Susan F



Nelson smiled as the old ship’s clock in the foyer chimed 2000 hours. He immediately reached for his tie, loosened it, left it dangling, and then proceeded to shrug off his mess dress jacket as he made his way into his dimly lit study and the bottle of brandy awaiting him there. He couldn't quite remember how his sister had talked him into dressing up with all his medals and military finery just so he could hand out candy to the N.I.M.R. and Seaview offspring one night a year. But she had, and it had become such a valued tradition that he continued it whenever Seaview was in port, whether Edith was there to pester him or not. He'd never admit it but he enjoyed seeing the kids’ costumes, and was aware that, for some unfathomable reason, getting “The Admiral’s” accolades on their costume was a bigger kick to the kids than any prize given away at any Halloween party. 


He enjoyed the tradition but 2000 never came too soon. His doorman duties were done, and tonight his sister was at some trendy Halloween party somewhere in New York City. That left him to his brandy and he grinned with pleasure as he saw the small hot pot and plate of molasses cookies his housekeeper had left for him on the low table before the fire.  Molasses cookies and - he sniffed to make sure -            ah, yes, mulled cider. Perfect for a late October evening. A little soft music on the stereo completed the setting for a relaxing evening at home. Something he badly needed after the last cruise. He only hoped that the crew was making the most of their time off. Lee, particularly… Nelson wrenched his thoughts away from the periscope island and the too expressive golden eyes that locked on his as a hand pressed against a bloody wound…  No, not tonight. Besides, Lee had forgiven him, had assured him that in no way was it his fault. Brandy was tossed off a little too swiftly, the last of the cider abandoned as Nelson slipped into an uneasy sleep in the comfortable armchair.  His last thought was a mournful, Ah, but when will you forgive yourself, Harry, my lad?


Lee Crane clawed feebly at the mud that held him as fast as the doorsill of the vehicle that lay across his legs. Looking at the tree trunk that had smashed flat the driver’s seat, he considered whether he was fortunate that the seat belt had broken and he had been tossed almost clear. Die fast or die slow, he thought grimly, not much choice there. What had begun as a relaxing drive through scenic, lightly traveled byways had turned into a fight for survival. He very much doubted that anyone would notice where the small MG had gone over the side and getting to the horn, even did the horn still work festooned with tree branches, looked like an impossibility from where he was laying. His cell was just out of reach of his stretching fingers. Still, it wasn't in him to give up, and he ignored his injuries to painfully shift handfuls of wet, heavy dirt from beneath his trapped legs. He guessed he was thankful that he had landed in a muddy patch. It was cold but made a softer landing than it might have been. He stopped briefly to press lightly on the wound that had just barely begun healing since Krueger… No, won't go there. He’s gone and I have no intention of  meeting him in the afterlife.  Better get cracking, Lee.  The light was gone now and cold was moving in with the night. His movements slowed. Tired. Cold. Chip? Admiral? Find me.



A log snapped on the fire and Nelson startled awake. His heart was pounding and he shook his head to clear away the lingering traces of a nightmare that was already fading. Something about Lee… He reached to pour himself a glass of brandy. Small wonder he was dreaming about the captain of the Seaview. He still hadn't come to terms with his actions, wondered if he ever would. An unexpected surge of rage swept through him, surprising him with its intensity. “Damn you, Krueger! I hope you rot for all eternity!” He felt just a little better as the last word seemed to echo in the quiet library, a world and time away from those frantic days and weeks on Seaview when it wasn't known if Lee would live, or die by his own admiral’s hand. His hard fought calm was shattered as a harsh, all too well remembered, voice whispered above the soft crackle and pops of the fire. “You may yet have your wish, Admiral Nelson.”


Nelson was on his feet, body poised to defend, to attack, in any direction before he was aware of his actions. “No. This cannot be. You are gone. Mulayo is gone.” Fierce blue eyes swept the familiar corners of his sanctuary; he relaxed just a bit as nothing seemed out of order. Until, from a darkened corner by the antique pedestal globe, a dark somber figure appeared, dressed in the dark turtleneck and dungarees of a U-boat sailor. Krueger raised his hands, not - to Nelson’s surprise - in threat but in supplication.


“Hear me out, Admiral. Your captain’s life is at stake.”


Nelson spared not a thought for the strangeness of talking to a man long dead; that took a back seat to the necessity for information. “What have you done with Captain Crane?”


“Nothing, Admiral. I have no power on this plane since you destroyed my Lani’s resting place.”


“Why are you here?” Nelson tensed as Krueger came into the glow of the firelight. Nelson fought the urge to turn on every light in the room; the dimness that had earlier soothed tired nerves now seemed threatening. He wouldn't give Krueger the satisfaction of seeing just how unsettling his presence was. I beat you once; I can do so again. But what was that about Lee?


As if Krueger had heard his thoughts the German said harshly, “I lost my power on this plane but I did not go on with my Lani. I am too tied yet to this plane, to the captain of your boat, to my past mistakes. His life is at risk, Admiral, but not by my doing. And his death would doom both of us to an eternity tied together. You will understand when I say that the company of my Lani is preferable to even that of your engaging young officer.”


“Stop speaking in riddles.” Nelson had no time for the attempt at levity that sat so poorly on the dour - and dead, he reminded himself - German officer. “What the devil is going on?” Impatience worked well as a cover for worry.


“Events have given me a chance, Admiral, a chance to redeem myself and to free myself and your captain from this tie we share. And to give you a chance to redeem yourself, perhaps even forgive yourself, for what I forced you to do.”


Nelson was ready to blast his worst nightmare when the doorbell rang. The prosaic sound was enough to make him jump, but Krueger just stood impassively. The bell was followed up by pounding and a very familiar voice shouting, “Admiral Nelson. Admiral, are you there, sir?”


 Nelson cast a glance back at the unmoving ghost as he went into the hallway, to the door. Surprisingly steady hands made short work of the locks and bolts and he swung the door open. He had no intention of inviting anyone into his house, of letting anyone come in contact with the ghost of a man who had already wreaked such havoc on his crew. Particularly this man. He should have known that Chip Morton would not stand on ceremony when on a mission. A mission of some importance, Nelson assessed, as the young officer brushed past him without so much as a “by your leave, sir.” Instead, his executive officer started questioning before Nelson had time to speak.


“Sir, did Lee tell you what his plans for the weekend were?” Chip seemed to hold his breath as Nelson cast a glance back at the study before saying too deliberately, too slowly, “He told me he was planning to “get in the car and drive,” Chip. I don't think even he knew where. Why?”


Chip seemed to shrink in on himself. “He dropped his Spyder off for servicing and his mechanic offered him the loan of an MG convertible. Admiral, Tony didn't know that the convertible had a problem with the tie rod. He’s afraid it might break on Lee.”


“Chip, Lee can handle a mechanical problem.”


Chip interrupted him, and didn't even notice he was doing so. “Sir, if Lee was “just driving,” then he’s working something out.  Both men knew what that “something” likely was. “We're talking high speed on winding roads. If that tie rod lets go at the wrong time and place… Admiral, I don't have a good feeling about this.”


Nelson sighed and motioned toward the study door. A mere ghost wouldn't throw Morton off his stride when his captain, his friend - hell, his brother -  was in danger. And Nelson had a high regard for Chip’s instincts when it came to his friend and trouble. If Chip didn't have a good feeling about this, it behooved him to listen. As he ushered his junior officer into the study, he waited for Chip to react to the presence of his uninvited guest. Nelson stared as Chip walked right past Krueger and didn't even blink. Instead he leaned against the mantle and stared into the flames before saying in tense voice, “Admiral, I checked with the highway patrol and there’s been no accidents reported involving an MG convertible. But Lee’s cell is on and he’s not answering.”


Krueger moved to stand close to the blond officer and turned to face Nelson.


“I can take you to him, Admiral. We are tied together. He will need help.”


“Why the hell would I trust you?”


“Admiral?” Chip swung around as if shot. “Sir? I don't under…”


Nelson waved him silent. “Not you, Chip. You don't see him. Obviously, you don't see him. Why is that, I wonder?”


Morton knew the past cruise had been hard on the older man. Being faced with a…a… creature - Chip wouldn't call Krueger a man - whose will was even more formidable than Nelson’s own and being forced to shoot his best friend… Well, Chip and Jamieson had both been watching for the fallout. Chip sighed. It couldn't have come at a worse time. “Admiral,” he said cautiously, “I'm going to call Jamie, get him here. Everything will be all right, sir.” He could see the moment Nelson realized that Jamieson was being called for him. The sharp blue eyes widened and the famous temper looked set to blow. Then Nelson stared off to Chip’s left and nodded once, purposefully.


“I don't have much choice but to believe you. Chip’s news fits too neatly with what you are saying. I believe you; I don't trust you.” Nelson swung his eyes back to Chip, seeing the growing consternation in the blue eyes that had trouble meeting his. Measuring me for a straightjacket, I warrant. Well, we've been there before and all too recently. “Mister Morton, I lately had occasion to ask you to trust me at a time when trust should have been impossible. I need you to do so again.”


Chip raised his eyes to lock on Nelson’s own. Whatever he saw there seemed to convince him because he nodded once, slowly. “Sir, what is going on?”


“Krueger is here, Chip,” he said it gently, reached out to place a comforting hand on a flannel clad arm as the younger officer started and stared wildly around the study.


“I… don't see him , sir.”


“Because he is not tied to me, Admiral. I never worked my will upon him as I did you and, to my shame and punishment, your captain. And your captain is not here. There is that about him that thins the barrier…?


