Family Forgotten

By JSRobertson


Dear Diary,


I know I haven’t written in awhile. A lot has happened in the last few weeks as you will see...




Seaview had no missions scheduled for another week.  The admiral, Chip, Lee and I worked at NIMR offices all week catching up on all the paperwork that had accumulated while we were gone.  The admiral had scheduled many meetings for Chip and Lee.  Since they were at meetings most days I had a chance to get caught up. 

You have no idea how much work you can get accomplished with no interruptions from Lee and Chip.  It was a great feeling that by Friday I had my desk cleared of everything. 




Lee and I planned on staying home this weekend and finally relax.  While Chip and Lee played a round of golf on Saturday morning, I went shopping in downtown Santa Barbara enjoying the fresh air.  We decided to stay home for dinner on Saturday night so we could be alone.  It was a little cool outside, so Lee made a fire while I poured us a glass of wine.   I cuddled up to him as we sat on the couch drinking our wine and well one thing led to another but I don’t think I better put into words what happened next (just use your imagination).


After eating a late dinner, Lee told me he talked to his mother that afternoon and she would like to come for a visit next weekend. We hadn’t seen her for a few months so I didn’t mind.  We had the house remodeled to include another master suite with a sitting room for her to use when she came to visit.  You could see the ocean from the windows.


“Does it bother you that you have no family?” Lee asked quietly as we sat on the couch watching the fire, his arm wrapped around my shoulder.


“No, not really,” I told him.  “I never really had a family.  My parents were gone all the time.  They didn’t have any brothers or sisters, so I was raised by my mother’s parents.   My parents would come home for a few weeks and leave again.  My grandparents didn’t know what they did for a living and never knew where they were.  When I was small they would check in to see how I was, but as I got older, they called less.  According to my grandmother, I was an accident. My parents were older when I was born and really didn’t want any children, but there I was.” 

“Wasn’t that hard for you when you got older not to have your mother there for you?”

“Not really I didn’t know any better.   It did get a little harder for my grandmother when my grandfather died.  He died when I was twelve years old.  She was all I had and I was all she had.  My grandmother even taught me how drive.   It wasn’t much different than you and your mother.  It must have been hard for her to raise you alone.”

“Yes, it was hard right after my father died, we managed but she was there most of the time.”

“Lee, I don’t even know if my parents are dead or alive,” I told him softly.

 “When was the last time you saw or heard from them?”

“I haven’t seen them since I married John when they were home for three days. That was almost ten years ago. I didn’t even know where they were to tell them my grandparents died so they couldn’t even come home for their funerals.  I’ve haven’t talked to them since then either.”

“Would you like to find out about your parents?” he asked hesitantly.  “We could hire a private detective to check it out and if needed I could use my connections at ONI.”

“No not really, I have all the family I need.  I have the admiral, who is like a father to me, Chip is the brother I never had, and Jamie and Chief are like uncles and most of all you.  I love you more than anything.  I know I can count on you to be there for me no matter what,” I said lovingly giving him a kiss.  “Besides that I have the men on Seaview and how many people have over a hundred cousins?”

“If you change your mind, I will do whatever needs to be done to find them,” he said kissing me back.

The fired had died out so we went upstairs to our bedroom.  I cuddled up to Lee as I thought about what he said about finding my family.




During the week Chip and Lee had more meetings with the admiral. Chip wanted to talk to Lee about inventory. So finally on Thursday morning they were able to meet regarding the inventory on Seaview.  Chip knew I had done  inventories before at my previous job and thought I could tackle this project.


When Chip called me into his office later, Riley was holding a thick stack of printouts.

“Mrs. Crane,” Chip began, “ Riley will assist you taking inventory. Especially for those areas that may be  inaccessible.”

“Inaccessible?” I asked, confused.

“You know, creepy crawly areas.”

“Oh for pete’s sake, I’m certainly capable of crawling on my hands and knees.”

“It’s already been decided,” Chip said then, “dismissed Riley.”

“Yes whole boat, sir?” Riley asked, hopeful that the job wasn’t really as bad as it sounde.

“’Fraid so. You’ll both start the inventory as soon as Seaview is underway.”

“I’m sure it won’t be that bad, Riley,” I patted his arm.

“Yes ma’am,” he perked up and fled.

“Well,” I laughed, “It may be a little daunting, but we’ll manage.”

“I know you will,” Chip grinned.




Lee’s mother came by that weekend.  We had a nice visit. The weather was a little warmer so we were able to sit on the deck and talk some.  I know Lee and his mother were never very close but they seemed to enjoy each other’s company more than usual.  She still isn’t very fond of me, I’m sure,  but we did manage to find a few things to talk about.  We went out to dinner with the admiral and Chip on Saturday night as it was something they did every time she visited Lee.  


She would be leaving on Sunday morning for Brazil so we decided to drive her to the airport.  This way he could spend a little more time with her since she didn’t know when she would come back and we didn’t know when we would be able to visit her out East.  


When the day came and we dropped her off at the international terminal, she gave both Lee and I a hug and kiss good bye.  Maybe she’d discovered that  I’m not so bad after all.




