Lou Ann Steele
Even though he was wearing a parka and gloves, the freezing cold air bit into his skin and made his eyes water and ache as it rushed by his face and his body. The Conning Tower gave him partial protection from the icy onslaught, but not by much. He looked out into the night sky and black ocean and wondered how the seamen from the past could stand watch in this weather with no protection for their eyes. For a couple of minutes, he imagined himself standing watch in the Crowís Nest looking down into the water for icebergs like they had on the Titanic. Without the moon shining down on to the sea, there would be nothing to be see except the black sea, white curves the waves and the stars shining above. It would also be nearly impossible to keep watch on a ship that was moving at a fast speed. No wonder the damn ship sunk, he thought to himself.
A hand fell on to his shoulder to get his attention. He turned slightly to see Lee Crane had joined him.
"Why are you up here? You may not have noticed but you are freezing your butt off " Lee spoke affectionately into Chipís ear.
Chip smiled back at his friend not knowing if Lee could see his face. "Believe it or not. I came up for some fresh air before going to bed." He answered back into Leeís ear. "Has the Admiral given you our new orders yet?"
"He said he would give it to us tomorrow morning. You need to hit the sack. We are going to have a long day tomorrow."
"Aye, sir, on my way now, " Chip said as he slapped Lee on the arm and made his way down the ladder into the warmth of the ship with Lee following right behind him.
Fifteen minutes later, Chip wearily crawled into his bunk for the night and turned off the overhead light above his head. After several minutes of tossing and turning, he finally found the right lying position and fell into a deep sleep.
As he slept, a young woman with long red hair appeared at his bedside with a small boy in a sailor suit clutching her long blue skirt. The little boy asked, "Kat, man help us?" He grabbed her leg and hid behind her as he saw the manís eyes open.
Chip woke up feeling someone watching him. Without turning the lights on, he rolled over and looked around the dark room. "Whoís there?" he asked impatiently. He reached up and turned on his overhead light over his bunk. The light temporarily blinded him for a couple of seconds. When his eyes adjusted, he looked around his quarters and found that there was no one there. Weird, Chip thought to himself as he turned off the lights and went back to sleep.
"Heíll do just find, me Lad. If we can convince him to help us, the others will listen to him. Now come along itís time for us to rest. Tomorrow will be a busy time for us," she said as the pair vanished.
Next morning, Admiral Nelson called Captain Crane and Lt. Commander Morton over the intercom and asked them to come to the Observation Nose for a briefing. When both men showed up together, by way of the Control Room, they found Admiral Nelson and his visitor, James Von Hoyt III pouring over the map on the conference table.
"Come in LeeÖChip and close the door behind you," Nelson said straightening up and turned toward them.
Chip hit the switch and waited until the door was fully closed before joining everyone at the table.
"LeeÖChip, this is Mr. James Von Hoyt III from the National Underwater Research Agency. Mr. Von Hoyt, this is Captain Lee Crane and my second in command Lt. Commander Morton."
"How do you do?" Lee shook the visitorís hand.
Chip nodded his head toward the visitor in a silent hello.
"Everyone take a seat and weíll get on with the briefing," Nelson gestured with his hand toward the conference table.
Lee and Chip went over and sat down at the table as Admiral Nelson and Mr. Von Hoyt moved over to the slide projector. Nelson hit the light off and Mr. Von Hoyt started the lecture.
"December 5,1910 a ship named the Wayfarer was sunk off the coast of Iceland. It was a large yacht with twenty-five passengers and crew. It was traveling from Holland to New York carrying some museum art treasures that were meant for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C."
He put a black and white photo of the ship on the overhead. "The ship was owned by my great grandfather, James Von Hoyt and its captain was Captain Dwight Harrison. No one knows for sure what made the ship sink. Some think it was an iceberg sitting just under the water and not seen by the lookouts. Others thought they felt and heard an explosion before the ship started sinking. Everyone was saved except my great grandfatherís son and the Irish girl he had hired as his sonís nanny. He had thought they had gotten to one of the life boats and wouldíve been eventually picked up, but they were never found.
He took the shipís photo off and put a map of the waters off of Iceland in its place. "The project is to find the ship, document her location, get as many photos as we can for study, discover what made her sink and see if the museum objects can be recovered. The ship is lying too deep and the water is too cold for normal scuba diving. We will be using your Flying Sub and a special ROV miniature submarine to go down to the wreck and take photos of what is inside of it. The special sub has strong lights on the front of it, a camera and arms to pick up items. It will be launched and controlled by me and your Seaman Patterson from your Missile Room. The sub is already in the Missile Room and tomorrow I will have the remote control equipment set up and working." Von Hoyt pointed toward the map on the wall. "She went down somewhere in this area. Iím afraid itís only approximate, but it was logged by the rescue ship when she answered the distress call." He circled an area on the map. "We have a week's deadline."
"Sounds simple enough," Lee admitted aloud.
"Chip, I want you to set this course," Nelson walked up to where Chip was sitting and handed him a piece of paper with the course heading. "Take us down to eight hundred feet. All ahead two thirds."
"Aye, sir. I will get right on it." Chip got up from his seat and went over to metal door, opened it up so that he could enter the Control Room and then closed door behind him.
