Turbulent Waters

 By JSRobertson



 “I’m going on an ONI assignment and I will be leaving in two days,” Lee told his wife in the privacy of their cabin aboard Seaview, headed home to Santa Barbara.

“Do you have to go?   You just got back from one a little over month ago and you were so bruised and battered it took almost three weeks for you to heal!  Can’t you just tell Admiral Johnson that you can’t go?”  Janet pleaded with him.

No! This assignment needs to be done right away and no one else can do it!” he raged, slamming the door behind him.


Damn, damn, damn!  He chided himself as he walked the boat.  Tomorrow could be the worse day of their lives.


Meanwhile, Janet was already having one of the worst days of her own. It was one thing for Lee to consider himself essential for the Agency. Even they thought so, so it wasn’t entirely a matter of ego. But she was getting a bit tired of the cloak and dagger part of his life. It was difficult to get to sleep.


By the time Lee returned to their cabin and got ready for bed she was already asleep.  He climbed in the bunk next to her, maybe for the last time. It wasn’t a pleasant thought as he set the earwig alarm clock. Actually a hearing aid, it had been tweeked by Admiral Nelson at one of Lee’s off hand comments that he’d needed a way to rise without disturbing his bride.


And so it was that he was already in the Control Room by the time she woke up.


It was not a pleasant day for the newlyweds of one year.  He avoided her most of the day. When he did see her he didn’t talk to her at all.   Something was very very wrong.

“Chip, what’s wrong with Lee?” she decided to ask their mutual friend and Seaview’s XO. “He’s been avoiding me all day.  Gee, I hope he’s still not mad because I asked him not to go on that ONI assignment in two days. Did you know about it?”

“Well,” Morton sighed, “I knew he had one coming up. I’m not happy about it either. But I doubt he’s angry with you for objecting. We all do and it doesn’t seem to affect him adversely. Maybe you should ask the Admiral if there’s something he knows. Unless it’s something top secret, I’m sure he’d want to help.”

“I hardly think Nelson would want to act as a marriage counselor.”

“Where Lee’s concerned, he’d move Heaven and Hell to help him. And that includes you now too.”


Dinner was a dismal affair as Janet spent it pretty much alone. Chip had far more important things to do than babysit her she’d insisted, and she asked for one of galley crew to  bring a tray to her cabin.

For a moment she thought Lee was going to join her as he entered a few minutes later, but all he did was grunt and turn tail.


“So,” Chip knocked on the door a few hours later, “how’d dinner go?”

“It didn’t,” she looked up from the uneaten food. “It’s as if he…can’t bear the sight of me…or the meal,” she tried rather hopelessly to make light of it.

“He’s not exactly partial to rice…too many bad memories…that’s probably it.”

“You don’t have to try to make me feel better, Chip…I think maybe it’s time I spoke to the Admiral.”

“It may have to wait until tomorrow. He’s in a teleconference right now. Well, I’m sure both you and Lee will sort things out…just hope it’ll be sooner than later…”

“Thanks Chip, good night.”


Lee had pondered long and hard just how he was going to handle this. No matter how many scenarios he went over in his mind, the best was going to be the worst. Taking a deep breath, purposely leaving the door ajar, he entered their cabin.

“Janet? I have to talk to you.”

“About time. Sweetie, what’s wrong? You can tell me. ”

“I want a divorce.”

“Because I don’t want you to go on the ONI mission?” she asked, stunned, confused, and scared.

“Because I don’t love you. I’m not sure I ever did. It was probably just hormones or something.”

“You can’t mean that!”

“Actually, I’ve been thinking about for some time. I’m sorry if it hurts. But I can’t go on like this. You can stay here tonight. I’ll park myself in a guest cabin,” he grabbed a few things.

“I can’t believe this! Why? What have I done wrong?” she began to sob.

“Do we really have to go into that now? I told you I don’t love you. That should be enough.”

Just then, as Lee had expected, one of the galley crew knocked hesitantly on the door frame.

“What are you doing here, Mister?” the Captain demanded angrily.

Um..picking up Mrs. Crane’s tray.”

“Oh, very well. But she’s Miss Cornwell to you now, at least as far as I’m concerned.”


“She’ll explain it to you I’m sure. You’d better wear earplugs…” he added to her wails of grief.


“Admiral? Admiral?” Janet pounded on his cabin door, still sobbing.

 “Janet? What…whoa…sit down, girl...what is it…?”

“Lee…he…he wants a divorce!”

