Crown of Thorns

By JSRobertson

Lee Crane, Captain of the submarine Seaview and part time ONI agent and fellow agent Jason Weldon had flown into the airport in the resort town of Sha-pa in the country of Taqiao near the southern coast of the People’s Republic.  Sha-pa was known for its warm weather and beaches.  It was also where the rich went for vacations.  Pretending to be rich tourists, Lee and Jason had checked into a five-star hotel in the town and would wait until morning to pick up the intel on the PR’s development of LRASM (long range anti-ballistic ship missile) capable of being launched 2500 miles away from its target. They would be extracted by a private airplane. The only information they had is that the contact would meet them in the Crown of Thorns church.

Early the next morning, the two men met outside their rooms. They both had day old beards.  Lee was dressed in black pants with a white shirt opened at the collar and a black leather jacket.  Jason also dressed in black pants but had on a gray shirt and a black jacket.  They blended into the crowd as they walked down Yangmey Blvd, the main street in town.   Jason had bought a map showing the points of interest which included the church. After stopping for a quick breakfast, they took in some of the sights as they continued their search for the church. Once at the church, they stood outside admiring the architecture before entering. Since there were quite a few tourists also looking around the church the two men fit right in.


Across the border in the PR, Hai Phong was leaving her estate for her weekly jaunt to Sha-pa.  She loved its beaches and would spend the day there sunning and looking at the men. Maybe today would be her lucky day and one would come home with her. She looked out the window of her limo as it drove down Yangmey Blvd. She noticed a man in a black leather jacket and was surprised to see Lee Crane walking down the street.  She would know him anywhere with or without the beard.  She figured Lee wouldn’t be vacationing here so he must be on an ONI mission. Even though she retired from the spy business as one of the PR’s top chemist a few years ago, she had no trouble reporting Lee’s presence to the PR’s head of security.

“Follow those two men,” she ordered her driver as she placed a call to her former boss the head of the PR’s Security, Ghag Huchay.  She had worked under the direction of Huchay at the PR Security’s laboratory developing a more potent type of truth serum among other type of drugs.

“Yes, ma’am,” the driver replied as he kept Lee and Jason in his sights.  Traffic was heavy that morning so it wasn’t too hard to follow them. 

“Good morning, Ghag.  I have some interesting information for you,” she said.   “I’ve spotted Lee Crane here in Sha-pa.   I don’t know why he’s here but I’m betting he’s on a mission.”

“Damn,” Huchay remarked.  “I don’t have anyone available to trail or take him.  I don’t suppose I could talk you out of retirement to pick him up and coax some information from him? I know you loved working for us as a chemist and I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you, but he’s been a thorn in my side for years.”

“I have no issues detaining him,” Hai replied eagerly.  He’s been a thorn in my side too, she thought.  

Just as she hung up the phone, the driver stopped the car when Lee and Jason got to the church.

“Why are we stopping…you better not have lost them,” Hai said irritably.

“No ma’am, they stopped outside the church,” the driver answered and waited for more instructions.

“Abel, George,” she barked to her two bodyguards, “get out of the car and follow those two men.   I don’t care how you do it but I want the man in the black leather jacket brought to me,” Hai ordered. 

The two men got out of the car and followed Lee and Jason until they had the right opportunity to snag Lee.


As Hai Phong waited for her bodyguards to grab Lee she thought back to her first encounter with Lee Crane. 

After work, she had gone to her favorite restaurant for dinner and a drink…alone again.  When she finished dinner she went into the bar and sat down.  The bartender knew her order and placed the drink in front of her.  She sat there listening to the music when the most handsome man she had ever seen walked into the bar.

He strode over to her, “Is this seat taken?” he asked pleasantly.

Smiling, “No, it’s not,” Hai replied surprised to see him standing next to her.

Lee sat down, “I saw you here the other night and was hoping I’d run into you again,” he said as the bartender walked over to him and he ordered a drink. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“That would be nice, thanks,” she replied as the bartender made her another Lemon Drop Martini.

“I’m Lee Williams,” Lee said giving her a very sexy smile as he extended his hand.

“Hai Phong,” she answered and shook his hand.


As Jason and Lee approached the door to the church, two women also wanted to enter.  Lee held the door for them and caught a glimpse of a limo with two men leaving it and heading for the church.  Lee and Jason followed the two women into the church.  After admiring the stained glass windows and carved statues for thirty minutes, they looked at each other.  The two men had worked together before and were thinking the same thing, where was their contact?

As they stood there looking at the large stained glass window at the back of the church, a priest walked up to them, “Are you enjoying the church? It sure is a beautiful ornate building and very old.  I was assigned here a few months ago and I’m still trying to learn all its history especially the Sect of the Crown.” 

Lee looked at the young man, “Yes, very much.  It’s hard to believe it’s been around all this time,” he remarked noticing the church was built in the 1800’s. 

“Yes, the church has been here for a couple of centuries with no major problems but it’s finally starting to show its age and needs to be renovated.  We don’t have a large congregation and as with most churches, money is an issue so we’re asking visitors to help contribute to the renovations.”

“Just one more question,” Lee asked double checking he was actually their contact.  “What is ‘Sect of the Crown’?”

“‘Sect of the Crown’ was an all-male society formed in the 1900’s to help families struggling to make ends meet.  I haven’t had a chance to delve into it too much more but it might be something we can re-introduce once I find out more about it.”

 “We would like to make a contribution,” Jason volunteered surprised the young priest knew the code words of ‘Sect of the Crown’ and what it meant.

“Thank you,” the priest replied.  “There’s a gold box over by the candles to place your contribution.  You can also light a candle showing you contributed.”   They walked over to the candle area where most of the candles were lit except one. 

“I see there is only one candle left,” he said as he looked at the candle and discreetly dropped in a small disk from under the sleeve of his robe.  Lee saw him drop the small disk into the candle. “Excuse me, I need to get some more candles.  It was a pleasure talking with you.” 

“The pleasure was ours,” Lee replied as he picked up a small wooden stick, pulled the wick up on the candle as he took out the disk, put it in his pocket and pulled out a lighter to light his stick.  He lit the candle as Jason deposited their money into the gold box while the priest walked up to the front of the church and into the sanctuary.

The two men continued to look around the church before exiting out the door and into the street.  As they walked down the street, Lee said softly, “I think we’re being followed.  I noticed those two men exit a limo when we first got to the church and they’ve been with us the whole time.  I don’t think they saw the priest drop the disk into the candle.”

“Yeah, they’ve been with us since we left the church.  How about we stop for some lunch and see if they don’t disappear.”

“Good idea,” Lee agreed as they walked a little further up the boulevard before coming across a small café with outside dining. 

The two men were seated by a young woman who couldn’t take her eyes off Jason.  Lee and Jason could pass for brothers but the biggest difference was Lee was a couple of inches taller and had amber eyes.

A waitress arrived at their table and took their drink and food orders.  Lee continued to look around noticing the two men had also entered the café and were seated a few tables away. 

“I see we still have our shadows,” Lee commented as he took a drink of the coffee the waitress had set down in front of him. 

Jason took a drink of his soda looking to see if there were any other exits.  “Unless there’s an exit in the restroom area, the way we entered is the only way out.”  He got up from the table, checked out the restroom and discovered there were no other exits.  He returned to the table just as the waitress was setting down their food.  Jason sat down and shook his head letting Lee know there was only one way out.  Both men knew the chances of the two of them making it to the extraction point were slim.

They talked about the sights they had seen as they ate their lunch.  When the waitress returned to see if they wanted anything more, Lee asked for the check.

“I’ll flip you to see who’s going to pay for lunch,” Lee said as he took a coin and the disk out of his pocket and slipped it under the napkin.  Jason knew he was flipping the coin to see who would bring back the intel to the US. 

“Lee, you pay for lunch,” Jason replied giving Lee his ‘I have nothing to lose look’ knowing Lee had Janet waiting for him so he wanted Lee to take the intel back to the States.

“No, we’ll flip for it,” Lee insisted and Lee being the senior agent had the last word. 

As Lee flipped the coin, Jason called heads and when Lee looked at the coin, tails was facing up.

“You lost so you pay for lunch,” Lee said truthfully knowing that it was now his job to set himself up as a decoy so Jason could escape with the disk.

Jason picked up the napkin along with the disk, wiped his mouth as he tucked the disk into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out his wallet.  Jason put the money on the table with a tip.  The two men stood up and walked out of the café. 

“Thanks for lunch,” Lee remarked as they reached the sidewalk in front of the café.  “I’ll make sure the information and disk gets to the head of security back in the States,” he said as he stood near the table with the two men.

The two men looked at Lee and Jason as they stood there pretending to show an interest in what Lee was telling Jason.  Before Lee started to walk away, he nodded to Jason letting him know he was sure the two men had heard their conversation so Jason could get the intel out of the country with no problems.

“Yeah, I’ll meet you in a couple of days for the meeting,” Jason replied unhappily as he headed in the opposite direction of Lee.

The two men were joined by a third man a few minutes before Lee and Jason left the café.  It was no surprise to Jason that two of the men started to tail Lee while the third one followed him.  He knew his friend was in trouble but also knew he couldn’t help him as he had to get the intel back to the States. If he went back to help Lee, he would jeopardize the whole mission.  He quickly lost his tail, ducked into a cab and made his way to the airport.  Once he had the intel in the hands of ONI in Hawaii he would return to Taqiao and find Lee.  


Admiral Harriman Nelson was in his cabin aboard Seaview working on some reports as she headed back to Santa Barbara after a shakedown cruise testing out some new equipment they had recently installed when the phone rang on his desk.

“Yes Sparks,” he answered.

“Sir, I have Admiral Johnson for you,” Sparks reported.

“Put him through,” Nelson replied quickly and waited for the connection.  “Do you have him?”

“No Harry,” Admiral Johnson responded warily.  “He missed the flight…there was some trouble.”   Admiral Johnson explained to Nelson what had taken place in Sha-pa.

“Gerald, what the hell is going on…do you even know where he is?” Harry snapped.

“We knew where he was but his tracer has stopped working.   Do you have a way of tracking him?” Johnson asked cautiously as he suspected Harry had a way of keeping tabs on him, but that was something Lee would never admit to.

“Give me the coordinates and we’ll find him,” Nelson said curtly as he wrote down Lee’s last location.   “I’ll get back to you.”   Harry slammed down the phone, “Damn,” he said as he threw his pencil on the desk.   Another ONI mission gone awry, he thought.  He also hoped Lee still had on his shoes where he had stashed a small tracker.

Harry angrily stood up and left his cabin heading for the control room.  He ran down the staircase and into the control room where Chip Morton, XO of Seaview, was working with Bobby O’Brien at the charting table.  Chip looked up when he heard the familiar steps on the staircase and knew something was wrong by the look on the admiral’s face.

“Chip, bring Seaview to these coordinates.  Lee missed his flight and now we’re going to have to get him out of there,” Nelson told him.

“Sir, these coordinates will take us near the border of the People’s Republic,” Chip said as he looked over the information.

“Yes, I know.  That’s the last place ONI heard from him,” Nelson replied and headed toward the radio shack.   “Join me when you’re finished.”

“Aye, aye sir,” Chip said quickly giving the order to maneuvering to turn Seaview a 180 degrees.  The huge submarine had no trouble making the turn and was headed back in the direction she had just come from.

“Bobby, plot the course and head to the new coordinates,” Chip ordered him.  “I want the estimated time of arrival on the double.”

“Aye, sir,” Bobby replied.

Chip joined Nelson in the radio shack.  “Admiral, what did you mean that’s the last place ONI had him.  What happened to his tracer?”

Sighing deeply, “According to Johnson, his ONI tracer has stopped working and those coordinates were the last transmission they received from him.”

“Do they even know if he’s still there?”

“I don’t know,” Harry answered, “I placed a small tracker in Lee’s shoe when he left.  It’s something I developed and wanted to test it out but not under these circumstances.”  The admiral gave Sparks the frequency he’d used for the tracker.  Sparks quickly dialed in the frequency.

“Anything Sparks?” Harry asked desperately.

“Sorry sir, nothing at all but I’ll keep trying.  He just might be too far away for us to pick up the signal or…”

Taking a deep breath Chip finished his sentence, “He doesn’t have it on him.”

Running his hand through his hair, Nelson said, “Keep trying.”

“Aye sir,” Sparks replied as he continued to turn dials.

“As long as he keeps his shoes, we might be able to track him down.  He might still be out of range as Sparks suggested and I don’t want to think about any other reasons.”

“Did Lee know you put a tracker in his shoe?”  Chip asked.

“Yes, he knew I put it there to test out.  Hopefully it will work and lead us to him.”

Just as Seaview was making her turn, Janet Crane was leaving her office on the boat with the shakedown reports she needed Chip to sign.  She waited until the turn was completed before moving.  I thought we finished all the tests, Janet thought as she descended down the staircase where she saw Chip and the admiral in the radio shack conversing with Sparks who was turning dials and flipping switches.  She would wait in the observation nose until they were finished.  She also knew that Lee was scheduled to fly out of Taqiao today.  She had come to terms with Lee’s duty to take on these ONI missions but that still didn’t stop her from worrying about his safety.


Harry and Chip were returning to the control room when they caught sight of Janet in the observation nose.

“Does Janet know?” Chip asked softly as he looked at her and could tell she knew something was wrong.

“No,” Harry answered dejectedly.  “My first priority was to get Seaview on course to Lee’s last known position.  I’ll brief both of you on what Admiral Johnson told me and why he missed the flight.”

Damn, I bet Lee’s in trouble, Janet thought taking a deep breath trying to stay calm as the two men walked into the observation nose where she was standing.

“What’s wrong…they didn’t get him did they…where is he?” Janet asked before either one of them could say anything.

Harry guided her to a chair at the table.  He and Chip sat down facing her after she was seated.   “No, they don’t have him.  He and Jason ran into some trouble after they picked up the intel.  Two men followed Lee but that was all Jason could tell Admiral Johnson,” Harry told them.  “We don’t even know for sure if he’s been taken by the PR,” he added.

“Sir, if Admiral Johnson is sending Seaview to pick him up, he knows Lee’s in the hands of the PR.  You know Lee would do everything in his power to make that flight,” Janet told him.  “Even if he missed it by accident, he would make contact with ONI or us.”

Harry looked at Janet and sighed soberly, “You’re right.  There’s also one other problem.  His tracer has stopped sending out a signal.”

Janet inhaled sharply before letting it out, “After he returned from this mission, he was going to Washington to debrief Admiral Johnson and have ONI do the scheduled maintenance on the tracer or put a new one in if needed.  Do they know where he was before it stopped working?”

“He knew there was a chance it would quit working and went anyway?” Chip said disgustedly.

“No, he would never go out if there was a chance the tracer stopped working,” Janet responded worriedly. “ONI assured him it would still function properly.”

“If there was a chance his tracer would fail, they should have never sent him on the mission,” Nelson said angrily.   “I’ll deal ONI directly when we get him back.”

“I noticed Seaview made a turn so I assume we’re going to get him…do you have a way of tracking him?” Janet inquired.

Harry looked at Janet, “I put a small tracker in his shoe.  I was hoping to test it out once Lee had been extracted and was on his way home.  I wasn’t planning on it being our only way to find him.”

“Is it working?”

“No, not right now.  I don’t know if he’s out of range or he lost the tracker,” Harry admitted.

“Thank you for telling me,” Janet replied trying hard not to show her emotions.

Chip returned to the control room, while the admiral and Janet stayed in the observation nose.  Janet stood up wrapped her arms around her waist and looked out the windows as Seaview plowed through the water.

Harry stood next to her.  “You know we’ll find him.”

“Yes, I know,” Janet said softly as Harry left her standing there and headed back to the control room.


By the time Chip returned to the control room, Bobby had plotted the course to the coordinates.  “Mr. Morton, it will take us forty-eight hours to reach these coordinates.”

“Thanks, Bobby,” Chip answered as the admiral stood next to him at the charting table.

The admiral heard what Bobby reported to Chip, “See if we can’t get a little more speed out of the engines.”

