Vanished Without a Trace

By JSRobertson


Lee Crane and Chip Morton were meeting in Lee’s office at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research.  They were going over a personnel issue.  There were two men currently on Seaview that didn’t seem to be working out.  They had been on two missions and just didn’t fit in.


Everyone hired at NIMR was on probation for three months.  Most people who worked there stayed forever. 


Very rarely did Chip and Lee have a problem with personnel on Seaview.  Everyone worked well together, knew what was expected of them and all would go above and beyond the call of duty to help out another crew member.  Being confined in a small space for long periods of time required patience and camaraderie.


“Lee, I can’t explain it.  I’m normally a good judge of character, but I really blew it on these two.  Bill Green came highly recommended from an electronics firm in New Jersey and Carl Hodges had a good resume and also a good recommendation from a large electronics company here in Santa Barbara.  I don’t know what happened,” Chip lamented.


“Well, I’m not much better I okayed them after you checked them out,” Lee replied running his hand through his hair.


Chip Morton, Seaview’s Executive Officer, was in charge of all the hiring for the submarine.  He was a good judge of character and always checked and rechecked all references and resumes. He also did a complete background check on all new hires.  He couldn’t figure out how he got it so wrong this time.  Lee Crane, Seaview’s captain, had the final decision on who was hired so he felt just as guilty.




Chief Sharkey had gone to Chip’s office after the first mission with Carl and Bill and wasn’t too happy with their performances.


“Mr. Morton, I don’t know about these two new men,” Chief Sharkey said hesitantly.


“What is it Chief, that bothers you,” Chip questioned.


“Well sir, after one of their watches, when I came on duty, they hadn’t done what they were asked to do and what they did do was sloppy and not done right. You know I don’t tolerate any of that nonsense on my boat.  I also found them up in officer’s territory outside the Skipper’s cabin.  They would have no reason to be there.  When I asked them about it and they said they got lost.”


“Chief, it was their first mission, and you know Seaview can be a bit confusing.  I will talk to the skipper and see what he thinks.  I’ll get back to you.”


“Aye, sir,” Chief replied and was ready to leave when Chip said, “Thanks for the heads up.” 


Chip went to Lee’s office and told him what Chief had relayed to him.


“Hmm, why don’t we give them another chance, Chip,” Lee contemplated.  “I would hate to lose them on account of a couple mistakes.”


“Okay, Lee.  I’ll tell Sharkey that they have one more chance and to keep an eye on them.”


Chip left Lee’s office and called Sharkey on his cell phone and told him what Lee had said.


Sharkey wasn’t too happy about it, but the Skipper and Exec knew what they were doing.



Chief kept an eye on Carl and Bill on the charting mission.  They still weren’t doing their jobs and he caught Carl outside the office of Janet Crane, the skipper’s wife when the skipper was off the boat.  He left to go on an ONI assignment and Carl had no business being there. Carl told Sharkey he was called to her office that she needed a light switch repaired.  Sharkey knew better.  If Janet needed something fixed, she would call him first.  Also other trusted crew members, Kowalski, Patterson, Riley and Stephens were all having a problem with Bill. He was always looking for someone to cover his watch or do his work. They both had an attitude problem.


According to Sharkey, those two yahoos had to go.




Chip called Sharkey into his office at NIMR after they returned from the charting mission.  He had asked Lee to be there too.  


“Hi Chief, how did Carl and Bill do on the last mission?”


“Not so good. Still not doing their jobs properly and I found Carl outside Mrs. Crane’s cabin while the skipper was gone.  Made up a story that she called him to repair a light switch,” Sharkey reported.


“Chief, did you check with Mrs. Crane to see if she had called for the duty electrician,” Chip asked making sure Sharkey was right.


“Yes, sir, I did.  In fact, she was coming out of her office when Carl was there and she walked right into him.  She wasn’t expecting anyone to be in the passageway.  He told her he was sent there to fix a light switch.  I went up there to see where Carl had gone as he wasn’t at his station. She knew nothing about repairing the light switch and she didn’t call anyone.”


“Thanks Chief,” Lee said quietly rubbing his hand on his forehead.


Sharkey left Chip’s office and went back to the sub pen to finish what he was doing on Seaview.


Lee was not too happy that Carl had been near Janet’s office. 


“Chip, I feel it’s almost like they want to get fired,” Lee commented.  “I don’t understand it.  But in light of what we just heard they’re going to have to go.”


“I agree.  I’ll call them and have Bill report here tomorrow morning at 9:00 and Carl at 9:15.”




Lee called Janet into his office.


“Sweetie, when I was gone did you have a problem with a crewman named Carl Hodges?”


“Yes, he was outside our cabin and said he was sent there to repair a light switch.  I admit I wasn’t watching where I was going and ran into him but I didn’t expect anyone in the passageway.”


“How about a crewman named Bill.  Any problem with him?”


“Sorry honey I don’t even know who he is.”


“Okay.  I need you to type up two confirmation of employment letters for Bill Green and Carl Hodges.  We’re going to have to let them go.  I won’t need them until tomorrow morning.  Also, could you please call human resources and let them know they are being terminated and have them make out checks for two weeks severance pay.”


“Yes Lee I’ll have them for you right away,” she replied.  “I’ll call HR right now and let them know also.”


She brought Lee the letters about fifteen minutes later.


“Sweetie, what took you so long,” he asked with a grin. 


She smiled back and gave him a quick kiss and went back to work.  That was one of the benefits of working with your husband; you can get a kiss anytime you want.  And on some days if no one was around you could even get a little more.




Janet went to Lee’s office later that afternoon.


“Lee, I have an errand to run in downtown Santa Barbara.  I won’t get back until 6:00.  Do you think Chip could take you home today?”


“What errand do you have?” he asked, “I’m sure I can hitch a ride home with Chip.”


“It’s a secret,” she told him as she walked out of the office to the elevators.


Janet was going to the jewelry store to pick up a special diving watch she had bought for Lee for their second wedding anniversary which was in a couple of days.  They were going to celebrate with dinner at Giovanni’s as it was their favorite restaurant.  They invited the admiral, Chip, Jamie, Wanda and Angie to help them celebrate too.  She couldn’t believe that they had been married for two years already.  It seemed like yesterday they hired her to work on Seaview.  She couldn’t be any happier.  She loved her husband more than anything and she also loved her job.




Janet was home before 6:00 and was making dinner when Lee came home a few minutes later. 


“Did you get your errand done?”


“Yes, but don’t ask where I went because I won’t tell you.”


“Not even if I...” he whispered the rest in her ear.


“No.  I will not tell you no matter what you do,” she laughed.


They finished dinner, cleaned up and she went to change her clothes.   Lee followed her upstairs and well nothing more needs to be said.




They arrived at work Friday morning at 8:00 and Janet made a pot of coffee as soon as she got there.  None of them would be able to function with out it.  Janet and Lee were running late so they didn’t have any coffee at home and if Lee didn’t get his coffee soon, he would be very grumpy.   The admiral and Chip walked in about ten minutes later.


As they grabbed a cup of coffee, Lee and Chip told the admiral about Carl and Bill.  He wasn’t happy either as he had seen their resumes and recommendations and was impressed by both of them but he agreed they couldn’t stay on Seaview or at NIMR.


Chip called security when he arrived and told them they would need to escort two men out of the complex this morning.


Bill showed up at 9:00 and was shown into Lee’s office by Wanda.  Lee and Chip were already in there waiting for him.  Lee was sitting at his desk.  They both hated having to fire personnel but they knew they had no choice that; these two would not work out.


“Please sit down, Bill” Lee said to him as Chip closed the door and then sat on the corner of Lee’s desk.  “I’m sorry to do this, but we’re going to have to let you go from your position on Seaview.  Your employment here is not working out.  Here’s a letter of confirmation of employment but you do realize that letters of recommendation are out of the question.  You will also get two weeks severance pay. Please give Mr. Morton your ID card and security badge.  Good Luck, Bill.” 


After giving Chip his ID card and badge, Lee shook his hand and so did Chip.


Bill left Lee’s office in a state of shock as he had no idea he was going to be fired.  Now what was he going to do.  He was a little pissed because he moved from New Jersey to take this job.