Nelson snorted, turned back to Chip and ignored the implied questions of both man and ghost. “Chip, call Jamieson. I want an ambulance with attendants and Jamieson himself . I want one of our rescue units as well.”


“Ropes, Admiral, he is down a cliff.”


Chip noticed the pause in the shotgunned instructions before Nelson added, “Stokes stretcher, Chip. Make sure they bring one. And lots of rope.”


“Sir?” Chip Morton experienced an overwhelming wish that Lee was there. Something was going on that he did not understand and his friend had a knack for dealing with things that made no sense.


“Chip, lad.” Chip rarely heard that soft tone of voice from the admiral; a commanding tone came much more easily to him after a lifetime at sea and in charge. “Chip, I need you to set aside your questions and get things organized. I don't think Lee has much time.”


That was enough to get Chip moving. If the old, old man had gone off the deep end, having Jamie there would do no harm. If there was something … weird … going on, it wouldn't be the first time and if it found Lee… He went to the study phone and started punching buttons, ignoring Nelson’s sotto voce conversation with someone who wasn't there. He went out in the kitchen and fired up the coffee maker. It wouldn't hurt to get some hot coffee in the admiral; Chip had seen the brandy bottle and though Nelson didn't appear tipsy… Besides, it got him away from that library. Something about the flickering firelight and dim corners had transformed what had been his favorite room in the admiral’s house into a place from which he was anxious to be gone. It was with great relief that he answered the doorbell not fifteen minutes later, thermos of hot coffee in hand. Jamieson was at the door, behind him Kowalski and Patterson. “Hey, Doc. He’s in the study.”  As the doctor brushed past him, he asked his crewmen, “What are you two doing here?”


Ski shrugged and said, “We're filling in for Tomlinson and Barker on the rescue crew. They're taking their rugrats trick or treating. Sir, what’s going on? I heard a rumor that the skipper’s mechanic showed up on base yelling about a tie rod and now you're calling out a rescue crew. The skipper in trouble, sir?”


“Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't add two and two, Ski. Yeah, we think so but it’s crazier even than that.” The XO hesitated, not sure how much he wanted to explain to even these two most loyal seamen. He was saved making the decision when Nelson came sailing down the passageway, Jamie in puzzled tow.


“Let’s go. We haven't much time. Chip, you drive my SUV. Ski, Pat, glad you're here.” As Chip departed for the garage, Nelson’s keys in hand, the admiral added, “Who’s on for medical, Doc?”


“Frank and Tom.” Jamieson was keeping his answers to a minimum, more interested in studying Nelson. The few brief remarks Nelson had vouchsafed him in the library had done more to confuse than comfort him about the admiral’s state of mind. Then again, after the last cruise Jamieson wasn't willing to just assume that the old, old man had lost it. It wouldn't hurt to play this out.


“Good, they're both good with Lee.” As Nelson’s Cherokee pulled up behind the ambulance and rescue squad, Nelson led the way, saying with an irony that was not lost on Jamieson, “ Sit up front with Chip, Doctor. I'll take the back with my illusion or delusion as the case might yet be. We'll see.” Jamieson shared a glance with Morton; he hadn't thought his skepticism was that blatant. Chip said quietly, “Admiral, there’s coffee in the thermos back there.”


“Thank you, Chip, but despite appearances, I'm not drunk. Well, Krueger, we're ready to go. Where do we go?”


“There were trees, a winding road, springs coming off the hill here and there. It is difficult in this form to tell but I do not believe we are that distant from the captain. East, I believe, and not near the sea.”


Nelson nodded.  Shortly after Crane had come aboard Seaview, the young officer had taken him driving one Saturday afternoon when they needed to hash things out after yet another mission that demanded compromises no captain should have to make. Nelson had felt no qualms for his safety as his captain exceeded the speed limit on the narrow, two lane road that saw little traffic since the land had been put into conservation. They had passed a police cruiser; the driver had merely exchanged salutes with Crane as his speed never slackened. Lee had said quietly, “They know me out here.” Somehow they had come back from that drive restored to charity with one another even though few words had been exchanged. Nelson winced as he remembered Lee asking him along for the drive that evening. A drive he had ducked, citing Halloween duties rather than his reluctance to face what he had done.


“Had you been with him, Admiral, you both would be missing. That would do the captain no good.”


“Stay out of my head, Krueger,” Nelson snapped. “Chip, take Sutter's Pass Road. Lee said he was going to just drive.” The three vehicles picked up speed as they left N.I.M.R.’s compound and took to the highway. Nelson cast a glance at his two officers in the front seat before saying, “I've noticed, Captain, that you rarely use Lee Crane’s name? Any reason for that?” Nelson checked on Krueger, something he had avoided doing as it was disturbing to see Krueger apparently standing in the foot well of the car, visible from the knees up. Were he anything but a ghost, his feet would have been worn away by friction long since. Nelson wondered why Krueger couldn't appear to sit, suspected that for all his talk of atoning for mistakes, the captain still wanted an edge. Krueger’s next words added weight to that supposition.


“He was perfect for what I needed, in position, in youth, in skills and strengths, Admiral, and in an openness to that other plane. But he is very much his own person. Had I allowed myself to know him, to see him as anything but the fulfillment of my needs, Lani and I would still be parted. He is “the captain,” that is all.”


Nelson snorted. “That he is, and more. And, it seems to me that you and Lani are still parted.”


“It may be that in saving your captain, I will save my soul. Lani waits for me. I am sure of that. And the captain waits for you.”  


Nelson heard a faint, whispery, “Chip? Admiral? Find me…” in a voice he well knew, even to the pain that colored the words. “Chip! Can't we go any faster?”


“Aye, sir. If you're sure that we're heading for Sutter's Pass, there’s a shortcut I can take. Lee doesn't like it because it’s “boring” to drive.”


“Do it.”


Silence settled on the passengers of the car, mortal and otherwise. Only Nelson’s occasional direction and Chip’s passing it on to the vehicles following disturbed the uneasy quiet. Finally, as they turned onto Sutter's Pass, Nelson mentally shrugged and decided his officers couldn't be more worried about his mental state than they already were, and there were things that had to be said before they found Lee. If they found Lee. If Krueger were more than the workings of his own guilty mind, as Jamieson was professionally bound to suspect. He said aloud what he had been thinking. “Captain, it occurs to me that that you need to see Lee Crane for who he is rather than who you needed him to be. He can't still be merely “the captain” to you. Isn't that part of what “tied” you to each other? That he was nothing to you but physical presence?”


Perhaps, Admiral, you are right.” The temperature in the car rose abruptly and Nelson snarled an angry, “Krueger. Dammit! Get back here!”  


Jamieson turned completely around in his seatbelt as Nelson hit the back of his seat.  Chip flinched but kept his eyes on the road as he asked, “Admiral, what’s the problem, sir? Do I need to stop?”


“The problem, Chip, is that I just sent Krueger to where Lee is injured and waiting for help. Instead he'll get a dead man who tried to take his life.”


Chip gulped, not liking that scenario at all. But he needed to keep Nelson on track and thinking, not blaming himself for what he could not control. “Sir, Lee’s handled worse. What do I do now, if our … guide is gone?”


Nelson sighed heavily. “Just keep driving, Chip. But slow down as we go through the Pass. Notify the men to keep alert for any sign of the captain’s car, any sign of an accident. Get Ski to use the searchlight.”


“Yes, sir.” Chip exchanged looks with Jamieson, received a subtle shrug of the shoulders as they came to a silent agreement to let this play out. Chip still harbored hopes that Lee would show up complaining about the lousy steering on his loaner car. But as Jamieson kept speed dialing the captain on Morton’s cell with no answer, those hopes faded. From behind them came the bright beams of the lights mounted on the top of the N.I.M.R. rescue vehicle playing against the dark night, picking out trees and bushes and the - so far  - intact guardrail that bounded the roadway. Chip checked on Nelson in the rear view mirror. The admiral was staring out the window with an intensity that gave Chip the impression he was physically riding the searchlight’s beam into the darkened canyon.


Geez, buddy, you better be all right. I don't think the admiral can... Chip shook his head. The admiral would do what the admiral had to, bear what he must. Better I should worry about me and the crew.  He glanced over at Jamieson as the doctor once again lifted the cell phone to his ear. Jamieson listened for too long a time; Chip wasn't surprised when he closed the cover with a sigh.  




Lee woke again, not sure why. He'd been drifting in and out for a while now as the cold and pain settled deep into his bones. But he was awake and so he did what he did every time he awoke, started clawing at the ground again. He had a small pile of mud pushed to the side but was still pinned down. Not making much headway, I mean legway… maybe leeway. Lee chuckled weakly at the pun that would not have merited so much as a snort from his XO.  Mus… be in worse shape than I thought if thass best I can do. Wish, wish I had taken a'mral up on his offer to… to hand out candy. Glad he didn't come with me. Chip doesn'… need… lose both… No! That isn't an option. Have to get out; get back to my boat, my crew. Pressure seemed to build within him; the same feeling that had sent him out on the road as if he could outdistance whatever it was that felt so wrong.


He shivered from something other than cold, wouldn't put a name to the sense that he was not alone in his skin. That was over; Chip had explained what he didn't remember and assured him that it was over.




No, it was over.


Captain Crane.”


The moon wasn't bright enough to see by; that … figure had to be a hallucination brought on by his head injury. Lee struggled to pull himself out from under the car; uttered a strangled cry as something dug deep into his leg. He had to stop; his breath coming in harsh pants as he watched, wide-eyed and trapped, as the man from his nightmares came close.