“Aye sir, but we can’t run at flank for that long without burning them out,” Chip reminded him.

“Push them hard now and see what happens,” Nelson ordered.   “I know what these engines are capable of doing.”

“Yes, sir,” Chip responded picking up the mic, “Engine room increase speed to flank and hold it there.”

“Aye sir,” Patterson answered, “But we can’t…”

“You’ve got your orders, Patterson, just keep me informed on their condition,” Chip said sharply.

“Aye sir,” Patterson responded crisply

“I’ll be in my cabin if you need me,” Harry told Chip as Janet walked over to the charting table.

He patted Janet’s hand as he walked out the back hatch.


Lee walked away from the café and headed down the street looking for a place to duck into before the two men caught up with him.   He knew Jason had a hard time leaving him alone with no cover as it would have been hard for him to leave Jason in the same situation.  As Lee quickly walked along the crowded boulevard, an older lady walked out of a store and ran right into him.   He grabbed her so she wouldn’t fall allowing the two men to catch up with him. 

“Sorry ma’am, I didn’t see you…are you hurt?”  Lee asked with concern.   “Let me help you with your packages.”

“I’m okay and I can take care of my packages,” the lady replied hastily and left Lee standing there.

“Seems she didn’t want your help,” one of the men said as he sidled up to Lee.  “Come with us peacefully so we don’t cause a scene,” Abel said to Lee as he took him by the arm.

Shaking his arm free, “I’m not going anywhere with you,” Lee answered through gritted teeth.

“Have it your way,” George whispered as he joined Abel at Lee’s side and opened up his coat revealing a 9 mm pistol.   “The street is very crowded and I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to shoot any innocent bystanders when you make a run for it.”

Lee looked around the boulevard, it was packed with people and knew if he ran someone could get hurt.  “I’ll go.” he said reluctantly.

George grabbed Lee by the arm and escorted him to the limo which had caught up with the two bodyguards after the driver lost Jason when he got into a cab.  Before he could push Lee into the car, he elbowed George in the stomach which caused him to fall into Abel.   Lee walked quickly down the street avoiding the people looking for a place to hide.  He was definitely at a disadvantage not having a chance to scope out the area when he arrived in Sha-pa.  He saw an alley and ran into it hiding behind a large dumpster.  He heard the two men run in after him. 

“There’s no way out,” Abel yelled.  “The alley is a dead end.”

Shit, Lee thought as he noticed a fire escape at the end of the building.  He looked up and saw the escape went to the top of the building but there was an open window on the second floor.  He would have to take a chance and hoped the men were bad shots as that was his only way out. He started up the fire escape, Abel fired at him catching him in the right shoulder.  He fell to the ground clutching his shoulder as blood seeped through his fingers.   Abel hovered over him and put his foot on his wounded arm.  Lee bit back a cry of pain.  George ran over to Lee, kicked him in the ribs, jerked him up and punched him in the jaw.  “That’s for making me look like a fool,” George said as he then punched him in the stomach.  Lee doubled over in pain and tried to catch his breath.

“Enough,” a voice came from the end of the alley where the limo was parked.   “We don’t want to hurt him too much.  Bring him to the car.”

George grabbed his arm and led him to the limo where Lee caught sight of the other voice.  “Hai Phong.”

“We meet again Commander Crane,” Hai greeted Lee as she stood in front of him.  “Only this time on my turf and my conditions.”

Surprised that she knew his real name and rank, Lee said indifferently, “I have nothing…I’m on vacation.”

“Since you’re now going to be my guest for a couple of days and we’re not exactly strangers, I’ll just call you Lee and forget the formality of surnames and rank.  I’ve wanted to get my hands on you for a long time.  You outsmarted me and the PR wasn’t pleased with my performance.  Oh, the PR’s security people will be here to take you back with them but only after I’ve had my ‘fun’ with you,” she sneered as the two bodyguards escorted him to the limo and shoved him in.  George sat next to him while Hai sat on the seat across from him.  Abel was in the front seat with the driver.

As the limo drove away from the alley, Lee took a deep breath.  He could only imagine what Hai was going to do to him as she was an elite chemist for the PR.  He had read the notebook he’d taken from her a few years before.  He knew she had developed many of the PR’s mind and pain inducing drugs. He looked around the limo looking for a way to escape.  He could jump out the opposite door of the limo as no one was sitting there even though the limo was traveling at a high rate of speed it would be worth the effort.  He lunged for the door, found it locked and was knocked on the head by George with the back of his pistol.  Everything faded too black as he fell face down on the seat.


Lee woke up a couple of hours later and found himself locked in a small room with no windows only a cot and washroom.  He had no idea where Hai had taken him. The only thing he knew right now was he had a monstrous headache.  He slowly sat up and waited for the room to stop spinning as he rubbed the back of his head.  He made his way into the washroom where he found a couple of towels, he ran them under cold water and put one on the back of his head as he checked his sore jaw out in the mirror.  He gently removed his jacket, rolled up his sleeve and wiped away the blood from the wound on his shoulder.  He noticed it was a through and through hitting nothing vital.  He took the other wet towel and tied it around the wound. He looked at his side and could already see a nice bruise forming where he’d been kicked.  Doesn’t feel like the ribs are cracked or broken, he thought. 

He returned to the room and sat back down on the cot remembering his first encounter with Hai Phong.

He had been sent to the People’s Republic to get the notes and formula for a new more potent truth serum the PR had developed.  It had been used on several agents from ONI as well as agents from other agencies. It worked so well that ONI was asked to get the information.  He was given the name of the chemist in charge of the project…Hai Phong.   The only information he had was that it was a woman and she lived in town of Xincun where a large pharmaceutical company run by the PR had set up shop.  His cover was that of a tourist and was just visiting the town on the eastern edge of the PR.   When he checked into the hotel, he noticed it had a restaurant and bar.  Still dressed in his blue jeans and denim shirt, he wasn’t hungry but could use a drink.  He entered the bar and saw it wasn’t very large.  The walls were covered with paneling and decorated with a few pictures. It had two booths, a couple of pub type tables by the window and about fifteen bars stools.  There were a few patrons in the bar so the only place to sit other than at the bar was one of the booths.  He went to the bar, ordered a beer and sat in the booth when he noticed a beautiful woman with a nice body enter the bar.  She had long straight black hair and was dressed in a light blue suit. She headed right for one of the bar stools and sat down. He wondered why such a beautiful woman was alone in a bar.

“Rudy, I’ll have the usual,” she told the bartender.

“Yes, Ms. Phong, I’ll have it right up,” the bartender replied. 

Lee picked up on the name but didn’t want to make his move yet so sat with his back to the bar nursing his beer listening to them talk.  He got the impression that she must come there a lot as she seemed very friendly with the bartender.

Rudy, please call me Hai.  I come here almost every night.  You let me tell you about my day because I don’t have anyone else to talk to. I don’t date because I work too many hours and it wouldn’t be fair to have someone wait around for me every night.

“Yes Ms.…Hai,” Rudy answered and set her drink down in front of her.

She continued to talk to Rudy telling him that she had gotten a ride to work because her car was broken. Rudy listened as he washed glasses and then called a taxi when she was ready to leave.  She quickly finished her drink when the taxi arrived. She grabbed her purse, a leather briefcase and left.

He breathed a sigh of relief realizing he got lucky when he found out she was the woman he was looking for.  He got up from the booth and went over to the bartender, “Who was that beautiful woman?  She left before I could buy her drink.”

The bartender looked him up and down before deciding he looked decent enough and replied, “That’s Ms. Hai Phong.  She comes here after work almost every night for a drink before going home.  Sometimes she’ll eat dinner here.”

“So she’ll be here tomorrow about this time?” Lee inquired.

“Probably,” the bartender replied.

“Thanks, I’ll have another beer,” Lee told him, returned to his seat and planned on being here tomorrow around this time.


Lee was brought back to reality when he heard a key in the door and the door opened with George standing there with his gun drawn.  “Ms. Phong wants to talk to you,” he said as he motioned Lee toward the door.  “Don’t make any sudden moves as I’ll have no problems shooting you.  Remove your shoes as Ms. Phong doesn’t allow shoes in the house.”

Annoyed Lee replied, “You’re kidding right.” He removed his shoes and set them under the bed noticing George had on a pair of slippers.  When he was finished, George pushed him in the back with the gun and out of the room.   Lee looked around checking out his surroundings in case there was an opportunity to escape.  Before they climbed a set of stairs, Lee saw a door at the end of the short hallway and a window to his left.  Maybe a way out, he thought.

Once at the top of the stairs, George led him to an ornately decorated room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean on one wall with a large door on the opposite side. Shelves lined the walls stacked with books as well as other decorations.  The walls were painted white.  There were also quite a few paintings hanging in the room.  The two couches were covered in a black brocade fabric and the four chairs in the room were covered in white.  Hai sat in one of the chairs that faced the ocean.  George pushed Lee in front of her.

“Scan him. I know most spies always have some sort of tracer implanted in them. I’m sure ONI is no exception,” Hai said smugly.  Since she had worked with the PR Security for many years, she was privy to many inside secrets in the spy world.

Abel ran a scanner over Lee’s body, “He’s clean,” he reported.

Damn.  I knew ONI should have replaced my tracer, he thought when Abel’s scan revealed his wasn’t operating and would have detected it.   I’m glad they made me remove my shoes or they would have found the admiral’s tracker.

“What do you want with me?” Lee demanded.  “As you can see I’m clean.  I gave up the spy business last year.”

“Lee, first of all I don’t believe you gave up being a spy…you’re too good…Secondly, I don’t care what the PR does to you. I’m just keeping you ‘entertained’ until they get here.  I see you’ve been wounded,” Hai remarked.  “Consider it one of the paybacks I owe you for all the problems and pain you’ve caused me at our previous meeting. After you left taking my notes and formula, I was so humiliated I resigned from the agency and I lost my job as a chemist all because of you.  I was so angry with you I used my connections at the PR security to check you out.  I found out your real name, that you worked for ONI, are a Commander in the Naval Reserves and captain of the submarine Seaview.  I vowed to get even with you but I knew I would more than likely never see you again so I stopped seeking revenge until today when I saw you on the street.  Take him away,” Hai snarled.

Lee breathed a sigh of relief as George returned him back to the room.  If she was to be believed, she didn’t know he was married and wouldn’t be able to hurt Janet.


Hai grabbed her glass of wine took a big gulp and sat back in her chair recalling her first meeting with Lee Williams before she found out his real name.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you here before,” Hai said taking a sip of her drink after introducing herself.

“No, I’m just visiting for a few days,” Lee replied.   “Have you had dinner?”

“Yes, I ate before I came in here,” Hai said disappointed.

They continued talking about what they did for a living and why Lee had chosen this town to visit.  They were enjoying themselves when she realized how late is was and she needed to get home so she could finish up her notes on the truth serum.

“I hate to be a spoil sport, but I have some work to do and it’s getting late,” Hai said as she finished her drink.

“Are you free tomorrow night as I would really like to have dinner with you?” Lee asked giving her a very sexy smile.

Grinning back Hai replied, “I’d love to have dinner with you.  I’ll meet you here at 6:00.”

“It’s a date,” Lee answered as Hai gathered her purse.  Lee walked her out to her car and waited until she drove away.


George returned Lee to the small room.  He removed the towel from his arm and saw the wound was still oozing blood so he re-wet the towel and tied it a little tighter on his arm.  He pushed his shoes further under the cot hoping the tracker the admiral put in the sole of his shoe was working.  He knew it was his only chance of being rescued.  He wondered what kind of fun Hai had planned for him before she turned him over to the PR Security Minister.

As he waited for Hai to make her next move, he sat down on the cot and leaned against the wall.  He rubbed his throbbing shoulder, recalling his first meeting with Hai.

He returned to the bar the next night and she was already sitting there with a drink.  He walked over to her, sat down next to her and introduced himself. He bought her another drink and after making small talk for an hour, she said she had some work to finish up.  He invited her to dinner the next evening.  While she was a beautiful woman he didn’t want to use her to get what he needed but he had to get those notes and formula. He had read the reports from ONI and other agencies that had the drug used on their agents and knew it was too dangerous not to get them as the drug she developed had proved to be effective and deadly.  Hell, if it was used on him, he might even crack. He would figure out some way to get invited to her house so he could get a look inside her briefcase.  He only hoped that’s where she kept the data.


Lee had been sitting there an hour when he heard the door open.  George stood at the open door with an evil grin on his face. “Ms. Phong would like to see you.”  He grabbed Lee by his injured arm causing Lee to gasp in pain.  “Sorry, I forgot you’re hurt,” he said sarcastically and pushed him out the door.

George held a pistol to Lee’s back as he pushed him down the same hall as before only they didn’t climb the stairs.  They went straight to the door at the end of the hall.   George opened the door which revealed an open air garden complete with a large pond.  He shoved Lee across a bridge, down a set of stairs and into another room. When Lee entered the room it was full of aquariums with various species of fish and other sea creatures. It also had a view of the outside pond.  Lee could see several species of sharks swimming in the pond. As Lee continued to look around the room he noticed that the aquariums had some of the most dangerous fish that lived not only in the oceans but in fresh water too.  Besides piranhas, puffer fish, and electric eels, Hai had more exotic species in the tanks. He recognized the Lion fish, Stonefish and Blue Ringed Octopus.  Lee knew some of these fish were very dangerous to other fish and man.   He also saw a few tanks of starfish.  There was one starfish Lee had never come across.  It was a large, multiple-armed starfish with thorn-like spines that covered its upper surface, resembling the Biblical crown of thorns.


Hai entered the room and saw Lee looking around at the various aquariums. 

“I see you have quite a collection of fish and sharks,” Lee remarked wondering why Hai had him brought there.

“Yes, it’s a hobby of mine…collecting dangerous fish and sea creatures,” Hai said with a wicked grin on her face admiring her collection.  “Not all of them are dangerous but most of them can cause pain.  Take for example this starfish,” Hai said as George pushed him over to the tank where Hai was currently standing.  “I see you’re staring at ‘The Crown of Thorns starfish…COTS for short.  They’re native to the Indo-Pacific region and are devastating the hard coral communities such as the Great Barrier reef.  I’m sure you noticed it is a very large and has many arms which are actually spines and will regenerate when one is broken.  It feeds on hard coral and the female produces millions of eggs.  When there is an outbreak they found that injecting them with vinegar will cause them to disintegrate within days.   The only predators they have are the pufferfish and triggerfish but the Triton’s trumpet is their worst enemy.  They don’t have a way to inject their toxin called saponins but the spines will perforate the tissues,” Hai explained to Lee as she donned a pair of rubber gloves and pulled one of them out of the tank.  She took the starfish and brought it close to Lee who backed off not wanting to be stung by the spines but Hai quickly rubbed the COTS against Lee’s unwounded arm. 

Lee immediately felt the sharp stinging pain from the saponins the starfish released when one of the spines broke off and embedded in his arm.  His arm started to swell and bleed immediately.

Hai looked at Lee’s arm, “Oh, I’m very sorry that happened.  It can take a week for the swelling, pain and bleeding to stop.  I’m sure you’re very nauseated too.  I see you also have a spine embedded in your arm, that might have to be removed surgically,” she said cruelly offering no assistance to Lee as he tried to stop his arm from bleeding. He was having trouble keeping the contents of his stomach down as waves of nausea plagued him.

“Take him back to his room,” Hai ordered George as she walked away from Lee leaving him with George who jerked him by his injured arm, pushed him out the door they had entered and returned him to his room.


Hai entered the living room, poured herself a drink and stood looking out the windows seething mad at him and herself.  She hated Lee Crane…she couldn’t believe she let herself be swayed by his good looks and smooth talk. 

When she arrived at the restaurant, Lee was already there seated in a booth. When he saw her enter, he quickly came over to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He was dressed in black pants with a grey shirt.  She loved his wavy dark hair and couldn’t believe how attracted she was to him.  He led her over to the table and waited while she slid into the booth and slid in next to her. 

“Do you want your usual cocktail or how about some champagne?” Lee asked her.

“Champagne would be nice for a change,” she replied as Lee ordered a bottle.