We left Monday for Seaview’s charting mission in the Pacific. I was enjoying a cup of coffee with Lee in the Observation Nose. We’d been at sea for two days, and wonder of wonder, we hadn’t encountered one anomaly. We were both laughing, wondering how long that would last when Sparks interrupted our musings.


“Skipper?” he handed Lee a printout. “It’s in your personal code.”

“My personal code?” Lee frowned as I froze. Even I knew that  Lee’s personal code usually meant an emergency ONI assignment.  “Sorry, sweetheart,” he kissed me and headed up the spiral ladders.

It wasn’t long before he called the admiral, Chip, and I to his cabin.



He didn’t say anything to me at first, as I sat on the edge of the bunk, while he pulled his well worn backpack out of the closet. As soon as Nelson and Chip arrived, he didn’t even look them in the face either.


“I have to leave for  the People’s Republic in an hour.  Two agents missed their last three extraction times. There’s a new germ warfare formula the People’s Republic has developed they managed to steal.  ONI is sending a helicopter to take me to a boat in international waters. I’ll be taken to the Graten coast. Hopefully the assignment won’t take more than three days.”

“An hour? Damn it Lee!” Chip said. “Can’t they send someone else?”

“You think I want to go?”

“Calm down, both of you,” Nelson said, “I’m sure they chose Lee because he’s the best man for the job. Now, why don’t we leave Lee and Janet to prepare.


Nelson gave me a compassionate look of resignation and soon Lee and I were alone.


“No chance of you saying no?” I asked.

“Sorry, not this time,” he lifted my chin and kissed me. Then sighing, he  found the ID he’d  use for this assignment and packed his knapsack. I helped him, and soon he was garbed in the over used fatigues and utility belt.   When he had everything he needed, he kissed me passionately.

“I really hate when you do this,” I said putting my head on his chest trying not to cry.  “Why you? Why is it always you they call? I can’t believe it’s because  you’re the ‘best for the job.’”

“They have their reasons,” he said tenderly wiping away the tears as the fell down my cheeks.

“Skipper, the helicopter will be here in ten minutes,” Chip called over the intercom.

“Surface the boat,” Lee replied. “I’ll be there shortly.”

“Aye, sir.”


Lee and I walked hand in hand down to the control room before going topside. I climbed up to the conning tower. Chip and Nelson were already there. We watched Lee attach himself to the chopper’s grappling hook and in seconds he was lifted up to it. He waved goodbye before the hatch closed. Then I lost it and began to cry.


“He’ll be okay,” Chip gave me a gentle hug.

“I hope so,” I said softly, wondering if I would ever see him again.


*** *** *** ***


Once Lee was dropped to the boat that would take him to the Graten coast, he was briefed with more info along with a photo of the agents. They were a married couple who had been with ONI for over thirty years and this was their final mission.  They would be retiring from ONI once they delivered the microchip to Admiral Johnson.


The boat waited until dark and would get as close as it could to the coast but Lee would have to take a raft the rest of the way in.  Luckily for him he had been to this part of the People’s Republic before and was familiar with the area which, he thought, was probably the real reason he’d been selected for the mission.  


After he rowed to shore, he found a place to hide his raft in a group of trees. He covered it up with branches and leaves.  The boat would return to pick them up in three days. 


It would be a five mile walk into town.  He hoped the safe house he had used before was still there.  Sam Luck had helped him out on previous assignments.  Sam was an ONI agent that had been permanently placed in the People’s Republic at his request as his wife had been from that area.  Even though he was now widowed, he’d opted to stay.


Lee arrived at the house and knocked on the door.  Sure enough Sam answered the door and wasn’t surprised to see him there.


“I was wondering when you would show up.  Why is it that when an agent is in trouble they send you?”

“Just lucky I guess. How are you doing, Sam? Are they here?”

“No.  It’s bad, Luke, real bad.”


Sam explained to Lee that the couple, Susan and Tom Davenport, had showed up a week ago.   They had missed their previous extraction points because they were being followed. They didn’t want to lead the soldiers who were following them to the safe house. They managed to lose them but then Susan got very ill and it took them longer to get here than they thought.  She had some sort of flu virus and couldn’t get treatment without being discovered.  They were there only a day when she died. Sam and Tom buried her at a nearby cemetery where no one would notice a new grave. 


“Did he tell you where they had been and what they were doing here?” Lee asked cautiously wondering how much information Sam knew.

“You don’t have to fish. All I know is that they were to stay here for the day and then make their way to the coast at dusk and a boat would pick them up.”

“Where is Tom now? Did he leave anything here?”

“No, he just took his duffle bag with him when he left. He told me he was going to stop at the cemetery to say goodbye to his wife for the last time and then head for the coast to the extraction point.  The soldiers were searching all the towns between here and the coast.  I heard they found him in the cemetery and took him to a prison about twenty miles from here.”

“Damn.  How secure is that prison?” Lee inquired needing to know what he was getting into.  He had to get the microchip on the Larris formula at all costs. 

“It’s not known for being too secure.  Many escapes have been attempted and not completed that is why no one would give much notice a new grave in the cemetery.  They bury all the escapees there.”

“Okay if I stay the night?”

