Authors note: Special thanks to Linda Delaney for the use of her characters as well as her help and encouragement with this story.
Iíd also like to thank Jane Daffron for the use of Karen and Sean.
Written by Winnie [AKA poohbear-29]
"Well Lee. What are your plans?" Admiral Harriman Nelson asked.
"Iím not sure sir, I was going to check with Dr. Bricker at Oceanview. Maybe drive out and see for myself just how tight security is." Lee Crane told his friend.
Nelson looked at Crane closely before speaking, "Julie."
"Yes sir," he answered his eyes downcast.
"Thatís a long drive and we do have a meeting with Admiral Stark this evening. Youíve gone to the sanitarium each time weíve come back from a mission. She canít get out. Itís been ten months. The electronic locking system they have their would be hard for a professional to get into let alone a woman with no electronics in her background. Not to mention sheís catatonic."
"I know all that Admiral. I just need to make sure." Lee looked at his watch. "Itís only 0800. I can be there in approximately three to four hours, check on Julie and be on my way back. Our meeting with Admiral Stark isnít until 1900. The last time I went to Oceanview I could have sworn she knew I was watching her through the window in her door. Dr. Bricker assured me that was not possible, but I canít shake the feeling. Iím going to Oceanview this morning. Iíll be back in time to meet with Admiral Stark." Crane said clearly agitated by his own feelings of insecurity when it came to Julie. This woman had impacted his life in so many ways and he just wanted to make sure she wouldnít be hurting anyone else he knew or loved.
"Itís a long drive to make alone Lee. I have an appointment to see Dr. Bricker before we leave on this next assignment. What if I were to come with you?"
Lee Crane knew Nelson didnít need to see Dr. Bricker. He was just using it as an excuse to go with him. "Iíd appreciate the company sir."
"What time do you want to leave?"
"Now. If thatís ok with you?"
"Let me tell Angie where she can contact us if she needs to and weíll be on our way." Nelson spoke into the voicelink and Lee Crane heard him tell his secretary where they were going. "Why donít we take my car?" Nelson asked.
"Ok." Crane said, a little distracted by thoughts of Julie Parsons-Radcliff. They got into Nelsonís car and were soon driving the long stretch of highway between NIMR and Oceanview. Lee had his window rolled down and his eyes closed. He was thinking of the day Julie had walked back into his life. He still carried the guilt of Leah Petroniís death, even though he had not been the one to kill her. Julie had murdered four people, Joey Radcliff, her husband, as well as her own parents and Leah. She had him Kidnapped and he had sustained multiple injuries before Nelson and the police were able to find and rescue him. It was hard to believe that it had only been ten months since it had all taken place, he still had nightmares of the events. Most nights they were so bad he would wake in a cold sweat and would be unable to sleep the rest of the night. He was really beginning to feel the effects of the sleepless nights and would soon need to ask Jamie for something to help him get some rest. He opened his eyes and turned to Nelson. "Thanks again for coming with me," he said shakily. "And donít give me that garbage about you needing to see Dr. Bricker. I was with you the last time you and Chip saw him. He said he was not making any more appointments for either of you and that you both have a clean bill of health."
"Nothing gets by you." Nelson laughed, "All right. I just want to make sure youíre ok."
"I am Admiral. I just think about Leah and what might have been if she and I hadnít met."
"Lee. What happened to Leah was not your fault. If youíre thinking like that, then I should feel guilty about hiring her to replace Angie. People like Julie seem to do what they want no matter whom it hurts. I donít carry any guilt, thanks to Bricker, and neither should you."
"I know that, Admiral. I know it wasnít my fault, but it still doesnít make it any easier."
"Are you still having nightmares?" Nelson asked, the concern evident in his voice.
Crane looked at his friend not really surprised that the Admiral had known about the nightmares. "Yes sir, how did you know?"
"I can see by those circles under your eyes, that youíre not sleeping properly. Sometimes I hear you yelling in your sleep when I walk by your cabin. Lee, have you thought about talking with Dr. Bricker. Youíd be amazed how good it feels to get things off your mind. It worked for Chip and me after what Gamma did, and maybe it will help you as well. I can talk with Dr. Bricker and even stay with you if you want."
"Iíll think about it Admiral." Lee said as he closed his eyes again.
Nelson looked at his friend and knew he had to do something to help. He resolved to talk with David Bricker and ask if he would see Lee. When Lee was ready to talk that was. He saw Oceanview sanitarium on the hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It brought back a lot of painful memories, but at least now he could face them and deal with them. ĎLee needs to talk to Bricker professionally and learn how to deal with what happened before the guilt tears him apart. I have to make him see that. Maybe Iíll make it an order, he thought. Sometimes Lee Crane could be as stubborn as a mule when it came to his own health. Chip Morton was the same way; maybe thatís why the three Seaview officers could get along so well. Weíre all alike! Too much alike, he thought with a smile.
Unknown to Harriman Nelson, Lee Crane had fallen into a restless sleep and was even now in the grips of a terrible nightmare that was played over and over almost every time he sleptÖÖ
"Theyíre all dead, Lee. Now no one stands between us."
Crane walked slowly through the corridors of Seaview. Bodies were lined up on the floor. Among them were Nelson, Morton, Jamison, Patterson, OíBrien, Kowalski, Sharkey and countless others. All dead because of him.
"Iím coming for you Lee. I love you and now you need me."
He started running, but her voice followed him everywhere.
"JULIE NO. They canít be dead. NO! I WONíT LET YOU. NO! NO! NO!"ÖÖ
He was tossing and turning as Nelson pulled into a parking space and he gently put his hand on Leeís shoulder. "Lee, itís ok. Iím here. Wake up son. Wake up. Youíre safe." Lee Crane opened his eyes and looked into the worried face of his friend. "Tell me about the nightmare Lee."
Lee Crane put his head back and sighed. " Itís the same one every time. Iím on Seaview and every one is dead. Bodies everywhere, and Julieís voice coming from the mike. I wake up just as sheís about to catch me every time," he said in a shaky voice.
"How long as this been going on?" There was concern in his Nelson's voice, making Lee aware, once again, of how much the Admiral cared about what happened to him.
"Since the beginning," Lee said softly.
"Ten months. Lee, thatís too long! Iím going to talk to Dr. Bricker. I think he can help you. Will you at least talk to him?"
"I guess so."
"Good. Letís go see if heís free." Nelson and Crane got out of the car and walked towards the entrance to Oceanview. They produced their identification at the front desk and asked to see Dr. David Bricker. The guard put through a call to his office and when he was done told them to go ahead. He gave them each a visitor tag that was to be worn at all times.
When they reached Dr. Brickerís office his secretary, Miss Newman, told them to have a seat and she would let them know when he could see them.
Lee closed his eyes and could feel Nelson watching him, "Iím ok Admiral." He said softly, "Just tired."
" I can see that. You really need to get a good nightís sleep."
"That would be nice." Lee said quietly.
"Dr. Bricker will see you now." Miss Newman told them. They stood up and Crane held the door for Nelson, closing it softly behind him.
"Harry, how are you doing?" He extended his hand to Nelson, who shook it warmly. Turning to Lee Crane, he said "Hello, Captain Crane." Crane acknowledged the greeting with a slight nod of his head.
"Iím fine, David." Nelson replied. "Iím here for another reason today."
"Is Chip having problems?" Brickerís face showed concern
"No. Heís fine too. Actually itís Captain Crane whoís having the problems." Nelson looked towards his Captain.
"Really," he said, looking carefully at Lee, "Is it something I can help you with, Captain?"
"I donít know, Dr. Bricker, I really donít knowÖ" Lee said softly.
"All you have to do is talk, Captain." Bricker said with a calm reassurance. "It might help."
"Iíve been having Nightmares. Nightmares that are so disturbing that I try NOT to sleep."
"Would you like to talk about them?"
"I donít want to bother you." Lee said reluctantly, "If you have other things to do, I can come back."
"Iím free right now. Why donít you start by telling me how often youíre dreaming and when they started?"
Surprisingly, Lee felt he could speak frankly with this doctor. He knew how much heíd helped Nelson and Morton when they were here. "Iíve been having nightmares since Julie Parsons-Radcliff came back into my life."
"How long ago was that?" He asked, picking up a notebook.
"Ten months ago." Crane said and lapsed into silence.
"How often are they coming?" Bricker asked wanting to get Lee Crane talking again.
"Whenever I try to sleep." His voice was almost a whisper.
"How long since you had a good nightís sleep?"
"I donít remember. Maybe two weeks ago. Once in a while I sleep without dreaming."
"That doesnít happen very often, does it?" Bricker asked while writing in his book. He looked up as Crane shook his head. "Care to tell me about it?" Lee looked at Nelson and began to tell Bricker the nightmare he had about Seaview and her crew. "Is that the only one?"
"No." Crane said.
"What others have you had?"
Seaviewís Captain remained quiet.
"Do you want me to leave Lee?" Nelson asked softly.
"Iíd rather you stayed, butÖ"
"Does the other nightmare have to do with Admiral Nelson?" Dr. Bricker asked.
"YesÖ yes, it does. I want him to stay. I just donít want him feeling guilty." Lee said looking at Nelson.
"I can handle whatever it is you have to say, Lee. Talk to Dr. Bricker, Itíll make you feel better." Nelson encouraged his friend.
Crane sighed and began to tell them about the second nightmare. "The other nightmare I have has to do with something that happened on Seaview. I have this dream that Julie and Captain Krueger are after Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton." Lee glanced at Nelson and saw the Admiral cringe at the mention of Kruegerís name. Bricker saw the exchange and asked Lee who Krueger was. "He was an enemy Sub Captain who tried to kill me. Heís dead now and I know he canít hurt anyone, but he keeps coming back in my nightmares. Julie and Krueger are well suited for one another."
"Tell me about Julie. Is she the same one that tried to kill you ten months ago?" Bricker knew the background from Cranes' previous trips to Oceanview.
"Yes. I came here today to make sure she couldnít get out."
"Julie Parsons-Radcliff wonít be going anywhere for a long time. Sheís in maximum security. The doors canít be opened without the electronic passkey and the access code. There are guards at each door and you have to get past them as well."
"Electronics have a way of failing at inopportune times. If someone got the key and managed to get the code they could get out of here." Crane said forcefully.
"We have armed guards, and in case of power outages we have our own generator. Julie is also Catatonic. Do you know what that means?" Bricker asked him in a soothing voice.
"Iíve been reading about it. I know there are cases where people are thought to be catatonic but are able to fake the condition perfectly. I also know that generators can fail. Hopefully your guards can handle things if that were to happen."
"I can take you over to the maximum security ward right now if you like, but there is something I would like you to do in return."
"What do I have to do?" a bit of unease crept into Craneís voice.
"I would like you to agree to spend a few days here as my patient. I want to give you something to help you get some rest. You look as if youíre ready to pass out."
"Heís right, Lad. You look terrible. Stay and get some rest." Nelson said, his blue eyes showing their concern for his friend.
"What about the meeting with Admiral Stark?" Lee asked.
"Chip can sit in on that. I could make it an order, Lee."
"But you wonít." Crane said amber- hazel eyes locking into clear blue ones.
"Thatís right. I wonít." Nelson said with a slight smile.
"Dr. Bricker Iíll stay." Crane said, resignedly, "but I canít promise for how long. Letís go check out the security in Julieís wing."
Bricker smiled, "I think youíre doing the right thing Captain. Iíll have Miss Newman arrange a bed for you."
"Private room, David, and NIMR will bear all costs." Nelson said.
Bricker nodded and left the two friends alone. "Lee, why didnít you tell me you are still having nightmares about Krueger?" Nelson asked, concerned that Lee was keeping something like that from him.
"I didnít want to bring up memories that I knew would hurt you. I know you still feel the guilt over shooting me, even though Iíve told you it wasnít your fault. I couldnít make you re-live the nightmares you had for months after it was all over."
Bricker stuck his head in and asked, "Are you ready to go?"
Both men nodded, and they followed Bricker to the north building that housed the Maximum-security patients. He used his card key and access code to open the door and went to the receptionistís desk. While he was speaking to her Lee looked around the front lobby. An armed guard stood behind the nurse and another stood at the elevator. The only people walking around were Doctors or Nurses with patient charts in their hands. There were no visitors that he could see, and he began to feel better.
"Julieís room is on the second floor. Do you feel like seeing her Lee? Or do you just want to check out the security on that floor?" Bricker asked.
"I think Iíd like to see her. Make sure for myself that she doesnít know anyone."
"That just might be a good idea. If she were faking it, as you seem to think, she might react to seeing you. Letís go."
They took the elevator to the second floor. Another desk and receptionist were located just outside the door and they had to register before they could go through the electronic doors. Once they were through the door Bricker led the way to room number two-sixteen.
"Let me know when youíre ready." he said looking at Lee Crane.
"Just give me a second." He answered.
That voice! Heís here. Have to remain perfectly still, canít let them see any emotion. Oh, to hold him in my arms again. Why canít he love me the way I love him. Captain Lee Crane- thatís what they called him when she was allowed to watch TV with the other patients. 'Her' Captain Crane. I have to get rid of his friends, Nelson and Morton. Theyíre the ones who stand in our way. Here he comes. Have to remain still!
Dr. Bricker opened the door and Lee Crane saw Julie Parsons-Radcliff for the first time in nearly three months. She was in hospital issue Pajamas, and her hair had grown down past her shoulders and was spread out on the pillow. Her eyes stared sightlessly at the ceiling. There was no reaction to the door being opened and he walked towards the bed. She still didnít move. "Julie," he said awkwardly. "Can you hear me?" Nothing.
ĎThis is so hard. I want to hold you, love you, and take care of you. But I must not move. I am so close to freedom. I just have to bide my time and I will be with you.
"You see Lee. She is unable to move without commands. We have to tell her to eat, sleep, and even go to the washroom. She canít even bathe by herself. Itís like someone found her switch and turned it off." Bricker told him.
Bricker would have to pay as well. Talking about her as if she wasnít here. They may think her mind was gone but what right did he have to talk about her like that. He would pay. I love you Lee!
Lee stared at her, "I canít believe it. She canít hurt the people I care about anymore." His voice sounded heavy with relief.
"Thatís right Lee. Now letís go get you settled for the night." Dr. Bricker said.
He was going to be staying at the hospital, so close. Please stay with me just a little longer. I need to be near you, to hear your voice. How I want to hold you, love you, feel your arms around me. Itís been so long. Why are people always taking you away from me? I will have you and keep you. I love you? My darling Captain Lee Crane. What a wonderful life we will have.
They walked away from the bed and never saw her turn her eyes to watch them.
"How long as she been like that?" Nelson questioned.
"Since the day she was admitted. She just couldnít handle what happened."
"You mean her obsession with Lee and the people she murdered."
"Exactly. She shut down and hasnít spoken since." They turned in their visitor badges and walked out the door. The day had turned from Hot and sunny to cloudy and light rain. "Looks like weíre in for a storm."
"Iíll see you settled Lee, then I have to go back to the Institute." Nelson said.
"You donít have to stay. Iím ok. I think seeing her like that helped me realize she wonít be a problem for a long time. I may even get some sleep tonight."
"I still want you to stay for a few days. I think youíll feel better after we talk about what you went through." Bricker said.
"You sound just like Jamie. Heís always trying to keep me in sickbay." Lee said with a smile. "Iíll stick to our deal. Admiral, you will call me and let me know how the meeting with Admiral Stark goes?"
"I will. Have a good nightís rest and Iíll call you in the morning." Nelson told him as he left.
"Sounded like a doctors prescription without the two aspirin," Bricker said with a smile, "Letís get you settled. Iím going to let you fall asleep on your own. If the nightmares begin then we can give you something to help you relax. Sit here while I get the papers and assign you a room."
Lee sat down on one of the soft lobby chairs to wait Dr. Brickerís return. He watched as a bolt of lightening shot across the sky and the rain started to fall heavily. Hope the Admiral drives carefully, he thought. Lightening flashed and streaked through the sky continually. Heavy raindrops hit the window. He began to worry about his friend. He went to a pay-phone and called Chip Morton. "Hi Chip. Itís LeeÖ Iím staying at Oceanview for a few daysÖ Yeah, everythingís ok. Admiral Nelson will explainÖ He just left and I want you to call here and let me know when he arrivesÖ Thatís right, he left about fifteen minutes agoÖ Here comes Dr. Bricker... Donít forget to call me as soon as he gets thereÖ Bye Chip." He hung up and turned to Bricker.
"Quite the storm this turned into." Lee nodded and Bricker continued, "I have your room. Follow me." They went to the first elevator and Bricker pushed third floor. "Admiral Nelson wanted you to have a private room. I hope this one is adequate."
Crane was surprised, "More then adequate." The room was as big as his living room in his house.
"There are pajamas in the top drawer of your dresser. Why donít you put them on and Iíll be back with some papers for you to sign." He left Lee alone in his room. Lee went to the dresser, took out a pair of powder blue Pajamas, and put them on. Bricker wasnít back yet so he went to the window to watch the storm. He was mesmerised as flash after flash spread across the horizon from one end to the other. Thunder could be heard as it rolled through the clouds. The storm must be directly overhead, he thought.
"Maybe you should move away from that window." A womenís voice said from behind him, "My mother always said it was dangerous to stand to close to a window during a storm."
"Your mother was right." Lee said as he turned from the raging storm and walked over to her. She wore a nurseís uniform and her badge said her name was Paula Chambers.
"Iím going to be looking after you tonight Captain Crane. My name is Paula Chambers and Iím a RN. Iíve been with Oceanview for almost a year now, and itís the best Institute of its type in the Northern Hemisphere."
"Nurse Chambers, Iíll try not to bother you to much while Iím here." He told her.
"My job is to help you in any way I can. Please donít hesitate to use your call button. Itís right here." She showed him a button attached to his bed. "Dr. Bricker will be back any moment. He was just taking a phone call, and asked me to make sure you were ok. The Television is free so you can watch whatever you like," she stopped as the door opened and Bricker came in.
"I see you two have met. Paula is the best RN we have Lee. Sheíll be here till midnight. Hopefully youíll be sleeping by then and wonít even notice the shift change." He laughed. "But just in case you are having nightmares Iím leaving orders for a sedative to help you sleep." When Lee started to protest Dr. Bricker held up his hands, "I know you said you felt better but I left it just in case. It wonít be forced on you. I want you to know that itíll be your choice tonight. However if youíre still not getting any rest by tomorrow then I will make it part of your therapy, and yes, I just got off the phone with Doctor Jamison. He told me how stubborn you could be. Relax and get some rest. Oh, Doctor Jamison said to tell you he would come by tomorrow."
"Great," he said sarcastically. "Now Iíve got two mother hens." He suddenly felt as if the room was spinning and he had to grab the bed to keep his balance.
"Maybe you need them." Bricker said as he and Paula Chambers helped him into the bed. "You havenít been looking after yourself and now your body is beginning to feel the effects of sleep deprivation. You really should have talked to someone before it went this far. Have you had dizzy spells before?"
"They started about two weeks ago when the nightmares started to come more frequently." Lee said trying to hide a yawn. "Does the phone work? I have to make sure Admiral Nelson made it back to NIMR."
"You can make that one call, and thatís it. Your body just told you it needs to rest and I mean for you to get it. I want you to sleep. Iíll check on you before I leave. Read this admitting paper and then sign the bottom." Lee was so tired he did as he was told without any argument. Passing the paper back to Bricker he turned on his side and closed his eyes.
"Sleep now Lee. She canít get out." Bricker said reassuringly.
Outside the door Bricker gave Chambers some more instructions. "I want you checking Captain Crane every half hour. If he seems to be having nightmares give him the sedative and call me right away."
"Yes Doctor." She said as they walked to the nurses desk." Will you be at home?"
"On a night like this itís the only place to be." He told her and left.
Paula Chambers made her rounds and was back to check on Crane a half hour later. He seemed to be sleeping peacefully so she closed the door.
Lee Crane was sleeping but it was anything but peacefulÖ..
Julie and Krueger were gaining on Nelson and Morton in the deserted corridors of Seaview. No matter how much he yelled and screamed at Julie and Krueger they ignored his pleas. Nelson and Morton ducked into sickbay only to have their pursuers go through the doors with them. Lee reached the doors but was unable to open them. He could here screams of pure terror coming from behind the door. NO. DEAR GOD NO. PLEASE LET THEM GO. A loud and painful scream resounded through the doorÖ..
Lee Crane woke to the real world. Shaken and miserable he knew he wasnít going back to sleep.
Heíd been so close. All I had to do was reach out and hold you. But then they would have known what Iíve been doing. The storm was raging outside her window.Tonight I will be free. My love, Iíll be with you soon.
Lee Crane couldnít sleep. He heard the door open but kept his eyes closed, waiting till whoever it was went away. He got out of bed and went to the window to watch the storm. Looking at his watch he saw it was now eighteen hundred hours. Admiral Nelson should be back by now. Chip should have called. Iíve never seen a storm like this except in the middle of the ocean. Maybe I should have gone home with the Admiral. Do I really need this? As he felt another wave of weakness come over him he realized he did need to be here.
"Dr. Bricker wanted you to rest Captain." Nurse Chambers said quietly from the doorway.
"I was watching the storm." Crane told her. "Did anyone call?"
"Chip Morton just called and said to tell you he and Admiral Nelson were going to meet with Admiral Stark. Admiral Nelson made it back without any problems. Now why donít you get back in bed and try to rest like Dr. Bricker said?" She asked.
"I told Dr. Bricker that I felt my friends were safe after I saw Julie, but I canít shake this feeling that somethingís going to happen and I canít do anything to stop it."
"Nothing will happen tonight. Come Captain, let me tuck you in. You really need your rest. Or do I call Dr. Bricker?"
Lee Crane laughed lightly and climbed back into bed. He looked at Paula Chambers and asked "Is it possible to get a sandwich and maybe a coffee."
"I figured youíd be hungry so I ordered a tray. Iíll bring it as soon as it gets here. Rest while youíre waiting Captain."
"Iíll try." He managed a wan smile at the nurse. She remembered Crane from his previous visits to Oceanview to see Morton and Nelson when they had been patients here. This was not the same man. That Crane was always quick with a sharp reply, and a slightly flirtatious wink, and smileÖ. This was not the same Lee Crane.
What are you doing now, my Love?Maybe he was dreaming about 'her'? She smiled at the thought. They would be in to give her a shot soon. Brickerís orders. It was so hard not to show emotions when she detested everything they did to her. Wait till she was out of here. Sheíd show them. Revenge would be sweet. Anyone who got in her way or tried to keep her from her love, her Captain, her destiny, would be made to suffer.
Paula Chambers walked into Craneís room with a dinner tray She put the tray on the table in front of him and took the lid off a ham and cheese sandwich. Instead of a coffee there was a glass of milk. "No caffeine. That means no coffee. The milk is warm and should help you sleep. Iíll be back for the tray in fifteen minutes." She didnít give him a chance to protest.
Lee Crane smiled. ĎMoms remedyí he thought as he drank half the milk and started to eat the sandwich. It wasnít bad. He ate half the sandwich and finished his milk. Closing his eyes he drifted off to sleep. Paula Chambers came in ten minutes later and quietly removed the tray.
A severe Thunderstorm warning was in effect for Santa Barbara, San Diego and most of the surrounding area. Waves battered the shoreline and trees bent in half with the winds. People were being warned to stay inside.
Lee Craneís sleep was just as stormy. He was in the grips of another nightmare and was unable to wake upÖ.Krueger was after him and while he was running, he was forced to watch Julie as she murdered his friends. It was all happening on Seaview.
He whimpered in his sleep and started yelling at both apparitions. "No please Julie! Iíll do anything, just let them go!" he cried aloud.
Nurse Chambers came in to check on him and from the way he was tossing and turning she knew the nightmares were severe. "Captain can you hear me?" she asked in a soothing voice.
"No! Krueger, leave them alone. Please, help me." His frightened voice made Chambers heartbreak.This must be awful, she thought.
