This is an entry into the ‘Bowed Under’ story challenge, due September 25, 2020.


This is a very old story (as you can tell from the ‘current’ events at that time) that I wrote years ago and for some reason never quite finished or posted. I wanted to dedicate it to Henry Kulky, who played Chief Curly Jones only on the first season of VTTBOTS before he passed away in 1965, suffering a heart attack while he was studying a script for Voyage’s next episode.  He was great in that role, it was similar to other roles he had played, and he had been in the Navy.   One of his lines I loved him most for was: “Waiting, I hate waiting.  That’s why I never got married you know, because I hate to wait.’  He said this to Mr. Morton, and it was just about the only time in all the episodes we got to see such an incredibly beautiful, radiant smile from the handsome Executive Officer, played so well by the under used Bob Dowdell.  It didn’t take much to finish the story, but I’m afraid some of my ‘hurried’ corrections and updates may be incongruous to the original story’s earlier setting. Please be forgiving, I wanted to get it posted. And yes, to all those of you who have sent me questioning emails, I am still working on the sequel to ‘The Rift”. 




By K. Corris-Seale


It was a beautiful day, and all was quiet.  Admiral Harriman Nelson was sitting on his back deck, overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean.  He was desperately trying to finish a paper detailing the results of several experiments he had just concluded on a new type of kelp his captain, Lee Crane, had come across on a recent dive.  Lee certainly wasn't the marine biologist Harriman Nelson was, but he knew he had never seen kelp that looked quite like that before, if it was kelp, and so brought a sample back for the Admiral to see.  Nelson let out a long sigh, again turning his eyes away from his laptop to stare out at the open sea.  Lee, where are you, son? 


Once again, it was supposed to be an easy, safe, and quick ONI mission.  And this time it was. Lee simply had to meet a foreign undercover operative inside the safety of an American Embassy, and retrieve the recordings believed to provide the proof and details of a major terrorist attack being planned on an unknown American city.  The operative he was to meet was the one who had been in danger; Lee was just a courier this time.  He hadn't even used any undercover names or disguises; he had simply showed up there as a traveling American in need of directions. Very innocent. 


Lee had just gone on a well-deserved and needed  shore leave when the call came from Admiral Johnson, head of the Office of Naval Investigation, and so he had merely left Admiral Nelson a phone message explaining the simplicity of the mission, that he would be back in a few days, and assuring the Admiral there was nothing to worry about, he would be fine.  He promised to be back in time to join the Admiral for the few relaxing days of fishing at the Admiral’s lakeside cabin that both were looking forward to.  It was the Admiral’s idea.  This had been a rough mission, fraught with unexpected problems. Only Lee had been able to keep the mission from being scrubbed, and he knew the Captain had been on his feet for at least 48 hours dealing with everything. But somehow the Admiral just hadn’t realized how exhausted the man was until he walked into the Control Room to find Lee practically asleep on his feet, leaning against the chart table.  Upon leaving the boat, he had invited Lee to join him at his cabin for some R & R, knowing how much Lee loved the peace and quiet there.  The Captain jumped at the offer.   


There weren't even any extraction plans made.  Lee would return the same way he had arrived, by a civilian airline.  No way to raise any suspicions. He was just a casual tourist.  And he had made it to the Embassy, and the other operative had discreetly passed him the recordings, and then left.  The Embassy receptionist remembered the two men bumping into each other as soon as Lee arrived and the other man was on his way out the door.  That was how it had been planned, the briefest of contact. Lee then asked the receptionist for directions to the restaurant he was supposed to meet his friends at, a covering lie, and after receiving them, asked to use the restroom.  He was probably using that as an excuse for a private moment to secrete the tapes onto himself.  No one remembered seeing him after that, and he was way overdue for his check in.


But then again, right after that was when all hell broke loose.


The Admiral had given up on his report, gone inside and turned on his TV, hoping for a little distraction.  He was shocked to see what came on the screen.  Another American Embassy had been bombed.   Nelson just shook his head sadly, until he heard which Embassy had been bombed, the one Lee had been sent to.  After that, he paid avid attention to the TV news coverage, kept his laptop open and connected to the Internet on the coffee table in front of him, and made countless phone calls to any and every government official and agency he could think of looking for information. Admiral Johnson of course was first, but all Nelson could do was leave a message.




Chip Morton, Executive Officer of the submarine Seaview, straction.  He was nd.___________________________________________________________________________________________was unaware of his Captain’s whereabouts. He was visiting his family in Kansas for a long overdue vacation.  A dozen times the Admiral picked up the phone to call him, Chip being Lee’s best friend, but always put it back down a second later.  No, I'll wait until I have something definite to tell him.  Why ruin his visit with what could be needless worry?   There was nothing he could do anyway.  There was nothing anyone could do but wait.  The damage was done.


He watched the heartbreaking news coverage, pictures of so many sheet covered bodies being carried out on stretchers, one after the other, while volunteers in the background continued to pick through the rubble.  They were still waiting for heavy duty equipment to be brought in to move the larger pieces of the walls and roof.  Ambulances kept silent vigil nearby, helpless to do anything for anyone brought out so far. It was too late for any of them.  Dear God, please, please, don't let Lee be under one of those sheets.   He deserves better than that.   He was just following orders, doing his duty, trying to protect his country.



Nelson never slept that night.  He simply sat on his couch in front of the TV.  Admiral Johnson, Director of ONI, was immediately aware of the situation, and finally called him back to let him know he was following everything closely, and was in direct contact with CIA personnel and other authorities in that country.  There was nothing to report yet, but he would keep Nelson informed.


In his second call, he told Nelson that no one in the building had been found alive yet, but they were still searching, and that the International Red Cross was on the scene.  The Ambassador, his wife, and two of their three children were all found dead.


His third call was to tell Nelson what terrorist group was taking responsibility for the bombing, they were actually bragging about it.  No, they hadn’t found Lee yet.  But the body of the secretary who had last seen Lee had just been pulled out.  Johnson couldn’t believe he had talked to her just a few minutes after Lee had made contact__________________________________________________________________________________, pretending to be looking for a friend who was late meeting him at a restaurant.  It was set up that way, to give validation to Lee’s ‘lost’ story.  She remembered him bumping into another man on his way in.


In his fourth call he told Harriman that all Embassy personnel had not yet been accounted for, they were still searching.  The Ambassador’s third child’s body, a little four-year-old girl, had just been pulled from the rubble.  Security cameras mounted outside the building had been recovered and were being reviewed already. “No news yet Harriman, but I’ll keep you posted.”  


In his next call he said not all of the bodies had been identified yet.  Flying pieces of the building had caused damage blocks away, the blast was powerful. As the embassy was situated less than a hundred feet from the river that ran behind the capital city, divers were being called in to search for missing victims.  “I promise you Harriman, we’ll find him, one way or the other.”




It was unusual for Admiral Nelson to not be in his office already when Angie Woods got there. An hour later, the very concerned Associate Director of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research called her boss at home.


All she got from him when he answered the phone was a very tired, weak, and sad sounding voice stating simply that he would not be in today.  He didn’t even mention canceling his meetings and appointments before he ended the call.


Alarmed, she immediately called Dr. Will Jamison, Will or Doc to everyone but Lee, who insisted on calling him Jamie, over at the Nelson Institute’s Medical Clinic, known as the MedBay.  Three minutes later, Will was on his way to the Admiral’s house, black bag in hand.


Will didn’t like what he saw when the Admiral finally answered the door. Nelson barely glanced at the doctor before he turned and walked back in, leaving the door open.  Will followed him in, closing the door behind him, then sat down in the arm chair across from the Admiral’s couch, trying to do a quick visual assessment.


As he opened his bag and began pulling out his stethoscope, Nelson finally spoke.


“You can put that away Will.  I’m not sick, at least not physically.  You heard about the Embassy bombing?”


“Of course, you can’t help but hear about it.  Those poor people.  But there’s nothing we can do to help them now, especially from over here.  And from everything I’ve heard so far, they don’t expect to find any survivors.”


“Will, Lee may be one of those poor people.”  With that, with finally admitting the worst to himself, Nelson dropped his head down in his hands and tried to choke back a sob.  He couldn’t help it, he was too tired and distraught to try, and it was actually a relief to finally let loose.  He didn’t have to worry about keeping up appearances with Will.


Will just sat there, too shocked to speak.  The last he had heard, Lee was going on shore leave.  He and the Admiral planned a fishing trip at the end of the week.  What was he doing over there?  Of course, it had to be ONI. Will took a deep breath, trying to control his voice.  After all, he was very fond of Lee, not only as his Captain, friend, and favorite patient, but as an incredible human being.   Carefully he asked the Admiral, “Does Chip know yet?”


“No, I was waiting until I knew what to say to him.”


“He deserves to know now Harry, he’ll be even more upset that he wasn’t told right away, especially if he hears it from an outside source.”


Although the Admiral did give a small nod of his head, he made no move towards his phone.  So, Will pulled out his own cell phone, and reluctantly selected Chip’s cell phone number from the list.  It took him another twenty seconds before he could actually force himself to push the call button.  The first thing Will heard in the background as Chip answered was laughing.  Apparently recognizing the caller from the ID, a more serious voice responded.


“Doc, hi.  Is everything all right?”


“No, Chip, no it isn’t.  I’m sorry to cut short your visit, but you better get back here.”


“Is the Admiral ok?”  Nelson had recently suffered a minor heart attack*, so Chip’s first thoughts were naturally about him.