As he was leaving he saw his friend Carl coming in the office.  Before he could tell Carl what happened, Wanda showed Carl into Lee’s office.  Chip shut the door after he walked in. 


Bill figured he was going to be fired too.  He took the elevator down to the first floor and was told by security to wait before leaving the building. 


“Sit down, Carl,” Lee said.  “We’re going to have to let you go from your position on Seaview.  Your employment here isn’t working out.  Here’s a letter of confirmation of employment but you do realize that letters of recommendation are out of the question. You will also get two weeks severance pay.  Please give Mr. Morton your ID card and security badge.” 


Carl took the items Lee asked for and threw them on Lee’s desk. 


“Why the hell am I being fired,” he demanded.


“Excuse me,” Chip said as he stood up and stared at Carl with the look only Chip could do.  “You will not talk to us like that.”


“You didn’t do you job and you were caught lying about going to my wife’s office.  We don’t tolerate incompetence, lying or insubordination,” Lee said curtly.   “Please leave now.”


Carl threw open the door and stormed out of Lee’s office just as Janet was coming out of hers and he ran right into her knocking her down.  He didn’t even stop to apologize or help her up.  Lee and Chip both ran over to her and helped her up.  She got up rubbing the back of her head as she hit it on the door frame when she fell.  She was reading a letter as she walked out of her office and didn’t even see him coming.  The admiral and Angie came out of their offices to see what the commotion was about.  Wanda came running and was almost knocked over by Carl too.


Lee was worried when he saw her rubbing her head and ran his hand over the back of her head and found she had a good size bump forming. 


“Chip, please call Jamie and have him get over here on the double,” Lee said anxiously.


“Sure, Lee.” Chip replied running into his office and dialing Med Bay.


“Lee, I’m okay.  It’s just a bump.  Get me some ice and I’ll be fine,” she told him softly.  She was a little embarrassed.


“No, you have a large bump.  Jamie needs to look at it.”


Jamie was there in five minutes and checked Janet over.


“If you don’t get a headache or nauseated you should be okay.  But if you get any of these symptoms, call me right away.  Here put this on your head,” he told her handing her an ice pack.

He left the office and went back to Med Bay shaking his head.  He didn’t know who was more injury prone Lee or her.


“Sweetie, are you sure you’re okay,” Lee asked worriedly.


“I’m fine,” she replied with a smirk.


As they were going back to their offices, the admiral asked Lee and Chip to come to his office so they could explain to him what happen in Lee’s office.  The executive offices at NIMR had high tech security cameras, so if there were any inappropriate actions taken it would’ve been recorded.


Lee told the admiral what had taken place in his office with Carl.  Something just didn’t seem right with him but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was.  He was too upset over being fired.




Bill and Carl were escorted out by security.  They went down the road to the diner where some of Seaview’s crew would eat.  Luckily for them, none of them were there today.  If they weren’t on shore leave, they would be working on the boat. 


Carl was pissed at the way he was treated by Lee and Chip. 


“Lee Crane will be sorry he messed with me,” Carl said angrily to Bill.  ‘No one treats me like that.”


“Carl, what did you expect?  You know we didn’t do our jobs.  I told you we wouldn’t be able to get away with it.”


“Yeah, I know but in a way I did get back at him.  I knocked his pretty little wife right on her ass and didn’t stop to ask if she was alright.  I’m still going to get even with him.  Here’s my plan,” he whispered to Bill.




The admiral and Lee were going to a business luncheon with the mayor and other dignitaries in downtown Santa Barbara but the admiral asked Chip to go in his place.  He needed to go to the accounting department for a meeting with Tom Gauge.  There were some issues that needed to be straightened out regarding some credit card charges he made and bills that needed some clarification. 


Lee and Chip arrived at the luncheon at 11:00.   The lunch wasn’t very good and left right after lunch telling the mayor they had to prepare for an important mission.   Actually Lee wanted to stop at the jewelry store to pick up the diamond necklace he bought for Janet for their anniversary.  He bought her a diamond bracelet for their wedding day and earrings for their first anniversary so now she would have a necklace. 


“Chip, I’m going to give the necklace to Janet before we go to Giovanni’s for dinner on Monday.  Do you think she will like it?”


“Lee, you could give her a barnacle and she would love it,” he replied laughing as they walked out of the jewelry store.


Neither one of them noticed a man with his hat pulled down over his face and the collar of his overcoat pulled up standing near door of the jewelry store.


They stopped at Lee’s house so he could put the necklace in his safe without Janet seeing it.  They were back at work by 2:30. 




When they got back Lee went to Janet’s office to see how she was.


“Sweetie, you okay,” he asked giving her a kiss and tenderly feeling the back of her head to see if she still had bump.


Brushing his hand away, “I’m fine.   How was your lunch?” she asked knowing he hated those luncheons. She didn’t mention she had a slight headache.


“Fine, same over cooked chicken and dried out rice,” he said smiling.  “You know how I like rice.  How about we leave work on time today.  I should be done by 6:00.”


“Sounds good to me but I was going to make chicken and rice for dinner,” she said laughing.


“How about pizza?”


“Great.  Ask Chip if he wants pizza for dinner.  I asked him over.”


“He’ll eat anything we give him,” he replied as he walked out the door.


They all left at 6:00 and decided they would go out for pizza that night.




They were going to go sailing on Saturday morning but the weather didn’t cooperate.  It was rainy and a little too chilly.  So they stayed home and relaxed.  Sunday wasn’t much better but they did manage to do some shopping. 


Chip called after they got home. 


“Why don’t you come over and we can watch football this afternoon.  I’ve got a bucket of chicken and a bunch of sides.  Maybe one of us can beat Janet this time with our football bets.”


“Sure, we’ll be over in a few minutes.”


They went down to Chip’s house and enjoyed the chicken.  They did place bets on which team would win and Janet won all three games.  Lee or Chip can’t figure out how she wins every time.  Monday morning would come much too soon, so Janet and Lee left around 10:00.  They got ready for bed and had some bedtime fun before falling asleep.




Lee woke up exceptionally early on Monday and went down to make breakfast for his bride.  He couldn’t believe they have been married for two years, it seemed like yesterday he first met her on the job interview for Seaview.  To hire her was the best decision he ever made.  He’s never been so happy. 


Janet woke up and found him at the door with her breakfast on a tray. 


“Happy anniversary, sweetheart,” he said smiling holding the tray with two bagels and two coffees.


“Happy anniversary, honey,” she replied back lovingly. 


He brought the tray over, put it on the table next to the bed and gave her a very long passionate kiss that led to some intimate exercise.   They ate the breakfast in bed and had to rush to get ready for work. She woke up again this morning with another headache.  She had one over the weekend too.  She would go see Jamie if she had one again tomorrow.




Carl and Bill had been following the Crane’s since Friday night.  They would take turns waiting at the end NIMR Drive for one of them to drive by.  Carl was at the jewelry store when Lee and Chip left on Friday after they picked up the necklace. 




Lee and Janet got to work at little later than usual; everyone was already there and wished them a happy anniversary.  The admiral gave Janet kiss and so did Chip.  Wanda and Angie didn’t leave Lee out and gave him a kiss too.  The office would close early so everyone could get ready for dinner tonight at 7:00.   Jamie came over from sick bay to wish them congratulations too.  He looked at Janet and thought she didn’t look right but maybe he was imagining things.


Lee and Chip had to go down to Seaview to check on her upgrades and would spend most of their day there.  Every crew member working on her offered the skipper their congratulations. 


Chief Sharkey wanted to know what happened with Bill and Carl. 


“You were right Chief,” Chip told him.  “We should have let them go sooner.  Carl was pissed that he was fired.  Bill wasn’t too happy either but took it a lot better then Carl.”


“We’ll get the resumes together and hire two more electricians within the next week,” Lee stated patting Sharkey on the shoulder.  


“No problem.  I’m just glad to get rid of them,” Sharkey replied.




Janet was busy today as well.  She had to pull all the resumes Chip would need to hire two new electricians.  Her headache went away after she took some acetaminophen but she still didn’t feel quite right.  But no way was she going to see Jamie today.


