Ill Fated Mission

By JSRobertson


Admiral Harriman Nelson walked tiredly across the gantry from his marvel the SSRN Seaview to the dock at NIMR’s sub pen and on to his car.  They had just returned from a very difficult three-week mission checking on coral beds in the Pacific Ocean.   Lee, Chip and several other divers were injured on this cruise during a routine diving session.  Lee got a deep gash on his arm that required fifteen stitches, while Chip had received a few deep scratches that didn’t need stitches just a good cleansing, some antibiotic cream and a bandage. While the injuries to two of divers weren’t life threatening, Jamie wanted to keep them overnight for observation. 


As Harry climbed into his car, he spied Chip, Lee and Janet sitting in the nose finishing up the paperwork before they could leave the boat.  Starting his car, he pulled out and headed up to the Admin building.  He wanted to check in with Angie to find out if there was anything important that needed to be taken care of before he left for home




Harry pulled into his parking space at the institute and went into the lobby where Howard, the security guard, was at the desk.


“Good afternoon, sir,” Howard said to Nelson as he signed him in.   “Will Captain Crane, Commander Morton and Mrs. Crane be returning to the institute this afternoon?” he asked noting it was already 1700 hours.


“Hello and no they won’t be coming back here today,” Nelson replied as he walked to the elevators. 


He pushed the button and leaned up against the wall of the elevator.  He was tired and couldn’t wait to go home.  When the doors opened, Wanda was just getting ready to leave for the day, “Hello, sir,” she said as he walked by her.  She noticed he looked more tired than normal when he returned from a mission.


“Hi,” Nelson answered back and walked to his office where Angie, his administrative assistant, was at her desk typing her last letter of the day.


“Welcome back, sir,” she said quietly.  She knew her boss well enough to know that something had gone wrong on the mission and that he looked exhausted.


“Hello, Angie,” Nelson replied wearily.   “Is there anything that needs my immediate attention?  If not, I would really like to leave as soon as I can.”


She stopped typing, “Is everything okay sir?” Angie asked warily.


“No, this mission turned out to be more difficult as the coral beds have more bleaching than expected. Also Lee, Chip and several crew members were injured during a dive.”


“Nothing serious I hope,” she answered as she stood up and followed him into his office. 


He placed his briefcase on the desk, removed his jacket and tossed it on one of the chairs.  He sat down and looked at all the folders and messages.  Angie stood next to him at the end of the desk.


Sighing deeply, “What can wait until tomorrow?”


“Everything except these two messages,” Angie replied as she handed him a message from Dr. Jonas Worth, the head of the coral monitoring laboratory on Cole Island in the Pacific Ocean.


“Okay no problem, I’ll call him.  You said there were two messages, who’s the other message from?”


“A Dr. Ivan Zamkor, of Zamkor Industries, he was very adamant that you call him as soon as you returned.”


“Zamkor,” Nelson mused, “I wonder what he wants as the last time I saw him he wasn’t very happy with me.”


“I tried to get him to give me some information but he wouldn’t tell me what he needed to talk to you about.  Sorry sir.”


“No problem, Angie.  I’ll call him after I check with Dr. Worth.” Nelson replied looking at his watch and realized it was past her quitting time.


“Why don’t you go on home and we’ll tackle the rest of this in the morning,” Nelson told her.


“You’re sure, sir, as I don’t mind staying.”


“Yes, I’m sure because as soon as I take care of these two calls, I’m going home too.”


“Yes, sir, you do look a little tired,” Angie commented as she turned and left Nelson’s office.


Angie went back to her desk, turned off her computer, said good bye to Harry and left for day.


Nelson picked up the message from Ivan Zamkor, tapping his fingers on it as he remembered the last time he was with him.




Six Months earlier – Honolulu, Hawaii


A consortium of countries from around the world was holding their annual conference in Hawaii to discuss the severity of coral bleaching in the world’s oceans and the building of another laboratory in the Atlantic Ocean-Caribbean Sea area.  The admiral was one of the founders of the consortium so he would attend the conference.  He asked Lee and Chip to go with him as they had seen first-hand how the warming of the oceans is bleaching the coral making it susceptible to diseases, seaweed and slime causing it to die.  


They took FS-1 rather than a commercial flight as the conference wasn’t very long and since they had to prepare for another mission as soon as they returned, it would be a faster way back home. 


Lee piloted the little sub to Hickam where they would park her while they attended the conference.  Once Lee had programmed in the security code, the three men grabbed their luggage and made their way through the terminal so they could catch a taxi to the Marriott Hotel where the conference was being held and they had room reservations.  They checked into their rooms and decided to get a drink in the bar before having dinner. Before they left for the bar, Lee called Janet to let her know they arrived safely and would check in with her later.  When they walked into the bar, Harry noticed Dr. Jonas Worth and Dr. Eli Geiger sitting at a table.  Both men were stationed at the research laboratory on Cole Island that monitored the coral bleaching in the southern Pacific Ocean.  They were also the keynote speakers at the conference which included scientists, researchers, and representatives from countries that depend on the coral reefs for tourism from all over the world.  There would also be a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) present to go over some of the facts.  The admiral was good friends with both men as they all agreed that coral bleaching was ravaging the coral reefs across the globe and that they needed an additional lab.


“Please join us,” Jonas said to Harry as the men approached the table.


“Thank you,” Harry replied as Lee and Chip pulled over a couple more chairs to the table and sat down with the other two men.  They ordered drinks and talked about the conference. 


“Glad you could make it, Harry,” Jonas told him.  “I think we’re going to need you to convince some of the others that the bleaching is getting worse and that it’s starting to affect the other oceans as well.”


Harry took a sip of Glen Livet and shook his head, “I’m afraid you’re right.  I know there are a few researchers and scientists that think the bleaching is contained to the Pacific Ocean.  I’ll do whatever I can.”


Smiling, “I know you will,” Jonas replied.  “How about we get some dinner and worry about this tomorrow?”


“Sounds good to me,” Harry responded as the five men left the bar and made their way into the restaurant. 


After enjoying their meal, they agreed to meet for breakfast before the conference so Jonas and Eli could brief Harry on what was in their presentations so he could formulate some ideas ahead of time.  All three men were tired after working all day and then flying over so they retired early. 



The three men walked into the lobby of the hotel the next morning to get some breakfast.  They found that outside the conference room where they were meeting was a continental breakfast.  They helped themselves to some pastries and of course coffee and went into the conference which was set up with round tables.   They found a table near the front and sat down.  The conference would have about one hundred attendees so the room wasn’t very big.  There was a head table where the keynote speakers would sit.   Jonas was already sitting up there going over his notes when Harry, Lee and Chip walked in.  He saw them enter, went over to their table and sat down next to Harry as he showed him what he was going to talk about and stress how important it was to build the new laboratory in the Caribbean Sea-Atlantic Ocean areas as the corals there were starting to suffer from the bleaching too.  Eli entered the room and made his way to the table.  Lee was sitting next to Harry but moved when he came up to the table so the three men could sit together and go over the information.  


Jonas and Eli left Harry’s table and went up to the front along with a man from NOAA. Dr. Worth called the conference to order at 0900.




“Good morning, gentlemen,” Jonas said, “Welcome to the conference to discuss the heating of the world’s oceans and deciding if we need to build another laboratory in the Atlantic Ocean-Caribbean Sea to monitor the temperature of the water.   “We have with us today, Dr. Guy Harlan * from NOAA who’ll speak to us on how catastrophic coral bleaching is becoming.”


Dr. Harlan walked to the podium, acknowledged the applause and began to talk, “We all know that record ocean temperatures have caused coral bleaching across the Pacific Ocean but now those same conditions have expanded to the Caribbean Sea and Indian Ocean.  As you may know the bleaching taking place isn’t as devastating as in the past but is intensifying near Haiti, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  We are losing huge areas of coral in the US and internationally.  We know coral can recover from mild bleaching but severe or long-term bleaching is often lethal. After the coral reefs die, they quickly degrade and the structures corals build erode.  This provides less shoreline protection from storms and few habitats for fish and other marine life, including ecologically and economically important species.**  We need to monitor the temperature in the Atlantic Ocean-Caribbean Sea area so I’m strongly recommending that a new laboratory be built in the area.  Coral reef bleaching is not the only thing destroying the reefs; mankind is also playing a part in their destruction.  Dr. Worth will address this further in his talk.”   Dr. Harlan picked up his notes and left the podium to a round of applause.


Jonas stood up with his notes in hand and went to the podium where he received a nice round of applause.


Gripping the sides of the podium, Jonas said, “I agree with everything thing Dr. Harlan has stated but let me add that the devastation is only getting started. The western Atlantic is going to heat up.  If this occurs, bleaching will have hit every tropical ocean basin.  An area of 12,000 sq. km of coral maybe lost forever.  Almost 93% of reefs on the Great Barrier Reef have been hit by coral bleaching.  Many parts of the globe are in the grip of a nearly two-year coral reef bleaching event-fueled by El Nino driven ocean warming – scientists and marine conservation advocates have feared many reefs could suffer irreparable damage and fade from existence in the coming decades.”*** Jonas stressed, “We need this laboratory to compare the temperatures of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic-Caribbean area.  We may not be able to stop the ocean temperatures from rising but we’ll at least know how severe the bleaching could be by comparing the temperatures.” 


“We also have a role in destroying the reefs.  In recent decades, coral reef ecosystems worldwide have suffered significantly from overfishing and the dumping of toxic substances into ocean waters.  Governments and other agencies are working on stopping ‘blast fishing’ that uses explosives to stun or kill fish along with working on cruise lines to discharge their wastewater away from sensitive areas as well as trying to halt the damage done from coastal development, deforestation and unrestricted tourism.”


He returned to his seat after introducing Mr. Lewis Gabin, who represented the countries that depend on the coral reefs for tourism.  He presented information showing how many billions of dollars these countries could lose if the coral reefs are damaged or no longer there.  


When he finished with his speech, Jonas took to the podium again.  “Does anyone else have something they would like to contribute to this discussion?”


Dr. Ivan Zamkor of Zamkor Industries stood up.   “Yes, Dr. Worth, I would like to address the group.”


Jonas sat back down at the table while Dr. Zamkor walked up to the podium.  “I’ve listened to what these gentlemen had to say about the bleaching.   We don’t know if this is even going to take place.  We have no proof that the Atlantic Ocean’s temperature is going to rise enough to destroy to coral.  Let’s take a wait and see approach before spending all that money on a laboratory we may not need.” 


He returned to his seat and Lee noticed a few men did nod their heads in agreement but he also saw that most of them were surprised at his comments.  Lee could tell Harry was very upset with Dr. Zamkor and stood up.


“Ivan, we have proof that the temperatures are rising in the Atlantic Ocean so how can you suggest we wait.  By the time we decide to build the laboratory it would be too late.  How much coral will have to be destroyed before you agree to build the laboratory?”


“Harry, I don’t see a need for it,” Ivan said curtly.


“Maybe you don’t want to build the lab because you live in an area that doesn’t have any reefs and also doesn’t need the tourism to help their economy,” Nelson snapped.


“That’s your opinion,” Ivan retorted angrily.


Jonas quickly stood up, “Gentlemen, let’s keep this civil.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  The cost involved in building this laboratory will be significantly lower than building the first one as we know what we need and what we can do without.”


Jonas invited Lee to the podium where he presented a slide show of pictures showing how much of the coral has been destroyed in the Marshall Islands.  Jonas then invited Chip to the podium.  As Lee walked back to his seat and Chip went up to the front, Dr. Zamkor said loud enough for Harry and Lee to hear to the other gentlemen at his table, “Those two are Nelson’s puppets and will say anything he tells them to say.” 


Harry started to rise but Lee put his hand on his arm, “Admiral, these men know you.  They know we wouldn’t make this stuff up.”


Harry started shuffling his papers, “You’re right Lee.  He just irritates me.  He has no clue about the bleaching that is taking place.”


Chip showed them some pictures of the coral bleaching taking place in the Hawaiian Islands.  “These reefs have already been hit once and since the water in the Pacific is heating up again, more bleaching will take place.”  They asked him a few questions which he answered and returned to his seat. 

“Thanks, Lee, Chip,” Nelson said after Chip had sat down. 


After another hour of hashing and rehashing the pros and cons of building the laboratory, Dr. Worth returned to the podium, “Does anyone have anything new to add?”


No one spoke up so Jonas said, “Why don’t we take a vote.”  


Eli passed out the ballots and would collect them once everyone had voted.   He and two other gentlemen on the voting committee would count the ballots.  As they waited for the ballots to be counted, Harry, Lee and Chip went out to the lobby, stretched and poured themselves some more coffee.  They returned to the conference room just as Eli was walking up to the podium to announce the results.  By a slim margin, they voted to build the new laboratory.


“Thank you to everyone who voted for the laboratory,” Jonas told them.  He looked at his watch and saw it was already 3:00 and none of them had lunch.  “Why don’t we work on choosing a company to build the laboratory, the timeline for construction, along with the other details that need to be completed at 10:00 tomorrow morning?”


Disgusted with the vote, Dr. Zamkor remarked snidely before he left the room, “Of course Nelson would want to build it as his institute will reap the rewards as they’ll probably get the contract to place the sensors.”


Nelson heard the remarked and replied, “The committee will decide who’ll place the sensors so why don’t you put in a proposal to do the job?”


“I just might do that,” Ivan answered sharply, “I’ve already built a better sensor than what we’re using now so we’ll see who gets the contract.”  He turned his back on Harry and resumed his conversation with a few members who also voted against the lab.


“Maybe Dr. Zamkor and the others that voted against it would like go to some of these reefs now and see what the bleaching has done to them,” Lee suggested surprised that some of them would not want to build the laboratory. 


“You know Lee, that’s not a bad idea,” Harry responded and walked over to where Ivan was standing with the other members.


“Ivan, could I interest you in accompanying me on checking out the coral beds here in Hawaii where severe bleaching has occurred?   Maybe it’ll change your mind.  You won’t even have to get wet.”


“No thanks Harry, I’m not interested in seeing what is happening.  You already got your laboratory so why should I care,” Ivan replied sarcastically.


“No problem, anyone else interested?  I’ll be happy to take any of you.”   The other men looked at Harry and offered no response.   Harry unhappily returned to Lee and Chip.


“Any takers?” Lee asked when Harry returned.   Harry shook his head no.   “Why not?”


“Lee, it wouldn’t make a difference to them,” Harry commented.  “The same men who voted against this one were against building the one on Cole Island too.  If it doesn’t affect their backyards; they don’t want it.”




As Jonas and Eli approached Harry, Lee and Chip, Lee’s phone vibrated in his pocket.  He took the phone out and saw that Janet was calling him.  He looked at the time and knew it was 1800 hours in Santa Barbara and she was getting ready to leave for the day. 


“Excuse me sirs,” Lee said to the men and walked into the lobby.  “Hi sweetie, is everything okay?”


“Yes, I just wanted to let you know that you don’t need to hurry home as the mission scheduled for next week has been put off indefinitely.  They wouldn’t tell me why but will tell the admiral when he returns.”


“Thanks for letting me know.  I’m not sure when we’re going to leave.  They voted to build the laboratory but there are still all the details to work out so we more than likely won’t be leaving until the day after tomorrow.  What are you going to do tonight?”


“Julie and I are going shopping and out to dinner.  Will you call me when you leave?”


“Yes, I’ll call,” Lee replied with a smile.  “Love you, be careful.”


“Love you too and I’ll be careful after all I’m with a detective so how much trouble can I get into?” Janet quipped.


“Good bye, sweetie,” Lee answered and disconnected the call.   He returned to the group of men in the conference room.


“That was Janet on the phone and the mission scheduled for next week as been put off indefinitely.”


Looking surprised Harry asked, “Did they give a reason why?”


“No sir.  Janet asked and they said they will call you and let you know why when you return to the institute.”


“Then there’s no hurry to get back home so why don’t we work up a proposal tonight after dinner.  Which better be soon,” Nelson chuckled as he heard Chip’s stomach growl. “And depending on how long the meeting is tomorrow, I would like to go out and take a look at the reefs.”


“Sorry sir, but we didn’t have much breakfast and no lunch,” Chip apologized.  “I wouldn’t mind scuba diving.”


“Works for me,” Lee replied.  “It’s been a long time since we’ve had the time to dive.  I’m looking forward to it.”


“How about we meet in an hour for dinner and then work on the proposal so we can give it to the committee tomorrow before the meeting starts.  Any problem figuring out the costs?”


Lee spoke up, “No, we all have a pretty good idea what we need to do since we did the installation of the sensors on Cole Island.”


“That should be no problem since I have my computer with me and have all that information so we should be able to submit a viable proposal,” Chip said. 


The three men walked out of the conference room and returned to their rooms before meeting for dinner.  Chip checked in with Julie before they left and found out that she and Janet had finished shopping and were going to dinner.  He was leaving his room just has Lee was closing his door so he let him know the two women were fine and going out to eat. 




They enjoyed a nice steak dinner at a well-known steakhouse and returned to Nelson’s room.  They ordered a pot of coffee from room service, sat around the small round table by the window and began working on the proposal.  Chip showed them the proposal from Cole Island. 


“Since the sensors weren’t included in the first proposal, we shouldn’t include them in this one,” Chip reminded them.  “They were sent to us by another company.”


“That’s correct,” Harry replied, “All we have to do is install them and get them working. We need to keep in mind that we are responsible for fixing any problems that occur just like on Cole Island so we may want to add a little more to the bottom line for maintenance.”


They finished one pot of coffee and ordered another one before they completed the proposal.  Chip checked with the front desk and found they had a printer they could use to print out the proposal so they could submit it in the morning.  It was 2000 hours by the time they were finished. They decided to go for breakfast before attending the conference and would meet at 0800 hours so they wouldn’t have to hurry.  They returned to their rooms and retired for the night.


Before Lee turned in, he texted Janet.  He figured she was sleeping and wished her a good morning knowing she would check her phone when she got up and was surprised when his phone rang a few seconds later.


“Hello, sweetie.  You’re still up,” Lee asked.  “It’s 2300 hours there.”


“Yes, I’m still up.  I’m having a hard time falling asleep because you’re not here,” Janet replied tiredly.


“Sorry, but we’re not going to be home for a couple of days.  Since they cancelled the mission, the admiral wants to stay and scuba dive around the coral reefs to see how they’re doing.”


“That’s no problem.  Everything is caught up at work and you haven’t been diving in a long time.  You, the admiral and Chip deserve a break.”


“Thanks for understanding.  I’ll check in with you tomorrow.  Get some sleep,” Lee told her.


Laughing, “Yes sir,” she said.   “Good night Lee.”


“Good night sweetie.”


Lee disconnected the call and got ready for bed.



Lee was up early as usual but laid in bed a few minutes enjoying the sunshine streaming through his window before getting up to shower and dress.  It was 0700 by the time he was finished and knew Chip would be up so he called his room.  He answered the phone on the second ring.


“Are you ready to go…how about we find where we can print out the proposals and then go to breakfast.  We’ll let the admiral know where we are.”


“I’ll meet you at your door. Maybe the concierge can help us out. I’ll be right out.”


Chip grabbed his computer and left the room after making sure the door was locked and met Lee.  After taking the elevator down to the lobby, they walked over to the young woman at the concierge desk.


“I was told yesterday there was a place I could print out some documents.  Could you please direct us to where it is?” Chip asked nicely.


The woman looked over the two officers, dressed in their khakis and ties, smiled and replied, “Go down the hall right by the elevators and make a left turn.  There’s a room with printers, faxes and computers.  You can hook up your computer and print out whatever you want.”


“Is there a password needed?” Lee asked smiling.


Smiling back at him, “None is needed.  If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to come and get me.”


“Thanks,” Chip replied. 


The concierge looked them over as the two men walked away.  Whew, she thought.  Those are two great looking men.


Lee and Chip found the room, Chip hooked up his computer and printed out three copies of the proposal.  He would keep one and give two to Harry.  One for his information and one to give to Dr. Franco Bassili, head of the selection committee making the decision on who gets the job.  Chip had already e-mailed him a copy earlier that morning.  When they were finished, Lee’s phone rang.  


“Lee, where are you?” Harry asked standing outside the door to Lee’s room.


“Sorry sir, we just finished printing out the proposal to bring to Dr. Bassili.  Chip’s packing up the computer so we’ll meet you at the restaurant in five minutes,” Lee replied.

“I’m on my way,” Harry answered and went to the elevator. 


Lee and Chip were waiting in front of the restaurant for Harry who arrived a few minutes later.  They were seated at a table and enjoyed a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast before going to the meeting.   The hotel had once again put out a continental breakfast but only Chip grabbed a sweet roll to go along with his coffee.  Harry and Lee just shook their heads as they each poured some coffee and walked into the conference room.




Quite a few people had already gathered in the room when they entered.  Lee and Chip sat down at the table they had occupied yesterday. Harry saw Dr. Bassili and walked over to him to hand him a copy of the proposal. He saw that Dr. Zamkor was back at his table talking with some of the members who voted against the laboratory.  He noticed that Zamkor never took his eyes off Harry. 


“Thanks Harry,” Franco said grinning.  “I figured you’d be the first to submit one.”


“Since we installed the sensors on Cole Island we had a head start on getting some figures together.”


“You realize it will be awhile before we choose who’ll install the sensors,” Franco reminded Harry.  “We won’t make that decision until the laboratory is under construction.”


“No problem, Franco,” Harry replied as he shook his hand. 


Before he walked away, Lee heard Ivan Zamkor tell one of the members, “Figures Harry would get his bid in before anyone else.  He always has to show up everyone.  He’s so arrogant that he has his own submarine and can do whatever he wants with it.”


Lee started to stand up and confront Zamkor but Chip grabbed his wrist.  “Lee, you’re playing right into his hand.  You know the rest of the members here respect the admiral and all he has done for the oceans.”


Sitting back down Lee answered, “You’re right.  He just gets under my skin talking about the admiral that way.”


Frowning Chip looked at Lee, “What did the admiral do to make that guy dislike him so much?”


“At the last conference we attended a few years ago, Zamkor made some statements about the ocean temperatures that were obviously wrong.  The admiral sat there stewing but said nothing not wanting to get into an argument over his statements.  One of the scientists at our table stood up and called Zamkor out on his information but he had no proof to back up his statements.  He was embarrassed and hinted that the admiral put the scientist up to embarrassing him.”


“If I recall, haven’t we beaten him out on some other government contracts,” Chip said quietly.


“Yes, thankfully not recently and you know there were a couple of big ones that got the institute some great press and brought in more work so he’s still mad about that.”


Harry walked past Zamkor table, said good morning to them and sat down next to Lee and Chip.  Harry could tell by the look on Lee’s face that something must have happened.


“Problem, Lee,” he asked.


Lee explained what had taken place and the comments Zamkor made.  Harry patted Lee on the shoulder, “Thanks for trying to save me from Ivan but we’ve been battling for years.”




Jonas and Eli joined the men at the table.  “Morning gentlemen,” Jonas said.  “We better get this meeting under way as some of the members need to leave right after lunch.”


Jonas went to the podium and called the meeting to order.  We have only a few items to take care of before you can leave so I’m going to turn over the meeting to Dr. Franco Bassili.  He has the information regarding the building of the laboratory.”  Jonas sat down while Dr. Bassili stood at the podium.


“Good morning, gentlemen,” Franco greeted the members. “Since we hoped you would vote to build the laboratory, we sent out the building requirements to several companies that had put in proposals to build the lab on Cole Island plus a few more that asked for the information.  We received ten proposals to build the lab.  The committee narrowed it down to three of them.  After going over each proposal with a fine toothcomb, we decided to go with Ganmare Industries.  This is the same company that built the lab on Cole Island.  Their proposal to build the lab was lower than the one on Cole Island.  After talking with Drs. Worth and Geiger to check on how the lab on Cole Island was functioning, they had no problems to report.  After getting approval from the government on Airenob Island, they will start construction within the month and the lab should be completed in six to seven months if there are no hurricanes or other issues.  Next item will be installing and maintaining the sensors.  We’ll be looking over all the proposals for that installation when the lab is almost completed.  Make sure if you’re turning in a proposal that you include maintaining them.  The personnel on the island can handle some problems that may come up but sometimes there are issues that require more work than they can do.  Are there any questions?”


A gentleman from a table in the back stood up, “Who’ll be working at this lab?”


Dr. Bassili stood aside as Jonas returned to the podium, “Dr. Geiger will continue to work at the Cole Island lab along with three technicians which is down from the five we originally had there.  I’ll be working at the Airenob Island lab with three technicians.  We’re going to rotate the techs so they get familiar with both labs.  You all are invited to come and visit the labs but be prepared to work when you come.”  Jonas replied with a grin.  “If you would like to look at the plans for the new lab we have drawings on the table by the door for you to check out.  If no one has any more questions, I’ll adjourn the meeting.  Thank you for attending our annual meeting and next year pack your winter coats and long underwear as the meeting will be held in Finland.  To those that are leaving, have a safe trip home and those that aren’t leaving enjoy the rest of your stay.” 


Jonas left the podium to applause and went over to Harry’s table.  “Harry, do you have minute?”


“Sure, Jonas, is there a problem?”


“I received a call last night from the lab on Cole Island.  It seems some of the sensors are malfunctioning.  The techs at the lab have tried to fix them but it seems new ones will have to be installed.  As of now the ones not working have stopped recording the temperatures.  While you’re there, we would also like you to place a few more around the area.  I know its short notice but do you have any idea on how soon you can take care of this problem?”


“How fast we can get the sensors will determine how soon we can leave,” Harry replied.  “Lee, what do you think would be a viable timetable?”


“We could be ready to leave in three days after we get the sensors,” Lee told them as he looked over at Chip who nodded his head in agreement.


“I’ll find out from the supplier,” Jonas answered as Zamkor approached the men after listening to their conversation.


“I can have my sensors at your institute in two days,” Ivan told the men.  “You’ll see how much better they are than the ones your using now.”


“Ivan as much as I would like to try your sensors, we have a contract with the current company,” Jonas responded.  “Submit a proposal for using them in the new lab.  Dr. Bassili’s committee will look over all the proposals.”


Harry interjected, “It would be difficult for the lab to use two kinds of sensors.   I’m sure the installation process is different as well as the software to run them.  So we’ll wait for current ones.”


“That’s a bunch of crap, Harry,” Ivan spat.  “You can’t or won’t use them as you’re probably getting something in return for using the old ones,” he said as he stormed away.


“I’m sorry Harry,” Eli said.  “I just don’t know what his problem is.”


“Don’t worry about it.  I’m used to dealing with him.  He’s had it out for me for some time,” Harry replied.  “We are heading out to dive the reefs to check on their condition.  You are both more than welcome to join us, if you’d like.”


“I’d love to Harry but I’ve got a flight home in a couple of hours,” Jonas responded.


“I’d love to go as well but have plans with my wife,” Eli answered.  “Maybe next time?”


“Of course,” Harry said.  “Have a safe flight Jonas and enjoy the sights Eli.”  They said their goodbyes and all exited the room.


As they stood in the lobby, Harry looked at his watch.  “It’s 1130 hours.  Chip, can you wait a couple hours to have lunch?”


“Yes sir,” he replied smiling.