“No problem.”  Sam showed him were he could bunk for the night.  He made them some dinner and they ate in silence as Lee figured out how to get into the prison.  Sam gave Lee some provisions to hold him over until he got back.


*** *** *** ***


At dawn the next morning, Lee started his trek to the prison.  He would have to stay off the main road.  Hiking through the forest and over the rugged terrain would take him a little longer than two hours.

He found the cemetery about ten miles into his journey.  It was a little ways off the road and he noticed there were quite a few new graves.


He reached the prison where everything was quiet for now.  Sam was right in that the prison wasn’t very secure.  It actually looked  liked it was a farm, with several out buildings besides the main house. The fence around the perimeter was full of holes, possibly on purpose so when the prisoners tried to escape they would be an easy target.  He would have to find out which building Tom was being held captive.  If he was still alive.


He was hungry so he ate some of the cheese and bread Sam gave him before he left while waiting and watching from a small mound above the prison.  He didn’t have to wait long when the soldiers brought a man out to the center of the compound. It was Tom.  They tied him to a pole. Lee could hear them asking him where the microchip was.  When he wouldn’t answer they would hit him.  Lee could tell he had been beaten several times before.  He was worried he would die before he could get to him. 


They continued to beat Tom until he was unconscious.  They untied him and dragged him in the building right below the mound were Lee was.  He would have to wait until dark to try and get him out of there.  He scoped out the area and found there was a back door to the building where Tom was taken. As he sat there watching and waiting, he noticed there weren’t too many soldiers in the prison. They brought out several other men and would tie them to the pole and beat them for information.  Not one of them talked.


When night came Lee made his way down the mound to the back door.  He could hear the soldiers talking and knew they were outside the door in front.  He slowly opened the back door and looked in.  The building must have been one of the main houses on the farm as there were a lot of rooms to check.  Going into what was the kitchen, he found a room to the left of the kitchen and it was empty.  He slowly made his way down the hall and found two more empty rooms.  Finally the last room he looked in he found Tom tied to a bed. He was barely conscious.  He went over to him and put his hand over his mouth. 


“I’m here to get you out,” Lee whispered.  “Can you walk?”


Tom nodded his head.  Lee removed his hand, untied him and helped him up.  He checked down the hall and found it was clear. He and Tom slowly made their way to the back door.  Once they were clear of the house, Lee could tell Tom was struggling to keep up with him.  He would have to help him if they wanted to get out of there.  Lee wrapped his arm around Tom’s waist and led him through woods until they were a few miles from the prison.  Neither man had said anything till now.


“I’m Luke Harper.” Lee told him.  “We have to make it back to the safe house before going to the coast for pick up tomorrow night.”

Tom looked at Lee and though Tom had never met Lee before he seemed to recognize him. “I’m Tom Davenport.  Thanks for getting me out of there,” he said breathing heavily and sweating profusely. “I’m not sure I can make it.”

 “We’ll make it,” Lee said firmly, “we’ll stop here for awhile.  I’m sure you could use some water and food.” Lee told him as he gave him his canteen and some of the bread and cheese he had.

“Thanks,” Tom said staring at Lee.  “I haven’t eaten in two days. You know my wife is dead?” he said to Lee assuming Sam would have told him.

“Yes, I’m sorry.  Did she die from exposure to the Larris virus?” Lee asked cautiously.

“No. We left the lab in Stoward Province before they could test it.  They were getting ready to test it on prisoners at a nearby prison.  Neither one of us wanted that to happen, so we took the microchip and left one night.  She picked up the flu virus while we stopped in a nearby town on our way to the Graten coast.  We were on the run and being followed so we couldn’t get any help,” Tom replied with tears in his eyes staring at Lee.


“Do you know me?” Lee asked puzzled.  “I’ve never met you but you keep staring at me.”

“No, we’ve never met,” he told Lee quickly. 


After he ate Lee told him they needed to keep going so they could put some distance between them and the soldiers. Hopefully the soldiers would not be looking for them until morning.  They had gone about ten miles when Lee knew Tom could go no further. 


“Tom, I need you to tell me where you hid the microchip,” Lee said urgently.

“In the cemetery.” Tom told Lee gasping for breath.
The cemetery?”

“I buried it with my wife.  They saw me when I was saying goodbye, and I knew I wouldn’t be able get away. So I put it under the cross on her grave.  Do you know where the cemetery is?”

“I passed by it on my way to the prison.  It’s not to far from here.  Do you think you can make it there?”

“I’ll try,” Tom said grimacing as he got up.


Lee wrapped his arm around the man again and they walked another two miles until they came upon the cemetery.  It was too dark to see anything, so they decided to wait until morning before they would find the grave. There was a small hut where they kept the tools for digging the graves.  The night was quite cool and it was starting to rain so they went inside for protection.  Tom was shivering uncontrollably and coughing up blood.  Lee put his jacket on him and also wrapped his arm around him to keep him warm.  Before long they both were asleep. 


