The Reminder


Anna Geddes

The officers of the Seaview had been sitting down to a meeting about their next mission when the call came through

"Admiral," Angie called, "Donna has just gone into labor. She is asking for all of you."

Lee and Harry made it to the door at the same time and ran into each other. Chip was waiting impatiently for them to get through so that he could get out. Lee stood aside and let Harry through and they rushed for an institute car.

"Wait," Lee said, "is she still at home or on her way in the ambulance?" he ran back in to ask Angie.

"She is at her home waiting for you, three, to get to her and take her to the hospital."

Lee ran out and they drove as fast as the speed limit would allow to Donna's house. They arrived and Chip picked up her suitcase and went back to the car. "Let's go," he said.

"I think we need Donna first." Harry was helping Donna get down the front steps into the car. In her very large state, he was being exceedingly gentle with her. They rushed off to the hospital as fast as the car would take them. This time they didn't worry about speed limits as Donna moaned and puffed in the back of the car.

Harry thought back to when he had first noticed Donna Carson. She had been in the secretarial pool. She was very hard working and conscientious. She quickly became a favourite with the men. When ever Angie was on leave, or doing an assignment for Harry, he would ask for Donna, as she was quick and efficient.

A month later, Dr. Roger Morris joined the team at the institute. Dr. Morris, Roger as he preferred to be called, was a leading biochemist and had an excellent record in marine biology. He was handsome and a favourite of the ladies.

It was at this time that Donna's work began slipping. She seemed absent-minded and day dreamy. Roger, too, began to act like the absent-minded professor. Harry worried about it at the time, but one night when he was working late, he noticed Roger and Donna holding hands and walking in the moonlight. Even from as far away as he was, he could tell they were very much in love.

Six months later, Donna came to Harry and asked him if he would give her away. She had no family in California, and her parents were too elderly to make it, so Harry agreed to walk her down the aisle.

She was a vision in white lace. Roger wore a dark business suit and they made a very handsome couple. At the reception, Harry replied that he was offering Roger a permanent place at the institute so they could keep Donna. That raised a laugh because everyone knew that Roger had become good friends with Lee and Chip. Roger had become a valuable member of the team.

In August, Donna told Angie that she was pregnant. Word soon spread around the building with everyone so happy about the new baby at the institute. Harry promised them that he would give the baby something extra special from him. Roger asked him if he would be one of the child's godparents. He blushed and accepted eagerly.

In September, Harry was asked to go to New York for a conference. It would have been Roger's place to go, but Harry decided to let him stay with his new wife. Roger would have none of it.

"This might be the only night I will ever have to myself once the baby is born," Roger joked.

"You don't know what will happen once it comes. You'll be up every night, getting a bottle, changing diapers, walking the floor," Lee said. "Enjoy the time away while you can."

"It's all right for you, you're still a bachelor," Roger said. "Anyway, I'll go. And I'll bring back something special for the baby. Take care of Donna until I get back, Admiral. You, too, Lee and Chip. I won't be long."

Roger was still away when the news came in. One of the employees had come in late and told her boss to put on the radio. Soon the word spread like wildfire through the entire building. Harry put on the TV and saw the pictures of the plane hitting the tower again and again, throughout the day. He watched as the plane hit the pentagon and saw the footage of the plane hitting Pennsylvania.

Harry called the officials in Washington and New York and offered any help that he could. He organised a blood drive. There were so many people desperate to give blood that the services worked night and day. Supplies were sent over to Washington and New York. Harry was so busy that he forgot all about Roger until Donna walked in.

"Please, Admiral, I know you are very very busy, but is there any word on Roger?"

"I am sorry, Donna, sit down in this chair, you don't look good. There is no way to get a hold of any one over there who can tell us. I promise you as soon as I know, I will tell you."

"He was in a room right across from the towers. What if?"

"Don't worry, I will try my best to find out. Katie, " he called, "take Donna to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. I will come down personally as soon as I hear."

Lee came in and watched. Chip followed. Both men were thinking about Roger. Some of the other crewmen had family in New York. There were already at least 20 people calling the institute to find out if there was any news.

Angie gave out the same news whenever she could. "We will post a list of people who are confirmed dead and a list of people who are confirmed in the hospital. Please leave the name and address of the relative you are concerned about and we will do our best to find out, but the situation is chaotic."

All night, Harry, Lee and Chip stayed at the Institute, working on lists of people they had received from New York and Washington.

All night they worked hard on sending out supplies and helping in any way possible. During the night, Harry got a call that Senator Tom Washburn; a friend of Harry's had been killed when the plane hit the Pentagon.