“Good.  Why don’t we go upstairs and change into our civvies?  We’ll take FS-1 to one of the coral reefs and scuba dive around there.  When we’re done, I would like check out some more of the reefs where the bleaching as already occurred and see if it has gotten worse.”


Lee looked at Chip, “Sounds good to me,” he answered.


“We’ll meet down here in thirty minutes.  I want to check in with Angie and see how things are at the Institute. 


Thirty minutes later they met up in the lobby and hailed a cab to take them back to JBPHH and the hangar.




Lee took off from Hickam Field and headed out over the ocean just skimming above the water to stay out of the way of the jets from the base and Honolulu airport landing and taking off.   Once out of their air space he pulled back on the joysticks and climbed higher into the sky.   They didn’t have very far to go before submerging and checking out some of their favorite reefs.  


Reaching their desired location, Lee submerged and guided the sub to the area they were looking for.  They quickly donned their air tanks, masks and fins and entered the warm Pacific waters via the moon pool. They checked all their gauges and verified everything was working then descended sixty feet to the reef below them.  As they swam over the reef, they were surprised at how much of the reef had been bleached since the last time they were there just a year ago. 


“Admiral, this section of the reef was beautiful last year; vibrant with color and alive.  I can’t believe the water temperature rose that much in a year to cause this reef to bleach out and die,” Lee commented.


“Sorry to say, Lee, but this part of the Hawaiian Islands has gotten warmer over the last year.  Just a small rise in the temperature can cause a lot of changes to the reefs,” Harry told them.  


Swimming further along the reef to another section, Chip remarked, “These reefs are starting to recover, notice the color returning to them.”


Harry answered, “Yes those are ‘bounce back’ reefs where new coral grows on the dead reefs. The original reefs aren’t recovering unfortunately.     


They continued to swim around the huge reef.  Some of the reef still held its color and hosted a multitude of different kinds of fish that used the reef for their home. After being out for fifty minutes, Lee pointed to his watch and motioned them to return to the sub.  Once back on the sub, they quickly changed back into their civvies.


“Lee, let’s go a little further and check out some of the other beds nearby.  I want to see if the bleaching there is just as bad as this bed,” the admiral asked as he settled into the co-pilot’s seat and put on his harness.  


Chip was already buckled in as Lee started up the engines and slowly cruised by the reef not wanting to disturb the fish.  They headed a little further south to another coral bed.  As the got closer, they were shocked at what they saw.


“Damn,” the admiral said disgustedly.  “I can’t believe how bad this reef has gotten.   The coral is almost all overgrown with seaweed.”


Chip piped up, “We were here only a year ago and it wasn’t this bad.  The water temperature really must have risen quite a lot to do that much damage.”


As they traveled a little further, some of the reefs weren’t bleached nearly as bad as others but enough of them were pretty much white and they noticed there weren’t many fish around the area.


“Let’s head back,” Lee suggested as they had been gone for a few hours and had gotten a good idea how bad the damage was.  He increased his speed launching FS-1 into the air.  He returned back to Hickam.


“I know we can’t stop the water temperature from rising in the Atlantic-Caribbean area but maybe we can keep tabs on it and know what to expect,” Lee said as they walked over to the front of the terminal where Chip called for a taxi to take them back to their hotel.


When they arrived at the hotel, they met for dinner and decided to leave as soon as they were finished.  There was nothing to keep them there as they saw enough of the reefs to know that things were going to get worse.






Harry sat back in his chair wishing Ivan had gone with them to see how bad the reefs were.  He reached for the phone and called Jonas at the Cole Island laboratory.   He answered the phone on the third ring.


“Dr. Worth,” Jonas said.


“Hi Jonas, Harry here.  My assistant said you needed to talk to me as soon as we docked.”


“Harry thanks for calling back.  It must be pretty late there.”


“Not too late but it was an exhausting mission what can I do for you?”


“As you know the laboratory is almost finished and Franco asked me to call you as we need your help.  You’re already aware that your proposal wasn’t selected to install the sensors at the new lab, it went to Zamkor Industries as did supplying of the sensors.”


“Yes, I’m aware of that Franco called me a few weeks ago.  So what help do you need from me?”


“For the life of me I don’t know why they chose Zamkor Industries but Franco told me that they’re having trouble finding a boat and divers to install the sensors.  The job was to be completed two weeks ago but Zamkor keeps stalling.  They’re at the point in the lab construction that they need to have them installed.  The committee has pulled Zamkor’s contract due to the fact he can’t do the job.  We would like you and Seaview to install them using Zamkor’s sensors.  I know its short notice but how soon do you think you’d be able to take on this job?”


“Jonas, I’m going to have to check with Lee and find out how soon we can leave but I’m guessing it’ll take us at least a week before we’d be ready to go and that would depend on how soon Ivan can get us the sensors.”


Sighing Jonas replied, “We can live with a week.  Harry, I’m going to be honest with you, Ivan is not happy about losing this job.  Nevertheless, the contract stated that the job needed to be completed within a two-week time period once they got to that point in the construction.  We’ve already extended for three weeks and he wanted another extension but we just can’t wait as it will hold up the construction.”


Chuckling, “I got an urgent call from Ivan stating he wanted me to call him as soon as I returned.  Wonder what he wants to talk about?” Harry asked.


“I don’t know but he knows we’re going to ask you to complete the job,” Jonas told him.


“I’ll get back to you with a definite date as soon as I talk to Lee,” Harry replied.


“Thanks Harry.  I’ll be waiting for your call.   Good luck talking to Ivan,” Jonas said as he hung up the phone.


Harry hung up the phone and sat back in his chair.  He rubbed his hand over his forehead not looking forward to placing his next call.  He picked up the pink message slip from the desk and dialed the number Angie had written on it.  He sat back secretly hoping it would go to voice mail but the called was answered after the first ring.


“Hello Harry,” Ivan said when he answered the phone.


Sighing Harry assumed Ivan had caller ID, “Hello Ivan, what can I do for you?”


“Well, I’m sure you know that the consortium has voided my contract to install the sensors because I can’t find a boat and divers.  I know they’ve asked you to take over.   You’d think they would have a little more patience.  I had everything I needed in place but it fell through.”  Harry could hear the testiness and annoyance in his voice.


“Ivan, you know they’re on a tight schedule and need to have the equipment installed before they can complete the job.  You can’t blame them for getting someone else to do the job if you can’t finish the task.  So what is it you want from me?” Harry asked directly already tired of his excuses.


“I just need to know how soon you need to have the sensors delivered and where,” Ivan replied tersely.


“The sooner the better,” Harry answered quickly.  “I have to check with Captain Crane to see how soon we’ll be able to leave but I’m guessing within the next week.  Will you have them here by then?”


“Yes, I’ll make sure they’re at your place in two days.  I’ll bring all the schematics, paperwork and all other pertinent information to you.  I want to explain how these work as they are totally different than what the lab is using now.  I can be at the institute on Tuesday.  Will that fit into your schedule?”

Harry picked up his calendar that Angie left on the desk and looked it over.   “It’s going to have to be Tuesday morning.  If you can’t make it, then just send the items.  I’m sure we’ll be able to figure it out.”


“Tuesday morning will work,” Ivan said quickly.  “Good bye.”


“Good bye,” Harry responded and hung up the phone.   He wasn’t looking forward to seeing Ivan again.


Harry got up from his desk, picked up his jacket and threw it over his arm.  He turned off the lights in his office and Angie’s, locked the door and finally headed home.




It was early evening by the time Lee, Chip and Janet finally left Seaview for home.  Chip headed straight to Julie’s house while Lee and Janet went to Med Bay to check on the two injured divers.  Lee wanted to make sure they would be okay after one of the reefs collapsed on them cutting them up pretty bad.  Jamie was overly cautious making sure that their wounds were cleaned out properly so they wouldn’t get infected from other pathogens floating in the water.  Ron was having a hard time breathing when he returned to the boat so Jamie was keeping him in Med Bay just to make sure he wasn’t having an allergic reaction to something he may have picked up in the water.   Jamie reassured Lee and Janet that the men would be all right and they would be released in the morning. 


While they were there he checked the gash on Lee’s arm.


“Here, you need to take these pills every day for the next 10 days.  I don’t want that wound getting any more inflamed than it already is,” Jamie stressed as he handed Lee the antibiotics.


“Yes, I’ll take them,” Lee told Jamie.


“I’ll see to that Jamie,” Janet confirmed with a quick wink.  Lee growled in jest at being treated like a child.


“Thanks for taking care of the men.”


“No problem.  You both look exhausted, go home and get some rest,” Jamie ordered with a smile.


“We will.  You look pretty tired too,” Janet replied barely stifling a yawn.


“I’m leaving in a few minutes.  Hazel is here so she’ll check on the men.”


Janet took Lee’s hand and they walked out of Med Bay to their car and went home.




Lee and Janet slept in a little later and quickly got ready for work bypassing breakfast and coffee since they were running late. Janet saw Lee’s antibiotics on the counter and grabbed them on their way out the door.  She would make sure he took one with his coffee when they got to work.  Chip was already at the institute when they arrived. 


“Morning,” Chip said to them as they walked over to the coffee pot where he poured them a cup.  “How are the men?”


“They’re going to be okay.  Jamie was going to release them this morning.   How about we meet in thirty minutes to go over the diving procedures and make some changes to address the problems we had on the last mission,” Lee replied taking a healthy gulp of the coffee.


“I’ve got nothing planned except going through all the mail so that will work,” Chip answered refilling his cup and headed to his office.


“Do you need me to attend the meeting?” Janet asked as she sipped her coffee.


“No, not right away but maybe after we make the changes you can type it up and we’ll give it to the admiral for his approval.”


“Just call when you need me,” Janet replied and walked to her office.  She sighed as she looked at all the mail that had accumulated while they were gone. 


Lee refilled his cup, turned on the light in his office and looked at his desk.  It was overloaded with mail too.  He had just sat down when Harry stopped at his door. 


“Good morning Lee, I need to see you and Chip immediately,” he said urgently.


“Morning sir. Is everything alright?” Lee asked as he stood and walked across the office following Nelson down the short hallway.


“Yes, but we need to get ready for a mission in the Atlantic in under a week.”


“Atlantic,” Lee questioned.  “I’ll go get Chip now and you can tell us about the mission.”


“No problem,” Harry responded as Lee left the office to get his XO. He hung up his jacket and walked over to the sideboard to get a cup of coffee.  By the time he sat down at his desk Lee had returned with Chip.


“First before I start, how are the men?”


“They’re fine, Jamie’s going to release them this morning,” Lee said.


“Good to hear.  Now to our problem, when I returned to the office yesterday, I had a message from Jonas Worth regarding the new laboratory.  They want us to install the sensors as soon as we can.”


Chip piped up, “I thought Zamkor Industries got that job along with supplying the sensors.”


“Yes, they did but they had a hard time getting the equipment and personnel to do the job even after the committee gave them numerous extensions.  They cancelled his contract and now want us to complete the job using Zamkor sensors.  According to Jonas, Ivan wasn’t very happy with the termination and really mad that they gave us the job.  Jonas caught me totally off guard and wanted to know how soon we would be able to do the job.  I told him possibly in a week.    So, how soon do you really think we could leave?”


Lee rubbed his forehead, “We might be able to leave sooner than that as there’s no major work that needs to be done on the boat.  If we call the men today, we could be ready to sail by Thursday provided we get the sensors.”


“I also spoke to Ivan Zamkor regarding the sensors and he’ll have them here in two days.  He’s also going to meet with me on Tuesday to show me the schematics and specs.”


“Chip, call Sharkey and have him start preparing to leave.  I’ll have Janet activate the crew call list and get as many back as we can.  Hopefully not many of them have left on shore leave.  I’m not really happy about leaving so soon on another mission but I know this one is pretty important,” Lee stated.


“Thanks men.  I’ll have Angie call the canal authorities and make arrangements for passage through the canal on Saturday morning,” Harry said as he picked up the phone to call Jonas as Lee and Chip left his office and returned to their offices.  Chip called Sharkey and got him just as he was getting ready to start for shore leave.


“Chief,” Chip said, “sorry but we’ve got a last minute mission we need to complete.  We’re recalling the crew and need to get Seaview ready to leave by Thursday morning.”


Letting out a deep breath Sharkey replied, “Yes sir.  I’ll start preparing the boat for departure on Thursday.  Where are we going?”


“We going to the Atlantic Ocean-Caribbean Sea area to install sensors at the new lab they’re building there.”


Surprised, “Sir, I thought we lost that contract,” Sharkey said.


“We did but the company that was contracted to complete the job couldn’t do it so we’ve been assigned the job.”


“Yes sir.  Are the men being recalled?”


“Yes, we’re implementing the recall message and I’ll let you know how many men are going to able to make it once Mrs. Crane gets the replies.  As soon as you can, please report to the office for the list of items needed for the cruise.  Sorry about your shore leave,” Chip commented knowing that he was going to go camping with Kowalski, Patterson and Riley.


“No problem, sir,” Sharkey replied as he heard Chip disconnect the call.  “Damn.”




Harry called Jonas and told him that Seaview would be able to leave in four days.  Jonas was very relieved that it wouldn’t be the week that Harry had first suggested.   After he finished his call with Jonas, he called Angie into his office.


“Angie, we’re going to be leaving on a mission on Thursday.  We’re going to put the sensors in at the new lab in the Atlantic Ocean, so could you please call the Canal Authorities and make arrangements to have Seaview go through the canal on Saturday morning. Also, Dr. Ivan Zamkor will be meeting with me tomorrow morning.”


“Yes, sir,” Angie replied as she turned around to leave she stopped, “I thought we lost that contract.”


“We did,” Harry said and explained to her what had taken place.




Chip buzzed Lee on the intercom and let him know he’d spoken to Sharkey and he would get things rolling for the new mission.  Now that the mission prep had begun he hit the intercom button and called Janet.   “Janet, could you please come in here?”


“Sure Lee,” she responded grabbing her pad and pencil as she went to Lee’s office.  He was sitting at his desk when she arrived and sat down in the chair in front.


“We’ve just been handed a new mission to install the sensors at the new lab and need a quick turn-around to get this done.  I have a couple of items for you, please initiate the crew recall list. We’ll be leaving on Thursday morning.  Second, meet with Chip and procure the supplies that we’ll need for a two-week mission.  Have Cookie take what he needs from the cafeteria if we can’t get all the items needed in time.” 


“Yes Lee.  I’ll get right on it and let you and Chip know who’ll be going.  I’ve already have a list of items needed for a two-week cruise unless there’s something specific you want but I’ll double check with Chip.  I’ll also let Jamie know so he can get his supplies ready.”


“Good thinking.” Lee smiled realizing she would have everything ready to leave on time.


Janet left Lee’s office, went back to hers and recorded a message letting the crew know they were needed immediately for a mission.  The crew call list was an idea Janet had making it faster to recall the crew with a single message she could send from a phone letting them know they needed to report to the boat.  They would call her back and let her know if they were able to make the mission.   After sending the message, she printed out the procurement list she had for a two-week cruise and headed to Chip’s office.


She knocked on the door noticing he was on the phone.  He motioned her to come in and she sat down in front of his desk.

He finished his call and looked at her. 


“First, I’ve activated the recall list.  Second, here is a list of the items needed for a two-week cruise.  Is there anything else that would be needed? I know its short notice but I don’t know if the mission will require any special equipment.”


Chip looked over the list and added a couple of items that would be needed to install the sensors.  “Chief Sharkey is reporting here as soon as he can, so I’ll make sure he gets this list.  There’s nothing on here that we should have trouble procuring.”


“I’ll notify Jamie and Cookie so they can get their supplies together.  Lee said to have Cookie take items from the cafeteria if we can’t get them in time.  As soon as I find out how many crew members are available, I’ll let you know.”


“Looks like you’ve got everything under control,” Chip said with a grin.   “If you have any problems, just let me know.”


“Will do Chip,” Janet replied and left his office and returned to hers to make her calls.


After her call to Jamie, it dawned on Janet that Lee hadn’t taken his antibiotics.  She took the bottle of pills out of her purse and went to his office with a glass of water.  He wasn’t there so she returned to her office and would find him later.




Lee left his office after meeting with Janet and went to Harry’s.  Angie was on the phone with the canal authorities and waved to Lee to wait before going into the admiral’s office.  Lee didn’t have to wait to long for her to finish her phone call. 


“Lee thanks for waiting,” Angie said as she handed Lee a piece of paper.  “Here is the information you’ll need to get through the canal.  They’re going to make special arrangements for Seaview to pass.”


“Thanks Angie,” Lee replied and put the paper in his pocket.  “Is he available?”


“He’s on the phone with Dr. Bassili regarding the mission.  Do you want me to call you when he’s free?”


“No, I’ll catch up with him later.”  Lee left the office and returned to his.   He still wanted to meet with Chip regarding the diving procedures as it was essential they get them done now that they would be diving near the coral reefs.


He stopped at Chip’s door and saw he was working on some reports.  “Do you have few minutes to go over the diving procedures?”


“Sure, we better take care of that now since we’re going to be out there again.”   


Lee sat down in front of Chip’s desk as he pulled the file from the pile of work on his desk.  The two men made some changes and were satisfied that they would have no problems in the future.


“I’ll have Janet type this up and show them to the admiral for approval.  Once that’s done, we’ll go over the new diving SOP with the men before we get ready to put in the sensors.”


Lee left Chip’s office and went to Janet’s where she was just finishing up tallying the number of crew who would be able to make the cruise.  “Hi Lee,” Janet said smiling.  “Before I forget, here’s your antibiotic.  You forgot to take it this morning and it almost time for you next dose.  You know you better take it or Jamie’s going to be pissed.”


“My arm is fine nothing that I haven’t dealt with before,” he stated as he took the pill from Janet and poured a glass of water from the pitcher on her desk.  “Happy?   What’s the tally on the number of crew being able to make the cruise?”


Smiling at him she said, “So far, I’m only missing ten men that haven’t called me back.  I looked at the list and I know that five of them were leaving town as soon as we docked.”  Janet handed him the list of names of men who hadn’t called back and marked with a check mark the ones she knew were gone.


Tapping the piece of paper Lee looked over the names, “We’re really going to miss a some of these men since I needed them for diving, but we’ll make do.”


“If I get any more calls, I’ll let you know.”  Janet noticed the paper in Lee’s hand, “Is that for me?”


“I know you have a lot on your plate right now but I was hoping you could type this up and bring it to me when you’re finished.  It’s some changes to the diving SOP and I want to implement them on this mission but I want to run it by the admiral first.”


He handed her the paper, Janet looked it over and replied, “I’ll have it to you in thirty minutes.  Is that quick enough?”


Lee looked into the hallway making sure no one was lurking about then went around Janet’s desk and gave her a hug and kiss, “Yes that will be fine.”  Lee left her office and returned to his to get back to his work.


Thirty minutes later, Janet entered Lee’s office and handed him the updated SOP and list of confirmed crew for the mission. 


“Here is the new SOP and I’ve finally heard from the last of the crew.  It looks like we’ll only be short the five men.”


“Thanks sweetie,” he said as he looked over the papers.  “This looks good but let me go over it with Chip and then I’ll be ready to leave.”


“No problem, Lee,” Janet replied.  “Just come and get me when you’re finished.  I have plenty of work to keep me busy.”


Lee walked Janet out of the office and went on to Chip’s where he was just finishing his reports.  He looked over the regulation changes.  “I’ve been thinking about a couple of these, could we change them just slightly.  I think it will be better down the road,” Chip said as he handed Lee back the list and he looked it over.


“I agree those are better.  I’ll have Janet type it up tomorrow and we’ll look it over again,” Lee commented as he took the paper.  “We’re only going to be short five crewmen.  Unfortunately, a couple of them I wanted to use for installing the sensors but we’ll figure something out.”


Chip looked at the list and nodded.  “I knew some of these men were leaving but I wasn’t expecting a cruise so soon.”  He turned off his computer, grabbed his coat and turned off the light in his office as he and Lee walked into the hall.  “See you tomorrow.  Got a date with Julie and I’m already late.”


Lee looked at Chip, “You should just marry her and you wouldn’t have to worry about being late,” he chuckled.


“Lee, I’m seriously thinking about it,” Chip answered back as he walked to the elevator leaving Lee standing there.


Lee grinned as he returned to his office where he grabbed his jacket and turned off the light.  He walked to Janet’s office where she was just turning off her computer.  Lee handed her the new regulation list.  “Do you need this now,” she asked frowning.


“No, tomorrow will be fine,” Lee replied as he helped her on with her coat and they walked to the elevators.  They signed out at the desk, said goodbye to Howard and left for the day.


They went home for a quick dinner before going for a walk on the beach.   When they returned, Janet made sure Lee took his antibiotic before going to bed.




Lee’s arm was throbbing when he got up so he went to the bathroom and took some acetaminophen hoping it would help which didn’t get past Janet.  She was going to make him go to Med Bay to have Jamie check it out if it didn’t get any better later on in the day.  While Lee went downstairs to make the coffee, Janet jumped in the shower.  Before he joined her, he wrapped his arm in plastic wrap so he could keep his stitches dry.  He started to wash her back but before he could finish she suddenly turned off the water, grabbed his hand and led him back to bed.  They lay happily sated in each other’s arms for a few minutes before they hopped back into the shower.  After dressing and remaking the bed, they went downstairs for some breakfast.  Lee poured them some coffee while Janet made eggs and gave Lee his medication.  




Lee and Janet arrived at the institute and signed in.  As they waited for the elevator, Chip walked in looking pretty happy.  He signed in and walked over to Lee and Janet. 


“Everything okay,” Lee asked with a smirk.


“Fantastic,” Chip replied as they got into the elevator.


“Care to elaborate on that,” Janet asked nosily.


“No not right now,” Chip answered smugly.


Lee looked at Janet and shrugged his shoulders as they followed Janet off the elevator.  Before she went into her office, she told them that she would have the new list of regulations ready from them within the hour.   Lee and Chip made their way into their offices and started preparing for the mission.  Chief Sharkey showed up a few minutes later and went to Chip’s office to get the list of items they would need for the cruise. 


Lee caught up with him as he left the office.  “Sorry about your shore leave,” Lee said sympathetically, “I know you and the men were looking forward to the camping trip.”


“It’s okay skipper, we know how important this mission is.  We can always go camping.”


As Sharkey left the office, Janet went to Lee’s with the list she had retyped.  Lee looked it over.  “Thanks.  Sorry you had to redo it.”


“No problem, you’ll just have to take me to lunch as payment,” Janet told Lee.


“You’re on,” he said as he went into Chip’s office.




Harry arrived at the office not looking forward to his meeting with Ivan Zamkor.  As he walked by Angie’s desk, he stopped to confirm that maybe by some chance he had cancelled the meeting.


“Sorry sir.  He’s still scheduled to arrive,” Angie replied knowing her boss didn’t want to meet with him.  “I do have good news though, the sub pen called and they received a couple of crates from Zamkor Industries.”


“Thanks for letting me know.  Those are the sensors we’re going to install at the laboratory.  At least he got them here on time.  Let me know when he arrives,” Harry told her as he opened the door to his office.  He hung up his jacket, sat down at his desk, and looked over the messages and mail Angie had put there when she arrived.


Harry had been working for an hour when he looked at his watch and realized Ivan was due in fifteen minutes.  He was just going to check in with Angie when his phone rang.  “Yes, Angie.”


“Sir, Dr. Zamkor called and apologized the he’s unable to attend the meeting but is sending two representatives with all the information.  They should be here on time for your meeting.”


“Thanks Angie,” Harry said disappointed that the meeting was still on.   He was looking over some of the mail when his phone rang again.


“Sir, the representatives from Zamkor Industries have arrived.  They’re in the waiting area; would you like me show them in?”


“No, I’ll come out and get them.”  Harry walked out of his office, through Angie’s and into the waiting area where he stopped abruptly.  Sitting there were two young good looking women, one blond and the other a brunette.


“Good morning, I’m Harriman Nelson,” Harry said as the two women who stood up when he came into the area.


“Good morning, Admiral.  I’m Trixie Zamkor,” the blond woman told him extending her hand which Harry shook.


“Hello, I’m Trudy Zamkor,” the brunette woman said and offered her hand to Harry.  “Dad is very sorry he couldn’t make the meeting but we’re both very familiar with the sensors and how they work so we’ll be able to answer any questions you may have regarding them.”


“Thanks for coming,” Harry replied as he led them into his office. 


As the three of them walked by Chip’s door, he and Lee caught sight of the two women and looked at each other.


“Who are they?” Lee asked as the two men stopped what they were doing, stood up and walked to the hallway where they watched them walk into the admiral’s office.


Just before the admiral and the two women made it to the office, Janet came out of her office and saw Lee and Chip watching the two women.   Grinning, she quietly walked up behind them, “Enjoying the view,” she asked catching the two men off guard.  They turned around to face her both embarrassed at being caught.


“Sorry, we were just wondering who they are,” Lee said with a smile. “Do you know who they are?”


“No clue, but I’ll ask Angie and find out,” Janet volunteered and walked into Angie’s office and found out their names.  Janet returned to Chip’s office and told them they were Trixie and Trudy Zamkor.  She no sooner told them who they were when Chip’s phone rang. 


Janet answered the phone seeing the call was from the admiral’s office.  “Yes sir, I’ll send them right in.”


“The admiral would like you and Lee in his office to discuss the sensors,” Janet told them smirking.  Both men looked at Janet and walked out the door.  “Have a nice meeting,” she quipped as they walked into Angie’s office before going into the admiral’s.  Janet returned to her office with a smile on her face.  Lee would now owe her dinner besides lunch.




“Would you like anything to drink,” Harry offered the two women as he showed them to the couch. 


“No thanks, we’re fine,” Trixie responded as they sat down across from the admiral.  “We have the schematics, specifications and all the other information you’ll need for installing the sensors.” She handed Harry a large packet of information.  Harry opened the packet and took out the schematics.


“I’d like to have my captain and XO look over these drawings as they’re the ones who’ll be installing them,” Harry informed the two women. 


“No problem, sir,” Trudy replied, “we’re in no hurry and Dad told us to make sure we answered any questions you might have.”


There was a knock on the door, “Come in,” Harry said as Lee and Chip walked in the office.  He introduced the two women to the men as he handed Lee the drawings and Chip the computer information to look over. 


The two women looked at each other and then stared at the two officers.   “Do you have any questions about the sensors,” Trudy asked Lee and Harry as they looked over the drawings Lee had laid out on the admiral’s desk.


“No, I think everything is pretty clear,” Lee responded looking at Trudy.  “What other information did you bring?”


“The specifications are also in the packet,” Trixie managed to get out as she looked Lee in the eyes.


Harry handed Lee the rest of the papers that they looked over.   “Chip, are there any issues with the computer software?” Harry asked.


“No sir, I don’t see anything. I’m wondering though, do you have a backup plan available if there’s ever a problem with the main system.”


Trixie got up from the couch, went over Chip, and stood close to him pointing out on the paper a site where they could download a backup plan.  “There’s a backup available for downloading if the main system should fail.  The lab would just need to log on to our site and we would send it to them immediately.”


Chip moved away from Trixie and said, “I would really like for the lab to have its own copy of the backup rather than have to download it.  It would save them time in case they had a problem when your offices are closed.”