Lee woke up before sun up and found Tom semi-conscious.  Lee needed Tom to tell him which grave was his wife’s so he could get the microchip.  Tom told Lee that the grave was under a tree at the top of the hill by the bush with the white flowers.  Lee left the hut and it was still raining.  He found the grave and dug up the cross.  Wrapped in a plastic bag was a small container containing the microchip and a folded piece of newspaper.  Lee put the bag in his pocket. He would look at the newspaper when he had more time.  He replaced the cross on the grave and went back to the hut.


“I have it. We have to go now,  Lee told him gently.

“No Lee, I can’t go on, please go and get the microchip back home.  Please take care of her,” he said before he died. 

“Damn,” Lee muttered.  What did he mean, please take care of her and how did he know my name,” Lee thought. 


Lee took Tom’s body to where his wife was and buried him next to her.  He was very sorry to see they both had to die serving their country.


Lee could hear voices coming up the road and knew he had better get moving.  He didn’t want to run into any soldiers so he made his way back through the forest and was in town before noon.  He went back to Sam’s where he would stay until dusk and then make his way to the coast. The soldiers never came into town.




Seaview was still on her charting mission.  The admiral and Chip were at the plotting table when Sparks called out that he had a  call from Admiral Johnson for Admiral Nelson.  I rushed to the radio shack from the Observation Nose where I’d been entering data from the inventory into a compter.


“No, Janet,” Nelson told me. “ I’ll take the call in my cabin, Sparks,” he headed aft.

“He’s okay, Janet,” Chip told me confidently. 

“I know,” I replied shaking.  I’d always believed that I would know in my heart if something had happened to him, but I was still worried.


*** *** *** ***


“What is it, Johnson?” the admiral asked sharply when he got to his cabin. 

“Harry, the ship that was going to pick them up was blown up. They’re on to the operation apparently.  If my information is correct, right now you are the closest vessel to the coast. How soon can you be there? He’s supposed to come out of there tonight if he has completed the assignment”

“Damn! We can’t get there until tomorrow night, even at flank!”

“Well,” Johnson sighed, “do what you can.  Have him call me as soon as he’s aboard.”





I could tell by the look on the admiral’s face that he was not happy when he came down the stairs.  Before I could ask him what Admiral Johnson wanted, he went over to Chip at the plotting table.


“Mr. Morton, set a course for these coordinates and run at flank speed,” the admiral instructed him handing him a sheet of paper. “Then join Janet and I in the Observation Nose.”

“Aye, sir,” Chip replied and gave the information to the helmsmen and ordered the engine room to flank speed.


He practically ran to join us.


Nelson cleared his throat and began.


“The ship that was supposed to pick him up was blown up.  We are the closest boat to him right now.  He was scheduled to be picked up tonight but there is no way we will be able to get there. But as far as we know Lee is okay.”

“What will happen when there’s no boat to pick him up tonight?” I asked fearfully.

“Probably go back to the safe house, if it’s still a viable option. Then he’ll try again tomorrow night”

“What did you mean by viable option?”

“If the People’s Republic is  on to the operation, the safe house might not be safe anymore. In fact, the agent there might be dead and the house a trap if Lee shows up.”

 I think I gasped.

“Lee’s a good agent my dear. He’ll take all precautions. But I won’t tell you not to worry. I’m worried myself.’d like to rest in your cabin.”


I was going to tell him I could face it, and that I’d go back to work, but in the end I did as he suggested and returned to my cabin.


Holding one of Lee’s shirts to my face, I  cried my heart out in privacy.


*** *** *** ***


Sam was no where around when Lee got back to the safe house, so he removed the folded up newspaper and was going to read it when Sam suddenly came in the door.  He folded it back up and put it back in his pocket.


Lee told Sam what had happened and he’d be leaving tonight.  Sam had some work to do so Lee helped him just to kill time until it was dusk.  After dinner, Lee went to his room, gathered his things and said good bye to Sam thanking him for his help.


Lee arrived at the coast and found much to his relief that his raft was still there.  He really didn’t want to swim to the ship.  As he was getting into the raft, he noticed he could see the boat. But he knew he should not be able to see it.  It was too close to the shore and the lights were different. So was the shape. Damn, it was a destroyer.


He hid the raft again and hurried back to the safe house. 


“What happened?  No boat?” Sam asked seriously.

Oh  there was a boat all right, just the wrong one.”


Sam had no problem with Lee staying another night, but he was going to be gone most of the day visiting his in laws a few towns away.  He wouldn’t be back by the time Lee had to leave.  Lee thanked Sam again for his help and letting him stay there, then they both retired for the night.


*** *** *** ***

Lee was up early the next morning and made breakfast both of them.  Sam left shortly after breakfast leaving Lee alone for the day.  Lee remembered the folded piece of newspaper and took it out of his pocket.  After he unfolded it he couldn’t believe what he saw.  It was a picture of Janet and he on their wedding day.  It was the only picture NIMR had released to the press and dated the day after they were married. Why would Tom have had such a thing. Who really were the Davenport’s, Lee wondered.  


Lee left just before dusk to rendezvous with the ship, hopefully, that would take him back to Seaview.  He found his raft still hidden where he had left it. So far so good.  He couldn’t see any vessel along the shoreline. That was a good sign or was it?  When he rowed out to the rendezvous point; there was no ship to be found.  Maybe he was too early.  He would wait for awhile before going back.