The day went fast and the offices were locked up at 4:00.




Lee and Janet arrived at home and were getting ready.  Lee asked Janet to wear the short low cut black dress she wore when they were on the cruise ship to Mexico.  That was his favorite dress so of course she would wear it along with the uncomfortable heels too.  After showering together, he put his suit on and was tying his shoes watching Janet put on her make up in the bathroom. 


I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth, he thought.


Janet saw Lee staring at her and winked at him.  He went into the bathroom and gave her a hug and kiss.  If they didn’t have to leave soon, he would have done a little more.


Finally ready, they went downstairs.  Lee went to his office and Janet went into the kitchen.  He took the necklace out of the safe.  Janet got a chair and went to the cabinet over the refrigerator to get Lee’s watch. 


“Janet,” Lee yelled as he caught her before she fell off the chair.  “Are you okay?”


“Sorry, I got a little dizzy, I’m okay now.  I’m just hungry.  I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch today,” she told him as held her.


“Sweetie, you know you need to eat lunch,” Lee chided her.


She brushed off his comment.


“Honey, I hope you like this,” she said with tears in her eyes.  “I love you more than anything in this world.  I’m the luckiest woman alive.”

He opened the watch and was surprised.  He had been looking at this watch but never got around to buying it.  When he went to the jewelry store to pick up the necklace he was going to buy it but noticed it was gone.


He gave her the black velvet box.  She opened it and gasped.  It was the most beautiful necklace she had ever seen. 


“Sweetheart, I couldn’t believe it when you said you would marry me two years ago.  I realize our life has been a bit challenging at times but as long as I know you will be there for me that’s all I will ever need.”


“I know you think I love Seaview more than you but right now you and she are tied,” he said laughing.


He helped her take off the necklace she had put on and replaced it with the new one.  She was already wearing the earrings and bracelet. 


God she is exceptionally beautiful tonight, Lee thought.


They kissed and hugged again and walked out the door to the red cobra (another one of his loves).




They got to Giovanni’s by 6:45.  They didn’t want to be late for their own party.  Whenever Giovanni knew Lee was coming, he would leave his personal parking place open by the door so he could park his cobra there.


Lee went around to open the door for Janet but before he got there felt someone put a cloth over his face.  That was the last thing he remembered.  Janet was opening the door to the car and saw there was someone by Lee and went to help him when someone grabbed her from behind and put a cloth over her face.  As the person kept her from falling they caught her necklace and it fell to the pavement.




Chip was going to pick up Angie and Wanda so they wouldn’t have to drive home alone after dinner. But Wanda said she would pick up Angie since they lived close to each other and Chip wouldn’t have to go out of his way, not that he would have minded.


They arrived at the restaurant at the same time and saw Lee’s car was already there. Chip handed his keys to the valet along with Wanda’s. As they were walking, they saw the admiral pull in right behind them so they waited for him before walking into the restaurant. 


Giovanni greeted them at the hostess station.


“Welcome, Admiral, Mr. Morton, Miss Wanda and Miss Angie.  Are you ready for the celebration?” he asked happily.


“I see Lee and Janet are already here,” Chip remarked.


“Excuse me, Mr. Morton.  I haven’t seen them come in.  I was little surprised that they weren’t here yet.  I know Captain Crane is always early,” he said to Chip frowning. 


He left to check with the head waiter to see if they had come in and he just missed them.  He came back to the front with a look of concern on his face.


“I’m sorry, Mr. Morton, they’re not here,” he said scowling.


“Their car is parked in your parking space,” Chip said alarmed.


He and the admiral were already running out the door with Wanda and Angie following right behind.  They got to Lee’s car. Chip looked in the car and could see the keys were on the front seat along with Janet’s purse, and both their cell phones. 


The admiral went to the passenger’s side.


“Chip, come over here,” he said.  “Is this Janet’s?” Pointing to the necklace.


“Yes, Lee gave it to her tonight,” Chip said frantically.


As they were looking at the car, Jamie had arrived and went over to the group.  They told him Lee and Janet were no where to be found. 


The admiral pulled out his cell phone and called the Santa Barbara police department.


Hello is Aaron Thompson there.”


“Yes, he is.  Who is calling please,” the officer answering the phone asked.


“Tell him it’s Admiral Nelson and I need to talk to him immediately.”


It couldn’t have been more than ten seconds when he was on the line.


“Aaron, Nelson here.  Please get down to Giovanni’s restaurant.  I think Captain Crane and his wife have been kidnapped.”




Aaron Thompson and about five more Santa Barbara police officers arrived at Giovanni’s ten minutes after Nelson called.  Thompson had helped NIMR on other issues that had come up in the past so he was always willing to help him.  He went over to Chip and Nelson and asked what happened.  They explained to him they were there to celebration the Crane’s anniversary.  They arrived at the restaurant, saw their car and figured they were inside.  When they weren’t there they checked their car. 


“Have you touched anything in the car or the car since you got here?”


“No we haven’t touched anything,” Chip replied nervously.


He looked in the car and saw the keys, the purse and both cell phones. 


“Detective over here,” one of the police officers called pointing to the necklace lying on the ground.


“Is this Janet’s?” Aaron asked as he put on a pair of rubber gloves and picked up the necklace and put it in a plastic bag.


“Yes, Lee gave it to her tonight,” Chip replied running his hand through his hair.


“Detective there are two cloths here in front of the car,” a police officer reported


Thompson went to the front of Lee’s car and picked up the cloths.  He smelled the cloth but couldn’t tell what it was.


“I’m Dr Jamieson from the institute, maybe I can help you,” Jamie told him. 


Thompson gave him a pair of gloves before letting him touch the cloth. 


Jamie smelled the cloth, “Its chloroform.”

“Admiral I’m going to have to impound the car and its contents and have forensics check it over with a fine tooth comb to see if there were any fingerprints besides Lee’s and Janet’s,” Thompson told them.  “When they are finished with the personal items, I will personally bring them to you.”


“Is there anything we can do,” Chip asked worriedly.


“Nothing right now but if you get ransom demand please call me immediately,” Thompson told him.


Before leaving Thompson went over to the valet with the admiral and Chip following him.


“Did you park Captain Crane’s car when he arrived?”


“No sir, he always parks his car himself in Mr. Giovanni’s personal parking place.”


“Thanks for your help.” 


Thompson turned to the admiral who was standing behind him.


“One more thing Admiral is there anyone who would have a grudge or personal vendetta against Crane or his wife.”


“Let us think about that Aaron and we’ll get back to you.”


The admiral and Chip almost laughed in spite of the situation.  Who knows how many people would have a personal vendetta or grudge against Lee in his line of work at ONI.  They didn’t think Janet would have a grudge against her but they would ask Wanda and Angie.  The only one Janet could have would have been her brother-in-law but he was in jail.


They got in their cars.  The admiral and Chip went to the institute. Wanda would take Angie home, but they would both be back at the institute as soon as they changed their clothes.  Jamie would head to the institute too.




Making sure no one saw them Carl and Bill took the drugged Cranes and put them in Bill’s car.  They drove to Carl’s condo where his car was parked in the garage.  They took the Cranes and put them in Carl’s car while it was in the garage so no one would see them. They tied them up and put them in the back seat of the car and would take them to house that Carl found in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains.   The house looked deserted and would make a perfect spot to hide Crane and his wife.  It was pretty desolate but there were a few houses that had people living in them.


Afraid the chloroform would wear off before they got to the house; they injected them with a sedative that would keep them out for another two hours.


So far, everything was going according to Carl’s plan.  He would teach Crane a lesson.  No one fires Carl Hodges and gets away with it.  He left a good job to take this one and couldn’t go back to his old one.  He didn’t leave on good terms.




Once the admiral and Chip got to NIMR, they called head security man, Hank Rivers to Nelson’s office. 


“Hank, Captain Crane and his wife have been kidnapped and they don’t have their phones with them.”


“Damn, Admiral without a phone to track it will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.  They could be any where.  I will make sure we monitor and track all phone calls coming into and going out of the institute.”


“Do what you can.  Aaron Thompson from the police department is working on the case.  Contact him and let him know you will help him with whatever he needs.”