“A divorce?”

“He’s never even hinted that anything was wrong! But…then this ONI mission came up…did you know about it? I begged him not to go and then…then….he told me he’d never loved me and…and…” she broke down and held her head in her hands as her body shook with her tears.

Nelson rose and embraced her tenderly. ‘” I knew he had a mission and told him I wasn’t happy about it either…that can’t be the reason, my dear…”

“Then why? Why doesn’t he love me anymore?”

“He must be out of his mind…you let me speak with him… we’ll get to the bottom of things,” he checked his watch, “I’ll have to be tomorrow though…I have a conference call in a few minutes and I doubt we’ll be done any time before midnight.”

“Thank you, but I have to warn you, Lee won’t appreciate you butting in.”

“He’s just going to have to put up with it. Now, you go try to get some sleep. I’ll ask the duty corpsman to give you a sleeping pill if you like.”

“Thanks…I think I’ll need one.”



Morning and the realization of what had happened came all too soon. She hoped to avoid Lee for breakfast. Unfortunately, Lee and Chip were already in the Wardroom, crowded with hungry officers and Mess Specialists busily replenishing the hearty offerings and carafes of coffee on the sideboard.  He saw her and frowned. She did likewise and was about to turn away when Lee rose.

“Don’t go on my account,” he ignored the unfinished meal and brushed past her and out.

She was about to dissolve into tears again, when she felt Chip leading her to Crane’s vacant space.

 “Cookie?” his voice broke the stunned silence in the room, “how about those really good pancakes Mrs. Crane likes so much.”

“No, thank you Cookie,” Janet said, “ and it’s Miss Cornwell now, Captain Crane’s orders, maybe not officially, but….oh God Chip, what have I done to make him hate me so?” she played with Lee’s fork, stroking the handle as if it were a part of him.

“I don’t know, Janet…he only told me the petition for divorce was just about ready for your signatures.”

“Captain Crane report to my cabin immediately!” called the Admiral over the intercom.

“Kind of busy right now,” was Lee’s snide answer.

“You get your three stripes down here right now unless you want to reduce that number!”

If there had been silence in the Wardroom before, now there was mumbling and muttering. Not that they sided with their Skipper just now. No siree. Not after the way he’d treated poor Miss Janet and now the Admiral himself.

“You see,” Chip said, “something’s wrong with him. It might not have anything to do with you at all, no matter what he said.”


 “Who the hell do you think you are?” Nelson exploded before Lee could even close the door. “You men get back to work!” he added to the inquisitive crewmen working on an electrical conduit in the corridor, and shut the door firmly. They could even hear the lock.

“Scratch one Skipper,” one of the men said.

“C’mon you heard him, back to work.”


“That was quite a performance, Lee,” Nelson said.  “Worthy of an Academy Award. By now the entire crew is wondering if I’ll be asking for your office key….but I wasn’t aware of any trouble between you and Janet.”

“Well, there wasn’t, until now,” Lee ran a hand through his hair. “I need the divorce to protect her.”

Protect her?”

“If she isn’t my wife, then her life won’t be in danger.”

“Her life? Oh, I see, this is something to do with your assignment...and what about your life?”

“There’s always the risk I might not come back. I thought you’d accepted that.”

“All right all right….now, what’s this all about?”

“Someone’s leaking information to the People’s Republic about the new navigation system we’ve been testing. They’ll stop at nothing to keep me from finding them.  There are two other agents involved besides me.  ONI thinks the leak might be someone here at NIMR or even aboard Seaview. It’s a highly combustible situation. They’ve hurt people I love before in the attempt to make me crack.  If she’s not in my life, then they won’t use her to get to me,” Lee explained.

“Then why not tell her the divorce is just a ruse?”

“Believe me, I wish I could, but her reactions have to be legitimate.  And I don’t want to worry her about how dangerous these people are and what they’re capable of doing.”

“Very well, Lee. I’ll keep your secret, but lad, there’s going to be hell to pay when this is over.”

“Don’t I know it sir…I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to get her back.”


Seaview finally docked that afternoon, slated to have her computer system upgraded and her engines rebuilt while most officers and crew were going to be dismissed for shore leave. Before Morton, Kowalski, Patterson, Riley, and Chief Sharkey could get away, however, Crane called them into his cabin.

 “I’m sorry to keep you from your shore leave, but I need to request a small favor. Well, not really small, but vital. I won’t bore you with the details, but while I’m on assignment, I’d like you to postpone your shore leave and schedule your time around Jan…Mrs. Crane.  Keep an eye on her. Protect her…with your lives if need be.”

