Admiral Harriman Nelson sat at the desk in his office at the N.I.M.R building, steadily working his way through the amazing amount of reports that seemed to need his attention.
The Institute had been a dream for him nearly all his adult life, culminating in the creation of his privately owned submarine Seaview and although he found the paperwork irksome he understood that it was inevitable.
Casting a glance out of his large office windows, he gazed across the rolling lawns to the specially designed sub pen where his creation lay. He never got over that feeling of pride he always felt when looking at her. She was all he had hoped for and more.
Lee called Seaview his ‘grey lady’ and Nelson thought that very appropriate; she was indeed a lady.
Harry was proud of his officers and crew. They were dedicated and loyal. His Captain and friend Lee Crane was undoubtedly the reason for this. He led his crew with selfless determination, always willing to put them first and they responded with their devotion to him. He was more than ably supported by his Exec, Chip Morton a man of quiet fortitude and equal resolve. Together they were an impressive team!
He reluctantly returned to the work in front of him, it was starting to get late and he wanted to finish up and go home. Suddenly he was interrupted by the buzz of the intercom. “Admiral, Ms Katherine Stone is here to see you sir.”
“Send her in please, Angie, and could you bring fresh coffee?”
Katherine? It had been four months since he had last seen her. She had joined
them on a mission to Central America to rescue Lee and Chip, and after a
successful outcome, she had returned to
As he opened his office door, he smiled
in welcome. “Katherine, how good to see you my dear. What brings you to
Katherine Stone smiled in genuine pleasure as she was led to a sofa and sat down. “Admiral, sorry to drop in unannounced. It’s good to see you too, how are you?”
Nelson frowned slightly at her formality….
Angie came in and served them both coffee and left.
Nelson took a seat beside her. “Is there anything wrong? Nothing concerning Grace, I hope.”
“No, nothing concerning Grace. How is she adjusting by the way?” Katherine sipped her coffee.
“She’s settled in just fine. Lee and Darcy have nearly completed her adoption. She is a very happy little girl and has taken on the role of big sister to young Josh Morton,” Nelson smiled broadly.
“She is remarkable, considering all that she has suffered in her short life,” Katherine said thoughtfully. “Now she’s safe at least.”
“What is it you’re not saying, Katherine? What brings you back here?” Nelson asked gently.
“Harry, you know me too well,” she opened her briefcase and took out some papers. “We have received some intelligence that could affect you and the Institute.” She handed him a folder. “As you can see, information has been intercepted that mentions Ethan Roberts as well as the N.I.M.R. directly,
Nelson read quickly through the file and the laid it on the table. Running a hand through his hair and jamming the other hand in his pocket, he started to pace. “Damn the man! Why does he have this obsession? What can I have ever done to him that causes him to come after the Institute like this?” Nelson looked directly at her, “How accurate is this information?”
“We have every reason to believe that it is genuine. He means to take his revenge on you if he can.” Katherine Stone watched Nelson go to his desk and press the intercom.
“Angie, see if you can find Captain Crane and Mr. Morton. Ask them to come to my office.” He flipped the off switch and stood thinking.
“What are you going to do?” Katherine Stone asked carefully.
“Well, increase our security to start with. Seaview is due to sail in three days; at least we will be safe at sea.”
There was a brief knock on the door, and then it opened to admit Lee Crane and Chip Morton. “Admiral, you wanted to see us,” Lee said, and then turning to Katherine Stone both men greeted her warmly.
“Captain Crane, Mr. Morton. I must say you both look better than when I last saw you.”
She remembered the injuries both men had suffered after their attempt to rescue an informant from drug smugglers. The informant turned out to be Crane’s soon to be adopted daughter, Grace.
“Leave it to Jamie to repair the damage and get us back on our feet,” said Lee smiling.
Quickly Nelson explained the latest news on Ethan Roberts.
