Windy City Disaster

By JSRobertson


Dear Diary,


It’s been quite a while since I’ve had time to write and even I have a tough time believing what happened.  It all started out so great, Seaview would be in port for a month with no missions scheduled and no upgrades requiring oversight so the officers and crew weren’t needed. That being the case, the Admiral gave the crew and junior officers two weeks off to kick back and relax.

Jamie immediately made the point that the senior staff needed a break as much, if not more than the crew and insisted everyone take time off.  It was finally settled that the admiral, Chip, Lee and I would also take time off to recharge our batteries.  We wouldn’t have to report to the Institute office for the first week and, we would only work a half days the second week.  Before leaving, we checked in at the institute office to take care of a few last minute details and to clear our schedules.



Chip was the first to make plans for the time off and decided he was going to Chicago to visit his parents; he would leave on Tuesday and return Saturday night.  Lee and I likewise were trying to decide what to do to fill that week we had off. 


“Why don’t we go to Chicago too?”  I suggested.  “I haven’t been there since we got married and I would like you to meet some of my friends.  I know that the last vacation we went on was a disaster but.....”


“That sounds like a good idea,” Lee agreed.  “We could all fly out together.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Chip’s parents if it’s okay with him and of course meet your friends.  Let me go check with Chip and see if he’s up to us tagging along.”


Lee came back a few minutes later to say Chip was all for it.  Chip said his parents would love to see us and we could stay with them if we wanted too.  Lee said he thanked Chip for the invitation but that he owed me a vacation after our trip to Mexico turned into such a fiasco.  He would get us reservations at the Peninsula Hotel so we could have a little ‘alone time’.  We would leave on Tuesday and return Saturday night too.  This sounded like it was going to be a great vacation all the way around.



Commander L. Crane – Personal Log


The admiral, Chip, Janet and I just flew home from Chicago, after what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation turned into an ONI mission for all of us.  We had just completed a long cruise and thankfully Seaview was going to be in port for a month; no missions, no upgrades, just routine maintenance that didn’t require officers or crew to oversee it.  The admiral decided that the crew had earned a well-deserved break and gave them two weeks off to rest and relax.  I totally agreed and thought that it would be quiet with them away and I would be able to catch up on things in the office with few interruptions.


Of course Jamie jumped in and let the admiral know that time off should be taken by ALL the crew, definitely including the senior staff; so much for catching up.  After much negotiation it was agreed that we would all take the first week off and then work half days on the second week.


Chip immediately decided to head home to Chicago to see his parents.  Janet and I were mulling over what to do when she suggested that we go to Chicago as well.  She hadn’t been back since our wedding and wanted to introduce me to a number of her friends.  I thought that was a great idea and would give us a chance to see Chip’s parents too.  We could all fly together and enjoy just hanging out.


I headed down to Chip’s office to see if he had any problems with us tagging along.  He thought it was a great idea, knowing full well his folks would love to see us and said we were more than welcome to stay with them.  I begged off on that, I owed Janet a vacation after that debacle in Mexico and wanted to have a little (okay, a lot) of alone time with my beautiful bride.  I’d get us a suite at the Peninsula Hotel, one of Chicago’s most luxurious hotels, and it would be like a second honeymoon.  I was just heading back to my office to make the reservations when the admiral saw me in the hallway and called me into his office. 


“Lee, would you come here, please?” the admiral asked


“Yes, sir,” I replied.  I knew it wasn’t good news by the look on his face.


“Sorry, I know I gave everyone two weeks off, but I just got a call from ONI.  We need to be in Washington by Monday night for a meeting first thing Tuesday morning.”


“Oh, Janet and I are leaving on Tuesday for Chicago with Chip,” I replied hesitantly knowing Janet would be upset that I wouldn’t be going with them.


“The meeting should only be for one day and then we can meet them in Chicago.”


“We?” I asked.


“Yes, I think I’d like go to Chicago too.  If that’s okay with you,” the admiral said.


“That’s fine with me and I’m sure Janet won’t mind.  We’re going to stay at the Peninsula Hotel if you would you like to join us?”


“Yes, that sounds like an excellent idea.  I’ll call and make a reservation now.” 


After meeting with the admiral I headed back down to Chip’s office and told him about the change in plans that the admiral and I had to go to a meeting Tuesday morning with Admiral Johnson in DC.  I could tell right away that Chip had a problem with the meeting in Washington and knowing ONI as he did, he was concerned it would be more than a meeting and turn into a mission. I tried to assure him that wasn’t’ the case and then asked if he would mind flying with Janet to Chicago on Tuesday.  He was more than happy to have Janet with him for company.  I also let him know that the admiral would be joining us in Chicago too.  Chip just smiled and said “The more the merrier.”


That all taken care of I now had to take care of the hard part and let Janet know about the slight change in plans.  This was not going to be pretty, I already knew.




Later that afternoon when we got home from work and were well into a glass of wine I told Janet I needed to talk about our vacation.


“Sweetie, I have to go to a meeting on Tuesday,” I said gently, “the admiral and I have to leave on Monday night for DC.”


“ONI or Navy,” she asked tersely.


“ONI, but it’s only for ....”


Before I could finish she stormed out the door and slammed it closed on her way out.  She left me standing there in the middle of the kitchen, my ears ringing from the sound of the door.  I knew she wasn’t going to be happy but I didn’t think she’d be that mad.


Just as I was getting ready to go after her I ran into Chip as he came into the kitchen.  He had nearly been run over as Janet ran past him looking very angry.  He was coming over for dinner and to finalize the plans for our trip.  He walked into the kitchen and saw me just standing there looking a little shell-shocked.


“What happened?   I just passed Janet on the way down to the beach and she sure looked pissed.”


“I was telling her about the meeting on Tuesday and that I would meet her in Chicago on Wednesday, but she didn’t let me finish.”


