DÉJÀ VU TIMES TWO
Captain Lee Crane grasped a hold tightly on the plotting table. Wiping the sweat from his forehead he tried to focus, he checked his khaki uniform for damage and found none. The Seaview had just done some heavy rocking and rolling and suddenly he felt very woozy. He rubbed his hands over his face trying to clear the cobwebs filling his now tired brain. The red emergency lights were on and the control room had an eerie, spooky feeling. He was just about to call his XO, Chip Morton when he hit the deck hard and passed out.
"Is David okay?" he heard off in the distance.
He looked up to be staring at familiar faces the Admiral, Morton, and Sharkey along with Kowalski and Patterson. The lights were now on in the control room and he felt much better. Each had a look of shock and concern on their face. Nelsonís craggily face, Chipís blue eyeís and Sharkeyís look of concern. Each of them slightly out a focus for a second and then they came into clearer view. The bright blue uniforms of Kowalski and Patterson, against Nelson and Chipís khaki made it easier to have something to focus on.
"Iím fine. Iím fine," he waved them off, but who the hell was David. He got himself off the hard deck and started brushing himself off, a little embarrassed he had taken a tumble.
Chip came up to him and patted him on the shoulder. "You gave us quite a scare David. Hey, I knew we were working long hours, but did you eat lunch today?"
There was that name again. "Iím fine, Chip, really," he smiled. A look of confusion was on Chipís face as if he didnít know who he was talking to.
"Save it for the cameraís David," Chip laughed.
"Okay, Bob. Knock it off. We have to set up for the next shot. Why donít you take David to his trailer and getting something in him? Itís going to be a long night," a strange man came up to the both of them dressed in street clothes. Chip nodded and then guided him to a trailer marked David Hedison. It was then he really noticed he wasnít aboard the Seaview but in a cavernous building filled with people, cameras, lights and catwalks. He shook his head and quickly closed and opened his eyes, hallucination, perhaps. He climbed in to find uniforms in a small closet and small refrigerator. He opened it up to find a myriad of juices and fruits and opened up a plastic bottle of orange juice and took a long drink. If he didnít know better heíd swear he was having a horrible nightmare.
"You okay, David? You look kinda peaked. Here," Bob handed him some yellow pages. "Script changes. You know budget cuts. Read them over and Iíll have someone get you when weíre ready. You know how Irwin hates OT for the camera crew." Bob waved good-bye and headed out the door.
Once the door closed, he made a closer inspection of his trailer. Very compact and neat, however, it was the scripts on the small dining table that caught his eye. He now knew this was no hallucination; somehow he had been transported, where he wasnít quite sure. He glanced at the titles and winced, read a few pages of each and shook his head. My god, he thought, Seaview went through these same episodes weeks or months ago. If he didnít know any better heíd swear Pem had something to do with it. This whole situation had Pemís fingerprints all over it, the sneaky s.o.b.
After considering where he might be, he started reading over the script changes and realized he had just done that. Before he collapsed on the deck his words were the same. This was turning out to be a hell of a nightmare.
A knock on the door startled him and brought him back to reality. "Five minutes" a disembodied voice called.
He straightened up his uniform and went out the door willing to continue the charade. He was a trained ONI agent, impersonating lots of men, how hard could it be?
The last few scenes shot; he thought the nightmare might end. Everyone seemed to be happy even though he hadnít a clue what the hell he was doing. He watched everyone else and smiled and pretended he knew what he was doing. Happy to have it over with he made a quick beeline to his trailer, anything to get away from the frightening set that was so eerily the control room he knew intimately.
He paced the small trailer wondering what he would do next. A knock made him stop. He opened the door to find himself staring at the man everyone called Bob but he knew as Chip.
"Hey, David, you going home or what?" The blue innocent eyes asked him. He was now dressed in jeans, shirt and shoes.
He trusted this man implicitly in his universe but could he trust him now?
"Could you come in here for a minute?" he asked hesitantly rubbing his right hand through his short black hair.
"Sure, it canít wait until tomorrow?" Bob half turned to leave.
"No, no. Please," he pleaded slightly.
Bob came in and he shut the door. He offered him a seat at the dining table and Bob took it. Bob still had a questioning look on his face. "Everything okay David? What girlfriendís giving you problems?"
"I wish it was that simple and easy, Bob. At least I would know how to figure that one out," finding the word difficult to say. "Iím going to tell you something and I realize you made not believe me. But so help me God, Iím telling you the truth."
He proceeded to tell him everything from Nelson, Seaview, Chip and all the wild and unbelievable adventures he had been on and was on now.
Bob sat there for a few moments opening his mouth and shaking his head. His intense blue eyes still filled with disbelief and mirth. "Címon David. Youíre pulling my leg, right? To get back at me for the stunt I pulled on you a few weeks ago," Bob said in all seriousness.