"No, not at the moment," Lee answered.
"Then that will be all," Nelson stated.
Lee stood up and left the Observation Nose for the Control Room leaving the accordian door totally open now that the briefing was over. He went over to Seaman Kowalski, who was sitting at sonar and lightly tapped him on his shoulder. Ski looked up.
"Ski, if you pick up anything that may be a wreck, sing out. And pass that on to your relief."
"What kind of ship are we looking for?" Ski inquired.
"A large yacht."
"Aye, sir," Ski said as he returned his attention back to his screen.
The rest of the day was relatively quiet. Admiral Nelson had ordered a couple of course changes as the Seaview started her search the ocean floor in grid patterns.
Next morning, Lee walked into the Control Room and spotted a pale Chip standing over the plotting table working on some figures. He walked up and looked with concern into Chipís face. "Are you okay?"
Chip acted slightly surprised. "Why, donít I look all right?"
"No, you look pale and there are shadows under your eyes," Lee answered back honestly.
Chip then remembered the dream he had. "Oh, I had trouble sleeping last night. I woke up feeling tired. Nothing to worry about." He replied brushing off the situation. "We are still searching in grids this morning. We are now right here on the chart," Chip pointed on the map.
"No sonar contact yet?"
"None so far," Chip replied.
"Well, carry on. I am going to the Missile Room and check on the things there."
Chip nodded and pretended to return to his calculations as Lee turned around and left the room. The nightmare from last night came back to haunt him through his memoryÖ.
He had dreamed he was on a large yacht. Everyone was dressed in Victorian clothes. He saw himself as a young woman dressed in a white shirt and long blue skirt that was floor length. A man had hired him to be a nanny to a three year old male child. The wife of this man didnít like Chip and was verbally abusive. He then found himself locked in a room where the water was rising. He was holding the child in one arm as he kicked and hit the door yelling to the top of his lungs for help. No one came. He then felt the water rising above his head. He knew he was drowning. He started coughing and choking and abruptly woke up in his bunk gasping for air. He realized he had been dreaming and slowly got his body and mind to calm down and tried to fall back to sleepÖ.
Brought back to the present, Kowalski yelled out, "Mr. Morton, we have a metal contact- bearing straight ahead."
Chip was immediately over Kowalskiís shoulder looking down on the scope. "Letís check it out." He walked over to the periscope island, grabbed the mike and clicked it. "Engine Room slow to one third."
"Engine Room one third aye," replied the voice over the intercom.
" Turn on nose camera," Chip ordered as he placed the mike back in its hanger and walked up to where Kowalski was sitting. .
Seaman Riley, who was manning radar, reached over and turned on the nose camera. At first there was nothing to see except the ocean floor and fish swimming by. Then a few more minutes later, they saw a debris field of coal, miscellaneous items and metal parts laying a trail to the body of the wreckage.
Chip returned to the periscope island, grabbed the mike again and clicked it. "Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane please report to the Control Room."
Nelson immediately replied back. "This is Nelson, Chip. What do you have?"
"We are right on top of a debris field and following the trail to the wreck site." Chip stated as he continued to watch the camera screen.
"Weíll be right there," Nelson cut off.
Chip saw the main body of the wreck slowly approaching from the camera screen and clicked the mike again. "Engine room all stop!"
A voice over the intercom answered with "All stop, aye."
The Seaview came to stop a few yards away from the wreck. It was lying on itís side.
By the time Nelson, Lee and Von Hoyt entered the Control Room, Chip had turned on both large and small camera television screens. All four men hovered around the largest screen.
"Is she the Wayfarer?" Lee asked.
"Sheís the right size and design. This the area where she went down and by her appearance she's from the right time period. She doesnít look in too bad of shape considering how long she has been resting on the bottom." Von Hoyt said. "To be absolutely sure, I want to use the ROV first thing tomorrow morning to take a closer look and try to verify her name."
"We will stay in this position tonight and weíll start first thing in the morning as soon as youíre ready," Nelson addressed Von Hoyt.
Lee turned to Chip. "Chip, is the Flying Sub ready?"
Chip nodded. "Yes everything is ready. Patterson has installed the special camera as ordered."
"Well, if anyone wants me, I will be in the Missile Room," Von Hoyt turned around and departed the Control Room.
"Iíll be in my quarters if you need me,"said Nelson. Weíll start this project as soon as Von Hoyt has his ROV and equipment up and running." Nelson left the Control Room via the spiral staircase.
"I am ready to relieve you, Chip," said Lt. OíBrien who had come up behind Lee and Chip and was looking curiously at the television camera. "Is that our wreck?"
"We donít know for sure yet. We will be sending out the ROV tomorrow to find the name of the ship. Keep us in this position tonight until further notice. Any problems, call me," Lee said to OíBrien. He then turned to Chip. "And you go straight to bed. You still look too pale and tired."
"Aye, sir," Chip was feeling drained all of the sudden. Probably coming down with a cold, he thought to himself. "On my way now. Mr. OíBrien you have the conn."