I mean you no harm, Captain.”


Lee shook his head, swallowed as nausea threatened. A protest ripped from his throat, “You're dead!”


And have been for some time, Captain. We've established that.”


Lee kept wary eyes on the specter as he struggled to reach beneath the trapping metal and free his leg. He wasn't going to be taken again, not if it cost him his own life. And then Krueger spoke again.


Captain, I need your help.”


Lee found himself listening. This seemed a chastened man, not the arrogant U-boat captain that had wreaked such havoc on his boat and him. Still wary, but caught by that unaccustomed note of pleading, he answered, “What kind of help? I tell you now that you won't be taking me over.” Lee hoped that Krueger could not hear the uncertainty under that declaration.


Captain, such is not my intention. And I doubt that I would be able to even if that were my intent.”


“You didn't have much trouble … before.” Lee grunted as he sliced open the side of his hand on whatever was piercing his left leg above the knee. He brought it to his mouth, cleaned off the mud and oil before checking and then ignoring the injury. He had worse problems than a two inch gash. 


Ah, but your admiral aided me… before.”


That brought Lee’s head up and he glared defiance at the spook. “Like Hell he did. It was you, all and only you, Krueger.”


But it was by his hand that the weapon was fired, Captain. I needed that appearance as much as I needed you weakened, on the verge of death, to succeed in “taking you over,” Captain. I don't have either of those advantages at the moment.”


Lee hoped Krueger spoke truth and was not trying to lower his defenses. Because, while he was sure of the admiral, he wasn't so sure about himself. He really didn't feel so hot. He swiped at his forehead with a cotton clad arm and rested his head against the car. Just for a moment before he went back to freeing himself and dealing with a dead man. Despite his best efforts, despite the presence of Krueger, the world reeled around him and his eyes closed. His last thought was a prayer that he was still himself when he awoke.


Krueger drifted over toward Seaview’s captain. The officer was sprawled on his right side, the MG axle deep in mud atop him. The ghost shook his head. He wasn't sure whether Crane had the worst luck of anyone he had even met or the best.  The fact of the accident was certainly bad luck but that he had been thrown clear before the tree came crashing down on the driver’s seat was definitely good. Winding up under the car was not happy chance but that he had managed to end up in a boggy patch of ground … well, six inches either way and he would be dead, crushed by the weight of the car. Krueger could see the effort Crane had made to dig his way out; could imagine the pain of twisting to reach beneath the vehicle despite bruised ribs and trapped legs to make the attempt.


He had not lied to the captain; he had needed to shatter the strong-willed young man both physically and psychologically to succeed in his takeover. And even then had never really been certain of his power. Crane should have killed that girl at his demand; that was his intent, but the body he inhabited had fought him all the way even though Crane was barely conscious. Even now, Krueger remembered how difficult it had been to deny Crane his humanity, to see him as nothing more than a useful tool. His presence here was proof that Crane had exerted some unknowing control over him even as he forced his will on the man. A control that even now the captain exerted in unconscious defense of his boat, his crew, his admiral, himself. Nelson was coming; surely he could leave now. Krueger tried to follow that faintest of threads to his Lani and beyond… and failed. Apparently, there was more required of him that simply notifying the admiral where his captain was to be found. Perhaps Nelson was right or… Krueger felt a cold chill up what would have been his spine had he a body as he considered the next step might not be his but Crane’s. Was understanding and forgiveness even possible?  


He contemplated his erstwhile host, aware as he had not been for some time of the passage of time. It had to be tonight if he was to be with his Lani. Crane was stirring.


Mmm.” Crane coughed harshly. Rolled his head from side to side as if he fought for … or against … returning awareness. Even before he was fully conscious, he was scrabbling at the mud, pulling a handful out from under the car. Finally, dazed amber eyes opened in an ashen face. Krueger moved so that the trapped officer could see him. His already high regard for the young captain increased as the man looked at him and murmured, “You still here? Just as soon you… not wait around… for me to join you.”


Captain… Lee…” Krueger saw the dazed eyes narrow at that mode of address as the young officer forced himself to pay attention. He went on, “I do not believe that it is intended that you join me. Your admiral is on his way. You need merely to hold on.”


“Then why?”


I'm not sure, Captain... Lee… I did not move on with Lani when the island was destroyed. Apparently there is yet something I must do.”


“Maybe… maybe you need… to understand what you did.”


And perhaps you need to know as well, my…” Krueger cut himself off as Crane reacted to that innocently used possessive. Captain.”


“Why? Why me?”


Lee noted that Krueger seemed reflective, gave consideration to that question. Lee figured he would give the man… the ghost … all the time he needed. If Krueger was preoccupied with questions, Lee figured he'd be less likely to try to occupy… He bit his lip on the chuckle that wanted to break free at that, this time, inadvertent pun. Then again, he probably doesn't want to move into a property that isn't very mobile. At that thought, Lee stopped his painful struggle to free himself. Better trapped by a car, than by a ghost. With nothing better to do than hold on for the promised coming of the admiral, Lee turned his attention to the luminescent presence that bore him unwanted company.


"Why, you, Captain? I think because we once were alike..."


Krueger raised his hand at the immediate denial that crossed the young captain’s expressive face. “No, hear me out! Please.” Krueger waited. Without the need to mimic life, he had not bothered to establish an illusion of breathing. He wished now he had; in life, he would have held his breath waiting on Crane’s answer, a useful distraction. And then he had evidence that, in this way at least, he and the other submarine captain were not alike; he would never have given an enemy even a moment’s consideration of such a request yet there was Crane, nodding painfully and saying,


“I'm listening.” Lee squeezed his eyes shut a moment, reasonably sure now that whatever Krueger’s motive for seeking him out on Hallow’s eve, it wasn't to usurp his life. He couldn't have said why or how he came to that assurance, but he was 99 per cent sure of it. Still, that one per cent meant he wouldn't let down his guard. A shudder hit him and he bit his lip, rested a hot forehead against cool metal. Admiral, if you're coming, hurry. 



Nelson straightened in his seat suddenly and snapped, “Did you hear that?”


“Hear what, sir?” Chip’s voice betrayed none of the trepidation he felt as Nelson’s eyes swept the interior of the car as if something, someone, could be hidden there. He wasn't reassured as the admiral sat back and shook his head.


“Nothing, Chip. Guess I'm jumping at shadows.” 


Blue eyes met brown in the front seat. The admiral wasn't given to jumping at shadows. Halloween, indeed.


“Chip, how far until we reach the end of this canyon?”


“Thirty miles or so, Admiral. Should I speed up?”


Nelson shook his head. “No, Mr. Morton, we don't want to risk driving right past Lee.” He went back to studying the road, his chest heavy. He found himself silently encouraging his missing captain as if the man could hear him. Just hang on, son. His concentration was shattered as the searchlight went dark. “Chip!”


“On it, Admiral.” Chip guided the Cherokee to the side of the road and was out the door and striding back to the rescue squad before Pat even brought the vehicle to a stop. Behind the squad, Chip could see the medics’ worried faces in the dome light. But they didn't waste time demanding explanations, just sat patiently with the ambulance’s engine turning over. Chip wasn't as patient.  “Ski, what the hell?”  Kawasaki didn't wait on the XO’s arrival but hoisted himself up on the hood and reached for the searchlight. As he stripped off the casing, he threw Mr. Morton an explanation he figured the man didn't need, although given what had to be the XO’s worry level…


“Light blew, sir. Hand up that spare, Pat.”  It was the work of a moment to replace the bulb. Ski bit back a curse and blew on his fingers as the hot glass bit at his hand. He knew he was taking shortcuts but something told him the skipper didn't have a whole hell of a lot of time. As he slid back to the ground, he looked at his XO, saw the same worry in the blue eyes that he felt in his gut. “Sir, I'm getting a bad feeling here. Almost like… He stopped, not sure he wanted to go on, not sure how to go on.


“Ski?” Morton did his best to hide his impatience. Kowalski was a good man, dedicated to the boat and the man who commanded her. It paid an XO to listen to a man of his proven talents. Chip shook his head as he watched a tide of red flow over his leading seaman’s face. “Spit it out, Ski.”


“It’s nuts, sir. It feels like… that last mission… the U-boat…” Kowalski swallowed as Mister Morton’s eyes widened. The XO cleared his throat and said, “Let’s concentrate on this mission, Ski, and find the skipper.”


Patterson tilted his head in the blond officer’s direction and asked as Kowalski buckled himself in. “What’d you say to the XO, Ski? He looked as if he'd seen a ghost.”


“Maybe he did, Pat. Let’s get moving.”


Admiral Nelson echoed Patterson as Chip swung behind the wheel. “Get moving, Chip. I don't like Krueger’s absence.”


This time, as Jamieson exchanged glances with the XO he was surprised to see acceptance in the blue eyes that met his. The doctor settled back in his seat.




I was older than you are now when I came to submarines, Captain, but young when I first dove. It was then -- wearing what I am sure you would think a laughably antiquated Siebe Improved Diving Dress -- that I fell in love with the sea. I dove as often as I could, first for Siebe himself, then as a naval officer, attached to the Valdivia expedition as a diver. Do you know the freedom, the glory, of swimming where man was not designed to go? To watch the dolphins at play in their world and to be part of it? To walk on land that has never known air? To see sights other men will never know?” Krueger watched as amber eyes caught fire. Yes, the young American did know those feelings. “In 1906, I called on every contact I had to be assigned to the U1. I knew, you see, that the future was in that small, smelly, uncomfortable, dangerous boat. I knew where she would go, what she could do … and the doors she would open for better boats. And I knew the world outside her skin as did few others. I worked my way up in that boat, learning each component, each rivet, until she was in my bones and blood. Do you know that feeling, Captain?” Krueger held that amber gaze with his own until Crane nodded. He did not need that agreement to know how deeply the other captain felt his boat; it was part of what had drawn him to Seaview’s master. This was a man who could understand him as few did, a man in whose body he could be comfortable despite their physical differences. He again felt that thrill he had experienced when he first met the young American, yearned for a willing connection instead of that he had forced upon the so young officer. “You know whereof I speak, Captain, we are not so different, you and I.”