“The Admiral is fine, or as fine as can be expected, given the circumstances.  It has to do with the American Embassy bombing over in---“


“If we’re being called back to active duty, why isn’t Lee calling me?  Is he busy getting Seaview ready to sail?  I’m the first one he should have called if---“


“Chip!  Lee was in the Embassy at the time it was bombed.  He hasn’t been found yet and when he is, well, we didn’t want you to hear about it on the news.  You better get back here now, you’re needed.”


The dead silence on the other end of the line went on for so long Will thought the call had been dropped. 




“I’ll be right there.”  Click.


“He’s on his way back, Harry.”


“How did he take it?”


“I couldn’t tell, hard I’m sure, but I had a feeling he quickly pulled that stoic face of his on for the sake of his family. Lee’s like another son to them.  Hopefully we’ll know something definite by the time he gets here.”


“Will, I’m not handling this well.  Do you think we should notify the rest of the crew, or the Institute?”


“No, not yet, not until we know something definite.  It was different with Chip, those two are family, like brothers.  But I think we should call Angie.  She’s very worried about you, she’s the one who called me.  And in case it does get out that Lee is one of the victims, the phone calls will go to her first.  She needs to be prepared.”  No response from the Admiral, he just sat, staring straight ahead at the TV.  A dozen medical concerns went through Will’s mind, especially in light of the Admiral’s recent scare.  Another sigh, and he picked up his own phone again.


First he called the MedBay, let them know he wouldn’t be back today, please cover his appointments, he was with a patient.  They didn’t have to know who.  Then he asked them to transfer him to the Administration Office.


Seeing the MedBay’s # on the caller ID, Angie figured they were looking for Dr. Jamieson.  She didn’t expect to hear the doctor’s sad voice on the other end, and became immediately concerned about the Admiral.


“No, Angie, I’m with him now. He’s. . .ok. Look, I have some bad news for you.  I’d rather give it to you in person, but it’s important you know now.  If the worse happens, you may have to field phone calls.  Lee was inside the Embassy that was just bombed.  He hasn’t been located yet, but they are still pulling bod-er, people out.  I’m staying here with the Admiral, he’s in touch with all the authorities, so we should be the first to know.  But just in case it doesn’t happen that way, if you start getting calls before you hear from us, just say nothing has been verified yet and that the Institute will not issue any statements until Captain Crane’s death has been confirmed. He wasn’t over there on any official business, but if he’s identified by his papers someone is liable to put two and two together when they try to contact next of kin.”


Will could hear her sobbing on the other end of the line, everyone loved Lee. Too late, he remembered the phone call Angie had received sitting in that same chair nineteen years ago, that her twin sister Gabrielle had been in one of the World Trade Towers when it exploded and had not been found yet.  She never was.


“I have to go, Angie.  Let us know if you receive any phone calls, and please don’t repeat this to anyone else, at least not yet.  Chip is already on his way back. Hang in there Angie, be strong.  The Admiral is counting on you. Goodbye.”  Will sighed.  I hate dropping all this on her and then just hanging up.




Both his medical and naval training had taught him to carry on, no matter what the circumstances.  So, he pushed his personal feelings aside and turned back to being a doctor.


“It’s obvious you haven’t slept at all Harry, but when is the last time you ate something? You have to keep your strength up.”


“I’m not hungry.”


No, of course not, it couldn’t possibly be that easy.  Will walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.  Looks like Harry’s housekeeper made him a large baking dish of Shepherd’s Pie.  Will knew it to be one of the Admiral’s favorite dishes, being Irish.  It was actually kept on the menu at the Institute’s cafeteria. Or, to be more accurate, the American version, referred to as Cottage pie because it was made with beef instead of lamb, was always there.  But this one was the Irish one.  Good, better chance of getting him to eat if it’s something he loves. He put the dish into the microwave and went about pulling out plates and forks.  When it was done, he dished out two healthy servings.  Walking back into the living room, he put one dish down in front of the Admiral and one at the end of the coffee table for himself.  The doctor wasn’t particularly hungry, it wasn’t even near lunch time yet, but he knew psychologically he had a better chance of getting Nelson to eat if he was eating too. And it does smell delicious. Then he headed back to the kitchen to find something to wash them down with.   Filling two glasses from the pitcher of ice tea he found in the refrigerator, he walked back into the living room, relieved to see the Admiral eating.  Ah, the incredible power of the olfactory gland to entice someone into eating! He set the glasses down and started eating his own meal, neither man saying a word.


As Will walked back into the kitchen with their empty plates, he felt the vibration of his cell phone.  It was a text message from Chip, giving the time and number of his flight, the ETA and gate number, and asking Will to please arrange to have someone pick him up at the airport.  Well, he wasn’t going to leave the Admiral, and he didn’t want Angie to leave the Institute.  That left a crewmember.  Even though he was their doctor, Will really didn’t know too many of them well enough to have their cell phone numbers with him, except for his own corpsmen, and the command crew.  And most of them were away on shore leave. The one crewman he knew best was the first mate, Kowalski, since the doctor had sponsored him for an intense EMT training course.  Aside from Will’s two corpsmen, Frank and John, Kowalski was the only other crewmember with medical training beyond the Navy’s basic first aid courses.


And Chip was comfortable with ‘Ski, he wouldn’t mind being picked up by him.  Will called him, and ‘Ski immediately volunteered to pick Mister Morton up, not even knowing the circumstances.  Will wavered for a moment, trying to decide if he should tell Kowalski the truth.  He wasn’t just Seaview’s first mate, he was also Lee’s diving buddy and right-hand man, and accompanied his Captain on certain ONI assignments, assisting in extractions and rescues when some of Lee’s ONI assignments didn’t go quite as planned. Hence the reason for his EMT training, and he’d had too many unfortunate occasions to use it.  And Will knew Lee considered him more a friend than a subordinate.  It would probably be better if ‘Ski understood what was going on, since he would be in the car with a probably pretty subdued Chip. He would know then that Chip was upset with the circumstances, not the crewman picking him up.


“Is that all, Doc?”


“Uh, no ‘Ski.  Look this isn’t for distribution, but Captain Crane was in that American Embassy that was bombed yesterday.  He hasn’t been found yet.  That’s why Mr. Morton is being called back early.”


“The Skipper?!  The Skipper was in that embassy that was bombed?!  Why?  What was he even doing over there?  Never mind, I know, ONI.  Dear God!  What can I do to help?”


“Nothing, ‘Ski.  There’s nothing any of us can do but wait and pray.  And for you, to get Mr. Morton back here safely.  Bring him directly to the Admiral’s house after you pick him up.  I’ll forward you the text with the flight information.   Thanks again, ‘Ski. See you later.”


Unfortunately, the doctor had reached Kowalski while he was sitting at a table for a day of poker with Paterson, Riley, and COB Curly Jones.  They all heard ‘Ski’s reaction to the phone call.  He had no choice but to explain what had happened, but swore them to secrecy.  They had all heard and been upset about the bombing, but now they were furious.  Now it was personal.  Now, it was family.  The cards were put away and the TV turned on. It was still a few hours before ‘Ski had to leave to pick Mr. Morton up.  Wasn’t there something they could do to help?  They couldn’t just sit and wait!




It was a while before Admiral Johnson called again, and it was only to say that there was nothing new to tell.  Only a few more bodies recovered, several people still unaccounted for, no one found alive that was actually inside the embassy building, search dogs still combing the ruins and divers still combing the river.  “Harriman, it doesn’t look good. Prepare yourself.”


The afternoon passed with many worried faces glued to their TV’s, cell phones in hand. People who didn’t usually believe in it, suddenly found themselves deep in prayer.


Will heard a car outside, and soon he was letting Chip and Kowalski in.  Will offered them refreshments, and they all went in to sit by the Admiral.  Nelson looked up, made a flat, dry statement that there was no news yet, then went back to staring at the TV.  They all sat there in silence.  Lee’s absence was all the more noticeable now that the rest of the command crew was all there, and all thinking the same thing.  Will we ever be all together again?


Except for in Sickbay, Medbay, and any medical situations, Will wasn’t use to being the one in charge.  He was just as affected by the situation as everyone else, he was just handling it better.  Probably because he was more use to dealing with death than they were, despite their military experiences.  It was an occupational hazard when you were a doctor.  But he’d suffered personal loss as well, his father, his wife, his youngest son.  His mother was still alive, but she was so immersed in the depths of Alzheimer’s she may as well be gone.  Now it looked like he’d lost someone else he deeply cared about, and who was an important part of his life.




It was late afternoon when Admiral Johnson called.  “Harriman, they pulled a body, or what’s left of one, from the river that matches Lee’s description.  It’s being brought to the hospital’s morguepitalto connect you with the rang.  It was Admiral Johnson.mself. o staring at the TV.  But his mind was working.   for identification.  We just faxed them a copy of Lee’s fingerprints from his military profile, though we didn’t tell them where we got them from. If that doesn’t work, they’ll have to do DNA testing.  We may know something in a couple of hours.  Harry, I am so sorry.  I’ll call back as soon as soon as I hear.”


Admiral Nelson repeated the message in a dry, soft tone and deadpanned expression.  Then he simply went back to staring at the TV.  But his mind was racing.  They will pay for this, if I have to fire a missile from Seaview myself, they will pay dearly for this, for killing my Captain, my friend.   The son I never thought I would have.


It was several hours later when the phone rang.  It was Admiral Johnson’s ID#.  This is it, thought Nelson, here it comes. He took a deep breath as he picked up the phone.


“Harry, I have the hospital on the other line, they’ve asked to speak with you first.  I’m guessing they found Lee’s Institute identification and you’re listed as next of kin or person to contact. I’m going to connect you with three-way.  Hang on.”  While he waited, Nelson put the phone on speaker.  Let them all hear the bad news at the same time.  I’m not going to repeat those words.  