“What do you recommend?” Lee asked as he gazed into her eyes instead of the menu.

“The steaks are good and so is the fish,” she answered looking into his amber colored eyes. 

“How about we get one of each and we’ll split it,” Lee suggested as the waiter poured their champagne.

“Good idea,” Hai said as she drank the champagne, the bubbles making her nose twitch.

When their dinner arrived, they split it and both had enjoyed it very much. They talked about their families and hobbies as they ate.  Both were too full for dessert so Lee asked for the check.   He helped her out of the booth and walked her to the car.  With a full moon overhead, a gentle breeze blowing her hair, Lee placed his hand under her chin and lifted her lips up to his.  He kissed her gently.  She returned his kiss and laid her head on his chest.  He kissed her again just as gentle.

“Would you like to come home with me, I could make some coffee,” she offered.  “I don’t have to be at work until later in the morning.”

“Sounds wonderful,” Lee replied as he opened her car door and waited for her to get in before he went around to the passenger side.

When they arrived at her house, she grabbed her purse and briefcase from the back seat.  Lee took the key from her in a gentlemanly fashion, and opened the door letting her go in first.  She put the briefcase down on the chair by the door. 

“I’ll start the coffee,” she said as she went into the kitchen and returned a couple minutes later carrying her shoes.  “I really need to get out of this dress and slip into something more comfortable,” she told him.  “Could you help me with the zipper?” she asked as she turned her back to him and held her hair out of the way so he could undo the zipper.   He unzipped her dress and she walked away telling him, “I’ll only be a few minutes.”

She had only taken five minutes to change but when she returned to the living room, Lee was gone.  She ran to the door and looked to see if he had stepped outside but he was nowhere in sight.  She closed the door and stood there wondering what the hell happened.  She saw her briefcase sitting on the chair, putting in her code to unlock it, she discovered her notebook and notes on the truth serum formula were missing.

Damn, she yelled realizing all Lee Williams wanted were her notes and formula.  She vowed if she ever saw him again she would make him pay.


In the meantime, George escorted a very sick Lee Crane back his room.  As soon as George left, he ran over to the washroom where he vomited up the contents of his stomach.  He sat on the floor of the small washroom for several minutes before he found the energy to pick himself up.  He ran the water waiting for it to get cool before he took the towel, wet it down and pressed it against the wound on his arm.  He could see the spine in his arm but it was in too deep for him to remove.  He managed to slow down the flow of blood but his arm was still stinging and very swollen. He could hardly bend his fingers.  He finally felt well enough to get off the floor so he made his way over to the cot noticing his shoes were still tucked under it.  He pushed them a little further back, hoping that the tracker in his shoe would guide the admiral and Seaview to him. 

As he sat on the cot waiting for his stomach to settle down he recalled his dinner date with Hai.  He wasn’t happy with the way things turned out as Hai was very nice and beautiful but realized she had no qualms about making a truth serum that would get people to divulge information they didn’t want someone to know.

He had arrived at the restaurant a few minutes before 6:00 and was waiting in the booth when he saw Hai walk in.  She was dressed in a short black dress with high heels; she looked even more beautiful than the night before.  He met her at the door, gave her a kiss on the cheek and waited while she slid into the booth. He noticed her dress climbing a little higher on her thighs as she slid in.  He ordered champagne not to get her drunk but to make them both a little more comfortable with each other. 

“Is there something wrong?” Hai asked when she caught him gazing into her green eyes.

“No nothing.  You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen,” he replied.

She blushed when he complimented her eyes.  They decided to split their dinners so Hai ordered the fish and he ordered a steak.  The food was excellent for a small restaurant. 

“Would you like dessert?” he asked when they had finished eating. 

“No, I’m very satisfied,” Hai answered dabbing her napkin on her lips trying to think of a way to keep the evening from ending.

“I’ll get the check so we can leave.  I know you have to be at work in the morning.”

When they left the restaurant there was a full moon shining down on them, he gave her a kiss which he was happy she returned.  He kissed her again and enjoyed that one just as much as the first one.

That’s when she said she didn’t need to be at work until later in the morning so he took her up on her offer to make coffee, thankful for the invitation and a chance to check out her briefcase.  They got into her car and he was hoping she didn’t live too far away as he wasn’t looking forward to walking back to town.  They only drove about five miles from the hotel when they reached her house.  It was a small nice looking two story house.   She took her purse and briefcase from the back seat of the car.  When they entered the house, she hung her purse on the back of the chair and laid the briefcase on the seat. 

“I’ll make us some coffee,” she told him after she put her things down. She was carrying her shoes when she came out of the kitchen and he was surprised when she asked him to unzip her dress giving him the impression she would welcome any advances he offered.  When she went upstairs to change, he tried the briefcase but it was locked so he took his set of lock picks from his pocket, pulled out the size he needed and popped open the locks on the briefcase.  Inside he found a small notebook and her notes on the formula.  He removed what he needed, closed and re-locked the briefcase.  He quietly opened the door and walked out shutting the door just as quietly.  He quickly walked down the road and back to the hotel where he gathered up his belongings and went to the airport to catch his plane out of the PR with the information.  As he sat on the plane waiting for it to take off, he thought about how he had led Hai on but knew her work was too dangerous to let her continue.  If he helped one ONI agent or any other agent have a chance if a counter formula was made, he knew it was worth it. 

His stomach had finally settled down a little so he laid down, curled up on his side and realized Hai’s ‘fun’ had just begun.


Lee woke up when he heard the key in the lock.  Glancing at his watch, he saw he had been asleep for a couple of hours.  He was thirsty but not very hungry as he was still nauseated.

“You’re to come with me,” Abel said as he entered the room.   Ms. Phong wants you to join her for dinner.”

“No thanks,” Lee replied uninterested.  “I’ll just stay here.”

With both of his arms injured, he had no way of fighting back when Abel punched him the stomach causing him to cry out in pain.   “It wasn’t a request but a demand,” Abel answered as he shoved him out the door as Lee reluctantly went up the stairs to the dining room where Hai was already seated.

As Hai picked up her wine glass she asked, “Did he give you any trouble?”

“He wasn’t going to come but I convinced him,” he said as he pushed Lee into the empty seat next to her.

“Now Lee, is that anyway to treat your host,” Hai told him as she sipped her wine.  “Please have some.  I’ll pour you a glass from the bottle so you can see I haven’t poisoned it.”  She took the bottle and poured the wine into the glass as the butler entered the room with plates of steak, fish, potatoes and green beans and set it in front of them.  He left the room and returned a few minutes later with a pot of tea and cups on a tray and set it down on the side table.

“Sorry but no thanks,” Lee replied pushing the glass and plate of food away not trusting his host but her choice of dinner didn’t get past him.

“Still not feeling well from your sting, maybe some tea would help your stomach,” Hai said snapping her fingers and the butler brought over a cup of tea and placed it in front of Lee.  Hai knew Lee wouldn’t trust her not to put a drug in the tea.

Lee hesitated knowing Hai wouldn’t think twice about putting something in the tea.  She noticed his hesitation, took the cup of tea and drank it.  “See there’s nothing wrong with the tea and it might help your stomach,” she told him.

“Bring over another cup of tea,” she instructed the butler who brought over another cup and set it in front of Lee.

Lee had watched him pour both cups of tea from the pot.  He took a small sip of the tea and found it had a sweet taste so he drank it up.

Hai sat watching Lee with an evil grin on her face, “You’ll be feeling better in no time,” she said as Lee had a hard time keeping his eyes open.  Just before he lapsed into unconsciousness he realized Hai had somehow drugged his cup of tea.

“Take him away and strap him in.  He’s going to have a nice evening,” Hai said cold-heartedly.

Abel and George dragged Lee over the bridge and back to the room with all the aquariums and strapped him into a chair that had been placed in front of the shark pond.  Hai sat back and waited for Lee to wake up.  She had put a sedative and a drug in his tea.  She was going to enjoy watching Lee Crane squirm.


Lee woke up twenty minutes later.  When he opened his eyes he was dizzy, his vision blurred and his heart was racing.  His stomach was doing summersaults as he tried to get his nausea under control. He looked up and saw he was facing a huge tiger shark, its jaws wide open coming at him. The shark was so close he could see its teeth.  He tried to move away but suddenly realized he was strapped to a chair unable to move.   The shark kept coming as Lee closed his eyes and cringed waiting for it to grab him.  The chair was then spun around.  He opened his eyes to find the chair pushed up against the tank where the blue ringed octopus had climbed up the side, one of its large tentacles was at the top of the tank reaching out to grab him.

“No,” Lee yelled afraid it would leave the tank and crawl on him.

As he tried to recoil away, he heard an evil laugh from behind him.  The chair was then pressed up against the tank where the COTS were. A large COTS had reached the top of the tank and was almost on him before the chair was pulled away as he heard more wicked laughter.

“You’ve provided me with quite a show tonight Commander,” Hai said as she continued laughing.  “The great Commander Lee Crane showing his paranoia.”

“Why?” Lee managed to croak out trying to catch his breath and regain his bearings, which was proving hard to do as he had no control over his feelings, breathing or his limbs as they felt numb.

Hai walked over to the chair and hissed in Lee’s ear.  “To drive you crazy. You’ve been a thorn in my side since I met you in the Xincun.  You used me to get my notebook and notes on the truth’s something I’ll never forget.  When I’m finished with you, Commander, you won’t be fit to command a row boat let alone your submarine.  Your career as a spy will be over as who would trust you not to crack. You’ve only begun to experience my ‘entertainment’.”   Hai spun the chair around and returned to her place in the shadows watching every move Lee made.  Lee closed his eyes for a few minutes praying the drug induced hallucinations and feelings of paranoia would stop. When he re-opened his eyes he hoped the the giant creatures were gone but he instead found himself staring at a dark grey six-foot long electric eel slithering out of the tank.  Lee screamed and passed out before it was on him.

Hai returned to Lee’s side relishing in the fact that she gotten the best of Lee Crane.  With a smug look on her face she told George and Abel to take him back to his room.  She walked out smiling as the two men un-strapped Lee.  It took both men to hold him up as they lugged him to his cell where they shoved him in and left him lying on the floor in the fetal position. 


Lee woke up and realized he was lying on the floor in what he hoped was his room.  He was still dizzy, his heart was pounding and he was still nauseated but more importantly he was afraid to open his eyes not knowing what was awaiting him if he did. 


Twenty-four hours had elapsed since Seaview changed course and was heading for Lee’s last known location.  Sparks still had no contact with the tracker the admiral had place in his shoe.   Harry was holed up in his cabin working on reports; Janet stayed in her office doing paperwork just to keep busy.  Chip and Bobby were in the control room making sure they were on course.  If their calculations were correct, they should be arriving at the coordinates at approximately 1100 hours the next day.

“Control room,” Chief Sharkey called on the mic.

“Yes Chief, what is it?” Chip asked abruptly.

“Mr. Morton, sir, we can’t keep running the engines at flank.  One of the propeller shafts is seriously overheating and the other one isn’t too far behind.

Chip mulled over his options knowing if he brought her down to full they would still have a problem. “Bring her down to standard,” he ordered reluctantly.

“Aye, aye, sir,” Sharkey replied.

Chip turned his attention back to the charting table where he and O’Brien would recalculate how long it would now take them to get to their destination.


Harry was working in his cabin when he felt Seaview decrease in speed.  He picked up the phone and contacted the control room.

“Chip, why did we decrease our speed?” he demanded.

“Sir, Sharkey reported that the propeller shafts were overheating, so I backed her off to standard,” Chip replied confidently, not worried about the Admiral’s temper.  He knew the admiral was just as worried about the man he considered his ‘son’ as he was about his ‘brother’.

Harry realized they had no choice but to decrease their speed if they wanted to get to Lee, he sighed deeply and asked, “How much longer will it take us to arrive at the coordinates?”

“It’ll take us an additional two hours,” Chip reported after getting the information from O’Brien.

“Very well,” the admiral responded and leaned back in his chair.  “Damn,” he muttered out aloud and returned to his reports.

Janet also felt the boat slow down.  She figured there was a problem with the engines so they had slowed her down.  Even she understood they couldn’t run at flank speed forever.  She wondered how much longer it would now take them to get to Lee.


Chip was up at 0500 knowing they would reach Lee’s last known location today.  He quickly dressed, ate breakfast and hustled to the control room.  He wanted to make sure they were still on course and schedule. If they had no problems, they would reach the coordinates by early afternoon. Bobby O’Brien had just relieved Scott Taper and was checking over the logbook and course.

“How’s it looking?” Chip asked as he stood next to the charting table.

“We’re on schedule and should be at the coordinates by 1300 hours,” Bobby replied.

“Good,” Chip replied and went to the radio shack to check in with Sparks.

“Pick up anything?” he asked hopefully knowing that all the radio operators had orders to scan all frequencies and report to him immediately if they got so much as a hiccup.

“Sorry sir, nothing so far,” Sparks reported and continued his scanning.

“Damn,” Chip muttered as he walked away from the radio shack.

The admiral and Janet had just come down the staircase and headed over to the charting table.

“Anything?’ Harry asked when he saw Chip leave the radio shack.

“No sir, nothing.  We’re on course and schedule.  Unless we get a signal from him, we should be at his last known location by 1300 hours,” Chip reported.

“Thanks, Chip,” Nelson replied.  “I’ll be in my lab if we pick up his signal.”

“Yes, sir,” Chip replied as Harry left the control room via the aft hatch.

Janet listened to what Chip had reported to the admiral.   “Do you think we’ll get a signal from him?”

Chip rubbed his forehead, “I honestly don’t know.”

“Thanks, Chip,” Janet said quietly.  “Please let me know if you hear anything.”

“You know I will.   I need to meet with you later this morning to go over some reports, duty rosters, and inventory. Would you meet me in my cabin at 1100 hours?”

“Yes, sir.  I’ll be there,” Janet answered and went back up the staircase to her office.

Chip smiled as she walked away…his ploy worked…she would be kept busy until they reached the coordinates.


At 1000 hours, Chip turned over the control room to Bobby. He also needed to keep busy as they waited for a signal from Lee or they made it to the coordinates.  Before he went to his cabin, he stopped in the crew’s mess.

“Cookie, send up lunch for Mrs. Crane and me at 1115 hours.”

“Aye sir,” Cookie replied eagerly as he’d heard the scuttlebutt that the Skipper was in trouble and wanted to help Mrs. C. anyway he could.

Chip made his way down the passageway, up the ladder and entered his cabin where he loosened his tie and sat down at his desk.   His desk was covered with his paperwork and Lee’s as Janet could only do so much before he would have to check it over and finish it.  He was finishing up his last report when there was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” he said as he signed the report and put it in the completed pile.

“Hi Chip,” Janet said as she walked in and sat down in chair at the front of his desk.   His cabin wasn’t as large as theirs but it was still comfortable and just like Chip everything was neat and orderly.

She was surprised that he had loosened his tie but didn’t say anything.   “What do you have for me?” she asked seeing his out tray was piled high with work.

“I’ve finished the duty rosters along with some reports that Lee hadn’t completed before he left on his mission.  Do you have the paperwork on the results from the tests on the new equipment?  I liked to look it over before I sign off on them and you give them to Lee.”

“Yes Chip,” Janet replied as she took out the paperwork from the folder she had brought with her and handed it to him.  She had some questions on some reports he had given her earlier and he was explaining what he wanted when there was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Chip answered and Cookie walked in with two trays of food.

“Here’s lunch for you and Mrs. C.,” Cookie said and set the trays on the desk.  “If you need anything more, just let me know,” he added winking at Janet letting her know he cared.

He left the cabin as Janet sat there looking at Chip.  “I thought you wanted to meet with me regarding work…not eat lunch.”

“We can do both,” he responded with a slight grin.  “I know you haven’t been eating and to keep Jamie off your six, I had lunch sent up.”

Janet removed the covers and had to admit lunch did look good as she hadn’t eaten breakfast.   As they dug into their egg salad sandwiches, she asked, ‘Do you think you’ll find him when we get to his location?”

“Yes, it just may take longer than we would like,” he assured her.