Lee ran a shaking hand over the top of his head, grabbed the back of his aching neck. Yes, he knew the thrill of being part of the sea, of learning her mysteries. Was that why Krueger had … He shied away from that thought, not ready to consider that he and this ghost shared more than a profession. Krueger was talking again and Lee found himself listening, thinking it was not so different from hearing the admiral speak of his experiences in wartime. 


And then I was given command of U-444. Ah, I had no better day until I met Lani. Though it was wartime, I had a command, a mission, though meine graue Dame was never so grand as yours. Sometimes it felt as if we were as much at war with nature as with our enemies. It was cold; so very cold as the sea leached away our heat. The bulkheads were beaded with condensate that fell like rain on my poor exhausted, cold crew. I would see them try to warm their hands upon the motors in the engine room. Our batteries needed frequent recharging; we would run upon the surface but were tossed about like corks in any kind of sea. And the smell …Mein Gott, the smell. Not like your Seaview; meine graue Dame smelled of the bilges where collected the diesel, the garbage, the illness of sick sailors. But still, we lived, we fought and we had victories that made her not only our vessel but our home. We took down Hogue, Cressy and Aboukir; 12,000 tons of warship, Captain, and the souls of 1500 of the fatherland’s enemies.* One small unterseeboot. You have no experience of such, Lee, but you have known other victories, against enemies that I can scarce believe. You too know what it is like to lead men into hell and back out again. You too feel your boat in your bones. You too feel the calling of duty, of mission. We are much alike, my young Lee, much alike.”


Lee had been caught up in Krueger’s remembrances. It was as if he lived the voyages of U-444, as if he shivered in the chill, damp air, smelled the sickening aroma that men had no choice but to endure, shared hardship and hard won victory, became part of the gestalt that grew between men and ship in times of danger. He didn't notice the tendrils of need, of want, drifting toward that place in his mind and soul where his love for the sea and his boat and crew was most strong, until too late. He had a moment to remind himself that there was that 1% of which he was not sure when he felt himself growing colder; Krueger’s hated voice becoming his entire world.


Krueger felt his connection to Crane begin to firm. All his good intentions shattered; his wish to share eternity with Lani faded as the link brightened. He kept talking, needing to make that union strong. He could imagine himself alive, striding the decks of the Seaview, seeing the sea as no one of his generation could even have imagined. You know, Captain… you know, my young Lee; you know what it is like to swim in the sea, to live in the sea, to command men and machine. The majesty, the mystery; to know that you are there through your own efforts… our skills, our design, to be greater than lesser men, to owe nothing to god or chance. I do not want your death this time, Lee. I want only to share your life. My experience, your opportunity, together we shall be great. You know your boat, your time; I know men and command. You are too careful of your men, too… No!” Krueger damned himself as he felt the connection break, as Crane did what he had been unable to do previously. Somehow, someway the young commander had pushed him out.


“No! Dammit. Get out of my head! You'll never set my foot on Seaview, Krueger, never… not my crew, not my boat… you're.. I'm… not greater… not…” Lee felt as if something red hot was washing through him, burning away those soporific tendrils giving him back himself. But it was too much, hurt too much, his head…


Krueger watched as Crane’s eyes drifted shut, as the lean body stilled. He tried a tentative probe and bounced. Krueger watched and brooded. So, they were not so alike as he had thought. The sympathy, the empathy, they had briefly shared had shattered against the American’s certainty that in this they were not alike; Crane did not share his belief in what made them what they were - or even what they were. He did not recognize they were men apart, giants in a world of pygmies, men born to possess what they willed. But he still had hope. They shared a love of the sea and of duty; he had roused that sympathy once.  Nelson was still some distance away; he would try again when … if … the young captain awoke.


Lee drifted on the edge of consciousness. He had passed beyond being cold to a weightless warmth that soothed the aches of his battered body into quiet. Every now and then, a presence, a voice buzzed in his head but an easy, languid wave of his hand brushed it away and he went back to floating… and waiting. He knew that Chip and the admiral were looking for him. And they would find him; he knew that as he knew Seaview, with a bone deep knowing that defied explanation. He wasn't quite sure where he was, how he got there - wherever there was - but it didn't matter. His friends would find him. He didn't know what he had done to warrant such friends but he counted them among his blessings when life got too hard, too cold. Chip, Kipling’s 1000th man indeed, who had shared his family and home as easily as he had shared their Academy dorm room. Watching Chip and his dad on their leaves at home had been a revelation to Lee. It had given him an understanding of fathers and sons that had enabled him to put a name to what been growing between him and The Admiral since the Academy. The admiral… that had been a surprise that had filled a hole in his life that he hadn't known was there.  He swatted irritably at the buzz by his ear and relaxed back into the warmth.  A small voice in the corner of his mind warned him that warmth was treacherous, that he had to fight it, had to wake up, but a louder voice warned him to stay safe until his friends came… stay safe for his friends…


Verdammen Sie es, Junge! Wachen Sie auf! Sie sterben.” Krueger tried again to gain Crane’s attention and again a feebly waved hand was enough to push him back. He doubted that Crane had any idea what he was doing but the ease with which he was holding him at bay was unnerving the German. Something had changed since he had taken the captain over aboard Seaview and it was not a change in his favor. He was beginning to think that Crane might be able to push him back into that nothingness in which he had dwelt for too many decades, lost and lorn, yearning for human contact. No! He would get from this too young submarine commander that which he needed, if he had to win Nelson’s cooperation to do it. Nelson… Krueger took another look at the lean, unmoving form at his feet. Crane’s face was gray in the reflected light of the car’s head lamps. Golden eyes were half open, staring at something Krueger could not see. He was drifting away and perhaps taking Krueger with him.  With Crane refusing any help from him, there must be human intervention soon or they both would be lost. He had known when the search party had reached  the accident site but had let them pass by when his goal had changed from making amends to making a life but now… he might fail at both. A thought brought him where he had to go.


“Admiral. Go back.”


Nelson started forward in his seat, his eyes sweeping the back of the car. “Krueger?” The name was snarled in a manner that had Jamieson turning around in his seat and Chip’s eyes going to the rear view mirror.




“I heard something, Chip. I think we passed Lee.”


“Sir?” Chip kept his voice calm although he wanted to yell at his superior officer to not be so damn cryptic all the time.


Nelson thought for a moment. “Right before the light blew, Chip. I think the accident site might have been there and when we left, we missed covering the spot below.” And if we did, it was because Krueger wanted us to. What the hell was that damn ghost playing at now?


“Go back, Chip. Let’s check it out before we go any further. Can you turn around here?”


Chip eyed the roadway measuringly. “We can, sir, but I don't think the ambulance and security van can.”


“Good enough. Have them continue on while we check out our temporary stopping spot. When they get to a place they can turn around, have them hold there until they hear from us.”


“Aye, sir.” He passed the radio handset to Jamieson and began the tricky maneuver of turning around in the tight space.


Krueger smiled to himself as he heard Nelson order his XO to turn around. There was no hesitation in the admiral’s voice or in his decision. That was a characteristic they shared… and one he thought he could use to get Nelson to cooperate before Seaview’s captain was beyond his use. It didn't take long before he heard a vehicle brake to a stop and voices from up the hill side.


“Admiral? Sir? I think I see something. Could really use the van’s searchlight about now.” Chip watched as Nelson seemed to look inside himself rather than down the hillside where there was a gleam of light fading even as he watched. I'll bet that’s the car headlights and the battery’s wearing down. Chip felt his spirits rise at this first indication that their search was over. He didn't wait on Nelson’s order to Ski and Frank to bring the other vehicles but started down the steep slope, clutching at branches to slow his progress from a fall to a semi-controlled slide. He ignored the cuts and bruises he picked up along the way. He had more important things to worry about. Above him he heard the two older men start to pick their way down the rough terrain and Jamieson muttering about wrenched ankles and broken bones if Chip didn't slow down. Chip ignored the warning as he did his bruises. And then he was standing next to a small car sunk axle deep in a bog. The driving compartment was buried under a tree that had splintered from the force of the car’s collision with it. Chip’s spirits fell as rapidly as they had risen. Lee couldn't have survived…  He steeled himself to investigate the compartment. A low, breathless moan from the other side of the car had Chip moving as if he was on flat, dry ground. He let out a yell as he fell to his knees.


“Admiral, Doc! I found him! He’s hurt!” Chip wasn't sure where he could touch his friend to help. There seemed to be more light than the clouded moon or the car’s dimming lights could account for but Chip was in no mood to question the advantage. Lee was… “Geez, buddy, you're a mess. Doc’s going to have a fit.” Chip kept his voice calm as he slipped a gentle hand under the dark curls matted with blood. “Easy, Lee. I’ve got you.”  Dark hazel eyes, the gold muddied by pain and confusion opened. It took too long before dry lips managed a broken, “C..ip?” The lean body convulsed as Lee tried to move and Chip quickly held onto mud-caked shoulders as he ordered, “Whoa, kid, no moving around until Doc gets here.”