A couple of hours later, Chip woke up feeling extremely cold and he sensed someone was watching him again. He turned over and looked right into the face of a young woman. She was actually glowing with her own light and he could see through her body. She was standing next to his bed looking down at him. She was dressed in an old fashioned floor length long white dress with a high collar. From what he could see of her, she appeared to be her early 20ís with wavy long hair that flowed down her back. She appeared to be about 5í8" in height. Her image swayed a little from side to side as if she was floating on air.
"I need your help," She rubbed her hands in front of her displaying her nervousness.
Chip sat up. "Who are you? How did you get on board this ship?"
"Katherine Francis Kennedy." The woman raised her hands beseechingly toward his direction. "I need your help. Please help me!"
"Iím listening," Chip said cautiously as he placed his hand within reach of the mike.
"You must bring the truth to light." The image faded in and out like she was having a hard time keeping herself visible.
"What truth is that?" Chip then saw a little boy from his dream dashed into his quarters through the bulkhead terrified, running up to the other image, grabbing her around one of her legs with one arm as he looked up at the woman.
"I told you to wait outside," Katherine said sternly to the boy.
"I scareded," the child replied with his eyes wide in terror. "Stay with you, Kat," he pleaded. "I be good."
"All right you can stay, but you must be quiet and be on your best behavior while I talk to this man," she replied giving him a stern look.
"Kay," he nodded solemnly and stood beside her gazing at Chip with sad soulful eyes as he reached up and held on to one of the girlís hands.
"The night the Wayfarer sank myself and this child, who I was caring for, were deliberately murdered."
"You are the woman who was missing after the ship had sunk?" Chip was having a hard time dealing with this situation. Normally it was the Admiral or Lee who dealt one on one with ghosts. Now it seemed that it was his turn.
"We werenít missed by our murderer."
"What proof do you have that you were murdered?"
"My cabin door was locked from the outside when we were about to leave our cabin to go on deck to the life boats. I heard the key turn in the lock. We were deliberately left to die," she said angrily as she and the child faded in and out of Chipís view.
"Do you know who locked you in?"
"Yes, I know. It was Mrs. Von Hoyt." The female ghost stated as she physically comforted the child who started fretting as soon as he heard that name.
"Why would she want to kill you and the child?" Chip said in surprised disbelief as the details of his dream came back to him. He now realized that he had dreamed of the events that lead to her death.
"Mrs. Von Hoyt was not Tobyís mother. Her husband never married this childís mother who had been his mistress. Mr. Von Hoyt only took responsibility for the child after the wee barnís mother died , but never legally claimed Toby. Two weeks before the voyage, Mr. Von Hoyt being concerned about having an heir, decided to legally proclaim his son as his heir. He told his wife that when they returned to the states he was going to see a lawyer. She knew any child that she and her husband would have would come in second in line after Toby. She had always openly hated this child and hit him when she could get away with it. Toby was a reminded her of husbandís messing about and she was very determined to make sure only her children would inherit. "
The ghosts took a couple of more steps closer to the bunk and Chip began to feel even colder.
"The night the ship sank, one of the crewman banged on my door and told me to gather the child and make my way up to the lifeboats as fast as I could. As I picked him up from the bed, I turned to see Mrs. Von Hoyt at our open door way. She closed the door and locked it. I banged and screamed at the door, but the explosions and sirens from the ship were louder than I was and no one heard me. The advantage of being dead is that you are allowed to know the facts leading to your death as well as what happened after. Mr. Von Hoyt as well as everyone else thought we had already gotten to a boat. After the boat sank and the survivors were rescued, they discovered that we were missing. Mrs. Von Hoyt kept telling everyone that she saw us get into a lifeboat so it was believed that we were lost at sea. "
"If this is all true, what do you want from me?"
"When you go down to the ship, I want you to retrieve our bones and bring the truth out into the open."
The little boy climbed on to Chipís bunk and sat down with his legs crossed in an Indian fashion by his feet. The boy seemed to be fascinated by Chip. He stared at Chip like he never saw a man before.
"Why is the kid staring at me like he is?" Chip asked feeling uncomfortable by the youngest ghostís interest.
"He hasnít seen a man in years and his father never had much to do with him while he was alive. So you might say he is starved for masculine attention. He has only had me to keep him company." She patted the little boyís head with affection before continuing, "The truth must come out or we will not be free to leave this plane of existence. We also need a Christian burial."
He snorted and stated sarcastically, "You donít ask for much do you? Somehow I have to convince the Admiral that there had been a murder committed on board the ship, produce the evidence while this Von Hoyt is in full control of the retrireview operation, then see that the findings are made public while this guy will probably do everything he can to stop to it from happening. Oh, yeah, I also have to ask for your bones to have a Christian burial when Von Hoyt will probably want them for research. Technically your bones will be his property to do whatever he wants to do with them. And when the Admiral asks me where I got my information, I have nothing to tell him except that Iíve been visited by two ghosts who were there. Have I forgotten anything?"
"Yes, that is about it. That is exactly what we need for you to do," she answered, deliberately ignoring his sarcasm.
"Why not approach the Admiral or the Skipper with this? I am only the second in command," Chip argued.
"Iíve seen that you are the most level headed man on this ship and the most respected. You commands and judgment calls are never questioned. Your admiral and captain will listen to you."