“Do you think she’s had enough of your ONI missions just like the rest of us?” Chip said sarcastically.

“You know how worried she gets.”


“Chip what I’m going to do,” I asked him running my hand through my hair.  “She knew about ONI when we got married.”


“Lee, she had no clue about ONI.  You were so smitten with her you forgot to tell her before you got married.   She didn’t find out until the mission with Jason Weldon.”


“Yeah, I did forget to mention that,” I replied sheepishly. “Can we skip dinner tonight?  I have some things I need to straighten out.”


“No problem and good luck,” Chip said grinning, “I think you’re going to need it.”  We both walked out of the house together.  Chip headed over to his house and I kept walking on down to the beach to look for Janet.




I was so angry I could barely see straight when Lee told me about the meeting with ONI.  I bolted out of the house before he could even finish, slamming the door closed on my way out.  I just left him there standing in the middle of the kitchen.  I was so mad I had to leave because I didn’t want to say something to hurt him.  I knew it really wasn’t his fault he had to go to the meeting but it just wasn’t fair.  Poor Chip, I nearly knocked him over in my rush out the door.   


“Janet, what’s wrong?” he asked sensing something wasn’t right. 


“Ask Lee,” I replied sharply as I stormed towards the beach.  I sat there for some time trying to get control of myself.  After a bit Lee came down the beach and found me sitting on a rock, knees drawn into my chest staring at the waves with tears in my eyes.


“Sweetheart, I’m sorry.  I know we made plans.  You didn’t let me finish.  After the meeting, the admiral and I are flying to Chicago for the rest of the week.  I have no choice when these meetings take place.  I know I didn’t tell you about ONI before we got married but it is a part of my life and I thought you had accepted that by now.”


“Accept it?  That is the only part of your life I can’t accept.  I realize you need to do these missions, that they are a part of your sense of duty to your country but can’t you ever just say no, tell them to find someone else?” I said angrily.


“No, sweetie, it doesn’t work that way,” he replied putting his arms around me.  “It’s just a meeting as far as I know.  Come on let’s go back to the house.”


He helped me up, dried the tears from my cheeks and gave me a long passionate kiss and hug.  I was thinking we might not make it back to the house if he kept this up much longer. 


When we got back to the house, I apologized for walking out on him but he understood why. He took my hand and led me upstairs to our bedroom.  We never did have dinner that night.




We both woke up early Monday morning since we had a lot to do for the trip.  Lee went for his usual run while I walked on the beach. When we got back we started packing for our trip.  Knowing it was going to be cold in Chicago I knew we needed to bring warm clothing.


“Lee, you better take your heavy winter coat and gloves.  I know Washington isn’t very cold but it will be cold in Chicago and it’s not called the Windy City for nothing. There is already snow on the ground,” I told him.


“This one will be fine,” he said pulling out a lighter coat he but did add his gloves.




I left Monday night for Washington with the admiral in the flying sub.  Since the admiral was going to Chicago with us, we would all fly back to NIMR on FS1.  The admiral had friend who worked for the Coast Guard and made arrangements with him to dock FS1 in an obscure location at a station near downtown Chicago.  Even though it was cold there, Lake Michigan would not be frozen.


We made good time getting to DC.  The admiral and I checked into the hotel and went to dinner.


“You’ve been very quiet this trip.  Problem?” Nelson asked cautiously.


“You could say that.  Janet was really pissed when she heard that we had to attend this meeting.  I suppose I can’t blame her.  It seems that every time we make plans something or someone disrupts them.”


“Could it be she’s also got more on her plate than she expected?  Between the missions on Seaview and your ONI ones maybe it’s finally catching up with her,” the admiral suggested.


“Maybe, I know she likes working on Seaview and the institute, but I think ONI is the problem.  You know I can’t quit, not yet.” I sighed.


The admiral nodded fully understanding my commitment to ONI.  The rest of the meal we chatted about what to do in Chicago when we got there on Wednesday.  When we finished our dinner we both headed back to our rooms for the night.  As soon as I got in I grabbed my phone and called Janet.



“Hi sweetheart, how are you?”  I asked hoping she was in a good mood.

“Fine, everything okay in Washington?” she replied matter-of-factly.  I could tell she was still a little miffed about the whole situation but at least she was talking to me.


“Yes, for now.  We should be in Chicago early Wednesday morning.” I told her.  We chatted a little bit about my flight to DC and what things we wanted to do while in Chicago.  “Oh, Chip said he would drive you to the hotel when you get to Chicago so don’t worry about renting a car.  Miss you, love you, and see you soon.”


“Miss you and love you too.”


She still sounded a little irritated but I was going to work really hard to make it up to her.




Lee checked in with me after he arrived in Washington.  He said the flight went well and we talked about what to do once he arrived. I was still a little irritated that he had to go to this meeting but what can I do. I know he won’t quit, at least not right now. It gets a little tiring at times, all the work we do on Seaview and at NIMR and then when we should have time to relax and be alone, he has to go off on an ONI mission.  I worry the whole time he’s gone and can’t relax.  I don’t like it but I have to live with it because I love him.




Chip and I left Santa Barbara Tuesday morning and arrived in Chicago by early afternoon.  Chip’s parents were there waiting for us as we walked through security into the main terminal.  After many hugs and kisses we were on our way to their house after stopping for a late lunch at Gibson’s; they knew it was my absolute favorite restaurant and it was a great treat.  It really kind of helped to take the sting of being here without Lee.   While we ate, Chip’s parents insisted I stay with them until Lee and the admiral arrived on Wednesday.  I readily accepted their invitation; it would be nice to have the company and it would help keep my mind off of Lee’s meeting.




As Chip and Janet were leaving Santa Barbara, the admiral and I arrived for our meeting with Admiral Johnson and immediately shown into his office.  “Hello, Harry, Lee, how are you?” Admiral Johnson asked.