He shook his head, no.
Bob checked his hands and then looked at him. "Okay, what if I buy your story? And Iím talking a big if here now. What do you do next? Remember Iím only an actor and if youíre here, where is David then?"
David glanced around his cabin, thankful to be out of the control room and damn lucky he found it in the first place. So far he had been able to pull it off. Waking up on the hard deck and finding reassuring faces were fine until he noticed no one yelling cut and actually seeing the oceanís reflection on the deck. When he looked around the control room and found all sides of a real sub; thatís when he almost lost it. Luckily everyone was concerned for his health and he improvised saying he was fatigued and just needed some rest. The crew along with Nelson and Morton agreed and he made his way out of the control room and to find his cabin. How hard could that be?
It wasnít as easy as he thought. Finding himself lost as soon as he was out of the control room. He was damn lucky there were no crewmen around; canít find the Captain looking for his cabin and getting lost. He spotted a few men and mumbled Ďcarry oní, but realized he had forgotten what deck officerís country was in and it was too late to look at the schematic in the observation nose. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found the Captainís cabin, and another one finding the door unlocked.
Now he didnít know what to do next. He didnít know how to run a sub; sure he had been in the Navy but nothing like this. He ran his hands through his dark hair and wondered if this wasnít a sign he needed a nice long vacation. Too many long hours on the set and being Captain Crane was starting to intrude on his real life. It had to be a dream, had to be.
"I have no idea where your friend is Bob. But right nowÖ. Is there ever a time when you work really late and maybe spent the night, with these trailers," Lee said putting his thumb and forefinger of his right hand to his mouth.
"Yeah, sometimes why?" Bob said suddenly curious.
"Because frankly Bob, I havenít a clue where Hedison lives. Do you?"
Bob shrugged his shoulders, "David said weíre neighbors but in LA that could mean down the street or in the same county. Personally Iíve never been to his house. Why?"
"It just wouldnít feel right and hell I donít have a clue where I am. Besides I think it would be better if I just stayed here. I donít think I can get into to much trouble, right."
Bob sat there a second. "Okay. But sooner or later you have to go home. I mean you have no idea how long youíll be here, right?"
He nodded thankful for the short reprieve.
David paced his cabin, racking his brains on what had happened. Replaying each event before finding himself on the real Seaview. A knock on the door brought him back to reality. "Come in," he replied automatically, almost forgetting he was on a real submarine.
"Hey, skipper," Chief Sharkeyís bright face said as he walked into the cabin. "Mr. Morton said he needed to get the some paperwork from you. The efficiency report you were working on."
"Yes, yes," he went over to the desk and tried to find it. He noticed the Chief giving him odd looks. He went through every report on the desk, not sure if he knew the right one Sharkey was looking for. He knew Crane was usually on top of things.
"Found it," he said almost wishing he hadnít. "There you are chief, carry on." Handing the report to Sharkey, feeling the paper, almost burnt into his skin.
"Uh, yes sir. Have a good night." The Chief turned and made his way out of his cabin.
The little incident proved he couldnít continue this charade for very much longer; there must be somebody he could trust and tell and not believe he was totally mad. Nelson, my god Nelson, he and Crane had been through a lot. Of course he would believe him. Besides Nelsonís cabin shouldnít be too difficult to find. He had found Craneís cabin, right?
Totally wrong about that; in officerís country it took him a good five minutes to find the cabin, thankful the corridor was empty and the crew couldnít spot him being an imposter.
He finally found the cabin, knocking gently on the door he expected to hear Nelsonís gruff reply.
"Come in," Nelson replied.
He found him in his usual place, at his desk going over reports and charts. His uniform a little bit rumpled.
"Good evening, Admiral," he said hoping to sound as natural as possible.
"I thought you were going to get some rest. Canít have the Captain falling asleep in the control room," Nelson said lightly tapping a pencil on the desk.
"Speaking of the Captain," he inhaled. "Iím not Lee Crane."
He saw a look of confusion on Nelsonís face.
"Hear me out," he continued, putting his open hands in front of himself. "Iím David Hedison. I play Captain Lee Crane on a television show called "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". Itís not real. One minute I was on the set and them whamo, Iím here. Do you believe me?" He stood there anxious for Nelsonís reply.
Nelson started laughing uncontrollably and finally caught his breath. "Lee, Lee. I never thought you could tell such a joke."
"Iím not lying," his tone serious, "Can you help me?"
"Youíre not are you," Nelson returned in kind. "Thereís one slight problem, though."
"Whatís that," suddenly realizing he might be stuck here forever.
"I have no idea how you got here in the first place."
He sat down hard on the chair in front of Nelsonís desk, suddenly defeated.
Lee spent an unrestful night in the trailer bed, wondering where his counterpart was and what he was doing. He didnít like being caught unawares and out of control. Bob had been kind enough to buy him dinner and then bring him back to the studio, so now he tried to sleep, tossing and turning, thinking what would happen now.