“But what shape will he be in,” Janet said quietly, “He missed the flight so they’ve had him for at least a day and it’s taken us two days to get to him.  You know they can do a lot of damage in that time.”

Chip sighed deeply as he couldn’t disagree with her, “We’ll hope for the best.”

They finished their lunches in silence before they returned to work.  Chip looked over the inventory lists and was happy to see they weren’t short on any items.  He gave her the duty rosters to post and the reports.  “I’ll give the test results back to you when I’m finished with them,” he told her as she stood up with all the work.

“Thanks Chip,” she said smiling, “for the work and lunch,”

“You’re welcome,” he replied as he stood up straightened his tie and left his cabin for the control room.


It was 1200 hours and Chip was getting frustrated that they hadn’t received a signal from the tracker in Lee’s shoe.  They would be at his last known coordinates in an hour.   Chip stood at the charting table tapping his pencil.   Janet had come down the stairs and walked into the control room.  She managed a small smile when she saw Chip tapping his pencil.  It was the same thing Lee would do when he was worried or frustrated. 

“Anything?” she asked quietly.

Shaking his head, “No,” he replied worriedly knowing the longer it took them to find Lee the more he could be tortured.

Janet made her way back into the observation nose and sat down at the table watching the water rush across Seaview’s nose.  She’d been sitting there for a half an hour when she heard Sparks call to Chip.

“Mr. Morton, I’ve picked up something,” he said as Chip raced over to the radio shack.  Janet wasn’t too far behind.  Just as Sparks was calling to Chip, Nelson had entered the control room and hastened over.

“What do you have?” Harry asked eagerly.

“I was scanning the frequency you gave me and heard a faint beep.  I’m trying to get a location on it,” Sparks replied as he continued to turn the dial. 

Nelson, Chip, and Janet as well as the rest of the control room waited for more information.  Sparks continued to hone in on the signal even though it was still very faint.  He was finally able to pinpoint the location.  He wrote down the coordinates and handed them to Chip who ran back to the charting table followed by Nelson and Janet.  He quickly charted the coordinates on the map.

“According to this information, Lee’s about ten miles east of his last known position,” Chip reported.  “Only one problem.”

“What’s that?” Harry asked warily.

Sighing deeply, “If this information is correct, he’s now in the PR,” Chip replied unhappily.

“Damn,” Janet let slip out.  Harry gave her a weak smile as she never swore in front of him.

“Let’s see exactly where he is and what we’re going to need to do to get him out of there,” Nelson said as O’Brien pulled out a map of the PR from underneath the charting table and set it on top.

“According to the coordinates, it looks like he’s near the water.  We may be able to use FS-1 to get him out of there depending on the depth,” Nelson said as they poured over the map.

“Maneuvering,” Chip called on the mic and gave them the new coordinates.

They felt Seaview make the slight adjustment to the course.  

“Sparks, keep monitoring the signal,” Chip shouted to the radio shack.

“Yes sir,” Sparks replied loudly.  “The signal is still faint but getting stronger.”

Chip quickly re-calculated how long it would take them to get to the new location.  “Sir, we should be there about the same time as before.”

Harry and Chip carefully perused the map of the ocean floor looking for any undersea mountains and how deep the water was.  “It looks like the water might be too shallow for Seaview and we don’t want to get caught in the PR waters but FS-1 should have no problem getting in there.  Let’s look for a cove or small bay where we could dock her,” Harry said as he returned back to the topography of that area.    “I want a closer look at that area before we go in.  Let’s use one of the spy satellites to check it out.”

Chip walked over to the radio shack, “Sparks get pictures of the coordinates on Admiral Nelson’s authorized code.”

“Aye sir,” he replied as he plugged in the coordinates to one of military spy satellites which beamed back the pictures immediately.

Chip returned to the charting table with quite a few pictures.  The two men carefully scrutinized the pictures.  “Looks like there’s a small cove not too far from the coordinates,” Chip responded as he pointed to the area on one of the pictures.  “I’m sure we could get FS-1 in there.” 

“The cove’s pretty secluded so we may be able to bring in FS-1 and cover her up so no one can see her. It will make our getaway a little easier.  When we get there, let’s see how overgrown it looks,” Harry commented as he continued looking over some additional pictures Sparks brought over. 

“Admiral, look at that,” Chip said as he pointed out a large estate not too far from the cove they saw on the picture.  “That might be the place to start.  It’s out of the town proper, hidden from the road, near the water and surrounded by a wall.”

Harry picked up the mic, “Sparks, do you still have the signal?”

“Yes sir and it’s getting stronger since I deployed a communication antenna,” he replied.

Harry smiled knowing he had the best radioman around and asked, “Are the coordinates still the same?” 

“No sir, I’ve been able to narrow the signal down even more…it seems to be closer to the water.”

“Thanks, Sparks,” Harry responded and stowed the mic.

“Chip, I think that estate will be the place to start our search.”

“How many men should we take?” Chip asked.

“I want a detail made up of you, Riley, Kowalski and myself.  Let’s also assume he’s going to need medical attention,” Nelson said looking at Janet who just nodded her head acknowledging that Lee in the hands of the PR would more than likely be hurt.

“Yes sir,” Chip replied. 

“We’ll keep Seaview the twelve nautical miles off the coast,” Harry stated.  “We’ll take FS-1 in submerged and surface when we reach the shore.  It doesn’t look like that cove is too far from the area we’re going to search.”

“I’ll bring her up to flank,” Chip told Nelson.  He double clicked the mic connecting him to the engine room and ordered them to increase the speed to flank.


Seaview was sailing at flank speed to the latest coordinates, when Chip called Riley, Kowalski and Chief Sharkey to the observation nose.

“You know we have a line on the Skipper.  Kowalski, Riley you’re going to accompany the admiral and me on the rescue mission using FS-1. Sharkey, issue carbine rifles to them along with service revolvers for the four of us. Dress is green fatigues. Kowalski, pick up a kit from Dr. Jamieson.  Be ready to leave in thirty minutes,” Chip ordered.

“Aye, aye sir,” the two men replied and returned to their stations as Sharkey returned to his watch in the engine room.

“We’ll get him out,” Harry told Janet as she stood there listening to the plan.   “I better check in with Admiral Johnson and let him know where he is.  Maybe he can give us some idea who owns that estate.”

Harry went up the stairs to his cabin to make his call and prepare the hand held tracking device.  Janet sank down into a chair at the table to wait.   Oh Lee, Janet said softly.  Hang on, we’ll be there shortly.

Chip returned to the Control Room after checking with Sparks making sure they were still getting a signal.



Harry had finished working on the tracking device tuning it in on the right frequency, and was going to call Admiral Johnson when Sparks called his cabin on the intercom.

“Admiral, I have Admiral Starke for you,” he said.

Sighing, “Put him through,” the admiral replied as the last thing he wanted to do was talk to his friend, Jiggs Starke.

“Harriman,” Jiggs said before the admiral could answer.  “I hear Crane’s in trouble…I have Jason Weldon here.  He just turned over the intel before he heads back to ONI headquarters.  Harry could hear Jason in the background asking Jiggs’ permission to let him speak to the admiral.

“Jiggs, let me talk to Jason,” Harry asked knowing he might have some more information regarding Lee.

“Sir, I’m sorry that Lee didn’t get out.  I tried to make him take the intel since I don’t have anything to lose.”  Harry smiled knowing how Jason felt about Lee and Janet.  “I had only one man make a half-hearted attempt to catch me while the other two men zeroed right in on Lee after he set himself up as the decoy.  I hated to leave him there but I had to get this information back to the US,” Jason explained.

“I understand Jason,” Nelson replied.  “I know Lee would put the completing the mission first.”

“I want to help you find him…if you could just send FS-1 to get me at Pearl,” Jason asked desperately. 

“Thanks, Jason but we’re almost at the coordinates.  I put a test tracker in his shoe and we’re receiving a signal from it since his ONI tracer isn’t working anymore.  Did you or Lee recognize the men tailing you?”

Damn,” Jason thought and continued, “Sorry sir neither one of us knew them, but I want to think they were just the hired hands as they got out of the limo and followed us.  My gut tells me there’s someone else behind his kidnapping. As you know from previous dealings with the PR, their agents don’t arrive by limos to tail anyone.”

“After hearing what you just told me, I agree with you,” Nelson responded.  “I’ll let you know as soon as we get him.”

“I’d appreciate that sir,” Jason answered and returned the phone back to Starke.

“Harriman, keep in touch,” Starke told him as he ended the call.

Harry placed down the receiver on the phone and sat there shaking his head knowing Lee put duty ahead of his own safety again.  He picked up the phone and asked Sparks to get him Admiral Johnson.    He sat there for a few minutes continuing to check out the tracker when he received his call.

“Gerald,” Harry said when he answered.  “We’ve traced Lee to the town of Longting in the People’s Republic which isn’t too far from the city of Sha-pa.  Lee set himself up as the decoy so someone out there must have known he and Jason were there to pick up the intel.”

“I’m not sure but let me check with our sources and I’ll get back to you.  Have you reached the location?” Johnson asked worriedly.

“We’ll be there in thirty minutes.  Let me know what you find out so we know what we’re up against,” Nelson told him and hung up the phone.

He got up from his desk, took the tracking device and made his way to the control room.  


When Harry arrived in the control room, Chip was at the charting table and he saw Janet still sitting in the observation nose staring out the windows.  Just as he arrived at the table, Sparks called on the mic.

“Admiral, I have Admiral Johnson for you,” Sparks reported.

“Put it over here,” Nelson instructed.  “What do you have?”

“Nothing,” Johnson replied.  “I checked with our sources over there and they found out that the PR didn’t have anyone in the Sha-pa area looking for Lee, Jason or the intel.  They don’t think the PR even knows the intel on LRASM has been compromised.  As far as Longting, they have no knowledge of a PR agent living there.”

“Thanks, Gerald,” Nelson said worriedly.  “That can only mean he’s run into someone who knew him,” Harry deducted.

“Sorry, Harry,” Johnson responded.  “Keep me updated.”

“Yes, I’ll let you know when get him,” Harry replied.   The admiral stowed the mic, looked at Chip and then to Janet in the observation nose who had turned around when she heard him talking to Admiral Johnson.

“Let’s get ready,” Nelson told Chip who motioned to Kowalski and Riley to suit up for their mission.


Kowalski and Riley went to the crew’s quarters, pulled their fatigues out of their lockers.  Riley took his backpack out and doubled checked to make sure he had the gear he would need for the mission.  Once they were dressed, the two men made their way to sick bay. 

“As soon as you have him, contact me.  I want a quick rundown of his injuries so I know what to expect when he gets on board,” Jamie instructed Kowalski as he handed him the blue backpack filled with the medical supplies he hoped they wouldn’t need.

“You got it Doc,” Kowalski replied as he took the backpack.  He and Riley left Sick Bay and reported back to the control room to wait for the admiral and Chip.


Chip and the Admiral went up the spiral staircase and into their cabins to change.  As he walked down the passageway, Chip had removed his tie and undone his top button by the time he entered his cabin.  He quickly changed into his fatigues and sat on his bunk lacing up his boots.  When he took his backpack out of his closet, he made sure it contained his canteen, which he filled with water from the head, flashlight, knife, radio and a lock pick kit similar to the one Lee carried.  Once he was satisfied everything was in there, he left his cabin.

It had been awhile since Harry had donned his fatigues.  He dug deep in his closet, pulled them out along with his boots.  He quickly changed into the fatigues and sat in the chair by his desk as he put on and tied his boots.  He also took a quick look in his backpack to make sure he had the necessary supplies.  He tucked his hat into his belt and left the cabin meeting Chip on the way to the spiral staircase.

“I haven’t worn these in a long time,” Harry commented to Chip as they descended down the staircase.

“Me either,” Chip replied wishing he didn’t have to wear them now but his captain and friend was in trouble so he would do anything to get him back.

The two men returned to the control room where Sharkey was waiting for them.


While the four men got ready, Sharkey and Marco went to the arsenal to get the equipment the men would need for the mission.  He took the key out of his pocket, opened the door and walked over to the cabinet where the rifles and pistols were stored.  He unlocked the cabinet and handed Marco four service pistols.  He removed two rifles and a few canisters of tear gas along with extra ammo.  He relocked everything and returned to the control room where Harry, Chip, Kowalski and Riley were waiting.   He handed the admiral and Chip a service pistol along with a couple of tear gas canisters and ammo.  He then gave Riley his service pistol, tear gas canister and a rifle.  He handed Kowalski his two guns as he had the medical backpack to take care of.  Once the men had put the gear in their packs, Sharkey and Marco took the packs and stowed them in the flying sub. Sharkey stayed down there and did the pre-flight check list so they would be able to leave as soon as they arrived at the coordinates.

Harry, Chip, and the other two men were in the observation nose looking over a map of the area as well as the pictures from the spy satellite that Chip had laid on the table.  The tracking device was also on the table.

“Here’s the cove where we’ll surface FS-1.  Hopefully it’ll be deserted and we can leave her there while we look for Captain Crane,” Nelson explained.  “If our signal is correct, we’ll head to the estate just south of the cove.  It looks pretty heavily wooded so we’ll have to make sure we don’t make too much noise.”

Chip took over explaining the next part of the plan, “From these pictures, it looks like there’s only one way in and out of the estate by car.  There’s a boat dock, but I don’t see any boats anywhere so it’s safe to assume there’s no way to leave by water. Once we get to the property, we’ll split up into two groups.  We’ll decide who goes with who when we get there and survey the area.”

“Sir, do we have any idea how many people live there?” Ski asked as he rubbed his forehead.

“No way to know.  ONI has no idea who lives there, but Sparks has narrowed the coordinates to this general area,” Nelson answered.  “Just watch your back when we enter the estate.”

Sharkey climbed up the ladder and reported, “Mr. Morton, the pre-flight check list is completed and she’s ready to go as soon as we reach our location.”

“Thanks, Chief,” Chip replied patting him on the shoulder.

The tracking device was sitting on the table next to the maps and pictures.  Lee’s lifeline, Janet thought as she stood off to the side listening to the men discuss what was going to take place on the mission.  She hoped they would get Lee but also prayed that no one else would get hurt in the process.

“Mr. Morton,” O’Brien called from the control room.  “We’re at the coordinates and stationed twelve miles off the coast of the PR.”

Chip returned to the control room, picked up the mic, “Engine room, all stop.”

“Engine room, aye,” Patterson answered as they felt the submarine come to a stop.

“Mr. O’Brien bring her up to ninety feet and maintain neutral buoyancy.” Chip instructed.

“Aye, aye sir,” O’Brien replied issued the order and Seaview slowly ascended to the proper depth.

“Stay at ninety feet and monitor all radios,” Chip ordered.

“Aye, sir,” O’Brien replied.  “Good luck, sir.”

“Thanks,” Chip responded knowing the boat was in good hands with O’Brien at the helm.

Sharkey opened the hatch on the flying sub, when the four men had descended down the ladder, he closed and secured the hatch.  He returned to the control room and waited for the okay to release the little submarine.


Riley grabbed the seat behind the co-pilot’s seat while Kowalski took the other back seat.  If needed, both men were qualified to fly FS-1.

“Chip, you take her in,” Harry said as he sat in the co-pilot’s chair and buckled himself in. 

Chip took the pilot’s chair, buckled up his harness, attached the throat mic and turned on the little sub’s engines.  Pressing the button, he called the control room, “FS-1 ready to launch,” he told Sharkey.

“All green, opening up the docking bay doors,” Sharkey replied.  “Good luck, sir.”

“Launch,” Chip answered and slowly lowered the little sub out of her berth.  Once out and away from Seaview, Chip pushed the joysticks forward giving her a little more speed while the docking bay doors closed behind her.