“Fine,” we replied after I saluted Admiral Johnson.


“The reason for this meeting is we need your help catching someone selling naval secrets to the People’s Republic.  They are fairly certain about the two people involved.  The first is David Hughes.  He is a civilian working for the Navy, until recently, when he was caught removing classified documents from his office and we suspect providing them to an outside source who would then sell them to the People’s Republic.  It’s the second man that we need your help bringing down; we need you to trap him selling you the secrets.  Here is a picture of the man we suspect as the middle man,” he explained as he handed us the picture.  “His name is .....”


Before he could finish, I said, “Joseph Cornwell.”


“Lee, you know him?” Nelson asked surprised.


“Admiral, he was the man who tried to convince me not to marry Janet at our wedding.”


“I remember him now. He left before the crew tackled him.”

Admiral Johnson was also quite surprised at our association.


I explained to Admiral Johnson that this man was my wife’s former brother-in-law. His brother, Janet’s husband at that time, and his girlfriend were killed in a car accident a few years ago.  Joseph Cornwell blames Janet for his death.


“Oh, I didn’t know that,” Johnson responded.  “I didn’t know she was married before.”


“Well, there’s no way I do this mission sir, he would know who I am, along with the Admiral and Chip Morton.”  I told him.  “Can’t Jason Weldon or some other agent do this assignment?”


“Sorry, Lee.  I have no choice.  Right now you’re the only agent I have available.  You will have to figure something out.”


“Admiral, please, this man hates my wife.  He would do anything to hurt her,” I said sharply.


“That’s your problem, Commander.” Johnson answered back curtly.  “He is located in Chicago, so that’s where you will have to set him up.”


“Just great,” I said shaking my head.  “We’re going to Chicago on vacation.  In fact, Janet and Chip should be there now,” I said looking at my watch.  “Admiral if you insist that I take this mission, I’m going to have to tell them what this mission is about. I’m going to need their help with this.  I know it’s against regulations but considering the circumstances...”


“Okay Lee, you have my permission to tell them.  I realize this is going to be a rough one for you.” Johnson admitted.


“Gerald, you can’t find any other agent to do this?” Nelson asked feeling sorry for me.


“As I said before, there is no one.  Cornwell believes he has information on a new torpedo system we’ve developed.  The information he was given is false.  Hughes has given us the names of other sources he has sold the information to; one of them was Steven Arnold.  I believe you both have met him.”


“Yes, we have,” Nelson replied remembering Lee’s fiasco in Mexico.


“Hughes says Cornwell works at the Four Seasons Hotel in the bar.  You can contact him there.  We need to catch him by the end of the week.  According to Hughes, Cornwell is going to meet an agent of the People’s Republic on Sunday to make the transfer.  Let me know when you have him and I’ll have Jim Cooper, a field agent, take him in.  Report in when you can.”


The meeting was over, the admiral and I left Johnson’s office. I was really pissed, but my only option was to quit working for ONI.   I know more than a few people who would jump for joy if I did that.  But I don’t want to quit just yet, so I will have to take on this assignment.


Since we were done with the meeting, we decided to leave right away.  It’s a good thing we were leaving early as there was a Nor’easter heading for Washington and if we didn’t leave now we may not get out for a couple of days.  I can only imagine the problems I would have if that happened.


I called Janet and told her we would be in later that night rather than tomorrow as planned.  She said that she had accepted Chip’s parents’ invitation to spend the night at their place instead of spending the night alone at the hotel.  She asked if I wanted to come there or go ahead and check into the hotel.  I told her I would prefer the hotel so we could have a little privacy.  I also didn’t want to unveil my little surprise there and have to worry about disturbing the Morton’s.


I called the hotel and was able to get our original reservation. Whew, that was a huge relief.  Next I phoned Chip and asked him if he wouldn’t mind driving Janet downtown to the hotel.  Chip being Chip immediately agreed saying it was no problem.  He knew things between Janet and I was a little frosty at the moment and was glad to help us out.


The easy part taken care of, now came the hard part explaining to her that the meeting was about Joe Cornwell and that I would have to spend part of our vacation trying to trap him into selling me secret information.  I knew she was going to be pissed so when I changed the reservations I told them to have a bottle of champagne waiting.




Lee called and said the meeting wasn’t as long as he thought it would be and they would be in Chicago later tonight rather than tomorrow morning.  I told him I was staying with Chip’s folks tonight instead staying at the hotel and asked if he wanted to spend the night here instead.  He said that he really wanted to get started on our private vacation time and would see if we could get our room for the night. I knew it immediately something’s up. Their too short meeting and their coming back early had my wifely intuition on red alert. 


Lee said he’d check with Chip to see if he could drive me down to the hotel.  Chip was more than happy to agree and I was thrilled he would take me downtown.  Even though I used to live here, I never drove downtown, too much traffic and they drive pretty crazy. 


Even with my intuition going crazy I was excited about having Lee all to myself tonight.  When he called, I wasn’t very ‘warm and fuzzy’ so I’m feeling a little guilty and really wanted to make it up to him.   




As I was piloting FS1 to Chicago, the admiral sensed I had a lot on my mind.


“Lee, I think you’re in trouble,” the admiral said with a wry grin.


“In more ways than you think, admiral,” I said softly.


We didn’t talk much the rest of the way as I concentrated on flying FS1 into Chicago and how to tell Janet about the mission.




I landed FS1 at the Coast Guard station where we were picked up by the admiral’s friend and driven to the hotel. As we walked into the lobby Chip and Janet were already there waiting for us.  I gave her a big kiss and hug and thanked Chip for bringing her down.