“Yes, sir.  I’m really sorry about the Captain and his wife.”


Angie and Wanda returned to the institute to help out.  Angie made a pot of coffee and stopped to pick up some sandwiches since no one had dinner.  It was the only thing she could think of to do.  Both she and Wanda were terribly upset.  Jamie and Med Bay would be on stand by to help at the drop of hat when they were found.


“Wanda, Angie, do you know of anyone who had a grudge or was angry at Janet?” Chip asked worriedly. 


“No, I can’t think of anyone.  She didn’t have any friends outside of the institute.” Angie volunteered.  “It’s hard to make friends when you are never home and live on the institute grounds.  But everyone she came in contact with here really liked her.  She got along with everyone.”


“She was close to Carol, the girl who owns the diner down the street.  She and Lee would go there for lunch once in a while.  Also she would visit Mr. and Mrs. Thomas from the hotel where she stayed when she first got here,” Wanda stated.


“Okay, I will check with them tomorrow.”


He grabbed a cup of coffee and sandwich and sat down in his office trying to think of anyone who could have done this to them. 


The admiral was in his office too.  He was also trying to think of anyone who would have wanted to hurt Lee and Janet.  He called Chip into his office while he called Admiral Johnson at ONI on his private line.  Surprisingly he answered the phone on the second ring.


“Johnson, and this better be important,” he answered tersely.


“Gerald, Nelson here.  We have a problem.  Lee and Janet were kidnapped this evening from a restaurant in Santa Barbara.  Do you know of anyone who would want to harm him besides half of the People’s Republic?”


“Harry, I’m sorry to hear about this.  Right now I wouldn’t know.  There are a lot people who would like to get their hands on him.  Let me check into it and call you back.  Please keep me posted,” Johnson said solemnly.


Damn. Johnson thought as got up, grabbed Lee’s file and started to look through it.


“Johnson’s going to check it out on his end and let us know.”


“Chip, right now there is nothing we can do.  Why don’t we all go home get some sleep and start fresh in the morning,” the admiral suggested.


“Yes sir.  I will tell Angie and Wanda to go home, but I’m going to stay here just in case a call comes in.  I can sleep on my couch.”


“Chip, do I have to order you home?” the admiral said frowning.  “Security will call if anything comes in.”


In the end the admiral won and they all left the institute on what was going to be a happy night has now turned into a nightmare.




Bill and Carl got to the house in a couple of hours as traffic was terrible. The house was pretty run down but still had some furniture and appliances.  Carl had checked it out ahead of time to make sure it was empty and what he needed to bring.  He had stocked the house with provisions.  He checked the well and found it was still functional.  There was a gas generator for power but they would only use it at night. 


 They dragged Lee and carried Janet into the house. They put them on the floor in the living room.

Lee came to and was worried about his wife. He saw she was sitting a few feet away from him.  He had no idea where they were.  His arms were tied behind his back and his feet were also tied.  Janet woke up and was frightened. She saw Lee was along side her but too far away for her to get next to him.  Her hands and feet were also tied.  She was so cold she was shaking and her head was killing her.  Lee tried to get next to his wife but was stopped by a man’s foot.  He looked up and saw it was Carl Hodges.


“Please untie my hands and let me give her my coat,” he asked.  “She’s freezing.”


“Not a chance. I know what you’re capable of doing ‘captain’.   But it would be my pleasure to wrap a blanket around her,” Carl said viciously.


He got a blanket from one of the beds and wrapped it around her.  He rubbed her legs as he covered them. Lee struggled to get free so he could punch him.  Janet shivered even more when he touched her. 


Another man came in the house carrying some fire wood.  It was Bill Green.


“I see they are finally awake.”


Lee was surprised at who his captors were.  He would never have thought they were that mad about getting fired they would resort to kidnapping him and Janet.     


He tried to move his hands and legs but they were tied too tight. 


“Tell me what you want and I will make arrangements to get it you.  Please keep me but let my wife go.  She can’t hurt you,” he bargained.


“No, she’s also a bargaining chip,” Carl said.


“Carl, look at the diamonds she’s wearing.  They must be worth a lot of money.”


Carl took off her bracelet and earrings.  He started to take her rings but she made a fist so he couldn’t get them off.  He slapped her across the face. 


“Give them to me or I will hit you again,” he threatened.


Lee could hardly contain himself. He tried to lunge at Carl but he couldn’t move.  He looked at Janet and just nodded his head letting her know to give them to him.  She released her fist and he took off her rings. Tears started rolling down her cheeks.


She was cold, tired, and hungry.


She called to Bill, “Can I please use the facilities?” 


Bill wasn’t sure what to do so he asked Carl.


“Hey Carl, she needs to go to the bathroom.”


“Okay, untie her legs when she gets there untie her arms, wait outside and then put these on her.”  He handed Bill a set of leg and wrist chains.  “Put her in the bedroom when she comes out, chain her to the bed and lock the door.


“How long do you plan on keeping us here,” Lee asked impatiently.


“Maybe a couple of weeks,” Carl said snidely.  “However long it takes for Nelson to offer a reward for your return.”


Damn, Lee thought.

Janet finished using the facilities and Bill put on the leg and wrist chains on her and put her in the bedroom.


“Watch him,” Carl told Bill handing him a gun while he put the leg and wrist chains on Lee.  He left him in the living room.


Carl was making sandwiches for dinner as they hadn’t eaten and knew the Cranes hadn’t either.  He gave Lee a sandwich and brought Janet one in the bedroom. 


“Thank you for the sandwich.  Could I please go to my husband?”


“No from now on you will be separated.” Carl said nastily as he left her room.


She was very tired and had a terrible headache.  She was able to lie down on the bed and fell asleep.


Lee was still in the living room with Carl and Bill.  After they finished eating, Carl chained Lee to an eye bolt he had put in the floor.  Lee was worried about Janet but there was no way he could get free.  He figured out he didn’t have his phone and assumed Janet didn’t have hers either.  He sat there thinking of a way to escape. 




Chip and the admiral were at NIMR by 5:00 the next day.  The admiral called security and was told no phone calls came in overnight.  They were waiting for Thompson to call and let them know if they found anything on Lee’s car.


They were into they second pot of coffee when Wanda and Angie came in with some rolls.


“Chip have you heard anything,” Angie asked hopefully.


“No nothing.  No phone calls or ransom demands,” he replied shaking his head.


 Jamie showed up a few minutes later and could tell by the look on Chip’s face that the news wasn’t good.  He also looked like he got no sleep by the bags under his eyes.  He checked on the admiral and he didn’t look any better.


At 9:00 security called Nelson’s office and told him Thompson was on his way to see him.


“Good morning, admiral, Chip.  Did you get any calls?”


“Nothing, what did you find out,” Chip asked urgently.


“The car was clean.  The only prints we found were Lee’s and Janet’s.  Also, there were no prints on the phones, purse or necklace but theirs.  Here are their personal items.” Thompson said handing Chip their belongings.


“Damn,” Nelson said loudly running his had through his hair.  “Now what do we do?”


“We have men checking out the restaurant and any security cameras in the area.  So far they have turned up nothing.  Have you any idea who might want to kidnap them,” Thompson asked discouraged.


“Janet doesn’t know too many people here.  I’m going to go to the diner down the street and the “Blue Bird Hotel.”  She was friends with Carol who owns the diner and the Thomas’ who run the hotel.” Chip stated.


“I’m still waiting for some information from a source in Washington and don’t ask as I can’t tell you its classified information,” Nelson told Thompson.


“Okay.  Chip why don’t you and I check out Carol and the Thomas’. If you hear anything...”


“I will call Chip’s phone,” the admiral said finishing his sentence.

Chip and Thompson left the office and drove to the diner first.  Carol was surprised at what they told her and said she hadn’t seen Lee and Janet for a month but to let her know if they need anything more.  They went to the hotel and heard the same thing from the Thomas’.  They were worried about them too.




Janet woke up in the morning and not only had a headache but was very nauseous.


“Lee help me I’m going to be sick,” Janet yelled from the bedroom.


He had fallen asleep and when he heard he yell he tried to get up and was shoved back down by Carl. 


“Go see what’s wrong,” Carl told Bill.


