in the Control Room was thick enough to choke on. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke.
Most were afraid to even breathe for fear of attracting attention. Nobody
wanted to be the next in line. Nobody wanted to be the next target.
In front of
the periscope island, the body of crewmen Parson lay in quiet repose. Parson
had made a fatal mistake and had paid for it with his life.
seriously think you’re going to get away with this.” Harriman Nelson
snarled, his voice low and deadly. His sapphire eyes
flashed as dark hatred swam to the surface
“I know exactly what I’m
going to get away with. Your crewman was demonstration that I mean business. Unless
you want another man to join him, you’ll do exactly what I say.”
take this ship. You’re outnumbered a hundred and twenty-five to one. You’ll
never get a way with this.” Chip Morton
growled, fists clenched as he tried to keep his
emotions under control.
But the man
they knew as Walter Garrison,
supposedly an engineer, simply smiled and continued to train the gun on Admiral Nelson.
planned this to the last detail. I have all the pieces of the puzzle. With your
firing control system out of commission, you can’t move against me. The tiniest
bit of resistance on your part and my creation, my collection of nuts and
bolts, as you call it, will tear this ship apart. Now where is the good
spoke. Chip felt every muscle tense with the effort of not turning to look out
the Observation windows. He knew where Lee
was. Every crewmen knew where Lee was,
even if no had had actually seen him suit up and slip out the escape hatch.
Garrison’s eyes flitted from crewman to crewman, growing more
agitated by the minute. The gun wavered in his hand as he shook with barely
Where is he?” he snapped, grabbing Nelson
by the front of his shirt, and throwing him against the plot table, forcing him
backwards as he levered the gun against his chest.
Nelson braced both hand behind him as he stared unwavering up at
of your reach. You can’t touch him. With any luck, in a few more minutes this
house of cards you’ve built is going to come tumbling
down, card by card. It’s over, Garrison.”
vicious curse, Garrison backhanded Nelson across the face. Chip surged forward, only to
have the gun waved in his face. He stopped short, his heart hammering in his
chest as Nelson slowly pulled himself
upright, wiping a slow trickle of blood away from the corner of his mouth with
the back of his hand.
back! Call him back now!” Garrison
Chip stole a glance out the windows. “We don’t have radio contact with him, we
can’t call him back.”
Garrison pulled a small square box from his pocket and with an evil
gleam in his eye, he pressed a button.
There was a
terrifying screech of metal and Seaview lurched to port then rocked to
starboard. Chip grabbed at the table, helpless as Nelson’s
body was thrown to the deck. Garrison
braced himself against the periscope island, a wild unnerving laughter
beginning to bubble out.
“If I can’t
have Seaview, I’ll see to it none of us ever sees the surface again!”
Lee Crane maneuvered around the mechanical nightmare, praying
the admiral could keep Garrison off
center long enough so he could set the admiral’s disruptor. Setting a bomb to
destroy Garrison’s creation was too
risky; the concussion of the blast could be fatal to Seaview. The disruptor Nelson
had cobbled together would scramble the electrical system of the bucket of
bolts, freeing Seaview from its death
the thing jerked and came to life. Crane couldn’t
stop the gut wrenching pull in his stomach as massive mechanical hands gripped
the bow and the tail fin of his lady, trying to rip the Seaview apart.
closer, Lee fumbled for the device
clipped to his belt. With a flip of a switch, he activated the magnetic unit
and came up behind the mechanical Frankenstein. Battling the currents and the
turbulence generated by the robot’s thrashing, Lee
managed to stick the device to the monstrosity’s back, right at the base of its
was instantaneous. The construction froze then shuddered, losing its grip on
the submarine. Seaview slowly righted
herself; finally back on an even keel.
Now, all he
had to do was get back to the sub, repair the firing control and put a torpedo
in that thing. Lee kicked hard for his
boat, praying Nelson had everything under
was the first to see the gun go flying. Garrison
has lost his weapon. Throwing himself out of his chair, he tackled the crazed
man and the two rolled. It wasn’t much of a fight. Ski knocked the device from Garrison’s clutches and Nelson
was there, snatching it up off the floor seconds before the submarine grew
to the brig and throw away the damn key!” Nelson
ordered, grabbing for the mike.
Room, where the devil is Crane and how much longer
till you get things repaired down there?”
voice Nelson heard made him sag with
Crane here. Fire Control is operational and tube one is ready for firing.”
are you waiting for, Lee? Fire! Blast
that thing into scrap metal!”
that second of recoil as the missile exploded out of its tube, homed in on the
dormant robot, and detonated.
later it was over. There was nothing left of Garrison’s
over?” Chip asked as the sub stilled, recovering from the shockwave of the
certainly hope so, hate to think I went through all that for nothing.” Lee said as he descended the stairwell. Nelson and Chip exchanged grins.
we get turned around and head for home? I think I’ve had enough of giant robots
and egotistical scientists,” Lee
suggested. He paused for a moment, his expression sad as he saw the corpsmen
carrying the body of Parson out of the Control Room.
Nelson noticed the shift in Lee’s
mood, and decided he wasn’t going to let Crane brood
over it. One man might be dead, but he had saved a hundred more. Later, when
things had quieted down, he’d talk to Lee
alone about Parson. Harry turned his attention
back to his young captain.
“You know, Lee. I couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s get back
to something a little more normal, shall we?”
snorted as he followed Lee to the plot
table. “Giant robots and egotistical scientists. I
thought that WAS normal.”