"Captain, Itís only a dream. Open your eyes and look at me." She laid her hand gently on his shoulder and he woke with a start. His eyes were glazed for a moment until he focused on her face and realized who she was. "Must have been a bad one Captain."
"Thatís an understatement." He said as he began to get out of bed.
"Where do you think youíre going?"
"I have to go to the head." He said.
"Oh! Go ahead," she laughed, "Iíll be back in a minute."
Crane washed his face and walked over to the window. He looked at his watch and saw it was only nineteen fifty-five, he hadnít even slept half an hour. He really was exhausted but his dreams wouldnít let him sleep. The storm still raged outside as well as in his mind. He knew he needed help if he was to remain sane. He turned as the door opened and Dr. Bricker came in followed by Nurse Chambers.
"Nightmares again Captain?" He questioned.
Lee nodded and his shoulders sagged. "I thought you were going home."
"I was, but it looks like no one's going home tonight. Roads are washed out. I guess Iíll be sleeping on my couch. As for you, Iím going to give you this shot. It will make you sleep, hopefully without dreams for at least ten hours. Itís new and itís strong. Once we get you back to bed youíre not to get up unless you have help. Understood?" Lee nodded and climbed back into bed.
Nurse Chambers took the syringe and told Lee to turn on his side. She folded down his Pajamas and swabbed a small patch of skin and injected the drug. "This will take effect pretty fast Captain. Iíll check on you shortly."
"Mm, good night." Lee could feel himself drifting off to sleep while the storm still raged.
Dr. Bricker turned down the lights as they left, "He should sleep through the night. If not, Iíll be in my office. Itís too bad to drive home. Call me if you need me. Good night Paula."
"Good night Dr. Bricker."
A streak of lightening cut through the night sky hitting the main transformer that supplied power to Oceanview and the surrounding area. Oceanview was in total darkness except where emergency lights came on.
ĎThis is my chance. I know it. I just have to be patient. Thatís funny, a patient being patient. She could barely hold back her giggles as she heard someone at her door.
"I have to check everyone, even her." She heard someone say.
After a few seconds the door closed and Julie realized there was no telltale sound of the lock mechanism. She jumped off the bed and made her way to the door. Pulling gently she felt it pop open. She peered into the hall and could see nobody. Opening the door a little wider she heard people talking but still couldnít see anyone. She had to create a diversion, but what. The supply closet was just across the hall. If she could make it there she would find something. She looked both ways but couldnít see anyone. She made her way across the hall and into the supply room, happy to find it had emergency lighting. She felt as if sheíd hit the jackpot. Nurseís uniforms hung on one wall and she pulled one out and put it on throwing the hospital pajamas spitefully to the floor and stepping on the hateful things. She found scissors in a box and grabbed her long hair and snipped it to her shoulders. She threw it in with the dirty linen and covered it. Checking other boxes on the shelf she found someoneís stash of cigarettes and matches. She grabbed her hair from the dirty linen and opened the door slowly. The hallway was still deserted and she made her way back to her room. She put her hair on her pillow and pulled the blanket up. Standing back she thought it would pass a quick bed check. She checked the hallway again and still it was empty. She made her way to the washroom and ducked inside. Opening the garbage can she pulled all the dry paper towels to the top and quickly touched a lit match. She pulled it under a smoke detector. Once she was sure it wasnít going to go out she went back to her room to wait for the alarm to sound.
It wasnít long before the alarm went off and she saw one of the two night nurses open the washroom door. Smoke billowed into the hallway and the nurse called for help. The guard and the other night nurse came to her aid but because of the smoke they couldnít get inside.
Perfect. Iíll leave while theyíre busy with my little fire. She went to the stairwell at the end of the hall and found once again that the power was still out and she went quickly down the stairs and out into the storm. No one stopped her, they were to busy with the fire alarms. She ran through the pounding rain to the fence and threw a stick against it. No power. "YES!" she cried gleefully as she climbed over the top and disappeared.
"Have all patients been accounted for?" Dr. Bricker asked.
"I was just going to check." A small timid nurse told him.
"Nurse Martin isnít it?" Bricker asked.
"Yes Doctor. Weíve checked everyone on this end of the hall. I was just starting this side."
"Proceed. Iím going to speak with the security guard. Whoís on duty tonight?"
"Gary Smith. Heís in the washroom, thatís where the fire started. The police are in there as well."
"Thank you Nurse." He walked into the washroom and saw Gary talking to a police detective. When Smith saw him he came right over. "What caused it Gary?"
"Someone deliberately set fire to some old paper towels in the garbage can and put them under the smoke detector. Thatís all they can tell us right now."
"Dr. Bricker, I think youíd better come take a look at this." Nurse Martin said as she ran into the washroom.
"Whatís wrong Nurse?" Bricker asked.
"I checked the patient in room two-sixteen. Sheís gone."
"What? She canít be. That Patient was catatonic." He said as he rushed to the room with Smith and the detective following him. "Damn!" he swore as he saw the hair on her bed. "Gary call security in the other building and have a guard placed outside Lee Craneís room. Nobody is to go in or out till I get there. Do it now." He looked at the detectiveís visitor tag, Ned Richards it said, "Detective, I think you better get more men out here."
"Who was she Dr. Bricker?"
"She was and is the best actress ever born. Her name is Julie Parsons-Radcliff." Bricker said dejectedly.
"Why was she here, and why did you say she was a good actress?" Richards asked.
"Not good. The Best. She murdered four people ten months ago and almost killed another man who happens to be a patient here. Not in this building. Heís not a criminal. Sheís been faking an illness perfectly, to the extent that even I believed it. She must have set the fire and used it as a diversion and while everyone was busy with the fire she managed to get out before the generators came on line."
"Iím going to call this in. With the storm I donít know how long before they can get here. I happened to be on my way home when your first call came in. Thatís why I was here so quickly. Iíll be right back."
"Nurse Martin, who checked on her last?" Bricker asked.
"Gary and I were checking the patients after the power went out. She was here. I saw her face and she was looking at the ceiling as she always is. She must have realized the electronic locks werenít working."
He looked at his watch and saw it was nearly two am. The power had gone out at twelve forty, which meant she had been loose for approximately an hour. "I have to go over to the other building and check on a patient. Tell Detective Richards where I am if he needs me, and make sure no one else is missing." Bricker said as he hurried off.
So cold. Have to find dry clothes and a place to hide. Maybe that old culvert could provide some protection. Not comfy but dry, I'll sleep and plan my next move. Get my Captain. Oh what a wonderful life they could have. She would be the Captainís wife.
She crawled into the culvert as far as she could. There seemed to be a small room at the back. It looked as if someone had been living here. Oh well, if they come back Iíll just have to get rid of them. She smiled as she curled into a ball and was soon sleeping. Her life with Captain Lee Crane filled her dreams.
Dr. David Bricker spoke to the guard stationed by Craneís room and went inside to make sure his patient was still sleeping. Once satisfied that all was well he went to his office and called Admiral Harriman Nelson. Even though it was only three am, Nelson answered on the first ring. "Harry."
"Yes, who is this?" Nelson asked sleepily.
"David Bricker at Oceanview."
Nelson sat up, instantly awake. "Whatís happened? Is Lee ok?"
"Lee Crane was sedated last night. Heís still sleeping as we speak."
"Then what...." he stopped when he realized who else was at Oceanview.
"Julie Parsons-Radcliff escaped during a power outage." Bricker told him.
"How? I thought she was catatonic. Arenít there security precautions when the power goes out?"
"She fooled us all. We have a backup generator, but it took some time for it to come online." Bricker said.
"She didnít fool Lee. He knew all along. His gut instinct knew her better!" Nelson told Bricker in a quiet voice. "Iím coming out there. Are there guards on Leeís door?"
"I did that immediately. Heís safe." His voice lacked confidence.
"From her?" Nelson asked sarcastically. "He wonít be safe till sheís apprehended. Iím going to bring a few of my own men to help. We should be there in a few hours. Make sure someone stays with Lee until I get there."
"I will Harry. See you soon."
Nelson sat on the side of the bed and called Chip Mortonís number. Chip answered almost immediately, "Morton here."
"Chip, itís Nelson."
"Admiral? Whatís wrong?" Chip was startled at the ferocity of Nelsonís voice.
"Julie escaped from Oceanview this morning during the storm. Sheís still at large. Contact Sharkey and have him get Patterson and Kowalski and meet us at the flying sub in one hour."
"Aye sir. Is Lee ok?" Morton asked worriedly.
"He was sleeping and doesnít know whatís happened. Dr. Bricker had guards posted outside Leeís room. Chip, Iíll meet you at the flying sub. Nelson out." He placed the receiver back in its cradle and went to dress.
Julie opened her eyes, unsure how long she had been sleeping. She was disoriented for a few moments until she realised she was free from Oceanview, and Doctors who didnít know what they were doing; Nurses who came in and jabbed needles into your arms. And she had fooled them all. She lay back and tucked a bag under her head and tried to sleep. Lee, oh Lee, Iím coming for you. None of your friends will get in the way this time. Nelson and Morton and maybe even that quack Bricker would all die. Then you and I can have the life we want. I know you really love me. Angry with the people who had put her there, she was unable to get back to sleep and decided to check out her little hideaway. To her surprise she found some old clothing tucked into the bag she had been using as a pillow. She pulled out the clothes and found they were in pretty good shape. Whomever lived here took care of their stuff. Wonder where they are oh well itís all mine now. No one can take this away from me. She pulled off the nursing outfit and pulled on a pair of torn, but clean jeans, an old t-shirt with the words WOODSTOCK barely readable on the front. Now Iíll have to have a plan. I need a place to call my base. Where I can keep my Captain. This place is to small and to near the hospital. Maybe I could get back to my old house and get to my stash of money. Joey had been so stupid. Didnít even ask where all the money was going. I just have to go to the house and get it. Hope nobodies there. Oh well kill them if they get in the way, she laughed and went to check if the storm was over. It was. All I have to do now is steal a car and drive to the old house. That wonít be so hard, she thought.
Lee Crane opened his eyes and realised it was morning. He looked at his watch and saw it was 0730. Thanks Doctor Bricker, he thought as he got out of bed. He felt renewed. His body wasnít tensed up from lack of sleep and he hadnít had any nightmares. He looked out the window and saw the damage the storm had caused while he slept. Trees had been uprooted, lawn furniture lay broken all over, flower pots were all over the lawn, but what grabbed his attention was the amount of policemen roaming around looking in cars in the parking lot and all over the grounds. Something must have happened, he thought.
People were stupid. They stopped for anything. She had lay down in the middle of the road and the old guy had stopped to check on her. Add one more to her list of crimes. She had tied him up and thrown him in the trunk. Iíll have to find somewhere to get rid of him. At least he had a nice chunk of cash. Travelling salesman. He must have had a good day yesterday because she now had over six hundred dollars. She pulled into a gas station and parked by the payphone. She dialled the operator and asked for the number for Oceanview Sanitarium. Once she had this she called and told them she was with Admiral Nelsonís office and she needed to talk with Lee Crane. She was asked to hold. Hanging up the phone she went back to her car and drove towards Santa Barbara.
"Good morning Captain. How did you sleep? Iíll be your nurse for today. My name is Tammy."
"Hi Tammy." He said with a smile. "Actually I had a great sleep. Why are all the police out there?"
"Iím not sure. I just came on. Maybe Dr. Bricker can answer that for you. He should be here any moment."
Lee could tell she was trying to hide something but didnít have time to ask anything else as Bricker came in. "Good morning Lee. Sleep well."
"Slept fine. Why all the police and why is there a guard outside my door?"
"The guard is just a precaution."
"Precaution? Why?" he asked suspiciously.
"To keep patients safe."
"Are you telling me you have a guard stationed outside every door?"
"No Lee. I guess you have to be told. Julie escaped during the storm." He watched for Craneís reaction and was glad there was no sign of panic.
"Any idea where she is?"
"The rain washed away any sign of footprints, so we have no idea which way she went or if she even left the grounds. Thatís why there are so many police officers around. Theyíre searching the grounds in case sheís hiding."
"How long ago did she escape?" His voice became more anxious.
"Around seven hours, near as we can tell. Admiral Nelson is on his way here in the Flying sub. Heís bringing a few of your men with him for added security while youíre here."
"I have to help them find her." Lee Crane said in a voice that brooked no argument.
"We still have to talk Lee. The police are doing all they can. At least stay the time we agreed on. Paula Chambers told me how violent your nightmares were before I came in last night and they wonít go away. Give me the time I asked for."
There was a knock on the door and the guard stuck his head in, "Dr. Bricker, Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton are asking to see you."
"Send them in." He said and the guard opened the door to admit the two men. They looked with concern at their friend.
"Hi Lee," Morton said perching on the windowsill. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine Chip." He said and turned to Nelson, "Admiral, I need to get out of here and find her."
"Lee, thereís nothing you can do. The police are setting up roadblocks on all roads leading out of town. Stay and talk with Dr. Bricker. This is the safest place for you."
"The only place Iíd be safe is on Seaview. Youíre also forgetting that she may go after you and Chip. After all you did help me get away from her. Look Iím leaving and thatís it. Dr. Bricker I would still like to talk with you but Iím afraid it will have to wait until Julie is back in custody. Get me whatever papers I need to sign."
"Thatís not wise Lee." Nelson told him.
"I have to do this Admiral." Crane said. Nelson knew by the stubborn look on Leeís face that he wasnít going to change his mind.
"Alright, Lee." Nelsonís acquiescence was reluctant "Weíll do it your wayÖ for now. Get the papers David. Iíll make sure he comes to see you when this is all over. Chip, go tell Sharkey weíll be going back to Santa Barbara." He turned to Crane, "No youíre not staying here to find her. I will not let you be bait. We go home and assign you bodyguards until sheís found. Otherwise you stay here. Iíll sign you in myself and Dr. Bricker will help me keep you here."
"Yes sir. Understood. Thank you, Admiral. Dr. Bricker, I will come back for our talk."
By twelve hundred hours they were on their way back to Santa Barbara.
Nobody lived in her house and it was dark and deserted. She checked in the flowerpot and found the spare key they had always left there. She went into the house and up to the attic without turning on any lights. At the back of the attic she pulled at a loose floorboard. It came away easily. Her money was there. Over the years she had managed to stash away quite allot of it. Money sheíd asked Joey for to buy things for the household. Of course she hadnít bought anything when she could steal it instead. She also hadnít told him about winning ten thousand gambling on the races. Twenty two thousand dollars. Hire some men, not like the last ones, she thought angrily. Kill Nelson and Morton, and find a place to be with my Captain until he accepts my love. She shoved the money into her pocket and left the house.
She had left the car with the old guy in the trunk at a gas station and proceeded to a used car lot. At the car lot, she had stolen a set of keys while the salesman had been busy and she waited till he closed down before taking the car off the lot. She had driven straight here, and now she had her money. Take some of these old clothes and disappear till I have everything ready. I will be back for you Lee. Weíll be together.
Two weeks passed. The police had found the man Julie had left in the trunk and aside from being bruised and mad as hell he survived.
Detective Frank Bartlett had come to see Crane every day with a report.
"Frank, we leave tomorrow on an assignment that will keep us away from Santa Barbara for a month. I think weíre going to spend tonight getting Seaview ready to sail. Lee will be safe onboard." Nelson said.
"Thatís a great idea Admiral. My superiors told me that I couldnít keep the guards on you much longer Lee. Theyíre convinced Radcliff has left the area totally and that youíre safe."
"She hasnít gone far Frank, but sooner or later I have to get on with my life." Crane told them all. "Thanks for all youíve done."
"Contact Angie if you get any leads." Nelson told the detective.
"I will Admiral and take care," he said as he left.
"Well Lee, letís get back to work. Seaview awaits."
"Gladly sir, coming Chip?"
A month had passed and she had changed her appearance. Hope Lee likes redheads, she thought. Looking in the mirror she was pleased at the way she looked. Her hair was cut short and tight curls had been added using a perm, she was wearing coloured contacts and a pancake type make up which gave her a very pale colouring. She barely recognized herself.
The mercenary sheíd hired had rewired some of the building so she had some power to the lights in the hallway but he had been unable to get any power in the apartment she now occupied. She had taken the basement apartment in the condemned building on the outskirts of Santa Barbara to be close to her Captain. One room had been converted into a cell with a length of chain attached to the wall, there was a double mattress on the floor and that was the only piece of furniture. This will be our room. First I have to take care of those meddlers and then I can bring you here. She turned at the sound of someone coming down the stairs and smiled at the man who would help her. All he wanted was the use of her body. He was a rich mercenary, and not bad looking. He would do till she had Lee and then she would have him killed for touching her. Lots more mercenaries for hire.
She laughed as he took her in his arms. "How did it go Brent?"
Brent Williams looked at her with lust filled eyes, "Everythingís as you wanted it. Seaview docked this morning and I left a message for Nelson and Morton that I needed to see them."
"You didnít mention me did you?"
"Of course not. Iím not stupid you know. They know me. I helped them a couple of times."
"Are you going to betray me to them?"
"How can I. You know I will do anything for you." He said as he snuggled up to her and tried to bring her to the mattress.
"No! I will not do that on his bed."
" Where?" he asked in a husky voice.
"Here on the floor."
"Whatever you say." He laid her down and took her.
She stood and pulled her clothes back on when he finished and fought the anger she felt every time this happened. She would rather pay him with money but he wanted her body instead. Iíll get even. She thought.
"When are they meeting you?"
"Back to business, hey?" he laughed. "They should meet me at the Shoreline drive pier at nine PM. I told them to come alone and that if anyone else is with them I wonít show."
"How can you be sure theyíll come alone?"
"Weíve been through this before. Iíve sold them solid information on other projects. Theyíll be there."
"Chip, itís from Brent Williams." Nelson told Morton as he read the message Angie had passed him as he entered his office.
"Thatís the one. Lee is still on Board Seaview. Detective Bartlett said there was no sign of Julie, and Lee has lots of bodyguards where he is. I think we better check this out."
"I agree Admiral. When does he want to meet?"
"In half an hour at the pier. We just have time to make it."
"Chief, any word from Admiral Nelson or Mr. Morton?" Crane asked.
"No sir." Chief Francis Ethelbert Sharkey told him.
"Did they say where they were going?"
"Admiral Nelson said he was going to check with Detective Bartlett and see if he had any new leads on the case."
"Iím going up to the office."
"Er, Skipper, sir, er, the Admiral wanted you to stay here till they came back."
"Chief, I can handle myself."
"I know that sir, but he asked me to make sure you didnít go off by yourself. Iíll come with you. If you like sir."
"Thanks Chief but I donít need a babysitter."
"No sir, but the Admiral would be upset if I let you go alone. Please let me come sir."
Crane laughed, "All right Chief, letís go."
She looked at the clock, Eight fifty. It would soon be over. The trap was ready for Nelson and Morton, and then he would be hers. All hers.
Morton didnít like the idea of meeting anyone on a dark pier, "Admiral, this could be a trap."
"I agree Chip, but if he has the information he says, it could mean catching Julie."
"I know sir, but we have to be careful. Why donít I go in first, make sure everythingís safe?"
"We go together Chip." Nelson said as he opened the gate and walked towards the meeting place.
The night sky lit up with the explosion and two bodies were thrown across the vacant pier. Fire burned around them, but neither man felt the heat as they were both unconscious.
Nine oh five, theyíre dead. Now I just have to get my Captain to come to me. He needs me now. He has no one else to love. Nelson and Morton are history. I love you darling. Weíll soon be together. Weíll be happy here.
Lee Crane stepped into his office and closed the door. Chief Sharkey waited outside. He had assured the chief he would be ok in here. He stood by his desk and glanced out the window as an enormous fireball lit the sky. "Oh my god." He said aloud and went to the door. "Chief, thereís been some kind of explosion. Find out where it is and let Admiral Nelson know."
"Yes sir," Sharkey said as he ran out the door.
Chip Morton groaned as he tried to push himself to a sitting position. He could feel the heat of the fire as it raged all around him. Slowly and painfully feeling was coming back and he realized he was trapped. He could move his legs freely but could not pull them out from under the sheet of metal. He looked around, "ADMIRAL!!! ADMIRAL, CAN YOU HEAR ME? ÖADMIRAL!!! I canít move. My legs are trapped." There was no answer and Morton tried again to free himself. He heard sirens and knew help would soon arrive. "Sir, do you hear that? Help's on the way." He grew even more concerned when there was still no answer.
Crane was uneasy looking at the glow of the fire. He jumped when his phone rang. Picking up the receiver he recognized the voice immediately.
"Darling, youíre friends are dead. Thereís no one standing in our way. We can be together forever now."
"Julie, what the hell have you done?"
"I made them go away. Come to me Lee. Iím waiting."
Crane spoke softly into the phone, "Where are you Julie?"
"You know better than that darling. If I tell you where I am youíll just send the police after me. Iíll send someone for you soon. I promise. I love you darling."
Lee heard the telltale sound of the phone being disconnected from the other end.Oh my God, what has she done to Nelson and Morton? He grabbed his keys and ran out of the building to his car.
Sharkey watched as Craneís familiar red sports car left the Institutes parking lot. OH boy, Skipper, why didnít you wait for me? He went back to the Institute to get his keys.
"Brent, if I know Lee he should be on his way to your location in that red car of his, you should have no problem recognizing it. Just make sure you give him the Ativan. I want him controllable and remember I want him otherwise unharmed." Julie warned remembering what had happened the last time she had sent men after her beloved Captain.
"Iíll bring him to you as soon as we have him." Brent Williams told her. He had two of his most trustworthy men, Frank Jarvis and Steven Drake helping him. They were waiting at the lights just outside the Institute and couldnít help seeing Craneís car pull up.
Crane saw the light at the deserted corner turn red and he screeched to a stop. Looking around, he wanted to run the light, but even as fearful for Morton and Nelson that he was, he couldnít do it. So waiting impatiently, he tapped his hand against the steering wheel. He was startled when a man stumbled in front of his car and fell to the ground. Lee jumped out of the car and came around to the front. Bending down, he moved to help the man, and stopped short when the man turned over pointing a gun at him.
Grinning malevolently, Williams said to Lee, "Donít try anything, Captain Crane. My men are holding guns on you as we speak. Now slowly stand up and walk towards the alley." Crane could see no way out of the situation he was in and so did as he was told. Standing up he had a good look at the man holding the gun.
"Donít I know you? Arenít you Williams, one of the mercenaries who helped Admiral Nelson?"
"Am I Captain? I guess youíll have to figure that out for yourself, now letís go."
"Is she with you?" Crane asked softly as he was shoved into the back of a van.
"Is who with me," Williams asked him, motioning for Crane to turn around.
"Julie Parsons-Radcliff. You do work for her. Sheís crazy you know." Crane said as he felt ropes cutting into his wrists, binding his hands tightly behind his back.
"Yeah, youíre probably right about that, but she is great in bed." Holding a large white pill in front of Crane, Williams said, "Take this Captain."
Lee shook his head to the negative, tightly compressing his lips. "Jarvis, Drake give me a hand here! Hold his head back and force him to open his mouth." He fought them as much as he could but was soon forced to the floor. One of his captors held his nose closed, forcing him to open his mouth to breathe. The tablet was shoved to the back of his throat. Williams forced water into his mouth and it was either choke or swallow. His instinctive reaction was to swallow. "Very good Captain, now just relax." Lee Crane felt the hopelessness of his own situation, but still found his thoughts turning to Nelson and Morton, Chip! Admiral! Are you dead or alive? Will I be alive long enough to find out?
Sharkey drove as close to the fire as he could before the police stopped him, "Sorry sir, but this is as close as you can go. The fire is still pretty hot."
"Officer, I work at NIMR. Has Captain Crane arrived yet?"
"Youíre the first one from the Institute to arrive. Maybe you should come with me. We have two men here who seem to be from the Institute."
"Who are they? Are they ok?" Sharkey asked the two questions quickly.
"I donít know any details. Come with me. Iíll take you to Detective Bartlett." The officer lifted the police tape just far enough for Sharkey to slip under and he walked over to the detective, "Sir, this man works for the Institute. I thought you would want to talk to him."