“I’ll see that a backup is sent to you right away.  You should have it before you sail, which is when?” Trixie asked.


“We’ll be leaving on Thursday morning,” Chip answered.


“No problem, you’ll have the back up tonight,” Trixie replied.


“My father is very disappointed that he can’t complete this contract but it seems like no one wanted to sign on with us.  We were hoping to start a new division to compete with other contractors submitting proposals for this type of work including the institute,” Trudy told the men.  


“I’m sorry that you ran into problems getting people to tackle this project,” Harry responded.  “Lee, Chip do you have any other questions or concerns?”


“No sir,” the two men answered. “Will someone be available to answer any questions should they arise while we’re installing the sensors?” Lee asked.


“Depending on the time of day, there should be personnel available to help out.  Just call this number and they’ll get in touch with one of us,” Trudy told Lee as she handed him a card her hand lingering longer than necessary.  “Just one more question,” she asked.  “Did the crates arrive with the sensors?”


“Yes, they arrived this morning,” Harry responded. “Thank you for getting them here so quickly.”


Lee folded up the drawings and put them in the envelope with the specifications and handed it to Chip to put in the computer information.


“It was a pleasure to meet you,” Harry said as he showed the two women to the door signaling the meeting was over.


“Thank you for your time,” Trudy said as they shook the hands of the three men.


Chip opened the door for them and showed them to the elevators while Lee stayed with the admiral.   He took the drawings out and scanned them over once again.  “Problem Lee?”


“No but if I remember correctly, didn’t Dr. Zamkor say his sensors were better than the ones were using now...these look exactly the same unless maybe it’s in the computer part that’s different.”


Chip returned to the admiral’s office and heard Lee’s comment.   “The software is a little different than the ones were using so I hope that’s where the improvement is.”


Trudy and Trixie exited the elevator, Howard signed them out and opened the door for them.  The two women looked at each other and broke out in grins as they entered their car.




Janet made Lee keep his promise and take her to lunch.  She was hungry as she had no breakfast and didn’t get a chance to go to the cafeteria to get a snack.  Chip joined them and as they sat there eating, Janet could see Lee’s arm was bothering him as he kept rubbing it.  Before they left for home, she would make him go to Med Bay. They arrived later than expected and Jamie was getting ready to leave for the day when he saw them enter the building.  He brought them to the first examination room, helped Lee roll up his sleeve and looked at his arm.  He was concerned as there was the beginning of an infection. 


“Lee, I don’t like the look of your arm,” he told him as he went to cabinet and gave him a shot of stronger antibiotics and some different pills to take.  “You need to watch for increased redness and warmth.”


“Yes, Jamie,” Lee said nonchalantly knowing Janet would keep an eye on it for him. 


“Thanks Jamie,” Janet told him as she and Lee walked out of the room.




It was early Wednesday morning when Lee and Chip went to the sub pen to check on how the preparations were going for the cruise.  Sharkey was already there supervising the dock detail as they loaded the supplies on the boat.


“Good morning, Skipper, Mr. Morton,” Sharkey said as the two men walked over to him.  “Everything is loaded except for these two crates with the sensors.  Where would you like us to stow them?”


“Chief, put them in the missile room since we’re going to need them right away it doesn’t make any sense to store them in one of the storage rooms.  Just make sure they’re tied down.  We don’t want anything to happen to them,” Lee told him.


“Aye, aye sir,” Chief replied and they watched as the crane picked up one of the crates.  Sharkey helped guide the crate over to the open doors on Seaview’s deck.  He hollered down to Patterson and Riley who were waiting for the crate.  “Stow it in the missile room and make sure you secure it.”


‘Yes, sir,” Riley yelled back as the crane lowered the first crate and then did the same with the second crate. 


“Crates are secured but I’ll double check it when I get aboard,” Sharkey told the men.  “Here is the manifest for the crates and the list of the supplies so we’ll be ready to leave on Thursday morning.”


“Thanks for all your hard work getting the supplies together,” Lee told him as he signed off on the manifest and procurement list.  He kept both papers and would give them to Janet to bring aboard with the rest of her paperwork.


“No problem sirs.  If you’ll excuse me I’m going to check the crates and make sure the rest of the supplies are stowed,” Sharkey said as he walked down the gangway and into the hatch on the conning tower.


The two men returned to the institute where they had a meeting with Harry to go over the changes to the diving SOP.


Harry reviewed the changes they made and had no more suggestions as Lee and Chip had covered all the issues from the last dive and the new procedures would hopefully prevent any future injuries. 




Harry, Lee and Janet would spend Wednesday night on the boat after going out to dinner.  Chip would meet them aboard on Thursday morning.  He told Lee he had something important to take care of but didn’t offer any explanation and Lee didn’t ask figuring he would tell him if he had a problem.   After boarding, Lee did his walk around making sure that everything was loaded.  He checked all the vital parts of the boat and found everything in order.  He was proud of the way his crew managed to get her ready to sail on such short notice.  When he got back to his cabin, Janet handed him his antibiotic and a cup of water.


Sighing as he took the pill and water from her he asked, “How much longer do I have to take these?  My arm doesn’t hurt as much and it’s not red or warm.”


“Lee, please just take the pills,” she insisted, “Your arm is still healing and I’m going to have Jamie look at it again tomorrow.”


He swallowed the pills as Janet got ready for bed.  He went to the head, got ready for bed and joined his wife in the bunk wrapping his arm around her.




Lee and Janet were up early on Thursday morning so they could leave the harbor on the morning tide.  Lee was on the quarterdeck with Lt. O’Brien who was checking in the crew as they boarded.  He saw Chip come aboard and he didn’t look very happy.  Lee assumed he spent the night Julie just as he’d been doing in the past before they left on a mission.


“Hi Chip,” Lee said warily, “everything okay?”


“Just fine.  Let me put my gear away and I’ll be right up,” Chip responded quickly and left the deck going into the side hatch.


“No hurry,” Lee replied as he walked away. 


Chip made his way down the ladder into the control room where most of the crew were already at their stations.  Janet caught sight of him as he walked over to the staircase.


“Good morning, Chip,” Janet said cautiously as she also noticed he wasn’t in his normal good mood especially after spending the night with Julie.


“Morning and everything is fine,” he snapped as he continued up the staircase his shoes clicking on the metal rungs.


Taken aback by his attitude, Janet didn’t reply and sat down in the observation nose and waited for the boat to leave the dock.   Chip returned a few minutes later and went over to her.


“Sorry, I snapped at you.  I was running late and I didn’t mean to take it out on you,” he apologized.


“No problem, we all have rough starts on some mornings,” Janet answered as he walked over the charting table as Lee and O’Brien were just coming down the ladder.


O’Brien went over to Chip and handed him the roster.  “All the crew scheduled for the cruise have reported to duty, sir.”


“Thanks, Bobby,” Chip replied as he looked over the list and put it on the charting table. 


Lee picked up the mic, “Prepare to shove off,” he told the crew. 


He and Chip went up to the conning tower and watched the dock detail untie the lines holding the boat in place and toss them to the deck detail.  The crew stowed the lines and went below as Lee maneuvered Seaview out of her berth and into the channel.  Once they cleared the breakwater and were in open water, they left the conning tower and returned to the control room.


“Mr. Morton, prepare to dive,” Lee told Chip as he stood at the charting table.


“Yes sir,” Chip replied giving maneuvering the order to dive.  “Come to two hundred feet.”


“Aye, aye sir,” maneuvering answered.


After Seaview was at two hundred feet, Lee ordered a series of angles and dangles to make sure all the loads were secure.  He wanted no problems when they went through the canal.  As usual, the crew had everything tied down properly and there were no problems. Janet didn’t like the angles and dangles maneuver so she parked herself in the observation nose and waited until it was completed before leaving.  The weather was perfect and they would have smooth sailing all the way to the canal.




After the angles and dangles, Janet returned to her office to prepare the duty rosters and catch up on the rest of her work.   She told Lee and Chip she would meet them in the wardroom for lunch at 1300 hours.


Lee and Chip were still at the charting table going over the schedule for the divers when they reached the laboratory.


“Chip, I would like you and Patterson to look over the sensors.  Check them out and see if they’re will be any issues installing them.  I’m hoping there similar to the ones were using now.  If you can make sure they’re ready to go, it might cut down on the amount of time it will take to install them.”


“Okay, Lee.  I’ll check them out now as there’s not much happening here,” Chip replied.


Lee looked around the control room, “Hey bro, is everything okay?  You’re quieter than and Julie have a fight?”


“Lee, I’d rather not talk about it right now,” Chip said softly.  “Please let it go.”


“No problem but if you want to talk....” Lee nodded his head as he picked his pencil and tapped it on the table.


“I know.  I’ll grab Patterson and we’ll start on the sensors.”


Chip went over to Patterson on the radar, “Pat, come with me.  I need you to help me check out the sensors.”


“Yes, sir,” Pat answered as he signaled Ron to take over his station.




Once in the missile room, Chip and Patterson located the crates in the corner near the hatch.  The tops of the wooden crates were nailed down so Patterson found a crow bar on one of the shelves and pried open the top of the first crate.  The sensors were packed in bubble wrap to keep them from rubbing up against each other. 


“Pat, why don’t you open the other crate and take a look at those while I look these over.  Hopefully they’re similar to the other sensors and we won’t have to much trouble installing them,” Chip said as he unwrapped one of the sensors.


“Sure thing, Mr. Morton,” Patterson responded and opened up the second crate.  He unwrapped one of the sensors and looked it over.


“These sensors are very similar to the ones we installed in the lab on Cole Island,” Chip remarked but noticed that some were different sizes.  He hadn’t seen the plans for the housing so he didn’t know if they were supposed to be that way.


After examining all thirty-six sensors, they put them back in the crates and secured the tops.  Patterson opened the hatch in the missile room and waited for Chip to exit before closing and locking it again.  Both men returned to the control room.


“We unpacked the sensors and they’re ready to go.  I’ll look over the software this afternoon and see how different it is from the previous one,” Chip told Lee.


“Thanks, Chip, that should make our installation easier.  I’ll make out the dive teams while you check over the software,” Lee replied looking at his watch.  “How about we get some lunch?”


“Sounds good to me,” Chip replied.


“I’ll meet you in the wardroom as soon as I get Janet,” Lee said as he headed up the staircase and Chip left for the wardroom after turning over the conn to Lt. O’Brien.




Harry and Jamie were already in the wardroom when Lee, Chip and Janet arrived.  As soon as the three of them sat down, Cookie put plates of soup and salad in front of them. 


“Chip, did you check out the sensors?” Harry asked picking up his coffee mug. 


“Yes, sir we did and they look almost identical to the ones from Cole Island.  I’m going to check out the software and see if that is any different. As promised, Zamkor did send a back-up disk for the laboratory. I’m going to make a back-up disk for our records just in case we have a problem.”


“Good,” Harry replied.  “Let me know if you have any problems.  I’ll deal directly with Ivan if any issues arise.”


“I’m going to check in with Jonas and let him know we should be at the laboratory by late Sunday and we’ll start installing the sensors on Monday morning.   Lee, have you made up the dive teams?”


“I’m going to work on that this afternoon.  I’ll have five teams of two divers per team.  Since there are only two sensors planned for installation furthest from the lab and two sensors in deeper water, I’m going to have them only install those.  The rest of the dive teams will divide up the remaining sensors and install them per the plan.  I hope that the install will be the same as the previous ones so we should have no issues.  If the two teams finish up ahead of their allotted dive time, I’ll have them assist the other teams.”


Jamie sat there listening to the men discuss the diving and finally piped up.  “Lee, since you have stitches in your arm, you won’t be doing any diving.  I’m not taking a chance on you getting those stitches wet and picking up an infection from whatever is in that water.”


“Jamie,” Lee protested.  “I was going to head up one of the teams.”


“We’ll see how that arm looks but I wouldn’t count on it,” Jamie stated emphatically.  “Are you taking your medication?”


Janet handed Lee his pill and he drank it down with a large gulp of coffee and gave Jamie a smirk.


“Lee, I’ll take over your team as I’m sure you didn’t put me on one,” Harry said trying hard not to grin as Lee took his pill.


“No sir, I was hoping you would be on the island checking out the sensors as they’re installed but I’ll take care of that part of the installation since I won’t be able to dive,” Lee replied unhappily.




Chip checked out the software for the sensors and noticed a few changes but nothing too drastic.  He made a back-up disk to keep for the institute’s records.  He shut down his computer, returned to the control room via the staircase, and stopped in the observation nose just as Lee was finishing the dive list.  Lee showed him the teams and Chip agreed with whom Lee assigned as team members.  The two men walked over to the charting table and took over the conn from O’Brien who would be going off duty for the rest of the night and wait for Lt. Taper to report.  He reported for duty and Lee gave him his orders on what to do when they arrived at the canal.  He understood and signed in on the logbook after Lee had signed off turning over the conn to him. 


“Ready for dinner,” Lee asked as they walked towards the observation nose and up the stairs.


“Lee, I’m going to pass on dinner as I’m not very hungry,” Chip told Lee.


“You okay? You never skip a meal,” Lee replied worriedly.  “Want to talk over what’s bothering you?  I know Janet won’t mind eating dinner with the admiral and Jamie.


“No, just tired.  I didn’t get much sleep last night,” Chip, answered regretting the words as soon as he said them. As he knew, Lee would take them the wrong way.


Lee noticed something was wrong so he didn’t tease Chip on what he had just said.  “No problem.  I’ll see you in the morning.” Lee said as they walked down the passageway and Chip went into his cabin.  He really wasn’t feeling well.


Lee met Janet in the wardroom and explained to her, Harry and Jamie that Chip would not be joining them for dinner.  Jamie right way wanted to know what was wrong but Lee told them he was just tired. 


After dinner, Lee and Janet returned to their cabin.  Lee would do his walk around the boat making sure everything was in order so they would have no problems going through the canal on Saturday morning.  He also wanted to check on Chip before he retired for the night.  After he finished his walk around, he made his last stop the galley where he made two cups of hot chocolate and could only find the fixings for a cheese sandwich.  He made the sandwich, put it on a plate, grabbed the two cups of hot chocolate, and went to Chip’s cabin.  He knocked on his door but didn’t get an answer.  He tried the door, found it unlocked and saw that Chip was sound asleep so he put the sandwich and two mugs of hot chocolate on his desk just in case Chip woke up and was hungry.  He quietly walked out the door and returned to his cabin.


“Chip alright?” Janet asked as she got ready for bed.  She had gotten a glass of water and put it on the desk with Lee’s antibiotic.  He saw it sitting there, “Do I really have to take this…my arm is fine,” he said as he removed the bandage so Janet could look it over.   It looked a little red and felt warm.


“Let’s have Jamie check this out tomorrow,” Janet told him watching him take his medication. 


She climbed in bed and waited for Lee to join her.  It had been a long tiring day so both of them fell asleep right away.




Seaview arrived at the canal by 0200 hours on Saturday and stayed submerged until they were ready to enter the canal. 


Harry, Lee, Chip and Janet were in the wardroom early for breakfast so they could get started on passing through the canal.  When they sat down, Cookie brought over breakfast and coffee for the four them. 


As Lee took a big gulp of coffee, he looked at Chip and asked, “How are you doing this morning?”


“Better,” Chip replied softy.  “Do I thank you for the hot chocolate and sandwich,” he asked Lee.


“Yes, I thought you might be hungry after not eating dinner,” Lee responded watching him push his breakfast around his plate.


Chip got up from the table, took his plate with his half-eaten breakfast still on it and put it in the dish bin.  “I’ll meet you in the conning tower in a few minutes,” he told Lee and Harry and left the wardroom.  He returned to his cabin where he took a couple of acetaminophen and left for the control room.


“Is Chip okay?” Harry asked Lee with concern. 


“Something is bothering him but he’s not ready to talk about,” Lee replied as he and Janet got up, put their dishes in the bin and headed for the door.


“Let me know if I can help,” Harry answered as he stood up and took care of his dishes.  They left the wardroom and headed for the control room.




When it started to get light, Seaview surfaced and started her eight-hour journey through the canal.   Lee, Harry and Chip were in the conning tower, with Chief Sharkey and other crew members on deck making sure all lines were properly secured to the tugs.  It was a very tiring job making sure Seaview made it through the canal.  They made it through the Miraflores lock but before they finished going through the Pedro Miguel Lock, Chip was so sick he could barely stand up.


“Sick Bay,” Lee called frantically over the mic, “Mr. Morton is sick.  Send someone to get him off the conning tower.”


“Okay Skipper.  We’re on our way,” Jamie answered quickly.


Sighing Lee responded, “Thanks Jamie.”  Damn, Lee thought as he turned his attention back to getting Seaview through the canal.  It would be another five hours before they made it through the Gatun Locks and exited the canal.




Frank and Chief Sharkey, who heard the call for help, made their way up the ladder to the conning tower, collected Chip and brought him to sick bay.  When they arrived, Jamie had them put him on a gurney so he could check him out.  He knew right away he had a fever.  Sharkey left and returned to the deck as Seaview continued through the canal.


“Chip can you tell me what’s wrong,” Jamie asked as he took his blood pressure.


“Sore throat, cold, just not feeling well,” Chip croaked out as his throat was so sore he could barely talk.


Jamie took his blood pressure and was concerned at how low it was, he took his temperature and it was one hundred and one degrees.   He also noticed the scratches he had received from the coral were red, warm and infected.  He had Frank draw some blood.  Jamie was pretty sure he had contracted strep throat but wanted to be sure so he had Frank swab his throat.


Frank helped Chip into some scrubs and then a bunk while Jamie went to get an antibiotic.  They had just got him settled when Patterson came into sick bay not feeling well.


“What’s wrong, Pat,” Jamie asked as he made him sit on a gurney so he could look him over.


“Sore throat, cold and tired,” Patterson replied softly as his throat also hurt when he talked.


Jamie took his temperature, it was one hundred and one degrees, and his tonsils were enlarged. He swabbed Patterson’s throat but was positive he also had strep throat.  He and Frank moved him to a bunk and gave him some penicillin.


After he was settled, Jamie rubbed his hand on his forehead, “I’m almost positive both these men have strep throat.  Where the hell did they get it and how many more men are going to get it,” he told Frank as he tested the throat cultures.




Seaview finally made it through Gatun Locks and into the Caribbean Sea late on Saturday afternoon.  It would take them another day to get to Airenob Island west of the Virgin Islands.  As soon as they were out of the traffic lanes for the canal, Lee and Harry went below.  Lt. O’Brien hearing that Chip was ill reported for duty early to cover the control room after they made it through the canal.


Lee jumped down the last three rungs of the ladder and was happy to see O’Brien at the charting table.   “Thanks for taking over,” Lee said as he patted him on the shoulder. 


“Any time skipper,” O’Brien replied.


“Take her down to two hundred feet at full speed,” Lee said to O’Brien who issued the order to maneuvering.


Lee waited until Seaview was at depth and speed before he left for sick bay.  “If you need me, I’ll be in sick bay,” he told him and left with the Admiral to check on Chip.




Harry and Lee arrived in sick bay and found Janet already there with Chip who was sleeping.  He had an IV, was on oxygen, and there was a bucket staged near the bunk.   Jamie met them as they entered and walked over to the bunk with them. 


“How’s he doing…what’s wrong with him?” Lee asked surprised at all the equipment attached to him.  He also noticed Patterson in a bunk on the other side of the room.


“He’s not doing very well,” Jamie told them seriously.  “He has Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS).”


Lee, Harry and Janet looked at Jamie.  “I thought only women got that,” Janet said cautiously.


“I know what you’re thinking but anyone can get STSS.  He has a fever of one hundred two degrees, his blood pressure is very low and he’s in respiratory distress along with a flat red rash, he’s been vomiting, has severe muscle pain, and decreased liver function.  He has all the symptoms of STSS.  He picked up streptococcus pyogenes somewhere and it infected the scratches he received from the coral.”


Lee ran his hand through his hair, “So what do you do to get rid of it,” he asked worriedly.


“He’s on an antibiotic IV of vancomycin, cardiac medication for the low blood pressure, oxygen to help his breathing and I’ve cleaned out his wounds.  We have to watch him closely to make sure he doesn’t suffer any organ damage.  This is a very serious disease and hopefully we caught it in time.”


“All that from an infection of his scratches,” Janet said terrified he wouldn’t get better.


“What’s wrong with Patterson?” Harry asked seeing him sleeping in the other bunk.


“He has strep throat,” Jamie replied.  “I’ve given him some penicillin.  He should be okay in a couple of days.  I need to know where these men got this.  Incubation period is one to three days and we’ve been at sea for forty-eight hours.”


“I thought it was passed on from person to another,” Lee said.


“Yes, that’s how it’s usually transmitted but it can survive on a dry surface for three days to six and half months. What worries me is that there are a lot of men in a small area with a lot of door knobs, wheels, dials, etc.,” Jamie stated.  “I know it’s a big job but Lee we’re going to have to disinfectant the whole boat.  Wash everything down with bleach and disinfectant to prevent more men from getting sick.  If we don’t stop it from spreading a lot of men are going to be ill.”


Sighing deeply, Lee replied, “We can’t have the whole crew come down with strep.”  He walked over to the mic, picked it up and made a boat wide announcement.  “Attention men this is the captain.  All off duty and non-essential personnel report to the crew’s mess on the double.”  He stowed the mic in the holder and opened the door to leave, just as ten men were walking in the other door. 

“We’ll start right away, Jamie,” Lee said as he, Harry and Janet walked to the door.  Jamie took a deep breath as he and Frank pulled on some gloves and started to check out the men who had just come in.




After having spent the day on Seaview’s deck making sure the transit went without a hitch, Chief Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley were exhausted.  As soon as they cleared the canal they were off duty and had decided to play some cards to unwind before hitting the rack following a tradition they started when they left the Pacific and entered the Atlantic Ocean. Kowalski and Riley headed directly to the crew’s mess and waited for Sharkey to join them. He told them he had to pick up something in his quarters before they started. Patterson would join them later after his shift in the engine room was over. 


Kowalski sat down at the table while Riley poured out three cups of coffee as they waited for Sharkey who entered the mess wearing his ‘lucky’ white, brown, black and green paisley shirt.   The two men could barely contain their laughter.


“That’s your ‘lucky’ shirt,” Riley teased looking it over.


“Yes and I’ll show you that when I beat the two of you at cards.” Sharkey said.  “Deal.”


Riley dealt out the cards for the first hand.  A few rounds later, “Gin,” Riley told them.


Sharkey took a deep breath, “Okay you won the first hand.  Deal again.”


As Kowalski dealt the cards, he said, “Wonder where Pat is?”  


It wasn’t too long before Riley had won again.  By now, the Sharkey was starting to get angry.   “You’re so damn lucky,” he said impatiently.


After a few rounds, Kowalski saw the smirk on Riley’s face so he threw his hands up in the air and looked at the ceiling.  “I surrender,” he said as put down his cards.  Sharkey gave him a disgusted look before turning to Riley.


“Put your cards on the table,” Sharkey growled and looked over Riley’s hand.  He had won again.  “I’m done,” Sharkey said and scooped up the cards.


Both men dug into their pockets and paid their bet.  “Thanks guys,” Riley quipped as he pocketed the money. 


As he went to get some more coffee, Lee made the announcement for all off duty personnel to report to the mess.  Sharkey quickly got up from the table


“Where you going?” Kowalski asked as Sharkey was walking out the door.


“I can’t talk to the skipper in this shirt.  I’ll be right back,” he replied and left the mess.


Lee was just walking into the crew’s mess when Sharkey returned in his uniform shirt.




Lee and Janet walked into the mess and saw thirty crewmen had assembled.  Lee rested his foot on one of the benches and addressed his crew, “A serious situation has developed on the boat and I need your help.  Mr. Morton and Patterson have contracted strep throat.  We don’t know where they caught it but it’s easily passed around.  Dr. Jamieson tells me we need to wash down all the surfaces with bleach and disinfectant.  It’s a big job but if we don’t sanitize her, who knows how many more men will get sick.  I’m asking all of you to start washing down every door knob, wheel hatch, switches, buttons, rails…I think you get the picture.  It’s a daunting job but we need to do it.  Kowalski, Riley, Marco, I would like you to take the control room and wipe down all the dials and control panels.  The rest of you divide into teams concentrating right now on the lower deck.  We’ll worry about the upper deck later on.  Report to maintenance to get the items you’ll need and wear gloves.  I’ll have maintenance make it their top priority to get the sanitizing completed before doing their normal routine.  Thanks men I really appreciate you helping out especially those who were off duty.”


The crew and Janet started to leave the mess when Lee grabbed Janet’s hand and stopped Sharkey before they left.  “Wait here a minute,” he asked them as the rest of the men left.  


“Lee, I’m going to get some supplies and start cleaning the officer’s cabins,” Janet told him.


Smiling, “I need you to do something before you tackle that job,” Lee said.  “I want you to call Julie and find out where they were before we left and if she’s sick.  You know you don’t have to clean the cabins.”


“I know Lee but I need to help out.  There’s a lot of boat to clean and you’ll have limited personnel once maintenance takes over.  I’ll call Julie right now,” Janet replied as she left the mess and walked to her cabin.


Lee turned to face Sharkey, “Chief, did we get any of our supplies from a new vendor.”


“No sir, most of the items we stowed were gathered from stores,” Sharkey assured Lee. 


Lee rubbed his hand on his forehead, “Thanks Chief.  Go to maintenance and supervise the teams and where they start cleaning.”


“Yes sir,” Sharkey replied, “Ah, sir, how’s Patterson and Mr. Morton?”


“Patterson will be fine.  He’ll be out of commission for a couple of days but Mr. Morton going to be down for a while.”


“If you need anything more from me, please let me know,” Sharkey answered.


“Thanks, Chief,” Lee said as he patted him on the shoulder and both men left the mess with Sharkey going to maintenance and Lee to his cabin.




Janet walked quickly to her cabin and called Sparks asking him place a call, and pipe it through the computer using skype.  


“I have your call, Mrs. C.,” Sparks radioed a few minutes later.


“Thanks, Sparks,” Janet replied and waited for Julie to appear on the computer.


“Hi Julie,” Janet said uneasily.


“Janet, what’s wrong…why are you calling…is Chip okay?” she asked frantically.


Taking a deep breath, Janet replied, “No Chip is not okay.  He’s very ill.  He has Streptococcus toxic shock syndrome.”


“What, I thought only women got that…how did he get it?”


“No, he got an infection in the scratches he got from the coral.  How he got it is why I’m calling,” Janet answered as the door to the cabin opened and Lee walked in. 


Janet turned the computer so Lee could see Julie, “Hi Julie,” Lee said somberly as he sat down on the corner of the desk. 


“We need to know where Chip was the last couple of days before we left port,” Lee asked.


“We were at my place every night until Wednesday night. I assume he went home after he left here.”


“He wasn’t with you?” Janet asked curiously.


Sighing deeply Julie replied, “He didn’t tell you what happened?”


“No, but we knew he was upset about something but he didn’t want to talk about it,” Lee responded cautiously.


“I made a big mistake and I hope he’ll forgive me,” Julie stated sadly.


“You better start at the beginning,” Janet suggested.