“Then you’re not getting a divorce after all?” Sharkey asked hopefully.

“I didn’t say that Chief. Just…agree to watch her, okay?” he ran a hand through his hair.

“Sure thing, Skipper…”

“Okay, thanks…dismissed.”

“Lee…” Chip began, as the men with him hesitated.

“I said, dismissed…wait…I’m sorry…I have to tell someone or I’ll just burst. I can’t tell you mission details but the divorce papers…they’re fake…but she can’t know…I have to swear you to secrecy about it. Believe me, it’s necessary for her to believe I’m the scum of the earth, to save her life if need be…”


 “Lee asked me for a divorce,” Janet told Angie and Wanda just inside the Administration building.

 “What?” both reacted, stunned.

“He said he doesn’t love me, that he never did!”

 “Now, wait a minute,” Angie said, “I’ve seen him with you…he’s smitten! There must be something more.”

“He’s already got the papers upstairs! He hates me!”

“Well, if that’s the case, what about your job?” Wanda asked, “where are you going to live?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t know! We haven’t spoken since yesterday and he’s leaving on an ONI mission tomorrow!”


 “Janet, come into my office, I need to talk to you,” Lee interrupted, Nelson and Chip behind him.

“Yes sir, Captain, sir,” she almost spat the phrase as he held the elevator door for her.

Brrr,” Chip whispered to Nelson as they decided it would be best to give them some privacy and waited for the other to arrive on the ground floor.


 Lee hadn’t said anything in the elevator. Everyone knew it had the latest in surveillance systems. Actually, so did his office, but at least as Captain of the Seaview and Nelson’s right hand man in NIMR matters had a manual over-ride for those top secret or sensitive meetings. This time, however, it let the audio camera run and left the door open. The more people who knew what a heartless beast he was, the better.


“Since I’ll be gone for awhile, you can stay at the house until I come back. But then you’ll need to find another place to live.  I also suggest you start looking for a new job.  I’ll stay aboard Seaview tonight,” he said coldly. “That’s all,” he said as he unlocked his desk, then noticed she was still standing there…frozen…tears rolling down her face.

“I said that’ll be all. Close the door on your way out.”

“You bastard! And you’re the man I loved?” she ran out.

He wanted to run after her, squeeze her tight and tell her he was sorry, but he had to continue the ruse. At all costs.


“It was awful, Admiral,” Chip complained to Nelson after the Admiral signaled that his own office surveillance was turned off, “I could hear him all the way down the hall. He was so cold to her!”

“He had no choice . And just how do you think he feels about this Chip? He’s trying to protect her, remember. Even if it means that he looses her forever. Why, it’s the most self- sacrificing thing I think he’s ever done.”

“Has he told you any mission details?”

“Only what I have the need to know, same as you. Sometimes I hate ONI.”

“Me too, sir. Me too.”



They just moved into a house on the Institute grounds and hadn’t even finished unpacking some of the boxes. Janet had been a bit miffed to begin with when Nelson suggested, almost demanded that Cranes  live on NIMR grounds. Better security he’d called it. Lee knew too much and had been a target before. At least it overlooked the ocean. They could even see Seaview from the bedroom window. How many times had she woken up in the middle of the night and seen him lean on the window just gazing at the boat in the moonlight. She’d joked that maybe he loved her more than his wife. But now…well…she actually had a reason to believe it.  Lee may have been selfish, but he was right about the move. She couldn’t stay here. She decided to get a hotel room the first thing tomorrow and cried herself to sleep that night.


She went to the office the next morning and found out Lee had already left for his mission.  She finished up the paperwork from Seaview’s last mission and went to the Admiral’s office to have him sign it along with her resignation.

“If you need my help training the new person, I would be more than happy to help you. Provided Lee isn’t here,” she added.

“Do you already have a job to go to?” Nelson asked.

“Not yet. I’ll start looking today. I’m also moving.”

“Tell me, was all this your idea or Lee’s?”

“His, but it’s for the best. He said I could stay at the house but…I can’t…too many memories. False memories apparently. Thank you for everything. I’ll never forget working here at the Institute and aboard Seaview.  She gave him a tearful hug and kiss on the cheek and headed down the hall to Chip’s office.


He was looking out the window at Seaview bobbing in her pen.

“Chip, I’m leaving, today,” she added.

“Lee will be gone awhile. You don’t have to leave right away.”