Bartlett looked at the dark haired man before him, "Chief Sharkey, isnít it."
"Yes sir, have you seen Captain Crane?"
"Crane? No, canít say I have. We do however have two men from the Institute here. Weíre trying to rescue them now."
"What men?" Sharkey asked in concern.
"Admiral Nelson and Commander Morton were on the pier when it exploded. They are trapped under debris and rescue workers are doing their best to cut them loose."
"Are they ok? Can I go to them?"
"Come with me," Bartlett told Sharkey and started towards a crowd of workers at the end of the pier.
"Morton is awake and seems to have only minor injuries. His legs are trapped under a piece of steel, but he can move them. Admiral Nelson is still unconscious and was bleeding from a gash on his head. He was almost free when I last checked. Thatís all I can tell you right now."
Sharkey could see a man being lifted unto a stretcher and recognized the face of Admiral Nelson even under the dirt and ashes. As Nelson was placed in a waiting ambulance Sharkey asked the medic how he was. "His injuries are serious and weíre taking him to Santa Barbara General."
"Look, his doctor is at the Institute Medical Centre. I think you should take him there. They know him best."
"Iíll check with dispatch and if they give the Ďokí weíll do that. Same for the other guy I suppose." He said as he climbed in the back of the ambulance and closed the doors.
Sharkey walked over to where the rescuers were still trying to free Morton, who seemed wide-awake and lucid.
"Chief, whereís Lee?"
"Not sure sir, he left before me."
"Find him Chief, I have a bad feeling about this." Morton said.
"Me too, Mr. Morton, me too. Iím going to backtrack to the Institute and see if his car is anywhere along the way. They should be taking the Admiral and you there. Iíll notify Doctor Jamison and Cdr. Weaver as well."
"Make sure Matty knows Iím ok, Chief." Chip ordered. He was concerned that Matty would hear the wrong news, and be unnecessarily upset.
"What are you two talking about?" Bartlett asked.
"Captain Crane was on his way here and never showed." Sharkey told him, his concern for his Captain mirrored in his downtrodden expression
"Are you sure he was coming here?" Bartlett asked Sharkey.
"Well he took off without saying where he was going, but, once he saw the explosion, he was headed in this direction, and since this was no accident..." he let the rest trail off unsaid.
"Are you saying it was a diversion of some kind to get at Crane?" the detective questioned.
"Yes, and Iím pretty sure I know who set it up. Pick up a mercenary by the name of Brent Williams. Admiral Nelson got a note from him asking us to meet him here." Morton said as he was pulled from under the debris, and placed on a stretcher.
"Hold on a minute." He told the attendants. "Frank, I think he is working for Julie. You have to find him." Mortonís voice was filled with concern for his friend.
"Well," the detective said as he was handed a slip of paper from a police officer, "youíre right about this being a set up. We found evidence of a bomb. You and Nelson are lucky to be alive. Now let these men get you to the hospital and Iíll check out your information."
Crane felt as if theyíd been driving for hours. His arms were stiff and he was finding it hard to breathe through the rag in his mouth. He was beginning to find it hard to think clearly. Still all he could think of was his friends. Please let them be ok!
The van pulled to a stop and he was dragged out. Have to memorize details, he thought, fuzzily, as they walked into a dark alleyway and up to a steel door. He shook his head, attempting to clear it. Details!!! I have to remember details!! He was beginning to feel light headed. The building had four floors with boards covering the windows on the lower level. From what little he could make out it was ready for demolition.
As the door swung open rats scurried away from what little area the flashlight illuminated. Lee shuddered, remembering childhood taunts, God I hate rats, he thought. Once inside the building Williams seemed to relax a little and removed the gag. Lee gulped in a deep breath of the stale air, feeling dizzy and even more disoriented. "What now?" he asked, his voice harsh, his mouth dry from the gag.
"Well, your bride to be is waiting for you." Williams said with a sly laugh. "Although why sheís so obsessed with you when she can have me, Iíll never know."
"Hey," he found his words slurring ever so slightly, "Believe me if you want her, sheís all yours. Just let me go."
"I donít think itís a good idea to double cross this lady. I hear sheís already killed her first husband and a few others because of you. I donít want to be the next person she puts in an early grave, especially when I can be in her bed instead." Jarvis and Drake laughed at Williamsís snide remark. "Follow Jarvis and Drake. Remember Iím right behind you."
Once again Lee desperately tried to pay attention to where he was being taken. They turned right at a corner and started down a long narrow staircase. There was light at the bottom but it seemed rather dull.
"Go ahead, Captain, look around by all means. You wonít be getting out of here for a long time. She really does love you."
"Her kind of love I can do without." Crane adamantly told Williams.
"Too bad. I think youíre in for a rough time with that attitude. Take my advice, try and make her think you have feelings for her. Itíll go easier on you. Here we are." He knocked on the door. It didnít take long for it to open and Lee Crane stared at the woman in front of him, at first mistakenly thinking it wasnít Julie. Then she started to speak. He shook his head again, trying to think clearly, but the thought escaped himÖ
"Darling, youíre home." She cried happily wrapping her arms around him. "Iíve missed you so," she said as he was shoved through the door. Her voice changed as she started to give orders to Williams and his men. "Strip him of his uniform, and dress him in these..." She threw a pair of Leviís and a t-shirt at Williams. "When thatís done, put these on him." She picked up a set of leg irons and wrist manacles.
"Donít do this Julie," Crane said softly.
"I wouldnít have to, if you would only admit you love me as I do you. Do it Brent, and then hook the chain to his leg irons." She turned her back on the Seaviewís Captain as Williams and his men roughly carried out her orders on an increasingly docile Lee Crane.
"Look Chip. Give it up right now. I want to find Lee as badly as you do, but you need to rest. The Admiral needs my attention right now and I donít want to have to worry about you trying to leave on your own." Will Jamison told his reluctant patient as he checked his IV line.
"I canít help him, Jamie, but I might be able to help Lee. You said yourself that my legs are fine. Just a bit of bruising and except for some other minor injuries, and you did say minor injuries," Jamie nodded. " If Iím fine, I need to be out there actively looking for Lee. Come on Jamie give me a break."
For a few seconds Chip thought he was going to win another round, until he heard an authoritative voice at the door. "Youíre not going anywhere, Sailor. Will knows what is best, and you know that better than most!" Matty Weaver Morton stated as she came in.
Chip found the weight of his eyelids growing heavier and heavier, but he fought it, to look at his wife. "Matty!" His hand reached out for her, and she grasped his hand and squeezed it. He squeezed hers in return, and then said, softly, to Jamison, as he gave into the pull of the sedative that the doctor had given him "Jamie, one of these days some oneís going to give you a sedative and stop you from arguing with them."
"Whatís wrong with him Jamie," Matty asked worriedly holding her husbands hand.
"Nothing, Matty. Heís surprisingly unscathed. I didnít know how long you were going to be and I wanted to make sure he didnít leave before you arrived. I slipped him a sedative. Heíll sleep for a couple of hours."
"What about his legs?" she was apprehensive about Jamisonís reply. Chipís recovery from the beating by Gammaís sergeant had been a long and arduous one, to recover the use of his legs. Her fear was that he would have to go through that all over again.
"X-rays are all negative. He was lucky the steel was resting on another piece of metal and not his legs. Iíll have Dr. Wilkes look at the X-rays just to make sure and if everythingís ok Iíll release him to you tomorrow."
"Thanks, Jamie. Howís Admiral Nelson?"
"Still unconscious. Iím going to check on him now. Dr. Wilkes is going to be working on his case as well. Iíll talk to you when I get back," he said leaving her alone with her husband.
Matty bent over, and kissed her husbandís forehead and lovingly caressed his cheek. She pulled a chair up next to the bed, and settled in for a vigil that, this time, would be shortÖ.
He walked into Nelsonís room, to find him still unconscious. Head injuries always worried Jamie. Four hours had passed since the Admiral had been brought in and there was still no sign of Nelson coming out of it. He walked over to Joan Harris, head nurse at the Institute for as long as Jamie could remember. "Any changes Joan?"
"None Jamie. Dr. Wilkes was here and he ordered a CAT scan and an EEG. Weíre just waiting for an orderly to bring him down."
Gerard Wilkes was the best Neurologist in the city as far as Jamie was concerned. His bedside manor was lousy but the man knew what to look for. "Where is Dr. Wilkes now?"
"He said he had to check on another patient. You know Dr Wilkes he never waits around for the attending physician." She said sarcastically.
"Watch what you say Joan, donít let anyone else hear your opinion. Youíre the best nurse we have and I donít want to lose you." Jamie said seriously.
"I keep my opinions to myself unless Iím talking to someone I trust." She winked at Jamie as two orderlies came into the room to take Nelson for his tests.
"Heís all changed and trussed up for you Julie." Williams gloated. "Ready and waiting for his lady love!!! Jarvis will get rid of his clothing, and the drug is fully effective. Heís just confused enoughÖ he was looking at the irons like he should know something about them, but he couldnít rememberÖJust remember you only give it to him once a day. Any more could be dangerous. I did as you asked and told her you were our prisoner as well." Williams said signalling for Jarvis and Drake to make themselves scarce.
"Thank you Brent. I can handle him from here." She said coldly, anxious to be rid of the demanding mercenary, so she could get to Lee.
"First things first, honey. You know what I want," he said as he closed the door to Craneís cell.
Lee sat on the mattress. Stripped of his uniform, wearing the old Leviís and t-shirt, he looked a different man. The chains to the manacles ran behind his back, leaving little play in them, whatever way he moved. They were also connected to the irons on his ankles, allowing him to stand, if he was able, but impeding his ability to move much more than that. What WAS the drug they had forced on him? Heíd never felt so totally out of control of his emotions, so unable to think and function coherently. He was a grown man, being held in chains because he didnít return the affections of a crazy woman. He shook his head, trying, yet again, to pull coherent thoughts together and finding it too difficult. He looked abstractedly at his wrists, and the heavy shackles.I should be able to get out of theseÖ out of here!! What is wrong with me???
He could hear the sounds coming from the other room. It was unmistakable. Were their captors forcing her into having sex? Williams told me that we were prisoners, yet she comes and goes unrestricted Ö.SheísÖcrazyÖ Obsessed!!! Why doesnít she just turn her obsession to Williams? he thought, mournfully. Maybe I can use this for my own benefit. I just have to figure out how. He tried to ignore what was happening in the next room but it was impossible. His mind remained a jumble of unconnected thoughts.
His mind began to wander anew as the drug continued to affect him. Suddenly he found himself in the middle of, Robertís last birthday party. Robert was blowing out the candles as his friends and extended family watched. They laughed happily at the little boy. Just as abruptly he found himself in the control room on Seaview, facing a gun in the hands of his best friend. ĎNO, ADMIRAL! PLEASE! NO!' The shot resonated through Seaview.
"Lee, darling, look at me."
Blearily, he opened his eyes and looked into the face of his worst nightmare. "What are you doing here? Youíre supposed to be at Oceanview." He said, his voice a mere whisper.
"No, Lee, Iím here. Iíve worked so very hard to make you mine. And now you areÖ All mine!"
"I Ö I Öjust Öcanít seem to think straight. WhyÖ am I Öhere." He gestured with his arm, and the shackles and chains clanked. He looked at them puzzled
"Because we belong together." Julie said firmly.
"We do?" he asked.
"Yes, darling, I worked very hard to get rid of the people in our way and now thereís just you and me." She smiled at him, a knowing smileÖ one that indicated no doubt as to her plans.
Lee shook his head trying to get rid of the cobwebs, which seemed to have surrounded his brain. For some reason, that he knew he should be aware of, he was having trouble focusing. "What did you do to me Julie? What did they force on me?"
"Just something to help you relax, my Darling" He shuddered at the false ring of the wordsÖ. ĎI donít want you using your ONI skills to get away. We belong together and I mean to keep you. Here, if I have to. As long as it takesÖ I possess youÖ I own youÖ. I LOVE YOU!!!!! You must know by now that I do love you."
"Your idea of love I can do without," he told her in an unsteady voice.
"That will change soon. I will make you realize how much we love each other. Your friends are out of the way now."
In his mindís eye, Lee could see an explosion. "Admiral Nelson and Chip?" He asked her; wary of the answer she would give him.
"Dead." She answered his unspoken question. "I had to get them out of our way. My family is dead. I will never see my little Amy again and you will never see your Robert. I will leave your son alone, for now. Just remember I have ways to get to him."
He shook his head vigorously, "Julie, If you have a shred of the love you say you have for me, LEAVE MY SON ALONE! You are a parent, too!!!"
"ONLY if you co-operate, and take your pills when I give them to you."
"What pills?" He asked her, feeling once again, confused and dazed.
"Youíve been having headaches and the pills help the pain. Darling, donít you remember?" She smiled at his confused state. "Iím going to lie down beside you now. We can get some sleep and talk tomorrow about our future."
Unable to focus, he put his head down and wearily closed his eyes. Why? Why is this happening? Maybe if I can sleep, I will understand better!
Nelson could hear the voices and wished theyíd be quiet. "Canít you just leave me to die in peace?" He asked petulantly. He opened his eyes in time to see a nurse leaving the room.
"Hello, Admiral." Jamison said. "How do you feel?"
"Lousy, Will. My head hurts. In fact, most of my body hurts. What happened?" he asked trying to focus his eyes.
"Tell me what you remember, Harry." Jamison urged.
"Well, Chip and I were supposed to meet someone. IÖ. I canít seem to remember whom. Some kind of explosion." His thoughts suddenly cleared, and he tried to sit up. "Chip, is he all right?" he asked apprehensively.
"Heís fine, Harry, just fineÖ I released him this morning. Matty stayed with him through the night and they should be here any minute."
"It was a set up, Jamie." Nelson told the doctor, angrily.
"We know. Chip told Detective Bartlett about Williams and theyíre looking for him."
"Whereís Lee?" New fear crept onto Nelsonís countenance.
Chip and Matty entered the room before Jamie could tell him anything. "Matty knows more then I do. Iíll let her explain."
"Admiral, You and Chip were meant to die last night." Matty began, " You donít know how lucky you were. If the bomb had gone off while you were standing at the entrance we would have been arranging funerals today. ." Her voice caught on the words. "I think the bomb was a diversion to get you and Chip out of the way for good. Iíve been talking with Frank off and on all night. They found Leeís car hidden in an alley. No sign of a struggle. Frank thinks he stopped at the light just off Institute grounds and was taken from there." Matty told them, matter of factly.
"The first thing we have to do is find Williams. He sent us the message and arranged the meeting." Nelson said, concern evident in his voice. " How long have I been here and how long do they figure Leeís been missing?" he demanded.
"You and Chip were brought in late yesterday. Itís 1330 hours now. We figure Lee has been missing for approximately eighteen hours." Jamie told him. "Admiral, I know youíre worried about Lee, but, youíve had a very serious concussion and I want you to rest. Chip and Matty are going to have to be your legs for at least another twenty- four hours. No arguments. Ask Chip what Iíll do if you try to leave."
"Listen to him sir, I tried to argue and he put me out." Chip said, wryly. "Besides Matty and I will be out there. Weíll do everything we can to find him. Leeís a survivor."
"I agree, Chip. He is a survivor but what you donít know is that he still has nightmares about her. This can only make matters worse. Remember what she did to him the last time. Jamie, Iíll give you the twenty- four hours, if you agree to letting Chip or Matty see me whenever they want to."
"I wouldnít be able to keep them out if I tried. We know how much Lee means to you, to all of us, and we all want him back safely."
Julie moved surreptitiously around the cell that she had Lee chained in. She ran her hands on his body, beginning to slowly, methodically remove his clothing. He shivered in his sleep, the sleep being a restless, haunted oneÖHe was being haunted by his reality and his nightmares blending into one horrific experience. She kissed his forehead, his cheeks, and his neck. She did not want to undo his chains, so she tore at the t-shirt, and then tossed it aside.
I canít believe weíre together, my darling. You donít know how long Iíve waited to do this!
Looking at him, lying there, she smiled to herselfÖshe ran her hands over his lean torso, stopping at the jeans. She pulled at the waist and began to ease the jeans down his legs. She had had Brentís men discard his briefs, so that when she removed the jeans, he lay there naked. She replaced the leg irons, when she was finished.
Removing her own clothes, she lay down next to him. She was surprised at the warmth of his body. "Lee, can you hear me?"
He could feel what she was doing to him but could not understand why she had removed his clothes. Whatís the matter with me? he wondered. "I have to get out of here," he murmured aloud.
Julie was calm, her hands roaming his body as she spoke to him. She knew how to handle this, "Lee, honey. Whatís wrong?"
"I have to get out of here, away from you." He said urgently, knowing something was not right, but not being able to remember just whatÖ
"Why would you want to get away from me, we love each other." She pulled him closer to her, revelling in the feel of his naked body against hers.
Lee shook his head and tried to pull away. "If we do, then why am I in chains?" he asked in a confused voice.
"There are men holding us prisoner, my darling." She told him hoping he would believe her. The Ativan was working better then she could have hoped. His mind was truly confused, just as the drug promised.
"What men? Where are they?" he asked her, still confused by it all.
"Theyíre in the other room. We have to keep quiet or theyíll come in. We donít want that. Just try and sleep for now. Iíll stay here with you." She tried to snuggle closer but even in his confused state he pulled away.
How can I love this woman when all I feel is revulsion. He asked himself. Whatís wrong with meÖ. Admiral, where are youÖ. DEAD, you and Chip are dead!í his mind was further blurred with grief for his friends. JULIEÖ she killed you. But she says that she loves meÖ and that I love her!!! Shaking his head again he tried to reason things out in his mind, but his mind refused to clearÖ ĎNo! I hate her!!Ö. Canít think straightÖ maybe Iíll just rest for awhile. If I rest, I may be able to think more clearly. He closed his eyes and drifted into a fitful sleep.
Julie lay there next to Lee, holding him close to her. I canít believe Iím lying next to you. I have loved you from the beginning. That first night when we met at the pizza palace. The Prom when we danced. You held me close and told me we would be married when you came back from your first tour of duty. Why oh why did you have to enter the Navy. Father didnít like that, but I showed him. Heís dead. Canít stop me now. She laughed. ĎI can have whatever I want. Youíll learn how easily I can adapt to any situation. I have to keep you drugged for some time yet. Oh well at least I can sleep with you. She sighed, tried to snuggle closer and closed her eyes.
Lee opened his eyes and looked at the woman lying next to him. She seemed to be sleeping. He just couldnít figure out why he was so uncomfortable. His head hurt from trying to think through the events of the last hours. He didnít even know how long he had been here.
Julie could feel his eyes on her. She stood without a word and went through the door to the other room. She returned with a glass of water and took what appeared to be a large drink. "Are you thirsty darling?" He nodded his head. She lifted the glass to his lips and let him drink his fill. She had changed her mind about giving it to him in pill form. Too easy for you to hold it under your tongue. This way I can be sure. She was happy to see the glass was empty when he pulled away.
"Who are these people you keep telling me about?"
"Donít you remember? They kidnapped us and killed your friends." She told him cruelly.
"What friends? Who did they kill? Please tell me, Julie. I need to know." He begged her.
"Iím sorry darling. Your friends Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton were killed in an explosion." She told him.
"NO!!!!! You're wrong!" he shouted at her. He pulled against his chains in frustration and anger. Sobs of sorrow wracked his body and she moved to hold him close. He quieted once again, the drug continuing to control him.
"Get away. I don't want you to touch me. Leave me alone." He said in a
stronger voice. He pulled himself into a ball, lying down on the mattress and
falling into a fitful sleep. As he moved in his sleep, the chains on the
shackles and leg irons clinked. Julie left the cell with a slight smile on
her face. Lee Crane, you are all mineÖyou have nothing, can do nothing
without me, without my permissionÖI have to thank Brent for the Ativan. It is
working so wellÖif I give you more, then I can control you moreÖ before I
kill Brent for what he makes me do, I have to get more of the drugÖ enough to
control you for a long timeÖ I can give you as much as 5 pills a day without
it hurting youÖ. It's not fairÖyou should be the one who wants to use me
like that. It would make things so much easier. She looked at the sleeping
man on the mattress, and gloated againÖ You are MINE!!
Chip and Matty walked dejectedly into Nelsonís office. One look at their faces told Nelson the news was not good, but he found himself asking the question anyway, "Anything Chip?"
"No sir. Itís like theyíve disappeared off the face of the earth. We went to Williamís last known address. Then we checked his headquarters. Nothing. None of his men have seen him since the night Lee disappeared." Chip told him in answer to his query.
"I just got off the phone with Frank. Forensics just finished going over Leeís car. Lee was always so meticulous about keeping his car clean, and I thought they would find something there. They did find a few hair strands but they turned out to be Lees'. Iíve even called in some favours at ONI, but I havenít heard back from them." Nelson told them.
"Iíve checked with my own contacts Sir, nobody has any information pertaining to Leeís disappearance. Theyíll let me know if they hear anything new." Matty gave Nelson the bad news in a sad tone. Knowing that the longer their friend was missing the harder it was going to be to find him.
"In addition, every member of the crew is out walking the streets. They have a better chance of finding the Skipper then anyone else."
"While thatís all true, Chip, I keep getting the feeling weíre going to be too late."
"We wonít give up Sir, weíll find him. Matty and I are co-ordinating all efforts. Sooner or later this madwoman has to show."
"Hopefully itíll be sooner rather than later. Itís not just the physical damage that she can do to Lee; itís the mental and emotional damageÖ He was in a bad enough way to begin withÖ.. Chip. Jamie still wants me to rest. Iím going to be here by the phone all day. If you hear anything let me know immediately."
"I will sir. Chip, you are going to stay here with the Admiral. Will did say you have to rest those legs. Thereís nothing else you can do right now. Iíll check with the men and report back here as soon as Iím done."
"Iím fine Matty."
"Iím sure that you believe that, my loveÖ but Will and I know different. Both legs were bruised in that bombing. And there is only one way to make sure you donít damage them further. Thatís staying here with the Admiral, and resting. Sit down, Chip, or so help me, youíll regret fighting me on this one. I love Lee Crane as a friend, but youíre my life. I will not have you endangering the use of your legs. In fact, medically speaking, I can take command of the boat and the men, and have the blessing of the CMO, if it keeps the two of you from anything that will endanger your health. " Nelson looked at her with admiration in his eyes.
"Well put, Matty." With a bit of lightness creeping into his voice, Nelson said to Chip with mock gravity, "Give it up, and sit down, Chip. You should never argue with a woman when her mind is made up. Weíll be here Matty." Nelson said smiling for the first time since Lee had disappeared.
" Iíll be back soon, sailorÖ and weíll have a discussion!" Matty said, and kissed her stubborn husband leaving the two men alone.
"Thatís one hell of a woman you have there, Chip. Itís no wonder that she and Karen get on so well! " He chuckled.
"Tell me about it! I think I found someone even more stubborn then I am. Iím glad sheís on our side."
"Oh God, yes. Iíll have Angie bring some coffee and sandwiches." Nelson ordered the lunch and turned back to look at a face full of worry. "Chip, I know how close you and Lee are, but sheís right and you know it. Lee would not want you risking paralysis for him."
"Itís just so damn frustrating." Chip slammed his fist into the chair arm.
"I know. I feel the same way. Heíll be Ok."
Lee Crane was feeling anything but okay. He was so confused; he didnít know what was nightmare and what was reality. He didnít know whether he was awake or dreaming. All he knew for sure was that he was wearing nothing, not even the jeans theyíd put him in when heíd first arrived, manacles were on his wrists and ankles and he was in a cell of some sort, chained to a wall. He couldnít remember why. I should be able to get out of these. Any good ONI agent knows how to pick a lock. Why, oh why canít I remember how to do this. He pulled sharply at the chains in frustration and anger, and they clanked loudly.
Heís awake, she thought as she heard the telltale sounds of movement from the other room. "Lee, darling, whatís wrong?" she called.
"I donít know," he cried out in frustration.