“I’ll double the shore patrols and alert the gate guards to double check all identities. We can restrict all access to just two gates, it will cause a few delays but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” Morton said immediately falling into Exec mode.
“I’ll go down to the boat and get the Chief and watch crew together. We’ll do a complete security check,” Crane said as he stood. “We’ll report our findings Admiral.” Saying goodbye to Katherine Stone both men left on their assignments.
“They’re very good, aren’t they Harry? You’re very lucky to have them.”
Nelson smiled, he knew that all right. “They are indeed. Chip will have this place locked down in no time at all and Lee will check every bolt and bulkhead on Seaview. If Roberts tries anything he will be faced with a formidable team.”
“Well, I just wanted to alert you in person. Now we can get back to trying to catch him.” Katherine Stone stood.
“Are you heading back to
“No, I thought I’d stay in town overnight.”
“Have dinner with me, nothing too fancy just a quiet meal in a little place I know.”
Katherine Stone considered him carefully. “Admiral…that’s very kind but well…I’m not sure …..”
“Kit Kat, I’m only suggesting two old friends have a meal together,” he said smiling
Her expression softened, “Kit Kat….. I haven’t been called that in a long time; you were the only one to ever use it,” smiling Katherine put a hand on his arm. “Thank you Harry, I will,” she said gently.
Nelson smiled, “Good. It’s time we caught up again.” Harry glanced at her and thought she looked rather nervous.
They left the office together saying goodnight to Angie on their way out.
Early the next morning Lee Crane walked into the Admiral’s outer office and smiled at Angie.
“Good morning Angie, is he in?”
“Not yet Lee. In fact I was just about to ring you. I can’t seem to find him. I rang Eduardo at the house as the Admiral missed a special conference call this morning. I thought maybe he was ill, but Eduardo said he didn’t get home last night.”
Lee Crane was immediately alert, “When did you last see him?”
“He left just before me, with Katherine Stone. They were going to dinner. The Admiral had me ring Luigi’s for a table.”
“Ring Luigi; see what time they left. I’ll be in his office.”
Crane went through and immediately picked up the ‘phone on the large desk. Dialling he waited for an answer. “Chip, have you seen the Admiral this morning. No? Get over to his office; I think we may have a problem.”
As he dropped the ‘phone Angie came in. “Lee, Luigi says they didn’t show up,” her voice held concern.
“Angie find out where Katherine Stone is staying and check on her.”
Just as she was leaving Chip Morton hurried in. “What’s going on Lee? Where’s the Admiral?”
“Wish I knew Chip. He left here last night with Katherine Stone and no one seems to have seen him since. Angie is just checking her hotel.”
Both men studied each other in silence.
Angie knocked and entered. “Lee, Ms. Stone didn’t go back to the hotel. Her bags are still there.”
“Thank you Angie. Check the hospitals, just in case.” Crane got up and started to pace. “Hell, Chip, are you thinking the same as me?”
“Roberts!” Morton’s voice was grim.
“We didn’t think about his personal safety. We just assumed he was after the Institute.”
“I’ll check….” but Chip was interrupted by the intercom.
“Yes Angie?” Crane said.
“Captain, there is an officer from the police department calling.”
“Put him through,” Lee picked up the telephone.
“Hello. This is Captain Crane, what can I do for you?” Lee listened to the reply.
“I see, well thank you, I’ll be sure to send a driver to pick it up. Thanks for letting us know.” He listened again.
“No, I’m sure there’s no problem, probably just run out of gas. Thanks again,” Lee rang off.
“Well, what? Did they find something?” Chip asked impatiently.
“The Admiral's car, on the private cliff road, about five miles out. It was undamaged, just abandoned. Chip, there was no sign of the Admiral or Katherine Stone,” Crane looked at his friend. “They must have been kidnapped, but why? What can Roberts hope to gain?” His frustration spilled over and he slammed his hand hard on the desk.
Nelson moved slightly, he felt a damp towel on his forehead and soft hand stroking his face. Slowly he opened his eyes.