“No, I can’t stay.  Who knows when he’ll be back and I don’t want to run into him. When I do find a place to live, could you please help me move some of my things? There won’t be too much.”

“Whatever you need.  Just let me know when.”

“Does the crew know about...everything?”

“Yes, and they’re very wound up about it, very sorry.  They’re going to miss you. I’ll miss you.

“I’ll miss all of you too,” she responded sadly and let him escort her to the elevator.


After packing up her personal items from her office, Janet said goodbye to Angie and Wanda.  They were all sobbing.  She was going to miss them. As soon as she returned home she started packing.  She would have to find a furnished apartment.  When she moved here from Illinois, she hadn’t brought much; just some books, pictures and clothes.   She looked at their wedding picture; she couldn’t believe how happy they had been on that day. Angry as she was with Lee now, she would keep it. 


Logging on to her computer, she looked at the want ads for a job.  There were quite a few looking for secretaries.  She called one of them and set up an interview for tomorrow.  She also looked for an apartment to rent.  There weren’t too many that came furnished. The doorbell rang, breaking into her thoughts.


“Jamie? What are you doing here? Haven’t you been on shore leave for the past month?”

 “I just found out that you and Lee are having marital problems...”

“It’s not marital problems. He wants a divorce. Says he doesn’t love me and never did.”

“Perhaps a marriage counselor?”

“No, Jamie, that would just make things worse...”
“I’m so sorry...are you sleeping or eating?”

“Not really,” she sighed.

“I can prescribe something.”

“No, I’ll be fine.”

“Well, if you ever need anything, please let me know.  I’ll be here for you no matter what’s happened between you and Lee.   I’m going to miss you.”

“Thanks, Jamie.  I’m going to miss you too.  At least you will have one less Crane to worry about,” she started to cry. Jamie gave her a hug and left.  He had tears in his eyes.


Janet had an interview at 10:00 the next morning.  The Die Rite Company made parts for cars, computers, and other electronic devices.  The secretarial opening was for the president of the company.  He was a nice enough person, but didn’t feel she was right. She had another interview at 1:00 at the Allerton Valve Company.  They made valves for all types of equipment.  In fact, Seaview used some of their valves. Chip had called her yesterday and told her about this job. The interview was with the president, Mr. Tom Allerton.  He knew her from the Institute and had spoken with her several times when they ordered supplies for Seaview. He was very friendly and both felt comfortable with each other.  He hired her on the spot and she would start on Monday.  


“Chip?” Tom was passed through the NIMR switchboard to Morton’s office as soon as she’d left. “She’s agreed to work with us.”

“That’s a relief...”

“Any word on Lee?”

“None as usual. Thanks again Tom.”

“My pleasure.”


She had the weirdest sensation that she was being watched as she drove home. But maybe being alone again was making her paranoid. There was a message on the answering machine from the legal Dept. They wanted to know when she could sign some papers.  She called them back and said their rep could come over right away. The doorbell rang within an hour.

“Janet Cornwell Crane?” the man at the door asked.


“I’m Jason Campbell.  Lee asked me to help handle your divorce,” he showed her some ID, “here are the divorce papers for you to sign after....”

“I’ll bring them back to your office in a few days,” she interrupted.

“Actually, I was going to say that you’ll need a regular lawyer to look them over first. Here’s somebody Mr. Crane recommended. He wants things done right the first time.”

“I can just imagine. Thank you...”


So now she had a job, she mused later, and could look for an apartment.  It would have to wait until morning. She was just too tired…to emotionally spent today.


The next morning, she drove by some of the apartments she’d found on the computer but she didn’t like their locations. Every so often she felt as though she was being followed but didn’t see anyone.  She found an apartment not too far from work.  The rent was a little more than she wanted to pay; but it looked nice and she figured it would do if she could rent on a monthly basis.  She could move in over the weekend. 


When she got home she called Chip and left a message.  It was way too early for him to be home.  He now had triple the work to do, Lee’s, mine and his thought Janet.   With the upgrades on Seaview to keep track of, she didn’t know if he would be able to help with the move.  Maybe he could get some crew members.


“Hi Chip,” she left her message, “could you please help me move on Saturday?  I know it is short notice but I really need help to move. Please call me when you get home no matter how late.  If you can’t, do you can ask some of the crew to help me?  Thanks.”


Chip got home a few hours later and listened to her message.  His house was just below the one Lee and Janet lived in. He could see the lights were still on, so he went up to talk to her. 