He had to warn Chip, had to. Lee still had vivid nightmares of Krueger using his fists to knock down his best friend. “C..ip, here… he’s here, careful… be…” He gasped as cold swept away the comforting warmth.


Wilco, Skipper. You take it easy. We've got it covered.” Chip wasted no time taking off his jacket and laying it over the younger man’s body. Lee’s skin was so cold to the touch that his lack of shivering set off warning bells in Chip’s mind. He was beyond grateful when Jamieson crouched next to him and began a quick exam. And he vowed that Ski and company were getting a week’s basket leave as he heard the rescue vehicles squeal to a stop on the road above. Speed limits were definitely not high on the Seaview crewmen’s list of priorities that night; this one time their excess would draw no safety lecture from their XO. Welcome light flooded the area as Ski turned the searchlight on their position.


“Mister Morton? That good?” Ski’s voice drifted down.


“We'll need another light down here, Ski. Skipper’s behind the car, in shadow.”


“And I don't want to try moving him until I can get a clearer picture of what’s going on here.” Jamieson’s voice was grim as talented hands told him a story he didn't like. He tossed the cell phone to Chip, said quietly enough to not rouse his barely conscious patient. “No use bellowing when we've got these. Get Frank on the line; tell him I want a shock kit down here ASAP. It’s not good, Chip.”


Nelson came up in time to hear that last. Rank had its privilege and he used it to edge Chip aside so he could replace him at Lee’s side. One touch on icy skin and his coat joined his XO’s as improvised blanket over his captain. “Lee? Can you hear me, son?” Crane’s eyes were closed, his body seemingly lifeless. No! “Hang on, son. We've got you. It will be all right.”


He is in shock, Admiral. Drifting in and out of consciousness. Soon, he'll drift away where no one can reach him. If I don't help…”


Nelson looked up and saw Krueger standing sentry over Jamieson. Behind… through… the U-boat captain, he saw Kowalski and Frank pelting down the hill very nearly as fast as the XO’s reckless trip. It was probably the need to keep intact the equipment they were carrying that slowed them down at all. Nelson was about to blast Krueger when he saw Kowalski stop suddenly. Equipment boxes were left behind as the rating all but ran down the steep slope, snarling - the only word that fit - curses. Even as the XO shouted his name, Kowalski plowed into the place where Krueger stood and ended up sprawled in a bush.


“What the hell? Kowalski? Now is not the time to play tackle with bushes!” Morton wanted an explanation. Kowalski’s running dive would have taken out the best NFL linesman but it surely was wasted on nothing.


The rating sat up and growled. “HE’s here, Mister Morton.  Don't you see him? That damn dead Kraut is here!”


Chip exchanged bewildered glances with Jamieson as both men swept the area with their eyes and saw nothing. Then Lee moaned again and stirred restlessly against Jamieson’s examining touch and the admiral’s supporting hands. Confused hazel eyes opened and focused on something over Chip's shoulder. Morton turned, and gasped as a man he thought well dead and gone popped into view. “Krueger!”


Nelson said grimly in agreement. “Krueger, indeed. I'm not quite ready for the rubber room yet, Chip.” Kowalski was on his feet, fists clenched by his side, obviously ready to take on a dead man. Nelson cut him off. “Ski, get a light rigged. We need to see what we're dealing with here.” The rating turned away to meet the medic, laden with his kit and Kowalski’s dropped equipment.


Nelson ignored Krueger, and his men - not without some askance glances - followed his lead.  Jamieson and Frank set about establishing IV lines by flashlight, not willing to wait until Ski had the portable floodlight rigged. The injured captain tried to push their hands away, muttering fretfully, “ just go …way. Won't …” Nelson shared a worried glance with the doctor before laying a warm hand along a too cold face. With sheer will, he forced dazed eyes to look at him rather than at the specter growing increasingly restive at their continued dismissal.


“Easy, Lee. I need you to relax and let Doc take care of you.” Nelson shot a glance at the doctor.  Jamieson shook his head and said sharply, “Skipper, wake up. Lee, pay attention.” Finally, a mud and blood streaked face turned toward the physician. “J-amie? How.. find…?”


“Now there’s a story that can wait, Skipper, for another time and a large whiskey. Lee, I need you to move your feet. Can you do that?”


Pain flashed in hazel eyes and Lee gasped. “C..can move, Jamie, but.. but hurts. Sharp, so…thin sticking….”


Light flared in the small gully as Ski closed a switch. Nelson swallowed hard as he got his first good look at what they were dealing with. Crane was lying twisted along the side of the MG, the frame of the car resting across his thighs. A small pile of rust colored mud spoke eloquently of his attempts to free himself. Jamieson reached for a sample, held it to his nose, and shook his head. He returned his attention to the young man who was drifting off again.


“Lee! Captain! Stay with me.” Jamieson lightly tapped Crane’s face and got a faint nod. “Tom, get me a plasma bag. What I'm seeing here tells me there’s some considerable blood loss happening and I don't think the Ringers is doing the job. Lee, what hurts?”


A pale imitation of Crane’s usual mischievous grin crossed an ashen face. “Wh…what doesn…?”


Chip turned away from his consultation with Ski and snapped, “Lee, answer the man!”


Lee grunted as he tried to turn toward his friend. “Chip… you here too?”


“Damn right, I am.” Chip consciously gentled his voice. “We'll get you out of this, buddy, but you need to be honest with Doc.”


“Was honest… everything hurts but … it'll be okay, Chip.”


Chip nodded and said softly, “I'm holding you to that, bud. You pay attention to Jamie, Lee, and cooperate.  Just hang on, we're going to get the airbags and get this car off you.”


A dark head nodded painfully. One shaky hand was raised until Chip caught it and squeezed. Lee whispered, “Just so you know… wasn't… speeding. Steering just went…” A cough carried off the rest but Chip had heard enough.


“I know, Skipper, you got loaned a lemon. Tie rod went out on you. Lee?... Doc?” Jamieson eased Crane’s hand out of Morton’s hold and said, “We need to get him out of here, Chip. Explanations can definitely wait.” Doctor and admiral watched as the young XO got himself under control and went back to studying with an engineer’s eye the placement of car and victim. Nelson said quietly, “We obviously should report this to the highway patrol but I'm a little hesitant given the circumstances.” He nodded in the direction of the German captain, standing in rigid disapproval. Jamieson scowled. “Question is whether we can do this without them, Harry. We're covered on the medical end; we're as equipped as any municipal ambulance and I've got Tom and Frank as backup. But can we raise this thing off him without doing more damage? We need to make a decision soon because the skipper doesn't have any time to waste.”


Nelson said testily, “We're better equipped than any other rescue vehicle you could find, and Ski and Pat are both checked out for rescue work. And don't forget that Chip was lead on our disaster recovery plans; he knows what we've got and what it can do. If he says we can do it, I'm inclined to believe him. He won't risk Lee... even if we have to explain a ghost. I do find it odd that we could all see him once Lee woke up. Krueger did say that something about Lee…”


Jamieson snorted, “There’s something about our captain all right. Trouble within a hundred miles and he'll find it … or it will find him. Wish I could surgically remove whatever that something is. Easy, Lee.”


Nelson looked to where Chip and Ski were carefully shoveling mud to open a space so they could evaluate what was “sticking” the captain.  Finally, they had uncovered enough that Chip was able to wriggle part way under the car with a light. Nelson aimed a caution at the rescue workers that he was pretty sure would be ignored by Lee’s best friend and self-appointed big brother. “Careful, Chip, that could come down on you.”


Krueger had enough. Of them all gathered there he had the most to lose if Crane died before time. And yet he was ignored, dismissed, as if they had all forgotten his power, forgotten what he had done to their precious boat, to their admiral, their captain. He should never have admitted to Nelson that he was.. diminished. But his will was still strong and Crane was fading, taking Nelson’s confidence with him. There was a chance…


Admiral Nelson. This haste is unwise when I am here to sustain the captain. I have done it before.”


Jamieson had all but forgotten the German in his intense concentration on his patient. The voice startled him enough that Lee was able to push aside the oxygen mask the doctor held to his face. A whispery, urgent plea was choked out as Jamieson tried to quiet his captain.


“ ‘miral, Krueger… watch out… wants to…”


Shh, Lee. It will be…”


“Not like… him. ‘m not… won't… Wants …Seaview… not like …him…”


Nelson looked up at Krueger angrily as Lee’s voice faded. “Care to explain what the captain means by that, Krueger?” He had known when Krueger had left that the last thing Lee needed was a visit from the German. Lee’s agitation confirmed that knowledge.


I had thought that we were much alike, Admiral, your captain and I. But I was wrong. He is young yet and has not learned what we … you and I … know. What we know will save his life and you will have a more responsive captain for your submarine, for your research.” As he spoke, Krueger moved slowly toward his target, deftly avoiding the men clustered around the small car. It was close quarters and Krueger could read the concern of Crane’s -  more than colleagues - friends as he studied the scene, seeking advantage.  Nelson had crowded next to the MG so he could support the captain’s head and  had taken over the job of keeping the oxygen mask in place. The doctor was practically sitting on the admiral’s lap as he constantly monitored his patient. The XO was moving slowly and carefully so as not to jostle the admiral more than necessary. The enlisted men were scattered; the ones called Pat and Frank up at the rescue vehicles assembling equipment; Tom, the older medic, was at the doctor's shoulder, holding an IV bag and watching as it emptied. His lips moved soundlessly. Krueger grinned sardonically, the man thought prayer would help? Better he should petition someone who had kept their captain alive once before. The man he had toyed with outside the brig on Seaview –“Ski” -  crouched next to the man easing his way under the car. Krueger could feel the hate and distrust, mixed with fear for his captain, pouring off the man. That one, too, he had perhaps given an edge over him with his meddling. Concentration on the rescue attempt was total. Even Nelson did not wait on an answer to his challenge. And while that angered him, he could make use of it. Krueger sent out a tendril toward that place in Crane’s mind where once he ruled and waited to feel the pushback that had been the defining characteristic of this meeting with his chosen body. He smiled as only the faintest resistance was aroused. Let the young captain grow weaker; Nelson would soon be at the point where he would grasp any chance to save someone who was more than mere subordinate.