Lee had fallen back to sleep and woke up still in the fetal position having spent hours battling hallucinations and paranoia.  His legs were cramped up from being bent so long; he stretched out so he was lying on his back.  He made a quick assessment of his bodily functions.  His heart rate was back too normal.  He slowly opened his eyes, blinked a few times grateful he didn’t see any creatures. He wasn’t as dizzy but did notice the arm with the embedded spine had started bleeding again from him lying on it.  He was still nauseated but didn’t know if that was from the drugs, the COTS sting or because he was hungry.  He hadn’t eaten since yesterday but wasn’t sure he would be able to keep anything down anyway.  He glanced over to his left side and saw his shoes were still under the cot.  Thanks goodness, he thought.  He had no way of knowing if Seaview was on her way or when and if she would even get there.  He hoped it was before the PR agent came for him.  He knew once in the hands of the PR his treatment would be just as bad as what Hai had done or even worse.

He slowly sat up and rested his back against the cot before attempting to rise.  He sat there for a few minutes before checking the time and noticed it was 1000 hours.  He had been asleep for almost ten hours.  He stood up, made his way into the washroom where he wet the towel and put it on his arm gently dabbing away at the wound that was still oozing blood noticing it was red, swollen and warm.  He removed his shirt and checked out the arm that was shot.  Wincing as he cleaned it up, it too was red, swollen and warm to the touch so he knew that both arms were already infected.   After he finished with his arms, he took care of the rest of his ablution and sat down on the cot. He knew he had a fever, if he moved to quickly he was dizzy and had no energy.  He had never been so scared in his life and wondered what Hai had put in this tea.  Probably a new kind of drug she developed, he thought.  He remembered the window he saw when they brought him to the room with the aquariums and where it led.  He noticed that the garden area had a wall around the perimeter and the only way out of there was through the salt-water pond but knew he wouldn’t get very far with the sharks swimming around.  His only hope for escape was that window.  He decided to make a move when they came for him again.  He knew Hai wasn’t done with him so he would have to get away before she got to him again.  He didn’t have to wait too long before he heard the key in the door.


Chip ran FS-1 submerged until it was too shallow to continue.  He slowly brought the sub to the surface.  They could see the small cove which was heavily wooded almost to the shoreline but noticed a small open area where Chip skillfully maneuvered the sub.  He managed to turn her around so they would be able to make a quick escape without having to worry about backing her into the water.

“Nice job,” Harry told Chip.  “Lee would be proud.”   Chip could handle FS-1 with no problems but Lee could get ‘his baby’ to do things it was never meant to do. 

“Thank you, sir,” Chip replied as he completed the shut-down procedures and closed the black-out shutters over the viewports.

Riley opened the rear hatch and jumped out of the sub and onto the small sand area.  Kowalski handed him their packs, and guns before jumping out.  Harry and Chip jumped out of the small sub.  Chip entered the numeric code locking all the hatches.  The admiral surveyed the area and thought she would be safe from intruders.  He had gotten some more pictures from Sparks before they left and they showed the closest house to them besides the estate was five miles from their present location and to get to the road they would have to walk two miles through dense woods.

After Riley had put on his backpack, he handed the admiral and Chip theirs along with the service pistols. While Riley passed out the gear, Kowalski donned his hat, grabbed the blue backpack with the medical supplies and was holding his rifle ready to move out.  He stood there with a determined look on his face impatiently waiting to get moving so they could find the Skipper.

Nelson removed the tracking device from his pocket and honed in on the signal from Lee’s shoe. “Follow me,” he told the men as they started to make their way through the dense woods to the estate. 

According to the map it was approximately three miles from where they left FS-1.  They plodded through the dense woods, careful not to make too much noise so as not to alert anyone they were there.  When they arrived, there was a six-foot concrete wall they would have to scale in order to get into the estate.  Riley removed the rope from his backpack and attached it one of the concrete pillars separating the sections.  He pulled himself up and over the top jumping down on the other side waiting to see if he triggered an alarm or the barking of attack dogs.  He heard nothing and helped the other men over the wall. 


When the door opened to Lee’s cell, George stood there with his gun drawn.   “Ms. Phong wants to see you.”

“Tell Ms. Phong, I don’t feel like playing her games,” Lee replied curtly.

“You don’t have a choice,” George snapped and grabbed Lee by the shoulder causing him to cry out in pain.  “Get moving.” George said as he pushed Lee out the door and headed for the room with the aquariums.  As they walked by the window, Lee punched George in the face causing him to lose his balance and knock his head on the wall.  He fell to the floor as Lee opened the window.  There was a wall right outside with a narrow band of grass but as he quickly surveyed the area, there was no way out as both sides were blocked off. 

“Damn,” Lee muttered as he knew he would have to scale the wall to get out.  He had no time to return to the room for his shoes as George was starting to come around so he climbed out the window and tried to scale the wall but kept slipping down.  He just needed to get up a little higher so he could get his hand on the top and muster what strength he had to hoist himself over the wall but he never got a chance.

“Don’t move or I’ll shoot,” George snapped as Lee heard him cock his pistol.

Hai and Abel heard the commotion and quickly ran down the stairs as Lee was climbing back through the window.

“I should have known you’d try to escape,” Hai said harshly.   “Take him to the laboratory.”

George roughly grabbed his one arm while Abel took the other as they dragged him through the garden.  After lugging him through the room with the aquariums, Lee noticed they were dragging him to a door on the right hand side of the room.  He kept struggling to get free but was quickly running out of energy.   By the time they reached the door, he had no fight left in him.  He was dizzy, breathing heavily and could hardly walk.  The door to the room was already open and Lee could see a chair with straps and Hai waiting for him.  The room was filled with various bottles of chemicals, test tubes, beakers and other items one would need in a laboratory. 

George and Abel had no trouble strapping Lee into the chair.  Hai dressed in a white lab coat walked over to him.  “I’m surprised you put up such a good fight after last night’s adventure.  I’ll have to remember to increase the dosage the next time I use it.  George, Abel, you can leave us alone.  I assure you I’ll be all right as Commander Crane will be incapacitated in a few minutes,” she said.

After the two men left the room, Hai walked over to Lee and ran her manicured nail down his face.  “Does your wife like you with a beard or clean-shaven?” Hai asked deviously.

“I’m not married,” Lee said unemotionally. 

“Now Lee, there’s no need to lie about it.  Her name is Janet and she works at the institute with you.  Remember I checked you out,” Hai said with an evil laugh as she walked over to the table, pulled out a syringe and loaded it with a blue liquid from one of the tubes on the table.  When that one was full, she loaded another one with a clear liquid.   She picked up both syringes and walked back over to him and set them on the tray near the chair.

“What’s that,” Lee asked knowing full well what Hai was capable of producing.

“It’s a new mind and emotion altering drug I’ve developed and you’re going to be the guinea pig.  If it works, I hope to sell it to the PR.  It’s a series of four shots given every two hours.  The first one you’ll have some very interesting hallucinations and it’s a good thing you’ll be restrained or you might do something to hurt yourself.  Don’t worry about any flashbacks or side effects; you’ll need to worry about those after the fourth dose when you have no memory, emotions and a lot of pain,” Hai said grinning.  “Gee, I wonder if Janet would still want you when you don’t know or love her?” she asked sarcastically.    

“I know you think it was wrong of me to steal your notes and formula but you or even one of your agents would have done the same thing for your country, but I never intended to hurt you,” Lee stated hoping she wouldn’t carry out her plan.

“Is that your way of apologizing?” Hai asked outraged.  “Well it’s too little; too late.”

Hai swabbed Lee’s arm with an alcohol patch.  “The first injection is a sedative to knock you out so the second one can take effect.  Don’t worry it won’t hurt,” she said as she injected the clear syringe into his arm.  Just as Lee was about to fall asleep, Hai injected the syringe with the blue liquid into Lee’s arm.   He screamed in pain as the liquid entered his bloodstream. 

“Oops, sorry, I forgot to tell you the second one would hurt,” Hai said with no remorse.  “Just let the drugs take over.  You’ll be asleep in no time.  I can’t wait for you to wake up.”   Hai walked away from Lee’s chair and returned to the table where she wrote down some notes in her notebook.   Lee fell asleep a few minutes later.


Once the four men were over the wall, Harry took out the tracking device. “I still have a signal so let’s keep moving and see what we find.  I’m sure the house can’t be too far from where we are now.”

The four men trudged through the woods a little further and came upon the front of a large house.  As they approached the house they saw a man in the garden.  Nelson motioned for Kowalski to sneak about behind him and bring him over to them.   Catching him by surprise, Ski had no trouble subduing the man.  He quickly put his hand over the man’s mouth to prevent him for calling out.  He didn’t struggle as Kowalski brought him to the admiral.

“We don’t want to hurt you but we’re looking for a dark haired American man,” Nelson told him.  “Is he here?”

The man nodded his head yes.

“I’ll have my man take his hand from your mouth if you promise not to make any noise,” Harry said.

He again nodded his head yes.

Kowalski removed his hand and the butler wipe off his mouth.

“Who are you…how many more people are in the house…where are they?” Chip asked.

“I’m Tang, Ms. Phong’s butler.  There are two more men in the kitchen eating lunch and Ms. Phong is in her laboratory,” the butler responded his voice quavering.  “I don’t know where the man is you’re looking for.”

“Ms. Phong,” Harry asked.  “Is she the owner?”

“Yes sir.”

“We’re going to have to tie you up and gag you so you don’t alert anyone that we’re here,” Nelson told him as he motioned Riley to tie him to the tree and put duct tape on his mouth.

Harry and Chip stood there working out a plan.  “At least we know Lee’s here.  Riley since there’s only three people on the grounds, go back to FS-1 and bring her to the dock here.  Stay submerged until I radio you that we have the Skipper.  It will save us from running through the woods.”

“Aye, aye, sir,” Riley replied leaving his backpack with Kowalski as he made his way back through the woods and over the wall.


The three men made their way to the house.  Chip approached the closest door, looked in and saw the two men sitting at the table with their backs to the door.  He returned to Nelson. 

“The two men are still in the kitchen.  Ski and I will handle them so you can get in the house and find Lee,” Chip said as he removed his gun from the back of his fatigues.

Chip opened the door figuring the men would expect the butler to be returning from the garden.  He and Kowalski crept up on the men and clobbered them on the back of the head knocking them out.   They searched them, removed their pistols and tied them up.  As Chip and Kowalski took care of George and Abel, Harry followed the sounds from the tracker. He went down a hall, pass the living room and down the stairs.  He quickly opened the door and found the shoes but no Lee.

“Damn,” he muttered as he took the tracker in Lee’s shoe not wanting to leave it for the PR.

Chip and Kowalski managed to find where the admiral had gone and ran into the room hoping he had found Lee but were disappointed that he wasn’t there.

“He’s got to be here someplace,” Harry said frustrated.  “You and Ski go back the way you came and look for this laboratory.  I noticed a door at the end of the hallway, I’ll check that out.  Radio if you find Lee or this Ms. Phong.  I’m sure she’ll be able to tell us where Lee is.”

“Aye sir,” Chip replied as he and Ski headed back towards the living room which was empty, as was the dining room.  As they looked around they found a door at the opposite side of the kitchen.  Kowalski cautiously opened it up to find another hall with a door at the end.


Harry made his way down the hall and opened the door.  He was surprised to find the garden with the pond along with the sharks.  He crossed over the bridge and walked to the next door.  Gun drawn, he slowly opened the door not knowing what was on the other side.  He was amazed when he saw all the aquariums and what kind of sea creatures they contained.  Whoever this Ms. Phong is, she definitely chose the nastiest sea creatures she could find, Nelson thought as he continued to look around.  He noticed a door on the other side of the room.  He walked over to the door and carefully opened it up to reveal Lee strapped to a chair and Ms. Phong sitting at the table writing in a notebook.  Harry burst into the room just as Chip bolted through the door on the opposite side of the room.  While looking for the laboratory, Kowalski had heard a car pull up to the house and waited to see who had arrived.

“Welcome Admiral Nelson and Mr. Morton,” Hai said calmly as the two men entered the room.  “I should have known Lee had another tracker on him, either in his jacket or shoes.”

Harry ran over to Lee.  After a quick look, he knew he was unconscious.  “What did you give him?” he yelled at Hai as he started to remove the straps as Chip held onto Hai.

Grinning, “You’ll never be able to help him,” Hai snarled.   “He’s going to have to come out of it on his own and I’m not sure he will.”

Harry finished unstrapping Lee and held onto him before he fell to the floor.  Chip looked over at what Hai had on the table. He noticed two syringes on the table.  “Admiral, these syringes are empty, probably what she gave Lee.”

Hai managed to free herself from Chip by elbowing him in the stomach.  She didn’t get very far as Chip grabbed her again but not before she reached for something on a shelf located under the table.  Chip saw it was another syringe but she injected herself before he could stop her. 

“You won’t be able to save me as I’d rather die than be taken away by you or be subjected to the PR’s torture for another failure to complete my duty,” she said as she fell to the floor.

Chip stooped down to try and help her but she was already dead.  Chip looked up at Nelson and shook his head.  “Admiral, there’s a notebook here with notes and formulas maybe it will tell us what she gave Lee.”

“Grab them and the syringes.  Keep the one she used on herself separate from the other ones.  Help me carry Lee out,” Harry said just as Kowalski ran into the lab.

“Sir, we gotta get out here now.  A car with two official looking men just pulled into the driveway,” Kowalski said as he took Lee from the admiral’s grasp as he and Chip were dragging him out of the lab.

“Hopefully Riley has FS-1 nearby and we can get to the docks before they notice something is wrong,” Nelson replied as he pulled out his radio.  “FS-1, do you read me?”

“Yes sir,” came Riley’s crisp reply.  “I’m surfacing now by the dock.  She’ll be ready to roll as soon as you’re aboard.”

“This way,” Harry told Chip and Kowalski as they followed him through the room with the aquariums carrying Lee.

Both men noticed the tanks, the creatures in them and hurried past them.   Once they got over the bridge, the admiral stopped not knowing which way to go.  He stood looking around when he saw a path running alongside the pond.  “Let’s go this way,” he instructed the men.  

They quickly ran down the overgrown path trying not to stumble in the pond with the sharks as they dragged Lee’s dead weight.  Just as they reached the dock, they saw FS-1 come out of the water and the rear hatch open.  Riley quickly met up with the men and helped them load Lee into the sub.


Meanwhile, the two men made their way up to the door of the house and rang the bell but no one answered the door.

They rang the bell again, “I know she’s here as she’s expecting us to take Commander Crane off her hands,” Ghag Huchay said surprised there was no answer.  “Let’s try the other door.”

They walked to the door by the kitchen and saw George and Abel tied up.  They quickly entered the house.  Huchay had been there on a several occasions and went into the living room where he caught sight of the men from Seaview just leaving the garden area.  He quickly ran to the door leading to the garden and followed them to the dock.  Just as they reached the sub, he fired his pistol catching Chip in the arm.   Huchay kept on chasing them but they boarded the sub and were out of range before he could get off another round.

The man that had accompanied Huchay ran over to him.  “The two men in the kitchen will be okay but I found Ms. Phong in her laboratory.  She’s dead.”

“Damn,” Huchay answered.  “She was the best chemist I ever worked with.  It’s too bad she ran into Lee Crane again.”

“Sir?” the man asked.

“I’ll tell you about it on the way back to the capital.  Let’s get things cleaned up here,” Huchay replied sadly as the two men returned to the house as he felt badly about Hai Phong.


As soon as they had Lee aboard, Kowalski did a quick assessment of his condition.   “Sir, he’s been shot in the shoulder, his other arm is bleeding and swollen.  Also it looks like there’s something embedded in his arm.  I have no idea why he’s unconscious,” Kowalski reported as he and Riley secured Lee in the bunk. 

“Thanks, Kowalski. Check out Mr. Morton’s shoulder,” Harry told Kowalski as he noticed Chip’s was bleeding when he boarded the sub.

“I’m fine, sir,” Chip replied as he buckled into the co-pilot’s seat.

Kowalski went over to Chip and rolled up his sleeve noticing a bullet hole and no exit wound.  “Sir, he has a bullet in his arm.”  Kowalski went to his medical bag and applied a bandage trying to stop the flow of blood from his arm.

Harry fired up the engines on FS-1 and submerged for the short trip to Seaview.  Once underway, he called the boat, “FS-1 to Seaview. Come in Seaview.”