We checked in at the front desk and headed for our suite.   It was beautiful and luxurious.  Janet and I unpacked a bit as Chip looked out the window enjoying the gorgeous view.  As we were drinking the champagne, they decided on pizza for dinner, apparently I had no vote on what we were doing for dinner tonight.  Chip knew of a place not too far from the hotel.  They were both so excited to get real pizza not what California calls pizza.

I gave the admiral a call in his suite to extend the invitation to join us for dinner.  He declined saying he was going to have dinner with his friend and would meet us back at the hotel later on.


We had a great evening and I must admit the pizza was very good.  Chip dropped us off back at the hotel and then headed on to his parent’s house.  He was coming back tomorrow to come do a few tourist things with us.  I would explain the mission to Chip when he got here, yet another thing I wasn’t looking forward to doing.




Chip and I didn’t have to wait to long for the admiral and Lee to arrive at the hotel.  After a quick kiss and hug we checked into our suite.  I can’t believe my husband actually reserved a suite for us. Sometimes he can be very romantic, the suite was beautiful.  Even Chip agreed as he looked out the windows at the view as we unpacked. Lee even had champagne waiting for us. He was trying very hard to make up for having to go to the meeting in Washington.  I decided I best forget about the whole thing, he was here a day early and I could relax and enjoy being with my husband.   As much as I love Chip, I wish Lee and I were alone.


Having pulled Chip halfway across the city I thought it best we feed him for his efforts.  I knew we were hungry, so Chip and I decided we would go for pizza.  Real Chicago pizza.   Since Lee ditched us for his meeting we figured he didn’t get any say in choosing what to eat.  He could just come along and pick up the tab. 




Once Chip dropped us off at the hotel, Janet and I went for a walk.  It was a little cold but we didn’t mind as we walked hand in hand down Michigan Avenue.  I was silent as we walked trying my hardest to come up with a way to break the news about the mission to her.  She’s gotten way too good at reading me for me to keep secrets so I wasn’t too surprised when she asked me what was up.


“Honey, what’s wrong,” she asked knowing something was bothering me.


“I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have a mission to complete while I’m here in Chicago…and it involves Joe Cornwell.  ONI believes he is selling Navy secrets to the People’s Republic and I’ve been ordered to trap him into selling me information for a new torpedo launching system.  He was the one who told Steven Arnold about the missile detection system,” I told her waiting for her to let go of my hand and storm back to the hotel.


“Lee, you’re kidding me, right?” she said shocked at what I just told her.


“Sweetie, I wish I was.  I told Admiral Johnson your connection to him but he had no one else to do this mission.  I begged him to find someone else.”


“All right, I will do what I can to help you,” she offered.


No, I don’t want you involved at all,” I said emphatically.  “If I don’t shave for a day or two, he might not recognize me.  I’ll get Chip and the admiral to help.  You’ll need to stay at the hotel out of sight until this is done.  I don’t want him to see you at all; I’m afraid of what he might do to you,” I said with a worried look on my face.


“Okay, whatever you think is best,” she agreed reluctantly, surprised that Joe had gotten into this kind of work.


“You’re the best, you know that.” I said giving her a kiss on the temple.  “After this is done I promise I’ll make it up to you any way you want.”  I wagged my eyebrows at her suggestively and enjoyed watching her blush.


As we walked into the hotel, we saw admiral coming back from dinner and waited for him to join us. 


“I see you still have your head,” the admiral said to me grinning.


“Just barely,” I replied looking at Janet with a smile and squeezed her hand.




Even though we haven’t been married that long, I can read Lee like a book and knew right away something was wrong. Now I know why he wanted to take a walk. He didn’t want to tell me about the mission and Joe in the suite. He was afraid I would run out of the hotel.  This way I couldn’t go very far with him holding my hand.  l was upset by what he told me about Joe. But I will do whatever he wants me to do.  When he told me Joe got Steven Arnold involved, I shuddered at the thought of him and our previous meeting. 




Chip met up with the admiral and Lee in the afternoon and Lee told Chip about the mission and what it entailed.  I could see that Chip was not happy in the least about ONI’s little task, but like Lee and the admiral he is a total professional and agreed to help out where he could.


While they were talking about it, I called my friends about getting together for dinner.  The only time we could meet was tonight, so we decided to meet them for dinner at The Lobby restaurant in the hotel at 7:00.  My friends showed up on time (which was rare for them) and I introduced them to the admiral, Chip and Lee.


We had a wonderful dinner.  We told stories of things that happened at work and my friends and I reminisced about our rowdy days in Chicago.  We had everyone laughing.  After dinner, Chip was heading back home so he made sure they made it safely to their car.  Barb called me on the way home and said they were impressed by the admiral, how nice and handsome Chip was and how good looking Lee was even with his beard. They could see how happy I was being married to Lee.  They were also a little envious of me after meeting the men I work with every day. 




It was nice to meet Janet’s friends.  I could tell she was glad to see them.  We had a good time just relaxing and enjoying their company. Some of their stories were hilarious   I knew she was going to miss them and who knows when we will get back here with our crazy schedule.




The admiral and Lee were going to the Four Seasons hotel in the morning to check it out and see if Joe was working and look around the hotel.  Chip had come in early this morning and would meet me in our suite.  Lee didn’t want me to go out by myself, so we were going shopping on Michigan Avenue to buy his mother a birthday present and he knew I would help him pick something out.  As we were leaving the hotel, a man ran into me almost knocking me over.

“Excuse me, I didn’t see you,” he said grabbing my arm so I wouldn’t fall.  You!  What the hell are you doing here?” he snarled when he saw it was me.


“Joe nice to see you too.” I replied a little shaken.   Joe Cornwell had just run into me.  Chip recognized him immediately and grabbed me away from him.


“He isn’t your husband. He has dark hair and wasn’t he a captain of some submarine.  What he dump you already for being a b...” he started to say but was cut of by Chip.