Nelson kept an ear tuned to Chip’s voice even as he challenged Krueger. He barely registered the German’s answer as Chip cursed colorfully. The admiral winced. That did not sound good; his men were more decorous than most sailors in speech, partly because Seaview often carried civilians,  some of them women, but more because his captain was a gentleman of the old school and his executive officer didn't need pejorative language to tear a strip off a miscreant at a hundred paces. Even in this, Seaview's crew followed where their commanding officers led. Chip didn't often give expression to his emotions in such vivid language and Nelson prepared himself for bad news. He watched as Chip wriggled from under the car and wiped a smear of mud onto his already dirty face. The XO gave his report, worried eyes never leaving his injured friend's face. His right hand closed on Lee's arm as if to lend him strength.


“The exhaust system was ripped open and apart, sir, and the serrated edges are - well, the forward edge is jammed into Lee’s right leg. Another inch higher and he would have been singing soprano.” No one cracked a grin at that gallows humor. Jamieson muttered darkly about femoral arteries and blood loss, and snapped a request for another IV setup. Tom handed the IV bag to the XO and disappeared. Chip went on doggedly, “I think when he tried to get free, he managed to impale his left leg on the back edge of the pipe. He's burned too, Jamie.  Looks pretty bad but it might actually have cauterized the wounds. One bright spot, there is enough solid ground under the mud to support the airbags;  looks as if Lee managed to land in the only wet patch of ground left from that gully washer we had two nights ago. We can do a straight up lift off but I… don't know what will happen. The undercarriage is a wreck; looks as if the entire engine is ready to let go and drop. And the exhaust might just finish what it started; those edges are sharp.”


Jamieson double checked his patient's status and said, “I need to see what’s going on, Admiral. When Tom gets back have him start the new IV in the skipper's other arm."


Nelson murmured, “Will, we can't afford to risk you. You getting hit with an engine block won't help Lee.”


“Harry, I need to see Lee’s situation. If we don't do this just right, he could bleed out in the time it takes to get him from under the car, lose a leg, or worse. There might be something I can do.”


Might be something he can do, Admiral. “Might.” There is something I can do, or have you forgotten how I kept your captain alive after you put a bullet into him?”


Nelson winced at that reminder. He took a quick glance around at his men; they again seemed to be unaware of the German’s presence as they conferred on equipment needs and rescue strategy. His quick mind associated that with Lee’s diminished consciousness and questions piled up; questions for which he had neither time nor answers. At least this time his XO and CO wouldn't assume he was short a sheet when he spoke to thin air. “My captain assures me that it was not I who fired that shot, Krueger. And I doubt there is anything you can do that would not make matters worse.”


Think, Admiral, he is dying. I can feel the cold of the beyond seeping into him. The pain wearies him, weakens him. He will not go easy nor rest at peace. There is still a tie between us that would keep him from moving on, Admiral, and he is not one who would choose to rule in-between rather than face judgment as did I. And he would not be alone, though he would prefer that to my company. He fights my help, Admiral, but he will listen to you. You can get him to accept help; he trusts you that much."


Krueger watched as that statement hit home. He knew how that trust only heightened Nelson's remorse over his actions on the last cruise. He spoke persuasively, bringing to bear all the force of will with which he had commanded his crew. After the thinly veiled threat, the sweetener, "I will not push him out, Admiral, but allow him to retain the greater control of his body, his faculties. I will be… content… to observe but if you have need of me, I will be there, a check on youth and insubordination. You and I, Admiral, we know the necessities of command, of achieving our goal. How often has he challenged you, who are his superior in rank, in age, in experience, hindering your work? He need not know of my presence, Admiral, no one but you and I need know. And you will not see me unless I am needed. Think on it, Admiral, you will have your "son" but he will be dutiful as a son should be.”


Nelson felt a vast tiredness seep through him. Krueger was no longer seeking salvation, seeking “his Lani.” The threat to Lee was as great as ever it was. And Krueger knew just where to aim … or would have a year ago before Lee Crane had proven that a captain who questioned was the captain that a sometimes obsessed scientist needed  to keep body and soul - and sub - together on his quests for knowledge. Waiting to find out if Lee would die by his actions had given him all the time he needed to discover that truth and the truth of his heart. Losing Lee - Nelson shook his head - Krueger was right in that … losing Lee would be losing his son, his future.  And Krueger was also right that Lee - in defiance of experience - did trust him, at least with all he was, if not always with his boat and crew. He couldn't open Lee up to Krueger’s influence. Krueger could yet kill Lee or worse - Lee could live but be aware of his possession. What of trust then? But if it kept Lee alive until another solution could be found? Could he pass up that chance?  Especially since, if Krueger was telling the truth, Lee would not move on to his well deserved reward but be held in-between, at the mercy of an obsessed dead man. Nelson stroked damp hair off a too cold forehead and said softly, “Lee, the old, old man needs you to wake up and shake things up. Find me a solution, son.”




Nelson looked up at that soft-voiced question. Jamieson’s worried hazel eyes studied him with a professional intent that Nelson waved aside. “I'm fine, Will, let’s concentrate on Lee here.” The CMO nodded reluctantly and Nelson knew he'd be under some close observation himself for a time. Time… since Krueger had put in an appearance in his study, time had been out of joint. It had crawled by with terrifying slowness as they searched for their missing captain, flashed by with heartbreaking speed as he saw increasing evidence that Lee’s “Golden Hour” had long since passed. And judging by Jamieson’s disheveled and muddied appearance, the doctor had already been under the car in what seemed to be the minute or two since Nelson had cautioned him against doing just that. He looked at his watch. An hour to midnight. An hour since they had found the crash site. Ten minutes since Krueger had argued for Lee’s life … on his terms. “Lee?”


Jamieson shook his head. “It’s not good, Harry, but it’s not hopeless either. And our skipper is as stubborn and strong as they come. He won't go easy.” Nelson shivered at that echo of Krueger’s claim. “I talked it over with Chip. I'm going to see I can't get Lee’s blood volume up in anticipation of a drop when he’s freed while they set the airbags up. Get him wrapped up with some chemical heat packs. The cold slowed the blood loss earlier but he’s hypothermic and that’s not good.”  Nelson nodded, his eyes straying from his CMO to the captain of his submarine and then to the U-boat commander who waited impatiently for an answer. Which Nelson did not have. He reluctantly stood up and moved away from Crane’s side as the medics moved in with blankets and equipment.


Admiral, even I cannot return the dead to life. Decide!”


Nelson turned to Krueger but before he could speak - before he even knew what he should say - his thoughts were interrupted yet again.


“Admiral? Can you take a look at this? I think this is the right set up but I'd feel better if you would double check it for us.” Chip was there, offering a clipboard holding a carefully figured but hastily sketched drawing of airbag and hydraulic jack placement. Nelson accepted the board and ran an expert eye over the figures. “You sure about the MG’s weight, Chip?”


“Ski is, sir.”


Nelson nodded acceptance; the sonarman was recognized as Seaview’s premier car buff and Nelson knew Ski would not risk his captain on anything he wasn't sure of. “Okay, Commander, looks good to me.  How long to get it rigged?”


“30 minutes, sir. That will give Jamie time to get Lee settled.” Morton hesitated. �Admiral? How’s he doing?”


“Hanging in there, Chip.”


“Sir, where’s Krueger? Is he gone?” There was hope in that question.


“Sorry, Chip, he’s still here.” Nelson watched as Morton swept a gimlet eye around the gully at his reluctant answer.


“I don't see…”


Nelson shrugged. “I think Lee needs to be more conscious than he is for that to be possible. At least he isn't doing anything to hinder us, Commander. Better get moving.”


Hinder you, Admiral?I offer my assistance to keep your captain alive and all you can say is that I am “not hindering” you? I had thought we were much alike, Admiral, men of will who knew our own minds and could make decisions. Yet you dither while your captain dies. Bah, I shall…”


Nelson held up a hand, stopping Krueger’s movement toward Crane. “It is foolish to make decisions when you don't have the information necessary.”


Krueger pointed an accusatory finger at the limp figure of the Seaview’s skipper. “There is all the information you need to decide, Nelson!”




“Stay with Lee, Will, this is a conversation that can't wait.” Nelson waited until Jamieson turned back to his patient, still casting wary glances at the empty space Nelson was addressing.


“Tell me, Captain, why didn't go with Lani? What kept you from her? This tie you say you have with Captain Crane? He, I know, would release you from it.”


I have said that there is that I must do before I can move on.”


“But you seem to no longer wish to move on, Krueger. Why?” Out of the corner of his eye, Nelson saw the impact that statement had on his men. Chip Morton straightened up and turned toward him, worry and determination in his expression; his hands gripped the shovel he wielded as if it were a weapon and not a tool. Kowalski’s eyes tracked unerringly to where Krueger stood and Nelson took his attention off the German long enough to ask, “Can you see him, Ski?”