O’Brien quickly responded to the hail as he had Sparks make sure he would get any calls from the shore party.  “This is Seaview.”  When Janet heard the admiral’s call to the boat, she ran into the Control Room. 

“We got him,” Harry told O’Brien knowing Janet would be waiting for some information.  Janet let out her breath which she didn’t even realize she was holding.  “Have Dr. Jamieson meet us with a stretcher and corpsman as Captain Crane and Mr. Morton have been shot.  Captain Crane is also unconscious. We should be docking in fifteen minutes.”

“Aye, aye sir,” O’Brien replied as he looked over at the sonar screen and saw FS-1’s image.  He made the call to Sick Bay and watched as FS-1 approached the boat. 

Jamie and John arrived in the control room and made their way to the nose where Janet was standing by the windows looking for FS-1.  He looked at Janet and sighed deeply wondering how badly Lee was injured again.


FS-1 was approaching Seaview from the port side when Lee woke up not sure where he was.  He looked around and vaguely recognized he was on the flying sub.  He undid the straps that secured him to the bunk, looked out the viewports and saw a giant COTS engulfing the Seaview.  It covered almost the entire boat.  He knew it would crush her and kill all the men on board.  He saw the admiral pushing the yokes forward so they could dock with the sub. 

“Don’t fire the laser…the COTS will multiple…crush the boat…kill all on board,” Lee yelled as he scrambled to the pilot’s chair and pulled up on the yokes causing Harry to lose control of the sub.   When Lee pulled on the yokes, he fell backwards striking his head on the ladder where he crumbled to the floor in a heap.

“What the hell was he doing…is he okay?” Harry asked regaining control of the sub.

Kowalski quickly undid his harness and went over to Lee.   “He hit the ladder when he fell back.  He’s got quite a gash on the back of his head. It’s bleeding pretty badly.”

“Take care of him the best you can.  We’ll be docking shortly.”

“Sir, what are COTS and what did he mean they’ll multiply,” Chip asked trying to figure out what Lee was saying and doing.

“Sir,” Riley spoke up.  “By the way the Skipper was acting, I’d think he was having a ‘bad trip’.”

Harry and Chip both turned around to look at Riley.   “Sir, I’ve never tried the stuff but I’ve had friends act that way.  He might be having a hallucination.”

Both men turned back to the front hoping what Riley told them wasn’t true. 

Seaview to FS-1,” O’Brien called frantically on the radio after watching FS-1 abruptly go out of control.  “Is everything all right?”

The admiral pressed the button on the throat mic, “Yes, we’re fine.  We had a little trouble, but it’s resolved now.  Open the docking bay doors.”

“Aye, sir,” O’Brien replied. 

Patterson pressed the button opening the doors and waited for the clamps securing her in place before closing them.


Once FS-1 was docked and the doors closed, Sharkey went over to the hatch and turned the wheel.  He helped out Chip first who was holding his arm and looking a little pale.

“John, take Mr. Morton to Sick Bay and take care of his arm,” Jamie ordered.

“Yes, sir,” John replied as he attempted to help Chip who pulled away from him.

“I’m fine,” Chip said trying to help the men remove Lee from FS-1.

Jamie gave him one of his you better do it or else looks.   Chip acquiesced and left with John to Sick Bay.

Harry exited FS-1 next and waited while Riley and Kowalski carefully lifted Lee out the hatch and into the waiting arms of Sharkey and O’Brien.   They placed him on the stretcher as Jamie took a quick look at him before Riley and Kowalski carried him to Sick Bay with Jamie, Nelson and Janet following close behind.  Harry had brought the empty syringes and Hai’s notebook along to see if they would help determine what she had given Lee.


When they arrived in Sick Bay, Jamie and Frank carefully removed Lee’s bloodied shirt and took a look at his arms.  Frank prepared an IV when he saw the wounds on Lee’s arms.

“He’s got a bullet wound in his right arm that’s already infected.  There’s an exit wound so the bullet went right through.  I don’t know if it did any damage and won’t know until he wakes up.  His left arm is bleeding from something that’s embedded in his arm.  I’m going to have to operate to remove it as it’s in pretty deep.  He’ll need a CT scan to see if he has a concussion and the gash will need several stitches to close up,” Jamie reported to Harry and Janet.

“Jamie, he was unconscious when we first got him aboard the flying sub but he woke up and was yelling about some ‘COTS’ and that they were going to multiply.  We found these two syringes on the table.  I’m assuming he was injected with them.  Here’s another syringe.  The woman who held Lee injected herself with this one and died instantly.” Harry also told Jamie what Riley suspected about a ‘bad trip’.

Jamie frowned when he heard that comment.  “Hopefully there’s enough residue in the syringes so I can test and see what they are.  Now I need both of you to leave so I can take of him and Chip,” Jamie said adamantly.

“Can I please stay,” Janet pleaded as she rubbed her husband’s hand just barely holding onto her emotions.

Jamie looked at Janet and could see she was very upset, “You can stay in my office while I take care of them.”

“Thank you,” Janet answered not letting go of Lee’s hand.

“I’m going to the control room and then my office to let Admiral Johnson know we have Lee.  Call me if anything happens,” Nelson told Jamie.

“Yes, sir,” Jamie replied and returned to taking care of Lee.


When Harry reached the control room, he went over to O’Brien.   “How’s the Skipper?” he asked with concern knowing all the crew wanted to know how he was.

“Right now, Dr. Jamieson has his hands full.  When I find out more information, I’ll let you now.   How about we get the hell out here and head for home?”

“Aye, aye, sir,” O’Brien answered.  “I’ve plotted the course and waiting for your orders.”

“Well, let’s go,” Harry replied a little more sharply than he intended.

O’Brien gave maneuvering and the engine room the orders and Seaview headed for home.

“If you need me, I’ll be in my cabin,” Harry told O’Brien and wearily ascended up the staircase to his cabin. 


Janet sat down in the chair in front of Jamie’s desk as the doctor closed the partition between the office and the examination room.

“Frank, take the Captain for a scan and then start the IV with antibiotics while I take care of Mr. Morton.  John, I’ll need your help with him,” Jamie told his corpsman.

Frank wheeled Lee to the scan area while Jamie took a look at Chip’s arm.   “Jamie, take care of Lee first, I can wait,” Chip told him.

Jamie looked at Chip, “Lay down and let me check out your arm.”

Chip laid down on the table while Jamie looked at his arm.  John had started an IV and prepared Chip’s arm. Jamie removed the bullet, bandaged it up and helped John put him in a bunk where he would stay for the rest of the night.

Frank had returned with Lee’s scan and Jamie was relieved to see he didn’t have a concussion.  The gash on the back of Lee’s head required eight stitches but more importantly he needed to removed whatever was embedded in his arm to stop the bleeding.  He was surprised that the wound was still bleeding and looked like it had been bleeding for a while.  He didn’t know how long Lee would be unconscious but didn’t want to add another sedative without knowing what he had been given. 

Before he would remove the object in Lee’s arm he would test what was in the two syringes.  He ran the tests and discovered that he had been given a strong sedative, but was worried about what he found in the other syringe as he had no idea what it was.  After what the admiral had told him about Lee’s behavior on FS-1, he was worried he had been injected with a hallucinogenic drug that could result in the end of his career.  He wanted to check in with Harry to see if he had any idea of what he’d been injected with. 


Harry returned to his cabin, removed his fatigues, quickly showered and put on his uniform.  He rubbed his hand through his hair as he sat down at his desk.  He called the radio shack and had Sparks place a call to Admiral Johnson.  As he waited for the call, he was reading over the notebook he had taken from Hai Phong’s laboratory and didn’t like what he was reading. 

His phone rang and Sparks told him he had Admiral Johnson on the phone, “Harry,” Johnson said before Harry said hello, “Do you have him…is he okay…where was he?”

“We got him,” Harry replied.  “Dr. Jamieson is still checking him out.  He’s unconscious at the moment.  Have you ever heard of a woman name Hai Phong?  She was the one who had Lee.  She had an estate in Longting and I have to admit she had some very interesting sea creatures in the aquariums.  I’m reading over her notebook I took when we left and with what I’ve read so far, I’m very concerned about what she might have done to Lee.”

“Hai Phong,” Johnson repeated the name.  “It sounds familiar but Harry with all the missions Lee’s been on, I can’t recall every person he’s had contact with.  Let me check…you said had an estate...what happened to her?”

“When we entered her laboratory and found Lee, she injected herself with a drug and died instantly,” Harry reported.  “I’m having Dr. Jamieson checking it out.”

“Sounds like you had a tough time,” Johnson said.  “Did your tracker find him?”

“Yes, it did as his ONI one obviously stopped working…it almost cost him his life,” Nelson told Johnson angrily.

“Sorry Harry, the techs assured me that it would be fine.  I’ll get back to you regarding Hai Phong.”

Harry hung up the phone not bothering to wait for Johnson to say goodbye.  He took a deep breath, sat back in his chair and returned to reading Hai’s notebook.

He was impressed with her abilities as a chemist.  As he continued to read, he sat up straight in his chair when he got to the section involving Lee.   He was very disturbed at what she had written.  He only hoped she was wrong about what would happen to him. 

As he took a deep breath his phone rang, “Yes,” he said abruptly.

“Admiral,” Jamie said.  “Can you come to Sick Bay?”

“I’ll be right there,” he replied getting up from his chair, grabbing the notebook as he left his cabin.


Janet looked at Nelson when he entered Sick Bay as Jamie hadn’t said anything to her about him being needed. “What’s wrong…is he okay?” she said worriedly as she stood up.

Jamie left the exam room after hearing Janet and the admiral talking.  Seeing the look of panic on Janet’s face, he assured her he was alright for the moment.  The three of them returned to the examination room and stood by Lee’s side.  Janet placed her hand in Lee’s, her thumb rubbing the top of it.

“I need to do surgery on his arm to take out what’s in there.  It’s looks as if it’s been bleeding for a while.  He already lost a lot of blood.   I checked out the two syringes you brought back.  One was a very potent sedative.”

“The other?” Janet asked afraid of what Jamie might tell her.

“I don’t know,” Jamie admitted worriedly.  “It’s some sort of hallucinogen but nothing I’ve never dealt with before.”

“I might be able to help,” Harry said holding Hai’s notebook. 

“Jamie, please let me hear what happened to Lee,” Chip asked as he heard them talking.  With his arm in a sling he struggled to sit up.

“John, stay with the Skipper,” Jamie said as they walked over to Chip’s bunk and helped him up.

“This is what I’ve figured out so far,” Harry stated, “Lee was taken by a woman named Hai Phong.  I don’t know why, but I have Admiral Johnson checking to see if Lee had a previous encounter with her.   She must have been a chemist for the PR at some time.  She was using Lee as a guinea pig for a new drug she had created.”   Harry stopped to take a breath before continuing.   “From what I’ve read, she had developed a drug that would induce lot of pain, along with affecting memory and feelings.  It was a series of four shots given every two hours.  The first shot administered was a sedative.  After a few minutes the second shot would be administered, which would produce hallucinations, paranoia and fear.  The next three shots would increase not only the paranoia but wipe out their memory and all feelings.  Ultimately when the shots were completed, the person would have no memories or feelings and suffer excruciating pain.”

“Admiral, how many shots did she give Lee?” Janet asked her voice quivering as her emotions were finally getting the best of her.

“She only had notes listed under the first shot so Lee’s probably suffering from the hallucinations.”

“How long will that take?” Jamie wondered.

“According to her notes, she gave him the drugs about fifteen minutes before we rescued him and the hallucinations could last up to twelve hours or longer.  I didn’t see any more syringes on the table other than the three we brought back.  Chip, did you see anymore?”

“No sir, just those three.  I sure wish we had the rest of them.”

“Me too,” Nelson replied.

Jamie looked at his watch.  “I’ve got to operate on his arm and remove whatever is in there to stop the bleeding.  John, prepare the Captain for surgery,” Jamie said.   “Hopefully he won’t wake up while I’m operating.”

Frank closed the partition separating the bunk area from the operating room.   Janet decided to stay with Chip while the admiral returned to the control room and then to his office where he would continue reading Hai’s journal and wait for Admiral Johnson’s call.


Jamie and John quickly donned their gowns and began operating.  The object was deeply imbedded in Lee’s arm almost to the bone.   Jamie finally reached it and dug it out.  He pulled out two thorn like pieces of spine.  He’d never seen anything like it before so he put it in a tray for the admiral to check out.  Whatever they were, they had caused a lot of bleeding and pain for Lee.  He stitched up his arm and wrapped it in several layers of gauze.  He then took a look at his shoulder and took care of that wound too.  He would up his dose of antibiotics as both wounds were definitely infected. 

Once he finished operating, John opened the partition and they moved him to a bunk.  As John got him settled in the bunk, Jamie showed Janet and Chip what had be removed from his arm.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Jamie remarked as he picked one up and examined it a little closer.

“Me either,” Chip commented.  “But I’m sure the admiral will figure out what it is.”

Jamie wanted to remove his gown, so he left Chip and Janet in the bunk area.  He took the tray with the spines with him and put them on his desk.

John had just finished adjusting Lee’s IV and went to change.   Janet sat down next to Lee’s bunk and gently took his hand. 


Lee started to come to.  He felt the thrum of Seaview’s engines, the smell of antiseptic and knew he was aboard his boat and she was safe from the giant COTS he’d seen earlier. His head hurt, as did both his arms and felt the IV in his hand.  He laid there for a few minutes afraid to open his eyes not wanting to face what could be out there.  As he slowly opened them, a giant tentacle from a blue ringed octopus reached out to grab him.  He quickly closed his eyes praying the creature would go away. He was breathing heavily; unable to control it.  He opened his eyes again only to have an eel slithering towards him.   He had to get away so he pulled out his IV.  As he started to get out of the bunk a gigantic piranha tried to make him lay back down but he pushed it away as well as the huge Lion fish that also tried to stop him.  He had to run and hide where the creatures wouldn’t find him, but he was forced back into the bunk by the sea creatures.  He squeezed his eyes closed again, even with his eyes closed, he could feel the COTS crawling on his chest, it’s spine penetrating his skin.  He tried to push it away but couldn’t move his hands.  He was trapped in the bunk.  He yelled for help but no one responded.  “Vinegar-Kill the COTS with vinegar!” he screamed as it continued to stab him.  He opened his eyes and more creatures were there; pufferfish, sharks, piranhas, lion fish and stone fish.  They were there even with his eyes closed.  He frantically continued to try and get away from the creatures.  Finally, they went away.  He opened his eyes and they were gone, his mind was also free of them.  Exhausted from struggling to get away and to clear his mind, he fell asleep, but was afraid not knowing if the hallucinations would return at any moment and torment him for many more hours.


Lee had been in his bunk about fifteen minutes when he started to stir.  He opened his eyes and started yelling about ‘COTS’ crawling on him, vinegar and a blue ringed octopus. Hysterical, he sat up in the bunk and pulled out his IV trying to get away from the dangerous sea creatures attacking him.  Janet tried to get him to lay back down, but in his agitation he pushed her away causing her to bump her head on another bunk leaving a large bump and an ugly bruise on her forehead.  Chip heard the noise and tried to help but he too was pushed away dislodging his IV and falling on his wounded arm.   Jamie was sitting in his office filling out paperwork, heard the commotion and came running in followed by Frank.  The admiral was walking down the passageway to Sick Bay and also ran in when he heard the racket.   Lee kept yelling about the ‘COTS’ and something about vinegar.  It took all three men to finally get him back into the bunk with Jamie practically sitting on Lee to hold him down and he was still struggling to get up.

“Jamie,” Harry said urgently. “Give him something.”

“I can’t,” Jamie replied hopelessly.  “Since I don’t know what he’s on; I’m not going to jeopardize his health by giving him something that could make it worse or kill him.  We’ll have to put him in restraints.  He’s having the hallucinations as the notebook said he would.  There’s nothing we can do but wait it out.”

Frank quickly went to the cabinet where they kept the restraints and was finally able to get them on Lee as he kept yelling and struggling.  Once the restraints were in place and they were certain they would hold Lee down, Frank quickly went over to Chip and helped him up while Jamie went over to Janet and helped her.