"Yeah, theyíll listen." Chip then pictured himself wrapped up in a straight jacket and restrained in a Sick Bay. "Then I will find myself in restraints in the Sick Bay," Chip sighed. "Okay, Iíll do it, but you had better be there to help me. If we find the bones, Iíll see that the Admiral knows the full story, but it will take more than my say-so to get this accomplished."
"Thank you," she said as she put her hand into the childís and she and the child faded away leaving the room in total darkness.
"Donít thank me yet," Chip growled under his breath as he noticed the room becoming warmer. He laid back down and pulled the blankets up over his shoulder. "How in the hell am I going to explain this to the Admiral and Lee?" He snuggled his face to his pillow and fell back into a deep sleep.
Next day, Mr. Von Hoyt had his equipment operating and had launched the ROV submarine through the Missile Room bay doors. Admiral Nelson stood over his shoulder as he watched the camera of the ROV display the ocean floor and then it slowly approach the main body of the wreck.
Von Hoyt continued to move the joy stick that manipulated the ROV submarineís movement. Forty minutes later, the ROV caught the lettering on the bow of the ship. Very faint, but still there in between the rust and other sea damage that cling to the metal hull. The WY FR was still visible.
"We have the right ship. This has to be the Wayfarer!" Von Hoyt said, excited. "I have been filming everything we have seen so far. So I am going to take the ROV over the exterior of the ship and over the ocean floor to record the appearance of the debris field. Can you keep Seaview at this position for at least three to four more hours?"
"Shouldnít be a problem," Nelson said as he walked over to the mike and clicked it. "Control Room, this is Admiral Nelson."
"Morton here, Admiral," Chipís voice filled the Missile Room.
"Can you hold this position for three or four hours more?" Nelson asked.
"It shouldnít be a problem. The sea is pretty quiet right now."
"Good, then hold this position until you are told differently. Von Hoyt is taking pictures from his ROV and needs that long to do the job he needs to do today."
"Aye, sir," Chip hung up the mike and turned to the helmsmen. "Helm, hold her steady."
Both men simply nodded and kept their eyes on their gauges. Chip felt the room suddenly become colder. He walked over to the room temperature gage, but it was still at normal room temperature.
"Is there something wrong with the air conditioner, Mr. Morton? Itís getting cold in here." Kowalski asked as he looked up at Chip from his sonar station.
"According to the room temperature gage everything is fine," Chip answered as he stepped away from the thermometer. He looked toward the Observation Nose and spotted the reason for the coldness in the room.
The girl was standing there observing what was happening in the room. She looked almost solid this time as she looked around the room curiously.
"If anyone needs me, I will be in the Observation Nose," Chip said distracted as he made his way to the ghost. As he came up to the table in the Nose, he pushed the button to close the accordian doors for privacy before speaking to his visitor. "What are you doing here? Can my men see you?" he asked her angrily.
"I wanted to see what was happening. And no the others canít see me, only you for the time being. They canít hear me either unless I wish it. What is this place?"
"This is the Observation Nose and on the other side of this metal door is the Control Room. The Control Room is where we control the movement of the ship," he answered as she went to the window and looked out into the sea.
"What a wondrous sight to behold. I never thought man could travel under the sea. There was a man named Jules Verne who wrote a book about a ship that could travel beneath the sea, but I never thought it could happen in real life." She looked out the window like a fascinated child.
"Where is the boy?" He'd noticed the little boy was not with her.
"Heís near by waiting for me to return. When will you be going into the wreck?" she turned to look at his face.
"Probably tomorrow. Right now they are taking photos of the outside of the ship and of the ocean floor around it. Are you going to be making it a habit of popping in and out of rooms?"
"Does my presence bother you?" she asked innocently.
"Yes," Chip gave her a stern look that would make a normal person squirm.
She gave him one of her own stern stares in return. "Tough cookies, bozo. I will come and go as I please. I have a ninety years to catch up on." She put her hands on her hips and raised her chin up in defiance, "And someone has to hang around and make sure you keep to your promise."
"Where in the devil did you pick up tough cookies, bozo?" Chip asked almost breaking into a smile. He was starting to find her amusing even though she was being a pain at the same time.
"I overheard someone named Riley say that to another man. Did I not say it correctly?" Katherine replied.
"If you are repeating something Riley said, you probably said it correctly," he admitted trying to keep from smiling. Getting back on the subject he said, "Iíll keep you up to date on our progress. I suggest you get back to the child so I can get back to work."
"Who are you talking to Chip?" Leeís voice asked behind him.
Damn! Chip thought angrily. Lee would have to show up like that. He hadn't even heard Lee descend the spiral stairs. He took a fast glance at his ghostly visitor who was smiling at his discomfort.
"I think Iíll go find the boy, " Katherine said laughingly as she disappeared from his sight.
Thanks heaps, he thought sarcastically trying to think of a fast way to get out of this situation.
"Chip are you okay?" Lee asked concerned as he came to stand beside his friend and peered into his friendís face.
Chip tried to give him an innocent grin. "Why shouldnít I be okay?"
"When I came in, you were talking to someone," Lee said getting back to the original subject.
"Just talking out loud," Chip said with a smile.
"Since when have you started talking to yourself? We have been friends for years as well as room mates and not once have I heard you talk to yourself."