“Don’t talk to her like that,” Chip said ready to take his head off.


“Its okay,” I told Chip.  “No, I dumped him.  He was too straight laced, stuffy and boring.  This is Charles Morton. He’s my new boyfriend,” I told Joe as I kissed Chip and put my arm around him. Chip following my lead, put his arm around me and kissed me back.


“Are you in the Navy too?” Joe asked snidely.


“No, he’s an entrepreneur that sells anything and everything to people all over the world,” I answered quickly not giving Chip a chance to respond.


“I might have something you might be interested in buying,” Joe mentioned to Chip smiling.


“What would you have to sell that I would be interested in,” Chip retorted.


“Call me at this number and we will talk,” he told Chip as he handed him a telephone number. “Also, I would be very careful about dating her.  She’s a bitch,” he said maliciously as he walked into the hotel.


“What was that all about? “  Chip asked surprised at what I told Joe.


“Well, he caught me off guard.  When he asked me about Lee I knew he would recognize him beard or no beard.  I’m so sorry, I got you involved and for kissing you.” I said to Chip apologetically.  “Lee is going to kill me.”


“No problem.  It just might be better this way.  I had a hunch he would know who Lee was anyway.

But you do have one problem now,” Chip said with a smirk, “You have to tell him what you just did.”


“I know,” I said dejectedly. “Let’s do our shopping.  The admiral made reservations for lunch 1:00 at the Signature Room at the 95th.”


We finished our shopping and arrived at the restaurant just as Lee and the admiral walked in.  They found out that Joe reported for work at 12:00 and would be there until 8:00 tonight so they knew he wouldn’t see us together.




“How was your shopping trip, buy anything?” Lee asked me not seeing any packages.


“Yes, a present for Chip’s mother.  He is going to take it to her.” I said softly.


“I see Chip did some shopping too.  Did you get a present for your mother?” Lee continued.

“Yes, Janet was very helpful.  Mom is going to love both of her gifts.  But we also had an interesting experience before we went shopping.  Janet, why don’t you tell them about it,” Chip said anxiously.


“Well, as we were leaving the hotel, Joe Cornwell ran into me almost knocking me over,” I told Lee.


“What!!!” he said a little too loudly.  “You better tell me what happened.”


“First, he thought you dumped me.  But I told him I dumped you for being too straight laced, stuffy and boring,” cringing as I told him.


The admiral could hardly contain a chuckle.


“Please continue,” he said quietly not looking happy.


“Next I told him Chip was my boyfriend and I kissed him and he kissed me back.”


“Go on,” he stated calmly drumming his fingers on the table.


Before continuing I took a deep breath, “Then I told him his name was Charles Morton and he was an entrepreneur the sells anything and everything to people around the world.  Joe gave Chip his phone number and told him to call him, that he has something he might be interested in buying.”  I said as I waited for him to explode. And he didn’t disappoint me.


“What the hell did you do that for?” he said stunned at what I just said.  “You’ve now put Chip in the middle of this.”


“I know I didn’t mean to do it.  He just rattled me and I didn’t know what else to do.” I told him apprehensively.  “I just wanted to protect you.”


“Lee, this actually might work out. He knew I wasn’t her husband and besides that he would have recognized you. He remembered you had dark hair and was a captain of a submarine,” Chip remarked.


Lee just sat there not saying anything.  I couldn’t tell if he was pissed or relieved.


 Finally the admiral said, “Why don’t we order lunch and worry about this tomorrow.”




What luck!  How many millions of people are there in the city of Chicago and Janet has to run into the only one I didn’t want her to see.  I got Chip alone after lunch.


“What really happened?” I asked Chip.  “Did he almost run her over?”


“Yes, Lee. He actually had to grab her to keep her from falling.  Man, he is a nasty dude.  He was so rude to her no wonder she was a little rattled.  I wanted to punch him for being such a creep.” Chip told me.


“Did she really say I was straight laced, stuffy and boring?  And she kissed you and you kissed her back?” I asked with a smirk.


“Yes, she said it to protect you.  You know she doesn’t mean it and sorry about the kiss.” Chip replied sheepishly. “Lee, she’s worried he would recognize you, please let me take care of this.”


“Okay, maybe it is better this way.” I said rubbing my forehead. 




After lunch, we went back to our suite.  Chip headed home because it was his mother’s birthday and his sisters and their families were going to be there for the party.  He invited us and the admiral to join him knowing everyone would all love to see us.


The admiral begged off saying he had to check in with Angie and go over some items with her and then participate in a few conference calls. He also said he had a whole briefcase of reports that need to be done.  He was going to eat dinner in his room and work.  The man needs to find an off button for all that responsibility sometimes. 


“We’re just going to stay here and eat dinner in our room. Remember we are supposed to be on a second honeymoon.” Lee mentioned looking me affectionately.  “Besides that I think you’ve kissed my wife more than me today so I need to catch up,” he said laughing.  I love it when Chip blushes; it’s so cute.


Anyway it was agreed that we would all meet at 0830 for breakfast in the admiral’s suite and decide how to handle the rest of the mission.  After Chip left, Lee put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and we were in for the night.


I was still upset about what I had said to Joe and was having a hard time relaxing.  I paced like a caged cat across the room trying to calm myself down and enjoy the time with my husband.


“Lee, I’m so sorry I messed everything up and got Chip involved,” I said grabbing his hand.


“Sweetie, somehow we will make it work,” he told me giving me a hug.


Now that he wasn’t going to be the one to trap Joe, Lee went into the bathroom and shaved off his beard.  Thank goodness, I hated it as much as he did.  After he shaved, we went to bed.  No need to write any more about what happened there; even using your best imagination Dear Diary it won’t even come close.  We never did get around to ordering dinner.