They all stood there catching their breaths before Jamie looked over at Chip and Janet.  “Chip, go back to the exam room so I can check out how much damage you’ve done to your arm,” Jamie ordered his tone letting Chip know he was in no mood for an argument.   He looked at Janet’s forehead.  “You have a very large bump and an ugly bruise has formed,” he said helping her into the exam room and onto a gurney.

Harry stayed with Lee as he continued to thrash in the bunk yelling and struggling to get up.  He looked at his watch and knew they would be in for a rough ride for the next eight hours, if they were lucky as Hai’s notes said up to twelve hours, but she also noted, it could possibly be even longer.

Worried about a concussion, he examined Janet’s bump and bruise more closely, “Let me know if you get a headache and feel nauseated,” he told her as he handed her an ice pack to hold on the bump to keep it from getting larger.  He then went over and checked out Chip who hadn’t re-injured his arm and only needed to have his IV re-inserted.  Chip went back to his bunk where Frank put in the IV.  Janet returned to the bunk area and sat down next to the admiral.

“Why don’t you go to your cabin,” Harry said after looking at her and knew she was exhausted.  “I’ll stay with him.”

“Thank you, sir, but I need to be with him,” Janet answered as the tears finally fell down her cheeks.  “I’m sorry,” she said to the admiral wiping away the tears.

Harry patted her hand and left her alone with Lee.   He returned to Jamie’s office where he handed him the tray with the spines.  “Have you ever seen something like this?”

Harry picked them up and looked the spines over.  “Never, but I’m damn sure going to find out what they are.  If you need me, I’ll be in the lab.”   Harry took the tray and walked out down the passageway and up the ladder to his lab where he would stay until he found out where they spines came from… grateful for something to do to help Lee and keep his mind off what he’s experiencing in Sick Bay.


Lee had fallen asleep for what he thought was hours but was only a few minutes.  When he woke up, his mind was thankfully clear; he was too terrified to open his eyes and prayed that when he did there would be nothing there.  As he slowly opened his eyes, he saw that Sick Bay was dimly lit, letting him know that it must be nighttime.  He noticed no one was around so he quickly got up and made his way down the deserted corridor. Dressed in only his black pants, he entered the hatch to the Control Room to the horrifying sounds of his men screaming in panic.  He suddenly saw a giant COTS had engulfed Seaview’s nose…pressing its spines against the Herculite windows threatening to pierce them.  The sea creature let out a high pitched squeal adding to the terror.   He heard a window crack as a small trickle of water ran down the window. His men screamed, begging him to kill the hideous sea creature.  He was petrified but he had to save his ‘gray lady’ and his men...vinegar.  He needed vinegar to dry up the COTS, he thought frantically.  The sea creature let out another squeal and he heard another window crack. This time a larger crack…a stream of water began running down the window.  More squeals…more cracks… more water running down the windows…NO, he screamed as the sub filled with water.


Jamie checked on Lee who continued to struggle violently against the restraints and screaming uncharacteristically about the COTS, not only suffering from the hallucinations, but fear and paranoia.  Tears ran down Janet’s face as she sat helpless, wanting desperately to grab her husband’s hand while she watched his vicious struggle.  Chip sighed as he watched his best friend and bravest man he knew from his bunk.  I can’t even imagine what demons he must be fighting in those damned hallucinations, he thought.  Lee, you have to make it through them.

“Janet, go to your cabin, I’ll call you when things get better,” Jamie gently suggested noticing how stressed she was getting watching Lee.

“Is that an order?” Janet asked quietly, “if not I want to stay with him.”

“No, it’s not an order,” Jamie replied patting her shoulder.  He returned to his desk not willing to leave his Captain alone either.

Lee had been thrashing, screaming and yelling for more than seven hours and his hallucinations showed no signs of abating.  His wrists were rubbed raw from his frantic struggle against the restraints. Jamie checked on him again and noticed Janet and Chip looked as worn out as Lee did.  He wasn’t too far behind them as it was very un-nerving watching Lee Crane have no control over his paranoia and fear. 


Harry entered his lab and set down the tray with the spines.  He examined them again having no idea what or who they came from.   As he grabbed a book on sea creatures, a boat wide hail came from Sparks for him. 

“Sparks, pipe it into the lab,” Nelson told him.

“Aye sir,” he replied as he connected the call.

“Nelson,” he said as he continued to look through his book.

“Harry,” Johnson answered.  “I have some information.   Lee met Hai Phong a few years ago.  She was a premier chemist for the PR.  She developed a pretty potent truth serum drug that had been used on ONI agents as well as agents from other agencies across the globe, causing several deaths along with many secrets being revealed.  Lee was sent to the PR to get her notes and formula.  According to the debriefing notes, he used his assets and led her on to get the information.  He was able to get invited to her house and managed to get her notes before things escalated, but you can imagine she was probably a bit ticked off.  She must have recognized Lee when he went to pick up the intel.  Seems she was in the right place at the right time and he was in the wrong place.”

Blowing out a breath, Harry commented, “He never gets a break even on an easy mission.”

“How is he?” Johnson inquired.

“Not so good,” Harry replied as he explained to him what he had found out in Hai’s notebook and what was taking place in Sick Bay. 

“Damn Harry, I’m really sorry,” Johnson said.   “I’ve got Jason Weldon here and he’s very worried about Crane. Okay to inform him on what’s happening?  Just have Lee let me know when he can give me a complete debrief.”

“Thanks for letting Jason know,” Harry answered.  “I’ll have Lee call when he’s ready.” 

The admiral stowed the mic and returned to his book.  After hours of searching, he finally discovered what ‘COTS’ was.


It was 0300 before Lee finally stopped yelling and thrashing in the bunk.   Janet quickly stood up to get Jamie but he was already approaching the bunk area.  Chip sat up straighter in his bunk when he heard the silence.

“Jamie,” Janet cried.  “Is he okay?”

Jamie took his ever present stethoscope from around his neck and listened to his heart, took his pulse and checked his eyes. “I think the hallucinations have finally passed and he’s so worn out from them that he’s fallen asleep.  His breathing is normal as are his other vitals.  He’s wringing wet from sweating so John and I will change his clothes and I’ll re-insert his IV so he gets the antibiotics he needs.”   Jamie looked at Lee’s wrists and noticed that they were rubbed raw from fighting the restraints, so he would treat them as well as checking out the injuries to Lee’s arm and shoulder to determine if any more damage had been done during his struggle. 

Janet stepped out of the bunk area as Jamie and John removed the restraints and changed Lee into a pair of scrubs.  The admiral came running into Sick Bay and saw Janet standing there.

“What’s wrong…Lee…,” he said as he entered the bunk area.   Jamie was just coming to get Janet so she could return to Lee’s bunk when he ran into Nelson.

“He’s better,” Jamie replied as they stood next to his bunk.  “I think he might be over the hump, but I’ll know more when he wakes up.  He exhausted from all the hallucinations so I’m going to let him sleep.”

“I found out what ‘COTS’ is.  It’s a starfish fish called ‘Crown of Thorns’.  He showed them a picture in the book he had brought with him.  As you can see it’s a large, multiple-armed starfish and it has venomous thorn-like spines that covers its upper surface.  The thorns resemble the Biblical crown of thorns thus the name “Crown of Thorns.”   Harry went on to explain what happens when a spine perforates the tissue as it did to Lee’s arm.

Jamie rubbed his hand across his forehead, “No wonder his arm and hand were swollen and it kept bleeding.  That’s one nasty starfish.”

“It feeds on coral in the Indo-Pacific region and when it has population outbreaks it can devastate a coral reef.  Its predators are pufferfish, triggerfish and Triton’s trumpet.”

“Admiral, where did Lee get stabbed by this starfish,” Chip asked.  “We’re nowhere near the Indo-Pacific area.”

“From what I saw at Phong’s estate, she a had room filled with many aquariums.  They contained some of the worst sea creatures in the world.  Remember the pond we walked by, it was filled with sharks.  I guess she had some of these COTS and Lee got injured.  We’re going to have to ask him how he got the spines in him.”

“Why was he talking about vinegar?” Jamie wondered.

“They inject household vinegar into the COTS in areas with a low population and it causes them to disintegrate.”

“Lee must have known all this information and that’s why he was yelling about it,” Jamie surmised. “Admiral, I’d like to look over Phong’s notebook again to see if I can find anything more about what was injected into him.”

“I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” Harry replied. “As I want to read it over again too.”

“Sir, why was Lee there…she had nothing to do with the mission he was on?” Janet asked.

“According to Johnson, Lee had run into Phong a few years ago.  He was sent to the PR to get some notes and formula she had developed on a truth serum.  He…,” Harry paused not knowing how to explain what Lee did to get the information to Janet.

“Admiral, I know Lee has to do things he doesn’t want to do to get what he needs.  So I assume he sort of ‘charmed’ her to get the information.  You know Lee would never ‘use’ a woman to get information for a mission unless it was the last resort.”

Harry gave her a weak smile, “I guess you could put it that way, so you’ll have to ask him for more information.”

As they stood there talking, Lee was snoring softly.  “I think we all could use some rest,” Jamie said.  “John will stay here with him and Chip.  The rest of us will retire to our cabins. If he has any problems, you know I’ll call.”

Jamie ushered Janet and Harry out of Sick Bay while John checked both Lee’s and Chip’s IV before returning to the office.  Making sure Janet didn’t double back to Sick Bay, Harry walked Janet to her cabin.

“Thank you, sir for finding out what COTS are,” Janet said yawning.  

“I’m just sorry it took so long to find out.  Hopefully we’ll find out some more information tomorrow when Lee wakes up.”

Janet entered her cabin and sat down on the bed too tired to even change.  She removed her shoes and climbed under the covers. She hoped if she fell asleep she would forget how horrible it was watching Lee struggle through those hallucinations and not being able to hold him or comfort him.  It was something she never wanted to experience again.

Harry entered his cabin, unbuttoned his shirt as he went to the head where he splashed some water on his face and dried it off.  He laid down on his bunk but couldn’t fall asleep after watching Lee suffer through the hallucinations.


Harry was just leaving his cabin when he met Janet coming out her door.  He looked her over and could see she still looked tired.  He also noticed the bruise on her forehead was turning a nice shade of black and blue.

“Good morning, sir,” Janet said when he stopped by her door.  “How are you this morning?”

“Fine,” he replied.  “I bet I look as tired as you do.”

Smiling she answered, “Yes, you do.”

The two of them made their way to Sick Bay but when they got there, Jamie wasn’t at his desk.  Harry had brought Hai’s notebook with him and put it on his desk so he could read it over.  They heard his voice in the bunk area.  They quickly went in there and found Jamie and Frank talking to Chip.  Lee was still sleeping but that didn’t stop Janet from going over to him and kissing his forehead.

“Good morning, Admiral,” Chip said as he stood next to the bunk.

“Good morning, Chip,” Harry replied.  “Jamie, how are your patients today?”

“Chip as you can see, is fine and I’m going to release him to light duty,” Jamie answered.  “Lee is still sleeping.  John reported he had a couple of episodes but they weren’t as bad as his earlier ones.  I’m just going to let him sleep until he wakes up on his own.”

 “I was just on my way to the wardroom,” Jamie told them.  “Frank will stay with the Skipper so we all can eat.”  Jamie said looking specifically at Janet.

The four of them left Sick Bay for the wardroom but Chip wanted to shower and change into a uniform so would join them in a few minutes.

When they arrived, Cookie had breakfast set out and made sure they all had plenty of food on their plates as none of them had eaten dinner the night before.

After they all had been seated, Harry said, “I put Hai’s notebook on your desk so you can look it over and see if you can find out anything more about what she gave Lee.”

“Thanks, Admiral.  I’m going to read it over and also check out the other syringe you gave me.  I’m very curious to see what she developed,” Jamie replied.

As they sat eating, Chip walked in.  He walked over to the breakfast fare and attempted to put food on his tray.  Janet felt sorry for him, so she took the tray and placed heaps of food on it because she knew he would be starving. He sat down at the table as Janet put his tray in front of him.

“Thanks, Janet,” Chip said as he took a big gulp of coffee and though he was hungry he slowly ate his food.

Even though Lee was doing better, there was little conversation between them as they were still concerned about him and knew Jamie was right when he insisted they eat breakfast so they would have the energy to face what could happen today.  When they were finished, Chip and the admiral checked in with the Control Room before Chip would return to his cabin for the day while Janet and Jamie returned to Sick Bay.


When Chip entered the Control Room the men on duty were glad to see him if only for a while.  He walked up to Bobby O’Brien at the charting table.

“Good morning, sir,” O’Brien said to Chip.   “Glad to have you back.”

“Good morning, Bobby.  I’m only here to check out the course as I’m on light duty so you’ll be in charge until tomorrow.”

“Aye sir,” he replied.  “How’s the Skipper?”

“He should be okay,” Chip responded not letting on that Lee had one hell of a night. Chip could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from all the men.

“Here’s the course and speed,” Bobby said showing Chip the data.  “If all goes well, we should be docking in Santa Barbara in forty-eight hours.”

Chip looked over the course, “Good job, Bobby.  If you need me, I’ll be in my cabin and then Sick Bay.”  He left the Control Room via the staircase in the nose and headed to his cabin where he would read over the reports Janet gave him on the shakedown cruise and finish up any paperwork that needed to be completed.  Now I know why Lee hates light duty, Chip thought as he sat down at his desk.


Janet went to the bunk area, pulled over a chair and sat down next to Lee’s bunk.  Oh Lee, please be alright, she thought. She gently picked up his hand and held it in hers. 

Jamie checked on Lee before he returned to his desk where he finished up some paperwork before diving into Hai’s notebook.  As he read it, he jotted down some notes he wanted to ask Harry about.  He realized this woman had a brilliant mind.  Too bad she worked for the enemy, he thought.   He finished up reading everything that she had written and took the syringe out of his desk drawer.   He was very interested in finding out what was in that syringe as he didn’t find any notes regarding it.  He did all the tests he could and was very surprised at what he found out.  He would inform the admiral when he checked on Lee. 


Lee had been sleeping for twelve hours and showed no signs of waking up.  After sitting there for almost six hours, Janet got up to stretch.  Jamie walked over to her when she got up.  He examined Lee, took his vitals and found everything was normal.

“Are you sure he’s going to be okay?” Janet asked worriedly as Lee very rarely sleep let alone this long.

“His body and mind have been through a lot of stress and strain the last twenty-four hours.  It’s his way of coping, but I am concerned about something else I found in his blood when he first came on board.   I re-examined the sample we took when he first got here and found another type of drug in his system.  There wasn’t very much left but there definitely was another drug.  Hopefully when he wakes up he’ll be able to tell us more about what happened while in Ms. Phong’s hands.”

Chip walked into Jamie’s office and caught the tail end of their conversation.  He too was surprised to see that Lee was still sleeping.  Jamie filled him in on what they had been talking about.

“Janet, take a break.   Get some coffee, lunch, go for a walk or take a nap.  You look tired,” Jamie suggested.  “You know I’ll call if he wakes up.”

“Thanks, Jamie but…” Janet started to say but Chip cut her off.

“Go, take a break and that’s an order,” Chip said jokingly but meant every word.  “I’ll stay with him.  I can’t stand being cooped up in my cabin any longer.   I put plenty of work on your desk; you might want to take a look at it.”

“Aye, aye sir,” Janet replied with a smile and a mock salute.  “I could use a break. Thanks, Chip.”   Janet walked out of Sick Bay and headed to the wardroom for some coffee and then to her office. 

“Is he really okay?” Chip asked looking at his ‘brother’ laying there sleeping.

“I believe so.  After reading Phong’s notebook, I don’t think he’ll have any lasting or re-occurring problems.”

“Thanks Jamie,” Chip replied as he sat down to keep watch.

Jamie went back to his desk, grabbed a mug and poured Chip a cup of coffee.  “This should hold you for a little while,” Jamie said as he handed him the mug.