I was doing data entry in the Observation Nose again when  Kowalski spotted a blimp on sonar.


“How small, the size of a raft?” Chip asked him hopefully.

“Sure is sir.”

“Periscope depth! Upscope!”


By now my heart was beating a mile a minute as he scanned the horizon.


“It’s him! Surface!”


I was about to climb the ladder topside with the deck watch, when Patterson yelled out.


“Mr. Morton! Trouble! There’s a large ship bearing down on us  about three thousand yards away and closing. Profiles like a destroyer!”

“Surface rescue party get up there on the double and bring the Skipper aboard!” Chip yelled.“Maneuvering be prepared to dive immediately.  Missile room load torpedo tubes one and two.  Fire on my orders.”


*** *** *** ***


Lee was surprised to see Seaview surface a few hundred yards in front of him.  He also heard before he saw a destroyer bearing down on them. 


Before the deck watch could throw a line to  the raft, the destroyer started firing. The raft was hit and collapsed.  Chip couldn’t tell if he was dead or hurt until he saw him trying to swim to Seaview.  He could see his left arm was bleeding. Riley was on the deck and saw Lee was having a hard time of it, so he immediately jumped in the water and helped him swim back to Seaview.  The surface rescue party pulled them aboard and shoved them down the hatch while the destroyer kept firing. 


“Secure the hatch! Dive, all dive!” Chip ordered immediately.  “Blow that ship out of the water! Torpedoes 1, 2, 3, and 4 in salvo!”



It was a tense few seconds before we heard four explosions. It was over.




“He’s been shot!” I yelled as I cradled Lee in my arms just below the ladder.

“I’m fine,” Lee replied. “Just a flesh wound,” he examined his shoulder, the blood running down his fingers.

 “Lee, come on, you going to sick bay.”

“Do it Lee,” Chip said. “Besides, you’re in the way just now. I do assume you want us to search for survivors?” 

“You still have command. It’s your decision,” Lee said, “but I’d appreciate it.”

“Very well. Riley, help get the Skipper to Sickbay then get someone with nothing better to do, to clean up the deck. That blood, even though it’s not much, is slippery.”


As Riley and I helped Lee aft, I overheard the Admiral ask Sparks to get Johnson. I was glad I wouldn’t be around to hear Nelson rant.






The admiral met us in sick bay just as Doc had finished up bandaging Lee’s arm and given  him an injection of antibiotics. 


“Well, you managed to get back almost uninjured,” the admiral said with concern.  “What happened to the other agents you were to bring back?”

“Could you give me about fifteen minutes?” Lee asked. “I’d like to change first. Among other things,” he winked at me.

“Of course, Lad.”



Lee and I walked back to our cabin arm in arm. I didn’t mind getting wet from his soggy clothes. And I couldn’t resist running my hand through his wet hair, and over his scratchy growth of face fuzz.


“Lee, what happened to the other agents?” I asked softly.


He said nothing, but I hadn’t really expected him to.  I already knew they had to be  dead. 


After he showered and changed he gave me a quick kiss and hug and left to go to the admiral’s cabin.  He told me he would be back in a little while.  He took a plastic bag with him when he left. It had, of all things, some newspaper in it.  I would wait in our cabin for him to return.


*** *** *** ***


Sitting down in the chair in front of the admiral’s desk, Lee sighed deeply, “Well sir, I have a lot to tell you.”


Before he could continue, Sparks called the Admiral’s cabin and said Admiral Johnson wanted to talk to the Skipper. 


“It’s okay, sir,” Lee said as Nelson rose to give him some privacy, and indicated he sit down again. “Go ahead Sparks, pipe it down here. Let him know the Admiral’s here.”

“Aye sir.”

“Commander,” Johnson’s voice came over in seconds, “did you get the microchip? How soon can you bring the  Davenports to Washington?”

“I have the microchip but the Davenports are dead. I can probably get the chip to you by tomorrow morning. Also, there’s something I need to talk to you about personally.  It’s...important.”

“The Davenport’s are dead?  Damn shame that. I’ll look for you tomorrow then,” Johnson answered and abruptly hung up.


“Lee?” Nelson frowned, “what do you need to talk to Johnson about personally? Can you tell me?”

“Yes actually, but I’d like Chip to hear what I have to tell you.”

“Mr. Morton, please come to my cabin. Right away,” Nelson spoke into the intercom, then poured Lee a cup of coffee, which he drank gratefully. 


In minutes Chip was knocking on the door, granted entry and sat down at Lee’s side in front of Nelson’s desk.


Lee told them about the Davenport’s and what had happened to them.  Then, he handed the microchip to the Admiral which Nelson locked in his wall safe. Then, with some hesitancy,  Lee unfolded the old  piece of newspaper and lay it on the desk. 


“Where did you get this?” the admiral asked. Chip was also surprised as he stared at it.

“Tom Davenport.  It was with the microchip,” Lee explained.  He told them that Tom called him by his real name and said to take care of her meaning Janet.  “I didn’t have a chance to look at it before he died, so I couldn’t ask him about it,” he continued.  He also told them about the conversation he and Janet had about her family.