"Itís okay, honey. Iím here for you." She called from the other room. She entered the room where the cell was, " Iíll protect you. Here drink this." Docilely, he took the glass and drank its contents. "Thatís the way." She smiled as he drank his third dose of the Ativan for that day. I donít know how you manage to fight the drug but, Iíll just increase it till I have you where I want you. Oh, Darling, weíll be so good together. She watched him closely as the increased dosage of the drug quickly took hold.
"Dead, my best friends are dead," he grieved, taking a deep breath, and allowing sobs of grief, and frustration to rack his body. She quickly took him in her arms.
"Itís ok, Darling, you still have me and we can have a wonderful life together." She said gently.
"How can I even think about our life together when weíll never get out of here. Theyíll never let us go and I canít remember how to get out of these stupid things. Iím no good to anyone." He said testily.
"Donít talk like that!" She said, suddenly angry. She slapped him across the face, and then kissed the place where she had struck him, attempting to draw him into a longer and more passionate kiss. " I wonít let you put the man I love down. Weíll have a great life when we get out of here."
He pushed her away. "We wonít get out of here." He said with surprising conviction. "I canít think about anything anymore. Iím so confused I donít even remember who I am half the time. What are they doing to me? Why donít you stop them if you love me so much?"
"I canít. They have guns and they said theyíd shoot you if I tried anything."
Leeís eyes seemed to clear for an instant and he said, "Youíre one of them." He stated softly as the drug influenced his mind once again.
She was pleased to see how quickly the drug took over his mind and how he was unable to clear it for long periods of time. "How can you even think that darling?"
"Think what? What did I say?" he asked in a dazed voice.
"Nothing important. Itís all over now and we can get some rest. Would you like me to lay down with you?" she asked hopefully.
As confused as he was he knew he wanted nothing to do with this woman, he just could not remember why. "No. I want to be alone for now. Maybe later."
"Okay, darling," she said not quite able to keep the disappointment out of her voice. You will soon do anything I tell you to Lee Crane. There are ways and youíll learn them the hard way if you donít start to cooperate with me. I have to keep you with me. Youíre MINE, MINE, MINE, she thought, anger giving way to disappointment as she left the room only to find Brent Williams waiting for her in there.
"What do you want?" she said savagely.
"Problems, darling," he said his voice full of sarcasm.
"Nothing I canít handle. Did you get more of the Ativan?"
"I have it right here," he said patting the pocket in his coat. "First, however, we have another problem."
"What are you talking about?" she asked him warily.
"Nelson and Morton are alive and they know I was behind the bombing." He stated it as a matter of fact, no anger, just fact.
"Why am I always surrounded by incompetent fools?" She said and felt a hand slap her face resoundingly and she fell to the floor.
"Donít ever call me that." He told her angrily.
"And donít you ever lay a hand on me again, Brent Williams. No man has ever done that to me."
"Well, maybe itís time someone did!!!!." He said and came at her again.
She ran to the table and picked up a butcher knife. "Leave me alone, Brent or so help me, Iíll kill you here and now."
"Listen to you? Do you really think you can use that thing on me? Iím the one man who knows what youíre capable of, honey, and donít you forget it," he said, as he came towards her wrapping a piece of cloth around his arm. "Iím going to teach you a lesson youíll never forget." He laughed as she backed up against the counter with the knife held directly in front.
She knew he would be able to get the knife away from her without much trouble and decided to try and diffuse the volatile situation. "Stop!!! Iím sorry Brent." She said in a sexy voice. "Please, Iíll put the knife down if youíll back away." She saw his eyes begin to lose their angry glare, as he stopped three feet from her position. "Thatís better. See, Iím putting down the knife," she said as she turned slightly, palmed a smaller knife and turned back to him with open arms.
He stood for a moment transfixed by the naked, angry, and terribly sexy, woman in front of him, then slowly walked into her waiting arms. He kissed her lips and tried to pull her down to the floor when he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his back. "You bitch!!" he cried as he put his hand to the wound in his lower back. "What have you done?"
Lee lay on the mattress, trying to focus on the angry voices in the other room. He could hear Julie arguing with a man and then he heard a cry of pain. " Whatís going on?" He cried but no one answered. He pulled himself up on an elbow, and strained to hear what was happening.
She pushed Williams to the floor. "I warned you. Now youíll pay for all the times you touched me." She stabbed him in the right thigh as he tried to crawl away.
"No, Julie, please. Iíll go away." He felt the knife penetrate his left calf and cried out again.
Lee heard someone calling Julieís name and he did the same. "Julie whatís going on?" Adrenaline began to take hold and for the first time since his ordeal began he could think clearly. "Help me. Iím in here. She has me chained. Whoeverís out there please help me."
Julie could hear Ďherí Captain but was to busy with Brent to pay attention to the man in the other room. She stabbed at Williams again and again till he was a mass of bleeding wounds.
"Julie, please...let...me go. I ...wonít.... tell anyone...where.... where you...are." he said, pain and blood loss rapidly breaking up his sentences.
She continued to stab and stab the man with her knife until her arm felt like it would drop off. "Thereís no way youíll tell any one anything now. You louse! I waited so long to do that to you. Youíll never touch me again."
"Iím sorry Crane." He said as the last spark of life left his eyes.
She turned her back on the body of the man she had murdered and walked into the room where Crane was straining against his chains.
" So, you can still fight the drug. Iíll get you another dose in a minute but, first you have to be punished." She said as she angrily drove the blade of her knife into his upper right thigh.
Lee felt as if his leg was on fire and he screamed in agony.
She pulled the knife out and without a word went into the other room.
The adrenaline left his body as quickly as it had come and he slipped under the drugs influence again. His mind wandered and he found himself on Seaview. He was in the warmth of his control room with his friends Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton. They were alive in his dreams and he longed to stay there.
Julieís anger began to subside as she mixed the Ativan and water. By the time she went into his room she was humming happily to herself. "Wake up, darling, I have something for you."
Lee resisted the hated voice that tugged at his consciousness but found he was slowly losing the battle. "I donít want any." He said when he saw her holding a glass.
"You have to drink it, my darling. It will make you feel better." She forced him into a sitting position and helped him drink the water.
"What are you giving me?"
"Its just water, Darling." She lied.
"Water and what else? Every time you make me drink it I canít think straight. Please stop doing this."
"When you learn whoís in charge. For now I need to look after your leg."
"It hurts," he stated flatly.
"Of course it hurts. Next time we have company you will keep your mouth shut, Right." When he didnít answer immediately she pressed on his leg wound until he cried out again in pain. "Right?" she said again.
"YES! " he replied through gritted teeth, painfully aware of how much power she held over him, and of how helpless he was against her. HelplessÖ. thatís what this isÖhelpless!!
Julie loved the feeling of power. "You really are mine, you know," she told him as she ran her hands over his bare chest. And soon Iíll prove that to you." She told him.
"Never!" he said as the combined effects of the pain and the drug took over to rob him of consciousness anew.
"Never say never, my darling." She said as she lovingly kissed his injured leg. Deftly she tore the leg off the pants, and reached for the wrappings she brought in with the drugged water. She took the disinfectant and poured it liberally on the open wound. Lee moaned in pain in his unconscious state, and she placed a large square of white over the jagged wound, and then bound it tightly. Assured that he would not bleed any further, she lay down beside him, and pulled him close to her.
Commander Matty Weaver Morton came back to Nelsonís office to find both men waiting anxiously. "Nothingís changed." She said downhearted. "Iím sorry but every idea we came up with just doesnít pan out
"Damn! How can they have just disappeared like this?" Nelson said, frustrated by the lack of information.
"She has Williams helping her. Heís a mercenary without any need for money. He comes from a rich family and owes allegiance to no one. She must have something other than money to offer him. Until one of them shows up there seems to be nothing we can do, except wait and pray." Chip said quietly.
"Maybe they left the city altogether, and thatís why we canít find them." Matty said.
"I donít think so. I think theyíre still close." Nelson voice sounded positive.
Matty began to wonder just what the connection was between these three special men. "Sir, what makes you say that." She asked Nelson.
"Iím really not sure. Call it whatever you like, intuition, sixth sense, psychic connectionÖ itís gotten us through more rough times than I care to remember. Chip knows what Iím talking about, right Chip?"
Morton nodded. " She hasnít left the city. Weíre going to find her hiding somewhere close by."
"You sound so sure. I just hope when we find them Leeís ok." Matty told them.
"Sheís always been obsessed with Lee. Sheís killed at least four people she thought were trying to keep her from him. Sheís tried to kill several others including Chip and myself. Thereís just no telling how far sheíll go. Leeís in trouble, serious trouble, and we have to do something about it soon." Nelson told them somberly.
"I agree, Admiral. Whatís our next move?" Chip asked.
"We get out on the streets and look in every alley, building, and, vacant lot. Whatever it takes to find Lee Crane, weíll do it." Nelson said forcefully.
"Sir, I think the search will have to wait till tomorrow, at least for you two. Jamie asked me to make you both go home. I know Karenís away with the dive team and Iím sure sheíd want you to stay with Chip and me for tonight. No arguments! I know Iím tired and you both look like hell. A good nightís sleep and weíll be more clearheaded in the morning. In the meantime, Sharkey and the men are continuing the search, and they will call me if they have any news."
"I know youíre right, but..." Chip started.
"Sorry Chip. Weíre going home" She turned her full attention on Nelson, " Admiral, look, I know you called Karen. I also know you never told her the whole truth." Seeing Nelsonís chagrined look she grabbed the opening. "If you donít want her to learn the truth from a concerned friend I will call her and tell her everything and I mean everything. Get your things together because youíll also be coming home with us." She said, amused at the look on the faces of both men.
"Thatís blackmail," Nelson told her knowing he had lost the argument before it had even begun.
"Call it what you will. Sharkey will co-ordinate the search for tonight and let us know if anything comes up. Letís go gentlemen. Your beds wait! Oh and Admiral, be warned I will contact Karen if I find you doing anything you shouldnít be," She said, smiling as she held the door open.
" Nothing Chief." A frustrated Riley told Chief Sharkey. "Weíve gone over every inch of these warehouses. Nothing."
"Itís so damn frustrating. This is where she held the Skipper the last time she kidnapped him. I figured sheíd be too smart to use it again, but, we had to try."
"Where to next Chief?" Riley asked, anxiously.
"We meet Kowalski and Patterson, grab a bite to eat and start on the rest of the buildings."
"Do you think the Skipperís still alive, Chief?"
"Of course he is!" Sharkey blustered. "You know the Skipper, heís probably charming the lady into letting him go." He continued with a small grin.
"From what I remember of that woman she was anything but a lady."
"True, but the Skipper has ways. Heíll be ok until we find him." Sharkey told the rating confidently, even though he wasnít feeling confident any longer.
"I hope so ChiefÖ I sure hope so." Riley said as they got into the Chiefís car.
Julie was very pleased with herself. I have you, darling, and Brent can no longer hurt me. Heíll never touch me again. She thought happily. She got up from the mattress and pulled on her discarded clothing. She smiled as she looked down at the sleeping form of Lee Crane. She kissed his forehead gently and lovingly before leaving the room.
Julie looked down at the body of Brent Williams as she walked through the door into the outer room. What the hell am I going to do with you? She thought looking around the living room area of the apartment. Straining against the weight of his body she began to pull him slowly to the door leading to the public hallway. By the time she got Brentís body to the door she was tired and out of breathe. She dropped the dead weight and walked to the kitchen area for a glass of water.
Julie finished her drink and walked back to Brentís body. She looked down at her bloodstained clothing and kicked the dead man in the ribs. "Look at the mess you made!" she yelled, not even realizing she had spoken aloud.
She opened the door and began to pull the dead man towards another part of the abandoned building. Grateful for the dull lighting Williams had been able to provide. "Canít have you contaminating our living quarters now, can we?" she asked, smiling down at dead man as if expecting an answer. It took her nearly an hour and a half to get Brentís body in another apartment at the other end of the hall.
Well done, she thought to herself as she left the body lying in a bloody heap upon the dirt-covered floor. Julie went back towards her own quarters thinking about what she would use to clean the blood off the floors in the hallway. When she was almost back to her door she stopped, what the hell am I thinking, I donít need to clean this. No one comes down here but me, she laughed as she walked into her apartment. ĎI do have to clean this mess though,í she thought looking at the bloodstains on the floor.
Julie checked the time and saw it was 0500. Time for more of your medication darling, she thought as she went to get water and the Ativan.
"Lee, darling, wake up! Sweetheart. I have something for you." Julie talked soothingly to the sleeping man. "Come on honey, it will make you feel better. Thatís it, open those beautiful eyes and look at me." She told him as he slowly opened his sleep filled eyes. "Open your mouth and drink this."
"Um, what is it?" he asked, sounding like someone in a drunken stupor.
"Just what the doctor prescribed for you. Remember he was here last night." Julie easily lied to him.
Leeís eyes seemed to brighten for a moment as he said, "Jamie was... here. When?"
"Drink this and Iíll tell you all about it."
He sipped some of the water and lay back. "I donít understand why Jamie would come here. Why would he leave me with a madwoman?" he asked in a confused voice. "I want to go home!"
She forced the rest of the drug into him and quickly stood up, "You ungrateful son of a bitch. I am not a madwoman. I am a woman in love. Why canít you understand that?" She threw the empty glass at him, cutting him above the right eye, "What must I do to prove my love for you." She cried tears of anger and frustration streaming down her cheeks. "See what youíve done Lee Crane. I swore I would never cry again after you left me and here you are making me cry all over again." She screamed as she threw herself on top of the helpless man and began to beat him with her fists.
Lee Crane could do nothing to defend himself. He tried to raise his arms to cover his face but in his drug induced weakness she was easily able to knock his manacled hands away and strike him repeatedly. He never knew when she stood and left his battered and bruised body alone. The only thing he knew was pain.
Pain in his leg, his wrists, his ankles, his neck, but the worst pain came from the wounds on his head. Blood streamed in lines from the cuts on his face and lips. He was pretty sure she had broken his nose as well. For once he wished the drug she was using would take control and ease the pain. It was all so helpless and he was sure he was going to die very soon.
His mind slowly drifted to thoughts of his family, Robert, I love you. Mom looks after him for me. Harry and Chip will help you with him, if Iím gone. Thatís wrong. They canít help you. She killed them. Iím sorry Matty, Karen, and Robert. Itís all my fault. He sobbed quietly, afraid she would hear and come back in. Robert, my son. Seaview, my boat and crew. Will I ever see you again? he thought as he slowly drifted from one nightmare world filled with a very real and dangerous Julie, to a nightmare world of Julie and a ghostly image of Captain Krueger.
"Admiral, Sharkey called. He wants to know if they should keep searching the warehouses." Chip told Nelson as he walked into the Morton kitchen at 0600 the next morning.
"Did he say whether they found anything?" Nelson asked as he grabbed a cup and filled it with hot steaming coffee.
"Just empty buildings and rats." Morton relayed.
"Rats, Lee hates rats. He told me why once." Nelson said sadly.
"I canít say I heard that one. Matty is not quite ready to go. Care to tell me what happened." Chip asked to keep Nelson from going off on his own.
"Well," Nelson began as he sat at the breakfast table. "It happened when he was five or six, I think. Lee was summering with some friends on a farm. He wondered away from the main house one morning without telling anyone where he was going. You know even as a kid Lee had a knack for finding trouble."
Chip nodded in agreement and encouragement and Nelson continued with his tale. "He wanted a closer look at an old rusted tractor. He was almost upon it when he fell through some rotten timbers covering an abandoned root cellar. The fall never hurt Lee but it was dark and he couldnít climb out. He could hear scratching noises all around him and became frightened like any kid that age would. Now, the owners of the farm had just realized Lee was missing and they started a frantic search. Lee meanwhile was beginning to panic as large furry animals began to scurry over his hands and he jumped to his feet screaming for help. I canít even remember the name of the family Lee was staying with but I guess it really doesnít matter. But, by the time they heard him and realized what had happened he was terrified. The father jumped into the cellar and shone a flashlight around until he saw Lee standing in a corner. There were rats everywhere. The family had them exterminated the next day, but to this day Lee has a major fear of rats." Nelson saw that he had finished his coffee and put the empty cup in the sink.
"Iíll never tease him about rats again." Chip said meaningfully.
"Whatís this about rats," Matty asked as she came into the kitchen area.
"Lee hates rats," Chip said with a smile for his wife. "Iíll tell you about it someday."
"All right," Matty said as she kissed her husband lovingly. "I just called Helen and gave her an update on where things stand."
"How is she handling things?" Nelson asked, concern for Leeís mother evident in his voice.
"She hides things. A lot like her son, I guess." Matty told them sadly. " She says sheís ok, but I could hear the weariness in her voice. She says sheís ok with keeping the kids with her while we search for Lee."
"I think our first stop should be police headquarters. We can check with Frank, see if theyíve found anything new." Nelson told them.
"I would also advise putting a bulletin out on the TV and radio stations. Put pictures of Lee and Julie out on the streets. Ask if anyone has seen them, and offer a reward for information leading to the discovery of her hideout." Matty suggested.
"Would you handle that part for me, Matty. I donít want to do any interviews for TV. You know what theyíre like. We wouldnít be there five minutes and theyíd be asking what kind of research NIMR was into. Instead of focusing on Lee Crane." Nelson asked, confident in her ability to do whatever needed to be done and see that it was done properly.
"If thatís what you want sir, consider it done. Where will I find you when Iím finished at the TV station?"
"Call Angie and let her know when youíre through and sheíll let you know where we are?" Chip told her as he led her to the door. Kissing her good-bye he turned back to Nelson, "Are you ready to go Sir?" Nelson nodded his head and grabbed his jacket as they left for the police station.
Fred just couldnít believe his turn in luck. Months of living in the alley with nothing but the clothes on his back, eating whatever scraps of food people threw his way. Bumming money for alcohol and cigarettes, his luck had finally changed for the better.
Three nights ago he had watched as two men with guns had come into his alley and thrown out this perfectly clean uniform. He had waited all night for them to come back. When they didnít he had claimed it, even the underwear. Itís mine now, he thought to himself as he picked up the clothing, and began to put them on his filthy body. They seemed a little tight but he forced his body into them.
That had been yesterday morning as near as he could tell, and things had definitely changed for the better. The old saying that ladies liked men in uniform was true. After washing up in a laundry mat heíd gone to a bar heíd never been in before and the fair ladies had bought him drinks all night. He was on his way home after spending the night with a very buxom blonde. Smiling to himself he walked with his head down wanting the safety of Ďhisí alley.
Sharkey and Riley were back on the streets after catching a couple of hours sleep onboard Seaview. They were working there way through some rundown dilapidated buildings when Riley stopped short and pointed at someone across the street "Chief, that manís wearing the Skipperís uniform."
Sharkey looked but saw no one. "Riley, get serious, we have a job to do." Angry with the young man for pulling pranks when things werenít looking good for the Skipper.
"I am serious Chief. He just went down that alley. We have to catch him." he said and took off in the direction heíd seen the man disappear.
Sharkey had no choice but to follow, even though it was at a slower pace. He rounded the corner just in time to see Riley grab the man and turn him around to face him. "Where is he?" Riley shouted at the frightened man.
Fred was terrified of the angry looking man in front of him. "Whaddaya talkiní about? Lemme alone!" he shouted trying to tear away from Rileyís grasp. "HELP, POLICE!" he shouted as another man came into view.
"Riley, let him go." Sharkey ordered.
"But Chief look at what heís wearing. Thatís the Seaview insignia." Riley angrily pointed out.
Sharkey stared at the filthy uniform and saw that it was indeed the Seaview insignia. Anger showed in his eyes and on his face. "Where did you get that uniform?" he asked pointedly.
"Itís nonna ya business! I founí it aní itís mine. HELP! POLICE!" he screamed again.
"Look," Sharkey said a little more calmly. "We just want to know where you found it."
"I doní gotta tell you nothiní." Fred told him.
"No you donít. I tell you what weíll do. You wanted the police to help you, so letís go to the station and see what they have to say." Sharkey watched to see if the mans face would show any reaction. Surprisingly the man looked somewhat relieved. Somehow Sharkey knew this man was innocent of any wrongdoing. Maybe they could get him to talk after all. "Riley, let the man go." He told the rating.
"But, Chief," Riley whined.
"No Ďbutsí Riley. I think we may be able to help one another. Will you listen to what I have to say?" he asked the shaking man Riley was holding.
"OKÖ. Iíll listen ya get this bully ta get his hands offa my new clothes."
"THEYíRE NOT YOUR clothes." Riley snarled as he let the man go.
"Riley, be quiet. Whatís your name?" Sharkey asked in a much lighter tone.
"Fred." The man answered suspiciously.
"OK Fred, want to take a trip to the police station and tell them where you found the clothing?"
"Only if I ken keep Ďem." Fred stated.
"Weíll see what we can work out." Sharkey told him as they walked out of the alley onto the sidewalk.
Julieís anger seethed as she paced back and forth outside her apartment. I better stay out here until I calm down. Or you and I will both be sorry. Why canít you just love me Lee Crane?
"Just who the hell are you?" Julie jumped at the sound of an angry female voice coming from the apartment two doors down.
"None of you business!" she stated malevolently.
"It is my business when someone comes into my building and claims one of my apartments."
"You donít own this building. I CAN STAY HERE AS LONG AS I WANT!" Julie screamed angrily at the woman.
"Iíve been living here since it was abandoned. That makes it mine. NOW GET OUT!" she yelled back.
Julie turned and walked back into her apartment. She picked up the knife sheíd used on Williams and smiling maliciously she walked down to the closed door where the woman had stood. She didnít bother knocking. Turning the knob she forced her way inside. The other woman turned from her counter, terrified by the knife-wielding woman before her.
"What are you doing?"
Julie didnít answer. Grinning evilly she strode towards the defenceless woman. The woman lifted her arms to defend herself from Julie's knife.
"NO PLEASE. IíM SORRY. IíLL LEAVE! JUST STOP THIS PLEASE!"she screamed.
Julie ignored the agonized pleas of the cowering woman before her as she attacked her. She stopped when she realized the woman had ceased screaming and was lying in a pool of her own blood. She smiled as she checked the womanís pulse and found it to be nonexistent. She wiped the blade of the knife in the womanís clothing and left the apartment, closing the door behind her.
All the anger had left her body in the violent outpouring. Julie walked happily back to her own apartment. She picked up a pan and filled it with warm water and soap. She also filled a glass with cold water and added one of the Ativan. She walked into the room she shared with Lee Crane.
"Wake up Dearest." She said. Gently she cradled his head in her arms and lifted the drugged water to his lips. "Lee, come on baby. This will make you feel better. It will make the pain go away."
"W...will....it....it make.......you.....go.....a.....away?" he asked hopefully.
She smiled down at the thoroughly beaten man in her arms. "Now darling. Letís not talk like that. I donít want to punish you anymore. Drink your medicine and youíll feel better."
Lee felt himself swallow reflexively, his body needing the liquid. He didnít know how much blood loss he had suffered at the hands of this woman. The Ativan was taking control of the pain and he felt himself floating away from reality once again. His mind wondered in its confused state as he felt Julie doing something to his wounds. Unable to comprehend what she was doing he used the remainder of his strength to fight her. His arms and legs were barely movable because of his bonds and he soon lay back frustrated.
"Iím just cleaning you up Lee. Iíll take good care of you." She told him calmly.
Lee heard her voice and asked, "Why did you do this to me?"
"It was your own fault my Darling. Remember you called me a madwoman. I know you didnít mean it but I was very upset. I love you so much and youíll come to realize you love me as well." She told him.
"Julie, please let me go." He asked her softly.
She looked down at the man she was washing and smiled, "We will never be separated again. I will make sure we stay together forever. You might as well resign yourself to that fact."
ĎIíll never love you Julie,í he thought to himself. ĎI donít remember ever hating anyone as much as I do you.í Suddenly his mind drifted away from the pain and anguish he felt and he found himself walking his private beach with Cathy and Robert at his side. He smiled peacefully.
