This is completely and utterly Kim Q's fault—inspired by an offhand comment one afternoon. This is dedicated to everybody who reads
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
much light. The cell—more of a cave with one wall of bars—was a study of
shadows as the two figures sat on the cold, damp floor in almost identical
poses, both dressed in black. Each sat with their back to a wall, arms crossed
over their chests. Long legs stretched out in front of them, crossed at the
ankles. One big difference was that one figure was leaner and narrow wasted,
with a head of dark, curly hair. The other was broader in the chest and stray
tendrils of wheat blond hair peaked out from under his black knitted cap. A
pair of cold blue eyes glared at his dark-haired companion. Flat, emotionless,
amber-hazel eyes stared back.
Finally the blond
fine mess you’ve
gotten me into.”
eyes widened and the glare intensified. “I’ve gotten you into?
What’s that supposed to mean?” he shot back.
just shook his head. “It means,” the blond grumbled, “that as usual, I follow
you blindly, knowing damn well the intel is probably bad. No extraction plan,
no back-up, just fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants and we end up getting captured.
Smooth going, Crane. Thanks a lot.”
“Oh,” Lee snarled, anger turning his voice
cold and deadly, “I
suppose if we’d
had done it your way, none of this would have happened?”
Chip got to his
never know now, will we? Any minute they’ll be in here, asking who we and what
are we doing here. And you know what? I’m getting tired of having the snot
beat out of me on account of you!” Chip's voice rose till he was
shouting at Lee, pointing angrily at the other man. His intense blue eyes
flashed in fury.
Lee jumped to his
feet and fired back, “Well, I don’t recall inviting you along! Next time, stay where you
the boat! Play with your computers and let the experts handle this!”
Chip snorted in
what you call yourself? An expert? Can’t be much of an expert, you needed me
to get past the surveillance system. You’d still be trying to figure out how to
by-pass the motion detectors if it wasn’t for me!”
“Maybe if I
hadn’t let you tag along, I wouldn’t have had to slow down and then maybe we
wouldn’t have got caught!”
have gotten caught. You always get caught. It’s what you do. We always know
exactly where you’ve been; just follow the trail of mayhem you create whenever
the admiral lets you off the boat!” Each pronouncement was getting louder and
more vicious as the argument grew hotter.
Lee paced the length
of the small cell, hands balled into tight fists. “Mayhem? I create mayhem? Who got
possessed by a pirate? Whose bright idea was it to volunteer for the S.E.A. as
a co-pilot? I had to rescue you! Like always! I always have to rescue you!”
his own pacing, turning to face leaner man and letting loose a new barrage.
“Me? You had to rescue me? Aliens, Lee. I don’t suppose you
remember ANY of those? That brain-looking thing we dredged up off the ocean
bottom? What about the mutant seaweed monster, the one that had you and half
the crew, including Jamie, possessed? Hell, it was the only time you two have
ever agreed on anything, because you were BOTH possessed! Like I said—mayhem.
M.A.Y.H.E.M.,” Chip spelled out, taking steps toward Lee with each letter.
Lee stood his
ground. “Well, if I’m Mayhem, what’s that make you? Chaos? All this time I
thought that C. in C. P. Morton stood for Charles but no, it’s Chaos! Chaos
Morton! And you think you can command Seaview?”
“I’m just as
good as you. Somewhere along the line the admiral's put you on a pedestal so
flaming high, the fall alone will be enough to kill you. One of these days he’s
going to see I’m just as good commander as you, and unlike you, I know where my
place is. My loyalties lie with Nelson and the sub. Can you say the same?”
nowhere the leader that I am and we both know it. Stick to what you know and
leave command of the Seaview to me. You'll never be more than
second-best and you know it,” Lee snarled back vehemently.
I’ve had it with you!” Chip launched himself at Lee, catching the other man
around the waist and both men went down, rolling across the stone floor,
screaming obscenities at each other as they traded blows. Chip came up on top,
his hands wrapped around Lee’s throat as Crane levered his knee up and into
Chip’s stomach, throwing the blond man across the cell. Chip landed with a thud
against the wall and he promptly pulled himself up and launched after Lee once
At the entrance to
the chamber, two armed men stood guard and as the two prisoners tackled each
other in what looked like a no-holds-barred-battle, they launched themselves at
the cell door. In the dimly lit cell, it was hard to even make out who was
winning. One guard struggled for the keys to the lock while the second started
“Hurry up! They’re gonna kill each other! I thought
they were friends! The boss swore they were pals!”
“I’m working on it! It’s not like this stuff is maintained on
a regular basis!”
the one with the keys shouted back. He finally won his battle with the rusty
lock and threw the door open. Both guards jumped into the fray, grabbing the
two rolling figures to break up the melee.
“Break it up, you
two! I said can it!”
one guard exclaimed. He got more than he bargained for.
As suddenly as the
two men had turned on each other, they reversed form and attacked the guards.
Chip went after one with an upper cut to the jaw while Lee took out the second
with a double-fisted chop on the back of the neck. It was over in seconds. The
two guards lay in an unconscious heap on the ground while Lee and Chip leaned
against the wall, gasping for air.
“Well, that went
well. Next time we stage a fight, be more careful.” Chip wheezed, running a hand over a
split lower lip. Lee noticed and frowned.
“Did I do that?”
“It’s not like we had time to rehearse.
Stop freaking out and let’s get out of here.”
Lee reached down and
rolled the bodies over, retrieving their weapons. From the rusty lock, he
pocketed the keys and cast a look back at Chip.
“You gonna stand
there all day? I thought you wanted out of here.”
Chip pushed off from
the wall and quickly caught up to his friend. “I can’t believe you called me Chaos. I’m not near the trouble magnet you are.”
“Really,” stated Morton matter-of-factly as the
two walked down the corridor side by side.
Lee couldn’t stop himself. “I seem to recall the crew talking
about your healthy golden tan. Mr. Morton…”
“That wasn’t my fault, I swear!” answered Chip’s mortified hiss as the two friends vanished around a corner, Chaos and Mayhem on the move.