“Thanks, Jamie.  Why does it seem we spend a lot of time sitting here every time he comes back from a mission?  You’d think he would be tired of waking up in Sick Bay.”

“I think you know that answer as well as I do…it’s his sense of duty,” Jamie responded and went back to his paperwork.


Harry went to his cabin after breakfast and finished up some paperwork knowing it would make Angie happy.  He then retreated to his lab where he busied himself in his experiments.  He knew Jamie would call him when Lee woke up. After being there for several hours, and no word from Jamie he started to get worried.

He picked up the intercom and clicked it twice so he could be connected to Sick Bay.

“Sick Bay,” Jamie answered hoping there wasn’t a problem on the boat.

“Jamie, how’s Lee…I haven’t heard anything.”

“Still sleeping.  I really would like to talk to you when you have a chance.  I found out what was in the syringe that Hai injected into herself.”

“I’ll be right there.”  He finished up his experiment and went to Sick Bay very curious as to what Jamie had found in the syringe.


By the time Harry made it to Sick Bay, Janet had returned and Chip was still there as Jamie wanted them to hear what he had to tell the admiral.  He also noticed that Lee was starting to move around a little more so he hoped he would be waking up soon.

“I read over Phong’s notebook and that woman was a brilliant chemist.  I tested the syringe you brought back and it contained Tetrodotoxin or TTX.   When you said Phong died almost instantly I looked up deadly poisons and their chemical properties.  The pufferfish and blue ringed octopus both have this toxin.”

“I only got a quick glimpse at what was in the tanks in her room with the aquariums but I didn’t notice any pufferfish or blue ringed octopus,” Harry stated.

“She had both,” a voice came from behind them.  Lee had woken up and heard them talking.

“Lee,” Janet exclaimed and stooped down to give him a kiss but quickly moved out of the way for Jamie.

Jamie took his vitals, which were normal and called Frank over to take a couple tubes of blood so Jamie could test it to see how much of the hallucinogen was still left in his system.

“Welcome back, son,” Harry said patting him on the shoulder.

“How long have you been awake?” Jamie asked.

“For a while, but I didn’t want to open my eyes too afraid of what I might see,” Lee admitted.  “I’ve been listening to your conversations.  Hai is dead?”

“Yes, when we found you, she injected herself and died instantly.  We took the syringe to find out what she used,” Harry explained.

Lee looked at Chip and saw his arm in a sling and then at Janet with an impressive bruise and knot on her forehead.  “What the hell happened here?” he wondered as he slowly sat up. 

“What do you remember?” Jamie queried.

“I remember being in Hai’s lab, strapped to a chair. She told me she was going to give me a series of four shots that would cause a lot of pain, take away my memory and feelings.  She then injected me with a sedative and some other drug which hurt like hell. I vaguely remember waking up in FS-1 and seeing a gigantic Crown of Thorns starfish engulfing Seaview and pulling back on the yokes.  When I woke up again, I was in the bunk having some very frightening hallucinations of COTS crawling on me and a blue octopus grabbing me. I even found myself in the Control Room with a giant COTS on Seaview’s nose causing the windows to crack.”

“We have a lot to tell you and hopefully you’ll have some information for us,” Nelson said to Lee.  “Maybe we should wait until you’re stronger.”

“How long have I been out of it?” Lee questioned.  “I have to admit I’ve never been so sacred in my life.  What the hell did she give me?”

Jamie piped up, “She gave you some type of hallucinogenic drug she developed.  You’ve been out of it for over twenty-four hours.”

Lee sat there trying to absorb what Jamie just told him.  “How did Chip and Janet get hurt?”

“Chip was shot when we brought you aboard FS-1.  There were two men at Phong’s house and they saw us leaving with you.  Janet got hurt when you pushed her away when she tried to stop you from getting out of bed.  We had to restrain you so you wouldn’t hurt yourself or anyone else,” Jamie explained.

“I’m sorry you both got hurt because of me,” Lee responded devastated that he’d hurt his wife.  “So I assume you found me using the tracker you placed in my shoe.”

“Yes, Jason Weldon made it back to Pearl and told Admiral Johnson what had taken place in Sha-pa and that you set yourself up as the decoy so he could escape with the intel. We had your last known location before your ONI tracer stopped working,” Harry told him.  “But how did you get into the clutches of Hai Phong?  We know you had a run in with her before.”

Sighing deeply, “She caught me when I got trapped in an alley and when I tried to escape, one of her men shot me in the shoulder.  She was keeping me for a couple of days until the PR Security could come and get me.  She was still pissed at what happened a few years back and decided to make me pay for it.”

“How did you get the spines in your arm?  We had a hell of a time trying to figure out what they were and what you were yelling about.  All we knew was ‘COTS,’ Chip asked.

“I’m sure one of you saw her room full of aquariums.  When I first arrived, I was taken to the room and she told me what COTS were and rubbed one against my arm causing a spine to become embedded in my arm.  That wasn’t a pleasant experience either.  It swelled up right away, it wouldn’t stop bleeding and it made me very nauseated.   I couldn’t dig it out as it was in too deep.”

“You actually had two spines in your arm.  The swelling went down and the bleeding stopped as soon as I removed the spines,” Jamie said. “Are you still nauseated?”

“No, not at all.  I spent two days there and was nauseated the whole time.  She tried to make me eat dinner but I didn’t trust her not to poison me, but I did fall for her cup of tea that would settle my stomach. I watched the butler pour the tea so I still don’t know how she managed to put something in it.   Whatever was in that tea caused me to pass out from paranoia and fear,” Lee confessed.  “I saw sharks coming at me, COTS crawling out of the tanks, a blue ringed octopus’ tentacle reaching for me and finally an eel slithering out of the aquarium,” Lee shuddered as he told them.

“So that’s the other drug in your system,” Jamie surmised. 

“Should I be worried about what she injected in me causing problems later on?” Lee asked worriedly, knowing some hallucinogen drugs cause flashbacks.

“No, not according to her notebook…that would have happened after the next shot,” Harry told him.

Lee breathed a sigh of relief knowing his career would be over as Captain of the Seaview and the Navy, if he had flashbacks.  Janet had no idea what they were talking about and would question Jamie later on.

“I’m still very tired, can we continue talking later,” Lee said with a yawn.

“Of course,” Harry replied patting him on the shoulder.

“Talk to you later, bro,” Chip said as he also patted his shoulder.

Janet pulled up a chair and sat down; she wasn’t going anywhere.  The three men stood in Jamie’s office breathing sighs of relief that Lee would be okay.  Chip headed back to his cabin knowing his ‘brother’ would be okay after his ordeal. 

As Nelson walked to his cabin, he was relieved to know that Lee would have no problems once he was free of the drugs.  When he arrived at his cabin, he placed a call to Admiral Johnson letting him know about Lee and what they found out.

“Gerald,” Nelson said when he got Johnson on the phone.  “I have an update on Lee and some more information at what took place at Hai Phong’s estate.”  He quickly provided a download on Lee’s condition and the drugs she had injected into him.

Harry still pissed that Lee’s tracer had stopped working decided to let Johnson know how he felt, “One more issue I need to talk to you about.”

“What’s that, Harry?” Johnson asked cautiously, as he could tell by Nelson’s voice that he was pissed about something.

“If you or your techs at ONI ever send Lee Crane out with a tracer that could stop working, I’ll personally come to Washington and make sure you lose one of your stars.  If I hadn’t placed my tracker in his shoe, we would have never found him.  Do I make myself clear?”

“Acknowledged, Harry,” Johnson replied, “I guarantee you it will never happen again.” Giving Harry a pass for the ‘dressing down’ by the fellow four-star admiral.

Nelson slammed down the phone cutting Johnson off before he could say anything more.   That sure felt good, Harry thought as he sat back in his chair.


Jamie looked over the results of the blood samples that Frank had processed.  Most of the drugs had cleared Lee’s system leaving only a minute trace of the hallucinogen.  He made notes in Lee’s burgeoning file.  I’m going to need a file drawer just for his records, Jamie thought as he filled out more paperwork.


Lee grabbed Janet’s hand and gave it a squeeze, “I’m so sorry I hurt you, but I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” he said shamefully.

“Lee, please don’t worry.  I’ll be fine,” Janet assured him as she kissed his hand.  “I know you didn’t mean it, but I would like to know what happened between you and Hai if you can tell me.”

“I’ll tell you but not right know…can you wait?”

“Of course,” Janet replied as Lee fell asleep.

Once Janet knew Lee was asleep, she went over to Jamie as he worked at his desk.  “Jamie, Lee’s asleep.  I have a question for you.  Why all the concern about flashbacks?” she asked worriedly.

“Some hallucinogenic drugs can cause a recurrence of the drug experience and they can happen without warning.  They can occur within a few days or even years after the experience and can affect someone’s daily functioning,” he said seriously.  “If that should’ve occurred, Lee wouldn’t be able to continue as Seaview’s captain or stay in the Navy because of them.”

“Do you think that will happen to Lee?” Janet inquired knowing it would destroy him not to be able to captain the sub or even stay in the Navy.

“No, Hai’s notes were very specific about that,” Jamie reassured her.

“Thanks,” Janet said relieved and returned to her chair next to Lee’s bunk where she picked up his hand and squeezed it.


Lee stayed in Sick Bay for the rest of cruise under Jamie’s watchful eye.  He wanted to make sure all the drugs were out of his system when he left the boat so he took a few more tubes of blood.

“Jamie, you’ve become a vampire,” Lee joked at all the blood he’d taken the last couple of days.

“Just making sure you’re clear of everything.  I’m going to let you go home but you’ll have to rest for a couple of days before returning to the Institute. Check in with me before reporting.”

“Yes sir,” Lee replied knowing he would lose any argument he conjured up.

For the next couple of days before the boat docked, Janet kept him busy looking at all the reports she had completed especially the ones from the shakedown cruise.  Lee was impressed with how the equipment and crew handle the changes.  He wanted to be in the Control Room just as an observer when Seaview docked but Jamie knew he wouldn’t just stand there and do nothing. 


Chip was back on duty when Seaview entered the channel getting ready to dock at NIMR. Chip could be in the Control Room but would’ve had a hard time going up the ladder so Bobby and the admiral would be on the bridge guiding her into her slip.  Bobby had no problem docking her and directing the dock detail.  The two men returned to the Control Room once she was secured.

“Nice job,” Harry told Bobby patting him on the shoulder.  “Thanks for all your help on this cruise.”

“Thank you, sir,” Bobby replied as he continued issuing orders to complete the shut-down of the sub.

Since Seaview had no missions scheduled for a few weeks, the crew would get shore leave.  Chip and Bobby stood at the bottom of the ladder seeing off the crew and thanking them for their help.  Harry was in Sick Bay with Lee and Janet waiting until all the crew was dismissed before they would leave.

“Lee, I’ve made arrangements for you to be hoisted off the boat,” Jamie told him.  “There’s no way you’re going to be able to climb up the ladder to leave the boat with both your arms still injured,” he pointed out.

Frowning, Lee replied, “Jamie, I can make my way up the ladder with the arm not in the sling.”

“No, you have a very deep incision in that arm and I’m not going to have you rip out any of the stitches trying to climb up a ladder.”

“Captain,” Harry said looking at Lee, “I think the CMO has the final word.”

“Yes, sir,” Lee answered knowing Jamie was right.

Kowalski entered Sick Bay to get the keys to Janet’s SUV so he could put their gear in it.

“Skipper, it’s great to see you’re feeling better,” he said as he took the keys. “I’m going to help Chief Sharkey remove you from the boat so when I’m finished, I’ll take your gear, stow in the car and leave the keys there.”

“Thanks, Ski,” Lee replied.  “And thanks for the rescue.”  Janet had filled him in on who went to the estate to get him out.

“Any time Skipper,” Ski replied happy to see the Skipper back to normal after what had taken place on FS-1 and left Sick Bay for their cabin and Chip’s cabin to get their gear.  He would then report to the dock to assist in Lee’s removal from the basket once it was on the dock.


Harry, Lee, Janet and Jamie made their way to the Missile Room.   Lee sneered at the basket waiting for his arrival. He reluctantly laid down in the basket as Patterson and Riley secured the straps and radioed Sharkey the all clear to lift him off the boat.

The men carefully steadied the basket as it was lifted off the deck.  Once clear of the top hatch, Sharkey lowered it down to the dock where Kowalski was waiting to help him out.

Harry, Jamie and Janet made their way to the Control Room so they could leave the boat.  Chip would head up the ladder first followed by Jamie in case he had a problem going up with one arm.  By the time Harry, Jamie and Janet had made it to the quarterdeck, Kowalski had already helped Lee out of the basket.

 “What took you so long?” Lee joked as he and Julie waited for the rest of them to make their way down to the dock.  Julie wasn’t surprised to see Chip’s arm in a sling as the admiral had checked in with Angie and told her what had taken place on the cruise.

“I’ll expect to see you both in a couple of days,” Jamie said looking at Chip and Janet.

“Yes, Jamie,” they replied as they stood on the dock.

 “Chip, Kowalski put your gear in my car,” Julie told him after she gave him a kiss.

“Well, let’s go,” Chip said.  “I’ll see all of you in a couple of days.”   He and Julie walked away with Chip’s good arm wrapped around her waist.

“I’m going to check in with Angie,” Harry told Lee and Janet.  “When you return to the office, I want to talk about the tracker and how it worked.”  

“Yes, sir,” Lee replied smiling.  “I’m sure glad you put it in there.”

Harry walked to his car with only his briefcase knowing one of the crew put his gear in the car and left the keys.

“Ready?” Janet asked Lee as he stood on the dock looking at Seaview as she bobbed in her pen as the dock crew completed the rest of their docking duties.

“Can we go for a walk in the garden before we head home?” Lee asked.  “I want to talk to you.”

“Sure, honey,” Janet answered taking his hand as they made their way to the garden located not too far from the dock.


Once in the garden, they sat down on the bench that faced the ocean.  “I love coming here,” Lee commented, “it’s the place where you made me the happiest man in the world.”

Janet smiled as this is the place where their wedding took place.  “I like coming here too,” she replied as she rested against Lee.

Lee wrapped his arm around Janet’s shoulder.  “I want to clear the air regarding Hai Phong.  I didn’t sleep with her.  I’ll admit I led her on and I’m not proud that I did, but I had to get that information.  Men had died because of her truth serum, so we had to have the formula and notes.”  Lee kissed her on her forehead making sure he avoided the bruise that had turned to a nice shade of purple.

“Sweetheart, I’m so sorry I hurt you,” Lee apologized again still feeling awful about what he had done. 

“Honey, I know you would never purposely hurt someone physically or emotionally unless it was a matter of life or death.”

“I never expected to see her again so when I ran into her she was still pretty pissed about what happened.”

“She’s had to live with her humiliation for years, so she’s had plenty of time to plot her revenge and you just happened to be in the wrong place.  Lee, I have to confess I was never so scared in my life.  You’ve come back to us in worse shape physically but somehow I knew you’d be okay.  This time I wasn’t sure, especially when the admiral told us about the drugs she had given you and what they could do.”

Lee turned to face his wife and looked into her eyes, “I’ll admit I was afraid myself,” Lee replied.  “And if I hadn’t recovered from the drugs and had no memories or feelings, I wouldn’t have expected you to stay with me.”

Janet looked into his eyes, “Lee,” she said softly, “I’ll always stand by you. Remember those vows we said here, ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part’.”

“Sweetie, yes, I do,” Lee responded seriously.

“Honey, I’d never leave you alone no matter what happens.  I’d walk through hell for you,” Janet answered with tears running down her cheeks.  “I love you that much.”

“I love you too,” Lee said as he wiped away her tears and gently kissed her.  “You’re shivering do you want to go?”

“No, I’ll just snuggle closer to you,” she replied wrapping her arms around his waist.

He rubbed his hand on her arm as they sat there watching the sun set and the waves as they gently rolled onto the shoreline each of them realizing how much they still loved each other and grateful Lee had survived both Hai and her Crown of Thorns.


The End.’



Thank you Lynn and Christy for your help and suggestions.

Thanks Carol for running the Seaview Stories website and posting pictures that inspire our imaginations.