Julie watched as he closed his swollen eyes. She saw the smile come over his face and thought how handsome he was even with the broken nose, blackened eyes, and numerous cuts and bruises. She tenderly kissed his sleeping battered face. Unaware that his mind was with the woman he had truly loved. She continued washing his body until all traces of blood disappeared. She could tell that the bruising on his upper torso was extreme and covered most of his chest and still she felt no remorse for what she had done. You have to love me Lee. Please, I need you! she thought and lay down beside the dreaming man.
Admiral Harriman Nelson felt hopeless. Detective Bartlette had informed them that nothing new had turned up since Leeís disappearance three days ago. Police informers couldnít or wouldnít help. He turned to Chip Morton and read the same thoughts in his eyes. "We might as well check with Angie, see if she heard from Matty." Nelson said dejectedly.
"Iíll call Angie and be right back." Morton said leaving Nelson alone at the door to the police Precinct.
Nelsonís mind kept drifting to the first time Lee Crane had tested the security of Seaview. He was a good choice as Seaviewís Captain, then, and in the years that followed he had become an even better submarine Captain. He was loved and respected by his crew, and for that matter his Admiral, Iíve come to think of you as my own son, he thought. We will find you Lee. Just please, stay alive. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didnít register Sharkey and Riley until they opened the glass door and entered the precinct. "What are you two doing here?" he asked.
"OH, Admiral. Iím glad youíre still here. We found this guy in our search area. He has the Skipperís clothes." Sharkey quickly told him.
Nelson looked at the man Riley was standing next to. His eyes opened wide in astonishment when he saw it had the Seaview insignia and could belong to no one but Lee Crane. "Where did you get that uniform?" he asked quietly. The shaky quality of his voice betraying the anger he felt towards the man wearing his friendís clothes.
"I tole dese here guys I found Ďem." Fred trembled in fear of this mans anger.
"Where?" Nelson asked with authority.
"I...I.... found Ďem in the alley where I been liviní. Theyíre mine and you canít take Ďem from me." Fred cried.
Chip Morton and Frank Bartlette came over to see what the commotion was. Bartlette spoke first. "Whatís going on Harry?"
"This man is wearing Leeís uniform. He said he found it in an alley." Nelson told them.
"Is that right?" Bartlette directed his question at Fred, who nodded his head quickly. "Where is this alley?"
"Just north of the waterfront, there are some old abandoned warehouses there." Sharkey told Bartlette. "Thatís where we found him. He says he lives in there."
"Whatís your name?" Bartlette queried the man in question.
"Fred." He answered.
"Fred what?" Bartlette asked an edge of impatience creeping into his voice.
"Just Fred, itís been so long since anyone used my full name that I canít remember what it was."
"Well Fred, Iím Detective Frank Bartlette. Would you be willing to show us exactly where you found the clothing?"
"Whaís in it fer me?" Fred asked
"What do you want?" Nelson asked the scruffy man.
"If I show you where I founí the uniform can I keep it?"
"I canít do that." Nelson said and watched as the manís eyes grew angry and his nostrils flared. "Wait a minute Fred. Give me a chance to explain. I canít let you have that uniform but I can get you some new clothes. Clothes that havenít belonged to anyone else." He was relieved to see his words were having the desired effect, as the man seemed to relax his stance.
"I wan new suits an shirts an a tie an....an a.... a place ter live." He stammered excitedly.
"Wait a minute Fred, there has to be a limit to how much I can give you." Nelson interrupted him.
"Givin you my clothes and showiní you where I found Ďem must be worth somethiní." He said. I think my ship's about to come in, he thought with a grin.
Nelson watched the change in Fredís facial features and knew he was about to become demanding. "Youíre right, it is worth somethiní." He told him softly. More than youíll ever know. He thought sadly. "Sit down a minute and Iíll tell you a little story." He indicated a chair next to an empty desk and Fred moved to sit in it.
"What story?" he asked.
"The uniform youíre wearing belongs to a very dear friend of mine. Heís also the Captain of my Submarine."
"That still donít mean nothin to me."
Morton and Bartlette remained silent as they listened to the conversation-taking place at the desk.
"Just let me finish. My friends name is Lee Crane and he was kidnapped a few days ago. Heís saved my life and just about every crewman on my sub. Captain Crane has a young son at home and the boy deserves to know his father. He was wearing that uniform," Nelson said indicating the clothes Fred wore, "the night he disappeared."
"I had nothin to do with any kidnapping. I tole you I foun it."
"We know you didnít Fred, but if you donít tell us what you know then a good man will probably die. I promise Iíll do what I can to help if youíll just show us where you found it."
Fred looked at the three men standing next to the desk and remembered a time when he hadnít been so down on his luck. Heíd had his own friends and theyíd tried everything to get him to stop drinking after his son had been killed in a car accident but he hadnít listened to them. He always felt as if heíd let his son down. Here was a chance for him to make up for his own weaknesses, "Iíll take ya there." He said his eyeís reflecting the deep sorrow he felt.
"Thank you Fred." Nelson said and turned to Frank Bartlette.
"Iíll call forensics and have them meet us there." The detective told Nelson before he had a chance to speak. Turning his attention back to Fred he asked, "Did you happen to see who threw out the clothes?"
"It was dark."
"Do you remember how many there were?" Nelson asked.
"I only saw two and they seemed to be in a hurry." Fred answered. "They jus threw this toards the old dumpster and took off."
"Did you see where they went?" The Admiral asked hopefully.
"I followed íem ta the street and saw em get inta a car at that condemned apartment building. You know, the one theyíre gonna demolish today."
Nelson looked at Bartlette with horror filled eyes, "Frank we have to hurry. Iím pretty sure Lee is in that building."
"What makes you so sure?" Bartlette questioned as he grabbed his keys from his desk.
"Just a bad feeling. Come on Chip. Sharkey you and Riley follow in your car."
"Letís go. Fred youíll come with us."
Julie studied the form of the man she loved. He really is rather handsome, she thought. I could probably remove the chains but I like having him helpless like this. He looks so peaceful. I adore you Lee. I want to feel your strong arms around me, loving me, and only me. Why did we ever let my father break us up. She was becoming agitated again and knew if she didnít leave she would be unable to stop herself from lashing out at him again in her anger. You could have fought for me Lee. You could have told my father we loved each other but no you had to leave and join the Navy. Well I have you now and I donít intend to let anyone take you away from me ever again.
Lee Crane knew something was wrong. His mind was in turmoil. He tried opening his eyes but nothing happened. He felt himself being watched and knew there was nothing he could do about it. He sensed a presence so deadly and evil that his whole body shuddered in terror. ĎJULIEí he thought and a small whimper escaped his lips before he could stop it.
The large dosage of drugs sheíd been forcing on him over the last few days were now causing vivid and horrifying hallucinations. Perspiration formed on his body as he realized there was no escape from whatever was making this happen to him. I have to leave. I canít stay here any longer. Too much pain. Admiral Nelson and Chip both dead. Iíll never see anyone I love again and itís all my fault. I have to get out of here! he screamed silently.
Julie watched as her captive began to thrash around fitfully in his sleep. "Lee, darling itís me Julie. Can you hear me? I love you and Iíll protect you." She cooed softly putting her hands on either side of his face. "Come on darling wake up and look at me. We need each other."
Although Lee knew he should hate the sweetly talking voice he was unable to stop the hypnotic effect it had on his drugged senses. He couldnít remember whom the voice belonged to or why he should hate it. Angry with himself for not being able to think clearly he lashed out with his bound hands.
Julie had been leaning close to Crane when he lashed out and his bound hands connected with her mouth. She reeled and staggered away from him as he continued to thrash about like a shark out of water. "Lee whatís wrong?" she cried moving quickly back to his side as his whole body started to shake and thrash, fighting against the continued restraints. ĎConvulsions!í she thought. "Come on Lee wake up!" she shouted holding his arms to keep him from striking her again. Her ministrations had an adverse effect and she knew she needed to do something. Standing she ran to the outer room and grabbed the bottle of Ativan. She shook out one tablet and quickly added two more before dissolving them in a small amount of water. Julie returned to the room and found things had calmed down very little. She struggled with Crane until she had his head raised and forced the liquid down his throat. She held his head back forcing him to swallow in order to breath.
Lee opened his eyes and looked at the figure that held his head. He gagged as the thick liquid was forced into his mouth and his head was pulled back. He had no strength left to fight with and swallowed the vile tasting potion. "I hate you!" he said softly and closed his eyes to the nightmare he couldnít face.
Julie was devastated by what she heard. "No! You love me Lee Crane and somehow Iíll prove it to you." She kissed his perspiring forehead and left the room.
"Thatís where I found it," Fred told them as they entered the alley. "Right there by that dumpster."
Bartlette signalled for the two-man forensics team to get to work and asked Fred to point out the building where the men had left their car.
"Iís over dere. The third one, wit the fence aroun it." Fred told them pointing to a building where a gang of men were watching a large wrecking ball swing down and into the brownstone walls.
"Oh, God." Morton yelled running towards the building. "Weíre to late." He screamed as he ran.
Francis Sharkey watched as Riley also ran towards the building in question. Heíd always been a fast runner and was able to pass Chip Morton. He forced his way through the throng of workers and into the building through the broken door.
"Stop!" Morton, Nelson, Sharkey and Bartlette screamed in unison. Horrified they watched helplessly as the huge wrecking ball was raised once again and began to make itís second swing at the building.
"Hey Smitty, hold it. Somethingís wrong." One of the onlookers yelled at the wrecking machine operator.
"Itís to late, Iíve already started the second run," the operator yelled back over the noise of the machinery. The ball hit the building with a resounding thud and was again pulled back. This time it remained swinging in the air as Smitty waited to see what was happening.
Morton was just seconds behind Riley but the workmen were ready for him. He was stopped and held fast. "Donít be stupid man. You canít go in there. The place is being torn down." A man he took to be the supervisor told him.
By this time Bartlette, Nelson and Chief Sharkey had arrived. The detective immediately took over. "Iím detective Frank Bartlette with the Santa Barbara Police Department." He said showing his identification. "There may be a man trapped in there."
"I know that. The damn fool just ran past me and went inside before I could stop him."
"He went in to look for another man." He watched as the mans face showed his confusion and went on more slowly. " Whatís your name?"
"Jack Dawson. Why?"
"First you have to stop the work until we check the building. Then Iíll explain." Bartlette told him.
"I stopped it when that idiot ran in there." Dawson said.
"Just make sure youíre man doesnít drop that ball again." Dawson nodded and Bartlette began to explain the situation. "Remember the explosion a few nights ago?"
"The public pier?"
"Thatís right. We think it was an elaborate set up in order to kidnap a man."
The three Seaview men stood aside and let the detective explain things to the workmen. Each knew that Frank was doing a thorough job. They just wished he would hurry it along so they could search for Crane. They were also worried about Riley.
"Never heard anything about a kidnapping. Besides what makes you think heís in here." Dawson asked.
"This man witnessed two men getting into a car that was parked in front of this building." Bartlette said indicating Fred.
"Wait a minute here. Youíre relying on the word of that alcoholic bum. Everyone knows old Fred. Heís been living in that alley for years."
"We know that but take a careful look at what Fredís wearing. That uniform belongs to the kidnapped man."
Jack Dawson shook his head in irritation. "We finally start to work after month of delays and now I have to call the owner and tell him we canít do anything until you mount a rescue operation. There goes any bonus we might have had coming."
"So youíll help." Nelson asked.
Dawson glared at the Admiral and asked, "Who are you?"
"Iím Admiral Harriman Nelson. The men we have to rescue work for me. Iíll help call your boss if itíll help."
"It canít hurt." He stated turning to his crew. "All right you guys, Standard rescue operation beginning now. We have one, possibly two men trapped inside that building and no work can be done until we get them out. Smitty you take youíre group and try to access the emergency stairwell door. Is that clear?" There was a chorus of ĎYes Sirí, and each man began to do the job theyíd been assigned if an emergency like this ever arose.
Nelson, Morton and the rest of the group pitched in removing bricks and other debris from the front of the doorway.
Riley picked himself up from the rubble-strewn floor and brushed himself off. Heíd been lucky enough to get threw the door and halfway down the hallway before the wrecking ball had hit. He leaned against the wall and gave a small prayer of thanks that he was alive. A slight trickle of blood ran from a small cut above his right eye and he wiped it away before starting the search for Lee Crane. Where are you Skipper he thought as he looked down the now silent hallway.
Julie wiped the stream of tears from her face as she drank a glass of wine. How do I make you see how good we could be together Lee. I love you so much. I really donít want to hurt you but sometimes you leave me no choice. Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud rumble coming from the main floor of the building, "What was that?" she asked, not realizing she said it aloud. She looked in at Lee and saw that his eyes were still closed and went into the hallway to investigate. Another loud bang and she felt the building shake as bits of debris started to fall around her. "NO, Lee." She screamed as she remembered the sign outside the building that said it was scheduled for demolition.
Riley remembered that Julie had used the basement before and headed for the nearest stairwell. He was halfway down the flight when the wrecking ball hit the building for the second time. He lost his balance and fell down the remainder of the flight.
I have to stop them, she thought as she ran for the stairwell. Before she made it through the building collapsed around her and she raised her arms and screamed.
Riley rushed through the door at the bottom of the stairs just in time to witness the building fall down on the screaming figure of the woman he recognized as Julie Parsons-Radcliff. He felt nothing but disdain for the woman whoíd caused his Captain so much pain.
He began a careful methodical search of the rooms on both sides of the hallway. At the third door he found signs of habitation. Candles and lanterns lit the room with an eerie glow and Riley knew he had found the Skippers prison. "Skipper," he called hoping for a response but somehow doubting he would get any. "Skipper,í he tried again as the odour of sickness and disease assaulted his senses. He saw candlelight glowing in the only other room and covered his mouth as he crossed the outer room and entered the room that held Lee Crane imprisoned in chains.
"Oh God Skipper. What has she done to you?" he cried as he spotted Seaviewís Captain lying on a dirty mattress in the middle of the room. His eyes were closed and he was covered to the chest by a rumpled blanket that did nothing to hide the brutality the Captain had suffered.
Riley knelt beside Crane and felt the tears well up inside. Tears of sadness for the Skipper as well as tears of anger and frustration over of what had been done to him. "Skipper, can you hear me. Awe come on Sir donít let her win like this. Admiral Nelson will find us. Just hold on...Please Sir open your eyes." Riley knew he was rambling but couldnít stop himself. He remembered how easily the Skipper laughed and how contagious it was when he did.
Lee Crane heard the voice but couldnít comprehend what he was hearing. He drifted further away from the soothing sound. I canít stand the pain anymore, he thought.
Nelson and Morton worked side-by-side removing more and more of the debris. Theyíd been at it for over two hours steady and were beginning to show signs of exhaustion. Morton stood and stretched his back. He could see at least twenty other Seaview crewmembers working non-stop to make a path through the rubble. There were fifteen other members at the opposite end of the building trying to get in from that end. Someone shoved a glass of cold water into his hand and he drank it before his mind registered that it was Matty.
"Chip, you and Admiral Nelson need to take a break. Kowalski and Patterson have just brought another group from Seaview."
Chip looked at his wife and smiled weakly, "But itís Lee, Angel. I have to help."
"You wonít be much help if you donít get some rest. Now go see Cookie. Heís set up a table of drinks and sandwiches. Iíll get the Admiral. Move it Sailor," she ordered when she saw his hesitation.
"Yes Maíam," he said knowing it was fruitless to argue with Matty Weaver Morton.
Matty watched her husband walk slowly towards the table being manned by Cookie and Angie. When she saw him take a sandwich and sit down she turned her attention to Nelson. "Admiral."
Nelson looked at Matty and frowned. "When did you get here?" His eyes widened as he took in the amount of people working to free his men.
"I just got here, Sir. I stopped off to tell Jamie. Heís on the way."
"Good...Good idea." He said tiredly as he turned and continued working.
"Admiral, You need a break."
"CanítÖ not till we know." Nelson said softly.
"You either come with me now and eat something or I call Karen." she threatened seriously.
Nelson knew Matty would not make idle threats and he put down the brick and walked over to the table and picked up a bottle of water and a sandwich. He sat beside Morton and smiled knowingly, "Thatís one hell of a woman," he said and Chip smiled in agreement.
Riley tried to remove the chains from Craneís wrists but without the key theyíd have to be cut off. How could anyone do this to another human being, Riley wondered angrily.
After the first initial shock of seeing his Captainís condition wore off Riley tried to take stock of his injuries. At first glance he could tell that his nose was broken, both eyes were swollen and black, and there was a gash approximately an inch long above his right eye. His lips were swollen and there was a dried white substance covering them. His upper chest and neck had extensive bruising and some minor cuts. His wrists and ankles were chafed and raw from the manacles and there was a wound in his leg that Riley though might have been caused by a knife. She really did a job on you Skipper. He thought about the woman heíd seen crushed beneath the crumbling building and smiled, "Well at least she canít bother you anymore Sir."
Riley stood and walked into the outer room where he found a bowl and some bottled water. He poured the water into the bowl and walked back into the room. As gently as he could he washed the Captainís injuries and tried to make him more comfortable.
Lee Crane knew something was different but heíd been through so much that his mind refused to let him hope. He continued to put distance between himself and the reality he didnít want to face.
ĎSir, weíre through. Admiral, Mr. Morton we can get in." Patterson yelled excitedly.
Nelson and Morton were on their feet and at the entrance to the building before the excited seaman had finished his sentence. They were prevented from entering by Detective Bartlette and Jack Dawson.
"Sorry Harry, Chip I canít let you go in yet. There could be a mad woman in there and I want my officers to check it out first." Bartlette told them firmly.
"That mad woman has Lee Crane. I have to go in." A frustrated Nelson said.
"Donít you think I know that Harry but I have to follow procedures?"
"I donít," Chip stated and tried to get past Bartlette.
"Hold it Chip. I canít let you in there. Youíve waited this long just give me a couple of minutes to get some of my men in there. As soon as they give the signal that alls clear weíll go inside together," the detective told them.
Frustration gave way to anger and Nelson was unable to stop himself from lashing out at the man in front of him. "Iím going in Frank. Lee Crane is as close to me as my own flesh and blood. I need to go in."
Frank looked at Harriman Nelson and knew how heartbroken he felt at the possibility of Craneís death and gave in. "All right Iíll let you come with me when I go in." He turned his attention to Chip Morton, shaking his head. "Donít you start! Iíll have enough problems explaining how Harry got in. I am sorry Chip, youíll have to wait here."
"Admiral, find him," Chip said, his face clearly showing the disappointment he felt. Matty came over and stood by her husband knowing how much he wanted to go along.
"We will Chip." Nelson told him.
"Skipper, Iíll be right back. Iím going to see if theyíve broken through. You just hang on." Riley was beginning to be nervous. The skipper hadnít moved since heíd gotten there and now his breathing was even shallower then when heíd first arrived. He had to get help.Have to get Jamie here. Heíll know what to do.
Riley looked back at Craneís pale unmoving face and ran out into the hallway. He went to the stairwell and began to shout for help. "Somebody help weíre down here! Itís Riley and I found the Skipper ! He needs a doctor real bad. Please help us! I donít know how much time he has. Come on please Admiral before itís to late!" He kept yelling even after his throat began to get hoarse.
Nelson listened to the sounds of the search parties as they went from room to room on the main floor. There seemed to be rubble everywhere. He kept glancing at a stairwell that seemed to have some minor damage, mostly at the bottom. Bartlette had made him promise to stay put until heíd checked with his task force. Something kept pulling him towards the stairwell and he found himself slowly making his way to the top. The rubble at the bottom didnít seem to be very tightly packed and he wondered if he should try and remove some.
"Is anybody there? Please! The Skipper, he needs help. Weíre down here!" he yelled as loudly as his strained voice would allow.
Nelson heard a voice calling from the other side of the debris and ran back to the top of the stairs. "Frank, down here. Quickly. I heard someone calling. Could have been Riley." Nelson said as the detective joined him at the bottom of the stairs where they listened for the voice again.
"Admiral, Mr. Morton! Somebody please! HELP!" Riley continued to call.
"Riley, I hear you. Weíre coming!" Nelson yelled as Bartlette ran up the stairs to get more men. The Admiral was desperate to get to the other side of the rubble and he began to remove pieces of brick and stone as quickly as his hands could move. He didnít notice when others joined him and he continued to call to Riley as the pile of rubble began to dissipate. He sighed in relief when he pulled away a piece of brick and saw a hand come through the opening. "Riley are you all right?"
"Yes sir, but the Skipper. He needs a doctor right away. Heís hurt real bad and heís all chained up." The desperation Riley had been trying to keep at bay welled up as his fear for his Captain took hold. "Please hurry Admiral," he cried.
"Riley, whereís Julie?" he asked.
"Sheís dead Sir. The ceiling fell in on her and sheís dead."
Nelson knew things were worse than he could ever have imagined, but at least he wouldnít have to worry about that mad woman. Rileyís description of Lee Craneís condition made him realize just how helpless heíd been to help his friend.
"Admiral, we can get through now." Bartlette said trying to get Nelsonís attention.
Nelson shook himself out of his reverie and was startled to see that the hole was indeed big enough for him to squeeze through. Before he went through Bartlette shoved a flashlight into his hand, "You might need this Harry. I just sent one of my men for a doctor. Letís go." He said leading the way into the darkened hallway. Riley was waiting for them and led them to an open door where dull flickering light failed to push back the darkness.
"Heís in here Sir." Riley said and led the way to the room where Lee Crane lay.
"No," Nelson cried out in anguish as he saw the prone unmoving body of his Captain and best friend. "Oh Lee, lad hold on. Jamieís coming." He said as he knelt on the mattress. "Frank, tell me you can get these things off him," he said indicating the manacles and chains.
"I have a universal Key Harry. Let me give it a try." Bartlette knelt next to Nelson and frowned. He swallowed painfully at what he saw. "Harry, I think Craneís been given an overdose of some kind." He told him as he successfully removed the manacles from the Captains wrists.
"What are you talking about?" Nelson asked.
"Iíve seen enough people whoíve overdosed and I know the signs. Heís exhibiting all of them. Letís get the rest of these off him," he stopped as he heard a commotion in the other room and wasnít surprised to see Will Jamison standing in the door. Shock and anger were written on his face as he rushed to Lee Craneís side.
"How can one human being do this to another?" he asked, not expecting an answer. "Where is she?"
"Riley said he saw her die. How is he, Doc. Frank says he shows all the signs of an overdose." Nelson said worriedly.
"He does Harry. I donít know what the drug is and until I do I canít treat him properly. Get a stretcher down here so we can get him out of this hellhole." He stated as he continued to treat Crane for the injuries to his face and body. "Are you sure sheís dead?" he asked.
"Riley said she was standing under a section of roof that just fell on top of her. I donít think Lee has to worry about Julie Parson-Radcliff ever again." Nelson said quietly.
"Letís hope we can tell him that. Whereís the damn stretcher?" Jamie yelled as he finished hooking up an IV to the Captainís arm.
"I sent Riley out to tell them that we need the stretcher." Bartlette said. "Here it comes now. Weíre in here," he shouted. By now all the chains and manacles had been removed and Jamie signalled that Crane was ready to be moved.
Nelson noticed that Chip had come in with the stretcher and together they helped put Leeís limp body on it. Morton shook his head at the damage that had been inflicted by one person onto another in such a short time. "How could she?" he asked nobody in particular. He shook his head as he helped lift his end of the stretcher.
Captain Lee Crane was unaware of what was happening around him. He felt no pain, no remorse, just devastating hopelessness. He knew if he returned to his body she would be there to cause him even more torment. If he stayed here he would be alone, terribly alone. But if he returned she would be there waiting. There was no one to help him. The Admiral and Chip were gone from him. He would never talk to them again. His Mother would care for Robert. Sheíd been doing that ever since Cathy had been killed. Robert, I love you so much. Iím sorry son. He felt tears in his eyes for his son and resolved to fight his way back to reality if he could.