“Yes, Admiral Nelson?  Please hold.”  Two clicks, then…


“Sir, it’s me. I’m ok.  I was caught in the explosion but was able to crawl out and hide.  I knew I had to save my, uh, souvenirs, but I didn’t realize how badly I was hurt.  Some locals found me unconscious and put me in their car and brought me to the hospital.  I just woke up a little while ago and knew I had to make contact.  Can you get someone to, um, visit me?”


“Sir, are you there?”


“Yes…yes…I’m here.  I…I…dammit Lee, do you think I care one iota about those damn tapes?  I thought you were dead!  That’s all I care about!  I---“


Seeing the Admiral was losing it, a very relieved Will grabbed the phone from him, taking it off speaker. They’d heard what they needed to hear.  Yet another instance of Lazarus Lee, thank God. How many times had they believed him dead?


“Lee, it’s Dr. Jamieson.  What are your injuries?  Can you be transported back here, or at least to the nearest American Naval Base? Can I speak to your doctor?”


“Jamie.  It’s so good to hear your voice, I actually wish you were here with me.  Can you please make some calls to get me out of here?  I want to come home.  The doctor’s not here, but I can tell you they say I have a concussion, broken ribs, and I guess my left leg is broken.   My shoulder doesn’t feel so good either. They’re giving me blood and breathing hurts.”


“Ok, Lee, sounds like you need to lie still and stay quiet for the time being.  You shouldn’t be moved just yet, not until you’re stabilized.  But I really need to speak with your doctor.  Do you know if they checked you for internal bleeding? Is that why they are giving you blood? Do you have any idea how long you were unconscious?  Have they given you anything for pain yet?”  Not knowing anything about this foreign hospital or the competency of its doctors, Jamie wanted Lee moved asap, as soon as it was safe.  What I really want is to be over there treating Lee myself!


“The doctor just walked in, here he is.”  Will could here Lee in the background telling the doctor that Lee’s ‘family’ doctor was on the line and would like to speak with him.


Fortunately, the doctor spoke decent English, and the two doctors discussed Lee’s injuries and treatment, Jamie informing the foreign doctor of Lee’s current medical status and what pain relievers worked best on him, and asked him if he thought Lee could be transported safely.  The doctor was frustrated that Lee would not let them cut his clothes off to be treated, or allow x-rays to be taken. Jamie asked him to put Lee back on the phone.


“Ok, Lee, there’s nothing for you to worry about, let him do his job and don’t give him a hard time.  You have to cooperate. He sounds like a knowledgeable and capable doctor, I trust him to take good care of you. I promise we will have you transported ASAP.  Well, I guess I have to switch roles and act like a military officer.  Where are the tapes now?”


Lee was quiet for a second, then responded cryptically, “I don’t want them to take my clothes off.”


It took Jamie a second, but he finally figured out where the tapes were, either hidden in Lee’s clothing or taped to his body.  So that’s why he was giving them a hard time about taking his clothes off and having x-rays taken, he wasn’t just being Lee. The doctor found himself in a moral dilemma.  Lee couldn’t be treated with his clothes on, but no matter what his medical condition, they couldn’t take the chance of him being discovered as an American spy and not just an American tourist, not to mention the importance of the information on the tapes that would be confiscated.  Jamie had to think fast.  He’d been in this situation before, having to weigh his sworn oath as a doctor against his sworn duty as an American Naval officer.  The immediate good of the one against the far reaching good of the many.  How many lives might be saved by the information on the tapes?  Lee was only one man, and a man sworn to do his duty even if he had to sacrifice his life to do it. Bottom line, they had to secure the safety of the tapes first, not Lee.  But there had to be a way to do both.



All of a sudden, a third voice came on the line.  Will hadn’t known Admiral Johnson was listening in.  “Lee, I can’t tell you how relieved I am.  And not just because you’re a valuable operative.  I can have the, uh, friend you bumped into earlier today come by to visit you and pick up your, uh…  souvenirs.  But it may take a while, and it sounds like you need to be treated immediately.  Doctor, can you come up with a medical reason for them not to remove his clothing just yet? I think we both figured out where the tapes are.”


“To tell you the truth Admiral, I’m amazed he still has them on, especially since he was brought in unconscious.  First thing they do in any emergency room or hospital is cut off the patient’s clothes.  I guess it’s lucky for us this is a foreign hospital, although that’s universal medical emergency procedure.  Maybe they have just been so deluged with victims of the blast they haven’t had the time or staff to follow procedure.  What am I going to say?  The patient is extremely modest?  His life is more important than his feelings.  Maybe we could say it has something to do with his religion?  He would rather God’s will be done than have medical intervention?  But Lee, we could very well lose you that way, especially if your broken ribs puncture your lungs, or if you are bleeding internally.  And what will happen to the tapes then? Waiting until you are transported to an American medical facility to treat you could be too late.  Besides, you just told him I was your doctor so obviously you aren’t against medical intervention. Tell you what, we’ll take this one step at a time. Lee, let’s pretend I just asked you what hurts the most, and you respond with the area of your body where the tapes are closest to?”


“My lower back is killing me, too.”


“Gotcha.  Is there any way you can reach behind you and get the tapes, hide them under the pillow, or a pocket in your clothes?  Or could you just pretend it’s a tape of your favorite music that you don’t want to lose?  Not draw any importance to it other than you like it?  Would that work? You have to be treated Lee. We can’t move you until you are and, well, the tapes have to be kept safe.” 


“Uh, I can try…maybe later.”


“When you are alone, I understand. Tell you what, can you put that doctor back on the phone?  Let me see if I can distract him for you.”  A moment later and . . .


 “Yes? Doctor Jamieson? Is there something else I need to know about our patient?”


“Uh, yes, regarding his concussion, he had a very bad concussion just about a month ago. *   He also had a hairline fracture of the skull along with it. When you do the x-rays, will you please inform me of the results?  If you could write down my phone number and call me so I can update his chart here with your findings, I would greatly appreciate it.”  


“Yes, if he will allow us,

we will take all the necessary Xray’s and I will call you with the results. Please hold on while I get his chart at the nurse’s station, I will put your name and phone number directly on it.   I will give you back to Mr. Crane for a moment.”


“Jamie, I’m here.  Gotta make this quick. I think I can almost reach them, uhh, it hurts to arch my back up.  Ok, I got them loose.  If I can just slip them  .  . . .. uh, here’s the doctor back.”


“Yes, Dr, Jamieson?  Please give me the information.  Also, give me your address and I will send you the Xray’s.   I do not believe there is a reason to keep an open file here.”


Very slowly, hoping the doctor’s back was turned away from Lee, Will spelled out and repeated every word, then asked the doctor to read it back to him.  When he was sure Lee had enough time, he asked the doctor to put him back on the phone.    


“It’s me, Dr. J., J…I…uh-uh-uh-uh ...”


Will listened as it became obvious from the background sounds that Lee was having some kind of a seizure. The doctor was yelling for a nurse, and a minute later the phone was hung up.  Will felt so frustrated, being so far away and not knowing what had happened or was going on.  He wanted to call right back, but knew he had to wait and give them a chance to take care of Lee.  The only thing he could think of was that the concussion must be worse than they thought.  And now he had no idea if Lee had been able to hide the tapes.   


His mind thousands of miles away with his patient, Will was not at all prepared for what he saw as he hung up the phone and turned around.  Not a dry eye in the house.  “Look, I’m as happy and relieved as the rest of you are, but we still have a long way to go, and not just medically.  If those tapes are found, Lee will be taken into custody as a spy, not to mention the loss of the information on them. There’s still a good chance his life could be on the line and we will never see him again. If Admiral Johnson can’t arrange immediate retrieval of those tapes before they are discovered, Lee’s injuries will have nothing to do with what happens to him next.  They will never believe he was an innocent, hapless tourist caught in the explosion once they find out he was smuggling out secrets stolen from their country. And it will just give the terrorists more credence for doing things like bombing our Embassies. The US will lose a lot of world sympathy over the bombing if this espionage gets out.”  While he was addressing all of them, Will was specifically saying this for the benefit of Admiral Nelson.  He had to jolt him out of his reverie and get him to start acting like the four-star Admiral he was. Lee’s life, and many, many more, could depend on it.


The phone rang and the doctor picked it up.  It was Admiral Johnson.  “Dr. Jamieson, what the hell just happened?  All that commotion and then the call gets disconnected.  Is Lee all right?”


“I don’t know, Sir, it sounded to me like he was having some kind of seizure.  I’m going to wait a while and then call back, give them a chance to treat him.   I’ll call you as soon as I know something.  If you can, get the other operative over there, explain to him we don’t know what Lee was able to do with the tapes.  He may have to search the room and Lee’s clothing for them, if he was able to hide them.”


“I’ll try to reach him. He wasn’t that far from the Embassy himself when the bomb went off, he may be hurt as well. And he never made his check in that the tapes had been transferred. I’ll let you know when you call me back.  Talk to you later.”  


Jamie called Angie, brought her up to date and told her to go home for the night, there was nothing more she could do, he would keep her informed.” And clear the Admiral’s schedule for the rest of the week.” 


They sat quietly for all of fifteen minutes, then Chip jumped up and started pacing, throwing his arms up.


“I can’t just sit here waiting. I’m going over there, now!  As a civilian, and as Lee’s brother. They’ll let me in if they think I’m a family member.”