The rating shook his head. “Can't see him, sir, but I know he’s there.” Nelson nodded. Once they got Lee home and Krueger gone, he was going to sit down and think about the oddities of this night … or maybe not. Some things were perhaps best left unexplored even by him. “Okay, Ski, I'll keep an eye on him. You – “ Nelson saw Krueger bristle at that line; the U-boat captain seemed even more put out when Chip called Ski’s attention back to the placement of the airbags and with no more than a quick glance at the admiral for permission, the seaman dropped to the ground, leaving their conversation unfinished. Krueger’s attitudes and comments were beginning to coalesce into something approaching understanding in Nelson’s mind. But he was not certain enough of his impression to bet Lee’s life on  his discernment of the German’s motivations and plans. His eyes were drawn back to his captain; he needed Crane. Lee’s intuitive read of situations and people routinely served as a valuable counterweight to Nelson’s more logic driven perceptions. And there was nothing logical about a dead man walking.


Nelson was, verdammen Sie ihn, ignoring him! He would see about that! Krueger again mentally approached the Seaview’s skipper, insinuating himself into the dormant mind of the badly injured man. He kept images of the wonders of the oceans foremost in his thoughts as he felt for control; he relaxed as Crane did not reflexively screen him out. Yes, this would work! Let Nelson deal with him when he was in possession of Crane’s body. Was ist dieses?Was geschiet?Krueger tried frantically to control the beginning merge as Crane’s mind struggled  to awareness, using the German’s own strength to fuel his fight.



Lee smiled as he lazed in the ocean he loved. Exotic fish flashed through coral forests; a curious dolphin swam over to explore the weirdly shaped visitor to her world. Lee raised a hand to stroke down her side; Niobe always… Lee frowned. His hand was encased in a diving gauntlet he didn't recognize and that wasn't Niobe, who followed him around when he was diving as if she was - as Chip teased -  Lassie; even his sense of the ocean seemed off, as if he was an intruder bent on conquest… something’s wrong… that realization brought pain in its wake but also awareness, of where he was and who he was not, would not be. Krueger! These were Krueger’s memories! No! Lee struggled to open his eyes, to warn the admiral, to throw off the weight of the German’s regard.


Gently, Captain, I am only here to help sustain you while your admiral frees you from the vehicle.”


Lee didn't believe him for a moment. As Krueger tried to solidify his hold, Lee fought to escape. At least this time around he was awake, and he knew his assailant was not his friend. This time Krueger could not hide behind his admiral. Far away, he heard his crew, his friends, trying to free him, felt their efforts to save his life. It gave him the strength to turn the tables on Krueger.  Not quite knowing how he did it, he was in Krueger’s mind - and knew why the German acted as he did. Knew, too, that he had to tell the admiral; the admiral would know what to do.


Nelson watched anxiously as Chip, Ski and Patterson finished putting the finishing touches on their rescue setup. Frank and Tom had a stretcher rigged with IVs and were double-checking the monitoring equipment that waited on their patient. Jamieson’s hand seemed permanently welded to Lee’s wrist. The doctor kept up a soft litany of encouragement regardless of whether the captain was conscious enough at any given moment to understand him. As usual, Crane was refusing to remain unconscious regardless of his physical condition.  Nelson shook his head; that stubbornness might yet save him. He could only hope so. The admiral had weathered many losses in his lifetime; he would survive even Lee’s … but the intensity with which his crew worked to free their skipper told him just how devastating Lee’s … His mind again shied away from the word. No, he wasn't ready to concede defeat yet. He recalled that he had assigned himself the task of watching Krueger and turned to where the U-boat captain stood. Had stood. Krueger was way too close to the injured man and Lee was obviously struggling against something.  Nelson knew all too well what that something, someone was. How do I stop a ghost? Even as he started forward, his question was answered by another.


Kowalski felt something pass behind him; a cold snake slithered into his spine and took up residence. He remembered that feeling from outside the brig on Seaview when a dead man walked. He scrambled out from under the car; Krueger would have to go through him to get to Seaview’s skipper! Even as the XO demanded that he get his attention back on the placement of the final airbag and jacks, Ski launched a roundhouse swing at the place from where that singular cold emanated. This time he did not wind up in the bushes.


Nelson halted his rush to defend Crane in mid-stride as Seaview’s leading rating seemed to explode from the shallow trench and launch a punch that would do Joe Lewis proud at thin air. Nelson couldn't tell who was more astonished: Krueger, as he wound up on the ground, or Kowalski, as he rubbed his knuckles and glared at his now obviously visible nemesis. Morton’s orders to Ski cut off mid-word as the reason behind his action became apparent. As one, the Seaview crew scrambled to get between their captain and the U-boat captain. Despite the circumstances, Nelson couldn't stop the slight grin at this new evidence of the loyalty and rapport that existed on his submarine and made his crew the best on the planet. He turned to Krueger and surprised a look he couldn't quite define - perhaps yearning? - on the dead man’s face. Then his attention was drawn to Lee. A series of rough coughs - almost as if Lee had been pulled choking from the water - shook the captain’s frame. Despite Jamieson’s soothing voice and touch, Crane was fighting to remove the oxygen mask, to speak. Finally, fearing that Lee’s violent struggles would wind up doing further damage to the already battered body, Will let him have his way. The first word out of his mouth had the admiral dropping to his knees by the young captain’s side.




“Easy, Lee.” A flailing hand caught at Nelson’s sleeve; the admiral covered it with his hand.


Lani…left… he wouldn't move on… be judged…  has be right  … duty … not ‘nough… crew… thinks failed crew… saw as … as … part not… people. Wants … do over… Need….” Another bout of coughing ended in gasps that had Jamieson replacing the mask and scowling. The doctor nodded toward the IV. Frank held up a syringe and Jamieson nodded. Crane relaxed slightly after the contents were injected into the IV line. Will looked up at Nelson and said, “We need to get him out of here, Harry. Now.”


The admiral stared at Krueger for a long moment, even as he ordered, “Mister Morton, I want this car off in ten minutes.”


Chip cast his own combative stare at the U-boat captain before saying, “Aye, aye, sir. We're on it. Ski, Pat, back to work.” A gesture from the XO had the two medics taking up position between the two captains.


Will nodded at his patient, asked quietly, “Any of that make sense?” Nelson ran a hand over Crane’s hair, stilling the tossing head. “All of it, Will. Easy, son, you just concentrate on breathing; I'll handle Krueger.”


Handle me, Admiral? You think you can handle me? Have you forgotten so soon?” Krueger was on his feet ready to approach the captain but held back as the two medics stationed themselves between him and his goal. He put every bit of his will into his voice. It had worked on Seaview, when Nelson was on his home ground, at his strongest. It did not work here; and Krueger was left to wonder why.


“Yes, I think we have shown that together we can handle you, Captain, and will. You have certainly given us the incentive to do so. You have no place here. You lived your life, outstayed your death. It is past time you move on. What have you achieved by staying? Where is Lani, Captain?” Nelson kept a weather eye on Krueger as he spoke, and was grimly satisfied as Krueger looked taken aback.


Lani has nothing to do with this, Admiral. I only wish to save myself by helping your captain.” Krueger hated the beseeching tone that had crept into his voice, but the American admiral was too knowing and, verdamme Sie ihn, had listened to his captain even though the young officer had to be half out of his mind with blood loss and pain. Krueger resolutely pushed aside any consideration as to how accurate Crane had been in his mumbled explanation.


“No, Krueger, you sent Lani away by refusing to allow her rest … even after she faithfully waited decades for you. You have second thoughts about your life, even questioning the duty that you so capably carried out and you want to what - delay having to face judgment by stealing Lee Crane’s life? You offer to keep him alive and make of him a captain who is “dutiful.” Did you require only duty of your crew, Captain?”


What do you think you know, Admiral? What do you think this boy knows? You know, he knows nothing and we waste time that Crane does not have! You should be begging my aid, not talking about things of which you know nothing.”


“Beg you to take over Lee’s life?  Not even to save it. What happened on U-444, Captain? Why did your crew go on and you did not? What did you do that has you afraid to face eternity?”


 Afraid? You think me afraid? The man who sank the Aboukir, the Cressy, the Hogue in one action? Afraid? You think to sit in judgment on me? You on your Seaview know nothing of life aboard a U-boat. The conditions were wretched; I could allow no complaint, no dissent if we were to carry out our duty to the fatherland. I had discipline to consider and my authority.” Unbidden, unwished for, the face of his XO appeared before him. Even in this, he had thought himself like Crane. Morton could be brother to Karl Jaman. Again, he heard his XO and engineer plead for a delay in the attack while they assessed the damage done by the depth charging they had sustained the previous day.  Both men were sure that they would lose power did he press home the attack, leaving them defenseless. He wrenched his thoughts away; that was past history and past history was of no interest to Nelson. In any event, he would understand; the American admiral was no stranger to making decisions he was best qualified to make without well meaning assistance from his underlings.


Nelson knew he had hit a nerve somewhere. He thought back over Krueger’s stated belief that he was much like the German; they were men of action and decision. Thought too of the sometimes monomaniacal approach to exploration he had indulged himself in prior to the advent of one Lee B. Crane, who never let friendship or his respect for seniority, genius, or ownership dissuade him from protecting his boat and crew. Dissent…? “No dissent, Captain? No complaints? Fine. I myself am not know for suffering unsolicited advice.” Nelson bit back a smile at the muffled sounds of agreement, not intended for his ears, from his busy crew. “But I have learned to listen to, and sometimes even take, it. Is that what you failed to do? Who gave you advice, Captain?”