“I had made arrangements to go away this weekend before I knew you would be leaving for the island.  When he told me I wasn’t very happy but he explained why you had to leave and I understood.  When Chip came over on Wednesday, he was in such a good mood.  He asked me to marry him.  I had a bad day at work and I was angry that he had to leave so I told him I didn’t know if I wanted to be married to someone who would have to leave on a moment’s notice with no regard to any previous plans,” she explained as tears formed in her eyes.


“Julie, we had no idea,” Lee said softly.


She continued, “He left the ring on the counter and walked out the door.  I guess he went home.  You didn’t notice he was there?”


“No, we spent the night on the boat,” Janet answered quietly. “I’m sure you can work things out…I know it’s hard when we have to leave suddenly but don’t give up on him.”


“I’ve already decided that I could live with him leaving at the drop of hat rather than not having him at all.   Please tell him that…tell him I love him,” Julie pleaded.


“Julie, as soon as he’s better, we’ll make sure he talks to you,” Lee replied, “but we need to know if you’ve been ill…anyone you work with been sick?  We have to find out where the infection started.  Right now there are eleven men with strep throat besides Chip,” Lee stressed.


“I haven’t been ill and none of the people I work with have been sick. Will he be alright?” she asked as tears ran down her face


“Jamie’s optimistic he’ll get better but we’ll keep you informed about his condition as we can.”


“Thanks Lee, I appreciate that,” Julie said as she wiped away her tears.


“Bye Julie,” Janet answered and broke the connection.  She too had tears in her eyes as she knew how much Chip loved Julie.


Lee stood up from the corner of the desk, took Janet by the hand and helped her up.  He gave her a hug and kiss.  “I know sweetie.  I just wish I had a chance to talk to him before he got sick.”


“Me too,” she replied sadly. She changed the subject as she wiped away her tears, “I better start cleaning our cabins.  There’s a lot to be done and we don’t want anyone else to get sick.”


“Thanks for pitching in.  I’m going to check on Chip and let Jamie know what Julie told us about not being sick. I’m also going to check on the control room.”  They both walked out of the cabin and headed in opposite directions.


Janet went to maintenance grabbed at bucket, bleach, gloves and towels and went back to officer’s country where she would clean Chip’s cabin first, then Harry’s, her cabin and office.  It’s going to be a long night, she thought as she walked into Chip’s cabin.




Lee returned sick bay and ten more men were waiting to be checked out as Jamie and Frank were already taking care of two other crewmen.  “Jamie, how many men?”


“Right now we’re up to twenty-six including Patterson.  I’m giving them antibiotics and sending them back to their quarters.  They should be ready for duty in a couple of days,” Jamie said.  “Skipper, I’m afraid it’s going to get worse.”


“Do what you can,” Lee answered.  “We checked with Julie and she hasn’t been sick and no one she worked with so we’re back to square one as to how Mr. Morton and Patterson contracted the infection.”


Taking a deep breath Jamie replied, “I’ll see what more I can find out.”


“Right now we’ve got thirty men disinfecting the boat.  I’ll add more as I get more crew available.”


“Thanks, Captain.  As soon as I take care of the men, Frank and I will take care of sick bay.”


“Is Chip awake?” Lee asked walking over to the bunk.


“Yes, I’m awake,” Chip managed to croak out.  “Is there any water around?”


Lee saw a pitcher of water on the table by his bed, poured a glass, and held the straw while he took a few sips.  The cool water felt wonderful on his sore throat.


“How many men…how’d this start?” Chip asked with difficulty.


“Right now twenty-six and we have no idea.  We talked to Julie to see if she had been sick…”


Chip interrupted Lee before he could finish, “You talked to Julie…did she tell you what happened?”


“Yeah bro, she did,” Lee admitted.


“She was sure pissed at me and I don’t blame her,” Chip replied softly.  “I’m going to miss her.”


Lee looked him in the eye, “Don’t worry about that now, buddy. Just concentrate on getting better. Who’s going to make sure this boat is clean,” Lee teased.


Chip offered him a weak grin.  “I’ll be back later,” Lee said as he patted him on the shoulder and went over to Jamie who had just finished taking care of the last crewman and sat down at his desk.  Lee sat down in front of Jamie’s desk and noticed how tired he looked as well as Frank.


“Jamie, you’re looking a little tired,” Lee stated.  “When is John due on duty?”


Jamie looked at his watch and let out a deep breath, “In thirty minutes.  Frank and I will get started on cleaning sick bay before I turn in.”


“If you need me I’ll be in the control room.  Have you seen the admiral?”


“He left here and was going to find a crewman to wash down the lab,” Jamie replied.


Lee stood up, “I’ll find him and help him with the lab,” he said and walked out of sick bay and headed to the control room before heading to the lab.


When he entered the control room, Kowalski, Riley and Marco were still cleaning the control panels; Sparks was working on the radio shack.  Lt. O’Brien was at the plotting table washing it down. 


“Everything okay here?” Lee asked.


“Yes sir.  We’re on course at full speed.  We should be at the laboratory late Sunday night,” O’Brien answered.  “Do you need me to help out with the cleaning?  I’m off duty in fifteen minutes.”


“No, I’m going to need you to be on duty early tomorrow, so get some rest.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day,” Lee told him.  


“Aye, aye sir,” he replied and went back to cleaning the table as Lee walked out the aft hatch and up the ladder to the laboratory where he found the admiral.  He had Phil washing down the lab.  The admiral was working on some sensitive experiments so he wanted to make sure they were handled properly so he was wiping down the containers.


“Need any help?” Lee asked as he walked over to the table where Harry was working.


“No, Lee.  We’re almost finished in here,” Harry answered.   “How’s the rest of the cleaning going?”


“The control room is almost done. I just wanted to check to see if you needed any help before I checked on the rest of the crews.”


“I’m fine.  Go check on the other crews and I’ll find you later,” Harry said.


Lee left the laboratory and made his way to the missile room passing several men that were washing down the doorknobs, wheels on the hatches.  Wherever he walked it smelled like bleach and disinfectant.




Janet finished cleaning Chip’s and Harry’s cabin and was almost done cleaning her office before she tackled their cabin.  She was tired but wanted to get it done before she turned in for the night.  She finally finished her office and headed to the last cabin.  By the time she finished washing down their cabin, it was 0100 hours and she was exhausted. As she went to return her gear to maintenance, one of the crewman saw her, took the items off her hands, and would return it for her.


“Thanks,” she told the crewman as she removed her gloves.


“No problem, Mrs. C.,” he replied and walked down the ladder.


As Lee walked by the crews he told them to finish up what they were doing and turn in for the night. Maintenance would continue what they hadn’t finished.  Since there weren’t many available crewmen on that watch, he would assign more men to complete the task tomorrow.  He needed to have some of these men on duty tomorrow to make sure Seaview got to the island on schedule.


By the time he got to his cabin, Janet was already in bed and sound asleep. She had left the desk lamp on low and he saw his antibiotic and a cup of water sitting there waiting for him.  Smiling, he took the medication, quickly got ready for bed and slid into the bunk trying hard not to wake her.  She woke up, kissed him goodnight and fell back to sleep.  He laid there for quite a while wondering how many more men were going to get sick.




Lee and Janet woke the next morning and quickly got ready so they could see how Chip was doing.  When they got to sick bay Jamie was standing by his bunk and not looking very happy. 


“How is he Jamie?” Lee asked worriedly.


“His temperature is up to one hundred and two degrees and his kidneys’ aren’t functioning as they should.  He’s really in bad shape, Lee,” Jamie replied rubbing his forehead.


Janet sat down in the chair next to his bunk and noticed he was sleeping but took his hand anyway.  “Come on Chip, you have to get better.  Julie’s waiting for you,” she whispered.


“Any more men get sick?” Lee wondered dreading the answer.


“Unfortunately, about ten more came down with the illness including Lt. O’Brien and Lt. Larsen.  I have more bad news too.  At this rate, I’m going to run out of antibiotics.  Luckily for some reason we have more than normal on board.  Frank and I mixed up our numbers but thankfully it’s working out but I might have to get more if too many more men get sick.”


“Okay Jamie, keep me informed,” Lee said as he stooped down and patted Chip on the shoulder.  “I’ll be back later,” he told him.   Janet stood up and they left sick bay for the wardroom. 




Harry was already in there finishing his breakfast.  “Good morning, Lee, Janet,” he said.  “I checked on Chip earlier and his not doing too well, I’m really worried.”


Lee sat down as Janet got coffee and breakfast for them.  “I know we just came from there,” Lee answered anxiously.   “Plus, we now have thirty-six men with strep.  I haven’t checked yet this morning but last night most of the lower deck had been cleaned.  I can’t spare too many men to finish up cleaning the upper deck today but Janet did manage to clean all of our cabins.”


Smiling Harry replied, “Thanks for doing that.  I noticed the bleach and disinfectant smell when I turned in for the night.  And you do know, my dear, that we have stewards that could have done that.”


“I know sir but I needed to help and Seaview does have a lot of cabins and doors.  More than I ever noticed until I cleaned them,” Janet replied with a slight grin.


The three of them finished breakfast and Lee headed for the control room, the admiral his lab and Janet headed back to sick bay to stay with Chip and help out Jamie if needed.




When Lee arrived in the control room it smelled like disinfectant.  Lee went over to the plotting table where Scott Taper was on duty.  Lee noticed a few of the stations were unmanned.


“Everything on course,” Lee asked as he looked over the notes in the logbook.


“Yes sir.  We should be at the island late this evening,” Scott replied noticing Lee looking around the control room.


“A little short-handed?” Lee asked. 


“Yes sir.  We’ve got a few men out sick so I moved them around to cover the most important stations.”


“Nice job,” Lee answered as Scott signed off on the logbook and turned the conn over to Lee.   “Scott I need you to take over Lt. O’Brien’s watch, I just learned he’s sick.”


“Who’ll help you out today?  I can take on another watch if you need me too?” Scott volunteered.


“Thanks, Scott but I’ll have Sparks help out if I need someone.  We’re both going to have to take on a twelve-hour shift since I have no one to cover Delta watch as Lt. Larsen is sick too.   I’ll assign Danny Thompson to be on the conn with you.  He could use the experience.”


“Yes, sir,” Scott answered.  “If you need me to report earlier....”


“I should be alright,” Lee replied as he patted him on the back before he left the control room.


Lee stood at the plotting table tapping his pencil wondering just how many departments were short crew members.  He picked up the mic, “Chief Sharkey, report to the control room.” 


“Aye, aye sir,” Sharkey replied immediately and was in the control room a minute later.


“Chief, check in with all departments and see how many men are missing in each one and report back to me,” Lee instructed.


“Aye, aye sir,” Sharkey answered and headed out the aft hatch.


He returned to tapping his pencil when he heard familiar steps on the staircase.  He didn’t need to look up as he knew it was Harry.   Nelson walked over to the plotting table after looking around the control room.


“I see we’re under manned in here,” Harry said.


“Yes, Scott put what crew we have at the most critical stations.  I’ve asked Sharkey to check all the departments to see just how short we are.”


“Good idea,” Harry replied, “we’re short on officers for the control room now that O’Brien and Larsen are ill.  Any idea how to solve that problem?”


“I’ve already asked Scott to assume O’Brien’s and Larsen’s watches.  I’m assigning Danny Thompson to be here with Scott.  If I need help, I’ll get Sparks to fill in for an hour or so.”


“I’ll take over too if you need a break,” Harry said as Sharkey returned to the control room.


“Sir, we’re short personnel in the engine room, missile room and Cookie’s down a couple of men too besides what we’re missing in the control room.   Most of the personnel who’re ill are on Alpha watch.”


“Thanks, Chief,” Lee replied, “Carry on.”


“Yes, sir,” Sharkey answered and left the control room.


Lee let loose a frustrated sigh, “I just can’t figure out where we picked up illness,” he said as he continued to tap his pencil on the table. “And since we’re short-handed in most departments, I can’t even spare any men to finish sanitizing the upper deck.”


Harry patted him on the back, “I know you’ll get to the bottom of it and call me if you need a break.  I think I remember how to command a sub,” he grinned as he went to his cabin to work on some reports. 




It was late afternoon when Lee finally decided he needed a break.  He wanted to check on Chip and see how many more men had become ill. “Sparks, take over the conn for about an hour.”


“Aye, aye sir,” Sparks replied as he joined Lee at the plotting table.


“If you need me, call sick bay.”


“Yes sir,” Sparks replied as Lee left the control room and headed for Sick Bay.




Lee walked into Sick Bay and found Jamie had five more men in there.  Lee noticed most of these men were the divers he wanted to use for installing the sensors in the morning.  He hoped there were still some men available to dive when the time came.  He saw Janet was still sitting with Chip.  As he approached Chip’s bunk, he noticed she had brought some work down to do while she sat there.


“Hi sweetie,” Lee said rubbing her shoulders.  “Have you been here all day?”


“Yes, I’m so worried about him.  His temperature isn’t coming down and his liver enzymes are up.  Even Jamie’s starting to panic a little.  I’ve rearranged the duty rosters the best I can as I’ve been keeping track of who’s coming in sick.  I have to admit though, they’re a mess,” Janet replied as she patted her husband’s hand.  


“Thanks.  Have you eaten since breakfast?” Lee asked with concerned, as he didn’t want her to get sick.


“No, haven’t had a chance as I’ve been helping Jamie with the men with Frank now sick.”


“Come on, you’re getting something to eat,” Lee stated and pulled her up from the makeshift desk.  He went over to Jamie who had just treated the last crewman.  “Jamie, you look exhausted, you need to eat.  We can’t afford to have you come down with strep too.”


“I could use a break,” Jamie replied as he stood up and stretched.  “Do you think Kowalski could stay here for a few minutes while I’m gone?”


Lee went over the mic, “Kowalski, report to Sick Bay,” Lee said and stowed the mic. 


“Yes, sir,” Ski responded and turned his station over to Marco.


Kowalski reported to Sick Bay and Lee had him take over for a few minutes.   Kowalski, being a trained field medic, had no problem staying there while Jamie took a break.




Harry was already in the wardroom when, Lee, Jamie and Janet arrived for dinner.  After eating dinner and enjoying a few minutes of relaxation, the four of them returned to Sick Bay so Kowalski could return to his station.  


“Thanks, Ski,” Jamie said as Kowalski reported he had no visitors and Chip was still sleeping.  Patterson had been released to his quarters so Chip was the only patient in Sick Bay.


Jamie walked over to check on Chip.  He took his temperature and was happy to report that it hadn’t gone up.  


“Lee, I’ve got a couple more items to take care of and then I’ll join you in the control room,” Harry told Lee and left Sick Bay.


“Yes, sir,” Lee replied as he scratched his arm.


Jamie saw him scratching, “Lee let me take a look at that arm…have you been taking your medication?”


“Jamie, not now,” Lee answered hastily. 


“Yes, now,” Jamie said irritably.  “I want to make sure it isn’t infected.  I don’t want you to get sick like Chip.”


Janet quickly piped up, “Yes Jamie.  I’ve been making sure he’s taking the antibiotics.”


Lee walked over to the gurney, sat down and rolled up his sleeve.  Janet went over and sat down next to Chip.  She patted his hand and didn’t like how warm it felt.  She returned to her work while keeping an eye on Chip in case he woke up.


Jamie examined Lee’s wound and was please to find it healing nicely.  Finding no infection, he decided to take out the stitches.  When he finished he re-bandaged it and told Lee, “I want you to continue to take the antibiotics.  Right now that’s probably why you haven’t gotten sick.”


“Okay Jamie,” Lee said in agreement.  “I can’t afford to be sick.  I need to dive tomorrow to install the sensors. Because of the damned strep I’m going to be short on divers.”


“Lee, I really don’t want you to dive but I understand with as many men as we have sick you really have no choice.  However, keep it bandaged when you’re out and wrap it up with plastic.”


“Thanks Jamie.  I’ll figure something out,” Lee answered grateful that Jamie didn’t give him a hard time.




Once in the control room, Sparks briefed Lee on their location then turned over the conn and returned to the radio shack for the last hour of his shift.  I enjoyed being at the conn, he thought, but I would never give up my communication’s job.


Lee stood by the plotting table and marked their course on the map.  Seaview was making good time and should be at the island later that evening.   Harry came down the stairs and headed for the plotting table.


“Everything on schedule,” he asked Lee noticing he looked tired.


“Just fine sir.  We should be approaching the island in about seven hours,” Lee replied.   “How about a cup of coffee?  I have another three hours before Scott comes on duty.”


The two men walked into the observation nose and Lee poured each of them a mug of coffee.  They sat down at the table, Lee facing the Control Room so he could keep an eye on what was going on in there.  Harry stared over his mug of coffee, looking at his young captain closely, admiring his dedication to Seaview.  He couldn’t have made a better choice when he decided to make him her captain but didn’t like the lines of worry etched in his forehead.   Lee caught Harry staring at him.


“Everything okay, sir,” he said wondering if something was wrong.


Smiling, “Yes Lee, everything is just fine,” Harry answered and took another sip of his coffee.  “How about you?”


Sighing, “Worried about Chip and the rest of the men that are ill,” Lee responded.


“I’m worried about him too.  I’ve been researching this infection and it’s pretty bad.  It’ll just take time for the rest of the crew to get back on their feet.”


“He’s got to get better,” Lee stated and explained to the Harry what had taken place between him and Julie before they left on the cruise.


“He’s a fighter, he’ll get over this,” Harry reassured him.


“I sure hope so,” Lee replied taking a drink of his coffee.


After sitting for a few more minutes, Lee finished his coffee and returned to the Control Room.  He walked by each of the manned stations and patted each crewman on the shoulder.  Harry sat there a few more minutes looking out the windows of his ‘front porch’ before he left to make a call to Angie to check in with what was taking place at the institute and to Jonas on the island letting him know when they would be arriving.  He walked by Lee as he stood at the plotting table charting their course for Taper and Thompson. 


“If you need me,” Harry said, “I’m going to sick bay and then to my cabin.”


“Yes sir,” Lee answered and returned to his charts as Harry walked through the green curtained aft hatch.




Harry went into Sick Bay and saw Jamie sitting at his desk doing paperwork.  He looked up as Harry sat down.


“How’s Chip doing?” Harry asked uneasily.


Jamie put his pen down, “He’s holding his own right now.  He hasn’t gotten any worse but he’s not any better either,” Jamie replied as he looked his boss in the face.  “I’m very concerned about him.”


“Do we need to send him stateside?”  Harry inquired.


“No, I’m doing everything they would do at the hospital.  It’s just going to take time…a lot of time.  He could be down for two weeks or more.  Luckily he’s a pretty healthy man or he would be in trouble.”


Harry saw Janet working as she watched over Chip.  He walked over to the bunk.  “You’ve been here all day haven’t you?”


“Yes sir but I’ve been helping out Jamie and working on what I can while sitting here,” Janet said.


“I’m not worried about the work…I just don’t want you to get sick,” Harry told her as he sat down next to her.  “Why don’t you turn in for the night and let me sit and worry about him for a while?”


“Yes sir.  As long as Jamie doesn’t need me, there are a few things I need to take care of,” Janet replied as she stood up, stretched and went over to Jamie’s desk.   “Jamie do you need me to help you with anything before I leave?”


“No, I’m fine.  John will be here shortly and all the men have been given their medication so you can go.  Janet,” Jamie said softly, “Thanks for all your help.  It really made things a lot easier in here.”


“Any time.  I’ll be back tomorrow to help out,” Janet replied as she gathered her work and walked out the door.


Jamie continued working on his mound of paperwork glancing every so often over to Harry and Chip.  When Chip woke up Harry gave him a drink of water and said a few words to him before he fell back to sleep.  He sat there for another thirty minutes before he stood up and went over to Jamie.


“I’ve got some calls to make.  Lee will be checking on him in a little while.  Holler if you need anything,” Harry told Jamie.


“Thanks Admiral,” Jamie replied as Harry walked out of Sick Bay then returned to his cabin and made his phone calls.




Janet went up to her office to complete all the tasks that she couldn’t do in sick bay.   She was there for a couple of hours before she finally stopped for the day and went to her cabin.  She knew Lee wouldn’t be back for at least another hour.  She had the duty sparks place a call to Julie and told her how Chip was doing.  She started to cry when Janet told her he really wasn’t any better.   Janet reassured her that Jamie was doing everything he could and it was good that he figured out what was wrong while the infection was in its early stages.  Julie was upset that Chip was so far away but Janet reassured her that she would keep her informed about his condition.   After she hung up with Julie, she sat at Lee’s desk and sighed knowing how Julie felt being so far from Chip.   She pulled out her reader and sat there reading for another hour until she couldn’t keep her eyes open.  She decided to get ready for bed hoping Lee would be there soon.




Before going off duty, Lee did one more check around the control room before left for the day.  Taper and Thompson reported for duty thirty minutes earlier than they were required.    He knew Seaview was in good hands with the two men.  He would do a quick walk around the boat before heading for Sick Bay to check on Chip and sit with him for a while.  He felt guilty that he couldn’t spend more time with him but knew he would understand since they were short-handed.


Lee found no issues on his walk around and entered Sick Bay just as Jamie was finishing his paperwork.  He had just poured himself a mug of coffee and when he saw Lee, he grabbed another mug and poured him some too.   Lee sat down in front of Jamie’s desk.


“Thanks for the coffee,” Lee said as he took a sip.  It was warm but still tasted good.  “How’s Chip?” he asked anxiously.


“As I told the Admiral, he’s no better but not any worse.  He going to out of commission for some time,” Jamie replied as he sipped his coffee.


“Any more men get sick?”


“No, I think we’re over the hump.  Patterson should be able to report for light duty tomorrow provided he’s feeling up to it.  He’s not one hundred percent but he’s not contagious after being on the antibiotic for twenty-four hours.  He can man a station but I wouldn’t have him do anything too strenuous.  Some of the other crewmen should be back the next day.  All the rest should be better in a couple of days.   O’Brien and Frank should be ready for duty in two days.”


“Thanks Jamie for taking care of them.  I’m stilling trying to find out where we picked up this infection.  All our supplies came from stores; no one was sick when they came on board.  It’s really a mystery but I’ll find out.”


Smirking, “I’m sure you will.  How’s your arm…let me check it out,” Jamie insisted.


“It’s fine…I still have a few more pills to take,” Lee reported but rolled up his uniform sleeve so Jamie could check it out.


“Good, no infection,” Jamie said breathing a sigh of relief.  “I think you’re going to be one of the few who isn’t going to get sick on this cruise.  What a surprise,” he joked.


Lee got up and went around the curtain Jamie had put up to separate Chip from the rest of Sick Bay.  “Where’s Janet,” he asked worriedly.


“The admiral sent her back to your cabin.  He thought she needed a break and sat with Chip when she left.  Lee, she was such a big help with the men since Frank got sick.  She made sure they got their meds, took their temperatures, and even filed all my paperwork.”


Smiling, “Thanks for letting me know.  She pitched right in with sanitizing the cabins too.  I guess I’m going to owe her big time,” Lee replied.


“We all owe her,” Jamie agreed.  


“I’m going to sit with Chip,” Lee said as he sat down in the chair pulling it closer to the bunk and put his elbows on his knees resting his chin on his hands.


“Come buddy…you got to fight this…I need you in the control room…Julie needs you.”


Chip stirred and slowly opened his eyes.  “Hi Lee,” he whispered.  “Thirsty.”


Lee poured some water into the glass and put the straw to Chip’s lips.  He drank a little before pushing the glass away.  If he drank too much it would make him sick.  Seaview okay…at the island…Julie needs me?”


“Yes, Chip.  She needs you.  She’s sorry about what happened before you left,” Lee replied as he patted his ‘brother’s’ shoulder.  “Get better for her.”


“Kay, Lee,” Chip answered and fell back to sleep.   Lee sat back in the chair, stretched out his legs and crossed his arms over his chest.  Yeah, Chip.  She needs you and you need her, Lee thought as he sat there hoping Chip would wake up again. 


Jamie had finished reviewing with John the items that needed to be taken care of and went back to Chip’s bunk.  Lee told him he woke up for a few minutes but went back to sleep.


“You look done in, Skipper,” Jamie said.  “Go get some sleep.  You can check on him in the morning.  If there’s any problems, John will call me and I’ll call you.”


“Yes, Doc, I’m tired,” Lee replied and stood up after saying goodnight to Chip.


The two men walked out of Sick Bay and up to their cabins in officer’s country.




Lee opened the door to his cabin, walked in and locked the door.  He had just removed his tie and was unbuttoning his shirt when Janet came out of the head in his pajama top.  He untied his shoes and kicked them off.


“How’s Chip,” she asked as she sat down on the bunk.


“He woke up and I told him about Julie, but I don’t know if he understood what I was saying,” Lee remarked as he pulled his shirt out of his pants.


“I talked to Julie and she’s very upset that he’s so far away…do you think we could take FS-1 and pick her up?” Janet asked hopefully as she poured glass of water and put his pill on the desk.


Taking the pill and a drink of the water, Lee replied gently, “I’m sorry sweetie but we just don’t have the personnel right now to go and get her.  We have to install those sensors tomorrow and that will take most of the day.  If he gets any worse, I promise I’ll figure out a way to get her here.” 


“I understand,” Janet answered as she climbed into the bunk.


Lee went to the head, finished getting ready for bed foregoing the bottoms to his pajamas, and slid into the bunk next to Janet.  He turned off the light in the bunk and a few minutes later Janet’s pajama top was on the deck. 


They fell asleep in each other arms.  Janet woke up a couple of hours later and realized Seaview wasn’t moving.  She gently shook Lee.


“Lee, we’re not moving,” she told him as she sat up.  “I don’t hear the engines.”


“I know,” he replied not very concerned, as he was already awake.  “We stopped about an hour ago.  We were scheduled to arrive at the island around 2400 hours.  It’s now 0100 hours so we’re just going to stay here until morning.  Go back to sleep.”


“Okay, Lee,” she replied and laid back down snuggling close to him and put her arm across his chest.  He kissed the top of her head and put his hand over hers as they both fell back to sleep.




Lee and Janet quickly got ready in the morning stopped in the wardroom for a quick breakfast before they checked on Chip.  Lee also needed to check the control room and relieve Taper and Thompson.  They made their way down to Sick Bay and discovered John had five men who were sick.  He was checking them out when Jamie walked in.  He wasn’t surprised more men had gotten ill.  Jamie helped John with the men, gave them some medication and sent them back to their quarters.


“Jamie, I thought we had this under control,” Lee remarked as he noticed three of the men were the divers scheduled to dive this morning.


“Lee, it can take up to three days for the symptoms to show.”


Running his hand through his hair, Lee replied, “Okay Jamie, it’s just that I needed three of those men to dive this morning.”


“Sorry Lee, there’s no way they can dive.  I also have another problem…I’m almost out of antibiotics.  If any more men get sick, we’re going to have to find a way to get some more medication.”


“I’ll make sure you get more medications,” Lee answered as he and Janet walked over to Chip’s bunk. 


Jamie looked over Chip’s chart and noticed his fever had dropped a half degree.  Not that much but it was better than nothing.  


“His temperature is down a little.  I’m going to take some more blood cultures and run more blood tests.”