“Chip, you two could never pass as brothers, your coloring is too different.  Let’s just wait a bit and see how things play out.  The last thing we want to do is bring any attention to Lee as anyone but a tourist.  I’d love to hop a jet and go over there myself to take care of him.  But how many family doctors do you know that make house calls overseas?  We have to handle this situation delicately, no matter how much willpower it takes.  I hate to say it, especially as his doctor and friend, but Lee simply isn’t the only, or even the greatest concern here. We have to wait until the tapes are secured before we can do anything further for Lee.”   


“The doctor is, unfortunately, absolutely right.  But we are going over there, all of us, right now, on my jet.  We’ll be nearby to act, as soon as circumstances allow, even if ‘act’ means having to kidnap Lee.   We will get our Captain back, and bring him back home with us, one way or the other.  Will, you and ‘Ski go pack your overnight bags, Chip you already have yours, I’ll get my stuff together and we will meet you two at the airfield in an hour.  It will take that long for them to get the jet ready.” 


The Admiral was back!


“Sounds like a plan, Harry.  But you better call Admiral Johnson and let him know.   Maybe he can tell that operative to meet with us somewhere near the hospital and pass the tapes on to you, if he is able to get them. But first, I’m going to call the hospital back.”


They all listened while the Doctor spoke to the nurse that answered the phone.  All she could tell them was that they had whisked Lee down to surgery.  They had done a quick scan and the doctor suspected the seizure was caused by bleeding on the brain and they were preparing to operate to try and evacuate the blood.  She had no idea what his condition was or how long the surgery would take.  Will thanked her and left his number as he sat down heavily on the couch.


“Admiral, with this latest development, I don’t particularly want to be in the air when news comes, good or bad.  It could turn out we were on a wild goose chase if Lee doesn’t make it. How about we let Admiral Johnson have his agent try to get the tapes, and when we are sure the tapes are secure and we hear the outcome of Lee’s surgery, we can make plans from there. This trip might not be necessary.  I also don’t think it wise to involve ourselves with Lee at this time.  If they suspect he’s a spy, well, right now, the only connection to him they have is me.”


Nelson let out a deep breath.  “Will, how long does this type of surgery usually take?  Do you think this could mean there might be brain damage?”


“Admiral, anything can happen when there is a head injury this bad.  Especially so soon after his last head injury, only a month ago. I hate to say it, but again, all we can do now is wait, and pray.  Look, it’s getting late.  Let’s order a pizza or something, keep our strength up, and if we haven’t heard anything in a couple of hours, I’ll call back again.”


And so again, after it was delivered, they all sat eating their pizza and waited, both for the hospital and Admiral Johnson to call back. 




It was Admiral Johnson who called first.  “I still haven’t heard back from the other agent.  Have you heard back from the hospital yet, Harry?”


“No, but we are all ready to go over there as soon as we do.  Don’t you have any other contacts over there that could get those tapes out?” 


“Harry, it’s not that I don’t have other contacts over there. It’s having other foreign contacts over there that I trust, not just to get the tapes and pass them on without reviewing them first, but in being discreet and not making things worse for Lee or the mole who made the tapes in the first place.  I’m talking about people we suspect could be double agents.  I can’t take that chance, at least not yet.  If you are serious about going over there, well, I do trust you.”


“I certainly hope so. We’ll leave as soon as we hear from the hospital.  I …wait a minute, hold on.  Will, what?  Ok.  The doctor is saying that Lee wouldn’t have been taken to surgery without being switched into a hospital gown first.  The tapes are wherever they changed him, probably still in his hospital room.  If you do get in touch with your first agent, all he has to do is get to Lee’s room and retrieve them.  If not, we’ll find them, if they are still there.  But we have to make sure Lee makes it through the surgery first before we head over.  All of us showing up just to retrieve his body would be too suspicious. I’ll let you know what happens.”


“Ok, Harry, I trust your judgment.  Just keep me informed and if I hear from the other agent, I’ll let you know.”


Nelson hung up the phone, and sat there stock still for all of thirty seconds, then he suddenly just jumped up.  “Screw it.  I’m not waiting any longer.  We’re all going over there right now.  Be there when he wakes up, and he WILL wake up, and we will find those tapes ourselves.  Bring them back home along with Lee. Besides Will, you can contact the hospital while on the plane.  I can’t sit here any longer doing nothing but wait.  The sooner we are over there, the more control we will have over the situation. Let’s go.  Again, we all meet at the airfield in an hour.”


“That’s an order. Dismissed!”


Well, if the Admiral was making it an order and dismissing them to carry it out, they better get going! And they couldn’t be more relieved.  They were men of action, not the kind of men who could do nothing but just sit and wait for something to happen.




 Before he packed, Kowalski took a minute to call and let the others know what was going on.  Though greatly relieved to know their prayers had been answered, they were frustrated at being unable to do anything more to help.  After Kowalski hung up, promising to keep them as informed as much as the circumstances would allow, they conspired amongst themselves.  They couldn’t just sit and wait! 


“Maybe we should call O’Brien, tell him we think Seaview should be made ready and kept on standby in case we’re needed to go over there.  He’s the next one in charge, after the Admiral, Skipper and Exec. Heck, maybe he’ll agree to head over there just in case.  We can be sailing over there while they are flying over. At the very least, he can call back the crew and get supplies loaded.”   Chief Jones was determined to do something to help.


“Commandeer the Seaview?  Without the command personnel’s or the Institute’s authorization?  Just for the sake of doing something, Chief?  Do you know what they can do to us for something like that?  And what do we do once we get there?  Besides, they can get him back faster on the Admiral’s jet!”  Paterson, always the voice of reason.


“We have to do something to help the Skipper. Can’t we just ask O’Brien?”  The Chief was not about to give up that easily.


“Go ahead, call him.  He’s not going to agree, but I think he should know what’s going on anyway.  At the very least he needs to know he’s in charge now in case of any emergency. I mean any other emergency.”  Paterson shrugged his shoulders and sat down next to the Chief to listen in. He knew what Mister O’Brien would say.  The reason O’Brien was the next in command was he possessed as clear-headed thinking as the higher-ranking command crew did.  He wasn’t going to agree to or allow any response or actions based on emotions alone.


Listening in to Chief Jones’s end of the conversation, two things became clear.  Mister O’Brien had been completely unaware of what had happened, and he wasn’t going to take Seaview out without orders from above.  But, surprisingly, he did agree to notify available personal to be on standby and to have non-perishable supplies loaded.  They would be ready if needed, but would only ship out if ordered. Now all they had to do was wait, not one of Curly’s strong points.




Admiral Johnson’s aide arranged clearance for Nelson’s personal jet to land at the nearest military base, and had a car waiting and hotel reservations made. They couldn’t stay on base when it was so important that they come across as civilians.  He hoped they had remembered to bring along civilian clothing.  He wished he had thought to ask them to discreetly check the hospital for his other agent while they were there.  Now he’d just have to wait until things calmed down before he could look into the other agent’s disappearance.  He was glad Lee was alive, but his main concern had to be the tapes.  He knew he could trust Nelson, if Nelson was the one who found them.  But there was also the time issue.  They only had the briefest clues about what was on the tapes, and absolutely no idea when the bombing was supposed to take place.  It could be today or it could be a year from today. They needed time to decipher the intel and make plans.   Even though he was quite used to it in his line of work, the truth was he hated being able to do nothing but wait! 


They checked into their hotel and began putting the plans they had made on the flight over into action.  Jamie and the Admiral would go up to Lee’s hospital room first, try to size up the situation.  Jamie would concentrate on Lee’s medical condition; the Admiral would try to discreetly look for the tapes.  Kowalski and Chip would wait in the lobby, and quietly check out the hospital’s security personnel, cameras, exits, and stairwells.  Chip would try to find a posted evacuation map or anything else that would give him an idea of the lay of the hospital.  They all hoped they wouldn’t have to ‘kidnap’ Lee in the shape he was in, especially right after surgery, but they had to be prepared for anything.  If the Admiral couldn’t find the tapes and thought Lee’s true identity might be compromised, they had to get him out of there immediately, even if it meant endangering his life.  Despite the great affection he had for Lee, he had to keep his country out of this.  If Nelson did find the tapes, Lee could remain there until this doctor agreed it was safe to move him.   The plan then was to make it appear he was being moved to a private care facility, but instead he would be taken to the nearby military base hospital where he could be more carefully guarded.  Since it was the same one Nelson’s jet was sitting at, it would be easy for them to get Lee home.  But if they couldn’t find the tapes, . . . well, that was a different story.   




The hospital was a zoo, even though it was now almost two days after the attack.   As the only one near the Embassy, all the casualties- dead or alive- were brought here.  And as expected, it was a media nightmare as well.   They had to be careful not to be caught on camera, and there were many cameras set up to be caught on.  Chip wondered where the hospital security was, surely all of this commotion should be kept outside.  Maybe because of the nature of the tragedy they were being kept busy elsewhere, perhaps questioning the patients who could be questioned.   Well, this was a foreign country, maybe they just handled things differently here.  They had to fight their way in. He and Kowalski hung back as the Doctor. and Admiral approached the reception desk.


“We’re here to see my son, Lee Crane. He was caught in the Embassy bombing, but I had a call that he survived.  I believe he was being treated by a Dr. Patel.”


The poor, harried woman behind the desk looked exhausted.  She entered a few keystrokes and stared at the small screen. “I’m sorry, but he is in intensive care.  There is a waiting area near there I can direct you to, but I’m afraid visitors are limited to family only.”


Will spoke up.  “Yes, well, I am Dr. William Jamieson, his personal physician.  I spoke by phone with his attending physician here directly before Mr. Crane’s emergency surgery.  Given the critical nature of his injuries and the circumstances that led to them, we immediately flew over here. It is urgent that I speak with his doctor as soon as possible.”