"You mean you never caught me talking to myself, " Chip then motioned on the chart in front of him. "We are presently holding our position here." He pointed to the map to try to get Lee of the subject. "Von Hoyt is taking pictures of the outside of the ship and the debris field right now with the ROV."
"Good. Any problems?" Lee asked.
"Not a the present. Everything seems to be running smoothly," Chip answered.
"Okay, then carry on," Lee patted Chip on the shoulder and made his way out of the Observation Nose to the Control Room.
Chip waited until Lee was out of hearing before letting out a gush of wind. Damn ghosts.
Little Tobias (Toby) Stewart got bored being alone. Kat had only been gone for a few minutes but for him it seem to be hours. She had ordered him to stay right there in the storage room, but he was only three and had a three minute attention span. This place they were in was full of people and places to investigate and he was going to explore. So he walked out of the storage area and made his way through the ship occasionally walking through crewmen. He walked into the first door that was open which was the Crewís Mess and found it empty, so he walked into the small galley and found toys to play with. It had been a long time since he got to play with toys. He grabbed an empty pot and a spoon and proceeded to bang the spoon on the bottom of the pot creating a lot of noise that was heard down the corridor. After a few minutes he got tired of playing with the pot and got up from the floor and investigated the preparation table.
Cookie had left a large chocolate cake with fudge icing on the preparation table. Toby crawled up on a chair and found it. With a big grin on his face, chocolate was his favorite cake, put his hands into the cake then proceed to put some of the cake into his mouth and the rest landed on his face, on his clothes and on the floor at his feet. He spread the chocolate mess all over Cookieís kitchen floor as he made his way around the kitchen opening doors and drawers . Then he found the refrigerator and discovered a small carton of cream that was meant for coffee inside. What he didnít drink, he wore and so did the floor.
"Tobias Stewart, where are you young man?" Katherineís voice sounded through the room.
Toby, happy his beloved Kat was back, dropped the empty carton and ran out of the room to find her leaving the galley in a total disaster.
Ten minutes later a furious Cookie was reporting the damage to Chief Sharkey. They both noticed small hand prints of chocolate in various areas of the room. What the devil was going on?
For the next couple of days, Von Hoyt and Patterson took hours of pictures of the debris field, documenting the position of every piece of the ship wreckage lying on the ocean floor including some of the museum pieces that were thrown out of the cargo hold on impact.
A few days later, Von Hoyt announced that the ROV was going to be used that day to explore the interior of the ship. Von Hoyt went with Chief Sharkey in the Flying Sub to take photographs and to pick up several items off the ocean floor by use of the Flying Subís mechanical arms. Patterson was to take the ROV into the ship and to film everything that the ROV could maneuver through.
Chip went down to have a private chat with Patterson in the Missile Room. He found Patterson huddled in front of a television screen moving a mechanical stick to position the ROV in front of the hatchway that would lead it down into the ship. Chip grabbed a chair next to Patterson and watched him work waiting for the time to interrupt him.
"Patterson, howís it going?" Chip started the conversation.
"Not too bad, sir. Iím just about to take the ROV inside the ship."
"What did Von Hoyt tell you to do?"
"He said to move toward the bow and investigate each room. Tomorrow weíre going to the other side of the ship. He wants to see if we can find what caused the explosion and he is interested in obtaining as many museum pieces as he possible can this trip."
"I need you to do something for me and keep it between the two of us," Chip said in a low voice so no one could over hear. "When you start traveling down the other direction, I want to be notified."
"No problem, sir. Can you tell me what you want to see?" Pat asked curious.
"I want to see the guest rooms. Iím looking for something and if we find it, I need photographic evidence."
"No problem sir," Pat answered as he kept his eyes clued to the screen as he guided the ROV through the hatchway into the ship.
Chip glanced around the Missile Room not seeing the female ghost spying on his progress. Katherine watched as he left the room and then she stood behind Patterson watching in amazement at the television.
Pat felt a cold draft at his back and looked over his shoulder to see where it was coming from, but saw nothing out of place. He decided to ignore the cold and focus on what he was doing. If he wrecked the ROV Von Hoyt would have his head on a platter.
The sixth day of the project, Patterson had called Morton to the Missile Room. Chip had switched duty shifts with OíBrien so that he could sit with Patterson at the ROV camera controls. Von Hoyt was again in the Flying Sub with Sharkey to pickup artifacts from the ocean floor and Admiral Nelson was overseeing the preservation of the artifacts that were brought on board the ship.
Patterson painstakingly maneuvered the ROV through the door way down into the bowels of the ship. He followed the blueprints of the map to the areas that he had not been to before. The only things left of the shipís interior that were recognizable were the steel doors, porcelain sinks, toilets and other man-made artifacts that laid silently before the cameraís lens.
"We are right in this area of the ship," Pat pointed to the area on the shipís blueprint that was marked passenger cabins. "What is it you are wanting to see?"
"Iíll let you know when I see it," Chip answered , "I want to see the room area across from the ownerís cabin."
Von Hoyt had marked on his map which cabin was his grandfatherís as well as the rest of the passenger's in hopes of solving the mystery of the shipís sinking as well as documenting the location and original ownership of artifacts that they found.
