It’s a fact of life that most important
resource aboard Seaview isn’t me. It isn’t the Captain, or the Admiral either. No,
the ‘command trio’ as some folks call us, can be pretty much replaced
through the chain of command, though while Lt. O’Brien might be able to handle the duties of Acting Captain, and he
has on occasion, I think it might be a bit awkward if Sparks ever truly found himself with the ‘duty’.
Now, where was I? Ah yes. I was speaking
of the most important resource aboard Seaview.
This became quite clear to me when we’d been a bit too up close and personal
to a dormant volcanic sea mount just when we had one of those ‘incidents’
that Lee calls a ‘tantrum,’ that Seaview simply sometimes decides on,
from systems failures to short in the circuitry, (to keep us on our toes, Lee says).
But whatever the cause, (we still haven’t
found it yet) said tantrum just happened
to slam us into the seamount which gave us an extensive breach in the hull from the impact. We had to surface for part of the emergency hull repairs (not a good
idea as Doc ran out of Dramamine
If handling work rotations on the surface
around seasick sailors is bad enough,
what nobody counted on was that the ripped hull pretty much inundated some of our storage compartments with sea water, some of Seaview’s ‘innard’s , and god knows what else. We’re still clearing out the mess as the pumps work overtime.
Chief Sharkey was just compiling the damage control reports and groaned. Apparently
just about all our dry goods were inundated. Rice, beans, various pasta, etc.
Okay, that wasn’t good, but I didn’t see what the big deal was. You’d think he’d died the way he was
acting. After all, we still had enough in the way of canned and frozen goods until we reached the nearest naval base for more
substantial repairs. Until, that is, he told me that Cookie didn’t even
have enough flour in the galley to make the noodles for the Lasagna that the Captain had been counting on.
Now, I can live with or without Lasagna.
But believe me, I’m not looking forward to reporting to Doc that the one
and only dish (aside from doughnuts) that Lee actually consumes full servings of, is now in effect, sunk for the duration.
For a moment I racked my brain, and suggested
that he tell Cookie to try a noodle less lasagna. (I’m the XO, it’s
kind of normal for me to think on my feet.)
“That’s sacrilege! Besides,
I’m not sure it’s possible, ”Sharkey furrowed his brows.
I’m sure the Captain will understand the situation.”
“Uh, yeah, that goes without saying,
it’s just that…er…there’s something else that’s not on that list sir…Cookie told me in
“The breach got all the coffee too.”
For a moment I stood, stunned, then realized
that my mouth must be hanging open, aghast.
“Yeah,” he continued, “he
was just going to get some to refill the empty galley canisters when the breach happened….there ain’t no more.”
of it’s gone?” I tried to be hopeful that both Cookie’s report and the Chief’s might have been
“’Fraid so, sir..uh…you
want to tell the Skipper or should I?”
I’ve had to do many things as Seaview’s
XO. Bad things. Things you never want to do again. Tell someone their loved one’s died, or seen the results of a terrible
mishap, etc. etc., but telling Lee Crane there was no more coffee, well, that was
above and beyond the call of duty.
Of course, I could always delegate.
“Uh, you want Sick Bay standing by?”
Sharkey asked before I wheedle my way out of it and give the job to him, “after all, maybe they got some brew tucked
away in those IV bags…”
It was a relief to laugh over the standing
joke that Sick Bay’s worst patient had coffee in his veins, hence, Sharkey’s
As I went in search of Lee, I pondered that
while the crew could probably handle a brief deprivation with perhaps the occasional irritated outburst or bad headache, caffeine
deprivation turned Lee into a…well… beast. It would be almost preferable if he had a full blown ‘furry’ episode like he had with Braddock’s experimental atmosphere than when I was going
to have to tell him about the coffee.
Damage Control said he’s down in the
thick of things, checking out the jury rigged wiring for one of the shattered panels from the breach. I fully expect to see him, not hovering over the work parties, but as usual, crawling around in whatever
mess needs crawling around in, inspecting repairs, and even doing some himself. (He’s a hands- on Captain.)
While Sharkey had joked about having Doc
stand by, I was sorely tempted to take him up on it. Lee’s sure to be irritable
enough! But no, Doc’s probably got his hands full trying to help the guys
throwing up feel better…
At least I have earplugs at the ready. (I
learned that early on!) Still, I can’t help
but wonder about Lee’s addiction to coffee!
I also can’t help remembering the
kid’s movie we’d had on tape last night about a frog and his friends in the swamp. Though I don’t remember
the lyrics, my own popped into my mind…. ~‘Someday we’ll find it,
the Java Connection, the creamer, the sugar, and me’~