What a wonderful night. Janet and I were finally alone, no phones, no TV and no beard.  The second honeymoon was almost better than the first. We didn’t want to get out of bed this morning especially knowing what we had to face the rest of the day. She was finally the first to get up and I watched her pad across the room into the bathroom to take her shower.  After a moment I figured there was no need to waste water and got up and climbed in with her.  Following a tough morning workout (oh yeah!) it was time for breakfast and we were famished.




After we got ready, we went for a walk before meeting Chip and the Admiral for breakfast.  It was a crisp morning and it felt good to get out.  I not surprisingly had quite an appetite after my morning ‘exercises’.

We all met in the admiral’s suite and had a delicious breakfast from room service.  It was decided to call from the admiral’s room, this way Joe wouldn’t know what room we were in if he checked out the story we told him.  After breakfast was done, Chip called Joe who answered right away.


“Joe Cornwell, Charles Morton here. What do you have that is so interesting that I might want to buy,” Chip said bluntly.


“I have plans for a new torpedo system the Navy just developed,” Joe told him.


“Why would I want that?” Chip said unenthusiastically.


“Didn’t you say that you sold anything to people everywhere?  You must have a buyer for this information.”  Joe said confidently.


“What if I did, how much are we talking?”


“$50,000 cash.” Joe answered


“Whoa, that’s a lot of money.  Before I commit to anything, how I know what you have is legit,”

Chip asked him.


“Meet me at Mike Ditka’s at 8:30 tonight and I’ll give you a quick look of what I have.  Do you know where it is?”


“Yes, I’ve been there before.”


“Oh, and Morton, bring Janet with you.  If she’s not there then no deal.” 


“Okay,” Chip said knowing Lee was going to be pissed.


Chip was concerned about what we were going to do for cash if the information he had was the real thing. Lee decided we would get a briefcase and fill it with newspapers.  Hopefully, we would have him in custody before it got to the money exchanging.




“Damn,” I said after hearing the details.  Chip said Joe seemed pretty cocky on the phone.  And why does he want Janet there?  I’m worried he might be on to us. I’ve got a real bad feeling about this.




Since we had nothing to do for a few hours, we decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

We saw the U-505 submarine, the coal mine and many other exhibits.  Everyone was impressed by the submarine exhibit.  Sure was a lot smaller than Seaview.




After visiting the museum, which was very interesting, we decided on dinner in our suite.  That way we had a good meal and were able to prepare for the meeting later that night.  The admiral and I headed over to Ditka’s restaurant well before 8:30 and made sure we got a booth near the door so we had a clear view of the door and the restaurant. 




When it was time for us to leave, Chip and I took a taxi to the restaurant.  After paying the driver, as we walked to the door someone came up behind us and whispered to us not to make any sudden moves and walk around the corner to the alley next to the restaurant.  Chip not wanting me to get hurt, grabbed me by the arm and led me away from the restaurant, but we were shoved in the back towards the alley.  As soon as we were in the alley, Chip was hit on the head and knocked out.  They grabbed me and put me in a car and left Chip there.




It was 8:30 and Joe hadn’t come into the restaurant and neither had Chip and Janet. The admiral and I were getting ready to walk out the door when Chip staggered in.


“Sorry Lee, I lost her, she’s gone,” Chip said rubbing the back of his head.  “Joe grabbed us when we got out of the taxi. He forced us to walk to the alley around the corner where he hit me over the head and grabbed Janet. I must have blacked out for awhile.”


“Damn,” I said loudly.  “I knew something was going to go wrong.  Chip was Janet knocked out too? Was it Joe?  Are you okay?” Lee asked concerned.


“Not sure, they knocked me over the head as soon as I got into alley.  I didn’t see him but I recognized his voice.  Yeah, I’m okay, just pissed that I let him get Janet,” Chip said angrily.


While I was talking to Chip my phone began ringing.  The call was coming from Janet’s phone.


“I’ve got your wife, Crane,” Joe said nastily.  “How stupid do you think I am?  I’ve had her followed all day, so I know she’s still married to you.  If you want her back alive don’t call the police.  I’m not sure what your involvement is in this but do what I say or else she’s dead.”


“Okay, I’ll do whatever you want, please don’t hurt her,” I pleaded. 


“Meet me at Connors Park at the Wabash St. entrance at 11:00 with the $50,000 and I will let her go,” Joe said.  “Need directions?”


“No, I will find it.”


“Oh by the way, how does it feel to lose someone you love?” he said viciously and hung up




“Damn, damn, damn,” was all I could say.  I never should have allowed this to go forward; I knew something didn’t feel right and now Janet was going to pay the price for my ineptitude.


I explained to the Admiral and Chip what Joe had told me and his conditions.  I called Jim Cooper and he would meet us at the hotel.  I also called Admiral Johnson and talked to him personally.


“Admiral, it’s Lee. We have a problem here in Chicago;” I said furiously, “Joe has kidnapped Janet and is holding her for ransom.  If he doesn’t get what he wants he will kill her.  If he does anything to harm her...”  I started to say but was cut off by Johnson.


“Commander, watch your tone or I will court martial you for insubordination,” Johnson ordered.


Before I could say anything more, the admiral grabbed the phone.


“Johnson, Nelson here. Crane is really pissed.  He told you this wasn’t going to work.  Cornwell remembered what Lee looked like so Chip Morton took the lead to set him up but quite obviously that didn’t work either.  Lee told you his concerns up front; he should have never been assigned this mission,” the admiral said tersely.


 “Tell Crane I’m sorry and I hope everything works out,” Johnson said cautiously.


“Gerald, you better hope it does, or you may lose your best agent and more.” Nelson threatened and hung up on him.




We went back to the hotel to figure out how to trap Joe and not get Janet hurt.  Jim Cooper met us there and told us where the park was and explained that there were several entrances into the park.  We would have to cover all of them.  He told us he contacted a detective friend of his and told him there was a situation going down in Connors Park and asked if he could come to the park unofficially as a favor to him. He couldn’t tell him why but to trust him.  His friend understood and would be there and just needed which entrance to cover.