“Then you think the Davenport’s were Janet’s parents?” the admiral asked.

“Why else would he have a picture of us?” Lee answered somberly.  “I’m just as sure Davenport was not their real name.  They probably have many aliases just like most of us working for ONI.”

“Are you going to tell Janet?” Chip asked hesitantly.

“I don’t know. I need to talk to Johnson first. If they are, well, I don’t think I have a choice.”

“Do you think it’s wise?” Chip asked.

“She’s my wife. Of course it isn’t wise. She’ll be devastated to learn her parents chose their careers over her, not to mention that as soon as I found out about them, they died. Yes, she knows all about duty, God help me, she’s put up with long enough. But it won’t be easy for her.”

“If it’s true,” Nelson said and took a puff on his cigarette.

“Admiral? Will you come with me tomorrow when I take the microchip to Admiral Johnson? I’m also going to bring Janet along. If Johnson does confirm that the Davenport’s were her parents, I’d like a little extra support for her, and me. She loves you like a father too, and well...”

“Of course, Lee. You don’t even have to ask.”

“Could we leave tomorrow by seven hundred hours?  The sooner we get there the sooner we can get this over with,  Lee sighed.

“I’ll have the flying sub ready and waiting,” Chip said.

“Thanks, and you still have command. I’m too tired to do anything but sleep tonight.”

“Of course, Skipper,” Chip patted his shoulder and left.

“What will you tell her about our flight tomorrow?” Nelson asked.

“I’m not sure yet. Well, goodnight sir.”

“Goodnight, Lee.”





 “Honey, are you okay,” I asked as Lee entered our cabin.  Looking into his eyes I could tell  something was still troubling him.

“I’m fine, just a lot on my mind,” he replied softly.  “Would you mind if I took a walkabout? I’ve been gone for four days and....”

“Would you like some company?”

“I think I’d like that. Sweetie?  The Admiral and I have to go to Washington tomorrow for the debriefing. I’ve asked the Admiral if you can come too. Not for the debriefing but the company. He agreed. Need to leave by seven hundred hours.”

“Of course, Lee,” I took his arm, knowing full well that there was a problem. Whatever it is I would deal with it.





By the time we were ready to leave, Lee was very quiet and looked exhausted.  I don’t think he got very much sleep last night.  I know I didn’t.



“Chip, hopefully we should be back later this afternoon,” Lee told him as he helped me into my flight jacket. 

“Aye, skipper,” Chip replied.  “Don’t worry everything will work out.”

“I hope so,” Lee sighed deeply as he was putting on his jacket.


Lee didn’t even complain when the admiral took the pilot’s seat. Now I was really worried. I knew it would be about a three hour flight but I didn’t know how quiet it would be.  Eerily quiet.




We arrived in Washington a little past ten thirty hours.  There was a driver and security team waiting at the airport when we finally landed, a bit late due to a storm. The admiral left their flight jackets in FS-1 and put on their dress coats and covers.  It was a little chilly so I kept my flight jacket on.


We were brought to Admiral Johnson office as soon as we arrived at ONI.  The men saluted, as expected, but after Johnson had returned the salute, he stared at me, then at Lee.


 “Commander, why is she here?”

“I’ll explain after we’ve had our meeting,” Lee replied as he removed his cover  and waited for Johnson and Nelson to precede him into the office.


“Hi, I’m Sandy,” Admiral Johnson’s secretary said to me as I found a chair in the outer office, “can I get you some coffee?”.

“No thank you. I’m Janet Crane, nice to meet you.”

“Lucky girl, you. Your husband is a real hunk. Do you work at the Institute?”

“Yes, I’m Lee’s and Commander Morton’s secretary and I also work aboard Seaview depending on the mission.”

“I thought only men were allowed on submarines,” she said,  surprised.

“In the active Navy, yes. But with Seaview, well, I am the only regularly assigned woman on Seaview. But we’ve had several female scientists aboard.   I take care of most of most of the paperwork to free up the Captain and XO for their shipboard duties and the Admiral for his science projects.”

“You put my career to shame,” Sandy smiled, got her cup of coffee and returned to work.


I sat there smiling to myself.  I’m one lucky woman, I thought.  I started to read the book I’d brought along while I waited for the meeting to conclude.  I was still curious as to why Lee wanted me to come along.  Obviously, Johnson wasn’t expecting me.  Sometimes he really annoyed me...well most of the time.


*** *** *** ***


After Lee had told Admiral Johnson what had happened he placed the piece of newspaper on Johnson’s desk. 


“Where did you get this?” Johnson asked.

“It was with the microchip.   I didn’t realize what it was until after Tom died, so I never had a chance to ask him.  But I’m asking you now, why he would even have this picture.  I didn’t know him.  I would like you to tell me what the Davenport’s real name was.”

“You know I can’t tell you,” Johnson said tersely. 

“Why?  They’re dead.  Nobody is going to hunt them down anymore.  I have reason to believe the Davenports were Janet’s parents.”

“What? Crane,” Johnson turned and looked out the window, “ I knew the Davenports for ten years.  They never ever mentioned that they had a daughter.”