“I understand, Doctor.  Please, let me page him for you.”  It was a few minutes before the overwhelmed doctor called her back.  They listened while she explained the situation, then she hung up and gave them directions to the ICU waiting area.  “Dr. Patel will meet with you there as soon as possible.”


While the outside, grounds, and lobby of the hospital showed signs of age and needed improvements, the surgical and medical floors were in much sadder shape, although they were dotted here and there with touches of more modern medical technologies.  Everything was kept clean though, and it seemed to be run efficiently and competently.  They found the waiting area and sat down on some worn wooden chairs.   They didn’t have to wait too long before a balding, middle-aged man, white coat and stethoscope hanging around his neck, entered the room carrying a clipboard and manila folder in his hand.   Jamie stood up, introduced himself and Lee’s father Harry Crane, and they all shook hands.  Then they sat and Dr. Patel brought Jamie up to date about the outcome of the surgery.  It had gone well, and he was starting to regain consciousness.  He was still a little too out of it for them to test for any neurological damage.  Dr. Patel wanted to bring him back into surgery as soon as possible, one of his broken ribs had punctured his lung and it had collapsed.  His leg also needed to be set.  “Tell me, Dr. Jamieson, based on your medical and personal experience with our patient, would you recommend we wait or operate immediately?  How strong and healthy a man is he?”


“With all due respect Dr. Patel, would you have any objection to my examining him?  I could then give you a more informed opinion as to how best to proceed.”


“I have no objection.  Come with me.  Mr. Crane Senior, will you please wait here and you may visit with him after the examination.”


“Certainly, I understand.  But while I’m waiting, could you please tell me where his belongings are?  I’d like to take them with me, bring back fresh clothes for him later.”


“Yes, I will send a nurse to escort you.”


“Thank you, Doctor, and thank you for taking such good care of my son.”  The doctor gave a small bow and nod of the head to the Admiral.  He was too exhausted to be anything but polite, but he could tell they weren’t father and son, at least not biologically.  Not something he cared to get involved with, at least not right now.


With that, the two doctors left the room, Will letting out a deep sigh of relief.  In a situation like this in America, he would have been asked to show his medical credentials before being allowed to examine a patient. And all of his identification showed he was American military.  


A few minutes later a male nurse motioned Nelson to follow him.    They walked down a hallway, turned a corner, then another to come to the end of a short hallway.  There were only two rooms here, and Nelson was relieved to see that there was a stairwell with an EXIT sign right outside the last room, which turned out to be Lee’s.   If necessary, this would make a possible abduction and escape much easier.   He thanked the nurse, and sat down heavily in the old wooden chair right inside the door.  He waited a minute and then got up and checked the hallway, no one was there.  Before he started searching for the tapes, he took a fast look out the window.  He could see the exit sign sticking out down below right where it would be if someone took the nearby stairs down.  But it was facing a mob of what looked like angry reporters being held back by security personnel.  He could only guess they had tried to get into the hospital that way and been stopped.  Well, we’ll worry about that when the time comes.  If it comes. 


Now, to find the tapes.  His heart skipped a beat when he saw all the blood on the bedsheets, Lee’s blood.  On the floor he found a pile of what had to be Lee’s clothes, obviously cut off of him.  No tapes. Next, he searched the sheets, pillows, between the mattress and rails. Nothing.  On second thought, he went back to Lee’s clothes to look again, also looking for his wallet and ID. He knew they had found his Institute ID.  But Nelson was hoping, and strongly suspected, that being on an ONI mission, even just as a courier, Lee had not brought his military or ONI IDs with him. Nothing that could prove he was anything but a hapless American tourist.   If he had, Nelson wanted it safe with him now.  Nelson couldn’t find his wallet or the tapes.  He sat down again in the chair and studied the room, searching for any hiding place Lee could have reached from the bed before he had the seizure.




“Dr., uh, Dr. J?  Is that really you?  All the way over here?  Am I dreaming?”  Despite the fog he was still in, Lee still had the presence of mind to treat Jamie as nothing more than his trusted family physician.  Dr. Patel was standing right next to him, obviously studying Lee’s awareness for any signs of brain damage.


“No, Lee, It’s really me.  How do you feel?  I’ve just checked your chart.”


“But, how did you get here?”


“You know your father, where you are concerned, nothing is impossible, and he has the money to do the impossible.   He wants to get you to a private care facility as soon as you can be safely moved.”

 Jamie was hoping Lee was up to putting two and two together.


“Is he here? Is my Dad here?”


Dr. Patel answered.  “Yes, Mr. Crane, he can visit with you when we are done.  You gave us quite a scare. How do you feel?” 


“A little out of it, and I don’t remember anything.  I think I was talking to someone on the phone, though.  And now I’m here, but this isn’t the room I was in.  What happened?”


“I will let your own doctor explain it to you, I must get back to my other patients, we are very overwhelmed right now.  Too many patients at once. I will check on you again shortly.   Dr. Jamison, it has been a pleasure, and you may stay as long as you wish. Please have a nurse page me if you believe there is a problem. I will have your father sent in, but only a short visit, for now.  You must rest after your surgery. And we still have at least two more surgeries.  He nodded his head to Jamie and left.    


Lee waited a minute, and then, raising an eyebrow, “Jamie?” That one word was all Jamie needed to realize Lee wanted to know what was going on.   He brought him up to speed as quickly as possible.


“While I kept Dr. Patel occupied in here, Harry has been searching your room for the tapes.  Do you remember what you did with them?”  Just then the Admiral walked in.


“I certainly hope he does, I couldn’t find them anywhere.  Lee, thank God you are all right, son. You’ve scared the bejesus out of us. But for right now, where did you hide the tapes?” 


“Tapes?  What tapes?”



Chip just slowly shook his head.  Best he could figure, this hospital had started out as one small square building, and had then been haphazardly added onto several times in many directions, probably just every time they needed more space, Nothing logical about it.  He couldn’t develop an escape plan from here, he had to know exactly where Lee was first and go from there.  From here, the ground floor, every exit was blocked by a mob scene, reporters, TV cameras, family members, law enforcement personnel. Planning an escape was going to be a logistical nightmare.


Kowalski walked up to him, shaking his own head. As they couldn’t take the chance of appearing military, they had all agreed to drop titles, rank and all navel protocol.   “Chip, the only security I can find is all outside trying to maintain order. There may be someone on the upper levels, but down here they are all outside.  I did find a stairway that led down to the morgue, and there is an exit from there that leads down a short tunnel and comes out in a garage not quite a quarter of a mile away.  That’s how they are bringing the dead in, and they have them lining the halls down there.  But it’s the best escape route I can find.  We’d never get him out from up here.”


“Good work Rick. But we have to find out where he is upstairs, and go from there. Is this tunnel walkable, with a stretcher being carried?”


“I walked it to the exit from the garage. It’s doable as long as there is nothing coming in.from the other direction.  It would have to be fast though, we can’t take a chance of being discovered carrying a patient on a stretcher out.”


“If we can get him down to the morgue, is there any way to ‘borrow’ an ambulance just to get him down to the garage?  Maybe we can have transportation waiting for us there, somehow.  Admiral Nelson may be able to call Admiral Johnson for help.” 


“I saw ambulances sitting outside the garage, I believe that’s where they park when not in use, and I get the feeling that all the casualties have been brought in by now, seems kind of quiet in the tunnel and the garage.  The drivers hanging around down there look like a pretty lowdown bunch.  I don’t think it would take much to bribe them to look the other way, or even for one of them to drive the ambulance themselves. Do we know yet how he is doing, is he movable?”


“I haven’t heard a word yet from either Doc or Harry (hope my tongue doesn’t fall out of my mouth, using the Admiral’s first name), and I don’t want to keep standing here in the lobby for much longer, we’re too conspicuous.  We can’t go outside and get caught in the mob scene, and we can’t be seen wandering the floors upstairs.  There doesn’t seem to be any kind of a snack shop that I can see, and we can’t hide out for long in the rest room.  The only other thing I can think of is one of the stairwells, but then we might miss the Admiral when he comes back.  Any ideas?”      




Bobby O’Brien had gone straight to the Institute after the phone call from Chief Jones.  First, he went over everything with Angie, getting all the details he’d missed.  Then he did everything he thought necessary for Seaview to be ready to sail if needed.  He really didn’t think they would be needed, but he wanted to be prepared anyway.   He was disappointed that Angie didn’t have an update on the Skipper’s condition or any of the circumstances.  He had a thought in the back of his head to maybe place a call to Admiral Stark, head of COMSUBPAC, to see what he advised.  He would do that anyway if he thought there was need to take Seaview out without any other orders.  Well, he’d wait to do that, for now he was just going to play it by ear.  As worried and impatient as they were, Chief Jones and the guys were just going to have to sit back and wait, whether they liked it or not.  He’d heard they’d been playing poker at the Chief’s place when this whole thing started yesterday.  Ok, he knew what he was going to do when he left here.    




Dr. Patel quickly walked back into Lee’s room.  “An operating room has just become available, I’m afraid the patient it was being made ready for didn’t make it.  I want to get you in there now, I don’t know when there will be another chance.  Dr. Jamieson, I am short surgical personnel, may I ask you to assist? “


“No problem, whatever I can do to help, and I have already operated on this patient a number of times.   Please show me where I can scrub up.”


“Follow me, and Mr. Crane Senior, please wait in the lobby, the nurse must prepare your son.  I will see you are notified when we are done.” 