Katie had driven Donna home and made dinner for her. She got her to lie down and promised to stay by the phone. Katie had just started to rest her head when the phone rang.


"No, Admiral, I am staying with Donna, just in case," Katie replied.

"Good. I am coming right over. Doc Jameson is with me. Can you wake Donna and have her ready?"

"Of course." Katie put down the phone and went into Donna's room and woke her gently. She sat up and they went through and made coffee as they waited for the men to come.

Harry took off his cap and entered the house. Doc Jameson followed and cast a professional eye on Donna. She looked stressed, tired, but otherwise well.

They all sat down in the living room. Harry put his cap on the coffee table. "I don't know how to tell you this, Donna. We just received word from New York. When the towers were hit, the impact destroyed other buildings in the area. One of those was the building Tom was working in. They, um, they found his body. He had been sheltering a woman. They had been trying to get away when the building they were in burst into flames. He was trying to protect her. He died a hero. "

Donna crumpled. Doc went to her and brought her round. "I don't like her color, Admiral, I want to get her into the hospital right away."

Harry and Will Jameson put her into the car and sped to the hospital. She was issued a room immediately. The next day, it was feared she'd miscarry the baby. The entire NIMR staff was worried. The baby was all she had left of Roger. Surely everything would be all right.

Night after night, Jameson kept an eye on her. Technically he was supposed to look after the Seaview crew but he was worried about her. He didn't mind spending every minute at the hospital just in case.

Harry, Lee and Chip all came round. She wasn't allowed visitors, but they sent in gifts. Harry told her not to worry. The house was hers. He was giving it to her. Eventually, things improved. She was released from the hospital and told to stay at home until the baby came. Everyone in the area accepted her as part of the family. They all kept an eye on her.

There was a memorial service for Roger. Donna looked so thin and so scared. She twisted the funeral card in her hand as the service went on. She seemed to be coping well. But she seemed detached to any of it. Later she said to Angie, "I kept remembering the service so I could describe it to Roger when he came back from New York." It just didn't seem real to her, yet.

A month later, Angie saw Donna working in the office. Her boss said she didn't seem to be able to concentrate. She had tear streaks on her face all the time and she obviously wasn't sleeping right. Dr. Jameson prescribed a sleeping table that wouldn't hurt the baby, but she was scared to take it. She had been through a lot with this pregnancy. She wanted this baby so badly because it would always remind her of the love she and Roger had shared. But she couldn't continue to work because she became more absent-minded. She would start a project and then suddenly she would forget what she was doing. Harry suggested that she just stay at home to get ready for the baby.

Harry got a call. "How could you have sent Roger to New York? What were you thinking of? Why didn't you send me instead?" Donna was weeping uncontrollably.

"Donna," Harry said gently, "I sent him because he wanted to go. He said he wanted one last trip before the baby came, remember? I couldn't have sent you, you are pregnant."

He went to her home and made a cup of coffee for her and let her weep until she was exhausted.

Harry cleaned up the house. Donna had become so upset, that she'd been unable to keep her mind on anything. He found an article on Bin Laden with the picture torn into tiny fragments. Another article with a picture was covered with a pen scribbling all over it. He had heard her talking about the attack in the supermarket. She hated Bin Laden with a passion, but it was only normal under the circumstances. He saw a photo of Roger, and put it in prominent place on top of the TV so she could see it when she awoke. He felt so helpless. He had sent Roger to New York not knowing what would happen. He vowed to do everything he could to help Donna. But he knew in his heart that she had to get over this herself. She would have to work her way through the grieving process.

The other wives came round and talked to her. So many of them stayed the nights making sure that she slept and didn't need anything. She was part of the Institute family. They all understood how she felt. There was a great deal of hatred for the terrorists who could cause such pain and suffering.

Harry took Donna into the hospital. She smiled her thanks and Harry, Lee and Chip paced. Hour after hour went by. They waited patiently for news. The nurse came in and suggested that as this was a first pregnancy they should go home and wait for news. Besides, she added, it didn't take all three of them to wait. They all went home. Finally the phone rang at Harry's home. Donna had a little boy. She had decided to name him Roger.

Harry called Lee and Chip and raced to the hospital. As he saw the little bundle of joy smile, he vowed that when this child grew up, he would never have to worry about terrorism while he lived.

Later Harry went to visit Donna at home. The child was sleeping in his cradle in the bedroom. Donna invited Harry to have a look at him. "He will always be a reminder of my love for Roger."

"To me, he will always be a reminder of how fragile democracy is and our never ending fight to protect it."