The sharp knock on his trailer brought him out of sleep. Probably Bob, his wake up call. Bob probably didnít realize he had fallen asleep around three in the morning. He opened his eyes and tried to remember where he was. Yes, he was stuck back in time in another universe. He got out of bed, relishing the hot shower and hoping he might find away home. He changed into his uniform and reported to the set.
Going out to the set, he grabbed coffee and a Danish from Ďcraft servicesí, or thatís what every one called catering, sat down on his chair and started reading todayís script pages. Not that he had to, each of the lines were a replay right before he arrived here.
The day moved swiftly with him no closer to finding away home. The set was quiet when he heard an unmistakable voiceÖ PEM.
Excusing himself he followed the voice and confronted the troublemaker. Dressed in a blue suit, Pemís mouth in a mirthful grin, graying hair, hooknose and smile, irritated him to no end. Wrapping his arm around Pemís shoulders he quickly guided him to a secluded spot on the sound stage.
"All right, Pem. Iím tired of your little game," he started in, his voice only loud enough for Pem to hear and anger in every word. "I donít know why you did this, but you better put me back," his restraint forcing him not to punch Pem in the nose and be done with it.
Pem snickered, "My, my, my, Captain. A little upset are we? You might say Iím conducting an experiment. You see, I know I can travel in time. I just wanted to see if I could travel in parallel universes. Or at least transport other people, other than myself. I like this universe, people are soÖquaint and unaware. Perfect for my experiments. At least I donít think you will remember anything. Never mind, I believe your being called."
He looked to see Bob waving to him he waved back.
"Just wait, Pem. I will have my chance with you," he turned around and walked hard back to the set.
The scene called for the rocking and rolling of the ship, just like before Pem had activated his device. He played along getting in the rhythm of the beating off camera. It was an annoying sound, then suddenly the lights went out and he lost his footing, landing hard on the floor and hitting his head.
"Admiral," Mortonís concerned voice came over the intercom.
"Yes, what is it, Chip," Nelson answered, looking at David.
"I tried to contact Lee on the private line and he didnít answer. Is he with you now, Admiral?" Chipís tone getting more excited with each word. "All I can say is you better get to the control room now! All hell is breaking loose." Mortonís voice seemed more urgent this time.
"Leeís here with me Chip. Weíre on our way," Nelson got up and he automatically followed. Second nature as it were from so many years on the set.
The control room was filled with loud klaxons going off and everyone screaming. Nelson went straight to sonar and picked up a set of headphones. The observation nose was dark and every crewmember had surprised and horrified looks on their face.
"Iíve never heard anything like it sir," Kowalski volunteered sitting at the sonar station and bending over the screen.
Morton looked at him expectantly, as if he should pick up a headset. But David knew if he did his cover would be blown. He didnít have a chance as blackness fell in the control room and the boat rocked and rolled. Unable to grab a hold of anything he hit the deck hard and fast.
The man opened his eyes, feeling the whole scene replay again. Nelson, Morton, Sharkey, Kowalski and Patterson. How many times did he have to go through with this? Wasnít he ever going home?
"You okay, Lee?" Both Nelson and Morton said in unison.
If those werenít the greatest three words he had ever heard. But what had he experienced was it real or a dream? He needed to find out regardless of the outcome.
"No, I donít think Iím okay. I think I need to have Doc look me over," he said as he got off the hard deck and looked at the comforting curvature of the submarine.
Both Nelson and Morton exchanged surprised looks, both their eyebrows shot up.
Nelson coughed, "You heard him, Chief. Escort the Captain to sick bay."
Sharkey stood there for a few seconds. "Uh, yes, sir. Certainly, sir." Sharkey grabbed his arm and they made there way out of the control room.
Leaving he heard Morton and Nelson talking in hushed tones. It was good to be back home, he thought.
Opening his eyes, David saw the familiar catwalks, lights and technicians. He wondered if what he had experienced was a dream, hallucination or real. He wasnít going to stick around and find out. It had seemed so real, soÖ So he didnít know how to describe it. He gave perplexing looks to everyone as they redid the final scene. Thankful when he woke up the second time he was still on the set. He looked intensely at everyone and did sly looks at all the technicians and the director. Richard came up to him when they were setting up one more camera shot and asked him if he were okay. What could he tell him? That there really was a Seaview and a Nelson? Oh that would go over big, they might not renew his contract if word got around; keeping his mouth shut would be the best thing.
He got up and said his goodbyes; he was going home for a nice long weekend. He undeniably needed a rest. Thankful it was the last scene of the day and he was going to have nice long relaxing weekend. Going to his trailer to make sure he changed out of his uniform, knowing in his heart a real Captain Lee Crane existed and he would try to meet his demanding standards.
OVER AND OUT