“I’ll be waiting and praying, just please take good care of him, he’s all that’s important to me.”   Plus, I need to know where the damn tapes are!  Another moment and we might have been able to get him to remember!  I’ll search that room again before going back to the lobby, I have to get his clothes anyway, and I’ll ask at the desk if they know where his wallet and ID are. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they put the tapes with them.




Just as they were headed for the stairwell, Nelson stepped off the elevator, carrying a bundle of bloodied clothes.   He saw where they were headed and decided it was as good a place as any to bring themselves up to date, be sure they were all on the same page, ‘We can’t make any further plans until he is out of surgery.  The main priority is still finding the tapes, and then getting them and him out of here safely. Your emergency escape plan is a good one, but let’s hope we don’t need it.  For right now, all we can do is wait, and I for one need coffee and food.  Chip, did you see any place to eat here?”


“No, and I’m starving myself. I’ll go ask at the front desk. The people who work here have to eat as well, there has to be something. But we’ll have to fight that mob to get out, and we’re going to be visible to the cameras. If we do have to abscond with Lee, do you want there to be any video recordings of visitors that an investigation might find?” 


“It’s too late to worry about that Chip, they caught us coming in.  And there’s nothing for them to be suspicious of yet. Hopefully we won’t have to kidnap Lee.”      


They were directed to a small café a few blocks down the street, one that seemed to survive on the hospital’s staff and visitors alone. With the current excitement they were seeing more business than they had in a year.  The coffee was good and the food filling and tasty.  Nelson told them about the exit staircase right outside Lee’s room, it went all the way straight down to the back of the hospital.  He filled them in on what he knew about the Captain’s injuries, he was probably going to pull through, but he had a long road to recovery ahead of him.  Will believed his amnesia regarding the tapes was due to his concussion and the lingering effects of the anesthesia and was probably temporary.  But he couldn’t be sure Lee would remember anything before someone else found the tapes, and if he didn’t remember soon, well, they would just have to get him out of here for his own safety.


Chip spotted a huge slice of cake under a glass dome on the counter and he had to have it.  While he ate, they listened to the conversations around them, most of them about the bombing.  The bits and pieces they overheard gave them their first update of the situation since they had left Santa Barbara.  They had several suspects in custody, but believed there were more involved.  The amount of damage was staggering.  Not only was there basically nothing left of the Embassy itself, but several of the buildings near it suffered severe damage as well.  They hadn’t been there to see it yet themselves, the tapes and Lee came first.  But from what they heard, there wasn’t much left to see.  But it seemed the authorities believed all the bodies had been recovered.


Another cup of coffee for everyone and then they were on their way back to the hospital.   They took seats in the lobby and waited, and waited, and then waited some more.  Nelson had just begun to wonder if Dr. Patel had forgotten about him when a nurse walked up and asked him if he was Mr. Crane.  “Your son is in recovery, I’m told the two surgeries went well.  It will be a little while before you may see him, but you can wait upstairs near his room if you like.”


“Yes, thank you, I would prefer to be as near to him as possible.  We’ll go up now.” 


When they got up there, Nelson showed them Lee’s room and the exit.  Chip thought he’d try his luck at finding the tapes, but he had no more luck than the Admiral had.  Kowalski went for a walk down the exit staircase.  He was gone for almost a half hour, but came back excited.


“That stairwell doesn’t end at the ground floor.  It goes all the way down to a hallway that leads to morgue then to the tunnel and the garage.  We’d have to carry the stretcher down several floors and about eight flights of stairs, but it’s our best shot of getting him out of here undetected if we have to.”


“Good work ‘Ski, you’ve earned your pay for the week.”  Eight flights of stairs, carrying a stretcher with a critically injured grown man on it?  We have to find those tapes so he can stay here!


I wonder where Will is?  If Lee’s surgery is over, he should be back here with us, unless he’s keeping an eye on him untill he’s sure he’s out of the woods.”  I’d just feel better if I heard it directly from Will himself that Lee was going to recover, and how dangerous it would be to move him ourselves.


A nurse walked in and suggested they may prefer waiting in the waiting room right outside of the recovery unit, they had to change these sheets anyway.


“Oh, thank you, we’ll head down there.”


 This is our last chance to find those tapes!  Where could they be?  What could he have done with them in his condition?


“You two take another quick look around, I’ll meet you in the waiting room.”  With that, Nelson walked out of the room and over to the nurse’s station.


“Excuse me, I was wondering if you knew where my son’s personal belongings are?  I know someone had his wallet, that’s how they knew where to call me.  I believe he had some, er, other items with him as well.”


“One moment, I will check for you.”


The nurse returned with a small envelope that had Lee’s room number on it and handed it to Nelson.  He knew the second he saw it that it was too small to contain anything but his wallet.


“Ok, thank you.  There wasn’t anything else along with it? “


“No, this is all that came up from the emergency room when they brought him up here.”


The Emergency Room!  Could the tapes still be down there?  No, Lee had his hand on them when he was talking to Will right before he had his seizure. They have to be in that room somewhere!





Will scrubbed his hands and arms again, then dried and inserted them into yet another pair of sterile surgical gloves. This was his third surgery after Lee’s.  After witnessing Dr. Jamieson’s surgical skills, Dr. Patel asked him if he could please help out with a few emergency surgeries. These were all due to injuries of some type caused by the blast. He certainly didn’t mind helping out, these people were suffering, but he hadn’t been able to get word to the Admiral, and had no idea what was going on with the tapes or with Lee. Well, he had other responsibilities and priorities, he would have to make this his last surgery.  Or at least take s short break. He could see how badly surgeons were needed here, but he also wasn’t sure how they handled medical records and insurance.  He certainly didn’t want to be compensated, but he also didn’t want his name on any records either.  He had several colleagues that practiced as Doctors Without Borders.  He’d have to find out from one of them how their malpractice insurance was handled when they performed emergency surgeries in a foreign country.  Just as a precaution though, he really didn’t expect any trouble.


But this all brought up another concern.  How would they pay Lee’s bill without revealing who they were?  Even as wealthy as he was, the Admiral didn’t carry that much cash around with him, and anything he did have was in American currency. Oh well, guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It certainly wasn’t the primary concern at the moment. Some kind of arrangement would probably have to be made.




Lee slowly opened his eyes.  It took a few minutes for his head to clear enough for him to figure out where he was and why.  But he did seem to be feeling a bit better than he remembered feeling   before.  He also realized he’d had some kind of surgery, and was in an intensive care unit.  He knew he was breathing better, and his leg was in a cast.  Where was everyone?  Why were there no nurses or anyone checking on him?  He’d dreamt that Jamie and the Admiral had been here, but where was here?  What happened to him?  Why couldn’t he remember anything?  He had a vague memory of entering a large building, but nothing after that, or why he was there, wherever there was.   He started feeling drowsy and soon was drifting back to sleep.




They all met back in the waiting room, all but Jamie. “We looked everywhere, the tapes just aren’t in that room. At least not anymore. What now?”


”Well, we have to find Will, and see how Lee is doing.  Then we’ll go from there.  I’ll check back at the nurse’s station, maybe they know something about where Will is.”


As he was walking over there, he saw Will coming towards him, throwing his arms up in the air in a classic ‘what now?’ gesture. He motioned Nelson to an empty quiet little alcove and explained how he had been asked to help out in surgery and couldn’t refuse.  He was on his way now to check on Lee.  Nelson explained the tapes still couldn’t be found, and Will’s assessment of Lee’s current condition would decide how they would proceed.  There was nothing to cause suspicion that the tapes had been found by anyone else, but Nelson was split between being on the safe side and getting Lee out of there asap, and waiting, again, until Lee was more stable, which would also give them more time to try to find the tapes.  But he was beginning to believe that was hopeless. 


“We just have to be careful not to do anything that is going to cause any suspicion. I just don’t understand it, Will.  He had those tapes in his hand, in that room, when he had the seizure. The sheets hadn’t been changed yet when I first walked in there, his blood was still on them. They weren’t mixed up in his clothes, he wasn’t capable of getting up to hide them anywhere.  They had to be dropped or left in plain view, someone must have at least seen them, done something with them. I keep wondering if I should just come out and ask point blank if anyone found any tapes, we know he had them with him.”


“And you don’t think that would cause suspicion? I’ll go check on Lee and then meet you all back in the waiting room.  He should be coming around by now, maybe he’ll remember something. Just wait until I get back before you do anything or ask anyone any questions.” 


‘Fine Will, I’ll wait.  After you get back, I have to call the Institute and give them some idea of how Lee is doing. I’m sure this has gotten out by now, and I want to avoid any ill-informed speculation.”




‘Lee, Lee wake up.  Open your eyes. It’s time to wake up.”


Lee had only been dozing, sleeping off the anesthetic.  But even in his sleep he recognized Jamie’s voice and slowly opened his eyes. 


‘Jamie.  You are here. How am I?”


“You came through the surgery fine, your vital signs are good.  Are you in any pain?”


“A little, nothing I can’t stand.  I had a dream the Admiral was here, too. What I don’t know is why I am here. The last clear memory I have is walking into a big building with an American flag outside of it.” 


“You don’t remember the explosion, or crawling outside?”


“No. Can you start from the beginning?”


Oh boy, are we in trouble.  And I can’t be sure if this is just from the concussion. “Ok Lee, here’s what happened.”