Matty was relieved when she saw her husband coming from the building. Relief turned to horror when she saw the unconscious man lying on the stretcher he was helping to carry out. Tears of sorrow and frustration fell from her eyes as she walked with the entourage to the waiting ambulance. Wiping the tears from her eyes she determined to be strong in the wake of this tragedy. Sheíd already been told that Julie was dead and wouldnít hurt any one again. She could only hope it wasnít too late for Lee.
Jamie never said a word as Nelson climbed into the ambulance and put his hand on Leeís shoulder. As a doctor, he knew how much contact with a patient could accomplish. He began checking his patient as the ambulance pulled away from the curb, sirens blaring.
Matty took her husbands arm and led him to her car. Some members of Seaviewís crew stood next to it and opened the door for her. She sat the unusually quiet man in the passenger seat and closed the door. She faced Kowalski speaking softly, "Theyíre taking Captain Crane to the Institute Medical centre. Iím going to take Chip there. As soon as youíre able I want you to go pick up his mother and bring her here."
"Yes, Commander. He didnít look to good maíam." Kowalski said speaking for the rest of the crew.
"I know Ski. Just remember heís been at deaths door before and came back. Think positive and say a few prayers. Whereís Riley?" she asked realizing she hadnít seen him for some time.
"Heís with Chief Sharkey. He told us everything. The Chief said he was really down." Kowalski told her.
"Tell Riley to get over here and Iíll take him with us." Kowalski did as she ordered.
Riley was soon seated quietly in the back seat of her car. "Donít worry Commander weíll take care of bringing the Skipperís Mom here." Chief Sharkey said as he closed the door. "Weíll see you at the Med Centre."
"Thanks Chief. Iím counting on you." She said as she drove away.
"You men go home. Thereís nothing we can do here and you guys look wiped out." Sharkey told the solemn group. "I promise to let you all know if anything changes. Now go home to your families."
Slowly the men of Seaview turned and walked to the cars theyíd arrived in. No one was going home they were heading for the Med Centre to check on their Skipper themselves.
"Do you think theyíll do as I said Ski?" Sharkey asked as they walked to his car.
"Not on your life Chief." Kowalski told him.
"Guess your right Ski. Nothing could keep them away." He said with a grin as he started the car.
The ambulance pulled up to the emergency entrance of the Med Centre and the back doors were swung wide immediately. Jamie and Nelson jumped down and followed the stretcher into an emergency treatment room. "Sorry Admiral, Youíll have to wait outside. Iíll let you know as soon as I find out anything." Jamie said as he closed the doors leaving Nelson standing alone in the hallway.
Nelson rested his head against the door dejectedly. His mind turned once again to the day Lee had taken over command of the Seaview. It had been the one of the happiest days of his life. Lee Crane had since become more of a son than a friend to him and Nelsonís anguish was apparent in his demeanour.
Chip Morton spotted Nelson leaning against the door and immediately rushed to his side. "Is he?"
"No Chip, heís still alive. Jamieís in there with him now. He said heíd let me know as soon as he found out anything. I hate this waiting."
"I do too." Morton acknowledged.
"Whereís Matty?" Nelson asked when he didnít see her.
"Sheís parking the car. Sheíll be right in. And Admiral she sent Sharkey and Kowalski to get Leeís mother."
"Thatís good. Helen should be here. Just in case."
"I refuse to even think that way Sir. Lee will be ok. We just have to wait." Chip tried to convey a sense of confidence that he really didnít feel and he knew Nelson wasnít buying it.
Nelson shook his head and walked to an empty chair. "She gave him some kind of drug Chip. Jamie thinks she gave him too much. Thatís why heís so still."
Matty and Riley had come in through the emergency doors and saw the horrified expression come over her husbands face as the Admiral revealed this new threat to Lee Craneís life. "Chip, Lee will be ok." She told him. Riley sat quietly in an empty chair across from the others. Matty was beginning to worry about the young seaman. She would have to get someone to speak with him about what heíd seen today.
"How could she do so much to him in so little time?" Morton cried, "Why didnít he fight her? Heís been through so many ONI assignments that it just seems unreal that heíd fall victim to a mad woman."
"She had help Chip. Remember Brent Williams. Maybe they forced the drug on him before he had a chance to do anything. We just have to wait till Jamie finds out what it is and how to treat it." Nelson said in a sombre tone.
"Iíd like to get my hands on Williams. Teach him a lesson he wonít soon forget." Morton said.
"Now Chip, donít sink to that level. You and I both know you would never seek revenge in that way." Matty told him. She held her husband firmly and laid her hand gently on Nelsonís arm.
"Listen to your wife Chip. Sheís a smart woman." Nelson said, thankful that his friend had someone to hold him.
"Iím glad you think so Admiral. I called Karen. The mission has been completed and sheís on her way here," Matty told him.
"Karen? Thank you Matty I need her." Nelson said in gratitude.
Jamie continued his examination of Lee Crane. Blood had been drawn, sent to the lab and he was waiting for the results. One of the nurses was busily cleaning the dirt and dried blood from the Captains body and except for being pale, bruised and thin he was beginning to look like himself. "Nurse Jennings, I have to speak with Admiral Nelson. I donít want Captain Crane left alone. Stay with him."
Thelma Jennings had worked with Will Jamison many times and she respected his work and bedside manor. "Iíll stay with him Doctor."
Jamie smiled at her and opened the door. The first thing he saw were the familiar faces of thirty or more Seaview crewmembers sitting or standing in the emergency department. Hospital Security personal had become so conditioned to Seaviewís crew being here for one person or another that they didnít bother asking them to leave anymore.
Nelson was the first one to see him and he signalled for the doctor to join them. "Well Jamie. Have you learned anything new?" he asked.
The men of Seaview were silent as the doctor began to speak, "We havenít isolated the drug yet, so there is not much we can do to treat that. Iíve ordered a blood tox screen but it could be some time before I get the results back. As for the physical injuries, well, he has a broken nose, some bruising to his upper chest and neck as well as a laceration above his right eye that took six stitches. Thereís also a knife wound in his upper right leg that also needed stitches, twenty-two to be exact. Those injuries though painful are not life threatening. The overdose of drugs in his system is the main problem and until we find out what she gave Lee thereís nothing we can do."
"Doctor Jamison. Come quickly," Nurse Jennings called from the door to Craneís room.
"Iíll let you know as soon as I can," Jamie said as he ran to the door. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Chief Sharkey walk in with Mrsí Helen Crane. Youíll have to tell her Harry, he thought as the door closed behind him. He didnít have to ask what was wrong as he looked at the man on the bed and saw that he was having problems getting air into his lungs. Working deftly Jamie and Nurse Jennings began to attach a respirator to Lee Crane.
"Whatís happening Harriman?" Helen Crane asked as he came to meet her.
"Iíll explain everything. Maybe Robert would like to play with the toys. Would you Robert?" he asked smiling to hide his worry from Leeís four-year-old son.
Robert smiled and in a small voice asked, "Can Daddy play?"
"No honey, Daddy canít play right now but Uncle Chip can." Chip Morton reached out and gently removed young Robert Crane from his grandmotherís arms. "Maybe we can get Auntie Matty to come play too. Would you like that?" the small boy nodded and Chip walked him towards the childrenís playroom.
"Call us," Matty said as she followed her husband. Nelson indicated he would.
Riley sat quietly across from Admiral Nelson and Helen Crane. He barely heard the Admiral explaining the Skippersí condition to her. He kept reliving the moment when heíd first found Seaviewís Captain and the horrors heíd seen.
Helen looked at the young man and saw how down he really was. She did the only thing she could think of to help. With everyone watching her, she walked over, took the chair next to Rileyís and reached out to hold him, "Thank you Stu for finding my son."
Riley heard her and smiled a tear rolling down his cheek. "I wish Iíd found him earlier Maíam." He stated solemnly.
"We could all say that Stu. At least now heís getting the help he needs. Iím eternally grateful to you young man." She saw her words have the desired effect and went back to sit with Nelson.
"Thank you Helen," Nelson said as she sat down. "I was worried about Riley."
"I think heíll be ok now Harry. Chief Sharkey told me everything that happened at the building." She said.
Jamie came out of Leeís room and walked towards them slowly. "What is it Jamie?" Helen asked as she and Nelson stood up.
Matty looked at her husband and told him she would stay with Robert. He took the seat next to Helen and waited for Jamie to begin.
"Mrs. Crane, Admiral. Letís have a seat and Iíll tell you what I know." He waited for them to be seated and pulled a chair in front of them.
"Out with it Jamie." Nelson ordered.
"Lee began having problems breathing so we have him on a respirator. His blood pressure is elevated probably due to whatever drug Julie was forcing on him."
"Will my son be ok?" Helen Crane asked.
"I canít promise anything right now Mrs. Crane. Weíre doing everything we can at the moment. Weíre waiting for the toxicology report before we can do anything else. Lee is a fighter and weíve all seen him through some pretty rough times."
"I know you are Jamie. Can I see him?" she asked.
"I think it would be all right if you went in for a few moments. Come with me. Remember thereís only one visitor at a time. Admiral, Chip, you can each see him for a minute after Mrs. Crane is finished."
Frank Bartlette shook his head. Lee Crane will never have to worry about you again, he thought as he watched as the stretcher bearing the body of Julie Parsons-Radcliff was removed from the apartment in the condemned building. Riley had showed him exactly where she had fallen but when they broke through theyíd been unable to find the body. Even though most of the apartments were almost totally destroyed by the wreckerís ball they had still turned up not one but two bodies.
The first body had been that of the mercenary Brent Williams. The body had been badly mutilated but still had his identification in his pocket.
The second body had been partially buried in the apartment next to the collapsed ceiling where Riley had seen Julie. She must have crawled in here and been trapped when the ceiling collapsedí he thought as he wrote up his report.
"Ok guys, Letís see what else we can find out." He said as he entered the apartment Julie had used as a Prison for Lee Crane.
Helen Crane looked at the pale face of her son. "Oh Lee," She sobbed. "How could she do this to you?" She slowly took control of her emotions and began speaking more firmly. "Now you listen to me Lee Crane," she said tears flowing softly down her cheeks. "You have to fight this thing. I know you can hear me and I know youíre in a lot of pain but you have to come back to us. I need my son and Robert needs his father. Please Lee donít let that madwoman win. I love you so much." She turned and walked out of the room where she lost total control of her emotions.
Matty, upon seeing the distress Helen Crane was in, indicated for Kowalski to come and stay with Robert. She walked over to Leeís mother and took her gently by the arm and walked her to her chair.
"Oh Matty, he looks so pale." Helen said through her tears.
"I know Helen," she said as she watched her husband closely to make sure he was ok.
"Oh God," She cried. "Heís been through so much since Cathy died and now this. Iíve never felt this way before but Iím glad that woman is dead and wonít be able to hurt Lee anymore."
"I think we all feel that way Mrs. Crane." Matty told the heartbroken, sobbing woman.
Admiral Harriman Nelson looked at the man he considered to be his best friend, maybe even his son, and fought the anguish he felt at seeing him helpless in the hospital bed. Very softly he reached out and laid his hand on the captains shoulder. "Hello Lad," he said in a low voice laced with sorrow and pain. "I know youíre in a lot of pain right now Son but we want you to fight it. I think every member of your crew is out there. Theyíre all waiting for you to kick this thing and come back to Seaview. The boat needs you Lee and would not be the same without you. Jamie says you need to rest so Iím going to let Chip come in for a moment. Remember son we need you back."
Nelson left the room and was replaced by Chip Morton. "Lee, Iím here pal." He said shaking his head at what Julie had done to his best friend and commanding officer. "I want you to know sheís dead Lee. She canít hurt you or anyone else anymore. Come back to your family Lee." Jamie indicated that time was up and he left the room. Matty was there to meet him as he came out and she held her husband until his shaking body quieted.
Lee Crane heard what was being said but couldnít comprehend what it meant. The voices sounded familiar but he couldnít remember whom they belonged to or if he should even know the people they belonged to. He had tried to answer them but something in his throat had prevented him from doing so and he wasnít sure he wanted to return to his pain ridden body. He let himself drift on a sea of tranquility where nothing could hurt him. His drugged mind refused to allow him to think about those he would leave behind if he didnít fight.
Detective Bartlette slowly examined the contents of the garbage bag. A small pharmacy bottle that had remained stuck to the bottom of the bag caught his eye, Maybe we finally caught a break, he thought as he jumped to his feet and quickly ran up the stairs and out of the building.
He went to his car and requested dispatch put him through to the NIMR Medical Institute. It wasnít long before he heard Doctor Will Jamisonís voice on the line. "What is it Frank?"
"Doc, I found a prescription bottle in the garbage." The detective said excitedly.
"What does it say," Jamie asked hoping theyíd have the answer to what drug she had used.
"Ativan, 5 mg tablets."
"Ativan! Thanks Frank. At least that narrows it down and I can have the lab run a few quick tests to be sure thatís what she used."
"How is he Jamie?"
"Not good, but I think youíve just given him a fighting chance. Iíll let you know as soon as we get the results." Jamie said hanging up the phone. He called the lab and ordered new tests that would prove instantly if it were Ativan. The lab told him the results would take approximately half an hour. He left the nurses station and walked back to Craneís room. They were all waiting to hear what Detective Bartlette had told him. "We may know the drug was used on Captain Crane."
"So you can start treatment!" Helen Crane cried happily.
"No Mrs. Crane. Weíre not sure yet, the lab will call as soon as they have it isolated. Frank found a prescription bottle labelled Ativan. Itís a drug used to treat anxiety disorders, but in Leeís case I think it was used because of the side effects the drug caused."
"What are the side effects, Jamie," Nelson asked, knowing the answer but wanting to hear his suspicions confirmed.
"The drug when used in stronger doses than required can cause lethargy, confusion, weakness, and depression."
"Not a pleasant drug." Chip Morton stated.
"Not when itís misused. Ativan has benefits if used correctly. There is another problem with Ativan overdose, respiratory problems and coma. As you know Lee is having difficulty breathing. Thatís why heís on the respirator."
"And?" Helen Crane asked the unspoken question when Jamie didnít continue.
"And I think he mat have slipped into a drug induced coma," he saw the effects his words had and continued quickly. "Look, I want to check in with Dr. David Bricker at Oceanview. He knows more about this drug than I do. If itís the one she used then heíll know the best course of treatment. Iíve put a call through and Iím just waiting for him to get back to me. Knowing David it wonít be long."
"Thank you Jamie for letting us know. Iím going to talk with Robert. He may be young but he knows something is wrong with his daddy." Helen Crane walked slowly to the little play area where Kowalski was busy keeping her grandson occupied. "Hi Robert." She said.
"Hi Grandma. Whereís Daddy?" he asked with a little childís curiosity.
"Remember when we were driving with Chief Sharkey and he told us your Daddy was hurt?" she asked picking him up in her arms.
"Yes Grandma, but Daddyís ok. Right?" he asked, looking deeply into her eyes. "Why are you so sad Grandma?"
"Grandmaís not sad darling. She just has something in her eyes," she told her grandson.
"Does it hurt Grandma? Do you want me to kiss it better?"
"Oh Robert, yes my darling you can kiss it better," the little boy kissed both eyelids tenderly. "Maybe I can kiss Daddy all better to Grandma. Can I?" he asked with a childís naivete.
"When we go in you can kiss your daddy darling. Until then why donít we just play some games?"
"Ok Grandma. You can have this car. Itís the best one."
"Thank you Robert," she said through tear filled eyes.
Jamie returned to his patientís room. He watched as Nurse Jennings again took blood pressure and temperature readings and waited for her to pass him the chart. The blood pressure was still slightly elevated and Jamie began to worry anew. He jumped as the little white phone on the nightstand began to ring noisily.
Nurse Jennings picked it up and almost instantly passed it to Jamie, "Itís Doctor Bricker." She stated.
"Hi David, itís Will Jamison."
"What can I do for you Will? Have they found Julie?"
"Thatís why Iím calling David. Julie Parsons-Radcliff is dead, and Lee Crane is in the hospital."
"How can I help you?"
"I need to know everything you can tell me about a drug called Ativan. Iím pretty certain thatís what she was forcing on him."
"When will you know for sure?"
"The lab results should be back any minute. I figured Iíd get any relevant information while I was waiting."
"All right Jamie but there is a lot involved in the treatment. Do you know how much he was given and for how long?"
"Unfortunately not the exact amount but he was having difficulty breathing so we put him on a respirator. I also think heís slipped into a coma."
"OK Jamie, hereís what I recommend if you find out she did use that drug. You have him hooked to an IV right?"
"Thatís right David." Jamie said. The door opened and a nurse passed him a white envelope containing the results of the tests. "Wait a minute David. I just got the lab results. Stay on the line while I check them."
"Iíll be here."
Jamie put the phone on the table and opened the envelope. He looked over the results of the tests and immediately picked up the receiver. "David you still with me?"
"Iím here Jamie. What do the tests reveal?"
"She definitely used Ativan and from the amount in his bloodstream Iíd say she was steadily overdosing him. Thereís a high concentrate of the compounds in his blood. At least now we can start treatments."
"Jamie, I have something Iíd like to run past you."
"Iím listening David."
"I know Captain Crane is hooked up to a respirator and an IV. Do you have a Mobile respirator available?"
"I can get one. Why?" Jamie asked even though he thought he knew where Bricker was headed.
"Iíd like to have Captain Crane transferred to Oceanview for immediate treatment of Ativan overdose. This drug is dangerous and if mistreated can be deadly. Weíve used Ativan many times in the treatment of some of our patients and I believe he would have a much better chance of survival here."
Jamie listened to what David Bricker had to say and knew he made sense. "Listen David, Leeís mother is in the other room. Iíll speak with her about the transfer and get back to you."
"Iíll make the arrangements in case she agrees."
"Iíll convince her that what youíve requested is for the best. Talk to you soon David."
"Iíll be waiting"
Jamie put the phone down and again went out to face his friends. "Iíd like to speak with Admiral Nelson and Mrs. Crane alone for a moment. Chip you can come along as well. Letís go to the doctors lounge." He led the three people into the room and told them to be seated.
"Whatís wrong Jamie?" Nelson asked concerned.
"We know the drug she used and itís very dangerous when not used properly. I told you he was in a coma." Three heads nodded at once and he continued his explanation. "She used a drug thatís usually prescribed for anxiety patients. It should never be used for long periods of time or in the quantities she was giving Lee. The drug tox screen shows that heíd been given at least five tablets a day since he disappeared. Heís in a coma and having respiratory problems and Iím pretty certain itís due to this drug."
Helen Crane had listened carefully to what Will Jamison was telling her and asked quietly, "What are you telling us Jamie, that Leeís going to die and thereís nothing we can do about it!"
"No! Donít get me wrong there is still a strong probability that Lee could die but I told you this so you can understand what Iím about to ask of you." Morton and Nelson looked on but neither spoke, as they knew all decisions were Helen Cranes.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"I want your permission to airlift your son to Oceanview."
"Oceanview. Why do you want him transferred to a sanatorium? Are you saying he has brain damage because of what that mad woman gave him," she asked quickly, not giving Jamie a chance to respond to any of her questions until she had finished.
"No Mrs. Crane. Iím not saying thereís brain damage. I want Lee sent there because of a Doctor named David Bricker. Admiral Nelson and Chip both know him and Iím pretty certain you know the name if not the man."
"I know the name," she acknowledged softly.
"He knows more about Ativan and itís side effects and treatment than I or any other Doctor at this facility. Mrs. Crane itís worth taking him to Oceanview."
"Will you be going along?" she asked Jamie.
"Yes." was his only reply.
"Harriman what do you think?"
"David is the best. If Jamie says Lee should be transferred then I would do it." Nelson told her and Chip Morton agreed readily.
Helen Crane knew the decision was hers to make and she paced the small lounge for a full five minutes before coming to her decision. "All right Jamie. You can make the arrangements for Leeís transfer and weíll meet you in San Diego."
"Youíre doing the right thing Helen." Nelson told her.
"I hope so Harriman, I hope so."
"David, itís Will Jamison."
"Will. Have you decided what youíre going to do?"
"The patient will be airborne in approximately an hour. Iíll be coming with him."
"Weíll have everything ready on this end. Have youíre chopper land on the institutes roof. We have an emergency helicopter landing pad up there."
"Will do David. See you soon."
Harriman Nelson and Helen Crane were still in the doctorís lounge. Chip Morton had gone to explain to his wife and the waiting crew what was happening.
"Helen, why donít you go home, pack some clothes for Robert and yourself and Iíll take you to San Diego in the Flying Sub?" Nelson asked.
"Thank you Harriman. That would be great."
"Iíll have Francis drive you home as soon as Lee is on the way."
She nodded her head and walked out of the lounge. The waiting area was still overcrowded with Seaview crew and she felt growing warmth at the love these men must feel for her son. Matty and Chip walked up to her and Nelson.
"Chip, Iíll be taking Helen and Robert in the Flying Sub. Will you let Karen know where I am?"
"Aye Sir." Chip said. "Mrs. Crane, Matty and I are making arrangementís for a close friend to stay with the kids. Would you like Robert to stay with them?"
"Thatís kind of you to offer Chip, but I think itís important that Robert be close to his father right now."
"I understand." Chip said.
"If youíd like we are taking a later flight and we can bring Robert with us. This would give you time to get settled in San Diego before we got there." Matty suggested.
"Oh Matty, thank you. That would be great. Iíll pack a small overnight bag for him and drop it by your house." She saw Will come out of her sons room and walked towards him, "How is he Will?"
"No change Iím afraid." He told her.
"When do you leave?"
"The helicopter should be on the roof in fifteen minutes. We should be ready to go by then."
"Can I see him before you go?" Leeís mother asked hopefully.
"Just for a minute. We have to finish preparing him for the flight." Jamie explained.
"Thank you will. I wonít stay long," she said as she opened the door and went into her sonís room. Nothing seemed to have changed and she felt her tears welling up again. She walked to his bed and gently kissed his forehead, "Oh son, please come back to us." Unable to contain her tears anymore she let them fall as she walked out of his room.
Lee Crane felt pulled in two directions at once. It would have been easy to just give up and keep moving away from his pain-ridden body. The Admiral and Chip were waiting for him in that direction or so his confused mind kept telling him. His son and mother lay in the other direction but his mind was steadily moving away from them.
Julie was also waiting for him back there. She was doing something to his mind. He couldnít think straight. She had put something down his throat and he couldnít fight it either. Have to get out of this. I just donít know how to fight anymore. So tired, he thought despairingly.
He heard a womanís voice from a distance but couldnít place it. Julie, no stay away. Iíll never love you. Please just leave me alone. Desperate to get away from the voice he thought was Julie he sunk deeper into the coma and further away from his life.
Jamie confirmed that Lee Crane was ready to be transported to Oceanview. The Emergency Medical Helicopter was waiting on the Institutes rooftop helicopter pad. Two male nursing assistants were helping move the mobile equipment out of the room. Will Jamison held the door for them to move him out. Helen Crane, Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton walked behind the stretcher as it was wheeled down the hallway towards the elevator.
Seaviewís doctor was not surprised to hear the crew murmuring words of encouragement to the Skipper as he was wheeled past.
"Youíll be all right Skipper."
"Get better Skipper."
"We need you Skipper."
"Donít let her beat you Skipper."
As the door to the elevator closed Jamie could still hear the comments of Lee Crane's crew and smiled. You have a lot of friends Skipper, he thought. The door opened onto the roof and Seaviewís captain was soon secured in the passenger compartment. Jamie and one of the nurseís aides sat on either side of him.
"Weíll be there as soon as possible Jamie." Nelson called. He looked at Lee one more time, "Hang on Son." He added as the door was closed and they were forced to move back.
Nelson led the little group back to the elevator, "Chip, there are a few things we have to do before we can leave. I know you and Matty are going to look after Robert. Do you think youíre sitter can look after Sean for a few days as well?" the doors opened on the lower floor where the men still waited.
"Iím certain she will Sir. Iíll have Matty check with her just to make sure."