 He opened the door and could see Janet was not well. Bill unchained her from the bed and she ran to the bathroom and vomited.  She tried to get up but could hardly stand and fell on the floor.  Bill heard her fall and went in to see what had happened.  He picked her up and put her on the bed.  She was shivering.  She needed some more clothes to wear.  The dress she had on was torn and didn’t cover very much.  Not that he didn’t mind looking at her.  He looked in the dresser and found some woman’s clothes.


“Here, put these on,” Bill told her throwing her the clothes.   “If you try anything I’ll shoot your husband.”


 He unchained her legs and she put the pants on and he re-chained her legs and undid her wrists.  She put the shirt on over her dress, it was very large but at least she would be warmer and covered. He re-chained her wrists.  He found some slippers and put them on her feet as she lost her shoes somewhere.  He did feel sorry for her because she did look very ill.


“I have a terrible headache do you have any acetaminophen?”


“What do you think we are a drug store?”


Lee hearing her fall was pulling at the chains trying to get up.  He saw Bill carry her to the bedroom.


“Please let me help her,” Lee yelled to Carl.


 Carl just laughed and hit him with the butt of the gun knocking him out.


Bill and Carl ate breakfast as if nothing had happened.  They put the radio on to see if they could hear newscast regarding information on the Cranes.  So far nothing.  Lee came too and was pissed that Carl wouldn’t let him help his wife.  He now had a headache.  Carl gave him something to eat and told him his wife was okay.


Janet was lying on the bed. She felt terrible.  Bill had brought her some coffee and cereal but didn’t eat it.  She asked Bill if she could see Lee and make sure he was alright.  Bill wouldn’t let her and told her Lee was fine.




Chip and Thompson went back to the institute. The admiral had heard back from Johnson.


“Johnson gave me quite a few names of people that might want to hurt Lee but unfortunately I can’t give you their names as they are classified.  Johnson is checking them out to see if any of them are here in California.  He’s worried they will use Janet as a way to get information from Lee.  If I hear anything more I will let you know.”


“I know the men on Seaview are a close group but is there anyone that has been causing trouble or even let go?” Thompson asked desperate for any information.


“We did let two men go earlier in the week, Carl Hodges and Bill Green. Carl was pretty angry that he was fired.  But other than those two there is no one else.” Chip told him as he was calling Angie.


“Angie, please give Mr. Thompson the addresses and phone numbers for Carl Hodges and Bill Green.


“Yes, Mr. Morton.”


“I will let you know what I find out,” Thompson said to Chip and Nelson.


“I totally forgot about those two,” Chip answered dejectedly.  “We could have checked them right away.”


“Chip, don’t worry we’ll find them,” the admiral said putting his hand on his shoulder.




After trying the phone number he got from the institute and got no answer, Thompson went to the address he got for Carl Hodges.  Bill Green had put the same address on the application.  He had just moved from the east coast and was staying with Hodges.  No one answered the door. 


Thompson knocked on the door of the condo complex manager.


“Can I help you?” 


“I’m Detective Thompson with the Santa Barbara police department showing him his badge.  Have you seen Mr. Hodges or Mr. Green recently?  They don’t answer their phones or door.  I need to talk to them about a case.


“No, they left on Monday.  Carl said they were going camping in the Santa Ynez Mountains for awhile.”


“Thanks for the help.  If they come back, could you give them my card and ask them to call me or if you see them you can give me a call too,” Thompson said as he handed him his business card.


Damn, Thompson thought another dead end.


He got back in his car and called the institute.


“Admiral there was no one at home Carl Hodges’ house.  Condo manager said they went camping in the mountains.”




“I have another idea.  Let’s put a picture of them in the newspaper asking for the public’s help in finding them.  Maybe someone saw them being taken from the restaurant and are too afraid to come forward.  I’m surprised no one has called in a ransom demand.”


“I’ll have a picture sent over to you and I’m going to hold a press conference asking for help in finding them.  Someone out there must have seen something or knows something.”


“Okay, I’ll look for the picture.”


The admiral asked Angie to send a picture to Thompson and set up a press conference for this afternoon outside the front gate of NIMR.


There were television cameras from all the major news networks waiting for the admiral.  He went before the cameras with Chip at his side.


“If anyone has seen Lee and Janet Crane, please contact the Santa Barbara police department,” he pleaded holding up a picture of them, “If you have any information no matter what it is.  Please call them so they can check it out.  Thank you.”


The admiral and Chip left the front gate and went back into the institute.




Chief Sharkey, Kowalski, Patterson and Riley were on shore leave and had just returned when they saw the picture in the newspaper showing their skipper and his wife were missing.  They headed for the institute and charged into Chip’s office.


“Mr. Morton, what can we do to help you find the skipper and Mrs. Crane?  We just got in back in town.  Do you have any clues, places to track, stake out, anything,” Sharkey asked quickly.


“Slow down Chief.  Right now we have no clues and nothing to track.” 


“But sir, there has to be something,” Kowalski asked urgently.


“Sorry Ski, nothing.  If we get any leads, I will call you and let you know.  Thanks for offering.  I know the skipper would appreciate it.”


The men left Chip’s office dejectedly.  They went down to the diner for some breakfast.  Carol asked them if they had found Lee and Janet.  They told her no and she just as upset as the men were.




Everyone at NIMR was on pins and needles.  Every time the telephone rang they would jump. 


The admiral called Thompson later in the day. 


“Thompson any leads?”


“Sorry admiral we received a few calls and checked them out but nothing came of them.  I will call you if we get any solid leads.”


They went home at the end of the day, more upset than before. 


Chip went home and looked up at Lee and Janet’s house.  It was pitched dark.  He hoped they would be home soon.




Lee and Janet had been missing for four days now.  It was like they had vanished off the face of the earth.  Thompson made his daily call to the institute and said they still had no leads.  The admiral decided to offer a reward of $25,000.00 to anyone who had information on Lee and Janet that would help find them.  Thompson wasn’t thrilled with the plan but maybe it would help. Top brass was pushing him to cut back on the number of officers he had working on the case.  There were other cases that needed to be solved.




Carl left early in the morning to go into town to get more provisions and a newspaper.  He wanted to see if there was a picture of the Cranes and a reward. 


“Bill, keep an eye on Crane.  I don’t trust him even with him chained to the floor.  And no way let Janet see him no matter how much she begs.  You got it.”


“Yeah Carl, I got it.”


Janet could tell she was getting to Bill.  She would mention to him that she didn’t feel well and told him she had a slight headache hoping he would feel sorry for her and let her see Lee.   Unfortunately, he never came in to check on her while Carl was gone. 


Carl came back about three hours later with a huge grin on his face.  He showed Bill the newspaper he picked up and Lee and Janet’s picture were on the front page along with the announcement of the $25,000.00 reward.  He knew how close the admiral was to Lee and Janet and knew he would up the reward the longer they were gone.




He wasn’t the only one who saw the picture.  Dolly and Edward Parsons, an elderly couple, went to town every Friday to do their shopping for the week and always bought a newspaper.  They lived about three miles west of the house where Janet and Lee were being held.


“Honey, look at this picture.  That poor couple, they’ve been missing for four days.  I sure hope they’re found soon,” Dolly said to her husband.  He nodded in agreement.




Eleven days have gone by since Lee and Janet were kidnapped from Giovanni’s.  Carl and Bill seemed in no hurry to let them go.  She hadn’t seen her husband since the first day.  She didn’t know if he was alright and she was getting real angry.


Lee was trying to think of a way to escape.  But Carl or Bill were always there.  They did let him walk around one day but had a gun pointed at him at all times.  He was concerned on how Janet was feeling.  He knew the admiral and Chip would be looking for them but with no way to let them know where they were it seemed hopeless.




The bed Janet was chained to was old and had metal bars for posts in the head and foot boards.  Sometimes they would chain her to the front of the bed.  She worked on loosing up one of the posts.  If she could get one out she could maybe hit one of them and get the keys to unlock the chains.   




The admiral and Chip were kept busy at the institute getting ready for Seaview’s next mission which she would have to leave on without her skipper if he wasn’t found soon.  Thank goodness they had work to do or they would have gone crazy. 