“At last. I thought you were never going to wake up,” Katherine’s anxious face was watching him
“What the hell happened?” Nelson asked hoarsely as he struggled to sit up.
“Don’t you remember? We stopped on the road to help at the accident, and then we were attacked and kidnapped.” Katherine looked concerned as she helped him.
Harry rubbed the back of his neck, “Yes, I remember now. Are you alright?”
“Yes. They didn’t hurt me; I think they used chloroform on us.”
Harry stood a little unsteadily and started to look around. “You’re probably right. Any idea how long we have been here? Wherever here is.”
“No, they have taken our watches away.”
Nelson surveyed the small room. It was about six feet square. There were two doors, one bearing a heavy lock, no windows and only two single cots against the walls opposite each other. There was an overhead light but Harry could not see a switch anywhere.
“Pretty basic isn’t it? Through there is a tiny toilet and sink.” Katherine observed his unsteadiness. “Sit down Harry; we’re not going any where in a hurry. May as well rest.”
Nelson sat and smiled slightly. “I guess we will have to wait for that dinner a while longer. Damn, I’m sorry you’ve been caught up in all this Katherine.”
“It’s not your fault,” Katherine hesitated, “What do you think they want with us?”
“Wish I knew.” Reaching across he took both of her hands in his. “Let’s not let our imagination run away with us. We’ll soon find out I’m sure.” Nelson tried a smile of encouragement.
Katherine smiled in response. “Dear, dear Harry. You were always the positive one. You always looked for solutions even when there weren’t any. I remember when you first showed us the designs you had for Seaview. Even in the face of all the derision, you never let D……well, you never got discouraged,” Katherine looked down at their clasped hands.
Harry looked at her a moment, the unmentioned name hung between them. “How is he Katherine? Dale. Is he any better?” he asked softly.
At first he thought she was not going to answer. Then she looked him straight in the eye and said. “He’s dead Harry.” She took a deep breath. “Just about three months ago. He finally managed to carry out his threat. He took an overdose and this time I didn’t try to stop him!”
Lee, Chip and a small shore party were searching the Admiral’s car and the surrounding area.
“Skipper, we’ve done a 1000 yard search in all directions sir. There’s nothing to find. This place is clean. No clues at all,” Chief Sharkey stood with his hands on his hips in total dejection.
“I know Chief.” Crane answered, “Arrange to have Admiral’s car driven back and take the men back to the boat,”
“Aye sir….eh... Skipper, the Admiral? Well, we’re going to find him…. alright…aren’t we, I mean ...this is the Admiral!” Sharkey said in concern.
Crane looked at his COB, “Yes Chief. Whatever it takes, we’ll find him.”
“That’s what I thought sir. Okay, you guys, let’s look smart here!” he shouted to the crew.
Chip came and stood by his Captain. “You sounded awfully sure there. You think Roberts will let us find him?”
“If he had wanted to kill the Admiral, this place would have been perfect. He kept them alive for a reason and I think he won’t be able to resist dangling the Admiral in front of us. He enjoys power Chip. He will want us to know. He has a plan; I’m sure of it, he’ll be in touch, just so that he can tell us what it is.”
Nelson was sitting on one of the cots, watching Katherine. Her statement came as a shock. That she was reluctant to discuss it further was evident when she lay down and turned her face to the wall. His memories invaded his thoughts….
“A toast to the ‘Three Musketeers’.”
“No, the ‘Three Wise Men’.”
“Hey, wait a minute, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a man!”
“Oh, we’ve noticed but you don’t object to being called Wise.”
“Absolutely not… because I am!”
The three friends laughed loudly and the people at near by tables observed the two men and a woman freely enjoying themselves.
“Hey, we better keep it down, Dale or we’ll get thrown out.”
“Harry’s right, that wouldn’t do our reputations any good at all,” said the woman smiling.