“Just keep me informed,” Lee asked as he rubbed Chip’s shoulder.  “I’m going to check on the control room.”


“I’ll stay here with Chip and help Jamie if I can,” Janet stated as she down next to Chip and gave his hand a squeeze.  He stirred but didn’t wake up. 


Before Lee could leave Sick Bay, Harry walked in and went over to Chip’s bunk.  “How is he this morning?”


Jamie told him about his temperature and that he was going to run some more tests.  He turned to Lee and noticed he didn’t look very happy.


“Problem?” Harry asked nervously.


“Five more men are sick and three of them were the divers that were going out this morning,” Lee told him.  “Instead of five dive teams we’re down to three.  It’s going to take us a little longer to install the sensors so why don’t we get an earlier start than 0900…how about 0800?”


“Fine, Lee,” Harry replied as he patted Lee on the shoulder.  “We’ll get them installed.”


“I’m on my way to the control room to relieve Taper.   Thompson is one of the men who just got sick.”


“I’m going to call Jonas and tell him we’ve pushed up the dive time and to make sure he’s ready to let us know when the sensors are online once we have them installed,” Harry told Lee as they left Sick Bay.




Taper was at the plotting table when Lee arrived in the Control Room.  He was filling out the logbook as he approached the table.


“Good morning, sir,” Taper said as they stood next to him.


“I guess you had an interesting night,” Lee commented as he looked over the logbook.


“Poor Thompson, he felt bad that he had to leave but he really wasn’t feeling that great for most of the shift, so I sent him to Sick Bay.  I knew we would be relieved shortly.  I hope that was okay?”


“Of course,” Lee replied.  “I’ll take over the conn now so you’re relieved of duty.”


“I know you’re diving this morning, do you want me to stay on until you’re finished installing the sensors,” Taper asked.


“No Scott, I’ll need you to be on duty tonight.  O’Brien should be able to return to duty tomorrow.   I’ll have Sparks cover the Control Room while we’re diving.  He can man the radio as well as the Control Room.”


“Yes sir,” Taper replied and signed off on the logbook giving it to Lee.  He walked out the hatch and was looking forward to hitting his bunk.


Kowalski was on sonar and Riley on radar so Lee went over to their stations and told them that they would be diving at 0800 instead of 0900.  He walked over to the radio shack and told Sparks he would be in charge of the Control Room while he was diving.  He accompanied Lee back to the plotting table while Lee gave him his orders while he was off the boat.




It was 0745 hours when Lee, Ski and Riley made their way to the missile room.  Ray and Gerry would take over sonar and radar while Ski and Riley were diving.  They weren’t as experienced as the other two men but would be able to let the divers know if there were any problems. 


Harry entered the missile room shortly after the other three men.  “Jonas will be ready for us as soon as we let him know the sensors are installed.”


Sharkey was already in the missile room when the other men arrived.


“Skipper, all the gear is checked out and ready to go,” Sharkey reported.


“Thanks Chief,” Lee replied.  “Chief, do you know if any men are available to dive today besides the five of us?”


“No sir.  I’d have to check the departments to find out whose available but we’re pretty thin in most departments right now as I know five more men have taken ill.  If we can put off installing the sensors tomorrow, we might have more men available.”


“That won’t help as Patterson is the only one Doc is clearing to go back on duty and he said he couldn’t dive anyway.”


Lee walked over to the mic on the escape hatch, double clicked it, “Attention men, this is the Captain.  Any available diver report to the missile room on the double.”  Lee stowed the mic and faced the other men.  “Let’s see who shows up and we’ll take it from there.  Why don’t we suit up and I’ll explain the plans for the dive?”


Janet was sitting with Chip when she heard the announcement.  She looked at Jamie.  “I’m a diver and available.  Jamie, I’ll be back later maybe I can help Lee with the sensors,” she told him.


Smiling, “I’m sure he’ll be happy to have you.  Just be careful around the coral,” Jamie reminded her.


“Yes sir,” Janet replied and quickly went up to her cabin, put on her bathing suit, wet suit and walked down to the missile room.




Lee waited for some crewmen to report to the missile room.  After waiting a few minutes, he realized he wasn’t going to get any more men so he put on his wet suit.  The rest of the men were already suited up and waiting his final instructions.


Lee and Harry had their backs to the hatch as he outlined his plan.  “We’re going to have to change the dive teams since we’re the only ones going out.  Riley, you’ll go out with the Admiral; Sharkey, you and Kowalski will pair up and I’ll go out by myself.  I know the SOP states no one is to dive alone but I’ll take the sensors closest to Seaview.  I’ve divided the area around the island into four quadrants.  Right now Seaview is stationed on the western edge of the island.  Chief, you and Ski will take the sensors that need to be placed at two hundred feet.  Make sure you have the proper air mixture and don’t stay longer than necessary.  Admiral, you and Riley will take the sensors the furthest away which is about five-hundred yards.   I’ll take the sensors closest to the island that are placed at random depths and locations.  We’ll place the sensors and then I’ll maneuver the boat to the north side of island followed by the east and the south sides.  It’s going to take us most of the day but we shouldn’t have any problems exceeding bottom time.  Any questions?”


“No sir,” the three men replied and broke out in grins.   Lee couldn’t understand why they were grinning.


“Captain, available diver reporting for duty,” Janet said as she walked into the missile room.


Harry and Lee turned around to see Janet suited up and ready to dive. 


“Janet, you can’t handle this,” Lee stated quickly.


“I’m a diver and available.  You need a diver to help install those sensors so why can’t I help,” Janet insisted. 


Harry looked at Lee with a wry grin, “She’s right, Lee.  Didn’t you, Chip and Kowalski train her…do you think she’s capable of doing the dive?”


“Yes, she’s capable,” Lee acquiesced, “Okay, she’ll be my partner.”


“Thank you, sir.  I won’t disappoint you,” Janet replied with confidence even though her heart was pounding.


“Ski, Riley, put two sensors in each of your mesh bags. Janet, put four sensors in our bag.   I’ll have Sparks make sure we have an open mike to the laboratory.” He called the Control Room and Sparks assured him they would have no problems communicating with the laboratory.


“Skipper, how will we know where to place them?” Riley asked.


Lee pulled out a map with a grid on it.  “He pointed out each of the placement spots to the men and Janet.  “According to the company that placed the housings they are painted florescent green.  We should have no problem spotting them as the water around the island is pretty clear.”


The men looked at the grid and noticed most of the housings were placed out in the open.


“Ready to go,” Lee asked when the sensors were all packed for the first installation.


Kowalski and Sharkey would leave the boat first since they had the deepest dive.  They put on their rest of their gear while Lee made sure they had the proper air mixture.  They walked into the escape hatch and Riley released them.  Harry and Riley were next to leave and Lee released them.  Lee and Janet’s finished gearing up and prepared to enter the chamber.


“Are you sure you want to do this?” Lee asked anxiously.


“Yes sir.  Let’s go Skipper,” Janet replied as she entered the escape hatch.  Lee followed her in and released them out the hatch. 




When Lee and Janet entered the escape hatch, he could sense she was a little apprehensive.  Once outside the boat, he tuned his radio to her frequency, “Just follow me,” he told her.  “And relax, you’ll do fine.”


She swam next to him holding the tool bag while Lee carried the sensors.  Once Lee located their first installation site, Janet wasn’t sure what to do or what Lee needed her to do so it took a little longer to install the sensor after finding it wasn’t fitting in the housing.  While Lee figured out how to get the sensor in the housing, Sharkey radioed Lee that they were at the first placement spot, “Skipper, we found the housing and it was easy to spot but we have a problem.  The sensor won’t fit into the housing.  The sensor is a little bigger than the bracket.”


“Damn,” Lee muttered.  “I had the same problem.  I just spread out the brackets a little and I managed to wiggle it in there. Can you make it fit or do we have to bring them back and re-tool them?”


“Let me try and see if that will work, I’ll let you know,” Sharkey replied. 


Lee and Janet found their second installation point, Janet had no problems knowing Lee needed and the installation of this sensor went a lot quicker.  


Sharkey reported back, “It worked skipper, but it’s going to take us longer to install them as the brackets aren’t that easy to spread out.”


“Admiral, did you hear that,” Lee asked, “are you at your location?”


As the admiral and Riley swam to their location, Harry noticed some bleaching of the coral but it wasn’t too bad.  “I heard and we just arrived at our first location.  Riley’s trying to install one now.”  As Riley tried to put the sensor in the housing, he too had a problem.  “Lee, we’re having a problem too.  I’ll see if I can spread out our brackets.”   Harry took a pliers and managed to spread the brackets just enough to wiggle it in too.”


“Sharkey, Ski, do what you can and if you don’t get it completed come back.  Don’t wait too long to return to the boat,” Lee stressed to them.  


“Aye, aye sir,” Sharkey answered as they swam to the next location.


“Lee, we got ours in but we’re going to have the same problem,” Harry told Lee.


“Admiral, don’t stay out too long either.”


Lee and Janet had reached the deepest and furthest point of their locations but before they started their installation, Lee radioed the laboratory.


“Dr. Worth are you receiving a signal from the sensors we’ve installed?”


“Yes, Captain.  They’re reporting on all channels.  In addition, I’ve been following your conversations.  I’m going to check the specification sheets and see if the housings were installed incorrectly or the sensors were made wrong.  I’ll get back to you.  Have your men radio me as they complete the installation so I can let them know if they’re working.”


“Yes, sir,” the diving teams reported as they heard the conversation.


Lee and Janet found their third site and had trouble with that sensor yet again.  Lee separated the brackets as Janet put in the sensor.  They moved on to the next location working their way back to the boat.  They had been out for almost an hour and had one more sensor to install.  So far all the sensors were working.  Lee kept looking for the rest of the divers as they should be returning to the boat especially Sharkey and Kowalski.  He finally saw Harry and Riley swimming back towards Seaview and wait by the escape hatch.  He and Janet finished installing the last sensor they had and were swimming back to the boat when he spotted Sharkey and Kowalski swimming towards Seaview.  They entered the hatch first, followed by the rest of the dive teams.


Once all the divers were safely back on the boat, Lee picked up the mic and called the Control Room.   “Sparks, all divers are back aboard.”


“Yes sir,” Sparks replied and made a note of the time in the logbook.




After stowing the mic, Lee quickly put on a pair of deck shoes, “Stay here and wait while I get Seaview into the next position,” he said as he headed to the control room to position the boat on the north side of the island.


As he was positioning the boat, the divers switched out their air tanks making sure they had full tanks for the next dive.  Even though they would be diving most of the day, they wouldn’t exceed the amount of time they were allotted for diving in one day.  After the first installation, they knew approximately how long it would take them to install the sensors in the next three quadrants.


Once in the Control Room, Lee gave maneuvering the coordinates for the next position.  They had her in position within thirty minutes.  he returned to the missile room and they all geared up to install the next set of sensors. 


They had the same problems with sensors on this dive but again managed to get the sensors installed.  Before leaving the area, Lee checked with Dr. Worth and all sensors were working.


Lee repeated the same procedure for the east side of the island and they were finally in position on the south side.


The divers left Seaview and swam to their positions.  Harry and Riley reported they had trouble installing the sensors they had but managed to get them in and were informed by Dr. Worth that they were working.  They radioed Lee that they were returning to Seaview and would meet them at the escape hatch.


 Lee and Janet had put in two of their four sensors and headed to the next position.  No matter what they did, there was no way they could get either one of the two sensors they had left into the housing.   “Let’s go to the next position,” Lee told Janet as they swam to the final position in their area.   Neither one of those sensors would fit into that housing.  “Damn,” Lee muttered, “we’re going to have to come back out tomorrow with a couple of different sensors and see if they can be installed.”


“I can help out tomorrow,” Janet volunteered even though she was very tired.

“We’ll see,” Lee replied as he took Janet’s hand and gave it a squeeze.  Lee made sure his radio was tuned into hers so only she could hear him.  “Sweetie, thanks for helping out.  You did a fantastic job,” he told her.  “Love you.”


“You’re welcome,” Janet answered, “but I’m going to admit to you, I’m very tired and love you too.”


He gave her an okay sign and motioned her to follow him to the boat.  He was worried that he hadn’t gotten a report from Sharkey and Kowalski.


Once at Seaview and before they entered the hatch, Lee called them on the radio, “Chief, Ski, report.”  He waited a few seconds before he called again.


“Ski, Chief,” he yelled over the radio again and began swimming in the direction of the installation.  “Janet, go in the hatch, you can’t dive that deep.  Riley heard Lee’s call to Kowalski and Sharkey and immediately headed towards him to help him find the two men.


They didn’t have to swim very far when he saw the flashlight from the divers.  They met them and helped them back to the boat and giving them their octopus regulators so they could breathe off their tanks as they were very short on air.  They had stayed out a little too long.   He made sure they were the first in the hatch followed by the rest.


Once all the divers were on the boat, Riley and Janet helped Kowalski and Sharkey remove their gear as they sat down on the bench.  Both of them were okay but knew they had cut it too close.  Lee ripped off his hood and threw it on the floor.


“What the hell were you doing out there?” Lee yelled at his men.  “You know better than that.   You not only put yourselves in danger but the rest of the dive team that had to go look for you.


“Sorry sir,” Sharkey replied contritely.  “We had more trouble with the last sensor.  It was much bigger than the bracket and it took us longer to work it into the housing than we planned.  We just pushed it too far.”


Letting out a breath Lee continued, “I realize you wanted to get that sensor into the housing but safety is our top priority on this boat especially after what happened on our previous mission, do I make myself clear?


“Yes sir,” both men answered in unison, both knowing they had messed up big time.


Lee breathed deeply, it had been a long exasperating dive for all of them.


“Mrs. Crane and I didn’t get our last two sensors into the housing as they were too big and we couldn’t pry the brackets far enough apart so there’s two housings without sensors.  I want the two of you to go out tomorrow and put them in,” Lee ordered the men, letting them knew he still trusted them and their skills.  “This way once you’ve got them installed I can bring Seaview around to the western side of the island.”


“Aye, aye sir,” both men responded relieved to have survived the dressing-down.


Lee calmed down and patted both men on the shoulders to show his appreciation for their hard work.  He understood they wanted to get the job done but as the captain of Seaview and responsible for every life aboard, he wasn’t willing to sacrifice a life for those damned sensors.


 “Thanks men,” Lee said as he walked over to Riley and gave him a pat too.  He winked at Janet who winked back.


“Nice work, men” Harry said to the divers.  “I’m going to find out who made the mistake…the company that installed the housings or Zamkor Industries.”


Janet knew the men would be anxious to remove the rest of the wet suits so she left and returned to her cabin to remove hers and would report back to the missile room. 




Janet quickly removed her wet suit, changed back into her civvies, ran a comb through her hair and returned to the missile room.  She slowly peeked around the door of the hatch making sure the men were dressed before she entered the missile room.  Lee saw her look and waved her in.  The men were dressed in their uniforms and were looking at the rest of the sensors in the crates.   She walked over to them and picked up a couple of pieces of the bubble wrap that had fallen onto the deck.  She smoothed them out and put them in the crate.  She picked up one of the sensors, unwrapped it and compared it to the two they brought back from their dive.  Harry already had one in his hand and picked up another one.  He was comparing the two sensors and could see one was bigger than the other.  Riley, Sharkey and Kowalski picked up the remaining sensors, unwrapped them and noticed they too were all different sizes.


“Well I guess we know the problem isn’t the housings but the sensors.  I’m going to report this to Dr. Worth and let him know just how different these sensors are sized,” Harry said disgustedly.  “The consortium needs to know what a shabby job Zamkor Industries did.”


Lee piped up, “Find the two smallest sized sensors.  Hopefully they’ll fit the housing so there won’t be a problem installing them tomorrow.”


Harry put the six sensors side by side and picked out the two smallest.  Kowalski put them in the mesh bag for tomorrow’s dive.  Sharkey, Riley and Janet wrapped up the remaining sensors put them in one of the crates so they could be taken to the laboratory in case they needed to replace any of the ones they had installed.


Lee looked at his watch and noticed that his men should have been off duty an hour ago.  He told them to get something to eat and to report to the missile room tomorrow morning at 0900 hours. 


Harry, Lee and Janet remained there for a few more minutes.  “I’m going to call Jonas and see if we can’t meet with him tomorrow after we’ve installed the last two sensors.” Harry said and looked at Lee, “I’d like you to come with and bring the specs Zamkor left with us.”


“Yes sir,” Lee replied as they walked out of the missile room.  “Right now I want to check in with Sparks in the Control Room.  He’s never been at the conn this long.  Taper should be coming on duty in an hour.  I have no one to serve with him but since we staying in this position for the night, he should have no problems.”


“Sounds good,” Harry answered, “I’ll meet the both of you in the wardroom in a couple of hours.  I’ll be in my cabin if you need me.”


“I’m going to check on Chip,” Janet told them as Harry dogged the hatch when they left the missile room.


Harry headed up the nearest ladder for his cabin while Lee and Janet walked to Sick Bay where Lee stopped briefly before heading for the Control Room.  Janet sat down in the chair next to Chip’s bunk and gently took his hand.  It still felt very warm to her.  Jamie had gone to the medical stores to get the last of his antibiotics and saw them over by Chip’s bunk.


“How’s he doing, Jamie?” Lee asked as he stooped down next to him. 


“His temperature is the same and his liver enzymes haven’t changed; he’s still critical.”


Chip started to stir and cautiously opened his eyes blinking a few times before he saw Lee and Janet.


“Skipper…boat okay?” he said with difficulty.   “Thirsty.”


Janet picked up his glass and helped him take a few sips of water. 


“Boat’s fine…don’t worry…just get better,” Lee told him as he squeezed his shoulder.  “You’re sure making the most of this illness,” Lee teased hoping he would get a smile from him.


“I just needed a nice long rest and picked this cruise,” he grinned weakly and fell back to sleep.


“That’s okay buddy,” Lee replied knowing he didn’t hear him.  He turned to Jamie, “How much longer is he going to be sick?”


“Lee, he’s going to be out of commission for a few weeks.  It takes a long time to recover from this.  Sometimes it can take months to get well.  He was in good shape before he got sick so I’m hoping we’re talking weeks and not months.”


Lee ran his hand through his hair, “Thanks for taking care of him,” he said as he looked at Janet.  “I’ll meet you in the wardroom in two hours.”


“Yes sir,” Janet replied as Lee left Sick Bay and headed for the Control Room.  After he left she let out a big yawn.

Jamie caught her and smiled, “How was your diving experience…everything go as planned?”


“No and I’m exhausted.  I don’t know how they can stay out there for all that time,” she replied and explained to Jamie all the problems they had with the sensors.


“They’re used to it.  They’ve all been diving a long time.  That’s why I like staying ‘indoors’,” Jamie chuckled and left her to sit with Chip while he put away the supplies. 




Lee surveyed his control room.  Sparks was at the plotting table and had everything under control.  He walked over to him, “Doing okay?”


“Yes sir,” he replied.  “I’ve made all the notations in the logbook, mapped the course we took around the island just in case we need to go back for some reason but had to move a few men around to make sure the critical stations were manned.”


Lee looked over the logbook and reviewed the notations.  “Thanks for all your hard work today.  I know it was difficult manning the radio and the conn but you did a great job.”


“Thank you, sir,” Sparks answered.  “It did get a little hectic.”


“Would you like to be on the conn a little more often?  I can make arrangements if you would like to try it out.”


“Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll stay in communications.  I really do like manning my radio, not quite as stressful.”


“No problem,” Lee responded.  “Why don’t you sign off on the logbook and I’ll take over so you’re relieved of duty.”


“Yes sir,” Sparks said as he signed the book and left the control room.


Lee was happy Sparks wanted to stay in communications as he was the best radio operator out there.  He checked all the stations and was satisfied with what he saw.  He went to the observation nose and touched the coffee pot.  It was warm so he poured himself a cup of coffee and looked out the windows at one of the coral beds.  It wasn’t showing any signs of bleaching and he hoped it would stay that way.




Harry returned to his cabin and had the duty sparks place a call to the laboratory.  He radioed the admiral when he had Jonas on the videophone.


“Harry, nice to hear from you.  Sorry you had so many problems with the sensors,” Jonas said.


“Jonas, we’re damn lucky we were able to install any of those sensors.  We have six extra sensors and none of them are the same size.  I’d like to come over sometime tomorrow.  I’ll bring you the extras and you can see for yourself how poorly they were made.  I’d also like to see the specification sheets for the housings as well as for the sensors.  We have the specs here that Zamkor gave us when they meet with me before we left but I’d like to see what you have.   I’d send FS-1 for you but we’ve had a bout with strep throat on the boat.  We’ve cleaned everything but I don’t want to take a chance on you or your technicians getting sick.”


“Sorry to hear about your illness.  Did many men contract it?”


“About forty crewmen were sick.  Chip Morton is the sickest right now with STSS.”


“Oh, that’s a nasty infection to catch.  Any idea how it got aboard?”


“No not yet,” Harry replied.  “As you know we didn’t install two sensors as we couldn’t get them into the housing.  We’re going to have two men go out tomorrow and install them.  When they’ve completed the installation, we’ll bring Seaview around and dock her at the pier.”


“Harry, that’s going to be a problem as Zamkor Industries is delivering all the supplies for the lab tomorrow.  They got the contract to do the stocking of the laboratory.  I’m not quite sure when they’re arriving but it’s going to take quite a while to unload all the supplies.  Right now we’re using sleeping bags for beds and a camp stove to make food.  We’ll be happy to get our beds, stove and the rest of the supplies that will make it home sweet home,” Jonas chuckled.   “I do have the specs you’re looking for and when you do come over I’ll see to it that you get them. 


“Let me know when Zamkor’s boat is out of the way.  Do you know if Ivan’s going to be on board?” Harry asked.


“I don’t know but I can let you know when they dock.  If you want to bring over a zodiac, we managed to put in a smaller dock for our boats so you can use that if you want.”


“Maybe I’ll do that,” Harry replied.  “See you tomorrow.”   Harry broke the connection and was hoping Ivan was on the boat as he was going to demand an explanation on how the sensor sizes were so different.  He had quite a bit of paperwork to catch up on so he stayed in his cabin until dinner.




Taper reported for duty and knew he would be alone again.


“Thanks for taking on the extra shift,” Lee told him as he patted his shoulder.  “I’m hoping that all the crewmen that were sick are back on duty by tomorrow.  If you need me, I’ll be in the wardroom.”


“Aye sir,” he replied and looked at the information Lee had given him as Lee left the control room.


He made his way to Sick Bay to get Janet and Jamie for dinner since Frank was back on duty.




Lee, Jamie and Janet went to the wardroom to meet the admiral for dinner.  They had just sat down when he arrived.  He explained to Lee that they would have to wait to dock at the laboratory because Zamkor’s boat would be there unloading the supplies. 


“It seems Jonas and his men constructed a smaller dock for their boat as the main dock was too big.   I just might take a zodiac over there after we’ve installed the last sensors,” Harry told them.


“Just let me know and I’ll have the deck detail ready to launch one for you.  Do you still want me to accompany you?”


“Yes, I think you better,” Harry stated as he finished up dinner.  “I’m going back to my cabin to finish up the paperwork Angie gave me before I left.  If I don’t get it done you know there’ll be hell to pay,” he laughed as Janet grinned at him.


Lee saw her grin and shook his ahead in agreement.  As they finished dinner, Lee said, “I’m going to check on Chip and then do a walk-around the boat.”


“I’ll stay with Chip until you finish your walk,” Janet said as she helped clear the table of their dishes. 


As they walked back to Sick Bay, Lee asked Jamie, “When do you think all the men will be able to return to duty?”


“Lee, all the men should be back on duty in the morning.  I’ve checked them all out and they’re all better, maybe not one hundred percent but they should have no problems doing their shifts.”


“Thanks Jamie.  It’ll be nice to have a full complement of men.”


They went into Sick Bay and walked over to Frank who was checking on Chip.  “Doc, his temperature hasn’t changed and his blood pressure is still low.”


“Damn, I was hoping his temperature would be down a little by now and his BP up some,” Jamie sighed.


Jamie could see how worried Lee was, “There’s no reason for you to stay and watch him sleep.  He has plenty of people doing that so go and take care of the boat.” 


“I need to check out some issues, so I’ll see you later, he told Jamie and Janet as he left Sick Bay and walked down the passageway to the circuitry room.



Janet sat down next to Chip while Jamie returned to his desk.  Frank had gone to medical stores so he could re-stock the cabinets.   Chip woke up and saw Janet sitting there.


“Everything okay?” he asked softly.


“Just fine,” Janet replied stifling a yawn.   “I went out diving today.”


“You went diving…what no divers available…why?”


“About forty men got sick with strep throat.  Lee’s still trying to find out how it came aboard.  You’re the worst case according to Jamie. Lee didn’t have enough men to cover all stations plus dive so I volunteered to help install the sensors,” Janet explained.  “It’s a good thing you didn’t go out.  You would have been pissed as none of the sensors fit the housings.”


“When we looked them over I thought some of them were larger than others but I didn’t have a chance to tell Lee before I got sick,” Chip told her.


“The admiral and Lee are going to the laboratory tomorrow and want to take the specs we received from Zamkor Industries.   Do you have them?”


“Yes, on my desk along with the back-up disk for the program.  Have them take that too, I’ve made a copy for our records,” Chip managed to croak out.  “Just one other question, did you like going out diving and helping?”


“Yes, but I didn’t realize how tiring it would be,” Janet replied yawning. 


“Why don’t you go and get some rest.  I think you’re going to have another long day tomorrow,” Chip suggested.  “I’m tired too.  I’ll see you tomorrow.  And Janet, thanks for sitting with me.”


“No problem, Chip.  It’s the least I can do for all the times you sat with Lee,” Janet said as she squeezed his hand.


Chip squeezed her hand back and closed his eyes.   Janet stood up and walked over to Jamie.  “Chip woke up and was pretty talkative.  Does that mean he’s getting better?”


“Yes, he’s improved slightly but it’ll take a while before he’s going to be one hundred percent,” Jamie told her.  “You look tired.”


“I’m going to my cabin; will you tell Lee if he comes back here?” Janet asked.


“Sure,” Jamie replied.  “See you in the morning.”


Janet walked up the ladder to her cabin and couldn’t wait to get into the bunk.




Lee woke up the next morning and got ready for work before Janet was awake.  She finally woke up just as Lee was tying his tie.  “You okay?” he asked with concern as she always got up with him.


“Still tired,” Janet replied but slowly got out of the bunk and headed for the head to take a shower. 


“I’m going to Chip’s cabin for the specs on the sensors,” Lee said as he gave her a quick kiss and thought she felt a little warm.


“The specs are on his desk,” Janet told him as she turned on the shower.  “He said to take the disk too.  He made one for us.”


“Okay, I’ll be right back,” Lee replied as he headed out the door.  He walked into Chip’s cabin and found the specs, disks, and saw quite a few reports on his desk too.  He took them and would work on them on their way back to Santa Barbara. 


When he went back into the cabin, Janet was just running a comb through her hair.  Lee thought it was odd that she had on a long sleeve shirt but didn’t say anything.  Lee wanted to check with the control room before Sharkey and Kowalski installed the last two sensors so he left Janet to go to Sick Bay by herself.