“Hi, Janet, how are you doing?” he asked noting she looked tired. 

 “Just fine, how about you?  How are the upgrades going on Seaview?”

 “Upgrades are on schedule, no problems so far.”

“I got the job at Allerton Valve, I start next week. Thanks for recommending me.”

“You will like working for Tom, he’s a nice guy.”

“Have you heard anything from Lee?”

“No nothing so far.  I can help you move on Saturday.  If you have a lot, I could get Kowalski and Patterson to help too.”

“No, just boxes.  Between your SUV and mine we should get everything moved in one trip.  Thanks for helping.”

“I will be here at 8:00 on Saturday morning.”

“Bye, Chip.”

He walked back to his house feeling sorry for her, unable to reveal the truth about the divorce.


“I’ll be staying to help Mrs. Crane unpack after you give us a hand helping her to move,” Chip addressed the three crewmen the next day. “It’s not a long drive, just out of town.”

“Is she going to be okay, sir?” Kowalski asked.

“Well, she has a job with Allerton Valve…”

“Isn’t that the place we get some of our parts from?” Sharkey asked.

“It is.”

“Maybe somebody had a word with Mr. Allerton?” Riley piped up.
“As far as you know, she got this job on her own, understood? Now, I need you three to help us get her moved on Saturday. I’ll stay and help her to unpack afterwards.  Can you continue to keep an eye on her? Basically on her way to and from work. I know the Skipper would appreciate it, and so would I.”
The three replied in the affirmative.


 “Have you seen Janet recently?” Admiral Nelson asked Chip later.

“Yes, last night.  She’s moving on Saturday.  She took the job at Allerton Valve Company and starts on Monday.

 “Good, good…does she know Lee set her up?”

“No but she asked if we’d heard from him.  Have we?”

“Not yet but he should be calling in the next couple of days. I hope.”


At 8:00 Saturday morning Chip was at Janet’s to start moving. Everything was almost packed when Chip noticed the divorce papers on the table. 

“Don’t forget these,” he held them out.

“I’ll deal with those when Lee returns.  Just leave them here along with these,” she removed her wedding and engagement rings and placed them on the table alongside them.


They finished loading up their cars and were ready to leave.  She locked the door for the last time remembering how happy she’d been here. 

 “Hard for you leave here isn’t it?” he said to her.

“You’ll never know,” she whispered as she handed him the keys to the house and her Institute ID.


She was moved in and unpacked by lunchtime.  They were on their way to lunch when Chip’s phone rang.

 “Yes Admiral.  I will be right there.   Sorry Janet, I have to leave, there is a problem on Seaview. Lunch another time?”

“Sure, thank you very much for helping move, unpack and everything else you have done for me.  I’m sure you know I still love Lee and will always love him.  Please take care of him.  I hope everything is alright with Seaview.”

As he gave her a hug and a kiss, he couldn’t help noticing how sad she was.


Chip stopped back at the house on his way to Seaview and pocketed her rings.  There was no problem with Seaview.  Lee had called the Admiral to report back about the security leak at the Institute and who they were watching. He also wanted to talk to Chip and was going to call back.  Chip got back to his office just as Lee was calling again.


“How is she?  The Admiral said she took the job at Allerton Valve and that she moved out today.  Damn, I was hoping she would stay at the house a little longer.”

“She’s ok I guess…doesn’t look like she’s sleeping or eating much…Lee, she is very unhappy.”

“No one is following her?”

“Not so far. They are still going to keep an eye on her.”

“Good.  The mission is almost done,” Lee said and hung up.


“Chip, who’s watching Janet?” the Admiral asked from the doorway.

 “Lee didn’t tell you?  He asked Kowalski, Patterson, Riley, and Chief Sharkey to take turns watching her to make sure she’s all right and that no one is following her.”

“He is that worried about her safety?” Nelson frowned.

“He sure is.  I know he’s worried sick that someone will get to her.”

“I see. Let me know immediately if any problems come up.”

“Yes sir.”



It had been a few weeks now, and Janet was getting to know what to do and how the company worked.  She still missed the Institute, especially Seaview.  She knew she needed to return soon, as she forgot some of her things when she left.  She decided to call Chip after work and find out when it would be a good time to go especially if Lee was back as she didn’t want to face him. She missed the house on the ocean.  The apartment was fine, but it wasn’t home.


Just as she reached her car in the parking lot to go home, a huge man jumped out of the large black car next to her and grabbed her, putting a gun in the small of her back, ordering her not to move or scream. Then he shoved her into the back seat of the car, the gun still aimed at her.