“Oh, to hell with them. We’re enjoying ourselves.” Dale looked around the room. “Well…have you never seen anyone enjoying themselves?” he asked loudly.
“Dale…please,” The woman begged, embarrassed.
Dale looked at her and was annoyed. “Please what? Please don’t enjoy myself; please don’t let everyone see that I am?” As he saw her face flush and the tremble of her hands he was immediately contrite. “Katherine…I’m sorry. Really… I’m sorry. I guess I got carried away. Please forgive me…please…pretty please.” He finished in a cajoling voice and reached out to enfold her fingers.
Katherine looked up and tried to smile.
Harriman Nelson watched the scene with some concern. Dale Bruckman was one of his oldest friends but with Harry’s career in the Navy often taking him to sea, they had only managed infrequent visits together.
He had noticed a significant change in him since their last meeting. Dale’s moods were always volatile but now they seemed to balance between manic highs and lows. Lately he could react to the most minor situation with un-predictability.
“Come on Harry, let’s order another bottle. We’re celebrating after all.” Dale put his hand up to call a waiter over.
“Dale no more…I must get back. I have meetings in the morning,” Harry stayed his hand. He noticed Katherine seemed relieved.
“But Harry, it’s not every day you get a
Captain’s promotion.” Dale turned to look at his friend, “Good old Harriman
Nelson. The boy most likely to succeed. I guess the Nelson fortune didn’t hurt
you any either….”
“DALE!” Katherine said into the shocked silence.
“What? Harry knows I’m only kidding…don’t you Harry?” He reached out to clasp his friend’s shoulder, “You know Harry, I feel privileged to know you. You’re going to be a great, important man one day. Just think, I will be able to say ‘I know him, I’m a friend of his,” Dale started to slur his speech a little.
“Come on Dale let’s be getting you home,” Harry tried to release his friend’s grasp on his shoulder.
“But you know what Harry? I won’t envy you, no sir. I’ve got everything I want …just there… in Katherine.” Dale looked directly at the woman opposite, “She’s worth more than any fame or fortune. Without Katherine…well...without Katherine my life wouldn’t be worth living….I think I’d probably have to kill myself,” Dale finished quietly.
The silence that followed was heavy with implication.
“Well Dale…it’s time we left,” Harry dragged his friend to his feet and made for the door.
A few days later, he had been leaving
“Katherine? What are you doing here?” On seeing her red swollen eyes and obvious distress, he took her by the arm and sat her on a nearby bench. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“It’s Dale…oh! Harry, he’s ill. After we left you the other night he….he got really upset. He became...violent and completely lost control. I had to call the police! He …was so out of control…they insisted on arresting him and as they struggled with him he collapsed.” Katherine drew a deep breath. “In hospital, they gave him all sorts of tests….Harry they think he’s…unstable. The psychiatrist says he’s displaying psychotic behaviour, he thinks it has been developing for quite some time.”
Nelson although shocked was not completely surprised, he had suspected that his friend was not mentally fit.
In the weeks that followed Harry did all he could to help Dale. He arranged for his aging parents to travel to be with him and paid for the best treatment he could find. Through it all he did his best to support Katherine.
She and Dale had been engaged for three months. They had met two years before, when Dale had been asked to carry out some Top Secret, weapons research. Katherine worked in the office of Internal Security that was vetting him and they had gradually fallen in love.
Harry had liked her the moment he met her. Their many meetings had deepened his affection for her. He felt slightly guilty about that, she was after all Dale’s girl but a part of him had strong feelings for her, although he was careful to keep them private. It was him that created her nickname…’Kitty Kat’. He thought she reminded him of a mother cat, the way she cared for everyone. It had shortened to ‘Kit Kat’ but Dale had never liked it, preferring her full name, so Harry was the only one to use the endearment….
His memories were interrupted by the sound of a key turning in the locked door. As it pushed open Katherine came awake and went to stand by Harry.