Lee trotted down the circular staircase to the control room while Janet went to Sick Bay to check on Chip.   He was happy to see Lt. O’Brien at the plotting table.  He looked around the control room and saw every console and station was manned. 


“Welcome back,” Lee said.  “I’m sure glad to see you.”


“Thanks, Skipper.  I’m glad to be back,” O’Brien replied.  “That was some nasty sore throat.”


Lee smiled and told him his plans, “Right now were on the southern end of the island.  As soon as Sharkey and Ski install the last two sensors, I’m going bring Seaview back to the western side of the island.  I think we’re over the infection but it doesn’t hurt to get some fresh air in the boat and let the men out so we’ll surface when we’re in position.  I’d like to bring her into the dock at the laboratory but there’s another boat expected to be there unloading supplies.”


“I understand sir,” O’Brien answered as Lee showed them where they were positioned and where he would go.


“I’m going to check on Sharkey and Kowalski in the missile room and make sure they have no problems installing the sensors,” Lee told him.




Lee arrived in the missile room just as Sharkey and Kowalski finished putting on their wet suits. Riley had taken the mesh bag with sensor out of the crate and set it on top.  He also had a bag of tools ready for them. 


Lee walked over to them, “Let’s hope you don’t have any problems like we did yesterday,” he told them as they grabbed the rest of their gear.  Ski took the sensors from Riley while Sharkey took the tool bag. 


“Me too,” Sharkey replied as Riley opened the escape hatch.


“Keep in contact with me,” Lee told them.  “I’ll make sure Dr. Worth checks to make sure they’re online.”


Harry walked in the missile room right before the men were leaving and heard what Lee had told the men.  “I’ve already informed Dr. Worth that the men are going out.  He’s ready for you.”


“Yes, sir,” Kowalski answered as he entered the hatch and Sharkey followed. 

Riley dogged the hatch and released the valve watching the ball rise in the tube letting them know the hatch was full.  Lee went over to the mic, “Sparks, make sure we have an open line to the divers and the laboratory.”


“Aye, aye, sir,” he replied and Lee heard him flip a couple of switches before he came back on the mic letting him know they had a connection.


It wasn’t too long before Sharkey and Ski reported they were at the first housing.  “Skipper,” Sharkey said, “we’re having a problem getting the sensor in the housing, it’s not as bad as yesterday but it’s still a tight fit.”


Sighing, Lee replied, “Dr. Worth, are you getting any readings?”


“Yes, Captain,” Dr. Worth responded.


“Sharkey, Ski, the sensor is working, move onto the next housing,” Lee told them giving Harry a look of frustration.


“I know Lee,” Harry said noticing the look.  “I’m hoping Ivan’s with his boat and if he is, he’s going to be sorry.”


Lee smiled knowing that the admiral would let Zamkor see his Irish temper.


“Skipper,” Sharkey called, “the last sensor snapped right into place.  It’s too bad the rest of them weren’t that easy.”


“Admiral, I’m getting readings from this sensor.  All sensors are working.  Thanks. Admiral, Captain,” Jonas said.  “I’ll see you later.”


Harry picked up the mic, “Jonas, has the Zamkor boat docked?”


“No, they reported right before you called that they would be arriving in an hour.”


“Okay, we’ll take a zodiac to the small dock.  We’ll bring over the extra sensors and specs,” Harry answered. 


Lee piped up, “We’ll also have a copy of the backup disk for you.”


“I’ll have a fresh pot of coffee for you,” Jonas told them and severed the connection.


Looking at his watch Harry said to Lee, “How about we meet in two hours?  Will that give you enough time to get Seaview to the western side of the island?”


“Yes sir,” Lee answered.  “Once I surface the boat, I’m going to leave it up there for a couple of hours so we can air it out and give the men some time on deck.”


“Sounds good, Lee,” Harry said and walked out of the missile room wiping some sweat off his brow.


Lee waited for the divers to return before he left for the control room. Riley opened the hatch as soon as the divers returned and helped them remove their gear.


“Thanks, men,” Lee said and walked out of the missile room.


“Man, I’m cold,” Riley said after all the gear had been put away.




Lee returned to the control room and gave maneuvering the coordinates where he wanted Seaview to surface.  If there was another boat at the dock, he wanted to make sure Seaview was far enough away from them. He wanted to make sure the sea wasn’t too rough to stay on the surface.  Before he surfaced the boat, he pressed the button on the periscope. Looking through the periscope, Lee did a 360 degree turn scoping out the area.  He saw a boat docked at the pier by the island but also noticed the sea was calm enough for them to surface so he ordered O’Brien to surface the boat.  After they were on the surface, he had all the outside hatches opened and any crew member not on duty was free to go topside.  O’Brien stood at the bottom of the ladder and wrote down the names as the men went topside.




Just as Harry came down the spiral staircase, a call came in from the laboratory.


“Skipper,” Sparks called to him, “Dr. Worth is on the radio and would like to talk to you.”


“Thanks Sparks, pipe it over here,” Lee told him as he stood at the plotting table.


“Yes, sir,” Sparks replied and connected the call to Lee.


“Hello, Dr. Worth.  The admiral and I were just getting ready to come over to the lab,” Lee told him as Harry walked up to the table.


“Captain, we have a problem here.  It seems the Zamkor boat has an engine problem.  They’ve been working on it for an hour and can’t get it started.  Could you spare a couple of mechanics to take a look at it?”


Lee looked at Harry who nodded his head yes, “Dr. Worth, I’ll send a zodiac with a couple of men.  They should be there in fifteen minutes.”


“Thank you, Captain,” Jonas replied.  Lee could hear the frustration in his voice.


“Deck detail, prepare a zodiac for launching,” Lee said and double clicked the mic.  “Engine room,  have two mechanics report to the control room with tools.”


“Aye, aye sir,” the two departments replied.


Lee looked around the control room and decided Patterson would pilot the zodiac over to the lab. 


“Lee, I’ll go over with the men now and radio you when I need you,” Harry told him.  “Where are the specs and disks?”


“They’re in my cabin, I’ll run and get them.  The zodiac should be ready to launch by the time I return,” Lee answered and ran up the staircase where he grabbed the specs and disk. 


He returned to the control room as the deck crew reported the zodiac was ready to launch.  Patterson made his way up the ladder followed by Harry.  


Lee climbed the ladder behind Harry and would watch them from the bridge as they boated to the island.  He saw the boat at the dock was from Zamkor Industries. Sighing, he was amazed it made it to the lab as it looked in bad shape.




Lee returned to the control room once Harry and Patterson were safely ashore.  He looked over at Kowalski who was rubbing his shoulders.   “Everything okay Ski?”


“No sir.  It’s cold in here,” he replied as Lee noticed his brow covered in sweat.


Lee glanced at the environmental system’s control panel and noticed the temperature was normal.   “Ski, report to Sick Bay,” he told him as he didn’t look well.  “Marco, take over Kowalski’s console.”


“Yes sir,” Marco replied as Ski stood up and left the control room for Sick Bay.




Harry decided that Lee would bring the extra sensors over to the laboratory when he met Harry over there so he wanted them brought to the control room.  “Chief Sharkey, report to the control room,” Lee called over the mic.


“Skipper, this is Sick Bay,” Jamie answered, “Chief Sharkey is in here.  Can I see you in Sick Bay?”


“Yes, Doc, I’ll be right there,” Lee replied quickly.  “Bobby, take over the conn.”


“Aye sir,” he replied as Lee left the control room.




Janet sat with Chip for a few more minutes before she decided to return to her office and would work on the duty rosters.  She was cold so before she went to her office, she got a sweater from her cabin.  Once in her office, she managed to get the roster and some reports finished.  She was tired, cold, and her throat hurt so she decided to lay down on the bunk in her office for a few minutes.




Lee arrived in Sick Bay and was shocked to see Riley in there as well as Sharkey and Kowalski.  “Jamie, what’s wrong with them?”


“They have strep throat and high fevers,” Jamie reported running his hand over his head.  “I thought we were over this.”


“Jamie, they don’t have what Chip has?” Lee asked worriedly.  “Since they dove yesterday, could they have picked up something from the water?”


“No Lee they don’t have STSS, and I don’t think they got this from the water, whatever they contracted is on this boat,” Jamie remarked.


Lee looked over at Chip’s bunk and noticed Janet wasn’t there.  “Where’s Janet?”


“She left a couple of hours ago and said she’d be back after she finished her work,” Jamie said worriedly.


Lee ran out of Sick Bay and up the nearest stairway to Janet’s office.  He found her asleep in the bunk wrapped in two blankets.  He sat down next to her, felt her forehead and knew she had a fever.  He gently shook her awake, “Sweetie,” he said, “come on you have to go to Sick Bay.”


“Kay,” she replied as Lee eased her out of the bunk and escorted her to Sick Bay.  Lee helped her up on the gurney where Jamie took her temperature and swabbed her throat.   She had a hard time sitting up, so Lee helped her lay down still wrapped in her blankets.


“She has a temperature of one hundred and one, just like the other three.  I’m sure the strep test will come back positive.”

Jamie looked at Janet and asked her, “Do you have any cuts.”


“Yes, I got one from my stapler yesterday,” she replied and showed him her hand which had a couple of scratches on it.


Lee ran his hand through his hair, “Jamie, she doesn’t have STSS,” he asked frantically.


“I don’t think so.  So far she’s not showing any of the symptoms but as a precaution I’m going to clean out her scratches with hydrogen peroxide and keep her in Sick Bay where I can monitor her.”


“Jamie, if these four have strep and went diving yesterday, could the admiral come down with it too?”


“It’s possible, why don’t you call and have him stop in here so I can check him out,” Jamie suggested.


“He’s off the boat at the laboratory.  I was going to meet him over there. As soon as Janet’s settled, I’ll go to the lab and bring him back.”


Jamie gave Janet some antibiotics.  “Lee, help her put on some scrubs and into a bunk,” Jamie said as he handed him the scrubs.


Jamie went over to Chip’s bunk leaving Lee and Janet alone so Lee could help her change.  When she was changed, Lee walked her over to the bunk next to Chip’s, got her settled and made sure she was covered as she was shivering even though she was sweating.  Jamie returned to his desk once she was in the bunk.  Lee followed him and sat down in the chair in front of his desk


“Jamie, do you have a list of all the crewmen who got sick,” Lee asked hoping to find a common factor in all who had gotten ill.


Jamie handed him the list.  Lee rubbed his fingers on his lips as he perused the names.  “Most of these men worked in the missile room.  So there’s something in there that they all came in contact with.”


“Lee, I have another problem.  With four more people ill and possibly one or two more, I’m not going to have enough medication for everyone.”


“Damn,” Lee muttered.  “I’ll think of a way to get you more medication,” he replied distractedly as he continued to study the list.   “Jamie, give me a pair of gloves and a bag.  I might know where they got the infection.”


Furrowing his brow, Jamie handed Lee a couple pairs of gloves along with a red hazardous waste bag.  Lee smirked when he saw the bag.  Jamie shrugged his shoulders as Lee ran out of Sick Bay and down to the missile room.




Lee looked around the missile room at what could possibly have infected his crew, he zeroed in on the crate with the sensors.  He put on both pairs of gloves and removed a piece of the bubble wrap and a sensor and put them in the bag.  He removed one of the pair of gloves and put them in the bag.  Trying not to touch anything he returned to Sick Bay.


“Jamie, test these items for the streptococcus infection,” he said as he removed the other pair of gloves, put them in the hazardous trash container and washed his hands.


Jamie covered one of the tables with paper towels and put on two pair of gloves, removed the bubble wrap and sensor.  He swabbed the items putting the samples on a slide and put them under his microscope. He smiled as Lee had just found the source of the infection. 


“Lee, take a look.  These items are covered with streptococcus pyogenes.”  Lee looked at the slides Jamie made from the bubble wrap and sensor.  They were very similar to Jamie’s samples he had of the streptococcus infection.


“Someone purposely put that infection on those items to make a lot of people sick,” Jamie stated angrily as he tossed his gloves in the container and washed his hands.  “But who and why?”


“Yes, they did and I might know both the who and why,” Lee replied just as angry.


He quickly went over to the mic, “Attention all hands, the missile room is off limits to all personnel until further notice.”  Lee stowed the mic and looked back at Jamie.


“Lee, I know you were taking antibiotics when we started this cruise but there’s a chance you’re going to contract strep throat,” Jamie told him. “Or STSS because you handled the sensors and bubble wrap.”


“Jamie, I didn’t touch or handle the bubble wrap, sensors or crate.  I only came in contact with the sensors when we were installing them…wouldn’t the water wash off the infection?”


“Yes, it would,” Jamie replied with a smile “I guess you dodged a bullet but I’m worried about the admiral.  We need to get him back here right away.”


“Now that we know the what, where and how, I’m going to the lab and get him,” Lee answered hoping Ivan Zamkor was there as he was pissed that he would purposely make people sick.


Before he left for the control room he went over to the bunk where Janet was sleeping.  He brushed her damp hair away from her face and gently kissed her forehead.  Chip was awake and saw him kiss her.


Propping himself up on his elbow, he whispered, “Lee, what’s going on…why is Janet here?”


“She along with Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley came down with the strep infection after handling the sensors.  The crate, bubble wrap and sensors were all infected with streptococcus pyogenes.   Jamie’s keeping her here because she has a cut on her hand and wants to make sure she doesn’t get STSS like you.”


“Lee, do you have any idea who and why?”


“I have a pretty good idea and I’m sure you have an idea too,” Lee answered.  “But I don’t know how we’re going to prove it.  Even with the crate marked with his information; you know he’ll deny it was him.”


“What about the admiral, didn’t he dive with you?”


“Yes, I’m heading to the island to bring him back.   I need to make sure maintenance sanitizes the boat again.,” Lee replied.  “I’ll check in with you later.”


“Sure Lee.  Don’t worry she’ll be okay,” Chip told him.


“I hope so,” Lee replied looking at Janet’s bunk again before he left Sick Bay.




Lee hurried out of Sick Bay and returned to the control room.  He called maintenance and told them to clean down the lower deck level from the missile room to the control room.


He walked over to the console Patterson was manning, “Patterson, I want you to come with me to the island.  We need to bring the Admiral back.”


“Aye sir.  I heard that Ski, Chief, Riley and Mrs. C. are sick.  They all went diving yesterday.”


“Yes, and since the admiral was also a diver, Doc wants him back on the boat.”  Lee picked up the mic and had the deck crew prepare to the launch the zodiac.




Lee and Patterson docked at the small pier and Patterson jumped out to tie down the zodiac.  As soon as Lee got out of the zodiac, he felt the heat.  The island of Airenob was known for its coral reefs, clear water and warm temperatures.  Lee unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled up his sleeves relieved he chose not to wear a tie today. 


“Before I go to the lab, I want to check and see what progress Harley and Jerry are making on repairing the engine of the Zamkor boat,” Lee told Patterson.


“Yes, sir,” Patterson replied as the two men walked over to the boat.

As they approached the boat, two men were unloading supplies to a cart and stopped what they were doing when Lee came on board.  “How much more do you have to unload?”


The taller of the two men replied, “There are still quite a few cartons and some furniture that needs to be unloaded but we should be done in a couple of hours.  There’re four of us so we’ve been able to get most of it unloaded pretty quickly.  We’re just wondering if the motor’s going to start.”


“I’m going to check on that and I’ll let you know,” Lee said as he and Patterson walked down a ladder and headed towards the voices they heard from the aft section of the boat.


“Hi Skipper,” Harley said when Lee entered the engine room and noticed his men were covered in grease, oil, dirt and sweat.  “This engine’s in bad shape but I think we’ll get it started.”


Lee looked over the engine and had to agree with Harley, “How much longer do you think it’s going to take?”


“Mmm, a couple more hours.  We’re putting it back together now,” Jerry answered.  “Sir, if it doesn’t start, I don’t think it ever will as we’ve practically rebuilt the whole engine.”


“Do the best you can,” Lee told the men before he left the engine room.


“Aye, aye, sir,” the men replied and returned to the engine.


As Lee and Patterson walked back up the ladder and looked around the rest of the boat; both were surprised at how nice the inside was but the outside and engine room were a mess.


Patterson spoke up before they left the boat, “Why wouldn’t you take care of the engine and outside of the boat.”


“I don’t know Pat,” Lee answered as he shook his head.


They walked backed down the gangplank and over to the laboratory to find Harry.




Lee noticed that instead of having two buildings like on Cole Island, this was one large building and the main door of the laboratory faced the north side of the island.  They felt the cool air as soon as they entered the building.  Lee wasn’t sure where Dr. Worth and Harry were but it didn’t take them long to find out as they heard yelling coming from a room at the end of a short hallway.  


Harry shouted, “Your sensors weren’t built to specs.”


Ivan yelled back, “It’s the housings that are the wrong size.”


“It’s not the housings…look at the drawings…they’re the same as the ones at the other laboratory.  None of your sensors were the same size.  We’re lucky we were able to get them installed at all.  We had to make them fit into the housings.” 


Lee with Patterson following him, went down the hallway where Harry, Dr. Worth and Ivan Zamkor were having the meeting and saw papers scattered all over the small table.


Harry looked up from the papers when Lee and Patterson entered the room, “Perfect timing,” he said wiping the sweat off his brow even though the room was cool.  “I was just going to call you and have you bring over the sensors as Ivan doesn’t believe they’re all different sizes.  Where are they?”  Harry asked noticing Lee was empty handed.


“I didn’t bring them with me,” Lee replied softly.


“Why the hell not,” Harry snapped.


“Because they’re contaminated with streptococcus pyogenes. Not only are the sensors contaminated but so is the bubble wrap they came in and I’m assuming the crate too but I didn’t want to move it to test it,” Lee answered looking directly at Ivan Zamkor.


Harry looked at Lee and then Ivan.  “You’re telling me that they were purposely infected with streptococcus?”


“Yes sir.  According to Dr. Jamieson there was enough streptococcus pyogenes to make a lot of people ill; that’s why we’re here now.  He wants you back on the boat to test you for strep.  Sharkey, Kowalski, Riley and Janet are all ill.  They all had direct contact with the sensors before we installed them…and so did you.  Chip and Patterson also had direct contact with the sensors when they were first brought aboard.”


Jonas piped up, “Harry told me how sick your XO is and that he’s still recovering.  Ivan, do you have anything to say?”


“I have no idea how those sensors became infected,” he replied unconcerned.


“How could you not know,” Harry said curtly.  “They came from your factory.”


Hesitating Ivan responded, “I actually didn’t make them.  I had another company assemble them and ship them to me and I put my name on them.”


Lee stood there clenching and unclenching his fists, “They came from your factory so someone there had to contaminate them.”


“Prove it,” Ivan said arrogantly.  “You have no way of proving I did it.”


“Why would you do something like that?” Jonas asked seriously.


“I’m not admitting I did it, but I’m tired hearing about how good NIMR is…how Seaview saved the day again…how I got beat out on another contract by you,” Ivan spat.  “Why do I care if some people on your boat got sick?”


“Ivan, I can’t believe you would hurt innocent people because you have a grudge against Harry and the institute.  You have no one to blame but yourself for the failures,” Jonas told him angrily.


Lee had all he could do to keep from punching him realizing he could have lost his best friend and wife because of a grudge.  Taking a deep breath, he said, “Admiral, let’s get back to the boat.”


“Harry, Lee, I’m sorry your men got sick.  I’ll make sure Dr. Bassili and the consortium knows what has taken place,” Jonas said.  “I’ll contact the company who supplied us the sensors for Cole Island and have them make some for us.  Can they ship them to you and could you bring them out when you have a chance?”


“Yes, of course,” Harry replied as he wiped his brow with his sleeve. 


Before they left the laboratory, Lee turned to Dr. Worth, “Doctor, did you get a supply of antibiotics in your shipment today?  If so, could I take some back to Seaview?  Dr. Jamieson has used up all he had on the boat and with four possibly five more men taken ill he could use some more,” Lee asked. “Whatever we take, I’ll make sure it’s gets replaced as soon as we get back to Santa Barbara.”


“Yes, we do have some here.  I helped the technicians set up the medical room and we have plenty,” Jonas answered as he stopped by a small room right by the front door.  He turned on the light. went over to a closet and opened the door.


“Lee, take what you need,” Jonas offered.


Lee grabbed a couple of boxes and handed them to Patterson.  He took the boxes, went out the front door and loaded them on the zodiac.


The three men had walked out the door when Ivan came up behind them.  “When is my boat going to be repaired?” he demanded.


Taking a deep breath, Lee replied, “Hopefully in a couple of hours.  They’re hoping it will start, if it doesn’t you’ll have to find another way home.”


“You’re leaving me here; can’t you drop me off on the mainland?  It’s not that far away.”


Harry looked at Ivan, “You’re expecting me to go out of my way for you after you infected my crew?” He then turned to Jonas, “I’m sorry Jonas but I’m not letting him anywhere near Seaview.  Maybe he can help you set up the laboratory and check out the coral beds.  From what I saw the beds are starting to show signs of bleaching.  Let’s hope with the information the sensors will give you, maybe it will help you stop them from getting worse.”


Looking grim, Jonas replied, “That’s a good idea Harry.  There’s a lot to do setting up this place.   I’ll keep him and his crew busy for a few weeks. I’ll make him dive and see just how bad the bleaching is and he’ll realize how important it was to build this lab.   Once we’ve set up the lab, I’m meeting with the governor of the island to discuss how we can prevent anymore bleaching.  We can’t stop the warming of the water but the government is working on reducing wastewater pollution and blast fishing as well as other ways to help stop the bleaching.”


Ivan looked at Harry and then Jonas.  “You’re kidding right?”


“I’m not kidding,” Lee said sharply.  “You better hope my XO, wife and crewmen get better or I’ll be back for you.  Dr. Worth, please call me when my men are ready to return to the boat.”


Harry scowled at Zamkor.  His face was further contorted as he was overcome by a sudden urge to sneeze.  Unable to fight back the reflex he sneezed hard, unable to turn his head in time to avoid catching Zamkor right in the face with the rush of fluids escaping his nose and mouth.  “Pardon me,” Nelson replied immediately and had a difficult time hiding his satisfaction of hopefully sharing the malady Ivan had introduced to his crew.


Zamkor sputtered and spit, frantically wiping the moisture off of his face.  As he regained his composure he caught the smug smiles poorly hidden by the men surrounding him.  He scowled at Nelson and the others then spun on his heels and hurried away, no doubt to shower in hopes for washing off any chance of contracting the virus.  


Harry, Lee and Patterson walked down the gangplank and boarded the zodiac leaving Ivan there with Jonas.


Once the zodiac was at Seaview, the deck detail helped Lee off the zodiac who then helped Harry board the boat and walked him to Sick Bay where Jamie was waiting for him.  Patterson followed with the antibiotics.




While Jamie waited for Lee to bring Harry to Sick Bay, he checked on Chip and then Janet.  He went over to Chip’s bunk and found him awake.


“How are you feeling?” Jamie asked as he took his vitals.


Ignoring Jamie’s question, Chip asked, “When can I get out of here?”   Jamie stuck a thermometer in his mouth before Chip could ask any more questions.


“I’m going to keep you here until we get back to Santa Barbara.  You still have a fever, your blood pressure is low as are your liver enzymes, you still have a rash and you still need to have an IV for the antibiotics.  One of the more unpleasant side effects of STSS is shedding of skin especially on your palms and soles of your feet.  You’ve been ill for almost a week and that usually happens one to two weeks after the onset of the illness.”


Jamie removed the thermometer.  “You still have a temp of one hundred and one degrees. It’s down but for an adult that’s not good.”


Chip sighed deeply, “I have to admit I’m really not feeling that great.  How’s Janet…where’s the admiral…isn’t Lee bringing him back?”


“I’m going to check on her next and he should be here shortly,” Jamie answered as Chip settle back in the bunk and closed his eyes.


Jamie walked over to Janet’s bunk and noticed she was awake.  “How you doing?” he asked.


“Tired…throat hurts…cold,” Janet whispered.


Jamie took her temperature, “Damn,” he murmured as it had risen to one hundred and two degrees. 


“Everything okay, Jamie?” Janet asked when she heard Jamie’s comment. 


Lee had entered Sick Bay with Harry and sat him down on the gurney to wait for Jamie when Lee noticed he was with Janet.  Patterson had followed Lee and Harry with the boxes of antibiotics.  Lee directed him to put it on the chair and return to the control room.  Frank returned to Sick Bay after dispensing the last of the antibiotics to Sharkey, Ski and Riley. He saw Harry sitting on the gurney waiting for Jamie. He took his temperature and vitals and recorded them on the chart he started for him.   When Jamie finished with Janet, he would have all the information he needed.


Lee walked over to her bunk, “Jamie, is there a problem?” he wondered seeing Janet was a little upset.


“No, I don’t think so but your fever is up to one hundred and two so I’m going to start an IV with a stronger antibiotic and run some blood tests just to make sure there is nothing wrong,” Jamie answered and went over to the gurney where Harry was waiting.  He looked over the information Frank had written down and wasn’t happy.


While Jamie looked over Harry, Lee stooped down next to Janet’s bunk and asked, “Sweetie, how are you feeling?”


“Like shit,” Janet replied softly.  Lee knew his wife really must be sick as she didn’t normally swear.


“I’m sorry,” Lee answered as he uncovered her hand that was buried under all the blankets, gave it a squeeze and put it back under the blankets.  “Jamie will be right back he’s looking at the admiral right now.”


“He’s sick too?” she asked worriedly.


“Yes, so is the Chief, Ski and Riley,” Lee said.  “You all handled the sensors.”


Looking confused Janet replied, “What about the sensors…is that where the infection started?”


“Yes,” Lee said and explained to her how she and the other divers along with Chip and Patterson got sick.  He also told her his suspicion as to who did it and why.


“That wasn’t very nice,” Janet responded sleepily as the snuggled in her blankets.  “I’m cold.”


Lee took a blanket off the top bunk and gently draped it over her.  “Sweetie, I’ll be right back, I want to check on the admiral,” Lee told her and walk over to the gurney.


Jamie saw him approaching and waited until he was next to Harry before he told them how sick Harry was.  “His temperature is one hundred and one and I’m sure his throat culture will be positive,” Jamie stated and continued, “Admiral do you have any cuts or open sores?”


“No, none,” Harry replied realizing why Jamie was asking.


“Good.  I’m going to send you to your cabin with some antibiotics,” Jamie told him and went over to the cabinet and discovered there was none available.


“Lee, were you able to get some antibiotics from the laboratory?” Jamie asked worriedly not seeing the boxes on the chair.


“Yes, Doc,” Lee said, “There are two boxes on the chair.  If you need more I’m sure Dr. Worth will let me take some more.”


Jamie walked over to the chair, “Thanks Skipper.  This should be enough provided no more men get sick.”  He opened one of the boxes, removed some pills from another box and gave them to Harry with a cup of water.


“Frank will see you to your cabin and make sure you’re settled,” Jamie told Harry as he downed the pills.


“I can go myself,” Harry replied and stood up a little too quickly and would have fallen over if Lee hadn’t caught him.


“I guess I better have Frank make sure I get there,” Harry said softly realizing he was sicker than he thought. 


