Lights Camera Action!

GrayLady Sharon


It rose out of the depths of the sea, perched on the edge of the deepest point of the ocean’s floor. Seaview glided by, silent and graceful, elegant as only Seaview could be. From the double tiered windows, her captain watched impassively as the Triton Sealab, in turn, watched him. He should have stayed. Chip could handle this run, he was the exec after all. Lee wanted to stay behind until this splinter group had been caught and dealt with. Then they wouldn’t have to resort to the admiral hiding in some out of the way sealab.

Crossing his arms over his chest, Lee Crane grumbled something under his breath as one of the small patrol submersibles passed under them.

“What was that, Lee?” Chip asked from the plot table.

“Damn things look like mosquitoes. Just about as annoying,” Lee repeated an octave louder.  Behind him, Chip snorted in amusement.

“Something funny, Mister Morton?” Crane snapped.

“Just listen to yourself. First you gripe about leaving the admiral behind, then you gripe about the security patrols. Ease up, Lee. You can’t watch his back twenty-four-seven.”

Lee let out a long deep breath, lowered his arms and walked back to the plot table. He placed both hands palm down on the table.

“Doesn’t make it any easier. Is it this bad when I get called out?”

“Lee, more often then not, ONI calls you in on flimsy intell, no backup and no extraction plan. Pick me up at random beach at random pick up time. Yeah, sure. And when you can’t make the pick up location, we go after you and find the crap’s been beaten out of you ‘cause you had bad intell going in. So yes, it is that bad.”

“It’s not always my fault,” Lee replied defensively. Chip grinned.

“Doesn’t make it any easier,” the exec mimicked, earning him light punch in the arm.

Suddenly, Sparks’ voice cut through the control room, breaking the officers’ good mood.

“Skipper, Triton reports a security breach! Requesting immediate assistance!”

Crane snatched up the mike. “Maneuvering…”

That was all he managed before the first shock wave tossed Seaview around like a toy in a bathtub. Lee grabbed at the plot table, even as Chip scrambled to keep his balance. Morton was unable to grab onto anything and he was thrown backward into the periscope island. Lee felt his own stomach churn as Chip’s head snapped back and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. His unconscious body dropped to the deck and rolled as Seaview continued to toss.

“I don’t remember that happening.” Chip Morton said, easing into the empty easy chair. Across from him, his long legs stretched out with this feet propped up on the coffee table, Lee Crane

grabbed for the remote and hit ‘pause’. He then shoved another handful of popcorn into his mouth.

“That’s because it didn’t. It’s a show and the writers made it up. You want me to start over?” he asked.

“Nah. I can catch up. I can’t believe you want to watch this thing, much less drop money to buy the first season,” Chip replied, popping the top on the soda can and settling in with his own bowl to watch the show. Chip had a habit of just dropping by and making himself at home. Lee could argue. If Chip wasn’t here, chances were, he was at Chip’s.

“Look who’s talking? Whose butt is it parked at my house on Thursday nights at eight o’clock?” Lee snapped back, earning him a handful of tossed popcorn.

“Hey, I can’t help it. You’ve got me hooked. I thought the admiral was crazy when he sold the movie rights to that production company. Who the heck wants to watch a T.V. series based on a submarine?”

Lee shrugged. “Ratings are good. Who can argue with that? They’ve got a good cast and the scripts aren’t half bad.”

Chip finally got comfortable and Lee took his cue, starting the show up again. For a couple of minutes the two retired officers watched in quiet. Finally Chip spoke up between mouthfuls of popcorn.

“Okay, clue me in again. Who’s the guy playing you?”

Crane snatched up the DVD case and flipped it over. He scanned the blurb on the back then finally answered. “Some guy named David Hedison.”

Chip snorted. “Never heard of him. He plays you well though. He’s got your mannerisms down.”

Lee raised an eyebrow as he watched the actor. “You think?”

“Oh yeah. Who’s the guy playing me?”

Once more Lee grabbed for the case. “Would you believe somebody named Robert Dowdell?”

“Now him, I’ve really never heard of. Where do the producers get these people?” Morton asked. He shook his head as on screen, his character was carried off screen by a couple of ‘crewmen’. Chip jerked up and grinned.

“Oh good gravy, it that suppose to be Jamie?”

“Yep. Looks just like him. Acts just like him too. You know they never call him by his name?”

Chip chugged back a swig of soda. “What the heck do they call him?”

“Doc. That’s all you ever hear. Just Doc.”

“Beats some of the things we used to call him,” Chip replied dryly.

The silence stretched out once more as they two focused on the show. Against the background of faint crunching, the two old friend watch as the fictionalized version of years past played out on the screen.

“Okay, I’ve seen you, me, and Jamie and a bunch of other random people. Where’s the OOM?”

Lee sifted into a more comfortable position. “The story line has it that the admiral was in the Triton Sealab when it was taken over. The bad guys are looking for the admiral and he’s hiding in the ventilation system. They haven’t shown that part yet.”

Chip raised a blond eyebrow. “You’ve seen this already?”

“Only half. I haven’t seen the whole thing yet.”

“I still can’t believe that they made a television show based own Seaview’s missions. I mean who the heck is watching this?”

Lee rolled his eyes. “Me and you? You think this is bad, you should see the websites.”

“Websites? Lee, I teach snot-nosed plebes mathematical theory all day and you teach tactics and strategy. I don’t have time to surf the internet, how the heck do you? What websites?”

Lee reached for the remote and stabbed at the pause button. He turned back to his friend and crooked his finger.

“Come hither, Mr. Morton.”

Chip signed and heaved himself out of the chair, setting his bowl in the table. “We’re retired from the Navy and he still outranks me,” he grumbled and followed Lee to the desk at in the corner of the room. Lee sat down at the desk and turned on the monitor. He typed a few words in, hit ‘enter’ and waited.

“See, Lee motioned to the screen with a finger. “the show has a huge following.”

Chip scanned the entries on the screen, surprise coloring his sky blue gaze.

“Just one more question, Lee. What the heck is fan fiction?”