A figure came through the door, carrying an automatic weapon. He stood watching them carefully, when another figure appeared in the doorway, they saw the smiling face of ex Senator Ethan Roberts greeting them, “Welcome Admiral Nelson, Ms. Stone. I trust you’re comfortable in your temporary quarters.”
Back at the Institute, Lee Crane was fielding concerned calls from all sorts of Governmental agencies. As he dropped the phone again, he flipped the intercom. “Angie if there are anymore calls like that one, I’m busy, take messages or put them through to Craven in security.”
“Alright Lee, but they won’t like it.”
There was a brief knock and Chip entered carrying some maps and charts. “Lee, I’ve been doing some thinking. I doubt if Roberts would risk being directly involved himself, so that means he had help. There are only two spurs off that road until you hit the city. I went out and checked both. No one saw or heard any vehicle last evening. These are dirt roads with only a few houses. Someone would have seen or heard something. So if they didn’t take a side road they maybe went into the city. The city would be risky; too many chances of discovery, Roberts wouldn’t leave anything to chance.” Morton waited for Crane to comment. When he didn’t, he continued. “Lee, there is a small but fairly navigatable inlet just along that coast road. What if they had a boat waiting, and they went out to sea? Roberts’ luxury yacht hasn’t been found yet; it would be perfect for hiding out on an ocean.”
Lee leaned forward and studied the charts. “Good work, Chip. You could well be right, so how do we find them?”
Harry observed Ethan Roberts with obvious contempt, “I can’t say we appreciated the method of your invitation greatly,” Harry replied with sarcasm.
“No, well I suppose it was a bit dramatic. All the same, I’m glad you could come. Now please come and join me for lunch,” Roberts turned and walked away.
Katherine looked at Harry and he looked to the guard who motioned with his gun for them to follow.
Taking her arm Harry led Katherine out. They walked down a short corridor into a large well-furnished room. The windows were heavily curtained and lamps lit the room. There was a large table all ready set and the aroma of cooked food filled the air. Roberts was pouring himself a cup of coffee and appeared quite relaxed as he smiled broadly at them.
“Please come in, Harry…you don’t mind if I call you Harry do you? Admiral is so formal under the circumstances, don’t you think? Welcome Ms. Stone, may I call you Katherine?”
Nelson observed the man’s geniality and his temper rose. “Let’s stop all this nonsense. What is it you want Roberts. Why have you brought us here and what are you planning to do with us?”
“Straight to the point, huh, Harry?” Roberts said as he sat at the head of the table.
Nelson started forward but the guard pushed him back and Nelson stopped.
“I suggest you both sit down and eat, after all I may decide this is the only food you get today. Then we will talk,” Roberts said firmly.
Nelson hesitated then took Katherine’s arm and led her to a seat, he sat beside her.
Roberts rang a small bell and a man entered the room and started to serve them.
“Now, isn’t this more civilised? Please, do eat up,” Roberts encouraged and picked up his own knife and fork.
For some minutes, they ate in silence. Katherine and Harry managed to eat a little as Roberts ate heartily.
Ethan Roberts watched the two with amusement. The great Admiral Harriman Nelson was his prisoner. He was enjoying this feeling of power immensely.
After he had finished he settled back in his chair, sipping his coffee. “Well, now we shall talk.” He looked at Nelson with speculation. “Tell me how does it feel, Harry? All that power you wield. A friend to Presidents and Premiers, advisor to this, that and every other committee. Do you know the influence you have? I wonder if you ever stop to consider the decisions you’re responsible for ….the mistakes you make. Do you even care?” Roberts’ voice had risen and he was obviously agitated.
Nelson looked confused, “What mistakes? Just what have the Institute or I done to you? I don’t remember ever having met you, why this obsession? I don’t understand the reason for all this.”
Roberts laughed mirthlessly, “You don’t understand!” He got up and started to pace. “My God! You make me sick!” Coming to stand near Harry he glared at him. “I’ll tell you what you did Nelson, you murdered my son, that’s what you did!” Roberts suddenly and viciously, backhanded Harry across his face.