Smirking, Jamie answered, “That’s why you never argue with your doctor.”


Frank helped Harry to his cabin, made sure he was comfortable and told him he would return in a couple of hours to check on him. 


“Thanks,” Harry said and pulled up his blanket, turned on his side and fell asleep.


While Frank was helping Harry, Jamie took Janet’s hand out from under all the blankets and started the IV and took a few tubes of blood.


“Lee, we have to remove some of these blankets.  I can barely examine her…she might be too warm…that could be why her temperature went up. You unwrap her while I do her blood work.”


Lee slowly removed all of the blankets but Janet started shivering so he put one back loosely over her. 


Lee walked back to Jamie’s lab and waited while he processed the blood samples.  “Everything looks normal on most of the tests but there’s one that will take a little longer,” he told Lee breathing a sigh of relief for now.  “Thanks again for getting the medications.”


Patting Jamie on the arm he replied, “Any time Doc.”  He took one more look at his sleeping wife.


“Jamie, keep me informed if their conditions change,” Lee asked.  “I’ll be in the control room.”


“Yes, Lee,” Jamie responded.


Frank returned from Harry’s cabin, “Doc, the admiral’s sleeping. The rest of the men have their medication so we should have a quiet afternoon.”


“Let’s hope,” Jamie replied as he and Frank stowed the antibiotics they just received in the cabinet.




Lee entered the control room and walked over to Bobby at the plotting table.  “Everything okay?”


“Yes sir but I’ve been watching the weather and it’s getting a little windier out there, we may want to submerge before the men start feeling ill.”


“Have we heard anything from Harley or Jerry regarding the engine repair,” Lee asked looking at his watch noticing it had been two hours since they left the laboratory.


“No sir.  Do you want me have Sparks call them?”


“No, that’s okay, I’ll take care of it,” Lee replied and walked over to the radio shack and asked Sparks to place the call.  He tried to raise them on the radio but they didn’t respond.


“Try calling Dr. Worth at the lab,” Lee asked and returned to the plotting table.


“Aye sir,” Sparks answered and got Dr. Worth on the radio.  “Skipper, I have Dr. Worth.”


“Pipe it over here,” Lee said and Sparks nodded his head letting him know the call was there.


“Dr. Worth, I tried to raise my two mechanics on the radio and there’s no answer.  Is there a problem?”

“No, Captain.  I believe they have the engine running judging from the noise I hear outside,” Dr. Worth answered.  “I’ll send one of the technicians to the boat and have them call you.”


“Thanks, Dr. Worth, I appreciate it,” Lee responded and stowed the mic.  “I’m going topside.”


“Yes sir,” O’Brien answered and watched as Lee went up the ladder to the bridge. 


Once on the bridge, Lee could see black smoke billowing from the back of the boat.  Smiling he knew his men had gotten the engine running.  As much as he would have liked Ivan Zamkor to be stranded at the laboratory, he was glad Dr. Worth wouldn’t have to put up with him. 


“Skipper,” O’Brien called to the bridge.  “Harley and Jerry are ready to come back from the lab.”


“Order the deck detail to launch a zodiac and have Patterson meet me on deck to pick up the men.”


“Aye, aye sir,” O’Brien replied and gave the order to the deck detail.


Patterson met Lee on the deck and they boated to the island.   Harley and Jerry were waiting for them on the pier. They hopped aboard the zodiac looking forward to getting back to Seaview where they could shower and get something to eat.  Lee said good bye to Dr. Worth who had a big smile on his face. 


“Harley, is that engine going to make it back to the mainland?” Lee asked.  He didn’t like Zamkor but he wouldn’t want him stranded in the middle of the ocean.


“Yes Skipper, it should make it back,” Harley assured him. “But the whole engine should be totally overhauled.”


“Thanks men,” Lee said as they sat down in the zodiac.


“No problem, Skipper,” Jerry answered.


As they left the dock, Ivan Zamkor waved at Lee from the upper deck of his boat.


Lee hightailed it back to Seaview as he wanted to submerge and get out of there before Zamkor left with his boat.  When they arrived at the boat, the deck detail helped Lee board and then the rest of the men and tools.  Lee scrambled down the ladder to the control room and over to the plotting table.


“Mr. O’Brien prepare to dive,” Lee ordered.   “Take her down to two hundred feet.”


“Aye, sir,” O’Brien replied and gave the order to dive. 


Phil stood at the dive control panel waiting for the lights to turn green.   “All green,” Phil reported.


“Dive, dive, dive,” O’Brien told maneuvering. 


Seaview slowly submerged under the water.  Lee waited until they were at depth and gave maneuvering the heading and speed. 


“Mr. O’Brien take over the conn.  I’ll be in the observation nose calling the Canal Authorities making arrangements to go through the canal in two days.  Hopefully we can get on the schedule,” Lee told O’Brien.  “If we can’t, it could take a week to get on the schedule.”


“Yes, sir,” Bobby answered and made sure they were on course and at speed while Lee headed to the nose.


He sat down on the corner of the table looking out the windows. He picked up the mic and asked Sparks to place the call for him.  He got the canal authorities on the line and they assured him they would be able to go through the canal when they arrived.   Lee thanked them and breathed a sigh of relief as he didn’t want to wait any longer than needed to go through the canal.  After he finished talking to the canal authorities, he returned to the control room.


“Bobby, I’ll be right back.  The duty rosters need to be done and Mrs. Crane didn’t get a chance to finish them.  I’m going to grab them and work on them in the nose.”


“Yes sir,” Bobby answered and went back to the task he was doing at the plotting table.


Lee ran up the staircase and went to Janet’s office where he grabbed the partially finished roster and some reports she was working on.  He returned to the nose and sat down facing the control room.  He looked over the duty rosters and thought, Janet was right, these are a mess.  He made a few changes since he wanted O’Brien with him on the bridge when they went through the canal.  He wanted Taper in the control room, he would put Larsen on Taper’s watch.  When he was finished with them he looked them over. Oh well, he thought, it will eventually get straighten out.  He would post the rosters when he went to his cabin for the night. 


Lee headed into the control room and stood next to O’Brien, “I’m going to do a walk-around the boat and make sure things are secure and in order so we have no issues when we go through the locks.  If you need me, just call,” Lee told Bobby.  “Also, you’re going to be on the bridge with me when we go through the canal.”


“Aye, aye sir,” Bobby answered with a smile as he had never been on the bridge when they went through the canal.


Lee exited the aft hatch and started with the engine room on his walk-around.




Jamie slipped into Harry’s cabin and found him awake.  “How are you feeling, Harry?”


“Like I got hit by a truck,” Harry replied and slowly sat up.  “The other men, how are they doing…Chip…Janet?”


Jamie took Harry’s temperature and other vitals and wrote them down.  “Temp’s still at one hundred and one degrees but your other vitals are normal.  Here take these,” Jamie told him, handed him a couple of pills and a glass of water from the pitcher on his desk.  “Just an antibiotic to fight the infection.  I’m going to check on the other men.  Chip will be in sick bay until we dock and Janet should hopefully be released tomorrow.”


“Thanks Jamie,” Harry said and downed the pills.


“You should start feeling better sometime tomorrow as it takes a good twenty-four hours for the antibiotic to take effect,” Jamie reassured him.


“Makes sense,” Harry said yawning.  


“Go back to sleep,” Jamie told him.  “I’ll have John check on you later and give you another dose of antibiotics.”


“Thanks, Jamie,” Harry replied and laid back down in his bunk. 


Jamie turned down the light on his desk and left the cabin. 




After Lee checked out the engine room, he went to the wardroom to post the duty roster and found Taper and Larsen just finishing up dinner. 


“Good evening,” Lee said and sat down across the table from them.  “I need to make a change in your watches for the next couple of days.  We’re going through the canal early in the morning so Scott, I want you in the control room instead of Bobby who’ll be on the bridge with me.  Chris, I’m going to need you to do Scott’s watch tonight and tomorrow.  You should be back to your normal watches the next day but if there’s a problem, we’ll figure something out.”


“Yes sir,” both men replied.


“Thanks men,” Lee said and walked out of the wardroom and headed to the reactor room.


After the reactor room, he stopped in sick bay for a quick peek at Janet and Chip.   The lights were turned down low in the bunk area.  John was at Jamie’s desk working on some paperwork.   Both of them were asleep, so he left sick bay and returned to the control room for one last look around before he retired for the night.


Lee checked out each station and talked to the men before going to the plotting table.  He looked at his watch and knew Bobby would be going off duty in a few minutes and Chris Larsen would replace him.  He wasn’t worried about any problems when Chris was on duty, he was turning out to be a fine officer. 


“I’ll take over the conn until Chris comes on duty.  Thanks for making sure everything’s on course.”


“Aye, aye sir,” Bobby replied and signed off on the log book just as Chris entered the Control Room.


“Good evening, Skipper,” Chris said as he walked up to the plotting table as Lee made some notations on the map.


“Hi Chris,” Lee replied.  “We’re going to have to increase our speed so we can get to the canal on time.  Bring her up to full and let me know when we’ll be at the canal.”


“Yes sir,” Chris answered.  He called the engine room and ordered them to increase the speed to full.  He took out the slide rule, looked at the course that was plotted and calculated when they should be at the canal.


“Skipper, we should arrive at the canal very early Friday morning,” he told Lee.


“Good answer,” Lee said with a smile.  “We’ll stay outside the canal area when we arrive.  I want to make sure we have the proper personnel in place before we enter Gatun lock.”


“Aye, aye sir,” Chris replied.


“If you need me, I’ll be in my cabin,” Lee told him.


“Yes sir,” he replied.




Lee trotted up the staircase and when he got to the top, he removed his tie and undid his top button.  As he walked down the passageway, he saw Jamie leaving Harry’s cabin.   Jamie saw him approaching and waited from him outside Harry’s door.


“How’s he doing?” Lee asked with concern.


“He’ll be fine in twenty-four hours,” Jamie replied.  “Did you check on Janet and Chip?”


“I looked in on them but they were both asleep so I left them alone,” he answered.  “We’ll be going through the canal tomorrow so I’ll be on the bridge most of the day.  If there are any problems, just let me know.”


“Don’t worry, if I have any issues you’ll be the first to know,” Jamie assured him.


Jamie continued down the passageway to Sharkey’s quarters and then to the crew’s quarters where he checked on Ski and Riley.  All the men still had fevers over one hundred.  He gave them their antibiotics and told them John would check on them later. 


Jamie returned to Sick Bay and gave the information to John to record in their charts.  He explained to him what he wanted him to do while he was on duty.  He walked over to Chip’s and Janet’s bunks where he noticed they had fresh IV bags piggybacked with antibiotics.  He told John to call him if he needed him and left Sick Bay for his cabin. 




Lee opened the door to his cabin and realized he was very tired but he needed to check in with Angie at the institute and wanted to let Julie know how Chip was doing.


He picked up his phone and asked the duty sparks to connect him to Angie at the institute.  Lee’s phone rang when he had Angie.  He turned on his videophone and Angie appeared on his screen.


“Hi Lee,” she said cautiously as she knew there must be a problem if Lee is calling her instead of Harry. “What’s wrong?”


Running his hand through his hair, he replied, “Hi Angie.  Things could be better.  The admiral and Janet are now ill with strep throat and Chip is still pretty sick.”


Shocked she replied, “Oh no.  How did they contract it…the admiral said all the crewmen that were ill had gotten better…will they be okay?”


Lee explained how they got sick along with the rest of the men and his suspicions on how they contracted the infection. 


“Lee, I know Dr. Zamkor and the admiral have had their differences but I never thought he would take it that far.  They’ve been rivals for a long time.”


“Unfortunately, I can’t prove it so it can’t go any further than us.”


“I understand. Please give the admiral, Chip and Janet my best.   When will you be docking?  Do you want me to call Julie?”


“We should be at the institute by Saturday night.  I’ve made arrangements with the Canal authorities and we should have no problem going through.  No, I’ll call her but thanks for offering.  I’ll let you know when we dock,” Lee said.


“Thanks Lee.  If you need anything just let me know,” Angie told him as he turned off the videophone.  He poured a glass of water from the pitcher on his desk.  He took long drink and put the cool glass to his forehead. Man that feels good, he thought.  He took a deep breath before he made the call to Julie.




Lee had Sparks call Julie’s number and pipe it to his cabin.  “Hi Julie,” he said when she picked up the call.


“Lee…how’s Chip…is he better…when will you be back?” she said quickly not giving Lee a chance to get a word in.


“Chip’s still pretty sick.  He’s getting better but it’s going to be a while before he’s back to normal.  We should be back by Saturday night,” Lee told her and continued, “Janet and the admiral are now sick too.”


“Do they have what Chip has?” she asked worriedly.


“No, just strep throat both should be better by the time we arrive in Santa Barbara.”


“Do you know how Chip and the others contracted the infection?”


Hesitating slightly but long enough that Julie noticed, “Lee, what aren’t you telling me?”


Sighing deeply, he replied, “The sensors and the material they were wrapped in were purposely infected with streptococcus pyogenes.”


“Do you need me to have team at the dock when you arrive to investigate how it was put on there and by whom?”


“Julie, that won’t be necessary, I have a pretty good idea who did it but I can’t prove it and you won’t be able to either so just let it slide.”


“Lee,” Julie said angrily.  “Someone could have died because of what was done.”


“I know but trust me and let it go,” Lee told her emphatically.


Julie could tell by Lee’s voice that she wouldn’t get any more information from him or access to Seaview.  “Okay Lee. I’ll drop it.”


“Thanks Julie.  I’ll call you and let you know the time we should be docking.  I’m sure Chip will want to see you but there’s a good chance he’ll have to stay in Med Bay for a few days.”


“Just let me know and I’ll be there,” Julie informed Lee. 


“Talk to you soon,” Lee answered and hung up the phone.  He looked at the reports he took from Chip’s desk along with his own and knew it would be a long night.  He finally crawled into his bunk at 0100 hours.




Lee woke up early and hurried through his morning ablutions to ensure he was in the control room before they made it to Gatun Lock and through the canal.  He went down to the wardroom hoping to grab a quick cup of coffee but found Cookie already had breakfast ready as he knew it was going to be a long day. He knew some of the crew would be on deck helping out as they went through the canal and wouldn’t get a chance to eat until after they had made it out of the canal.


Lee helped himself to some pancakes and coffee.  He no sooner sat down when Jamie entered the wardroom.  He grabbed some breakfast and sat next to Lee.


“You’re up bright and early,” Lee remarked as he sipped his coffee.


“I know, it’s too early but I want to be prepared for any mishaps that might happen as we go through the canal.”


“How are the men and admiral this morning…did you check on Janet and Chip yet?”


“Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley are feeling better and will report back to duty tomorrow morning.  I’m going to check on the admiral as soon as I’m finished here.  Chip and Janet were still sleeping when I stopped in Sick Bay.  I wasn’t too happy when I checked Chip’s chart and saw that his fever hadn’t come down when John took the temperature last night so maybe it will be down this morning. Janet’s fever is down and the other test came back negative.”


“That’s good news,” Lee said breathing a sigh of relief.


Both men finished up breakfast and left the wardroom knowing it was going to be a long day.




Lee entered the control room and was happy to see all the stations were manned.  He walked over to Larsen who was at the plotting table.


“Good morning, Mr. Larsen,” Lee said.  “I see we’ve arrived at the canal zone.”


“Yes sir,” Chris replied and pointed to where Seaview was stationed. 


“Okay Mr. Larsen, you’re relieved of duty,” Lee replied.  “Nice job of keeping us on schedule.”


“Thank you, sir,” Chris answered and exited the control room as Bobby O’Brien, Scott Taper and Chief Kelly came in.  CPO Kelly was filling in for Sharkey and doing a nice job but Lee wished Sharkey would be out on the deck when they went through the canal.


All three men walked over to Lee, “Good morning,” Lee said.  “We’re stationed right outside the canal zone.  I’m going to call and let the authorities know we’re ready to go through the canal.  Mr. Taper prepare to surface and hold our position.”  Lee walked over to the radio shack and asked Sparks to call the canal authorities.  The canal authorities gave Lee the all clear to enter Gatun Locks.


“Aye, aye sir,” Taper replied and gave the order to surface. 


“All systems green,” Phil reported.


“All clear above,” Patterson said from the radar station.


“Surface, surface, surface,” Taper told maneuvering as he pushed the klaxon button three times.


Once on the surface, Lee ordered the deck detail to crack the main hatch so he and O’Brien could head up to the bridge.   He made his way to the bridge and looked around to see if there were any other ships in the area.  He ordered CPO Kelly and the rest of the deck detail onto the deck and into position so could make sure they were secured properly to the tugs that would lead them through the locks.


Picking up the mic, “All ahead dead slow,” Lee told the engine room.


“Aye sir,” they reported and Seaview slowly made her way into the Gatun Lock.  


Lee would prefer more men on the bridge with him but with Chip and Harry unavailable he only had O’Brien.  Seaview slowly made her way through the Gatun Locks and into Gatun Lake where she would proceed through the other set of locks.  It was a slow process and would normally take them eight to ten hours to get to the Pacific Ocean.   When they left the lock and entered Gatun Lake Lee noticed a cruise ship had just exited the lock.  The crowd on deck was pointing and waving at the men on Seaview so Lee and Bobby waved back along with the rest of the crew.


When they got to the San Pedro lock, they encountered a problem.  One of the tugs had an issue so they had to wait until they repaired the problem so now it would take them three hours longer than Lee had planned.   


Lee called down to the control room, “Mr. Taper have Cookie send up some sandwiches and drinks to the deck detail while we wait to go through the lock.”


“Yes, sir,” Scott replied and relayed the order to Cookie.


Cookie and the mess specialists brought out sandwiches and drinks to the men on deck.  Cookie brought up a couple of sandwiches and thermos’ of coffee for Lee and Bobby.  Lee didn’t want the sandwich but welcomed the coffee.  Bobby ate both sandwiches and finished his thermos of coffee. 


While they waited for the tug to be repaired, Lee leaned on the coaming of the conning tower. 


“Any plans for your shore leave?” Lee asked as looked over at the men repairing the tug.


“My in-laws are coming in from out of state.  They cancelled their plans to come in when we had to leave right away.”


Grinning, Lee offered, “If you need to get away, you can come with me back to the island.  We have to deliver the new sensors and some medication.  We can take some time to check out the reefs.”  He knew Bobby liked to skin dive as well as hike.


“No offense sir but I’m going to have to decline unless it’s an order because my wife would kill me if I left again,” Bobby said seriously.


Lee patted him on the shoulder, “Don’t worry I understand.”


Thirty minutes later, Seaview was attached to the tug and made her way through the San Pedro lock.  By the time they exited the canal and were in the Pacific it was 1800 hours on Friday.  Lee and O’Brien returned to the Control Room.  Most of the alpha watch had gone off duty and were replace by the beta watch.  Only Lee, O’Brien, Taper and Kelly were still on duty.  The three men were tired and hungry. 


“Good job, Kelly,” Lee told him before he went off duty.


“Thank you, sir,” he replied and returned to his quarters.


“Nice going, Bobby, Scott,” Lee said to the men as they stood by the plotting table along with Chris who’d reported for duty and was helping out in the control room until Taper was relieved for the day.


“Thank you, sir.  It’s harder than I thought it would be,” Bobby answered as Scott nodded his head in agreement.


“Yes, it’s an interesting experience but can be very tiring,” Lee admitted.  “Bobby, I’ll see you in the morning.”


“Yes sir,” O’Brien replied and left the control room and headed to the wardroom for dinner.


“Chris, plot a course for home at full speed,” Lee instructed. 


“Aye, aye, sir,” Chris responded and plotted the course.  Lee looked it over, signed off on it as Chris gave maneuvering the heading and speed.  They wouldn’t be back in Santa Barbara until early Sunday morning. 


Lee turned to Scott, “Thanks for your hard work.  Report for duty at your regular watch.”


“Yes sir,” Scott replied and left the control room.




As Lee went into the observation nose to complete a few reports, he rolled up his sleeves.  He went over to the sideboard, took the pot of coffee that was there, walked back to the table and set it down in front of him.  He poured himself a cup, took a sip and began working on the report. 


Jamie entered the aft hatch and saw Lee sitting in the observation nose.  He walked over to the table and noticed the pot of coffee in front of him.


Lee looked up and was surprised to see him.  “Jamie, what’s wrong…Janet…Chip…okay?”


“Everyone is fine,” Jamie replied as Lee caught him eyeing the coffee pot.  “Word is out that you haven’t eaten anything since breakfast.


Lee gave Jamie a wry grin, “Someone spying on me?”


“Come on Captain, let me treat you to dinner, “Jamie said. “Rumor has it Cookie made lasagna and brownies.”


“You’re on,” Lee chuckled putting the report he was working on in the folder and left it on the table. 




Cookie met Lee and Jamie at the door when they entered the wardroom.  “I’ll bring your dinners over to you,” Cookie told them.


The two men sat down in their regular seats and Cookie brought over generous portions of lasagna and garlic bread.  After he put the plates in the front them Lee said, “I guess the rumor was correct.”  As he dug into his dinner, he realized he was very hungry.  After they finished dinner, Cookie brought them each two brownies and a pot of coffee. 


“Do either of you need anything else?”


“No, thanks Cookie we’re fine,” Lee said.  “Dinner and dessert were delicious. 


“Thanks, Skipper,” Cookie answered and removed their dinner plates.


After Cookie left, Lee asked, “How are your patients doing?”


“Janet’s going to be released tomorrow morning.  Her fever is down to ninety-nine degrees.  I’ll let her decide if she wants to do some work tomorrow.  If she does, maybe only for a few hours.  Chip’s getting better but he still has a fever, nauseated, his blood pressure is still too low and his palms and soles are starting to peel which is normal.  I’m hoping he’ll be a little better by the time we get to Santa Barbara but I’m still going to send him to Med. Bay.”


“You know he won’t like that,” Lee said worried that Chip was still that ill.


“Lee, we’re lucky I caught this infection right away or he might have died,” Jamie replied somberly.


“I’m glad you did too,” Lee answered as he sipped his coffee.


 “Jamie, why did some crew getter sicker than others?


“Chip and Patterson got the sickest because they were the first ones exposed to the sensors which contained the most pyogenes.  The admiral, Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley also were sicker than the rest of the crew because they too had direct contact with the sensors and wrap.  I’m not sure why Janet’s fever is higher than the rest of them.  Maybe because she has less resistance to the infection…the scratch on her hand.  The rest of the men were ill due to incidental contact.  They touched the wheels on the hatches, door knobs, dials, etc. that were touched by Chip, Patterson and other crew members that were exposed.  Lee, more crewmen could have gotten ill if we hadn’t sanitized the boat,” Jamie explained.


“I realize that now,” Lee replied and finished up his brownie.


 “Did you find out who put the strep infection on the sensors and bubble wrap?”


“I know who put it on them.  Ivan Zamkor,” Lee stated angrily.  “But there’s no way I can prove it.  He says the sensors were made and wrapped at another factory and sent to him.  The crates are marked with his company’s logo, address and part numbers but I can’t prove he contaminated the items.”


Taking a drink of his coffee Jamie inquired, “Why would he do it?”


“He and the admiral have been at odds for a few years. He has a grudge against the admiral because his company can’t compete with the institute and we’ve gotten some very lucrative contracts he hoped to get.  Now with this incident, I’m sure the consortium won’t even consider him for any of their new projects,” Lee explained.


“He made over forty men sick because of a grudge,” Jamie said disgustedly.  “He’s lucky Chip didn’t die.”


Lee replied, “I know.”


The two men finished their coffee and brownies in silence.


Lee stood up after a few minutes, “Thanks for dinner.  I’ll have Cookie put it on your tab,” Lee teased.


Jamie laughed as the two men left the wardroom for sick bay.




Lee and Jamie entered sick bay to find both Chip and Janet awake.  Lee went over to Janet’s bunk and gave her a kiss and hug.  She was glad to see him but could tell he was tired.


“How did it go?” Chip asked knowing it took long than usual.


“I really missed you up there,” Lee told him and explained what happened to one of the tugs and that’s why it was took longer. 


“Sorry, Lee.  I know you’ve really had to take on more duties since I’ve been sick,” Chip replied contritely.


“Call it payback for all the times you’ve had to take on my duties when I was laid up,” Lee responded as he patted him on the shoulder.


I’m going to be released tomorrow,” Janet told him.


“I know sweetie but I don’t want you to overdo it.”


“I won’t, I promise,” Janet said yawning.  “Sorry Lee, we’ve been waiting awhile for you to come and see us.”


“No problem,” he answered.  “Get some rest both of you.


“Night Lee,” Chip and Janet said as Lee helped her under the covers.


He returned to Jamie’s office where Jamie sat at his desk.  “I’ll check in with you tomorrow,” Lee said as he left sick bay for Harry’s cabin.




 Lee reached Harry’s cabin and knocked on the door.  He was glad to hear his voice.


“Come in,” Harry said surprised to see Lee.


“Admiral, it’s good to see you’re feeling better,” Lee replied as he sat down on the corner of the desk.


“I haven’t been that sick in a long time,” Harry answered as he sat back in his chair.  “But I did notice it took longer to get through the canal, I hope it wasn’t our problem.”


“No sir, the canal had a problem with one of the tugs before we got to one of the locks.  We should be in SB by early Sunday morning.”


“Good, I’m sure everyone will be glad to be back home.”


“I’m going to have maintenance go through the whole boat and clean her from top to bottom.  We do have one problem though, how are we going to get the crate and contents off the boat without contaminating anyone or anything?”


Harry rubbed his hand on his forehead, “Let’s have someone put on a protective suit and gloves and wrap it in a tarp. When we unload it from the boat, we’ll ship it to maintenance.  They can take the sensors and bubble wrap and wash them off.  Then they can take the crate and soak it too.  We’ll be able to dispose the crate and bubble wrap once it’s decontaminated.  As for the sensors, we’ll keep them as I’d like to look them over.”


“Good idea,” Lee said in agreement. “Maybe we can prove Zamkor put the infection on them.”


“I doubt it, but it’s worth looking for,” Harry smiled.  “Let’s meet tomorrow morning at 0800 so you can catch me up with what has taken place on the boat.”


“Okay, I’ll see you in the morning,” Lee told Harry.  “I’m going to do a walk-around tonight just to check in with the crew.” He got up from the desk and left the cabin as Harry returned to his reports.




Lee did his usual walk-around the boat and found everybody and everything in order.  He was glad his ‘grey lady’ was almost back to normal.  He made one last check in the control room before he returned to his cabin.  It had been a long day and he was tired. 


“Evening, Skipper,” Chris said when Lee walked over to the plotting table.


“Everything okay in here?” Lee asked.


“Yes, sir.  We’re on course and schedule.  With no problems we should be back in SB early Sunday morning.”


“Carry on,” Lee told him.  “I’ll be in my cabin if you need me.”


Lee walked up the staircase to officer’s country and his cabin. Loosening his tie as he entered the cabin, he leaned up against the door, took a deep breath and let it out. It sure has been a long day, he thought as he walked over to the head, threw some water on his face and finished getting ready for bed.  He was looking forward to having Janet out of Sick Bay and back in their cabin.  He climbed into the bunk and fell asleep.