Chip would go the Lee and Janet’s house before he went home just to check and make sure everything was alright.  He sure missed his ‘brother’ and his wife. 




The admiral called Thompson and wanted to talk to him.  He came over as soon as the admiral called.


“I’m going to increase the amount of the reward to $50,000.00.” the admiral told Thompson as he called Angie and asked her to get the newspaper on the phone and the press.


“Admiral, that’s a lot of money.  You’re going to get a lot of people claiming to know where they are,” Thompson told Nelson.


“I don’t care.  I will do whatever it takes to bring them back home,” Nelson said tersely.


“Ok Nelson,” Thompson conceded.


On Friday morning, the newspaper’s headline was the admiral stating he was increasing the reward for information on whereabouts Lee and Janet Crane.   He held a press conference later that morning stating that he increased the amount of the reward.



Carl went to get more provisions on Friday.  He would pick up a newspaper and any mail at his condo.  He hoped Nelson would have upped the reward by now. He was tired of waiting and just wanted to get the money and run.  He planned on sending a ransom demand once Nelson put more money as the reward.  He and Bill would split it.  They would kill the Cranes as soon as they had the money.


As he went into his condo, the landlord saw him, called Thompson and told him Carl was in his condo.


Thompson hurried out of the police station hoping to catch him.  He arrived before Carl left.  He took a look at the car parked in his driveway and saw a women’s black high heel shoe on the floor in the back.  He wondered if it belonged to Janet Crane and took a picture of it.  He was walking up to the door when Carl came out.  He was surprised to see someone at his door.


“Carl Hodges, I’m Detective Thompson with the Santa Barbara police.  I’d like to ask you a few questions regarding the disappearance of Lee and Janet Crane.”


“They’re missing?  I was fired from NIMR almost two weeks ago. I’ve been camping up in the Santa Ynez Mountains so I don’t know a thing about it. If you’ll excuse me I have some errands to run,” Carl said hastily.


“What’s the hurry?” Thompson asked stepping in front of him.


“Get out of my way.”  Carl said curtly.  “I don’t have to answer any of your questions.”  


He pushed past Thompson, got in his car and drove away.


Thompson was very suspicious of Hodges as he seemed very defensive for someone who didn’t know anything.


He called Chip at the institute on his cell phone.




“Chip, I’m sending you a picture of a high heel shoe, can you find out if it’s Janet’s?”


“Let me check with Angie, she might know,” Chip answered quickly while he brought his phone over to Angie.  “Hang on.”


“Angie do you know if this is Janet’s shoe?”


“Yes, I was with her when she bought them.”

“Yes, it’s her shoe.  Where did you find it?”


“In Carl Hodges’ car.  I’m following him now.   He said he’s been camping in the mountains for the last couple weeks and didn’t know anything about them being kidnapped.  As soon as I find out where he’s going I’m call you back.”


“Thompson, tell me where you are now.  The admiral and I will meet you and follow too.  We will bring Jamie just in case we need a doctor,” Chip pleaded.


“No, once I have an idea where he’s going, I will call.  Please stay put.  If too many cars show up he will get suspicious.  I promise you I will call.”   Thompson hung up the phone.


Chip immediately went into the admiral’s office and told him what Thompson found out.  The admiral wasn’t too happy about waiting but understood what Thompson was doing.  He called Jamie and told him he better come to his office and bring full kit.  The admiral wasn’t sure what they would run into and wanted to be prepared.




Janet heard Carl tell Bill that he was going into town for more provisions and a newspaper.  He would be back in about four hours.  It was raining and foggy out so it would take him a little longer as traffic would be slower.  No way was he to let Janet see Lee.  He didn’t trust either one of them but put them together and it would be trouble. 


Janet had worked loose one of the bed posts on the head board and was able to stash it under the blankets.  If she was going to make a move it had to be now.


“Bill, I need to use the bathroom and could I please take a shower,” she called from the bedroom.


“No shower today, maybe tomorrow.”


The clothes she had on were dirty and smelly she tried to wash them off but it didn’t help.  Lee picked his head up when he heard her call Bill.  He hoped she wasn’t sick again.  He was tired of sitting on the floor and they only let him up to use the facilities.  He wanted to catch a glimpse of his wife as she went to the bathroom. 


Bill unlocked the bedroom door and was going to follow her to the bathroom when she clobbered him over the head with the metal bedpost.  He fell to the floor out cold.  She could see the set of keys but they were just out of her reach.  She used the metal bedpost to bring them closer to her.  She had to figure out a way to pick them up. Putting her two feet together she was able to pick them up so she could reach them with her hands.  She found the keys that unlocked the wrist and leg chains.  She put them on Bill and locked him to the bottom foot board. 


Lee heard something or someone fall to the floor.  He hoped nothing had happened to Janet.  He was totally surprised when she walked out of the bedroom.  She ran over to him and gave him a kiss and hug. 


“How did you get free,” he asked grinning happy to see she was alright.


“I hit Bill over the head with metal bedpost I worked free from the head board.”


“Sweetheart you’re getting to good at this spy stuff.”


 Janet had the keys to the leg and wrist chains she had on and was hoping they would unlock Lee’s.


“Damn,” she said angrily when they wouldn’t open.  “Now what do we do?”


“Sweetie, go and find help.  There must be a road somewhere,” Lee told her.


“But I don’t want to leave you,” she said with tears in her eyes. 


“You must go and find help before Carl gets back.  I’ll be okay,” he told her knowing he would be in real trouble if Carl came back before she got help.  It was a chance he had to take to save her.  He gave her a kiss and watched her leave the house.




Thompson had been following Carl all morning. He had a hunch he and Bill had kidnapped the Cranes.  He noticed he bought quite a bit of food for two people and a newspaper.  He could see a grin on his face when he saw the front page of the paper and the new reward.


He reported in to the police department and told them what he was doing and under no circumstances were they to send any squad cars.  He was afraid it would spook Carl and he wouldn’t take them to where Lee and Janet were. 




Janet left the house and found what looked like a driveway and followed it to the end.  There was a dirt road but she didn’t know which way to go.  She knew the house faced the west because she could see the sun in the afternoon from her bedroom. So she decided to head to the west.  Hopefully she would find another house or busier road.  This one didn’t look like it had much traffic.  


The rain and fog was making it hard to see.  She was having a hard time walking in the slippers as the kept falling off her feet.  Her clothes were soaking wet and she was starting to get a headache.  It was very chilly out and she was shivering.  She doesn’t know how far she walked when she stumbled over some large rocks.  She fell and hit her head on a rock.  She tried to get up but couldn’t.  She passed out.




Also on Friday, Dolly and Edward Parsons went into town to get their groceries, newspaper and do their other errands.  It was a real nasty day so it would take them longer to do everything.  They started back a lot later than they hoped.  They were driving down the road to their house when Dolly saw something in the road.


“Edward, pull over.  That looks like a woman on the side of road,” Dolly said to her husband.  Edward stopped the car and they got out to see what was in the road.


“Dolly, you’re right it is a woman.  What is she doing out here in the rain and she’s filthy.”


“Who cares if she’s dirty, help me get her into the car.” Dolly told her husband shaking her head at him.


They put Janet into the car and took her home.  Edward unloaded the groceries and items from their errands while Dolly washed Janet the best she could by herself as Janet was still unconscious.  She saw there was a nasty gash on her temple.  Being the mother of two boys, she thought it needed stitches but she only had butterfly bandages, so she put a couple on the gash.  She also put her in some of her clothes even though they were a little big on her.  After cleaning her up, she called Edward to come and help her put Janet in their extra bedroom.


Dolly checked on Janet an hour later and was worried about her.  She still wasn’t awake.  She walked past the newspaper sitting on the table on saw the picture on the front page.


“Edward, the woman we have here is the one who is missing.”


“We better call the police and tell them we have her.  They might be looking for her.”


Dolly grabbed their cell phone and dialed the sheriff’s department. 


“Hi Shirley.  This is Dolly Parsons.”


“Dolly, are you alright?  You never use your phone except in an emergency,” Shirley said alarmed.


“Yes we’re fine.  You know the lady that’s missing from Santa Barbara, well we have her here.  We found her on the road.  Maybe someone should come and get her.  She’s unconscious.”