Lee had pursued Chip’s theory and they had learnt that a small powerboat had been seen in the area. Some fishermen had seen three men late yesterday afternoon apparently relaxing on the shoreline. Now the boat was gone and so were the men.
Crane was sure that somewhere out at sea the Admiral and Katherine were being held by Roberts. He had instigated a search but there was an awful lot of ocean out there.
“What are you talking about? I’ve never killed anyone!” Nelson replied in shock, struggling to sit up with Katherine’s help.
Roberts walked back towards his chair and pouring himself another cup of coffee and sat down. “Oh, you didn’t pull the trigger. No, you just allowed it to happen,” he said angrily.
Harry studied Roberts, as he rubbed his jaw. He didn’t understand this situation. How could he have allowed someone to die?
“Well, are you going to explain?” Nelson asked fiercely.
Ethan Roberts sipped his coffee. “Three years ago you worked on a Task force that arranged the asylum of three political refugees. You and the rest of this bleeding heart administration didn’t consider them to be a threat to our national security. Of course they were a damn threat!”
Nelson jumped up. “Don’t be ridiculous man! They were scientists. They had no political interests!” he shouted.
The guard came forward and roughly pushed Nelson to sit down again.
“You’re not denying that you freed those men? I know that it was your recommendation to the President that made it possible. He listened to you Harry and followed your advice.”
“Those men were not a threat. They had been persecuted for their principals….they took a moral stance against…..”
“I don’t care about their principals! Their country sent assassins to kill them and the explosion that resulted, killed thirty of our citizens… good loyal Americans…. including my oldest son.” Roberts shouted.
“For God’s sake man! You can’t hold the President or me responsible for that! The scientists were the targets…” Harry tried to reason with him. “We all regretted the loss of life but ….”
Roberts stood up in anger, and leaned on the table looking directly at Nelson, “Regretted, regretted. If you allow all the world’s fanatics to take refuge here, our country is going to be used as a battle ground for their petty vendettas…. bringing death and destruction to innocent Americans!”
“Mr. Roberts, are you suggesting we refuse refuge to the world’s oppressed?” Katherine’s quiet steady voice interrupted both men.
Roberts looked startled by her question.
Then he sat and seemed to compose himself. “I’m suggesting, Katherine,
that we should keep
“Is that your answer to making our country secure…. close our borders and keep the foreigners out? That’s ridiculous. The world looks to us for freedom from persecution, for safety and justice, for sanctuary,” Katherine replied.
“You’re so naïve my dear. The world expects from us strong leadership. The only way to make our country great is to show strength. Might is always respected! We need positive leaders who don’t shy away from the tough decisions. We need to rid our streets of the perverts, junkies and misfits. We must use our military superiority to our advantage and don’t let mis-guided compassion become our weakness. With a leadership prepared to re-enforce our rule of law, no-one would attack us,” Roberts spoke passionately and both Katherine and Nelson looked at him uneasily, this man was utterly sincere and extremely dangerous.
“Is that why you used drug smugglers to amass your fortune?” Harry asked menacingly. “You murdered innocent people and would have murdered an innocent child to protect yourself. Where does that fit into your morality?”
“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon Harry. I’ve had to struggle and fight for everything I have and I’m not about to let that effort go to waste for the lack of money! ” Roberts said aggressively. “ Don’t lecture me Nelson; you’ve never had to fight for anything in your life.”
Katherine Stone leant forward and looked directly at Ethan Roberts. “What are you going to do with us? Where do we fit in to your plan? Obviously you have a plan?” she stated.
Just then the door opened again and a younger man entered. He came across to Roberts who looked at him with an un-voiced question and received a nod in return. Roberts smiled broadly and turned to his prisoners, “Oh, yes I definitely have a plan.”