"Thanks Chip." Nelson spotted a forlorn looking Stu Riley still sitting in the same spot heíd been since Helen Crane had talked to him. He began to worry about the young seaman. "Helen, Iíll be ready to go in a moment," he said. Walking over to Riley he gently put his hand on his shoulder and began speaking softly to him. "Riley, I just wanted to say thank you from myself and everyone else in this room."
Riley looked up confused, "Thank me for what Sir?" he asked.
"For running into that building and saving Captain Craneís life. If you hadnít done that precious moments would have been lost trying to convince Dawsonís crew to let us in. So you see we are all indebted to you."
For the first time since he had found the Skipper, Riley felt better, "Thank you Sir. Iíd do it all over again if I had to and so would any man here."
"Thatís right Riley they would. Now go home and get some rest. As soon as we know anything new Iíll make sure you know. Ok?"
"Yes Sir," Riley said as he watched the Admiral walk back to Mrs. Crane.
"The Flying Sub is ready to go Sir," Chief Sharkey told Nelson.
"Well done Francis. Who did you assign to go along?"
"Well, ah well Sir I was kinda hoping I could go with you," he said sheepishly.
"I thought as much Francis." Nelson laughed. Sean was staying with the Morton children at their regular sitter and Nelson knew he was safe. "Letís pick up Helen and get underway," he told the Chief.
The helicopter landed on the roof of Oceanview Sanatorium where it was met by Dr. David Bricker and a handful of nurses. Lee Crane was taken to a room in the emergency treatment area of Oceanview Sanatorium. Will Jamison and David Bricker worked side by side in their efforts to treat the Captains condition.
"Nurse Jones, I want vital signs and fluid intake and output monitored constantly." Bricker told the nurse whoíd been assisting him. "Jamie, according to the reports you gave me I think the best course of treatment is to flush his system with IV fluids and electrolytes. Iím also going to start treatment with a drug called Mannitol. This has been very effective in the patients weíve used it on so far."
"Ok David. I think we have to do blood tests to make sure the Ativan isnít having any other adverse effects on his major organs."
"Iíve already taken care of that. All we can do now is wait and hope nothing else goes wrong." David Bricker said seriously. An hour later all medical treatments had been initiated and Bricker couldnít help noticing the extreme weariness in the other Doctorís face, "Jamie, you look tired. If you donít sit down youíre going to collapse. As a Physician you should sometimes take your own advice. Go get some rest."
"Iíd rather not leave the hospital right now. Heís not just a patient David. Lee Crane is a close friend." Jamie told him.
"I know he is, but you wonít do him any good if you let yourself get rundown. Why donít you lie down in the Doctorís lounge? The beds there arenít the best but at least youíll get some rest and Iíll let you know if anything changes. Do you remember where itís located?"
"How could I forget? I spent many nights there with you talking over Chip Morton and Admiral Nelsonís condition."
"So go get some sleep. Iíll stay with him."
"I think I will. Thank you David and make sure you call me."
"Of course Jamie. Now go."
Jamie looked at the people working with Bricker and knew Seaviewís captain would receive the best care possible. "Thanks David," he said leaving the hospital room.
Harriman Nelson, Francis Sharkey and Helen Crane arrived at the hospital three hours after the Helicopter had delivered her son to Oceanview. They were stopped by security until David Bricker met them and had them cleared.
"Iím Helen Crane." She said introducing herself. "Howís Lee?"
" Iím David Bricker, Mrs. Crane. Your son is stable at the moment. Weíve begun treatment but it may be some time before we see any positive changes." David told her seriously.
"When can I see him?"
"I can take you to his room right now. Harry, you can come along as well. But I want to keep the visit brief. Donít be surprised by the activity in his room because we are monitoring him constantly." He told them stopping outside a room that was enclosed in glass.
Helen Crane felt the tears well up in her eyes again as she took in all the wires, tubes and IV lines running into her sons arms. Her legs seemed to lose the ability to hold her up and she felt as if she were going to pass out. She felt strong arms reach out to hold her and smiled gratefully at Harriman Nelson.
"Are you all right Mrs. Crane?" Sharkey asked.
"Yes, Iím fine Chief, thank you. Ok, Dr Bricker, Iím ready."
David Bricker opened the door and ushered the two people inside. "Iím sorry Chief Sharkey isnít it?" Sharkey nodded, "I canít let you go in. We need to keep the room as clear as possible in case thereís an emergency."
"I understand Doctor. Will the Skipper be ok?"
"Still to early to say Chief. All we can do is hope he keeps fighting."
"Lee, darling itís Mom. Can you here me son?" The only sound heard in the room besides her voice was the constant beep and whine of the monitoring equipment.
"Lee, Iím here as well. Come on Lad fight it. Donít let her win." Harriman Nelson told him.
"Oh God Harry, he looks so pale."
"I know Helen. Just remember Lee Crane is your son and heís strong. Heíll fight to come back to us." Turning back to his captain Nelson spoke softly. "Lee, you have a son here who needs you more than anything. You have to fight to come back to him. He needs his Daddy. I need my best friend and Seaview needs her Captain."
"I need you as well son. Lee, please we all need you."
"Mrs. Crane, Admiral." They looked towards the door to see Will Jamison coming into the room. He accepted Craneís chart from Nurse Jones.
As he passed the chart back to the nurse Nelson asked, "How is he doing Jamie?"
"Nothingís changed but we canít expect to see any changes this quickly. We only started treating the overdose two hours ago. Itíll take at least twenty-four hours for the treatment to bring on any noticeable changes. Iíll let you know if anything does change. Ok?"
"Thank you Will." Helen Crane said gratefully.
"Iím going to have to ask you to leave for now. There are a few more tests David wants to do. You can come back when the theyíre finished."
"Canít I stay?" Helen Crane asked softly.
"Not right now Mrs. Crane. The tests wonít take long and as I said you can come back then. Why donít you and Admiral Nelson go grab something to eat while you have the chance? Thereís a small lounge on this floor and any volunteer will show you where it is."
"Come on Helen, Jamieís right. We both need to eat."
"I donít feel like eating right now Harry. Not with Lee in there."
"You know Lee would be upset if he knew you werenít eating because of him."
"Harry thatís not fair. I wouldnít use those tactics to make you eat." She saw the look of innocence on his face and smiled, "Oh all right you win. Letís go. Will, please come get me if anything happens." She implored.
"I will." He said going back into Lee Craneís room.
Seaviewís Captain was still unaware of what was happening around him. All he felt was sorrow over his losses. If he went one way he would find peace with Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton. If he returned heíd be faced with fighting Julie and whatever she was giving him. Robert his beloved son was also in the same world as Julie. Fight, have to fight for Robert. He needs me. Itís just so hard. Which way do I go? How do I get back? Chip and Admiral Nelson both dead because of me. Because of me, he thought and turned away from the choices he would have to make.
Nurse Jones kept making notations on Craneís chart whenever she noticed fluctuations in the readings. She knew what they meant, sheíd seen it before in patients who were undergoing drug treatment and knew it was important that the doctor know. She also felt that this man would be strong enough to make it back from whatever nightmares he was facing.
Karen Davis Nelson walked quietly up behind her husband. "Harriman, how is he?" she asked softly.
Harriman Nelson stood and took his wife into his arms, "Karen, Iím so glad you came."
"Iím going to leave you two alone. Chief why donít you and I go back to Leeís room and check on him?" Helen Crane asked.
"Yes Maíam," Sharkey said with a grin.
"Thanks Helen weíll be there shortly," Nelson told her.
As soon as the others had left the room Karen turned to her husband, "Ok....out with it, Harriman!" she flatly stated.
"Out with what Karen?" he asked innocently, his hand raking the back of his hair.
"You damn well know what Iím talking about. Why didnít you tell me how badly you were injured?" Her hand slipped through his arm as she moulded herself to his body.
"I couldnít reach you because of the radio blackout. Karen, it wasnít as bad as you think." He tried to reassure her as he moved his arm around her. Yet, the tension in her body showed him that he wasnít being successful.
"Harriman, I talked to Jamie before I came here. He told me you were unconscious for fifteen or more hours. Thatís serious. Donít you ever hide things from me again!" she proclaimed, searching his blue eyes for more than comfort.
Harriman Nelson smiled at the woman he loved so dearly, "Iím sorry Karen. I just didnít want you worrying over nothing."
"Donít you realise that anything that effects you or anyone you hold dear also effects me. What about our son Harriman? What would happen to him? I wouldíve liked to be here for you. I love you so much Harriman Nelson." She told him firmly, her voice trying to camouflage the fear sheíd felt.
"I love you Karen Davis Nelson." He told her just as flatly. They tightly clung to each other for a few silent minutes. Whispering in her ear, "Iím glad youíre here now though. And Seanís fine.... Caitlinís been with him. Matty called her when we couldnít get through to you."
Finally she pulled back and looked into his eyes, "Heíll be all right Harry." She said trying to convey a confidence she wasnít sure she felt.
"I donít know Karen. Lee has been through so much. I told you about the nightmares heíd been having about Julie." She nodded and waited patiently for him to continue. "Those nightmares combined with others he was having were slowly wearing him down. He was always a strong man but even strong men can only take so much. He had agreed to go stay at Oceanview and talk with Dr. Bricker for a couple of days when she escaped. Now heís suffering from an overdose of this drug. According to what I read about Ativan if itís misused it causes the person to become confused, lethargic, and unable to think properly. Those are only the mild symptoms. She was giving Lee at least three of the five milligram tablets per day." He sat back a pained look on his face.
"That would explain why he was unable to fight her."
"It also explains the coma. God I wish there was something more I could do."
"Just being here for him is enough Harry. You just have to keep thinking positive thoughts and talk to him when you go in there. He hears you...itís just responding thatís the problem. Remember weíve both been in somewhat of a similar situation and we both know what itís like."
"I know youíre right Karen. But....this time.... will it be enough?" he asked.
"It has to be...for now. As I said.... one of the best things we can do is talk to him....let him know we care. Now...come on...weíll go see for ourselves how heís doing." Karen held her hand out to him and he took it in his.
"Thanks for being here," Nelson told her again as he kissed her gently.
"Harriman, where else would I be?" she told him, returning the kiss as they headed to Leeís room.
"Mrs. Crane heís holding his own." Jamie explained when she returned to her sonís room to find him going over the chart with Nurse Jones.
"When will you know if the drug therapy your using is working?"
"Itís hard to tell. We not only have to worry about the Ativan overdose but the physical injuries as well. As I told you they arenít that serious but we have to be careful how we treat them as well. You really should get some rest. Thereís not much you can do right now."
"Yes there is Will. I can talk to him. Let him know how much we love and need him."
"Yes Mrs. Crane thatís true. Iíve told you that I believe there are therapeutic benefits from talking to comatose patients. I just want you all to take care of yourselves as well. It wonít do Lee any good if you end up exhausted."
"I guess so Will. I just donít want to leave him right now. I promise Iíll rest later."
"Iíll hold you to that promise." Jamie told her as he pulled a chair over to the side of her sonís bed, "The least you can do is sit down."
"Thank you," she said as she sat and put her hand on her sonís cheek lovingly.
Where am I? Why am I here? Where is everyone? Lee Crane wondered as he walked through the silent corridors of the Submarine he loved so dearly. The fog that surrounded his mind would not lift and the harder he tried to think the more confused he became. Everywhere he looked he could see a woman. She always found him no matter how hard he tried to hide from her. In her hand she always carried a glass with some kind of liquid in it.
DRINK IT DARLING she would tell him over and over as she closed the gap between them.
Someone help me! heíd cry out knowing instinctively that to drink it would mean the end for him.
THEREíS NO ONE TO HELP YOU DARLING. REMEMBER MORTON AND NELSON ARE DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! She screamed with laughter.
NO! How can that be? I have to find them he screamed at the walking nightmare gliding slowly towards him. Get away. His mind began to sink deeper into the coma.
The monitors began to beep louder and faster and Will Jamison took her arm to remove her from the room. "Will, whatís happening!" she cried.
"I donít know yet Mrs. Crane. Wait here." He said as he let the door close behind her.
Her tears began to stream down her cheeks as the Nelsons joined her. Karen put her arms around the sobbing woman and helped her to a chair. "Come on Helen. Let it out." She told her.
"How can this be happening? They said the drug therapy would work." Helen Crane cried out in anguish.
"Come on now. Letís not jump to conclusions. Lets wait for Jamie to tell us whatís happening."
Harriman Nelson stood at the window watching the activity around his friendís bed. He moved out of the way as David Bricker hurried through the door. He could not hear what was being said but from the look on both menís faces he knew things were serious. He watched as Jamie gave Crane an injection through the existing IV and another line was hooked up.
Chief Francis Sharkey laid a hand on Admiral Nelsonís arm and smiled weakly. "Heíll make it sir." He said in a shaky voice.
"Thank you Francis. I hope youíre right."
Matty and Chip arrived soon after the doctors had stabilized Lee Crane. They listened intently as Will Jamison and David Bricker explained what had happened to cause Seaviewís Captain to suffer from a seizure.
"Mrs. Crane. Basically whatís happening right now is that your son is suffering from withdrawal symptoms." Bricker told her, making sure it was loud enough for the entire waiting room group to hear.
"What are you going to do about it?" Leeís mother asked trying hard to hide the fear she felt.
"Ativan is a drug that can cause these kinds of effects in patients who are using it for long periods of time." Bricker explained. "We had hoped that because the drug was used on your son for such a short period he wouldnít suffer the withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately it looks as if the large dosage Julie was forcing on him have had the same effect as smaller amounts over a long period. Treatment is simple. We put him on the drug again and slowly wean his system of it."
"You want to give him more of that drug. Thatís what put him here in the first place." Chip stated in amazement.
"No Chip," Jamie began, "Ativan didnít put him here. Julieís misuse of it did. David has seen patients through this before and itís the best course of treatment."
"How long before we know if this is working?" Nelson asked as Karen reached out and took his hand.
"A few days. As long as Lee doesnít shut himself away from his life he should be fine in a week or so." David Bricker told everyone.
"What do you mean by shut himself away?" Helen asked.
"Iíve seen many patients go through less pain and suffering than Captain Crane was put through. Often what happens in these situations is the patient shies away from the torment they know is waiting for them in their life." Bricker continued. "Lee is in a coma. It could once again be because of the drug but more than likely he just doesnít know heís free from Julie and has decided to stay where he feels safe."
"If thatís the case Dr. Bricker, How do we get him back?" Helen asked, her trembling voice betraying her fear.
"Basically we keep doing what weíve been doing. Whenever youíre in there you talk to him. Assure him that everythingís ok and itís safe for him to return. Tell him how much you need him. He has a son, I believe?"
"Yes. Robert. Heís four years old."
"Is Robert here?" Bricker asked.
"We left him at our hotel with Kowalski. Why?" Chip Morton asked.
"As soon as the Ativan is out of Captain Craneís system Iíd like the boy brought to see his father. Children are like magnets to a comatose patient and I think heís our best shot of getting through to your son Mrs. Crane. Has Robert ever seen his father in the hospital?" Bricker noticed the exchange of smiles between each person in the room. "Why is that funny?"
"Well David. Lee Crane has been in the hospital more often than anyone I know. Yes Robert has seen him in the hospital many times. Each time there was a definite improvement in Leeís behaviour." Nelson explained. "Why donít you want Robert here now?"
"Thereís not much point until the drug factor is over. He probably wonít respond until then. Donít get me wrong I still want you in there offering words of encouragement. Because there is always a chance that Iím wrong." Bricker explained to the worried group. "I have to go finish my rounds but Iíll be back to check on Lee before I leave."
"Thank you David," Jamie said as the Doctor left. He turned his attention to the anxious group of friends. "You all heard what David said and Iím in total agreement with his assessment. What you have to realize is that it will take time. I have a few suggestions to make. I think we can all agree that none of us has had any real sleep since this happened." They all looked at each other sheepishly. "Iím glad to see we all agree. I know you all want to be here for Lee but you wonít do him any good if you let yourselves get rundown. I suggest you all get something to eat and make some kind of schedule."
"Schedule? For what?" Helen Crane asked.
"I think he means for us to take turns staying with Lee, Helen," Karen gently told them.
"Precisely. Iíll be staying here at the hospital in their visiting doctors lounge. Iíll be on hand at all times and I can contact you if something changes."
"Jamie thatís not a bad idea." Matty acknowledged. "Chip and I only just arrived and we could stand the first watch, so to speak."
"Thatís right. The rest of you could get some rest." Chip agreed with his wife.
"Iím staying!" Helen Crane stated flatly.
"Helen, think of Robert." Harriman Nelson told her. "Heís in a strange place. Doesnít understand where his Daddy is and probably needs his Grandma more than ever." He watched his words have the desired effects on Leeís Mom, just as heíd known they would. In a strange sort of way, he empathised with the child, knowing how Sean would feel if he were in the same situation.
"All right Harriman. But you have to get some rest as well." She stated flatly.
"And Iíll make sure he does," Karen assured her. Turning to Sharkey, "Chief, get the car." Then she turned back to her husband, "Harriman, you suffered a head injury recently and Iím not totally convinced youíre over it. No arguments...weíre going to the hotel." Her tone of voice told him arguing with her would be futile
"You better do as she says Chief," he said with a small smile at his wife. "There are certain things that I donít even argue with. Chip make sure you call us if anything happens. I mean anything."
"We will sir." Chip and Matty assured him.
"Will, can I see him before I leave?" Helen asked.
"Of course. Just remember he probably wonít know youíre there."
"Thatís ok Will, I just have to see him and tell him Iíll be back," she said sadly.
Matty watched her husband talking constantly with his friend. Everyone else had gone to his or her hotel and they were alone. Knowing how close Chip Morton and Lee Crane were sheíd convinced him to go inside and sit with him. She could tell how much he feared for his friend and she knew he wanted to be close.
While he was in with Lee, sheíd gone to get them coffee and sandwiches. Now she just had to get him to eat some of it. She opened the door to ICU and called softly to her husband. He looked at her, said something she couldnít quite hear and came out of the room.
"Pastrami or Roast Beef," she asked immediately as she passed him the hot coffee.
"Pastrami. You know me so well Angel." He said as he unwrapped the sandwich. They ate in silence, each one thinking of ways to help their friend.
Lee Crane felt desolate. He was alone in the wasteland of his mind. He knew things had been done to him. Things no one should have undergone. He also knew he should fight the demons that were making him stay away from those he loved. But it was so much easier to just turn away from the pain. He wanted to leave everything behind but something kept him from taking that final step. He was lost, alone, and empty but still he fought. Sometimes he would be able to see through his own eyes, but most of the time he was unaware of what was happening. His real fear was that Julie would find him if he opened his mind too much. It was easier to stay behind the wall he had built up. He began fortifying the protective wall.
Three days later there was finally some good news. David Bricker smiled at the small group of people before him. "I called you all here to tell you that weíre going to try removing the respirator this afternoon. Jamie and I agree that heís made great strides in the last few days and we feel he should be able to breathe on his own." He saw the collective look of relief on the faces of Lee Craneís friends. "Thereís more, The Blood Tox screen shows that the levels of drug remaining in his system is minute. We are going to monitor the major organs for any adverse effects but I think that part of the crisis is over. So if the rest of you will wait here Jamie and I will see how our Captain is doing." He smiled as he walked into the ICU room, followed closely by Will Jamison.
Harriman and Karen Nelson, Chip and Matty Morton, and Helen Crane waited anxiously for the two Doctors to return. They silently stood at the windows; five solemn people waiting for what they hoped would be good news.
"Lee, I hope you can hear me. Weíre going to remove the respirator and see if you can breathe on your own. Just try to relax and weíll make this quick." Jamie told his patient.
"Ready Jamie?" Bricker asked. Jamie nodded and they began to remove what Lee Crane usually called an instrument of torture.
Helen watched as the respirator was removed from her son. She held her breath until she saw his chest rise and fall as he breathed on his own. She watched as the nurse attached a small device to his middle finger on his left hand. Ten minutes later Will Jamison came out of the room.
"Well Will?" she asked.
"As you can tell heís breathing on his own and thatís a very good sign. Now we have to make him want to fight. We have to make sure he doesnít give up. Which is always a danger. David will explain what that means. Here he comes now."
"Hereís what we have to do next," David began having heard the last part of what Jamie had said. "I want you to talk to him about everything he loves. Tell him how much heís needed. Tell him you want him back. Tell him anything that you think will make him want to fight. People in a coma sometimes react strongly to family and friends voices. If Lee is in a self imposed prison we may very well be able to talk him back. Iím not making any promises here. I just want you to know how important your rolls in his recovery will be."
Through tear filled eyes Helen Crane looked in at her son, "What about the physical injuries? She asked softly.
"The leg and head wounds are beginning to heal. The bruising on his neck is beginning to fade. The broken nose will take longer. Basically what Iím telling you is that his physical injuries are not a major concern. Easily treated. The mental pain combined with the physical injuries however does pose a problem. Heís weak. He wasnít eating properly when she had him and although weíve been feeding him via the IV. It will take time. With your help weíll have that time."
"I want to sit with him!" Helen Crane stated.
"Please do Mrs. Crane and talk to him."
"I will." She told Bricker as she walked into her sonís room.
"Lee. Itís Mom," she took his hand in hers and spoke to him in calming tones. " Can you hear me son. Iím here with you. Come on sweetheart open your eyes and look at me." Tears continued to well up in her eyes and began to flow gently down her cheeks. "Remember when Robert was born Lee. How happy you were. How proud. I donít think Iíve ever seen you so happy. He needs his Daddy and I need my son. Fight to come back to us."
ĎMom,í he thought. Before he could focus his mind on the direction of her soothing voice, Julieís maniacal laughter erupted in his mind closing the slim lifeline his mother had created. Blackness took over and again he was alone.
Helen Crane jumped when she felt the unmistakable movement of his hand in hers. "Lee, oh God Lee." She cried in anguish. "I felt you move. It was you wasnít it son. Come on. Weíre all waiting for you. Harriman, Karen, Chip and Matty are all outside the door. They want you to come back as well Lee. Please Son come home." She talked to her son until her voice became hoarse. Standing she left the room and told Dr. Bricker what she had felt.
"Mrs. Crane, I donít want to put a damper on what happened in there but I think it may have been muscle spasms. But I could be wrong."
"I hope you are Dr. Bricker," she said quietly.
Admiral Harriman Nelson sat in the chair vacated by Helen Crane and began speaking softly. "Come on Lad. I know youíre a fighter. I probably know better than anyone how many times youíve fought to regain your life."
I canít, I just canít. Iím sorry Admiral. You and Chip have each other wherever you are. Robert needs me. Lee Crane cried. He wanted so badly to give up the pain and join his friends wherever they were. But he knew to do that would mean heíd never see Robert again. I want to come home Robert, I just donít know how. He sobbed quietly in his self made prison.
Lee Craneís friends and family constantly talked to the comatose Captain. Unknown to them each time Chip Morton or Harriman Nelson tried to talk him into fighting to come back he would pull further away. To his mind they were dead and to follow their voices would take him away from his son forever. He fought the pull of their soft voices but was unable to find his way home.
Minutes became hours, hours became days and the days seemed to drag on. Exactly a week after Lee Crane had been brought to Oceanview David Bricker and Will Jamison again sat in conference with Leeís family and friends.
"Mrs. Crane," Bricker began, "I asked you here to talk about your sonís condition."
"Is he getting any better Dr. Bricker?" she asked.
"Well Mrs. Crane, we canít tell much when a patient is in a coma. There are so many variables that nothing can be pinpointed. Some patients go into a coma when theyíve been through so much that there mind refuses to accept any more pain. I think youíre son is one of those patients. He was having nightmares before Julie had him kidnapped and drugged. The drug overdose was also a contributing factor to the coma. Iím telling you this because I think itís important that you understand whatís happening in your son case."
"What would that be?" she asked dreading the answer.