Pat made the robot sub move slowly through the ship until they found a marble statue of the Greek god Poseidon which stood originally next to the ownerís cabin. It laid on itís side still intact next to an open doorway. Pat moved the sub into the doorway to record what was left of the ownerís cabin. Iron bed frame still stood upright as well as the bathroom fixtures. A large round mirror that was once part of Mrs. Von Hoytís vanity laid on the floor. Pat documented everything on camera before moving the robot out of the room to the doorway across the hall.
Suddenly Pat felt that coldness again from behind him that made him involuntarily shiver. He took a fast glance behind him to try to spot the cause. He only noticed a couple of crewmen cleaning the floor.
"Is there a problem, Patterson?" Chip noticed the coldness too, but knew the reason for it.
"Itís that damn coldness again. Donít you feel it?" Pat asked.
"Yeah, but we have more important things to worry about. I need to see the next room."
Pat guided his robot out of the ownerís room to the doorway that would have been across the hall. The door was long gone since it was made out of wood. There were two twin size iron bed frames still standing as swell as bathroom fixtures, but unlike the ownerís cabin, there was more than iron and porcelain still existing in the room.
"Look at that!" Pat said.
"Yeah. Look at that, " Morton replied, almost in a whisper at the two skeletons next to the doorway. The large one seemed to be holding the smaller one in a tight embrace. "Patterson, I need you to make a duplicate of this film for me without Von Hoyt knowing about it."
"No problem sir."
"I need Doc to verify what we are seeing. Take close shots of the bodies." Chip got up, walked over and clicked the mike. "Sick Bay this is the Missile Room. Doc, this is Morton. I need you to come down to the Missile Room to identify something as soon as you can."
"Iíll on my way," Jamison replied.
Chip returned to Pattersonís side.
"What do we do next?" Pat asked.
"I want the Doc to verify the sex of that adult skeleton. Then with Admiral Nelsonís permission, I want to bring the remains on board. "
Just then Pat and Chip heard a group of people walking toward them. They turned to spot Admiral Nelson, Lee and Jamison walking toward them at a fast pace.
Nelson was the first to speak, "What did you two find?"
"I need Doc to verify the evidence, but I believe we found the young woman and the child that were reported missing after the ship sank."
Doc moved close to the monitor as Pat moved the camera in close to the adult skeleton head and then moved it down to the pelvis area.
"I would say from what I can see," Doc said, "that it is an adult female and the child is a male probably three years old to five years by the size of him. I would need have the bones for study to be able to tell you any more information. "
"Admiral, can we bring the bones on board and have Doc exam them?" Chip asked.
"I donít see why not. Patterson, go ahead and retrieve the bones. Jamie, I want a full report on them. Iíll notify Von Hoyt of our findings," Admiral Nelson made for the mike.
"Aye, sir," Pat used the robotís arms to pick up each piece of bone and place it in a special storage area of the robot.
A couple of hours later, after Von Hoyt and Sharkey had returned in the Flying Sub, a meeting was called in Wardroom. Von Hoyt, Admiral Nelson, Jamison, Lee and Chip were seated at the table. Admiral Nelson started the meeting.
"Von Hoyt, we found some answers to what happened the night the Wayfarer sank." Nelson got up and turned on the slide projector while Lee turned off the lights in the room. "These slides show what was left of the engine room. As you can see, there was a terrible explosion that sank the ship." Nelson used a pointer to show the damage to the hull metal as well as from the remains of the engine room and itís boilers. "It was probably caused by the engine exploding. Weíll never know if it was from something faulty or from a bomb. My guess is that there was a problem with the engine. The explosion ripped a large hole in the side of the ship and it took on water at a fast pace."
Nelson then changed the slides, "Now Jamie, your report on the remains we found."
Doc got up and took the pointer from Nelson and gave his report. "The remains were of a young female and a male child. The female was in her late teens or early twenties. Her bones showed malnutrition and that she had done heavy work . Heavier than she should have handled. For some time I believe she lived in poverty. I can only assume death was caused by drowning. The other body is that of a small boy. He was between three years old to five years old. His bones showed that his diet was richer in nutrition than that of the girlís so that suggests he was of a different social class at the time than she. He also probably drowned. No signs of violent death on either set of bones."
Doc sat back down and Nelson turned off the projector and took over the meeting while Lee flipped the lights back on.
"So there are your findings. The ship was sunk by engine explosion that night. The young woman and child who were found on the ship are obviously your missing people. You have the majority of the museum pieces that we could pick up at this time. Itís time to set sail back to Santa Barbara. The remains will be turned over to the authorities with our report and their burial will be handled from there."
"I would prefer to handle the fate of the skeletal remains as well as the museum pieces on my own. I appreciate everything you have done on this project Nelson, but it is my project and am I the one to decide what to do about those remains."
Cold air pressed against Chipís back.
"Heís going to destroy our bones as soon as we reach land. Donít let him get away with it." Katherine pleaded.
Chip knew he had to say something. "Mr. Von Hoyt, you own salvaging rights to the wreck and therefore can do anything you want with it and itís cargo, but human remains are a totally different matter. Even the dead have rights and they are entitled a proper burial."
