch up the hull."
"You've heard what's happened to the Future's Web flight. The Sub could be their only chance."
"Well, not going on your own Admiral." Nelson turned surprised at Doc's voice to see him with a full medical bag standing with Crane. "I've just heard what's happened."
"Doc much as I would like your expertise the danger's too great."
"Admiral I don't think you heard me." Doc stood his ground and with grim determination in his voice pointed out some of the case facts. "The crew could be badly injured and waiting till we're back on the Seaview will be too late. I'm coming along and I suggest that there's no time to lose."
"And after the last time you had dealings with the Web you ended up in sickbay, so I'm coming as well as your insurance policy holder,"said Crane.
"But who holds your's Captain?"asked Nelson.
"Okay, so we both have Doc to keep us out of trouble."
The harsh sun was getting higher now to cast a light on what had once been been a Untied States Cargo plane that had been shattered into thousands of pieces as it had smashed into the unforgiving earth. How many hours had he been here, the lone survivor had no idea, but he just knew he was so very tired. He wondered if he would be rescued in time. The forces of destiny had caught up with him, were his last thoughts before he lost conscienceness.
After the rain and chill of the night, there was no doubt in Reddman's mind that he was in need of serious medical attention. He had tried to get some aspirin out from the charred remains of what had been the first aid box with moderate success. Both his arm and his leg were beginning to discolour and he knew that infection was going to set in. The only good in the whole situation was that all of the documents regarding Harry Nelson and Future's Web had been destroyed in the crash. No major secrets to be revealed in the presidential hearing. Events that Harry had started some years ago with the recruitment of Paul Taylor were still in motion; Future's Web was coming of age. Now if only he could survive the forces of destiny
Standing just above the smouldering remains of the crash site a short stocky man stood. Dressed in a smart brown tweed suit he seemed for some reason to be a man out of place. As he watched the scene of devastation below him he absent mindidly spun his small pocket watch in his right hand. Soon Admiral Harriman Nelson would learn that Pem always did hate happy endings. And he would make sure that he would carry on where Harry Nelson Jr. had left off, but he would shape Future's Web to his own image.