“That may be, but remember,” Lee grabbed his arm, a military no no, “ I know all about the spy business. Somewhere, someplace in ONI, there is proof, or not, I’ll grant you that much,  that they did.  Janet has a right to know if these agents were her parents. And I think I’ve earned the right to know the Davenport’s real names.”


For a moment Lee didn’t know if Johnson was going to explode for his insubordination and request a reduction in rank, but Johnson returned to his desk, and sighed, “Rick and Nora Carter.”


“Damn,” Lee muttered, then stood over Johnson, “you knew. All this time, you knew. And you didn’t even have the courage to tell her? One of your  own agents? My own  wife?”

“Lee,” Nelson rose, and gently led Crane back to his chair. 

“I’m sorry, Crane,” Johnson said, contrite. “When I arrived here twelve years ago, I familiarized myself with  the files on all our agents.  No where in the Davenport files was anything about them having had a daughter.  So when we checked out Janet’s bio out after she joined the agency, even on a temporary basis when she married you, well, it was too late. If they had determined to keep her in the dark for her entire life, there was no way I felt the department should blow their cover. I still don’t. Janet had told us she didn’t know if her parents were alive or dead and Carter’s a pretty common name.  We had no  reason to correct that. And the agency still doesn’t.”

“So she goes on believing she was for the most part abandoned and ignored by her parents and farmed out to her grandparents all this time?” Lee’s voice rose in outrage.

“It was the Carter’s decision! Not mine. Or the agency’s. So let’s just leave it shall we?”

“Gerald,” Nelson took over, “the Davenports had be in California during Lee and Janet’s wedding weekend to pick up that newspaper and save the picture. Just why were they in Santa Barbara?”

“I sent them there.  I needed them to pick up some information from an agent who couldn’t come to Washington.  I asked them to go and get the information. “They didn’t return to Washington until Monday afternoon.”

“They were in town, and never even tried contact her?” Lee said angrily.  “How could they do that to her? How?”

“Son,” Nelson began, “they’d been out of her life for so long, maybe they were afraid she wouldn’t want to see them.”

“All right,  but they should have let her make that decision. And as much as it may hurt, she needs to know. This is one decision that’s out of ONI’s hands.”

“Making demands, Crane?”

“If you still want me in your pool of field agents, yes.”

“Very well,” he said then pressed the intercom, “Sandy, will you please send Mrs. Crane in?”





I got up and went into the office as directed.  Lee closed the door behind me.  He led me to a chair and asked me to sit down.  I was so nervous I was shaking.  What was so bad that I was called into Johnson’s office?   Was Lee going back to active duty? Was he going to ONI full time?  So many things were running through my mind I couldn’t think.  He grabbed the other chair and put it in front of me and sat down.  He took my hands in his.


Taking a deep breath, he started to talk. 


“Sweetheart,  please calm down. You’re shaking like a leaf.  I need to tell you something. No, not about me,” he added before wilted, “it’s about your parents.  Before you say you don’t want to know, please hear me out.”

“Okay, Lee,” I said trembling.

“The reason you never knew what your parents did for a living is that they were ONI operatives.  They were based mostly in Europe or Asia that’s why they didn’t call or come home.”

“Duty,” I winced, ‘duty, duty, duty, I’m so sick of duty! I want to tell them off, Lee. Really tell them off. There’s no excuse for what they did to me or my grandmother.”

Shhh,”Lee stroked my hair, “I’d like to as well, but we can’t...sweetie, the two agents I was supposed to bring back with me, the Davenports, they were really Rick and Nora Carter, your parents.”


I almost passed out.  Lee grabbed me to keep me from falling out of the chair.  Admiral Johnson got some water and gave it to me to drink. 


After I composed myself for a moment, “I’m okay,” I told Lee softly. “Go on.”

“I didn’t know who they were until today.  I was to bring them back along with a microchip they had with them. But with the microchip was this piece of newspaper.”  He gave me the picture of us on our wedding day.

“They had this with them?” I asked quietly.  “All this did they get it?  This was only released to the press in Santa Barbara wasn’t it? Ohmygod...they...they were there?”


“Yes,” Johnson said, “ONI sent them to Santa Barbara  on recon to pick up some information from another agent there.  They must have seen the paper..”  

“Why didn’t they call me or someone at the institute, to contact me while they were there?”  I asked with tears in my eyes.

“Sweetheart, I don’t know,” Lee held me, “I didn’t know about the picture until after your father died. I think...I think you would have liked him, despite how they kept you in the dark.”

“And my mother?”

“She died before I came ashore. It was the flu. They couldn’t get any medical help as they were on the run.  Your father was captured and taken prisoner. He’d been beaten pretty badly, and died after his rescue, but told me where he had buried her and hidden the microchip. The newspaper article was with it. He’d told me to take care of you but at the time I didn’t know what he meant.”


I started to sob uncontrollably, and Lee held me tightly.


Admirals Johnson and Nelson left us alone in his office but not before  a very upset Nelson  put his hand on my shoulder and even  the stoic Admiral Johnson was a little shaken.


When they came back after a few minutes, coffee in hand with two extra cups for Lee and I, I’d calmed down a little. Just.