Once all the details were set the three of us took Chip’s car and Cooper took his own car.  Cooper would cover the entrance to the park on Delaware, his friend would cover the Rush St. entrance, Chip the Chestnut side and the admiral and I the Wabash St. entrance where Joe told us to meet him with the money.


The admiral and I were waiting in the park by 10:45.  Everything was covered in snow including the benches.  There were blue and green lights twinkling in the trees along with a white globe light next to a brick wall. It was cold and unfortunately neither of us was really prepared for the weather.  My coat was too light for the conditions and I was freezing my butt off.  The admiral was a little better off having brought a heavier coat and gloves but he was feeling the chill as well.


As I stood there fighting off the cold I thought ruefully that I should have listened to Janet and brought my heavier coat instead of this white one as I tried to blow a little warmth into my thinly gloved hands.  The cold was the least of my problems; I needed to get my wife back safely.


We stood there actively scanning the park for any sign of Cornwell.  Both of us were very aware of every sound in the park. Luckily we were the only ones there tonight.




After Joe grabbed me from outside the restaurant, he took me to some sleazy apartment.  He told me how he wished John was still alive and how it was my fault he died. That it should have been me that was killed.  He gave me the creeps.


I wondered if Chip was okay; he hit him pretty hard. I was pretty sure Lee was pissed at what had happened and knowing my husband he was blaming himself.  I almost felt sorry for Joe as I thought about what could happen when Lee, the admiral and Chip got a hold of him.  He had no idea what he was dealing with.




Joe and I went to the park at 11:00 to meet Lee. As we entered the park, we saw the admiral and Lee waiting there so he pulled out a gun and pointed it at my head. 


“Give me the money but I’m still keeping the information you wanted and going sell it to the People’s Republic.  If you don’t give me the money, I’II shoot her.” Joe said spitefully.


“Joe, please let her go.  The information you have is no good.  It was made up to catch you. Your friend at the Navy was caught and told them what you were doing.   I will give you the money but please don’t hurt her,” Lee begged.


“Why should I believe you,” he said curtly, “How do you know all this any way?  You an agent or something?”


“Trust me, Joe. You don’t want to hurt her.”


As Lee was talking to Joe, Chip came up behind him grabbed his arm pulling it away from my head and pushed him down.  As Joe fell to the ground his gun discharged and shot me in the shoulder.  I immediately I fell down from the jolt.  Lee was at my side instantly as I laid there in the snow.


Chip was already placing a call to the paramedics; Lee just looked at him and nodded his thanks.  Acknowledging Lee’s gratitude he nodded back. They’ve been together so long I don’t think they even need to use words anymore.


“Damn, that hurt,” I said adding a few more curse words under my breath.


“I know Sweetie, just take it easy.  The paramedics will be here shortly.”  Lee said as he was trying to stop my shoulder from bleeding shocked at the words he heard me say.  “Sweetheart, you’re swearing like a sailor.”


“I know, sorry.  I’ve never been shot before. It really hurts.” I said shivering and starting to cry.  Lee pulled me against his chest and wrapped his arms around me to keep me warm.


Hearing the shots, Jim’s friend called the police and left the park; he didn’t need to be involved.  Jim also hearing the shots ran over and handcuffed Joe and held him until the police arrived. 


While this was going on, the admiral left the park to look for Joe’s car and saw one with the engine running.  He looked in the car and found a suitcase.  He quickly popped it open and found the stolen information in it. He snapped the case shut and removed it from the car before the police got there. As he walked back over to us he patted the case letting Lee and Chip know the mission was accomplished.


The paramedics were there pretty quick, put me on a stretcher and bandaged my shoulder. 


“Can I ride with her to the hospital?” Lee asked anxiously.


“Yes, but you will have to ride in the front,” the paramedic said to him.


“We’ll meet you at the hospital as soon as we take care of the situation here,” Chip told Lee as he jumped in the ambulance. He asked the paramedics where they were taking me.


It was a short ride to the hospital.  Lee was in the emergency room with me as the doctor looked at my shoulder and said the bullet had just grazed my shoulder catching a small part of the muscle and all I needed were a few stitches to close the wound.  I would also need to take an antibiotic to stop any infection.


“She will be all right, Mr. Crane,” the doctor reassured him.  “You look awful, are you okay?”


“Yes, I’m fine; just worried.  When can I take her home?” he asked as he hated being in hospitals.

“She needs to stay a few hours so we can monitor for any complications then she can go home. She will need to be seen by her regular doctor in about 10 days to have the stitches taken out.”


“Lee,” I called to him as he was talking to the doctor.  “Is everyone okay?  Did you get him?”


“Yes, sweetheart, everyone is fine but you.  We got him and the information.  He had it in his car.”


“Good, can we go home tomorrow?” I asked quietly. “I don’t want to stay here any longer.” 


“We were planning on flying home to California tomorrow.  Will she be able to fly?” Lee inquired.


“Yes, she should be able to fly tomorrow.”


“Thanks for everything.”  Lee said a little calmer.


“No problem,” she replied smiling at him.  




I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared.  I’ve been in many serious and deadly situations, but that frightened me to death seeing my wife lying there in the snow with a gunshot wound.   I realized how she must feel when I come back from a mission badly injured or nearly dead.  I can’t even imagine what she must go through when I miss my extraction times. No wonder she doesn’t like it when I take on an ONI mission.  I also never knew she could swear like that.  But more importantly she would be okay.