It was twenty minutes later, twenty minutes of explanations, questions, prodding.  Lee gradually remembered crawling out of the wreckage, but hadn’t known it was caused by an explosion or had been an American Embassy.  Jamie didn’t know enough about the finer details of the mission to be able to ask anything that might trigger Lee to remember more.   He explained to him that he had been on an ONI mission to an American Embassy to retrieve tapes from another agent, tapes that contained proof of an attack on an American city.  The tapes had to be found asap, Lee still had them on him when he was in the hospital bed, talking to Jamie on the phone.  Lee remembered none of it, and it was beginning to get him upset.  This wasn’t good.  


“Ok, Lee, I want you to rest for a little while.  Close your eyes, we’ll try again later. The anesthetic could be clouding your memory.  Again, do you want something for pain?”


“No, I feel fine.”


Oh, brother.



“His vital signs are stable, his head is clearer, but he still doesn’t remember anything. I went over everything that had happened from the time of the explosion until now.  All he could finally remember was crawling out of the wreckage.  Harry, it might be worth a try for you to question him.  Not only are you two close, but if you give him an order as his CO his naval training might kick in, just know when to stop if it doesn’t.   He was getting upset before when he couldn’t remember.  There could very well be another reason he can’t remember, he has a concussion and he has had surgery to evacuate the blood that caused the seizure, even just the seizure itself. My gut tells me that this will all come back to him in time, but time is what we don’t have.  Just know when to back off if he starts to get upset.”


“Ok, Will. I’ll go try my luck. Are you coming?”


 “No, I think this might go better if it was just the two of you.”




Back in Santa Barbara . . .


Nelson’s call was forwarded to Angie at home. As she put down her phone, she let out a long sigh.  Finally, good news at last. Now there was nothing more to be do but wait.  She picked up the phone again and called Bobby O’Brien.


First, O’Brien called the Institute and had all personnel stand down.  They weren’t going to be needed, Seaview wasn’t going anywhere. The Admiral’s jet was already over there, the Skipper was found and would eventually be brought back home on it.   Next, he stopped and bought three cases of beer and some snacks, then headed over to Curly Jones place.  The last time he checked, the longest poker game in Seaview history was still going on. Only way to deal with the waiting. 




Harry sat down next to Lee. For a moment. he just sat there, saying a silent prayer of thanks that Lee was going to make it.  His face looks so content and relaxed I hate to wake him.  Ah well.


“Lee, Lee wake up. We have to talk son. Please, open your eyes.”


A small grimace passed over Lee’s face, then slowly his eyes began to open.  He simply stared at the Admiral for a minute before he realized Harry really was there.


‘Sir? I thought I was dreaming that you were here.  But you really are.  Jamie explained everything to me, but, well, I still don’t remember anything from the time I crawled out form the wreckage until I woke up down here, after the two surgeries Jamie said I had.  I’m sorry, Sir, there’s just nothing remember.” 


Harry could tell he was trying.  Giving him a direct order to do something he could not possible do was only going to make things worse, frustrate him more. “It’s all right Lee, I really just wanted to see for myself you were all right.  Since we can’t find the tapes, we have to get you out of here.  We can’t take the chance that someone else has found them and figured out who you are.  We already have plans ready to sneak you out.  My jet is nearby.  Are you up to a little adventure, as soon as Jamie says it is safe?”  There’s going to be hell to pay for this, but I can’t let the situation get any worse by letting anyone who found the tapes trace them back to Lee, or America. 


“I’ll be fine, Sir, just do what you have to do, don’t worry about me.”


Typical Lee. ‘Ok, Lee, for now, just rest. I’ll let you know when we are ready to move.”  He grabbed Lee’s hand and gave it a little squeeze and smiled at him.  I’ve got to get him to safety, before it’s too late.   Harry slowly walked out of the room,





Will had gotten tired of doing nothing but waiting, and soon found himself. back in Lee’s original room.  The sheets had been changed and the room tidied up, but it was still empty.  He put his hand down between the mattresses and felt all down the side. Then he walked around to the other side of the bed and did the same thing.  Well, if the tapes had been here, they would have found them when they changed the sheets anyway.   He checked the frame work of the bed, anywhere Lee could have slipped the tapes without much movement.  Nothing.  As he leaned over the bed to straighten the sheets, his foot kicked something metal.  He looked under the bed.  What a strange place to keep the bedpan!  He pulled it back out a little so it would be within reach and, well, what do you know!  When Lee started to have the seizure, he must have just dropped them and they fell straight down into the bedpan. Thank God it was empty!


Will casually walked out of the room and back to the waiting room, which was now full of relatives waiting for news or updates.  He sat down next to Chip and picked up a magazine.  He couldn’t read the language, but he could fake it.  This just wasn’t the place to tell them he had the tapes.  A few minutes later and he realized he needed to use the rest room before the Admiral came back.  If I can find one!


While he was gone, Harry did come back.  He quietly explained to Chip and Rick that he wanted to get Lee out of here immediately. Rick went down to try to secure an ambulance.  Chip went down to Lee’s room, supposedly to check on him.  What he was really doing was trying to find the best route to get him down to the morgue and then out to the ambulance. Harry sat and waited for Will.


Will wandered around the hospital, trying to find an available rest room.  He was feeling very vulnerable and nervous with the tapes in his pocket.  Well, at least now they could concentrate on Lee.  He could stay here a few more days until he was more stable, then be moved safely to the naval base Harry’s jet was at and it wouldn’t cause any suspicion at all. But the tapes had to be secured immediately.


Chip walked into Lee’s room, a big smile on his face.  He wanted nothing more than to give his best friend a big hug, but with all those bandages and casts he could only grab his hand.


“Chip!  You’re here too!”


“Yep, had to see with my own eyes that you were ok.” 


“You don’t know what it means to me that you were so worried about me.  I’m sorry to put you through that.”


“Worried about you? Hell, no.  I just don’t want to have to captain Seaview again.”  


Lee started laughing, but the injuries to his chest put a quick stop to that.  He knew Chip’s sense of humor, and he knew the brotherly bond between the two men was just about the most important thing in his life.  He had no blood family.  But Chip, Harry, Jamie, well, they all are my family.  And I’m lucky to have them.    


“Look, we have to get you out of here. Here’s the plan.” 


The next fifteen minutes were spent explaining the finer details of the abduction and subsequent escape to Lee.


“Lee, I’m asking you right now, and you have to be 100% honest with me.  Don’t you dare tell me you’ll be fine, or not to worry about you. This is me you’re talking to. Now, is there anything else from your perspective we need to be concerned about?  Will you need something for pain?  Are there any other injuries or concerns you want checked out before we do this?  This isn’t going to be an easy transport, we have to get you down several flights of stairs on a stretcher, it’s going to be bumpy.  And I don’t know what Jamie intends to do about the IV and oxygen you are on. Anything?”


“Well, I probably should use the bedpan before we go.”


Chip hadn’t laughed so hard in over a week.  I needed that. My bro truly is back.


“Seriously Chip, my main concern is how you and the Admiral or Jamie are going to carry me all that way, down stairs no less.  Neither one of them is a young man.  Isn’t there some way to just have hospital personnel load me into the ambulance, pretend I’m being transferred to another facility or something?”


“No other way that wouldn’t raise suspicions or leave a trail to follow.  But I forgot to tell you, Rick is here too.  We’ll be the ones carrying you.”


“That’s a little bit better, but how do you intend to steal an ambulance and not have it leave a trail or raise suspicions?”  This isn’t going to work.  It sounds just like too many of my so called ‘well planned out’ ONI extractions.


Chip stared at Lee.  Yes indeed, how are we going to get away with it?  


“Uh, we haven’t figured that part out yet.”


“Chip, please, tell the Admiral I need to speak with him before this goes any further.”  I can tell by the look on Chip’s face he isn’t so sure about this either.  Chip left to get the Admiral.


Dr. Patel was the next man to walk onto Lee’s room. He examined Lee and said he was quite pleased that he was awake and clear headed.  He believed it was now safe for Lee to leave the recovery area, he would have him moved to a regular room.


Lee wasn’t sure how this would fit into the escape plan, so he just played along.  “Dr. Patel, thank you for everything you have done for me. Tell me, do you have any idea how much longer I need to stay here?  My father tells me he wants to have me transferred to a private care facility as soon as possible.  I know what a busy man he is, I don’t want to keep him over here any longer than necessary.”


“If you keep progressing and there aren’t any further complications, then perhaps in 48 hours I will reevaluate you for transport.  Your concussion, ribs, and leg weren’t your only injuries I am concerned about, just the most serious ones.  You have bruises and contusions all over your body.  You have stitches in several places that will need to be monitored and then removed. You have lost a lot of blood.  You haven’t had any solid food to eat.  Your body needs rest to support the healing process.  I’ve lost too many patients already from this whole thing, mostly because they left the hospital too soon, worried because they couldn’t pay for anything.  I won’t lose you as well.  Your father doesn’t have to stay here to have you transported.  We do have ambulances here that can do it.  Besides, the worst of everything is pretty much over.  There’s not much left to be done for you at a private care facility that we can’t do here.”  Spoiled, rich Americans!


“I understand Dr., and I will pass that on to my father.  But speaking about solid food, I am beginning to feel a little hungry.”  Got to change the subject, this discussion is setting Harry’s plan up to fail.  But maybe that’s a good thing.


“After you are moved back to a regular room, I’ll start you on a light diet, perhaps some Jell-O and clear broth first.  I also need to update your Dr. Jamieson.  While you were recovering, he helped us out quite a bit.  He is an extremely gifted surgeon.  Let me get you moved.” 


It wasn’t two minutes later that attendants came in and moved Lee back to his original room that another man had just been moved into.  And not more than two minutes after that before Lee fell back to sleep.