"Nelson, you better tell your boy here that this is my project, my wreck and those skeletons are mine to do with as I please," Von Hoyt said sarcastically as he got up from the table. "Iíll be in your lab working on restoring some of the statues we recovered if you need me."
Nelson made a mental note to have a private discussion with Chip after the meeting to find out what was going on. He too didnít like Von Hoytís attitude about the bodies as well as his attitude toward Chip. "Von Hoyt, may I remind you that Commander Morton is my Executive Officer. Please remember that. And Chip, our guest has a right to his opinion, however misplaced. Von Hoyt will be allowed to take everything from the wreck, but I agree with you about those remains. They will stay with Doctor Jamison until they can be turned over to the authorities. If you have a problem with that Von Hoyt , I suggest you see a lawyer when you get on land, but the skeletons remain with us."
"You canít do that!" Von Hoyt snarled at Nelson.
Nelson smirked back. "I just did. Captain Crane, put an armed detail at Sick Bay to make sure the remains stay put."
Lee nodded back and walked over to the mike to make arrangements.
"Meetingís adjourned Von Hoyt. Chip, Jamie and Lee remain here please," Nelson said as Von Hoyt turned and stomped out of the room.
Jamie smirked and muttered "jerk" under his breath.
Nelson sat back and eyed Chip who was trying to look his normal calm self. He waited until Lee sat back down next to Chip before he attacked. "Okay, Chip, whatís going on?"
"What do you mean, sir?" Chip tried to bluff by acting innocent as he felt little hands holding on to one of his legs in an affectionate hug.
Lee moaned and rolled his eyes, "Now, I know heís keeping something from us.".
"Chip, we know you too well so cut out the innocent routine and tell us what is going on," Nelson said as he pulled out a cigarette and lit up.
"Two against one isnít fair," Chip stated as he knew he had to confess and wasnít sure what their reaction was going to be. He sighed and wondered if they would order a straight jacket for him when he was finished. "The truth is there are two ghosts on board. Yes, ghosts. A young woman named Katherine Francis Kennedy and a little boy named Toby Stewart who was the illegitimate son of Von Hoytís great grandfather. They were murdered by Von Hoytís wife. They had been locked in their cabin as the ship sunk. The ghosts just want the truth to be told and their bones given a decent burial."
Nelson, Lee and Jamison gave him look of surprised shock and then Nelson asked Jamie, "When was Chipís last physical?"
"I knew it," Chip became sarcastic. "I remember someone in a straight jacket begging me to believe him about Captain Kruegar. And may I also remind you about Captain BlackBeard."
Nelson also privatley remembered his own ancestor's haunting. He put his hands up in a surrender signal. "Okay, Chip, calm down. How long have they been here?"
"They came to me two nights before we found the ship," Chip admitted as Toby releasing his leg and climbed up to sit in his lap. "Actually Toby is sitting on my lap at the moment." Where is Katherine?
"And they just want to be buried to be put to rest?" Lee asked.
"And the truth to be known," Katherine appeared to the men from behind Chipís chair. "Weíve waited along time for the truth."
Nelson, Jamie and Lee showed surprise at her sudden appearance, then realizing she meant them no harm, began to relax and treated her as a living person.
"I take it you are Miss Kennedy?" Nelson asked the ghost.
"Aye that I am sir. Are you willing to help us?" she asked.
"I can see you are given a burial and I can see that the information about you being on the ship that night will get reported, but no one can prove at this date that you were murdered. The evidence no longer exists."
"Aye, I understand that now. That will be enough, but I wish for us to be buried together in Ireland."
"That might pose a little problem. You can be buried where you want to be, but the boy is a relative of Von Hoytís and he might fight for custody of the remains."
"Donít take me away from Kat!" cried a little boyís voice.
"Toby, they canít see you, Lad. Show yourself." Katherine spoke down to at Chipís lap.
The little boy became visible clinging to Chipís chest looking up into his face. "Donít take Kat away! I scareded! he proceeded to cry hysterically.
Katherine picked him up from Mortonís lap and comforted him as she looked at Nelson. "You canít part us. We need to remain together. I canít leave him."
Jamie, sympathizing with the ghosts, got an idea. "I know a way to take care of Von Hoyt and the skeleton problem. If Von Hoyt wants bones, Iíll see he gets bones. May I be excused Admiral?"
Nelson nodded. "Make sure what ever you have planned is ready by the time we get back to Norfolk, Virginia."
"Itíll be ready by then sir. Iíll take care of the matter personally," Jamie said with a big grin. He turned and looked at the ghosts one more time. "Donít worry, Miss." Then he left the room.
"You wonít be parted and youíll have the burial that you want. You have my word on it." Nelson vowed to the two ghosts.
"Iíll keep you to your word, sir," Katherine said as the two ghosts disappeared from view.
When Doc Jamison returned to Sick Bay he picked up the mike, "Seaman Travis Elliot, please come to Sick Bay on the double."
A few minutes later, Seaman Elliott came rushing into Sick Bay. "You called Doc?"
Jamison gave him a big smile. "I have need of your services Elliott. You used to work in the props department in collegeÖ.Can you take plastic and real bones and make them look old and weathered?"
"Sure, why?" Elliott asked surprised at the question.
"I need you to help me with a little project," Jamison told him mischievously.