I left Janet alone while the doctor stitched up her shoulder.  I went to find the admiral and Chip to let them know that Janet was fine and that she would be released in a few hours.  We decided we would definitely fly home tomorrow.  Chip called his parents to let them know he was staying downtown and also what happened to Janet. They were quite worried but Chip assured them she was fine and that it was just a mugging that went bad.  His folks told him if he didn’t want to drive the car back in the morning to just let them know where he parked it and they would come downtown and pick it up.


They released Janet three hours later with her arm in a sling. Chip drove us all back to the hotel.   I tucked her in bed and she fell sound asleep at once thanks to the pain medication they gave her.  I packed up all our things so we could leave first thing in the morning.   By the time I had everything done I was ready for a stiff drink. Chip must have been reading my mind and poured us all a hefty shot of scotch.


As we sat there finally able to wind down, the admiral and Chip told me what happen to Joe after I left with the paramedics.  The police took their statements before they let them leave for the hospital, not that they could really tell them very much as this was an ONI mission.  The local authorities would only be able to get Joe on kidnapping and assault charges on Chip and Janet.  It would be up to the Justice Department for the more serious charges of treason.   Janet and I had to give them our statements before we could leave and Chip had already made arrangements for them to come to the hotel the next morning at 9:00.


Jim Cooper went with Joe to the police station to keep an eye on things.  He told Chip he would call Admiral Johnson to brief him on the situation and have him make whatever arrangements were needed with the police department to ensure Joe remained in custody.




Poor Lee.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that worried.  Well, maybe a couple of times when the admiral went missing or Chip had been seriously hurt.  I couldn’t wait to get out of here and go home to California. It will be a long time before I come back here.  I’m glad they got Joe so he can’t hurt anyone else again, ever.  I couldn’t believe how very tired I was after all of this, must have been the pain medication.




I called Admiral Johnson while Janet was sleeping and explained to him what had taken place.  He would send another field agent to Chicago to help Cooper bring Joe back to face federal charges. He had already called the police department and made arrangements to take Joe to Washington.  I was still a little pissed at him because of the whole situation.  Admiral Johnson said he was sorry Janet had gotten hurt, but he said he didn’t have any other choice.


After calling Admiral Johnson, I finally sat down and had another drink.  Chip crashed in the second bedroom in the admiral’s suite since he planned on staying in town until we left.  After they left for the admiral’s suite I collapsed in the chair for a long minute.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted.  I climbed in bed with Janet hoping I wouldn’t disturb her.  There was no chance of that happening; she was sound asleep thanks to all the excitement and the pain killers.  I can’t believe how lucky we were that only her shoulder was hurt.  I snuggled up close to her and finally fell asleep.




I got up early the next morning and was ready to go, by the time Janet woke up complaining her shoulder was throbbing.  I kissed it softly and told her that’s the best we could do other than a couple of aspirins.   I didn’t want her to take any pain medication until after she gave her statement to the police and ate breakfast.  Well acquainted with the pain meds she was talking, I knew she would get sick if she took them on an empty stomach.  The admiral and Chip met us in our room at 0800 and had breakfast with us.  They were happy to see Janet was doing better. 


Promptly at 0900 the police arrived and we quickly gave our statements regarding events in the park last night.   Once that was done, Janet was able to take her pain killers and was feeling better in no time.  We checked out of the hotel and were driven to the Coast Guard station by the Admiral’s friend so we could get the flying sub and head for home.  Chip and the admiral handled the piloting duties while I tended to my wife.




After giving our statements to the police, we left Chicago.  Lee gave me some pain medication so I slept most of the way home.  When we got to NIMR it was the early afternoon and Jamie was already waiting for us. The admiral had called him earlier and alerted him I was hurt and asked that he meet us when we landed.  The admiral explained the whole sordid tale to him and how I was shot and by whom. 


 Jamie just shook his head as he looked at the stitches and said the doctor did an excellent job.  “How are you feeling?” Jamie asked me.  “Is your shoulder sore?”


“I’m tired. I think it’s the pain medication.” I told him yawning.  “It’s a little sore right now.”


“Can’t you two go on vacation and not get into trouble?” he asked. “Janet, you should stay here overnight,” he insisted.  “That way I can keep an eye on you.”


“No, I just want to go home,” I told him softly. “Do I have to wear the sling? How am I going to work?”


“Oh my god you’re becoming just like your husband,” Jamie said sarcastically.  “He’s been a bad influence on you. And yes, you need to wear the sling until I take the stitches out.”


“Jamie, you’re just bored and need someone to take care of,” I said yawning again.


“Sweetie, looks like I owe you another vacation.  Too bad about this one, that hotel suite was fantastic.”  Lee said thoughtfully.


“Lee, I don’t think you should ever think of taking another vacation,” the admiral said seriously.  “I don’t think I could take any more of your vacation disasters.”  Chip nodded his head in agreement.


“Lee, no more vacations for us. When we get time off, we’re going to lock ourselves in our house.” I told him.


“We could take our vacation on Seaview, how much trouble could we get into on a submarine.” Lee suggested.


“You’re kidding me,” I said shaking my head.  You would find trouble anywhere we went.”


One more thing though,” Lee said to me very sternly, “How about you not getting involved in my ONI missions.”


“Yes, Lee,” I replied with a wry smile know this whole mess was my fault.




I’m glad we’re back at NIMR. Jamie said Janet’s shoulder was going to be okay.  Sure looks like we’re not supposed to take a vacation.  So far two of them have been disasters, do I even want to try for a third time?  Not for awhile.  Right now a mission on Seaview would be a vacation.  At least we had one day on our second honeymoon.


As we sat in the exam room chatting with everyone, I could see Janet was ready to fall asleep, so I took her home and put her to bed.  Jamie told me if she needed anything to call him.  He said he would stop by later on that night to check on her.  As she slept I kissed her cheek and realized how lucky I was to have her in my life.   I laid down beside her and drifted off as well. 





The End.




Thank you Christy for your suggestions and help.