Too close, he came too close to that thing he had not even told his Lani in those blissful first moments when it appeared he would have companionship in the place he had chosen to reside even if they would not live again. Krueger raised his hands to his head; how could a dead man suffer as he did? And Nelson would not shut up!


“Maybe all you need do, Captain, is admit that you were wrong, that you made a mistake. We all make mistakes, Captain, often out of pride and arrogance or just the well-founded belief that we know more than those around us. Knowing more is not knowing all, and knowing what we are capable of does not tell us the end of our limits.”  Out of the corner of his eye, Nelson saw Morton and Kowalski crawl out of their respective trenches and switch to check each other’s work. He checked his watch; as always his men would exceed expectations. Fifteen minutes to midnight . Why he thought that important, he didn't know, but he suspected that Lee’s greatest danger would come then. Seeing Krueger’s distress - and there was a part of him that he wasn't proud of that took some satisfaction in that distress - he knew that he was on the right track. His logic backed up by his captain’s intuition; they had won against greater odds with nothing more than that and a crew loyal beyond reason.


“Tell me, Captain, where did you go wrong? Shall I tell you where I went wrong? I did not want to be thought a madman by my captain, by my crew, and so I concealed from them my knowledge of you. I thought that I could out think you, out stubborn you, and that I could win against you by the force of my intellect and will. I learned otherwise when I looked into my captain’s, my protoge’s, my… son’s … eyes as I put a bullet into him. What could you have done that is so much more terrible than that?” Nelson took a step back as the German stepped toward him, hands raised into fists. His eyes glowing demonically reminded Nelson afresh that he was dealing with something outside his normal reality, even as abnormal as was that reality on occasion. The words burst from the U-boat captain. 


I killed my crew! I would not listen when Karl, when Willy told me of the damage to the boat. So intent was I on my next kill, that my next kill was my own boat, my own men. We lived long enough after the depth charging to know that death was coming, for me to see the accusation in my men’s eyes. You don't know…




Commander Morton was standing before him. Nelson looked away from the German. “Yes, Chip?”


“We're set to go, sir.”




“Jamie says he’s as ready as he can make him. He’s really worried though, I can tell.”  It was obvious to Nelson that the doctor wasn't the only one worried that night.  He lay a hand on Morton’s shoulder and said quietly, “He’s stubborn, Chip, and you're doing your best to give him his chance. That’s all he would ask of you.”


“And if it’s not enough, sir?”


“We deal, Commander, as he would expect. Give me a minute to wrap up a conversation.”


Chip nodded and said tentatively, “You do know, sir, that we're only hearing your side of that conversation, don't you? Krueger ... we can't see him most of the time.”


The admiral heard what was not asked. “Later, Chip.  Go spend that minute I need with Lee.” He watched until Chip knelt next to Lee, grasped his hand and began speaking urgently. Nelson turned back to the German. Krueger had tried to get himself back under control but if a ghost could shake, he was shaking. “You killed your crew, Captain, not the depth charges, not the enemy? Are you God then that you cannot make a mistake, that it is all your fault?”


I would do it differently now, Admiral.”


“And that is as close as you can come to admitting a mistake. Lee is right, isn't he, Captain? You want a do over in his body. It wouldn't work. You think you can replace him? You think that his crew wouldn't recognize that someone other than Lee Crane was in command? You think that you could do for me as does he? You could not. You are not the man he is and never will be. Find another avenue to salvation, Captain. Put someone other than yourself first. Keep your word to Lani. Submit yourself to judgment, Krueger, but stay out of my captain. Before I would let you take over Lee Crane I would kill him myself. He would not ask that of me even if it is all he would want. As the young people of my time say, Captain, get over yourself and see that what you have done is not unforgivable. But what you would do here, is.”


“Admiral, we're ready.” Nelson turned away from the German and toward his men. He knelt by Crane, grasped Lee’s right arm even as Frank took his left. Jamieson readied himself to render immediate aid, a pressure bandage opened and prepped. With that exquisite sense of timing that so frustrated his doctor, Lee started to come around again. “Ad…mral?”


“Steady, lad. We're getting you out now.” Lee nodded, said faintly, “Sir? Thank .. you…forgive… yourself.”  The admiral smiled and said, “I've learned that this evening, son. Next time try to make the lesson a little easier on the old old man, okay?”


Krueger heard the honest and open affection in the admiral’s voice as he spoke to his… son. He watched as the Seaview crew fought to save their skipper. Scenes from Crane’s life cascaded through his mind. This mere boy, he seemed to Krueger, saw his crew as individuals, cared for them and their well being even as he required them to do their duty. He was right that he and Crane shared a sense of duty; but the American had an understanding and compassion that was never his. Nelson was right that he could not replace this man. Where that left him, he didn't know. But…  he had done his duty and had never intended harm. Was that enough? Were his sorrow and the decades spent wandering alone with nothing but his grief enough? Could he go on? Even without Lani to lean… Ah, he had learned something from the young captain. He could admit now that he did not, could not control everything. And he could admit as well that he could not have his - what did the Americans call it - do over” in Crane’s body. He watched the doctor tear open Crane’s shirt, saw the devastation in Nelson’s eyes even as he reached out to support the blond young officer that so reminded him of Karl, who could have been friend had he not placed so much value on his position. He found he no longer lusted after Crane’s life even if he still feared his own death. Still, in some fashion, he had lived another life, had seen the wonders of the ocean through the eyes and mind of a man who found more joy in the simple things of life than he had ever known. He knew he could remain in that in between place of which he was master, he had the strength and will to do so. But there was another who could use that strength to better end than him. And it was time to, again as the Americans would say, face the music. He prided himself on carrying out his duty; his duty now was to go on. He felt a sense of peace that had been missing since he sailed on his first combat patrol steal over him. He approached the young captain mentally; and with the wisdom and compassion that Krueger still envied, was forgiven… and accepted.


Time again telescoped for the admiral. Chip’s “Ready, go!” was followed in short order by the car rising. Frank, risking his neck if anything went wrong with the lift, was belly deep in the mud under the car, ready to call for extraction at the earliest practical moment. Which took forever as time went out of joint. But then Lee was out and cradled in Nelson’s arms while Jamieson slapped bandages on the leg that fountained blood. Tom warned in that “medic voice” that was equal parts panic and determination, “We're losing him, Will!”


“We're losing him, Will.”Nelson was sure he would be hearing that in his nightmares as Jamieson yanked Lee from his hold and laid him flat. He slapped electrodes on Crane’s bruised chest as Frank prepared to maintain his breathing. And then - Lee moved slightly, amber eyes opened and he drew a breath. Time seemed to stand still as a voice was heard by all hands.


Admiral, I was wrong! I admit it and I will face what I must face. Lee has accepted my word that I will do him no harm; and he will allow that I give him the strength that holds me here. I am taking your advice, Admiral, and finding another way to save myself.  I will face judgment having saved a captain who has saved his crew so many times. He will do what I did not. And I will see …”


Kowalski snarled and stepped forward, fist clenched. “Admiral, we can't trust this geezer.”  


A thin, reedy voice said, “No, Ski, he needs… do…this.”


Jamieson threw up his hands and said, “I give up. There is no way you can be conscious, Captain. Or should be!”


Lee smiled shakily. “Little help from my friends, Jamie.” His voice grew stronger even as they listened. A tinge of color crept into the ashen face.


Krueger issued a warning. “I must leave by midnight or else not leave at all. Take what you need and then let me go.”


Jamieson and his team hurried to move Crane onto the stretcher, prep him for travel even as Lee whispered, “Go now, Captain, with my thanks. I will …do. And … remember, you did your duty as best you could. Ask no more of yourself.”


Words of wisdom, Captain, from one so young. Remember them yourself when you have occasion. Thank … Lani! You have returned!”


For one moment, time stood still as two luminous figures stood together in the clearing, hands clasped. The woman spoke, “You had only to choose your proper destiny, my love; lay aside your fear and your pride and do what was right.”


I am ready, my Lani. Goodbye, Admiral, and thank you. God speed, Lee Crane. If I could do it over…”


There was silence in the gully for long moments. Nelson looked at his watch and said in an easy voice that restored a sense of normalcy on a night that had been anything but, “ Midnight on the button, gentlemen. Good work.”


Jamieson tightened one last strap and said, “Well, our work is just beginning. I'll put my faith in good old fashioned medicine rather than ghostly vibes. Lee, not a word. Just rest... and keep breathing.”


Nelson and Jamieson stayed a moment as the younger men guided the winch drawn stretcher up the steep slope.  Chip could be heard gently harassing his friend as to proper clinic behavior.  "Will?"


"Better than he has right to be, Harry. Let's just hope it holds until I can get him into surgery."


"I think it will. It must take enormous energy to do as Krueger did. If Lee got even a portion of that..."


"As I said, I'll rely on medicine... and on that young man's stubbornness." Jamieson turned to scramble up the hill. Nelson lingered a moment, studying the wreckage that had almost wrecked the finest command team and crew he had even seen, and thinking about the lessons learned that night. He suspected that this night - what remained of it after Lee came out of surgery and was resting - would be his first good sleep without nightmares since a pair of amber eyes had looked at him with confusion, pain and disbelief. He had an unlikely and unexpected ally to thank.


"Fair winds and following seas, Captain Krueger, and Godspeed."



* I've attributed to Krueger and U-444, the exploits of U-9, commanded by LCDR Otto Weddigen.  On September 22, 1914, U-9 sank the British cruisers Hogue, Cressy and Aboukir - 12,000 tons of warships and 1500 crew  - in a single action.