“Why do you think they never told you about me,” I asked Admiral Johnson. “Was it duty?”

“If no one knew you existed you wouldn’t get hurt if someone wanted to use you as a lever for information. Yes, I think it was.”

“Did they have a place to live here in Washington or only in Europe?”

“Yes, they did have an apartment here,” he replied and punched the intercom, “Sandy, order a car to take the Crane’s to the Davenport’s apartment.”

“Right away, sir.”

“I’ll have security get you a key. ”

“Admiral Nelson? Will you come along?” I asked.

“I think perhaps just you and Lee,” he said.




When we arrived, the driver waiting, Lee unlocked the door and  I held my breath not knowing what to expect.  Lee grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze for reassurance.  It was very small and sparsely furnished apartment.  They only used it when they were in the states, which wasn’t very often.  There were no personal items except one picture. It was me with my parents when I was about ten years old.  That was the last time I saw them before they came in for my wedding to John eleven years later.  I started to cry again and Lee gathered me in his arms, and held me tight,


We stayed a few minutes longer.  I put the picture in my purse and walked out the door.  Lee locked the door again and we left the building. 


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

“Sure, sweetie.”





Lee took the pilot seat this time. We were at altitude when he hailed Seaview.


Seaview aye,” Chip answered immediately.

“Hi Chip, we just left Washington.  We should be back on Seaview in four hours.”

“How is everything?” Chip asked cautiously.

“Let’s just say  we assumed correctly,” Lee told him softly. “FS-1 out.”


After flying for a couple of hours, I thanked Lee and the admiral for their help with this situation.  It couldn’t have been easy for either one of them to find out that information too.  Especially for Lee who had to bury my father.


“I’m sorry, for the way I reacted,” I explained, “ I hadn’t seen or heard from them for so long, that I forgot about them.  I got use to not having them around for most of my life so I can’t believe I fell apart like that.  I guess deep down inside I hoped if they were still alive, they would someday come back into my life and see how happy I was,” I said dejectedly.  “I’m so embarrassed that I broke down like that in front of you and Admiral Johnson.”

“Honey,” Nelson said, “please don’t apologize or be embarrassed for reacting the way you did. You lost the only family you had left. They meant more to you than you thought.”

“Admiral, I still have plenty of family.  Lee of course, you, Chip, Doc, and Chief have been my family for the last year along with hundred twenty other men,” I told him gratefully then, “I don’t  assume we can  bring their bodies back?”

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” Lee said, “under the present circumstances, they’ll  have to stay there.  It would be far too dangerous to send someone in to exume them.” 

“Thank you for burying him next to her,” I said somberly.  “Does anyone else on Seaview know about this?”

“Chip knows. But nobody else.”

“I’m glad he knows. I don’t feel like facing any questions or sympathy from the crew just yet. It would just make things harder for me. A few days maybe before we tell them.”

“Of course.”




We flew home the rest of the way in silence, except for the sound of my  tears.


 “FS-1 to Seaview,” Lee hailed the boat again.

“Seaview, aye. Morton here.”

“Chip, prepare for berthing.  We should be there in five minutes.”

“Aye, sir.”




By the time we berthed, I was very tired.  Lee helped me up the ladder into the observation nose.  Chip met us as we came aboard.  He gave me a hug and whispered he was sorry.  I hugged him back and thanked him.


I went directly up the spiral staircase to our cabin.  I didn’t want to deal with this anymore today.


Lee came to our cabin after he was finished with Chip.


“You need to eat something, you haven’t eaten since breakfast,” Lee said reaching for my hand.


“Not hungry,” I told him quietly.

“I’ll get Jamie after you if you don’t come,  he said with a small grin.

“Does Jamie know?” 

“No, we will tell him when you’re ready. Maybe you’re not hungry, but I am, and I’d rather have your beautiful face to stare at from across the table than anyone else’s.”


When we got to the wardroom, the only people there were the admiral and Chip.  Cookie had made meatloaf with mashed potatoes.  It sure smelled good, so I did manage to eat a little.  But it wasn’t long before I excused myself. Lee rose as if to go with me, but Nelson said I might need a little alone time.


“Just a few minutes, okay Lee?” I whimpered.

“Okay sweetheart,” Lee kissed me on the lips and let me go.





 I pulled the picture out of my purse but  instead of crying this time, I was swearing at them. 


“Damn.  Why the hell didn’t you just call after you saw the picture?  I would have forgiven you for not being in my life.  I would have understood what you did for a living.  I could’ve dealt with it just like I have to do now with my husband.”


I was physically and emotionally exhausted so I laid down on the bunk and fell asleep. 


Lee came back to our cabin a few minutes later, touched my check and I woke up. Then we got ready for bed. Lee put his arms around me and promised we would make it through this together.




Seaview would be at sea for another two weeks.  Thankfully I had a lot of work to do.  Riley and I still had to finish the inventory.   Chip was getting antsy.  And there was a lot of data entry for me.


I was grateful for all the work to keep me busy, as every time I thought about my parents, I started crying.

*** *** *** ***




An envelope was put on Janet’s desk in her office at NIMR.  It was from ONI.



The End  ?