“Where is your husband?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t heard from or seen him or heard from him in over a month.”

“You expect us to believe that?”

“We getting divorced and I don’t work at Institute anymore. Please, let me go!” she begged.


Suddenly the car door jerked open, Kowalski and Patterson aiming their guns at the driver and Janet’s captor, pulling her out. Even before her feet touched the pavement, the car sped off. There were no license plates.


“How come you got there after they grabbed her?” Chip asked testily as soon as the men reported after having driven Janet home, Patterson having volunteered to stay the night. “Was she hurt?”

“No, but she’s still mighty upset. Sorry, Mr. Morton. We got caught in a group of people leaving the place and couldn’t get as close as we’d have liked.   It won’t happen again.”

“It had better not.  The Skipper is not going to like this,” Chip said angrily.

“Good thing we  just happened to be at Allerton’s, checking  out some new gadgets you and the Skipper were interested in, at least that’s what we told her.”

“Did she believe you?”

“Well, she didn’t say she didn’t.”


“How did Lee take it?” Nelson asked Morton later.

“I don’t think I have to tell you, sir. He has to use his backup plan now. And he’s going to need our help. Jamie’s too.”


Janet was at work early the next morning when the phone rang.

“Chip?” she asked, pleasantly surprised.

“Janet…It’s Lee. He’s back but…he’s in the Med Bay. It’s not good. In fact…”

“Oh my god…Chip? Chip?”

“Jamie doesn’t…expect him to make it…”

“I’ll be right there.”

“I’ve already spoken to Allerton…your leave’s already been approved…Kowalski and Patterson are on their way. Not a good idea for you to drive just now…and I don’t want any argument.”


“Janet, honey, are you okay?” Nelson asked as she nearly fainted just outside the ICU. The patient was heavily bandaged. In addition to his face, eyes, hands, and arms being swathed, he was also hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor and catheter.

“Oh, Admiral, Chip told me it was bad but….”

“He has third degree burns over 90% of his body…”Nelson gulped.

“Can I stay with him?” she pleaded with Jaime, who’d just emerged.

“I’m not sure what good it would do. He’s in a drug induced coma.”


“All right, but don’t touch him.”

“Not even a little? Just his hands or..”

“If you must, use extreme care. Do you understand?”

“Oh God,” she put her head in her arms, then looked up, “I’ll be okay.”

Nelson took her arm and escorted her into the room where she sat down in the only chair next to the bed.

“How did it happen?” she whispered, touching his arm as if it were a feather.

“The agents he was working with said he’d just left the building when it exploded,” Chip said.

“You knew what the mission was?” Janet asked Nelson.

“Not all of it, but even if ONI had filled us in, you know we wouldn’t be at liberty to say.”

“Damn ONI!”

“Damn ONI Indeed,” Nelson lowered his head and placed his hand on her shoulder.


Janet had been in Med Bay all day and night.  At 2300 hours Jamie came in and told her she needed to leave.

“Go home and get some rest.   You haven’t eaten all day…you are exhausted…you can come back tomorrow.”

“No, I’m fine and not hungry.”

“I wonder where I’ve heard that before,” Jamie said softly.

 “What if he doesn’t make it until tomorrow?” she asked, tears in her eyes. “ I couldn’t live with myself knowing he was alone.  Please let me stay.  Can I sleep in the other bed?  I’ll have something to eat in the morning.”

“I don’t think I have a choice. Very well, but we’d never leave him alone you know. Between myself, Chip, and Nelson…”

“Not the same, Jamie…not the same.”


Jamie left and headed for the cafeteria.   He brought her back a sandwich and gave her a cup of his special coffee.  Before long, she was sound asleep and he put her in the other bed. Then he called Nelson.


“She is going to be pissed at me in the morning,” Jamie told Nelson and Chip who’s returned to Med Bay and  watched her sleep, “I gave her some of my special coffee.”

“How much longer do we need to do this?” Jamie asked as they left the room, “I hate lying to her.  She’s exhausted from not sleeping; she has lost at least ten pounds which she can’t afford to lose.” 

“I agree with Jamie,” said Chip, “the stress of the divorce and now this is getting to her.”

“We can’t break Lee’s trust in this,” Nelson said, “it would jeopardize the mission and possibly Lee’s life.  Just a little longer.”



Janet woke up the next morning and Jamie was right. She was pissed at him and glared as he came in to check on Lee.