"Youíre son believes that Julie Parsons-Radcliff is still alive and that to return would mean he has to face her. What we need to do is convince him that heís needed here. I know youíve all tried talking to him with very little results. I had hoped weíd be able to get through to him without having to bring Robert into it but the longer Lee remains in this prison the harder it may be to get him back."
"Do you really think hearing Robert will convince him to come back to us?" Helen asked.
"As I said itís something we have to consider. Lee Crane needs something to make him fight the horrors he suffered while in her hands. I think his love for his son could do that."
"When should I have Robert brought in?" she asked.
"I think we should try it as soon as possible. If Robert becomes to upset weíll have to stop. Does he know his father is in the hospital?"
"Yes Dr. Bricker. Iíve talked with him about it every time I leave here. He has been asking to see him. Iíll call Kowalski and have him bring my grandson."
"You can use the phone at the nurses station." Bricker told her.
"Thank you," she said walking away from the group.
"Grandma!" Robert Crane called as he spotted his grandmother when the elevator doors opened.
"Hi Sweetheart. Howís Grandmaís little boy?" she asked as she reached out and took the small boy into her arms. She walked into a small conference room used by the nurses at the end of their shift.
"Iím ok Grandma." He said in a sad little voice. "I just miss Daddy. When is he coming home?"
Helen Crane fought the tears she knew were about to erupt. "Do you remember Grandma told you Daddy was hurt and had to stay in the hospital for awhile?" The little boy nodded his head as he stared into the face of his Grandmother.
"Is Daddyís hurt all better? Can he come home with us?" he asked hopefully.
"No honey, Daddyís hurt is not better. He canít come home yet."
"Can I see Daddy?" Robert asked in a sad little boyís voice.
"Yes Honey you can. Thatís why I asked Kowalski to bring you here. But you have to be strong because Daddy might not answer you."
"Why? Because of Daddyís hurt."
"Yes honey because of Daddyís hurt. Do you think you can be a big boy when you see Daddy?"
"Yes Grandma. Iíll be a big boy. Will you come with me?"
"Of course sweetheart. We can go as soon as you want too."
"I want to see Daddy now." Robert said, straightening his shoulders to show his Grandmother how strong he was.
Helen Crane smiled lovingly at her grandson. She took his small hand in hers and walked out of the conference room. Together they walked solemnly past the group waiting outside the ICU. Helen opened the door and walked to the empty chair. She picked her Grandson up and sat him on her lap. "Lee, can you hear me? Itís Mom. Iíve brought someone to see you."
Lee Crane could hear the voice but was confused. He knew the sound was coming from the same direction heíd heard the Admiral and Chip Mortonís voice. He knew that couldnít be right. They were dead because of him. His Motherís voice could not be coming from that direction.
"Go ahead Robert talk to Daddy." She said trying to fight the rising tears.
Robert didnít understand what all the machines were doing to his Daddy and it scared him. But he knew he had to be strong. Grandma was talking to Daddy and she was crying. He could talk to Daddy, "Hi Daddy," he said in a small-frightened voice.
NO Robert. Please NO. He cried as he heard his beloved sonís voice coming from the same direction his Motherís had come from. No go back Robert go back. He sobbed almost hysterically.
"Daddy I miss you. Can you come home?" he asked. When there was no answer forthcoming from his father the little boy let his tears stream down his face. "Please Daddy take me with you. I want to come with you."
No Robert you canít come here. Iíll come to you. I promise Iíll come to you.
"Daddy," Robert cried as he felt his fatherís hand reach out and touch him. Helen Crane reacted immediately to her Grandsons bewildered cry.
"Dr. Bricker, Will. Come quick. I...I think heís waking up." As she said the words she watched as Lee Crane opened his eyes and smiled weakly at his son. He tried to speak but she put her finger to his mouth as David Bricker and Will Jamison rushed into the room.
"Well, well, welcome back Skipper." Jamieís voice sounded relieved.
"Robert." Leeís hoarse voice sounded like music to everyone in the room. He reached out for his son and hugged him weakly with his free arm. "I love you son," he rasped.
"You coming home Daddy?" Robert asked bluntly.
"Mrs. Crane can you take him out for a few minutes so we can examine Lee?" Jamie asked, smiling at the little boy in her arms.
Helen Crane smiled back at him and turned to her son. "Welcome back Son." She said. "Weíll be right outside." He smiled weakly as she turned her attention back to her grandson. Daddy canít come home yet Robert but you can come back and visit him whenever you want." She told him as they left the room and joined the group of onlookers watching the two Doctors working on her son.
"Jamie," he croaked out, "How did I get here?"
"Welcome back Lee. You had us worried there for awhile." Jamie told him as he checked his pupils. Before he could answer the Captains question Lee Craneís eyes closed. "Lee?"
"Itís ok Jamie. Iím certain heís just sleeping" Bricker said as he checked the monitors.
Jamie felt somewhat relieved knowing his friend had not slipped back into a coma. "I guess youíre right," he said as he checked the signs again. "Letís finish the examination and then weíll let everyone know whatís happening."
No. Julie please donít kill them. Iíll do anything you want but please leave them alone. Seaviewís Captain was reliving the nightmare that heíd been having since Julie Radcliff-Parsons had come back into his life. He couldnít close his mind to the agonizing screams that came from his crew as she systematically killed them one by one. Chip Morton fell as she drove her knife deeply into his back. Harriman Nelson was unable to stop her as she lifted a gun and shot him over and over. Suddenly she turned her attention back to her captive, I told you they were dead. Darling. You are mine now and forever. She cackled in his nightmare-ravaged mind.
"NO. NO. NO." He screamed loudly.
Helen Crane heard the anguished cries of her son and reached out to gently touch his shoulder, "Iím here son. Youíre safe Lee. She canít hurt you anymore." Her soothing tones began to have the desired effects and he slowly opened his eyes.
"Mom?" he said, still confused.
"Yes son, Iím here."
"Karen took him with her. Heís fine Lee. He canít wait for you to come home. Lee! Whatís wrong?" she asked as she saw the look of extreme sorrow come over his face.
"Itís all my fault." He said, "Theyíre dead because of me."
"Whatís your fault Lee? Whoís dead?" she asked
"The Admiral and Chip, she killed them both because of me........." his voice trailed off.
"Lee, listen to me son. Harriman and Chip are not dead. Theyíre alive Son. Theyíre at the hotel but theyíll be here soon," she cried as she realized her son believed his two friends had been killed by Julie Parsons-Radcliff. She tried desperately to wake her son and make him see that he wasnít the cause of their deaths and that they were very much alive.
Lee Crane didnít hear the words his mother was saying. He was once again in the madness of the repeating nightmare.
Helen Crane left her son in the care of his nurse and went in search of his two Doctors. She found them in confrontation in the Doctors lounge. "Oh Will. He thinks theyíre dead!"
Jamie knew something was wrong by her tear soaked cheeks, "He thinks whoís dead?" he asked. David Bricker listened curiously.
"Harriman and Chip. He was having a nightmare and when he woke up we began to talk. He became so agitated and upset. Then he seemed to pass out."
"Mrs. Crane, tell me exactly what you were talking about before he became upset," Bricker asked.
"He asked me about Robert. I told him he was with Karen. Thatís when he said they were dead." Helen told them.
"That explains it," David told the distraught woman.
"Explains what Doctor?" she asked.
"When you said Karenís name it must have brought back something Julie told him. Heís close to the Nelson and Morton families and probably thinks they will blame him for the death of their husbands."
"But theyíre not dead!" Helen stated flatly.
"You and I know that. Your son doesnít." David explained.
"I tried to tell him but he was already sleeping and I couldnít wake him."
"Mrs. Crane, your son will be fine as soon as we convince him his friends are alive. When Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton arrive I want to bring them in to see Lee."
"Are you sure thatís the best thing to do?" Will Jamison asked him.
"Well Jamie. I havenít had a patient react badly to seeing his friends alive. Lee Crane needs to be assured that he didnít cause their deaths. He also needs to know that Julie didnít win. When do you expect the Admiral and Chip?"
"They should both be here in an hour or so." Helen told him.
"Thatís fine. Donít let either of them go in his room until Iím there."
"Why?" she asked quietly.
"I just want to make sure nothing goes wrong when he sees them." Bricker told her trying to convey a sense of calm.
"Wrong. What can go wrong? Theyíre his friends heíll be glad to see them alive." She said unable to understand what the doctor was telling her.
"Look Mrs. Crane. Iím hoping all goes well and your son realizes that his friends are alive and that he has nothing to blame himself for. But we also have to think about what heís already been through. Everything thatís happened to Lee in the last couple of weeks must seem confusing to him. He was under the influence of a drug that causes confusion and lethargy among other things. Some of his experiences must seem out of focus. If we were to bring the Admiral and Chip in there without any warning he could take it to mean that he has also died and thatís why he can see and hear them. Just make sure they wait for me. Iíd rather we be safe than sorry. Do you agree Jamie?"
"Yes David. I think youíve made some valid points. Iíll wait for them and explain the situation and weíll wait for you to finish your rounds."
"He what?" Harriman Nelson said gruffly.
"He thinks you and Chip are dead. That witch must have convinced him she had you both killed. When you and Chip talked to him he was still in the coma and he hasnít realized that youíre both ok." Jamie explained to Leeís two closest friends.
"Well letís go tell him!" Chip said wondering why they hadnít already done just that.
"David wants you to wait till he gets back. Heís just finishing his rounds. Letís just sit here and wait for him."
Helen Crane watched her son open his eyes and glance in her direction. His eyes held hers with such a forlorn, intense sadness that she had to fight to swallow the lump that formed in her throat. "Hello Son," she said softly.
"Mom," he said trying to fight the anxieties he felt. "Are Karen and Matty Ok?"
"Theyíre fine Lee."
"Theyíll never be fine again and itís all because of me."
"Donít talk like that Lee. The fault belongs with that madwoman not you. She did this to you."
"I should have realized what she was capable of before it got this far." Silent tear ran down his cheeks.
"No one could have known son. Remember how conniving she was. She fooled her doctors into believing she was catatonic. According to Dr. Bricker that takes a brilliant mind. Itís just to bad her mind was so evil!" The door opened and Dr Bricker and Dr Jamison came in. "Dr. Bricker, thank goodness. Please explain everything to my son," she told him.
"Lee, do you feel up to talking?" Bricker asked him.
"I guess," he answered sadly.
"There are some people you need to see and I just want to make sure you understand whatís happened before I bring them in," he said a slight smile on his face.
"Who? The police?" Lee asked.
"No. The police will be here later to ask questions. Lee, do you remember what Julie told you about Admiral Nelson and Chip?" Bricker watched as once again the look of profound sadness come over the face of the man as he nodded his head yes. "What did she say?"
"She said she killed them in an explosion on the docks. She said she did it because of me and that it was my fault that theyíre dead, and thatís why Karen and Matty will never forgive me." He answered solemnly, causing his mother to hold him gently.
Jaime looked at his Captain and friend, "Lee, Admiral Nelson and Chip were not killed by that explosion. They were injured but not seriously." Jamie watched as Lee Craneís eyes opened in disbelief, "They are both outside the door."
Lee Crane heard what Jamison said but at first couldnít comprehend the incredible news heíd just been given. "Alive!" he whispered hopefully.
"Yes son, theyíre in the waiting room. Would you like to see them?" his mother asked.
"Ye.... yes," he stammered.
Bricker watched his patient carefully as Nelson and Morton came into the room. He hoped everything would be all right but he had to watch the Captain for any sign that he was having an adverse reaction to his friends. This had happened occasionally to patients who believed theyíd been the cause of someoneís death only to find it was all a lie. The use of the drug Ativan could still have some residual effects on his mind as well, and there was also his weakened condition to consider.
Lee Craneís reaction to seeing his friends was at first disbelief, then relief, followed by quiet tears of joy. Morton and Nelson came to his bed, holding tight reign on their own tears. Helen Crane moved back to give the three friends room for a happy reunion.
"Welcome back Lee." They said in unison.
Seaviewís captain looked at them gratefully saying simply, "She told me sheíd killed you both." Crane told them as he grinned happily at his friends. "The explosion. How did you get away?" he asked drinking in the sight of them.
Nelson sat in the chair vacated by Helen Crane and patted his friends shoulder gently. Chip stood behind him and smiled, "Williams had set a bomb in the gateway to the pier. We think it was supposed to go off while we were standing next to it but for some reason it didnít. We were lucky."
"Brent Williams was working with her. He had a few men with him. They were at the lights outside the institute when I got there."
"Thatís what we figured. They found youíre car in the alley and there were no signs of a struggle." Chip told him.
"They had guns. Williams forced some kind of drug on me. After that everythingís just a blur. Except that she kept telling me you were dead because of me and I couldnít do anything to stop what she was doing. I believed her. Iím sorry, I should have been able to fight her," he told them his voice becoming more and more agitated.
Bricker watched his patient becoming upset and stepped forward, "Lee the drug she used would have had an immediate effect on your mind. It would have made you confused, unable to fight her. On top of that she had you chained up. No man could have fought her. You have to realize that she was psychotic and she had help. Once you realize that none of what she did to you was your fault then weíll be able to deal with what happened." He smiled and continued speaking, "I think thatís enough for today Lee. I think you need to get some more rest. Thereíll be time to talk about this when youíre a little stronger. For now rest, Doctorís orders."
"No," he shouted anxiously. "Please Doc, just a little longer. Iím ok. Really."
Bricker realized just how strong he was and grinned, "Iíll give you five more minutes. Itís beginning to get late and Iím going to send everyone home tonight. I do believe our patient can be moved out of ICU in the morning and you can visit him in his own private room. How does that sound Captain?"
"Sounds great David," Lee said, a familiar grin on his face that Jamie recognized immediately.
"Donít even think about it Lee!" he said.
"I know that look. Thatís the I want out look and itís not going to work this time Captain."
Lee had the good grace to look sheepishly chastised.
"Forget it is right Lee. You have a long way to go yet." Bricker told his patient seriously. "I have to check on another patient. Make sure your finished talking when I get back because thatís how long you have." He said, leaving the Seaview men and Leeís mother alone.
"Iíll wait outside as well Son. Sleep well." Helen said kissing her sonís forehead gently.
"Thanks Mom. Will you bring Robert tomorrow?" He asked, his eyebrows rising slightly.
"I love you son and yes Iíll bring Robert," she said.
"You heard David. Lee, you need to rest." Jamie reiterated following Helen out the door.
Lee Crane was left alone with the two men he considered his best friends. Looking at them he began to speak softly. "Admiral, Chip, I canít believe youíre both all right. I didnít know how I was going to face Matty or Karen. I believed her when she told me you were dead." He said in a quivering voice.
"I know Son. She put you through a lot. But remember she canít hurt you anymore." Nelson told him.
"Mom told me that she was dead. I just.... How can we be sure?" he asked.
"Riley saw her it all Lee. He saw the building fall in on her. They found her body under some rubble in another apartment where she had crawled. Believe me Lee she can never hurt you or anyone else again." Chip Morton said confidently.
Lee Crane yawned tiredly,
"I think you need to sleep Lee. Weíll come back tomorrow. Do as the Doctors tell you." Nelson told him standing and patting his shoulder gently. "Goodnight son."
"Good night Lee." Chip said.
"Thanks for being here." Seaviewís Captain told them as his eyes closed.
Heíd been in his private room for a week and was still being plagued by the vicious nightmares brought on by his dealings with Julie Parson-Radcliff. His body was soaked in perspiration, his mind a jumble of nightmares running into each other. His eyes were closed tightly and he tried desperately to get away from the evil, dangerously obsessed woman chasing him. Iím coming for you darling. You can never escape me. Iíll kill everyone you hold dear if you keep running. Face me my darling and be mine forever. He heard her voice and felt her breath on the back of his neck.
"No," was the only word he screamed as he sat bolt upright in his bed. He looked around the darkened room and breathed deeply. Will I ever be rid of you Julie? He thought, as he got out of bed grabbed his crutches and walked to the hospital room window to watch the sun come up.
"Good morning Captain, Breakfast time." Paula Chambers said as she brought his breakfast tray and placed it on his table.
"Iím not hungry right now Paula," he stated flatly.
"Well now Captain, thatís what youíve said about every meal thatís been brought in to you. You really must eat if you expect to get well. At least try something," she encouraged him.
"Maybe later," he said and went back to the window.
"Lee," she said softly, her years of experience coming through in her tone. "Youíre letting her beat you."
"What?" he said returning to his bed.
"If you donít eat and keep dwelling on what that woman put you through then youíve let her win. I donít think youíre the type to do that. Eat something; Iíll come back for the tray in half an hour. Try to surprise me." She said in a motherly fashion.
Lee Crane smiled at the womanís retreating back and picked up a piece of toast.
Paula Chambers finished writing up her report on Lee Crane and waited for David Bricker to come in for his morning rounds. She was worried about her patientís refusal to eat and wanted to let the doctor know that he was still having severe nightmares. She was supposed to have gone off duty forty minutes ago but she was a nurse who prided herself in her love of nursing.
David Bricker arrived and ushered her into his office. She handed him the report and he read it carefully. He was always amazed at this womanís attention to details. "Thank you Paula. Iíll talk with Captain Crane this morning. See if we can set up a schedule for therapy."
"Your welcome Dr. Bricker. Do you think heíll ever get over what she did?"
"No one ever fully gets over this kind of experience. But they can learn to deal with it and once that happens the healing can begin. Lee Crane is a strong man and heíll beat this."
Paula smiled at the young doctor knowing her patient was in the best possible care. "I know heís strong. I also know heís been through a lot."
"Yes he has Paula."
Lee Crane was thinking over the last few weeks and the damage Julie Parsons-Radcliff had imposed on those he loved. He just couldnít shake the feeling that she was out there somewhere watching their every move.
He never heard the door open as David Bricker entered, "Good Morning Lee, how are you doing this morning?"
Crane turned at the sound of the voice and smiled weakly, "The usual, David." He answered.
"Nightmares?" he asked and the Captain nodded his head slightly. "Feel like talking about them? Youíll find Iím a great listener."
"I know you are David. Iím grateful for what you did for the Admiral and Chip. I just donít know if Iíll ever be free of her again."
"Thereís only one way to find out. Come on Lee, at least give it a try. Remember Iím not going to authorize your release until you can deal with the aftermath of your experiences."
Lee knew he would do anything to get rid of the intense nightmares and sat on his bed. He also knew that Jamie backed up Brickerís recommendation that he not be released until he could deal with what had happened to him. He just didnít feel like fighting them right now. "All right David," he said.
"I want you to know that the nightmares are not going to stop overnight. The things that you went through are deeply imbedded in your subconscious as well as your conscious mind."
"Thatís great. Sheíll be in my life even though sheís dead!" Crane stated dejectedly.
"Not in your life Lee. Just your dreams and the wonderful thing about dreams is that they can only harm you if you donít know how to deal with them. Iím going to do my best to help you deal with them. Why donít you tell me how you felt when you were under her control?"
Bricker didnít think the Captain was ready to open up and was surprised to hear him say softly. "Weak. I felt weak." His voice grew stronger as he began to open up to the Doctor. " I should have been able to fight her and the things she did to me. But I couldnít. I couldnít." He cried.
"Nobody could have Lee. I told you what the effects of Ativan are and she must have known it was the perfect way to control you. I bet you donít even remember how you were given the drug. You would never have been able to fight her even if she hadnít used the restraints."
"I keep telling myself all that but when Iím sleeping I canít control where I go or what happens."
"Thatís because youíre thinking about your experiences constantly while youíre awake. I want you to try something the next time you go to sleep. I want you to try to block out any thoughts of Julie and what she did. I want you to concentrate on something that makes you happy and even relaxed. Can you try that for me?"
"Iíll try, but I donít know if it will work."
"I think you may be surprised. Thinking of things you enjoy and especially things that you love have had amazing effects on peoples dreams. Just keep thinking about things that bring you happiness."
"I will, thank you David."
"Donít thank me until we know if what Iíve said helped you. I have to see a couple of other patients. Would you like talk some more when Iím done?"
"I donít want to monopolize your time. Iím sure you have other patients who need you."
"I do Lee, but if you feel like talking some more Iíll come back."
"I think Iím ok right now David. Mom is bringing Robert over this morning and the Admiral and Chip are coming today as well."
"All right," Bricker said, "Just have me paged if you need anything."
"I will," Crane told him.
Over the next two weeks Lee Crane concentrated on dealing with the nightmares and how to control them. David Bricker came in everyday and they reviewed what he dreamed and what heíd been thinking of before he went to sleep.
Slowly Lee began to see the pattern and was again able to take control of his life once more. The dreams, although still intense began to lesson in quantity and the more he opened up to Bricker the more confident he felt that things could return to normal.
He was waiting for his daily session with David Bricker when the door opened and Stu Riley stuck his head in. Nelson had told Carne how Riley had been the one to run into the building, thereby stopping the wrecking crew. Heíd also explained how the seaman had reacted to the things heíd seen in the room.
"Skipper, can I come in?"
"Of course Riley. How are you doing?"
Riley was amazed that after everything his Captain had gone through he was still concerned about one of his men. "Iím fine Sir. Are you ok?" he asked timidly.
"Iím much better Riley and I owe it all to you."
"Me Sir?" Riley asked confused.
"Thatís right. If it hadnít been for you Iíd probably be buried under tons of brick and rubble right now. Youíre a hero Riley and I owe you my thanks."
Rileyís face beamed with pride at the Skipperís compliment. "Youíre welcome Skipper. Seaview couldnít very well do without her Captain Sir," he said honestly.
Crane smiled at the happy seaman and thanked him for his candour. They were discussing Seaview and some of the crew when David Bricker came into the room.
"Hello Lee," he said and glanced towards Riley. "Another Crew member I take it."
"This is the man I owe my life to. Stu Riley, David Bricker." The two men shook hands and Riley excused himself so they could talk in private. Lee Crane turned his full attention on Bricker and said one word, "When?"
"When?" David shook his head knowing full well what the Captain was asking.
"When do I get out of here?"
"Letís see what progress weíve made." He opened Leeís chart and smiled, "This is really good. Youíre eating according to Paula Chambers. Not as much as you should but at least itís something. Youíre nightmares are becoming less frequent and decreasing in severity. I think we can let you out on Friday. How does that sound?"
"Sounds like music to my ears David. Thank you."
"Hey, Iím not dismissing you totally. There are still some things we have to deal with more thoroughly. Iíll have the appointment times ready before you leave. I mean it Captain, itís important that you continue therapy until everything has been dealt with. Iíd like to see you every week but I know how much you want to go back to work."
"Yes, I would like to return to work as soon as possible."
"I discussed that with Jamie and weíve put you on light duties for the next two weeks. Your leg is almost totally healed but I still want you to take it easy on it. Got that Captain." Bricker said seriously.
"I got it David. I know I still have some things to face but Iíll find it easier at home."
"Jamie will make sure of that. Remember when you first came here, before Julie escaped you said Iíd be like a second Mother hen."
"I do," he said with a grin.
"Well as of this moment you have a boatload of Mother Hens and theyíre all going to be watching you closely."
"Great," Crane said in an exasperated voice. "Thatís just what I need."
"As a matter of fact I think it is Captain. Iíll be by with some papers for you to sign a little later. Is there anything else youíd like to discuss?"
"I donít think so David. Thanks again for your help."
Lee Crane stood once again on the deck of his submarine. Three months after his ordeal had begun he was finally going back to full duty. He smiled at the men who were present on the deck and quickly descended into his boat. He was properly welcomed aboard and took his rightful place as Captain of Seaview.
The building had collapsed in front of her but sheíd been able to jump back at the moment the man had seen her. According to the Newspapers and Television she was dead. Theyíd mistakenly identified the body of the woman sheíd killed, saying it was hers. She grinned malevolently as she picked up the Daisy and began to pull the petals off one at a time.
He loves me! she smiled.
He loves me not! she screamed as she threw the hated petal over the cliff.
He loves me! She smiled again.
She continued until the last petal was in her fingers. e loves me not!í She leapt to her feet and screamed as she threw the flower to the ground and used her boot to grind it back into the earth.I will teach you to love me LEE CRANE!