Lee looked at the faces around him then dropped the letter and picked up the small package. He tore it open and took the tape over to the video machine. Chip switched on the T.V and both men backed away as the picture suddenly appeared.
It showed a small room seen from a high angle. There were two cots and sitting on them opposite each other were Nelson and Katherine, There was no sound but they were obviously talking. Nelson was holding Katherine’ hands and both appeared to be unharmed. Then the picture disappeared.
Everyone in the room was silent. Then Grayling went to stand by Chip and putting her hand in his, said quietly. “Well, at least we know for certain they’re still alive.”
Harry and Katherine were sitting quietly both considering their predicament. After the arrival of the young man, Katherine had identified him as Caleb Roberts; Ethan Roberts had sent them back to their cabin.
Harry had quickly realised that they were on a boat, probably hiding out at sea.
“Well, I suppose we know more than we did but just how it may help us, I’m not sure,” Harry said thinking aloud.
“My God Harry he hates you…. he’s positively…” Katherine hesitated.
“Unstable? Mad? Obsessed? Any of those descriptions could apply. The man’s totally insane and very, very dangerous,” Harry finished deep in thought. So preoccupied was he that he almost missed Katherine’s reaction.
Katherine Stone stood and started to pace slowly, her arms wrapped around her and her thoughts elsewhere. Nelson looked up and seeing her agitation suddenly realised what he said, “Katherine I’m sorry. I didn’t think. Please sit down.”
“Harry it’s all right. Really I’m okay. Just your comments … brought back painful memories...” She allowed herself to be guided by him to the cot and sat.
Nelson watched her expression, “Would it help to talk about it?”
“What’s there to say Harry…..? He’s dead. It’s finished, over at last. Dale got what he wanted; he usually did in the end anyway,” she spoke with a detachment he knew she didn’t mean.
“Katherine all those years of devotion. You can’t just sweep them away. I know how you must feel.”
“Feel?” She spoke with vehemence. “You have no idea how I feel Admiral! I grew to hate him! I hated the way he controlled my life! I hated his emotional blackmail, the way he manipulated my feelings,”she looked straight into his eyes. “And finally… I let him die!”
Nelson was shocked. Katherine could never harm anyone, she was gentle and caring.
“Katherine…., what do you mean? You would never hurt anyone…”
“Oh, under enough pressure, anyone can do harm Harry.” She turned away from him.
Harry went to sit on the edge of her cot. He placed a hand on her shoulder and turned her gently towards him. “Katherine, talk to me. What happened?”
Katherine looked at Harry and lifted a hand to stroke the side of his face that was now bruising. As though suddenly realising what she had done, she snatched her hand back and scrambled to sit up, her back against the wall, she faced him.
She looked into his eyes, seeing his determination she sighed deeply and spoke. “Do you remember the days after your Captain’s promotion? Dale was in the hospital and I came to you for help.” He nodded. “Harry you were wonderful, the way you organised everything. Dale’s parents, the private sanatorium. For a while I thought it would be all right, Dale would recover and everything would be back the way it was. Then slowly I could see that it never would be again. Dale was a …difficult patient. He often refused his medication then became even more delusional…. which meant more drastic treatment…so on and so on. It was difficult managing Dale, his parents and my job. It was only your regular visits that kept me sane. I found I looked forward more and more to your company, I guess Dale must have picked up on it and that’s why he reacted the way he did.”
Harry remembered his last meeting with Dale…
Katherine had dealt with Dale’s insecurities with patience and caring. Harry had visited whenever he had leave and she was always pleased to see him, however Dale had come to resent him and on one particular visit he had raged at him until the doctors of the sanatorium had persuaded Harry to leave so they could settle him. It had been so hard watching her struggling to cope with Dale’s erratic behaviour.
Much later, when Katherine was able to leave she found Harry waiting for her.
“Is he alright now?” Harry had asked with concern.
“Yes, they managed to settle him,”she’d said tiredly.>