“Gee, thanks for the coffee,” she spat.

“I’m sorry. I’m sworn to do no harm, and you, young lady, were in desperate need of rest. I need to change his bandages now so I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

“I’m not squeamish.”

“It’s not a matter of being squeamish. I have to be sterile…”


“I’ll give you five minutes while I get into my scrubs.”

“Do you know where Chip and the Admiral are now?”

“When they were here early this morning Chip mentioned going aboard Seaview and the Admiral to his office. They plan to check in on him again before lunch. Do you want me to call them that you’re coming by?”

“No, that’s not necessary, thanks anyway, Jamie.”


“Lee, you’re back?” the Admiral asked, grabbing his shoulders with pleasure, surprised and grateful to see him again as he entered the Med Bay at about the same time he did.

“Yes, Mission accomplished.  Where is she? Watching over me?” he asked, hopefully, “or out partying, glad I might really be at death’s door.”

“Lee, really. No, she’s not here.   Doc sent her out for a while.  She went down to Seaview to get a few things she just remembered she’d left there. Chip’s with her.”


“How are you today?”  Chip asked Janet, who’d joined him in the conning tower, knowing that Jamie put a little extra something in her coffee last night.

“Fine. Did you know that he slipped me a mickey? At least it felt like it.  How are you?  It must be so hard to see Lee like that.  I know you’ve seen him in pretty bad shape, but has it ever been this bad?”

“Not quite. It was a little hard to look at him,” he led her down to the control room.

 “I’ll be in the Engine Room checking on the upgrades.  Call me on the intercom and I can help you with your things.”

“Thanks Chip, but that won’t be necessary. ”


She went up the spiral staircase to Lee’s cabin.  She checked to see if there was anything left there that she wanted and  saw the picture on the wall with Lee, Chip, and the Admiral.  It was one of her favorite pictures. Even if she was to be divorced she wanted something to remember the good times.



Chip’s phone rang while he was in the Engine Room.

“Chip its Lee.  Are you near Janet?” Lee asked.

“No, the last time I saw her she was headed to your cabin to get a few things. Are you back?”

“Yes, but don’t tell her.  Make sure she doesn’t leave the boat.  Call her to the Observation Nose, then give her an excuse that you have to leave for a minute. I want to meet her alone.”

“Going to be a shock, Lee. You sure you don’t want some backup? I can ask the Admiral to join you…”

“Or a duty corpsman from Med Bay in case she breaks my arm or something.”

“Very funny…Lee…I really hope things will turn out okay, you know that.”

“I know…see you soon.”


Janet was just coming down the spiral staircase into the Observation Nose with her things as requested by Chip.

“The Admiral wanted me to check on something topside.  I’ll be right back.”

“I really want to get back to Lee…”

“I still owe you for lunch, you probably haven’t eaten yet today.”

“No I haven’t but …”

“Jamie has a long arm. Besides he already knows I plan to take you to the cafeteria. He’ll call us if something happens.”

“All right, but please don’t be too long…”


“You’ve got them?” Lee asked as he boarded Seaview, Chip waiting for him. Morton was glad Nelson and Jamie were with him, noticing the dark circles under Lee’s eyes. Taking a deep breath after accepting the rings from Chip, and putting them in his pocket,   Lee climbed down the hatch, glad to see that Morton had sealed off the Observation Nose with the accordion pleats for them to have a little privacy.

The truth was going to be far more devastating to Janet than the lie and he wondered if she’d ever forgive him as he opened the pleats.



It was Lee’s voice as the pleats opened and closed. 

“You’re…you’re okay?” she asked, stunned then outraged, “well, either it’s a miracle or the worst kind of sick joke I’ve ever heard of!  I never would have thought that of you, or the Admiral and…”

“You know us better than that,” he took her arm and sat her down. “First of all, I never wanted a divorce, but I had make

it look real.  To protect you. It was a complicated assignment and...”

“Then the whole thing was pretend? After all we’d been through together, you just couldn’t tell me what was going on? ”

“Don’t you dare call me sweetie!”

“Look, these men were ruthless and would stop at nothing to get what they wanted.  I had to find out who was leaking information on the new navigation system to the People’s Republic.  We suspected someone at the Institute was involved and there was also a leak COMSUBPAC.  There were two other agents working with me on this mission and...”