Lee woke up at his normal time and got ready for the day.  His first stop would be the missile room.  He didn’t want any of his crewmen getting ill from the crate, so he would wrap it up himself.  He stopped in maintenance, grabbed a protective suit, gloves, respirator and large tarp and headed for the missile room.  As he walked down the passageway, he ran into Chief Sharkey.


“Chief, it’s good to see you back on duty,” Lee said happily.  CPO Kelly did a good job but Lee missed Sharkey.


“Thanks, Skipper.  It’s good to be back,” Sharkey replied.  “I hope I never get that sick again.”


“Well don’t overdo it,” Lee told him as Sharkey looked at the items Lee was carrying.


“Ah, Skipper, what are you going to do with those things?”


“The crate in the missile room needs to be wrapped up before we remove it from the boat.  I don’t want anyone exposed to the infection that could still be living on it, so I’m going to wrap it up.”


“Sir, I’ll take care of that,” Sharkey said to Lee reaching for the items.


Lee handed over the protective gear and said, “Just make sure you’re completely covered.  We don’t need you or anyone else to get sick.  Just leave the items in the garbage bag.  When we unload the crate, we’ll have it delivered to maintenance for decontamination.  When we dock, I also want maintenance to scrub down the entire boat again.  Who knows where some of the infection could be lurking.”


“Yes sir.  I’ll take care of the crate and letting maintenance know.”


“Thanks, Chief,” Lee replied and headed to his next stop, Sick Bay as it was still too early for his meeting with Harry.




Jamie was already sitting at his desk reviewing the information John had recorded into Chip’s and Janet’s charts.   He looked up from the charts when Lee walked in.


Before Lee could ask, Jamie smiled and said, “Janet’s temperature is normal and will be released.  She should rest but since she’s as stubborn as you, I’m sure she’ll return to work.  There’s really no change in Chip’s condition so when we dock, I’m going to have him transported to Med Bay.”


“Does he know this?” Lee asked warily.


“No I haven’t told him yet…I could use your help to convince him,” Jamie said hopefully.


“I’ll do what I can,” Lee replied as the two men walked over Chip’s bunk and saw Janet sitting there talking to him.


“Hi Lee,” Janet said excitedly. “I’m free to go.  As soon as I find out how Chip is, I’m going to go to our cabin, shower, change and get some breakfast.  Can you join me?”


Smiling at Janet, he replied, “I have a meeting with the admiral in thirty minutes and then breakfast.  Will you be ready by then?”


“Yes sir,” she answered giving him a mock salute.   “Jamie, how’s Chip today?


“His fever is down slightly but his blood pressure is still too low. Since he’s shedding skin, I want to make sure they don’t get infected.   He hasn’t eaten for a week so I’m going to have him transported to Med Bay to stay for a couple of days until he can eat and get his blood pressure up.”


Chip sat up quickly, “No, I’m not going to Med Bay,” he said vehemently, “I can lay at home and recuperate.”


“Chip, there’ll be no one there to take care of you,” Lee told him. 


“Please Jamie, Lee, I don’t want to go to Med Bay.  Can we wait and see how things go before we make that decision?  I still have another day before we dock so maybe I’ll be better.  If I don’t improve by the time we’re ready to leave the boat, I’ll go to Med Bay.”


Lee, Jamie and Janet looked at Chip and could see how upset he was.  “Okay, Chip, I’ll give you another day,” Jamie agreed, “but if you’re not better…you’ll go to Med Bay.”


Sighing deeply Chip said, “Yes, I’ll go but not via an ambulance.  I want to walk off Seaview.  Lee, will you please bring me my uniform tomorrow morning?”


“I’ll see to it that you get your uniform,” Lee replied feeling sorry for his friend knowing exactly how Chip was feeling having been in that position too many times to count.


Lee, Jamie and Janet left him alone and went back to Jamie’s office.  “He’s still a sick man…he just won’t admit it,” Jamie said.


Putting his hand in his pocket, Lee responded, “He’s not used to being sick…he’s always the one who watches out for everyone especially me.”


“I know,” Jamie said as he dropped his chart on the desk.   “Maybe I can work out a schedule with Frank and John to look after him.”


“I might have another idea…I’ll let you know,” Janet remarked.  “I’ll see you in the wardroom.”


“Okay,” Lee replied wondering what she was up to.  “Jamie, I’ll check in with you later.”  He walked out of Sick Bay and headed to the Control Room for a quick check before his meeting with Harry.




Lee stopped by Riley’s and Kowalski’s consoles.  “Hi men, it’s good to have you back on duty,” he said.


“It’s good to be back,” Riley responded eagerly.


“Yes, it is,” Kowalski answered.  “I can’t believe we got that sick from touching those sensors and wrap.”


“I’m sorry that happened but we had no way of knowing the sensors were contaminated,” Lee replied.


“Can we prove who put that stuff on them?” Riley asked.


“Afraid not,” Lee remarked as he patted the two men on their shoulders and walked over to the plotting table.


“Morning Skipper,” O’Brien said to Lee.  “How’s Mr. Morton and Mrs. C.?”


“Mrs. C is being released from Sick Bay and Mr. Morton is still pretty sick. Thanks for asking,” Lee answered as he picked up a pencil on the plotting table.


Lee tapped his pencil as he looked at where they were and the course.  “Everything looks good,” he said to O’Brien.  “Carry on.”


“Aye, aye sir,” O’Brien answered as Lee put down the pencil after signing off on the log book O’Brien handed him.




Lee trotted up the spiral staircase. Once at the top, he looked at his watch and it was too early to meet with Harry so he would stop at his cabin and check on Janet.


He entered the cabin just as she was coming out of the head still wet from her shower.  He ogled her lustfully from head to toe, “I have a few minutes before my meeting with the admiral,” he said mischievously.


She walked over to him, stood on her tip toes, kissed him passionately as her hand wandered down to his crouch and whispered, “Captain, I want more than just a few minutes. I’ll expect your full attention this evening say around 2100 hours.”


He kissed her back just as passionately and chuckled, “Yes ma’am.  Until then, I’ll meet you in the wardroom shortly.”


“I’ll be there,” Janet giggled and started to get dressed as Lee left the cabin.  He stood outside the cabin door, catching his breath waiting for ‘things’ to settle back to normal before he walked down to Harry’s cabin.




Lee knocked on the cabin door, “Come,” Harry replied and looked up from his papers when Lee entered the cabin.


“Good morning, Lee,” Harry said as he poured each of them a mug of coffee.


“Morning, sir,” Lee answered as he sat down on the corner of the desk and took the mug Harry offered him.


“Everything on schedule?”


“Yes sir, we’re on schedule to arrive at NIMR about 0700 tomorrow morning.”


“Good, I can’t wait for this cruise to be over,” Harry replied taking a gulp of coffee. 


“I know what you mean, sir,” Lee remarked.  “Seems like we’ve been gone a lot longer than a week.”


“What else went on while I was sick?” Harry asked sitting back in his chair.


“I don’t know if you remember but we’ll need to make a trip back to Airenob to bring them the new sensors and two boxes of antibiotics I borrowed from them.  Jamie was completely out so Jonas gave us some of theirs.  Also, Jamie wants to put Chip in Med Bay and he’s not very happy.”


Surprised Harry asked, “Janet escaped Jamie’s clutches…I thought she was going to be there until we docked.”


“Yes, her fever is gone so he let her go.  She’s supposed to rest but…”


Smiling, “She’s just like you…can’t take it easy,” Harry said.  “How are Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley?”


Giving Harry his special smile, “Yes she’ll probably overdo it.  They’re all fine and back on duty.  In fact, Sharkey’s going to take care of the crate.  I also told him I want maintenance to go over the boat again.  I’m not going to take any chances on someone getting sick on the next cruise,” Lee explained. 


“Sounds like a good idea,” Harry replied. “I’ve been on the phone with Dr. Bassili and he wants us to take over the re-stocking duties to the island.  I didn’t think it would be a problem but I’ll get back to him to see if we can take it on as there might be a company closer than us that would like the job.  What about the Zamkor boat, did they get it running?”


“Yes, Harley and Jerry managed to get the engine running.  They were pretty sure it would make it back to the mainland,” Lee answered.  “But I would feel better if we could find out if they made it back safely.”


Chuckling Harry said, “I get the hint.  You’d like me to call them and find out if they made it back?”


“Yes sir,” Lee replied truthfully.


“No problem.  I’ll call their main office. Anything else I need to know about?”


“No, I think that covers everything.”


“Good, how about getting some breakfast,” Harry said as he stood up from his desk.   Lee also stood up, walked to the door and opened it up for him.  They left his cabin walking together down the passageway to the wardroom.




By the time Lee and Harry arrived at the wardroom, Janet and Jamie were there already eating breakfast.   Lee and Harry took a tray and Cookie loaded it up with eggs, bacon and toast.


The two men sat down across from Janet and Jamie.  “Janet, it’s nice to see you’re feeling better,” Harry said digging into his eggs.


“Thank you, sir, I’m glad you’re better too,” Janet responded.  “It sure has been an unusual cruise even for us.”


“Yes, it has,” Harry chuckled.  “I’m looking forward to getting back home.” Harry looked at Jamie, “Lee told me about Chip.  Let’s see what we can work out.”


“I don’t want him to be alone as he’s still pretty ill,” Jamie said as he got up from the table. “I better get back to Sick Bay and check on him.


“Lee, I’ll make that call and let you know about the Zamkor boat.  I’m also going to call Angie, check to see if there are any problems and let her know when we’ll be docking,” Harry told Lee as he left the wardroom.


When Harry left the wardroom, Lee and Janet were alone. “Where will you be?” he asked giving her hand a squeeze.


“In my office.  I’m sure there’s a lot of work to do.”  Before Lee could say anything Janet continued, “I’ll take it easy and rest if I get tired.”


Grinning, Lee said, “If you need anything, I’ll be in the control room.”


“Okay, I’ll see you later,” Janet replied as Lee left the wardroom.




Janet went to her office and couldn’t believe all the work that had piled up.  She sorted through it all and made piles by what needed to get done first.  She didn’t have to worry about the duty rosters as they would be home in the morning but inventory needed to be done along with some of the reports Lee had worked on.  There were some of Chip’s reports in the pile so Janet knew Lee had done his work too.  It was late afternoon when Janet asked Sparks to place a call for her. 


Janet had called Julie so she could talk to her regarding Chip.  Julie answered her phone right away when she saw that Janet was calling.


“Hi Janet,” she said.  “Is Chip okay…when are you docking?”


“Hi Julie,” Janet replied.  “We’ll be docking tomorrow around 0700 hours.  Chip is still pretty ill.  Dr. Jamieson is sending him to Med Bay for a few days but he doesn’t want to go.  He hasn’t eaten in a week and he still has a slight fever among other issues.”


“He’s still that sick?” Julie asked anxiously.  “Don’t send him to Med Bay…I’ll take care of him…I have vacation time…I’ll stay with him as long as he needs help.”


Smiling Janet answered, “I guess that would work but Dr. Jamieson would have to okay it.  I’m sure he could show and tell you what needs to be done.”


“Janet, please ask him,” she pleaded.  “I’ll do anything to help him.  I’ve been miserable since he left…I can’t live without him,” Julie said starting to cry.


Not expecting Julie to cry, Janet took a deep breath as she was going to cry too.  “I’ll talk to Dr. Jamieson.  Be at the dock at 0700 hours.  He’ll be the last person to leave the boat so it might be thirty minutes or more before he leaves.”


“I’ll be there,” Julie stated.   “Janet, thanks for calling me.”


“No problem, Julie.  I know how much you care about him,” Janet replied.


Janet hung up the phone and sat at her desk, one problem solved, she thought, and one to go.  I sure hope Jamie agrees with this plan.




Lee entered the control room and saw Bobby had everything running smoothly.  Seaview sailed along at full speed and all departments were manned and in order; thankfully it was turning into a run of the mill day.   Lee made a tour of the control room and was sitting in the observation nose enjoying a cup of coffee when he heard Harry’s familiar steps on the staircase.  Harry walked over to Lee, who handed him a cup of coffee.


“Thanks, Lee,” Harry said as he took a gulp of the hot coffee.  “I called Angie; there are no problems at the institute and the new sensors have already arrived for the island.”


Lee finished his coffee and set his cup on the table, “Did you check with Zamkor Industries?”


Smirking Harry replied, “Yes, the boat made it back to Florida safely with a very ill Ivan on board.”


Lee looked at Harry and could barely contain a smile, “You know I would never wish an illness on anyone but I guess he got his just rewards seeing we can’t prove he contaminated the crate.”


Both men stood up, Harry patted Lee on the back and quipped, “I think you’re right.  Let’s meet for dinner at 2000 hours.  I’m going to the lab to check on the experiments I’ve neglected while I was sick.”


“Yes, sir,” Lee replied and returned to the plotting table and stood next to Bobby while Harry went to the lab.




Lee met Harry, Jamie and Janet in the wardroom.  Jamie said Chip’s blood pressure was improving, he managed to eat breakfast but didn’t want any lunch or dinner and was resigned to the fact that he would have to go to Med Bay.  Janet sat there listening to the conversation and smiled.  Lee looked over at her and wondered why she was smiling.  He knew she was up to something.  He was also looking forward to their ‘date’ at 2100 hours.  He looked at his watch, it was 2030 hours.  When they finished up dinner, Lee and Janet went to Sick Bay to sit with Chip for a while.




Janet and Lee walked into Sick Bay and went over to Chip’s bunk.  He was laying there with his eyes closed but knew they were there. 


“I’m awake,” he said disgustedly and opened his eyes.  “I know I have to go to Med Bay.”


“It’s for the best bro,” Lee told him as he looked at his watch.  “You have to get better…I need you back in the Control Room…the other men are doing a great job but they’re not you.”


“If you stay in Med Bay for a couple of days, you’ll able to go home that much sooner,” Janet said trying to convince him it was the right thing to do.


“Now I know how Lee feels when he as to go to Med Bay,” Chip lamented.  “No offense to Jamie, but I hate being in there.”


“I know what you mean,” Lee said looking at his watch again.


“Lee, am I keeping you from something…a meeting with the admiral? You keep looking at your watch.”


“No,” Lee replied looking at Janet who understood that he wanted to stay a little longer with his best friend.


Chip caught the look Lee gave Janet, “Do you two have ‘plans’?” he asked with a grin knowing that they hadn’t had much time together since she was sick.  Before they could answer, Chip said yawning, “I’m tired.  You don’t have to watch me sleep.  You can go and take care of your ‘plans’.”


“Thanks, Chip,” Janet said giving him a kiss on the forehead. 


Lee squeezed his shoulder hoping one day his friend would be as happy as he was.  “Thanks buddy.”


After Lee and Janet left Sick Bay, Chip laid there thinking.  I hope I can make amends with Julie.  I really miss her.  He turned over and fell asleep.




As Lee and Janet hand and hand to their cabin.  When they reached the cabin, he opened the door, turned on the lights and let her go in first.  After shutting the door, he locked it…he didn’t want to be disturbed for the rest of the night.  Janet put her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest. 


“This feels so good,” she purred.


“I know,” he replied and hugged her tightly.


They got ready for bed not even bothering with pajamas.  Janet climbed in the bunk and waited for Lee as he turned off the lights.  Lee slid into bed and pulled her close letting his hands gently caress her body and then pulled her on top of him.


“Oh Lee,” she moaned in pleasure.


As they laid close together catching their breath, Lee kissed her forehead and asked, “Did I give you my full attention?”


“Yes, sir,” Janet said contently and snuggled closer to him nestling into the crook of his arm.  He put his arm around her and could tell by her breathing she had fallen asleep. 


He laid there for a few minutes before he nodded off.




Lee and Janet were up early as Lee wanted to be in the control room when they neared the channel.  While Janet got dressed he went to Chip’s cabin and got a uniform along with the rest of the items he would need.  When he returned to his cabin, Janet was just walking out the door.


“Sweetie, will you take these to Chip and tell him I’ll be by to help him as soon as we’re docked?  I need to check in with the control room.”


“Sure, Lee,” Janet replied and took the uniform and other items from him.


Lee headed the opposite direction and down the staircase to the control room while Janet went down the ladder to Sick Bay.  When she got there, Jamie was there helping Chip get out of the bunk.  After spending most of the week laying down, Jamie wanted to make sure Chip was steady on his feet before he would let him walk off the boat.  Janet watched as Chip took a few shaky steps before finally regaining his balance.  Janet hung the uniform from one of the other bunks.


“Lee will be down to help you get dressed as soon as we’re docked,” Janet told him.


“I can dress myself,” Chip said sharply.


Janet knew he was upset that he would have to go to Med Bay so she wasn’t offended by his tone.


“I’m sorry, Janet,” Chip apologized.  “It’s not your fault and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.  If I remember correctly this is same way this damn cruise started…me in a grumpy mood.”


Janet patted his hand, “Relax…don’t worry about it.  I’ll see you later,” she said warmly.


Jamie helped Chip get back into the bunk where he would stay until they were docked.  He would be the last to leave the boat as he didn’t want the men to see him. 


After Jamie made sure Chip was settled, Janet looked at Jamie and whispered, “I need to talk to you.”


The two of them walked over to Jamie’s office out of earshot of Chip and Janet told him what she had arranged for Chip.  Jamie smiled and shook his head in agreement.  “That will be the best medicine for him.”


Janet breathed a sigh of relief grateful that Jamie was on board with her plan.  “I’ll be back,” Janet told Jamie as she left Sick Bay for the control room.




The control room was very active when Janet arrived.  She walked past the consoles, plotting table where Lee and Bobby were working and into the nose where Harry was enjoying the view out windows.  He turned around when he heard her footsteps enter the nose. 


“I love looking out the windows especially when she surfaces,” he said as she poured a cup of coffee for him and herself.  It would have to hold her over until they docked and got Chip settled.  She noticed Lee had a cup so she didn’t need to bring him one.


“Me too,” Janet answered and at down at the table next to him.  


She listened to Lee give orders to the men and knew they were getting ready to enter the channel.  Since Seaview didn’t need any repairs, she wouldn’t need to go to the underground pen.   Lee ordered Bobby to surface the boat.   Seaview broached the surface just outside the channel. 


“Deck detail crack the hatches,” Lee said into the mic.


“Aye, aye, sir,” they replied as one of the men reported to the control room, climbed up the ladder and cracked the hatch.


“Mr. O’Brien how would you like to take her into the channel and dock her?” Lee asked.  Bobby had docked her only one other time and did fairly well but needed more experience so with Chip unavailable Lee would give Bobby another shot at it. 


“Yes, sir,” he replied nervously.


Lee smiled at his nervousness but knew he would do a good job.  He needed another officer in the control room.  Even though Harry was available, he wanted to give Sparks some more control room experience too.  He walked over to the radio shack.


“Sparks, I’m going to need you to man the control room while Mr. O’Brien and I are on the bridge.  There shouldn’t be any problems but just in case the admiral is in the nose.”


“Aye, sir,” he answered and removed his head phones and followed Lee to the plotting table. 


Harry listened as Lee talked to O’Brien and Sparks.  Smiling he nodded his head when Lee looked over at him.  He knew Lee wanted to give O’Brien more experience at docking Seaview and Sparks more time in the control room. 


Lee and O’Brien went up the ladder to the bridge.  Both men took a deep breath of fresh air before they entered the channel.  Lee watched as Bobby directed Seaview slowly into to the channel and to her sub pen.  He had no problems docking her.  Once in her pen, Lee grinned as he saw Bobby let out a deep breath.


“Nice job, Bobby,” Lee said patting him on the back.  Bobby called the control room and ordered the deck detail out on the deck so they could tie her down.  They pulled out the lines and tossed them to the dock hands.  After she was tied down, the dock detail put out the gangway.  The two men went down the ladder into the control room where the men were shutting down their consoles and equipment. 


Picking up the mic Lee addressed his crew, “Attention all hands, this is the Captain.  Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty when we were short-handed.  I’m proud of all of you.  Enjoy your shore leave.”  Lee stowed the mic and looked over at the admiral who smiling.  He had hand-picked most of these men and knew they would do anything for each other and their captain.  


Harry and Janet made their way over to the plotting table while Lee and Bobby stood at the bottom of the ladder saying good bye to the crew as they left the boat.  Sharkey, Kowalski and Riley were the last men to leave the boat. 


“Thanks men,” Lee said.  “Since we have no missions scheduled, I hope you can go on your camping trip.”


“I’m going to set it up as soon as I get home,” Sharkey told them and followed Ski and Riley up the ladder.


Bobby and Scott were the last officers on the boat.  Lee stopped them before they made their way up the ladder.  “A big thank you to both of you.  I’m very grateful you took on the additional responsibility of keeping Seaview running when we were under-staffed.  I’ll make sure to note it in your file.”


“No problem, Skipper.  Say good bye to Mr. Morton for us,” Scott said as he climbed up the ladder.


“Bobby, my offer still stands if you need to get away,” Lee said laughing.


“Thank you, sir.  I’ll let you know if I need a break,” Bobby said with a grin and made his way up the ladder.


“What was that about?” Harry asked.   Lee explained that he offered to take Bobby with him back to Airenob Island if he needed a break from his in-laws.  Janet stared at Lee and shook her head. 


“Now that everyone is gone, I’m going to help Chip get dressed and go with him to Med Bay,” Lee told Harry and Janet.


“I’ll meet you on the dock,” Harry said, “I’ve got to get some items from my office before I leave.”


“I’ll meet you in Sick Bay,” Janet stated, “I’ll get our things along with Chip’s to take off the boat.”


“Okay, sweetie.  Just leave them in the control room and I’ll have the dock detail take them to the car.”


Lee went out the aft hatch to Sick Bay while Harry and Janet went up the staircase to their cabins.  Chip didn’t have too much to bring back as he barely got anything unpacked before he got sick.  She grabbed her box of work, Lee’s briefcase along with their duffle bags.  She made two trips down to the control room before she went to Sick Bay.  She wanted to give Lee time to help Chip get dressed.  When she entered, Jamie and Lee had Chip dressed but he looked pretty wiped out just from the exertion of getting ready.


“All set, Chip?” Lee asked anxiously.   He could tell Chip was in no condition to be alone and was glad he agreed to go to Med Bay.


“Let’s go,” Chip replied and slowly made his way down the passageway leaning on Lee all the way.  Janet and Jamie walked behind them just in case Lee needed help.  


Once in the control room, Janet and Jamie went up the ladder before Chip and Lee.  They waited on the quarterdeck for them. Harry was already there waiting for them with a grin on his face.


Chip slowly made his way up the ladder with Lee following close behind him just in case he fell.  He had to stop once before he made it to the top.  He went out the sail door and onto the deck and stopped to catch his breath.  He looked down the gangway and was surprised to see Julie waiting there for him.




Julie stood at the bottom of the gangway and looked at Chip.  He was pale, gaunt, and unsteady on his feet.  Janet was right, he did look very sick. She looked over to Janet who nodded her head.  Lee watched his wife and wondered what she had done. 


“What are you doing here?” Chip asked excited to see her as she ran up the gangway to greet him.


“Janet called me and told me how sick you were.  Dr. Jamieson has agreed to let me take care of you instead of going to Med Bay.  I’m taking off as much time as you need until you’re well,” Julie replied as she kissed his cheek.  He feels warm, she thought.


“You don’t have to do that,” Chip said quietly.


“Oh yes, I do, Mr. Morton.  Isn’t that what wives do for the husbands.  I know I’m not your wife yet but if you still want me, I’ll marry you,” Julie answered as she took a ring box out of her purse.  “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”


Chip took the ring box from her, opened it up, took out the ring and put it on her finger.  “There’s nothing to forgive,” Chip told her as he hugged and kissed her in front of all of them.


“Uhm,” Jamie cleared his throat.  “I think Chip needs to get home and into bed.  I’ll meet you over there and give you some instructions for his care.”


“Thank you Dr. Jamieson for letting me look after him,” Julie said with tears in her eyes. 


Lee walked Chip down to Julie’s car which was parked on the dock so he wouldn’t have to walk to the parking lot.  Before he got into the car he gave Janet a kiss on the cheek and whispered in her ear, “Thank you.”


Janet returned his kiss and whispered back, “No problem…you just better do what she says.”


Lee helped him into the front seat as Julie climbed into the driver’s seat and slowly pulled away from the dock.


Harry and Lee looked at Janet and Jamie.  Lee spoke up, “Who’s idea was that?”


“Mine,” Janet admitted, “but Jamie agreed to it after I set it up.”


“It was a great idea,” Lee said winking at Janet, “I wish I had thought of it.”


“I better get over there and make sure he’s settled and tell Julie what to do.  I’m sure he’s going to get better a lot quicker with her taking care of him,” Jamie chuckled.


“We’ll stop by later on,” Lee told Jamie.


Harry looked at Janet, “Good thinking, my dear.   Lee, take the rest of the day off and we’ll meet tomorrow to decide if we want to take over the re-stocking mission as well as when you’ll need to take out the sensors.”


“Yes sir,” Lee answered, “provided you’re going home too.  You look a little tired.”


“I’m heading directly home.  Have a good day,” Harry said.  “Jamie, I’ll walk with you to the car.”


Jamie and Harry walked down the dock to the parking lot as Lee and Janet stood on the dock.  The dock detail was just bringing their gear up from the sub.  Lee handed them his keys so they could stow their gear for them.  


He looked at Janet, “Why didn’t you tell us what you had planned?”


“Sorry honey, I wasn’t sure Jamie would go for it so I didn’t want to get Chip’s hopes up that it would happen.”


 He gave her a quick kiss, “I just need to talk to the dock detail before we can leave.”


Lee walked over to the dock detail and explained to them about the crate and what he wanted them to do with it.  They assured him it would be taken care of before maintenance arrived to clean the boat.  As he finished up with them, Evan, the head of maintenance, arrived and walked over to Lee.


“Welcome back, Captain,” he greeted Lee.  “I understand there was an infection on board.”


“Yes, Evan. As soon as they get the crate off the boat, I want her cleaned from top to bottom…all decks.  Make sure you wear protective gear as I don’t want anyone getting sick,” Lee told him.


“Yes sir, I’ll make sure it’s taken care off,” Evan replied.


As Lee talked to the dock detail and Evan, Janet stood by looking at the boat as she bobbed gently in the sub pen. 


When Lee finished giving out his instructions, he grabbed her hand and said, “Let’s go home.”


They walked hand in hand to the parking lot where they got in the car and drove home.



The End.




Author’s notes and credits:


*Dr. Guy Harlan is a fictional name


**Information taken from an article “NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event” dated October 8,


*** Information taken from an article in the Chicago Tribune dated March 25th, 2016.





Building laboratories to watch the temperatures of the ocean is a fictional idea for this story and entertainment purposes only.   NOAA uses satellite data from their Coral Reef Watch program which provides current reef environmental conditions to quickly identity areas at risk for coral bleaching.  


Non-menstrual toxic shock syndrome and STSS occur in males and females of all age groups and are usually associated with localized or systemic infections.  Strangely enough, it has been found that the majority of cases are in healthy persons aged between 20 to 50 years.  STSS usually develops from a streptococcal soft-tissue infection.



Thank you Christy for your help and suggestions as I really do appreciate them.