Having got Chip’s message from Lee, Harry walked into his recovery room only to find it empty, as was the nurse’s station he went to inquire at. He didn’t know now where Lee was, Will hadn’t come back yet and neither had Rick. Harry sat down heavily on one of the chairs in the recovery waiting room, letting out a deep breath. He wanted to be back home in Santa Barbara, and he wanted Lee and everyone else with him.  They hadn’t found the tapes, and the weight of the last few days was catching up with Harry. He was exhausted.  He needed a good night’s sleep and some decent food.  A good bottle of scotch wouldn’t hurt either.  He sat a few minutes, then got up and went back to where Chip was waiting.


Only Chip wasn’t there either. While he was waiting, Chip decided to take a walk back to the little café and got four coffees to bring back.  The sandwich he got for himself was gone by the time he got back to the hospital.  Got to keep my strength up.


 Chip walked into the lobby and handed Harry a coffee, sitting down next to him. “What did Lee say?”     


“His room was empty when I got there, I don’t know where he is yet. I guess it’s a good sign that they moved him out of recovery. I wish Rick and Will would get back.”


“Hey, here comes Rick now.  And he doesn’t look too happy.”


Chip handed him a cup of coffee and Rick gratefully gulped half of it down.


“I’m not so sure this is going to work, at least not right now.  The ambulances and all the drivers are nowhere to be found.  I have a feeling they must all be out taking the dead bodies somewhere. The morgue is so overwhelmed with new bodies now you can’t even get the doors open all the way or get through the hallway.  Everything it too congested down there to move a stretcher through even if there was an ambulance to put it into. If we have to do it this way, we’ll have to wait to do it.”


This was the final straw.  Recognizing the signs, Chip could see the Admiral’s face getting red and knew he was about to lose his famous Irish temper, and it would be too loud for a hospital lobby.  He had to get him outside fast. 


“Harry, I need to talk to you outside, stat. It’s important.”  Chip got up and walked out, hoping the Admiral was following.


 They made it. And the little walk cooled the Admiral down.  A little.


He let loose outside, but managed to be uncharacteristically quiet about it.  Chip let him rant for a while, let him get it out of his system.   They were all feeling frustrated, but Harry had the weight of everything on his shoulders.  Finding the damn tapes would relieve a lot of that pressure, now that they knew Lee was going to be all right.  The next best thing was getting Lee out of harm’s way, but that was proving to be a challenge.


Will walked back to the lobby, finding only Rick and a cup of coffee waiting for him.


“Harry and Chip are outside talking, I had a feeling Chip was trying to calm Harry down.  I had to tell him our escape plan wasn’t going to work after all, at least not at the present moment.”


Before Will could respond, he saw Dr. Patel approaching him.


“Ah, Dr. Jamieson, I have been looking for you. I have good news about Lee.  He is doing well and has been moved out of recovery, and I am starting him on light solid foods. He said he was hungry!”


Lee, hungry?  Never in a million years. Something else is going on here.  Maybe Lee is trying to say or do anything to get out of here, just like when he is in Sickbay!


“Dr. Jamieson, I also want to thank you for all the help you have given.  Your surgical skills are excellent.  Come, I will take you to our patient.”    


Will had no choice but to follow him. So much for telling Harry about the tapes.


The first thing Will noticed was that Lee’s color was definitely better.  And when they finally got him to open his eyes, they were closer to their usual handsome selves. 


“Hey, Dr. J.   Dr. Patel said that I may be able to be transported in about 48 hours, right Dr. Patel?”


“Yes, if you continue to improve, and there aren’t any unforeseen complications.   Dr. Jamieson, you are free to examine him yourself to see if you agree with me.  Here’s his chart, you may record any observations or concerns on it. I must continue my rounds.”


As he walked out, Will’s gaze fell upon the man in the next bed, recognizing him as one of the patients he had just operated on. He had been scheduled to have his crushed leg amputated, but Will had been able to save it. It really wasn’t that bad.  Will walked over and did a quick cursory examination on him, just out of medical curiosity.   He seemed to be doing well.  Back to Lee. 


“How do you really feel, and don’t tell me you feel fine.  I won’t believe that any more than I believe you said you were hungry”


“Oh, yeah, well, I was trying to change the course of the conversation.  But your coffee smells wonderful, any chance I could have a sip?”


Will grabbed a small cup meant for water and filled it. Not enough to do any harm.   


A loud groan came from the next bed.  Will had hoped for a chance to tell Lee about the tapes, ease his mind about it, but not with an audience so close.  


Lee hadn’t realized they had moved another patient in while he was asleep.  He laid there staring at the man, until Jamie asked him what was wrong.


Lee motioned Jamie to bend down closer and then whispered in his ear.  “That’s the other agent that slipped me the tapes, I’m sure of it! I remember that now!”    


Will whispered back that he had just operated on him, saved his leg, but he still had other injuries.  Should we let Admiral Johnson know he’s here?  Are you sure it it’s him?  Do you know his name?”


“No, we don’t know each other’s names.  But he had a brown jacket and royal blue pants on, not jeans.  Are his clothes here somewhere?” 


“As bad as his leg was, I’m sure they had to cut his pants of.  But let’s see if I can find the jacket.”


 Will found a bag on the floor and pulled out a white shirt, belt, socks and underwear.  No jacket or pants.


“Not here Lee.”


“Jamie, what’s that over there?” Lee pointed to a chair with towels and sheets stacked on the seat, the edges of something blue hanging over the back of it.


“Is this it?”  Will held up a torn blue blaze dotted with red blood, then he saw something brown folded up on the chair under the sheets.  He pulled out the pants. Or rather, what was left of them.


“That’s them and that’s him. You have to let Admiral Johnson know he’s safe.”


“I will.”  He put the clothes back where they were, hoping there was someone to bring different ones in for the man.  He couldn’t leave in these, although he was going to be here for a while.


After a moment’s hesitation and indecision, Will walked back over to Lee, his back to the other patient.  Putting his finger to his lips signaling Lee to stay quiet, Will pulled the tapes out of his inside breast pocket and showed them to Lee.  Softly he whispered, “Look familiar?”


Lee realized first that these had to be the tapes everyone was looking for, Then, everything came back to him in a jumbled rush. 


“Jamie, you have to get these to Johnson, stat!”


“I’ve been trying to find Harry to do just that.  Now that the tapes are found and we know you aren’t in any danger, will you be content to stay here for a few more days while we take care of the them?   


“Absolutely, they come first.  Please, do what has to be done and do it now.  I’ll be fine, I’ll get home on my own. Go Jamie, that’s an order!”


Will smiled and left the room.  He’d give the tapes to Harry, and have him call Johnson about the tapes and his other agent. If he could find him!


Will walked back to the lobby, relieved to see everyone there.


“How is he Will?”  The Admiral looked tired and worn, but Will knew he’d be relieved and smiling in a minute.


“Let’s go to the stairwell.”


Once they got in the stairwell, they had to wait a minute before it was empty.


“First, Lee is doing much better, he’s going to be fine.  Second, you can call Johnson and tell him his other agent, by coincidence or divine design, happens to be in the bed next to Lee, in the same room. And I was the one who operated on him, saved his leg. But he has other injuries as well, so ask Johnson if there is any family to be contacted, he shouldn’t be going through this alone, he’s going to have a long recovery. Someone should be here for him.    


“Oh, and by the way, as long as you have Johnson on the phone, you might want to mention these to him.”  Will took the tapes out of his pocket, and casually handed them to Harry. “I found them and showed them to Lee, and it all came back to him.  Lee’s direct order is for you to take care of them immediately, forget about him, he’ll gladly stay here until he is able to get home on his own.  My thought is for me to stay here and go back with him, when he is recovered enough.  You all take the jet and get these tapes back asap, unless Johnson has a better idea.”


“Thank God! Will, where the hell were these?  We all looked everywhere, several times!  How could all three of us have missed them?”


 “No criticism intended gentlemen, but I guess only a healthcare professional would think to look in the bedpan.”


The ensuing laughter, triggered as much by relief as reality, filled the gloomy stairwell.   




“Damn it, he got my bait again!  Those worms must be tasty.  At least to the fish!”


“Well Lee, I guess that’s why they call them bait!  Here you go, here’s another “


“Thanks, Jamie” Lee put the worm on his hook, then readjusted the pillow under his casted leg.  He cast out again, hoping for a nibble.


“Harry sure has been on the phone with Johnson for a long time. I hope they finally finished analyzing the tapes. It’s been almost two weeks since I got them.”  And I certainly hope what they found on them was worth all we’ve been through.


“Here he comes now.  Well Harry, did he tell you what was on the tapes?” 


“Yes.  Believe it or not, the tapes gave a detailed description of the American Embassy that was bombed, not an American city, including who was responsible for it and how it was to be done. It was actually too late by the time you got the tapes, obviously.  But at least now we know for sure who is responsible and how they did it. Also Lee, Johnson said to let you know the other agent is home and recovering well.  Lee, Johnson and I both feel badly about what you have gone through for nothing.  There’s no was no way to know.”


“I realize that Sir, to me it’s no different than any of my other ONI missions.  I followed orders and did what I was supposed to do.  I don’t always know the outcome of my missions, but if even a little good comes out of it, it was worth it.”    


Harry sat down, grabbed his pole, baited the hook, and cast out.


“The fish aren’t biting tonight Harry.  At least not for us.”


A few minutes later Harry pulled out a beautiful big trout.


“How’d you do that Harry?  We couldn’t even get a nibble!”


“Well you see gentlemen, it’s all about the waiting.”


  The End

      Please let me know what you think!



*See K. Corris’s ‘Whodunnit’