“The institute? ”

“Yes, he worked in security.  He broke into the house and looked around, saw the divorce papers and noticed all your belongings were gone so they believed that I was really leaving you.  Unfortunately, that didn’t stop them from still trying to use you to get to me.  When you were pulled in the car that day, they weren’t going to let you go.   Luckily, Kowalski and Patterson were right on the ball, and rescued you.”

“You made your men watch me?”

“I asked them for a favor…Sweetheart, I had you watched since the day you left.  Riley, Chief Sharkey and Chip were also in on it.  I was hoping you would have stayed a little longer at the Institute and the house.  When you left sooner than I wanted their job got a little harder.”

 “Chip knew what was going on?”

“Yes, so did the Admiral…you have to understand that no-one could let on….”

“Then who’s the patient? I hope you made it worth his while…”

“It was an anatomically correct medical dummy. We needed another 24 hours to catch them.  So I had to make it look like I was caught in the explosion and at death’s door.  I knew if Chip told you that I was hurt, in spite of everything, you would come here and I knew you would be safe at the Institute in case we didn’t catch them.  I was afraid they would go after you again if they found it wasn’t true.”

“Did you catch the people you were looking for?”

“Yes, we got them all.”

“Are you hurt? Did anyone else get hurt?” she asked cautiously.

“Well, there really was an explosion and I have a couple of bruised ribs and a bad headache, but that’s about it. And no one else was hurt, so,” he replied, and took out the rings, “will you take me back?”

“I’ll have to think about it. I really don’t like the way you handled this Lee. You could have told me.”

“How do you think I felt?  I was heartbroken hurting you like that. But the mission was paramount, and your life was in danger. I could handle a failed assignment. But I’d never be able to handle loosing you.”

“Even if it meant divorcing me?” she pouted.

“The papers are fake. Sweetheart…for God’s sake… please…”


They didn’t even hear the pleats open as they were in a passionate kiss and embrace, her rings back on her finger as she tousled Lee’s hair.

“Well,” Nelson grinned, “I do hope we’re interrupting something.”

“Not so fast Captain,” Jamie said, “You didn’t give me a chance to check you out.”

“I’m fine,” Lee said disgustingly. 

“Jamie,” Janet asked sweetly, “ if I promised to bring him to Med Bay in the morning, could we please go home? We have a lot of catching up to do and I’ll be gentle with him.”

“Very well,” Jamie smirked, “ but  be here no later than 0800.”

“Make that 1100,” Lee grinned.

“0900, and that’s my final offer or I’ll cart you to the Med Bay quicker than you can say X-ray.”

“Admiral?” Janet asked,” I don’t suppose I can ask for my job back?”

“You never lost it,” he chuckled, “you’ve simply been on leave. Seaview will be departing in two days. Will you be ready?”

“That depends on my husband. If he’s not cleared for duty, my duty is to stay with him.”

“Now, wait a minute,” Lee said, “I don’t want you to sacrifice yourself for me…”

“Why not? You sacrificed everything for me. Now, come along Lee. Let’s go home.”


“Well, they sure act like a happily married couple again,” Chip said as the group watched them depart.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Jamie laughed.


True to her word, Janet did bring Lee to Med Bay by 9:00 the next morning.  Doc verified that his two cracked ribs and concussion wouldn’t prevent his reporting for restricted sea duty. 


“I need to call Mr. Allerton at Allerton Valve and let him know I won’t be coming back,” she told Lee.

“He already knows. We, um…kind of arranged for you to get that job.”

“You sneak! Besides, how did you know I would accept it?”

“I had my ways and Tom would not have taken no for an answer,” he said smugly.

“So even he knew what was going on?”

“No, only that it was necessary to protect you.”


They went to the apartment she’d rented and packed up everything.  Then Lee saw the wedding picture.

“You kept this even after I said I wanted a divorce and sent you divorce papers?”

“Yes, I couldn’t leave it.  I wanted to remember how happy we’d been.  It’s a good thing your mission ended when it did. I was going to leave Santa Barbara next week.”

“Fat chance,” he said with a smile.  “Sweetheart, I made arrangements with Jamie to put you in Med Bay until I returned, which would have been soon.  Didn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you hadn’t been eating or sleeping you were so mad at me.”

“I couldn’t sleep because I missed you, loved you…and will always love you, Lee Crane!”


They returned home with her things. The divorce papers were still on the table. Lee saw them and tore them up.  He and Janet headed back upstairs with their arms wrapped around each other. 


Needless to say, Seaview departed on her next mission with all hands on board and everyone was glad things were back to normal, for now.



The End.



Thank you Holly.