“Okay Dolly, I will send Steven out to get her.  Don’t do anything until he gets there.”


“Thank you Shirley.  We will wait for him to come.”


Shirley called Steven Albert on his phone.


“Steven, Dolly Parsons just called.  They have the women who’s been missing from Santa Barbara at there house.  She’s unconscious, you better get over there right away.  I told them not to do anything until you got there.”




Carl looked behind him as he was driving.  He swore that someone was following him, but he didn’t see anyone. Before going to the house, he needed to stop at the gas station to get some fuel for the generator.  He wasn’t sure how much longer they would need to stay at the house and they were almost out. While at the gas station, he purchased a prepaid mobile phone.  He knew this phone was untraceable.   Once he sent the ransom demand, he hoped Nelson would get them the money right away.  He really didn’t want to hurt the Cranes but he had no choice as they would be able to identify them.


Thompson followed Carl for about thirty miles when he stopped at a gas station. He called the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s department. 


“Steven Albert please this is Aaron Thompson of the Santa Barbara police department.”


“Aaron, what can I do for you?” Albert asked. 


“I’m following a man named Carl Hodges.  I suspect he’s involved in the disappearance of Lee and Janet Crane from Santa Barbara.  I’m at the gas station at the end of road that leads into the Santa Ynez Mountains.”


“Stay put.  I’m five minutes away.”


“Steven, I’ve got to call Admiral Nelson at the Nelson Institute and let him know where we are.”


“Okay, I understand who he is and how much weight he pulls.  Also I just got a call from my dispatcher.  An elderly couple found a woman on their way home from town.  They say it’s Janet Crane.   I’m going to send one of my deputies to check on it.  They say she’s unconscious.”


“Damn.  Let me know if it’s her.  Could they leave her there with the couple?  I know the men from the institute will be bringing a doctor with them.  I will have them stop at the house and check her out before they meet up with us.”


“I’m sure they won’t mind keeping her until the doctor can get there.”


Steven called Shirley back.


“Shirley send Kevin to check the Parsons’ house.  Let me know if it’s Janet Crane and find out if she can stay there.  I will have a doctor there in an hour.”


“Okay Steven. Will do.”


Shirley got in touch with Kevin.  He went to the Parsons’ house and confirmed it was Janet Crane.  They had no problem letting her stay there until a doctor came.  Shirley called Steven back and relayed the information.




Thompson dialed Chip’s number.  It didn’t even ring once before Chip answered.




“Chip, Thompson here.  I’m working with Steven Albert of the county sheriff’s department as this is their jurisdiction.  We are on the only road that leads into the Santa Ynez Mountains. I think I have a lead on where Crane is.”


“What about Janet.  Isn’t she with him?”


“No she was found on the road by an elderly couple on their way back from town.  They have her at their house.  Are you bringing a doctor with you?”


“Yes, Dr Jamieson will be with us.”


“I’m not sure where they live but I will get you directions when I catch up with Steven.”


 “You can come here but must stay out of the way until we have everything under control.  Understood?"


“Yes, I understand.  We should be there in about an hour.”


“They found Janet.  An elderly couple found her on the road.  They are going to keep her there until we get there.  She’s unconscious.  We’ll drop Jamie off at the house and meet up with Thompson who’s got a lead on where Lee is,’ Chip told them as they left in his SUV.  It had more room then either of their cars. Traffic would be bad and the weather wasn’t helping either. 




Steven met Thompson at the gas station.  There was only one road into the foot hills.  There weren’t too many houses that had permanent residents.  Most of them were only used on the weekends.  Since it was Friday, there would be a lot more traffic on the road so it would be easy for them to follow Carl. 


Carl left the gas station and headed to the house not realizing he had two police officers on his tail.




Chip, the admiral and Jamie were about twenty minutes away from the gas station.  Thompson had given them directions to the road but from there they would have to wait until he and Steven found the house.  None of them were very patient at this point.




Chip’s cell phone ran and he recognized the number as Thompson’s.




“Chip we’re closing in on the house where we think Crane is.  There are two squad cars at the gas station.  Follow them down the road.  One of the police cars will stop at the Parsons’ house.  That’s where Janet is.  Have your doctor stay there with her and the police car.  Follow the other squad down the road.”


“Okay, thanks.”


Chip followed the two squad cars as they pulled out onto the road.


He didn’t have to go too far down the road before one of the squads stopped at the house where Janet was.  Jamie jumped out of the car and ran into the house.  Chip and the admiral would follow the other police car to where Lee was.  If Lee needed help they would come back for Jamie after he took care of Janet.




Carl got to the house and was unloading the groceries and fuel wondering where Bill was.  He would usually open the door for him.  He went into the house and saw Lee sitting there but no Bill.  He went into the bedroom where Janet had been and found Bill still unconscious and chained to the bed. 


He went out to Lee and punched him in the face wanting to know where Janet was. 


“Where is she?  You better tell me or you will be sorry, Crane and you better I hope I don’t find her,” Carl said viciously.


“As long as she is out of here, I don’t care what you do to me,” Crane responded which got him another punch in the face and several kicks in the ribs that left him gasping for breath. 


Carl went back to the bedroom and unchained Bill.  He got some water and splashed it on his face.  He was still pretty groggy.  Carl was pissed at him for letting Janet get the best of him.  Now all the plans were ruined.  Crane would have to pay and went back into the living room.


Before they could do anything more to Lee, Steven stormed in the room from the front and Thompson in the rear with their guns drawn.  Out front one more squad car barreled in the driveway along with the admiral and Chip.


They all ran into the house.  By this time, Thompson found the keys on Carl and unchained Lee.  He could barely stand after sitting for all that time and being kicked in the ribs. 


“Where’s Janet,” Lee asked grimacing in pain.  “Did she send you?”


“No, I followed him from his house after I saw her shoe in his car,” Thompson explained to Lee. 


“Lee, Jamie is with Janet right now.  An elderly couple found her on the road and took her in.  They called the police and the police confirmed it was her.  We do know she is unconscious,” the admiral told him.




As they were taking Carl out of the house Lee stopped them. 


“Please search him.  He took Janet’s jewelry.”


“Search me all you want, I don’t have her jewelry,” Carl hissed.


He didn’t have the jewelry on him but with a little coaxing, he told them he stashed it in the refrigerator in an empty box of baking soda.


Chip looked in the box and found the jewelry and gave it to Lee and he put it in his pocket.  Now all he wanted was his wife back so he could put them back on her.




Jamie and the police office ran to the house and Mrs. Parsons let them in.  She showed him where Janet was.   He did a quick examination and thought she might have a slight concussion, was dehydrated and the gash on her head will need stitches but the butterfly bandage was working right now.  They would need to get her back to Med Bay right away.


“We found her on the road unconscious,” Dolly told Jamie. 


“Thank you for taking her in,” Jamie told them.


“We couldn’t just leave her there.” 


If they had been any later, Carl would have found her first.




Steven and the other police officer loaded Carl and Bill into their squad cars and took them away.  Thompson, Chip and the Admiral got into their cars and drove back to the Parsons’ house.  Lee could hardly walk but wanted to check on Janet. 


He barely got in the house before he collapsed.  The admiral and Chip caught him and laid him on the couch.  Jamie was on him in a flash. After a quick examination, he would have to put in a couple of stitches in his cheek when they got back to Med Bay but put a bandage on it for now. He also thought he had a couple of cracked ribs. 


Lee wanted to see Janet so Jamie showed him where she was.  He kissed her cheek but she didn’t move.


I’m sorry it took us so long to figure out who she was,” Dolly apologized.


“Don’t worry about it,” the admiral told them.  “There’s a reward for finding her, I will sent you the money when I get back to the institute.”


“Thank you very much Admiral.  We will use it to fix up our house.  Please come back and visit us when it’s done,” Edward told them shaking the admiral’s hand.




Jamie was getting antsy to get Janet and Lee back to the institute.  They needed to leave right now.  Lee tried to pick her up but his ribs were having no part of it, so Chip picked her up and put her in the back seat of his SUV.  Jamie sat back there with Lee and was monitoring her as they drove home.  Thompson gave them a police escort back to the institute.  If they had called for an ambulance it was have taken well over an hour to get there.  This way it would only take them about thirty to forty minutes to get back to the institute.