"Does this have to do with the skeletons we brought up from the Von Hoyt's yacht?"
"Yes," Jamie replied.
"Von Hoytís a jerk and if this project has something to do with him, Iím your man." Elliott smiled back.
Jamie explained the ghost situation and the project "Letís get to work." Jamie slapped the crewman on the back.
For the rest of the voyage, Von Hoyt kept to himself working on the cleaning and restoring his museum pieces and typing up his notes about what was found at the wreck. He also made several calls to his lawyer.
Doc had declared the Sick Bay temporarily off limits for privacy. Katherine, curious about what Doc Jamison was up to, hung around the Sick Bay to watch the projectís progress. Since the Sick Bay was too vulnerable to the childís curiosity, Seaman Elliott had given Toby some colored markers and paper to keep him occupied and out of trouble. The child happily colored the paper ignoring the activity around him.
The day Seaview docked at Norfolk, all of the museum pieces had been boxed up for shipment and placed in the cargo hold. Under Von Hoytís supervision, the crates were removed from the hold and taken carefully out to awaiting truck. He waited until the last crate had been loaded before returning to the ship with a legal piece of paper he had received by his lawyer to give to Nelson. He found Nelson in the Control Room talking over a new course with Morton.
"Nelson, here is a legal document giving me the right to the skeletal remains," Von Hoyt stated as he slapped the paper down on the chart table.
Nelson picked it up and studied it. "Call Sick Bay and ask Jamison to bring the bones here."
"Aye sir," Chip said as he grabbed for the chart table mike.
"No, have him bring the bones out to the truck," Von Hoyt didnít want to handle the bones himself.
"Go ahead, Chip. Do as Von Hoyt says."
"Aye, sir," Chip clicked the mike and relayed the message to Jamison..
"Well, Nelson this has been an interesting trip and no hard feelings," Von Hoyt said with a smile of victory as he walked out of the Control Room.
"Chip, set sail as soon as Von Hoyt clears the ship and our people are back aboard. The sooner we make for Ireland the happier I will be," Nelson said with a conspirator's grin.
"Aye, sir. The second the watch tells me he is clear, weíre out of here," Chip said with a returned mischievous grin.
Ten minutes later, the watch called down that the crew was back on board and that the bones had been delivered. The Seaview slipped regally out of the harbor and made her way to Ireland.
Nelson picked up the mike and ordered Lee, Chip and Jamison to report to the Observation Nose for a staff meeting. Chip turned the conn over to OíBrien and followed Nelson to the meeting.
Nelson waited until his men had arrived and were seated before finally asking the question that was on all of their minds. "Okay Jamie, how did you pull it off?"
"I donít know what you mean Admiral," Jamie answered trying to look innocent.
"Just what bones did you give, Von Holt?" Nelson asked.
"What makes you think I didnít give him the correct set of bones?" Jamie still toyed with them.
"Number one, the ghosts are happy and have remained quiet. If you gave the correct bones away they would have been having a fit. Two I canít see you doing it." Chip answered back.
"Okay, I guess I made you wait long enough. Von Hoyt was given a female skeleton and a baby skeleton, Öthe female skeleton was from a plastic model kit I had been given in medical school. Just never got rid of it. My nephew stuck it in my kit when I first boarded Seaview and I just forgot about it. The baby was difficult until I remembered you had been studying a young chimpanzee skeleton in the lab. I took the liberty of borrowing it and with the help of Seaman Elliott we made a convincing duplicate replacement set. Von Hoyt got his set of bones which will probably be destroyed and we have the original set with ghosts attached."
"Youíre a genius, Doc. Iíd never would have thought to do that," Lee marveled at the prank.
"Now what?" Chip asked.
"Simple. We head for Ireland, send a story to the local and national paper there about what really happened on the Wayfarer that night that we can prove, and give our ghost friends a proper burial so they can be at peace," Nelson stated simply.
"Of course the story will be printed way before Von Holtís report is, stealing his thunder." Lee said.
"Sounds good to me," Jamie replied. "The man was a cold jerk and deserves what he gets."
Nelson raised his coffee cup, "To our ghost friends finding eternal peace and happiness in the hereafter."
The three men replied with a "amen" and sipped their coffee to the toast.
A week later, at a small Catholic churchís grave yard, the parish priest performed the burial ceremony with Nelson, Lee, Chip and Jamison and some of the Seaview crew standing in full dress uniform to honor the passing of Katherine Kennedy and Tobias Stewart who were buried together in one grave site. When the priest had finished, Nelson gave a naval burial ceremony which was unusual but Nelson thought it was fitting due to the circumstance.
The two ghosts watched from the top of a near by hill over looking the grave site.
"Tis a fine funeral, Toby, me darlin and now itís time we go to a better life." Katherine took hold of the childís hand. "See the light shining down from above us?"
"God and the angels are there?" Tobyís eyes showed his excitement. He was finally going to see an angel up close. "Will we become angels?"
"Yes that is where God and the angels are and that is where we are meant to go. Iím not sure about us being angels, but we will be with all of our friends and family soon me Lad. Come along now little one, itís now our time at last." Katherine lifted the child into her arms, took one last happy look at the Seaviewís crew below, then turned toward the light and began walking into it.
They were finally free.