As they were driving, Janet woke up, saw Lee and started to cry.  Grimacing he put his arms around her.


“Sweetie, I’m alright.  We’re heading back to the institute,” Lee told her wiping her tears.


 “Rings,” she mumbled softly.


“Sweetheart, I have them along with the bracelet and earrings,” he told her as he kissed her forehead.  “Go back to sleep.”


kay,” she said as she laid her head on his shoulder and went back to sleep.


Jamie called Med Bay and told them to have a stretcher ready and a room as the Cranes would be staying over night.


When they arrived at the institute they were met by the staff and took Janet right to the examination room with Lee following close behind. 


Chip and the admiral waited outside until Jamie was done with them.  Chip called Angie and Wanda and told them they found Lee and Janet and that they were at Med Bay.  They both were there in five minutes.


“Lee, please sit down before you collapse again.  She will be okay and you’re next.”


Surprisingly, he did what his was told.  He was having a hard time standing anyway.


While examining Janet, she woke up again.  Jamie smiled at her and told her she was at Med Bay.


“You have a slight concussion and I will need to stitch your temple soon before it’s too late to stitch.  You also need fluids.  But first, you need a shower. I will have Betty help you.  It looks like Mrs. Parsons tried to bathe you but I think you were a little too heavy for her.” 


Janet couldn’t wait to take a shower and insisted she could do it herself, but when she tried to get off the table, she almost passed out.  She let Betty help her shower and get into a pair of scrubs.


While Janet was taking a shower, Lee also took one.   Jamie stood and waited for him to finish just in case he had a problem.  When he was finished he handed him a pair of scrubs too.


Jamie stitched up Janet’s temple after taking off the butterfly bandage Mrs. Parsons put on.


“You are going to be my guest tonight but don’t worry Lee will be here too,” Jamie told her as Betty got her settled into bed and started an IV.


Jamie then started on Lee.  He stitched up Lee’s check and Frank took him for x-rays where found he had two cracked ribs, so he taped them up.  He was not dehydrated like Janet and would not need an IV.  Lee told Jamie that Janet had been sick right after they were kidnapped.


He got Lee settled in the bed next Janet.  He wondered how long he would stay there after he left for the night.


“Janet, Lee told me you were sick when you first got there,” Jamie asked with concern.


“Yes, I had a bad headache and was nauseated.  I had been having headaches for a few days before we were kidnapped but I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want to end up in Med Bay on our anniversary.”


“What!!” both Lee and Jamie yelled.


“You could’ve had a concussion from your fall before, please don’t ever do that again,” Jamie insisted.  “This could have been a lot more serious.”


“Yes, sir,” she replied sheepishly.




There was a knock on the door and four people poked their heads in.


“Okay if we come in,” the admiral asked as he slowly opened the door.


“Of course,” Lee answered.


The admiral and Chip stopped at Janet’s bed and gave her a kiss.  Angie and Wanda were next.


“We’re sure glad you’re back,” Chip stated as he patted Lee on the shoulder. 


The admiral went over to Lee and gave him a pat too.  He cared for Lee more like a son than a friend.




Thompson also stuck his head in the door and wanted to come in. 


“Thank you for finding us,” Lee said as he shook his hand.


“If I hadn’t looked in Carl’s car I never would have seen Janet’s shoe.  I don’t think he even knew the shoe was there.”


“I don’t even remember losing it.  When I got to the cabin I didn’t have any shoes on.”


He asked Lee and Janet what had taken place at the restaurant.  They told him they were drugged and came to at the house where they found them.  Carl and Bill didn’t treat them too badly.  From his past experiences, Lee figured it could have been a lot worse.  Thompson had checked out Carl and found out his was a wanted felon from New Jersey.  He had falsified all the information in his background and resumes.  The other company he worked for was also surprised at what he had found out about him.  As for Bill, he wasn’t a criminal.  He just went along with Carl.  They both would be tried and Lee and Janet would have to testify at the trial.




Janet and Lee both started yawning and everyone knew it was time to go.  Jamie thought they would only need to stay overnight and could then go home to rest for a couple of days.  No going to work at the office or Seaview.


Seaview was scheduled to leave on a mission in five days and both of them would be cleared for duty by then.


There still was one other issued they needed to take care of.  They still wanted to celebrate their anniversary.


“Oh dear, I forgot all about the necklace, I must have lost it,” Janet said sadly looking at Lee.


“I have it,” Chip said as he took it out of his pocket and handed it to her.  “It fell to the ground when they kidnapped you.  The police gave it back to us with your cell phones and purse.”


Lee had taken her jewelry out of his pocket before showering and gave them to Jamie.  After Chip gave her the necklace, Jamie gave Lee her jewelry.  Lee took her rings and put them back on her finger.


“Chip will you please hold on to these until we get home,” Lee asked as he handed him the necklace, bracelet and earrings.”


“No problem.  I promise I won’t pawn them,” he teased.


“Thank you Chip,” Janet said grabbing his hand and squeezed it.


“How about we try to have dinner again on Monday, which will still give us enough time to get ready for the next mission,” Lee asked.


Everyone agreed on Monday.  Lee and Janet invited Thompson to join them.  He had no problem with that as he was looking forward to seeing Wanda again.


Jamie chased everyone out.  He turned off the lights and left.  When he checked on Lee and Janet about two hours later sure enough Lee had climbed in bed with her and even with his broken ribs he had his arms wrapped around her.  Both were sound asleep.


He was smiling as he walked out the door and left for home.




Lee and Janet were released the next day and went home and rested just like Jamie told them to do. 


They went back to work on Monday.  Everyone was glad the office was back to normal.  They both had a lot of work to catch up on.  Lee and Chip were still angry at themselves for hiring Carl and Bill.  Chip had gone through the resumes and found a couple of electricians he thought would fit in.  They would interview them on Tuesday.




The office closed early so everyone could get ready again.  Janet had gone out and bought another sexy black dress and new uncomfortable shoes. 


As Lee and Janet got ready to go to dinner, Lee put the necklace on her again.  She already had on the bracelet and earrings.  He kissed her passionately but knew it couldn’t lead to anything more until later.


Chip was going to drive with them to the restaurant this time so there would be no problems.


Giovanni was waiting for them, happy to see them and glad they were okay.


They all were having a good time when Lee stood up and proposed a toast to his bride.


“Sweetheart, I love you more today than I did two years ago and will never stop loving you.”


“Me too,” she said lovingly as she gave him a kiss adding, “No matter what challenges we face.”


Everyone laughed at that remark knowing there would be a lot of them as they raised their glasses to the couple. 

The party continued for a little while longer before everyone knew it was time to leave.  They all would have to go to work tomorrow morning.  It would be a busy day for the group at NIMR as they prepared for Seaview’s next mission.


As they were leaving, Thompson asked Wanda out for dinner the next night.  It looked like they had hit it off.




Lee and Janet thanked Chip for driving with them. Chip gave Janet a kiss on the cheek and patted his best friend on the shoulder before saying good bye and smiling as he headed down to his house.  He knew Lee and Janet would still be up for a while.  He was very happy that his ‘brother’ had married Janet as he has never seen him so happy.  




Once they were in the house, Lee took off his suit coat and shoes. Janet took off her shoes too (they weren’t too uncomfortable tonight).  He turned off the lights and they walked upstairs to their bedroom.


As Lee was unbuttoning his shirt, he saw Janet having a hard time undoing the necklace.  He walked over to her and helped her undo the clasp on the necklace.  He turned her around, pressed her body close to his and gave her a long and hard kiss taking her breath away.  He slowly unzipped her dress and let it fall to the floor.  She pushed his shirt off and undid the belt and buttons his pants letting them fall to the floor.  He picked her up and gently laid her on the bed kissing her passionately.


“Happy anniversary, Mrs. Crane,” he said affectionately giving her another kiss as he ran his hands over her body.


“Happy anniversary, Captain Crane,” she shivered breathlessly returning the kiss as they made love until the wee hours of the morning before falling asleep.





The End.